Kruger National Park
This is my first attempt to embed a video into my blog. I still am not sure that it will work. Anyway, if you copy the url in your browser, it does work. Enjoy the poor dung beetles' discomfiture.
Dung beetles moving their home.
Did I claim that I had planned our trip very well?
OK, here is the confession. There was a big mistake that I had made while planning, which would have made us too stressed out and tired to enjoy the evening game drive at Kruger.
I had arranged for the travel agency to pick us up from the Johannesburg airport (after a 9-hour flight from Mumbai) and drive straightway to Kruger N.P., which is 490 kms away – not a mean distance by any standard. Moreover, there was hardly any time between the ‘Arrival’ time of our flight and the pick-up time. What if the flight is late?
I was uneasy about the whole thing, so imagine my joy when I discovered that there was a flight to the Nelspruit airport, which is close to the Kruger N.P.; and from where the pick-up could be
Well, our travel agent arranged our pick-up from the Mpumalanga airport and I heaved a sigh of relief. Otherwise, my goof-up would have given Avi the opportunity of a lifetime to take me down a peg or two when I start boasting about my travel-planning.
When we landed at the KMIA airport, there was one more pleasant surprise for us. We had landed at an airport which was unlike any other airport I have seen so far – The surrounding open, lush green country and the building of the airport itself, which has an ‘ethnic’ architecture, make you feel as though you have traveled back in time and stepped into a ‘kraal’ of an African Tribal Chieftain.
The weather too was so fresh and balmy that I forgave the airport for having three different names. (Nelspruit, Mpumalanga and Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport a.k.a. KMIA and two different airport-codes namely NLS and MQP. These are enough to confuse anyone till it dawns on them that it is the same airport with different names and codes.)
Our travel agent had done a good job and we were picked up and taken to our lodgings from the three-named
There is a strict regime about a Kruger Safari -- Evening game-drive on the first day, 2/3/4 days of game-drives in the Park, and morning walk in the bush with a ranger on the day of the departure. The return trip to Johannesburg is via the Panorama Route, which gives one an opportunity to see the Blyde River Canyon and the Three Rondavels from the Panorama Point. Whether you are taken to see the “Bourke’s Luck Potholes” depends upon your own luck. Some Safaris include it in the Panorama Route and some do not. Ours did not.
I was quite rueful about The Bourke’ Luck Potholes being left out of our itinerary, but there was nothing we could do about it. I still regret that that opportunity was missed, because the curious rock formations of the Potholes are worth a visit.
What can I write about Kruger N.P.? We saw only a small part of it but it was enough to give us an idea of an African ‘bush’ in its original state.
‘Bush’ is open country with small, scrubby trees interspersed by grassy ‘lowveld’. It is NOT a thick, impenetrable jungle like what we
see in India. In no way can it compete with a Tropical rainforest as far as vegetation density is concerned. However, the animals are easier to spot in a ‘bush’ rather than in a tropical rainforest because of the ‘openness’ of the bush.
The rangers too are well-trained and keen-eyed to spot the game. Even then, generally speaking, tourists do not see the ‘big five’ in a single day. (African Elephant, Lion, Cape Buffalo, Leopard, Rhino are Big Five. I was wondering why Giraffe or Hippo were not included in this list, till I found that the difficulty of hunting and the danger involved in hunting were the criteria for the list and not the size of the animal.)
We were particularly lucky that we saw the Big Five as well as many other animals in our single day there.
Here are some pictures of those animals.
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