African Safaris in the Kruger Park
You will need to develop a meticulous tour plan to really savor the best that Kruger has to offer. The park extends along the boundaries of Zimbabwe and South Africa. It is home to thousands of species of birds and large mammals. Notable among the larger mammals are lions and elephants which roam the wild with undisturbed demeanor.
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On Safari With Gert
12 April 2018 – We started a new Safari this afternoon with 2 guests from the UK. After lunch and check in, we went out for a afternoon drive in cool and rainy conditions. The drive turned out very good as, in addition to some early close up sightings of Kudu and Waterbuck, we also had a group of Giraffe browsing close by, consisting of 3 adult females and 3 young of roughly the same age.. We also found a large Elephant bull in the road and the way he was walking down the road made it clear that he was assuming right of way and that he is also not very impressed with the few vehicles in the road in front of him! He veered off the road and moved past us, feeding a bit here and there. Then suddenly went right over to a small tourist car, giving them a good warning display. Luckily he was just showing off and eventually moved off as the driver of the small vehicle seemed frozen to the spot and unable to move anywhere; still, no harm done! We got incredibly lucky in that we also had a sighting of 3 Leopard in a tree. It was a female that had killed an Impala and took it up into a tree and she had 2 cubs of around 4 months old with her, all in the same tree! It was incredible just to see the power of the animal as, at one stage, she almost effortlessly dragged the carcass much higher up into the tree. When we left they were all very relaxed, draped over the branches, taking a break from the feeding, which should keep them busy for another day still. A great afternoon drive and brilliant start to the Safari!
13 April 2018 – We left camp after an early breakfast – still in cloudy, but clearing, conditions. It turned out to be a good day for predators, as we found the same female Leopard as yesterday, with her 2 cubs, still in the tree with the Impala they caught. The carcass was significantly smaller and all 3 the cats were sporting very full bellies, lazily draped over the thick Jackalberry branches! Later in we found 1 African Wild Dog, probably with a pack, although we could only see the one. It was lying in the open enjoying the sunlight, but got up eventually to move into a shady spot, most likely joining the rest of the pack in the thicket and out of sight. In the late afternoon we found 7 Spotted Hyena out at a large den-site, 1 adult female lying in the den entrance and at least 6 cubs of various ages and mothers. 2 of them were quite busy, moving around and offering good views, while 4 of the cubs lay out at a different entrance, enjoying the afternoon sun. Shortly before closing time we found our first Elephant breeding herd of the Safari, a smallish herd of about 12 – 15 animals, one of which being a very small calf of a few months old, spending most of its time underneath or very close to his mom’s side. We were lucky in that they came out onto the road, but they still kept the little one sheltered between the adults – a great sight watching the herd walk down the road for a while before they veered back into the bush. Another great day on Safari!
19 April 2018 – We started a new Safari yesterday afternoon and after arrival and check-in went on a late afternoon drive. We had a good stop at a large waterhole with some Waterbuck and Impala gathered around the water, a large Crocodile lying on the bank and 4 Hippo in the water, bobbing up now and then for a quick breath. We also had a very nice sighting of a large Elephant bull, grazing near us right next to the road. We found several Spotted Hyena cubs out at a den, being rather inquisitive and offering us some very good views! This morning we left camp early, hoping to find some lions in an area where they had been spotted the day before. We did find very fresh tracks of a pride, several animals of various ages, as judging from the tracks there were several cubs with them, however, we did not find the pride. At some point we did find many Vultures assembled in the treetops, with several Spotted Hyena quite active on the ground, but we could not manage to locate any carcass or other predators such as lions feeding, which could be the reason for the scavenger presence. Shortly before getting back to camp for a break, we found a Leopard in a tree and although it was about 70 meters off the road, it was in the open and showing quite well in the afternoon sunlight, having a good look around and also getting up to move higher up the tree – a great start to the Safari!
20 April 2018 – We left early this morning in cool, cloudy conditions with a very faint drizzle coming down, similar to yesterday morning, when we had some good predator activity. We had a quick Lion sighting, the first for some time, as with the good rains we had, the grass is very long in some areas, providing very effective cover. We also had our first and very good White Rhino sighting, when we came across a small family group grazing in a clearing! In the late afternoon we had the unexpected and incredibly lucky sighting of a female Honey Badger carrying her cub down the road, she seemed rather skittish and we could only imagine that she sensed a serious threat to be moving den in broad daylight. It was interesting to see her drop the cub first before inspecting new potential hideouts before coming back to fetch it – one of the top sightings of my career! On the last morning we had another quick Lion sighting – 3 young males moving close to the road, but away from us, again in dense cover – at least providing everyone with a decent view before disappearing for good… We were also held up on our way to breakfast by a very agitated elephant bull in musth, claiming his stretch of road and not making it very easy for anyone trying to get past, which we eventually managed after about 20 minutes of his cat and mouse game – some excitement to end off a great Safari!