I got the 'hello' you sent me, while on the road to Berg en Dal at about 4:30pm on Tuesday
On with the report....Tuesday, March 4. 5AM
People like trip reports that begin with something truly spectacular. Everyone wants to read about the moment you drive over Crocodile Bridge and a sable antelope leaps out in front of the car closely followed by a twenty lions... then the kill is stolen by a tiger. it could happen. I’ve dealt with plenty of safari guests who cannot be shaken in their belief that tigers roam Kruger Park. This example is for them
You’re not reading this are you? No one reads trip reports. They scan through the photos. So I will share photos of the spectacular event that started my 24 trip to Kruger. Here they are:
Just a car in a parking lot in Lydenburg, right? No, that’s a tiny Ford Bantam with absolutely everything required for two people to camp in Kruger shoved precariously in the tiny space behind the seats. It’s a feat unparalleled. The bakkie bit? Empty. I don’t want stuff getting stolen or rained on. We made it exactly three kilometers before we had to stop and reorganize. Because it’s not much fun to travel vast distances hunched forward with your knees squashed against your eyes. But what matters was how well the car was packed. I had to share that. Notice the official Kruger coffee mugs on the roof. I am so prepared. I will NOT be tempted to buy more Kruger coffee mugs on this trip.
So... on the road. All the fog I anticipated and so much more.6:30AM
Quick stop in Sabie to switch drivers because I get a little carsick when I’m not driving. I have to take advantage now because my traveling buddy, who I’ll call ‘Buddy’ from now on probably won’t let me drive much in the park. Even though it’s MY car. Okay, it’s not my car. I don’t have a car. Whatever.7:30AM
Hazyview! To get here I’ve dodged ridiculous potholes and nearly driven into the back of a serious car accident. So close to Kruger. A few ‘we’re almost here!’ messages sent to Wonderful Friend (WF) who is on her way to Crocodile Bridge and has already seen a cheetah on the S28.8:00AM
PHABENI GATE! Here. Home. The Wildcard I bought nearly a year ago has finally arrived in the post yesterday thanks to a seriously helpful forumite, but I’ve forgotten to print my booking confirmation. Oops. The car in front of us at security is a shiny new Mercedes with GP plates and I laugh when the woman gets out to show the guard she has no alcohol in her cooler. She’s a little ‘older’ and her dress is typical Kruger. Pale blue button shirt with 3/4 length khakis and wedge heels. Most people who arrive at Kruger arrive looking just like this. You reading this, you’ve probably dressed like that. It’s not a bad thing. I wish I looked like that. It suddenly made me VERY aware that I hadn’t got dressed this morning. AT ALL.
“But i’m practically naked
!” I complain at ‘Buddy,’ who insists my tiny bunny pyjamas are just fine for Kruger and tells me to hurry up and go to the bathroom so we can go. I went to the bathroom at Phabeni and took a photo of my PJ’s, which I felt were far from suitable.8:20AM
I’m two minutes into the park when I get a call from my second-in-command at work, who informs me the police have showed up on the premises and need to speak to me about a case I opened up. I’m in KRUGER. I speak to the police but the phone signal keeps breaking. I might be ‘wanted’. Who knows. I hang up and switch my phone to ‘Airplane mode.’ Airplane mode is the greatest invention ever. I can still listen to music, take photos, play Candy Crush and NO ONE can get hold of me. Magic.8:25AM
Buffalos crossing the road! Love it. Up there with rhinos as my favourite ‘Big 5’ animal. I still don’t like the idea of the Big 5. Not going to go into that here. I wrote a book. My long rant is in there. Just go buy my book.8:30AM
Airplane mode isn’t going to work. I need to coordinate with WF. We have to arrange a place and time to meet. Skukuza. Lunch. Plan.
We’ve stopped for a mystery bird.“Nevermind, it’s a dove.
” I announce on closer inspection.
“I think you’ll find that’s a cuckoo,”
says Buddy. He’s a safari guide too. I can’t outsmart him. Grrrrr. “Levaillant’s... no Diedericks....”“That is NOT a Diedericks Cuckoo!
” I shout. I now have my binoculars to my eyes. “That’s a raptor. 100%.”
An argument ensues where I insist the bird is a raptor and buddy insists it’s a cuckoo. I offer my binoculars, but he takes out his VERY BIG camera.
Anyway, we’re sitting at the sighting for about twenty minutes arguing and manoevering the car before it’s decided the bird is a Shikra. Can’t you tell? But I took such beautiful photos...? New Kruger tick for me. Score!