As you plan your trip to South Africa, undoubtedly, you will be taking time to tour Kruger Park. Your mind will not be able to comprehend the vastness, variety, and beauty as you drive around the park searching for the exotic wildlife and big game that are so abundant there.
Tours to Kruger Park are becoming more popular because you simply can't drive through without seeing the wildlife. There has been a dramatic increase in the wildlife population in South Africa due to many projects.
13 March 2017 - Today we started a new Safari with 2 families; from the US and Estonia. Eve n though we entered the park during the hottest part of the day, we had some very good sightings throughout the afternoon. On our way to camp we found a large breeding herd of Elephant walking quite fast and all huddled up, on a mission to the river nearby. We watched as they approached - several calves in their midst - and crossed the road all tog ether. We also had a large bull Giraffe browsing right next to us, not at all bothered by our presence about 3 meters away, as he stood alternating between browsing and surveying the surroundings, staring off into the distance and occasionally at u s! After checking in at our camp we went for a late afternoon drive during which we found several more Elephant, including a large bull in full musth, and 2 large old Buffalo bulls wallowing in a mud pool next to the road. The highlight of the afternoon came shortly before returning to camp, when we found a lone African Wild Dog feeding in the long grass next to the road. It was feeding on what appeared to be a young Impala. I am not sure if it made the kill b y itself as they are pack animals and very dependent on their hunting strategy as a pack, but we didn't see any other dogs around. Still, a great way to end a packed first day on Safari!
14 March 2017 - We left camp early this morning and were treated to an Elephant show, as we ha d several large breeding herds feeding along the road. For about an hour, we didn't move very far as for the most part we were surrounded by many adult females and their young, claiming right of way and in some cases refusing to let us past - acceptably so, as you don't want to stress them unduly, or aggravate the very protective females by getting between them and their young. Hence we patiently sat watching the interaction between the individuals as well as the separate herds, with many playful youngsters entertaining us with their antics, some even lying down and getting very comfortable right in the middle of the road! After eventually working our way through them, we found some fairly fresh Lion tracks and followed those for some distance, but the tracks veered off the road and we had no other signs of the Lions which left them... At a low water bridge we saw a young Crocodile of about 3 or 4 years old catching a rather large Catfish which wasn't going down without a fight, but the Croc took it out onto the bank and there was only ever going to be one winner in that tussle! A little later we had our first cat sighting of the Safari, when we managed to spot 3 distant Cheetah in an open area. They were quite well hidden when lying down in the grass, but when their heads were up we could get a decent view; they also got up at some stage to move position and providing us with some better views before getting comfortable in the grass again!
15 March 2017 - We left early this morning, luggage loaded with some of our guests leaving today. All the guests enjoyed a Sunset drive yesterday evening, during which the y got to see 2 Leopard and a clan of Spotted Hyena. However, the first few hours were fairly quiet - a stark contrast to the previous morning, but we did get one large Elephant bull and some Zebra and Giraffe before breakfast. Then we said goodbye to half of the group and unfortunately we had to send them away without finding Lions! In the late afternoon, after some very thorough searching along a river line, we managed to find 1 Magnificent male Lion in a shady spot in the riverbed! Although fairly lazy, he was lying with his head up, sniffing the breeze and didvget up at some point to reposition, providing us with some good views; a beautiful male going into his prime and in perfect condition! Shortly after we also found a nice family group of White Rhino with one large bull grazing very close to the road, but working their way into the bush and away from us! All in all a successful day, topped by the approaching thunderstorm to coo l it down slightly!
13 March 2017 - Our day started by meeting at Hall's gateway to the lowveld just before Nelspruit. After a meet and greet we loaded up and heading to Malelane gate. Within 1km from entering the park we had our first animal encounter which consisted of a rather big breeding herd of elephants. What made this rather cool is the fact that there were a few bulls amongst them which indicates a female in oesterous (ready to mate). We checked in at Berg en Dal camp with it's beautiful scenery surrounded by the Matsulu mountains. After a bit of a rest we headed out again in the late afternoon which provided u s with some good birding, the occasional zebra crossing and some more elephants. What was also particularly nice was to observe some buffalo a mere 2 meters from the vehicle just cooling off in a nice shallow pool. Not to be left out we also had a reasonable sighting of a white rhino bull even if it was briefly. We will continue our adventure tomorrow morning at 05:30am.
