Day 2 - 17 August, 2010
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Day – 17 August, 2010
6:30 we were greeted by our first S. African sunrise – not spectacular, but
nice enough to make us very glad that we were finally there!
for us outside our bungalow were members of the official Crocodile Bridge Camp
welcoming committee, a band of Vervet Monkees.
bungalow had an outdoor kitchen and we had been warned not to leave food out,
and to turn the refrigerator facing the wall, since the monkeys had learned to
open it. We accomplished the same
thing by moving the table over, tight against the fridge door.)
was about the time I was faced with my first (and only) disappointment of the
trip. It had been years since I had
had a cup of instant coffee, and it was ‘instantly’ clear to me, why!
But……….it does get the motor running, so I choked it down and we
were on our way.
had been saying for days, that what she really, really wanted to see more than
anything else, was a giraffe. About
a mile down the road, the first thing we came across
else? A giraffe.
Actually several giraffes. She
need not have worried – the park is full of giraffes.
The only thing that we saw more of were Impalas!
If you look closely, you’ll notice that this guy
a hitchhiker on the side of his neck.
of our nicest surprises was the great quantities and beauty of the South African
birds. Even the Hornbills are
beautiful. Sort of.
We mostly saw the yellowbills, but early on, the first day, we came upon
all the South African birds, though, the Lilac Breasted Rollers have to be among
the most beautiful.
were fortunate to see them just about every day.
They’re much bigger than I had thought, robin size.
expression one hears frequently in the park, when noting that something is
plentiful, is “Common as a Francolin”. As
the morning progressed, we started to understand what this meant.
These two birds, the Crested Francolin and Swainson’s Francolin seemed
always to be on the side of the road.
mid morning we saw our first Spotted Hyena.
was trotting down the road and paid us little mind, but Jen was a bit nervous
about him and when Chris wanted to roll down the window for a better look she
vetoed that idea.
around the next corner, was a beautiful little male Steenbok who stopped and
posed for the camera.
are relatively common, but due to their small size and shy nature, you don’t
get a lot of good photo ops.
little after 10:00 we saw our first Rhino at a dam/waterhole we stopped at.
was sharing a spit of land with an egret and several turtles.
A very peaceful scene.
you drive through Kruger, you have the constant feeling of just never knowing
what will appear around the next curve. For
as large as they are, you don’t usually see elephants very far in advance.
Suddenly they are there, as with these two, who wanted to cross the road,
and it’s a given that they have the right of way over our puny little cars!
you see a number of vehicles all stopped in one place, you should approach
slowly and try and see what they are looking at.
This was the case, in the early afternoon, and as we peered into the
pack of African Wild Dogs was laying up in the shade very near the road.
This was the sighting of the day, if not of the whole trip!
They are very rare and becoming rarer all the time.
There are believed to be less than 350 in all of Kruger.
to the heavy brush where they were laying, the pictures aren’t great, but, WE
SAW THEM and WE HAVE PICTURES. We
talked to people who have been coming to the park for years and have never or
rarely ever seen them! I just love
did get to watch their behavior for a while, and at one point, several of them
were playing ‘tug-of-war” with a stick, and seemed for all the world, just
like a group of domestic pets.
rest of the afternoon was quieter, but none the less very enjoyable.
Zebra posed for a nice headshot, right next to the road.
Mrs. Kudu crossed the road directly in front of us.
in the afternoon, we stopped at Ntandanyathi Hide (say that 10 times fast!)
A hide is a enclosed and secure (relatively) area, usually overlooking a
water hole or other water, where you can just sit and watch the wildlife.
There wasn’t much to see, except this large bull elephant.
think this picture really gives the sense of what it’s like to be “in the
also had a visit from one of the prettiest ugly birds we’ve ever seen,
the afternoon sun sank low in the sky, it did marvelous things to the colors of
a lone male Impala.
At day’s end, with this typical South African sunset,
we could do was look at each other and say, OMG, it can’t get much better than
DAY’S SIGHTINGS: ANIMALS
African Wild Dogs
DAY’S SIGHTINGS: BIRDS
Red Billed Hornbill
Lilac Breasted Roller
Emerald Spotted Dove
Ground Hornbill (imm.) Grey Heron
Red Billed Oxpecker Crested Barbet
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