warning. super long entry ahead!

we started our day 3 adventure journeying out to world-renowned kruger national park. it sprawls across 20,000 sq km of hot, flattish lowveld terrain in the far northeast of south africa and ranks among the finest game sanctuaries in the world, with all roads, rest camps and other man-made features accounting for only 2% of the park’s area. the rest is pure wildnerness and no other sanctuary in Africa can match the numbers and variety of life forms. its home to nearly 150 kinds of mammals (including the Big 5), more than 500 bird species, 112 reptile types, 49 types of fishes and 34 amphibian and an uncountable diversity of insects.

unfortunately, i didnt spot a single snake and well.. i’m pretty much confined to the van and it is forbidden for anyone to get off their vehicle (risk of being eaten by the wild animals!).

at the entrance. we got out really early but there is already a LONG queue at the gates of the park. we waited for an hr plus in the queue to get tickets and clearance to move inside!

interesting tidbit – they have maps like this around the park (at the rest camps) where people can mark where the big 5 + cheetah and wild dogs are being spotted today and the day before.. They are like the hardest to spot and if you do get to spot all of them in a single day.. you are sure lucky! the map helps the people going on the game drives to find those animals because mostly, they don’t move much if there are not hunting/migrating. thing is, i personally think its not very accurate because kids get to go near these maps and they anyhow mark the map, which defeats the purpose of providing accurate information to fellow adventurers.

family of elephants. can i just say… the baby elephants are soooooo cute! elephant trivia (that i learnt from nat geo) – elephants have a gestational period of 22 months before the baby elephant is born and is the longest of that of a land animal. could you imagine? almost 2 YEARS before they can have one baby.. very soon, they’ll slowly disappear from the face of our mother earth with the rate that elephants are dying around the world.

elephant caught poo-pooing!

this baby elephant is so cute. i so wanted to bring it home with me. heh.

elephants are like the easiest to spot, and they move very slowly, so you can literally stop your vehicle at the spot and observe these animals as they go about their own business, oblivious to people that are in vehicles snapping away on their cammies.

a bunch of kudus grazing. you know, i never given much thought about animals and their fur/skin/camouflage because all my life, i always seen the animals in the zoo with artificial environment. they are just what they look. but when i was in the safari, i am amazed at how easily they blend into the surroundings! and you think zebras stand out like a sore thumb, try seeing them from afar and in the safari and you’ll think, “wow.. god is amazing to have created all these.” you hardly could spot them from afar, especially when they stood very very still.

x.silly checking out the animals in the far horizon..

its a bunch of buffalos (one of the big 5s)!

a lone bird (forgot the name!) perched on the branches against the overcast sky.

at the petrol station, refueling. thought this poster of all the different animal prints is very interesting. i took the same shot with the poster but my uncle andy looks a lot more photogenic!

an ugly warthog turning its back and walking away. i think the cute factor of the warthog has been amplified a thousand times in the animation cartoon Lion king. This creature is rather hideous looking by my standards.

are you taking a picture of me?, goes the giraffe. heh. it was my imagination if you wanna know. i just happened to snap a picture when it was looking in my direction. do you know how to tell the sex of a giraffe? i didnt till i went on the safari. well, look at the eyelashes, the ones with longer lashes are the females…. I’M KIDDING! males or females, their lashes are really long. one can tell the sexes by looking at their horns, though it can be quite a challenge. the male horns are usually bald, while the females usually spot a tuft of hair on its horns. geddit? isnt it interesting?

i can’t remember if this is a female steenbok or a reedbuck. likely to be the reedbuck, but seriously, all of them from the deer/antelope family looks seriously similar! they are recognizable through their antlers, stripes on body, markings on their buttocks and size but there are just too many species for a non-african person to remember. we don’t usually see these many species in our zoo, do we?

another one from the same family, but much easier to recognise. this is the male springbok, with the signature white underbelly with some black stripe separately its body colour from the underbelly. i actually tasted the meat of this later in my journey in cape town.. wanna know how it taste like?

giraffe crossing! 😛 they are seriously huge and tall when you get really upclose. and oh, within the safari.. everyone drives slowly because the animals are forever crossing the road.

we took a break during mid day and had packed breakfast from our “hotel”. it wasn’t any fanciful food and i spent my time wandering around and taking pictures instead.

my family, with the guide.. munching.

our breakfast. errrmm.. i gave away everything i had except for the muffin and egg. the juice and yoghurt tasted quite horrible (imo).

some bird. male and female. ok. not some bird. they are ground hornbills. funny birds they are. they can fly, but prefer to walk or run and spend the majority of their time on the ground, hence earning their names.

one of those grassland patches that i thought was quite interesting. wonder if there were mozzies breeding in those waters?

guess what? i have like thousands of pictures like that, so bear with me yeah? i have to justify taking the pictures so it needs to go on my blog. (i barely showed 5%!)

so, were you paying attention/reading the details earlier? is this male or female? female or male? LOL. mr giraffe will eat you up if you get it wrong? (of cos not, don’t be silly.. they are herbivorous).

