Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Gate 1, South Africa - Day 7, Kruger National Park, afternoon

We had lunch in a fenced area with restaurants, picnic tables, a large gift shop and washrooms. Sat and ate overlooking a river with birds and animals that just looked so exotic to my North American eyes.
Hanging up under the eves of the building were fruit bats

Surprisingly cute.
Speaking of cute, the Kudu's ears just look way too big for their heads.
We disturbed him grazing and he didn't stay in this vulnerable position for long
Warthogs are another animal with odd proportions. Delicate little hooves and legs, big body and huge head. Not to mention the tusks and warts.
When we pointed out the injury on this giraffes neck our guide explained that male giraffes fight by "necking" ( wacking each other with their necks and heads) and can severely injure each other this way. This one also has odd horns.
They have very long tongues that strip the leaves off the thorny trees. They leave them totally bare, just the thorns remaining, so you can tell where a giraffe has been.
We knew that hyenas and wild dogs were rare sightings as they are more active at night.
Chris had read that they often make their dens in the culverts under the roads and there he was, a hyena, cooling off in a puddle in front of a culvert.
I never got tired of seeing the animals in their natural habitat. The giraffes move slowly, not a worry in the world, with a rocking horse movement and a head bob.

Kudus with their markings that look like someone dribbled a bit of white paint on their backs.
A bachelor group of Impala, all with their corkscrew horns.
We drove up to a reservoir. Lots of activity here. I think he is a Grey Heron
This little guy is quite distinctive but a quick look on the birding websites didn't give me a name.
White Faced Whistling Ducks
Nobody else in the vehicle was taking pictures of the birds. They were way more interested in

the Hippos
and the zillions of Impala grazing on the banks.
We drove away as another vehicle arrived. Obviously a guaranteed viewing spot so they all check in here.
The guide stopped to point this bird out but I don't remember what it was called. Dad called to say he has a bird book for South Africa so at some point I will add the names to the blog.
More Zebra
and this time, a foal.
He stayed pretty close to Mum.
Heading back to the gate, but wait, here come more elephants

Look at that tiny one, second from the left.
Our guide told us that if they can still walk under their mother they are less than a year old.
Right across in front of us and then disappeared into the scrub to the right.
A great end to a whole day in Kruger. It flew by and we couldn't believe we had been driving around for 6 hours.

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