It was 10 degrees C when we left camp at 07h50 this morning but it was not long before we stripped off our fleeces and it was only necessary to put them back on after 19h00. Another wonderful day in Africa.
Today we travelled the S50 and explored all the loops along the river and visited two hides. Sightings were few and far between. We saw waterbuck, giraffe, zebra, impala and of course lots of elephants who as usual hogged the road and only moved off when they felt like it. I’m sure they do this on purpose just to show who is boss.
But it wasn’t only elephants that caused us angst. Impulsive impala do not have very good road sense and often leap out from the bush to cross a road before you’re aware that this was their plan. This morning an impala ram caused Earl to slam on breaks to avoid hitting him. We were of course driving very slowly as is the rule in the park. Just before that one of the Sanparks trucks with labourers on the back had rattled past us at great speed. I dread to think what would have happened had they needed to stop suddenly for an errant animal.
I have posted photos of the highlights and then below I have given information about the Shingwedzi facilities.
The caravan park is big. Some sites are very shady while others do not offer much shade. We paid extra for a perimeter site and were lucky that number 14 was available and had shade almost the whole day.
There is a monkey and baboon problem here but it was not as bad as Punda Maria. A general rule to follow in every camp is never to leave caravan and car doors open even if you are right there. Never leave food unattended. Close up everything when you leave your site and make sure your food is securely locked away. Leaving food in tents is not advisable. Get a lockable cooler box.
Like all the main camps, Shingwedzi has a shop and a restaurant. The shop does not have the variety of your local supermarket but most essentials are available and you can easily replenish your stocks without having to leave the park to go shopping. If you’ve forgotten to bring a torch, cooking pot, a bird guide, memory card for your camera or anything else, you could probably find your required item at the shop. If you don’t feel like cooking, you will be able to get a good meal at the restaurant at a reasonable cost.
Our caravans are well equipped for cooking and washing up so we don’t always use the camp kitchens but here at Shingwedzi they provide adequate basins, gas stoves and boiling water on tap. They are kept clean by the staff but sometimes other campers don’t clean up properly after themselves.
There are two ablution blocks. The main one has a laundry between the men’s and women’s section. The other is more central but over the road from the campsite, on the reception side. There are positive and negatives regarding these facilities.
- The staff keep them spotlessly clean.
- Adequate hot water
- No broken tiles
- Doors closed properly and locked
- The main one provided a section with mirrors and plugs for hair drying and space for putting on make-up.
- The main one had enough space in each cubicle
- There were three shower cubicles on the second one and only could you open the door without stepping into the shower space.
- Plastic shower curtains
- Shower Cubicles in most are too small
- Paper towel not replaced often enough.
- No disinfectant spray provided to clean basins etc Come on Sanparks – COVID!
We are visiting the park for 38 days so having laundry facilities is important. What I love about coming to Kruger is that they have laundrettes with coin operated machines. At Shingwedzi there are two washing machines and two dryers. Only one washing machine is working. The other sports an out of order notice dated 21 June 2021. The washing machine takes two R5 coins for a 45 minute cycle. One of the dryers also takes two R5 coins but the other takes five R2 coins. Tokens throughout the park would be a better option. Dream on!
There is a swimming pool which we did not use but I went to take a look and it was sparkling.
In spite of maintenance problems and poor management in some areas, Kruger National Park is still a great place to visit. Just be prepared that things won’t be perfect and come prepared. Bring you own sanitising sprays, spare paper towel and/or wiping cloths. Most campers try to leave the facilities clean and neat after using them but there are always those who think somebody else is going to come along and clean up after them.
Tomorrow is moving day. We are looking forward to spending five nights at rustic camp Tzendze.