Vacation in South Africa 1/19/00 - 1/30/00

Western Cape:(Map)
Capetown and Stellenbosch

Mpumalanga Province:
On Safari in Kruger National Park ...


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The view from our game lodge of the Sand River was breathtaking.


A skink looks like a snake, but is really a lizard without feet. They live underground and are amazingly strong. I didn't touch him, but our ranger did.


Zebras were plentiful. They really look like smaller horses, very cute. Apparently they are virtually impossible to domesticate. Zebras often hang out with other herd animals, such as giraffes and antelopes. Their tracks look like little hoof prints.


During the day, there were innumerable birds.

At night we saw different owls. These guys were particularly pretty, but I don't know what kind of owl they are.


Vervet Monkeys are really cute, but fairly shy so we didn't get very close. We saw them several times in the game reserves, but these guys were in a group of trees along the road back from Mala Mala Game Reserve to Nelspruit. Whenever a whole tree was shaking, as if it were alive, that was a good sign there were a group of monkeys playing in it.


A Bushbaby is a lower primate. They supposedly make good pets, but have a tendency to defecate and urinate everywhere. This one was adorable, and quickly disappeared into the night with huge leaps from tree to tree.


Dona fell in love with Giraffes. They are quite odd looking, with a funny shaped mouth and a very sloping back. Giraffes seem very peaceful creatures. Several of them were missing the end of their tails, as a result of lion engagements. They graze in small groups, with individuals sometimes several hundred yards apart, but since they are so tall, they can easily see each other as they are picking thorny leaves off the trees. They have cloven feet.


Cape Buffalo are quite intimidating. They are the most dangerous of the "Big Five" game animals for hunters. They are definitely bovine characters, but also primal and with slightly mean appearance at times, despite the bouffant look of their horns.


Leopards are also one of the "Big Five". They are the epitomy of elegant cats. This female was eating an Ngala antelope in a tree. We observed her for two days, until there was nothing left of the antelope except the spine.


Antelopes are, of course, a favorite prey of leopards, lions and cheetahs.
We saw Impala herds

Kudu antelopes (?) are distiguished by the drizzles of icing that seem to run down their bodies.

There XXX antelopes have target-like circles on their rumps.

Antelope tacks look like deer tracks.

One of the odder moments, was this migrating crab in the middle of the bush. It had rained the night before, and this guy was out to colonize, just like Christopher Columbus.

During the game walks, we got to see fruit like this Amarula, which is made into a liquor and according to folklore, can even intoxicate a herd of elephants when they eat fermented fruit off the ground.

Some trees had parasite vines with gourds on them, that made them look like Christmas ornaments.


Life in South Africa is not always very "western". Here are some typical street scenes and local villages (shanties).

Here's a single. lone, male wildebeest surveying his real estate and waiting for a mate. Location. Location. Location.

Alexander Hauptmann
Last modified: Wed Apr 5 16:01:02 EDT 2000