Firstly, before I begin I must point out that I’d been totally spoilt before getting to Kruger National Park in South Africa. I had trekked to see gorillas in Uganda, seen the illusive leopard in the Masai Mara in Kenya, watched lions interacting in both Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park and had spotted rhinos in Etosha National Park in Namibia.
So by the time I got to South Africa I had literally seen all of the animals so I was really looking forward to my very last safari in Africa and my hopes were high as I’d heard and seen great things about Kruger. But my trip to Kruger did not live up to expectations. Here is the good and the bad.
So when I arrived at Kruger and was greeted by literally hundreds of people, cars, buses and vans at the entrance I knew this was going to be a totally different safari experience. It felt more like a drive through safari park that you find in the U.K rather than a truly unique safari experience
After arriving at Kruger bright and early for the 5.30am gate time we were greeted straight away by two rhinos grazing right by the road, they had their horns which was really nice to see after seeing rhinos de-horned in Etosha.
We did attempt to see a leopard but because there was about 20 other vehicles trying to see the leopard at the same time it became almost impossible. There were vehicles trying to whizz in and out of tiny gaps, there were people making a lot of noise, cars literally crashing into each other and causing damage and in the end no one could see the leopard. That is what I didn’t like about Kruger, whenever there was something to see there was just too many people and the animals were scared away.
In other parks there are restrictions on how many vehicles can be viewing animals at one time. In the Masai Mara I recall it was only 10 vehicles at a time to protect the animals and make sure they are not under any stress, there was clearly no such rule in Kruger.
There is no shortage of elephants in Kruger and we saw many over the course of our two day safari there. One even joined me for my early morning coffee!
We saw lots of monkeys hanging around and grooming each other.
Brave tortoises crossing the street
Baby hyenas with a very tired looking Mum
and even more rhinos, a baby this time.
Day two in Kruger was a huge disappointment, after getting up at 4am and heading off at 4.30am for our morning game drive we didn’t really see anything. Not a thing for hours, we didn’t even see a lion during the whole time in Kruger so that was really disappointing.
Kruger was going through a difficult period we later learnt, the water buffalo’s have contracted some sort of disease so they are having to cull them as well as elephants and because there was a drout the land was so dry, the watering holes empty and when there is no food or water that means only one thing, the animals are suffering. We only found this out after leaving Kruger.
On day 3 in Kruger we spent three hours driving and again saw nothing, we left Kruger with a real bitter taste in our mouth and compared to all the other safari’s it was definitely the worst one we did during our 11 weeks in Africa. I know looking at my photos it looks like I saw a lot and we did on our first day but we were in Kruger for two full days plus a morning so when you average that out over the hours spent in the stinking hot vehicle it wasn’t a lot.
When you think of safari you instantly think of Kruger but I would urge you to look elsewhere as it really did not compare to the others. The other safari’s had beautiful landscapes, an abundance of animals and safari vehicles certainly better than the buses that we saw other groups in or your own personal car.
Have you been to Kruger? Did you have a different experience?
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