Wednesday, 11 October 2017

On Safari in Kruger National Park

where shrubs have thorns resembling daggers, teeth are pointed and sharp, and claws can rip flesh wide open.
























What a scary place for this petite adult Sharpe's Grysbok! - agile but very timid - his defence is to retreat into an aardvark burrow or similar when threatened. 
A Lion lying hidden in the undergrowth with his Lioness

However, little does he know that this younger, powerful, male has also appeared on the scene, and just a few metres away
  He looks around, takes in the scene, then lies down, and is completely hidden


Southern Ground Hornbills are typically seen marching along in small family parties probing the ground for insects. They are on the endangered list, but despite their terrestrial habits, are strong fliers.

This was a close encounter - an elephant charging towards me - a great photo opportunity whilst sitting in our open top jeep, fortunately our ever alert competent ranger moved off quickly.
On a far distant escarpment we spotted a solitary White Rhinoceros complete with his precious horn. South Africa is at the forefront of rhino conservation; some 75% of the world's surviving rhinos live within its borders. It is a continual battle protecting them from the poachers and the rangers latest weaponry is making use of drones.
 A keen eyed Vulture can soar on thermals for hours on end with a vision that is practically unmatched in the annimal kingdom

Yellow-billed Hornbill - nests in holes in the trees. During incubation the female plasters up the entrance to seal herself in; the male feeds her through a slit until the eggs are hatched. 
 During a break for lunch these keen eyed Cape Glossy Starlings were after our food.
We needed this lunchtime to relax a little as we had been up and on the go before daybreak.
















The area is suffering a severe drought and is desperate for the rains to arrive. However, these Zebras, for example, don't look under nourished so there must still be plenty of nourishment in the vegetation even though it appears to be dry and parched.









Mum with her two young warthogs - in family groups they are a regular sight trotting briskly across the savannah with their long, thin tails held aloft.












Giraffes are the world's heaviest ruminants and the tallest land mammals which feed from the canopy. They can be found in groups of around 15 and a herd may be all male, all female, or mixed. This male appeared to be travelling alone, but suddenly we spotted a much smaller female following in his wake.





Kori Bustard - loosely related to cranes but more sturdily built. It is the world's heaviest flying bird, weighing up to 28lbs.
The African Buffalo is a powerful animal - they like to wallow in muddy water even more so than elephants or rhinos, and seldom stray more than a few miles from a reliable water source.  The birds that can just be made out on the tree behind the buffaloes are oxpeckers. They feed exclusively on the backs of large mammals eating the ticks and parasites. Sometimes large prides of lions attempt to prey on buffaloes but with very mixed success.

Saw several species of antelope, much revered by the San, the hunter gatherers who once inhabited South Africa - the antelope is the animal most commonly depicted on their ancient rock paintings.
Growing in Kruger Park I saw this wonderous

  Kigelia africana - sausage tree with its voluptuous red velvet flowers but also sausage like gourds up to a metre long As daylight falls it becomes a hive of activity when bats and night insects arrive to drink nectar from the flowers.
The sausage tree has been used by indigenous people and traditional African healers for hundreds of years to treat all manner of skin complaints from ulcers and sores to serious conditions such as leprosy and skin cancer. As well as anecdotal evidence from traditional use, there now exists a significant body of scientific research supporting its efficacy. 

40 comments:

  1. Wow, Rosemary, that charging elephant is a bit scary even on the computer screen! What amazing photos, and you were so close to these wonderful animals. I loved the little female giraffe, a real sweetie. The birds all look rather tough, perhaps because it is a harsh environment. I wonder if the Sausage Tree is a natural anti-biotic?

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    1. Dear Patricia - the so called sausage tree is said to have strong antimicrobial properties, including antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral.
      We never know just what is growing in wild and remote places that could possibly help us medicinally in the future.

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  2. You made such wonderful photos, they could be published in National Geographic! You have seen the animals so close.

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    1. Apart from the Rhinoceros being in the distance, I was surprised at just how close we got to them.

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  3. Wonderful array of African animals,birds and flora. All beautifully photographed. Hope you were in the jeep when the elephant began it's charge!
    I enjoyed looking at and reading your last post too. What magnificent scenery!

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    1. Yes, we never got out of the jeep at all except of course for lunch.

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  4. What a marvelous array of animals in the wild! And what a privilege to be able to see them! Thanks for sharing your photos with us!

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    1. I am surprised at just how many animals we saw and I haven't shown all of them here either.

