20 August 2012 by Kate Turkington

Aah, the Kruger!

If you want an unforgettable lifetime experience, then take yourself off to the Kruger National Park – you just can’t beat it.

It’s no good. Nobody on earth will ever convince me that there is a finer national park anywhere than Kruger National Park. And I’ve been to many of the world’s finest – in North, Central and South America, Scandinavia, Europe, Antarctica, Australia, India, China … the list goes on.

I’ve just come back from 5 fabulous days in the Kruger. I stayed in the middle of the park at Satara Rest Camp – not 1 of the most beautiful camps, but it's in the heart of soetgrass (sweetgrass) territory where plains animals are plentiful, and in winter it’s a predator paradise.

A giraffe slakes its thirst A giraffe slakes its thirst

How about this? On the guided Sunset Drive (that’s the best one to go for as you get daylight, sunset and then a spotlight tour) we saw a pride of 25 lions on 2 buffalo kills. The pride had kindly killed on both sides of the same road, so viewing was magnificent.

We moved on to the Kruger’s biggest camp, Skukuza, on the Sabie River, where hippos pottered about on the banks and elephants munched their way through the long grasses before family fun time in the water.

Nobody on earth will ever convince me that there is a finer national park anywhere than Kruger National Park.

Rhino slaughter in South Africa this year has been horrendous, but we saw 15 of the great beasts over the week, including 2 adults fighting over a baby.

As a family we saw 3 leopard sightings, 100s of elephants, including tiny babies, and a big herd of buffalo, plus several old ‘dagha boys’ (old buffalo who have left the herd – 'dagha' means 'mud' in Zulu) mooching around.

Apart from the Big 5 (and don’t go to the Kruger just for the Big 5) we found a hyena den with 5 adults and lots of babies, including 1 that still had its umbilical cord dangling and was a baby bear lookalike.

A tiny baby spotted hyena A tiny baby spotted hyena

And although it is winter and the migrant birds are still on their way back south, we scored 111 species, including the Big 6 – martial eagle, lappet-faced vulture, ground hornbill, saddle-billed stork, giant eagle owl and kori bustard (1 of the world’s heaviest flying birds).

Get down to earth and pitch your tent in 1 of the many very affordable camping sites, or go top of the range in 1 of the gorgeous family houses.

But be warned, July, August and December are school holidays, so you will need to book months in advance. Other times of year accommodation is usually readily available.

The very user-friendly website will give you loads of information, not only about the park itself and the flora and fauna, but also what to see where and where to stay.

A visit to Kruger will be 1 of your most unforgettable lifetime experiences.

The sun sets over the Kruger The sun sets over the Kruger

Category: Wildlife

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