Our 3 day Kruger Park Safari Experience – Day 2

Game Drive in Kruger Main

The second day of our Kruger Park safari has arrived. It is the day after Easter Monday. Today will be a full day wildlife game drive in Kruger main in an open sided 4×4 all terrain vehicle. Naturally we are all excited and hopes of seeing all of the BIG 5 are high. The big five are

  • Lion
  • Leopard
  • Elephant
  • Rhino
  • Buffalo

Of course there will be many other animals to see and we are filled with anticipation. We hand in our luggage at reception. The lodge will transfer it to Marc’s Treehouse Camp where we will go after our Kruger Park Safari. Ok we almost ready to go! – we assemble in the vehicle area outside Tremisana Lodge. Two members of our initial group are on a different safari program but we are joined by some other guests from Norway. Every one has brought along a jacket which is a good idea when you travel in an open sided vehicle. They do deploy the side covers during transfer drives though.

Departure from Tremisana Lodge in 4×4 open sided game viewer

Time to enter the jeep that will take us to Kruger Main and in which we will experience the wildlife of the Kruger National Park. We dapart from Tremisana around 08H00. Open sided land cruiser The drive to Kruger Main is quite long – about an hour.

We arrive at Orpen Gate – Kruger National Park

Finally we arrive and make a pit stop at Orpen Gate just around 09H00. We all requested to sign indemnity forms – just in case. It good to stretch legs, use the restrooms, have a smoke break, whilst our guide completes the paper work required by the Park officials. Orpen gate area in Kruger Our group at orpen gate   After the paper work is done we enter through a second gate and make a quick stop at the Kruger shop to buy things like cooldrinks, bottled water, light snacks and so on.

Our Kruger Park Game Drive begins

Armed with cameras and binoculars our group is ready for the action that lies ahead.  Here are our first sightings which  include open veld, trees and some lush vegetation. Its not long before we spot a herd of Wildebeest.

Open veld in Kruger Park                Herd of widelbeest                         Vegetation in Kruger Park

Our drive continues but it does not take long to come across Impala, then a zebra and some more wildebeest. Our guide refers to the Impala as as McDonald’s’ models due to the M-like stripes on the back sides.

Impala in Kruger Park              A zebra in Kruger Park   Widlebeest in Kruger Park

There are times you drive for 10 or so minutes without spotting much however the terrain and vegetation also has its own appeal and intrigue. That is how it is in the wild. But you never know what is around the next corner in Kruger National Park.   Elephant sighting in Kruger   Ah our first elephant for the day. I tick off  one item on my BIG 5 list. (Though we did see elephants on our sunset game drive the day before). These gentle giants are not so gentle when it comes to vegetation. They not only eat a great deal of vegetation, they also push over trees to get the tasty bits. We drive on. Well its almost impossible to spend a day in Kruger without bumping into these guys Griraffe in Kruger Park These giraffe were calmly occupying the middle of the road for a while and not phased by our approaching vehicle. However they did give way as we got closer. If they were elephants we would have to stop. We approach a small water hole and there is often action around a watering hole. Some antelope, more giraffes, some waterbuck and we also spot 2 buffalo. Tick of second item from the BIG 5 list.

Giraffe eating leaves in Kruger Park               Waterbuck at dam in Kruger  Buffalo in Kruger

We have been driving for a while and it is time for a pit stop so we can stretch our legs and use the restrooms. We arrive at a picnic spot where we can do just that. The first leg of the morning drive is done. Picnic spot in Kruger                 After a 10 minute stop it is time to continue our search for elusive animals, especially the big cats (lion, leopard, cheetah). The second part of our morning drive does not deliver many excitements. There is the odd bird, some ostriches, a few impala, a lonely giraffe, some more wildebeest and and of course bush veld for Africa. We do however come across the odd looking Baobab tree.  The Baobab tree  grows in low-lying areas in Africa such as the Kruger Park as well as in areas in Australia. It can grow to enormous sizes and carbon dating suggests that some  have been around for thousands of years.

Boabab tree in Kruger Park                         Kruger park terrain and bushveld               another-leopard-in-tree-kruger Ostriches in Kruger Park

Its past noon and we drive to Satara resort where will have lunch.

Satara Resort in Kruger National Park

Satara is a public park in Kruger and here there 2 or 3 restaurants as well a small supermarket.

Satara resort in Kruger Park                              satara-resort-hallway  shop-satara-resort

The outside lawn area also provides some space where people can sit and eat or just relax. Lawn Satara Park   After an hour lunch break it is time to head off on the afternoon stretch of our game drive.

Afternoon game drive in Kruger Park

Some of the guests in our group have fancy cameras ready to capture magical moments. We are hoping this leg brings more action than the morning drive. guest-camera Driving along we see many of the usual animals such as antelope, giraffe and zebra. With all this game around one wonders where the big cats are, where the predators are?  After all there is lots of food around. And then we see a lion guarding its kill.

Lion guarding buffalo kill in the Kruger National Park

This is the first time i see a buffalo with a big hole – one could think it was hit by a canon.  Its kind of gross but thats life in the wild. Lion protecting buffalo kill in Kruger Park Well well, our first lion sighting (and a dead buffalo to boot) – quite an exciting sighting. Tick of item 3 from our BIG 5 list. We drive on as the vultures gather overhead. The rest of the afternoon might well have more excitements ahead. Suddenly the driver slams on breaks as if he was about to collide with an elephant. Eagerly he points his arm in the direction of a tree – leopard! he exclaims excitedly. We all look in the direction of some trees with most guests going seeming puzzled “where? “

Leopard in tree in Kruger Park

Eventually i also see the leopard after scanning about 10 trees in the vicinity. How our guide spotted that while driving only he would know. I suppose years of game driving experience does help. Leopard in tree Kruger Park Hard to spot?  That is why it is a good idea to have binoculars as well as strong zoom camera – then it will be more like this Close up of leopard in tree in Kruger Well seeing a leopard on any day is an awesome sight. Just remember to look in the trees as well, not only on the ground. And remember those binoculars. We tick off item 4 on our BIG FIVE list. After the excitement of the leopard we drive on wondering whats around next corner, bend or hill. We come across another leopard in a tree as well as an impala kill that i assume the leopard dragged up onto the branch. The back light was such that my point and shoot camera could not make a good picture. Some of our guests has fancy cameras and they could adjust settings to accommodate for the back-light. We drive on.

Pride of lions in the Kruger Park

Then we saw them, not one but five lions, lazing around. lions-kruger-close Lions are always majestic and impressive even if they have little or no interest in us.

                                 lion-king-queen-knp                       lions-in-kruger-2

Next we head off to a watering hole

Animals at dam in Kruger Park

wild-animals-water-hole                        elephants-dam-kruger-park                                                  buffalo-waterhole-kruger

There is always action around a watering hole. In this case elephant, buffalo, waterbuck. Now the afternoon is drawing to a close and its time for a final pit stop before our exit drive. last-pitstop-in-kruger-park Here we come across 2 big elephants big-tusker-elephant-knp See the tusks on this big fellow. We start our exit drive. Just as we thought it was all done…

Rhino in Kruger Park

We spot a group of monkeys and a lone rhino (so many of his mates have been poached …that is a sad story) rhinoceros-kruger-park Rhino in Kruger park We tick of item 5.  5 out of 5 today as far as the big five go. Not Bad! And that ends our day in Kruger National Park. It was a meaningful big game drive that was really worth it. We start our drive home  to Marc’s tree house camp. It is about a 40 minute drive.  Next: Day 3 of our Kruger Park Treehouse Safari