Monday, June 20, 2011

Kruger National Park: Skukuza

Sunday, May 22 and Monday, May 23
Today's post is filled with pictures from Kruger National Park. Kruger is H.U.G.E. We saw a very small section of the park called Skukuza. There will not be much commentary in today's post...just pictures of LIVE animals. That's right, nothing taken with a rifle in this is all as seen through a camera lens!
Brianne's Greatest Fear was that we would see Hippos...and we did!  Did you know that the Hippo is considered the most dangerous animal in Africa?  Go figure!

Elephant grazing by the watering hole.  Our first Big 5 sighting!

Zebras...real live ones!

Baboon at the campsite.  There was a really cute baby one too...but I didn't get a good picture of him.

Impala...yet again a live animal!  The ones in Kruger were not a large as the ones in Polokwane.  These were more "Lion To Go" Size!

Elephant Family Stroll

Kudu sniffing the air...sooo close!

South African Sunset
 It was time to head in for the evening, since the gates close at sunset to protect the campers from the wildlife.  Freaky thought, huh?  We enjoyed a nice dinner at Selati...the Skukuza Railway Station that is now a grill house.  The South African Rail car was put into service in 1949 and ran until the 70's.  Now you sit under the pavilion in view of the rail car to eat.  Really nice ambiance.  Next time I go to South Africa I think I would like to take a train tour too!
As we left our campground the next morning, the hippo had moved near the bridge to eat.

Warthog!  He is so ugly is cute!  I think Disney did a pretty good job on Pumba, how about you?

Lion Brothers. Our second Big 5 sighting.
We drove up on what we originally thought were three young male lions.  They had all of the traffic at a stand still while they walked, sat and laid in the road.
What are you looking at?  Poor thing is covered in flies!
We watched them for a good little bit.  They eventually moved off into the grass and nearly disappeared from sight.  See how hard it is to find him in the tall grass?
They walked through the grass and over a small ridge.  As they crested the ridge, I counted four of them!  That is just how easily a lion can go unnoticed in the Sahara.  He really did blend right in.  Even with all five of us watching and taking pictures, we thought there were only three...yet the fourth one was there all along!
African Buffalo...another one of the Big 5 and also A Most Dangerous Animal.  Some people refer to them as Dagga Boys.  Dagga (sounds like Duggah to me) is the Zulu word for mud...and if you look real closely you will see that he is half covered in mud.  This is to keep off the parasite...which you will also notice are buzzing all around him.

Morning at the Waterhole

Elephant...waving his ears to cool off in the morning heat
From Kruger, we were taken to a small private reserve on the outskirts of the National Park where we enjoyed a romantic evening before embarking on our long journey home.  In my next post I will share pictures from Tangala with you.  It was wonderful!

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