The Safari Big 5 And Other Animals

 

2018 HAL World Cruise

Saturday, March 31 to Tuesday, April 3, 2018

 

In the days when going on safari meant hunting wild animals for trophies and bragging rights, the term “Big 5” was coined by tour operators to designate the most dangerous and difficult animals to hunt.  Today, safaris are performed with cameras, but the term remains in use.

Our Safari drives would begin around 5:00 every morning with coffee and fruit.  We would set out just before sunrise to searched for animals as they awoke and began their prowl.

The day begins with coffee and fruit at 5:00-5:30 am.
The day begins with coffee and fruit at 5:00-5:30 am.
A typical, beautiful sunrise as we set off for the days adventure!
A typical, beautiful sunrise as we set off for the days adventure!

I’m beginning this post with photos of the big 5:

African Elephant

(classified as vulnerable)

Coming across an elephant herd on the move.
Coming across an elephant herd on the move.
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Our Guide, Mark, set out a goPro in the middle of their path to record their movement.
Elephant meets go pro.
Elephant meets go pro.
He felt a need to check out the unususual gadget.
He felt a need to check out the unususual gadget.
Unimpressed with the high-tech toy, the elephants continue on their prowl.
Unimpressed with the high-tech toy, the elephants continue on their prowl.
Later, we came upon elephants bathing in the Sabie River.
Later, we came upon elephants bathing in the Sabie River.
Mama nursing her baby.
Mama nursing her baby.
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On the day we did a walk about, we returned to our cottage and discovered a few elephants outside our door!
They were not afraid of us.
They were not afraid of us.
But they knew we were there!
But they knew we were there!

Black Rhinoceros

(classified critically endangered)

(the white rhinoceros is classified as near threatened)

Coming upon a Black Rhino.
Coming upon a Black Rhino.
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The White Rhinos name is a corruption of “wide-mouth” which designates the difference between the two. I suppose if one is the Black Rhinoceros, it makes sense to call the other “White Rhinoceros.” Look how distinctive that wide mouth is!
Rhinos on the move.
Rhinos on the move.

 

 

 

 

Cape Buffalo

Cape Buffalo
Cape Buffalo
The Cape Buffalo looks like its hair has been styled into a center-part!
The Cape Buffalo looks like its hair has been styled into a center-part!
A Cape Buffalo seen in the Sabie River from the Lion Sands Narina Lodge!
A Cape Buffalo seen in the Sabie River from the Lion Sands Narina Lodge!

African Lion

(classified as vulnerable)

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Spotting some lions–this pride is composed of four males, 4 females and 11 cubs. The four males got along with each other because they were brothers and grew up in the same pride. We seldom saw all 19 together. The males were usually off hunting!
Male Lion on the prowl.
Male Lion on the prowl.
Stately female lioness.
Stately female lioness.
Now, how cute is that!  Mama and her cub.
Now, how cute is that! Mama and her cub.
Play time.
Play time.
Look, one of the older cubs has a stick!  Do animals play "keep away"?
Look, one of the older cubs has a stick! Do animals play “keep away”?
Ahh, making progress.
Ahh, making progress.
Group hug!  Doesn't this just make you smile!
Group hug! Doesn’t this just make you smile!

African Leopard

(classified as near threatened)

Leopard seen at night and photographed with the red spotlight.
Leopard seen at night and photographed with the red spotlight.
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Leopard seen at night. She may have eaten a heavy meal–we could smell the remains.
That red spotlight doesn't even wake her up!
That red spotlight doesn’t even wake her up!

 

Of course, there are many other wonderful and interesting animals living in the Savannah Woodlands of Kruger National Park.  Giraffes, zebras, Impalas, baboons and monkeys are just a few.  There are magnificent birds; useful or pesky insects; and assorted critters like mongoose, badgers, aardvarks, etc.  They, too, were fun to find, watch, and photograph.

Common Warthogs
Common Warthogs
This is a face only a mama warthog could love!
This is a face only a mama warthog could love!
Baboon
Baboon
Baboons in the trees.
Baboons in the trees.
By the time we realized what was going on, it was over!  Took about 2 seconds!
By the time we realized what was going on, it was over! Took about 2 seconds!
Zebras
Zebras
Zebras having a conversation????
Zebras having a conversation????
Zebras find us interesting to watch, also.
Zebras find us interesting to watch, also.
Spotted Hyenas just walking along the road.
Spotted Hyenas just walking along the road.
This does not taste good.
This does not taste good.
Doesn't smell good either.
Doesn’t smell good either.
Vervet Monkey
Vervet Monkey
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Baby Vervet Monkey playing with a laser dot operated by our Tracker, Chris. Doesn’t this just remind you of playing wth your cat!!!!
Vervet Monkey sitting on the railing outside our cottage!
Vervet Monkey sitting on the railing outside our cottage!
We spotted him as we were walking to #7.
We spotted him as we were walking to #7.
Cute little guy!
Cute little guy!
He seems to be shy.
He seems to be shy.

 

 

The safari was a magical experience.  We would do two safari drives a day, morning and evening for about 3-4 hours each.  Viewing these magnificent creatures in their own habitat was wonderful.  The memories are something we will always cherish!  On our last day, after the morning safari drive, we headed to the Skukuza Airport for our return flight to the ship (now docked in Cape Town.)

 

A South African sunset over the Savannah.
A South African sunset over the Savannah.
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On our final evening, after the final safari, we returned to the lodge for a South African “Boma BBQ.” This always occurs within a fenced enclosure with a firepit in the center.
The Boma BBQ
The Boma BBQ
Arriving at the Skukuza Airport for our flight to Cape Town.
Arriving at the Skukuza Airport for our flight to Cape Town.
Skukuza Airport departure lounge.
Skukuza Airport departure lounge.
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Enjoying our requisite local brew at the Skukuza Airport while awaiting the boarding call.
We flew an Embrear aircraft to Cape Town
We flew an Embrear aircraft to Cape Town
The MS Amsterdam docked in Cape Town and awaiting our return!
The MS Amsterdam docked in Cape Town and awaiting our return!
As always, it feels good to be home!
As always, it feels good to be home!

The next post will show you the sites of Cape Town, South Africa.

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