Day 8 - 23 August, 2010
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– 23 August, 2010
Our last morning at
Nkorho was cold and clear (though apparently
not cold enough for hot water bottles) and Jen had to doff her new Nkorho
Bush Lodge tube hat to keep her ears warm.
We were greeted by a
solitary black backed jackal
as we set out on our
morning game drive. After standing
in the middle of the road long enough to assure that we came to a complete stop,
he moved off and let
us pass. About 5 minutes later, the
sun poked it’s head above the horizon
as usual, the sunrise was lovely!
We set out to see if
either the cheetahs or the Majingilanes were still in the neighborhood, and soon
came upon Black Tip and his lady friend, lying on a knoll overlooking a
They both looked
quite magnificent in the morning sun, with full bellies and not a care in the
After a few minutes
a small group of waterbuck came into view, a few hundred yards away, headed for
the waterhole, and the lions went on instant alert.
At one point we were
quite sure that the female was going to spring into action, and that we might
see something quite spectacular. Every
muscle in her body tightened and she had the look of a coiled spring, ready to
relaxed, and it was obvious that their bellies were full enough for the time
being. Later, Jason explained to us
that waterbuck are not high on the lion’s menu, anyway, as they secrete a
water proofing oil from their sweat glands which has a very unpleasant odor and
They began to move
around a bit, seeming quite playful, and we thought we might get to see a
different sort of “action”. The
following picture, however, shows his reaction when the lady advised him that
she had a headache.
leaving the big cats, we encountered these two elephants
Who were having
their breakfast. It’s
somewhat disconcerting when something this big
directly towards you! However, it
turned out that it was not us he was interested in, but rather, some morsel that
he had spotted on the other side of the road.
As he passed not 10 feet in front of our vehicle,
you can see that
Thomas, our tracker, was hardly concerned. (he
sits on that little seat that sticks out in front of the hood.)
Meanwhile, the other one continued to munch on his breakfast, and ignored
Our next sighting
was this lizard buzzard
who was perched in a
tree, looking for his breakfast. The
lizard buzzard is a small (14” or 36cm) solitary raptor who spends most of his
day perched high in a tree, scanning the ground for lizards or small rodents
which he can swoop down upon.
After stopping for
our morning coffee, we headed back to the lodge, but were waylaid by Karula,
another ever popular female leopard who crossed the road directly in front of
We followed her
offroad and into the bush, but due to the heavy cover that she was traveling
through, and the fact that I kept getting slapped across the face by tree limbs,
I only got one half decent picture of her.
We did observe her
leaping high up into a small tree, attempting to catch a squirrel, but sadly
(for Karula) and fortunately (for the squirrel) she missed.
We returned to
Nkorho, had our breakfast, and Jen snapped this picture of the boma.
It is an enclosure,
constructed of heavy tree limbs, where the evening meal is taken when the
weather permits. Unfortunately, we
didn’t take any pictures, inside the boma, at mealtime, but for an idea of
what it’s like, go HERE
to the gallery of Nkorho Bush Lodge.
And so, after 3
marvelous days and nights, we bid our farewells to the wonderful folks at Nkorho.
Michelle was nice enough to snap this picture of the 3 of us and our two
guides, Jason and Peter.
We can’t express
strongly enough, how marvelously we were treated during our stay.
They made us feel very special. If
anyone is considering a trip to this part of the world, Nkorho Bush Lodge gets
our vote as a very special place where one can find the best that the South
African bush has to offer. It was
the perfect break, in the middle of our 8 days of fending for ourselves at
Kruger. We’d also like to thank
Dirk and Jacqui Becker, the owners of Nkorho, for providing us, through their
staff, with a memorable experience! They
were away during our visit, but hopefully next year we will get to meet them,
We have to include
one last picture of Karin, Michelle, Jason and Peter
the folks who, along
with the rest of the Nkorho staff made our stay so nice!
We will be
And so, we made our
way back out of Sabi Sands and headed once again for Kruger.
It’s about an hour and a half trip, through small villages like this
one, Hluvukani. Each has it’s
general store, (note the satellite dish on the post in front.)
and auto repair
We didn’t get a
lot of pictures of the people, as we weren’t sure they would be thrilled with
the idea of a bunch of tourists riding around town taking their pictures.
