You can’t visit South Africa without going to the Kruger National Park. It is a truly amazing experience to discover the Big Five in their natural environment: the lion, the leopard, the rhino, the elephant and the buffalo. Giraffes and hippos are pretty big also but they were left out of the ranking.
You have three main options for visiting the park: going with your own vehicle and circulate freely on the roads; hire a private guide and take him in your car: or take an excursion. Some vehicles for the safaris are double height without roof, others are smaller 4×4 also able to do offroad. You can rent your own 4×4 to make offroad yourself, but if something happens anyone will come to solve the problems that may arise.
When you enter the park they explain to you that animals are not going to attack people inside the vehicle because they perceive it as a large animal and respect it. We rented a mini car at that time, the cheapest in the category, so we wondered if they would consider us an animal big enough to be respected. Fortunately everything went well. The important thing is to respect animals back, not getting too close to them, if they are feeding, hunting or in their courtship rituals, do not make sudden movements that they interpret as a threat because even inside the car, angry rhinos or hippos can do a lot of damage.
Keep in mind that you should not leave the vehicle for any reason within the Park. There have been many accidents of people getting out of the vehicle to take better pictures, or to go to the bathroom and were attacked by a hidden lion in the savanna, so don’t take the risk. You sign a liability waiver at the entrance, and you are in Africa so if you are eaten or attacked, life continues normally without further measures. Inside the park there is a fenced restaurant that overlooks the river where you can get out of the car to have some wines and lunch.
It’s much more expensive, but if you can afford it, the ideal is to stay in the lodges inside the park for at least a couple of nights. The park is huge, you will not be able to explore it well in a single day. It’s also magical to listen the animal sounds at night, take a bath in the pool watching the elephants, have breakfast seeing impalas in the river drinking water or a buffalo through the window when you brush your teeth.
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