Getting to Kruger Park, South Africa from Mozambique
We went on a group trip with a couple of people we met in Maputo to Kruger Park… If you’ve been to Kruger, than you know how amazing the experience was
We drove from Maputo to Kruger in a pretty comfy 4×4 at a decent time of day and got to the South African boarder around 5:00 pm. We were traveling with some American Diplomats so that meant we didn’t have to wait in any lines. It made crossing such a breeze – a quick breeze at that. The drive was quite beautiful and you can watch the landscape change as you’re making your way closer to Nelspruit, South Africa.
We stopped at this huge mall prior to getting to our stay for the weekend so that we could pick up food and whatever other essentials might be needed. We got a bunch of finger foods that didn’t require a fridge or stove; veggies, popcorn, dips, fruits and nuts. It was perfect! We had everything we needed when we arrived at Bundu in the evening – it was already dark so that meant cracking open a bottle of the Organic Woolworths Red Wine and hanging out till the morning when we’d get to venture around some more.
We stayed at Bundu Lodge just a little past White River
At a pretty decent cost it was just about 20 minutes driving from White River. The lodge was great, quiet at night time, well accommodated and had animals on their grounds as well. It seemed more adult directed but it was certainly kid/family friend should you be going with the gang. It also wasn’t too far from Nelspruit which was good because after a 3.5 hour drive from Maputo it was nice to get somewhere that we could just kick our feet up, open up some wine and knock out!
The plan was to go to Kruger on the Sunday so that when we drove from closer to the top of the park we would end up near the bottom, about 45 minutes away from the Mozambican boarder.
The first day on the Panorama Route was nothing short of beautiful!
It was a part of the trip that we didn’t really know much about but were definitely excited to see some of the stops along the way.
We were primarily in the Ehlanzeni area and our first stop was the top of a waterfall with a massive crevice that looked out into what seemed like. Took our time there.. walked around, did a little climbing and sitting on a rock at the edge just meditating. There is something so precious about untouched land that I think everyone can appreciate.
God’s Window was the next stop
We understand the name of the lookout point completely
Another breathtaking view of the same large body of open land. It was a hike to get up to the top but well worth it! There was a rainforest at the top!!! YES a rainforest and it was so lush, and mossy and green and it smelt so fresh it felt so nice to be inside of. The altitude definitely got to you a little bit whether it be breathing or dizziness but well worth the view once you got up there.
The last stop for the day was Pilgrims Rest
A small little museum town in Mpumalanga province
It is said to be a ghost town now but there are still locals presently living there and in its busiest times it was one of the many towns built to accommodate the Gold Rush. Adorned by a number of little boutique shops and museums; we got to check out some vintage vehicles, storefronts, tools used for gold mining and monkeys… yes, there was monkeys all over the place, perhaps more of them than humans; bouncing all over the place, watching you from a branch in a tree; we were convinced they were going to jump on us! If you get a chance we would suggest heading to the Pilgrims Rest, it was a unique and unexpected stop.
We ended the day with another picnic by sunrise at the top of a hill in a little town called Hazyview before heading back to Bundu for the night.
The day we went to Kruger National Park
The plan was to wake up early, eat, and get a move on so we could spend the whole day driving around the park before sundown when the gates close; and we did just that!
Bright and early we took a little walk around the Bundu grounds to check out the animals they had there.. we were really hoping to see the Zebras but I guess they were hanging out elsewhere what we did manage to see were A LOT of Bunnies, big ones, small ones, fluffy ones and fluffier ones, Springbok, Impalas and Ostrich. None of them seem to make any noise in the nighttime so we were surprised to see as many animals as we did in the morning. We made sure we had our picnic packed and hit the road!
We took a part of the Panorama Route to get to one of the Gates for Kruger
Which is not a sight to be missed! We were in awe with our heads pressed against the windows the whole time! That was a bunch of roads we definitely wanted to come back to!
We finally got to the Gates and had to sign in with our passports. Since we were foreign we paid R330, while locals and Mozambicans got to pay less; never the less, certainly worth every penny!
Not even five minutes into the drive we were seeing animals and honestly because of the time of year most of the leafy trees were near bare so we were able to see quite far with an uninterrupted view. I will spare you the bore of the moments between animals but what we can tell you is
that we saw ALMOST all of the big five (Elephant, Rhino, Leopard, Cheetah, and Lion)
Although the Lions all lounged a little further away from the road we managed to see a lot of them, much more than we expected. There were an abundance of Elephants, some standing in the middle of the road – we think because they know how beautiful they are they are willing to spend a little bit of time allowing you to get the best shots ever. We saw them drinking at a waterhole along with Crocodiles and some fancy tall birds. We saw Hyenas, Springbok – many of those, they are so beautiful, Hippos, Lizards, Kudu, Giraffes, Monkeys, Rhinos, and so many others that honestly we don’t even know the name of!
We were getting super close to closing time and didn’t think we were going to see Cheetahs, but on the way to the gate sure enough some were spotted in the distance. It was worth stopping (and potentially being late to the gate) because WOW they are so beautiful!! Apparently they are one of the hardest animals to spot, assumably because of their colour but also because they are so fast and primarily nighttime hunters.
We didn’t get to see the Leopards but no doubt when we get back there that is going to be the first animal we look for! There was this one rest stop at Kruger, it was at the top of a big hill, maybe midway through the park.. the views from there were breathtaking; one of the few spots in Kruger that you are allowed to get out of your car, although we imagine that if cars didn’t frequent that rest stop that would be a favourite sunbathing location for the Lions! (reminded us of Pride Rock from the Lion King)
If you’ve never considered going to Kruger Park
We really hope this this blog changed your mind. We were only in the area for a weekend and in the park for a day but easily could have spent so much more time!
It was nothing short of stunning, the sunset (as we were slowly racing to the gate before they closed) was something out of a postcard. There was hues that we’ve never seen before and such a large body of open land that it seemed like the sunset and sky just went on forever. It truly is a special place and you just know the animals are at peace in their Kingdom. They are well protected from the bad people and are well respected by the visitors. We are so grateful to have had that chance to go there and cannot wait to see what the National Parks in Botswana and the rest of Africa have in store for us!
Much love from the Rawcadia Team!
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