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FRIDAY, APRIL 20, 2012:

After leaving the school we drove across the Victoria Falls Bridge into Livingstone, Zambia.
After customs we drove directly to the Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport in Livingstone.
We had a non-stop flight to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport in Northeast South Africa.

All of the images below are thumbnails and can be clicked on for a larger image.

Our airplane on the tarmac at Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport in Northeast South Africa Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport in Northeast South Africa Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport in Northeast South Africa

11 minute video of my journey to Kruger National Park through Livingstone, Zambia.

Our plane landed as the sun was setting.
It was about a ninty minute drive to our hotel just outside the main gate to Kruger National Park.
Protea Hotel Kruger Gate Protea Hotel Kruger Gate Protea Hotel Kruger Gate

We had a nice dinner at the hotel restaurant shortly after our arrival.


13 minute video of the Protea Hotel Kruger Gate.
Click on email photos for the large full-size photograph.

MY DAILY EMAIL SENT ON APRIL 20, 2012
Hello folks,

Not much to report on today. We checked out of the hotel in Victoria Falls at 9:30 this morning. Our first stop was a primary school in Victoria Falls.

We got to meet the school principal who told us about the school. Some of the children put on a little show for us with some singing and dancing. Then we got to go into a few class rooms. It was a very nice visit. All the children are so well behaved and polite.

From there we headed for the airport. We crossed the bridge leaving Zimbabwe and entering Zambia. We had to purchase a $50 Zambian visa for the ten minute drive to the airport. The bridge we crossed was the one I showed you earlier by the falls. That's Zambia on the left side of the bridge.

We got to the very small airport in Livingstone, Zambia at about 11:45 and our flight didn't leave until 2:20. There wasn't even a place to sit at the airport's one gate when we got there. Then a couple of flights left and there was no one left in the airport but our group. It was a two and a half hour flight to Nelspruit, South Africa. We flew on a very small plane. Except for four other people, our group was the only ones on the plane. I was sitting in the front row, and I could hear the warning alarms going off in the cockpit as we were landing. Below is our plane at the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport just after landing.

We landed just in time to see the sun set. The sun sets earlier here, it was set by 5:15. Then it was a 90 minute drive to Kruger National Park where I will be for the next three nights. After checking into our very nice hotel we had a very nice dinner at the open air restaurant here at the hotel. Tomorrow is an all day game drive, sun up to sun down. We have a picnic lunch in the middle. Kruger National Park is huge, 8000 square miles.

More later,

Tim



SATURDAY, APRIL 21, 2012:

On Saturday we had an all day game drive in Kruger National Park.
The first thing we saw were giraffes, the animal that had eluded us back at Chobe.
The main entrance to Kruger National Park The statue of Paul Kruger located at the Kruger Gate Three giraffes in Kruger National Park

We saw another group of giraffes with a herd of zebras, another animal we missed at Chobe.
We have seen a lot of hippos in the water. Today we spotted one on dry land.
The Kudu is the symbol for Kruger National Park. The male kudu has horns and the females do not.
Herd of zebra and a giraffe in Kruger National Park Large hippotamus in the brush at Kruger National Park Kudus and Impalas in Kruger National Park

We saw lots of giraffes and elephants on this day.
The mountain you see in the middle picture below marks the border with Mozambique.
Wild marijuana growing in Kruger National Park Large herd of elephants on the horizon near the border of Mozambique Giraffe in Kruger National Park

We stopped for lunch along the river.
We could see elephants and hippos in the water as we ate.
Umbrella thorn in Kruger National Park Elephants along the river from our lunch stop in Kruger National Park Pod of hippos in the river in Kruger National Park

Toward the end of the day we saw another animal we hadn't seen yet, wildebeests.
Also pictured below is an impala and a couple baboons.
We got back to the hotel in late afternoon.
Two wildebeests in Kruger National Park Impala in Kruger National Park Two baboons in Kruger National Park

MY DAILY EMAIL SENT ON APRIL 21, 2012
Hello again folks,

I spent all day today in Kruger National Park. It was about a one minute drive to the park from the hotel.

The first animals we saw in the park were the ones that eluded us a few days ago in Chobe. In the picture below you can see four zebras and one giraffe.

And below is a closer look at a zebra with her young one right beside her.

There were a lot of giraffes in this area. Below you can see three of them.

I know you have seen plenty of elephants already, but there are plenty of them here in Kruger too. There are two elephants in the picture below.

Next we found a hippo in the brush away from the water. You get a good look at his gigantic snout. He's almost smiling for the camera.

Below is a picture of what I had for dinner last night, Kudu. That's the male kudu to the right of center, the female in the brush to the left and lots of impala in the background.

