Capes, crocs and cattle egrets...Kruger National Park didn't disappoint...Safari luck prevails...


Seeing a crocodile in the wild is quite exciting. This croc sat there for a very long time with its mouth open. 
"Sighting of the Day in the Bush"
Often a warthog is seen lurking in our bush photos.  They're smart.  If they hang around long enough after they've had their fair share of pellets, we'll throw pellets for other animals and they can get in on the action.  Tom says, "Pigs, what do you expect?"  I love them anyway!
It's 10:30 am and I just finished loading the photos and writing the captions for the photos we're posting today. Yesterday, during our foray to Kruger National Park we managed to take many satisfying shots of a variety of wildlife.

Once we spotted this Cape Buffalo we were determined to find more in order to be able to take better photos.  Safari luck prevailed and a few hours later, we got the shots shown here.
Today, once again, it's a gorgeous sunny day, not too hot, not too humid with a slight breeze wafting through the bush every so often.  As more and more visitors stop by our yard, adding to our enthusiasm, we revel in sharing the photos from Kruger we're posting today and others we'll include over the next few days.
Avid grazers, the Cape Buffalo can have its head in the grass for hours.  It takes a lot of vegetation to satisfy the appetite of these monstrous beasts.
Here's a list of what we found during the three pleasant hours we spent in the park: (not in any particular order)

1.  Giraffe
2.  Elephant
3.  Wildebeest
4.  Impala
5.  Kudu
6.  Duiker
7.  Crocodile
8.  Cape Buffalo
9.  Hippo and baby
10. Southern Ground Hornbill
11. Eagle
12. Vultures
13. Zebra
14. Variety of small birds



When we spotted this croc with an open mouth, we wondered what was inside.  We zoomed in for the better shot as shown in today's main photo.
We managed to take photos of all of these species and over the next few days, we'll share those we found to be most interesting.  Today, we decided to focus on the Cape Buffalo and crocodiles which we'd yet to see since our arrival in South Africa on February 11th, after several trips into Kruger.
Another croc we saw on the opposite side of the bridge.
There's a paved road in Kruger that runs through the massive 19,485 km²,  (7,523 square miles).  With a concern over a slow leak in one of the little blue rental car's tires, we decided it was best to stay on this road.
From this site"The African buffalo is one of the most successful grazers in Africa. It lives in swamps and floodplains, as well as mopane grasslands and forests of the major mountains of Africa. This buffalo prefers a habitat with dense cover, such as reeds and thickets, but can also be found in open woodland.  While not particularly demanding with regard to habitat, they require water daily, so depend on perennial sources of water. Like the plains zebra, the buffalo can live on tall, coarse grasses. Herds of buffalo mow down grasses and make way for more selective grazers. When feeding, the buffalo makes use of its tongue and wide incisor row to eat grass more quickly than most other African herbivores. Buffaloes do not stay on trampled or depleted areas for long."
Some assume the only way to see the most variety of wildlife is to get off the main road and onto the dirt roads. But we've found no consistency in where wildlife will be...they can be found on or near remote dirt roads and they can just as well be found on or near the paved road.  Its the same thing here in Marloth Park.

Nor does a sunny or cloudy day seem to be determining factor as to what we'll see.  Although, we have experienced less sightings during rain storms, especially with thunder and lightening.  Even wildlife like to stay undercover during inclement weather.
From this site:  "The African buffalo or Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer) is a large African bovineIt is not closely related to the slightly larger wild water buffalo of Asia and its ancestry remains unclear. Syncerus caffer caffer, the Cape buffalo, is the typical subspecies, and the largest one, found in South and East Africa. S. c. nanus (African forest buffalo) is the smallest subspecies, common in forest areas of Central and West Africa, while S. c. brachyceros is in West Africa and S. c. aequinoctialis is in the savannas of East Africa. The adult buffalo's horns are its characteristic feature; they have fused bases, forming a continuous bone shield across the top of the head referred to as a "boss". They are widely regarded as very dangerous animals, as they gore and kill over 200 people every year."
Yesterday's beautiful sunny day enabled us to take many good photos which we're thrilled to share.  We realize that our daily animal stories can be redundant and some of our readers who may not be animal lovers may become bored with our site.

We attempt to divert from the magic of the wonders surrounding us and from time to time we do.  In 28 days, we'll be heading to Zambia and Botswana for more adventures, and although some of that trip will be about wildlife, more of it will include scenery and magnificent places to see in the wild; Victoria Falls, the Zambezi River and the Okavango Delta.
These Cape Buffalos looked content lounging in the water at the Verhami dam on a sunny day with a few oxpeckers on their hides.
Surely, one week in that environment will result in weeks of photos and stories we'll excitedly be sharing with all of you.  Please bear with us in the interim as we continue to embrace our immediate surroundings, so rich in nature and filled with the mystery nature so abundantly provides.

We waited, hoping to be able to get a good photo of the Cape Buffalo's faces.
For us, it's a learning process along with the almost constant surge of feel good hormones purging through our brains while we witness one heart-pounding experience after another.  
Finally, a full face shot of a Cape Buffalo, a "face only a mother could love."
When we returned in the afternoon, we busied ourselves with a few household tasks (Marta on vacation for a week) including sweeping the veranda which, once again was covered with soot from the burning in the sugar cane field that seems to cover everything.
On our return drive to the Crocodile Gate exit, we finally were able to get close enough while on a bridge to get some decent views of these majestic animals, one of the "Big Five."
We invited our new next-door neighbors, Rene and Case (our ages) who are visiting renters like us (they're from the Netherlands) for happy hour at 5:00 pm.  It was delightful to chat with them to hear of their passion for Marloth Park which they've visited regularly for many years.  The commonality that we all share for this place is refreshing and heartwarming. 

We made a plan that the four of us will go to lunch on Tuesday to the Border Country Inn where we'd gone with Louise and Danie on Easter Sunday.  (They are in Cape Town now, returning next Friday.  We already miss them!)
Cattle egret in a marshy area at the Crocodile Bridge exit.
That's it for today, folks!  We'll be back at you tomorrow with more!   
Have a happy and fulfilling day!
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Photo from one year ago today, April 14, 2017:
Surfers took advantage of the favorable surf in Manly, Australia.  For more, please click here.


2 comments:

Anonymous said...

We found your website, but it will take a lot of time to read all. It was nice chatting with you while the animals were visiting the garden (especcially the bushbabies). We will continue next Tuesday.
Your temporarely neighbours Rina and Cees.

Jessica said...

Rina & Cees,
Oh, darn! We should have given you our business card with our web address so you wouldn't have had to search for our site! Yes, it's a lot of reading to start from the beginning which we suggest, if you're interested, since it is the equivalent of several long books. But, its a continuing story you will hopefully find of interest.

We're looking forward to lunch with you both on Tuesday! Enjoy today's cool weather and we'll see you soon!

Warmest regards,
Jess & Tom

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