Highlights from 7-Weeks in Kruger: Part 1
So our last blog post from Pretoriuskop concluded our epic trip through Kruger National Park, running from Pafuri Gate in the far north down to the Crocodile River in the south over many thousands of kilometres of driving.
We were just looking through the collection of blog posts on the website and wow, what an incredible experience and privilege, with so many amazing sightings and a few decent photos too!
Very excitingly, we’ve just booked our next big Kruger trip for October, and we will be playing the role of guides to Charlotte’s parents for some of the visit! We've also booked some time to head over to the superb Etosha National Park too - so much to look forward to!
It’s slightly self-indulgent but as we looked back on our last trip and got excited for our next one, we thought we’d do a recap of our favourite sightings and photos from our 7-Weeks in Kruger adventure too. There’s so many that we’ve split it into two posts and hope you enjoy.
Before that, a quick update on the KrugerExplorer App process. Wow is it difficult to build an App! All our written content (over 300,000 words, which is nearly 4-novels worth!), hundreds of brilliant photographs and the beautiful maps created by our cartographer Linda McKenzie at Digital Earth are all ready to go, but the tech side has posed some headaches.
To solve them, we’ve had to take a few steps backwards and have brought in additional expertise to help us get over the finish line and launched. While frustrating to be delayed, we want the App to be perfect and this is definitely the right decision in the long-run.
So we’re now planning for a late June / early July launch and will have an amazing, beautiful App that adds a huge wealth of information and insight to Kruger visitors’ trips through the park! Very exciting and we’ll keep you updated.
But back to those Kruger National Park self-drive safari highlights…!
The north of Kruger National Park is one of our favourite areas – the landscapes are different to the south and absolutely stunning, particularly around the Pafuri area. Birding is outstanding but while the area is not famed for its predator sightings, that doesn’t mean you don’t still see lions and leopards!
I had a couple of private hours with this big family of lions at Klopperfontein Dam and the overcast weather conditions meant they were cool and playful, making for some wonderful shots…
Some bush burning also offer clearer views across the veld and I loved the beautiful colours of this steenbok antelope against the ashen landscape.
Travelling further south, the Shingwedzi area of the park hosts huge herds of elephants in stunning and varied landscapes. I managed to get myself caught between two herds (not ideal!) but with little option remaining, I turned off the engine and enjoyed the show, including this wonderfully charismatic youngster who was showing off a juicy branch find to a sibling with absolute glee!
A vehicle problem felt like a major frustration as I had to head down to Phalaborwa to get it fixed, but nature soon cheered me up with this wonderful wild dog sighting, a real treat and an uncommon sighting in Kruger. I was able to move along the road for about 2km with her right next to the vehicle – wonderful stuff!
At the end of a mammoth day of driving, I returned to Shingwedzi with a fixed vehicle and was treated to a wonderful view of a herd of kudu coming into the river to drink while passing over the low causeway. Sometimes you see a photo opportunity and just know it’s going to be perfect!
Some wonderful birding images were captured in this area of the park too, including the best sighting of an African paradise flycatcher I’ve had in a while, plus the much more common southern yellow-billed hornbill, both taken at Babalala Picnic Spot.
The S50 is one of my favourite roads in Kruger and it didn’t disappoint this time either! This gorgeous cheetah cub was very intrigued by the setting sun while feeding on an impala kill and presented perfect lighting for one of my favourite photos from the entire trip…
Just nearby, a family of endangered southern ground hornbill were roving across the plains, with this female having picked out this frog which she chewed and chewed before gulping down whole!
Letaba proved an outstanding area for close-ups with spotted hyenas and a number of youngsters. The interaction between mum and cub before she headed off for a night of hunting was wonderful.
This slightly older cub was one of the most entertaining and inquisitive I’ve seen, being naughty and harassing mum for some of the bone she was chewing on – the little one had already eaten and mum made it clear that the bone was not for him!!
A big pride of lions had come into the Letaba area, stalking prey that was relying on the Letaba River for drinking water during the height of dry season. Seeing the dominant male from just a few metres away reminds you how just how huge and powerful these beasts are!!
Birding is great around Letaba too and this beautiful little bee-eater was just one of many wonderful sightings, common and rare, from the area.
South of Olifants presented some of the best sightings and photographic opportunities of the entire trip. The high numbers of giraffe made catching a shot like this one a little easier than normal!
And the lovely golden lighting of the main road made for glorious images of many species, including this beautiful plains zebra.
Regular readers may remember that things then got cat-tastic south of Olifants! One four-hour game drive, six cheetahs, 23 lions, one leopard – just incredible. And included in that was a huge lioness trying to hunt and chase down the adolescent cheetahs! It’s the only time I’ve seen panic in a cheetah’s eyes…
The Olifants River is the half-way point in the park when travelling north to south, so this collection is just the first half of our highlights! We’ll add the second half to the blog soon and hope you check back in for more.
Or simply add your email address to our Learn More page and we’ll send an occasional update on blog posts and let you know when the App has launched!
Our thanks as ever for reading and if you know someone who would enjoy this blog post then please do send them the link – the more the merrier!
Danny & Charlotte
Follow our adventures through Kruger National Park and getting the KrugerExporer App off the ground via the blog and social media: