The Pride of the Kruger National Park

The Pride of the Kruger National Park

The Pride of the Kruger National Park

Out of all of the many, many animals in the Kruger Park, there are very few that are as synonymous and iconic to the Kruger National Park, than the Lion. The Lion is a powerful member of the Feline family and is also the second largest member of the family. The lion has been crowned as the king of the Jungle as it is powerful and provides a menacing feeling when in an area. Let us investigate and explore this majestic and powerful member of the Kruger National Park.

The Lion is a large cat that stands at 1.2m tall at the shoulders and weighs up to 200kgs.The females weigh slightly less than the males at 130kg. Both the males and females have a dusty tawny coat colour. The male has a very iconic mane that is hair that is much longer on the cheeks, chin and neck, that is found only seen on a Lion Male. With some Lion Males, their mane can be almost black in colour aside from the normal darker colour. The females have spots and rosettes on their undersides that can still stay with them to adulthood.

Lions are powerful carnivores that feed on large animals such s Buffalo, Wildebeest, Gemsbok and Zebra. Smaller prey like impala, porcupines and steenbok are all easy prey that are hunted when no large food animals are available. Lions hunt in large packs that are mainly full of females. These females will travel the savannah looking for prey. The females will stay in the tall grass, using their tawny skin to stay concealed. The lions will split up allowing them to flank their prey when the ambush takes place. Lion males will feast on the prey first and only after the males are done, will the females and cubs have time to feed.

Lions are non seasonal breeders and some of the few species where the females usually synchronize their births. Lions have a gestation period 110 days and can give birth to up to 4 cubs in a litter. All the females in the pride form a nursery where they take care of each other’s cubs. The Prides consists of dominant males and up to 12 females and their cubs. Lion males have a very impressive and intimidating roar that can be heard up to 5 km away. Lions communicate using mainly sound, using a variety if roars and grunts to convey a message as well as using scents to mark areas. Lions prefer sub Saharan areas that have plenty of cover like tall grass, bushes, rocks and trees which lions require to effectively ambush and hunt their prey. The Sub Saharan areas of the Kruger Park has a large gathering of animals that provide a decent and semi reliable source of food and also has great cover from the intense heat and also has enough watering holes to satiate

Plan your post quarantine travels with our list of helpful tips

Plan your post quarantine travels with our list of helpful tips

COVID-19 threw the tourism industry and tourists alike quite the curveball. Trips that were years in planning and only months away were abruptly cancelled or postponed, borders were closed and the South African tourism industries, one that employees millions, suddenly ground to a halt, just about overnight.

And while the country remains in a travel ban lockdown, with even the locals unable to enjoy the beauty of the county (and with good reason), we think it is probably the best time to start day dreaming about the travel adventures that will come after this.

When we are all stuck at home, planning your trip after this storm passes will become not only a great way to spend your time, but it will also be good for your mental health as it will take your mind off of the chaos that is seemingly engulfing us all at the moment.

Keep in mind that this is not a permanent situation. It will come to an end and when it does, it will help to have something to look forward to.

This is how you can plan your trip.

  1. Do some online window shopping

We are lucky to be living in an era where most of us have some form of access to the internet. Not only does the web keep us well informed about what is going on around us, but it is also perfect for providing a number of travel options that you can browse through and literally do some “window shopping”

Think about what kind of trip you’d like to experience, and then look at your options. South African safaris are always a fantastic place to start because our country is so diverse and filled with plenty to see, besides going on an authentic safari trip.

  1. Give your travels more thought

In the past, we took travel for granted and often took unnecessary trips to places that perhaps didn’t live up to expectations.

Now that you have the time to plan, it is the ideal opportunity to make sure that the destination you are looking at is truly capable of satisfying your wanderlust. You can now not only have a look at what is cheapest, or what is easily available, but really do your research on the holiday you are considering.

  1. Organise your logistics

There is nothing quite like learning how to take full control over the planning of all of the logistics involved with your trip. Yes, travel agents are a godsend when you are looking for a pain free trip planned in between your busy day, but this time presents you with the best opportunity to learn how to plan your own trip. This will allow you to travel on your own terms and book a meaningful adventure.

If you have been day dreaming about paying South Africa a visit once the borders open, Royal Safaris can help you create the safari trip of a lifetime. We are the nations only tour company with permission to enter the Kruger National Park after dark, and we offer our guests a few unique tour packages that other companies don’t.

