Kruger National Park, South Africa, and its World-Renowned Game Reserve

(I’m still in South Africa. I’ve had a delay in posting mainly due to lack of internet and spotty cellular service. But, I’m back online…at least for now. )

There’s something rather magical and slightly scary when you step outside the ‘normal’ in your life and put yourself into something so totally different you’re actually laughing at yourself and wondering “what was I thinking” when I decided to take this trip.

It’s more than just coming to South Africa because coming here was important to me. It’s more of how I’ve chosen to experience Africa, in this case, South Africa, with a small group of people, traveling in a truck/bus and camping along the way.

Plus, it’s traveling on the ground, not in an airplane or on a cruise, and actually see howling how this great country’s people live their day to day lives. I’ve seen my share of the European Continent and there’s more I want to see and will see soon but coming to Africa wasn’t at the top of my travel list until now. This great urge has risen up in me and I want to see as much of the African Continent as possible.

Sunday was a long hot day on the bus from Johannesburg, with a 5 a.m. start…that’s be ready and on the bus to go at 5:30 a.m. But seeing the people and the lush land made it all worth while. We also stopped along the way to shop for lunch, water and snacks at SPAR, the big chain grocery store, before making it to our destinations, the Panorama Route and our home base for two nights, camping at Kruger National Park.

I pitched my first ten Sunday night, with a lot of help and direction from our guide, Meshack and my tent mate, Julia. I also helped with preparing for dinner, and by that I mean, cleaning the cobs of corn, but Meshack is also the chef. After dinner and helping to clean up, it was late and I was so exhausted, I slept…and rather peacefully with my clothes on…yes, the same clothes I’d had on since Saturday. Chalk it up to a traveling camper’s life.

And, then Monday morning, its pack, load the trucks, gather the sleeping bag and mattress and take down the tent…all before breakfast. Then load the truck for a game drive through Kruger National Park, which is about 7,500 square miles.

Yes, I was ready for a different travel experience, which is definitely what South Africa provides. But this camping ‘thing’ well, I’m glad I’m doing it now but I’m not sure it’s really my personal cup of tea.

We spent most of the day being amazed by the wilds of Africa at the Kruger National Park. Kruger is a gem reserve and park where people come from all over the world to see lions, tigers elephants, hyenas, giraffes, antelope, buffalos and a host of other animals, birds and landscape in the wild of the African Bus.

After a hot, sweaty and exciting day of watching the most magnificent animals in their natural habit…the African bush, I was ready for a nice hot shower and change of clothes. There are rather descent shared showers and toilet facilities at the camp sites. Thankfully, I came prepared with a towel, plastic shower shoes and a bar of soap that doubled as my shampoo. And, even though I packed light, I realize now, I could have done an even better job of not bringing certain ‘just in case’ things like liquid shampoo.

WiFi has been difficult to obtain and although my T-Mobile cellular service worked well in Johannesburg, it doesn’t do as well as we move out into other areas of Johannesburg. So, I’ll be playing catch-up with my posts.

Swaziland is next. But here are the South Africa highlights from Sunday and Monday during our stay at Kruger National Park.

The Intrepid Travel truck transporting the 16 of us traveling in throughout some of the 22-day trip from Johannesburg to Cape Town. Some of the tour members will depart the tour in Durban and several will join-in…either way, I’m in this bus until we reach Cape Town. (Sept. 30, 2018)

The richness of South Africa’s land can be seen for miles. The drive from Johannesburg was long and hot but again, the only way to see the countryside. We left Johannesburg at 5:30 a.m. Saturday morning and drove most of the day. (Sept. 30, 2018)

On our way from Johannesburg to the Kruger National Park, we stopped at Blyde River Canyon in Mpumalanga, South Africa. It is considered to be possibly one of the largest canyons on Earth and largest ‘green canyon’ due to its lush subtropical foliage. Behind me are the huge, “Three Rondavels,” thought to be reminiscent of the houses or huts of the indigenous people, known as rondavels. This canyon is part of the Panorama Route that includes God’s Window and Bourke’s Luck Potholes. (Sept. 30, 2018)

This type of lone tree growing majestically in the hot and seemingly dry African landscape, at least for me, feels synonymous with Africa. But this was actually taken at Blyde Canyon in Mpumalanga, South Africa. (Sept. 30, 2018)

