Saturday 28 April 2012

Kruger National Park

On Tuesday the 17th of April we had the priviledge of going to the Kruger National Park.
The Kruger National Park (KNP) holds many special memories for me as a child.  I remember going here on a few trips growing up and after Paul and I were married.  We also did a special trip to the park just before we immigrated to New Zealand in 1997. In some ways it has changed and grown and in other ways it's still the same.  One of the main things that changed and is a positive step forward in conservation is the Limpopo Transfrontier Park development.

"The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park has been created in keeping with the spirit of cooperation with South Africa and it's neghbours.
The Southern African region has embarked on an ambitious conservation programme with a view to reestablishing in some mreasure the natural migration routes of its animals. Artificial borders and fencing have disruptedthese routes and it has been recognisedthat it is necessary to expand conservation areas through incorporation of existing cross-border areas. Where ever possible expansion beyond these reserves through the establishment of corridors is envisaged." Quoated from the back page of the ©Kruger Nationl Park Map January 2003.

Establishment of the Kruger National Park
The park was established in 1926 comprising of an area of around 19,000 square kilometres which is roughly the size of the Netherlands.

Our day started at 5.30 am with breakfast at 6 am at home and we were on the road by 6:15 to Orpen gate where we entered the park. We stopped at for morning tea and had lunch at Satara camp. The weather was simply beautiful.  It was a cool day with an avearage temperature in the low 20'C.

The Big Five

Rhino, Buffalo, Leopard, Elephant and Lion are known as "The Big 5" and are the animals that people love to look for when entering the KNP.  We were blessed to see four of the Big 5 in one day.  There have been times I have been to the park and seen none of the Big 5. It is wonderful to see these majestic animals in their natural habitat.  The second vehicle in our group did see all five of The Big 5.  We saw lion, elephant, buffalo and rhino. 
  • White Rhinoceros Ceratotherium simum(H: 1,8m' 1,600-2,300 kg; record horn 1,58m;footprint fore 20-25cm) This is the larger of the two species and has a square lip for grazing and is found in the open savannah areas.  The calf always walks in front of it's mother.
  • Buffalo Syncerus caffer (H: 1,6 m; 750 kg; record horn 1,29m;footprint fore 12-15cm) live in herds of up to 500 animals and prefer the open savannah with tall coarse greass. The hot-tempered bulls can charge unexpectedly and are therefore considered one of Africa's most dangerous species.
  • Elephant Loxodonta africana (H: 3,2 - 4,0m[M], 2,5-3,4m[F]; 5,000-6,300kg [M], 2,800-3,500kh[F]; record tusk 102,3kg;footprint fore 50cm) Elephant communicate over several kilometres using infrasonic sound. They live in groups usually led by a matriarch. Mature bulls form their own herds.
  • Lion Panthera leo (H:1m; 180-230 kg [M], 113-160kg[F];footprint fore 12cm) Lions are social animals and form prides. Although the lionesses do most of the hunting the males are present to feed first. When food is scarce as much as 80% of the cubs starve to death.
  • Leopard Pantera pardus (H:70-80cm; 40-70 kg;footprint fore 9cm) These animals are solitary and secretive animals. They spend their days in hiding and hunting at night. They live in dense bush, forest or rocky areas.
The Little Five

  • Rhino Beetle
  • Buggalo Weaver,
  • Ant Lion
  • Leopard Tortoise
  • Elephant Shrew
A family tradition is to look for the Little five of which we saw four in the park: Rhino Beetle, Buffalo Weaver, Ant Lion, and Leopard Tortoise.

We also saw: Plains Zebra, Black-backed Jackal, Hippopotamus, Giraffe, Blue Wildebeest, Warthog, Impala, Waterbuck, Kudu, Common Duiker,
Birds: Glossy-Starling, Crested Barbet, Helmeted Guineafowl, Liac-breasted Roller, Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove, Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill.
Plants: Impala Lily,

It was a long but wonderful day out at the Park with the family and extended family.  Thank you Dad and Mum R for a wonderful memory of Africa.

Blessings from Africa

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