The Kruger National Park is the Daddy of all game parks in South Africa.  I have visited several times in the 14 years I have lived in South Africa, and I have always had the most fantastic game viewing experiences.  This trip was no exception.

We entered the park at the Malelane Gate in the south of the Kruger Park, with just enough time before the gates were closed for the day to get to our camp, Berg en Dal.

kruger-park-map-pdf

In the few short kilometres between entering the park and getting to our camp we were greeted by too many Impala/Rooibok to mention.  We also saw our first of the Big 5 (buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion & rhinoceros), the elephant.

Our accommodation was in a thatched chalet right on the fenced perimeter, located up in the north-eastern corner of the camp.  We looked out directly onto the confluence of two rivers, only they weren’t flowing.  They were, however, rather green and grassy for this time of year.

We hadn’t even stopped the vehicle before we saw the second of the Big 5.  Munching away on the grass-covered river bed; right on our doorstep was a rhinoceros!  A few minutes later, a herd of elephant climbed up the bank furthest away from us and disappeared as the sun slowly sunk down below the horizon.  I was standing on a bench to get a better view over the fence, when a lady standing next to me reckoned she saw a leopard stalking off after having been disturbed by the elephant.  Unfortunately I didn’t catch it.  Booo!  I’m tempted to say that I am a smidgen disbelieving… 😉

No matter what, the prospect of seeing more animals was awesome. This place is absolutely beautiful! Welcome to the Kruger National Park!

We were based at Berg en Dal for three nights before we were due to move camps.  We drove around the local area during the morning then kicked back at camp in the afternoons.  Given that we could carry on game viewing from our patio, we weren’t short on wildlife encounters.

During the second night, long after dark, we heard munching sounds from the other side of the fence.  Armed with a dinky torch, complete with dying batteries, we “shone” it in the direction of the noise.  Expecting to see the rhino from the previous day, we were actually greeted by the larger grey hulking mass of an elephant…within arm’s reach!  Ok, so there is an electrified fence between us, but that doesn’t mean to say that I want to encourage the elephant to storm us!  We rapidly switched off the torch, so that we didn’t disturb the elephant more than we had already and left it to carry on munching.

The third and last night at this camp also produced munching noises from “t’other side”.  This time it was rhino; not just one but three!  One of them stepped onto an old branch, which resulted in a rather a loud “CRACK”, promptly scaring themselves off to the other side of the river!

During these few days we saw plenty white rhinoceros, giraffe, zebra, impala, elephant, bushbuck and kudu to name but a few.

Here are a few photos from this neck of the woods.  I have to say that wildlife photography is not so easy.  I have the greatest respect for the professionals in this field.  I can only hope that they are not impeded as I was by two little girls bouncing and screaming around on the back seat when something has been spotted!  Yup, we had company for the first few days of this trip, in the form of my two step-daughters… Lovely, but loud!  …Animals tended not to linger when we were around!  In keeping with the “little people” theme, there were plenty “little animals” out and about too.. verrrrry cute!

Rhino, complete with an ear-cleaning Redbilled Oxpecker

Legavaan

Kigelia africana, othewise known as the Sausage Tree

Monkey munching on Cape Honeysuckle (Tecomaria capensis)

Reflections on the dam

Who's looking at who? ..Bush Buck youngster

Bush Buck in full

Kudu youngsters

Little Ellie with mummy

Waaaiiiitt for meeeeee!

April, 2011

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