Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Em

Rowling probably wouldn’t cry about it, but I stole her title.  At least my post is probably more interesting than her movie.  And her book.  Well, this post is supposed to make up for the three months of lack of images as well as the time spent at Kruger.  There will be a lot pictures of animals, so enjoy.

IMG_20160123_120103This one right here is the white necked raven of Kilimanjaro.  My guides called them white beaked raven, but a quick google search showed that it is incorrect despite the fact that they do have white beaks.  These birds are very common on the mountain from the park entrance all the way to as high as 4700 meters.  These birds don’t care much about apples or crackers, but they sure do enjoy some fried chicken.  In fact, they are quite stealthy and would steal your fried chicken when you are not looking.  Then at a safe distance they can open the aluminum wrap the chicken is in and proceed to eat the chicken.  These birds are quite big and sometimes you mistake them as eagles and when they land, you realize they are just the same bunch of thieves.

IMG_0118The next one up is the McDonalds of Africa, the Impalas.  Sure the car with the same name back in the 70-80s is a classic, but these bucks are so common, safari vehicles don’t even stop for them.  However, Impalas are extremely lean creatures and their meat are delicious.  I’m not a big supporter of eating venison, but damn I tried it and it was so damn good.  The lions eat them, the human eat them, leopards eat them, and whatever that has teeth and can catch them eat them.  However, impalas can run, and they can jump, not to mention they breed so fast it would be problem if no one is eating them.  The males have nice antelopes, and the females don’t.  Despite all the hate on them, I like impalas.

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That’s impalas fleeing the scene.  They literally almost leaped over the entire stream in one bound and seeing a group of them doing the same thing was quite fascinating.  This is found in Kruger of course because I only had money to afford one safari even thou I was in four countries.  There is a buffalo also fleeing because the animals sensed a threat that we can’t see.  The impalas and the monkeys they have really good eyes and they can see further than human can and they make noises to alert their allies to be careful.  It was pretty cool to see a whole river bank of animals grazing just disappeared when the alerts went off.

Up next is the bigger impala, I mean Kudu.  They are much bigger, and have much more magnificent antelopes.  They are the Michael Jordans of the buck race, because they can jump over cars easily.  The females don’t have antelopes, so they look like a giant camel donkey, maybe they are camel donkeys, who knows.  The Kudu meat is more popular than the impala meat, I don’t know why.  The South Africans make these jerky called Biltong.  If you read the Revenant book after Leo won his Oscar, then you know jerky is made by smoking it above small fire, but biltong is air dried, so they have more texture.  The Kudu biltong is one of the most popular game biltong there is.  Kudu and impala are good friends.

IMG_0223~2Next up in the soon to be eaten alliance is the Nyala, the second biggest antelope behind the Eland.  Yes, it looks kind of just like the Kudu, but it is not.  The fur is slightly different colored, and it is a beautiful creature I say.

IMG_20160308_081113~2Next up in the alliance is the Zebra.  They are friends with the antelopes, but they are much more the tourist attraction I should say.  This is a picture I took for a Zebra webbing, I’m just kidding.  Everyone knows about Zebra, they all walk across those Zebra crossings, so I only need to point out this picture shows that zebra striped leggings could be best sellers.

IMG_0285~2The beasts are getting bigger, as the next up is the giraffe.  You can tell the gender of the giraffe by the shape of it’s horn.  The giraffe also can dissolve the poison from the acacia tree in Kruger so they alone can eat the leaves of these trees.  The tamed giraffes let you take selfies with them, kiss them, and go all touchy touchy and feeling happy.  However, these wild ones will kick you if you get close, especially behind, and you’ll probably break some bones.  Giraffes walk one limb at a time when walking and chilling, but they run with their legs in pairs.  They seem to always be eating, not a bad life at all.

IMG_0051The wildebeest.  Another lineup for great meat.  They are the reason people go to the Massai Mara and Serengeti in the fall, because millions of them migrate from one place to another and it’s a great sight to see.  However, in Kruger, there doesn’t seem to be many, but it’s good to see some wildebeests.

IMG_0211~2Fatty magoo of the bush is dying in the Kruger park because the rain season came late.  Actually it didn’t come at all, much to a tourist’s delight, but not to these animals.  The hippos need the waterholes to survive, and they need low grass to eat.  Hippos don’t really have much eating proficiency, they put their giant mounts to the ground and try to scrap as much grass as possible.  The problem with this is that the high grass out in the picture don’t really get in their mount and hippos don’t chew, so getting food isn’t easy when it doesn’t rain.  On my last day in Kruger, it actually rained maniacally.  So much water came down, a road was flooded and water was everywhere.  Everyone who ever cared about these animals were ecstatic, but the rain only lasted a day, and little good it did soon dried up.  So, good luck to these hippos.

IMG_0130~2This is one of my favorite pictures that I took.  Two rhinos and their kid just chilling by a water hole.  A warhog approached, none of them cared and they just shared a bath.  Then a hyena appeared and wanted to join the fun.  Well, that got everyone alerted.  The rhinos got up, the wet skin makes these white rhinos look like black rhino, but the real difference is that black rhinos are leaf eaters while white rhinos are grass eaters.  While the rhinos got up and carefully eyed the hyena, the hyena went in for a nice water bath.  Then the rhinos ran away in unison.  Noticing the big ones are gone, the war hog ran away too, leaving just the singular hyena to the small water hole by himself.

