Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Our Little Corner of the World...with More of Kruger!!!



Ohhh...the animals!!!
We saw so many...
I can't stop posting!!!






Notice the wound on this guy's right haunch?
He was attacked by a lion...
...yep...
...he's a SURVIVOR!!!

Apparently, the lions will attack the rear of the Zebra...
...and the Zebra will kick both legs back repeatedly to fend the lion off.

Zebras often succumb to these attacks...
...but not this guy!  He's a tough one!
 




We came up on this small pond of water...
the guide pointed out this big guy...
and mentioned that there was a crocodile in the pond with him!


We weren't very close to the pond...
so the guide offered to take my camera up closer to the water...


The hippo saw him and started to move toward the edge of the water...
...never saw that guide scramble so fast back to the jeep!!!


Kudu are pretty impressive animals!


The guide told us that these antelope are like McDonald's in the US.
They're on every corner and everybody eats them...
...yep...
he really said that!!!
I had to remark that not everyone eats McDonald's  (as in me!)!!!



A Female Kudu...


Does anyone else hear the Baby Elephant Walk theme from Hatari?


Where're Red Buttons and Elsa Martinelli???






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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Our Little Corner of the World...Still Visiting Kruger National Park!!!




We saw a fair number of these guys...
but since they kind of give me the willys...I wasn't all that keen on 
recording them for all eternity!!!


 Now this next shot is of the lagoon just below our lodge room...


 ...it's pretty isn't it?
Lot's of rocks...

...or are they???

 Notice anything a little different about the "rocks" in the middle of the lagoon and towards the back???


If this was a video...you might see their ears twitching!!!

Yep!!!

Hippos!!!


I'm sorry to say, if you try to enlarge the pics to see them more clearly, 
I've already cropped in so you won't get much magnification.

I only saw one out of the water, and it was in silhouette, at the tail end of twilight
just entering the water on the left side of the lagoon.
But we heard them!!!
They make an odd sound...it was really quite nice hearing them!


Our Tracker Daniel spotted this lady resting in a tree above the road we were on...
...she got down and ambled along...
...not too concerned that we were there!




This is where my lens envy over that guy's lens in the previous post came into play!!!
He had a 600mm lens...I had a 24-120mm lens...(but it's a nice one!)
...so yeah...I cropped in again!!!

This is where a good quality camera and lens shine...


I may not have been able to get a close photo of this beauty...
...but I could really crop in tight and maintain the quality!!!



Isn't she regal???

Unfortunately...the only lions we saw were on the road back to our plane on the way out of Kruger.

But I'll save that story for the end of our Kruger experience!!!





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Friday, May 13, 2016

Our Little Corner of the World...visiting Kruger National Park!!!




Sooo...in my last post I mentioned that our granddaughter Addison
asked Grandpa to take lots of pictures of giraffe...
...remember?

While in the wilds of Africa, TheChief Grandpa got this in his email...


(for some reason the video isn't working...gotta work on that!
In the meantime, she said...."Send more el-phant pictures"!)

...sooo...
guess what we shot a lot of!!!














Notice the structure on the side of the hill behind the elephant twins?
That's our lodge!




I loved how they drank their water in tandem!!!


Our guide would often stop the vehicle and turn and talk to us
about what we've just seen, or a bit of history!





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Monday, May 2, 2016

Our Little Corner of the World, visiting Singita Reserve in Kruger National Park, South Africa!!!




Early mornings are not my forte...
but when you're in Africa...an early morning Game Drive is one of the best parts of the day!!!


This is the main gathering area of Lebombo Lodge in Singita
which is a private "concession" in Kruger National Park. 
Essentially, it's a smaller, private game preserve within the National Park.
The Singita game drives are the only ones allowed on this property whereas in the rest of Kruger
it is a National Park and open to the public.  
Kruger National Park is roughly the same size as Israel. 


The Lebombo Lodge, in Singita, is spectacular! 
Now...we've stayed in some pretty nice places...but I have to say, this one out did them all!!!
Our CapeTown guide, Michael, told us it's really a 6 star lodge!  And I would agree!


Our room was essentially an African style bungalow with sleeping area, living area, bath, 
and a private deck.  Unfortunately, for as many photos as I took on this trip...
I didn't get any of our bungalow!!!
The bungalows were spread out and quite removed from the main public areas.
There were boardwalk paths from our room to the main areas which we could traverse at will
during the daylight hours...
...at night, we had to call for a guide to walk with us as you never knew what lurked in the bushes!
We never did come across anything too dramatic walking, 
although there was a Kudu by the path once.
At any rate...after a light morning snack, we took off with our guide and tracker...


Now...if you think this looks familiar, it's the same tree and birds as from the sunset the night before!
These birds rather like this spot!!!


This is Daniel...our Tracker!
He kept his eyes on the terrain, looking for animals...


Our first sighting of the day was this lone Wildebeast.


Soon...we saw giraffes...
which was an important find, because Addison,
our youngest grand daughter, loved giraffes and asked to see pictures of giraffes when we went!
Sooo...Dan took lots of photos of giraffe on his iPhone to send to Addie!





...and of course...I took lot's of giraffe pictures!!!


They're such cool animals...
if you look closely at the above two photos you might notice the gait of the giraffe while walking...
Can you tell that both legs on the same side move together?  
They're the only animal that does that!!! 


Sooo...after the giraffe...we came across this rhino and her baby!


They were quite cooperative in their posing....


Every now and then we'd come across another vehicle from the Singita drives...
...OK...
I admit it...there's a heck of a lot of lens envy in this shot!!!


Turns out this was more than just mom and her baby!


They are such awesome animals.
Very prehistoric looking, don't you think?
They are endangered because poachers like them...
the Rhino horn is considered quite valuable in traditional Chinese medicine.
Valuable to the tune of about $60,000 on the black market for a Rhino horn.
Now...I've done acupuncture for close to 30 years...yeah...really!
And my first experience was with a Korean surgeon who came to the states after the Korean war.
He was so grateful to the US for what we did for them in the war that he came to the US and 
set up practice in Garden Grove charging just a nominal fee for his services.
The wall in his office was like the library catalogue of yesteryear.
Lot's of tiny drawers, each with a different medicinal herb or product.
For all I know, he had Rhino horn in one of those drawers.
I've found Oriental medicine to be quite effective so I'm not going to argue that
there's no validity to the claim of medicinal value in the Rhino horn...
...HOWEVER... 
I am TOTALLY against poaching or any other form of hunting of these magnificent animals
that endanger their existence, for ANY reason.
They are absolutely amazing...


 For both the morning and afternoon drives we would have a short stop to stretch our legs, visit a bush, have a cup of coffee in the morning, or a glass of wine or beer in the evening. 
Our guide and tracker was an awesome team.  I remember the trackers name, well, because...
duh...it was Daniel!!!
But I'm totally blanking on our guide's name.
Each of the driver/guides were well educated in wild life, ie: Bachelor's and Master's degrees.
Daniel, our tracker, told me that he learned to track from his grandfather 
starting when he was just a little kid.  
He also told me that his goal was to become a full fledged guide.
The guides have to pass exams at several different levels.  
Daniel told me that he was on his next to last level.


 We were there in August which is the tail end of their Winter and beginning of their Spring.
It was the dry season as well.  Very different than what I was expecting!
I guess I watched too many Tarzan movies as a kid!!!
The climate and terrain was actually quite similar to California...
Actually, for game drives, the Winter season is the best time to go
as there is less water available for the animals, so they tend to congregate where there is water.


That's our row, up on the top, with a great view!!!





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