|Blue wildebeest duking it out
In the case of South Africa, that place is Kruger National Park, in the northeast of the country. Our Rough Guide describes the Kruger experience as "democratic game viewing". And it really is that, at least in terms of democracy for people with the discretionary income to take some time out for game viewing.
We were in the park for seven days and six nights. The campgrounds are fenced in to keep out the animals with a taste for tourist flesh. The gates open at six in the morning, and then you go out and spend the day driving around the park, looking at the incredible, iconic macrofauna of Africa.
Again and again, I marveled at how Pleistocene these animals are. Why did their analogs in North America and Europe and Australia go extinct with the arrival of Homo sapiens, while the African mammalian spectaculars persisted?
And while the rhinos and elephants and great cats and on and on are breath-taking, we also had the diversion of fantastic birding. We spent long days in the truck, and while we might have wearied at times, we never got tired of the experience.
We don't have a high-end telephoto lens, so our ability to fill the frame of these photos speaks to how close we were to the animals.
The boys were completely over the moon, again and again.
We shared almost all of these sightings with other cars. There's a great feeling of camaraderie and information sharing among visitors. Lots of tips get shared between lowered windows of vehicles. At times there are some pretty big conglomerations of viewing vehicles, but there were never so many that we couldn't get a great look ourselves.
We had a memory card meltdown in our point-and-shoot, so I can't share any pics of the camps or our poptop camper. Those will have to wait for the post on the Kalahari...
|Klipspringer. They live in rocky terrain and walk on the tips of their hooves.
|Impala and oxpeckers
|We watched this lion mating with a female three times in half an hour, about 30 meters from the road.
|Chacma baboon and young