13 Jul South African Wildlife Safaris
Wildlife Safaris in the Kruger Park
Kruger offers you a variety of options for panoramic views and close range encounters with the wild. Your visit to the Kruger National Park promises you a wild experience you can never have anywhere else. In fact, Kruger’s delights cannot be exhausted in one vacation trip.
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.
Among the multitudinous options one is faced with when planning a trip to Southern Africa and in particular the Lowveld savannah , the und isputed leader among destinations is the infamous Kruger National Park.
On Safari With Gert
11 May 2018 – This morning we had a brilliant sighting of a Spotted Hyena clan outside their den. At first we saw the mother with 2 female cubs of about 3 months old, the cubs were very active and playful, to the mom’s frustration as she had a tough time keeping an eye on them. The 2 youngsters were chasing each other back and forth stumbling over themselves and a few obstacles in the way of branches and stones, attacking and chewing bushes as well as each other, while the mom was trying to lead them back to the den. She got to the point of actually trying to carry them back one by one, but by now they were a bit big to be carried around as she was struggling to lift them gently, eventually she gave up and got comfortable in the shade, leaving them to entertain themselves. About 100m further, at the den entrance, 2 male cubs were apprehensively peeking out of the den entrance with wide eyes, venturing out a few meters every now and then before running back to the den, the exact opposite of their female siblings! Driving along the river after breakfast, we came across one spot where about 8 Hippo were grazing on the banks in the riverbed and completely undisturbed by our presence offered us a great and rare view of them active out of the water in the daytime! At the same location was a breeding herd of about 30 Buffalo lying in the mud along the shoreline, cooling down. In the late afternoon we came across an Impala carcass with several Vultures feeding on it. It was particularly interesting to see the succession; as first there were 2 of the stronger and larger Lappet-faced Vultures feeding and only when they flew up did the others descend on the carcass from the surrounding trees. 5 Species together, also including Cape, White-headed, Hooded and White-backed Vultures!
12 May 2018 – We left camp early to try and make the most of our final morning drive. We stopped at a viewpoint to watch the spectacular sunrise and allow some time for it to warm up a bit. A little later we got quite lucky, spotting 2 male Lion in a clearing, basking in the morning sun – exactly what we were hoping for! They were an old male and a younger male in his prime, watching the distant Impala loudly displaying their agility and rutting behavior. Some Impala that seemed unaware of the Lions came walking past about 15 meters from the 2 Lions, who noticed it, but hardly gave it a second glance – the Impala grazing past – blissfully unaware thanks to the wind direction. Incredibly, we still managed to locate a solitary Cheetah, also basking and grooming in the early morning sun shortly before our breakfast stop, making it a very successful morning to end the Safari on a high note!
15 May 2018 – We started a new Safari yesterday afternoon and entered the Park in cool and rainy conditions – not ideal for game viewing. However, as we approached our camp we got quite lucky as we encountered a small pride of Lion shortly after they crossed the road and they were heading into the bush and away from us, in a clearing though, so we had a good view for a while. There were some sub-adults and they were all quite playful – chasing a each other back and forth – revitalized by the cool weather and drizzle! Shortly after that we also found our first Elephant and 2 White Rhino, grazing together just before our camp! This morning, again not far from our camp, we found 2 Cheetah – fully grown but still with the mother, which had taken off after an Impala. The 2 youngsters were showing beautifully in the morning light, looking around and calling for some reaction from mom. We eventually let them be, but returned later, when we found all 3 together, soaking up the sun with Vultures perched in the surrounding tree-tops, indicating that perhaps the mother’s hunting attempt was successful earlier. The 3 Cheetah eventually got up and followed each other across the road and away to find a comfortable shady spot..
19 May 2018 – We started a new Safari this afternoon and entered the Park in cool and rainy conditions. After checking in at our camp, we went out on a drive to a nearby waterhole, just as the rain cleared for a bit. We timed it well and on arrival had 3 young Elephant bulls drinking at the water, with 2 large herds approaching the water. It was an amazing sighting watching the interaction between the different herd members and all the young males play fighting and the females all trying to protect their young from the older calves playing a bit too rough – great start to the Safari, with about 70 elephant in one place!
20 May 2018 – Today we got lucky with the weather, enjoy a much warmer day with some sunshine! This proved to be good for animal sightings, as we found a group of 3 White Rhino grazing not very far from the road! With the current poaching issues, finding these animals are always a bonus especially a good sighting and we watched until they were out of sight in a thicket. Shortly before closing time we found a Large female Spotted Hyena and 4 cubs outside of their den. The cubs were from 2 litters and different mothers, as 2 were still only about 2 months old and 2 of them between 3 and 4 months, one of them nursing from the mom, who was looking around a bit worried about the other cubs running around in and out of the den. Very nice to see them active and so close up, bringing a nice end to the day!
26 May 2018 – We started a new Safari this afternoon. Our first afternoon drive yielded a large Elephant herd, slowly moving and feeding along. Although distant, we had a fairly good view as they were in a low valley, so we could see the entire herd all spread out. We also had a great sighting of a pod of Hippo getting active just before Sunset as they were getting ready to exit the water for their nightly graze. They were all yawning, displaying their tusks, with even the youngsters joining in the display, mirroring the adults’ behavior.
