7 Weeks in Kruger: The Far North
Wow what a week!
I arrived in Kruger National Park early on Tuesday morning and have used the Punda Maria Rest Camp as my first base, exploring the far north of the park around the Pafuri and Punda areas. It's been incredible.
Firstly it is such a beautiful area of the park - the baobab and fevertree woodlands around the floodplains of the Luvuvhu and Limpopo Rivers are simply stunning. These woodlands support an incredible abundance and variety of bird life and it is a birding paradise - I've already seen 96 species of bird!
The north is not famous for its predator densities but I have had several excellent lion and spotted hyena sightings. A 14-strong pride of lions, including 3 young cubs, has been spending a lot of time at the Klopperfontein Dam area at the junction of the S61 and H1-8 and have taken buffalo and impala kills this week.
The cooler mornings have seen a huge amount of activity with the lions playing on fallen trees and the wall of the dam - and I've had nobody else with me during these sightings! It's been an absolute privilege.
The spotted hyena was eating this large carcass although it was hard to tell if it was a hunt (probably not because he could not have eaten all of it so quickly) or a scavenge (also hard to say because he was solo and would not have been able to chase off lions without support from clan members) but it was a special 5am sighting on the S60 road. The hyena's powerful jaw and tank-like teeth were crunching through the bones and made for a very discomforting sound!
It's been antelope galore too. I've already seen a number of less common species and had fantastic viewings of them, with some superb photos for the wildlife guide section of the KrugerExplorer App that will really help people identify the animals they are seeing in the park.
This little slideshow gallery includes:
- A male nyala in full stride, seen on the S64 (aptly referred to as Nyala Drive!)
- The golden colours of a steenbok contrasting against the burned veld on the H1-8.
- A tsessebe, pronounced 'sissy-bee' and the fastest species of antelope, heading into Klopperfontein Dam for a drink.
- The huge eland, the largest antelope, about to cross the H1-8 and the vast plains with no tourist roads to the east.
- A beautiful Sharpe's grysbok, a shy and rarely seen antelope species on the S99 Mahonie Loop road.
The extra research for the App has also been excellent and will add so much more detailed, high quality and up-to-date content for users to plan routes, which we're really excited about.
It's not all been plain sailing of course - a puncture meant getting messed up with grease and dust to change it and now I need to figure out a new spare wheel. It might even mean leaving the park for one of the nearby towns and adapting my route and plans accordingly. But this is nature and expecting the unexpected is all part of the adventure!
Next I travel to Shingwedzi Rest Camp and the flood plains of the Shingwedzi River which offers dramatic scenery, prime elephant country and, with a bit of luck, the odd leopard...
The KrugerExplorer App is coming in Q1 2019 - found out more at: