Today was a good day! Waking up at 4:55, after your alarm doesn’t go off at 4:45, even though you plan to leave the house at 5:10 doesn’t sound like a great start, especially when you also have no water. But, it all worked out in the end.
Very few things deserve such an early start, but the Kruger National Park is one of them. We managed to head out with a friend by about 5:25, getting to the Crocodile Bridge gate an hour later. Although the gate only opens at 6:00, there was already a queue of cars waiting as they were only letting in about 15/20 cars at a time. It was really funny how some of the drivers were complaining (mainly GP cars, sorry guys, it’s true). We however didn’t complain when they turned around and left the queue, making it shorter for everyone else 🙂 In the end it took us about an hour to get in.
We started out by seeing a little jackal trotting off into the distance. A little later we saw some impala fighting. For those who’ve been to Kruger park you’ll know that you very quickly get to the point where you don’t even tell people if you see impala, or you merely saw “more impala” and no-one even turns to look. But, if you add an action then they are interesting again (“Impala eating” or “Impala running” don’t count!). The clip isn’t very long, but it gives you a little idea
This goshawk (I think) seemed to be scratching at something on the branch that belonged to the lilac breasted rollers who were dive bombing “him”. We probably intervened a bit in nature, as our car chased the goshawk away.
I was also super excited to see a Malachite Kingfisher. It is the first time that I’ve seen a real one even though as a little girl I saw one on a postcard, bought the postcard, and decided that they would be my favourite bird. Probably just because they are small and oh so pretty. Somehow since then I’ve always considered them my favourite.
The crocs have seemed to all come out to start warming up in the sun. See the brave little turtle?
There was also a HUGE herd of buffalo hanging out by the river.
But, most importantly, WE SAW A CAT! The 3 of us in the car seemed to have had the least luck with cats, even though we’ve probably been into the park the most. This GORGEOUS leopard was chilling in the shade on the river bank. We weren’t able to get a great photo since he wasn’t that close, but I’d say this is enough for evidence. Leopards sure do cause traffic jams though! We managed to get through ok, on the way through, but after turning around to come back we got stuck in a gridlock for about 40 minutes, with nothing but a view of the bushes on the other side of the road. It also didn’t help the gridlock that elephants and giraffe decided it was a good time to cross the road on either side of the jam. As we got out a traffic control car was arriving to try sort out the issue.
That made it 4 out of the big 5, but we didn’t manage to find the lions that have been in the area. Next time 🙂
After such an early start to the day an afternoon nap was much needed. Waking up to the sound of the toilet refilling one glug at a time was also a welcome sound! We have water again, for now…
This is a cute little guy who was bravely crossing the road last weekend. I hope he made it across safely!
We really are blessed to be so close to Kruger. Hopefully now that we have seen one cat we will see many more 🙂