Final Kruger photos for now…What is the plural names for groups of African animals?…Rather humorous

A herd of impalas at the river.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

A female kudu in the background isn’t happy that Mr. Kudu is getting all of the attention.

It’s not so hot today, with the sky primarily overcast with patches of blue peeking through from time to time. By 6:00 am, we were outdoors on the veranda after we’d heard the sound of hoofs on the dry, dusty driveway in front of our vacation home.

This is a Magpie Shrike.  Thanks to friends Lynne and Mick for aiding in identifying today’s birds.

There stood Mr. Kudu, who’s become a regular in these parts, stopping by a few times each day to see what’s on the agenda. Yesterday, upon returning in the afternoon after our shopping trip to Komatipoort, there were no less than eight kudus in our yard, seemingly awaiting our return.

This is a Southern Ground Hornbill in the grass.

Oddly, a group of kudu is called a “forkl” of kudu as opposed to a herd.  Here’s a list of plural nouns of African animals from this site:

An armoury of aardvarks
A shrewdness of apes
An army of ants
A troop of baboons
A cete of badgers
A cloud of bats
A herd of buffalo
A coalition of cheetahs
A cartload of chimpanzees
A quiver of cobras
A bask of crocodiles
A murder of crows
A pack of wild dogs
A convocation of eagles
A herd/parade/memory of elephants
A leash of foxes
A flamboyance of flamingos
A tower/journey of giraffes
A band of gorillas
A cast of hawks (general)
A kettle of hawks (in flight)
A boil of hawks (spiraling)
A bloat of hippos
A cackle of hyenas
A leap of leopards
A conspiracy of lemurs

A pride of lions
A troop/barrel of monkeys
A band of mongooses
A parliament of owls
A pandemonium of parrots
A prickle of porcupines
An unkindness of ravens
A crash of rhinos
A venue of vultures
An implausibility of wildebeest
A dazzle of zebras

This is a Burchell’s Starling.

I saved this list on my desktop and hopefully will use these nouns to correctly identify groups of animals we post. If any of our readers know of additional plural nouns for other African animals, please post a comment at the bottom of today’s post or send me an email.

A tower of giraffes at a distance.

Well, anyway, back to our forkl of kudu…they seemed happy to see us as they freely approached the veranda. Now, don’t get me wrong. We make no assumptions that animals come to visit “because they like us.”

An implausibility of wildebeest resting under a tree.

Undoubtedly, the fact we have plenty of pellets along with the opportunity to satisfy their curiosity about humans may be the main reason they come to call. Also, most wild animals have specific paths they regularly follow as they forage for food.

Danie explained that when giraffes graze off the treetops in an area for an extended period, the trees eventually emit a toxic taste, nature’s attempt to send them off to another area to allow the trees to replenish. Isn’t nature amazing?

Mom and baby zebra.

It’s these little morsels of information that are of particular interest to us. It’s not always about the wildlife we see and photograph. There’s so much more to this magical place.

This is an African Fish Eagle.

Today, we’re staying in, preparing a great dinner, one of our favorites, the “unwich,” lettuce wrapped sandwich (no bread) with fresh ham, chicken, roast beef, tomatoes, purple onion, cooked streaky bacon, mayonnaise, and for me, sliced avocado. On the side, we’ll have a lettuce salad with onions, bits of carrot, celery, and diced tomato tossed with our homemade dressing.

The one-lane bridge over the Crocodile River. Swimming and boating are not allowed on the Crocodile River due to dangers from crocs and hippos (the animals responsible for more human fatalities than any other in Africa).

At the moment, it’s quiet with no visitors insight. Indeed, sometime in the next hour or two, we may see a “band of mongooses” running around the yard, looking at us with an expression that says, “You got any of those raw eggs?”

“Yes,” we’ll say, “for you, we do!”

Happy day!

Photo from one year ago today, March 2, 2017:

One year ago, our cabin on Celebrity Solstice was comfortable and roomier than on some ships at 194 square feet (18 square meters).  The balcony is 54 square feet (5 square meters). We have plenty of storage space for our clothing and supplies when able to store our luggage under the bed, leaving ample walking space. For more photos, please click here.

