Pictures from Kruger Park
October 8 Johannesburg to Nelspruit
October 9 Nelspruit to Pretoriuskop Camp
October 10 Pretoriuskop Camp
October 11 Pretoriuskop Camp to Satara Camp
October 12 Satara Camp
October 13 Satara Camp to Olifants Camp
October 14 Olifants Camp to Hoedspruit
The car that we rented was a Toyota Corolla, and it served us well for the nearly two weeks that we drove it around South Africa. Driving on the left side of the road was surprisingly easy for us right-side drivers, except for the turn signals and windshield wipers.
On our first night in Kruger Park we stayed in a rondavel in Pretoriuskop Rest Camp. Bedroom and bathroom were inside, and the cooking facilities were outside. We had chosen a rondavel at the perimeter of the camp, so we could see vervet monkeys coming over the electrified fence that was supposed to keep animals out of the camp. The next morning they took our bananas when we were not paying attention.
We went on an early-morning game walk at Pretoriuskop. (That meant starting at 5:00 am!) We had two guides who led us along trails through the bush and showed us things like this elephant wallowing spot. Both guides carried weapons that could stop a charging elephant, just in case that sort of thing happened, but in practice they almost never have to use them.
Skukuza Rest Camp, the largest camp in the park, is on the Sabie River. From there you can watch hippos cross the river. The rail bridge is part of an economic development project that took place nearly 100 years ago and it is no longer in use.
Down an unmarked side road is a monument to Jock of the Bushveld. Jock was a dog who lived in the area which is now Kruger Park back in the 19th century, and his owner made Jock's life story into a children's book. The book is hardly politically correct for the new South Africa, but it is still for sale in the park shops.
We don’t have a photograph of the bush described on this sign that is posted in Pretoriuskop Camp, but we did smell it quite often.
This device is a skottel. At the bottom is a tank of propane, at the top is a wok or a frying pan. Normally its purpose is for braai (barbecue in South Africa) but it can be used to boil water for tea as well. We found this one in a picnic spot where you could rent skottels for R10 per hour, but the attendant seemed to have this one boiling water for anybody who wanted tea.
At Olifants Rest Camp we had reserved one of the cabins on the outside of the camp, so we would have a view. This worked much better than at Pretoriuskop or Satara, because the view looked over the valley of the Olifants River at the bottom of the cliff.
And this was the view. As we sat looking down into the valley one afternoon, we watched a group of four female lions trying to stalk a herd of impala that was grazing on the vegetation in the middle of the river.
The night we stayed at Olifants Camp, we went to an astronomy session. It took place at a viewpoint on top of a hill, not far from the camp, which overlooked the river valley. After we had drinks and snacks, the astronomer gave a short talk about basic astronomy topics like how to find the South Pole in the sky (much harder than finding the North Pole), then showed us some things through her telescope.
Kruger Park has a museum called the "Magnificent Seven" museum, which highlights seven of the largest elephants ever to live in the park. You would think it might be located in Olifants Camp, but no, it is actually in Letaba Camp just to the north. It has the tusks of all seven and tells the story of the life and death of each of them.
On the side of a little hill in the mopane forest near the Phalaborwa exit of the park, some archaeologists have been researching some early Sotho people who had a village there a few hundred years ago. These people made their living by smelting iron and trading metal tools with other people in the area. The park had built this outdoor museum depicting how the people lived in those days, and there was a guide on duty who gave us a tour around it.