African braai in the Kruger National Park
During a holiday in South Africa, a visit to the Kruger National Park is a must. From Cape Town, you fly in 2.5 hours to Phalaborwa Airport, which is located near the central entrance to the park. Or rent a car from Johannesburg and drive seven hours to the north. With your car, you make your safari through this huge park with a stay in a lodge and end the day with an African braai.
The Kruger Park is 20,000 square kilometers in size, covering half of the Netherlands, and is located north of Johannesburg. Before we, the millennials of Orange Babies, entered the park, we were still on our bikes. Then with saddle-ache, we went into the car to Kruger. The park has several entrances and more than 20 accommodations. You might think you see tourists everywhere, but nothing could be further from the truth. The park is so huge and there are so many different roads, that you are hardly bothered by other tourists.
Larger Limpopo Oorgrenspark
Paul Kruger is the founder of the park. The president of the South African Republic established the Sabie Game Reserve. This was because there was a need to protect nature and wildlife from increasing hunting. For a few years, the park is part of the Larger Limpopo Oorgrenspark. Together with the neighboring countries Mozambique and Zimbabwe, they are working on a large game park of about 100,000 square kilometers. The aim is to blur the boundaries where people and animals can move around freely.
We drove the car through the park to our lodge. You really do have your own safari. As if you are in Safaripark Beekse Bergen, only 15,000 times as big. Kruger Park is best visited when it is winter in the Netherlands. In South Africa it is summer, so there are no more leaves on the trees. The landscape is arid and very dry, which makes it much easier to spot the animals. There is enough water for the animals because there are several lakes and streams, but also large water tanks.
Even though Kruger Park is a protected area, there are still poachers walking around looking for rhinos. The rangers, who work in the park, are never allowed to ask on the walkie-talkie to other employees where they see a rhino. This is done in code language because poachers may be listening in. We were also told that if you see a rhino and post a photo on social media, don’t add the current location. In the end, we never found a rhino. It is bizarre that so many animals still die because of their ivory. A kilo of the horn will gain more than €41,000 and is, therefore, more expensive than gold or even cocaine.
I liked the safari very much and sometimes it was a little bit scary. In the Kruger Park, you have countless possibilities when it comes to booking a safari. You can spot the animals in a jeep, but also on foot. The duration varies from a few hours to five days on the road through the park. Three hours in such a huge jeep was enough. We got the idea that our driver didn’t work as a ranger for a long time. That manifested itself in turning the engine off…three times. Quite scary, when a herd of elephants is lurking at you on both sides. Luckily the only thing they did was lurking…
After our three hour safari, it was time for dinner. A man of about 70 years old has been in the kitchen all day to serve us a real African braai. The impalas that we encountered on the safari, were now on our plate. But it was delicious!