South Africa in 30 Days – Day 4. Getting ready for the Kruger National Park

While we are under the illusion we are watching a cheetah. the cheetah is actually watching us/

Whether we took the history detour or not, now we’re well on our way into the Kruger National Park. Yippeh. That’s more like it, isn’t it.

In fact that’s what most of my friends expect to see first upon arrival in South Africa. Where are the lions? Yes sure there are elephants crossing the road. …

For that experience we can visit the Kruger National Park which  is South Africa’s largest and best known game reserve, an absolutely enormous tract of land which runs for 350km along the borders of Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

The vast majority of the million visitors to the area each year stay at the huge park authority’s rest camps in Kruger Park South and Kruger Park Central, only a very small proportion getting as far as Kruger Park North.

If you want a lion guarantee, stay at Berg en Daal restcamp close to the Malalane entrance. I love the Letaba camp further in the middle. I have outgrown the stage of camping in tents, at least for now with two small children. I just don’t like sand in my food.

I was really lucky to spot this leopard stalking some guinea fowl at a river bed. Everyone else was taking photos of the fussing guinea fowls on the other side. Someone said they are dancing a mating dance. Mating Shmeting. I was wondering WHAT would get them that upset. A leopard. You see.

You need to book in advance, and depending on where you are staying arrive in time at the gate. If you stay 150 km away from the entrance you choose, you have to enter before 3 in the afternoon. At a speed limit of 50 km/hour it will take you at least three hours to your camp which gates close at 6. So they will not even let you enter Kruger Park if they can see you wont make it in time. Night and early morning excursions can be booked inside the restcamps. Very recommendable!

Most of the better quality safari is to be found in the extensive network of Kruger Private Reserves to the west of the park, where excellent lodges benefit from high game densities and relatively low visitor traffic.

Rhinos need our attention – 15 have been poached this year alone in the Kruger Park. Someone please develop a better tracking and poacher-detecting devise. Yes I bought a save the rhino wristband at CNA. But more needs to be done.

These days the park also has a number of large private concession areas, some of which also contain very high quality lodges.

No matter where you stay, you are here to see animals, so make sure you bring a good camera and if traveling with very small children, an on board DVD player can be helpful.

My kids feel: See one elephant see them all, and a crocodile’s back in a far away water doesn’t excite them the way a chewing gum does. But you know who you are traveling with. Plan accordingly. So for the next couple of posts sit back, and let me take you around the bush.


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