Too close for comfort

There is no holiday quite like a bush holiday. Spending a holiday in South Africa’s iconic Kruger National Park, is a privilege and a dream come true.

Kruger has the ability to present you with natures finest, wild moments. Some of these moments will be delightful, entertaining, nerve-wracking, adorable or simply awe-inspiring. There will be other moments where you might just be caught completely off guard.

My very first trip to Kruger was with my friend, Anthony, in September 2015. We had spent 4 nights in the park and stayed at Skukuza rest camp. On our last day in Kruger we made our way down from Skukuza to exit at the Malalane Gate.  We still had some time to spare before exiting, so we decided to make a little detour to Berg-En-Dal rest camp.

Arriving at Berg-En-Dal rest camp, Anthony went into the curio shop and I walked on towards the restaurant area. Approaching the staircase next to the restaurant, I saw a group of ladies looking curiously at something. I walked closer, but couldn’t figure out what they were looking at. I looked at the ground, but couldn’t see anything. I thought maybe it would be behind the ledge of the staircase. I was hoping it would be an interesting bird or small mammal that I hadn’t seen yet. I approached the staircase ledge and leaned over to see what they were looking at.

There was nothing to view at the bottom of the ledge. Not wanting to miss out on any action, I asked one of the ladies “What are you ladies looking at?” One of the ladies replied, “A snake!” I was totally surprised and excitement levels shot through the roof. I then said “ah cool, where?” The lady quickly responded with “right next to you!”

At that moment a sense of both excitement and fear rushed through my body. I had still not seen the snake yet. I cautiously looked down at the ledge on my left and finally saw a bright green snake lying on top of the ledge right next to me. My first thought was that it was a Boomslang!

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I couldn’t believe it! Without even thinking I took a few awkward steps backwards. I remember hearing the group of ladies laughing. I’m assuming it must have been at my response to finally realising that there was a snake right next to me.

Anthony finally came down towards the restaurant area and I had to explain why the ladies were laughing at me. We watched as the snake very quickly hoisted itself up and started to slither up some low hanging branches of a tree next to the staircase. I only then realised how quickly a snake can move.

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 I only got confirmation after returning home that the snake is a Spotted Bush Snake and not a Boomslang as I originally had thought.

A Ball of Bones

Waking up to the sounds of nature has always been a pleasure for me. Heading off to the bird hide at Intaka Island in Century City, Cape Town makes this early morning experience even more enjoyable.

This morning I had the most bizarre experience. After spending around two hours at the hide taking in the playful sights of the resident pair of Malachite Kingfishers, Grey Heron and some Red Knobbed Coots, I witnessed something that I had never seen before. To be honest I never thought that this was even possible.

Two Pied Kingfishers flew in and took their positions on a nearby perch. I was delighted to see two Pied Kingfishers simultaneously. After watching them for a few minutes, I noticed that the Pied Kingfisher at the top of the perch changed its behaviour. It almost stiffened up and then proceeded to open its beak quite wide. Then, to my surprise, it coughed up a little white ball and dropped it into the water. Not ever having witnessed this from birds before, I wasn’t sure what was happening. I asked the photographer next to me and he informed me that it was actually the bones and remnants of fish that the birds can’t digest. I found this absolutely fascinating and did not expect to see this happening on a quiet Saturday morning.

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