South African safari heats up
Kruger has a sub-tropical climate and temperatures of around 25 degrees Celsius or warmer most days, but it’s not only the weather that makes this South African national park such a hot spot to visit. Kruger is almost 2 million hectares in size and as Intrepid’s Sue Elliot discovered, it’s where you can enjoy some of the most extraordinary wildlife viewing on our planet…
“Setting off on our first game drive in Kruger National Park the adrenalin is pumping. Sure the morning air is brisk, but with the thrill of being out on safari we barely notice. And if yesterday’s savannah weather is anything to go by, we should be enjoying the cool air while we can. The golden light is starting to bring the grassy plains into focus and we can see the well-trained eye of our Kruger guide keeping watch. “Look there!”
Quickly, but without commotion, Charles brings our 4WD to a steady stop. To our complete astonishment, not far from the side of the road is a family of cheetahs. I’d dreamed about this moment, but to avoid disappointment I had myself almost convinced that it wouldn’t happen. But there they are, mum out in front looking for their next feed, slinking cautiously and not making a sound.
We quietly watch these wonderful big cats. The heat of the day starts to creep up on us and it’s soon time for the cheetahs to seek shade. “Well let’s see what else Kruger has planned for us today,” says Charles, and with that our safari continues.
Secretly I thought “Are you kidding me, it can’t get any better than that!” But of course, this is Africa. Now beads of sweat are forming on our brows with the temperature reaching the hottest part of the day. We’ve seen water buffalo, zebra, giraffe and elephant, but suddenly our safari really heats up.
We get the call that there’s lions not far away and sure enough, we arrive just in time to see survival of the fittest in full flight. A pride of lions have separated a young impala from its herd and when the timing is just right, they pounce. Such ferocity and a frenzy of activity, then after some argy-bargy to score the best cuts, the lions retire to their own space to enjoy the spoils of their labour. We are breathless and speechless. This is a scene right out of a David Attenborough documentary, but we’ve been fortunate enough to see the real Africa in action!”