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DIY Kruger safari pix 1

Forum members who have been on safari will know how addictive it can be. Itís more than just a matter of looking at the animals. The Kruger is about 380km long and averages 60km wide. It covers 20,000 sq/km which means itís big but not the biggest in Africa. The area was chosen as a park in 1896 largely because it wasnít much use for anything else and had been heavily hunted. When the first warden, James Stephen-Hamilton, arrived in 1902 there werenít even any elephants. The park gradually increased in size and the last increase seems to have been in 1969 when a whole tribe was displaced from what is now the northern part of the park. Happily, they now have the land back, but it still forms part of the park. There was an increase in the eco area (but not the park itself) c1993 when the fence on the western side was removed thus allowing animals access to the extensive private reserves lying to the west.

The range of habitats is very diverse and managing what is essentially an enclosed reserve takes great skill and scientific knowledge. From the point of view of the visitor it means there is an endless variety of flora and fauna to admire and photograph. You never know what will be round the next corner and itís the anticipation that makes a large part of the fun. In this post Iíve taken the pictures as they came at the time. They are all OOC JPGs resized and in some cases cropped.

DAY 1

Elderly male buffalo get chucked out of the herd and must fend for themselves, eventually falling prey to a lion. Theyíre known as dagga boys. Like all males without any responsibility they just lounge around all day.



Most of the buffalo we saw were in small groups rather than the large herds you may encounter, especially in the north. There are about 40,000 of them.

Almost as numerous are zebra, 30,000, which can be found almost anywhere in the park. Note the tail or lack thereof in this photo.



Animals donít just stand around waiting to be snapped. You have to keep a sharp eye open although in this case we were alerted to the presence of this skulking hyena by the presence of a couple of other cars. Coming from our direction he was hidden by the tree.



Hyenas are mainly thought of as scavengers but are effective hunters in their own right.

One species which is causing conservation concern is the Ground Hornbill, a spectacular looking bird. This is the first of three sightings Ė more than the total number for all our previous visits.



DAY 2

Itís not uncommon to see a Slender Mongoose but normally you get no more than a flash of movement before they disappear from sight. This one was interested in the remains of something squashed on the road and hung around long enough to have his pic taken. They eat lizards, eggs, beetles etc and are preyed on mainly by eagles.



Sightings of Ground Hornbill on consecutive days has never happened to us before. This time there was a juvenile in the party. Two eggs are laid but only one nestling survives. They eat tortoises, snakes and beetles.



This chap is a Kori Bustard. They weigh up to 12kg and are amongst the largest flying birds.



Kudu bulls have spectacular horns and they always look at you in a rather supercilious way. Itís not unknown for bulls to get their horns locked together during a fight and to be unable to separate.



Iíd like to be able to tell you we saw a leopard but the nearest we got was this Leopard Tortoise. Theyíre quite common, especially after rain, and are usually spotted crossing the road.



This may look like our grey squirrel but itís actually a Tree Squirrel (there is a ground version in case you wonder). This one was photographed at the Muzandzeni picnic spot where it has become tame. Usually you see them, tail in air, dashing across the road.



Thatís just two daysí worth and youíve been spared pictures of all bar one of the Big Five!
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Re: DIY Kruger safari pix 1

Those pictures make it worthwhile any organizing you had to do ...

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Re: DIY Kruger safari pix 1

Spectacular pictures and a very enjoyable and informative commentary.
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Re: DIY Kruger safari pix 1

Great to see these animals, good commentary too. Looking forward to seeing more.
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Re: DIY Kruger safari pix 1

Lovely shots. Took me back to our visit last July. Didn't see any tortoises though, apart from in captivity. Did see leopards and cheetahs though - amazing!
If it wasn't so much faff to get images into the Gallery on here, I would post some of mine.....
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Re: DIY Kruger safari pix 1

Fabulous photos David. Thank you for explaining the size of the park and its history. On another forum on facebook, one of the members spent 6 hours of waiting and watching for the perfect shot of a Leopard which he got in the end. I look forward to seeing more of your photos from your safari. I won't go walking in our forest at night as that is when the Leopards come to visit.
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Re: DIY Kruger safari pix 1

Quote:
Originally Posted by benvendetta View Post
Lovely shots. Took me back to our visit last July. Didn't see any tortoises though, apart from in captivity. Did see leopards and cheetahs though - amazing!
If it wasn't so much faff to get images into the Gallery on here, I would post some of mine.....
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Re: DIY Kruger safari pix 1

Quote:
Originally Posted by benvendetta View Post
Lovely shots. Took me back to our visit last July. Didn't see any tortoises though, apart from in captivity. Did see leopards and cheetahs though - amazing!
If it wasn't so much faff to get images into the Gallery on here, I would post some of mine.....
It's taken longer to post the pix than to organise the holiday!
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