Photo Essay: Kruger National Park, 2016

5:04 AM Jessica Montgomery 0 Comments



Elephant munching on a tree, Kruger National Park, South Africa.

Growing up in small town suburbia in the American MidWest, walking among lions meant heading to my local football stadium. (Detroit Lions...get it?) But, fortunate as I am, a few weeks back I was able to encounter the real-deal in Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga, South Africa. 

This being my second visit back to Kruger National Park, I was a bit more prepared for what to expect. I prepared for beauty, adventure, adrenaline, and contentment. But, nothing can truly prepare you for seeing such grandeur and biodiversity in person. 
This time around I was fortunate enough to have my parents along with me (as they'd been visiting me in SA for 3 weeks) and to see their excitement for the trip truly added a cherry on top. Our trip was incredible. And rather than explaining in words, I put together a mini photo-essay of some of the things we were fortunate enough to see.



Morning light bathes a beautiful giraffe on our second day driving through the park. The giraffes in the park didn't seem to mind cars or people too much as they were always walking alongside our car, or crossing the road!


We interrupted this beauty eating lunch. Sorry! Go back to your business!


While driving across one of the bridge's of the Crocodile River we saw a herd of 10-15 elephants bathing and playing in the dirt along the river's edge. We saw a few elephant babies pushing each other in the mud and this juvenile giving himself a dirt bath.


This pair of lionesses seemed to just be relaxing along the river on a hot day. It was only a few minutes after taking this picture that one of them sprinted off into the tall grass after a bushbuck! We did not see the lion take it down...but, we knew their was a kill because we could hear the poor thing screaming. Incredible experience. 


This little bushbuck was hiding under a tree a ways away from the lion takedown.
Stay safe little one!


We had the pleasure of spotting not one, not two, but three leopards during our time in the park. We also saw two impala that were carried up into a tree by a leopard and left for later supper. This leopard in particular was laying alongside an elephant herd and a rhino just off to it's left. Three out of the five "Big 5" in one setting!


Impala are very common in the park. Some people pass them up while driving through the park, but, I still find them to be incredibly interesting and beautiful.


Our accommodation for the weekend was a stunning spot along the Crocodile River just outside of the park gate's called Elephant Walk Retreat. Here we were able to view game, like this majestic water buffalo, from our chalet's balcony! We watched impala, hippo, water buffalo, and water buck take advantage of the river. The Park and its surrounding areas are currently experiencing a drought so some animals have to walk for miles to find water. 


We spotted a few troupes of vervet monkeys through the park. One troupe warned us of the lions that took down the bushbuck by screaming warnings at each other and scattering up whichever tree they could find!


 My Dad doing his best Quint impression while fishing on the Komatipoort River for tiger fish. We caught a few small ones. But my Mom is the one who took home the trophy for Biggest Catch with the huuuuuuge catfish she caught!


 A beacon of hope as we left the park... a baby rhino!
 Rhinoceros are being hunted to extinction. Though anti-poaching efforts have severely cut down on the trade of rhino horn, there is still much to stop and be done. Please visit: https://www.savetherhino.org/africa_programmes to do your part to save these incredible creatures for future generations. Education is the FIRST step. Share their plight!

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Kruger National Park is truly one of the most wild and mind-blowing places I've ever been. The sheer close proximity of you to animals; animals you grew up learning about only in picture books, is enough to make the trip. 

If you've ever dreamt about seeing any of these beauties in person, DO IT. 
Check off that Bucket List!

Worried about budget? Don't be. This trip can be done on a budget! 
Here are some helpful links to help you get started:




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