A-frican Good Holiday – Kruger National Park

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. 

We 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 and having dinner served up. 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 to start our BBQ. A full 14 hour day of searching for these elusive creatures that some only see on TV. 

I have been visiting Kruger in South Africa with my family since I was 9 years old, we are drawn here the most as you can drive yourself around this national park that is as large as Wales. 

Here are some photos of our latest visit: 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, but 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 this year, there were a lot more younger animals who had been born this summer and were 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!  One of my favourite animals, it was an incredible experience to follow this curious leopard from within the bush to across the road. 

It was so fantastic to see so many Black and White Rhino during the week. Apparently rhino poaching has decreased in 2016 with so far 458 carcasses being found instead of 557 last year in Kruger (http://www.krugerpark.co.za/krugerpark-times-e-6-rhino-poaching-update-25237.html). However Black Rhinos are still critically endangered. 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. These resting lions were rudely interrupted by a family of elephants marching down the bank to get some water giving us the perfect opportunity to get a close up shot. 

This is one of our most popular watering holes in Kruger, 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. The first was being broken into and having our food bag ripped 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. I was almost at the car door when 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) when the baboon grabbed my the wooden stick from my hands and I unwillingly let go. He then retreated to his mound eating the ice cream as you and I would, making light of the situation. Death played a big part in our visit this year, there were lots of buffalo carcasses picked clean by scavengers and this giraffe carcass that had recently been taken down by lions. This was our ‘David Attenborough’ moment. We had been driving round the back roads and weren’t having much luck. When we saw some ‘skittish’ looking zebra and wildebeast, we tested where the wind was coming to determine where any potential predators would approach from and funnily enough, there were 2 blurred spotted creatures moving towards us. We followed these 2 male cheetahs for a couple of hours as they posed up a height and scouted the plains for any nearby prey.