Part 2 - Kruger National Park

Just as I was starting to feel that the Day 1 was so awesome, we entered the Marloth Park in the South of Kruger National Park . We were booked at the Marloth Bush Retreat. As we entered the Park and were approaching the guesthouse, I couldn’t believe my eyes as I saw a Giraffe standing by the side of the road on which I was driving … a little further down some Zebras and Wildebeests on the other side of the road … I knew that there was something about this place that is going to make my Day 2 more special … And I was right !!

I had heard that Kruger National Park is famous for the Big 5 (the Lion, the African elephant, the Cape Buffalo, the Leopard and the Black Rhinoceros), but again there are no guarantees – after all it’s a jungle that you are going in there to see what you can .. unlike a zoo. The Key to a place like this is Patience and low expectation. So, I had a full day game drive booked (the patience part) and in the beginning of the game drive our Tour Guide Heinrich told us (the low expectation part) that we would try to see everything that we can but what we can see ultimately is based on our luck on that day. So with that mind-set we started our day long game drive from 5:15 am to 7:00 pm.

To begin with – the patience and low expectation paid off and we were able to spot all the big 5 and much more. In fact we had multiple sightings of the Big 4 (Elephant, Buffalo, Leopard and the Rhinoceros) and one sighting of the Lion.
  • Leopard – Caught this guy relaxing on a tree after having his big meal (an impala). After a meal like that … All one can do is relax.
  • Elephants – Caught the elephants as the herd came by to the river to drink some water. It was fun seeing the huge animal relax, play and chill out in the water. Also got a nice close up of the elephant just minutes before leaving the Kruger Park.
  • Cape Buffalo – Came in a herd of about 500 together to have some water at a lake and then they also came by close to our vehicle to help some good view
  • Rhinoceros – Saw both the white and black rhinos … (incidentally the difference between the white and black rhinos is not because of the color … actually there is no color difference .. read more here) .. Saw the white rhino multiple times and once with a small baby rhino too. We were lucky to see the black rhino too just by the road side … considering that the white:black rhino ratio is about 5000:300 !!
  • Lion – saw only one male lion but it was far off the road and was deep asleep and so we couldn’t do much about that …We kept trying till then end to get a better sighting of another lion – but didn’t happen :)
  • Zebras, Kudus and Impalas – Loads of them … Every few kilometers … and in dozens …
  • Giraffe – Again loads of them … They are very shy …. Caught a photo of a baby giraffe feeding on the mother giraffe .. was so cute !! :)
  • Hippos – Got to see them swimming in water … basking in the sun beside the river … and showing their discomfort when the buffalos came in hundreds to drink water at the river …
  • Hyenas – We again had multiple sighting of Hyenas … in small groups … Somehow looks horrible :) … We saw one which was badly injured … probably by a lion or by some other hyena.
  • Crocodiles – Saw many of them across the banks of Crocodile river also got to see a baby croc while crossing a bridge.
  • Loads of Vultures, Eagles and lots of other birds
Overall, it was a pleasure to be up-close and personal with Nature. Got the time in life to hear the silent sounds of nature. I present to you some of my best shots taken at Kruger Park. As always click on the photos to take an enlarged view.

I also tried a very innovative way to take some excellent photos … All the above photos were taken with my modest Sony Cybershot 7MP Digital Camera … I enhanced the power of my simple Digital See-and-shoot camera using a Binocular … I was myself amazed at my creativity :) … I used a powerful Binocular (that belonged to my tour guide) as Extended Lens and took these real close up shots of the animals … This is how I did it. Put the Camera lens behind at the viewing eye-piece of the binocular … and then use the digital monitor of the camera to focus and click !! But before doing this I had to first see through the binoculars and focus the view in there. It was actually hard to hold the binocular on one hand and the camera on the other and still not cause a shake as well !! :) .. Quite an effort ! I am proud of myself ! Bravo Hari Bravo !!
 I would like to put in a word of appreciation for Heinrich who was an awesome tour guide – he was an “walking/talking wildlife encyclopedia”. He knew all about the animals, birds, plants and trees. He had such sharp eyes that he could spot animals at such a long distances that I used to surprised every time. It was such an informative guided tour (Thanks to Heinrich) that I would strongly recommend that anyone who plans to go to Kruger can take his help and have a wonderful visit to Kruger National Park.

Indeed … It’s a perfect way to end my South Africa Stay …


Fiyin said...

wow1 great innovative picture! and your tour guide managed to get you to see all the really great stuff. yo should send me his details would love to use him

Hariharan said...

Hi Fiyin


Click the hyperlink on his name on the post ... would get his email address ... Enjoy !!

Peter said...

Looks like you had a really successful trip, and well done with the binoculars as extra zoom! It worked well! Here's some more info on the big 5.



Poornima Srinath said...

A memorable tour to end SA stay!..Great photos too as usual

Funny blog site said...

Its really a great to get this information. Its really a latest news for me. Thanks..