Kruger Baby! Yeah!
From bustards to buffalo it was another great adventure for the GVI Karongwe team as they spent the whole day in Kruger National Park. For many it was their first time visiting this amazing place and it did not disappoint. With sightings of over 60 species including a count of 117 elephants the day was filled with excitement and laughter. We hit the road early (before the sun was up) to make the most of our day. We got to the opening gates while the air was still cool and the sun was just stretching over the landscape. Full of energy we took off into the park looking in all directions for our first sighting, but instead of a pride of lions or a pack of wild dogs we ran into our friend the leopard tortoise drinking from puddles in the middle of the road. We watched with enthusiasm as we waited for him to make it safety off the road. Volunteer Allie was in charge of logging our species list and creating some of the finest “abstract” animal drawings known to man. Throughout the day the list grew and grew and the drawings got better and better. One of the highlights of the day came while watching elephants cool off in a wallow of mud to escape the mid day sun, far off in the distance volunteer Pete made an epic sighting of two mighty male lions roaming the plains. Immediately hands were filled with binoculars and adrenaline was pumping. We all watched with hearts racing until they gently walked into the open plains and out of sight. The team had lunch at a lovely picnic ground in the middle of the park with the breeze cooling us off and cape glossy starlings chirping for food. We later came by one of the rivers in the park which was full of crocs and hippo. A large heard of 56 -200 Cape buffalo drank and relaxed on the river bank while we all sat back and enjoyed the beauty we were witnessing. With a couple hours left in the park we all started to become a little cross-eyed and delirious from the heat. We asked trees if they had seen any leopards and made up funny stories of animals in the park. Our fearless leader Rosie was attacked by a giant grasshopper while driving which shocked everyone and made for a hilarious laugh. We later saw a grasshopper in the mouth of a lilac breasted roller and we could only assume it was the same one. Towards the end of our journey we sighted one of most heart warming creatures in the park. A very tiny one month old baby elephant with horrible coordination and an uncontrollable trunk. Needless to say cameras would not stop clicking. The day was full of adventure and unforgettable moments. The group grew closer and our knowledge expanded. Days like this reminds us why we love wildlife so much and why it is so important to conserve and protect.
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