By Soussou Veronica
South Africa’s Kruger National Park shows you just why the word amazing was formed. In this Piece, Sossou Veronica shares her experience when she visited the park a couple of months again…
I had promised Shade, my younger sister, a trip to South Africa once she finishes her exams. Since my leave coincides with her holidays, It was just fine that I indulge myself too.
I wanted a budget trip, and planned to spend more time relaxing. I knew Shade will want more, but I had taken care of her excesses by contracting Afro Tourism to handle the trip. I also shared the itinerary with Shade before the trip.
At about 5 am, our flight landed at OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg. The weather was colder than it was in Lagos when we left last night. After picking our luggage, we met with our host, Mr Jack Bill, who is a ground handler for Afro Tourism. From the airport, Jack took us straight to Kruger National Park. The almost 5-hour journey took us through some of South Africa’s amazing views. We even had a few stopovers for Shade to capture the moments in nice photographs.
We finally arrived at our lodge close to Kruger national park at about mid-day. While Shade was basking in the euphoria, I was quite exhausted and just needed to sleep. We were welcomed to the lodge with chilled juice. Our host said our rooms were ready, and led us in. “Relax and enjoy yourself. Lunch will be delivered to your rooms soon, and feel free to use the internet, your last name is the username while your room number is the password”, he said as he left us to catch some rest.
By evening, we went on a game drive which Shade was eager to go for upon hearing about it but I was not keen on going because I was freaking scared! “What if an animal attacks us since it will soon be dark?” I asked. The tour guide smiled and said, “the animals are used to it, you need not panic and I’m sure you will enjoy the ride”.
We drove for about 20 minutes and there was nothing in sight, I was already disappointed for the evening until Shade spotted a cheetah who is seriously devouring an antelope. She looked up and stared so sternly at us that I got goose bumps, but before I could say anything she continued with her food. “Wait! There is a lion lying on the road”, I shouted. Our tour guide took a halt and flashed light on the big cat, honking at the same time. I was surprised he stood up and walked away.
It was a fun filled night, after seeing a handful of animals in their natural habitat, we retired to the camp to join others in the open for campfire night. We feasted on braai (barbeque) with a light alcoholic drink, and I got to meet Karyl from Baltimore and Charlotte from Australia and many other people that night. It was a fantastic night I didn’t want to end. I lay my back on the floor gazing at the stars lit up beautifully in the sky.
We woke at sunrise, eager to enter the park to begin another round of our exploration of wild Kruger. Expecting an intense yet rewarding day of game tracking with our eagle-eyed guide at the wheel. We drove in an open roof safari, which allowed Shade to take a lot of pictures and we were lucky to have seen the “big five” one after the other. It was like there was an assembly of them for a meeting on how to rule the forest. We saw: elephant, giraffe, hyenas, and hippos, as well as vultures sitting on trees waiting to eat the carcass left by the lions, and different species of birds. Our tour guide easily sighted the animals even if they were in hellhole… that’s one funny thing right, but his sight was quite amazing, and I can’t help wondering how on earth he sees them because even after pointing them out, it takes a whole lot of eye straining for us to see them.
We had a great adventure, and after so much driving around and having seen enough animals we returned to the camp, had lunch and prepared for our trip to Johannesburg.