South Africa

Trip Start Mar 11, 2006
Trip End Jun 02, 2006

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Flag of South Africa  ,
Wednesday, April 19, 2006

We arrived in Johannesburg in South Africa on April 18th. We stayed overnight at an inn just outside J'burg and rented a car in the early morning to make the long drive to Kruger National Park.

It took us about 7 hours to make it to the gate of the park. While the drive was long, the roads in SA are wide and in very good conditions. The drive also gave us the opportunity to see parts of the country that you would not normally see. Once we checked in at the gate, we had another 3hr drive to get to our camp; maximum speed in the park is 50 kph. Kruger is huge; it is 300 kms long by 80kms wide (plans are actually underway to expand the park).

We had booked a cottage in the northern more remote park of the park in a Bushveld Camp. These cottages have more than the basic amenities, i.e., electricity, hot water, full bathrooms, etc. However, there was no grocery store, gas station, bank and not even a vending machine. You had to make sure you were well prepared and stocked. All the cottages had outdoor kitchens (although covered) and a BBQ (see photos).

The drive from the gate to the cottage was spectacular. Within the first 10 minutes we spotted our first glimpse of wildlife, more than a glimpse actually, an elephant! He was just standing there snacking on a tree! This was the first of the dozens of elephants that we saw during our 4 days at the park. The park is experiencing an over population of elephants, there are more than 17000 of them at Kruger. As we continued on our drive to the cottage we saw a giraffe, steenboks, waterbucks, impalas and many exotic birds. After an exciting drive, we finally made it to our camp, Bateleur, just before the gate closed at 6pm.

During our 4 days in the park, we saw many species of animals, 18 in all, including elephants, giraffes, wilderbeasts, hippos, crocodiles, buffaloes, baboons, etc. We also saw many species of birds including eagles, vultures, bateleurs and not to mention some amazing sunsets in the jungle. We even caught a quick glimpse of some lions. See the photos for yourselves. I also brought my still camera with a 300mm zoom and took about 7 rolls of 36 shots which I hope will produce some memorable shots. I will be adding photos to this entry for the next few days, make sure you come back and visit.
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