Kruger National Park

Trip Start May 25, 2005
1
9
351
Trip End Ongoing


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Sunday, June 12, 2005

It's not often that you can say a dream has been fulfilled. Well today, one of mine came true. I don't remember when the word 'Kruger' first entered my vocabulary, but it is a place that has held enormous mystical reverence in my heart for a very long time. Infact, writing this, I can't quite believe my luck. I've just spend two wonderful days in KNP and found heaven. (http://www.knp.za)

When I was asked if I wanted to come along on the trip, I couldn't stop smiling. Yes, yes, yes please! Oh thanks, of course, yes, when, oh that doesn't matter, of course, great. Thanks!

'It's only for two days, one night'
'That's fine, great, perfect, two days, yes, oh thanks, that's great, terrific, great. Thanks!'

Poor guys! Maybe they just shouldn't have mentioned it!

It's about five hours from Pretoria to the most southern gate of Kruger NP. This in itself was quite an education. How on earth you are meant to understand when to pull over and let people pass, when to pass trucks, what to do when someone shows you their armpit - I was just glad not to be driving. It was hot, and the scenery changed from flat high veld, through valleys and eucalyptus plantations, to the more open, dry expanse of the north. But, as we got out to get our researchers pass and then drove through Paul Kruger Gate, I just caught my breath and vowed to remember the moment forever.

So there we were, driving along at 10km an hour and a minute in and I get the first sighting. Down in a gully were some kudu, almost obscured by the bush. Horrah, number one! Then giraffe, zebra, elephant, impala, springbok, baboons and numerous birds, all before we got to the scientific camp. How amazing, it really does exist; a place where animals just get on with their day. Amazing.

The camp was great, with plenty of room inside and a braai outside. We headed off for 'sundowners' with a couple of other folks, but I really didn't speak. The hippo's were just emerging to start grazing on land, their deep belly-laughs filling the air. Huuu,huuu,huuuuugh, hu, huuuugh, huuuuuuuuuugh. Then a herd of elephants had a quick drink, with baby in tow, and that was me gone, oblivious to anyone or anything.

As it really isn't safe to be out at night (there's the small matter of big carnivore's with teeth and empty bellies to consider) we headed back to cook up a storm. Mark, Kyle and myself had brought along enough meat to feed ten people, but together with onions, sweet potato, butternut squash and potatoes it made a fine feast. A couple of beers, the glistening southern cross and the sounds of hyenas close by gave such a perfect setting for the end of my first day in Kruger, and then an elephant came by. (The wonder never ends)
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