Reaching Johannesburg on 9th morning at 11:00, we headed straight to get the rental car. The person that helped us at budget/avis counter was not very nice. He would not explain anything about insurance or other stuff even after asking, when saying anything kind of mumbled it. Could not hear us at all, kept saying "sorry sorry" to make us repeat what we are saying - while the lady at other counter was actually able to hear us. Finally we did manage to get a car we wanted and drive off with it. The start was a bit confusing and we started off in the wrong direction first. Thanks to GPS though, it did not take too long to realise that, and then return and off to right freeway. The drive towards Kruger is nice, the road is very good almost new. We were cruising along ok. We stopped at a town on way just before meeting N4 for some fruits and lunch. We were surprised by a burger with Veggie patty which was actually good at a place which sounded like Nandoos. Then off again to Nelspruit.
We reached Nelspruit somewhat late by 5:30pm, and it was already getting
dark there. We had to find the campsite which was a bit out of town. Not too difficult thanks to phone GPS again. We put up the tent and then out hunting for dinner again. We had to also buy groceries for our trip into Kruger for next 2 days, and fill up on gas. All was found nearby. Dinner again was surprising with a veggie patty. If they had opened early I was prepared to pack from togo from there. But we were planning to leave as early in morning as possible.
Next day early morning we are off to Kruger National Park. It is easy drive down to Melalene gate where we had our first wildlife viewing. Just under the bridge just outside the gate there was a crocodile resting in the river, and some Hippos. Then into the gate, and we decided to take dirt road towards our booked campsite. On the way we saw few Antelopes, and a herd of elephants. Then we were surprised by a Rhino crossing the road behind us. This was the best view of Rhino I have seen ever. More antelopes, more elephants and we were here just for few
hours. Just before campsite we also spotted some rare big birds with red neck. The campsite was very nice, we settled in, ate our lunch, took showers. Then we decided to take the evening drive with guide. The drive was kind of ok. I thought the guide will take us to some inner roads, but they just drive on the same roads. Still it was nice to just be driven without thinking about who is going to cross the road next. We saw some more types of Antelopes and some hyenas. Then a big herd of elephants crossed the road. One of the baby elephants decided to show off and made some noise, moving its head. That was mostly the end of drive. We still had about 2hrs of drive, but it was too dark to see anything properly.
Next day morning we started off early, we had to cover quite a bit of distance and get out of the park to Graskop. We saw some more elephants in the morning, and more types of antelopes. Then we reached skukuza camp and had our breakfast here. There we met a jeep guide and he told us to take one
of the side roads where there is possibility to see some lions. We did not see any. But we did happen upon a really large herd of elephants just next to the road with elephants of all ages. We spent quite a bit of time watching them there. Then we decided to take dirt road towards Lower Sabie instead of main tar road. This was not very useful, there was almost nothing on the dirt road, it was just hot and dry and flat ground. We did see 2 Rhinos near the river which we probably would not have seen from the tar road. Just before Lower Sabie at the bridge we saw lot more wildlife near the river - giraffe, rhino, crocodiles, elephants and buffalo all in this short area. We had our lunch there, and then off out of the park. We did not see any of the big cats, and drive back was also very quiet. We did see 2 elephants which seemed like they were ready to fight. One started walking towards the road and then walked off. I was a bit scared, did not want to get caught in the fight of 2 elephants.
On a turnoff towards the exit gate we saw some tour jeeps and decided to follow them. We figure they have expert eyes and more eyes in the jeep, if they see something we will just follow. We saw some Zebras and then a female hyena with the cubs. More elephants which were not that exciting anymore. Once out the gate, we stretched our legs and settled in for drive to Graskop. It is a really beautiful drive indeed panorama drive. Our next campsite was a bit before Graskop. It was a beautiful place, perched at the edge of canyon with a pool flowing down into sheer cliff drop. Loved it, wish we had more time to spend there.
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