South Africa Trip – Falling into Place

Next on the list is my trip to Kruger National Park in South Africa next year.  This trip has to be planned months in advance and then the wait begins.  I am happy to say that it is completely planned and it is paid for – except for the car rental (but it is reserved) and the one night stay at a hotel in Johannesburg (but that is also reserved).

The hotel is required this year because my plane lands at Johannesburg in the evening and it is too late to fly into Kruger – so my last and shortest flight in will be the next morning.  It will be nice to refresh and sleep in a bed after 3 flights over 2 days, just leaving a 50 minute flight for the morning.

Many of the camps I will be staying at are the same as my last trip, but there are some new ones.  I will also be staying 3 nights at each one instead of 2, which gives me more time to explore and possibly book more walking trips with the rangers.  I love the walks more than the drives, but may take a drive or two with the rangers also.  I will be driving myself most of the time, so the car and I will be very well acquainted by the time I have to leave.

I will not be going to Sabi Sands this year.  That was an amazing experience last time, but the price is over my budget by too much to consider it again.  My list of camps this time is Crocodile Bridge, Lower Sabi, Satara, Olifants, Letaba, Tamboti, Talamati, Orpen, Skukuza and Berg-en-dal.   The ones I have not stayed at before are Talamati, Orpen and Skukuza, so I am excited to return to the camps from before and to try out these new (to me) ones.

The only things that do not excite me are the flights there and back.  Again – there are 4 planes – this time I am flying from Winnipeg to Minneapolis to Amsterdam to Johannesburg to Skukuza.  I am thrilled to be able to land right in Kruger this time.

Last time I flew from Winnipeg to Toronto to Frankfurt to Johannesburg to Nelspruit.  The main thing I wanted to avoid this year was the long day I spent at Frankfurt.  We flew overnight from Toronto, landing at Frankfurt in the morning – but the flight to Johannesburg did not leave until evening.  That was an extremely long day.

My coach and advisor for this trip has again been my friend Penny, who I have known online for many years.  I will be staying with her and her husband Jurek for a couple of days to acclimatize before they turn me loose in the park on my own. I really appreciated all their help and support the last time I was there too.  They will meet me when I land, show me some of their favourite spots, and will bring me back to Skukuza to pick up my car on the day I move into Kruger on my own.  They will also be in Kruger while I am there and I just might run into them again too.  🙂

At some point I will meet up with another friend – Janine, who I met last time I was there – but have also known for many years online.   Janine advised me on the hotel to stay at in Johannesburg for this trip.  She lives in South Africa and is a wealth of information.

Here are the first and last pictures I took in Africa in 2012.

First African Sunrise
First African Sunrise – but I don’t know where this was in Africa.

The first African sunrise in 2017 may be taken from my hotel room.

View from Last Flight In
View from last flight in – You can see South Africa through the clouds.

The flight into the park in 2017 will be similar to my flight to Nelspruit in 2012.

First Real Life African Critter Sighting
First African Critter Sighting in real life (not from Africam). Impala

 The big question is what critter will be my first sighting of 2017.  It might be something     I see from the air, or in Skukuza camp, or . . .

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Last critter sighting in Kruger as I was heading to Sabi Sands out the gate at Orpen in 2012. Giraffe
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First critter sighting in Sabi Sands in 2012 as I was driving to Nkorho. Wildebeest
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Last Critter sighting in Sabi Sands and  South Africa after I left Nkorho and headed to Hoedspruit Airport. Duiker

I am very excited about this trip – can you tell?  🙂        More to come!

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