. OnHiatus.com > Journal 1 > Day Index > Journal Entry: April 29, 1999

Thursday, April 29, 1999
Blydepoort to Skukuza, Kruger National Park, South Africa
South Africa's Flag

Map
Skukuza, Kruger National Park, South Africa:
Latitude: 24° 59' 45" South
Longitude: 31° 35' 33" East
Altitude: 1157 feet
From Seattle: 11811 miles
Lodging: Camp - Skukuza

Map
Today's Travel:
Country: South Africa
Regions: Mpumalanga, Northern Province, Mpumalanga
Route: Park Roads: R532, R369, R527, R531, H7, H1-3, S33, S36, S84, H1-2, Maropla Loop, H1-2, H1-1
Start: Blydepoort
Stop 1. Bourk's Luck Potholes, Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve
Stop 2. Satara
End:Skukuza, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Linear:121 miles
Weather: Mostly Sunny / Partial Sun / Rain

Available Photos:

"Three Rondawels" rock formation Blydepoort, South Africa

Falls Bourk's Luck Potholes, Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, South Africa

Potholes Bourk's Luck Potholes, Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, South Africa

Potholes Bourk's Luck Potholes, Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, South Africa

Dean shooting potholes Bourk's Luck Potholes, Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, South Africa

Water draining into pothole Bourk's Luck Potholes, Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, South Africa

Falls Bourk's Luck Potholes, Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, South Africa

Falls (slow shutter speed) Bourk's Luck Potholes, Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, South Africa

Horn Bills Kruger National Park, South Africa

Horn Bills Kruger National Park, South Africa

Zebras on road Kruger National Park, South Africa

Zebras on road Kruger National Park, South Africa

Bright Eyed Starling Kruger National Park, South Africa

Lilac Breasted Roller Kruger National Park, South Africa

Lilac Breasted Roller Kruger National Park, South Africa

Giraffe Kruger National Park, South Africa

Giraffe Kruger National Park, South Africa

Horn Bill Kruger National Park, South Africa

Lioness Kruger National Park, South Africa

Lioness Kruger National Park, South Africa

Lioness Kruger National Park, South Africa

Lilies Jones se Dam, Kruger National Park, South Africa

Spotted Eagle Owl Jones se Dam, Kruger National Park, South Africa

Black-backed Jackal pup Kruger National Park, South Africa

Sunset through tree Kruger National Park, South Africa

All photo images © 1997-2000 Anthony Jones - Images may not be used without prior written approval.

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Map
Trip Stats to Date:
Day: 749
Linear Dist: 142473
Countries Visited: 54
Regions Visited: 214
More stats...
Hotels: 208
Friends / Family: 160
Camping: 110
Hostels: 209
Transit: 55
Other Lodging: 6
Beers: 2889
Hide...

Journal Entry:
Woke up early to the first truly sunny skies we've seen since arriving in Sodwana Bay. Headed up to the view point in the campground. Got an outstanding view of the dam, the Blyde River and canyon, and the Three Rondawels rock formation. Decided to backtrack a bit and went to the official Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve's Three Rondawels viewpoint, but it really wasn't any better than the campground's.

We decided to backtrack even further and headed twenty kilometers south to Bourke's Luck Potholes, also part of the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve. It's the start of the Blyde River canyon and is pretty spectacular. There's a falls that drops the river into a pool. The canyon leading from the pool looks like a series of potholes that are connected under water - so the water in these "separate" holes flows from one to the next. It's beautiful and fascinating, but the walkways, railings, bridges, and danger signs really detract from the setting. Not much in Africa is overdeveloped, but this is.

Finally Kruger National Park! Spent the afternoon driving through the park. The game viewing didn't seem fantastic, but that was partly because of the weather - moving steadily towards no sun at all. There were quite a few animals, including a high percentage of the ones you want to see, but no huge gatherings at the waterholes like in Etosha. Actually all the water holes we went to were completely deserted - no animals at all. Obviously all the rain recently has not been good for the game viewing.

Saw the usual, not exciting, but picturesque animals: giraffe, wildebeest, Zebra, warthog, and Impala before things started to get exciting. We turned off the main (tarred) road on to a sand track looking for leopards. We didn't see any leopards, but almost immediately came upon a group of three lioness. Considering that up until today I've only seen a total of three lions - this was impressive. After a few minutes they dissolved back in to the landscape and we continued on. Shortly thereafter we found a group of at least five white rhinos - unfortunately they were several hundred yards off, but still more rhinos than we've ever seen together. After spotting a large spotted eagle owl we got back to the main road.

We debate another quick side road detour (we need to get into camp by six or face a huge fine), but the last sand track was so successful that we decide to do it. It's only a seven kilometer side track, but we immediately come upon a black-backed jackal pup that it fairly fearless of us - at least until the cameras come out (how do they know?) And about half way through we come by a field with another lioness in it! After carefully watching we find that it's not just a lioness, but two lioness and three cubs! The images are spectacular, unfortunately it's after sunset now and to dark for photos.

Race for the camp, get there with ten minutes to spare - no worries. Do some quick shopping (this place is incredibly developed - full shop, two car rental places, a post office, a bank, even an ATM!) After a small dinner (I've been snaking all day - the 1/2 kilo of biltong I bought yesterday is almost gone), and sitting around the fire for the Amarula it's bed time.


Related Sites:
US State Department Consular Information Sheets: South Africa
CIA World Fact Book: South Africa

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