A dry Kruger is a predator’s paradise

Our winter visit to the Kruger National Park, suffering through one of the worst droughts to hit it in recorded history, provided several excellent sightings of some of the predators for which the Park is renowned. While many of the herbivores are finding survival difficult now with limited water and grazing, the predators are having a royal time, as the movement of prey revolves predictably around the remaining water sources where they can be easily ambushed.

The Satara area of the Park is well known for excellent predator sightings, and the guided night drive we took part in there delivered lions, hyenas, black-backed and side-striped jackals and two leopard sightings!

Even just walking around the fenceline at Satara could provide close encounters with dangerous predators, though 99.9% of the time seperated by an electrified fence. Spotted hyenas are to be found on most nights, as visitors often feed them scraps from their evening meals. The reason why this is illegal is because the animals become very bold beggars, which often ends in tragedy for the hyenas and sometimes also for the human visitors, as evidenced by a hyena attacking a teenager when it somehow found its way into Crocodile Bridge recently. We therefore expected to find hyenas on our evening walkabouts and weren’t disappointed, but the leopard that unexpectedly appeared in the glare of our spotlight near Satara’s entrance gate, safely on the other side of the fence, caused us great excitement!

 

Advertisements

25 thoughts on “A dry Kruger is a predator’s paradise

  1. Pingback: Camping fest at Satara | de Wets Wild

  2. Pingback: Herbivore Haven | de Wets Wild

  3. Pingback: Finding Mopani’s rare antelope | de Wets Wild

  4. aj vosse

    Ja-nee kyk… die ou storie van een se dood is die ander se brood is baie waar daar in die bos! Ons kan maar net hoop en bid die balaans herstel wanneer die reëns kom!

    Like

    Reply
  5. maamej

    That cover pic of the lion is compelling – like a mediaeval monster from nightmares. Made me realise so many of the pics we see of lions are quite tame by comparison and don’t reveal their power.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Thanks Maamej!

      Indeed, one doesn’t often get to see this side of wild lions during the day – normally they are just lazing around in the shade and you are lucky if they even just lift a head!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  6. Osyth

    Stunning pictures – the lion, head bathed in blood, fangs enormously revealed to a naïve (me) viewer is absolutely iconic. I am left wondering why on earth humans think they are any different, any higher than any animal. Fighting for survival in a fierce world we fall back on man-made horrors, is the difference. I would prefer to go back to a simple world of lion eat wilderbeest any day.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      I can only agree with your sentiments! At least the lion would not do me any harm because he is motivated by greed or hate for me or what I believe in, as humans sadly seem so easily able to do…

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
  7. Jane Lurie

    Excellent post, de Wets. Sad to see the animals suffering through a drought but your predator series is really fascinating. Particularly the Badger with which I am least familiar having not seen one on safari. Great photos, as always.

    Like

    Reply
    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Thank you very much for the kind and generous comment, Jane! Normally honey badgers are very elusive and nocturnal, but having had three different sightings on this trip I can only think that the denuded vegetation is making it easier to spot them and that they are out foraging for longer in daylight hours as food becomes scarcer.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      As much as we aren’t “predator chasers”, an encounter with them is always thrilling!

      As far as the attack in Crocodile Bridge goes, thanks for the clarification! Though it is true that the hole in the fence allowed the hyena into camp, but in my opinion if the animal wasn’t accustomed to people, and didn’t associate them with food due to being fed, he likely would not have been anywhere near camp, as there would simply have been no incentive to go against his natural instinct to stay away from humans?

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

Please don't leave without sharing your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s