You can't live in Africa and not bump into wild animals from time to time. Nowadays most are behind electrified fences to keep the humans out and the animals safe. The best place to get to grips with lots of different animals all in a small space is a National Park somewhere in Africa. Our recent visits to the Kruger National Park - only a few hours drive away, has led my husband and I to capture these wonderful animals in their wild enviroment.
I'll start with this little cutie who, only a few months old, took one look at us and decided to challenge our vehicle with head lowered he/she did repeated runs towards us! Mom nearby didn't blink an eye...
Meet the Family! Don't you just love Juniors little pink toes?!
SO cute! It always seems to me that no matter what kind of animal it is, the babies are always so sweet looking. But that little one is just adorable. I'd love to go to Africa just to see the wildlife.
So right Deyana! Problem is the young are so protected and screened from visibility to us humans! Having said that, I have been fortunate enough to witness the birth of a Wildebeest! Will try and find the photos.
Bixa - I think once in a blue moon you may get an elephant having an encounter with a vehicle but when this happens it is because the humans inside probably hooted, flicked their lights, or stepped out of the vehicle to get a better camera shot. It is perfectly safe to be totally surrounded by elephants (which I have) and as long as you sit quietly they will just carry on grazing and slowly move along. It's the big lonely bull elephants that are dangerous and one is warned not to come closer than 30metres. When I see one coming down the road towards me I keep reversing slowly until he eventually decides to go off into the bush.
This croc spent a long time holding onto what was left of his lunch..........we were amused to see a little buck daring to come quite close to see what brand the cap was - just incase he fancied it for himself!
It's the big lonely bull elephants that are dangerous and one is warned not to come closer than 30metres. When I see one coming down the road towards me I keep reversing slowly until he eventually decides to go off into the bush.
Yow!! Stupid question -- how do you know you're too close before it's too late?
The crocodile pictures are wonderful, but who was under that cap and where is he now? The deer is so curious. Something at ground level that blends in like the croc must be hard for a deer to see.
What is the red-legged bird that's taking off in the bottom left of the photo?
Out of the photo is a birdhide partly built over water -where we were sitting. It's called Lake Panic and is next to the Skukuze Golf Club in the Kruger Park. It is our most favourite hide and we spend hours waiting and watching. The croc was lying a short distance away and we can only guess someone looked over the side and lost his cap- which must have allerted the croc! I actually think he had no idea what to do with it but held onto it wherever he moved. The black bird with red legs is a Black Crake - it has very long red feet for walking on the lilypads.
I still regret not driving all the way to Kruger Park when I was close to it -- but since I didn't have all that much time and was returning the car in Cape Town -- well, you can do the kilometric math. (Well, let's just say that Kruger and Cape Town are about the two farthest places apart in South Africa -- about 2000 km.)
Kerouac - Maybe if you had done it in a rush - you may have been put off by certain aspects of 'just driving through the park'. To see the animals you are almost compelled to be waiting at the camp gate by the time it opens at 6am. Early morning is the best animal viewing. Then you would need to be at a waterhole late in the afternoon to see the animals come to drink - just getting inside the camp by 6pm. During the day most people laze around the swimmingpool at camp, read a book, fiddle around on the internet!!!, and just stay out of the heat (during summer) Winter can be different as it is still dark when leaving camp in the early morning - absolutely no good for photos, except a sunrise I guess. Animal viewing is better during the day as the bushveld is not so lush and animals can't hide so easily. There are lots of pros and cons but making a special trip is the answer. We never spend less than 10 days in the park on a trip, and are rewarded with good sightings.
That sounds like an amazing vacation, Tod. When you're in camp, can you hear the animals -- lions roaring at night and all that? And do any of the them besides birds come into the camp itself? One more question, please -- is "camp" tents, or something more solid?
These Leopard tortoises are victims of unscrupulous drivers, deliberately running them over and after a veld fire some carnivores manage to bite into the charred remains and still have a meal. I was lucky enough to get this shot before he disappeared into the grass.
Bixa, to answer your questions about hearing animals like lions roaring at night - no, but that doesn't mean its never happened. Lions don't often come close to the camps. Only one reserve I know about where lions roar all night (because they are confined in a small space fairly near a camp) - is Hlane Lion Reserve in Swaziland. What I will show you are the buck that graze freely in the camps and also the birds that come to beg for crumbs etc.
bixa, I've not spent any time around where tod has gone, but there are camps in many places where you can get the number 2's scared out of you by the night time noises. In a place called Kafue national park in Zambia I camped out in the bush and unbeknownst to me there were lions nearby (when I was expressly told by the ranger there weren't any in that area).
I really do need to get to Kruger though at some point. I've missed out on some good stuff there.
You made me smile FMT - about the crocs and Lake Panic! The story goes that after heavy rains the lake overflowed and threatened neaby buildings and installations which caused a great panic. The crocs and hippos occasionally show themselves but mostly when you're sitting there all you hear are groans and grunts from the hippos.
Here are a few animals you can see at very close quarters because they are allowed into the campsite - or like this mother Vervet monkey and her baby, are free to come and go. Isn't the baby such an ugly little darling!
I enjoyed the company of this male and female pair of Bushbuck who grazed on the lawn in front of our hut. Always on the lookout for a tibit they ate from your hand.
She loved licking the sugar on the wall of the patio -
Yikes, Mark -- it's good you're still around to tell that story.
I continue to be amazed at the camouflage. The tortoise blends right in, even on that relatively clear surface. I wonder how the stripes and dots on the bushbuck work. Maybe it helps hide them in dappled shade.
The baby monkey has such a human face. It must always be a thrill when these creatures from the wild come right up to you. The bushbuck are absolutely gorgeous.