Hyaenas patrol up and down the fence at Satara Camp in the Kruger National Park, South Africa, hoping for some bones, which might fly miraculously from the braai-fires of the campers over the fence into their reach. Who knows, there may be people, who don’t obey the rule not to feed the wild animals and throw them some chops. Their eyes shine first orange and then green as they pass the beam of our torch.
Satara is a popular camp in the plains of the Kruger National Park, where the nature lover finds a dense population of predators. Large herds of impalas, buffalos, zebras and wildebeest roam the vast grasslands as the yellow strands stand out in the orange sunrise. The gate of the camp opens at six in the morning coordinated with the daylight. Impatiently several safari guests in their vehicles wait in front of the gate to head off to the bush as the first for the next sightings. Being up so early is most rewarding as you have the best chance to see predators hunting and landscapes tinted in the most beautiful shades of orange by the rising sun.
Giraffe with baby
Still it is possible for self-drivers to get into the Kruger National Park and to enjoy the freedom of spending time on their own in one of the most extraordinary awesome places of the world for an affordable price. Camps offer clean and plentiful ablutions with showers and often bath tubs as well as kitchens and laundry facilities. Shops provide fresh supplies and the most common items, which might have been forgotten at home. If you don’t want to cook yourself you can eat at the restaurant, which often offers a breath-taking views and cool shade especially in the middle of the day, when nobody desires to stay in the heat. But then, you can also have a swim in the pool, which is strategically well placed between mighty trees and surrounded by thatched shady spots.
The camps look like luxury game lodges, but provide accommodation from the cheap campsites to the luxury rondavels for the wealthier guests. Campsites cost between 16 and 23 US $ and cottages are available from about 100 US $ per night. No wonder that South African families love to spend their holidays in the Kruger National Park. You won’t easily find accommodation during holiday season in South Africa from mid December to mid January or in the Easter holidays. The online booking system of Sanparks (www.sanparks.co.za) works well for all the National Parks in South Africa. Check, if you’d rather buy a wildcard to save money, if you intend to stay several days in any of the National Parks nationwide. With the wildcard you won’t pay any entrance or conservations fees anymore for one whole year. This also pays for international guests from a certain amount of days on, although the price is unfortunately much higher than for nationals.
Don’t worry you can even fill up petrol or diesel at the camps, so you don’t have to leave the Kruger National Park, if you don’t want to. We met plenty South African grey nomads enjoying the freedom to stay in the park for extended periods. What better place to choose than the Kruger National Park to do just that?