Kruger National Park

Trip Start Jun 15, 2011
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Trip End Jun 01, 2012


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Flag of South Africa  ,
Monday, April 16, 2012

We had two days in the Kruger National Park itself to see us much wildlife as we could. 

 It's the biggest National Park in South Africa so it can be pot luck whether you actually get to see many animals or not. Some people go there and don't see much more than a few impala and others will got there and see loads. 

 To give ourselves the best chance we could, we were at the entrance gate as soon as the park opened and left again at the very last minute. This was a good plan and before we even got into the park and paid our money we were rewarded with a leopard sighting right next to the car which hardly ever happens. 

 The lead car spotted the leopard and gave us a signal for "Big 5", and we looked and looked in the distance. Katy had her head out the window with her camera at the ready searching the area. Then suddenly she screams "Oh my God! There's a leopard!" And it was literally right next to the car and not very far from her head sticking out the window which was an extra shock for her. We only got to see the leopard for a few seconds but we won't forget that in a hurry. It's a majestic animal, so powerful and deadly but also beautiful and stately.

This was the start of an excellent day of seeing game, it was a bit overcast which we are told is a good sign for seeing lots of animals in the Kruger. We saw tons of the standard grazers such as impala, zebra, giraffe, wildebeest and warthog. We also saw Kudu, waterbuck, baboons, a jackal, elephants, a cheetah in the distance, a pool of hippos, loads of birds including some rare and endangered ones and towards the end of the day saw 4 hyena pups next to a tree.


 One of the more exciting parts of the day was when we drove past a couple of young elephants who decided they were not going to tolerate having us drive up near them. One of them flapped his ears and then mock-charged the front car. We decided it would be wise to give him some space and passed the longest way round we could as an angry elephant can do a lot of damage to a car if it wants to. In the visitor centre they have photos of cars that he been turned up-side-down by elephants when people have got too close... not advisable!


 On our second day in the park, we dropped our expectations a bit thinking we couldn't possibly have such a good day again. Before entering the park we saw an elephant, giraffe, zebra and as we got into the park we saw a rhino which was awesome as it's getting harder and harder to see wild Rhino's anywhere. 

 
 Poaching for Rhino horn is still a huge problem in Africa and quite a lot of reserves are moving their Rhino's deeper into the bush for their own safety, or removing their horns to stop the poachers from killing them. The Kruger has a board where people can put where they have spotted the top game, and that excludes Rhino's as they don't want it to be used as a guide for poachers. It's so sad, the horn is used for bogus medicines, and has the same make-up as a human finger-nail. The only reason it holds any financial value is false belief in these medicines and the poaching is disgusting and devastating to Rhino populations which is really sad because they're amazing animals.


 Anyway, despite a good start we then didn't see anything for absolutely ages. It got so bad, we were getting excited bout seeing impala stood under trees. When our group all met up for breakfast there were a few complaints about the amount of game we had seen especially we had seen so much previously. My Dad said it's like watching cricket, you can watch for ages and nothing happens, then a wicket falls and the game changes. Sure enough, as we drove out there was a whole herd of elephants with baby's within 50 metres of the road and from then on we were back to having incredible luck even getting to see lions to finish off our Big 5 spottings!


 On the way out a small herd of elephants decided to delay us by eating from the trees right next to the road. There were babies on both sides so crossing is a risky game as the elephants are very protective. One of the cars learned that the hard way when they were trumpeted at and had to reverse quickly to get back out of the way. We decided it was best to just wait until they moved on, which they did in their own sweet time.

To top off a fantastic day we were treated by the most amazing sunset over the Drakensberg mountains on the way home. The mountains had taken on a beautiful purple colour with the sun setting above and the sky bright with sunset colours. If you were to paint it people would tell you it wasn't realistic. It was simply stunning!

So that is the end of our time at the Kruger National Park, but just the start of our African adventure. 

 At Christmas time my Aunt, Ocea, was with us in Australia and when we were discussing our trip to Southern Africa she offered for us to join her and her friends on an awesome off-road trip across some of Southern Africa's most beautiful bushlands. We jumped at the opportunity and so now we head for controversial Zimbabwe.
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Comments

Trevor on

Your photos are simply amazing.

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