(apology for the delay in posting we were busy partying and the cell reception hasnt been great)
So the last two posts have pretty much been brag posts and it might seem like this wild animal watching stuff is pretty easy, let me reassure you that it’s not. We have been lucky very very lucky, I know people here who have seen leopard in the wild maybe once or twice their whole life.
So rather than just brag today I thought I would tell the Kruger Park story.
Areas of the park were first protected by the government of the South African Republic in 1898, and it became South Africa’s first national park in 1926.
Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. It covers an area of 19,633 square kilometres (7,580 sq mi) in the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga in northeastern South Africa, and extends 360 kilometres (220 mi) from north to south and 65 kilometres (40 mi) from east to west. Approximately the size of England
To the west and south of the Kruger National Park are the two South African provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga. In the north is Zimbabwe, and to the east is Mozambique. It is now part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a peace park that links Kruger National Park with the Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe, and with the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique.
To the north and south of the park two rivers, the Limpopo and the Crocodile respectively, act as its natural boundaries. To the east the Lebombo Mountains separate it from Mozambique. Its western boundary runs parallel with this range, roughly 65 kilometres (40 mi) distant. The park varies in altitude between 200 metres (660 ft) in the east and 840 metres (2,760 ft) in the south-west near Berg-en-Dal.
Today we entered the park through the Phabeni gate again, one of nine gates to the park and it wasn’t long before we had our first Big 5 sighting.
Do you know what makes up the Big 5 – a couple might surprise you I think. The term big five game / Big 5 was coined by big-game hunters and refers to the five most difficult animals in Africa to hunt on foot. The members of the Big Five were chosen for the difficulty in hunting them and the degree of danger involved, rather than their size.
The Big 5 are Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo, Lion and Leopard.
Our first sighting was a lovely buffalo in the river just chilling out.
We had made a plan to head back to some similar areas we had driven on our first day as it seemed rich in wildlife but to also take a few new paths.
The first path wasn’t one we had decided on and once again lady lucky was on our side. Sitting under the shade of the tree in the sandy empty river was a little group of 5 lioness.
We also spotted some elephants and rhinos along the road. We headed to a lookout get a higher view over the park, its pretty spectacular.
The weather was quite warm today by mid morning it was low 30’s and lunch time it had reached 36/37 and stayed there until we left the park at 6.30pm, so sightings were very low today unfortunately, and it seemed that the weather was playing havoc with the big bull elephants moods, as we had to avoid two today and boy were they unhappy little vegemites!
We were fortunate enough to catch a small herd of elephants cooling off in the river, and it appeared that the adults were having as much fun as the little ones!
We headed up some more roads and a section of the park we hadnt ventured into as yet and managed to spot some …
We managed to exit out of the same gate today and were lucky enough to cross paths with one of the huge buffalo herds crossing the road.
I kinda feel like i need to highlight that all my photos have been taken whilst safely situated in our vehicle. Most have been taken on a semi-pro ‘crop’ DSLR with a 500mm lens, these combined make it seem like the animals were reasonably close, and in some cases they were but I guess what I am saying is that Kruger is a wild park with wild predators and shouldn’t be thought of as a zoo or a place to goof off in because you are endangering your own life, the life of others around you but also the animals, so please when you visit stay in your car when outside the rest camps, give the animals space and just enjoy being in the wilds of Africa.