Idle Thoughts

Planning a Trip to Kruger?

Should you ever consider visiting Kruger, do not .....
30/08/2009
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Should you ever consider visiting Kruger, do not be seduced by all the wonderful, and very expensive, private reserves in and around the National Park, nor even pay some expensive tour operator to arrange a trip. There are frequent flights with SAA from Johannesburg and Cape Town to Nelspruit (Mpumalanga International Airport – the only international airport I have been to that has a thatched roof), and use the state-run rest-camps managed by SANParks. Kruger is best seen in August to mid-September – the rains haven’t started and the undergrowth hasn’t grown so it is much easier to see game. However, school holidays are to be avoided like the plague, and to get the best camps it is wise to book when booking opens 11mths before!

I, of course, didn’t know all of this, except the time of year bit, but managed to book a few weeks in advance through ‘Siyabona’ – address on Links page – seven fantastic days in great rondevals with more than adequate catering and retail facilities on-site; Olifants was particularly memorable, perched as I was on the edge of an escarpment looking down onto the Olifants River valley.

But sundowners on the terrace wasn’t what it was all about, up and off by 0545hrs each day to catch the dawn and the early moving animals and birds – the leopard nonchalantly crossing the road at 0615hrs after I had despaired of seeing one was magical. Big Five seen, but also hundreds of other animals and birds. Kruger was great, although the inability to get out of the car to get the best shot was infuriating, balancing the 500mm lens on a bag of rice on the window of a Toyota Corolla was not a good substitute, especially as the electric window controls were as precise as brain surgery wearing boxing gloves – got fed up of oscillating up and down only to find that the beast had fled or flown.
Whilst there, I kept comparing the Kruger experience with the wide-open spaces of Namibia’s Desert Rhino Camp and Etosha, and with the private reserve at Ongava. I mused wistfully over when I might get up there again – but synchronicity has a way of surprising!
Idle Thoughts > Planning a Trip to Kruger?