Kruger National Park

As usual, other half and myself try and spend time quietly during the Holiday season and specially during the Christmas period.  This year, on the spur of the moment and an unexpected day off, I phoned and miraciously managed to get a booking for Kruger National Park.  Staying at Satara camp, Letaba Camp and Olifants Camp.  I was quite excited, but was really surprised that the costs of going to our National Park has become so expensive.  Not only that, upon entering an amount of R62.00 per person per day has to be paid for Community Levy.   This pushed the price up by nearly a R1000.00 for the few days we booked in. I have mixed feelings about the Community Levy.  How can a 2 year old also be liable to pay a levy of R62 per day?  This was a question a guest raised at the one camp.  Not only that, but, I can see the writing is on the wall and SANP is definitely following Nambian National Parks, specifically relating to Etosha, where it has become so expensive for South Africans, we can hardly go there.

Of course we got lost getting to Kruger, as other half chose to follow the very intelligent woman with her irritating voice on his GPS.  Shortest route to be followed:  gravel roads for 45km.  I was glad though to see traffic cops just inside the Orpen Gate, as speeding is prohibited in Kruger.  Speed limit is 40km per hour.

After checking in at Satara, we decided to rather have supper at the restaurant as it was late already.  Meal was okay, but definitely over priced.

The following morning, we left at 5 in the morning to go for our game drive and breakfast at Tshokwane picnic spot.  Always a favourite, with boerewors (sausage), pap and sheba (sauce), the most popular.  Here you get a huge serving and it is very  affordable at R30 per person.  If you are lucky, you can also have a huge slice of milk tart.  Many people come here and sort their own breakfasts out.  However, be careful of the vervet monkeys, as they are real little thieves and are getting more aggressive. This is due to visitors feeding them and now they decided to take what they want.

Exciting sighting at Satara – leopard.

We stayed for 3 nights at Satara and then moved down to Letaba. I can honestly say that the ladies in the reception area where one booked in, were among the most unfriendly people I have ever met.  This is not good PR, Sanparks!! Dinner at the restaurant again.  Never again.  Expensive, and basically pub grub.  Pub grub is fine, but then one should charge pub prices.

I visited the Elephant hall, which is always interesting.  This tells the story of the various Great Tuskers of Kruger.  And is definitely worth seeing.

Exciting sighting at Letaba – none.

After Letaba we went to Olifants, which is not a very large camp, but to me, the most beautiful.  It is set high up on the banks of the Olifants River and has got the most stunning views.  For some reason we were upgraded to a newer chalet fully fitted, which was very nice…and appreciated.  At Olifants, one can just sit at the viewing deck at the restaurant and just drink in the view. It is honestly one of the most beautiful views.

Exciting sighting at Oilfants – none.

We left the following day, down to Skukuza on our way out of Kruger.  A rainy, blustery day.  Most disturbing site of a White Rhino trying to get across the road, but because the motorists had their vehicle lights on, he became extremely disorientated.  Are people just too dumb?  Or stupid? We left the sighting, as I could not handle it.  Even after telling people to put their lights off, they kept it on, cameras flashing.  Also saw some stupid idiots cornering a mother warthog and small babies trying to cross the road, while they take pictures, the mother was getting extremely flustered and stressed, as she could not find a safe place for her little ones.  No people!!

On our way we had a fleeting sighting of wild dogs, as once again a traffic jam was caused, by inconsiderate tourists and visitors.  Some even hooting.  More like a traffic jam in the middle of a city, than people who appreciate nature. We left…in disgust.

To be very honest, I am aware that this is not a very positive review of Kruger.  But, it was a huge disappointment.  I feel it has become too commercialized in Kruger.  Things are “lacking” in some of the camps. People no longer have respect for the wildlife and actions towards the animals too invasive. It has become way too expensive for what it is.

I am not saying Kruger National Park is not beautiful and mostly unspoilt. If you are lucky you could have wonderful sightings.  Birders can have excellent birding opportunities.  Maybe I got spoilt by the smaller private game reserves, I don’t know.  This time around, it just was not a good experience.  Which was disappointing, as I have visited Kruger on numerous holidays and always loved it.

Will I visit Kruger National Park in the near future again?  My answer – I cant say I will.

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