Kruger National Park, South Africa

It’s been a month since we got back from our vacation, and it has taken a while to assemble this post. Of course, the main reason we came to South Africa was to go on safari; to see rare and exotic animals that you can only see here in Africa. We spent a week inside Kruger and were not disappointed, seeing all of the Big 5. Giraffe, elephant, zebra, buffalo and hippopotamus. We even saw the rarest of all; African Wild Dog.

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We saw many, many elephant. There is currently an overpopulation of elephant in Kruger.

Leopards are elusive and usually spend their days sleeping in trees. We were lucky to have seen three.

We were very lucky and saw over 20 Rhinoceros; including one while we were on a bush hike (with armed rangers).

Even in my previous trip to Africa, I had never see Cheetah in the wild. We saw 5 cheetah; including two that walked just a few feet from our cars. It’s all just dumb luck; being in the right place at the right time.

Kruger National Park is about the size of New Jersey, but when you consider the adjoined parks and private game reserves the actual size doubles. What is different about Kruger than other places in Africa is that you can go on safari on your own; without guides and in your own vehicle (with just your family members). There is a common misconception that people think they should go with a guide because they know where the animals are. While guides are good at spotting animals in the distance, the excitement comes from seeing animals close up.  The truth is that it’s all just plain luck; there is no secret spot where certain animals spend their day. Every day we went out we never knew what we would see; but we always saw something new.

It wasn’t until about 3 days into the park that we saw zebra.

Hyena are nocturnal. So we had to wake up at 5AM to see them as they walked back to their dens. We saw 3 over the course of our week inside the park.

I didn’t realize ostrich were from Africa; until of coarse we saw some.

Buffalo are part of the Big 5; and often travel in huge herds.

Here are some of the miscellaneous animals we also saw.

What is unique about Kruger is that the network of dirt roads allows you to safari on your own.

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7 Responses to Kruger National Park, South Africa

  1. Anonymous says:

    Wonderful picture – it is on my “bucket list” but I need to win the lottery before I can consider going.

    • Hi…not necessarily, the dollar is strong (air tickets less than $1k/pp) and a nice bungalow in Kruger is less than $100/night. Plus the bungalows mostly have kitchens, so you don’t need to eat in restaurants for every meal. It just takes a little of planning.

      Mark

  2. Marlene says:

    Great pictures, Mark. I recently went on safari in Botswana and saw a wild dog pack kill (and devour) a baby kudu–not easy to watch but fascinating. We were amazingly close; in a few pictures you can see the jeep of another group from our small camp right next to a wild dog contentedly munching away. Later we saw the pack of dogs sleeping off their meal. They caught a scent and off they–and we–went, finding two leopards who fortunately outwitted the dogs. We used guides and I can’t imagine doing this without them; they knew where to go and when we saw something we went off road to follow the animals.

    • Marlene says:

      I was able to get lots of wild dog photos as well as a video of the kill….we didn’t see any lions and only a few rhinos in Zambia. These were an endangered white rhino species and you can only view them with the rangers. It was quite the experience. Viewing your photos brought it all back.

      • Hi Marlene,

        It must have been amazing. We almost saw a cheetah kill and impala, but the “action” moved away.

        We had to stay on paved/dirt roads, and if you don’t have a lot of time its better to go with guides. But with plenty of time I enjoyed going with just my two sons; we really felt like it was an adventure of our own. It was amazing.

        Mark

  3. This is amazing!!! Wild dogs!!

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