Snapshot – Kruger

Time for another travel snapshot! And this one is going to be fairly photo heavy. I recently read a post by my friend, Niki, entitled Dream Destination and it got me thinking about one of my dream destinations. It’s a place I’ve been fortunate enough to have visited a couple of times and I’m always looking for the next opportunity to return. It’s Kruger National Park (or more specifically Greater Kruger) in South Africa. My first visit there was in September 2013, it was a short 3 days spent at Thornhill Safari Lodge in Guernsey Private Nature Reserve. My more recent trip was in August 2015, 6 nights in total, split between two unique lodges – nThambo Tree Camp and Africa on Foot in the Klaserie Private Game Reserve. Now, I should say, obviously a trip to Kruger is about the wildlife but I feel the need to mention the accommodation too – as each of these lodges was amazing. I’m particularly partial to nThambo, there’s something that just appeals to my childlike nature about staying in something of a treehouse. Sitting up high on my own private balcony just watching the wildlife wander in and out of the camp. Magic!

IMG_1185
Africa on Foot’s treehouse
IMG_0118
Lovely lion posing for us
IMG_0163
Some serious teeth on this hyena

In the last 2 years, I’ve made three separate trips to southern Africa. I confess, I never anticipated that it would get under my skin quite like it has. There’s something about the place … The landscapes, the incredible sunsets, the people and of course, the magnificence of the wildlife, that just grabs you. I’ve been to somewhere in the vicinity of 33 countries but I find I’m stuck now … I have this almost constant, underlying need to return. I’m always looking for the next safari. My trip last year was, in a word, spectacular. It will go down as one of the best holidays I’ve taken. I travelled with someone who is as passionate about travel as I am & who is equally as fond of wildlife too. For me, that really added to the experience. There was never a question of whether he was bored or restless – just the comfort & enjoyment of sharing the wonderful sightings with a likeminded person.

IMG_0189IMG_1361

The typical day on a safari starts early, approximately 5:30am. Time enough for a quick wash & change, and a light refreshment of rusks and coffee, before piling into the open 4WD safari vehicle. Our morning game drives were usually about 3 hours long, with a brief stop where you can hop out of the 4WD for coffee (or tea, if you prefer). Returning to the lodge for a hearty breakfast and then your day is pretty much at leisure until your evening game drive, which kicks off at about 4pm. The night drives are a completely different experience, there’s something so amazing about rounding the corner of a dirt track to be confronted by rhino blocking the road or to find yourself suddenly surrounded by a massive herd of elephant (you would not believe how quiet elephant can be!). The highlight of a night drive for me (aside from the wildlife) is when you stop for “sundowners” … an alcoholic beverage of your choice, in a picturesque location, to watch the magnificent sunset! Honestly, does it get any better? I think not.

If I were a better writer I’d know precisely the words to explain what it feels like to get up close to an elephant or a rhino in its natural environment. To have nothing but air between you and these massive, powerful, majestic animals is a humbling experience to be sure. To be surrounded by a herd of 300-odd buffalo or to witness a lion devour a stunningly beautiful male kudu, is as intimidating as it is awe-inspiring.  But it’s not just the search for the “big 5” that makes a safari what it is. It’s the smaller wildlife or the more “common” creatures that all add to the experience. And some of the bird life is just as incredible. So, because I can’t describe it in words … I’ll show you in photos:

IMG_1031
A beautiful female kudu

IMG_0632IMG_0853

IMG_0657
The cute steenbok
IMG_0374
Zebra crossing … I know, someone had to say it
IMG_1004
This little baby was just learning how to use it’s trunk

IMG_1012IMG_1147

I could’ve shared so many photos … I quite literally took hundreds. It was my first trip with a DSLR camera too, so lots of experimenting and learning on the fly was going on! Perhaps some of my other photos will make an appearance in future posts. But I hope this small sample has given you all a taste of the wildlife encounters to be had in Kruger and its surrounds. As for me, I’m not sure when I shall return to South Africa. I have been discussing safari options again though … so perhaps it won’t be too far off. Fingers crossed! 🙂

All photographs are the property of the author © Kim Richardson 

Advertisements

65 thoughts on “Snapshot – Kruger”

