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  • Writer's pictureUrsula

Kruger/Sabi Sands 05.02.-12.02.21

Updated: Dec 30, 2021

It worked, the Corona numbers in South Africa have dropped drastically and the strict measures are relaxed a bit just at the right moment. This means that the restaurants are open until 22:00 and alcohol can be served and sold again. With a negative Coronatest in our pockets, we fly to South Africa in a 777 with a good 40 passengers on board.

Immediately we start towards Kruger Park. We spend the first two nights outside the park in White River, then two nights in the Kruger Park in the state-run Skukuza Camp with river view.

Alternatives would be the new Skukuza Lodge or the exclusive Shalati Train (in the back of the picture) on the railroad bridge. The restaurants in Skukuza are very good (far better than in the other state camps).

Two weeks before our arrival it rained very hard with big floods. Because of this, the gravel roads are all closed and we can only move with our rental car on the tarred roads.

At this time of the year, the bush is green and densely overgrown, which makes spotting animals a bit difficult.

Nevertheless, we can tick off three of the 'big 5': buffalo, elephants and lions.

A special highlight was a large pack of rare wild dogs with about 30 animals. This was the first wild dog sighting ever for us.

We can watch a dramatic river crossing of a herd of elephants, where the little elephants have to be saved again and again by their mothers from drifting or sinking. Often we can only make out their trunks in the water.

We spend the next three days in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, which borders directly, without fences, on the Kruger Park. We have booked at Elephant Plains Lodge, which is very reasonably priced and absolutely recommended. We enjoy two three-hour game drives daily. Here the rangers can also drive at night and if there is something exciting to watch, drive off the road into the bush, which is sometimes very adventurous. The Sabi Sands Park is very densely overgrown and intersected with many sandy roads (which makes tracking much easier). This means that we do not see large herds of animals, but thanks to our good tracker, who sometimes climbs from the high seat on the hood of the Landrover and searches the thicket armed only with a stick, we find lions or leopards on every game drive.

Before the first game drive the ranger asks us what we want to see. Of course the two remaining of the 'big 5', the leopard and the rhino are still on the list. And we are treated to a pair of leopards on the first evening, at dusk ...

... and the next morning spoiled with four rhinos.

After breakfast we join a walking safari, which is as always unexciting. We are shown flowers, poisonous plants and healing herbs in sweltering heat. The next morning we do without further walking safaris.

Here are some of our other highlights:

The sundowner every evening may not be missing, of course.

And now we are heading towards the Drakensberg Mountains near Lesotho for some hiking.

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