This past weekend we spent two nights in the Kruger National Park, South Africa. For those reading this, and not familiar with the park, the Kruger National Park is one of Africa’s largest game reserves in Africa.
Our trip started with a flight from Cape Town Airport to the most beautiful airport I’ve ever set eyes on, Skukuza Airport. We travelled with Airlink and got there in just over two hours, in a small plane with about 30 people on it.
On our first night, we stayed at the Satara camp. The camp is situated just about in the centre of the Kruger and takes roughly 3 – 4 hours to get to from the Skukuza airport. Even though it’s just over 90 km from the airport there is a speed limit of 50 km per hour and you stop as you spot animals.
If you are lucky you will have a long drive like we did, because that means lots of animals. We saw elephants, warthogs, kudus, wildebeest, hippos and the most amazing birds.
We stayed in a bungalow with 3 beds and one bathroom. The bungalows are very basic, but more than perfect for a one night stay. The average cost per night is $110 – 120 per night for three people.
At Satara, we took a night drive in the most perfect summer night weather we’ve seen for months. The drive took 2.5 hours and cost about $25 per person. Even though we didn’t spot too many animals, we managed to see two sleeping lions, that made the drive worth while
The camp has a great pool with a store with the basics from eye drops to bread, which will sort you out for a few nights.
On our first morning there we got up early, 05:30, and drove around the Satara area with our own vehicle. If you stay on the main road then you will be more than capable driving around in a non 4 x 4 vehicle. The tar roads make for an easy drive. However, if you have more time in the Kruger I would advise renting a 4 x 4 vehicle in order to go on the dirt roads where you will certainly spot more animals. Height is also an advantage in a vehicle, especially in the summer months when it becomes more difficult to spot animals.
After breakfast at Satara (they have two commercial style restaurants, with average yet suffice meals) we took the road back to Skukuza. Another 3.5 hours later and we found ourselves at our bungalow for the night. Similar to Satara yet slightly more dated with a not so nice pool the bungalow goes for $120 per night for three people. However, the camp is much larger than Satara, with a bigger and better restaurant (keep in mind this means more people and less peach and quite).
On our last morning, we went on the “Guided Bush Walk“. Easily the highlight of our trip. Accompanied by two guarded field guides and four fellow walkers we took on the wild by foot. Walks should be pre-booked as they start at 04:30 in the morning and quickly gets filled up. You first take a 30 min drive out the park and then the journey begins. We only saw zebras and antelopes, but the experience was still plenty enough. The guides answer all your questions about the bush and give you enough info to make you a “shitspert” as they say (animal poo-expert). It’s incredibly insightful and the closest you can probably get to the wild. We can highly recommend that you make the effort, and get up early for this one. The walk is rough $45 per person and worth every cent.
Some Hidden costs to note when going to the Kruger National Park:
|South African Citizens and Residents(with ID):||$6.6 per person, per day
$3.3 per child, per day
|SADC Nationals (with passport):||$13.2 per person, per day
$6.6 per child, per day
|Standard Conservation Fee (Foreign Visitors):||$26.4 per adult, per day
$13.2 per child, per day
And to wrap up, 5 Lessons Learned in the Kruger:
1. Look down and you might miss the animals, look up and you might step in poop. Loose-loose, win-win situation. So don’t over think it too much.
2. Monkeys really, really, really like human food. Remember to lock your food inside at all times.
3. Don’t think because you are in the wild you won’t get fined. We made the mistake of going slightly over the speed limit and got a massive fine (rightfully so).
4. The big 5, and the rest of the 4-legged animals are amazing and will take your breath away, but in the end we were probably more taken by the birds we saw. They are spectacular, so take a book with you that will help you identify each species.
5. It’s really not just about what you see, DON’T forget to smell. Until someone actually pointed it out to us we realised we almost missed the most incredible smells.
Now, time for some pictures of animals. Enjoy.