Kruger-rific!

I’m a little rusty, but I’ll get back in the swing of things….;p

After collecting Springbok and a few groceries I headed north to Misty Mountains to say hello to William and Adri. The mist and on again-off again rain captured the essence of the beautiful northern aspect of SA. After a quick stop over it was straight on to Kruger National Park for the following week. Of course I managed to chase a few birds around too!

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Be the Bee
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Not sure what kind of butterfly but it was larger than my palm and purrty
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Amethyst Sunbird, at last! I have tried to get this little bugger since Tanzania.
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Tiny Sunbird, I think. That little flash of yellow by the wing can make it one of 3 but I think it’s the Tiny variety.

The rain and mist followed my trail to Punda Maria Gate and subsided as I entered the park. Armed with coffee, yes I brought my own coffee this time with a hand-mill and all. Instant just isn’t the same.

A lot has changed since I departed SA, the dry season ended and the wet season was upon us. And with that the barren dry, brown surroundings have now turned to lush green bush and tall grasses and field flowers. Wonderful to behold but boy oh boy does it make it hard to see anything. Animals may be laying right next to the road but in that tall grass you’re lucky if you spot an ear. Along with the tall grasses have come massive herds of ungulates that survived the drought and of course all the migrant birds. And the bloody mosquitos and flies too!

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Woodland Kingfisher
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Caught in the act. Giving off his characteristic call of chirp-chrrrrrrrr!
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Widow bird.
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Welcome to my crib. And if the lady doth protest she tears it apart leaving him to start anew.
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Whattled Starlings.
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Starling basking in the morning light midst the rains.
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Johnny the cautious Francolin.
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Stella!!!!!
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Laughing Dove
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Brown Snake Eagle with the death glare. His hair wasn’t quite photo ready.
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European Roller sing-song.
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The very haunting Grey Headed Bushshrike. It’s earned the name of the ghost bird for it’s ghostly haunting call. So hard to get a photo off. This one starred me down, but I got him.

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Flamboyant Red Bishop.
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Namaqua Dove trying to dry off.
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Lapet Faced Vulture.
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A new one, European Roller.
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Say hello to my little friend, European Bee-Eater.
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Black-winged Kite.
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Bennett’s Woodpecker
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Ever popular, African Grey Hornbill
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Gorgeous African Fish Eagle.
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Thick-Knee or Dikkop a nocturnal bird.
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Fiery-necked Night Jar.
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Whatcha got there….Spotted-Eagle Owl

Then there is the weather. Gone are the dry heat days and cool nights. Replaced by blazing hot days with equally high humidity. Eye-balls sweating, sweat sweating days and nights. Relief comes intermittently with quick rains which also bring abundant release of the bugs.

I started up north in Kruger National Park and slowly bumble my way down south. With a quick jaunt out for a few days, currently, before heading back to Skukuza in a couple of days.

The elephants, buffalo, zebra, wildebeest abound. I’ve missed the sounds of the birds and insects during the day and the night call of Hyena and Lions in the distance. To be awake daily by the dawn chorus, no complaints here, just bliss, mosquitos and all!

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Fields of plenty. Quelea birds float through out in large hoards of flapping wings in ballet like movement. Too quick to capture on film so a lovely herd of Zebra instead.
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Rains have brought these guys out too.
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Nom nom nom, little steenbuck.
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They are cute, when they are not stealing your food. Baby Vervet playing innocently.
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Allo-grooming is a family affair for the Chacma Baboons. She’s so little.
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Klipspringer. They blend in so well.
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Look at those hooves, perfect for rock climbing.
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Bedraggled and sopping wet Nyala in the afternoon showers.
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Regal Kudu and his spiral horns. Three full twists, he’s an old feller.
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Hyena cub, yet to get his spots. Only brave enough to pop out the den site.
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Cousin is far braver, as his spots start to appear so does the bravery.
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This young’ has her spots but it’s nap time.
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Older sis looking on bemused.
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Are you feeling’ lucky punk? Are ya?!
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Steenbuck trying very hard to channel a rock and not be seen.
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Look at this cuteness and he is so fierce.
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But oh so tiny, here he is next to momma.
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Ellie games, sibling pile on!!!
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And when you stumble everyone lends a trunk to help you up. So young still wobbly!
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Do not adjust your screens, for real, a leucystic impala. I guess it would have to happen genetics being what they are but how cool is that.
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I’m the king of the hill, no I am.

And the night drives were also fruitful.

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This fuzzy rodent, known as the kruger-roo, is called a Springhare, but it has no relation to the hare family, it’s a rodent. What’s in a name.
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Civet posing for his 5 minutes of fame.
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African Wild Cat, similar to a grey domestic cat but slender and with longer legs. This one reminds me of a very dear friends former cat, Petunia. Doubt this one would only eat ice cream and ham but you never know.

As I work my way south the topography changes, as one would expect in a park as big as Belgium. The eastern aspect of SA, the western tidbit of Mozambique and a small portion of southern Zimbabwe form the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park.

I’ve made it as far as Satara before heading out to the Timbavati area. Olifants was nestled on a hilltop overlooking the Olifants river. Very picturesque. Satara is more plains-like with fields of long grasses and herbivores around every corner. Lions plentiful, leopards still elusive spotted little buggers that they are.

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Blocking traffic of the bridge and looking less than happy with all the rain.
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Yoga level: Master Yogi
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What disturbs our slumber? The rain, skies opened up and the ladies were not too happy. Can you spot all 8? Trust me they’re there.
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You can so hear them muttering FFS, not the rain again.
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Sweet dreams of the li-ons
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Ok, ok, ok, how about this one, this is my serious pensive look.
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Yawning is contagious even in the animal world. And every time I see this photo I yawn too, lol!
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So how do I get in to this tin can for the soft and easy morsels inside?  Anyone have a can opener?
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Night fades and the teeth come out.
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How you doin’?

And wild dogs, well, as always awesome. A pack of 25 along the roadside heading west was perfect. I believe they are known as the Orpen pack. Hard to believe there are only about 3000 of these amazing animals left. Feel very privileged to spend time with them.

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Squirrel! Love, love, love these guys! Curious and so darn fast to keep up with. Luckily it was too darn hot to do much but amble to and from the water.

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So hot, eye’s heavy, must stay awake
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Must….
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Flop. Nothing but a doggy pile on a hot day.
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Chewing on brothers face is always fun.
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This twig it must be my new chew toy.

Here’s to leopards, cheetah and more of the stuff that makes this park great!

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