A South African safari experience can easily be found at the top of many travelers’ bucket lists – and for good reason. South Africa’s Kruger National Park is teaming with wild game, and the opportunity to get up close and personal to the world’s most interesting predators, and prey, is very real in Kruger. At more than 7,500 sq/miles, the Kruger is about equal to the size of New Jersey. Despite the size, human activity inside the Park is very regulated and monitored daily. To get a true safari experience, and to make sure you see the Big 5 - lion, leopard, rhino, cape buffalo and elephants, choose one of a handful of highly recommended, well-grounded lodges for your stay.
In our most recent stay, we flew directly from Cape Town into Skukuza – a very small airport located inside the Kruger National Park. The sky was cloudy for much of the inbound flight, and after leaving the hustle and bustle of Cape Town behind it was somewhat of an eerie feeling landing at Skukuza with a very low ceiling of clouds. There was not a sound to be heard exiting the plane, but we knew we were in for big surprises.
We loaded-up in our transport vehicle and off we went to Rhino Post – just a 20 minute drive, our driver stated, unless of course we saw game on the way. Within minutes of leaving the airport gazelles were noticeably grazing just at road side. It was not long before we saw giraffes grazing on the high tops of trees, and the birds and flora and fauna were just amazing. We saw four different eagles over the course of 2 days in the park during our game drives from Rhino Post.
Rhino Post sits on a small portion of the Kruger that’s not fenced in, so game are free to roam as they would, and this makes finding them a bit more difficult than game reserves operating within a fenced area, as wide as the fencing might be – often many square miles. It also means these wild animals can walk right through your encampment, and they often do. Rhino Post is a brilliant little set up offering three ways to stay – a formal cabin setting made out of large trees, with a full deck by the river’s edge to watch game pass below, a more permanent tent-like camp is set up 20 minutes further down the road for the more rustic feel, and if you’re okay with seeing a hyena or two or a pack from very close distance, you can camp in one of Rhino Post’s very remote tree-top tents.
After dropping gear on day 1 we were back in a Land Cruiser. Our driver, Bongo, was our guide for the trip, and was extremely knowledgeable on everything from the smallest birds & plants to large game.
Our group was extremely fortunate to see some of the rarest, most endangered wild species, including a honey badger and a Sable antelope, one of only 300 known to exist in the wild. The Sable was hunted to near extinction because of their beautiful cylindrical spiked horns.