Tuesday, 13 June 2006

The discreet lions

Well, this was quite something. We were 5 minutes too late to see two lionesses make a kill here! On the side of the road you could see what had happened (ugh), and they dragged the buck to the tree in the photo and proceeded to eat lunch! We sat here for a while, HOPING they would venture out, but it was very hot, and after a full meal, they decided to stay in the shade and nap, so we took off again. It's not often one is fortunate to see a hunt and/or kill in the wild... I wish we had been 5 minutes earlier!!! :)

The 'Big Five'

There are all kinds of wildlife in the park. It has what most tourists are keen to see, the 'Big Five' (leopard, lion, white and black rhino, elephant and buffalo), plus much more in the shape and form of smaller animals, like the hyaena, the springbok, giraffe, zebra, cheetah, sable, crocodiles and hippos being some of them. Tons of little insects too.. sadly overlooked often by visitors. We brought our sister-in-law to the park, and she had NEVER seen an elephant beofre (or any of the other animals!), outside of books and postcards. Not even a zoo. It was delightful watching her face as we came across yet another animal. We were fortunate and saw the entire 'big five' that day.

Monday, 12 June 2006

Graceful giraffes

The giraffe makes no apparent noise, and seems quite aloof to all that goes on around him/her. People find this intriguing. This 'non-sound' is called 'infrasound', and this is how they comunicate with one another. They live to about 25 years old, with a tongue that can reach 53 centimetres long! They are 'prehensile'.. which means that they can easily grab and hold onto various objects with this tongue. They are the tallest creature in the wild, standing a proud 1.9metres tall at its birth (and in its socks haha)

Sunday, 11 June 2006

Black rhino

Both the black AND white rhino reside in this park. Black rhino have two horns on their nose (like the one in the picture). They weigh 1,750 - 3,000 lbs (800 - 1,350 kg), but , for their weight and 'bulkiness' they are extremely fleet-of-foot, and can outrun a human being easily.

Saturday, 10 June 2006

Kinga Freespirit

R.I.P ~ 9 June 2006

I was so moved by her book. Kinga was a brave woman, who feared nothing. She embraced life with all its challenges, and carved a path of her own in her very own special and soft way. Her book follows her and her love's (Chopin) trail around the world, as they hitch hike and grab rides on trucks and boats etc., describing in the most incredible detail and infinite love; the humble and giving people they meet, the cultures they embrace, the raw food they eat, the soil they touch, the sky they fly.

Thank you Kinga for touching my life so. I am so glad to have known you for the brief time I did.

Kinga's site

Kinga's book for sale on Amazon

The gentle stripe?

Many people think that the zebra is a gentle and mild-mannered animal. This is incorrect. It doesnt take much for them to take fright, and get upset, they can be quite unpredictable too. If their ears fold back, the best thing is to get out of the area as quickly as you can (without frightening the animals of course). Each stripe on a zebra is different and this is how zebras recognise one another.

Friday, 2 June 2006

Rare leopard sighting!

The most elusive of the Big Five are the leopards. They are mostly solitary creatures, and live near rocky outcrops. We were driving along and a ranger stopped next to us in his khaki-green landy and told us that there had been a spotting of a leopard around the next bend! So off we went, very excited and full of anticipation I might add!

As we rounded the bend, there it was.
A sole leopard, calmly walking alongside the road (!!!!!)

Now I have been to game parks plenty of times, and have NEVER viewed a leopard yet, so we were all so excited. The leopard didn’t seem at all worried about our presence. We turned the air conditioning off so there was less noise, and slowly (very slowly) followed the leopard on its walk.
This I think is one of my most poignant moments when game viewing, and I relive the excitement I felt whilst writing this even!

Then, out of the bally blue, we heard a thump thump of music, and then there, careering around the corner (going far too fast for the park!!!!!), was a silly and inconsiderate driver, driving too fast, with music that was far too loud for a game park.
Of course, the leopard took fright and within a minute, he was lost in the tall grass. Drat! I could have gladly clouted the fool.

Anyway, we got to spend about 5 minutes silently following the trail of the most elusive animal, and we were delighted!
The photo was taken just after he dashed into the grass, and if you look very carefully (as he is quite camouflaged), you can spot him :)

Pilansberg Game Reserve

Pilansberg is a perfect outing for a family. One can come on a day visit from Johannesburg (2 hour drive away), or come for the weekend. One can come and camp or live it up more luxuriously. It is quite convenient in location, and has a lot to offer. When one is in really big parks, with facilities quite far from one another, it isn’t very pleasant travelling with children often. When they need to go, they need to go! They also might get grumpy in the car after a while, understandably.

Pilansberg is a good size park, but isn’t massive, so this s good from this aspect. It has a restaurant that serves good food, and service was fine.
My immediate family live on 3 continents, the UK, South Africa, and the United States. So when we DO manage to get together, it s a special time indeed!!!

Pilansberg was a good choice to go to so we could spend time together on African soil, plus introduce my new American sister-in-law to this beautiful country and her wild animals. She had never seen an elephant before, sans from books and postcards (not even in a zoo!), so she was gob smacked when she saw the size of the lumbering beast for the first time.
I have been to this park a few times, but this time it was extra special, as I was viewing it through her experiencing it for the first time :)