The Start of a Long Holiday

Trip Start Feb 19, 2006
Trip End Oct 24, 2014

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Flag of South Africa  , Limpopo,
Monday, November 15, 2010

This morning we left Johannesburg very early, just after 4am. We had a long way to go. Paul and I were going to spend the next few weeks in Kruger Park! I was excited to be going there as it is such a well known place that I hope will be full of amazing sightings. We drove north and parallel to the park. We are using one of the gates at the top of the park – Punda Maria. The weather today was pretty grey and overcast. A few hours into the drive the scenery began to change. We drove past many banana plantations, rounded thatch huts, hot food vendors and donkeys on the road.

Just after 11am we arrived at the Punda Maria gate. Kruger National Park is fenced on the South African side but not fenced on the Mozambique side. During this time of the year there is a high risk of malaria in this area, so we were taking malaria pills. Being such a huge park, there is a variety of habitats and flora. The park opened to tourists in 1927 and is named after the president at the time – Paul Kruger. Being summer it will be very hot and we will go for morning and evening game drives. I am hoping that all the rest camps we are staying in have swimming pools to help us cool down during the hottest time of the day. When it warms up each morning animals will go and rest in the shade until mid afternoon when the temperature drops. I just hope the summer rains don't spoil our game drives.

As soon as we entered the gate, I had my eyes peeled looking for animals. The northern part of the park is generally quieter with animal sightings than the southern part. It took us just over an hour to get to the camp. The speed limit in Kruger is 40km per hour. Along the way to the camp we stopped many times to look at and identify many various birds. Finally we did see some animals, although the first animal was a dead buffalo. There was not much left of it, just bones and skin. Then just before the entrance to the camp we came across a steenbok. It was just by the road and busy eating grass.

We checked into reception and choose a campsite right by the fence. We were one of only a few people camping here. I learnt that Paul prefers to camp on the fence – so we can see animals walk past. We set-up the tent, had some lunch and we very eager to get back in the car for a game drive. At half past two we left the campsite in search of great sightings!

During the next four hours we saw kudus, an elephant, impala, tree squirrel, nyala, slender mongoose, grysbok and reedbuck. We saw some birds that I know and many new species. Overall a great day of sightings and this was only the beginning. Just before the gate closed at 6:30pm we arrived back at camp. The fire was lit and as we waited for coals to cook our dinner, we sat and enjoyed the sounds of the bush. We also frequently shone our torch on the fence to see if there were any animals. Paul heard a noise above us and shone his torch – it was a Greater Bush Baby. This was a new animal for me to see in the wild. 
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