21 Oct
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...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

11 September 2010

Big game hunting

In the Kruger, no-one can hear you blog.

Not strictly true, as a couple of the camps now have internet cafes, but we didn’t stay there. So that’s why we’ve been quiet. Expect a flurry of blog posts; this one is about the Kruger.

Leopard anticsWe’ve been in three different camps over five days, and seen a lot of wildlife. On our final day we spotted a leopard.Lion in traffic To be more accurate, we spotted the four other cars who were already watching the leopard. That’s how it works with big cats in the Kruger; someone spots it first, but after that the little cluster of cars at the roadside lets everyone know there’s something worth seeing.

Anyway, the leopard is by far the most obscure member of the “Big Five” (the origin of this term being from hunting days; the five animals that might actually kill you while you’re trying to kill them). In total we saw more than 100 different elephants, about 15 rhinos, more buffalo than you can count, a total of 31 different lions in 8 sightings, and 1 leopard – next post will be a Big Five gallery. Add to that all the giraffes, zebras, hyenas and antelope and you can’t possibly say the Kruger doesn’t deliver on DIY safaris.

Because of course unlike the boutique safari camps with the 2:1 staff to guest ratio, in the Kruger you can stay in basic self-catering huts and you drive yourself around the hundreds of kilometres of road in search of animals. Oh, and here’s an important tip for travellers: self-catering isn’t quite what it means elsewhere.

Late braaiIn the Kruger you get a fridge, and you get access to a braai (barbecue) and a shared kitchen stove, and that’s it. No crockery, no utensils, no pots and pans. We discovered this the hard way, having already bought lots of provisions to cook, and had to beg and borrow a couple of plates and forks just to get by.

This blog seems rather prosaic, when I should be waxing lyrical about the simple pleasure of cruising for hours through a beautiful landscape at 25mph with the window down, The Unthanks playing on the stereo and eyes peeled for the next interesting animal lurking in the bush. Of course, you can drive for 2 hours and see nothing but impala and kudu. Game viewing is a bug that presumably only some people catch, but I think I’d recommend everyone to come here once, just to see if they get infected.

On that subject, yes mum we are taking our malaria pills and neither of us got a single mosquito bite. : )Baboon scritching

One Response to “Big game hunting”

  1. Matt's mum & dad says:

    Won’t catch us self catering if we went to Kruger, sounds rather primitive. As ugly as they are, Warthogs are great characters and one of our favourites. Pleased to hear you’re taking your malaria pills.

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