This next giraffe was having a snack right next to the road, so we got a good look.

Below you can see the umbrella tree. This is what the landscape looks like in this part of South Africa.

There are several critters in the water in this next photo. That's a crocodile in the water at the bottom of the picture and lots of hippos in the center.

Below is a closer look at a couple of crocodiles.

Next we stopped for lunch at a place overlooking the river. I took the picture below while eating my lunch.

We saw a lot less animals after lunch. We drove around for hours in search of some rhinos, since we haven't seen them yet. We finally got a short look at a black rhino before he hid behind a bush. I think I got him on video, but no picture. Below are more hippos.

We did see one new animal in the afternoon. Below are two wildebeests.

Below is the point we turned around and started heading for home. The mountain you see in the picture below is the border between South Africa and Mozambique.

Below is an impala posing for a picture.

The afternoon was a little long. I was tired of sitting by the time we finally got back to the hotel. My last picture is of a couple of monkeys.

Tomorrow we have two more game drives. One in the very early morning and then one in late afternoon. I am hoping we see some cats tomorrow morning. Mornings is supposed to be the best time to see them. Tomorrow will be our last day out in the bush. We fly to Cape Town on Monday.

As I am writing this I am sitting out on the open deck of the hotel listening to all the creatures of the night. It is so neat being here. I will write more tomorrow.

Tim
Click on email photos for the large full-size photograph.



SUNDAY, APRIL 22, 2012:

Sunday morning we were up before dawn and were the first ones in the park as the gates opened.
Not long after entering the park we had a rare cheetah sighting.
We saw a large herd of elephants crossing the road.
Cheetah in Kruger National Park Elephants crossing the road in Kruger National Park Elephants crossing the road in Kruger National Park

We got a good close look at several zebra crossing the road.
The highlight of the day was seeing a lioness and her two baby cubs.
Zebras in Kruger National Park Lion in Kruger National Park Lioness with her two baby cubs in Kruger National Park

When this family was spotted a couple of days ago there were four cubs, now there is only two.
Lioness with her two baby cubs in Kruger National Park Lioness with her two baby cubs in Kruger National Park Lioness with her two baby cubs in Kruger National Park

After four hours in the park early Sunday morning we went back to the hotel for breakfast.
Then later in the afternoon we went back out for our final game drive.
Most of the pictures for this day are screen grabs as there wasn't time to take stills.
Pictured below: waterbuck, giraffes and a black rhino.
Waterbuck in Kruger National Park Four giraffes in Kruger National Park Black Rhino in Kruger National Park

Below is a fish eagle and another beautiful African sunset as we leave the park for the last time.
Fish Eagle in Kruger National Park Sunset in Kruger National Park Sunset in Kruger National Park

52 minute video of my visit to South Africa's Kruger National Park.

MY DAILY EMAIL SENT ON APRIL 22, 2012
Today was our last day out in the wild, it's back to civilization tomorrow. We were up before the sun today for an early morning game drive. The gates open at 6am and we were the first vehicle in the park. The first thing we saw was a herd of zebras in the middle of the road.

Next we had a rare sighting, a cheetah. There are only 200 cheetahs in the entire 8000 square mile park. He was taking a stroll down the road. We didn't get to see him for long. When we got closer he ran away. I didn't get a photo so the picture below is a screen grab from my video.

Next was the best part of the day, a lioness and her two very small cubs. One of the guides said she had four cubs a few days earlier.

Below is another screen grab where you can see the cute little cubs.

We saw more elephants, kudus, giraffes and such but I won't bore you with more pictures. We came back to the hotel for breakfast at 9:30 and then headed back out for a late afternoon run a little before 3:00. In the afternoon we saw more elephants and giraffes. The giraffe pictured below was munching on a tree right next to the jeep. Notice the two birds perched on his neck. The birds sit on the giraffe’s backs and eat parasites living in the Giraffe's coats.

Another screen grab below. Rhinos have been hiding from us for two days. We have seen about ten tons of rhino dun in the road but the rhinos never seem to be around. We finally saw this large male black rhino before he quickly disappeared into the brush.

After another beautiful African sunset we had to leave the park for the last time. I think we did pretty well on the animals. I would have liked to have seen a leopard and a male lion but you can't see everything in just a few short days. It was a lot of fun. The group I am traveling with are all great people. The guides have been wonderful as well. I'm flying to Cape Town tomorrow which is where I will be until the flight home next Sunday night.

Time to go to dinner. A very nice open air restaurant here. Meat grilled over an open fire with African entertainment as you eat.

Tim
Click on email photos for the large full-size photograph.


Click on the arrow above to continue to the next adventure:
Cape Town, South Africa!


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