A Travellerspoint blog

Extending the Thrill

Kapama Karula Private Game Reserve, South Africa

View Around the World! - Part 3 on Where2FromHere's travel map.

As we settle into our African adventure, we find ourselves embracing a pattern filled with extraordinary moments. The attentive staff has considered even the smallest details to ensure our experience is not only exciting but also comfortable. In the early dawn, when a slight chill still lingers in the air, we approach our open safari vehicle. To our delight, we discover that the guides have thoughtfully placed hot water bottles wrapped in blankets on our seats. As we climb aboard, it feels as though we are sinking into heated seats, allowing us to snuggle into our respective spots. Covered with warm blankets, we eagerly anticipate the revelations that the early morning hours will bring.


Our first task of the day was to return to the location where we had witnessed the previous evening's feast. The guides explained that by this time, vultures and hyenas might have arrived to claim their share of the leftover carcass.


One beast lazily blocked the roadway as its fellow carnivores continued to bury their heads into the carcass of the giraffe. It really didn't matter that we couldn't get any closer, the stench was over-whelming and as a result we were willing to move on to other discoveries. It didn't take long for us to find the next critter - the black-backed Jackal. The saddle of black and silver hair is very characteristic of this shy and seldom seen creature. Interestingly, a jackal pair forms a partner bond for life and an individual will only find another mate should one partner die. Both sexes mark and defend a territory and help to raise the young.
We also delighted in the sighting of a leopard turtle, as well as an African Fish Eagle. This large species of eagle is skilled hunters, primarily preying on fish (as their name suggests), but they will also feed on waterfowl, small mammals, and even carrion. We also spotted an African Jacana, known for their extremely long toes and claws which enable them to walk on floating vegetation.


Our guides had informed us that due to the fact that it was mating season, we might see animals fighting while we're in their habitat. Such was the case with a pair of male giraffes, who appeared at first to be playing until they became a litle more aggressive over time.


Next in line were the Hippos. We stopped briefly at a pond covered with hyacinth and enjoyed some bush coffee under a hut while the bushveld thrived under a light mist. Here's a preview of these submerged animals that we observed from afar. Keep in mind that Hippos kill more people than lions or crocodiles do, even though they are only dangerous when they're threatened or feel their space is invaded. Suprisingly, they can outrun a human being. Hippos spend a significant portion of their day in the water to cool off, as they don't have sweat glands. They typically leave the water at night to graze on vegetation. When in the water, they often walk or stand on the bottom of riverbeds and can hold their breath submrged anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. Not far away, in the same pond, we observed a crocodile concealed with most of its body underwater. Their speed over short distances make them effective opportunistic hunters of larger prey, although they seem to co-exist nicely with the hippos just a few feet away.


While I've been captivated by the incredible wildlife, I can't forget to show the stunning landscapes we've had the privilege of traversing each day. The pristine wilderness and breathtaking vistas of South Africa have left an indelible impression, serving as a reminder of the awe-inspiring beauty this country has to offer.


Posted by Where2FromHere 16:40 Archived in South Africa

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