This past November, I spent 10 days in the Kruger National Park solo (in case you missed my first post last week about the trip, you can read it here). November is a great month to go to the Kruger. First off, since it is just before the busy holiday season, it is a lot less crowded. Temperatures are starting to heat up, but the good news is that starting in November, the camp gates open at 4:30 am and close at 6:30 pm. You can beat the heat by getting out early and head back to camp once it heats up around 10 or so for a break (or if you don’t mind the heat, you may just stay out all day until gate close like I usually do!). But the best thing about this time of year is that Kruger is filled with all sorts of adorable babies. The park explodes with cuteness and I want to share some of my favorite baby photos with you today.
Impala lamb, probably a day or two old
A few weeks ago I was lucky to spend an amazing 10 days travelling solo through the Kruger National Park. You may remember I took my first solo trip earlier in the year and wrote about it here, and here and here. The Frenchie was unable to get any time off of work and since I had such a great trip the last time, it was an easy decision for me to return. I have a lot of stories I hope to tell, but I want to start off with one of the most amazing safari experiences of all time for me.
It all started with a before dawn departure from Lower Sabie Rest Camp. I was slowly making my way over to Mlondozi Dam via some gravel roads when I spotted another vehicle stopped just ahead. A spark of anticipation mounted as I carefully approached the other car, not wanting to scare off whatever it was they were observing. As soon as I arrived, they pulled out and continued on their journey. I found myself parked just in front of a large tree and when I looked up I saw this:
Warthog in Tree
Back in July, we ventured north to spend a long weekend in Mapungubwe National Park. We had been wanting to visit this park for some time and we were really excited to find availability over my birthday weekend.
View of South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe
If you have already been following my blog, it is probably quite apparent that I truly love the amazing wildlife we have here in South Africa. I am also a big supporter of the idea of keeping the wildlife wild. I absolutely do not support the numerous animal interaction activities that are found all over the country such as lion cub petting and walking, elephant back safaris, ostrich riding or cheetah cuddling. Most times these types of places will claim that what they are doing is all for conservation reasons but most true conservationists agree it is anything but conservation. Lion cub petting probably tops my list of the worst of the bunch due to the connection to canned lion hunting. There is a lot of information out there on this topic if you just seek it out but if you need a start you can read here and here.
One of the rescued male lions at Lionsrock
Fortunately there are also many organizations here in South Africa doing true conservation and/or rescue work. We had the opportunity to visit one such place a few weekends ago, Lionsrock Big Cat Sanctuary, located in the Free State about 3 hours south of Joburg near Bethleham. Lionsrock is a sanctuary for big cats rescued from horrific conditions in zoos, circuses and canned hunting situations from all over the globe.
Back in February, I took a solo trip to Kruger National Park. I am trying to get caught up on my adventures but life seems to keep getting in the way of my blogging (all in a good way). In my last Kruger post, I wrote about my sighting of 2 lionesses that I had all to myself. That day in particular was probably my most exciting ever on safari and today I would like to share another fantastic sighting from that same day.
As I mentioned in my post about the lionesses, this day started out grey and misty with rain showers lurking so my expectations were rather low for the day. My first sighting for the day was one of my favorite eagles, the Bateleur. The eagle was fairly close, up in a tree, just off the road. But with the unfavorable weather conditions, the lighting was terrible. After spending 10 or 15 unsuccessful minutes trying to get a decent shot of this bird, I noticied there had been no other cars coming in the opposite direction and the couple of cars that came from behind me did not even stop and quickly continued up the road.
I started to wonder what I might be missing up ahead and gave up trying to photograph the bateleur. I continued up the road and after about a minute I was greeted by around 20 vehicles coming towards me on both sides of the road. I knew it had to be something big but with the tall grass it took me a minute or so to see this:
Cheetahs in the long grass