Kruger National Park: Life and Death in the Dark


(original images)

“The lions have made a kill,” crackled the thick Afrikaans-accented voice over the 2-way radio, “we’re on them now.”

And with that, our Land Rover sped off down the bumpy track, long shadows from the setting sun creating crazy shapes in the long grass and low shrubs.

Minutes later, we’re on the scene already now in near darkness as the last embers of the setting sun fall below the distant tree line. Jacob shuts off the 4WD’s noisy diesel engine and we coast the last few metres, coming to rest close to the action. At first it’s just a jumble of dark apparitions jostling in the bush interspersed with the occasional ‘crunch’ as a rib or leg bone is crushed in the lioness’s powerful jaw.

The spotlight reveals three young lions feasting on the carcass of a freshly killed buffalo. In rotation, they come in for a few mouthfuls, tearing the flesh and sinews from the bones then ambling away for a rest before resuming the bloody buffet. This is life and death in wild Africa and we’re right there in the thick of it.

For perhaps a half hour we just sit silently watching as the meat disappears into the bloated bellies of the small pride. The carnivores, intent on the task at hand, pay us not the slightest heed, despite the flashing of torches and spotlights, tearing and gnawing at the bush banquet.

At almost 20,000 sq kms, Kruger National Park in the far north-eastern corner of South Africa is one of the largest game reserves on the continent. Most visitors come for the day, but a handful of ultra-exclusive lodges retain legacy privileges and have premises within the boundaries of the UNESCO-listed biosphere.

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The story continues to describe facilities and services at the host accommodations and venues:

JOCK SAFARI LODGE
www.jocksafarilodge.com

TINGA LODGE
www.tinga.co.za

LION SANDS
http://www.lionsands.com/

The writer was a guest of South African Tourism and also attended the INDABA Tourism Trade expo in Durban.

The writer can supply both original and PR-sourced imagery.

Travel was sponsored by South African Tourism and the respective resorts/hotels.

Also available: Durban, Cape Town, Franschhoek Winelands

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