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...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

12 September 2010

Great Escarpment

The Great Escarpment is pretty bloody amazing.The Blyde River Canyon You’re driving across the vast flat expanse of the low veldt and there is just this almighty wall of mountainous golden cliffs stretching from horizon to horizon, broken only by the Blyde River canyon which emerges from it. Anyone who visits the Kruger and doesn’t take a day to visit the Blyde River area is daft, as it’s the most scenically beautiful place we’ve seen in all of South Africa.

We actually stayed around Blyde River for a couple of days beforehand (at a lovely B&B in Grasskop called Autumn Breath – hi Johann and Ina!).Autumn Breath B&B There’s a great panoramic drive, and we also spent an excellent day hiking in the Kadisi valley. Best hike we’ve done so far, combining fantastic views of the canyon, beautiful tufa waterfalls in dense forest, and enchanting pools to swim in – very nice on a long hike!Refreshing swim Hmm. This blog seems to have more superlatives than average. We must’ve enjoyed ourselves. : )

Cheetah pettingFinal mention goes to the Moholoholo (a hard word to stop saying) Wildlife Rehab centre, where we spent an informative three hours which included cheetah petting and vulture feeding (check out the veeery short video below). So lemme tell you a bit about how vultures work. It starts with a bird called the Bateleur Eagle, who flies low across the veldt in search of yucky dead things. When he finds a dead hippo or similar, he circles above it. This is spotted by lots of white-backed vultures, up to a hundred, and they come and land on the rancid carcass. But they can’t get through the tough hide. Then they all scatter when a huge shadow appears – the lappet-faced vulture, biggest of them all, spots the crowd and flies down. His beak is heavy enough to rip the hide, and he gobbles his fill then flies off. Next the Bateleur returns for a quick meal, then the massed ranks of white-backed vultures descend and gorge themselves. Finally, once they’ve gone the small hooded vulture with the littlest beak arrives and gets into all the nooks and crannies. Job done.


2 Responses to “Great Escarpment”

  1. Dan says:

    Wow that looked AWESOME…thats one big bird!!

  2. Jane says:

    vulture to the face! aaaah! well done.

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