Krüger National Park Day 1, Elephantastic

Elephantastic shadows, Kruger National Park

Elephantastic shadows, Kruger National Park

What an elephantastic start to my Kruger National Park adventure. If we keep going at this rate, I could update half daily.

Early morning start, Sandy even got up early to unlock the gate. Thanks again for letting me stay at Gypsy Backpackers, Sabie. She has really a cute afrenglish accent.

I was warned for long queues at the gate, but was nicely surprised, that never happened. It was rather quiet, just the way I like it.

An impala checking out Zimba, strange looking zebra, Kruger National Park

An impala checking out Zimba, strange looking zebra, Kruger National Park

I decided to drive along the Sabie river, being greeted by a few off 2.5 million impala. I noticed fresh elephant piles on the street, they can’t be too far. High grass and dense bush makes even these giants hard to spot. But there was a smell of elephant in the air. Climbing up on to Zimba’s roof, I saw a massive herd in the dry river bed running parallel to the road. There was a bridge crossing not far from here, that’s where I am going.

Enjoying the green vegetation, Kruger National Park

Enjoying the green vegetation, Kruger National Park

And there they were, elephants, lots of elephants! Even if I tried, I wouldn’t be able to count them. I parked away from their trails, but close enough for photos. That is not easy, having a small window and opportunity.

Head high to be seen, Kruger National Park

Head high to be seen, Kruger National Park

It didn’t take long for us to be surrounded by elephants. This surely is and adrenaline pumping moment. One needs to stay cool and savour the moment. In contrast to the roadblock in Pilansberg, these were very much more cautious.

The safety scout, Kruger National Park

The safety scout, Kruger National Park

Some younger females coming quite close, lifting their trunk to smell if the air is clear for them to cross. Younger bulls showed what they could do, but remained well behaved.

Jumbo junior, Kruger National Park

Jumbo junior, Kruger National Park

Even youngsters flapped their ears, so cute. Meanwhile I was surrounded by elephants, left, right and centre. What an incredible feeling that is.

Elephant in elephant grass, Kruger National Park

Elephant in elephant grass, Kruger National Park

I backed up to the riverbed, where a few late arrivals were mingling in the high grass. When they disappeared in the thick bush, it was ghostly quiet.

I really like these elephant shadows,  Kruger National Park

I really like these elephant shadows, Kruger National Park

Only dust and elephant droppings reminded of this spectacle a few minutes ago.

A big Kudu bull, Kruger National Park

A big Kudu bull, Kruger National Park

I drove on to spot the usual suspects. A kudu pair were enjoying the juicy leaves.

Zebras impressed by Zimba, Kruger National Park

Zebras impressed by Zimba, Kruger National Park

A herd off zebra  was staying quiet and a giraffe calf was resting whilst mum munched on the upper tree leaves. They leave here.

The freshest leaves on top, Kruger National Park

The freshest leaves on top, Kruger National Park

The map showed a little dam, possibly a good place to spot other animals.

A wild dog crossing,, Kruger National Park

A wild dog crossing,, Kruger National Park

Just before the turn off, three wild dogs crossed the street. To my right, a few more arrived. The leaders, who already crossed the street, ran back to see what the rest of the pack was doing.

The leader waiting for the rest of the wild dog pack, Kruger National Park

The leader waiting for the rest of the wild dog pack, Kruger National Park

They were in a hurry, spotting and tracking. They all ran of in to the bush and just like that, they disappeared. Just one other car was lucky to witness this spectacle, the window and opportunity is very small. Wild dogs are seldom seen here, lucky me. And that’s how it is, gotta be lucky and at the right spot, at the very much right time.

A spikey welcome at Skukuza Rest ramp, Kruger National Park

A spikey welcome at Skukuza Rest ramp, Kruger National Park

 I checked in to ‘Skukuza’ camp. I even got the Namibian discount on conservation fees, facts are facts.

Pumpa at work, Kruger National

Pumpa at work, Kruger National

Pumba and family were busy cleaning, hoovering the garden area. Moving forward on their front knees,and bum in the air. I was tempted to plug their tail in to an extension court, to use then as an electrical vacuum cleaner.

A vacuum without electrical cables, Kruger National Park

A vacuum without electrical cables, Kruger National Park

The young one challenged his mom, he seemed a bit bored. 

Vital lessons for the future, don’t mess with mom, Kruger National Park

Vital lessons for the future, don’t mess with mom, Kruger National Park

Even Zimba made new friends.

Zebra and warthogs, Kruger National Park

Zebra and warthogs, Kruger National Park

I left for an afternoon drive and almost straight away got in to another traffic jam.

A common sight in Kruger National Park

A common sight in Kruger National Park

They seem to be rather common around here, I really don’t mind.

Mother leading by example at road crossing, Kruger National Park

Mother leading by example at road crossing, Kruger National Park

These grey giants seemed rather relaxed, but knew the danger of road crossings. Mom waited for the tiny youngster by the side of road, before guarding her calf safety in numbers over the tar.

School book road crossing, Kruger National Park

School book road crossing, Kruger National Park

Protecting their young is main priority in this vast country. 

Green grass along the Sabie Riverbanks, Kruger National Park

Green grass along the Sabie Riverbanks, Kruger National Park

A herd of impala were enjoying the view under a shady tree. I am a little surprised how green and lush some areas are. 

A lone waterbuck, Kruger National Park

A lone waterbuck, Kruger National Park

I drove a bit further north and away from the rivers, a few dams are located up there. This  resulted in little success on my search for desired wild life. A waterbuck stuck his head up out of the tall grass. However, a rather strange and colourful looking bird strolled along the tarmac, whilst his friends were hiding in the the bushes.

A rare Ground Hornbill, Kruger National Park

A rare Ground Hornbill, Kruger National Park

This happened to be the quite rare Ground Hornbill. He sure was checking Zimba out.

Dam sunset reflections, Kruger National Park

Dam sunset reflections, Kruger National Park

The dams further up had little wildlife, it seems to be to dry up here. The reflections were scenic though. More juicy grass along the few flowing rivers.

Sunlight torch, Kruger National Park

Sunlight torch, Kruger National Park

The sun agreed and shone me the way.

Keeping an eye out for strangers, Kruger National Park

Keeping an eye out for strangers, Kruger National Park

A small herd off elephants rounded this elephantastic day off. 

Dinner for two, Kruger National Park

Dinner for two, Kruger National Park

And that it was.

 

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