chacma baboons crossing. i think that was 5 generations of baboon family in total.. it just went on and on non-stop and we had to wait it out before we could drive pass them! it was rather interesting while waiting though. the babies are sooooo tiny and cute! ok. cant see them here.

as we drive past them..

zebras. i was really amazed at them and never thought black & white would blend in soooooo well in the safari. ok. of cos you can’t really tell cos these pictures are really up close..

could you just try to imagine? this picture would be easier to visualize.. that’s a baby zebra on the right by the way. too cute!

blue wildebeest. seriously. i don’t know which part of them is blue. maybe its their mood. heh. ok. not funny.

galloping away. i think i would die if any one of these knocks into me. they are huge and still can run at a great speed!

more impalas. these are the most commonly spotted deer in africa, and they are easily recognizable with that “stamp” of 3 stripes on their backsides.

another shot of them.

the ugly 5. vultures. we saw them circling the skies. safari trivia. the most coveted animal that everyone wants to see is the lion. because they are so hard to spot, so majestic, and oh-so-dangerous. they also have really good camouflage that you wouldn’t even know that they are near you. trust me, because i spotted one twitching ear about 5 metres away from me once in the grass after like 20 mins of sitting out and observing and i went “there, there, there” afterwards to tell everyone where it was and no one could spot it, until it moves again. anyway, i digress. the easiest way to find the lions is to look in the SKY (no, the ones in africa dont fly) and see where the vultures are circling. because the vultures would wait for the lioness to make the kill, eat it and scavenge the rest. so they will circle the sky around the lioness once they make the kill.

lioness, because.. do you know they are the ones that usually hunt and bring home the meat? shame on the lion, really.

so, that’s the vultures and you are gonna ask me where are the lions right?

there’s one right in the centre of the picture, hidden behind those tall grass.. guarding a kill of a zebra. according to the guide and information exchanged between all the vehicles, the lion has been there for the past 2 days and is not eating its kill yet. probably not as hungry. the other method to spot a lion… is to watch out for traffic jams in the middle of the safari. because all the vehicles will STOP for ages and lion watch, causing a jam. it kinda became a joke on our trip because we were guessing the animal-jam after that.. 3 cars? i think that’s an elephant jam. 20 cars? must be a lion jam!

slow moving leopard tortoise, crawling by the roadside. this is one of the small 5!

the whole time while we were travelling in the car, the windows were winded down so that my uncles and me can take pictures with our cameras. the thing is, i kinda envied those people who sat in an open vehicle to tour the safari while we were stuck in a mini van with small windows. ok. at least we were more safe as compared to the others in case of animals attacking, but taking pictures and windows snatching (to get a clear view, good shot) was quite a pain! anyhow, while the journey almost ended.. i caught a whiff of… salted fish! i was envisioning the salted fish back home where we paired it with plain teochew porridge…

only to realise…

its a rotting giraffe corpse. a freakingly huge one, if i may add.

can you see the huge bones? this died for more than a week, yet the skin on its body is still intact. the guide did say that beneath the hide, the meat is all gone. the only things left were flies that were hovering around….

it nauseated me, because the imagery of the teochew porridge turned out quite horribly.

one of the few flowers i spotted on the africa savanna.


vervet monkey (blouaap). don’t ask me how to pronounce it. it’s african.

and.. its lunch! i was soooooo famished (because i gave away my breakfast, remember?). lunch was pretty exotic because i had lion’s meat we dined under a hut of bats, fluttering their wings, staring right at you and ‘chirping’ away. how do you actually describe the sound that they make?

hello human, care to share your food with us?

our food!

the guide’s simple cheeseburger and my aunt’s lasagna.

both my uncles’ burgers, one hawaiian.. the other, i forgot!

my chicken steak i think, served with a sunny side up. i think the egg tasted better than the meat but i polished everything off my plate anyway.. and stole fries from others’ plate. the iced cold grape flavoured fanta was heavenly as well. Heh.

heading out of the safari post lunch and we didnt spot many new animals.

checking out the savanna from a boardwalk.

birds taking a bath. it is rather peaceful sitting down and observing these little birdies.

buffalos crossing, with a cute looking jeep packed with people. looks apt for a lion’s meal huh? so many of them there.

i just thought, even the cactuses look interesting while u are out in the wild.

on our way out, there was this elephant that was really close by so we stopped and i snap a shot of him.

guess what was the animal that made me the most excited?!

the spotted hyena! omg. he was like sooooooo close that i could touch it if i stretch out my hands. he was just standing there, guarding its babies and eyeing us suspiciously as our vehicle stopped right before it.

one of its babies, lying close by.

caught a lion-jam just before we headed out. a family of lions were lazing around in the far horizons, and this is as much as my zoom lens could take me.

its not very clear, but there are 4 lions in the first picture and 3 in the 2nd.

with that, we ended our safari journey in kruger national park and headed back. i hope to be back one day on the africa nature reserves and maybe the ones in botswana where the herds would migrate in the months of oct. *wanderlust*

our dinner.

afterwhich, i promptly crashed into bed.

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