Thursday, June 14, 2012

May 22, 2012: Lunch with Elephants, Love in the Bush & Hyena Hijinks

Hi All,
As promised here are some more tails and tales from Kruger National Park. On Friday we stopped off at a hide for lunch. A hide is an enclosed, usually raised platform overlooking a waterhole where you can safely sit and watch animals and birds. On the way to the hide we had to sneak past some elephants that were crossing the road. Turns out they were on their way to the waterhole for a drink. There was this little guy that ended up in the waterhole trunk first (photo 1).

He panicked when he couldn't climb out a let out a trumpet which agitated the rest of the herd. Fortunately, Mom was there to lend a helping truck and pushed the little guy to safety (photo 2).

That night we stayed at a camp called Shingwedzi. We decided to go on a night drive and heard lions roaring as we were getting ready to leave. I was hoping to run into them but, we were disappointed. As it turns out we decided to spend a 5th night in the Park which meant we had to pass by Shingwedzi Camp again on Sunday morning. As we approached there was a male and female lion on the road! They headed off into the grass to mate (photo 3 edited version). We were very lucky to have gotten a second change to see them.

We did go on another night drive from another camp called Punda Maria. We had better luck on this one. We ran into a female leopard and her two cubs! Marc managed to get a photo as she crossed the road (photo 4).

On our last game drive in Kruger we came across a Hyena den. There were 3 older pups and 1 young pup most likely from another litter playing around with each other. As we drove up they turned their attention to us. They circled the car and one put his front legs on the bumper and peered over the hood. Another inquisitive guy approached my open window and I thought he was going to jump in. When I went to close the window the car motor was off and these were power windows. A second vehicle pulled up and the hyena pups went off to check it out (photo 5).

One cheeky fellow ended up pulling a cap off from the back of the vehicle (photo 6).

I heard the driver exclaim "why you little b______d!" I could have watched them all morning but we had a long drive back to Pretoria. After spending the night with a friend, we are back in Joburg. Tomorrow we head to Mozambique for 4 nights. It's hard to believe our trip is nearing the end.

We hope all is well back home.
Peggy and Marc

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