Most weeks we go camping in Klaserie Game Reserve, next to the Kruger Park, which is about 40 minutes drive from our lodge. Two person tents are permanently set up with mattresses, duvets and pillows, and with a ’mess’ tent, toilet & shower tents nearby. There is a bore hole that feeds a water tank to flush the loo, wash up, and shower, although the shower is unheated so not many of us use it!We leave our lodge after lunch, get to camp, dump our overnight bags and head out on our first game drive which is anything between 3 and 5 hours long. If we’re out for 5 hours, it’s because we’ve seen something amazing, or heard on the radio that there is a good sighting elsewhere on the reserve. We then go back to camp, light the campfire, and cook our dinner on the fire. If it’s early enough we then go out on a night drive, then straight to bed, as we’re up at 5.00 a.m. for another drive. Evenings and early mornings are when the animals are most active as it’s cooler then. On my first trip we were lucky enough to see the Big Five on both days, and seeing a leopard is always exciting as they are so elusive. I love lying in my tent with the canvas sides rolled up on three sides so that I can look at the sky and the hundreds of stars that we can see when there is no light pollution. There are mesh panels to keep out the mozzies, and also anything bigger that might prowl, crawl, or slither into camp! The most dangerous thing I’ve seen in camp (so far) was a little scorpion, although its size has no relevance whatsover to the sting that it can give you and whether you need a speedy trip to hospital or not! A good indication of the potential damage it could do is this: Big pincers, small tail = less threat. Smaller pincers, bigger tail = watch out!
I cut down on my water intake during the evening in the hope that I can avoid the need to get up to go to the loo tent during the night. One reason is that the zips are really noisy so I don’t want to wake anyone up, but the other reason is not knowing what may be out there in the darkness! The week before I arrived one of the photography volunteers woke up to see a huge hyena right outside her tent, looking for scraps of meat from the Braii (BBQ), and last week the researchers arrived back in camp after a drive to find the elephants there. Unfortunately they were in search of water, and had pulled up the pipe/s, which meant no water for the camp until it was repaired.
Having seen the Big Five on our first trip, we told our next guide that we wanted to see the male lions, the two cubs, and also hyenas. Given that Klaserie is 60,000 hectares in size,and animals can roam anywhere they choose, amazingly enough we were not disappointed and extremely lucky to see them all.