A Lot of Bull Sh*t: Big Five, Part 2

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CAUTION: Running over elephant dung can puncture your tire.

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This was a new fact we picked up while driving around Kruger National Park, but neither of us can remember which reading material gave us the information. It was not in any of the brochures we received upon entering the park or on the guides we purchased. Kurt thinks it was in a pop-up bubble in a GO! Magazine we borrowed from a friend.

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Thankfully we didn’t learn first-hand what elephant droppings can do to a tyre (RZA spelling), and our bakkie smushed through piles and piles of the stuff for several days before we finally learned that elephants eat thorns, which pass through relatively intact and lay in wait to find their way into an unsuspecting vehicle.

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Our first elephant sighting in Kruger.

Driving in Kruger became an entirely different experience once we began swerving around manure piles that occasionally stretched halfway across the road. Of course, it’s possible we were avoiding rhinoceros poo, but I have not yet developed a discerning eye when it comes to all things scat.

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In fact, the little I know about African scat is the cartoon version from the book WHO flung dung? that I picked up at Kruger for my grand-nieces, Adeline and Clara. And yes, if you’ve been following me and remember my Wooly Mammoth scat post featuring the creepiest spider in the world, you know I like learning about it.

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My best guess at the difference between elephant and rhino poop is based on a children’s book. :-/ Yes, I could research it for you, and will, but that blog’s for another day (I know, I know. You’re welcome.)

In any case, poo becomes the least of your worries when you find yourself coming across a large bull elephant. I’m leaving the photo captions tell the story of our first elephant encounters.

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This guy was pretty busy with his tree. As you might have noticed from the previous photo, sometimes you’re driving quite close, so you have to pay attention to behavior and proximity to decide if you are safe to drive past or if you should back up and wait.

So now I’ve given you two out of the five “Big Five.” To answer yesterday’s quiz, the big five are: lion, elephant, rhino, leopard and cape buffalo. (Yeah, that last one stumped me, too). They are called “the big five” because, as several of you guessed, this phrase was given by big-game hunters, for “the five most difficult [most dangerous] animals to hunt on foot.”

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As you can see from this photo (and my thumbs-up in the rearview mirror), that last one was on zoom, and we are a fair enough distance to drive past safely. Unlike the next photo where Kurt and Marla had our first dumb-ass experience. Thankfully it wasn’t our last…

Congratulations to Rose Blackman of On the Go Fitness. All comments from yesterday’s post, right or wrong, were put into a drawing for a Kruger Postcard from me. Please send me your address so I can mail your card!

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This elephant was not far enough away to stop and take a photo. We may have done so unnoticed, but we were still getting comfortable driving our stick-shift bakkie, and we were shifting gears as I snapped photos. The revving engine alarmed this bull elephant, and we made the decision that forward and fast was the way to go.

Come back tomorrow to see our photos of leopard in Kruger!

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This poor animal (yes, poor animal, because it’s ALWAYS human error, not animal irresponsibility) was startled by our loud stoppage and sudden movement and turned to flare his ears at us. I snapped as many photos as I could as Kurt drove off and managed to get one that wasn’t blurry. Also. I might have peed myself just a little (or a lot.) Very frightening learning curve for us in our loud diesel bakkie.

Love, Marla

4 Comments on “A Lot of Bull Sh*t: Big Five, Part 2

  1. Pingback: Zebra Crossing | Marla Sink Druzgal

  2. Pingback: The Lion at Our Window | Marla Sink Druzgal

  3. you are so funny. My first lion jam happened in Kruger in the 80’s. We had to stop for about an hour until the lion pride of six that were sleeping in the road decided to move back into the bush. I love when nature rules.

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