2023 - 08 - South Africa, Krueger national Park
Interesting facts about Africa (not about Erlangen)
This journey began like many journeys practically immediately with plentiful chaos. And all because nowadays you only have to deal with useless chaotic people everywhere! The flight to Paris was delayed for almost an hour. Then this eternal boarding procedure until finally everyone is on board. Why don't they let the back rows board first? Then no one blocks the aisle for the next ones. Because of all this, one arrives in Paris delayed by one more, horror if one will even reach the connecting flight to Johannesburg. Running through the airport to gate E-K30. We made it at the last minute, but the suitcases - as we learned 11 hours later and after waiting 40 minutes at the baggage carousel - did not! So to the Air France counter, where we were assured that the suitcases would be brought the next day or the day after to our "Vista Rio Lodge", almost 400km away from Johannesburg.
We then with our belongings remaining in two small backpacks to AVIS car rental to pick up the VW T-Cross including navigation system. The latter proved to be out of order immediately after leaving the airport, so that we could not enter anything there, to return immediately to the AVIS station for the purpose of complaint. Left-hand traffic & lost in nowhere! After some kilometers of despair through industrial areas and wastelands we were forced to turn on Google Maps on one of our cell phones, exactly what we had wanted to avoid. Google worked, after all. Shortly afterwards, our Spanish provider informed us by text message that the roaming charges of about 60 euros we had paid in advance for our four-week vacation had already been completely used up within those few hours.
Slightly tired after about 150 kilometers, we stopped at a freeway service area, which immediately turned out to be a small safari area. Far below, a large pond where wildebeest, gazelles, zebras, buffalo and even four rhinos satisfied their water needs. And for Paloma in the Clothes area bought a sweater with hood to protect against the announced nightly "winter" cold. July-August = winter in South Africa. About 23° during the day, but dropping down to 10° at night.
Only a little later the border of the huge, 300km long Krueger National Park came into sight. The landscape changes to picturesque; rivers, forests, many small mountain peaks to the left and to the right. Last but not least we found the accommodation, really very pituresque situated at a river (Rio Cocodrilo), and soon (17.30 o'clock) we went for dinner to the attached restaurant. Edible American cuisine, fillet steaks, spare ribs with a barbecue sauce, springbok capacchio, gratinated snails.
Wine better ordered in the bottle! because in the glass as elsewhere in this world of low quality, but correct beer brand "Windhoek" . At 18 o'clock the sun had already set, which is why the life here of the morning also begins at seven o'clock.
In the early morning further difficulties: The WLAN worked in our accommodation, but the Internet did not work at all. In the nearby SPAR there should be a cafe bar "ILLY" including intact WLAN. SPAR: a huge, totally American-looking supermarket. Everything cheap, cheap and in abundance! We wanted to verify the whereabouts of our suitcases to two capucchinos. The AIR FRANCE website persistently refused. In addition, my email accounts were without access. Nothing is easy for the first time in a foreign country!
Instead of prepaid roaming, you could also swap the card in your phone for a local one. Very nice, but this also changes the phone number. And who knows how calls from Spain or Germany will be charged? No option for the time being.
The thing with our suitcases and the GPS system was most important at the moment. At the reception of our lodge we asked where the nearest AVIS station was. Approximately 50km away at a small airport "Mpumalanga" with Krueger National Park connection. No distances spared, we there with our T-CROSS, which proved itself at times in particular by the right-hand traffic as getting used to. It "crunched" gladly times too far to the left, whereby one tangent one of the nevertheless flattened curbs more frequently. But it is a correct, quite small "off-road vehicle", whereby I think that all these huge SUVs, in which dumb mothers transport their brats, should be banned anyway, especially in the city!
A tall, slim, extremely handsome black man took care of our request in the best possible way and got us a Garmin GPS to replace the previous one. It should be noted that the South African population consists of 80% blacks, 10% Indians and 10% whites, these descendants of fascist Boers, Germans and Englishmen, who can be identified immediately by their old-fashioned clothes. All the blacks we have had contact with so far have been extremely friendly, humorous, helpful and downright gentle. Only their English, which was imposed on them by the white fascists as an obligatory national language, often leaves much to be desired. Or they use other vocabulary with which we are not familiar. But with this quite educated man the communication went very well. In addition, he advised us to go to the only airline represented here, "ELLING", because they would be entrusted one hundred percent also with the transport of our not arrived suitcases, an extremely sound and helpful information.
