A-frican Good Holiday at Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park in photos
I have been visiting Kruger National Park in South Africa with my family since I was 9 years old. We are drawn here the most as you can drive independently around this national park, which is as large as Wales.
My family and I don’t do safari like many. For some it entails an early morning drive, with a spa treatment and a dip in the pool before going out again in the afternoon. Perhaps in the evening, a three course dinner is served in front of a log fire before retiring to a luxury tent.
For us, we make sure we are the first ones out of the gate at 4.30am and the last to get back in to camp for 6.30pm. Just in time to start our braai in front of Crocodile River, which is always teaming with wildlife. A full 14 hour day in search of elusive creatures that some only see on TV.
I find it very difficult to portray my experiences aloud after I’ve been on safari so I thought a collection of photos could do this for me. Here are some photos from our latest visit in November 2016.
Newborn season in Africa
On our first day we had a hyena filled afternoon. I’d never appreciated these as much as we were always on the hunt for lions. When we watched a whole family with cubs scavenging on buffalo bones and hiding in their den, we realised they are incredibly alert and resourceful animals. And the cubs were absolutely adorable.
As we visited in November (2016) this year, there were a lot more younger animals who had been born in the summer. They were just getting used to their new legs and surroundings. This baby elephant was learning how to charge and almost managed to convince us. The park hadn’t seen rain all winter since February and of course on our first day, being from the North of England, the rain followed us. Filling the river beds and the locals with joy.
What’s your favourite animal?
It was an incredible experience to follow this curious leopard from within the bush to across the road. One of the best advantages of driving independently is that you can spend hours with the same animal. Compared to a convoy of safari jeeps, it is less likely that one car will scare these creatures away. You can truly have some beautiful and personal experiences with these wild animals and be the only car there.
Poaching is still a problem in Kruger National Park
It was so fantastic to see so many Black and White Rhino during the week. Apparently rhino poaching has decreased in 2016 with 458 carcasses being found instead of 557 in 2015 within Kruger National Park. However, Black Rhinos are still critically endangered and poaching still exists. It was amazing to be able to see a few Black Rhino families despite there only being just over 5000 left in the wild. The White Rhino has recovered remarkably and this is one of my favourite shots of one so gracefully crossing the road.
The rulers of Africa
A large family of elephants rudely interrupted these resting lions as they marched down the bank to get some water. This gave us the perfect opportunity to get a close up shot.
An African watering hole
This is one of our most popular watering holes in Kruger National Park. It’s just north of Tschokwane rest stop. It is always teaming with wildlife, giving us some authentic African images of the graceful giraffes dipping down for a drink.
Dad has always wanted to make bacon and eggs in the bush and this is what we did…on a ‘bush scottle’.
We had a couple of monkey muggings during our week in Kruger National Park. The first was being broken into and ripping our food bag apart leaving our necessary coffee sachets everywhere. The evidence could only have been from monkeys, as there were bite marks everywhere.
The next was a bit more risqué. It involves a crunchie blast ice cream and a very big baboon. We were coming out of a rest stop all with a refreshing ice cream in hand. Almost at the car door, I saw something in the corner of my eye. A bounding baboon with his hands reaching out. I crouched into the foetal position to protect myself (and my favourite ice cream). The baboon grabbed the wooden stick from my hands and I unwillingly let go. The baboon then retreated to his mound eating the ice cream as you and I would, making light of the situation.
Real Africa images
Death played a big part in our visit this year at Kruger National Park. There were lots of buffalo carcasses which scavengers picked clean. A pride of lions had recently taken down this giraffe carcass and it was soon covered in hungry vultures.
Our very own private Cheetah experience
This was our ‘David Attenborough’ moment. We had been driving round the back roads for hours and weren’t having much luck. We saw some ‘skittish’ looking zebra and wildebeest and thought we should test where the wind was coming from. This was to determine where any potential predators could approach from. Funnily enough, we could see 2 blurred spotted creatures moving towards us. We followed these 2 male cheetahs for a couple of hours. They very photogenically posed up a height and scouted the plains for any nearby prey.