Kruger National Park: Day 4 – Part 1 (22-Nov)

This morning was the last drive for the rest of the folks in our landy. They all left for other adventures after the drive. The landy was very quiet this morning; I think the early mornings had been catching up with all of us JP asked a couple of times if we were awake.

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Because of the rain (JP said we got over an inch) we weren’t allowed to go off-roading. The land was too soft & we would run the risk of getting stuck & also ruining the top soil. The rain was needed though & the good thing about it is that the tracks you see are all fresh. Also, after a rain animals tend to be more active as many of them, cats & rinos that I know of, have to re-mark their territory.

We ran into several herds of impala, zebra & wildebeest. Apparently they often hang out together; safety in numbers. I’ve said it before, but the wildebeest & impala are having their babies so there are 1-2 day olds all over the place. Super cute & quite impressive that their legs work that well that fast. There was also a few jackals hanging out very close to this herd. They aren’t really a threat to a herd this size but they do like to try to snatch a baby impala right after it’s born & if they miss it they like the placenta & afterbirth. These two may have been a pair. Jackals mate for life with the same partner.

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You can see, although it may be hard to tell if it wasn’t pointed out, that one of the zebras is very pregnant. If the calf is a male he will stay with his mom for about 4 years & will then be chased away by his dad. He’ll be forced to start his own herd. If the calf is a female she will try to stay with her mom & the herd for the rest of her life unless she is “stolen” away by a male trying to start his own herd.

One of the giraffes we saw today was sitting down having a rest. Definitely funny to see this guys sitting down – they all knees & elbows & very awkward. It’s very rare, even when they are laying down, to put their heads down. For one things it makes them quite vulnerable & second they pretty much get a blood rush to their head. Their hearts are the size of a steering wheel. That’s what you need in order to pump blood up that very long neck.

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At the very southern border of the reserve we saw another hipo, well his eyes. We haven’t had any luck seeing one out of the water, although we have seen plenty of sign. JP has also seen a crocodile (seemingly the only one in the park) in this same spot but we didn’t have any luck spotting him today.

There was another lovely surprise waiting for us when we stopped for coffee this morning. Again, they had a station for us to wash our hands & also a crepe bar setup. The crepes were delicious & the coffee was needed, not only to wake us up but also to warm us up! It was quite cool this morning, everyone in the landy was wrapped up in their wool blanket.

No other big sightings on the way back to the lodge. We did see some male leopard tracks but they led off-road & since we couldn’t drive off road there was no use in Sam tracking him down. We got back just a little bit earlier than usually since the others needed to have time to shower, eat breakfast, etc. before they headed off.

After breakfast Pete & I took a long nap! Like I said the early mornings are catching up with us! Happy Thanksgiving!!

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