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South Africa wildlife X: Kruger Safari

I have lots of safari photos to share with you today, from our trip back in July. Of all my experiences in South Africa, this is the one I’d been most looking forward to; Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa and is as large as some European countries! In our short visit, we saw only a tiny fraction of the park and still it was more amazing than anything I could have imagined – we saw dozens of different animals and birds, including all of the Big Five and lots more.

Kruger National Park and Cape Town, South Africa
Kruger is about 1800km (1100 miles) as the crow flies from Cape Town – South Africa is a big country!

I’ve taken quite a few of these selfies this year, with me looking dishevelled and slightly delirious at having such a wondrous wildlife experience:

me with wild elephants at Kruger National Park!

Can you see the reason for my delight, over my shoulder? (Keep reading and you can share my excitement – I have close-up photos and even a little video to share with you…)

So now let’s move onto my proper photos; I’ve spent months trying to choose from over 3000 so I could show you a reasonable number! These galleries have left out a lot, but I hope they give you a taste of the real wild Africa. I’ve split the galleries so you can click into the groups you’re interested in, to see the full-size photos, and skip any you aren’t…

Even without the animals, the park is a wonder of nature: massive, beautiful and unspoilt. Here’s an example of a Kruger day:

And Kruger is also a birder’s paradise – the following gallery shows just a few examples of the amazing variety of birdlife we saw (including, in the middle, my favourite bird ever and the one I’ve always wanted to see in the wild: the stunning Lilac-Breasted Roller):

But, of course, the most exciting part was all the wild animals. We took sunrise and sunset game drives with experienced guides, and we spent a long 11 hour day driving through the park by car. (As this is wild land full of predators and large animals, the rules are extremely strict: no driving off-road, and you must keep your entire body inside the car at all times except at designated rest stops.)

We spotted the Big 5 (elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, and rhino) and dozens of other animals. I’ve selected a small sampling for you, and I’ve arranged them so you can experience a day trip of wildlife, from dawn to past dusk…

Did you spot the one big animal missing from that gallery? I had the most amazing elephant experience, so I thought I’d give you a separate gallery so you can share a bit of my excitement!

A bit of background: the hotel we were staying at was right on the border of the park, so I spent hours sitting safely at the hotel’s raised viewing platforms and watching wildlife pass by. From the hotel, I had spotted some elephants heading in the direction of the bridge at the entrance to the park, so we walked to the bridge in hopes of getting a better view of the elephants. It was a good decision: I happily stood on that bridge for an hour in the midday African sun as a large family group of 19 elephants meandered by beneath me, following the river, grazing, drinking, and fording the shallows:

Those baby elephants are even cuter on video:


For the best view, play the video at Full HD quality and fullscreen it.

Such a humbling experience. I went to Kruger hoping most of all to see a baby elephant, and my wish was definitely granted 🙂

I must admit that this trip had me dreaming of spending a few thousand dollars on pro camera equipment and becoming a real wildlife photographer. I could have easily spent weeks more in Kruger, watching and photographing the animals, and never getting bored – I don’t think I could ever tire of this!

I hope my photos and video have given you a little glimpse into the amazing natural spectacle of wild Africa; a mini-safari you can experience through my eyes and camera lens if you can’t make the trip to visit Kruger yourself.

Please leave me a comment if you’ve enjoyed this post 🙂

17 Comments »

  1. Lindy said

    Incredible photos, absolutely amazing. Brilliant photography and I also love your video.
    Love, Lindy xx

  2. Jane said

    Incredible pictures! You have such an artist soul in ask you do. Just looking at the video and pictures of truly humbling, as you said. Beautiful.

    • June said

      “An artist’s soul”? Thank you, Jane, for such a lovely compliment 🙂

  3. Adrian F said

    Wow June! Your dad just sent me the link to this. As you say, the Big Five and so much more. A Kudu pattern would be seriously kewl. I guess you’d need to wire the legs and horns?

    • June said

      Thanks, Adrian! Yes, I don’t think I could make such long spiralling horns without a little hidden support 🙂

  4. Crystal Kaulbars said

    June,

    These are absolutely astonishing pictures, you don’t look disheveled, but you do look awestruck by Mother Nature. Fantastic! I’ve never known anyone who’s traveled there, but it looks beautiful and a great place to visit! I can see where you get your inspiration for the patterns from. Lovely. Thanks for sharing your experience. BTW, you’re an excellent photographer.

    Sincerely,
    Crystal

    • June said

      Awestruck is the word, Crystal! No matter how many documentaries I watch, zoos I visit, books I read, or websites I view, there’s nothing that compares to seeing the Natural World with my own eyes. And yes, plenty of inspiration for new patterns 😉

      • Crystal Kaulbars said

        And I can’t wait to try the patterns you create and bring joy to lives in many places that reverberate from your original joyous experiences!! Wonderful how the ripples of one artist on the creative pond can inspire so many more of us! Woman, you rock!

  5. Sharon Tayler said

    You have made me miss South Africa SO MUCH! Beautiful photos! I enjoyed them very much. Another good place to visit that is not so far from Cape Town is Addo Elephant Park. They have lots of elephants. They don’t have giraffe because they don’t have the vegetation for them, but we did see a good variety of other animals. (Visited in 2013) I do want to go to Kruger one day!!!

    • June said

      Thanks, Sharon! I’d love to go to Addo one day too – it’s on my list, if time and finances allow 🙂

  6. Gail said

    enjoyed the pictures!! Awesome. brilliant photography. absolutely enjoyed the elephants. love your patterns too.

  7. Linda L. said

    What amazing pictures! Elephants are my favourite animals – I can’t imagine the thrill of seeing them in the wild!! You really are a very skilled photographer.
    Thanks very much for sharing your experiences with us.

    • June said

      Thank you, Linda! It was absolutely amazing.

  8. Jacqueline said

    June, your pictures are absolutely breathtaking!! I too love the Lilac-Breasted Roller – it’s gorgeous, those are my colours – kind of aqua, blue, lilac etc. So, so beautiful! You have the eye for taking pictures as a professional photographer! What kind of camera do you use? I can see where your inspiration comes from.

    • June said

      Thanks, Jacqueline! I have a little Panasonic ZS40 (now superseded by the ZS60, which has a higher quality screen on the back) – it’s a Superzoom camera in a tiny body. At such a small size, it can’t be professional quality, but the zoom is amazing and it easily fits in any handbag. As they say, ‘the best camera is the one you have with you’ – I’d hate to miss any special wildlife moments because my camera was too big so I wasn’t carrying it at the critical moment…

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    June Gilbank

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