Unexpected visit to Kruger National Park…Never disappoints…

No more than 10 minutes into Kruger we spotted elephants.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Kudu sticks out her tongue in anticipation of being hand fed pellets.  We don’t feed the males by hand due to the risk of an unintended injury by their massive and dangerous antlers.

When we miraculously uploaded yesterday’s post by around 11:45 am and the sun was shining on a beautiful day, impulsively I said to Tom, “Let’s go to Kruger now!”

We assumed the dark brown color was due to rolling around in a muddy waterhole.

Although midday may not be the perfect time to find wildlife out and about in the heat of the sun, we decided “why not?”  We’d never entered the park this late in the day but it wasn’t as if we had any other pressing matters on the agenda…the wildlife “at home” could wait for our return if they happened to stop by and we weren’t around.

There were a few giraffes a distance from the road.  Unfortunately, in Kruger visitors must stay on the roads.  Returning to the Masai Mara (in February) on our Greg Harvey Wildlife Photography Tour we’ll have a guide driving the safari vehicle and they are able to drive off-road

Since we were both showered and dressed for the day it took us only a few minutes to get ready to head out the door; gather our passports, park entrance documents, camera and extra batteries, binoculars, and drinks in our mugs (water for me and iced tea for Tom).

When we’d given up hope of seeing a parade of elephants, safari luck kicked in and once again, we were gifted with these elephants crossing the road.  We couldn’t believe the baby’s determined stride!

By noon, we were out the door to head to the petrol station to put air in the little blue car’s tires.  We have to do this every few days but refuse to pay for tire repairs on the rental car, especially since we’ll only have it for another 17 days. 

If we’d been a few minutes earlier we’d have seen the entire parade but we were thrilled with what we did get an opportunity to witness.

Hopefully, the vehicle we’ve rented for the next three more months, which we’ll pick up in Nelspruit after we return from Zambia on May 18th, won’t have similar problems as the past few rentals in South Africa.

Check out the size of this newborn calf which probably was born in the past week.

Once we crossed the Crocodile Bridge and reached the entrance to the park, when we showed our Wild Card (annual pass to the park) we were told we’d have to go inside in order to be allowed to enter the park.

There were dozens more than we could capture in a single photo.

Any visitors arriving after 12:00 pm have to register inside the reception building.  Little did we know it would take 15 minutes to have a rep at the desk check us in.  Next time, we’ll make sure to arrive before noon to avoid this added wait.

We could see, at a distance, where they all were headed.

By 12:45 we were on the main paved road with a plan to drive for an hour or more and then turn around and head back the same way.  With the car’s bad tires, we weren’t about to tackle a washboard dirt road. 

Mating season.  A little hugging perhaps?

One might wonder “Why would you want to return the same way you came?”  The answer it simple.  We can see nothing on the way in and magic happening on the way out.  Wildlife is unpredictable and although they may have favorite watering holes and foraging spots they wander many kilometers on any given day.

Kruger is 19,485 square kilometers (7,523 square miles), the size of the country of Wales.  It’s odd to imagine that driving on any road, paved or dirt, we’d actually encounter any wildlife at all, considering how much space they have to wander.  But, we do.  And it can be on the main paved road or a dirt road with little predictability.

Check out the look on this zebras face!

Once we get a car with better tires, we’ll explore more of the dirt roads in the park, more for a change of scenery than in hopes of seeing more wildlife.  We already know the main road very well recognizing vegetation and watering holes along the way.

It proved to be a good day based on the photos we’re sharing today and will continue to share in the future as we accumulate more and more good shots we’ve been able to take while in the park.

We made it a challenge to see how many bushbabies we can capture in one photo. In this photo, it appears there are four when in fact there were six.  We’ll keep trying.

Today, we’re off to Komatipoort for a dentist appointment for me.  A filling I had repaired in Costa Rica has fallen out and needs to be repaired.  I don’t like going to a dentist but who does?  It’s just a fact of life we all must bear.  Our friend Gail made a recommendation for a good dentist located two doors from Wimpy’s Hamburgers near the Spar Supermarket.  Afterward, we’ll do some grocery shopping. 

So, that’s it for today, folks. We hope you have a fabulous day! Once the dentist appointment is over, my day will be just fine!

Photo from one year ago today, April 24, 2017:

A small uninhabited island off the coast of New Caledonia.  For more photos, please click here.

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