Birding in the Kruger National Park
The Kruger National Park is the finest area for bird watching in Southern Africa. Home to more than 500 species, this famous national park is the ideal destination for bird watching enthusiasts. When embarking on a Kruger Park Safari with Nhongo Safaris, you will have access to some of the most spectacular bird watching the Kruger Park has to offer.
While animals may be the main attraction, the bird life in the Kruger Park is astounding. In fact it is one of the few places that visitors will have the chance to see South Africa's birding Big Six. A birding safari in the Kruger Park presents travellers with the rare chance of seeing all six of the species in one area. Five of the six are easily spotted: the Lappet Faced Vulture, Martial Eagle, Saddle Billed Stork, Kori Bustard and the Ground Hornbill. It's the Pel's Fishing Owl that can be a little difficult to see as it is a nocturnal animal which has an affinity for water.
On Safari With Gert
27 January 2017
Today we started a new Safari with 4 guests, Phillip and Christoph for a 2 da y quickie and Joy and Conrad for 4 days. After a quick lunch and settling into camp, we headed out for our afternoon drive. The drive started off well as we encountered a small Elephant herd of a bout 12 animals; females with young of various ages. Some of the adult female s appeared very nervous and we decided to keep our distance, as the reason for this was unclear, however on closer observation it looked like one is heavily pregnant, which might be the reason for their discomfort.
They were also feeding close to the road, picking up fallen Marula fruit, which didn't help their situation as they had to deal with a few vehicles trying to get past and they made themselves heard with a few loud trumpeting calls! The highlight of the day was when we rounded a corner to find a family of 5 White Rhino standing in the middle of the road, complete with a large dominant male doing scent marking, and a young calf as well!
This was truly a special sighting to have them relaxed and out in the open, they eventually moved off into the bush as a few more vehicles arrived and the attention got a bit too much for them... We were also lucky enough to find a clan of Spotted Hyena at their den-site , including a few of around 2-3 months old. One of the youngsters was very curious and came towards us, up to the side of the road to get a better look! All in all a great first afternoon on Safari!
28 January 2017
We left on Game drive this morning after an early breakfast, already apparent that it was going to be a hot one! Luckily the morning started off well, with lots of signs of lion activity in the area. We picked up the tracks of a pride and followed them down the road until the tracks started milling around and doubling back on themselves, the reason for this became obvious as we found a set of fresh Elephant tracks coming the other way. We knew the Lions had to be close, but in cover, so we decided to be patient.
We made our way to higher ground from where we had a good view of the surrounding area, scanning the valley and surrounding hillsides. From there we eventually spotted them moving up a distant hill, to bask in the sunshine, we saw 4 young males, although I suspect that there was more o f them in the pride. After basking for about 10 minutes, they got up 1 by 1, moving over the crest of the hill and out of sight! At that stage we also had a large troop of Chachma Baboons nearby, with m any playful youngsters providing thorough entertainment with their antics, while some of the adults were in the nearby trees, keeping an eye on the distant lions, every now and then giving their loud, barking alarm-call to keep the troop alert!
Towards the end of our morning drive, we encountered a young bull Elephant in musth, experiencing very high testosterone levels. We were directly downwind fr om him and even though he must have seen and heard us, he couldn't smell us, which he appeared to be unhappy with as he stood in the middle of the road, flapping his ears and kicking up dust to stamp his authority, all a display as we were still quite a distance away from him! He eventually moved off, but a great way to end the drive with a highlight!
29 January 2017
We set out on our game drive this morning in cool, drizzly conditions and that is how it stayed for most of the morning, turning out to be perfect predator conditions. We started off with a beautiful sighting of a pride of Lion, 2 adult females and 3 sub- adults around 1 year old. They were moving along a granite outcrop, ab out 30 meters away and in the open, followed by a large old male, black-manned, but just past his prime, scent-marking as he followed, and also stopping off to check the scent of the females for mating possibilities. We left them as they started to relax higher up the slope.
Then, not much further, we found another small pride of 5 or 6 lions, very close, but slightly obscured by the tall grass and lazy after just having eaten. 2 Of them put on a bit of a show for us as they were playfully chasing each other around which eventually made for a brilliant sighting! Then it was the turn of a clan of Spotted-Hyena at their den-site, where a female and about four 4/5 month old cubs were quite active outside the den and right next to the road. They were also very playful and inquisitive, with plenty of grooming going on and one of the cubs venturing into the road towards us to get a better look ! Not much further we encountered 2 separate packs of African Wild dog, about 10km apart, both packs of 12 - 15 dogs running in the road towards us and straight past our vehicle, seemingly on the hunt! An absolutely brilliant morning of game viewing and great day on Safari!
