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I haven't been everywhere yet,

but it's on my list!

  • Writer's pictureDeborah Latham

Kruger National Park Safari

Updated: Sep 21, 2023

The very best part of my South Africa Adventure with SmarTours (get $150 off - YOUR REFERRAL CODE: NGK-6KV) was definitely Kruger National Park!

Day 1 -

We woke up early for an 8am departure from our hotel in Eswatini. The guide had us on a schedule that, up until this point, had been very punctual. As a group, we did pretty well at being where we were supposed to be when we were supposed to be there. Everyone boarded the bus on time, and we were on our way out of the resort, and the guide said we would need our passports out for re-entry into South Africa. I went to get mine, and it was NOT in the pocket it usually was in. I panicked! If you read my post on Eswatini, you know where my passport was. BUT, I had partaken in quite a bit of wine the night before, and thought that I had put it in the safe. The bus backed back into the resort, and I ran back in the hotel to go check my safe. It wouldn't open (once again, brain fog, it did not compute in my brain that it hadn't opened the night before either)! Maintenance comes to open the safe, and, it was EMPTY! I was frantic. I ran back to the bus, apologizing profusely for making us depart late, and searched my bag. I found my passport right where I had put it in a different pocket the night before. I tell you all this to warn you to always keep your passport in the same safe place where you know exactly where it is at all times!!!

Crisis averted, we drove the the 2 1/2 hours to Kruger National Park for our first optional safari. Not everyone purchased this additional safari, but I was SO glad I did. The bus continued to the hotel where those who did not safari with us would spend the rest of their day. I have absolutely no desire to be at a hotel all day, especially when there are options of seeing wildlife! We were divided into two safari vehicles at the gate of the park. Our guide was very friendly and informative. We saw so many animals, including hyena, antelope, a leopard, zebra, giraffes, elephants, lions, an eagle, rhinos, hippos, warthogs, and more! I was in photography heaven!

We stopped for a lunch break in the park at one of the cafe's. The sandwiches were good, and after lunch we continued through the park searching for wildlife. The bus met us at the other gate to the park, and we continued on to our hotel. I was so thrilled with the day, that I was already excited about getting up before dawn to go on another safari adventure! Dinner was great, and the Sabi Sun Hotel was very nice and comfortable.

Day 2 -

We got early morning wake up calls on this day! Our bus had us to the park gates for our 5am safari on time! The animals are more active in the early mornings, so I had high expectations for this day! When we got to the park, there were 3 safari vehicles waiting for us. Two of them had guides sitting on the hood, waiting for us to make our way off the bus to them. One was empty, with the guide hurrying to the bus waving and saying "Hello!!! Welcome!" Her energy was contagious, and I immediately said, "I want HER to be my guide!" I took off running for her vehicle to get my spot on her truck! If you ever go to Kruger, and a very energetic friendly guide named Suzette is there, run to her vehicle! She is the BEST guide I have had anywhere in my travels!

Suzette asked us as we were taking off, what we wanted to see most that day. As we had not seen any wild dogs yet, that was our number one thing we wanted to see. Not even 5 minutes passed, before she found us a wild dog! After stopping to take pictures and watch for a minute, she said "now what do you want to see?" I said we hadn't seen a male lion with a full mane yet and really wanted to see one of those. I kid you not, a minute later, there was a male lion walking by. It was like whatever we said we wanted to see, it appeared!

Suzette has been a guide for over 20 years and was a wealth of information on the park, the animals inside the park, and their behaviors. She was entertaining and so full of personality. Our day was incredible because of her. The hotel had packed us bag breakfasts, so as we got hungry, we snacked. We stopped at a big souvenir shop and cafe for a bathroom break and to stretch our legs. When we got back to the vehicle, we discovered monkeys in our truck eating what was left of our food! Don't leave food in your vehicles if you want to eat it later! Those monkeys get mean when you approach them while they have your food! It was quite hilarious! The baby monkey made my day. It was adorable to watch.

After our break, we were back on the vehicle to see what we could find next! Suzette got a call on her radio and asked us if we wanted to stay with the rest of the group on the road we were supposed to be on, or did we want to venture off from our group to go see a pack of wild dogs another guide had just told her was hunting in another area. Of course, we chose the wild dogs. We were the luckiest tour group that day! A huge pack of wild dogs was hunting alongside the road, stopping to get the scent, then running full speed. We drove beside them for quite a long time, stopping when they stopped, then speeding up to watch them run. Then, we got to witness them trying to attack a herd of Cape buffalo, with some zebras and wildebeest hiding in their herd. It was incredible watching the buffalo charge at the dogs all while circling around the rest of the herd to protect them. I rate this one of the best experiences on the trip!

After the wild dogs, we got to see lioness's hunting antelope, a leopard sleeping in a tree, more giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, elephants, a lilac breasted roller, hippos, baboons and more! There were babies of all species which just made my day! I'm glad I chose December for my trip so that I could see the babies.

I was a bit sad when this day was over. It was the most incredible wildlife experience of my life so far. I definitely have more safaris on my bucket list after this adventure. The day was everything I could have hoped for and more. I hope you enjoyed the pictures and videos from this amazing safari!

I do have some recommendations for your safari. Don't forget sunblock! Open trucks get the sun from both sides. It doesn't matter where you sit, you're likely to get burned if you don't wear sunblock. A safari hat will help with that too, but make sure that it secures tightly to your head or it will blow out of the vehicle. Binoculars if you don't have a zoom lens for your camera. I recommend a zoom lens because your pictures will be clearer and closer up than with a cell phone. Not many of the pictures I shared were taken with my cell phone because my Canon pictures were so much better! Drink the water your guide provides! You don't want to get dehydrated in the heat and sun. Most of all, HAVE FUN!!!

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Sep 17, 2023

Thank you so much for sharing your South Africa trip, you make it so vividly exciting!! I can’t wait to go in May! Maria B

Deborah Latham
Deborah Latham
Sep 17, 2023
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You will have an amazing time!

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