27 May 2018 – This morning we were very lucky, spotting a female Cheetah with 2 cubs of almost a year old. We got them about 30 meters off the road on the move. Unfortunately the mother was limping quite badly – an injury she could have suffered in any number of ways – and we can only hope that she will recuperate, as a limping Cheetah does not hunt very well and with 2 cubs who will barely be able to hunt yet, an injury such as she has could have serious effects on all 3 of them..! We had more luck shortly after, as we found a large bull and cow White Rhino, the male closely pursuing the female, most likely courting as they were quite focused on each other and also rather playful for large adult Rhino. We had a great view of both as they were playfully chasing each other and ran straight across the road right in front of us – a special sighting and great day of game viewing!
On Safari With Amanda
12 May 2018 – Today I collected 2 lovely sisters from America, Audrey and Sandy. After check in and a refreshing drink we set out for a short afternoon drive. The temperature was in the high 20’s with some rain clouds in the distance making fantastic photo opportunities as the sun was setting. We came across some buffalo grazing and just behind them were some zebras. As I looked in the road I saw a tiny juvenile puff adder he eventually moved but it was especially nice to see. With the sun setting we headed back to camp for an early start tomorrow morning.
13 May 2018 – Today we were all up bright and early for breakfast at 5:30 before our game drive. Temperature was cool and overcast with 24% chance of rain. As we set of we decided to do the Voortrekker road, a very scenic route full of history. We came across some baboons playing and chasing each other before eventually settling on a rock to catch the warmth of the sun. A drive passed some beautiful koppies and I looked straight ahead and out of the tall grass came a very bloodied looking male lion. He was so handsome even with leaves and bits of grass stuck on his head! We followed him for a short while and then he headed off into the bush. A very lucky sighting indeed. After a coffee we set of towards biyamiti weir where there’s a resident hippo that sometimes shows himself…today we got there just as he was walking, such a huge mammal. We continued along the biyamiti loop and after about 6 kms we saw a few cars and on our left in a jackleberry tree was a very relaxed leopard. He didn’t move an inch but still beautiful. Further along in the dry river bed we saw another big male lion very relaxed! Elephants zebras and finally 3 rhinos along with some beautiful birds to end a very successful day with.
20 May 2018 – Today I collected Mike and Mary both from Seattle. They are very keen birders and came fully equipped for all the birds! We’re doing a 5 day safari staying 2 nights at nkambeni and 2 nights at berg en dal in the south. After lunch and check in we headed out on a short afternoon drive. The clouds had cleared and it was a beautiful warm winters afternoon. We headed to shabeni koppies and roughly 4kms from the koppies 1m from the road was a cheetah eating a male impala. This time of year the males have been busy rutting and are not in tip top condition so can generally be easier to catch than when they are in their prime. We sat and watched the cheetah eating and spent the afternoon with him as the chances are very slim of finding another cheetah so we enjoyed the time before heading to camp for supper and an early night.
21 May 2018 – After a hearty breakfast we set off on our drive. It was quite a chilly morning but, looking ahead we could see the clouds clearing with expected temperature set to reach 30°. We decided to check and see if there was any sign of the cheetah from yesterday, no sign of the cheetah and where the kill was there were lots of hyena tracks. A bataluer eagle in a tree was a possible sign of maybe where the carcass had been dragged to. Lots of lovely Elephants on our way to skukuza for coffee as well as zebras and impalas. Heading off after coffee we saw some impressive male kudus crossing the road, a shikra calling in a tree and a little bee eater. Lots of little birds for Mary and a very pleasant drive all round as we head back to camp.
On Safari With Robbie
29 May 2018 – On a safari where there were so many guests (from USA , Ireland and Brazil! ) who were passionate about Kruger I really aimed to get some great sightings and they proceeded as follows!!: … On a rather cloudy day on day 1 we spotted 2 Bateleur Eagles gliding just above our safari vehicle! Suddenly they started dive bombing each other which made for superb photos as they both had their claws out and wings spread at all times!!
30 May 2018 – On day 2 at round about 16-45 we had been observing three beautiful W . Rhinos and as I left this sighting I was astonished to see what lay around the corner! There were 17 Lion on the move parallel to us! The excitement behind me was electric as I let ” the Kwagga Pan ” pride walk onto the road right in front of us where they proceeded to all lie down on the warm tar road! There were Cats of all ages here ranging from the big male ( approximate age 11 years ) , to the young cubs of about 3 months old !! The interaction of this amazing pride together with the ” golden hour ” sunlight made for absolutely superb photographs !!
31 May 2018 – On day 3 we came across 2 female Ostrich just feeding very close to us… a rare sighting in Southern Kruger indeed!! A herd of well over 400 Buffaloes who were crossing the road near Nyamundwa dam!!!These great herds are still one of the most spectacular things to see in Kruger!!! 1 June 2018 On day 4 we also got a +- 3 meter Black Mamba crossing the road!!!
Other magical sightings on this great safari where plenty Elephant herds with their babies and a young male Leopard perched beautifully above us in a Jackalberry tree!