The Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa; it’s bigger than many small countries and is even nearly a fifth of the size of Korea! I recently returned from a holiday in the Kruger where I was treated to a week of “bush theater”. Up until last year I had never visited a game park in South Africa as many holidays were spent in Zimbabwe with my family and we chose to visit parks there. I’ve now been privileged to visit Kruger 2 years in a row and each time was unique and special and I absolutely loved it!
So why should Kruger be on your travel list?
Being in the wild you don’t know what to expect. It is different every time and you never know what you might come across. You can be driving for ages, eyes beadily scanning the bush, camera at the ready, when you catch sight of something. Sometimes it’s nothing, but sometimes it’s something. Each encounter with wild animals is different, whether they are lazing around or being active. Last year we witnessed the sad reality of rhino poaching when we came across a baby rhino crying and lost. All ended well though as we reported it and the injured mom and baby were taken to safety.
(I know there is now that Kruger app which I despise and will not use, half the fun is the spotting!)
You are treated to experiencing true natural animal behavior. And it is fascinating! While most animal sightings are more passive, the truly special ones are action packed. To mention a few, I have seen giraffes do a “dance of dominance”, rhinos mark their territory, a pack of female lions working together to take out a huge hippo right in front of us (don’t worry I won’t share the pictures),a leopard guarding her cubs, baby elephants playing, hyenas digging for water and male elephants establishing dominance. The list goes on!
Even with so much activity going on in the bush, it is peaceful and calming. The air is fresh. It energizes you.
4. Treat your senses!
Of course you are treated visually but the rest of your senses have an experience too. When all is “quiet” listen to the sounds. The sounds of the birds, from happy bee-eaters to calling eagles. The chirping insects. The bushes rustling as the wind blows. The sounds of animals walking through the bush, grunting, roaring, snorting, chewing and just expressing themselves. My favorite? The hippos snorting as they laze around on the river banks.
Don’t forget the smells of the bush, though not all pleasant.
5. Sunsets and Sunrises!
Lastly, something needs to be said for the sunsets and sunrises in the bush. Wow!! They are just incredible. The blood red skies, the shades of oranges and sometimes the pastel colours on a cloudy day, I love the skies in the bush. They are so different to those in the city or over the sea, and they really make you think like you’re in the Lion King or something. I’m an early riser so I always make sure to catch the sunrise when I’m there whether we are out on a drive or I’m just sitting with tea watching the day start. It’s always worthwhile getting up early to see the skies and start your day in such a positive way.
Have you visited the Kruger National Park? What was your experience like?