It’s gonna be 5 posts this week, all Kgalagadi, all the time. I’m trying to finish with the Kgalagadi so that next week I can post a few recipes in time for Christmas.
Today, it’s the vegetarians of the Kgalagadi. First up, my favorites:
When Aaron asked me what animals I was most looking forward to seeing in the Kgalagadi, the first thing that burst out of my lips was “giraffe!”
I think you can see why:
No animals are simultaneously as elegant:
This is what they eat; look at those thorns!
Giraffes had to be reintroduced to the Kgalagadi. From an initial group of 8, there are now over 30 giraffes in the park and we were lucky enough to see them 4 times.
Next up are the wildebeest. These guys are fierce and imposing:
And the springbok:
Springbok are by far the most plentiful animals that we saw in the park.
When you see the babies, you cannot imagine that such fragile-looking creatures can survive in such a harsh environment:
We saw these during a night ride:
Then there are the red hartebeest:
This picture has not been touched in Photoshop. This is just a red hartebeest in the red sands of the Kgalagadi in the red light of early dawn. One of my favorite pictures of the trip!
Here is a red hartebeest in more “normal” light:
They are gorgeous creatures, and unlike the wildebeest and the springbok, they are less numerous and hang out solo or in small groups. There are jokes about these guys … look at their bums … doesn’t it kind of look like they’ve forgotten their pants and are running around in their underwear?
And here is my new favorite animal, the steenbok:
These antelope are absolutely tiny (45–60 cm or 18-24 inches high), hardy (they basically need no water) and monogamous. If a steenbok’s partner is killed or dies, it will stay alone till it dies.
Perhaps not terribly practical from a survival tactic, but kinda romantic … (forgive my anthropomorphizing please.)
Last but not least, here is the gemsbok:
The gemsbok are the reason that the Kgalagadi Park was initially set up, to protect them (and other migrating species) from poachers.
Today, these striking antelope are the symbol of the park and to see them grazing amid the red dunes is just a remarkable experience: