Saturday, December 10, 2016

Lukimbi Safari Lodge,Southern Kruger National Park. Combined game drives

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This is one of my "happy places".
Sitting in a game drive vehicle, waiting to head out of camp.
The uncertainty of not knowing what we might find
that is part of what excites me.
How do YOU judge a "successful" game drive?
Do all the "Big 5" need to be ticked?
Will you be awed by the sight of a spider web
 glistening in the morning light?

Tracker KK and Ranger Werner,
discussing what we might find.
Not all lodges use trackers,
but they are most useful as an extra set of eyes.
And their bush craft is superb.

You know that you are in a "Big 5" reserve
when there is one of these on board the vehicle.

As luck would have it,
we found this on our first drive.
A lioness on a Buffalo kill.
One of a small pride that included several cubs of different ages

Look at the size of the paws on this youngster!
He was dragging this piece of buffalo hide around like a chew toy

Two younger siblings tussle...
Part of the "play fighting" that cubs engage in
as they prepare for the real world

You can see the difference in size between the younger
and older cubs

Not a happy kitty,
even though we were some way away from her and her offspring

"Dinner is served".
The recent drought has affected the buffalo herds in the park.
making them easy prey for a variety of predators

I am always in awe of the size of an African elephant.
It is still being hunted for its tusks.

I found this Striated (Green-backed) Heron out looking for a meal...
I watched it for a while but is seemed to be unsuccessful in its quest.

This tiny European Bee-eater was one of several species that I saw

After spending several game drives unsuccessfully
trying to locate a Lilac-breasted Roller,
this one "popped" up on our final drive.
Normally they are as plentiful as Impala,
but perhaps the drought had something to do with their reduced numbers.
Or perhaps they were in a different part of the Park.

A Tawny Eagle, using a dead tree as a vantage point.
One of the many Raptor species that abound in the Park

A Wahlberg's Eagle getting comfortable...

An Egyptian Goose cooling itself in the river

Although seen by some as vermin,
and as "thugs" by many guests at lodges who have had rooms "trashed" by Vervet Monkeys.
you have to admit that the youngsters have a real "cuteness" factor.

Not one of the "Big 5",
but rated as one of the most deadly animals on the African continent.
The Hippo has been accused of causing more deaths that the 5 combined!
Second only to deaths caused by malaria

Feared by many and hated by even more..
The Spotted Hyena is one of my favourite animals

Looking down while I look up.
I discovered a small colony of Fruit Bats hanging from the roof reception!
Superstition has given them all sorts of negative connotations,
but I find them to be totally fascinating.


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