Monday, October 5, 2009

Kruger National Park ; South Africa

We had an absolute blast at Lost City didn't we??

Ok Marti, what is our next destination?
Marti is upset because she didnt see a giraffe at Pilanesberg National Park, so now she wants to find one........ok Marti, lets go to South Africa's largest game reserve.....specifically to find giraffe for Marti!

Close your eyes.....try to imagine a national park the size of Israel, with huge tracts of acacia, sycamore figs and bushwillow interrupted by open sa vannah, rushing rivers and the occasional rocky fill it with lions, leopards, elephants, Cape buffaloes, black rhinos cheetahs, giraffes, hippos and many species of smaller animals, and you'll start to have some notion of what it's like to visit Kruger National Park.

Yes, Marti, the Kruger National Park is the largest game reserve in South Africa!!

It covers 18,989 square km (7,332 sq mi) and extends 350 km (217 mi) from north to south and 60 km (37 mi) from east to west.

To the west and south of the Kruger National Park are the two South African provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

In the north is Zimbabwe, and to the east is Mozambique.

It is now part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a peace park that links Kruger National Park with the Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe, and with the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique.

Hey Sita, did you know that the park is part of the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere, an area designated by the United Nations Education and Scientific Organisation (UNESCO) as an International Man and Biosphere Reserve (the "Biosphere")??

The park has 8 main gates that allow entrance to the different camps.

The names of these gates are Paul Kruger, Numbi, Malelane, Crocodile Bridge, Punda Maria, Orpen, Phabeni, Phalaborwa and Pafuri.

Several rivers run through the park from west to east, including the Sabie River.

The Kruger National Park is divided into six eco-systems: Baobab sandveld, Mopane scrub,
Lebombo knobthorn-marula bushveld, mixed acacia thicket, Combretum-silver clusterleaf woodland on granite and riverine forest.

Altogether it has roughly 1,982 species of plants.O
ut of the 517 species of birds found at Kruger, 253 are residents, 117 non-breeding migrants, and 147 nomads!!

We are on a safari search of giraffe........oh, look guys.....we have
just spotted the Big Five animals...but still no giraffe!!

All the Big Five game animals are found at Kruger National Park, which has more species of mammals than any other African Game Reserve (at 147 species).
As of 2009, the park has counted approximately:
Kruger houses 114 species of reptile, including 3000 crocodiles.

The first camp we are visiting is Lower Sabie, which graces the banks of the Sabie River, one of the few perennial rivers to flow through the Kruger National Park.

One cannot but feel soothed by the view towards the river and the Lebombo Mountains beyond........

The bounty and plenitude of nature are very evident, eloquently symbolised by the most conspicuous of its numerous trees, the mighty sycamore fig, which provides generously for the livelihood of many birds and insects.

Not only do these giants produce fruit at least twice a year, but different trees produce fruit at different times, extending the gifts of life over many months.

Watching the endless procession of animals coming to drink at the Sabie River establishes a sense of one's own place in the eternal cycle.

BUT Marti is unhappy- still no giraffe.......ok guys, lets pack up at go to Satara....I am told that we will definitely find some there.

Satara is well wooded and the bird-life is prolific so Sita is very happy.

Nopi is also really pleased because she has spotted zebras!

Finally......Marti, GIRAFFES!! Mission accomplished!

Satara is a busy camp with the bush relatively open and the animals plentiful and diverse.

The camp itself has a rustic charm, with the bulk of the accommodation set out in a series of circles so we have decided to sit around the camp fire and tell ghost stories.....hmmm..the clink of fruit bats is fused with the chirping of cicadas and crickets....and t
he calls of owls and nightjars add to the symphony that is punctuated intermittently by the whoop of hyena, the screech of jackal and the roars of lion.........

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