Kruger Park Week

We have a week in the Kruger National Park. The original trip was meant to be 5 days with the whole family but I felt like going for longer and Stephen was up to join me.  So the two of us left yesterday morning from Cape Town. SA Airlink introduced a direct flight from Cape Town to Skukuza about a year or so ago and that was the flight we were on. You can tell that everyone is keen to get to Skukuza by the fact that the door to the plane closed 15 minutes ahead of the scheduled departure time. Beside one seat, the plane was full.

We arrived at Skukuza just before 1pm. 32 degrees. A bit of a shock to the system especially since I was wearning jeans! Got the car we had rented and we headed to Skukuza itself to do some shopping for food for the next few days. At about 2pm we were on the road up to Satara. We had 4 hours to do the 92 kms and we pretty much used the whole time.

We didn’t think we would see that much because of the heat and it being the middle of the day but by the time we arrived at Satara we had seen 36 different species of birds and 2 of the Big Five (elephant & leopard). I also had a brief glimpse of what I think was a hyena and we had seen much of the usual game – impala, giraffe, kudu, waterbuck, crocodile, hippo, zebra, wildebeest, mongoose, tortoise. Stephen had also added a lifer to his list (one I had seen before during another trip when he wasn’t around).

But probably the most spectacular part of the day was watching the thunderstorm approach. The lightning strikes were incredibly impressive and about 30 minutes outside of Satara it was very dark and started to rain quite hard. Game viewing quickly became impossible and the aim was just to get to the camp at that point. After seeing the effects of the earlier rains this season (road totally washed away in one place – have photo but connection not good enough to upload), it felt better to actually be at a camp rather in the thunderstorm.

When we arrived we realised no cellphone signal and while checking in they said the lightning seemed to have taken out both MTN and Vodacom. No means of communicating with the outside world and even in the Kruger Park that becomes an issue. No credit card payments at the store and neither would the ATM work. Fortunately I had cash but there were some pretty distraught looking people at the shop. By this morning Vodacom had been restored but still no MTN.

Despite the rain, Stephen and I made a braai (how can you do anything else when in the Kruger?) and fortunately the rain stopped long enough for us to finish braaiing the meat (chops and pork strips). Don’t worry Helen – we also had sweet potato and gem squash (also on braai). Beer and red wine to wash that all down.

No need for a jersey of any form as it was very hot and humid. We ran the aircon the whole night at 21 degrees which made sleeping bearable. It did rain much through the night but even when we got up in the morning the temperature was still 21 degrees (at 5:30am).

I will try post again later about this AM and PM (cellphone signal dependent). We are about to head out for an afternoon drive.

P & S

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