Not untypically for May, we had a mixed bag of a safari. Clear sunny days to cool cloudy skies, amazing sightings and a few empty hours…….
Five days in Kruger, we covered a lot of territory, stayed in three camps, saw landscapes ranging from the Mopani veld of the north, the open grass savannah of the central plains to the cool riverine thickets of the Sabie River.
One of the most amazing experiences we had, we couldn’t even capture on camera – too dark, too far away, so instead we could only sit and absorb the drama……
Spending our last half hour at the big waterhole before returning to camp, we were watching the hippo cavorting in the distance, waterbuck leisurely grazing, a large crocodile absorbing the last warmth of the day from the mud bank and the curious behaviour of two hippos with a very, very young calf, when out of the corner of my eye I saw a strange movement on the surface of the water, a double take, yes, it was a snake swimming, the long way, across the waterhole.
Now, we don’t have water snakes, but yes, some of our snakes do swim.
This one didn’t for long though……..
Amazingly quickly, for such a large “lizard”, the huge croc slid into the water, and before we could blink it had snapped his jaws on the snake. Ten minutes later, the crocodile was still champing on that snake, in the shallows, and all we could see was the occasional curl of the snake’s tail up over the top jaw of the croc. It didn’t seem a very large meal for the croc, but it had certainly been an easy catch!
Another wonderful experience, for me anyway, was seeing two different pairs of rarely seen White headed vulture, on two successive days. The second pair was precariously perched in a small Mopani tree (for a lack of any suitable taller alternatives) not far from the road, so I was able to get reasonable photos….
Then there was those five, sub-adult lions, huddling close, trying, in vain to keep in the ever diminishing shade of a spike-thorn. We waited patiently for them to give up on that frustratingly small bush, the day was heating up, and we were wonderfully rewarded when they decided to cross the road right in front of us, pausing for a little while to pose photogenically, before finding deeper shade on the other side.
Just a little further on, we entered elephant country, well, on that morning it certainly was. Elephants of all shapes and sizes were converging on a small water course, crossing the road in front of us, eating the bushes next to us, and then, best of all, having some fun in the mud…….
And of course, we must have seen most of the zebra and giraffe populations of Kruger. Well that’s what it felt like!
By our last full day, we were still looking for leopard, and as we drove along the Sabie River, one just walked out onto the road in front of us, for a little way, before disappearing up the bank. How incredible!
That last, long drive to our final camp was full of close encounters with elephant, buffalo, monkeys, baboons, some lion deep in the grass and a great view of a Brown Snake-Eagle.
It was a great end to our time in Kruger.
|Brown Snake Eagle|
(thanks to Britta & Sascha for their company and great photos)