Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Kruger National Park: The People and Places

 The first few nights of our safari experience we stayed in the town of Hazyview just outside of Kruger. It was a great hotel and I kind of wish I would have had time to enjoy the relaxing resort amenities like the pool and spa. Hazyview also had a Nando's so I was so happy I got to eat there a couple times! (I didn't know Nando's originated in South Africa. Yum. I got my dad hooked too). Speaking of food, I tried some cool food at the hotel in Hazyview like kudu and warthog! The warthog was really yummy, and as one of our group mates pointed out, "it's pig, of course it's good!

The last two days of the safari we stayed in a rest camp inside Kruger called Skukuza. It was basically like the African version of our National Park lodges and campgrounds, except it's enclosed in barb wire electric fences to keep out dangerous animals! In Skukuza we stayed in traditional rondavel huts. Our hut had electricity, a bathroom, and a little front porch kitchen. My kind of camping!

^^a few animals did sneak in, like monkeys and this warthog family^^

Our first night in Skukuza we had a special traditional"bree" aka South African barbecue under the stars. It was delicious!

^^up at Sunrise again for a full day of safari^^
Now the people!
This was our game driver/guide Thulani and he was awesome!! He knew everything there was to know and had an amazing eye to spot animals. He was our guide the whole 4 days so we got to know him and about his family, etc. A really good guy.

This is Brett Stanley, our other guide who was with us the entire trip. Brett is from Pretoria and he was awesome too. He helped me find someone to make me a traditional beaded nativity! And Ronnie our bus driver went to 5 different stores to price compare to buy me 2 dozen kinder eggs! Awesome people. 
^^this statue is of Paul Kruger, founder of Kruger National Park^^
And our group! There were 29 of us. And I will admit, I was not looking forward to big group travel. I have never been a fan. But this group was phenomenal. Loved getting to know everyone and never had problems of rude or inconsiderate people. Sure, things took longer sometimes but I just got used to it. In case you're curious, the group we traveled with was through Dick Jensen and Alan McKay Tours based in Utah, but you don't have to be in Utah to go on these trips. 
And this was our group we spent many hours in the safari truck with! Me and my dad, Sue from Idaho, Thulani, and Robin and Dana are sisters and Katie and Ellen are Robin's daughters. Such a fun sister trip!

It felt like saying goodbye to people after summer camp or EFY haha! You get to know each other in such a short amount of time, it's weird to say goodbye and go back to your other life. But it was such a great time.

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