Today we go again into the Kruger Park. We take the Orpen Gate, about in the middle of the park. Already after a few kilometers we discover a bird of prey sitting on a branch fork and eating its prey. A little further on we see two cheetahs, but unfortunately they are quite far away. Only with a lot of imagination one recognizes their outlines on the pictures. Otherwise not much happens on the 70 kilometers and around eleven o'clock we arrive at Satara Camp and settle in for two days. In the late afternoon we go for a sunset drive and see elephants, giraffes, hyenas and an ostrich, but unfortunately no big cats. Well, it can't always work out.
At 6am we are on the road again. Breakfast is taken after two hours of driving on a picnic area. We don't see much, except for the many hoofed animals whose sight has become commonplace. There are a good 300,000 impalas in the park alone, virtually the quick snack for almost all predators. If there is a rebirth of man as an animal I would like to become everything but an Impala. During the evening drive we discover a python curled up on a tree. It grows to a length of 5 meters and is thigh thick. A really impressive animal that crushes its prey with sheer force and then devours it. At the campground in the evening we meet Markus and Anne from Leichingen, who are on the road with two children and a MB1018 for one year. We exchange experiences and spend a nice evening together.
Today we change to the next camp in Letaba. First we have another look at the python in the best morning light on the tree. A few kilometers further on we see a pride of lions with eight animals including Pasha sharing a freshly killed prey. All around there are already a good number of hyenas waiting for the leftovers. Two lionesses, who are late and have missed the main meal, walk right past our car. When the lions are done, the hyenas, which have been waiting nicely in a row, pounce on the leftovers and a few meters away the vultures are waiting on a tree for what is left. What a spectacle, we are completely thrilled.
The further drive is very varied and leads first through a steppe-like landscape and later along the Olifants and Letaba River. Both rivers have a lot of water and we see hippos lying lazily in the sun on the sandbanks and elephants bathing in the river. In Letaba we visit the very interesting elephant museum and do a nice sunset drive along the river.
We have booked only one night and in the morning at 6am we are already on the road again to Shingwedzi. A drive of over 100 kilometers that we will not forget so quickly. After a great sunrise we first see a small owl and a little further a pride of lions with six animals including three cubs.
Today seems to be our lucky day because a little later a handsome leopard lies three meters beside the road under a tree. Karin then discovers another lion lying under a bush and we actually stand there alone for a while until the obligatory car queue forms.
We have breakfast again on a picnic area and on our way we see large herds of elephants, kudus, zebras, water buffalos, hyenas and colorful birds. Shortly after noon we arrive at Camp Shingwedzi. The temperature meanwhile easily exceeds the 30 degree mark. We chill in the hammock, forego the evening drive and go to bed early.
During the morning drive to the Red Rocks there is not much going on. Except for some giraffes, hardly any animals can be seen. At 35 degrees, they probably prefer to spend their time somewhere undisturbed in the shade. So we are already back in the camp at nine am, look for a shady spot and take a break.
The drive the next day to Punda Maria leads through a beautiful varied landscape with many rivers. In addition to the 35 degrees, there is a strong wind today, which swirls up a lot of dirt on the dust-dry roads. The animals probably don't like the weather either and hardly anyone shows up. In the camp is an illuminated waterhole, but even there is not much going on, except for a few monkeys who romp around with their offspring.
Today is our last day in Kruger Park. The short drive to Pafuri Gate takes us through a beautiful landscape with huge baobabs that can live for hundreds of years. In its thick trunk it stores water and from the white blossoms cucumber-like fruits develop. And then we are already outside and have to get used to the fact that there are people on the road, that we pass through poor villages and that we are allowed to drive up to 80km/h. In the Forever Resort Tshipise we now take a break for a week and prepare the next part of our journey.
This is the end of our tour through South Africa for the time being. 9700 kilometers in this great and varied country, 1400 km of them in the Kruger Park alone, have left a lasting impression on us. At the end of August we will cross the border to Zimbabwe. As always, you will find out what we will experience in the next blog. Until then, enjoy reading and looking at the pictures.