<<  Kruger National Park, 6-May-2016  >>

Live from NatGeo TV channel

Antelopes, zebras, giraffes, buffalos, wildebeests, elephants, rhinos, hippos, lions, hyenas, baboons, crocodiles, vultures…

Welcome to the South Africa’s #1 attraction – the famous Kruger National Park. There are tens or hundreds of safari reserves in Africa, but Kruger has one great advantage – you can visit by yourself in your own car, without need to buy expensive package safari tour. Just you and your car and animals passing all around you. And you can sleep in your own tent in designated (well fenced) campgrounds.

We have seen it all – antelopes, zebras, giraffes, buffalos, wildebeests, elephants, rhinos, hippos, lions, hyenas, baboons, crocodiles, vultures and tons of other animals. Sure, you need to stay inside your car most of the time (you can only get out of the car at certain view points and in the campgrounds), but I don’t think anyone would have the balls to go outside anyway, especially because of the well-known bandits the baboons :-)

The highlight was the second night at a campground, when suddenly in the middle of the night, we got woken up by some weird sounds wooo, woooo, wooooo! And then roaring and some more weird sounds. Hyenas were fighting with lions just outside the campground! Irene was afraid that they were inside the camp :-) but I had some faith in the electric fence enclosing the campground, so I went out to see what was happening. Unfortunately they were somewhere behind bush, maybe 100m from the camp but the sounds were just majestic and bone shaking. One great African experience!

Another great African experience was when the next day we were driving along a dirt road and suddenly herd of maybe 60 elephants crossed the road just in front of us. One younger elephant stopped in the middle of the road and was looking at our car, trying to look scary, waving his trunk at us. We patiently waited till he gives up and then suddenly Irene screams “Marcel, behind!”. I looked in the rear view mirror and a giant, enormous elephant was charging our way, just 5m behind the car! The decision of “staying where we are and be destroyed by the biggest elephant I have ever seen” or “hitting the accelerator and go straight into the other adolescent elephant blocking our way in 20m in front of us” took less than a hundredth of a second and I pushed the accelerator right to the floor. Luckily the young elephant got scared as we were driving right into him, ran away and cleared to road and so we successfully escaped. Ever year elephants destroy few cars (and injure tourists inside), so they are a very real threat.

Surprisingly we were almost the only “young” travelers in Kruger National Park. Rest of the visitors were mainly retired South Africans with giant campers and RVs, enjoying their barbecues (or “braais” as they are called here) just as much as the seeing the animals.

We haven’t seen any hunt or big action, except around one lake, when few elephants were messing with each other, and baboons messing with each other and then elephants chasing zebras away from the lake, and then rhinos chasing elephants away from the lake and so on :-) Nobody got hurt of course, but it was funny to see rhinos vs. elephants stand-off.

African safari trip – check!

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     MARCEL STRBAK | www.strbak.com | www.facebook.com/marcel.strbak