|I never thought we would be fortunate enough to visit the Kruger National Park this year as it was not part of my planning. I rather wanted to purchase the Canon 450D with the Sigma 150-500mm APO F5-6.3 DG OS HSM lens. Luckily I got the camera before we departed for our holiday, but the lens only arrived after our return home so unfortunately I did not have the pleasure to use it during this trip.|
As I said, I was only planning to visit the Kruger next year, but I did not reckon on the ingenuity of my wife Anna (Miss_Piggy) who surprised me with a well kept secret. She worked very hard in preparing, finalising and selling quite a number of her new recipe books and behind my back she organised the whole trip - paying for the accommodation, did all the bookings, arranged for the necessary documentation to pass via Swaziland, etc. All I had to do was to pay for meals, foot the fuel bill and drive the car.
Without her 'scheming' this trip would never have happened and I would have had to wait another year, until 2009.
Not only did she arrange a 7 day visit to the Kruger National Park, but she also arranged for 5 more days in the scenic eastern Mpumalanga. Here we enjoyed the wonderful beauty of the Panorama Route which includes places like:
- Hayzyview (Perry's Bridge Reptile Park.)
- Sabie (Long Tom Pass, Sabie waterfall, Mac Mac waterfall, etc.)
- Graskop (the natural wonders of the Blyde River Canyon, Three Rondavels, the Potholes, God's Window, The Pinnacle, etc.)
- Pilgrim's Rest (a quaint little town declared as a national monument where visitors can relive the days of the old Transvaal gold rush as it was during the early 1900's.)
- Lydenburg (Gustav Klingbiel Nature Reserve.)
- Hoedspruit (Endangered Species Centre, Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, the Swadini or Khamai Reptile Park, etc.)
As usual, we had a lovely time in the Kruger National Park. However, due to the late summer rains and a severe ongoing draught in the region the Kruger was very dry or desiccated. Some areas even had the barren appearance of a desert. I have never seen the Kruger in this state (although it is probably part of the normal dry or wet cycles for water scarce and thirsty Africa). Most of the dams were totally empty or very near empty. The only dam with lots of water was the Sunset dam at Lower Sabie, which actually had more water than I've ever seen in it. Although the area is caught up in this terrible draught, the good thing I noticed was that all the animals, apart perhaps for the Warthogs – which is an indicative species to show the extent of a draught, actually were in very good condition. The Impala ewes and the Zebra mares especially were all heavily pregnant and ready to deliver their young. Probably they were only waiting (holding back) for the onset of the rainy season before giving birth.
This year we stayed mostly in the southern parts of the KNP and only travelled northward as far as Satara, which is actually in the central part of the Park. Sightings of animals were rather few and far apart, but I still maintain that a "bad day in the Kruger still beats any good day in the office". Actually we cannot complain as we've seen quite a bit, but if I compare to other years (and I know the potential of the Kruger Park) then this was definitely our less active visit to the KNP the last 10 years. Fortunately I know that Africa has the ability to overcome and bounce back – all it needs is a little rain and suddenly everything that seemed totally lifeless will once again turn green and bountiful.
I will attempt to show you the extent of this draught by adding some workshop material which will show the habitat or environment to supplement some of my postings.
As a final word, I hope you enjoy this travelogue as we enjoyed visiting the park.
Thank you Anna, it was a lovely surprise and a wonderful holiday.