Sunrise-painted elephants

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September 15th 2014
Published: March 10th 2015
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Sunrise-painted elephant
Pachyderms dominated on our third day in Balule Nature Reserve. African elephants are huge creatures, the largest living land mammal in the world. They have massive curved tusks and tiny eyes with long eyelashes. When they walk, the ground shakes. The noise of them breaking off branches and stuffing them in their mouths can be heard from miles away.

We first saw them on our dawn ride, where the glowing orange of the morning sun painted their heads and backs with vivid colours, then crossed their paths throughout the rest of the day.

Here is a video clip, so you can share the thrill of watching these amazing animals:

Other wonders excited us: a honey badger running into a hole beneath a tree; a baby kudu feeding from its mother; bushbuck, steenbok, zebras and buffalos. A lilac-breasted roller perched on a powerline, blazing with colour. Eric told us they have seven different brilliant hues.

Matt and I were driven to a waterhole where we watched little warthogs rolling in the mud while squeaking with pleasure, and impala drinking near where a Nile crocodile lurked. Squirrels darted to the bank edge, drank rapidly and fled back

Lilac-breasted roller
to the safety of the tree canopy. Bird-wise, we saw blue and swee waxbills, Cape red glossy starlings and golden-breasted buntings.

After returning to the lodge, I managed a swim in the pool which was wonderful. It was great to exercise while keeping cool.

On our last evening safari, we saw a group of dwarf pygmy mongeese milling round among the roots of trees. They are tiny brown animals, very cute. We stopped by a pond to listen to what Eric called "bush music": the crooning of several bullfrogs.

Then we had another excellent dinner while chatting to Eric about wildlife conservation, and shared a bottle of Pinotage.

For more information about the animals of Kruger, check out my hub page article.

Additional photos below
Photos: 3, Displayed: 3



Impala drinking. Can you see the Nile crocodile in the water?

11th March 2015

Close elephant
Wow - that elephant in the video certainly was close!
11th March 2015

Too right
Yes, he came right up to the land cruiser Peter, he was really curious about us. Thank you for commenting.
12th March 2015

Amazing animals, so close you could touch them. They suffer from poor eyesight so best not to startle them when they are so close to your vehicle. Loved the Sunrise-painted elephant article, thanks for sharing Di.
9th May 2015

And they see in black-and-white
Thanks Rosie, sorry to take so long to respond, not been here for a while. Thanks for commenting.

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