Travel Journal

Kruger National Park - Swaziland - St Lucia's Wetlands - February 2-3

(Sunday 17 February 2008) by Karin
It is not yet light in the morning when the phone rings a rude wake-up call. Groggily I glance at my alarm clock which announces the unholy hour of 5 o'clock. A long drive today through Kruger and the Kingdom of the Swazi to our next camp. Leaving early I thought we would see quite some animals but not so. We did see a sable antilope, another rare siting.
After leaving Kruger at Malelene we passed vast sugar cane fields as far as the eye can see before entering Swaziland. We first had to sign out of South Africa though. Present passport to be stamped, walk across to the Swaziland customs to get some more stamps. The same repeated in reverse order on our way out. Out of Swaziland, into Zululand. Zululand is most visited for the spectacular Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park and its many traditional Zulu villages. We arrived early enough at the Zululand camp, situated in sand forest adjoining the World Heritage site of St Lucia to go on a discovery walk on which we saw zebra's, impala and nyala's.
While cooking and eating dinner I drank half a bottle of wine. After dinner I proceeded drinking but changed to a bottle of Amarula, which I managed to down completely while drinking shooters with Giovanna, before being thrown in the pool in which we all ended up.
I'm the only one with no hangover signs the next morning. Just a bit tired after a short night. Not bad for someone who usually doesn't drink alcohol. After breakfast we headed out to False Bay Park where we hiked through the forest taking in some more information about the different trees, etc.
In the afternoon we drove to Hluhluwi-Umfolozi, the province's largest big 5 resort, where we had an open vehicle game drive. Lots of white rhino's and hippo's, buffaloes and impala. And a very close encounter with an elephant munching happily when another driver drove up with lots of noise. The elephant came very very close to our truck just about touching the back of it and scared the hell out of Giovanna who just about moved onto my lap. Jonathan didn't move as that would have made the elephant even more angry and he might have turned over our vehicle. After this incident our vehicle obediently purred its way along the stunning, quite hilly land. On our way out we watch a family of warthog disarmingly ugly.
After leaving the park the wind blasted our faces when Jonathan drove back to the camp at his usual speed. Took me a while to get the knots out of my hair afterwards but a fun ride it was.


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