Great Trees of the Kruger

Great Trees of the Kruger

Great Trees of the Kruger

The Kruger National Park is a beautiful place that can be found in the Lowveld that contains a large variety of animals, insects and plant life. In the Kruger National Park, visitors get to experience untouched wildlife and get to see animals that you cannot see anywhere else in the Lowveld.

Kiaat

Kiaat trees are beautiful trees that have some of the most beautiful wood that can be turned into planks to make all kinds of products from bowls and sculptures to trinkets and even cutlery. The Kiaat only can only be found in a very limited number of areas in the Kruger National Park, namely close to the Rest Camp, Pretoriuskop. The reason for this is the Kiaat prefers arid and sandy areas to grow, which is why it grows around Pretoriuskop’s deep sandy soil. Kiaats are slow growing trees and are very loved by elephants. As mentioned, Kiaat is popular for making furniture as it handles very easy and also looks beautiful when sanded and polished. Kiaat trees have very beautiful Yellow Flowers that bloom during the late Summer.

The Baobab

The Baobab is one of South Africa’s most iconic trees known for its extremely wide and smooth trunk that stands very strong and stout in the ground. The Baobab has a unique crown of branches and leaves that extend from the top of the tree, similar to hair growing out of a head. There are no branches that extend from the trunk except for the crown. The Baobab isn’t actually a single giant tree but rather multiple saplings growing together and merging as they grow tighter and tighter. The Baobab is actually hollow inside as the saplings grew in a circle, leaving the inside empty. Many people have made a house of the Baobab and one was actually turned into a bar. Baobabs can reach widths of 25m+, with some trees being recorded to be 4 000 years old.

Red Bushwillow

The Red Buswillow is an extremely popular choice or browsing animals and is at the staple of many herbivore and omnivore’s diets. Red Bushwillows are the second most common trees in the Kruger National Park, beaten only by the Majestic Mopani. The leaves of the Bushwillow are actually palpable and also are mildly poisonous. There is evidence that eating these leaves can cause prolonged hiccups. The Red Bushwillow gets its names from the reddish-brown colour the leaves turn during the winter months. The Red Bushwillow is also very draught resistant.

Knob Thorn

The Knob Thorn or Acacia is the third most common tree found in the Kruger National Park. The Acacia is a medium sized tree  that is known for its widely spreading branches and the long white spines that grow on the branches. This tree reaches its most beautiful during Summer when the beautiful yellow flowers start to bloom. During the winter months, the knobs on the tree grow darker. The acacia is a drought resistant tree that has very heavy wood, but the tree is very susceptible to the cold.

Kruger Park Safaris stop as heavy rains flood roads

Kruger Park Safaris stop as heavy rains flood roads

Kruger Park Safaris stop as heavy rains flood roads

Various areas of the Kruger National Park, more specifically the areas to the North, have received a high amount rain in the last while. Management at the Kruger National Park have been advising visitors that are driving around in the park to be vigilant and to avoid the use of gravel/dirt roads until further notice. Though the rains have stopped or at  least cleared up a bit, the rivers will still be rising and falling for a while. The Head of communications of SANParks, Reynold Thakuli, stated that camping sites of camps to the north as well as any gravel/dirt roads have been closed while the rains were falling, to avoid dirt spillage and landslides.

Any visitors that have booked in the flagged areas have been moved to safer camps for the time being. It is advised that guests as well as rangers on safaris stick to the tar roads while driving in the Park. The Remote camps and roads that have been closed include; Bateleur Bush Camp, Shimuwini Bush Camp, Sirheni Bush Camps and a few others in the area.

All gravel roads in the northern regon of the park have been closed till further notice. These roads include all roads from Pafuri to Lethaba, with the exception of a few roads including the Giriyondo Gravel Road. This road will be maintained and kept under surveillance for the time being. Other roads will open and close as things further develop. Guests are advised to that all roads that have a No Entry sign on it as well as any other roads that have obstructions, to be avoided as they could be dangerous to travel on. Guests have also been advised to avoid crossing any low water bridges as the strong currents can wash away vehicles and visitors alike.

Reynold Thakuli stated that some areas of the park does not have mobile network coverage. Anyone that has/ had any information about the rainfall in and around the Kruger Park are allowed to enquire as well as provide information to the Information centre. If anyone has any information or has spotted anything that might prove useful, they are encouraged to communicate via the SANParks Kruger National Park Facebook page.

Looking at the recent rains in a positive light, waterlevels have risen in numerous dams and rivers, providing sufficient water to quench thirst as well as breathe life into the surrounds.

