Saturday, 11 June 2016

Kruger in Winter

Lilac breasted Roller, a bit of a symbol in the park.

It is early June & I have spent several days in the park in the area adjacent to my house & down to Phabeni & Numbi Gates. Game viewing was sparse, as little water is present & drought conditions prevail.
What's going on then?
First one, then....
Everyone is playing!
They had a lot of fun!

And it was great to watch.

The best sighting was a group of seven Spotted Hyenas in a very playful mood early one morning. 

White Rhino
Kudu with attendant Red billed Oxpeckers

Burchell's Zebra
Terrapins staying dry!

On 5th June I went for quite a long game drive from Paul Kruger Gate to Lower Sabie, then I cut across country to Renosterkoppies & the S65 & back home.

Honey Badger digging!
Still digging!
It pulled out a snake & started to eat it!

The weather was quite superb & it was a lovely drive but nothing special seen apart from a Honey Badger, digging for & then eating a snake! It is unusual to see a Honey Badger in the day time.

Taken through the windscreen!
They eventually moved off - but I was stuck there a while!

Received a bit of a surprise on my way home. I couldn't get there! Elephants had pulled a large tree down & were feasting away, blocking the road.

Fork tailed Drongo gleaning off the BBQ 
in the campsite.
African Darter at Lake Panic

A tame Bushbuck
I got pretty close!
Making a nuisance of themselves as always!

The next day I had a run to Skukuza & a quick visit to Lake Panic & lunch at the Golf Club.  As ever it was a nice day out.
A young one.
Steenbok struggling to find food.

Red-crested Korhaan, displaying.
Not how you normally see them!
The object of his desire!
Shelly's Francolin - hard to see & photograph!
Here it comes!
Very close!
Then it went into the open.
My favorite cat!
It then crossed the road between vehicles.
Photo slightly hazy, as taken through my windscreen.
This Spotted Hyena was in the late afternoon light.
A young one outside its den at dusk

I had a run out in Kruger on 19th June, it was a wonderful day weather wise. The highlight was this wonderful Leopard on the main road to Malelane.

Impala causality courtesy of  car!

The drought is having a terrible impact on the veld.
A river!
It is not looking good!
Looking for water.
View from Stevenson Hamilton Lookout.

Cape Buffalo

Spent the afternoon of 26th June on a game drive down to Ronosterkoppies. the Waterhole Road & bank along the Sabie River Road. The weather was just plain gorgeous, but there were a lot of cars around because it is now the school holidays. Had small groups of both Cape Buffalo & Elephant at the Waterhole on the S 65 road. It was very pleasant just sitting there watching the antics of the baby Elephants.
At Renosterkoppies there were a million cars & two totally unstressed male Lions, fast asleep. I didn't even bother with photos & didn't linger. Had a wonderful late lunch sat atop of the Stevenson Hamilton lookout. One of my favorite perches in mid/late afternoon.

I then came across a couple of female Lions with at least one cub. There were probably a lot more of them but I couldn't see them. The cub kept annoying its mum (who wanted to sleep) & eventually she just got up & walked away!

On 27th June I was again in Kruger on business. Upon entering the park I saw a poached White Rhino right next to the main road! Unbelievable!

White-backed Vultures roosting over the kill.

By dusk this had happened!

The wonderful Sabie River

African Fish Eagle
Going for a drink.

Down time!

White-crowned Lapwing.

Three banded Plover

I pulled up next to this couple & asked them 
  if they were viewing the Lions. They said no 
they hadn't seen any Lions, they were just having
 a snack.
I replied well what about those Lions over there?

Here they are then!

I also saw a Lioness with two cubs in the Sabie River riverbed. The cubs were well hidden in the reeds.
Hey Naomi don't stand still in that dress, 
otherwise tourist will be taking snaps of you!
Get it?
Naomi arrived for a four night stay with me on 29th June & we had a nice time together over the coming days.

Southern Ground Hornbill
Brilliant birds

We went for a game drive & ended up at Stevenson Hamilton Lookout, always one of my favourite spots. But here we received another reminder not to be too complacent around wild animals!

Leopard spoor

Crossing the Sand River.

The now derelict Selati Railway Station
 & former restaurant!
What a shambles!
This carriage was once a thing of splendor! 
I know because Carol & I dined here many
 years ago & it was wonderful.

Naomi outside the original Campbell Hut.

Look at the prices!

All the comforts of home!

The bathroom!
The bathroom in use!

Your there just for scale girl!
Peter's Epaulet-ted Fruit Bat

Crowned Hornbill
Laughing Dove
Greater Blue-eared Glossy Starling
Not looking like it should!

After lunch I then dropped Naomi off at Skukuza Airport & drove up to Nkumbe Viewpoint. The drought was still in its grip here as well. 

Here they come!
Wonderful animals.

On the way I had a wonderful encounter with a breeding herd of 21 Sable. This is a hard to see species within Kruger National Park & I was delighted with this quality sighting.

Common Ostrich

In full breeding regalia.

A bit of play fighting!

Late afternoon drinkers.
Afternoon siesta!

It is 5th July & I drove into KNP to go shopping in Hazyview. I entered the park around 11.30 am & saw the big five within one hour! How did this happen? It is mid-day for goodness sake! 
On my return I saw four of the big five within 22 minutes! Only missing Lion! Amazing!

To be continued.

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