From Wine to Wildlife

The day started real early for us today. We drove to the airport in Cape Town, took a flight to Johannesburg and then started driving in a rented SUV to the Kruger National Park. The drive was pretty drab and uninteresting. It took us a bit more than 4 hours, but we arrived at the Belule portion of the park (technically right outside the park) to our accommodation for the next 3 days.

Toro Yaka lodge is nicely nestled in the dry bush on the eastern boundary of Kruger. The terrain and flora look very much like Ranthambhore and Gir in India. Nicole and Steve (the owners of Toro Yaka) welcomed us with open arms. We arrived just in time to go out for the evening ride.

Steve, who seems to have more knowledge about the Kruger than you can imagine was behind the wheel and Michael was tracking for us. The ride was as perfect as I expected. There is nothing better I can imagine doing than being out in the bush in a safari Range Rover. Whether we see any animals or not, the sounds, smells and sights are quite perfect. We did end up seeing some Impala, Water Buck and a few amazing birds like the Lilac-breasted Roller, the Blue Waxbill, the Green Wood-Hoopoe, the Swainson’s Spurfowl and many others. The drive turned into a night drive after sunset with Michael and Steve searching for nocturnal animals and birds including the Brown Snake Eagle (see video).

I cannot wait for the next few days to unfold the mysteries of the Kruger National Park!

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