Blogs from Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga , South Africa, Africa

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A Journey to South Africa By William Graham Poet, novelist and travel writer William Graham holds a BA and MA in English and a MS in Communication from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He lives in Stowe, Vermont. His most recent book is Border Crossings: Travel Essays and Poems. At five o’clock on an August afternoon at the Sabi Sand Game Reserve adjacent to Kruger National Park in South Africa, the southern hemisphere’s winter sun was dropping fast behind the trees. Long shadows fell across the dry savannah woodlands. From the shadows of the bush, our guide and his tracker noticed an African wild dog trotting warily. Then another and another appeared until there was a pack of four wild dogs, which had distinctive brown, black, yellow ... read more
African Penguin
Lion
Rhino


Yesterday was amazing, how can we beat that. Easy.... Up at 0530, yes, before the sun rises and the birds start chirping. quick coffee/tea for some and a cookie and OJ for others. Not the truck to be first away, yes, Barnie (our driver) loves to be first, and when he is carrying that bloody big gun, he is boss... Our requests for today’s drive were elephants, water buffalo, leopards and whatever comes after that. We had been out for about 15 minutes, spotting the usual Impala, zebra and giraffe (ho hum) with a few pics of the sunrise when we started to go faster. All of a sudden, Barnie says we are now going to see a leopard that others have spotted. No complaints from us. Arrive and one other truck is there. The leopard ... read more


Early early start without a safari drive. Heading to Kruger via Johannesburg and Hoedspruit. Pouring rain as we leave the hotel in Port Elizabeth. Arrive at the airport and have to say farewell to Nando (can you bea the drums Fernando) as he has to drive back to Cape Town empty after this. Lovely guy and a great driver - never felt in danger at all, and he could get the coach up and ripping pretty easily. Into the airport and check in - what a debacle. Supposedly all organised, but the tour director is flustered. Searching through his bag for the tickets, etc. finally it starts to happen. Eventually all checked in and through security to the departure lounge. Get on messenger and have a quick chat with Jessica and the kids. Nice to see ... read more


Happy birthday to me Saw a monkey up a tree Saw a lion Oops that’s lyin So an oldie I’ll be ! Great day in Kruger yesterday with loads of sightings. Awesome. Tent accom very swish. Patchy wifi so short blog. Not been eaten yet but another game drive today so maybe. Weird weather. 34 yesterday then massive electric storm last night knocked out water supply to camp. Very early starts ... read more


Dear all A big hello to everyone from South Africa along with super birthday hugs to brother Warren. Congrats on the big 60. So we are just two weeks into our South African trip and have had a ball. We would have loved to have shared our photos much earlier but the pace has been full on. The people here are lovely, the little tours we have done have been extremely informative, we have learnt so much about the short history of the place and the struggle the people have had because the Brits, the Dutch, the Germans and the French have all had disputes with each other in the backyard of the people of South Africa. So we arrived in Johannesburg after a very long flight from Sydney – finally arrived 3 hours later than ... read more
Baboons on the move
Baby warthogs
Beautiful Zebra at Kruger


After the thrilling visit to Kimberely we went to the airport early because there was nothing else for us to do. The Kimberely airport is tiny. One small café and seating for 50 people. That is, it. Wouldn’t you know it…. Our flight to Johannesburg was delayed due to rain storms. Then delayed again. We finally got on board and got to our guest house close by the Johannesburg airport after 11 pm. We had a short night sleep and were up early to be picked up for the 4-hour drive to start our safari. The gentlemen that picked us up was named Daz. He was great. He talked to us the whole trip about South Africa and what we were seeing on the trip. He is a true wealth of information. We finally arrived at ... read more
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Today is our last day at Humala, but we are going on a field trip to Kruger Park rather than on safari. Wake-up call at 4 am! No time for coffee today. We bundle ourselves into the land rovers for the 45-minute trip to the gate. It is really dark and cold. At the Songimvelo gate, we are met by our old friend Bakkies, and we transfer to his van. It is a 3-hour drive to Kruger, which lies in the east. Bakkies stops halfway for a pit stop and buys us all a cappuccino from the gas station convenience store. He then produces box lunches for us to eat in the car, consisting of a wrap, chips, a banana and an apple. Food by this time is greatly appreciated. The land around us consists of ... read more
Impala
Big tusker walks out of the bush
Pumbaa the wart hog


Today is more or less a carbon copy of the previous day. Wake-up at 5:30 am, coffee and rusks at 6, departure on safari at 6:30. Richard wants to see if we can find the elephant herd that lives in the next valley over. To do that, of course, we have to get over the mountain. As yesterday, we start in almost pitch blackness but the sun rises swiftly. Again, beautiful mists from the valley as the sun gradually illuminates and warms us. Highlights along the way include a beautiful kudu and a large herd of giraffes that materializes out of nowhere. I'm still not sure how giraffes do the magic trick of appearing out of thin air. They give us a stern visual inspection, then gracefully lope off in a row. Incredible creatures. We have ... read more
Amarula tree being strangled by a parasitic fig, as giraffes observe dispassionately
An impala harem
Zebra


We are up at 5:30 am for our first morning game drive. Coffee and rusks (similar to a biscotti) at 6 and in the land rovers shortly thereafter, just as the sun is starting to illuminate the backs of the surrounding hills. A word about the vehicles used on safari. They are modified land rovers, diesel-powered with separate gears for the front and back wheels. Obviously, they boast massive suspensions and extensive structural reinforcements. Besides the front seat, there are three rows of seats arranged in a staircase arrangement. Each row can accommodate three people. There's also a fold-out seat on the front left hood, where a tracker can sit precariously and survey the surroundings. An essential feature: everything is copiously padded. These babies can climb up a steep cliff, ford a stream, take a licking ... read more
Jo-Jo inspects rhino droppings
Landscape in the light of the morning sun
Giraffe and her calf


Today we say goodbye to Dunfeld and transfer to the Humala River Lodge in Songimvelo Game Reserve. By 9 we have eaten and our bags are packed into the two vans. It's about a 2 1/2 hour drive almost due east. I plead for the shotgun seat this trip to ease the misery on my knees and behind. Bakkies has a treat in store for us. He stops by a local chocolate shop with an interesting specialty. You get to pick a a chocolate cup (and by this I mean a small egg-cup-sized cup made entirely of chocolate) with the choices being dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate. The cup is then filled by hand from a milk chocolate fountain. Very tricky to eat, but absolutely delicious! Bakkies provides his usual entertaining dialogue on the ... read more
All aboard the land rover
Savanah landscape
Kudu and calf




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