The woman at the AIRLINK counter (not ELLING!) soon found our suitcases on the basis of the tracking numbers and was able to assure us that they would be brought to us with the next transport (presumably on the following day), but would arrive today, here at 5 p.m. by plane from Johannesburg. 14 o'clock showed the cell phone. Paloma was very groggy because of all these events. I decided to drive her back to her quarters, and soon after to take on these two times 50km to pick up the suitcases directly. What you have, you have! The black AVIS man still checked our tire pressure, which had been reported by the VW CROSS on-board computer as too low (hypermodern cars), whereupon I did not let myself be lumpen to leave him a tip of 200 Rand (10 Euro), good money for a local black man!
Another experience: On the highway, you can only pay the toll with cash, not with a credit card. But we were waved through twice, once with a finger pointing we didn't understand. The third time, however, the toll woman wanted to send us back to exchange money. However, we were spared this because the driver of the car behind us kindly paid for us (about 1 euro) to avoid further waiting. On the fourth time, however, another toll woman explained to us that there was an "E-TAG" attached to our windshield, which we only had to move in the direction of the barrier. A nice, cordless feature, but its existence had been concealed from us by the AVIS car rental company.
First day of vacation, breakfast, Eggs & Bacon, mango, pineapple and oranges freshly sliced, coffee edible only with creamer and sugar, lighter and darker toast, well.
But hello! Sunbathing on the bank of the small pond of the lodge a small crocodile and down at the river grazing a full-grown hippo! Because you see here wild animals not only in the park but also other places.
Then the first ride t-crossing to Krueger Park. Check in, pay (everything is very cheap in this country) and off on the paved track, top speed 50km. First a group of the usual gracefully slender gazelles, antelopes or impalas to the right, and a little later to the left a group of five white passenger cars parked at the roadside, which always means that someone has spotted something here! BOOM: Three adult elephants and a small one here in the wild. That makes already something! It continued with a group of three zebras, then from a bridge some crane-like large birds down by the river, and again parked cars: hyenas on the roadside! With their asses dropping low to the back they seem a bit disgusting, and also beware of these fighting machines!
For the next day we wanted to know it even more and booked a safari morning tour, 5:30 am! One struggles out of bed, outside it is bitterly cold and absolutely dark. Then to Krueger Gate and into this open safari bus with about 15 others. Luckily we were given blankets. After all, right at the beginning at 5:35 a single elephant in the headlights. And then for a long time NOTHING. Soon you also realize that the safari bus does not take you anywhere else where you could not have gone with your own car, and that at a somewhat late hour in daylight. That's the way it is with booked tours. Almost always loading and at best essential for small boat trips!
6:10, the sun was slowly creeping high over the mountain tops, finally daylight and a slight rise in temperature. And shortly thereafter, five white passenger cars stopped on both sides, between which actually a mighty lion was darting back and forth. Sensation! Whereby one asks oneself, why such a wild lion man must hang around here at all on a country road. Well, because the impalas etc. are hunted by the lionesses. Of course - like from all other animals - various proof photos shot!
Later, on a not asphalted way, first warthogs, then again Impalas, two vultures and last but not least relatively far away as coronation a leopard (twelve cars at the wayside!). Who ever drives here from Malelane in the own rented car into the park, I advise to take the next Camino right after the bridge with the green painted railing. There was the most to see.
Beisdes of that … A Spanish noble couple, a Tamara Marquesa de Griñon and her husband, were recently here in cold July for their honeymoon, residing in a private lodge for about € 3,000 per night in the middle of Krueger Park. The largest Spanish rainbow-illustrated "Hola" had paid them a million euros for the wedding photos, which could easily pay for the entire wedding. And the hubby now shot all kinds of video clips here in the park, which were later published for advertising purposes. In one, the dim-witted Marquesa absolutely advised warm clothing and reported enthusiastically and in a shrill voice that a hippo had just trampled past in front of their luxury lodge. Hubby's correction: But dear, that was a rhino!
By the way, there was a famous song of a German group, title: Interesting facts about Erlangen (Wissenswertes über Erlangen).