Today began our first full day exploring South Africa. Our plan was to drive along the Blyde Canyon panorama route. Unfortunately when we woke up it was raining with heavy dense fog. We continued north anyway and ran into this wonderful baboon with his whole troup of females.
Then the clouds began to lift and we stopped at Bourke’s Luck Potholes.
Definitely not your standard everyday potholes😋
There was a small nature walk near the potholes and we ran into these beauties. Jhanet thinks I’m nuts liking monkeys but since I was not tortured as a small child as she was I think I can be forgiven.
Our next stop was to the second largest Baobab in South Africa
Hoedspruit Giant Baobab
This magnificent upside down tree can be described as a grizzled, distorted old goblin. With the girth of a giant, the hide of a rhinoceros, twiggy fingers clutching at empty air. With a host of names and dates carved into the tree the Hoedspruit Giant holds true to history. Intrepid explorers and ingenious hunters sat here using the tree for shelter and shade dating back to 1893. The tree is thousands of years old.
Girth diameter 15.9 meters, Height 17 meters, Crown spread 37.05 meters
We were also able to get a very tasty South African savory pancake (Baobab restaurant)
Not long after a must stop for mangoes! Did not even have to get out of the car. 10 mangoes for £2.50
Then we entered Kruger National Park at the Orpen Gate. We checked in and realized that we were running quite late to reach our camp before the gates closed for the night. So as any normal person would do we started driving a little faster. A short time later we (Jhanet) got nailed by a park security speed trap🥴
Oh well- a fine was given but take a look at all of the animals we saw on our way to the camp. (hard to be in a bad mood when elephants keep slowing you down)
This boy was such a poser came right next to the car.
Kruger National Park is a South African National Park and one of the largest game reserves in Africa. It covers an area of 19,485 km2 (7,523 sq mi) in the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga in northeastern South Africa, and extends 360 km (220 mi) from north to south and 65 km (40 mi) from east to west. The administrative headquarters are in Skukuza. Areas of the park were first protected by the government of the South African Republic in 1898, and it became South Africa's first national park in 1926.
These young hyenas were lounging along the road as well
Check out the scale of this big boy.
My favorite shot of the day. Momma hyena milking her young.
We made it to Mopani rest camp, 10 minutes before the gate closed, but still had to check in and drive out again to reach Shipandeni Hide for our first night in Kruger.With checkin completed, keys in hand, our morning walk confirmed after several phone calls, we reach the closed gate that we needed to exit. After a little exaggerated story of check in delays due to the morning walk, the guard releases us to drive during dusk in the park to the hide (which is forbidden). As we cross a river bridge, we pause for a moment to capture some wonderful water waders, only for me to realise that there are about 8 hippos about 10 feet away. Needless to say, I put the car in gear and moved!
Both of these photos required the use of headlights to illuminate them.
We decided not to delay getting to the hide any further. As we arrived, we realized that we were mistaken about the enclosed car parking. So we parked the car and swiftly moved between the wilderness and the safety of the enclosed hide.
We settled in for a perfect evening by our wood fire and instant mash potatoes, corn, peas and carrots. Chuffed with how prepared we were for the hide.