Wallowing in the heat at Kruger

At a waterhole just around the corner from Jocks Lodge, we came upon three elephants cooling off by spraying themselves with water.

  

 Just as we were setting up our cameras, they scrambled out.

  The cause was two rhinos that had arrived and chased them off.

  After checking out the lie of the land, they too wandered away, leaving the muddy waterhole deserted. Estien, our guide, took the 4WD down to a larger muddy wallow, where four rhinos were placing mud packs on their delicate complexion.

  On the back of one, the red-beaked oxpicker birds were cooling off; their beaks wide open. 

   

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Cute baby animals with zebras, lions and a “Tusker”!

Our guide from Jocks took us out before sunrise and what a feast for wildlife enthusiasts!

Lions by resting the waterhole were a highlight:

  
But first Estian, our guide pointed out a trio of distant zebra.

  
  
Then a family of hyenas. One cub walked under the 4WD and sniffed at the running board.

   

Then we came across a rhino family. The curious baby sniffed it’s mother’s dung.

   
 
As the sun rose higher and the day became hotter, a hippopotamus kept cool in a wallow, watched over by a bird.

  
To top the morning game drive, we rounded a corner and came across an elephant with huge tusks. Estien pointed out that such “tuskers” are now rare due to previous poaching and genetic tendencies.

  
  
The end.

 

Beyond the five – other Kruger wildlife

Today’s game drives showed us some more of the diversity that is Kruger National Park. Estien, our guide, started by driving down south to see a pack of wild African dogs. He found them.

  
We also found a mother hyena and pup:

  
Impala are plentiful in the Park and and as graceful as ballerinas:

  
And let’s not forget the iconic giraffe:

  
Finally is the kuda with its amazing pink ears:

  
That’s enough for tonight. Time to go to bed in preparation for the five am wake-up call.

Elephants passing by

After a late breakfast, we decided to skip lunch and by noon were lounging by the pool in little lodge that is part of Jocks Concession adjacent to Kruger National Park, South Africa.

David pointed out an elephant coming towards us down the sandy dry river bed. As we lay still, a herd of eleven emerged. I had been uploading yesterday’s blog on my iPad so hastily attempted to capture this special moment.

  
In this photo is a large elephant followed by a baby with mother. Elephant herds are apparently matriarchal, so the leader may also be female.

Johannesburg Airport enroute for Kruger

Our flight arrived at 4:15am and most services were closed. We’ve found our on-flight details but the check-in desk didn’t open till 6:30am. We had a second breakfast at the airport around 7am with a another couple who were also on their way to Kruger. Breakfast on the plane had been served  around 2am South African time. The airport wifi doesn’t include enough free data to enable me to upload the phot, so this will be posted retrospectively. Waiting.