Thursday, 9 February 2012

A Walk on the Wild Side - Kruger National Park... Part IV

Later, that afternoon…

A Cape Buffalo
Heading back toward civilization, we saw our first cluster of Cape buffalo – about fifteen in all. 

Looking Down on Us All

And just after the buffalo, some kudu and giraffe; the sultry heat was gradually being replaced by the cool of late afternoon, bringing more game into the open. 

Then, crossing a causeway over a stream with small boulders on either side; a turtle catching the last rays of the sun on a rock.  He was so close I could have reached out of the car door and ’turtlenapped’ him if I’d been so inclined.  Since he was the size of a melon with thick scaly legs and an even longer, leathery neck ending in a very business-like beak, which should protect him, but sadly many of them are taken out of the Park each year. This was the African Helmeted Turtle, occurring all over Africa from the Cape Province to Ghana in West Africa.

African Helmeted Turtle
Tired and thoroughly happy with our day, we headed for the nearest gate and home.  We had made a large loop through the park, like a giant “C” and driven through several ecosystems seeing a good number of animals.  As it was getting late and the sun had almost set, the day was effectively over…We had about twenty minutes to leave the Park and didn’t anticipate any more excitement…

The zebra were standing completely still, only the twitching of an ear and the occasional flick of a tail, giving them away under the thorn trees.  Good thing they were on M’s side as I would have missed them completely!

Leopard - Another Time, Another Place

Not even fifteen minutes later, we were out of the Park at the Paul Kruger Gate and heading home via Hazyview, the banana growing capital of South Africa’s Lowveld. We had seen all of the big five (bar one) – only the leopard was missing. Of course, you will have to allow us the White Rhino (that we saw) instead of the much more dangerous, threatened Black Rhino (that we didn’t see)… We had spent the most amazing day and it’s hard to believe that all this was in our “backyard”.  

Tomorrow, the wrap-up and and a few more pictures...


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