A group of us here at GVI recently took a trip to Kruger National Park. Staff member Jamie kindly agreed to take us and be our very own guide and Kruger expert! Having planned the trip for the day after a night out at the bush pub Mahlahla, we rose at 4.00am after very little sleep. Bleary eyed and armed with pillows and car snacks, we set off for Kruger.
It was definitely worth the early morning start. Almost as soon as we arrived we saw just some of the thousands of elephants that Kruger has. At one water hole we even saw a tiny baby elephant drinking!
As well as lots of elephants we also saw lots of giraffe, including what we all decided was the smallest and cutest giraffe ever seen! We were also lucky enough to see two adolescent male giraffe neck fighting. It wasn’t as aggressive as older males would have been, it was more of a play fight. Even so it was an amazing sighting to see these huge awkward looking animals fighting with their necks.
After a pit stop for lunch and a brief nap in the sun, we continued in the hope of finding some big cats. Jamie would stop passing cars and trade off information with them about what they had spotted and what we had seen. A passing car told us there were lions nearby and so we drove on to try and find them. Eventually we found that lots of cars had stopped and were excitedly looking at something, which we assumed were the lions.
However when we made our way forward we realised it was infact three male cheetahs. Lounging side by side in the shade it was almost difficult to distinguish one from the other, you could just see a mass of beautiful spotted coats. After a while they moved off and it looked as if they might have gone hunting. We left the boys to it and continued on in search of the lions we thought we were on our way to.
Throughout the day we stopped for lots of bird identifying as there were a few bird lovers in the group. Sightings included ground hornbill, lesser spotted eagle, temminks courser, wooly necked stork, batteleur, malachite kingfisher and two ostrich!
One of the funniest things of the day has to be when Jamie suddenly shouted “Is that a flying bush?!” Most of us didn’t have a clue what he was talking about, and assumed that he was imagining ridiculous things due to his lack of sleep. That is until we all scan the area to see what he could possibly mean, and simultaneously burst into laughter as we see an actual bush fly past the van. A very surreal yet hilarious spot from Jamie!
Nearing the end of the day and following directions we had been given for the lion sighting, we eventually pulled up to two lionesses and three cubs. The lionesses were relaxing in the sun whilst the cubs adorably played in the hay. It was the cutest sight and the perfect end to an amazing day at Kruger.
A big thank you to Holly Askem for writing the blog article, Brittany Grenus for supplying the photographs… and last but not least Martie Stothoff, Laura Masters, Jessica Lewis, Bron Kershaw, Sanna Westring and Hayden Lewis for bravery in the face of adversity – ie. getting up early in the morning with serious afflictions from the previous evenings activities to go to Kruger!