Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Kruger- Thats a Wrap!

The Olifonts Camp was spectacular! It sits high on a rocky ledge overlooking the Olifonts River. The river itself is wide and fairly shallow, although there are some deep looking channels. Reminded me of the descriptions of the Platte River in the middle of America, when it actually had water in it. All you can see now is where the Platte River once flowed… and is now just a former trickle of its self.


Stick bug

The main buildings at Olifants have just been renovated and they look very nice. Satara has not been renovated, so the difference was obvious. However, the hut at Olifants was not renovated and it too was obvious, but the A/C worked much better! So the trade off was good. The huts are currently undergoing renovation, and the one we stayed in was next on the list… they were working on the one next door… and I was able to watch how they put new thatch on! They don’t take the old one down, they just put new on top, and it’s stitched. One guy on the top doing the smoothing/aligning and one below to send the needle back up. On the patio post I found a stick bug too. They are a kind of mantis, so they are a good bug.

Fish Eagle
 From Olifants we traveled back toward Satara, and along some other roads that were new to us. We didn’t see anything much more interesting than we had already seen. We stopped at a bird hide and saw 2 Fish     Eagles on the other side of a river… There will soon be some eagle eggs! I did get a nice one of the male flying back to our side. If I had only had a slightly longer lens… it would have been a really nice flight picture.

Southern Ground Hornbill (male)
When you leave Olifonts Camp, you must cross the Olifonts River. It is one of the few places you are allowed to get out of your car. So on one of our crossing we of course stopped (we stopped every time we crossed the bridge), and as everyone was looking over the bridge, some Vervet monkeys were investigating cars that folks had left windows open! On another crossing the Baboons were on the bridge. We didn’t get out on that crossing. We also spotted the Southern Ground Hornbill. This is one big ugly bird!

We found a large Male Lion, on his own… laying in the shade, (no picture). Shortly after we arrived he ambled off. The day was promising to be another hot one and it was! The temps got up to 41 C (105 F).

baby zebar rolling
 On Day 6, we left Olifonts Camp and headed south toward our next camp, once again we were on a quiet dirt road and our first sight was seeing a young zebra rolling in the dust. His mom has just finished, but he had just started. The light was low, so it’s not the best photo, but it was cute!








Boabab Flower
The next site was a Boabab tree in bloom. In my reading up… on the tree I discovered that we were lucky!!! Wish I had taken a photo with the whole tree in the shot. These trees are huge… the trunks are very wide, and the branches are very short, like stunted. If you want to know more about the tree including the baking ingredient derived from the tree go here: BoababTree and Boabab Tree Images





Klipspringer
Of course we saw many animals…. Impala, elephants, rhinos, giraffe, cape buffalo, wildebeest, and some of the smaller animals and birds. We did spot some Klipspringers hiding in the brush… Such a cute little guy…









the Southern plains of Kruger
As we were nearing the Lower Sabie Camp the terrain really started to spread out and become much more plains like. It was here that we saw a herd of Cape Buffalo that was more than 100. The dotted the hillside on both sides of the road. Because the Cape were also on the road, we had

African Harrier Hawk
to drive really slow so  we didn't hit a Cape; we spotted an ‘African Harrier Hawk. We checked into Lower Sabie where we had hut with a kitchen. The kitchen is not inside… it is on the patio. The hut was newer… and had a more modern A/C unit.

We went over to the restaurant just before sunset. The patio of the restaurant is built out over the sandy banks of the Sabie River. So when the sun sets and the Hippos come out of the water… you can see and hear them. Another name for a hippo is ‘Water Pig’ and it is very apparent why when you hear the sounds that they make.

Love the look on the face

There were lots of folks with cameras waiting….. along with us! The food was as usual mediocre and the 'water pigs' did not come close.


Our last full day in the park, we got up as usual at the crack dawn (to read really early) and once  again the day promised to be hot… but in this case more humidity. On our trek from Lower Sabie for the day our first sighting of the day was a pod of hippos in the water… love the look you get from this guy. Our drive took us up to Skukuza Camp, which I really wanted to see. It is where the headquarters are, along with a conference center. There was a small pond which had some spectacular water lilies.


Our drive took us along the river for most of the day, but we didn’t see too much in the way of large animals, but we did see many crocodiles and hippos. We spied a Martial Eagle having some breakfast. We Eagle  couldn’t figure out exactly what he was eating, but it looks to be a monitor lizard or a small crocodile. We called it a day early, because we wanted to cool off a bit before dinner and our last event, a nighttime game drive. It was still very warm

Martial Eagle
when we were to meet for the game drive, and I was in a hurry to have the truck start rolling, so we could be cooled by the breeze. That was a mistake!!! After dark there are a lot of bugs in South Africa. I did get a nice sunset photo, it could have been better, but again it was HOT. We saw lots of different creatures on the night drive, most reptiles it seems. 4 of the not so nice snakes … from

Sunset











the truck of course, a monitor, and something you don’t see during the day- a rabbit! Actually several, but that is because they were out… The drive was nice, but I don’t think I will do another night drive. I would much rather get up early in the morning!!!!

We left Kruger leisurely on Saturday morning and made it home just afternoon. The dogs were stuck at the kennel until Monday afternoon. That gave us plenty of time to unpack, do the laundry and catch up at the house.

When I got home, one of my friends, a South African lady, said to me when I told her all the things we saw while in Kruger, “South Africa really put on her best dress and shoes for us!”. I think she was right. We saw so many animals and things unique to South Africa. The only animals we did not see on this trip was the cheetah and the wild dogs!!!


Once again, it’s long and wordy… I still have more pictures of things I saw, but these were the highlights! There are more photos and better resolution on my Flickr  page if you are interested. Leave a comment here or there on your favorites!

As always, more later -- Beth


5 comments:

Exuberant Color said...

I loved the baby zebra photo. Now I know they have stripes all across the underbelly.

Sara said...

Enjoyed the whole "mini-series". Great stories, great pictures. The zebra is just adorable. The martial eagle reminds me of Ansel Adams....the somber shades sort of appear as gray tones to me. Lovely photos of the flowers. You'll have to go somewhere else so I have a new adventure to read! lol

Becky said...

Loved the bottom flower and the birds! Such amazing sights! It's strange to be reading about heat and summer while we're getting coated with snow and ice here! You must be a bit confused too? And I have cream of tarter on my grocery list! Never knew where it came from, but often wondered. Now I know! Thanks again for the lovely pictures and tour through Africa!

Anne Marie - Toronto said...

My favourites are the baby zebra and the last flower, however the zebra wins overall. There's an awful lot of fun in that photo!!! I love the tour and hope you will transport us to other magical places during your stay.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Another awesome part of your adventure. You are sooo lucky. I'm really glad you didn't have pictures of the not so nice snakes. I do not find them bee-u-ti-ful!