My most hair-raising experiences, all in Kruger, in chronological order..
Firstly, on the Wolhuter Trail in 2000. We had been sat by the fire for the first two nights, listening to Lions roaring about a km away. They didn't move until the final night, gradually getting closer & closer, louder & louder. My mom & I were sharing a hut, which happened to be the end one by the fence to where the Lions appeared.
Now, anyone who's been to the Wol'ter camp will know that the fence is (was?) not really a fence. And although we were safe enough in our hut, the sheer & immense wall of noise of a pride proudly proclaiming itself to the world it knows but 2 metres from your bed evokes primal fears within our human psyche rarely tapped into.
Just over 24 hours later, we left Bergendal first thing. We were the first out of the gate & went right down the dirt road, down the dip into the dry riverbed &, just over the rise, we came head to head with a p ****d off ele bull. I was driving, I was only on my learner's and this guy was on top of us before I could finish saying 'oh look, elephant'.
I don't remember how I reacted, I just know that I did. We reversed for about 200 metres back down the track, down into the riverbed and back up the otherside with an uncomprehendable lump of grey matter charging flat-out with his head but 1m from our bonnet...
He blew off some steam by pushing over 3 or 4 trees. We turned around & promptly left the park...i think our nerves were warmed up ready for the drive back into joburg.
Lastly, a more beautiful yet still hair-raising experience. On the Napi trail last year it was a full moon & so the animals were very vocal. Leopard, Lion, Hyena, Jackal, Rhino, Nightjar, Owls of all shape and size, all calling for hours & hours on end.
The Rhino were worried about the proximity of the Lions by the way...there was a calf that we'd seen on the walk that morning.
Full moon, wilderness all around & an orchestra of the most stunning sounds composed by nature itself.
- Mopani 21 to 23 Dec
- Shimuwini 30 Dec to 1 Jan
- Punda Maria 2 Jan
- Limpopo Tented Camp 3 to 5 Jan
- Leokwe 6 to 7 Jan