Sunday, 29 June 2014

An extraordinary day in Kruger National Park.

The 28th June was not supposed to be a wildlife orientated day. We arose quite late, had breakfast on the veranda & then drove through Kruger on our way to Hazyview. This was our goal for the day, to replenish our meagre food supplies in the house & do our laundry. The drive through the park was quiet. We chose the S3, which is the river route, it ends nicely at Phabeni Gate, just on the edge of Hazyview.
Green-backed Heron
Friendly Giraffes.
We enjoyed good views of a Green-backed Heron fishing & some close ups of a nice herd of Giraffe.
Cape Buffalo.

 Every animal started to rub on a stick!

 Even the little ones joined in!


However, the best sighting was of a breeding herd of around 450 Cape Buffalo, which surrounded us on their way to quenching their thirst in the Sabie River.
 Leusistic Waterbuck.
 The other notable sighting was of a leusistic Waterbuck grazing by the side of a dam. This condition must be quite rare in waterbuck, certainly I have never seen any animal looking like this before.
 This bull Elephant came in for a closer look at us!
We arrived in Hazyview, enjoyed a nice lunch while the laundry was being completed & then did our food shopping in the mall. I then asked the guys if they wanted to go back home through the park again, or the fast route on the tar. They chose the former & what a good choice it turned out to be!
 Star of the show!
We again entered at Phabeni Gate & drove towards Pretoriouskop Camp. Just at the far side of the camp on the main tarred rod, we spotted a fine male Leopard sitting high in a tree. It was close to the road & the lighting was superb! I manoeuvred the car into position & we enjoyed exceptional viewing for the next twenty minutes or so, before he descended the tree & disappeared into the surrounding bush. What a brilliant sighting this was!
 A very young, Spotted Hyena.
We carried on down the main road & came across a very young Spotted Hyena cub by the roadside. He was not concerned at all by our close proximity & when another car pulled up in front of us, he went to examine the little girl, who was inside the car! This was another top notch sighting.
These sightings had now made us a little late for getting out of the park, so I pressed on. Just 10 minutes before closing time, as it was getting dark we saw another male Leopard high in a tree eating its prey. The light was bad for photography, but the sighting was another good one.  It was probably eating an Impala, but the poor light made it impossible to be certain.
Two Leopards in one day doesn’t happen very often & this made for a memorable day in the park, even though we didn’t drive very far from home.

African Python - what an ending to a fantastic day!
 Talking of home, we arrived inside Sabie Park & on the drive to our house, I spotted an enormous African Python by the side of the track. This thing was massive! It was at least 10 feet long & probably longer. We jumped out of the car & enjoyed good views in the torchlight as he/she went on their way, completely ignoring us. It was a really beautiful and impressive beastie, one that you don’t see very often. What an ending to a great day out, which was not planned at all. Africa is often full of surprises!


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