We’ve made it! If it hadn’t taken us so much longer than we intended, arriving at Kruger wouldn’t really be a big deal. As the country’s most popular and best-known tourist destination, people visit this park in droves – as day visitors, on bus tours, to stay overnight or longer, to see wildlife and to generally just chill out.
Still, our travels to get here have been interesting and thankfully we’ve had no major mishaps along the way. We somehow just seem to choose the ‘road less travelled’, don’t we?
We have been driving through orange groves, banana and mango plantations and past farms growing tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins and maize. Always maize, planted wherever there are a few spare metres of vacant land. On our way here, we drove past the area where the liqueur Amarula is made. It’s a creamy liqueur made from marula fruit, known as ‘elephant fruit’ because apparently elephants will walk for miles to eat them, they are so delicious. We saw people picking the fruit from trees by the side of the road. I guess if there is one commercial manufacturer of Amarula, there are lots of backyard operations and ‘home-brewers’ of it as well.
Kruger is a huge national park and has loads of campgrounds and other accommodation spread around it. We’re staying at a very large one, the Letaba Camp, in the northern part of the park that has a petrol station, shop, restaurant and even a couple of laundromats! There are a lot of different accommodation options here, ranging from 2 guesthouses, family units with a couple of bedrooms, kitchen & bathroom to more basic huts that share kitchens and communal bathrooms, some fixed tents and a large camping area that only has about 6 caravans and 2 tents – ours and one that belongs to some black people. We chatted with a guy at a caravan and camping store and he told us that the blacks are getting more into camping now … as the black middle class grows, I guess.
We went and had a drink on the verandah of the restaurant last night. It overlooks the Letaba River and is apparently good for wildlife viewing. We saw a hippo and an elephant which was a bit unexciting after the teeming wildlife we saw on our Chobe River boat trip. Not sure if we were too late, or if there just isn’t as much here as in northern Botswana. We’ll keep looking, though.
We’re planning on spending a week here, staying at various places, and will then go back to Joburg next weekend for a few nights, hopefully in a loft apartment in a trendy part of town. We have to take the car back and get another one, and there’s a Sunday market that sounds great, and the Apartheid Museum seems to be a must-visit.
Ugh, it’s humid here. It rained last night and we had to race around and get stuff under cover. After a week in Botswana where it hardly ever rains in summer, we’re not used to it … although we should be after 3 weeks of daily thunderstorms in the US while we were camping last year!
As I’m writing this, there’s a cheeky squirrel who keeps trying to sneak up and see what he can take from us. A few nights ago we left the boot open while we were having dinner and the next morning I found that our bread had been nibbled and tiny droppings around it. I was a bit scared that we might have shut the creature up in the boot overnight, but nothing jumped out at me, thank goodness!