Thursday, October 22, 2015

Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park is the crown jewel of wildlife spotting in southern Africa, and I was super pumped at the chance to see some leopards – the last of the “Big 5” that I had yet to see after nearly a month and a half in Africa.  We arrived in the afternoon and did a game drive from our touring van.  It started off slow.  We saw one new species of antelope:  the waterbuck (with what looks like a toilet seat shaped ring on its butt).  We also saw a southern ground hornbill – a super endangered flightless bird which we learned more about later from a display at the visitor centre.

That evening, we did a night game drive in the hopes of seeing the more nocturnal feline species.  We saw plenty of elephants, and that’s about it.  It was a bust.

I was discouraged, but the next day we had a full day game drive booked in on a proper game drive vehicle, so all hope wasn’t lost.  The drive started off slow with mainly birds at first.  We saw a kite (a species of bird, not the kind that humans fly), some cape glossy starling (though my mate James thinks they are a different starling species, I’m going to go with what the ranger said), a southern yellow-billed hornbill, steppe buzzard, and grey stork.  In other boring news, we also saw a rock monitor (lizard) somewhere along the way.

Then, it happened – our big break – the first of our amazing sightings.  RHINOS!  I had seen rhinos at Etosha National Park in Namibia, but the rhinos we saw at daytime were far away and the ones we saw at the watering hole at night were quite dimly lit.  These rhinos were right here.  Like, right here – next to our vehicle.  There were a handful of them – maybe six or seven – and they eventually crossed the road right in front of our truck – maybe 10 metres ahead.  I got some amazing pictures and I was a super happy camper.

We then stopped at a large watering hole where three male lions were lazing by the water.  Two dumb ass giraffes dawdled over to the watering hole to take a drink.  They were only metres away from the lions, but apparently giraffes have poor eyesight so they didn’t notice.  One of the giraffes eventually figured out the danger and made a beeline for safety across the road.  The lions must have had a big feed recently, because other than perking up at the beginning when the giraffes initially came over, they didn’t really make any indication that they were going to pounce.  We waited – we hoped – but they just laid there like lazy cats.

Fuckers.  Why won’t you stupid lions put on a show for us?!?

It was then that my moment of glory came.  On day 43 out of 44 days in Africa, and after travelling through seven African countries, I finally saw A LEOPARD!  It was just wandering around in the bushes near the side of the road.  And then, minutes later, there was ANOTHER LEOPARD!  And then, later on, a THIRD LEOPARD!  This one was the best because it was up in a tree and it was guarding its next meal: a dead impala hanging from another branch of the tree.  HOLY AMAZEBALLS, BATMAN!  I was so pleased that I finally saw some leopards that I almost jizzed like a firehose.

Was that too much information?  I’m sorry.

Now, if each of the leopards represents a tier of a delicious three-tiered cake, then the icing was the next animal sighting:  cheetahs!  Two of them to be exact.  We assume they were a male and a female couple, but I suspect they could have been gay.  I mean, look at those spots – they are super fabulous.  I had seen a cheetah in Namibia but it was far off the road.  These were fairly close and allowed for some pretty good pictures.  I like icing on the cake.

Do you know what else is good with icing on cake?  Those icing flowers which are just pure blobs of icing.  The icing flowers came in the forms of (1) a spotted hyena – another animal that I had not seen on any of my safaris in Africa until now and my second priority sighting after the leopards and (2) the black-backed jackal.

But you know what’s even better than a three-tiered cake with lots of icing and icing flowers?  A three-tiered cake with lots of icing an icing flowers AND sprinkles!  Everyone loves sprinkles because they are super adorable.  Do you know what else is super adorable?  The steenbok.  Just Google it (or, better yet, check out my pictures below!)  The steenbok is the tiniest antelope inside Kruger National Park and it’s almost too adorable to handle.  It’s so cute that I wanted to dress it up for Halloween.

Of course, no cake is complete without… a cherry on top.  Duh!  And what was my cherry on top?  Two zebras.  Now, I had seen a tonne of zebras on my trip.  But why were these two zebras special?  It was because they were just standing there.  Chilling.  On the side of the road.  Both with raging hard-ons.  There’s nothing like a good pair of zebra boners to bring a smile to a dirty-minded guy’s face.  Commence giggles… NOW!

So, Kruger National Park was super successful and I was extremely elated at the wildlife viewing we had.  Now that I’ve fully conquered Africa, it’s time to get some rest and relaxation time on a beach in Mauritius.  But first, let me take a selfie.

To see more photos of my time in Kruger, follow this link:

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