Friday, 1 April 2011

south africa part 3

I loved the different markings on the giraffes and zebras.  The first photo was taken in Zambia.  We stayed at the Royal Livingstone hotel which is right at the top of Victoria Falls, and in the grounds they have giraffe roaming around (as well as a zillion monkeys).  This giraffe was so comical - the top of his head must have been itchy and he was trying to scratch it on a tree branch.  The giraffes we saw here were quite a different colour to the ones we saw in South Africa.

Our driver in Kruger told us that giraffe can be really curious, and we noticed that whenever we saw a group of them there was always one or two that watched what we were doing.  We thought they must  have been the group's lookout.  Apparently this does play a big part, but some of them are just plain nosey!

We saw lots of giraffe and zebra.  Of course everyone on the tour took heaps of photos, which amused our tracker enormously.  "All this excitement just for a couple of zebra" he said, shaking his head.

south africa part 2 - the rest of the big five

Still in Kruger National Park, we saw all of the big five in one day.  That's elephant, lion, leopard, rhino and buffalo.  The elephant gave us a bit of a start.  We saw him about 100m away on a track off the side of the road.  We lost sight of him so our driver drove slowly along and as the road rounded a clump of trees, the elephant came round the trees from the other direction.  We startled the elephant and he trumpeted and flapped his ears and did a little mock charge, which of course made everyone in the vehicle jump!  One of the ladies in our group was videoing and when she replayed that bit of the video, she'd captured the sound of the elephant very well but the only vision she got was the bottom of her husband's trouser leg and the floor of the vehicle (the elephant scared her so much that she'd dropped the camera).

Apparently we were very lucky to see a couple of leopards out in the open right near the road as they can be quite elusive.  One wasn't particularly worried, but one looked at us then decided to retreat further into the bush.  Beautiful animals!

We were also very lucky to see a female white rhino and her calf.  We watched them for about 5 minutes or so before slowly moving off to let them eat in peace.

south africa part 1 - the lions!

The highlight of any trip to South Africa is probably the animals.  While we were there we had a couple of days in Kruger National Park, which was absolutely wonderful!  On one of the game drives we came across these lions - 3 adult females and two cubs, one was about 6 weeks old and one about 3 months.  They weren't at all worried about the vehicle being so close.  They just looked at us for 5 minutes or so, then decided to get up and amble past us and wander up the road for a while.  It was just magic!  We followed them for about 20 minutes before they headed off the side of the road and into the bush.

We saw the male lion on one of the other game drives.  He wasn't really interested in moving either.  He looked like he'd had a good feed and was content to sleep in the sun.