Saturday, October 28, 2006

Kruger National Park (day 1 and day 2)

We arrived into Kruger in the evening just in time to set up camp for the night, at crocodile bridge..

Followed by a game drive before dinner. Within the first 20km, we managed to see warthogs, zebra, giraffes, elephant, and loads and loads of Impala:

The Impala conveniently have a little "M" on their bottoms, which most people joke is like the M of mcdonalds, because there's one on every corner in the park. They're like a pest, but a beautiful one at that, because watching these gazelle's run is amazing. Just long swift jumps.

The view across the savannah

The first mammal we saw, Pumbah, a warthog!

Then we were lucky enough to watch an elephant feeding nearbye

We drove past the watering hole and found this beautiful heron, which, if you look closely, direcly behind it is a crocodile!

I loved the reflection of the sky in the watering hole..

and far off in the distance using a zoom lens and only visible with binos, there was a rhino! our first of the big five!

And the friendly and curious giraffes that hung around us long enough for some closeups..

The next day ((MY BIRTHDAY! 22!! Feel guilty if you forgot!)) we woke up at the crack of dawn for our first game drive in the morning. We stopped for breakfast eventually, and were greeted by a blue lizard.. ((I really wanted a macro closeup of this baby, but my lenses just dont offer that kind of versatility! Ah well, maybe for my bday or christmas, eh, mom and dad??!!!))

this beautiful blue starling was also hanging out around breakfast.. obviously envying our french toast!

we started driving again, and as soon as we cross the bridge we see a load of hippos in the water enjoying the cooling mud..

A kudu then crosses infront of us on the road..

followed by a waterbock...

and while they're beautiful, i'm still wondering which would taste nicer in a bbq!

Then the baboons came trapsing bye..

When we reached our picnic spot for lunch, there was a load of baboons just hanging out.. i found this one fascinating, his mannerisms looking almost human..

again, my lack of a macro lens meant this fella's head was slightly out of focus.. but nonetheless, cute looking little lizard.

And the baboons insisted on showing off that they were the kings of the domain..

While the blue vervet monkeys were content to just try and steal food from tourists by looking ohsocute!

((btw, they're called blue vervet monkeys because the male's balls are blue, and when fighting for a female they sit facing eachother, open up their legs and who ever has the brighter blue balls wins the girl.. SERIOUSLY!))

More Kudu chilling out.. these are such timid creatures, they run at the slightest noise..

We also saw a lot of ground hornbills, an endangered animal..

And they're carnivorous!

Then we went for a game drive with a night ranger.. who was absolutely nuts. I sat beside an italian and we chatted in spanish the whole way about how completely out of it this guy was. It was a 3 hour game ride in which he spent most of it pulled over talking to two grandmothers. It was only by sheer divine providence that we managed to see any animals, as this guy had NO SKILL whatsoever, and almost everyone on the drive complained to management after it.. hurrah!

He drove right past a bunch of Kudus, and we, the passengers had to make him reverse, and still he didnt know what we were looking at. Eventually when he realized, he began a long and useless speech about the animals, so loud that they all scared away and left.. but that didnt stop him from talking for another half hour about them.. parked. in the same spot. yes.
Lucky me, i managed a shot before they ran away..

I gave up on the hope of seeing any animals with this guide and contented myself with taking pictures of the sunset..

We drove for 2.5 hours without seeing anything.. then in our last half hour, we saw what I'd been waiting the whole tour to see.. A lion.

A poor, old, lonely lion laying on the road. We followed him taking pictures, he didnt seem to mind. He looked so very sad. Roaring softly with his head down, almost as if his family had just thrown him out into the cold, or as if he'd failed in some great task. And the idiot guide kept cutting him off with the car so that the poor animal had to creep around us. While one of the old ladies antagonized him by roaring at him. It was so so sad.. But at least on my birthday I saw a lion.

Watching him roar was beautiful

But he looked hurt and beat up.

That night I went to sleep without any wine, without any big celebrations.. The guys on the trip bought a little cake from the convenient store and stuck to matches in it, and bjorn, the guide bought me a chocolate bar and a little birthday card. So i spent my birthday game driving through Kruger national park with perfect strangers.. a change from the usual disappointing parties..


At 6:26 pm, Anonymous Mom said...

thanks Darling: I hop on a plane and take u out on your B-day to "bore u to death?"


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