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.
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!
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.