People say that going on a safari is one of the best experience ever. And after spending two whole days around the Kruger National Park I must say I agree! Not only we saw the Big five, in total we saw 40 different animals! Seeing animals in their natural environment, as big as this park, is truly amazing. And the nature here is also really beautiful!
Since I was travelling alone in South Africa, I decided to book my safari through Baz Bus and do a group 4-days Kruger National Park tour from Johannesburg with Selous African Safaris & Tours. Read on to get a felling of this amazing experience!
It takes around 7 hours to get from Johannesburg to the outskirts of the Kruger National Park. On the way we stopped at the Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. Here they take care of South Africa’s abandoned, injured and poisoned wildlife. Some of the animals are let back to the wild, but unfortunately most stay here and serve as ambassadors for their species. Here you can get up close with the animals and learn a lot about different species. My highlight of the visit: I stroked a cheetah!
At the evening we came to Andover Nature Reserve. When driving to our camp site a giraffe casually passed our way. However, she didn’t visit us later at the tents, only monkeys were playing around. 🙂 The tents at the camp site were already prepared, they had comfortable beds and electricity. And we had a cook in the camp that cooked absolutely delicious food, including typical South African braai. After dinner we sat around the campfire, drink South African wine and talked about our adventures during the day.
Day 2 & 3
It was time for a proper safari! For two days of searching for the animals, getting excited around every new corner of the Kruger National Park, admiring the beautiful nature and having a blast!
How does a day on a safari look like?
You get up very early, eat breakfast and hop in the safari car, so you are at the gate to the Kruger National Park as soon as the doors open. We entered the park at the Orpen Gate, at winter time this means you can get in at 6am. Being winter it also means it’s really cold at this hour, the sun is not up yet, the safari car does not have windows, the wind is blowing hard (since you are driving fast to enter the park early), so do dress a lot. Put on your scarf, hat, gloves and don’t forget to take the blanket from your tent, you will need it.
Once you are inside park, you drive around and search for animals. Since I did safari with a tour, our tour guide had a great feeling for where to search for the animals. Tour guides exchange information for where they saw some animal. However, actually seeing animals always also depends on your general luck. If you are doing a safari on your own, there are boards at the resting points where people can label a place where they saw some species. However, you cannot label a rhino, since they are endangered and the wild hunters are searching for them.
We saw some animals from very far away, so it is good to have binoculars with you. Then other animals were crossing the road just in front of us or standing next to our car, so you can really see them up close. The best thing overall is seeing animals in their natural environment. One would think that different species have very different colours, but out in the wild they can all hide into the landscape perfectly.
At the middle of the day we stopped at one of the organized picnic sites and prepared ourselves a delicious lunch. The went on to see more animals! So, which animals did we see?
The Big Five: lion, leopard, rhinoceros (black and white), elephant and Cape buffalo.
Other animals we saw: antelope, baboon, banana bird, blacksmith bird, blue bird, cheetah, colourful bird, common grey antelope, crocodile, duck, eagle, egyptian goose, giraffe, gnu = wild beast, grasshopper, grey goaway, ground hunter, gunny fowl, hippo, hyena, impala, jackal, kudu, ostrich, owl, snake piton, squirrel, stork, suicide bird, termites, velvet monkey, vulture, warthog, waterbuck and zebra.
Kruger National Park is as big as some smaller European countries, so it’s a wast animal land. And the nature is also changing a lot when you drive around the park. From dry grass parts to green landscape around rivers, full of interesting plants.
It was time to say goodbye to all the animals and head back to Johannesburg. But not without making one more stop at the Blyde River Canyon. This canyon it’s the third biggest in the world and some say the largest green canyon in the world. It is 25 kilometres long and 1,383 metres deep! The best spot to visit it is at the Three Rondavels, because here you get the best views. A wonderful end to a great tour! 🙂
Can’t finish this blog post without mentioning the greatest people that were in my group for this trip. We had so much fun and since I was celebrating my birthday when we started the trip, they bought me a cake! And the cook in the camp make sure I tried it all over my face. 🙂