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


Milo and Alfie Marshall said...

What a incredible set of pics! I can't imagine how lovely it would be to see the bush and animals in this way. Fabulous.

Jan x

WFT Nobby said...

The unwinding zebra is just such a brilliant image! And I enjoyed the rest of the virtual armchair safari too, it greatly brightened up a rainy, chilly afternoon in Aberdeen. THe bird photos are particularly interesting and they are not so familiar to us Europeans. (Not that we encounter elephants to often either, but I'm sure you know what I mean!)
Hope you are now unwound but not unravelled!
Cheers, Gail.

How Sam Sees It said...

Is that you speaking? What a lovely accent!

I would think the bigger elephant would have the advantage, but it looked like the smaller elephant was winning?


Val said...

So glad to see you back. Once again I wish I could have been a mouse in your pocket to experience this wonderful outing. Would you like to adopt me?!?! LOL
Fabulous photos, thanks for sharing!

The Life of Riley said...

That looks like an amazing holiday! I'm glad that you and your daughters got the chance to unwind together.

Two French Bulldogs said...

Benny & Lily

Becky Andrews said...

Wow - sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing.

Millie and Walter said...

Thanks for sharing. You are so lucky to live near such beauty and wildlife. The elephant video was fascinating.


NanaNor's said...

Dear Caryl, You are blessed to be able to have getaways like this; I know I'd be wanting to go all the time-what a special time for your girls and you.Hope you came back very relaxed. Loved each and every photo and the video was awesome. Sending love and hugs to you today.

Sheila and Bob said...

Caryl, Love the Zebra drawing feel like that often. The photos are wonderful and love the elephant video, their is nothing in the world like animals in the wild.

Sheila & Bob

Mary Lou said...

Wow!! This reminds me of someplace we have over here. It is a park, where wild animals are free to roam for our enjoyment!! Sort of like a zoo.... Yours is better in comparison!! ;-D
I saw the baby!! Too cute!! I love elephants!! I have for years!! I appreciate the old wives' tale that elephants never forget!! Unlike me, a 28-year old with premature short-term memory loss.... ;-}
Whoa!! The lilac-breasted-roller is beautiful!! Breathtakingly!! ;->
I also happen to like Zebras. God himself painted every black stripe uniquely!! ;-]
Love, Raelyn.... And Rose, my BEAUTIFULLY UNIQUE "Mystery Dog"!!

KB said...

Wonderful. I'm glad that you and your daughters had such a relaxed time. I must say that I adore the elephants. What a privilege to be able to see them living in the wild.

STELLA and RORY from Down Under said...

Caryl, that was AMAZING!!! Thanks for sharing. Why did the man in the other car get so close?? All your photos are wonderful. You certainly live in a beautiful country. Take care. No worries, and love, Carol (and Stella and Rory)

Scout and Freyja said...

All beautiful. All lovely. But you know where my heart was - with those elephants. The little video was FANTASTIC. I wonder if they were just sparring and testing each other. It didn't seem as though they were really angry - or, am I wrong? Thanks so much for sharing with all of us. I sure wish I had been there with you...

Tweedles -- that's me said...

What a wonderful time--- the photos are just splendid.
I wish I had been there too

Beth said...

Fabulous photos, Caryl! What an amazing holiday for your family! So glad you shared it with us.

MySpecialDoggies said...

After weathering Sandy in PA - it's great to view your beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing!

Nadine, goldens Neeli & Elle