Tag Archives: Shingwedzi Rest Camp

What makes the Kruger “THE KRUGER”?

Well, if you ask us what makes the Kruger National Park “THE KRUGER”, our answer wouldn’t be the prolific game or birdlife, awesome as that might be. To us, what makes the Kruger National Park special is the wide variety of habitats and scenery where all this life finds a niche to flourish. At almost 20,000km² in size, the Kruger National Park is bigger than some countries, and naturally a piece of land that enormous would encompass many different landscapes and habitats; in fact there are pronounced differences in the scenery as one travels from south to north through Kruger’s 350km length.

This first gallery of images were taken during my solo visit at the end of May to Pretoriuskop and Skukuza in the south of the Park.

The north of Kruger has a quite different character to the southern parts. Here, the Mopane and Baobab trees dominate the landscape, by virtue of their numbers and size, respectively.

This gallery of images were taken during our visit from 15 to 24 June to the northern reaches of the Park (based at Shingwedzi Rest Camp)

 

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Game-viewing in Kruger (May and June 2019)

When talking about “game-viewing”, most people immediately have images of Africa’s iconic Big Five flashing through their minds. And of course our recent trips to the Kruger National Park did not disappoint at all when it came to these most charismatic of African mammals, as well as many other furry creatures great and small.

This first gallery of pictures were taken during my solo trip to the southern part of the Kruger Park between 30 May and 2 June 2019.

There’s also much interest in the Kruger’s invertebrates (including a bounty of beautiful butterflies), fish, amphibians and reptiles, many of which are difficult to see elsewhere in South Africa.

Returning to Kruger two weeks later, this time to Shingwedzi in the north of the Park, proved just as fruitful with memorable encounters not only with predators and rare antelope, but also a menagerie of other mammalian species.

 

 

Bird-watching in Kruger (May and June 2019)

With over 500 species recorded, the Kruger National Park deserves its reputation as one of South Africa’s finest bird-watching destinations through and through. We’ve already shown you the cute little Spurfowl chicks that strutted all over the Park during our visits in May and June this year, but there was so much more feathered variety to point our lenses at that it surely deserves a dedicated post!

This first gallery of images were taken in the south of the Park on my solo trip to Pretoriuskop and Skukuza – all in all I ticked 110 species in the 4 days I spent south of the Sabie River.

Two weeks later, this time with Marilize and Joubert alongside, we headed to the north of the Kruger Park, basing ourselves at our favourite Shingwedzi for 9 nights, during which time we recorded 99 species of birds.

 

The allure of the waterhole

There’s always a sense of anticipation when we approach a waterhole in any of South Africa’s wild places, and especially so in the vast expanses of the Kruger National Park. Being literal fountains of life, the Kruger’s waterholes attract streams of wildlife to quench their thirst as the dry season drags on, causing the many ephemeral pans that followed the rains to disappear and forcing the animals to congregate around the shrinking pools in the streams and rivers.

Sitting idly waiting by a waterhole, even if it appears deserted at first, is often handsomely rewarded with the most memorable wildlife encounters, as anything from fish to elephants may make an appearance in the grand show.

But as with so much in life there’s also two sides to the story of the waterhole. It isn’t only life-sustaining; sometimes it’s a death-trap as predators know that a waterhole is a like a magnet to their prey…

Given so much danger around, this Green-winged Pytilia drinking from a leaking hosepipe at Babalala Picnic Spot instead of taking his chances at the nearby waterhole is probably very clever!

Green-winged Pytilia

Going in search of rare antelope in Northern Kruger

The northern parts of the Kruger National Park harbours populations of antelope rarely seen in the wild elsewhere in South Africa, and of course the Wild de Wets just love going in search of these special creatures.  Our recent visit during the winter school holidays, basing ourselves for nine nights at Shingwedzi Rest Camp, yielded wonderful encounters with Eland, Nyala, Sharpe’s Grysbok and Tsessebe (and we’ll just have to get back there soon to find the roan antelope, sable antelope, lichtenstein’s hartebeest and reedbuck that eluded us!)

Predator sightings in Northern Kruger

The northern parts of the Kruger National Park suffers from an inaccurate perception that predators there are fewer and harder to find, and consequently that part of the Park sees far fewer visitors than the area south of the Olifants River. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy – fewer people looking for predators means fewer people finding predators – that suited us just fine when we visited the area around Shingwedzi Rest Camp during the winter holidays. We returned home bragging about several splendid encounters with lions, leopards, spotted hyenas and both side-striped and black-backed jackals and hardly ever having to share the experience with other visitors. Please don’t let the secret out though – we’re only telling you! 😉

Beautiful Butterfly Bounty!

One would be forgiven for expecting that the most memorable experience of a visit to the Kruger National Park would entail one of the big, charismatic mammals exhibiting some or other fascinating behaviour: a pride of lions making a kill, an elephant cow giving birth or a thousand-strong herd of buffalo stampeding to a waterhole, for instance. However, as I found out during my solo visit to the Kruger Park at the end of May, a bounty of beautiful butterflies can easily make those hairy-and-scary creatures fade into the background! In both Pretoriuskop and Skukuza Rest Camps I found blooming Lowveld Bittertea bushes (Gymnanthemum coloratum) and the surrounding gardens and lawns attended by literally hundreds of butterflies of at least 28 different species! They kept me busy and entertained for quite some time and I hope this gallery of pictures convey at least a sense of this awesome experience.

Of course, the butterflies were not the only insects making good use of the proliferation of winter flowers, and various other insects, most notably bees and wasps, were to be seen in attendance. A few dragonflies and birds then also made use of the opportunity to catch an easy meal on the wing.

Two weeks later we returned to the Kruger Park, this time to Shingwedzi Rest Camp about 280km north of Skukuza. Here we found fewer butterflies – perhaps winter had set in now, with nighttime temperatures especially being on the cold side – but there were still enough of them flitting around to keep us thoroughly engaged while spending the midday hours in camp.

I’d like to dedicate this post to a great friend to de Wets Wild and the biggest butterfly fundi I know – AJ Vosse of  “Ouch My Back Hurts” .