East coast of South Africa: Kruger Park to St Lucia Wetlands

Entertainment UxBridge August 8, 2016 0 1
South Africa has always been a dream destination, a country that I ever wanted to visit. In 2010 I made a trip from Johannesburg along the east coast of South Africa, including a visit to the famous Kruger National Park, Hluhluwe Umfolozi Park, St Lucia Wetlands and Durban. A fantastic experience with lots of wildlife: impala, elephant, buffalo, wildebeest, giraffe, zebra, rhino, hippo and if you're lucky: lion, leopard and cheetah. It is indescribable when you encounter in the wild.

Kruger Park

It was 10 for six in the morning and we stand at the gates of the Kruger Park. There has now formed a small row of vehicles. Some use the Kruger Park alone as a passageway, others are ready with their binoculars for spotting animals.
At 6 o'clock the gates open. Is greatly fumigated, but disappeared within five minutes everyone again. The only thing you see is a vast landscape. Everyone looks good around looking for animals, but make no mistake: The Kruger Park covers 20,000 km2, it is as big as half of the Netherlands.


Yet we are rewarded rather quickly with an impala. The guide laughs at us enthusiasm and tells impalas are also called McDonald's of the park. Not only because of M that you can read on their ass, but also because you encounter them everywhere. Indeed, we come that day velel impalas against, but also buffalo, giraffes, zebras and elephants. Suddenly out of nowhere is there an elephant behind a bush. Or diving along the side of the road a group of mother elephants with their little ones.
The day flies by, but the guide proved right: At the end of the day it does not slow down when we see an impala. With his open jeep he tears again towards the exit, while the African wind blowing through our hair and the sun warms the land.


Sadly we leave the next day, but we remain on the East Coast. We go to Swaziland, a country that is enclosed by South Africa and Mozambique. At the border, we must get off the bus to walk on foot to border. First, a mark that you leave South Africa, then stamped with the date of entry into Swaziland.
Swaziland is really no different than South Africa, maybe a little greener. The inhabitants are certainly less immune to tourists than the South Africans, as there are many waved at the bus. We sleep in a hotel with a view of the mountain where formerly condemned to death were thrown off. A strange feeling.
The next day, the same ritual: two stamps there and we're back in South Africa. Actually we can not wait to go again in a national park.

Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park

In the afternoon we go to the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park. Previously these were two separate areas, but they are joined together so that the elephants can move on. This area is 1000 km2 in size, much smaller than the Kruger Park, but nevertheless just as big as half of the province of Utrecht.
The park is very different. The Kruger Park is flat and dry, so you can see far. This park is green, hilly and full of green bushes. You can drive here along the most amazing animals and they do not see. Only one animal can not miss here: the white rhinoceros. We also see more of walking. Just like zebras, elephants, giraffes, wildebeests and monkeys. Sometimes the animals are so close that it looks like they have not quite in that there is a car in front of them stands.

Big five

The next morning was our last game drive, again in Hluhluwe-Umfolozi park. We spotted three of the big five: buffalos, elephants and rhinos. We would like to see a leopard and lion. Leopards are very difficult to spot, so we focus on the lion. A cheetah is also allowed.
We see very few animals that morning, what impala after. Disappointed after four hours we drive back towards the exit. Suddenly excitement anyway. I hope for a lion, but it seem wild dogs. Yet an animal on our list that we have not seen yet. If the guide tells us specifically to spot this animal, we conclude the morning still satisfied off.

St Lucia

We still have a chance to see animals and that is more in St Lucia, located in the St. Lucia Wetlands. After two minutes of sailing, we are all treated to a hippopotamus. And what emerges half a minute later: still a hippo, but a small one. Mother hippopotamus has suddenly enough and comes with great speed off on the boat. Gases!
During the trip we see a lot more of hippos, but also rare birds and crocodiles.


Our last stop before we go back to our starting point Johannesburg, Durban is. This city has 3.5 million inhabitants. It is beautifully situated on the Indian Ocean, but is unfortunately not so well known. Because of high crime to keep us advised in the vicinity of the hotel.
This may sound like a downer, and that was maybe a little, but what a fantastic trip. A beautiful country with beautiful nature. Recommended!