Experience an included early morning game drive through this amazing game reserve, which is predominantly open savannah. Limitless game viewing is possible as your open top Land Rover traverses through this private reserve. Tonight, an Included Scenic Enrich dinner under a starlit sky in the bush. FB L HD
The Kruger National Park (Thorney Bush Game Reserve) is South Africa’s premier game viewing destination, home to 138 mammal species including aardvarm, buffalo, cheetah, elephant, giraffe, hippopotamus, hyena, impala, leopard, lion, rhinoceros – and so on through the alphabet all the way to zebra. More than 100 different types of reptile are present, too.
The park extends over 19,000 sq km and has recently become the cornerstone of a much large trans-frontier park extending in Mozambique and Zimbabwe. There are around a dozen large rest camps, most of which offer comfortable and affordable bungalows with all modern conveniences, as well as campsites, shops and restaurants. There are in excess of 2,500km of well-maintained asphalt and dirt roads to explore this great wildlife arena.
Although the park is mainly visited for its large mammals, it is also a prime birding spot, with over 500 species recorded, of which the lively lilac-breasted roller and white-fronted bee-eater routinely delight visitors. The park is a stronghold for several large birds – martial eagle, ground hornbill, secretary bird and kori bustard, for instance – that are increasingly rare outside protected areas.
How the day turned out
During our stay at Thorney Bush, our programme for each day starts at 5:00am so we can get out and see the animals in the early morning just beginning their day’s activities. After a quick cuppa, we set off for ‘who knows where?’
Our guide is Charlie and his up-front tracker is Pete. We find a lone giraffe and shoot with our cameras. She is so graceful as she walks around chewing here and there – ah, that is the tops of the trees, I might add. Along the way are some vultures in the high bare trees, waiting for a carcass to finish off. “There’s a rhinoceros”, someone calls. We venture into the scrub to take a closer look at a white rhinoceros. They are BIG fellows indeed. Our tracker guide spots some cheetah footprints and we spend quite some time trying to work out which way they have gone. The locals love to spot cheetah and so this is important to them. Further along, another giraffe or, is it the first one second time around? and impala where we find a wart hog running scarred of us.
We return to the lodge for breakfast around 9:00am and have free time until the next safari at 4:00pm. Lunch is at 1:00pm and high tea at 3:30pm. This is where I “chicken” out as another Menier’s ‘wave’ comes my way, mid afternoon, and my balance is not good for riding 4WD for the 3 hour safari this evening. I have to rely on Lyn’s account for the PM venture.
“Another Safari awaits us at 4:00pm. The main purpose of this Safari is to find Elephants. After an hour and a half, we find a herd of 5. They are eating trees as they love the material just under the bark. They ‘bulldoze’ the trees to also eat the roots and some of the leaves. Crushing the branches, they have an ample supply of tooth picks. We are not afraid “not” when they come within 2 meters of our vehicle.
“We also see a jackal, giraffe, zebra, a herd of buffalo caring for a new baby about 3 or 4 days old, and many impalas.
“Happy hour in a game park is also a lot of fun as the guides treat us to wine and other drinks, and other nibbles. Going to the loo in a game park is also very scary – “when will that leopard appear?”
“On our return to the Lodge, more drinks and warm hand towels await us before we have our evening meal under the stars.” Thanks Lyn.