Sunday, November 14, 2010

Kruger- Day 1 - Part 1...

The Expression! of a tortoise before coffee in the morning.

Our first full day in the Kruger Park, started early. Remember I mentioned that folks are leaving the Guest Camps as soon as the gates open. Yep our day started at 4 am. We had a Sunrise Game Drive reserved and it was scheduled to leave the camp at 4:30, so we had to be at the departure point at 4:15. The sun rose on time, the ride started on time and off we went.

We saw some really great animals. It really set the tone for our entire time in the park. Our first sighting was another tortoise, with and expression that matched most of ours at such an early hour.



We spotted a deer like creature called a Waterbuck. They have a wonderful set of horns, a longish grey hair, and what makes them truly unique is a white circle on their butt… sort of like a target. Not the best picture…. But you get the idea. (Remember that if you want to see a larger view of a picture, just click on it).

The back of a Waterbuck.

Another Giraffe.

We next came across a giraffe with just as goofy an expression as the tortoise. Most of the giraffes will give you a great expression… especially if they see you coming and you don’t surprise them. They are surprisingly calm and most often go right on eating.

The Bush

This is a picture of the brush. It isn’t so thick, but as you can see you can’t see through it. Often an elephant can be 25 to 50 yards in, and you won’t see it. You might smell it or hear it, but you probably won’t see it. They just blend into the shadows. Pretty amazing to think about something that size just hiding in plain sight. There are trees, and pretty tall too, as you can see from the dead trunk in the middle. Can’t remember why I took this shot, but is does show some of the vegetation. The bush changes… a lot in density and vegetation varieties.


Our next sighting was a ‘money’ sighting. It was a Pride of Lions feasting. They had taken down a zebra, and were just finishing up when we came upon them. They were just a few feet off the dirt road in what we were calling Lion Grass. It was long enough that if the lions had not been so close to the road and were just resting, we might have missed them. They had lots of company in the form of several varieties of Vultures, waiting for the leavings. The Pride consisted of about 8-10 animals, lionesses and young lions, -no adult male visible. They were very interesting to watch and listen to, (grunts, purrs and bones being chewed on). After about ½ hour or so, they decided to leave… and while walking off, spotted a small herd of Wildebeest. They half heartedly set up to hunt… but there were too many cars and their appetite was sated for the time being, so the ‘beests got a pass for the day.

Intense Stare

A young Lion

2 Lioness

2 Cape Buffalo

After that we stopped by a water hole where we saw a huge herd of Cape Buffalo.  Two were showing off their horns and play butting. The herd of buffalo numbered less than a hundred and was making the morning pilgrimage to the water hole. Cape Buffalo are one of the ‘Big 5’; the Big 5 are the 5 animals most likely to kill you in the bush while hunting them. In the water, were some hippos, but there are more hippos later in the show….

We were back at camp by 9 am. So we grabbed some coffee and headed for the showers. As Always, more about the camp and our afternoon…. Later!!!


Becky said...

WOW! All I can say is WOW! OK, maybe not... I worked as a wildlife biologist for 4 years, and almost went into wildlife biology as a career, so it's always been a dream of mine to see an African safari. For now though Eastern Oregon will have to be my "bush".... Thank you for sharing! Amazing photos!!!!

sosarahsew said...

We are lucky that you hae a means to share your fantastic photos with us! What experiences you are having.

Karen S said...

Wow! The lions are amazing! I love the horns on the Waterbuck. And the expression on the tortoise before coffee sums it up really well for me this morning!

So cape buffalo and hippos are two of the "Big 5," right?

Anonymous said...

All I can say is OMG!! Those pictures of the animals are absolutely bee-u-ti-ful! What a treat to see the lions. I can't wait to hear about the rest of your adventure!!

Anonymous said...

Marvelous pictures Beth! ~Jan~