Elephant day!!!…Safari luck prevails…Kruger National Park…The thought process of wildlife?

Our first photo of an elephant we spotted on Tuesday in Kruger National Park.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Often, we see francolins wandering in the bush.

We don’t want our worldwide readers to tire of wildlife photos. Over time, we’ll include other aspects of life in South Africa, but we’re like little kids in a candy shop for now…we can’t get enough.

Each time a visitor stops by, whether a frequent guest or someone new, we jump to attention (quietly, of course) to grab the yellow container of pellets and the camera.

We hoped to see an entire herd, but even one is a treasure when one can enter the park for the whole of a day and never see anything other than impalas and warthogs.

There’s no doubt in our minds that many of the wild animals are getting more comfortable with us, even in many cases, learning the sound of our voices. Gently and lovingly, we speak to them. In that way, they may be no different than engaging with household or farm animals that freely respond to human voices.

Most of the wildlife in Marloth Park are comfortable around one another, with few predators in the park except for an occasional visiting lion. He manages to enter from under the fence at the Crocodile River. Legend has it, that warthogs with their ability to dig with their snouts, leave open areas under the fences where the lions can enter.

We were very far from this elephant and were lucky to have seen it near the river.

As we spend hours each day observing animal behavior, grazing habits, and their interaction with one another, we are more and more amazed by the intellect of many of the wild animals surrounding us each day.

Entering Kruger National Park is an entirely different scenario than being in Marloth Park.  Although the animals in Marloth are on their foraging for food, in Kruger, they are “food” for many carnivorous animals, including lions, leopards, cheetah, hyenas, and others.

It’s a bit of scratching against a tree branch…

In these cases, few animals are safe from becoming today’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner, perhaps except for elephants and crocodiles. We’ve seen videos of lions taking down Cape Buffalo, giraffe, and baby elephants but seldom a full-grown adult elephant. 

An animal’s perception of the size of other animals is mind-boggling. It tells us so much about their ability to think and make decisions, yet many have refused to believe their abilities, referring to it as instinct. 

This is most likely a lone male elephant, as explained here:  “Male or bull elephants have very different social needs than the females. In the wild, males leave or are driven out of the family group as they approach sexual maturity. Males spend as much as 95% of their lives alone or in loose association with other bulls.”

But is it instinct when a lion checks out a full-grown elephant and asks, “Do I want to “go there?” In our perception, however naive it may be from such a short period of observation, they do have the capability of thinking.

A few minutes ago, I stopped to greet two female kudus and three youngsters. Feeding one of them from the palm of my hand while holding the small yellow pellet container in the other hand, she nudged my hand for more, even sticking her nose in the yellow container, all the while making eye contact with me.

Soon, he began to wander toward the river.

There’s something much more profound and meaningful than pure instinct in the above scenario.  And, when we watched this lone elephant standing near the river deciding whether or not to enter, we can only surmise that the thought process is much more profound than we may expect.

Are we humans so superior to the “wild things” that we assume we’re the only creatures on earth that can think, reason, and decide?

The exquisite massive beast stood staring at the river and soon wandered off after deciding not to drink or enter.

In our short period in Kruger on Tuesday, our hearts were filled by the wonder of what remains of magnificent animals in the wild in Africa, and we can only pray for a resolution for the senseless slaughter of these treasures of nature for their horns, tusks, hides, and meat. There’s no easy answer.

We shot this photo during a self-drive in Kruger in January 2014. We’ll always remain grateful for this sighting and may never be so lucky again. Click here for that post.

In sighting elephants in Kruger, it’s tricky. One could drive for days and never experience a single sighting.  Then, suddenly there are 30 or more on the road as we blissfully encountered four years ago, as shown in the above photo, from that post.

Having had such safari luck on Tuesday inspires us all the more to return to Kruger many more times, while during the periods in between, we revel in the surroundings in our very yard in Marloth Park.

We observed, hoping to see him drink or enter the river.

Today, we’re off to shop in Komatipoort, although at this point, after many visitors this morning, it’s difficult to leave… 

 Photo from one year ago today, March 1, 2017:

Sydney Harbour Bridge. It was one year ago today we boarded a cruise from Sydney. For more details, please click here.