At the western edge of the Kruger National Park lies the Ngala Lodge. Here we do game drives in the open Land Rover. It is an incomparable experience to follow giraffes, antelopes and plains zebras in the wild.
We have seen traces of giraffes that we follow. After a short time we see them already over thick shrubs like skyscrapers in the wilderness. Giraffes are found in most national parks in South Africa. It is always nice to see when the giant animals in their swaying and slow-motion walk through the bush. Giraffes are the largest land animals on earth.
Bulls reach a height of nearly 6 meters when fully grown and a shoulder height of over 3 meters. The animals are conspicuously patterned. They are tree workers. They spend all day looking for food. On their journey from tree to tree they tear off small branches and leaves. They like the foliage of the thorny acacia trees. To drink, the giraffes spread their front legs very far apart. Only in this position they are often prey of lions. Otherwise they defend themselves by strong blows with their long legs very well against these attackers.
On the way we see numerous antelopes. They belong to the huge group of bovids (Bovidae). They wear their horns for life and never throw them away. In most species, only the males carry the forehead weapons. In a few species, however, both sexes have horns. Antelopes are extremely numerous in all game reserves. Only the Impalas, the most common antelope species, has about 120,000 specimens. That protects them relatively well from predation by predators.
In the further stalking through dense undergrowth suddenly and unexpectedly a smaller elephant crosses our way. We stop and let him go his way. Slowly we retreat with all caution. Somewhere in the thick undergrowth is certainly not far away his family, with whom we do not want to have a fight. The quite striking striped pattern of the plains zebra is drawn differently in each animal.
In this way, the members of a clan can recognize their stripes. Seen from a short distance, the patterns are very conspicuous. At a greater distance, however, the stripes become an ideal camouflage protection. In this way, the zebras are protected from predators. Especially for lions, zebras are a favorite treat.