The Magic Of The Northern Kruger Park
The Northern Kruger Park Delivers
The northern Kruger Park is so underrated. This day, the 29th of December 2018, proves just that. The northern Kruger Park is a beautiful area, full of wildlife, trees and more… We started the morning a bit later than normal. We only left Punda Maria at 5am, and the Chacma Baboons were around in the camp already, looking to cause chaos where they can.
We left the beautiful Punda Maria at 5am, and we had no idea the day we were in for. Fantastic sightings on the animal and bird front. It was a day we will never forget, it was unbelievable to be honest, something that documentaries are based on…
The Northern Kruger Park – Destination Pafuri
We decide the day before we were going to have breakfast at the Pafuri picnic spot, in the northern Kruger Park. We drove the H13-1 for a short while and managed to see Impala, Burchell’s Zebra and Buffalo in a short period of time. Birds like the Natal Spurfowl, Eastern Black-headed Oriole and Fork-tailed Drongo were seen and heard as well.
We turned onto the S60 and drove down this dirt road for a while. We then encountered something so rare… Close to the S59, we encountered Wild Dogs. Now, at the time of writing this, I now of one Wild Dog pack this far in the northern Kruger Park, was this what we had seen? The light was poor and the foliage thick, so photographs were poor, but we managed to capture a few. We were so lucky, and nothing really made us choose this route. It’s just how everything worked out. Wild Dogs in the northern Kruger Park, how rare? We were so happy. It was a great sighting, and just as soon as we saw them, they disappeared. It was bittersweet, but what a pleasure.
We carried onto a wet Pafuri, the drizzle had set in, and we managed to see a few more Impala, Buffalo, Giraffe and Zebra, as well as Chinspot Batis, Red-billed Oxpecker and Burchell’s Starling. We arrived at Pafuri Picnic Spot, after a sighting of Nyala, and were thrilled, to say the least,
The Northern Kruger Park – Crooks Corner
We then drove to of the most beautiful roads in the northern Kruger Park, if not the whole of the Kruger National Park. The S64 towards Crooks Corner, and the S63 – The Nyala Drive, named after the numerous Nyala Tree’s and animals you can see on this short road.
We drove through the beautiful Fever Tree forest and saw a huge variety of birds, no rarities unfortunately… Some of the birds we saw included Emerald Spotted Wood Dove, White-fronted Bee Eater, Three-banded Plover, Egyptian Goose, Blue Waxbill, Grey Heron, Pied Wagtail, Hamerkop, Yellow-billed Oxpecker, Woodland Kingfisher, Cape Turtle Dove and many more.
Some of the animals we encountered included Elephant, Nyala – lots of them which was great, Impala, Chacma Baboon, Vervet Monkey, Giraffe, Common Warthog, Nile Crocodile and Hippo.
It was a great drive on the two dirt roads, and we saw quite a lot. The northern Kruger Park is beautiful and everyone needs to see it for themselves.
And Then The Northern Kruger Park Produced A Once In A Lifetime Sighting
Driving back down the H1-8, we saw Elephant, Leopard Tortoise, Impala, Buffalo, Steenbok, Bushbuck and Tree Squirrel. But then the sighting of a lifetime happened, read the full article here.
We saw a Lioness and 3 cubs close to the side of the road so we stopped to admire them. We were the only car, and this happened 500 meters before the S61. All of a sudden a big herd of Buffalo crossed the road and con fronted the lone Lioness. The Lion was having none of it and proceeding to chase, hunt and kill a Buffalo calf taken from the herd. It was incredible. After a long battle the Buffalo calf was dead and she hid the carcass under thick scrub. The lioness then proceeded to cross the road and fetch her three cubs, to come and eat with no doubt. It was a magical sighting, and our first ever Lion kill! What a sight, and to make it even better, it is all on video!
What an amazing sighting, and then it was on to the next one…
A Lifer In The Northern Kruger Park
In birding terms, a lifer is a bird who have searched for your entire life and finally managed to tick it off your list. Punda Maria and Pafuri are well known for lifers, and we desperately wanted to see any bird regarded as a lifer. We were rewarded.
We were driving on the H13-1 and slowed down to a car photographing something small close by with a big lens, I knew it had to be a bird. I asked the guy in the car what he had seen, and to my delight and surprise he said there is a male and female Arnot’s Chat in the Mopani shrub. Wow! I could not believe it. Buy the time the camera was out, the male had disappeared, but we managed to get 2 wonderful shots of the female. This was something special to tick off our list, and something very rare.
What a day it had been! Three very rare and unusual sightings. We couldn’t have asked for a better day. The Northern Kruger Park definitely delivers. And to top it all off, we were set to go on a night drive at 8pm!
The Night Drive
We were fortunate enough to be the only 2 people on the vehicle, which makes a big change from being on a night drive with noisy tourists and people who don’t really appreciate the nigh time tranquility of the Kruger National Park bushveld…
The night drive was great, we saw a variety of animals: Elephant, Buffalo, Impala, Steenbok, Sharpe’s Grysbok, Burchell’s Zebra and nocturnal animals such as Spotted Hyaena (2 sightings), Scrub Hare, Large Spotted Genet and to our amazement hundreds of Springhares. When I say hundreds, I mean hundreds. They were hopping around everywhere we had the spotlight. They are amazing creatures and strictly nocturnal. I wanted to get some video of them, but unfortunately I didn’t manage to. All in all, a great night to end another one of those “best days” in the Kruger National Park!
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