IMG_0087 Straight from the Pride Land is Pumbaa, or the war hog.  Apparently it wears masqueras around the yes and likes to pray.  Actually, I don’t know much about the eye make ups, but the reason it kneels down is that’s how it eats.  The war hog is a ground sweeping animal, just pick up whatever from the ground.  One day there were three war hogs chilling by the pool at the camp ground.  Two kids one mom.  Yes, the Skukuza camp in Kruger has a pool and their tents have fans and electricity plugs.  Pretty damn nice “camp”, and their water pressure in the shower is quite fantastic also.  They also have free wifi and everything was quite unexpectedly nice over there.

IMG_0164~2Since we are on a Lion King theme, I also have Zazu.  The hornbill.  I don’t know much about it except Zazu, so that’s it.

Next up are the birds that I took pictures of, but I just don’t know the name.  Well, I know the one on the left is a vulture.  That I know, I saw them many times, but that’s the only time I didn’t get a shitty picture.  The bottom right I have no clue.  The red headed bird on the top right is supposed to be extremely rare.  They showed up on the day that rained.  The young birds are a brown collar instead of red.

The rain also brought out these fantastic things.  The wild dogs.  The hunters.  They are the best looking dogs I have ever seen, even better than the Huskies I love so much.  They also don’t give a fuck, because the alpha and his woman just got all romantic in the middle of the road surrounded by a bunch of safari vehicles.

IMG_0219The rain also brought out all kinds of stuff.  Especially the turtles.  Watching turtles crawl their way to a stream and off they went was quite fun.  This is a leopard turtle, named after the leopard patterns on their shells.  They are quite small, and love to cross the road.

IMG_0183~2IMG_0248And talking about leopards, here is multiply pictures of leopards at different places.  They are quite magnificent animals, and I got to see them three times within 4 hours.  To be honest, I’m not a big fan of sitting in a jeep searching for animals.  I fell asleep or just went on my phone multiple times.  I look up when others find something and take some pictures.  I only went on a safari because I feel like I’m in Africa for three months, I probably have to do just one.  The free wine every night really got me there to be honest.  I still not sure I enjoyed it.  However, now I’m writing about it, seeing the happenings of the bush was pretty cool.
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As we are on the topics of cats. Here is another rare, but smaller cat. The serval. We found him just chilling and the creature is as beautiful as an ocelot. Sometimes it’s not all about the big animals, but those beautiful ones you rarely get to see.
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Another fantastic cat is the bush baby. This one’s name is Marco and he lives near the or even in the Skukuza camp. He makes frequently trips to get left over food from the camp and the photo shows him trying to sneak down on some salads from a pole.

IMG_0240~2Well, I didn’t get to see any lions, and I don’t really care.  I saw plenty of lions when I went to the zoo.  However, the zoo normally don’t have the number one man killer in Africa.  The buffalo.  Their thick horn shell can block a bullet.  They are also very temperamental, so much so that if they feel threatened, they will charge at you with full force.  That is why they are the number one man killer, so piss them off.  They are not the same buffalo the native americans used to eat, but they are just as important in Africa.

If elephants are horny all the time, they will be the number one man killer, but thankfully they aren’t.  When elephant goes into mating season, they can’t control their hormones and they like to go on rampages.  That’s why you see these videos of cars getting rammed by elephants and them just run out of no where and then proceed to run over you.  An elephant almost walked into our vehicle, but luckily it wasn’t horny so we just backed away into safety.  It is not wise to piss them off.

IMG_0230~2This is also one of my favorites.  I love monkeys, form howler monkeys and spider monkeys in Mexico to these velvet monkeys in Africa.  This picture tells a story.  First we heard monkeys cry, and we arrived at this location.  We searched toward the gaze of these monkeys as they kept crying.  From up the hill we can spot the head movement of a leopard eating.  Well, it doesn’t take a detective to figure out that the leopard got it’s paws on a family member of these velvet monkeys.  The kid monkey is tucked under the mom while a tree full of monkeys just wailed for their falling comrade.

IMG_20160218_122423When monkey is mentioned, we can’t forget the menace of Africa.  The baboons.  Who like to steal your stuff.  Who would attack you haul you if you provoke them.  Many street signs read beware of baboons.  They are also everywhere, and in every country.  On the street and in the jungles.  This baboon is in the Mosi a Tonya Park in Zambia, right by the Victoria Falls.

IMG_0347Another baboon picture is the rare baby baboon who was just born.  On the road outside of Kruger gate.

IMG_20160129_111502My favorite monkey of Africa is these Colobus monkeys.  Found in Tanzania near the Marangu area.  They have long white furs on their back and tails that made them look intelligent.

IMG_20160308_072439Before I moved on to my last fantastic beast, I would like to introduce a rare one.  The American.  Craig, from New York.  While everyone else is on the look out for animals on a safari, it is us Americans who need to be on our phones.  Got to get our priorities right.  Yes, phone services work in Kruger.

My last fantastic beast is the African Penguins.  And man they are fantastic.  They are found at Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town, an hour away from Cape Town.  They are awesome and there are many.  However, some of them are quite aggressive and their beaks do draw blood.  I can’t wait to go to Antarctica one day and just hop around with Emperors and Adelies, but now, these awesome birds in Africa, Galapagos, and soon Argentina, will do.

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