Everybody who knows me is aware of the fact that The Kruger National Park is my most favourite place in the entire world. I love lots of places and I would be happy wherever I found myself but if I could live in the Kruger National Park, I would be in heaven.
Our stay at Elangeni was lovely. The caravan sites are grassy and under beautiful shady trees. The ablutions are old and could do with an upgrade but the showers were hot and they were clean. We left this morning at 8 o’clock, stopped in Nelspruit to shop for supplies and entered the park before midday.
Getting to Kruger a day earlier than planned was an extra special bonus for me. At something past 11 o’clock this morning we arrived at Malelane Gate and I joyfully went into reception to announce myself. I was just bursting with smiles and enthusiasm and didn’t mind at all that there was a queue. As I entered a lovely, young, tall, woman greeted me and handed me the indemnity form to fill in. She also helped me do it! What fantastic service! I then stood in the queue for not more than two minutes. The young lady who processed me seemed a bit serious at first. “I’m a day early,” I said. “Please, can I book another night at Berg en Dal” She stared at the computer screen and then did the necessary. “We drove here very fast so we could have an extra day,” I enthused.
This seemed to tickle her. “You need to have as much time as you can get it seems. You’re here for a month!”
“Yes,” I replied. “We took four days to get here so we must make it worthwhile!”
She laughed. ” Seri-ous! Then you must have a wonderful time! If you come so far from the southern tip – then you must stay long!”
I left Malelane Gate in the best of moods and rejoined The Earl in the car. Oh, the joy that filled my heart as we drove into the park at last.
Now when you’re towing a caravan you can’t reverse or manoeuvre the car to the perfect position when you come upon a sighting. And nothing too exciting happened in the beginning. First up were warthogs then a few interesting birds, impala and the usual stuff. Then we noticed two cars staring into the bush. We pulled up next to the first one and he shrugged his shoulder and said, “We’re just looking. We haven’t seen anything!”
The Earl pulled away and then I yelled, “Stop! Reverse! Leopard!”
“I can’t reverse,” he said
“Okay – then go forward a fraction and look back.”
He did and we had an awesome sighting of an alert leopard under a tree. Then she started to move. We could not reverse or turn around to see where she went. But at least we’d seen her. And it was just 200m outside Berg en Dal Camp’s gate!
Well, not half an hour in the park and already a leopard on our list! It was certainly a good omen.
After checking in at reception we chose a suitable campsite and settled in. It was a cool 25 degrees C, it was overcast but it only started to rain when we’d finished setting up. The drizzle only lasted a few minutes.
Later in the afternoon, we went for a drive. It’s not usually very productive in the afternoons because of the heat but being overcast and cool we were lucky to see a number of birds and animals.
In the evening we braaied Texan Steaks for dinner.
It was an awesome start to our trip.