Wednesday, December 8

Kruger at it's best.......

I had a great week in Kruger, that last week of November! The weather went from one extreme to the other, from 42 degrees C one day to a max of 20 the next, howling gales threatening to blow my tent away to breathless, steamy evenings where just thinking brought on a full body sweat. Rain spattered a few early mornings but the heavy downpours held off until minutes after packing up on the last morning!

The landscapes were as varied as ever if one covers a lot of ground in Kruger. The open central plains around Satara were showing some signs of green, but their rainfall had obviously been a lot less than in the lush green granitic south west of the park. Even here though, this early in the wet season, and after the extensive fires of late winter, the thick green grass was still short allowing good views of the animals, birds and flowers.

And what sightings I had!

The two “fall off my seat” experiences I had were both about birds:-
My first Cape Vulture sighting in Kruger National Park, on a kill with 3 Lappet Faced Vultures (also a rare sighting) and a whole bunch of the “usual suspects” - white backed vultures; and then,
South Africa’s national bird the Blue Crane next to a waterhole in the south west. According to national birding records this is the first reported sighting of a Blue Crane in Kruger. The poor lost creature may have been blown eastwards off the high grasslands by the gales we had had earlier in the week. It was also my first ever Blue Crane in the wild – awesome!

The excitement I felt from these 2 amazing sightings was such that I desperately wanted to share the wonder and awe with others, but a significant downside of going on safari by oneself is that, that is not immediately possible…..

 Camping in Kruger has a camaraderie attached to it, especially if one is in a camp-site for more than 1 or 2 nights. Cooking and washing up in the communal camp kitchens is a useful way to share sightings both one’s own and also to learn where to go looking the next day. Temporary friends are made, names are not often exchanged but experiences are. But it is also not common to find fellow campers who are just as excited about birds.... never mind :-!

I've posted here just a couple of my favourite photos from the week to keep you going until I post a whole lot more - keep a watch out over the next few weeks!

Click here to go the the first posting - Day 1

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