The north of Kruger
A trip to Kruger’s north is not to be missed, say Jane and Mike Walker, who won a weekend stay at luxurious Pafuri Camp in the Autumn 2011 issue of Wild.
On our first game drive we drove through the fever tree forest at sunset and the colours of the trees were amazing: glowing in the late afternoon sun. Our drive to Crooks’ Corner was halted by a group of elephant which would not move so we just watched them tearing down whole trees and eating.
We returned from our game drive in the dark and Pafuri Camp’s whole walkway was lit with paraffin lamps curving all the way up to the deck. It looked like fairyland under the huge nyala trees.
After dinner some of the staff performed song and dance with a drum made from a tree trunk about 1.5m high. The deep sound reverberated around the bush in a haunting way.
At sunrise the next morning we were driving along when Mike spotted a pair of three banded coursers - a very rare sighting - along the road. We watched the coursers for a while before driving off and seeing numerous other really special birds along the way. We ended up at a vlei full of waterbirds. There must have been at least 15 species and with them were some eland chomping away peacefully.
The following sunset found us watching hippo and marvelling at baobabs silhouetted against the sky. Thulamela archeological site was really special with an atmosphere of its own and surrounded by ancient baobabs. From the hill we watched a herd of elephant with tiny babies heading down towards the river. The impala lilies on the hill were in full bloom and looked amazing.
After our weekend we drove through Kruger, which was looking amazing with the mopane trees in their red winter colours. The camp at Shingwedze looked so pretty.
On our way out of Kruger, after five days there altogether, we came across a spotted hyena with a teenager and two very small pups. They were so close to the road, we were worried the pups might run into the road. We watched them play and interact for ages and it was an appropriate farewell to Kruger.
Having spent time in a lot of parks from Hwange in Zimbabwe to Etosha and Kgalagadi, I must say we are hooked on Kruger. If you have a chance, visit Kruger in August and go north, it is so worthwhile and the park's camps are very comfortable.