Monday, 31 August 2015

Adventures in the Kruger National Park

Hi everyone! I know, I know, long time no see! Life got a bit crazy, and I needed to put my head down and focus on PhD-ing for a bit (as I am crazy amounts behind schedule and am very much under pressure to get science done so that I can finish up next year!). If you follow me on social media, you might have noticed that I was recently in the Kruger National Park (specifically, Skukuza) for a Chemistry conference. I'd never been to Kruger before, so I was quite excited to get the opportunity to visit (all while getting the chance to experience lots of science-ing!) Of course, why organize a conference in Kruger if you're not going to give people a chance to do some sight-seeing? In the four days that we were in the park, I went on three 6am game drives, four after-lunch drives plus a night drive and we were lucky to see lots! We also not only saw the Big 5 (all on more than one occasion), but we even saw all 5 on one day, which was very cool. I didn't take fancy lenses and things, but I did take a few photos that I thought I would share:

Sunrises on morning game drives


When they say August falls in the "dry season", they aren't kidding (when you come from winter-rain Cape Town, this is very weird)



Obligatory selfie in the middle of no-where. (Also, to my foreign visitors, just a reminder that it is currently winter in South Africa. Yes, it was 25-30 C every day!)


We saw lots of birds, but I'm not a bird-watcher so here's one photo of a hornbill against the sky.


Buffalo!


We of course saw lots of lots of bokkies (Klipspringers, Kudu, Nyala, Impala, Duiker, Greysbok, Bushbuck, Steekbok, etc etc)




Yay for elephants! (Esp for all the baby elephants we saw, because they are just the cutest things and my absolute faves!)



(I call this baby elephant my vampire elephant, because of the way his tusks are just starting to peek out!)


Giraffes a-plenty



Hippopotamus, with a bunch of terrapins on his back!


Hyena


We were very excited to see a leopard up close! (The previous day we had seen one but he was so far away you could only see him with binoculars.)



And a male lion! (We had the same experience with some lionesses far away)


And, for the first time in my life, I finally saw some rhinos to complete my Big 5! (We also saw one on our night drive.) (With the scary amounts of poaching happening, who knows if our children will ever get the chance to see these in the wild?)


And, of course, we were blessed with gorgeous sunsets every evening!



And a final selfie after breakfast on our final morning in Skukuza before the long trip back home. (Confession: I am all kinds of hungover in this photo. All praise be to makeup!)


All in all, it was a wonderful experience and I would love to get the chance to go back! (Although, next time, maybe just with some friends/family and not my fellow scientists!)