safari | kruger | south africa - in search of the big 5
'the true beauty of south africa shines through in kruger'
Kruger; coming to south africa has always been a dream for me. since i was a kid i had heard stories of this magical country, especially the wildlife. arriving in joburg i decided that my first mission was to get myself to the kruger national park for a safari. i came across a company called kruger wildlife safaris they had some great itineraries for super reasonable prices. so this is where my adventure into the wild started.
kruger national safaris | the company
looking online i came across the company and i decided that a 3 day camping well actually glamping tour was perfect to see everything that the park had to offer.
the start of the trip began with getting picked up at 7am from curiocity hostel in downtown johannesburg by one of the friendly drivers that took us to the transit lodge located near the airport. we have some refreshments in the beautiful surrounds of the guest lobby before setting off for the kruger.
the drive to kruger takes around 4-5 hours in a comfortable mini van with a rest stop on the way to the park meandering through some beautiful rolling hills & citrus plantations. our destination was the pretoriuskop camp located in the south west of the park, this is a great location as the drive is not so long from joburg.
for me, the whole process was totally seamless from the transportations to the arrival at the camp this company has been taking people to the kruger for many years and you could see that in the set up.
to have a truly authentic experience i decided to stay in the camping section of the rest stop this is fully owned & run by sanparks.
these are no ordinary tents they are 2 sleeper stand up tents with comfy beds, lights, fan & the addition of a safety deposit box. I know a lot of you are thinking that i could not camp but this is glamping not camping its truly an amazing experience to sleep under the starts in the wild with all the sounds of the animals from the park & no mosquitoes are not a problem the tents have mesh on the windows & door to stop mosquitos getting in i had no problem, at the time of year i went the weather in the nighttime was super pleasant making it easy for me to sleep. ohh one more thing the camp is totally surrounded by fencing so you will never have animals coming to your tent in the night.
we stayed in pretoriuskop camp located in the south west of the park. the camp its self is run by the national park & has a variety of different accommodations available to suit everyones needs. they have an onsite restaurant, shop selling some really interesting bush meats & locally produced gifts. you will also find a swimming pool area that's where i spent my time away from the hot midday sun. its a very nice area to stroll around & totally safe as a fence protects the whole camp. but you can see some nice wildlife here too like the most beautiful iridescent blue coloured birds in the world oh... the odd monkey too.
so we have come to the most important part of the blog post. this is why you came to kruger national park to see the animals.
on my 3 day, 2 night safari we had four game drives in what is referred to as an 'open safari vehicle' these vehicles are the best way to see the animals as they have a huge high advantage compared to a car.
kruger wildlife safaris had some of the newest & most comfortable vehicles that i saw while out in the park, it's super important as your out for three hours at a time.
on day one arriving from joburg we did our first afternoon drive. this is where you'll meet your guides. these guys are super knowledgeable about the animals in the park so all questions are welcome. i have to give a big shoutout to paul one of the guides his humour & knowledge of the park made each dive really fun & enjoyable. there are so many animals here your near guaranteed to see animals on every drive especial the more common types of buck like kudu as there are just
so many in the park. but also you will have a lot of sightings of elephants as there are around 18,000 in the park giving you a guaranteed sighting at least once on your drives.
so your wondering what i seen on my game drives? to be honest nearly everything except for the leopard but that's understandable due to the elusively of the creature but from lion to giraffe, hippo to warthog, zebra to rhino i had multiple sightings of all the big animals that you expect to see in the park but also some more unexpected creatures like the abundance of predatory birds & what had to be my favourite a lonely chameleon crossing the road. it was incredible how our guide paul saw this tiny creature from 20m away.
so i have been asked a lot about how close i got to the animals. well... it really depends on the sighting, sometimes i was 10m away from a breeding heard of elephants & 100m from a rhino that could be classed as a good thing as rhinos have a reputation of being more aggressive but most of the time when you see them they are very calm. i would definitely recommend having a zoom lens for your camera of at least 100mm but we had a lot of people on the tour just with an iPhone & they got some spectacular shots. its really all about luck as this is not a zoo & the animal's movements are not electronically tracked, thats the beauty as you set out on every drive you have no idea what surprises you have in store.
to sum up...
this is truly a once in a lifetime experience, from the moment i arrived at the camp i felt at ease here. the buzz of seeing some of the most spectacular animals in the world every day was thrilling. for me, i have to say that this safari was one of the best experiences of my life & i'm sure it will be yours too.
so what are you waiting for book here now....