    1. Thanks, Niki. The treehouse was such a thrill. I really like properties that offer something unique. It was such a surreal experience to sleep out in relative openness listening to the lions roar & hyena call 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It really was. There was one night where the lodges set up dinner out in the bush for us. As we were standing around having a drink & chatting, I spotted movement a metre or two from the tables … It turned out to be three hyena! They just loitered around watching us eat. It was such a bizarre but incredible night! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I totally relate to the bug thing. I was fine with all the big animals … But one night, as we were laying down to sleep, I spotted my greatest fear on the other side of the mosquito net … It was a large moth. I mean, BIG. And that was it for me … I cried myself to sleep, shaking like a leaf! Over a moth?! Yep. Seriously.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Wow!! I’m so glad you stopped by my blog as it brought me here. Your photos are lovely although I have to admit my heart was in my throat when I saw the pictures of the lions (yikes). Love the tree house idea but not so sure I could do it out in the open with lions and tigers and hyena (it doesn’t sound the same without saying bears). Looks like you had a fabulous time!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! I find myself rolling through that “lions & tigers & bears” line too 🙂
      I’m so glad you enjoyed the post & the photos. It was such a fabulous trip. I do love the lions – it’s amazing how similar to regular cats they can be though. I had the chance to pat some juvenile lions at a conservation place in Zambia & they love a good belly rub as much as my own cats!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It has to be a surreal experience to be up so close to wild animals. My cousin and his family have been living in Africa for a couple of years now and his wife posts the most amazing photos of the wildlife and the phenomenal landscape.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. So true, it is incredible. And the landscapes are wonderful … That’s probably the part of travel that resonates most with me. Vast, untamed landscape.
        Where in Africa is your cousin living? That must be a great adventure!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. No problem at all. My cousin’s wife is practically lives on facebook and she posts the most fabulous pictures. She talks about some of the wildlife that are in their vicinity and it all sounds so cool. But the one downside are some of the crazy insects that she’s come upon outside and in her house (this would have me running for the hills lol).

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you like the photos! And you’re welcome re the follow 🙂
      Africa is amazing, it certainly deserves to be on your bucket list! I have two other posted on Africa you might enjoy (they are on Namibia):

      https://ramblingsofk.wordpress.com/2016/01/28/snapshot-sossusvlei/

      https://ramblingsofk.wordpress.com/2016/01/15/snapshot-deadvlei/

      Two places that I would absolutely recommend you visit when you start planning your trip!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My dear friend! I know you shy away from the awards but I couldn’t pass you up on this. This post is just too inspiring for me to travel beyond my comfort zone. I know you are an active part of the blog community, so think of this as another way to interact with the community, you’ll be steering traffic to the blogs you nominate 🙂

    So, I just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the Liebster Award. No pressure to accept or participate but you can find the details in the link below should you choose to. Just FYI I linked to your blog and this post specifically for people to check out so I hope you get a few extra clicks whether you decide to partake or not 🙂

    https://therichnessofasimplelife.wordpress.com/2016/03/22/liebster-award/

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m doing well but I had a rough day yesterday. The climax of which was a life long family friend passed away. I’m no stranger to death, but it’s always a shock when you get that phone call.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Awww I’m so story to hear that 😦 It never gets easier no matter how many times you experience it. Wishing you lots of strength and love from my side of the world to yours. My thoughts are with you during this difficult time. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Kim, I had to look at this one again. I will tell you why in an email but I will say this here. I am doing a challenge that is right up your alley. My co-host is May J, my first interview in my “interview a blogger” series, and she will be doing the first post on the kick off day. I will like to wrangle your help in promoting it and also include this post at some point. I enjoyed this so much! I want to travel there too! Will email you shortly. It is a top secret project…lol!!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. A photographer has a certain eye that not even a DSLR can match. I’m sure even if you just brought a mobile camera, the photos will still look as good. They always say, it’s not about the camera, but the photographer’s ability to look into angles, us mortal can’t seem to see hahahaha! But, having a good quality camera doesn’t hurt.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I agree. There’s more to photography than the equipment. It’s how the photographer sees the scene and composes it that makes it unique. I never used to pay much attention to my photos, it’s a new hobby really. So the positive feedback is much appreciated!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! I’m glad you liked the photos. It always an awesome experience. I think in part because it’s so unpredictable, you don’t know from one day to the next what you might see. I like that sense of anticipation & randomness. And you’re so right – the wild is a whole other world. I’m not a fan of cities, give me nature in all of her magnificent forms any day 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We love nature as well! Nature is truly unpredictable and that’s what makes it a whole new experience. I could keep looking at the sun rise and set and not get bored. Would ditch the city for a life in the mountains or a national park, if we could. 🙂 Thanks for sharing such a wonderful trip experience.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s