A Kruger trip will always be a Kruger trip, regardless of what you end up seeing in the park. This must be the most intriguing part of the entire experience.
One of the best ways to experience the Kruger is to explore the park with close friends and family. It is not only the animal sightings that make the memories, but some of the jokes while on the road, choosing which roads to navigate, compulsory snacks like Milkies from camp shops and getting the fire going after the afternoon drive.
I love looking back at previous trip photos. Sometimes I just forget how quickly the time flies by. Some of the memories seem like they happened days ago. These accounts are from my previous family trip in October 2021.
One of the first requests as we entered the park was to see some giraffe for the first time in the wild. Not too far in we were greeted with a mother and baby giraffe. The baby proceeded to suckle from its mother leaving us with one of the cutest scenes possible.
The Kruger will hardly ever disappoint when it comes to elephant sightings. Knowing how to read these animals can line you up for some phenomenal sightings and time spent with them.
If luck is in your favour and you manage to bump into a herd of animals, take some time to enjoy the various characters that may be found within the herd structure. Watch the different behaviours of the indivuals and how each member interacts with one another. Note the ages of the various animals, any unique or outstanding features like big horns, tusks or scars. A buffalo herd is usually a good example as they tend to move fairly slowly. Hopefully you do not get stuck in a bush veld traffic jam when the entire herd decides to cross the road in front of you.
Even though spending time with predators seems very high on many peoples agenda, remember to also enjoy and spend some time with other antelope and animals out in the bush. Some smaller animals like bushbuck may even be seen inside camps or around picnic stop overs.
One species I particularly enjoy viewing is baboons. A troop of baboons can provide enough entertainment for the entire drive. At least one member of the group will have some shenanigans lined up. Just remember to keep any food out of sight.
It is always a pleasure bumping into some rhino. One very special moment was finding a rhino calf with its mom one evening as the light was fading away. The pair was a little skittish so we did not hang around for too long. The little one seemed rather curious with our prescence, but mom kept moving deeper and deeper into the bush.
Hyenas also fascinate me a great deal. One either loves them or hates them. We were quite lucky to find an active den at the edge of a storm pipe. One of the youngsters kept popping its head over the ridge to investigate our vehicle. It eventually gained some confidence and moved closer.
I have waited a very long time to have a male lion walking down the road towards me. We had a very brief visual of this male approaching the Lower Sabi bridge. We had just finished a gravel road loop returning to the tar road. As I neared the intersection something caught my eye and here strolled in one of two large males. They both cut the corner and moved behind the vehicle and disappeared into the thickets.
Most other lion sightings seem to be of lions taking their long awaited naps. Be patient however. Some might get up to move towards another spot or find some shade. Some will give a few stretches or yawn. Have your camera ready.
Sometimes you may find that the animals move really close to the vehicle or maybe your lens is simply too long. If that is the case then take a picture in any case. Try and get creative or try for a portrait style image if space allows.
Birding is another great way to fill in the quieter periods while out on drive. It also provides a great way to learn photography as each bird species prefers different environments and show different behaviours. You can often get quite creative with how you compose these images.