For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Tour and travelogue to KNP Game Reserve S Africa - Part 5

I almost forgot to include the most important photographs (although the worst!!).

The previous evening I was walking along the fence and spotted two leopards across the river. It was almost pitch dark by then and because of that and the distance, I have had to lighten these pictures considerably. I only had my 300mm lens with me so I could not zoom in closer. Sorry!!

These are a mother and almost full grown cub (on the left of the mother). It had something which it was eating but as I did not have my binoculars with me, could not make out what it was. Looks like a small buck of some sort and you can see it at its feet in the first two pictures.
When it was finished eating it went to lay down on the rock.

As we were leaving the park, we came across this pride of lions which had killed a buffalo. Their stomachs were so full, they did not move a muscle and the vultures which were looking on, were equally gorged.

Vultures waiting for their share of the feast. What a lovely way to end a perfect four days!! I could have added more photographs, but then this travelogue would have been twice as long, but I am sure this gives you a feeling of what it is like to be in an African Game Reserve and the things you might see on a trip there.
The final chapter is on the kinds of accommodation to be found there.

Thanks for looking!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tour and travelogue to KNP Game Reserve S Africa - Part 4

Another spectacular dawn after a good nights sleep with just the sound of the Lion, Hyena and Zebra in the distance.
It is a bit cooler this morning and the Speckled Mousebird sits where he can absorb the early suns rays.
Today a Crocodile sleeps on the bank while a Heron fishes nearby.
Out of camp and a large herd of Elephant cross the road with this little baby in tow. It is about two years old and still suckling.
This old male finds it hard to put on the breaks after coming down the slope to join the others. When they get those dents in the top sides of their heads, you can know they are very old, about 60-70 years.
Continuing down the road, the White Rhino thinks he is invisible behind the tree and stares at us taking pictures of him.
About 300 Buffalo were in this group heading to who knows where and stopping to eat along the way. At one time, Buffalo were scarce as they were mostly killed off by bovine TB, but non-affected ones were brought in and in the space of about 8 years have made a remarkable recovery.
Baby Baboon sits on his mothers back next to her tail for support. If they are under 3 months old, they cling to her stomach wherever she goes.
This male ostrich is out looking for a mate. How do I know? When the front, bottom of their legs are red like this, it is an indication to the females that they are ready to breed. But the poor guy did not know what was going to happen to him!!
Just a few feet ahead, a pride of lions lay in the shade looking for lunch.
As the young cub (about 2 years old) spotted the ostrich, he gave chase but it ran off so quickly, the cub gave up after only a few yards. I guess the ostrich will be much more careful in future and not go walking around with his head in the clouds not noticing what danger lurks around the bushes. LOL!!
And who can resist taking a picture of a butterfly? Not me!! The only problem is I had a 300mm lens on which is definitely not made for macro photography.
After lunch, we decided to go to another museum but I will let these photographs speak for themselves. Please note that these are fetuses which were found in already dead animals. The park has a very strong policy not to interfere in anything and just to let nature take its course.
This Buffalo has the strangest horns and I wonder why they became deformed like this. It must still have allowed him to eat as it is not a young animal.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The park - Part 2

All over in this park are small little waterfalls like this one. The sound of the water is very pleasant.
These cacti were huge and had even bigger thorns on them
All the ponds are fairly still so I was able to get some great reflection shots.
I don't know what these little daisies are called but they do make a pretty show.

Even though it was such a lovely day, I was surprised to find not many people walking around the park.
I think the gardens are very well kept. Aloes and cycads.
Mother duck was having a nap while she could........
...and the little ones were almost hidden amongst the plants resting too.....

Tour and travelogue to KNP Game Reserve S Africa - Part 3

I wander around after lunch and took some pictures of this Sabi Star. It grows wild here in the park and always shows it’s wonderful flowers in the dead of winter.
A close up of the flower.
In the camp there is a bronze statue of these Kudu who’s skeleton they found in the bush. The horns had interlocked and they could not separate themselves and so they died.
All the camps offer night drives and these are the vehicles you go out with. It is wonderful to see the array of night animals like Civet and Serval.
Tucked away in the roof of a thatched rondaval, these Epaulette Fruit bats sleep the day away. They are harmless and quite cute.
The birds like this Burchel's Starling just wait for you to finish eating and then they all fly up onto the table to eat the scrapes. They become so tame, they will come and eat out of you hand if you hold food in it.
There is an old museum in this camp which shows you some of the things which were used when the camp was first established. This fuel pump is circa 1935.
This one of the first huts built in the park for accommodation.
The bed is made with strips of hide as springs and after almost a hundred years, they have been cured so well, you can still sit on it.
The modern amenities included your own washbowl and potty, with a bucket to fetch your own water from the nearby river.
Gas lamps were used with beautiful porcelain bowls and an iron which you heated on the outside fire in order to get the wrinkles out of your clothes.
An advert for fuel…..
…and a handy tip on what NOT to do.
Lovers taking a stroll around camp before spending the night under the stars…..
…..and alternate accommodation when the camp was full. Needless to say, with this mode of transport, it took a few days to get there too!!
This picture is of the up-to-date modern accommodation available.