Elephant at our yard in the staff village

What animals walk around the staff village at night…?

We already know that elephants walk around the staff village. Not only do they come into our yard from time to time, but I also see evidence of their presence around the staff village on a regular basis. Dung, Lala palm branches left carelessly on the road, and every now and then they push over a tree. So we have to take the long way around the living quarters to get to town. We often see hyenas too coming back from camp at the beginning of the evening. I also find their tracks at our front gate almost every morning. Which made we wonder… what other animals wonder around the staff village at night??

 

A simple yet interesting way to figure that out would have been to set up the camera trap my friend from the US got me for my birthday. Unfortunately, I packed it ages ago and that specific box is at the bottom of a pile of boxes… So, I went about it the old fashioned way and I went for a few walks with the boys looking for tracks. (But note to self: as soon as we are set up in the new house at the gate, that camera trap is going up! Apparently that place is wild!!)

 

There is a little dirt road that goes past our yard and with the dry wintery weather the road is very dusty. Perfect to go and look for tracks. Apart from antelope, baboon and monkey tracks, I found a few very interesting ones!

 

Check out this track! I knew hippos walk great distances to get to good grazing at night. And the river is far from here! So this was a nice track to find for me.

Hippo track, letaba staff village KNP
tracks of a hippopotamus

And then look at this one! I had a little bit of help from Steven identifying this track. It is a porcupine! It makes a lot of sense now. We have a big sausage tree in the garden and it is carrying lots of fruit at the moment. The fruits are very hard, but I find some of them are being chewed on at night. It is the porcupine! The monkeys and baboons are very grateful. After the porcupine opens up the fruit, they finish the rest!

 

Porcupine tracks Letaba staff village KNP
tracks of a porcupine

And then this is a track we found around the house a while ago… It can only be from a enormous rock python! Check the width of the tire and then the width of the snake track. I am glad he did not make his way into the house!!

 

African Rock Python tracks, Letaba staff village, KNP
Python track we found around the house!

Now, these are the tracks I found during my few walks outside our yard. I don’t want to walk around outside too much with the boys in tow. I have seen buffalo poop around the last few days and definitely don’t feel like bumping into one of those!

 

But let me also share another few pictures with you of animals I have seen and photographed during the day. All from our house and garden!

 

This was an amazing day. Early one morning, Steven and I were about to go to camp when we heard the Vervet monkeys. They were very upset, alarm calling and staying high up in the trees. They were all staring in the same direction. Steven and I looked at each other. Lion? Leopard?

So we got in the car and slowly drove past our house in the direction of where the monkeys were looking. There she was: a beautiful leopardess standing on a little termite mount, not even 40 metres from the house!

 

Leopard, Letaba Staff village, KNP
The leopard we saw from the house!

 

Now, a leopard sighting is exciting any day, but when you see one this close to your own house it is truly something special! She was very aware of all the insults the monkeys were shouting at her and she snuck off to a place out of sight, leaving Steven and myself in the car with our jaws on the floor and high fiving each other in excitement!

 

That afternoon, when the monkeys were doing their rounds at the living quarters, we heard the squirrels alarm calling. Could it be our leopard again? We quietly walked outside with our binoculars. Yes!! It was her! I cannot even begin to describe how seeing a leopard from your front door gets the heart rate up. Steven even found her resting on the stoep of the empty house two doors down that night! It is a day both Steven and I will never forget!

 

The next picture is of a much smaller visitor, the Dwarf Mongoose. Look at these little cuties! This family of mongoose also live around our house and had their babies at the back of our garage. Aren’t they adorable?

 

Dwarf Mongoose, Letaba Staff Village, KNP
Dwarf Mongoose at our sliding door!

I have to say; my absolute favourite part of living in Kruger is seeing all this wildlife from the house. The bushbuck I see in our yard while I am cooking. And the elephants and buffalo that walk past the house while we are on the stoep or braaiing in the garden. The hornbills that fight with their reflection in our sliding door, and the squirrels that come and relax on the stoep on a hot day. Having all these animals around makes living here so very special! I would not change it for the world!

 

Tree quirrel, Letaba Staff Village, KNP
Tree squirrel relaxing on the stoep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

32 thoughts on “What animals walk around the staff village at night…?

  1. What a treat! Very interesting and exciting blog. Enjoy your last couple of days/weeks in Letaba. New adventures await at Malelane. And many new visitors to your garden. 😉

  2. Thank you for sharing your incredible life stories with us Linda. I just love them.You do live in a very special place on earth.

  3. I can only say that I envy you that and rather wish that when I was young and spent so much time ON DUTY in the bush I did not pay attention as I should have – although I still have wonderful memories of the time.

    1. I think we all tend to do that Erik… I wish I had kept a diary of my time as a flight attendant. So many things are so easily forgotten. Blogging is sort of my ‘modern day’ way of keeping a diary!

  4. You are truely living the good life out there Linda and Steven! Your children are very fortunate to grow up in the park and experience all these wonderful things with you.

  5. I wasn’t privileged to see Leopard in the Park. Linda, You just have to open Your front door!!!.
    I have had really good experience of “visitors” during our stay in Marloth Park. You have Your morning coffee, and all sorts of visitors arrive: zebras, kudu, giraffe, all the little ones …… etc.
    And slipping in a comfortable tent and listen to all of the action going on outside during a night was really awesome.

  6. Such a lovely post Linda – many thanks. What a pleasure to walk around the property with you and see all those clues; since your new home apparently has lots of wild life too, am looking forward to more in the future 🙂

  7. I really enjoy reading your stories. It feels a little bit as if I’m there… so thank you for bringing the Kruger to my living room 😉!

  8. Hi Linda so I finally found your blog and just LOVE it!! Your stories of your life in Kruger are so good and entertaining…feels like I’m living with you in Letaba.Very nice my friend…see you somewhere in the bush again xxx

    1. Hi Renata!! Ah, thank you! I have to say I am having a lot of fun writing everything down. I saw the pictures you took, Wednesday morning! Absolutely mind-blowingly stunning! I so wish I had my big camera with me for that sighting, but I don’t really want to take it to town. Phalaborwa is not very safe anymore! Chat soon! You are looking great! xxx

  9. This post was my afternoon delight…after a hectic week and the traffic between Jhb and Pretoria your post makes me think back to my 3 trips to Kruger earlier this year. I miss the place! Enjoy it Linda!

  10. Lovely blog! I am buying a small property in a Big 5 area and hope to retire there within the next few years. I can’t wait to wake up to elephants outside the window, and watch lions walking by in the afternoon, and have the sorts of adventures and experiences you are having now. Keep up the good work on the blog!

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