Posted by: Frame To Frame - Bob and Jean | January 11, 2017

Our self-guided Safari in Kruger National Park

 hippopotamus-along-the-shore-at-sunset-dam-near-lower-sabie-rest-camp-in-kruger-national-park-south-africa

Setting off mid-morning from Skukuza Rest Camp in Kruger National Park on a self-guided safari had Bob and me filled with anticipation.  Our destination for the afternoon was Sunset Dam near Lower Sabie Rest Camp, a mere 36 kilometres southeast of Skukuza.  The generous waterhole at Sunset Dam rewarded us with prime wildlife viewing that included this family of Hippopotamuses.

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But in Kruger National Park, even going a short distance from A to B can take hours for there is always something of interest to see, and getting there is half the fun.  For example, Helmeted Guinea Fowl parading along the shoulder of the roadway had us stopping for a couple of photos;

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admiring a Lilac-breasted Roller delayed our progress even further.  At first, the bird defied identification by we birding novices, but I finally figured out that the dark band around its neck was caused by a shadow from a nearby tree branch.

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and Marabou Storks decorating a broad-leaved tree had us pulling to a stop in order to count the unique large birds.  There were about 20 in amongst the foliage.  These large gregarious birds are often seen in large groups that assemble to roost for the night.

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What really struck Bob and me was the enormity of each bird’s bill and bald head.  Marabou Storks frequently scavenge on carrion, as well as any animal matter dead or alive that they can swallow.  With a wingspan of up to 10 feet and a standing height of 5 feet, Marabou Storks are very large birds.

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Upon arrival at Sunset Dam, we discovered that it is possible to drive right onto the beach of the waterhole for an unimpeded view of the water and surrounding shore.  There were a couple of other vehicles already in position, so we sidled up between them, rolled down our windows and waited.

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I began scanning the far shore with the binoculars,

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and immediately realized that the water was alive with dozens of Hippopotamuses.  Other than their ears, eyes and nostrils visible above the surface, the ridges of their spines were also showing while the remainder of their bodies were submerged.  This is the customary way that Hippos keep cool under the brutal heat of the African sun.

Visit Our self-guided Safari in Kruger National Park   for the full post.

 


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