The most severe drought in over thirty years has bitten hard in the Kruger National Park, where the lack of grass is striking – even though this is the end of winter. I have already illustrated this with the contrasting images of Transport Dam from April last year to September this year. Another stark contrast is evident when crossing the N’wanestsi River. In April last year we were confronted by this magnificent scene:
Now it looks like this:
That many animals have succumbed to the drought or have been culled has been widely reported in the press. Along some of the roads one can occasionally be overwhelmed by the stench of rotting flesh and elsewhere bones are clearly visible.
As the drought continues, sufficient nutritious food must be increasingly difficult to find. At some places one is left wondering what the animals are finding to ward off hunger.
Browsers are, perhaps, more fortunate.
We happened upon a leopard gnawing at a long-dead carcass of a blue wildebeest.
Another leopard had clearly had an altercation with a porcupine.
At the N’wanetsi viewpoint we looked down on crocodiles eating a dead hippo.
Bear in mind that dead animals provide food for others.
Pundits predict that rains are not expected until November. As bleak as the immediate future might seem to be, the hardy species survive. Even the most battered of trees know it is spring and are sprouting tender leaves.
Even though these will be nibbled at by anything from a kudu to a Grey Lourie.