Thursday, August 28, 2008

Kruger Paradise. Oops, I mean Park. Kruger Park.

We took some time this past week to visit Kruger National Park which is very near where we stay at Mercy Air. Although I've been told that theoretically people can only really love other people, I think there are some exceptions. In my case, I love visiting this park because in a way, it's the essence of Africa with its blue skies, fiery sun, and golden grass. Oh yes, and its animals too. Of course.

Can you name "The Big 5" without looking at the pictures first?

This rhino was pretty far away. It took 12x optical zoom plus cropping to even get him this big. These animals are referred to as "The Big Five" because they are the most dangerous for hunters on a safari.
There were other animals too, of course. Here's a pod of hippo. I think they should be included in the big five (I guess it would be called "The Big Six" then) since supposedly they kill more people in Africa than any of the big five.

Not all the animals in Kruger Park are to be feared though. This baby giraffe is still young enough that his horns are fluffy.

And then, there are the birds. There is an amazing variety, but mostly I was amazed by how shamelessly they converged on any possible feeding station--especially the human's "feeding stations". It's against park rules to feed the animals, and that goes for the birds too. That's rather a tough rule to enforce, for obvious reasons.
Five minutes prior to taking this photo, I saw 2 elderly women throwing bread crumbs (likely wholewheat) to a small flock of birdies who were hopping and pecking wildly, happy for the sudden shower of food from above. Then along came a waiter. We couldn't hear what he said, but he held his hands up in front of himself, wrists together, in a hand-cuff-type fashion. The women got the message and the crumb tossing stopped. Rules are rules. Not according to the birds however. As soon as a nearby table was vacated, they were up lickety-split pulling onion rings, chips and what-have-you (assuredly, nothing wholewheat) off the plates then down onto the floor where they could fight over and feast on them properly. This went on for several minutes until the waiter came along and removed their fun. So much for rules.
I did manage to get a few shots of birds in the wild, but to me, these are far more interesting.These are hornbills (like Zazoo on The Lion King). And what do you suppose they're doing here? Not taking care of a cute little lion cub, for sure. They're beggars. All of them.
Except this one. Okay, there were others in the trees besides him. I love the way he's looking at me, judgmentally. I can think of many captions for this photo--especially captions about rules.

At the end of the day, after all the driving, searching and photo-taking we did, we were pretty tired and hungry ourselves! (Heather took this photo--she was still energetic enough :) And I'm happy to say we enjoyed splendid food without breaking any park rules.

As you can see, game-viewing--not business, was the highlight of our week. We hope to finish up some last minute things tomorrow morning, then get packed in the afternoon and leave early the following morning for our remote corner of the Mozambican bush...our own Kruger Park. Minus the wild animals, that is


Heather & Rick said...

WHO was feeding the birds?? Oh thats right.. two elderly ladies. Im sure NO ONE from our group of missoinaries would have even THOUGHT about breaking the rules and feeding chunks of their dried out sandwhich crusts to the birds.... RIGHT LYNN?????!!!

L. Lagore said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
L. Lagore said...

And if the waiter had approached me with his hand-cuffs motion, I could have related my own story. He didn't, however.

Amanda said...

haha that is a very judging bird... great post mom.

Royden Lepp said...

I want a full size copy of that last photo lynn.

holy smokes!

Great photos!