There is a place in South Africa that reaches back to the origins of humanity itself and which has remained over the eons since sheltered from
the growth of mankind. Kruger National Park remains the largest wildlife preserve on the planet, a place where man respects nature as an
observer and nature rewards this by simply showing off. Its size and history is similar to Canada's Banff/Jasper Park system with the railroads
opening the territory to people who fell in love with the place halting their journeys for recreation. Soon camps, guides and hotels were built
with protected status not far behind. Similar movements took place throughout the new world yet Kruger always held its own as the first among
This suite of pages reports on the rest camp experience in Kruger Park. To the first time guest it can be an overwhelming experience and a
demanding one as each day brings fresh learning. In time one develops the Safari Eye necessary to spot, identify and enjoy the living animals,
reptiles and birds of the park. This writer had a five day stay and would easily recommend a week or more if possible. The visit was in the dead
of the South African winter when chill sweeps the land getting down to single digits overnight in some places. It was very warm, hitting the
thirties throughout our stay. For Canadians this is a revaluation, an aberration, and a freakish experience knowing it is roughly the same back
The most expensive and demanding aspect of the Kruger experience is the getting there. Anywhere from 35 to 45 straight hours of flying is
called for to get to Johannesburg or Cape Town followed by long road trips across country to the park. Being focused on Kruger the size,
wealth, poverty and diversity of South Africa will amaze. The country has all the trappings of North America and quite frankly they do them all
with a flare, beauty and efficiency that leaves much of the modern world in the dust. There are advantages to having a mild winter.
There is a safari experience for every price point from 5 star luxury in private resort areas of the park to the rest camps which offer camp
grounds for the RV set to a range of overnight options be it in a tent, chalet or guest house. The chalet's are self contained with washrooms,
outdoor kitchens and dining spaces. Some share in communal hubs with kitchen and washroom facilities. All are supported by a restaurant
serving meals all day and a market place with souvenir and grocery items. Chalets have charcoal fed barbecues or braai as they are called. It
is possible to cook each day on such grills and some pride themselves on doing so. North Americans are surprised to find themselves eating
the very animal meats they have been viewing as the markets and restaurants offer local foods. Rice, potatoes, fries and vegetables are
universal. In short, if you want a family vacation with a sturdy thatched roof over your head, all the amenities and do not mind self catering the
rest camps are the way to go. Each rest camp offers a unique twist on the formula from a flat terrain to overlooking a vast valley or a wide and
drying riverbed. All have a pool, picnic spaces, store and market and some a museum. Tours are offered by local guides morning, day and
Touring in a vehicle is essentially the lifestyle of the park. You are never to leave your vehicle with the few exceptions of clear space at the
center of a few large and high bridges. Top speeds are 50 to 60 clicks with going slower being encouraged. Cars stopped along the road side
are the best indicators of something worth seeing being around. Often, you may find yourself taking the lead with just such a sighting as an
elephant appears along the roadway. The goal is to never threaten with your vehicle by approaching too close, blocking the progress of an
animal or taunting in any way. They are used to vehicles for the most part and yes, may hold you up at times. You travel at their speed at all
Sunrises are glorious and sunsets echo them with the days often being a series of wonders. It is one of life's finer privileges to witness the
wildlife of Kruger going about their lives on their land.
The Lilac-Breasted Roller named for their flying abilities.
A young Greater Kudu, the iconic symbol for
Kruger Park. An antelope common throughout
Almost every major airline flies to South Africa. Not only do they fly there, they fly their best and largest planes there. The double story 800 has to be among the most kitted out with 500 or more in
economy and then, upstairs 76 in business pods and well, an unknown number in their own private rooms with a wide desk, television, p.j.'s , turn down service and showers! For many, it is all about
the pods as these are long flights and sleeping through much of the many hours is the preferred way to go.
The RV lifestyle thrives in South Africa. There was a constant stream of house trailers heading to and from Kruger. Unique, shorter than usual trailers. Either South Africans were short or their trailers
popped up. Of course it was the latter. The roof pops up for headroom and you sit down to view out the windows. Wonderful compromise North Americans are ignoring. Many pull small trailers which
essentially carry the manifest of equipment and luggage. This can include a full kitchen with sink, fridge, cupboards, storage and shelving transforming your campsite into home itself. At the upper
end there are RV units designed for the extreme with bright yellows, metals and custom storage configurations. This is a nation that can be recreational 365 days a year and has a very sophisticated
RV industry to support that.