A MORNING WALK IN THE KRUGER

Kruger Weather (overhead) conditions: early morning mist, cloudy but lifting with a gentle south-westerly breeze, turning slightly.


Walk in southerly direction from the main road (S110) wind direction is south. Approximately 100 metres further see two white rhinos – cow and adult calf – the rhinos have scented us and are alert but 50 meters away. Wind is turning – direction south-easterly. I decide to approach from a westerly direction – good cover behind some fallen combretum. Approach to within twenty meters – all good. Rhinos become aware of our presence (shift in wind) and move off in a southerly direction.


The rhinos have barely moved 15 meters when a growl from a lioness in front of them – then some lion cub sounds – the rhinos move east and away. Wind direction moves back to a constant south-westerly (more south) direction. I continue the walk in a south east direction – not prepared to view the lioness/cubs from where we are as they are in drainage line with dense cover. I see a few granite boulders south-east of us and decide to try and get a view from there. Giraffe carcass (a day old) is viewed to the south – We move towards the granite carefully – get scent of the kill, and can still see the rhinos moving off in the east. Lions are east of the kill – we are west of the kill and approaching the granite. I lead the group around the granite. Elephant herd is moving in drainage line in North-east direction. Guests are comfortable and protected – we are on the granite with good views of the elephants, rhinos and giraffe carcass – the lions are hidden by thick drainage line cover.


Elephants continue passed us – I move the group off the granite and continue walking in a southerly direction (over the drainage line) and over some brackish soil away from the lion kill. I explain the dangers of approaching a kill while the pride (with small cubs) is still on the kill. Only a couple of vultures in the nearby apple leaf trees.


Walk continues for 2Km’s – discussed the differences between garden and golden orb-web spiders including a brief talk on dew-drop spiders and spider silk production, showed basil, various footprints and faeces. Saw impala.


We rested on top of some flat granite for snacks.


Walk continues – back towards the vehicle in a northerly direction but moving slightly west. Encounter a young bull elephant ahead of us and moving in the same direction as us – he scents us and moves off. No problems.

Back on the brackish (sodic) site – discuss elephant mud holes, fresh buffalo and rhino tracks – begin to move on and a 2.5 meter black mamba jumps up and away approx. 5 meters from us – good view – no warning hiss but all guests had a good chance to see the mamba. Discussed various snake venoms and a bit on the mamba (type of food, social behviour, etc)


Back towards the lion kill – but will pass the kill on the eastern side because the sun is becoming hot and I wanted good visibility in front of me – recognizing that lions may have separated and lying under cover at various places around the kill. Saw very fresh lioness tracks at the mud hole (and a bitten leopard tortoise) which I presumed was a lion bite – shell crushed and still fresh.

We continued back towards the vehicle and concluded the walk.

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