Photoblog: #CrossingKruger week five

Posted by Adel Groenewald on 30 May 2013

During my fifth week in the Kruger National Park, I start getting an idea of what the northern region is really like. A guide told me that from Olifants River north, it’s all just mopani veld, but I discovered a road where the flatness of the open plains took me by surprise. Even though the north of the park seems to look much the same, there are some wonderful spots to discover and enjoy.

Click here to catch up on the Crossing Kruger journey from the beginning

In short, I made my way from the south of the park, reviewing Lower Sabie Rest Camp, Skukuza Rest CampSataraBerg-en-Dal, Olifants, and many more. This week I stayed at Letaba Rest Camp and moved on to Mopani Rest Camp, making a quick stop at Shimuwini Bushveld Camp in between. I can’t believe that this is the second last week of my most epic Getaway trip yet. Follow me with these weekly photo blogs or find the hashtag #crossingkruger on Twitter.

Letaba Rest Camp is a favourite among the bushbucks. You'll see loads of them grazing away in the grassy areas. They've also become quite accustomed to humans, so you can get quite close to them.

I had the most incredible sighting this week. Just as we arrived at the scene, a leopard was busy struggling with an impala and kept hanging on until it was dead. After, it dragged the impala under a bush and then rolled around in the grass a little bit. We were a little bit far away, but these are some images that I managed to capture.

After all that excitement, the sunset drive quieted down and we enjoyed some beautiful scenery along the Letaba River.

As the sun set, the Americans were so eager to photograph it that I had to wait a little while before I could get my shot of it in.

And finally, the moon showed its face.

Another wonderful moment was when we happened upon a hyena den. The little ones were very curious around the truck while the mom (who is busy feeding even smaller pups) just kept a tired eye on us.

What a nice surprise to find a bright green chameleon on a lonely dirt road just south of Mopani Rest Camp.

It stood frozen, as if I might be able to spot it if it moved. Unfortunately for him (and fortunately for me) he stood out like a sore thumb on the gravel.

The termite mounds in the north of the park seem to me much bigger than the ones further south. I have no explanation for this, but I enjoy picking out all their interesting shapes.

Electric wires is not a thing that you see very often around here. In fact, they're so scarce that they're marked on the map of the park.

The Tsendze River is a prominent feature around Mopani Rest Camp. This is a low level bridge crossing and thanks to the hectic floods in January, there is still water running over the bridge, making for a pretty stop.

The area surrounding Shimuwini Bushveld Camp is known for its large herds of buffalo. This guy didn't look very happy with me trying to pass, so I decided to wait it out.

While the majority of the herd was crossing the road in front, the ones beside me also stopped chewing to inspect my car.

During this trip I've explored many deserted roads. The H15 was one of them and this dead tree and scorching sun just drove the point across more.

The Makhadzi Picnic Site sits along this quiet road, and even though there wasn't a single visitor when I stopped there, you'll find these crafty items on sale. It might just be the worker at the picnic site's way of killing the time though.

Southern ground hornbills are quite rare in the park and there's a big research project going on about them in the north. I was lucky enough to spot three at once, making their way along the H1-6 just south of Mopani Rest Camp.

Elephants also love Mopani veld, so you'll get to see a lot of them if you explore the north of the park. This one actually has its trunk twisted around a piece of Mopani bush, just to prove the point.

Along the H1-6, heading north between Letaba and Mopani Rest Camps, there are one or two open plains. This is one of them and the wildebeest seemed to enjoy the grass here.

Still, wildebeest aren't exactly the most attractive animals in the park. They're a little oddly shaped, I think.

The S50 is the road I was talking about earlier though. It runs to the east of Mopani Rest Camp and you'll be amazed at the amount of open space in which you'll find yourself if you drive along this narrow gravel road.

I couldn't help but wonder why large herds of zebra and wildebeest were all walking (and sometimes even trotting) in the same direction, across these vast plains.

It soon became clear though. The Tihongonyeni Waterhole sits just about halfway down the S50. Even though it's almost completely dried up by now, the gathering of animals here was still a beautiful site to behold.

And just for good measure, another pretty sunset in the bush.

Catch up with Crossing Kruger week one, week twoweek three and week four here.

Click here to book accommodation in the Kruger National Park.

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