Monday, 9 January 2012

Holiday Magic

Our December holiday was a fantastic affair. :) We both had a very tough year and we really needed a break. Our plans were as follows. 6 days in Kruger, 2 days panorama route and then another 3 days in Kruger. :)

For months we planned, made lists, checked our camping gear and dreamed about the day of departure. Finally on the 18th of December the big day arrived. The car was packed we were ready to go! We took 3 days to drive the 1700km to Malelane where we spent our first night.
Villa Langa in Malelane is a beautiful guesthouse and ideal for passing travellers. They have a pool, air conditioned rooms and a braai. We arrived at around 13h00, unpacked the car and headed off to Malelane gate to enter the Kruger National Park!

The Kruger Park was established in 1926 to try and protect the animals and biodiversity of the African Bush. Today there are about 150 mammal-, 500 bird-, 340 tree-, 115reptile-, 50 fish- and 35 amphibian species in the park.

The first animals we saw was Impala, surprise, surprise! Impala are VERY common antelope in the Lowveld but they are also one of the most superbly adapted species in this area.
Still on the tar road heading away from Malelane gate even before the turnoff to the S25 we came across our first member of the Big Five. But before we could see exactly what it was we spotted this idiot getting out of the car!
I would rather take my chances playing chicken with a 10ton truck. At least the truck does not have a temper!!

The ears of an African elephant are enormous with a bull elephant having ears 2m X 1.2m and weighing 20kg each. These have multiple uses. Besides hearing they are used to express mood during social interactions. They also play a vital role in thermoregulation, effectively dissipating three-quarters of the heat needed to maintain a constant body temperature. An elephant can pump all of its blood through its ears every 20 minutes!
We tuned onto the gravel S25. Creaping along at about 15km/hour we cruitinezed ever tree, bush and shrub. Every few minutes we would stop and investigate a couple of rocks lying under a tree. In our hurry the binuculars was left at the guesthouse so we used the camera to take a picture and then zoom in to see what was under, in or around the tree. It is kinda like digging for gold. Our success rate turned out to be 0.001%!

I only saw these lions under the tree when we got back home and I started to go through the pictures. Because the were between the above mentioned elephant sighting and the next giraffe sighting I assume that we saw them during first couple of minutes on the S25. :)

That makes 2 of the big 5 in the first 10km in the park! (Lions are VERY well comoflaged!) Lions are extremely lethargic for the majority of their lives, spending about 20 hours a day resting.

Our next surprise was a beautiful giraffe.

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