A Day in the Safari

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Jun 12th, 2018, 02:19 AM
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A Day in the Safari

It was freezing as the safari guide was driving us toward the Kruger Gate in the dawn. The game viewing vehicle didn’t have a window, so we wrapped ourselves tightly in the fleece blankets yet the chilling wind still managed to sneak through the cracks. It was necessary for game viewing though to make sure we wake up so early – this is when the animals were active. The first 20 minute of driving was rough; once we entered the Kruger National Park and the sun came out, we warmed up and I was excited in anticipation.

I shared earlier in Something about… Kruger about how to get there, what to see, and where to go.
When I was planning my trip to Kruger I was a bit overwhelmed with so much information and I had no idea what to see and do. When I finally had a better understanding of traveling in Kruger it was time for me to make some choices.
You are also welcome to visit https://knycxjourneying.com/2018/05/27/a-day-on-safari/ for more photos and details.

Frist, we decided to stay 4 days in the area. We signed up for a morning safari and a sunset safari, just to guarantee that we had sufficient time to see all kinds of animals while we were there; we were prepared to sign up more safari tours or a self-drive in the next couple of days if we couldn’t see the animals on the first day. Luckily, we almost saw all the animals that we hoped to see on the first day, and we went to the Blyde River Canyon instead – that’s a story for another day.

Secondly, we stayed at the Sabie River Lodge, which is a cozy safari lodge about 20-minute away from the Paul Kruger Gate. We stayed outside of the park because it gave us a bit more freedom to go out at night (in the end we didn’t). The staff was friendly, the outdoor shower was great, and we could see hippopotamus occasionally went by in the river in front of the lodge.

Lastly, we had a car when we landed at the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport. It was possible to enter Kruger with your own vehicle, yet we decided to join the lodge’s safari game drive and I thought it was the right decision. The safari guide knew the directions and experienced, and guides would communicate among themselves to get the first-hand information of whereabouts of the animal sightings. I reckoned that it would be a lot more difficult if we were driving by ourselves and looking for directions.

Best time to go
Kruger opens all year round, and each season has its own highlights. There are pros and cons in each season. In general, game viewing could be at its best during the dry winters months (May – September) as the weather is more comfortable and no rain. The grass is low, and the trees are sparsely leaves that offer a better visibility.

The rainy summer brings waterholes, lush bushveld, much newborn wildlife and migrating birds. Game viewing could be more difficult due to the rain, and vegetation is dense, making it harder to locate and observe wildlife. However, newborns come towards the end of November and early December, and spotting wildlife with their young is an incredible, heartwarming moment.

When to go
I mentioned in my last blog post that the park opens at 5:30am in the morning. While private vehicles are not allowed to enter the park in the evening. Visitors could sign up the night safari to maximize their chances of seeing different kinds of animals. Usually, the animals are the most active from dusk till dawn and we saw 4 of the big Fives in the morning, and we saw leopards in the evening on the same day.

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