One observation we
made was that there wasn’t a lot of vehicle traffic in the villages.
People seemed to walk everywhere.
Again, we didn’t
get a pic, but we observed quite a
few ladies with wheelbarrows, hauling 5 gallon water jugs.
It seemed there must be community wells, with the household water being
hauled to the homes by hand. Stark
contrast to the satellite dishes!
the community were these Kraals (Afrikaans or South African for corral)
which are meant to
keep the goats from straying. (or presumably being eaten by predators)
We noticed, however, that the goats always seemed to be in the
Anyway, next year
I’ll try and hone my skills at capturing more images of life in these small
villages. These are the folks who
work at the many game lodges in the area, as well as in the parks, and should
therefore be a bigger part of our story!
Soon we were back
within the confines of Kruger National Park, and on our way to Olifants Camp
where we would spend the next 3 nights. Before
long we came across this mama Baboon
and her baby
snacking beside the
road. The babies have enormous ears
for the size of their heads, and have earned the nickname of “Wingnuts”,
because that’s what they look like.
About an hour into
the park a small family unit of Elephants was crossing the road.
They had obviously been in a water hole since they were wet and half
covered with mud.
Note that this old
who was bringing up
the rear and presumably making sure that the youngsters stayed with the group,
had somehow lost her tail.
A few hundred yards
down the road we indeed found the water hole they were coming from.
There we saw more Elephants and a number of Hippos basking in the sun.
These two young
sizing each other up for some potential future battle which they might have to
fight for a lady’s attention. They
do this throughout their lives, filing all the information on each opponent away
in their memory banks, for future use. For
now, it may seem like play fighting, but in the end it may become deadly
In this picture,
from the same waterhole, we see a little bit of everything.
Hippos, Baboon, Impala, Zebra and the two elephants are to the left, just
out of the picture.
Across the way, a
lone Buffalo bull
seemed to be sizing
up the situation, deciding whether or not to join the party.
A bit further on we
encountered one of S. Africa’s stranger birds, a Kori Bustard.
He is a very large
bird, 54” (135cm) from head to tail, and standing about 48” (122cm) tall.
He can fly, but is reluctant to do so unless he is seriously threatened.
He strides over the veldt, bobbing his head backwards and forwards as he
goes. Sadly, due to overhunting, he
is not often found outside of major game reserves.
As the trip went on,
it became obvious that I could hardly pass by a Zebra, without stopping to take
his/her picture. This guy was no
It just doesn’t
seem real that there could be something in nature with such vivid black and
white stripped coloration.
In the middle of the
afternoon we spotted this male lion
laying up in what
little shade he could find. He was
panting and obviously seriously overheated.
Later we realized
that back in the bush, behind him, was another male and a female, but they were
too far away and too well hidden to get a decent picture.
A ways down the
road, this male Kudu stood and watched us pass.
They are such
Sorry about the
quality of this next pic, but this is a difficult bird to find and photograph,
the Lappetfaced Vulture.
He is a fairly large
vulture, 40” (100cm) from head to tail and about 36” (91cm) tall.
Note his little friend, a Lilac Breasted Roller on the ground, across the
water. (trust me, he’s there)
Here we have a pic
taken strictly to show the size comparison between the elephant and a female
Impala on the side of the road.
This big boy has
been somewhere cooling off, as his tusks are covered in mud and he’s been
spraying water over his back.
And since I have to
take a picture of every Zebra I see, Jen insists that we do the same with
Giraffes. This hansom guy loomed up
ahead of us for this nice silhouette shot
then walked down the
and joined up with a
number of friends
for a treetop meal.
Shortly after the
Giraffes, we found another of my favorites.
Especially from this angle.
These three male
Waterbucks, with the characteristic white rings on their butts, were just
standing around, probably wondering where the girls were.
As we came to the
end of another day, we encountered another small Elephant family
and then were
treated to one more South African sunset.
Then we were at the
gate to Olifants Camp.
We were tired and
stiff from all those hours in the car, yet thrilled at all the marvelous things
we had seen. And, as usual,
wondering, “what will tomorrow bring?????”
Black Backed Jackal
Lilac Breasted Roller Black Bellied Bustard