Indian Ocean - Getting there and a week in Kruger

When you travel, half of the fun is supposed to be the "getting there", but that doesn't really apply to a plane trip that leaves at 2:40 in the morning and takes 20 hours, involving three different planes in three different countries. We flew from Perth to Nelspruit, via Mauritius and Jo'burg, and had a serious delay in Mauritius, making it very rushed to meet up with Judy for the last leg of the flight, but it all worked out and eventually we picked up the hire car and followed a mud map to 'Ingwenyama' in White River, where we were staying the first night. Carmel and I were grateful we had mosquito nets; there were hundreds of mosquitoes at White River.

Right from the start it was obvious that the car was dreadful - no power, no brakes, appalling gear transmission, headlights that crossed (not joking!); luckily we only had to drive at 25km/hour most of the time we used it. Never buy a Ford.

In the morning we took a detour up to Blyde River Canyon and God's Eye before doing a bit of supermarket shopping at Hazyview, then drove through Kruger National Park to Lower Sabi Rest Camp. The initial area we drove through looked a bit dry and burnt-out, but there had been extensive floods in Kruger not long before, and there was lots of water in the rivers and some roads were still closed.

We spent three nights at Lower Sabi and three nights at Satara camp, and drove through hundreds of kilometres of Kruger at very slow speeds looking out for anything of interest. We self-catered in bungalows at both camps, but tried out the restaurants for lunch. Lower Sabi, located on the river bank, was definitely the better of the two camps but both areas gave us lots of places to visit and endless animals to see. On our first day we saw all of the "big five" animals - buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard and rhino. We saw very large numbers of hippos, elephants and zebra, and were surprised to have multiple sightings of rhino on most days; they are under immense pressure from poachers and numbers are dropping dramatically.

Kruger National Park is all about the animals, so rather than write about it I'll just put in a slide show with captions. You can flick through the thumbnails, but the best pictures of a leopard are towards the end.


From Kruger we drove back to Nelspruit, staying in a rather nice B&B for the last night, then Carmel and I set off on a full day of flying - Jo'burg, Gaberone, Maun - with lots of delays, waits and hassles, to get to the Okavango Delta.

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