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Days 12 & 13 - Mpalunga

Big Game Hunting - Kruger National Park

sunny 5 °C
View South Africa on grobarry's travel map.

Enjoyed the Kiwis showing just how competitive Australasian teams can be when the coach and the players get it right. Again a real shamozzle getting out of the ground at Nelspruit but finally arrived at our very nice lodgings for the next four nights.
We were booked for two full day game drives in Kruger NP. Not much time for sleep on the first night as we had a 05:30 start. Very chilly ride in the open landrovers as we are about 50 mm from the nearest entrance. Had been encouraged to consider a night drive as this was supposedly the best chance of seeing big cats on the prowl. Our guide Stefan Kruger (distant relative of Paul Kruger who gazzetted the park in about 1897) was a real character with the broadest Afrikaaner accent also encouraged us to follow up after a fairly disappointing first morning. It was very much a case of "You should have been here 15 mins ago" as we raced around trying to keep up with reported sightings. Nothing like National Geographic. I had to change my mind set to that of the fisherman - sometimes you get a good one but most times there is a lot of casts between bites. On e in that frame of mind I began to enjoy the thrill of each new discovery. By the end of the second day we had good sightings of giraffe, buffalo, rhino, leopard, elephant, hyena, hippo, some rare birds and reptiles and lots of the Macca varieties (I
impala, kudu, wildebeast) but the nearest we got to the king of the jungle wasthe flick of a tail as a pride moved off behind a distant mound of dirt. Determined to change this we dutifully paid out an additional 570 Rnd for the night drive in Sabi Sabi private reserve. For the record after two hours of off-road trekking with our tracker perched on the mudguard of the rover sweeping the scrub with a powerful spotlight we managed to find four rabbits or perhaps it was the same "fierce" rabbit four times. Stefan was most apologetic. All we could was laugh about it - somewhat hysterically I must admit. It was enjoyable overall but I would not recommend Kruger as a place to see wildlife particularly at this time of year.
Today is crunch day for the Socceroos - they need to win convincingly and have Ghana trounce Germany to go thru to the next round. Appears most unlikely but soccer is a strange game. I still can't accept the "beautiful game" definition there is just too much deliberate cheating going on for me. Our tour guides have been working hard to help us enjoy it. After the schemozzle of the departure the other nite, they have somehow arranged for our coach to be included in the official Fifa cavalcade this afternoon. For an additional 100 Rand we will go early to the hospitality area a meal and drink, watch the earlier game on the big screen and then proceed to the ground with the official coaches. Sounds too good to be true but here's hoping.

Posted by grobarry 01:54 Archived in South Africa Tagged tourist_sites

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