On to the Kruger via Hazyview, Then Phabeni Gate

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September 27th 2013
Published: June 24th 2017
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Geo: -25.0557, 31.1318

Trip to Hazyview

Got up the next morning, Robert still not 100% but decided to get underway. Went and did shopping with Rob but did not get all we wanted but enough for a start and we will be staying the night in Hazyview so will have another chance to shop.

Jerry and Tom are driving a van from Wicked that houses their vehicles at Rob's. Under the radar, you see with "On the highway to hell" on the back door and several other clever signs on the rest of the vehicle!

The road was fine and not as crowded as it could have been for a weekend. Unfortunately there were a lot of aggressive drivers that thought nothing of getting right on your tail before they passed you!

We were able to get all the way to Hazyview without getting lost. The last part of the ride was very beautiful from about Nelspruit on. The flat land disappeared and you began to get in the mountainous part of the country. This caused us to have to slow down somewhat but we still made it to Gecko Backpackers before it got dark. Any thoughts of stopping in Hazyview were squashed as we were in 5:00 traffic and did not really want to be about after dark.

Checked in and were shown where we could put our tents. Things have changed somewhat since we were there last. They have surrounded the place with an electric fence, have a night watchman and have grand plans for a 5-star backpackers accomodation! We will see but I guess everyone can have a dream.

Got our tent set up and went up to the main building. In the past, there was a small kitchen for use by the backpackers and they served a set meal for everyone that wanted it. Now, there is no food cooked and the kitchen is for the backpackers to use. They had a good selection of cookware and Jerry cooked fajitas using the wonderful tortillas we had picked up at Woolworth's! Did not stay up too late but the son of the owner and his friends had a party until about 2:30 in the morning.


Got up and decided we would try our luck getting into the park. We had to do some shopping and so went to the mall in Hazyview. Wow and ouch combined! Saturday is not the day to be there. The grocery store was packed as well as the mall. Did get most of what we needed and got to the park.

When we got to the Phabeni gate, the question was asked of us, "do you have any alcohol?". We did and they told us we would not be able to carry it in if we were not staying overnight. The dilemma...can not go in with it, where to leave it or just find a place to camp in Hazyview? Went to the person at the counter, still no space available so we were going to just go for a day trip into the park. Tom had found a place for us to keep our alcohol while in the park and so had gone back in to pay for day use, and sign up for the following two days at Skukuza. Were in the middle of the process when Robert comes in and says there is a space available at Pretoriuskop! With Robert and SAN Park official, we manage to get the site and so off we go!

Decided to do Waterhole Road and see what we could see and we were not disappointed by the amount of wildlife we saw for our first afternoon in the park. Giraffe, elephant, hippo, zebra, and the ever present impala as well as our first rhino! Of course, if you have prey the chances of predators does increase. Always on the lookout for that elusive cheetah, leopard, or wild dog to come into view. We drove on from the waterhole and left Jerry and Tom to enjoy and we were going ahead so we could set up our tent.

Saw ground hornbills making their call and watched them for awhile and then carried on. Got to the camp and found out that you must have all the Wild Cards to be able to sign in so walked the campground to check out possible places to camp where we could plug in. While we were waiting, saw a second rhino cross the road right outside the reception area!

Jerry and Tom arrive and are really excited because they saw a leopard at the waterhole after we had left! What a trip for them and we still are on the lookout for our first sighting! Found a campsite and got the tent set up. Having trouble with the power cords so no electric for us but cool enough we did not need it. Started to rain during the night and rained off and on all night long. Lesson learned: we had not staked out the sides of the rainfly and so the rain came in through the screen and we had puddles on the floor when we came to pack up the next morning after our early morning game drive.

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