KNP 2014 — 13-27 June
Eight days in the KNP was just not enough so I booked for 15 nights this time round and targeted the northern areas of the park first. Otherwise, I followed the same routine with a Cape Town visit and flying into Nelspruit (Kruger Mpumalanga International; airport), a car (VW Tiguan was great and it had a sunroof) and spent the first night in Orpen gate camp after picking up some essential fresh meat and other provisions (for about two-thirds of my Kruger stay) in Hazyview. I picked up nice steaks, boerewors, ribs and biltong at a butcher just outside Hazyview. At Pick n Pay (large supermarket chain in SA) I pickup provisions, a cooler-bag and some freezer blocks. Found this totally adequate keeping frozen meat sufficiently chilled and if there was an issue after a whole day of travel that particular piece of meat would be used that day. On the journey up the R40, before entering Kruger, I also pickup some lovely fresh navels and avocados. This journey with the shopping was to become a routine over the next few years. At the end of the holiday the cooler bag and freezer blocks with whatever provisions are left I usually end up giving to the one of the locals cleaning the bungalows.
Given that I spent more time in Kruger (15 nights), I wanted to stay a few more nights at Letaba camp as I had fond childhood memories having spent time there with my parents and grandfather. This time the camp sequence was as follows: Orpen 1; Shingwedzi 3; Letaba 4; Olifants 1; Satara 2; Skukuza 3; Lower Sabie 1. There are lots of f elephants around Shingwedzi and Letaba and they are reputed to be a little more aggressive.
Most memorable from this visit were the lion viewings, sunsets at Shingwedzi, a few leopard sightings (with a kill in a tree and also at night) and on a early morning walk near Letaba we came quite close to an elephant and an hyena which enabled me to take some nice photographs. One of the Tiguan tyres got ripped to bits when I picked up a puncture on one of the more remote roads near the Mozambique border and I had to drive a considerable distance before I reached a more used road so that I could wait for a passer by (no phone reception). They stood guard as an early warning whilst I made the tyre change. I do recall a rustle in the grass just before I finished which made the adrenaline shoot up a bit, but all was done and I got the car changed a day later.
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