Kruger National Park in South Africa

July 15th, 20133:04 pm @

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Kruger National Park in South Africa

A long adventure into the bush savannah in South Africa

The Kruger National Park is the largest Park in South Africa and also one of the greatest game parks in the world. The Kruger National Park has been open to the general public since 1927.

During your safari, you will be able to discover a lot of different animals such as the “big five”: elephants, buffaloes, leopards, rhinos and lions; but also many more… As our guide, Bretton, said: “I only guarantee you impalas (a type of antelope) during today’s game!”. The Kruger National Park counts 152,000 impalas, a lot more than the numbers of others animals, commonly called by Bretton the “MacDonald for Cats” and you can understand why.

An impala in the Kruger National Park in South Africa

It is sometimes difficult to catch a glimpse on other wild animals. Thanks to the experience of Bretton though, we got to see beautiful animals, such as all the “big five”, as well as two Southern Ground Hornbills (this is the largest species of hornbills, a large bird living in savannah regions of Africa) eating a tortoise, a mum warthog chasing a cheetah, a Black Rhino, which is particularly rare to find, a honey badger in the middle of the day and a few families of mongoose.

 

The Guides of the Kruger National Park are speaking to each other while we are on the road to spot the different creatures. Several tourists driving around can also be quite helpful and will often share with your Guide some valuable information. Patience and experience are key-attributes during a game and Bretton made our trip exceptional! He also told us stories about the White Rhino and its “little friend”, the Red-billed Oxpecker, a bird that removes ticks from rhinos’ ears, while at the same time pecks the mammal’s skin to keep it accessible to more ticks and ensure that it will have enough food in the future!

Red-billed oxpecker on a white rhino in the Kruger National Park in South Africa

I also experienced a sunset drive to spot animals during the night and a walk into the bush savannah. One should not expect to see many animals during the walk or  may see some from really far away. But you can learn a lot about the animals, about native plant species and —of course— you can do a bit of physical exercise!

You will be waking up for a 5:30 start, which is the best time to spot animals and the park usually closes at 17:30. During three to four hours, the Guides will drive you around in the park (remember that stopping is not allowed). During the winter, it is freezing cold in the morning, so you need to bring warm clothes, as well as your swimming suit. How strange is that? For the camera, I had a 250-mm lense, but sometimes I have to admit that an extra zoom would have been quite useful. If I were you I would try not to visit the park during the South African holidays as it tends to be particularly crowded.

I stayed for six days at the Skukuza Camp, which is the largest of the Kruger National Park with two swimming pools, a shop and two restaurants. It is commonly said that it is better to stay at the same camp because your Guide knows more where to spot the animals. You can camp or also rent a hut with or without kitchen. Almost all of them have a barbecue and you can grill your own meat.

You may think that you will get bored by staying for six whole days there and participate in ten or more games, but I can reassure you that each game is a unique experience that you will never forget!