“I want a hippopotamus for Christmas…”

In my last post, I forgot to mention a few phenomenal species we were lucky enough to see at Kruger.  My favorite and most memorable was a CHEETAH!!! There are only about 200 cheetahs in the park so we were really lucky!  We were pulled over in our animal viewer (aka campervan), probably looking at a bird, when a car passing by stopped to tell us there was a cheetah right around the corner. I was beyond excited, especially since it just so happened that this day I was determined to sight a cheetah.  We drove ahead and we could see the cluster of cars with wowed tourists adorned with cameras and binoculars. I looked in the same direction and there laying on a golden hillock was an adorable gold face with black stripes staring back at me! The slender cat was about 20m away and looked very comfortable even with the mob of tourists staring at it. After a few minutes, it stood up on its long powerful legs and took a few steps before disappearing behind a low hill.


Ryne called this African Scops owl in at one of the campgrounds. He “hooted” above our van for most of the night.
This is a handsome Greater Kudu. With tall spiraled horns and impressive size, he is quite a sight. This antelope was found browsing in a wooded savanna.

Ryne got a gorgeous shot of this water lily.

We saw pods of hippos in the rivers, along with lounging  Nile Crocodiles. We watched the hippo below at close range from an animal hide. He amused us every time he grunted and snorted. The look on Cy’s wide-eyed face was priceless!
We also saw a few deadly snakes: Burrowing Asp and a Puffadder. So happy Ryne stayed in the car to view these. On our way out of the park, we managed to see our last wanted species: African Wild Dogs! A group of six ran along our vehicle! We were wowed! They are very endangered and probably the least likely species to be seen that we encountered.

Kruger left a lasting impression on all of us. Its greatness and beauty has touched me deeply and profoundly. Now, I understand why people go back again and again. I can only imagine how this experience has shaped and imprinted Cy’s 3 year old brain. I think he will remember bits and pieces and will probably never forget the time a white rhino lifted up his tail and defecated about 3 gallons of poo before crossing the road right in front of our vehicle! Happy times!

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