5 days in and near Kruger National Park
Apr 24, 2019
|Saturday 20th April 2019
Tremisana Lodge to Marc’s Treehouse Camp
This morning we were up at 5.30am for a bush walk in the Balule Game Reserve where we were driven from the lodge to a spot in the reserve and then went on a bush walk accompanied by a tracker and a guide who was armed with a rifle for emergencies. As we walked, she explained the different things in the bush and also showed us how to identify some things in the forest. During our walk we could hear a lion roaring somewhere in the vicinity! We ate a couple of leaves that were used for herbal treatments and also inhaled the smoke from some elephant dung that our guide lit - clears the nose apparently! We finished with a snack of dried fruit and an apple by the river whilst we watched hippo wallowing and then walked back to the vehicle and went back at about 9am to the lodge for brunch. After brunch, we stayed around the lodge for a rest then at around 1:30pm we went on an afternoon game drive in the Tremisana’s Private Game Reserve where we saw giraffes and got very close to a group of elephants who were feeding. After returning to Tremisana, we picked up our luggage, then drove to Marc’s Treehouse Lodge about 45 minutes away, arriving there just after sunset. After checking in, we were taken to our room which was a long way from reception on very uneven paths. The person accompanying us eventually was carrying both our bags as well as one other. He took everyone to their rooms individually which took quite a while. We then came back for dinner in the restaurant which was in a boma near the reception area and pool. After a dinner with friends that we had met on the journey from Johannesburg, we went back down the track to our room and to bed. There were probably about 30 people staying at this lodge, all on varying packages, so some were staying 2 days, some were staying 4 days etc. Our room is quite rustic, but has a very pleasant atmosphere.
Sunday 21st April 2019
Marc’s Treehouse Lodge to Kruger National Park
We had breakfast at 7am today, weather was fine and cool this morning. Today we were going on a full day’s game drive to Kruger National Park. The lodge is about 45 minutes drive from the Kruger Orpen Gate. We stopped at the gate for the toilet and snack purchasing then headed off into the park. There are so many animals in so many different habitats, it is really quite an amazing place. We were in a 9 seat safari vehicle, accompanied by the friends we had travelled from Johannesburg with as well as a couple of American guys and a Norwegian lady. It was a really good group to be with all day. During the day we saw the following animals, some up close and some further away: wildebeests, zebras, impalas, black backed jackal, southern ground hornbill, kudu, leopard tortoise, cheetah (2 in the distance in the grass), giraffes, chameleon, many elephants, hippos, a pair of lions mating, crocodile, Cape buffalo, baboon, waterbuck, mongoose and 3 white rhino. It was a really good game viewing day and by sunset we were heading back to the lodge for a drink and then dinner. It was a very exhausting day but all agreed that it was very rewarding seeing all the game that were in the park. Back down the path to bed pretty early tonight. Weather was fine and warm today, around 26C.
Monday 22nd April, 2019
Marc’s Treehouse Lodge to Moholoholo Wildlife Centre and Motlala Game Reserve
Up to breakfast at 7am today, we farewelled our friends who were going back to Johannesburg today. We then went on a minibus to the Moholoholo Wildlife Centre about 45 minutes away. This centre rescues injured animals and cares for animals including lions, leopards, cheetahs, African dogs, eagles and vultures. We went into the cage with the vultures and Lynn had one land on her (gloved) arm and take a piece of meat. We also went into the eagle cage and patted one. It was a very interesting experience and gave you an appreciation of the work being done to publicise and educate people about the situations that cause animals to be brought to this place. Then back to the lodge for lunch and some free time to relax before going on a sunset game drive in a private game park nearby. After posting the blog and having a relaxing time, we went at 5.30pm for a game drive in the nearby Motlala Game Reserve. We saw a black rhino (very rare) - so close we could hear her crunching the twigs, and a number of Cape Buffalo as well as Zebras, Nyalas, wildebeest and impala. We also saw a genet (a small cat sized animal with a long striped tail) and a mother giraffe with a baby about two weeks old. We then spent quite a while looking for a leopard that the guide had seen the night before, but without success even though the guide did quite a bit of bush bashing in the process of searching for the leopard. After we returned, we had dinner and then walked back to our room and had a relatively early night. Weather was fine and warm today, around 26C.
Tuesday 23rd April 2019
Marc’s Treehouse Lodge to Kruger National Park
Up at 6am for breakfast at the lodge then we set off on our second game drive into the Kruger National Park. We were with different people this time from 2 days ago. After a quick toilet stop and a shopping break at the Orpen Gate to the park, we drove into the park and immediately started to see wildlife. Today we saw some different animals that included zebras, wildebeest, baboons, southern ground hornbill, kudu, impala, elephants, lilac breasted roller, steenbok, guinea fowl, 2 white backed vultures, waterbuck, crocodiles, many giraffes, red billed hornbill, hippos, martial eagle, lion, glossy starling, sadly? billed stork, warthog and white rhinos. Seeing all these animals took us until about 4.30pm, when we sadly had to leave as the gates shut at 5pm. It was quite a cool day today, so we had to wear our puffer jackets and beanies sometimes. We had a break for lunch at one of the restaurants in the park. Driving back to the lodge took about 90 minutes, then it was a relax in the room then a walk back up to the restaurant for dinner. After that we went back to pack our bags and to bed at around 10:30pm. It is our last night here and has been very enjoyable and very tiring, early mornings, lots of activities, long days, and we’ve seen so many animals which has been great.
Wednesday 24th April 2019
Marc’s Treehouse Lodge to Johannesburg then Durban
Up at 5am this morning for an early morning bush walk near the lodge. We had a cup of coffee and a rusk before we set off on the walk, having brought most of our luggage from the room, up and down paths, across 2 bridges, then along a sandy path, finally (after about 10 minutes) arriving at the reception area. Off we went on our walk into the bush. The guide showed us various medicinal plants, leaves and trees and also some spiders in the path. After about an hour, we were back at the lodge for breakfast by the lake where observed a kingfisher catch two fish, one after the other. After breakfast, we walked back to our room and picked up the rest of our luggage and staggered back with it. We paid our bar bill then picked up all our bags from outside reception. Lynn discovered that a monkey had undone a zipper on her backpack and stolen a bag with an apple and her remaining Easter eggs in it. She was pretty unhappy about it. We then set off at around 8am for our minibus trip back to Johannesburg, stopping for lunch at Dullstroom which is about half way there. Got to Joburg Airport, flight to Durban slightly delayed, but just about to board. Photos to follow.