All-day safari at Kruger Park

We had such an amazing experience with the park that we decided to book a full day safari the next day.

Elephant having a light snack for breakfast

Elephant having a light snack for breakfast

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I would recommend doing a day safari AND a sunset safari as well. You get to see completely different things. This time we paid 647 rand per person (44 dollars) and it starts at 6am and they picked us up from the hotel this time.

Leopard up in the tree... just follow the tail and you'll see it.

Leopard up in the tree… just follow the tail and you’ll see it.

Once again we were luckier than the day before and we were the only two on the tour with the guide, which by the way was AMAZING. She would be driving 40mph on a dirt road kicking up dirt and suddenly come to a full stop and say ‘leopard!’, and there it was, 200 feet away up in a tree. We would have NEVER seen anything otherwise. These are animals who have adapted to the environment and camouflage incredibly well, so yet another reason to go on a tour and not rent a vehicle and tour yourself through the park, that in my opinion would be a waste of money and time.

Matroshka zebras?

Matroshka zebras?

Now this is a full day tour from 6am to 5pm, so you need to pack accordingly. Especially water, although they do provide you with it on the tours. This is an extremely dry and hot place. And I do mean HOT.

IMG_1985

Why did the hyena cross the road?

At noon the temperature was so high that just breathing would make your nostrils burn. They do make a couple stops in lodges inside the park for you to use the facilities (since you can’t get out of the vehicle to pee on the side of the road for obvious reasons…) and have something cold chilled lukewarm to drink.

Safari sightings board

Safari sightings board

In these stops they have maps where people can pinpoint the places where they have spotted specific animals so that you could try and go to the same areas and see them, with the exception of rhinos, which no one is allowed to disclose their location due to poaching concerns.

And yes, poaching does sadly occur inside the park as well. Having said that, we did see three white rhinos but from a distance, though it made me happy enough to find out that there are a few to be seen still. These park-run tours use radios to communicate to other tours and they do have their own code to pass on information about sightings, which you would not have access to if you did a self-driven tour.

IMG_2077Our guide would constantly ask us if we were interested in seeing these hippos in this watering hole, or this large group of zebras down by the river thanks to the info passed on by other rangers. Also, I think this is a great way to make sure you can cover the big 5 animals if you’re the for a short amount of time; you can tell them to skip some animals you’ve already seen and focus on the ones you haven’t.

Look what I caught!

Look what I caught!

When it comes to these experiences, I’m all about getting as much as I can for as little as possible. However, in my attempt to be responsible travelers, I have been trying to make a point of not being somewhat predatory in our activities. If you’re visiting a country where your currency goes a long way, and you’re able to get unbelievable experiences for the price you’d pay for an average restaurant meal back home, then it is the right thing to do to spend a bit more money. Tip your tour guide/park ranger/guide. You’re helping the local economy on a place where that kind of thing helps get a lot done. Beyond that, when you tip the locals and park rangers, they will be less and less inclined to collaborate with poachers, and 20 bucks are not going to make a difference in your bank account at the end of your trip.

You get some extra pictures for reading this far:

Female Kudu (they're tasty!)

Female Kudu (they’re tasty!)

Bush Chicken

Bush Chicken

Giraffe cluster

Giraffe cluster

Male Waterbuck

Male Waterbuck

Impalas. Impalas everywhere.

Impalas. Impalas everywhere.

Water buffalo herd

Water buffalo herd

Baboon. These guys are mean and scary.

Baboon. These guys are mean and scary.

Author: Ben Nickel-D'Andrea

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3 Comments

  1. Great post… who did you hire as your guide?

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    • It was done directly through the hotel and booked with Echo Africa. I can’t remember her name, but I did get a picture!

      Post a Reply
    • Her name was Albertina, and we booked through Echo Africa 🙂

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