Friday, February 18

Kruger Summers 2

When you watch a large bull elephant under a fruiting Marula tree, patiently sniffing around on the ground for ripe tasty marulas, delicately picking them up one at a time before blowing them into his mouth, then starting all over again ..... you have to wonder when he gets the time to eat the rest of the 200kg plus of vegetation he needs to consume in a day?

At any time of the year one is almost guaranteed to see dozens, if not hundreds, of Plains Zebra in the Satara area. But at least in the summer they have had a few fresh water showers and are looking a lot cleaner than they do in the winter!     (From a photography perspective the bright summer green backdrop also provides a much better contrast to the animals themselves.)

By late summer the White Storks are also congregating in large flocks on these open grassy areas. Feeding up before migrating back for the northern hemisphere summer. (You can see them in the background of the photo above).

Meanwhile, further south in the park, the grass has grown much taller, but it's good for hiding the babies, like this young Kudu.

(Don't you just love their ears?!)

And for the Wild Dog who need to constantly keep a watch out for larger predators (and potential prey of course) the shady road side under a nice large African Weeping Wattle offers the best position during the heat of the day. (despite the traffic!)

Friday, February 11

Kruger meanders - a last update

Well I think it's time to wrap up the postings from my personal safari (aka Kruger Meanders) back in November.......

Day 6  (click here to return to Day 5)

My campsite at Skukuza

After 5 days of camping, driving and a bit of relaxing in-between I decided that I would chill and enjoy just being in the bush rather than going looking for animals.

"home" for 7 days in the bush

It turned out to be another beautiful sunny day, and being November that also meant extremely hot and humid, so once I finished doing my camp-keeping I headed off to spend a few hours in my favourite bird hide.

View from the bird hide looking north east

Although it was a Sunday, most of the 3 hours I spent there were fairly quiet. One or two badly behaved (having conversations in a bird hide of all places!!) people passed through and I made myself popular by hissing at them to "shut up", but thank goodness it was really peaceful overall. Due to the heat, and the fact I was there mid-day, the bird activity was quite low-key and the hippos out in the middle of the lake were fast asleep!

View from the bird hide looking east

But the Goliath Herons put on quite a show for us over a fairly extended period. Every year, since I started coming here Goliath Herons have nested in the trees in front of the hide but this was the first time I had seen the adult and 2 fledglings being so active. All 3 birds took turns to fish in an obviously good spot to the left of the hide, flew back to the right to swallow their catch while one of the other herons flew over to take their place.

the fishing spot......

The next lot of photos show some of the action...........

success! caught my lunch

and this should be a safe place to eat it.........

The next bird flies over to try it's luck

a Green Backed heron joins the action
the fish just don't learn!

All 3 Goliath Herons back together

and a last try for the day.

A wonderful wind-up to an incredible week in the bush.

Friday, February 4

Kruger Summers

The central grasslands of Kruger are some of the best places to see the larger birds like the Secretary Bird (above) and the Kori Bustard. The lower rainfall and fine clay soils result in shorter grasses and fewer trees which is another reason for the abundance of good wildlife sightings.

These two beautiful male cheetah we found early one morning on a quiet road in the south. We spent almost two hours following them as they made their way steadily (but with quite a few rests!) south east.
 The endless horizons of Kruger's mopani bush veld

The ever present but not often visible Nile Crocodile, in the Sabie River.

This impala ram was posing on top of a termite mound. Nice to be able to get a photo of this beautiful antelope against the sky!

Warthogs give birth to their young early in the summer so this "hoglet" was about 3 months old.

Our beautiful grasses are totally overlooked by most visitors but we have the most amazing variety.
I tried to get some close up photos but this activity ranks at the bottom of the list for most of my companions, so not much opportunity!

Summer time is "reptile time", and they do seem to spend a lot of time crossing roads many getting  squashed by inattentive visitors.
Which is one reason this Flap-necked Chameleon was looking so stressed (the black bands are the indicator).
Baboon enjoying a mid day meal of grass seeds and the scale insects off the mopani leaves.