Flowers of the Kruger

Flowers of the Kruger

Flowers of the Kruger

The Kruger National Park is very famous for being the home of the Big 5. There is an abundance of fauna, flora and birdlife found in the Kruger and while you are there you can see and experience a lot of these wonderful species. While you travel in the Kruger National Park, keep an eye out for these beautiful and fantastic flowers.

 

Summer Impala Lily

This beautiful and resilient plant can survive in some of the worst droughts that the Kruger Park has to offer. It has a thick and spiny base that helps the plant retain water during the droughts and survive where others don’t. This plant blooms from January to April and has beautiful bright pink flowers. The Summer Impala Lily is critically endangered and is on the Red List of South African plants

 

Leopard Orchid

The Leopard Orchid is South Africa’s largest Orchid Species. This plant grows and blooms in clumps during the dry winter months. The flower gets its name from the brown spots that are dotted all over the plant’s petals, which are sometimes yellow-green in colour as well as blue green.  These plants are also somewhat resilient as they can survive longer than most plants during dryer seasons.

 

Wild Dagga

These wild looking and strange flowers are quite common in the Kruger National Park. These fast-growing shrubs are what Sunbirds feast on and can grow up to 3m tall. This plant grows strangely, as a bulbous formation (covered in tube like protrusions) forms at the stem’s end wherefrom another stem grows and repeats the cycle. The flowers that bloom from the Wild Dagga range from deep red to bright orange and the flower shapes are long and conical.

 

Black Stick Lily

The Black Stick Lily is a very resilient plant that is able to go long periods of time without water. These plants are very drought friendly and are also, according to krugerpark.co.za, able to survive bush fires and low temperatures. The Lily gets its name from the colour the stem turns when it gets charred by fires. The actual flower of the Black Stick Lily is a beautiful light purple, sometimes pink, flower that is very fragrant and can be used for a variety of medicinal purposes.

 

Sickle Bush

The Sickle Bush is a n iconic piece of flora that is well know in the Kruger. It closely resembles an Acacia tree but is not part of the family. The main difference between an Acacia and Sickle Bush is: The Acacia has adapted leaves that turn into spines while the Sickle Bush’s spines are adapted stems making the much harder. The flower that blooms from this tree is the real show stopper. It is a small flower that grows on the tips of the tree’s branches, the flower looks like a fat finger, with the first 1/3 of the flower being lilac in colour and the rest a bright yellow.

Birds of a Feather

Birds of a Feather

Birds of a Feather

African Goshawk

The African Goshawk, sometimes known as the African Harrier Hawk is a specialized bird of prey that is known for nest raiding and is a generally a hated bird by many other birds. There is an estimated
1 000 known pairs of African Goshawks in the North-Eastern regions of South Africa, with a large concentration of the bird found in the Waterberg and Kruger Areas as well as the surrounding areas. You can often see these birds hopping from tree to tree or from cliff faces while using its wings to keep balance on vertical surfaces.

 

Lanner Falcon

The Lanner falcon is one of the larger members that belong to the falcon family. Falcons host a majority of the fastest birds in the world. This bird is an extremely agile and fast flyer that reaches high speeds by flying up high and then diving downwards and then flying horizontally. The name falcon comes from the latin word ‘falcis’ meaning sickle shaped. This refers to the shape of the falcon’s claws or the shape of its wings when I deep dive.

 

White neck Raven

The White Neck Raven is a lot smaller than the more common Ravens, with a deep bill and a white tip. The deep curve of the White Neck Raven’s beak very closely resembles that of the thick-billed Raven. It is all black with a white spot on the back of its neck which gives the raven its name. Though looking completely black, it has slight a slight purple gloss on its breast, neck and throat. This bird feeds from the ground and will sometimes look for food in the trees. They have also rarely been seen dropping tortoises on rocks or anything sharp from great heights to feed what the shell hides

 

Taita Falcon

The Taita Falcon is a very rare species of falcon and one of the rarest breeding birds in South Africa. This is a small sized raptor that has a banded nape. The Taita Falcon is similar to the Peregrine Falcon and will sometimes compete for nest rights. These raptors prefer mountainous areas, river valleys and well wooded areas. Very little is known about the Taita Falcon because the nests are generally inaccessible. The diet of the Taita Falcon consists of small birds and insects that it will catch out of the air and will also feed on small lizards on the ground though this doesn’t happen often.