The Kruger National Park – the final piece of the Big 5

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September 3rd 2011
Published: November 3rd 2011
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M – On our travels through Namibia and Botswana we met many South Africans who whenever the Kruger National Park was mentioned seemed to indicate by their general comments that the other parks were really just a build up to the Kruger and that if you hadn’t done the Kruger you hadn’t really been to a park. As such I was pretty excited about our visit even if by know we had seen a lot of animals already in Etosha, the Okavango Delta and Chobe. I was however missing the last animal in my viewing of the Big 5.

The Big 5 were so named by hunters years ago for being the 5 most dangerous animals to hunt in Africa. They are: Elephants, Rhino, Lions, Leopard and Buffalo. I seem to be a lucky charm re sightings having managed to see the first 4 of the 5 on my first day in Etosha. The Leopard was a night time viewing at the waterhole and as such I don’t have a photo. I just needed a Buffalo to complete the set. One wouldn’t think a relation to a cow would be a dangerous animal to hunt but believe me they are pretty large. Needless to say I completed the set. Take a look at the photo to the right showing my first sighting as a rather large specimen crossed the road right in front of us!

We spent 3 nights in the Kruger staying in a permanent tent pitched only yards from the boundary fence separating the camp from the animals. This was very comfortable. Essentially very large tent over a raised platform with balcony, fridge, 4 beds etc. We saw plenty of animals, probably more than we did in Etosha although I will admit that although the landscape in the Kruger is more varied, in my opinion, Etosha has more viewing potential due to its floodlit watering holes inside the camps which allowed for 24 hour viewing. Sitting nervously waiting for the animals to come to drink at night with a glass of wine or a beer and wondering what will come added a different perspective which I really enjoyed.

Although we didn’t have floodlit watering hole we did have the entertainment of a new camp pet. A couple for Hyenas who patrolled the camp boundary fence just yards from our deck and BBQ. These animals were much larger than I expected (think very large dogs) with huge 20 inch plus necks and strong jaws which enable them to crush bones when eating. They also smell terrible!

In addition the Buffalo and Hyenas we saw plenty of wildlife. Keep scrolling down to enjoy a sample of the photos. If interested keep an eye out as I also intend to post two separate short blogs covering a brief but interesting encounter with a pride of lions and a funny/educational viewing of troupe of Baboons.

Additional photos below
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