St Michael's Cricket Club


South African Expedition 2000

Thursday 20 January

The thing about going on safari is that you have to get up obscenely early. And so it was this morning when Roland (our colourful tour guide - more on him later) banged on the door at 4:30am. Within half an hour, we had packed and were on our way to Kruger.

Shortly after leaving the camp site, we entered Kruger through one of the main gates. Not that spectacular really, but it was fenced off so that it could be closed at night.

Dave looks out for lunch

And within 5 minutes we had seen some cheetah. Cheetahs are one of the rarest animals in Kruger. They tend to stay away from the roads and tracks, and so it turned out that we had been very lucky to see some. We saw a mother with 2 cubs quietly minding their own business, not really taking any notice of a lorry load of wide eyed tourists.

Shortly after we were at our home for the next 2 nights, the Orpen camp site. The tents were decent enough, and were right by a modern and clean shower block.

Then off into the park again. Every 2 or 3 minutes we stopped to watch some impala, or some zebra, or some wildebeests. And there were loads of them too. The wildebeests tended to stick around the zebras, as their eyesight wasn’t too good. The impalas tended to congregate in numbers for their own protection too.

In the afternoon, we drove to the eastern edge of the park near Oliphants. We lunched at a picnic site with a grand view over a river and into Mozambique. Lunch was more than adequate, and then it was back on the bus for the long drive back. Except that it wouldn’t start. It soon transpired that we had run out of fuel. A call was put in to the park’s rescue service, and the long wait started. Over an hour later, and a rescue vehicle arrived with a can of fuel. But the cab wouldn’t shut back down. Half an hour fannying around, and eventually the cab was shut down again. Not funny at the time, but something we can all laugh about now. Ho hum !!!

Dusk began to fall on the way back. And it was on the last leg of our journey that the best action happened. We saw our first elephant. He was a massive beast, and stood no more than 15 yards away next to the side of the road. After much clicking and camera flashes, the elephant grew tired of the watching hoards, and trundled into the bush.

We than cam across a pride of lions. They had come out now that the sun had gone down, and were just lazily lying on the tarmac road. When our bus came along, they reluctantly moved on, but stayed close enough to get a good look at them. It was an amazing experience, having these animals that could quite easily kill you just yards away. If one of them decided he wanted to ‘jump aboard’, I’m sure they could have.

So despite our enforced wait at the picnic site, it had in the end worked in our favour.

Everybody stands around trying to look useful

Friday 21 January


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