15 March 2017 - We left Berg en Dal camp at 05:35. It was not the worst of scenarios as mother nature treated us to a spectacular sunrise!! We headed towards an area which is well known for cat activity in the early mornings but to no avail. We did however find very fresh lion tracks and even had the privilege to hear them roaring but the bush was just too dense to get a glimpse of them. After about 30 minutes of looking for them we made the decision to move on. It was a wise move as about 40 minutes later we found a white rhino cow with a calve busy interacting with a rather big bull rhino, no prize for guessing what he had in mind!!! We settled down for a nice bush breakfast at Afsaal picnic site where we had very good service and food. With no cats sighted on our trip I opted to go to the Biyamhiti loop which is also a good area to find both lion and leopard. The occasional cheetah also make s an appearance every now and again. We struck it lucky as we did find some lions there on the road! After leaving the m things turned a bit quiet and we went to skukuza for lunch. After lunch we headed back to Berg en Dal. As luck would have it we spotted a leopard about 2km before we got to camp. She was up in a knobthorn tree and came down after about 10 minutes allowing us a few great photographs.
16 March 2017 - I am sure today will be a short one as we had a bit of a tough drive today. We started out again at about 05:35 and was again treated to a beautiful sunrise. The early morning produced yet another new species for the checklist namely the spotted hyena. Also saw some more elephant, white rhino and some plains game. After breakfast in Berg en Dal camp we checked out and headed towards Pretoriuskop camp on the south western border of the KNP. En route we were treated with spectacular scenery as I opted for the mountain route over a road named Steilberg. After a bit of a rest at Afsaal we continued our journey to Pretoriuskop. About 30 minutes from Afsaal we came across another new entry for our check list namely cheetah. It was awesome to observe the 3 brothers as they strategized a hunt on some impala right before our eyes. Unfortunately they missed their target animal but it was still an amazing experience for all in the vehicle. Tomorrow will be my last day and we will see what it produces, although I firmly stick to my motto that any day in the bush is better than a good day in the office!!
14 March 2017 - Today we did the Panorama route and I could honestly say that all our breaths were blown away by our Country's beauty. Our first stop was Mac Mac falls and after a bit of a walk along a cliff we got a view of a massive waterfall and Rock martins flying around. The stop thereafter was Gods window where it was a bit misty so could not s ee very far but still lovely walking in the Blyde River nature reserve. Later we stopped at Lisbon falls and followed by Three Rondavels where w e got great Panorama shots and views. Our last stop was Potholes where we saw millions of years old holes forms by water and grains. We ended the day with some pancakes in Graskop.
15 March 2017 - We went out the morning early and got to see some elephants playing, warthogs suckling from the mom while she is trying to sleep and some Giraffes skillfully eating the leaves off an secklebush along the road. A Bateleur was eating the remains of a nightjar. Another highlight of the day was Hippos playing in the water and showing their teeth to one another and pushing their upper-bodies out of the water. Our day ended with a Zebra Stallion calling to gather the Mares and move to a safer area.
16 March 2017 - Our last morning before I dropped my guests off at the airport could no t have ended better. After six months of no cheetah sightings on my side I had the best Sighting ever of two Male Cheetahs walking along the road. Being the only vehicle with them for a while made it so special. We were so excited we couldn't contain ourselves. We followed them for 30 min and finally they flopped down next to the road after scent marking on a Marula Tree. A young male elephants was also picking up Marula Fruit from the ground and having an early morning snack. We shared some amazing sightings and took magnificent pictures so all in all a very big success and we part on a lot of great laughs and stories.
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