Saturday, November 30, 2013

Get Close To The Animals In The Game Reserve

The Pilanesberg Game Reserve is located just next to the entertainment complex Sun City. That is one of the biggest Game reserve in South Africa.  We took an evening game drive one of the days during our stay in Sun City.

We took another 4 hours evening and early morning drive in Mabula Game Reserve. I think evening drive is the best time to see animals in the nature with the breathtaking sunset views in the background. Every one of us were looking for Africa's "Big Five" - elephants, lions, rhinos, leopards and African buffalo. Here we go... The big five and other animals in the Game Reserve.
...the first "big five" we saw from far: elephants
Then we saw a cape buffalo, unable to capture its face...Our ranger explained that this could be the most dangerous. 
...and this animal in the picture below, is it wildebeest?

I really enjoyed watching so many animals. Our Safari Jeep (tractor-like) is comfortable, and our informative guide plus driver answered all of our questions.  I will remember everything
I have seen in the jungle forest for long time, couldn't believe I wasn't in the zoo! 
While we were looking for the Big Five during the drive, the most popular animals we saw in the game reserve are Zebras and African antelope. There are 14 species of listed African antelope. I cant remember all, a lot of Impala and Kudu here. 
Impala, the most sexy animals in the jungle. Look at the back side, a letter of " M" marks the spot on its back side, that is why their nickname "McDonald's of Africa" was called.

...another two common antelope species we saw: Hartebeest and Springbok,  I like Springkok, they were jumping like dancing in the forest. 
...spotted a lot of gorgeous Kudu...the greater kudu above

What are the black animals on the picture left, wildebeest? They look like horse but with antelope's horn. 
another popular animals in Game Reserve: zebra
Zebra, not one of the Big 5 but definitely a favorite of many. 
Do you know what a diamond and a zebra have in common? 
(a question from our guide. :)
Beside antelope and zebra, another common animal we saw is this Tallest Guy in the jungle. Yes, I am a huge fan of giraffes, I love this long neck animal and dream of sitting on its back when I was a young girl . 
Yeah, any giraffe sighting was exciting for me. Do you know both humans and giraffes have 7 neck vertebrates? This always make me feel funny when I see giraffe, haha, why my neck is not near as long as a giraffe’s, since we have all have 7 neck vertebrates? 
By the way, how do you tell the difference between a male giraffe and a female giraffe? I will post up more of my giraffe photos soon, visit back again, just in case you are same as me, is a fan of giraffes.
...baboons running just before we spotted the cheeth
Another one of the big five: Two Cheetah in Mabula Game Reserve
We saw the cheetah but not the leopard in the big five list, no leopard was in sight at all, not sure what is the difference between cheetah and leopard. 
...a female lion pregnancy seen at night with spot light shine on it. ...out tour member who took the night time drive saw elephants chasing two lions, that was amazing, too bad we don't have this chance.  

The morning game drive began at 6 am (and we need to wake up at 5am)..We were told that this pre-breakfast game drive is the best time for spotting kitties. I didn't think so. In fact we saw barely any animals on our drive. That was a cold morning after whole night rain, most of the animals were undoubtedly still sleeping as all sensible creatures should be at that hour. That was a bit unlucky on that day, our jeep tire flatted half way, while waiting for the replacement to come, our driver went down to check around armed with a rifle, I was thinking if a lion or leopard come near us, what will happen? As we were told the Big Five animal will tolerate a game drive truck, so we have to  make no sudden movements or loud noises. Dion and Michelle all said they were not scared, I was, but I think I over worry. LOLS. Finally we got into another jeep, and were told two lions appeared just near by. 
Here there are...We saw two lions were lying down underneath a bush, no movement at all, one horn was found near by... They just finished their delicious meal and having a sweet dream...We kept very quiet as we approached the lions, even though I really wish I could bust out some Lion King tunes to wake them up..
...and watching Rhinos poo poo in the early morning, that was properly the highlight of the early morning drive, and we had no appetite to have our breakfast after that, Lols.
 ...rather prettier sight: a white rhino we saw during the afternoon game drive.  

...I almost forget to add these photos of warthogs in this post. The warthog is a large species of pig that is found in Africa. I spotted two types of them, one in black one in brown, not sure are they same specie? They reminded me the wild boar in Singapore
...warthog feeding
Warthogs use their two sets of tusks both for fighting off unwanted predators and other competing male warthogs, and the warthogs also use these tusks for digging in the dirt for grubs and insects.

Although warthog is not considered high on the list of African animals, but they are still a very significant animal, isn't it?  Tey are seen quite often in the jungle in South Africa, it is very interesting to watch especially this photo, the mother with the young warthogs. They have very strange looking with their large tusks, and, haha, someone in our tour said they should be tasted good in BBQ style. 

During the 3 days tour in Game Reserve, we saw lions, cheetah, elephants, buffalo, rhino, giraffes, zebras, many species of antelope, warthog, and some unknown animals and lots of bird species, but I wasn't able to capture photos of birds, except the  Crested Guinea Fowl, no fan of birds in the group, so the driver never stopped the jeep.  

What else I missed out here?  Yeah, there are hippos. Although they are not one of the Big 5 but I think deserves to be noticed. ...But this guy is too shy to show us its face.
...and a mountain tortoise slowly slowly crawl
...a cobra was spotted with spot light when we returned from game reserve at night, give a perfect ending for our tour. 

PS. End of this post, I would like to say: 
I am in love…..
with Forest and Jungles In South Africa!!!!! This is a place full of fascinating, achingly exquisite unpredictability.
I wish I could visit other game reserve in South Africa in sooner future! I have a long list of wanted to see...And one of them is the King of the forest: Lion.  

Pictures of Mabula Game Lodge - Hotel Photos
This photo of Mabula Game Lodge is courtesy of TripAdvisor


eileeninmd said...

Wow, what a cool post. I would love to go on an African Safari, it is one of my dream trips.. I love all your animals and photos. Thank you for linking up to Saturday's Critters, have a happy weekend!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Lots of wonderful photos of 'critters' ~ Happy 2014

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

Nice to see animals in their natural habitat.

Anonymous said...

What lovely lovely shots.

Gunilla Bäck said...

Wonderful photos of all the different animals. I'd love to go on a safari one day.