Friday, 21 September 2012

Kruger National Park, South Africa


Kruger National Park

Having been somewhat let down by the sights of India second time round, I was more than a little excited about the prospect of seeing the Big 5 and cage diving with great white sharks in South Africa; two things right at the top of my travelling to do list.

Whilst in Thailand I was fortunate enough to meet a South African, Louis, who invited me to stay with him and his family when I came to the country and that he would show me round and ensure I would get the most out of my time. True to his word, he picked me up from the airport in Johannesburg and basically took care of me and was the best possible host until it was time for me to leave from Cape Town.

Louuis and Suzette, my awesome hosts

Now, with a limited time period to fit in what I wanted to do, it was on the road straight away for the 400km or so drive to Kruger National Park; one of the largest parks in Africa and one of the best known in the world.

The aim here: drive around and take in the awesome beauty of the place whilst spotting as many animals as possible. Luckily for me, I was fortunate to see not only most animals in the park in just two days, but also great views of the Big 5 themelves: rhino, elephant, buffalo, leopard and, of course, lion.

The Big Boys





Look closely...Leopard
During the first day, we spotted pretty much everything except the elusive leopard which was a great sighting on the second day. When you approach a traffic jam in the Kruger, it pretty much means only one thing; a predator. With a little patience we were able to nip into a decent viewing spot and catch a glimpse of the leopard relaxing in the shade from the sun.

Rhino, buffalo and elephant were all pretty much seen by midday on day one but it was only as dusk was threatening to cut our day off that we saw a lion slowly padding up the road and move into the grass as the car approached. Still, great viewing and amazing to see in real life, as in, not in a zoo.

As well as all the game on view, the area has stunning scenery and the park is so vast the terrain is forever changing. One minute you could be on the tarmac road with bare trees lining both sides, then you are following the Crocodile river with all the lush banks and the animals that inhabit it, then it's just savannah with elephants poking about in trees and before you know it you're driving through a dry river bed with a giraffe on one side and kudu on the other. Just stunning scenery.

Sunset in the Kruger

What a beautiful dsy

Dirt road through the park

Driving through a dry river bed

No one is thirsty
As mentioned before, there are loads of other species in the park, it's not just the Big 5 that you come to see. Below are a few close ups of the other stars of the park.


Blue balls


What are you looking at?
Two days in the Kruger isn't enough, we barely covered 5% of the park. Two weeks would be an ideal period of time to really relax and take in the beauty on offer. However, with great company and lots of viewing luck I was able to make the most of it and had a fantastic time.

I will definately be back again sometime in the future, as I have said with many places. However, South Africa may well have gotten a queue jump pass ahead of some of the other countries I plan on returning to, especially if the shark diving is as good as this.

Next stop, Ukatulu Lodge and Lion Centre.

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