Africa | South Africa – Krueger Bushwalk
Krueger is my last official overseas stop before beginning the journey home. My flight from Joburg is turned back 60 miles away due to bad weather, so I spend the night in an Eco-Motel near the airport, before heading by rental car for one of the top ten attractions in southern Africa.
Ive been to Etosha, so Im not sure what to expect. I dont expect that when I stop for coffee on the way to the park, I will meet someone running a coffee shop and art gallery who has never heard of Canada, but I do. Yes she is a white South African and asks me where I’m from – then stares blankly when I tell her claims shes never traveled, but might be able to find Canada on a map if you put one in front of her. Okay then.
Here at Krueger, you can drive for hours without seeing any animals. Still, Ive managed in two days to see amazing birds including a Goliath Heron, Baboons, Black Mongoose, Crocodiles, Elephants, Giraffes, Hippos, Hyenas, Impalas, Kudus, Lizards, Vervet Monkeys, Water Buffalo, White Rhinos, Zebras, and a Lion – to name just a few.
One of the highlights of my visit to Krueger, is a morning bushwalk with Rangers Hein and Roger. There is an air of excitement that we might meet a lion or a Rhino in the bush – and then what?
At 4:45 a.m., we meet at the petrol station, and hop in the jeep for a short drive to the walking departure point. It’s misty and the previous night’s rain of almost 100 mm is still trickling down. By the end of the walk, my pants, socks, and shoes will be soaked, but they will dry in the afternoon sun. We follow a Rhino trail, passing huge circles of Rhino crap, that mark the dominant male’s range of territory. Hein points out some interesting flora, and roger at one point sites a Rhino grazing on an adjacent hillside. It hears us and although we are able to observe it for awhile, it eventually moves on.
A little while later, we hear something in the bushes. It is two White Rhinos heading for us. We back up out of sight and wait for them to come closer. It’s a very cool feeling, standing there less than a 30 meters from these crazy looking beasts, while they much away at the long grass. We step out into the open to get a better a view and let them come still closer. Hein intructs us as to where we should hide if they become startled and charge us. They are coming a little too close, so Hein whistles softly and lets them know we are there. They become more alert, move away, then cantor a short distance before resuming their feeding. We walk a short distance away and have a breakfast break ourselves.
We see some more common animals and then return to camp for a short morning swim and packing up for my move to another rest camp.
Driving that day, I don’t see much for the first part of the day, then a huge heard of water buffalo decide to cross the road with one big bull being a little belligerant towards me. I acelerate away before he has a chance to do much more than grunt and lunge a little towards me. There are more animals that eveneing and the next day on my way out of the park back to Johannesburg.
February is probably the second worst month to see animals at Krueger because of the dense vegetation, but as you’ve read, it’s certainly not impossible.