30 January 2017
We headed out on morning drive after an early breakfast, hoping to find some Rhino and Buffalo, which we haven't seen much of in the last couple of days and four of our guests were leaving today. We didn't succeed in that mission, but incredibly did find a Side-striped Jackal, quite a rare find, especially in the day time. Unfortunately it didn't look very healthy, rather skinny and losing patches of hair, it was obviously very thirsty as it drank it's fill from a stream and then lay down in a nearby clearing.
We also had a fair amount of Elephant activity, as the Marula fruit are ripening, so almost every Marula tree has broken branches and lots of fruit underneath it, as the Elephants can't resist this delicacy! One large bull in particular was standing right in the middle of the road, leisurely feeding on the surrounding Marula fruit, trying his best to look extremely relaxed, although the temporal streaming and wet back legs from constantly dripping urine, tell-tale signs of being in must gave his true state away. He refused to let us pass and eventually we had to leave him in peace!
Late in the afternoon we found a pride of 5 lions relaxing on a rocky outcrop next to the road, it was shortly before sunset and time for them to wake up, so so me of them were moving around, drinking from the fresh rock pools and getting ready for their nightly adventures, a great sighting to end the day!
31 January 2017
We set out early this morning for a short drive, the last of this Safari. The highlight of the morning was after we noticed a few sets of Spotted Hyena tracks heading along the road. There were also drag marks all along the tracks, like it had been carrying something. We followed the tracks down the road for about 3 km and then found a large female lying in the road. Next to her in the grass was a cub of about 6 months old, feeding on a Kudu calf, the source of the drag marks in the road! The youngster was certainly enjoying his meal and at some point had his entire head in the ribcage of the carcass.
Across on the opposite side of the road on a rocky clearing was a third Hyena lying in a mud pool on the rocks and the 3 at some point took turns cooling down in the pool, before the youngster came back to snatched a leg off the carcass and carry it off into the grass to feed away from the rest. The mother then picked up the remains of the Kudu and followed into the grass, a brilliant sighting. Later on at a waterhole, we had a few Waterbuck bulls challenging each other and a bit of sparring going on, nothing too serious; just practice for the mating sea son when the bulls get very aggressive towards each other! A nice morning of game viewing to bring an end to a very successful Safari!
On Safari With Kara
30 January 2017
Our adventure once again started from White River, where I picked up my 8 guests. Four from Vietnam and Four from Canada, living in Shanghai. The first afternoon after checking in they started their Sunset drive from Nkambeni where they were lucky to find loads of Owls, Hares, Cape Buffalo a nd a big pride of Lions spread out on a flat rocky hill. With a great Buffet dinner we ended our first fun day in the African bush .
31 January 2017
Today was such an eventful day with a lot of awe struck moments. While driving along the road the sun was rising behind us and in the distance we saw 2 animals walking into the road and flopping down. After getting a bit closer we could see it was 2 male lions. What an amazing sighting. After a few minutes they ran off after two big giraffes. Later we had 4 Rhinos crashing through the bush, only getting glimpses of their bums disappearing. But luckily after a few kilometers we had 3 youngsters grazing close to the road. We were really happy about seeing rhinos because of poaching the sightings have become few and far in between. While sitting at a dam, we witnessed a big African Fish Eagle trying to catch a grey heron, missing by a few centimeters. And later seeing a Water Monitor digging for eggs and getting a good morning meal before going for a rest in the heat of the day.
01 February 2017
After an early start with the birds and bees again. We got some really beautiful sightings of Journeys of Giraffes and a few Klipspringers bouncing on a rock y outcrop and a Common Duiker. A big Elephant walking along a ridge destroying the trees in his wake. a troop of Baboons all scattered in trees eating Marulas and baby impalas and baboons testing their limits and getting scold at if they wonder off to far. A Martial eagle owning the sky flew down and perched himself on a tree while being mobbed by a few Forked tailed Drongos. Seeing a Male and Female Warthog with their piglets is also very entertaining.
02 February 2017
Our last morning together we got to find the animals my guests secretly wished for. The most Zebras in a open area that I have ever seen together we got to see crossing the road, and on a mission to water. We tried counting and we ended up on roughly 250 if not more. UNBELIEVABLE!! With a few blue wildebeest grazing in between them. A Big Bull elephant in musth is not to be messed with and if he is walking in the road he owns it, No one dares to past. So that is what we did. We stayed clear of him by backing off for about 2 km after he eventually moved into the bush. Before we exited the gate a Male Spotted hyena came strolling down the road and we were able to follow him for some time. A very successful few days where we separated as friends after a fe w laughs and sharing our knowledge of our countries.
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