The Olifants River is a tributary of the “Great, grey, green, greasy Limpopo river.” *
The river runs through the center of Kruger National Park, dividing the northern and southern regions.
Olifants rest camp has arguably the best view in Kruger, lying hundreds of feet about the river and offering panoramic views of the African veld from the comfort of your rondavel porch. All of these photos were taken from our porch, with the exception of a few of the following ones, taken in the bush near the river.
If you look you can see blurring near the elephants feet. This is when my camera started to break down after three harsh weeks in the bush.
A huge variety of animals come to the river to drink, including of course the elephants that often walk single file to the water. In South Africa winter is the dry season, and the river provides scare water to a variety of animals. Olifants is the Afrikaans word for elephant, and many elephant herds spend the South African winter near the river.
There is a long walk from the shelter of the veld to the river and animals make the trip in a very cautious manner, always on the lookout for predators. Zebras have a guard who scans the bush while the herd drinks. You can see the guard on duty on the far right.
Giraffes are the most cautious of all. They scan the veld closely before drinking. They must essentially disable themselves to drink, buckling or splaying their legs in order for their heads to reach the water and this makes them vulnerable to attack.
When they drink, they do so briefly, immediately resuming the scan, before they drink again. Giraffes only sleep for minutes at a time, remaining continuously vigilant.
Great herds of Cape Buffalo come to the river to drink.
Hundreds block the road enroute to the river and when you encounter a herd, you sit in your car, surrounded by a sea of huge buffalo and wait.
It is unnerving, especially when you are the only one on the road. You can see this buffalo warning us not to proceed. We listened to him!
I am home at The Holler now, but send you cheers, and a South African river sunset!
* Source:The Elephant’s Child, Rudyard Kilpling