Kruger Park


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Africa » South Africa » Mpumalanga
July 8th 2014
Published: June 22nd 2017
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Kobus and his vehicleKobus and his vehicleKobus and his vehicle

Great viewing from a elevated position. Apparently the only real risk is from cranky elephants, that have been known to overturn vehicles. Kobus said he didn't own a pair of long trousers - he paid for it and was frozen like the rest of us.
Geo: -25.3636, 31.8949

A 5:30 start this morning. After picking up another Ozzie named Ken, Andy, Ela and we headed into Kruger Park which is about half an hour away. Kobus, our driver/guide folded up the canvas sides of our safari vehicle after we entered the park at Crocodile Bridge and told us there was a sighting of lions hunting just inside.

Sure enough, 500m into the park five lions were hunting three wildebeest and they continued across the road, in and around ten or so tourist vehicles. A lioness skirted our vehicle and after a brief eye contact with us, she got on purposefully with her role in the hunt, flanking the small wildebeest herd. The herbivores scarpered before the trap was sprung and the lions settled back into the bush and waited for more game to come their way. It was very exciting, especially the urgent move by the lioness just metres from our astonished eyes.

The Big Five - lion, elephant, leopard, buffalo and rhino are so named because they are the most dangerous animals to hunt. We saw all except leopard in a full day driving slowly around the park roads. Leopards are hard to spot and Kobus said he'll
Lioness on the huntLioness on the huntLioness on the hunt

We were too startled by her sudden appearance to photograph her as she passed our vehicle. This was her participating in the ambush. Look how perfectly her colouring matches the bush.
see them about once a week, when going out daily. The wind chill boosted the effect of the low temperature and it was freezing! Luckily we had been warned so had gloves, scarves and beanies along with many clothing layers and extra blankets.

The density of wild animals was surprising. We saw hundreds of impala, kudu and wildebeest. Four families of elephant, closest about 50m, four solitary rhino, two individual buffalo and the five lions (twice). Lots of basking and swimming hippos (some of them are HUGE), giraffes, zebra, a troop each of baboon and vervet monkeys (the organ grinder variety), plenty of wart hogs, crocodiles and a startled mongoose that scampered back into the undergrowth when we interrupted its road crossing. Plus a heyena that came out of a den in a road culvert.

We had a very fine lunch at a restaurant in the riverside tourist centre at Lower Sabie.


Additional photos below
Photos: 7, Displayed: 7


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BuffaloBuffalo
Buffalo

These travel alone or in small herds. This old bull was ambling down to the river for a drink.
ElephantElephant
Elephant

The matriarch of this family (third from the left) had a twisted right tusk (see?) and Kobus wondered how she was able to survive and lead a family.
HyenaHyena
Hyena

Mostly nocturnal animals, this one ventured a short distance from its den in a culvert under the road.
GiraffeGiraffe
Giraffe

We usually saw them in small herds. When we returned after dusk from the elephant encounter, a giraffe refused to make way for us on the road in Marloth Park, just a little way from our lodge. Gerard was concerned about car damage from a kick, and so kept his distance.
The safariers(?)The safariers(?)
The safariers(?)

Ela (Michaela), Andy and Ken, with Rob and Kobus.


9th July 2014

Is peak season in spring-when it's warmer?
9th July 2014

Just as well you did check the weather and take the necessaries! Good reading so far, keep it coming xx
9th July 2014

Wet season is mid-Oct to end Feb. Apparently winter is the best time because the vegetation is down and visibility is better. The recent weather has been unusually cold.
9th July 2014

Oooooo how wonderful to see so many. Are you taking the pics with the iPad. I would have been hard to move on from my phumps!
9th July 2014

Not iPad pics. I use the Canon and sync to the pad each day.
9th July 2014

How beautiful! Such lovely colour markings and quite camouflaged

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