Kruger National Park Game Reserve, Part 1 – The “Big Five”

Friday January 23rd ~ Kruger National Park (Part 1)

Elephants!

Elephants!

For me, today was the highlight of our Gate 1 trip. Included with our tour was a morning game run. We chose to add-on the afternoon game run and a night game run. That resulted in us being in the park from 5:30 in the morning until 8:00 at night. That was too long for some in our group, but I loved every moment of it.

We were divided into three vehicles that each carried 10 passengers, and set out for an all day adventure.

Our group of 10 together for the entire day

Our group of 10 together for the entire day

Kruger National Park is huge, running 220 miles long and 40 miles wide – basically covering the same amount of land as the state of Connecticut, or Wales, or Israel. 

The park is part of the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere, an area designated by UNESCO as an International Man and Biosphere Reserve (the “Biosphere”).

The grass is high this time of the year which makes it a little more challenging to spot the animals.

There are probably a large number of animals well hidden in the deep grass

There are probably a large number of animals well hidden in the deep grass

I mentioned the “Big Five” a couple of days ago. One of the vehicles managed to see all five. We found 4 out of 5 (everything except the leopard), but we did get a close encounter with a cheetah which made up for it in our opinion.

So here we go on our big five:

Elephant

This will give you an idea of just how close some of the animals get to our vehicles

This will give you an idea of just how close some of the animals get to our vehicles

Babies following the herd

Babies following the herd

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Big ears

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In the sunlight

Elephants when they are young can lie down to sleep, but adults must stand up

Elephants when they are young can lie down to sleep, but adults must stand up

Rhino

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We came around a corner and this big rhino was right in the middle of the road

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Did you notice the birds on his back? They eat the ticks off of him.

Cape Buffalo

Whoa, I would not want to mess with this guy

Whoa, I would not want to mess with this guy

The "helmet" is solid on the male cape buffalo

The “helmet” is solid on the male cape buffalo

In the watering hole

In the watering hole

Cape buffalo in the water in the distance

Cape buffalo in the water in the distance

Lion

Hidden in the brush right beside the road. Very hard to see this large male lion.

Hidden in the brush right beside the road. Very hard to see this large male lion.

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King of the jungle

Leopard:

Sorry, still missing this one… (but) here is a cheetah until then.

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The fastest land animal on the planet

But the “Big Five” was just the start of all the amazing animals we saw. Check out Part 2 to see what else crossed our path!

GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for the efforts being done to protect these magnificent creatures and eradicate poaching.

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our "next chapter". At a stage in life where traveling the world, taking pictures, and sharing our adventures with friends and family will be our dream come true.
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21 Responses to Kruger National Park Game Reserve, Part 1 – The “Big Five”

  1. mike alesko says:

    Joanne, an article on my Facebook page linked by Facebook to your post says that Kruger plans to auction off 500 white rhinos, supposedly to protect them from poachers, especially from neighboring Mozambique. But the article says it’s believed their fate could be a bad one if auctioned — ending up in legal game hunts, being sold in markets, and more. Any discussion of this on your tour? Without knowing more, it kind of sounds disingenuous to get rid of them to supposedly save them.

    Like

    • Mike, no, I don’t know anything about that, but will ask our new group leader if he is aware of the situation. We did learn that a number of rhino were relocated in other parks and have had successful breeding programs in place.

      Like

  2. mike alesko says:

    P.S. to my above post — you can find lots on this at Google. Sounds like the auctioning actually started in October, that many have already been auctioned, and that advocates have discovered that some have already been killed by trophy hunters. It also sounds like buffalo are being auctioned too.

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  3. John Love says:

    I wrote a long paragraph in the vein of other comments seen, then decided it was not really what this blog is all about and erased it! I loved the pics, I love your commentary, so congratulations to both of you, another great blog!

    Like

  4. wow
    You guys are living my dream. Safari is high on the bucket list for me but Diane is concerned about the cost (so am I actually). I think we’ll have to “save” up for that kind of trip

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  5. Wow… I am sure, it’s something to be felt rather than just view the images…

    Looks like an amazing place to explore and photograph wildlife.

    Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

    Have a beautiful day …

    Like

    • Sreejith, I agree that to experience this with all of your senses is far more powerful than simply seeing our photos. But, I hope that the pictures will at least give a taste of what one might get to see and/or do in a particular corner of the world. Thank you for coming along with us!

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  6. The cheetah MORE than makes up for the leopard! How lovely to see it.

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    • I think we were really fortunate to see the cheetah. It was simply sunning itself on the side of the road, and then slowly wandered off, barely giving us a sideways glance. I still have my fingers crossed that we will see a leopard though on our upcoming game runs.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. leahlarkin says:

    Fabulous. I want to follow in your tracks.
    .

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  8. Amazing Pictures! Thank you for sharing!

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  9. goin4fun says:

    We will be taking this trip in September, so I am loving your posts and photos! Love the gratitude moment at the end of each!

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    • Hello Goin 4 Fun, you are going to have an amazing time in September! The grass will be a bit lower then and the animals easier to spot in the wild. I hope we have given you a tiny peak into some of the marvels that await you. Travel safe and enjoy!!!

      Like

  10. janet oates says:

    wow o wow – what a great blog! It is going to keep me busy for days. Love the elephants crossing the road. Must be hard not to get out of the vehicle and walk with them.

    Like

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