There is a new movement taking the country quietly by storm and spreading like wildfire – ever more black people are embracing nature travel, and my recent trip to the Kruger National Park affirmed this.
In all the years that I have been going to one of Africa’s biggest game reserves, I have never seen as many black people, especially campers, as I did recently.
As they say, better late than never, and I am glad that people have been bitten by the travel bug.
While some people prefer winding down the year at the beach, I prefer me-time in a tranquil environment, and the Kruger offers me this serene space.
It was no different as I embarked on yet another trek to the far east, where I knew tranquillity was guaranteed.
After the hard and long year, the last thing one needed was to get stuck in traffic, breathe in the polluted city air and be in the company of many people. So, the Kruger National Park was once again my preferred destination. And it was the best decision, as I got more than I had bargained for.
I have come to realise that some people are selfish in life and want to experience good things on their own. My personal belief, though, is that if it’s good, you share it with the masses and if it’s bad, you ask the authorities to fix it.
I say the lodge is a hidden gem because not many talk about it, perhaps because not many know about it. I was left wondering if it really was in the bush.
The word ‘magnifique’ came to mind when I toured the place. This is where nature and pleasure meet; where you forget that you are in the bush.
I started my journey at the far end of the park, using the Crocodile Bridge entrance, as I was going to my favourite destination, the Lower Sabie Rest Camp.
To me, the stretch between Crocodile Bridge and Skukuza is the best in the entire park, as you are guaranteed a sighting of all sorts of animals – from cats to birds and everything else you can think of – except for rhinos, of course, as they are scarce lately.
Just after entering the park, a late afternoon traffic jam welcomed me soon after 5.30pm. My first animal sighting was therefore of two lions resting under a tree not far from the road. That was a perfect welcome, as it set the tone for the entire trip.
After a night’s rest at Lower Sabie, we continued on our trek towards Skukuza, where I was left speechless by the heaven on earth that is the safari lodge.
The next time I visit Kruger, I will surely set up camp there.