Monday, June 26, 2017

The Greensides Take on South Africa - Kruger National Park

For our last safari in South Africa we left the kiddo's with the grandparents and did it up right in Kruger National Park! We stayed at Jock Safari Lodge in the southern part of Kruger. It is a private concession within the park and it did not disappoint. The Fitzpatrick lodge is a private three room lodge overlooking a river bed that frequently had a number of animals roaming about. We had our own private game vehicle and game ranger for the four of us. It was fantastic!

Upon arrival our ranger informed us he spotted a leopard as he was driving to the lodge. We lived over 4 years in South Africa and have been on numerous game drives and have never seen the elusive leopard. 

We finally got one!!!

What a beautiful cat!

Male Kudu

Baboon Troop

So many elephants!

The amazing white rhino

Another member of the feline family!

Spotted Hyena

On one drive we spotted two rhino resting on the dirt road, we drove up to them and were observing their behavior when we heard a growl. Driving about 10 feet forward past a large bush we came across a whole pride of lions, complete with two males, numerous females, and many young, with a kill. They were trying to eat their lunch but the two rhino's kept charging them. It was fascinating to watch! 

What were the rhino's doing? We had many theories - my favorite was that the wildebeest was a friend of the rhino and he was now pissed that the lions were eating him. After about 15 minutes of this interaction between the rhinos and lions the rhino's left. Then all the lions came out from the bush to get some lunch.

Kruger is not all lions and elephants! There are some little things to see too!

Lazy hyena

Enjoying lunch after a swim in between game drives, what a life!


Puff Adder

Dinner in the boma

Another leopard! Beautiful!

This little guy was putting on quite the show to let us know he was in charge!

Don't go swimming

One of the (many) awesome things about Jock Safari Lodge is that they have rights to drive on the river beds. That was really cool! You had to hold on tight, as it was a bit like being on a roller coaster driving through all the sand, but what a unique and interesting way to see Kruger. 

1,054 rhino's were killed in South Africa during 2016, this is approximately three rhino's killed each day.

We came across this pride at night. Based on the size of the cubs, the ranger guessed that they had only come out of their den in the past week or so. 

We found this guy during the sun rise. We pulled up right next to him (we were in a completely open safari vehicle, no doors, no windows) and he just looked at us and laid down. 

He did give us this nice smile. I won't lie, my pulse definitely increased. 

He definitely knew we were there and paid attention to us. We calculated he could have been up and in our vehicle in probably one second. We were glad none of us looked like a snack! He did give us an amazing roar, which my brother got on the go-pro. You could feel the roar inside your bones. 

For our last safari in South Africa (well for the foreseeable future) this was an amazing one! So glad Scott and Rachael got to experience this with us. Thanks to Gramma and Papa for babysitting Piper and Owen while we had the trip of a lifetime! 

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The Greensides Take on South Africa - Exploring Joburg

I am so far behind in my pictures! When my family visited South Africa, we took a red bus tour of Joburg and Soweto. It doesn't compare to the red bus tours in the Cape, but I thought it was really great. I work down in Joburg, but I don't know that much about the city, so this was a great way for me to learn more about it.

The Hillbrow Tower, the tallest structure in Africa. I work, at Wits RHI, very close to here. 

Snapshots of Hillbrow and the surrounding neighborhoods

We took a tour of South African Breweries (SAB), formerly owned by Miller, and sold to Anheuser-Busch in 2016. They have a very unique and interesting tour, which I'm glad we finally did! Piper even got to taste a beer, she wasn't a big fan.

Joburg has amazing street art

FNB Stadium, built for the 2010 world cup in the shape of a calabash. Home of the Kaiser Chiefs (our nanny's favorite soccer team, arch enemies of the Orlando Pirates). We saw Santana there in 2015!

SOWETO = South West Township

Orlando Towers, formerly cooling towers for a coal power station, now an adrenaline junky playground

At the Hector Pieterson Memorial

At Mandela's house

Home of the Orlando Pirates (our gardener's favorite soccer team) arch enemies of the Kaiser Chiefs

Piper strutting her stuff in Joburg with Gramma

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