Johannesburg, Kruger National Park, Safari

Day 10

The alarm went off at 6:15 but we didn’t crawl out of bed till 6:30. Lisa and I packed our stuff and headed down to the dining area of the hotel for our free breakfast. I was pretty amazed; the hotel had a full out buffet breakfast with chefs making eggs however you liked them. I stuck with the classic scrambled eggs, mushrooms, bacon, toast and hash browns with sausage; the sausage was excellent.

After breakfast we went back to our room and grabbed our bags, then headed downstairs.

We were greeted downstairs by our driver who took our bags and threw them into the tourist van. The van was almost already full so Lisa and I sat in the last two seats together. Our driver handed us a little pamphlet that explained some of the different areas we would be driving through and that the drive would be 5 hours, announcing that we would be making a stop in about 2 hours.

We drove off; almost right away Lisa closed her eyes and put her head back. I thought this would be a good time to catch up on the travel journal. As we drove out of Johannesburg and through the countryside I thought it looked a lot like Alberta, the farming side anyway. Big rolling hills with crops growing, it really looked beautiful.

Our Hut / Room in Kruger National Park

Our Hut / Room in Kruger National Park

Every once in a while I would look up from my writing and I would check out the scenery. For the first hour or so, every time I lifted my head I could see a coal burning electric plant. It looked like the electric plant on the Simpson’s, big stacks rising into the sky. I then read our pamphlet and learned that there had been 4 huge power plants close to Johannesburg. As we drove further along the hills got bigger and bigger. Finally we arrived at the town just outside the Krueger National Park.
We dropped off two of the 4 group’s just outside the town where Lisa, myself and the other group got dropped off in a parking lot located at the end of town.

There we had been greeted by our safari driver and were separated from the last group. Our driver Elvis gave us the option to go directly on our safari drive or go to camp, drop off our stuff and then go for a drive. Lisa and I opted for the latter of the two choices.

The camp was located in the park and as soon as we passed the gates into Krueger we started to see the wildlife but what really surprised me was how close the town was to the park, it was literally town and then gate entrance.

White Rhinoceros in Kruger National Park, Safari Drive

White Rhinoceros in Kruger National Park, Safari Drive

The first animals we saw were the impalas and a single giraffe. Camp wasn’t too far into the park and we got there within 5-10 minutes of entering the park. Our driver stopped at the camp entrance and got us our room keys – he then drove us to our room, number 117.

Lisa and I told the driver we would meet him at the dining building at 2:45, which gave us a little under one hour to unpack our stuff and meet him.

Our room looked like a little African hut; it was round in shape and basically consisted of 2 beds, a bathroom, shower and sink. The kitchen was located outside the building. It was actually kind of neat. It wasn’t the most luxurious but it would do the trick.

We met our driver at the main dining hall at 2:40 and hopped into our safari truck. We drove back out the same way we came in but made a right before exiting the park.

Young Lion, Kruger Park Safari

Young Lion, Kruger Park Safari

Elvis our driver would occasionally get on the CB radio and talk to his colleagues, I could not tell exactly what he was saying because of his strong accent but I think most of the time they were relaying back and forth the different locations that they had spotted animals.

Elvis wanted to go to a location were some lions had been spotted so we drove quite fast and along the way we saw more giraffes, impalas, elephants and a white rhinoceros. We finally arrived at the spot where the lions had been spotted and sure enough we saw a lioness walking on a rock off in the distance. We also saw a bunch of other cars lined up along the road not too far from us, so we headed over that way.

We made our way over to where the other cars were and at first all Lisa and I could see where a dozen or so vultures sitting in the trees, I thought at first that this was what everyone had stopped for but then Elvis said: “look, there a lion.”

I looked off into the distance trying to spot the lion but had to ask Elvis again where the lion was. Elvis said I was to look 15 feet in front of me and to the left. Sure enough there was the back of a lion gnawing on something. All we could really see was his head moving back and forth because the rest of his body was covered by the long grass. I was amazed at how close he was to the road, he was literally only a few feet from us and the rest of the cars that had gathered.

Supper at Kruger Safari Camp

Supper at Kruger Safari Camp

Thankfully Lisa and I were in the safari truck so we could see above all the cars parked in front. We waited for a little while to see if the lion would get up and sure enough after about 15 minutes he got up, so we managed to snap a few quick photos of the young lion.

The lion eventually walked off into the bush so we continued on our way. We turned back on the road that would lead us back to camp but this time we drove a lot slower. I asked Elvis about the “Battle at Krueger” video and he said he would take us to where that happened. On our way to where the battle at Krueger took place we saw some more giraffes, some hyenas, a jackleg and tons of impalas. When we got to the watering hole where the battle at Krueger was filmed, we saw some water buck, which I had never heard of. We then saw a hippo in the water; we sat and watched the hippo for a few minutes, we were lucky to see him come semi-out of the water and make a big yawn, which actually meant get lost or I’m the boss.

After the stop at the battle of Krueger spot we headed back to our camp, on the way we got to see a bunch of elephants up close. It was really cool to see an animal of that size roaming in the wild, there was one or two male elephants, a few females and a baby.

We got back to camp at a little after 5 where Elvis told us that he would book us in for supper at 7pm.

Lisa and I headed back to our room where we uploaded the videos and pictures onto the laptop. We then headed over to the pool that was near our room to see what it looked like.

The pool was impressive as one side was your typical pool but the other end of the pool was built into a large rock. So half the pool was enclosed by a massive rock, and the other half looked like an everyday in ground pool. We didn’t have time to jump in but we definitely thought we would be trying it out the next day.

At 6:50pm Lisa and I headed for the dining building, when we got there Elvis greeted us and showed us to our table. He then gave us a few options for the next morning and gave us some time to think about them. It was buffet style supper so we went up and grabbed our plates… I loaded mine with a spoon full of everything; Lisa was a little more conservative and stuck with the food she recognized.

We ordered a bottle of chardonnay with supper and we both sat down to eat our supper. I ate all of mine and ended up eating a good portion of Lisa’s. After supper I grabbed Lisa and I a bowl of ice cream. Lisa couldn’t’t finish her ice cream so I ended up eating that as well. She did however manage to drink a glass and half of the wine so I only had to drink the rest; that was ok with me – it was a pretty tasty wine.

After supper we called it an early night and returned to our room as tomorrow would be an early one as we would be getting up at 4:50am.

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