SA Leg 4: Kaapschehoop – Kruger National Park

In my mind our most famous and accessible wildlife/safari destination and at about 2 million hectars, certainly one of the biggest in Africa [1] to experience all of our “big wildlife” in their natural habitat, is the Kruger National Park. The biggest rest camp and park headquarters is at Skukuza, making it the most developed and luxurious; however, these criteria are not high on my priority list, especially in a nature reserve. For convenient access to the park we would enter the park at Skukuza, and proceed directly to Satara (do not pass Go, do not collect $100… kekeke… though really, you wouldn’t want to drive any faster than “sedately” inside the park, lest you miss baby babboons pointing at you with their genitalia); a couple of nights here and another couple at Crocodile Bridge would serve to both recall wonderful memories and create new ones.

At first I say “a couple of days” off-handedly, but further investigation shows that while it’s not that much more than I would have expected, the price I was looking at is for South African citizens… Whereas two Saffers would pay R1 115 to camp in Satara for 3 nights, my “foreign tourist” boyfriend and I camping together suddenly changes that number to R1 710. Though this jump was surprising to me at first, it doesn’t make it impossible or even inconceivable.

Alright! 🙂 Besides a tent (check!), mosquito repellent (be careful of the spray ones, Kiernan sprayed some on his hands and touching his face once made his lips go numb!) and binoculars, the most important detail to attend to is the braai provisions! By the time we hit Kruger, we would already have made a run to any of a number of good, solid butcheries in Pretoria for boerewors, a couple of thick steaks and sweet bacon-wrapped cherry sticks (drooool…). Braai-ing is a national pastime in which South Africans take great pride and nowhere more so than on Braai Day and in the “wildtuin” (wildlife park), where you can smell the grass that has fed grazing animals for centuries!
Another typical wildtuin activity is waking up early enough to see the sun walk around the house in its boxers, scratching its – (I’m sure that’s where the expression ‘crack of dawn’ came from) and with a thermos clutched between cold fingers, jump in the car. This is that special, magical time of day you are more likely to catch a glimpse of those illusive, nocturnal game. As you can imagine, an afternoon siesta is firmly part of the schedule!

Pic by Jim Sher on flickr under creative commons license Now that's South African braai! :)

Pic by Jim Sher on flickr under creative commons license
Now that’s South African braai! 🙂

Between all of the rest camps you have a choice of many kinds of accommodation, from luxury lodges to self-catering bungalows and lots in between. The prices I quoted earlier are for basic camping; if I remember correctly camp-side electricity is provided (or maybe that’s just at certain places).

A cozy fire every night, braai sandwiches to complement the carnivorous feast* and a slightly chilled glass of wine (or ice cold beer… pick your nourishment) 😉 this is the most paradisical image, all the better for being attainable and enjoyable over and over again.

*Disclaimer: contrary to initial beliefs, you don’t have to be a meat-eater to enjoy the Kruger National Park. My sister is a strict vegetarian and has had wonderful, memorable stays here ;).

Riveting references
[1] Kruger National Park on Sanparks.org accessed 5 September 2014

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Filed under I want to know about..., Itinerary, Obsessions, Travel bug

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