Kruger Park 2019 – A five month trip covering the length and breadth
The longest continuous spell that we have ever spent in Kruger was 36 days in February/March 2017. We loved it so much that we were both sad to leave. So, before caravanning becomes too much for me we are venturing out on a five month trip, January – June. We have spent early January making preparations which included servicing the caravan. We were due to leave home on Sunday, 20th January but at the last moment I discovered that the wrong sized tyres had been fitted to the caravan which resulted in a delay.
Monday, 21st January
Together with Gladys (our maid) we leave our Simbithi home at 5am. We are fortunate in leaving a day late as yesterday’s rain has cleared and we have a moderate southerly tailwind to help us on our way.
With stops at Kwambo and then at Mtuba to offload Gladys, we make good progress to the Swazi border. Thereafter we tackle the dreaded Siteki road and find that for the first 10Kms, bulldozers and graders are busily moving earth. Through the new Mananga border post on to Komatipoort and then over the Crocodile River bridge at 2pm. Rather surprisingly the river is little more than a small stream but the green veld in Kruger beyond looks promising.
We are headed for Satara which is another four hours so we must press ahead. The Vurhami Stream is empty but for some stagnant pools and the veld here indicates that the rain in the south has been sparse. At Gomondwana we are delayed for 30 minutes by a herd of ellies that have formed a tight group in the middle of the road and unusually refuse to budge. The traffic piles up on both sides but eventually they are put to flight by a tourist truck that bravely takes them on. Once over the Sabie river the veld becomes much more lush and it is evident that central Kruger has had much more rain than the south. Mazithi Dam is full and the Nwaswisonto River on the left has recently flowed. At Kumana Dam we arrive just as a herd of ellies plunge into the deep water submerging themselves. Far to the north-east high, hazy cloud indicates the edge of the cyclone that is lurking in the Mozambique Channel.
The campsite at Satara is rather empty but we still struggle to find a suitable site with heavy shade. We quickly set up camp and finish just as the full moon rises, showing the last traces of a lunar eclipse.
Tuesday, 22nd January
Sunrise is now at 5.30am and we leave the camp gates in darkness at 4.30am. We are headed for the Nwaswisonto River road (S125) which runs parallel but south of Sweni. Coffee as the sun rises at 5.30am and then a slow crawl along this really splendid road. Being some distance from camp we seldom take this road which is so picturesque as it skirts the sandy riverbed on the left. Throughout the 20Km length of the road pools of water lie in the veld alongside and the grass is long and lush. This area has really had good rain.
However, we see nothing out of the ordinary and after a quick stop at Mzandzeni Picnic spot, return to camp as the temperature soars. We are both a little zonked and after our midday swim we stay in for the afternoon.
Tomorrow we can properly get to grips with the Park.