TRAVEL SOUTH AFRICA KRUGER NATIONAL PARK

Kruger Park’s size is 7,523 sq miles (19,485 (km²). Home to a variety of wild life including the big five: Elephant approximately 13,750 - Lion an estimated 1,750 - 1000 Leopards and 37,130 Buffalo. Unfortunately, the last recorded count for Black Rhino in Kruger was only 590, and this was before 2011, when a record 450 rhinos were slaughtered by poachers in all of South Africa. Thus, Kruger’s Rhino count must have dropped significantly since then. All of this can be attributed to inhabitants of countries like Vietnam, the end users, naively believing the horns have medicinal benefits. It is time that these little men “man up” on their own account and stop believing killing innocent animals will do the trick.

© Noleen Kutash - Mother and Child Rhino



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From Johannesburg to Nelspruit is approximately a four hour drive by car.  I spent two nights here, and left at 4:30am, on the third day, heading for Graskop, an hour and 30 minute drive from Nelspruit, to a place called “God’s Window & Wonder View.”   From here, one could see far in the distance, standing at a height of 900m.   The sunrise was worth the early wakeup call, unfortunately, neither my camera nor I could capture the overwhelming sight I witnessed, this photographic meltdown ended-up being the greatest disappointment of my entire trip. 

© Noleen Kutash - Wonder View at God's Window
© Noleen Kutash - Opposite Side of Wonder View at God's Window
I gave up after trying every setting on my camera attempting capturing a moment in time, whilst freezing half to death in the process.  Finally, I packed up my gear, and head for some much needed soul food, in the itsy bitsy mining town of Pilgrim’s Rest.  

Walked through the town biding time, as the temperature kept climbing, by now I had pealed of several layers of clothing and was just in a short sleeve t-shirt.  I was waiting for the harsh afternoon sun to settle down so I could go photograph the “Three Rondavels,” before heading to a B&B near Orpen Gate, one of several entrances into Kruger National Park.

© Noleen Kutash - Pilgrim's Rest
© Noleen Kutash - Three Rondavels
© Kevin Broadley - Noleen on the edge at "Three Rondavels
© Noleen Kutash - Drive From Graskop's Three Rondavels to B&B near Orpen Gate Kruger
Staying close to the gate will allow me to enter Kruger Park at the crack of dawn, right when those gates first open, in order to capture the African bush before first light. 

© Noleen Kutash - Dawn In Kruger National Park at Orpen Gate
There are several routes one can travel through the park from camp to camp (as long as you do not exit your vehicle unless authorized to do so which is usually only at designated rest areas and camps.  From Orpen Gate, I travelled towards Satara Camp where I had booked accommodation for the first night, as well as a game drive.  During one’s stay in Kruger, one needs to return to camp by 5:30pm.  Thus, booking a game drive with the Kurger Park Rangers, allow one to be out in the wild for at least 2 hours longer with the added benefit of the Park Rangers expert knowledge on all things related to the bush. My Sightings in and around Satara Camp.

© Noleen Kutash - Zebra At First Light
© Noleen Kutash - Cape Glossy Sarling
© Noleen Kutash - Blue Wilderbeest
© Noleen Kutash - Vervet Monkey
© Noleen Kutash - Lilac-breasted Roller
© Noleen Kutash - Steenbok
© Noleen Kutash - Worthog
© Noleen Kutash - Sunset Kruger National Park
My Sightings in Route to Skukuza Camp: where I was booked for a 2nd night stay in Kruger.

© Noleen Kutash - Buffalo
© Noleen Kutash - Horn Bill
© Noleen Kutash - Kudu Ram
© Noleen Kutash - Elephant has the right of way
© Noleen Kutash - Elephant up close and personal
 Noleen Kutash - Lioness watching Zebra
Sightings from Skukuza Camp towards Berg-en-Dal Camp, where I had lunch and then spent an incredible afternoon at Matjulu water hole, before heading towards Malelane Gate in order to exit by 5:30pm for the drive back to Nelspruit.

© Noleen Kutash - Matjulu water hole
© Noleen Kutash - Giraffe
© Noleen Kutash - Zebras
© Noleen Kutash - Spotted Hyena
© Noleen Kutash - Giraffe - taking a bow :)
© Noleen Kutash - Sunset In Kruger National Park
Before I left Cape Town I contacted an expert on Kruger, seeking his advice on which routes I should drive for the best possible viewing.  Now, the animals move around, and there are no guarantees.  However, I was willing to take my chances with an expert versus going it alone.  I included a copy of Gareth’s email to me, word for word.

“From Satara Camp take the S100 to Sweni Hide and then back on the H6, The S41 and S90 are also good and the H1-4 up to Ntomeni.   And from Satara to Kruger Gate:  H1-3 to Tshokwane. Go on the S86 loop road. There is a large resident pride of Lions that can often be seen here.  From Tshokwane go on the H10 to Lower Sabie and then take H4-1 to Skukuza. Stop at Lake Panic Bird hide if you have the chance. And then follow the main road out to the Kruger Gate, there are sometimes Wild Dogs close to the road in the early morning.”   Gareth Roocroft at http://www.thekruger.com/