The Kruger Park itself is full of various rest camps and picnic spots. Having being brought up with a visit almost every year to the park we were always spoilt for choice.
We were torn between Shimuwini and Satara for our two night stay. However from past experience the animals always seemed to be more likely down south and therefore a booking was made thanks to Margie and Rodney.
Entry Through Orpen
Due to the distance and the likeliness of spotting animals using the Kruger route to Satara we decided on entering the park from down South via the Orpen Gate as apposed to the Phalaborwa Gate.
The journey was flawless apart from the usual poor driver antics offered by South Africans.
One instance we witnessed a car try to overtake the car ahead. Knowing full well that a car was coming we watched in shock as he swung his car straight back into the correct lane. That could have ended badly!
Another entertaining factor was the cow near the gate itself. Experiencing cows walking by the side of the road is always a sight to remember. But witnessing them decide to walk across the road whilst you are doing in excess of 120kph it truly is what we call a underpants changing experience.
When we arrived in Phalaborwa we were stunned by this wet liquid in the air. Known to the English as rain, here it is a blessing.
It truly showed how much they needed it from the colour change in the park.
The grass was green, the animals looked healthy. And more to the point it was growing nicely.
The road to Satara was hugely shortened due to the entry via Orpen Gate.
Already you could tell you had entered further south from the way the landscape varied.
A lot more open and less Mopani bushes meant it was easier to spot animals.
Fortunate enough for us we started our journey with some great sightings of Kudu, Elephant, Zebra, and much more.
Arrival At Satara
To us Satara wasn’t somewhere new, as our journeys have always taken us here, however a stay was something we had done for many years.
The camp was just the way we left it with the restaurant and shop looking exactly how it used to many years ago.
We looked at the Map to see what sightings had been spotted that day with amazement at the amount of leopard and cheetah sightings.
That evening we decided the best way to settle in would be to organise a Braai with the meat we had brought with.
We could not have asked for a better finish to a fantastic day.
Day Two The Early Risers
We had decided to rise early to make the most out of the day. Knowing the heat of Southern Africa, no animal in their right mind would be getting up late to stand in the blistering sun.
So our adventure began at 5am.
The gates themselves opened at 4:30, but with a late night Braai, I don’t think either of us had the energy for any earlier.
Coffee flasks at bay, we were on our way!
After a few sightings we came across a pack of hyena, demolishing the left over of a Zebra.
We sat still photographing this prime opportunity, capturing various angles whilst experiencing the young cubs as well.
Whilst focusing on the sights at a distance we heard screeching as two were fighting right by the car over a piece of zebra.
The noise alone made us jump.
Further down the trail we spotted a Leopard in a tree. It was snoozing at quite a distance, but we managed to capture its true beauty in a couple of shots.
It does amaze us how good some peoples eyes are. Whilst many look just in the grass next to the road, others look miles away in the trees.
Already it made our morning well worth the early start. We had been fortunate to experience a variety of sightings before our return to the camp to see Rodney and Margie.
We had also seen a variety of other animals including Giraffe, Zebra, Monkey, and Elephant. However it was the Leopard and Hyena that really stuck out.
Lunch Time Spotting
On our return we grabbed a quick bite to eat before setting off with Rodney and Margie.
A lot of sighting of Lion had been spotted on a particular road so we decided to go look.
Sadly we took a detour venturing onto a sand road which was a bumpy experience.
With the blazing sun excelling in temperature all the animals were hiding in the shade.
Day Three The Even Earlier Risers
After yesterdays experience, what better way to start the day than another early start.
Setting our alarms even earlier we were abruptly woken at 4am.
Our bodies on the other hand only got up at 5am.
Sand Road Adventures
A quick check of the map and we were on the road to wildlife heaven.
On The Lookout For Lion
Nearing where Lion had been spotted the previous day we saw a few vultures in the trees. This alone was a sign of things to come.
Naturally Vultures and Hyena follow Lion around. Being lazy animals/birds they eat the remains from a Lion kill hence their continuous following.
After spotting a large herd of Elephant we saw two Hyenas in the distance.
The cameras came out and we continued to photograph them.
Next thing we saw was an elephant charging at the Hyena to chase them away.
A sight we will never forget!
With this came a slight scare as both the Elephant and Hyena headed in our general direction… This alone is a tale for another day.
Back To Pack
After what can only be described as a fantastic morning it was time to head back to pack up our belongings in the camp and head home.
With a decision to return via Olifants rest camp for lunch we lapped up yet another Chocolate Milkshake as our journey was nearing an end.
Our Adventure Must To An End… Almost!
The journey back home was a quiet one for sightings, hence the original plan to drive to Satara via Orpen Gate.
However 15km from the gate we stopped to see an elephant grazing in a nearby patch of grass.
Rodney then continued to roll down the hill with the car off.
What was up?
An electrical fault in his Mercedes had meant it had cut out and would not start. So close to the gate yet so far.
Guidelines for the park mean that you cannot get out of your car but in this instance something had to be done to fix it.
With no luck and nothing to fix the issue we had to call for support to be towed home.
Sadly there was no signal on our Cell Phones so we headed to the gate to get help.
Home For A Swim
The heat was tremendous as we got back to Phalaborwa, truly realising why they call it The Town Of Two Summers.
So a quick dive in the pool and we were back to reality.
End Of The Adventure
After what can only be described as an amazing adventure with some great sightings, we sat back and reminisced over a rum and coke on what a great three days we had.
Here is to our next adventure.