Krüger National Park Day five, Herbivores on a catwalk

Grazing zebra n disbelief, Kruger National Park

Grazing zebra n disbelief, Kruger National Park

My final day in Kruger National Park and I was still on the lookout for the elusive chequered cats. Neighbours told me again where and when they spotted a leopard or a cheetah. The frustrating part is, that I was in the area, just not the right time. The cat scan continued. From Melalane private camp I set out early morning.

The ever vary white rhino mom and calf, Kruger National Park

The ever vary white rhino mom and calf, Kruger National Park

The day started well, spotting a rhino and a rhino and calf in two different location. The sun came up as spectacular as always. I scanned all possible trees leopards could rest in, but without success.

Colourful sunrise behind acacia trees, Kruger National Park

Colourful sunrise behind acacia trees, Kruger National Park

I drove along the Crocodile River facing the sun. Along the way, I noticed a lot of grazers quite happily posing for the camera. I wasn’t going to pass that opportunity on. It appeared all meat eaters moved on and the grazers felt safe.

Giraffes early morning stroll, Kruger National Park

Giraffes early morning stroll, Kruger National Park

First on were a couple of giraffes, happily grazing along the track.

Still sleepy eyes, Kruger National Park

Still sleepy eyes, Kruger National Park

They weren’t fazed by us.

Impala buck in heat, Kruger National Park

Impala buck in heat, Kruger National Park

There were plenty of impalas scattered around. With spring in the air, the bucks get excited about the mating season; grunting like pigs and farting like crazy. I would say they are marking their territory from other bucks or it possibly attracts the females. That doesn’t stop them springing and chasing each other crossroads, testing your brakes for sure.

Croc footprints, Kruger National Park

Croc footprints, Kruger National Park

I stopped at the hippo pools again, it was time for a coffee. There were fresh croc footprints on the track, but none were to be seen. The sun rays warmed me up and heated the action in the river.

Hippo childplay, Kruger National Park

Hippo child play, Kruger National Park

I sat on top of Zimba and watched to hippo calves testing their strength, under the watchful eye of mom. So cute to watch in peace and quiet.

Watchful hippo mom, Kruger National Park

Watchful hippo mom, Kruger National Park

I was busting for a wee when I got busted. A bakkie car drove in and when I came out from behind the car, he showed some sort of license and demanded me to get back in the car. Alright, alright I said, I was just going for a pee. Getting out of the car in Kruger National Park is not permitted! What if a predator came up and attacked you, he asked? I would be shittin myself as well then, I replied. He just didn’t appreciate that comment but didn’t know what to reply either. I know I was in the wrong, but I checked the area before too. Off I drove again and passed the dried river bed, which the elephant died yesterday. There were even more vultures fighting for eating dominance, but no jackal or hyenas to be seen. It was a bit far of to see exactly what was going on.

Vultures lookout, Kruger National Park

Vultures lookout, Kruger National Park

Some were still waiting in line. Meanwhile, the grazing animal community wasn’t shy to show what they’ve got. It was a posing day, they seem to be on a catwalk.

Waterbuck catwalk, Kruger National Park

Waterbuck catwalk, Kruger National Park

A waterbuck showed his colourful behind.

Impala synchronised catwalking, Kruger National Park

Impala synchronized catwalking, Kruger National Park

Some impala impressed with synchronised catwalking across the track

Wilderbeast fly dance, Kruger National Park

Wildebeast fly dance, Kruger National Park

And a wildebeast was shaking its booty to the beat of the pestering flies. Arriving at the Crocodile River camp area, my hopes were high to spot a cheetah. They faded rather quick, driving up and down the tracks. There are three mother cheetahs with cubs in this area I been told, seemed like they weren’t keen on the catwalk. At least I tried I thought and focused on grazing wildlife.

No show without elephants, Kruger National Park

No show without elephants, Kruger National Park

Elephants, always shining to pose, crossed the catwalk next. One lady elephant was even wearing eyebrow extensions, oh la la Madame. Looking elephantastic.

Elephant eyebrows extensions, Kruger National Park

Elephant eyebrows extensions, Kruger National Park

After all this showbiz, intermission was called. Time for a coffee.

Zebras on the lookout for a motorised cousin, Kruger National Park

Zebras on the lookout for a motorized cousin, Kruger National Park

I turned off to a larger grazing area, and some peace and quiet.

Painted zebra, Kruger National Park

Painted zebra, Kruger National Park

A herd of zebras joined in slowly and couldn’t believe to see this oversized zebra.

Did you see that?, Kruger National Park

Did you see that?, Kruger National Park

In disbelief, they came closer to check Zimba out.

Ha ha, that’s not a zebra, Kruger National Park

Ha ha, that’s not a zebra, Kruger National Park

They were even laughing at him it appeared. What a spectacle to watch. Coffee and a show gotta be happy with that.

Cardinals woodpecker woodpecking, Kruger National Park

Cardinals woodpecker, Kruger National Park

The Hyde at the waterhole was tranquil, apart from the wood knocking Cardinal Woodpecker, identified by fellow bird watching experts.

Kudu family, Kruger National Park

Kudu family, Kruger National Park

A larger Kudu herd enjoyed a family outing along side the road.

Kudu in disbelief, Kruger National Park

Kudu in disbelief, Kruger National Park

They were rather curious on what the fuzz was all about. Two Inala bucks weren’t far but got scared off by cars. Shame, they have pretty colours and stripes, a little similar to a Kudu. A few more impala showing off their mating ritual. Kinda amusing really.

Impala closeup, Kruger National Park

Impala closeup, Kruger National Park

An eagle wasn’t impressed by the spectacle. 

Eagle eye view, Kruger National Park

Eagle eye view, Kruger National Park

The cavalry arrived shortly after.

Baboon brigade, Kruger National Park

Baboon brigade, Kruger National Park

They seemed rather in a hurry, some more than others.

Baboon play, Kruger National Park

Baboon play, Kruger National Park

There’s always time for a scratch though.

Scratching that itch, Kruger National Park

Scratching that itch, Kruger National Park

Before hitching a ride with mom.

Monkey ride, Kruger National Park

Monkey ride, Kruger National Park

I should have recognized the signs, something is going on. A car pulled over and said a leopard was spotted on the road. I had given up on the whole cat idea and was quite happy taking photos of posing grazers. But this was it. Like all cars around me, the chase began. The leopard disappeared in the bushes. Whilst the other cars were looking, I drove further down.

Spot the leopard part two, Kruger National Park

Spot the leopard part two, Kruger National Park

I saw him for a brief moment in the thick grass chasing a waterbuck, then there was nothing. I sat around for a while, with no glimpse of this graceful cat. But at least I had been given another chance to get a glimpse of a leopard.

It was already late afternoon when I left Kruger National Park, much later then I intended. I was literally exhausted, my legs were shaky. I’ve driven a good 1000 km’s, spent hours in the car watching or waiting on wildlife.  It has been an exciting, dramatic, even hectic at times, adventure. But it sure was packed with lots of memorable moments to treasure. And photos.

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