Tag Archives: vacation

Painted Wolves on the move (and quickly!)

Coming across a pack of Painted Wolves, also known as African Wild Dogs, on the road to Skukuza was another special encounter from my solo visit to the Kruger National Park in May 2019. These animals are highly endangered – it is thought that fewer than 7,000 remain in the wild with the estimated 200 living in the Kruger National Park representing South Africa’s biggest population of the species. Seeing these energetic and attractive animals is therefore always thrilling!

 

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Tiny Quarrels

Dwarf Mongooses live in close-knit clans, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t the occasional squabble between family members! While walking around Pretoriuskop Rest Camp on a recent visit to the south of the Kruger National Park, I spied two of the tiny tykes continuously working on each other’s nerves, until eventually and inevitably the fight escalated into blows.

Francolin Families

We were really surprised at all the Swainson’s and Natal Spurfowl (both formerly known as francolins) families with tiny chicks that we encountered during our recent visits to the Kruger National Park in May and June, supposedly well into our austral winter (and dry) season.

Love Bites

Well, apparently, if your a Striped Skink love should bite if you’re doing it right! This couple was having their honeymoon right outside my vehicle in the parking area at Lower Sabie Rest Camp in the Kruger National Park, but then headed for the privacy of a crevice in the concrete when the scene was threatening to turn too steamy…

 

No denying that Hyena cubs are cute!

During my visit in May 2019, along the main road between Pretoriuskop and Skukuza camps in the Kruger National Park, I was lucky to come across two different spotted hyena clans with youngsters – one group had three babies and the other no less than eight bouncing bundles of joy! And they were bouncing, and biting and bullying, to their hearts content, causing me great amusement but obviously not impressing their mothers very much with their antics…

And just to remind you that spotted hyenas are actually very efficient hunters, I came across this fellow devouring a freshly killed impala very close to Lower Sabie:

Splish Splash!

An elephant enjoying his mud bath (or is that spa treatment?) near Skukuza in the Kruger National Park.

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” .