In between climbing we went to Krugar national park to do a 3 day Safari. Krugar is only 2 hours from waterval boven and features Mustafa, Rahfiki, Pumba and Malaria. We did a guided safari in an open top jeep. This was an amazing experience, one of the high lights of the year for me (Beric) actually. It was all very much just like the Lion King and Jungle Book.
Hard to spot hey. It took us three days to find a lion. Lions are rare but we weren't going to give up as lions are my favourite animal!
This lion above had just made a kill and actually noticed me taking photos of it. It gave off a sudden roar which scared the crap out of me! A lions roar has enough power to kick up a cloud of dust and can be heard over 5 miles away.
This river looks harmless but its full of death machines feeding on fish:
|Baby elephant as promised Lucy ;)|
Outside the park in the middle of this poor area was this insane supermarket. Even more superior to anything we saw in the USA. The price tags were all electronic and we didn't know what to do with ourselves with all the food options:
This giraffe running reminded me of my brother Andrew.. girrafes run funny..
The kings dodo
Mating couple.. awwww
The springbok and impala look like easy pikens targets for the lions, but don't be fooled! These little guys moves at lightning pace and jump up to 15m in distance and 3m high each time they bound. They could literally jump over a normal road and clear the top of a car. They also disperse in strange patterns which confuse the lions. Their sense of smell is extremely good and they usually smell a predator coming when its still some 100m's away.
We were super lucky to see this insanely rare leopard, its hard to see but it was in the tree and then crawled down and went for a stroll.. In fact we saw all the big 5 animals (leopard, lion, buffalo, elephant, rhino)
Leopard's are not to be messed with. Last year a safari guide hoped out of his car for a cigarette and a leopard surprise pounced and chewed off his neck in front of a group of people.
Apparently this little area up the road is safe to stop for lunch though, as long as you don't pass the warning sign of course..
Rhinos really know how to mark their territory. We saw two males fighting for it too which was impressive.
These elephants weren't happy.. They were more than capable of squashing us all to death in our cars too.
You can tell when an elephant is angry as it starts flapping its ears and sounding its trumpet. This one was bashing a tree into the ground, we got the hint. The elephants have big veins in their ears also, this alows them to cool themsleves down in the scorching African heat (think of the blood in their ears like coolant fluid in a car radiator and the ear is the radiator).
|Mating springbok couple|
I think Monkey's are Steve's favourite animal. Thats the spirit!!
Hippos are the number one killer in the wild in all of Africa. If you get between a hippo and the water source prepare to die. They are herbivores but will not hesitate to chew you in half. They weigh up to 3 and 1/2 tonnes but can still run very fast.
Unfortunately poaches are killing may of the animals in Krugar. The Chinese use Rhino horns as an aphrodisiac and are funding these criminal acts. All in the name of getting their wangs up. There are approximetly 3000 Rhino left at Krugar and over 1000 Rhino were poached last year. At this rate sadly they may not be around anymore in the next few years.
He' so cute and all alllllllllllooooooone.. can we keep him!
PUMBA are you nuts!? your talking about a lion, lions eat guys like us..
He's just a little lion..
|Creepy eye tree|
We were lucky enough to see a new born elephant during our night safari, perhaps only 2 hours old and still learning to walk. I didn't get any shots of this as it was too dark and the mother was trying to keep us away.
There are six lions here.. can you spot them?
The lionesses do most of the work when it comes to hunting. They secure the dinner and then usually let the males feed first, even before the cubs. The younger male cubs grow up strong and eventually drive off the older males through battle. These older males then join a bachelor group or die. When a male lion joins a new pride sometimes they will kill the baby cubs. They do this so the cubs won't one day grow up to be a threat to them. This madness is called infanticide, survival of the fitest hey?!
The pooping process
We hit the jack pot on the last morning and came across a mating pair of lions. He was patiently waiting for her to wake up so he could do his thing. He was super alert to her every movement. During mating times they will mate up to 40 times a day, each time may only lasts 10 seconds but 40 times, common, that's still impressive stamina! Lion's often use their tail's to communicate also. They send signals flirting and inviting one another to come closer. They also use them for directional commands when hunting.
Lions have explosive power and can move up to 20m in 1 second. The males are very protective of the females during mating season and will kill you if you get out of the car. We were in the open top safari vehicle which is a little dangerous. Luckily when a lion looks at the vehicle they do not see the people inside, they just recognise it as one big object and don't mind. If you put your body above the car silhouette though they will see you, just like this doosh bag and me with our earlier lion sighting...
This guy had 5 legs..
From this safari we learnt that there is no balance in our societies and way's of life. Watching these animals you can see there is balance here. They live for survival, there's no insurance and hospitals for them to preserve their bodies and save them until they are old and retire. Once a lion is 10 years old the stronger younger lions drive them off and they die. That's how it is. All of these animals live a harsh reality of life and death. We believe there is no balance in our world. We can all definitely learn from these animals and try to make the most of our lives. There no time to waste worrying about things that aren't really important.