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  5. Hello Rosemary, I was recently looking at many photos of decor on the internet and was dismayed to see how often exotic animal trophies were included--mounted heads, zebra rugs, elephant tusk tables, and the like. Your photos show where exotic animals belong--in the wild. (I am willing hypocritically to make a few rare exceptions for true antique examples--that was another era.) So cruel and tasteless in someone's home; so beautiful in their natural environment.
    --Jim
    P.S. With so many dangers about, they should have called it Freddy Kruger Park.

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    1. I totally agree. I hate the sight of animal trophies and fur throws / rugs ... it sickens me that in this day and age, humans are still killing animals for trophies .. not for sustenance but for show ...

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    2. Hello Jim - Freddy Kruger Park made me smile.
      I too don't understand why people want and need trophies, why can't they just admire the animals and let them get on with their lives? Today there is really no excuse, and it is also very sickening that poachers continue to kill Rhinoceros and Elephants for their ivory to sell to the Chinese.

      Hello Candice - I agree with you 100%.

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  6. Dear Rosemary, What a fantastic experience you have had...a trip of a lifetime. Thank you for bringing it to us with your beautiful photographs.

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    1. It was a great trip Gina especially having so many different experiences each day - we coped much better than I had dared to hope.

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  7. What a marvelous trip. I can't imagine the feeling you had when that elephant came charging straight at you. Did you see this article in the Daily Mail this morning. They were in Kruger National Park.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4968082/Lion-bites-tyre-leaving-family-stranded-safari.html

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    1. I wasn't at all worried about the elephant Catherine as I was safely inside an open top jeep, and our ranger was swift and efficient at getting us out of the way.
      What a story in the Dailymail - there are some transit roads that cross the park, but mainly we travelled across tracks, and we had a ranger who was in constant touch with other rangers on his radio.

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  8. oh my what a wonderful post....such fantastic photos of the wild life!
    I loved the lions, so majestic xxx

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    1. We were fortunate that we saw so many different animals.

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  9. The full cast of African characters there. Great photos. Always wanted to see Great Bustards in the UK but they only have them in a few places down south and no luck so far.

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    1. As far as I know the Great Bustards here are only on Salisbury Plain - they are fatter and do not have such long legs and neck as the Kori Bustard, but otherwise they are quite similar especially in their colouring.

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  10. What a marvelous series of photos of animals in their natural habitat. I think zebras are my favourite wild animal. Their crazy markings just make me smile.

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    1. We were very fortunate to see so many different animals - you take pot luck when travelling on safari.

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  11. Dearest Rosemary,
    WOW, you did have a fabulous, nature oriented trip to beautiful South Africa.
    An adventurous trip too and exhausting in a way but oh so rewarding.
    Thanks for letting all of us in on this beauty!
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Dear Mariette - it was certainly a trip packed with a great amount of interest from dramatic landscapes to wonderful, and exotic animal/bird life.

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  12. A fabulous variety of wild animals , what an adventure ! Beautiful photos, and glad you had an alert driver !!

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    1. The Rangers are very good - always on their guard.

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  13. Your pictures are just amazing! Wow! You must make a book Rosemary...
    Thank´s for sharing this adventure with us :)
    Love from Titti

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    1. As an admirer of your great photos Titti I take that as a big compliment - thank you♡

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  14. Those are fabulous images, the elephant one is my favourite one! Were you aware during your travels of the severe lack of water that they are experiencing in South Africa at the moment? The sausage tree is fascinating. Sarah x

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    1. Mainly we were aware of it because the hotels wanted you to take showers rather than baths and make the towels last longer than one day which we were perfectly happy to do.

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  15. I feel as though I have been to the zoo! What extraordinary pictures you took. That Blue Starlling is so pretty.

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    1. Glad that you enjoyed seeing them - it certainly will live in our memories forever.

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  17. All so familiar and remembered every day - my trips there have been imprinted on my heart, and Africa is at the top of my favorites list because these animals are so amazing up close and in their natural habitats.
    You captured some beauties in these photos Rosemary. . . . . . . this is why I've never visited a zoo since my first safari!

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    1. Thanks Mary - I concur with you absolutely re: zoos.

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  18. Dear Rosemary - Going on safari to photograph wild animals must have been so exciting. I’m so marveled at these breathtaking photos. I wondered what telephotolense you used but animals seem to have been close to you. Weren’t you afraid? I haven’t seen the plant with dagger-like thorns. At first I thought a plant is tangled with barbed wires. My favorite photos are zebras and giraffes.

    Yoko

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    1. Dear Yoko - sadly I only have a little camera so no telephotolenses were involved but I could have done with one for the Rhinoceros as he was a good distance away. All of the other animals were near, and some very near!!! but I never felt any fear.
      I was really taken by the sharp thorns on the shrubs as I have never seen such long, sharp ones before.

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