Kruger National Park, South Africa.
Last week we took advantage of the fact that we are living basically next to Kruger and departed for a 2-days-trip. Before I start with a photo gallery (it was very hard to select from over 400 pictures!), I would like to share some facts and figures about Kruger and our trip.
Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. In fact, it is huge. Kruger covers nearly 20,000 square kilometers, which is the same size as Wales or half of the size of Switzerland! 🙂 Geographically seen, you find Zimbabwe in the north of Kruger and Mozambique in the east.
There are tons of companies that organize Safaris in Kruger. Those of you who know me for some time, know that I am not the biggest fan of organized tours and ‘mass tourism’. The contrary, I like to do trips on my own instead of being squeezed together with tons of other people in a huge bus. That’s why we rented a car (which was only about 1500 ZAR / 83 € for 3 days) and explored Kruger on our own. It was truly a trip to remember and so much fun! Driving on the opposite side of the road can be challenging if you do it for the first time in your life, but I got used to quite fast (admitting that I only drove for 2 hours). The rest of the time I enjoyed being the co-driver and focussed on the view. And oh boy, there was so much to see! I was so busy holding my camera and being alert for animals to pop up literally next to the road.
The Big Five
Most people who go on a Safari want to see the “Big Five”. The Big Five were originally the five most difficult animals to hunt on foot. Nowadays it has become much more of a marketing term for the most difficult and popular animals to see in the wildlife. The Big Five are lion, elephant, rhino, leopard and buffalo.
I know that we are super lucky living in a reserve surrounded by wildlife, but Kruger exceeded our expectations.
Like most other Safari tourists the Big Five were on our bucket-list for Kruger. And we were on a roll: we saw all of them, one by one, as we entered Kruger. It was a stroke of luck and by 8 am we have seen them all, after only 2 hours in Kruger! We have been told that some people spend days in Kruger without seeing all of them. I guess you have to be lucky sometimes 😉
(picture via JS, African Dreamer)
We started our Kruger journey before sunrise and entered the game reserve through Orpen, which is located in the middle of the game reserve. As we only had two days to spend in Kruger we had to decide weather to go up north or down south. We chose the latter, as we were told that there was much drouth in the north, which means fewer animals. It was quite dry in Kruger, even in the south were it should be much greener and at this time it was supposed to be rainy season. We saw plenty of dried-out grass, dried-out lakes and areas were one would normally find water, which is very bad for the environment and ecosystem. That will sooner or later lead to starving animals, as Kruger regulates itself without invention from outside.
Two of the Big Five in one picture 🙂
We drove all the way down to Lower Sabie where we have spent the night in a lodge inside Kruger. It was absolutely beautiful, as the lodge was located right next to a river. We were watching the sunset and the next morning the sunrise next to the water, surrounded by animals.
As I mentioned before we were extremely lucky with what we have seen. That feeling when you are so close to a wild animal and observe it’s behavior is just priceless. I have done some horseback safari and visited certain parks, but being on the same road as an elephant, watching lions eating a pray or hyenas chasing a cheetah is something beyond words. Words can not do justice to what we have seen, neither do pictures, as it is extremely hard to photograph an animal in the wildlife.
Still I would like to show you a selection of some animals we have spotted 🙂
(picture via JS, African Dreamer)