As the last segment featured the swift and graceful, this segment will feature the big, bad and ugly. Kruger NP was a wealth of opportunities for many species but the large carnivores were much more secretive and invisible than my trip many years ago to the Serengeti.
Leopard: The only one we saw clear enough for photos. It was an early morning occurrence along the Sabie River.
Lion: The same for lions. We lucked out into 2 adult males a short time after entering the park.
The only other sighting was one in the bush pursuing a female.
Spotted Hyena: Again, only one sighting. It was in the grass at a leopard kill waiting for the leopard to leave but we never got more than a glimpse of the leopard.
Elephant: Lots of elephants! The roads were littered with their droppings and sightings were common.
Watching the adults with the very young was amazing. They constantly caress them and all of the herd’s females participate.
The big bulls were generally alone and allowed us to take photos for a few minutes before saying, “O.K., enough! Leave this place NOW!” Our driver recognized a threat and we would leave.
Hippopotamus: In most pools and rivers. Very strange animals and considered the most dangerous to humans of all of the critters. Still, all we saw were peaceful and docile.
This is a yawn, not a threat.
White Rhinoceros: Actually the name “white” is derived from the Afrikaans meaning “wide.” They are grazers and have very wide mouths. Poaching for the horns (superstitiously thought by the Asians to be powdered and made into an aphrodisiac) has decimated the herds. The going price per ounce is more than gold.
Black Rhinoceros: Very few left in the park. They have narrow mouths as they are browsers. This was the only one we saw and the guide told us we were very lucky.
Warthog: I guess beauty is as beauty does. What else can I say!
Next chapter will be small mammals, reptiles and others. Then we’ll get to the birds…the primary reason for my trip.