Friday, August 12

Back to Kruger

Southern Ground Hornbill

It's been six months, and a much needed break!

But I'll be back in Kruger National Park on Monday, and I can't wait!

By all accounts, the Park is looking very barren right now.

August is not typically the best month for admiring the flora and landscapes of Kruger, but after the severe drought of this last summer, it's looking even more desolate than usual.

Of course the "upside" of a leafless, grassless wilderness is that the animals are so much easier to find. Add in the fact that there's been no significant rain for 5 months..... so we get an amazing variety and number of animals at the few surviving waterholes.

All the photos in this posting were taken in November 2009, after another long, harsh and dry winter/spring, just before the summer rains started.

They'll give you an excellent idea of what we hope to see next week!

Mid-morning drinking time at Girivana waterhole near Satara
At this time of the year, all the action is around the waterholes, for the tourists, herbivores and the predators!

Young male lion observing the action at Sweni waterhole

The lion don't have to go far to find their next meal.

They can just hang out close to the waterhole.

Elephant, buffalo and zebra at Silolweni Dam (it was emptied and closed in 2010)

It's highly unusual to see rhino at a waterhole in the day time, except during the hot, dry months of spring.

White-backed Vulture

At this time of the year the vultures perch close to the waterholes as well. Not just waiting for a predators next kill, but they also need to drink and bathe after feeding.

My favourite "water hole" is still Lake Panic, close to Skukuza. I've posted many photos from there before. Here are just a few from that November in 2009.

Goliath Heron

African Jacana

Black Crake and chick

The bush (the earth, animals and plants) seems to heave a huge sigh of relief when the first rains appear.

Some of the animals may appear miserable in the rain, like these baboons.......

But others frolic in the cooler evenings and on the young green grass.....

Cape Buffalo in Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve
I'm looking forward to having more photos and experiences to share with you over the next few months, so watch this space!!


Naresh said...

Fantastic picture as usual!

Coral Wild said...

Thanks Naresh :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Coral - wonderful photos .. love the Jacana, but all of them! Cheers and enjoying being back 'home' ... Hilary

Coral Wild said...

Thank you Hilary :)

Gaelyn said...

A friend was in Kruger last week and said it was dry and sparse but the animals mostly looked healthy. Shame SANParks closed so many of the waterholes. Look forward to future posts from the bush.

Coral Wild said...

Hi Gaelyn
yes the bush is looking extremely dry - lets hope the rains come early.
Long term studies in Kruger have shown that the animals die from lack of food, not lack of water, and one reason for the the waterhole closure policy is to try to reduce over-utilisation of the vegetation in naturally arid areas.
Also, drought is a natural population limiter - critical in an "enclosed" area like Kruger, although it is a little distressing to see so many hippo carcases.......
Thanks for commenting :)