Kruger Day 1 (6/22)

We spent a day in Kruger National Park. It was awesome!! We woke up at 5a.m. to head to the park(That part wasn’t so awesome). After getting all our paperwork done and scheduling a sunset safari, our group headed into the park. Although it was difficult to wake up so early, the sunrise definitely made it worth the effort. It was beautiful. We caught a large amount of animal activity that morning. It was quite exciting to drive across the little bridge into the main paths of the park. I had a feeling we would have a good day when we spotted hippos alongside the bridge on the way into the park. Just after entering the park we were greeted by a group of elephants crossing the road. There were maybe ten of them ranging from full grown adults to babies. The rest of the morning was pretty filled with sightings. We saw many impala which was exciting at first but there are some many that by the time we went on guided safari they had lost some charm. Often alongside the impala were zebras and giraffes. We learned that often these animals hangout together for protection. The Impala have great hearing, the giraffes have great vision, and zebra have a strong sense of smell. The animals work together to spot danger and alert the others when predators approach. This was one of the many fun facts we learned throughout the day. Many of the animals we saw were close up which was exciting. Early in the morning we saw a male lion. He walked around a little before sitting on the side of the road. We were the first car there so we got the prime spot for picture taking. Shortly after that our path was obstructed by a team of zebras. Four of them just lined up across the road and stared at the car as we stared back at them in a mini stand off. After a few minutes they walked away. We even ran into a family of monkeys on the side of the road. There was a short lull in the early afternoon where we watched many colorful birds followed by a short stop at a watering hole before lunch. The lake was filled with hippos on one side and crocodiles sunbathing on the other banks not to far away. The highlight of the day was elephants. First of we saw maybe fifty elephants in one day. We saw big ones, small ones, brown ones, and gray ones. We stumbled upon bath time for a group of elephants. It was a wonderful experience to watch the herd wade into the water, moms and babies, and play with one another. For us time barely passed but later on we found we had spent about 45 minutes watching elephants in the water. After lunch we raced back to the entrance to catch our sunset ride.The sunset ride was nice but our luck during the day made us spoiled. Our guide was very knowledgeable and he gave us many facts about what we saw. For example, hippos lay in the water all day and walk around at night. We saw impala, a few hippos eating grass, a couple porcupines, and a civet. I was surprised at how big the porcupines are. The main downside to the night drive is that the light often makes the animals leave. I don’t blame them though. I wouldn’t like strangers shining a bright light in my face either. After leaving the park we headed over to the Crocodile Kruger Safari Lodge for a traditional South African dinner. Everything was tasty. Elated and exhausted we headed back to our treehouse for some rest.

Overall day one at Kruger was way more than I could have hoped for. We saw so many animals! And many were up close. It was exciting to day the least but also interesting because of how many Disney references I had for the animals. My introduction to lions, wildebeests, hornbills and more was through Disney. After the day in the park Isadora and I were joking about watching Lion King once we got home. Although we couldn’t stop to take photos I was overjoyed when I saw rhinos. I had always assumed that they would be extinct before I got to see them due to poaching, but I can now say that I have seen them!