No matter how I try I can not fit the entire tusk in the photo. So close has the elephant wandered to our safari jeep that the soft thudding of his giant ears flapping becomes a clear rhythm. On arrival to the bush lodging in Greater Kruger National Park, we are warned that the accommodations are not fenced African wildlife roam freely.
Now thirty seconds drive down the path, the giant male elephant nonchalantly wanders in front of the vehicle. Munching happily on green morsels loaded in with his garden-hose-on-steroid enormous trunk, his chewing rises above the choir practice of African birds. The guide explains that as long as we don’t stand up we are just part of a harmless heap.
Here in Balule Nature Reserve, South Africa, part of the Greater Kruger National Park, the animals are protected. From the mongoose to the zebra and of course the elephants.
The raw mix of emotions tumbles about my brain. Seeing African animals in the wild has been a forever dream. Now here with these magnificent creatures in Greater Kruger I’m not sure if I shall burst into tears or squeal with joy.
As has become the norm for me in Africa I gape open mouthed and am speechless. Struck with the wonder I remain silent.
There is no guarantee one will see any animals on safari in Africa. The owner of the lodge speaks off a karma or energy he has witnessed over the years when guests arrive.
“Those with big demands of seeing animals before they even say hello often see little. Those who arrive excited by the impalas on the drive in are often the ones who see the most.”
Impalas wander about everywhere we look. Obviously a fertile bunch suited for the environment.
We clearly fall in the second group of visitors. The frequent sightings of striped impala butts leave us grinning ear to ear.
Unfortunately for the pretty impalas they are a food source for many. So it is with nature. Impalas top the fast food take out menu in Greater Kruger National Park.
Greater Kruger National Park
This 20,000 square kilometer area, or 20,000,000 hectares is a South African joint venture. Kruger National Park and the Associated Private Nature Reserves work together in this massive conservation effort. Over twenty private reserves west of Kruger National Park partner to provide free movement for animals over the entire area.