We really have to get used to South Africa again. We crossed the Beitbridge border post and drove towards Musina, the first city along the road. How peculiar! They’ve got these huge shopping malls where you can buy everything you want and there are no diesel queues: how easy can your life be. I’m not quite sure if I like it that way though. We set up camp at Zvakanaka again and were welcomed by Gail and Alistair. It was really nice to be back again. After four lovely nights we drove towards Kruger National Park.
Luxurious Kruger National Park
It’s been nine months since we were in Kruger. We were on our way to Pretoria but then there are two roads you can take. The dull N1 or a detour through Kruger National Park. We picked the latter and found Kruger to be super luxurious. Good roads, campsites, restaurants, shops and you can even fill up your tank. It is way busier than that we’re used to but I guess we will have to face it someday ;).
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Letaba was our first camp. Soon after we were there the temperature got to 35 degrees Celsius! At night it was a bit cooler at 20 degrees but we did leave the tent open. This also meant that we could hear the hyena that was visiting the campsite every day roaring in the middle of night! This does wake you up at night. After a couple of game drives we relaxed at Letaba’s cool swimming pool.
The Satara lions
After spending two nights at Letaba Satara was our next camp. The gates were open at half past 5 since it was a new month and this meant we were on a game drive at 4.45AM. We took a river loop and saw three male lions crossing the road all of a sudden. When they disappeared into the dry river bed we moved on and where surprised by an amazing sighting. Eight hyenas and five lions where on opposite ends of a water pool and a jackal joined the party. We had never seen anything like this before. A little bit later a white rhino wanted to quench his thirst. He was being chased by the hyenas. They were quite clever since they were chasing the rhino into the direction of the lions! When the rhino smelled or saw the lions he quickly turned around.
A true South African
You do get hungry when spotting all that game. The nearest picknick site was our next destination. It was at this site where Lennart became a true South African. Lennart prepared some bacon and eggs on our rented ‘skottelbraai’. Just like your average retired South African. On our way back we stopped at a bird hide and were surprised by more than 200 drinking buffalos. The local residents, an angry hippo and some crocodiles, weren’t too happy about this.
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Did you see that cheetah?
Skukuza, the ‘capital’ of Kruger National Park, was where we camped next. We took a detour through Lower Sabie since we wanted to have some lunch there. We then heard that a couple of cheetahs were spotted along the road. Since this was our ‘last’ chance of seeing them in Kruger National Park we decided to head in that direction. We didn’t find them and after asking around we learned that we just missed them. Luckily the lunch was great since another attempt after lunch also failed.
A leopard is pretty as well
While heading south the next morning to the Berg-en-Dal campsite we spotted a hyena kill. It was truly spectacular to see a clan of hyenas feeding like this. With there strong jaws there are capable of eating the bones as well. Our next sighting was a dead impala in a tree. When we arrived at the scene we saw a glimpse of the leopard that was responsible for this. After passing the traffic jam we made a nice cup of coffee and bought some wonderful roosterbrood. Do you need anything else?! Well another leopard was what we got. On the dirt road to our campsite we saw a leopard chilling under a tree. We parked our car and waited. We were lucky. After a while he decided to pose for us just before he walked away.
Our last night in the bush
On our morning drive we saw rhinos, lions, hyenas and even some wild dogs. We ended our Kruger adventure with some beer and wine while overlooking the Berg-en-Dal water hole. Numerous elephants came to drink. We’re moving into a different phase of our epic journey. We’re off to Johannesburg to sell the car and hire another car for the rest of our trip…