Mom and baby rhino check us out on our African Safari trip in The Kruger National Park
We took another one of a kind African safari tour to the Kruger National Park with 2 amazing guests from Chicago USA this past May 2015. Autumn is a fantastic time to explore the wonders of Kruger National Park, with water being a bit scarce but not completely vacant, so the animals are still healthy and happy.
I collected the guests from their hotel in Johannesburg near OR Thambo airport and set course for the Kruger Park.The time was approximately 9:00am on the morning of the 28th May 2015, which set our arrival time to be around 1:00pm, which is exactly when we were overjoyed to be entering the famous Kruger National Park! Of course anticipation was high and it wasn’t long until we encountered our first wildlife and one of the Big 5, the African Elephant. We had nearly a 3 hour drive to our accommodation within the Kruger Park camps. Tonight our accommodation would be at Lower Sabie, one of Kruger’s gems.
After the usual check in procedures we indulged in a good old South African braai (BBQ), good food and wine. With great company and the sounds of the African bush to soothe us. After a long day it was early to bed for a dawn wake up call and the first safari game drive. Our first morning was so awesome, with 4 of the Big 5, as well as a male cheetah hunting. What was really special was how many of the animals we saw right on the road. Like the rhino above, who having bad eyesight were very inquisitive and walked right up to us.
That evening the guests took a night drive safari with the Kruger Park Rangers and got to see a range of nocturnal species like civet and porcupine. By now we had ticked off a whole range of animals, as well as bird species, with a special sighting of the Saddle-billed Stork going about his fishing duties.
Again an early rise and again a fantastic morning game drive. This time something very rare that you definitely don’t encounter everyday. About 30 minutes into our safari drive I saw something running in the road, about 8 figures. My first thought was baboon, but I quickly realized they were travelling way too fast and then it hit me, Wild dogs!! We raced up behind them and continued behind them at a pace of around 30km/h. It was incredible, they were on the hunt and running along hoping to flush out some unsuspecting antelope to then give chase. We followed them for at least 5km at this pace, their stamina amazing, giving us a great lesson on how they are built to run and eventually exhaust their prey.
Eventually they came to a standstill and moved a little off the road, clearly having caught the scent of something tasty. Suddenly I heard impala making their warning call and come running up the road towards us and the dogs?? Then it became clear, in pursuit were to lionesses, who having missed their prey came jogging up the road right into us. I made a video, but unfortunately as the action was moving, it is a bit chopped up as I had to keep maneuvering the vehicle, watch it below:
After the morning safari game drive we moved accommodation, still with in the Kruger National Park, but to a private bush camp. These are secluded camps scattered around Kruger with accommodation in bungalows with no more than a handful of units. Great views of the rivers and dams in this case the Biyamiti River. Then on our last day we had another awesome sighting, again some thing people do not always get to see in the wild, hunting lion. We came across 3 juvenile lion sitting in the open, enjoying the warm African sun. 2 were really relaxed but the 3rd was in a crouching position, its gaze firmly fixed on 2 impala rams probably 80m off.
The great thing about this sighting was that we were in a dirt loop road and so the whole scenario unfolded 180 degrees, plus, before us. May is the impala’s rut season and these 2 were challenging each other for the right to breed. So consumed in the conquest they nearly made a fatal error. Again I made a video, this one a little better because we were standing still, but not perfect as some vehicles got in our way. First the antelope are seen giving their warning call, knowing something is amiss, but soon relax and get back to their duel. This is when suddenly, the lioness we hadn’t even seen, pops up just 40m away. As the rams dip their heads to fight, she crawls closer. When they look up she freezes. It is all set for a dramatic kill, as they fight they move even closer, helping to lessen the gap for her. However this also causes them to come into plain view to the young cub, who’s instincts take over and he comes blundering across the bush from way back, past mom and gives the hunt away. Watch below, it is quite amusing:
So that was our safari trip to Kruger National Park, it never disappoints. The accommodations were fantastic and the game viewing too. We have a whole lot of trips coming up over winter, so stay tuned for some more exciting African safari adventures…