Today I am sharing my last installment in my Kruger for Kids series. Sob! I’ve loved reliving our amazing holiday by writing my diary for each day we spent in the bush. I hope you have enjoyed reading about our travels too!
Day 4 of our trip saw us waking up to the most spectacular sunrise streaming through the bush into our bedroom. If I’m honest one of the things I loved about nDzuti was the fact that Bruce believed in heading out on the game drives a little bit later during winter – after the sun was up and the animals had woken too! As a non-morning person the extra minutes in bed were very welcome!
Once again we layered up and wrapped ourselves in our blankets as we headed out the gate to discover what beauty awaited us. First stop was a turn past the buffalo carcass we had visited the previous night. We could smell it before we saw it! It now lay in a completely different position indicating how much scavenger activity had taken place the night before. We then headed off to discover who might be visiting the large watering hole passing a few herds of impala along e way…
We stopped on top of the dam wall to enjoy our morning rusks and tea with a view. And then realised that the rocks on the edge of the water were in fact hippo! (Well, I think Bruce knew that already!) Three large, lazy hippo’s wallowed in the water barely moving! It was fascinating to watch the animals and birds make their way cautiously down to the water’s edge – impala skipped excitedly towards it and then got very skittish the nearer they got and warthog ran in and out before any trouble could come their way.
During our break I was also able to take a few photos of a new very exciting species never before seen in these parts… Yes, my kids obliged for a few quick pics before they hurried off to collect rocks that caught their eye!
After our morning drive we headed back to the “place in the shade” – nDzuti Safari Camp – for a lovely hot breakfast cooked by Mama Sita on the deck overlooking the dry river bed and then spent the rest of the day reading and relaxing at our leisure!
I had to ignore a few cries of “I’m bored”, “What can I do” and “Can I play on the iPad” but after a few minutes of standing firm I noticed that they had in fact discovered something that was keeping them very busy and out of my hair – the dirt!
Yes, for a few blissful hours I sat and read my book on the stoep trying hard not to make eye contact with the two dirt-covered kids happily playing “cars” with stones and making roads in the red African dust. It was a magical moment and one I will remember forever as the epitome of what an African childhood should be. I’m pretty sure it will one of their lasting memories of this trip too!
And then, even though it was the middle of winter, they did what most kids would – they swam! The water was absolutely freezing and I was going nowhere near it, but nothing was going to stop them from taking the plunge even mom’s warnings… Although it didn’t last long I can imagine this is the place to be in the hot summer months!
After a another delicious meal it was time for our afternoon game drive and once more we took a turn past the carcass and this time we came across 2 huge vultures having their lunch!
Bruce and Judy knew that I had not yet seen a few of the big 5 – rhino and leopard – and made it their mission to help me find at least one before I left. So, when we walked down off the road for drinks overlooking the Klaserie River and spotted a large male rhino on the opposite bank it was cause for celebration! Another savanna in the savannah!
Even though the rhino was quite a way from us it was incredible to see him prancing about on the banks of the river enjoying his natural habitat. It was an amazing sight to see – and I’m so pleased to have been able to share it with my kids as rhino’s are not something that many people will get to see in the wild if the current poaching problem is not brought under control very soon!
After soaking in the silence and serenity of watching the sunset over the savannah it was time to head back to camp for supper. Once we arrived back at camp and as we got closer we realised that we had company across the river bed at the watering hole.
Myself and the kids were super excited to get a glimpse of the visitors so headed straight for the huge bonfire on the deck to warm our hands and watch what was going on. About 10m across from where we were sitting were 2 jackal and 2 hyena enjoying some supper – and being very vocal about it too – making many loud “whoops” of excitement. And then suddenly the hyena turned and starting walking towards us, they crossed over the river and came so close to the electric fence that I could hear them walking around but couldn’t seem them anymore from my seated position! My mothering instincts kicked in and I jumped up and made a hasty retreat with the kids to the large house, adrenalin pumping through my veins!
I rounded up a few more people to join me fireside before our braai and went back to enjoy a few more sightings across at the watering hole including a rare treat – a large honey badger!
And then our last morning in the bush dawned! The gorgeous golden light streamed through the trees, the monkeys swang through the trees and birds all burst into song. It was magical!
With heavy hearts we headed out on our last game drive. One the first day I had counted up that we would be enjoying 8 in total and to know they were now all coming to an end left me feeling quite pensive!
The morning was quite warm which meant there was a lot more bird life about and even though each game drive had always involved bird sightings this one seemed to have more activity than usual. The birds were out in full force enjoying the warm sunshine!
My son, aged 8, got really into “twitching”, he loved learning about their names and calls and would hardly give up the binoculars and bird book until he had identified the latest sighting. It was really lovely to see him get so excited about birds as it’s not something he would otherwise get exposed to as a city boy. I’m really keen to see him continue with this passion so another trip to the bush might be necessary!! Don’t you think?
Finally it was time to pack up and say goodbye, but not before one last play on their bush jungle gym…. the landrover safari 4×4! It gave them hours of entertainment during our trip and was a fitting place to end the holiday.
With our bags on the back we headed off to the Bush Pub & Inn to meet our transfer back to reality: A full day of traveling with Ashton’s back to Joburg and then a late night flight back to Cape Town.
During the transfer we had plenty of time to reflect on our trip. The experience of a lifetime!
And as I shared what we were most looking forward to before we left I thought I would share what we most enjoyed about our Kruger for Kids safari holiday!
Brad: No noise or cars, lots of fresh air, amazing animal sightings and plenty of peace.
Kathryn: A highlight for me was seeing all the animals we did so close up – each experience was an amazing encounter that was unique and special. I loved the elephant family, the 3 lions and sundowners watching the rhino! My hyena encounter was also pretty memorable!!
Ben: My favourite part of the holiday was going for the morning and evening game rides and seeing the hyena eating the bones and the leopard hiding in the drain pipe.
Abi: Going to the Spur in the dark at the airport (!) and seeing the lions!
Thanks so much for reading along about our Kruger for Kids diary.
If you missed any of my other diary entries please click the links below to read more about our #KrugerforKids adventures in the low-risk malaria area of the Klaserie:
I hope I’ve inspired you to visit this amazing part of our country soon! It really is an amazing experience – for adults and kids alike!
Images: Kathryn Rossiter