Kruger National Park: Day 3 – Part 1 (21-Nov)

This morning we had a bit of a slow start…in comparison to the rest of our drives that is. I don’t think a slow start to any day includes seeing zebra, giraffes, impalas galore, & wildebeest.

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Probably about 1/2 way through the drive we came up on three rinos, a mom & two youngsters one of which was a baby, about 6 months old. JP said that the older one was probably about 5 years old and, if she’s not already, the mom will start driving him away. The little guy was quite funny. The mom seemed completely oblivious to us but the baby stopping to stare at us then running to it’s mom. They were also white rinos.

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Our next encounter were dung beetles. Might sounds kind of boring to you but these guys were quite funny rolling a ball of dung the size of a baseball or softball, 10x bigger than them down the road. The female sits on ball while the male rolls it; stopping every once in a while to climb up on the top of the ball to see where he wants to go. Smart guys!!

We stopped for our morning coffee in the river bed, it’s completely dry this time of year but will full in about 6-8 weeks when rainy season is in full swing. The picture of Pete’s hand is to give you an idea how big the elephant tracks are. I took a few pictures of the few flowers growing in the river bed – small but quite pretty.

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On the way back to the lodge we saw a herd of wildebeest,a giraffe scratching his ears & a warthog. You can see he is on his knees. He was actually walking on his knees. Apparently because their neck is so thick it’s hard for them to eat unless they’re on their knees. We also had our first small game sighting – a black back jackal. You might not be able to tell by the picture but this guy is bigger than a fox, smaller than a coyote. We also made a pit stop at the “tented camp” which is a much more exclusive camp, owned & operated by the same people that own & operate the camp we’re at. It was quite lovely, completely rebuilt since it flooded 2 years ago (worst flood there has been in 70 years).

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After we were back & had breakfast, I decided to go on the nature walk (need to get some sort of exercise!) while Pete took a nap – he’s actually still sleeping:). The guides rotate who does the daily walk, so although we covered some of the same stuff in the walk as we did yesterday it’s nice to hear someone else’s stories & the different facts they throw at you. Today we got to touch one of the termite mounds. It doesn’t look like it would be but it’s hard as cement. Finn, our guide, thought it had recently been abandoned. The height of the mound depends on a few different factors, two are: the water table level (they need water to build & maintain the mound) & also the queen (if a queen dies young & there isn’t a queen to replace her the whole colony dies; queen termites can live up to 20 years I guess – crazy!!). Finn had us crushing up leaves & smelling them & even tasting them! He also lit some elephant dung on fire so we could experience the smell – smells just like a campfire if you’re wondering.

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