Friday, January 06, 2012

Baboons, Elephants, Impala, Leopards and MORE

I think it was probably more than 30 years ago that I first envisioned going on a safari and I was definitely looking forward to this part of our trip. So I was trying really hard not to have my expectations too high. Fortunately, our trip into Kruger Park didn't disappoint. This park is amazing; within a few kilometers of the Numbi Gate we happened upon this elephant just meandering by the side of the road.
Of course, by our 4th day in the park we became quite blase towards the elephants - herds of elephants crossing the roads, lone ones bathing in a watering hole, and mother elephants protecting their babies like the one below. Sam was driving and became a bit nervous when the baby ran out in front of our car and the mother hurried to protect it. She made a move towards us, but then focused more on her baby to our relief.
This baby baboon has a sensible way of travelling! Now I know where the African mothers get the idea of carrying their babies on their backs.
After we arrived at the Lower Sabie camp we took a night drive. We'd heard about an impala kill further up the road but first we encountered a small group of hyenas.
A few meters up the road we spotted the impala in the tree. Once a leopard has killed its prey, it drags it into the tree to prevent scavengers, such as hyenas, from getting at it. The leopard will come back later to eat it.

And, as if on cue, the leopard appeared in the bush to our right.

Amazingly we saw the following animals on our first day (as well as the ones above): kudu, waterbuck, rhinoceros, gysbok, warthog, lion, impala, giraffe, zebra, hippopotamus, terrapin, pin-tailed whydah bird, crowned hornbill, vervet monkey, baboon, vulture, genet, civet, African wild cat, mongoose, puff adder, duiker, steenbok and probably a few more that I've forgotten! As we moved farther north in the park we actually saw fewer animals so we were glad we started where we did. Keep in mind that most of the animals were within a few meters of the road we were driving on and it gives you a sense of the number of animals in the park.

1 comment:

Gogo Susan said...

Oh MY!!!! What astounding luck you had in the park! You rattled off names of some animals I’ve never seen in four years of living there and at least a half dozen visits since. I can see it helps to take a guided night drive. Fantastic.
Will we hear about your Sabie visit next?
Susan

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