South Africa ’14, Part 5: Kruger National Park

Kruger is probably the biggest and most famous National Park in South Africa so it’s kind of a must-see when coming here. The park is so huge that we spent 5 days driving from one camp to the next and only covered half the ground.

Some note on the side: the purpose of visiting a safari is watching game so you drive very slowly to look for rarely-seen animals such as lions or leopards who hunt at night and spend their days sleeping, that’s why on average we drove only about 50-70km/day. The density of animals you see in the park depends heavily on the seasons. Dry season is always a good time to watch game because animals usually gather around the water holes. Sometimes people spend hours hiding around to wait for some interesting animals to show up.

Kruger has much greater population of wildlife than Hluhluwe or Kgalagadi but somehow it was the park we like the least. There are paved roads from North to South, from East to West with only a few dirt roads on the sides (which are the most fun to drive, off the beaten track and away from all the crowds) so you don’t really need a SUV to drive in here. There are also supermarkets and restaurants at most camps so no need to pre-purchase your whole supply of foods and water either (we had like ten liters of water in our van). Everything sounds really convenient, but that’s the thing that makes the whole experience a little less “interesting”, at least for us. Having fallen in love with Kgalagadi (we’re already planning a revisit for our next Botswana-Namibia trip) we came here hoping to “see” much more. We did see more wild animals than in other parks, but were a little bit disappointed nevertheless. Everything was so “civilized” in Kruger that we both felt like we were missing something the entire time. It was like being in a very big zoo with lots of lazy visitors who know so little about what-not-to-do or respecting the animals’ privacy (like the green car in the third picture), which was a bit annoying as well. Don’t get me wrong though, I would still recommend visiting Kruger if you have the chance because we did enjoy our time here a lot. We’re just pretty sure we wouldn’t come back the second time, mostly because there’s still so much else to see.


No big surprise: impalas
Impalas, probably the most-seen animals in every park in South Africa. The locals call them “McDonald in the bush” for a reason.
A big guy, clearly showing signs of being in heat: wet rear legs and glands between ears and mouth producing some liquid. The brochure you receive when entering the park tells you explicitly to stay away from these guys!
African Elephants live in big family groups, while young males start to go their own way when reaching adulthood (very similar to lions in this respect). These young adults, especially ones that are trying to mark their domain by peeing or producing some liquid out of their ears and mouth, are often very aggressive and hence dangerous, you don’t want to mess with them. Even though you receive enough information like this upon entering the park, we had the feeling that most people didn’t even bother reading it. Like these below..
These crazy visitor obviously haven't read the brochure. 3 weeks ago an elephant had to be shot after having been in exactly the same situation - except that in this case the elephant turned the car upside down!
This car stood in the elephant’s way the whole time and wouldn’t go on reverse until the it got very very close. Because of reckless people like these, some elephants had gotten killed in Kruger for “attacking” visitors (you can google it, there’s lots of videos on youtube, sadly). But it’s not the elephant, it’s the people that provoke them. Some people just don’t get it. The park is their home so whey they have the feeling you’re trying to “invade” it, they’ll come at you. It’s not so hard to be respectful while in someone else’s home, isn’t it?!
Two kids having fun
A 500mm lens is a must here
A 500mm lens is a must here
Breakfast time in the bush
I have to admit this is not a nice sight to see, but that’s life in the bush and visitors are not supposed to interfere in any way. You’re lucky if you’re on the upper end of the food chain.
some peace every now and then
Funny guy crossing the street
J always has a better eye for spotting small creatures like this
Can't remember the name of these animals
Can’t remember the name of these animals
The female of the race I can't remember
The female of the race I can’t remember
Our car and bungalow
Our car and bungalow for the first night
We were lucky spotting the leopard while driving along a dirt road
We were very lucky to spot this leopard while driving along a dirt road cause they hunt at night and often sleep all day
Very sleepy.....
Very sleepy indeed …..
Giraffes again
Giraffes again


Every giraffe has a different pattern
Well equipped with fridge !
Well equipped with fridge !
A rare bird called hornbill
A rare bird called hornbill



Our only sighting of a buffalo herd
Our only sighting of a buffalo herd
Curious zebras
Curious Burchell’s Zebras
kruger38 (1)
isn’t he handsome?
Sun rising at Olifants rest camp. We woke up so early and enjoyed the sounds of the bush
Sun rising at Olifants Rest Camp where we spent our third night in the park. We often woke up early to enjoy the sounds of the bush
My beauty still a bit sleepy
My beauty still a bit sleepy


A Baobab tree
A Baobab tree, the little white spot on the trunk is P !
Lunch break at another part of the river
Lunch break at another part of the river, typical landscape of Kruger Park.
Kissing hippos ?
Kissing hippos ?
Happy hippo family
Happy hippo family




That has been a difficult shot with the big lens
That has been a difficult shot with the big lens
Looks like the heraldic bird for Germany
Looks like the heraldic bird for Germany
View from our last camp
Sunset view from our last camp. We had this entire 3-bedroom lodge for us which we barely needed. Somehow after 2 weeks in the country, we had gotten used to the sound of Hippos huffing at night and birds singing (very loudly) in the morning so if it had not been for the mosquitos, we would have slept outside that night, right here, on this terrace. How could you say no to this view.

Having fun while taking a selfie

Sunset, try to imagine the sound of Africa at night....
Sunset & the sound of Africa at night….


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