Big 5, Kruger National Park
Weight white rhino up to 2000 kg, black rhino up to 1500 kg
Shoulder height : 1,6 m.
They walk fast at 28 km/h and trot at 40 km/h
A rhino lives 30 to 40 years.
Estimated there are ......white rhinos and ...... black rhinos in the Kruger
Notes of Interest
The differences between the two are that the white rhino is a grazer with a big wide mouth, and the black rhino has a pointed mouth with a prehensile upper lip used to strip leaves from branches. He keeps his head in line with his back most of the time and lifts his head higher to feed on leaves whilst the white rhino keeps his head low down.
The white rhino, the less aggressive of the two, is larger and prefers open spaces (which made him an easier target for hunters. He holds is head low to the ground, more placid and less prone to attack.
They are the same colour, "white" deriving from the Afrikaans name "wydmond"
Horn lengths have been recorded at 160 cm for white rhino and 135cm for black but they are not true horns but an outgrowth of dermal papillae in the skin - something like compressed hair. The horn will regrow if broken off.
Rhinos have poor eyesight but acute sense of smell and hearing. Rhinos can rotate their ears independently.
Rhinos are not gregarious but white rhino may be seen in groups of 5 or 6 but black rhinos are usually alone or with a mate.
Rhinos mark areas but are not strictly territorial even though bulls will not tolerate each other. .A white rhino may have a rubbing post often polished to a fine surface.
Rhinos defecate in middens and frequently scatter the dung with their hind legs
Rhinos pay little attention to other mammals, even at close range and predation on them except by man is minimal.
One calf is born about every 3 years weighing about 45 kg. The calf of the white rhino runs in front of the mother, and the calf of the black rhino runs behind.
Weigh up to 7 000 kg
newborn calves 100 kg
Stand 3 metres shoulder height
Duration of life is 55 to 70 years
Walk at about 10 kmh but will charge at 40 kmh.
Estimated there are ........elephants in the park.
Notes of Interest
The elephant's huge floppy ears are his air conditioner. He flaps them to control his body temperature by cooling the blood in their many blood vessels.
He has 6 sets of teeth in a lifetime to grind up the daily food intake of up to 200 kg of leaves, grasses, twigs and bark.
His tusks, his glory and nemesis, are really overgrown teeth. They are not meant for ivory snooker balls or carved jewellery, the elephant needs them for protection, loosening tree bark or digging for water. The record length is 3,50 metres with a weight of 102 kg.
The elephant's trunk is unique, powered by 40 000 muscles. The last word in handy gadgets which he uses for drinking (up to 100 litres), trumpeting, smelling, investigating and plucking morsels beyond the reach of giraffes
Their herds are led by a matriarch, cow elephant, with her dependent offspring and grown daughters. Males live separately, alone or in bachelor herds.
Sound is important in an elephant's life. They communicate with each other through a low growling which sounds like a rumbling stomach. When frightened they produce high-pitched screams and when angry, a terrifying trumpeting.
The sole of an elephant's foot is like a mosaic pattern, hard, with sharp pieces of the hardened skin standing out so they can walk silently through the bush .
They sleep standing up
Elephants have one calf after a gestation period of 22 months. They have a highly developed social sense and the whole herd will help protect this calf.
On our first full day in Kruger, we had a very interesting sighting at just after 1 PM, not long since we had left our lunchtime stopover at Oliphants Camp. As we continued our drive north, we noticed a lion and two females sleeping in the bush at the side of the road. We pulled the car over and switched the engine off to see what, if anything, would happen. We were totally surprised when, a few minutes later, the lion roused himself up and approached one of the lioness' with amorous intentions! As soon as he stirred, I clicked the video camera on to catch this possibly award-winning sequence! Alas, the battery immediately conked out - the photo that you see of the lion staring after her is all that we have. He was rejected and the lioness strolled off into the bush!
Big game hunters in Africa are always after one of the 'Big Five' - Lion, Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Rhino or Leopard. Although I am always shooting only with a camera, it was a great thrill to come across a herd of Cape Buffalo north of Mopani, on our last hot afternoon in the Park. Here, the herd is not bothered at all as they forage beside the road. We were so close to these ones that we did not need a telephoto lens!
The Big Five are not the biggest animals on Africa, but definately the most famous ones. Try to spot everyone of them. I tried, but missed the leopard, the hardest one to see.
(If you've never seen these animals on TV, try my travelogue)
Kruger park is teaming with wildlife, stay out driving as much as possible to see it!!
We came accross this pride of lions eating a Buffalo shortly after the kill! We sat and watch for hours! They were in a feeding frenzy!! Growling, roaring and you could smell the fresh meat! After they had stuffed themselves, they walked bloatedly to the river for water as others from the pride ate more!
As I have mentioned elsewhere, these sightings are not staged! It is only by luck that you come accross an encounter, for that reason i recommend staying as much as possible out on a drive!
Rhinos are tough to spot but we were lucky to see a good dozen while on an evening drive. Kruger primarily has Black Rhinos, the rarer of the two species of Rhinos.
We were so lucky to find this tribe of lions who had killed the zebra extremely close to the road and were busy feeding. Some had already over eaten and were lying in the grass snoozing.
The king of beasts. Lions are hard to spot due to their shy nature and the fact that they rest most of the day.
A safari in Kruger National Park will amaze you. Be sure to go on a early morning safari, day, and evening safari!
Cape Buffalo are generally found in or around rivers. They are extremely territorial and therefore very dangerous.