Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Kruger National Park: More footage of our recent visit

MAXMOM here...

I begin this blogpost by sending my thoughts and prayers to those folk in the USA and Canada who are affected by Hurricane Sandy.  It's hard to imagine the magnitude of this natural disaster and how it has affected thousands of lives.  But then again, it's hard to comprehend the wonder of nature as a whole.

I am hoping that this post will serve to lift you up - wherever you are.

Here in South Africa, our weather is also unpredictable, but we are never far from sunshine.
The glory of our natural environment continues to amaze me too.

Today I am including more photographs of our recent visit to the spectacular

 (Above: The mighty 'Cape Buffalo' - one of the 'Big 5')
 ( The shimmery Glossy Starling in all its feathery finery)
 (The African Elephant, another one of the 'Big 5')
 (A vulture chick - almost ready to leave the nest)
(The graceful beauty of the tall Giraffe)
 (We can't ignore the familiarity of motherly bonds when we watch the African Vervet Monkey)
 (A chamelion crosses the road...gingerly! Afterall, the tar is HOT!!!)
( A 'Terrapin' in one of the roadside ponds)
 ( A female impala eating a blade of grass.  Females DON'T have horns.  Impala are always on the alert for potential predators)
 (The Baobab tree - one of the pre-historic trees which dot the landscape of the park and provide homes for many creatures in their branches)
 (Helmeted Guinea fowl)
 (The pretty lookout from Letaba rest camp)
 (Something scared this herd of Impala.)
 (The majestic Kudu Bull and its impressive horns)
 Above:  Can you guess what this is ???
 Yes, you guessed right.  Its a colony of bees...looking for a new venue to establish their hive.  They huddle around their queen, ready to risk their lives for her sake.
 Dung Beetles never looses their entertainment value - tenaciously rolling up their dung-balls and pushing them across the landscape.

 Above: A Vervet Monkey on the lookout .


On one of our drives, we came across a large herd of Cape Buffalo...
I've prepared a short video of our encounter with the buffalo...


Sending lotsaluv to my friends around the world.
...And, in particular, to my friends in the USA and Canada,
please keep warm and safe!
We are thinking of you.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


MAXMOM here...

There's a saying on a T-shirt here in South Africa;  it says:

"Stressed out?
Unwind in Kruger Park!"

This saying is so true!

(Above: Impalas 'for Africa'!)

Well, I am well and truly 'unwound'; relaxed, soul-restored, invigorated and revitalised.  Five days in the African bush always does this to me.  I'm happy to be home, but my soul has always belonged in the bush.  What a joy it was to have the opportunity, once again, to visit there.

(Above: Hippos in their pod)

We entered the park on Monday last week at Malelane Gate.  This entrance lies on the southern border of the park - about 4-5 hours drive from Johannesburg, along the N4 highway towards Mozambique.  I had my two beautiful daughters accompany me on this trip.  It was a happy, bonding time for the three of us.  Unfortunately we had to leave my a work-swamped husband behind in the city. 
(Above: herds of elephant huddle around their newborns: 
There is 'teeny-tot' amongst the legs of the elephants.  Can you find it?
 We reckon the little thing was hardly a week old ...beautiful!!!)
(Above: Same photo of the elephants, but enlarged for you to see the baby...)

The park is green and lush.  Animals are plump and in pristine condition.  Recent rains have seen some of the rivers burst their banks and some of the gravel roads closed, but there is wildlife wherever you look. The bush has come alive and there are young babies everywhere.  Elephant herds huddle around their little ones and all the species seem to be thriving.  It is a wonderful thing to behold.

Our five days in the park offered us cooler than usual weather too.  This brought along cooler temperatures - a great relief from the usual soaring highs at this time of the year.  The mosquitoes, too, haven't quite got their act together, so we were able to avoid the inevitable onslaught, and spend the week free from bites.
  (Above: Our bungalo at "Olifants" camp)
 (Olifants camp site is located on a hill overlooking a river.  It has exquisite views! One can sit and watch the river forever...there is always something to see.)
 (Above: The river below.  If you look carefully, you can see a hippo edging towards the water)
(Above: Sunrise over the river and the plains of the Kruger National Park)
  (Above: The bungalos are built high up along a hillside)

Our camp sites were comfortable although the recent strike did affect the shops and restaurants around the park.  Thankfully we were aware of this, so were able to take along our own more-than-adequate pantry.

Our trip comprised one night in the southern camp of 'Skukuza', three nights at the beautiful 'Olifants' camp (in the middle of the park), and one final night back in the south.  All-in-all we travelled about 500kms during the week and saw many, many animals.  The speed limits in the park are 50km/h on the tarred roads and 40km/h on the gravel roads.  Most often, however, our speed was much less, as we stopped to watch or search for animals.

I have hundreds of beautiful photos and it was hard to select some for this post.  I hope to include more later.  But here are some to whet your appetite....
 (Above: An elephant herd files across the river at mid-day)
 (Above: The colourful Crested Barbet searches for grubs from its pedistal)
 (Above: The ever-purposeful dung-beetle with its ball of dung)
 (The lilac-breasted-roller, one of the most beautiful birds of the park)
( Above: The 'Zebra crossing')
 (Above: the Sentinel male baboon, forever on the lookout)
 (Above: "Stripes for Africa")
 (Above: Giraffes peep over the tree tops)
 (Above: The yellow-billed-hornbill - their calls are indicative of the Lowveld)
 (Above: We came across a buffalo herd of approximately 200 animals.  It is quite disconcerting to be surrounded by these magnificent animals.  They are one of the 'Big 5' - one of the most dangerous animals when on foot)
(Above: The conical death trap of the Antlion - one of Africa's 'Little 5)
(Above: No visit to the Kruger Park is complete without spending some time watching 'Pumba' the warthog...and there are many of them!)

Finally, here is a video of our siting of the two bull elephants fighting.  
An incredible thing to witness:

We are really happy to be home. 
Thank you again to my daughters for a wonderful, happy holiday.
 I will cherish these memories forever.

Sending lotsaluv