Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Kruger National Park - Interesting Sightings

Zebra + Giraffe

A huge crossing of zebras and giraffes.  Zebras are very watchful, each one when crossing the road, pauses and stares at the car for at least 3 seconds and then crosses.

One zebra started to cross, then a truck came, so he walked back.  He seemed to confer with three others and then crossed the road and galloped away.


At night they skulk around and you can see their shiny eyes.  They are not so much menacing as creepy, almost like the animal version of a leery drunk at 3am looking for a kebab shop.

Zebra + Elephant + Wildebeest + Impala

On an open space, these animals all mingle and graze.  It is amazing to see so many, so close.  
The wildebeest chase each other around in a big circle at a fearsome pace, and at times look like they are going to buck heads.  They kick up a lot of dust.  The zebra and impala do not raise an eyebrow.

Meanwhile, the three elephants are in the back, congregated around a water tank.  Cleverly they get up and are able to dip their trunks into the water.


An odd yet graceful creature.  Its neck is amazing, especially seeing it reach back to clean its hind legs.  As it is tall, birds often fly into the giraffe and feast on the ticks and insects.

Elephant charge I

Approaching a bridge, a solitary elephant was on the right side, occupying most of that side of the road.  We stoped to take photos.  As we drove closer, the bull turned toward us.  Mum knew the bull was angry because the tail was stiff.  Dad knew it was mad because the tail was swinging wildly.  We stopped the car.
Then we had a second go, driving towards it slowly.  The bull with the stiffly swinging tail swiveled around as we drove, hugging the left shoulder.  We were all tense and Dad floored it as we made our escape.
It may be good to note that Mum, who has been on jungle trips and seeing elephants since she was a child, is extremely nervous when she sees an elephant and often advocates reversing away from elephants who are on the road.

Elephant II

Coming back from a drive near gate closing time, we see a car stopped in the middle of the road.  A short distance in front of it is an elephant.  This elephant is quite large, even for an elephant, and most importantly, we are told by the passengers in the other car, he is angry.

Unsurprisingly, Mum is shrieking from the back to reverse.  Dad is a bit more laidback, or maybe he is still trying to figure out which is reverse and forward, but eventually we are going backwards.  The elephant is coming slowly, threateningly toward us.  His ears are flapping.

Aneka sensibly suggests to go down the gravel road to the side, where we had seen the buffalo before.  Mum's fear level is rising by the second, and she wants to stay on the main road.  It seems she possesses the traits of Nostradamus, which she has never shown before, as after going back up the main road we see the menacing elephant wander down the side road.

After this ordeal, Dad is able to relate how he personally outwitted the elephant.  See, by going partially down the side road, the elephant thought we were heading down there.  According to Dad, the elephant had identified our car as weak, and therefore, its target.  Dad's clever moves saved us from being another car toppled by elephants, which occurs about once a year.

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