It’s hard to know where to start when talking about Kruger. This must be my favourite place in South Africa, I enjoy all the places I have been to, but if I had to decide today where to live, hands down it would be close to Kruger.
My first introduction to Kruger National Park, were pictures in National geographic, to my surprise we took one of our last-minute family trips from Cape Town up the garden route, Durban through Swaziland over several days. When we reached the park, I was not sure at first what to expect, I found however I could not keep my eyes off the surroundings, trying to find every critter. Being a novice at the time, I sometimes found it hard to identify between certain animals, asking ourselves is that a steenbok or a duiker, or even the difference between a cheetah and a leopard.
Many years later I had the privilege to study in a nearby facility of this huge park and thoroughly enjoyed it. After my studies I got a job working as a tour guide for an over landing company. I was very happy when I found out this company did drives through the park every few weeks, though it never compared to doing my own holidays here.
Guides do this job for passion,not for riches. I say this because, I often worked in fabulous fancy places, while on holiday I would go to the other end of the scale. This usually means camping all the way and I don’t mean glamping. Finding out you only have a certain weight limit on a plane , choosing self-catering, camping and getting a hired car all add restrictions on your holiday. Well, one holiday we packed one case with bare minimum camping gear, a tiny gas fuel cooker, a picnic backpack containing only the cutlery specifically needed, sleeping bag, blow up mattress, a second case with a week’s worth of clothes and basic toiletries and off we went. It was not long till we had a few hilarious moments, our tiny tent rained in, our mattress deflated and giving us a complimentary Kruger massage sleeping on pebbles and trying to cook a decent meal on a small cooker or fire with 1 single small pot was unspeakable. Even then I would do it all over again!
Do not worry if that style is not for you, no matter how you travel, Kruger National Park could meet all your requirements. They have tented camps, cottages, camping, caravan sites and even more, so do not be put off thinking you will have to rough it all.
The accommodation areas are great, they have basic supplies that you may need in the shops, fuel is available and restaurants too, which often overlook a waterhole or river, this makes for good viewing while you are taking a break or if you are interested in nightlife while your sleeping over.
The park itself is incredible, there is so much space to drive and get lost in, with almost 2 million hectares. There is plenty to see and experience with 130 species of mammals, 100 species of reptiles, 30 amphibians, 50 fish, 500 birds. The park is vast and don’t be fooled into thinking if you stay in one area you have seen it all, the land changes dramatically as you travel from one camp to the next. With the topography changing throughout the park, the trees and grasses change, attracting different herbivores, different herbivores attract different predators.
I do not know anyone that has not come back with an amazing story to tell, most these experiences are once in a lifetime and can never to be repeated, even if you tried.