Fourteen Day Adventure into Northern Kruger National Park
A Nhongo safari offers some of the finest game viewing in the world, smooth organized logistics, and dedicated knowledgeable guides. Amanda is one of Nhongo Safaris most excellent and dedicated guides and has been on a thrilling fourteen-day experience in the Northern part of the Kruger National Park. Let’s look at some exciting highlights so far.
A Guides Diary: Amanda
There are no words to explain the difference between the north of the Kruger and it’s southern section. The immense beauty and ruggedness of the North is easily the winner. If you’re looking for those breath-taking big cats, you will find them here. With some vigilance and hard work, the rewards are well worth the effort.
The famous Red Rocks area close to Shingwedzi Camp is a breath-taking drive along winding river roads, where Leadwood, Jackleberry and Fig trees form a shady canopy to sit under and just be at one with nature.
My guests from India have chosen to stay at Shingwedzi Camp for 2 magical weeks. All avid photographers who are hoping to capture the raw beauty of the area, and of course, create fun everlasting memories.
The Shingwedzi area is a birders paradise. With a small bridge 3kms from camp, you can watch the Saddle-billed Storks in the riverbed, a large, beautiful bird, especially when you catch it in the right light.
As it’s getting cooler in the mornings, we decided on sticking to the tar roads as it retains the heat and big cats love to be warm. We were rewarded by encountering 2 female lions, one of them was lactating so obviously, there were some cubs hidden out of view. We followed them for 3kms down the road before they headed down the bank to the riverbed. As we returned to camp, we stopped to get out on the bridge and were greeted by a male lion calling. We can only guess he was trying to call and locate the females, however, he was moving at quite a pace and we tried to locate him again on a dirt road but he was too quick for us.
The afternoon rewarded us with 3 or 4 different herds of elephants rushing to quench their thirst at the river. A truly amazing day was had by all and her guests managed to take some fantastic and beautiful pictures.
Our days start as early as 5h45am and we leave when the gates open which is around 06h00am. Now, we are very close to full blown winter and the sun rises roughly at 06h25am, so, for the first half hour, we are driving in the dark. We have torches with us so we eagerly shine the lights into the riverbed, hoping to catch the reflection of a predators eyes!
On a different day, we spent a wonderful time watching elephants drinking from the riverbed. There must have been at least 40-50 adults, all from different herds. As one herd leaves, another herd rushes down the slopes to get their last drink of the day.
We took a drive down Lamont Loop, these loops are named after Bill Lamont who was a game ranger at Shingwedzi Camp from 1942-1950. It’s also the site of a borehole. Amazing sightings of Buffalo and Zebras can be found in the area as they stick close to the water source.
We chose to do a few of the loops close to the river to see what we can find and just as we were on the last loop, we spotted movement. She appeared, a single lioness, how lovely she was. We followed the road as far as we could until we lost sight of her. She continued walking in the middle of the riverbed, strolling proudly and ignoring the birds and squirrels alarm calling at the sight of her. A sight of a majestic queen taking an afternoon stroll.
This is what is so special about the Northern section of the Kruger National Park. It’s not crowded, it’s so open and vast that you can drive for extended periods of time without seeing a soul, except all the wonderful species of birds. The lions are currently calling as I sit at camp, sharing my experiences with our readers.
Keep an eye out for part 2 as we continue on our 14 day thrill inside the Kruger National Park.