The Blyde River Canyon in Mpumalanga, South Africa, is considered to be possibly one of the largest canyons on Earth and largest ‘green canyon’ due to its lush subtropical foliage. (Sept. 30, 2018)

Bourke’s Luck Potholes in Mpumalanga, South Africa, is part of the Panorama Route that includes Blyde River Canyon and God’s Window. Over eons of time two rivers forming left cylindrical potholes in the sandstone bedrock forming spectacular patterns and rock formations. (Sept. 30, 2018)

Bourke’s Luck Potholes in Mpumalanga, South Africa, is part of the Panorama Route that includes Blyde River Canyon and God’s Window. (Sept. 30, 2018)

Bourke’s Luck Potholes in Mpumalanga, South Africa, is part of the Panorama Route that includes Blyde River Canyon and God’s Window. (Sept. 30, 2018)

Bourke’s Luck Potholes in Mpumalanga, South Africa, is part of the Panorama Route that includes Blyde River Canyon and God’s Window. (Sept. 30, 2018)

God’s Window, part of the Panorama Route that includes Blyde River Canyon and Bourke’s Luck Potholes in Mpumalanga, South Africa. God’s Window provides magnificent views, canyons, rock formations and waterfalls. (Sept. 30, 2018)

One of nine main gates allowing entrance to the different camps at Kruger National Park. Considered one of the largest game reserves in Africa, the park covers more than 7,500 square miles in the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga in northeastern South Africa. (Sept. 30, 2018)

At the entrance to Kruger National Park in South Africa, one of the largest game reserves in Africa, is this stone statue of Paul Kruger, president of the Republic of South Africa at the time, proclaimed the area, which was inhabited by the Tsonga people, a sanctuary for the protection of its wildlife. (Sept. 30, 2018)

Kruger National Park founders, Paul Kruger (1825-1904 center), Pieter Gerrit Wessex Grobler (1873-1942 left) and Lt. Col. James Stevenson-Hamilton (1867-1957 right). Areas of the park were first protected by the government of the South African Republic in 1898, and it became South Africa’s first national park in 1926. (Sept. 30, 2018)

Sunday was our first camp night together as a group at a Kruger National Park camp site. Meshack, our Intrepid Travel guide, to the right is cooking dinner and the rest of us, yes, myself included helped. From left, Ray, Alexis, Nick and Meshack. (Sept. 30, 2018)

An early morning rise on Monday at Kruger National Park…my tent mate, Julia, getting herself together so we can begin the process of taking down the tend to move it to another location in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. But on the way to the other camp site, we’ll be spending the day checking out the wild life. (Oct. 1, 2018)

Row of our group tents at Kruger National Park in South Africa. (Oct. 1, 2018)

An antelope called an Impala, one of a vast variety of wildlife that roam the more than 7,500 square miles of Kruger National Park in South Africa. (Oct. 1, 2018)

A giraffe at Kruger National Park in South Africa. (Oct. 1, 2018)

A giraffe at Kruger National Park in South Africa. (Oct. 1, 2018)

There are actually three male lions chilling out here at Kruger National Park in South Africa. The young male is the one looking out and the older male, with the darker coat, is laying down and another younger male is laying behind him. (Oct. 1, 2018)

A Kudu at the Kruger National Park in South Africa. (Oct. 1, 2018)

A Kudu at Kruger National Park in South Africa. (Oct. 1, 2018)

A velvet monkey at Kruger National Park in South Africa. (Oct. 1, 2018)

The gorgeous African Bush landscape at Kruger National Park in South Africa. (Oct. 1, 2018)

A group of antelope at the Kruger National Park in South Africa. (Oct. 1, 2018)

A group of antelope at the Kruger National Park in South Africa. (Oct. 1, 2018)

I was intrigued by these termite mounds throughout Kruger National Park in South Africa. The termite mounds can consume a dead tree, no matter how tall and topple it. (Oct. 1, 2018)

I was intrigued by these termite mounds throughout Kruger National Park in South Africa. The termite mounds can consume a dead tree, no matter how tall and topple it. (Oct. 1, 2018)

The gorgeous African Bush in Kruger National Park in South Africa. (Oct. 1, 2018)

The African Wild Dog at Kruger National Park in South Africa. The African Wild Dog is an endangered species, with only four remaining populations in Africa, one of which is Kruger. (Oct. 1, 2018)

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