South AfricaPosted by Espen Tue, July 31, 2012 15:52:02
So! Time to get up to date on the blogging. We left off somewhere after crossing the border from Botswana back into South Africa to visit the famous Kruger National Park. Spotting a Leopard crossing the road in front of the cars just after the entrance gate, we through this could get really good. Not very photogenic, though, and this pic was the best we got…
And unfortunately, that was about it… We spent the day driving around in the northern part of the Kruger, visited Crock’s Corner, where the borders of South Africa, Botswana, and Zimbabwe meet in one point, and eventually found a campsite at Punda Maria. We saw birds and antelopes. In the evening we were watching elephants at a waterhole nearby playing in the mud.
The next morning we drove south towards the town of Phalaborwa. One reason was that the campsites inside the park was full (South African school holidays..), and we had an appointment with a Nissan garage. After the service we did on the front axle in Knysna about two months ago, the right hand side (the one that was not leaking before the service) had been pouring out diff oil. After a quick check we concluded that there must have been something wrong with the new seal that was put in, and that Nissan would take the cost of replacing it with a new. Excellent service from the guys at Nissan in Phalaborwa!
We also had time to do a little exploring in the area, and drove up to a view point where we could get a glimpse of what most people in Phalaborwa work with. This hole was just incredibly huge, and there are two more…
Kruger National Park borders to Limpopo National Park in Mozambique. Recently they “opened” up between these two parks, and the animals can, theoretically, walk from one to the other. There is also a border crossing, and we decided to take a look also at the Limpopo side. It was also a short cut to the Mozambique coast and the beaches.
While we were at Nissan our friends had been all the way to the southern part of the park. Kruger is one of the largest parks in Southern Africa covering 19500 square kilometers, and extends 360 kilometers (straight line!) from north to south. It takes easily two, preferably three, days to drive through on relatively good roads. The plan was to meet up at Girondo border crossing at 1300 hours and cross the border together. That story will be posted shortly in our border crossing section.
In the southern part of Kruger our friends had seen more wildlife than in the north, even mating lions. They were quite excited when we met up, and happy for doing the longer drive to the southern part. We, based on what we had seen in the northern parts, were not too impressed with Kruger. Compared to i.e. Chobe River Front, there was not much wildlife to be seen from the roads where you actually were allowed to drive.
On the Mozambique side of the border we bought our Limpopo National Park permit. In the info we got they emphasized that there wasn’t really much wildlife to see. Okay, good to know. In South Africa they joked about all the wildlife at one point being transferred to the Limpopo part had been eaten. Maybe there was some truth in this after all.
We made our way to Messingir Dam where we camped for two days enjoying the views over the lake. On our way from the border we concluded that the info from the park officials were right, we’d hardly seen any animals on the way.
Leaving the park we drive over the dam forming the lake. Quite an impressive construction. Later we were told that taking pics wasn’t really allowed, but hey, this is just below the dam, right?
And after buying Mozambiquean insurance for the vehicles, we went for the coast at Xai-Xai. Sun, warm weather, and beach life here we come!
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