ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Kruger National Park-a great South African Game Reserve-April 2017

Updated on May 4, 2017
Cape Buffalo Close up - Kruger
Cape Buffalo Close up - Kruger | Source
Elephant Greeting
Elephant Greeting | Source
Camping at Kruger National Park
Camping at Kruger National Park | Source
Cheetah in evening
Cheetah in evening | Source
Rhino from the camp ground at Berg en Dal
Rhino from the camp ground at Berg en Dal | Source
Elephants crossing the Crocodile River near Malelane Camp
Elephants crossing the Crocodile River near Malelane Camp | Source

Kruger National Park re-visited: April 2017

The evening is warm and a pleasant breeze flowing down the valley at Berg-en-Dal camp begins to cool down the air so that sleeping in my tent will be comfortable tonight. As I sit in my camp chair the wood fire burns in front of me and I identify several sounds in the quiet night. Nearby a Scops Owl calls to its mate who answers from a tree to the left. A Jackal shrill call in the nearby bush is answered by a Hyena who is patrolling the perimeter fence of the camp. In the distance I hear the roar of a pride of Lion who are probably on their hunt. The males calling and the females pulling down the prey as it runs away - a perfect killing team. Tomorrow the Vultures will indicate where the kill took place as they circle in the air before settling in nearby trees to wait their turn to feed. The Hyena and Jackal will wait patiently for their opportunity.

The Kruger National Park is undoubtedly one of the great game reserves in the world. Covering the NE part of South Africa it borders on Mozambique in the east and Zimbabwe to the north, with over 3000 km of roads and 23 rest camps plus a number of privately owned concessions. Over a million visitors arrive every year to appreciate the 520 bird, 119 reptile and 147 mammal species. It generates millions of rand of revenue for the country and supports a large amount of job opportunities for locals. It is very user friendly and can be visited by car or in the vehicles of one of the many tour operators who operate from outside the reserve or from the various camps. Accommodation varies from luxury air conditioned bungalows and chalets to campgrounds.

For me the camping alternative is the only choice as it takes me out into the African Wilderness with its beautiful night skies and sounds. For others the more expensive chalets and bungalows provide a more luxurious experience. Driving slowly on the roads and searching for the 'big five' or simply enjoying the variety of habitat types, many bird species and interesting interaction between animals is the magic of Kruger.

For our present visit we are camping in two of the most southern rest camps; Malelane for two nights and then Berg-en-Dal for three nights. While our visit co-incides with the South African School holidays the roads and full camps are not really a problem as the visitors are pleasant and co-operative. One of the plusses of camping is that you meet interesting people every day in the communal kitchens and bathroom areas and share sightings and experiences, and even the frustrations of animals just missed.

Every visit to Kruger brings new sightings and viewings that add to our increasing bank of memories and often to our collection of Kruger photos, some we will be sharing with you in this article. Two such experiences on this trip were ones we have not seen before. Firstly we watched two huge Elephants very near our car embracing each other with their trunks. In the past we have seen Elephants being aggressive toward other animals but this was something else. Apparently Elephants as highly social animals have this way of greeting each other that includes touching of trunks and even putting them into each other's mouths and sharing information in this way by touch and smell.

The second experience that we noticed was another huge Elephant Bull sleeping. Elephant sleep standing up but we have only seen them feeding and so were amazed to watch this big fellow standing absolutely still with his eyes closed. We stopped the car to watch for a while and then when I started the engine the sound of the starter motor woke him up with a start - no pun intended.

On this trip we had one of those very special Kruger moments when we followed a female Cheetah with four cubs walking up the road near Malelane one evening just before the camp gates closed. The animals were beautiful in the last light and while it was not a good time for photography the images are fixed in our minds as these graceful cats stopped to sharpen their nails on a tree and marked their territory against the same and nearby trees.

We were fortunate to see four of the big five on this trip with the Lions being heard but not seen. We however had some great sightings of birds including a usual very secretive Purple-crested Turaco who posed for a picture right next to the road as it drank water from a pool of rain water.

Watching a group of Impala full of the joys of life doing a Springbuck imitation of 'pronking' (jumping into the air with all feet off the ground), was another of the highlights of this trip.

Kruger National Park remains one of our favourite destinations even if it is over 1000 km from East London. So before we have another opportunity to visit we will have to be satisfied with the closer Addo Elephant Park near Port Elizabeth, another great South African game reserve with its own character and magic, and is only 300km away.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Johan Smulders profile imageAUTHOR

      Johan Smulders 

      11 months ago from East London, South Africa

      Great visit last week with the luxury of seven days. Very dry but some interesting sightings. Thanks for the comment.

    • profile image

      Helene Northover 

      11 months ago

      Hi Johan at last checked you out!

      It was great to see the park through your eyes

    • Johan Smulders profile imageAUTHOR

      Johan Smulders 

      17 months ago from East London, South Africa

      Really is a must see and do experience. Every time we go there we are amazed at the diversity of habitat, the amount of animals, birds and reptiles and the overall beauty of this unspoilt African wilderness. Thanks for your comment.

    • BabyCheetah profile image

      BabyCheetah 

      17 months ago from Melbourne

      This is on my bucket list of places to visit one day.

    • profile image

      Paul Smulders 

      17 months ago

      Very nice depiction of what happened. Thanks for the re play of what went down.

    • Johan Smulders profile imageAUTHOR

      Johan Smulders 

      17 months ago from East London, South Africa

      Interesting sighting after all these year of visiting Kruger and Addo we see it and in the latest SanParks Times a similar photo appears with an explanation. Thanks for the comment Eric.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      17 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Very cool. Thank you for bringing this to us. I never saw a greeting like that. You are a blessed man.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)