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6. I'm Hip into Mozambique

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Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga, South Africa
Monday, November 15, 2010

Alfred arrived, as promised at 5:30. Today, rather than being alone, I am joined by a couple from South Africa and their adult son. It's more fun with company.

We enter the park and are soon upon zebra, elephant and buffalo. Today, the animal sightings are few but of high quality. Alfred keeps talking about how yesterday’s rain has been the cause of fewer animals near the roadways. I don’t understand it but I accept it. Kruger is a "drive on the roads only" park. In some places I have earlier experienced game drives (Kenya and Tanzania), the guides are not restricted to roads because, well, there aren’t any. Here, the roadways are highly developed with half being asphalt and the rest being dirt. Both are of high quality. Add to that the fact that the parts of Kruger where we drove are not savannah or open plain but pure 'bush.” They are filled with scrub brush, small to medium to large trees, grass and rocks. You can’t see very far through all of that. The end result is if the animals aren’t near the road, you can’t see them. What we saw was great but we didn’t see too much.

Highlights would begin with a herd of about fifteen elephants crossing the road in front of us. I could easily sit and watch elephants for hours. Here, that is not possible because, as they move, they leave you behind. Again, that is a function of the roadway restriction. We saw more lions, more giraffe, more of everything including hundreds of impala and a few monkeys, warthogs and one crocodile. The impala are thick being the most common creature in the park.

Hippo are plentiful here. A trivia fact that you will never use is this: more people in Africa are killed by hippo than any other animal. Hippo are vegetarians so that doesn’t make sense if you compare them to, say, lions. It becomes more clear, however, when you understand that the “death by hippo” event occurs when a person gets between a hippo and water, which is its sanctuary, or between a hippo and its baby. Sarah Palen has it all wrong: she should be talking about momma hippos rather than momma grizzlies...except for the fact that the girth factor is unappealing and would cause Ms Palen to be even more reviled than she already is.

For food, the Kruger Park Lodge has packed me a “safari breakfast.” It includes a ham and cheese sandwich, two apples, four packets of strawberry jam, a chocolate muffin, some yoghurt and a KitKat Bar. That is enough food that when we take a break for lunch at one of the many restaurant/oasis type places inside Kruger National Park, I don’t eat.large_c875c490-2fec-11ea-80b6-ff8396a47c0d.jpglarge_c7d258a0-2fec-11ea-a829-c9017a1fc49f.jpglarge_c7ed33a0-2fec-11ea-b889-1f2fcd691c22.jpglarge_c7cf2450-2fec-11ea-b889-1f2fcd691c22.jpglarge_c7c4c410-2fec-11ea-86e7-3f1d5cba98a5.jpg

One trip highlight is that Alfred tells us at one point that we actually crossed the border from South Africa into Mozambique. That’s illegal. I don’t know whether or not that means I get to count that as a country I have visited. What’s your opinion?

Upon arrival back at the Kruger Park Lodge I am again greeted by solitude. Literally, there may be ten couples here and no other single people. It’s nice and it’s not nice. I skip the non-bar and pull up a chair on the dining room terrace to view photographs of the day and write this. I think I’ll sit right here and ask for a menu to see what I ought to have for dinner. The noise of a waterfall is in the background and a Neil Diamond pan flute cover CD plays over and over and over again. It was on last night too.

Posted by paulej4 14:09 Archived in South Africa

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