Earlier this year we went to spend three weeks in the Kruger National Park here in South Africa. Along the way we stopped off in some Nelspruit accommodation to rest and enjoy a night of luxury.  Kruger is one of the best places in the world to see wild life in their natural habitat and we saw lots of beautiful animals including the Big 5. The Big 5 are called that because they are the most dangerous animals to hunt. Now they have become a selling point for game lodges and parks which contain some or all of the Big 5. Kruger park has all the big 5 which include Lions, Leopards, Rhino, Elephants and Buffalo.

A funny preconception with the big 5 is that the Hippo is not included in it even though it accounts for the second most deaths in Africa after the mosquito.

The Kruger Park is about 5 hours away from Johannesburg by car, and your drive takes you down the escarpment and through some beautiful country side on your way into the low veld. We had flown up from Cape Town to JHB, so we couldn’t make it all the way to our camp in one go.

We decided to stay in Nelspruit along the way and discovered the beautiful Shandon Lodge. The Shandon Lodge is run by Jane and Tony who are fantastic hosts and extremely welcoming. The rooms are beautiful and the pool and deck are are a fantastic place to relax and enjoy their spectacular view. There were a number of other guests staying there which included both fellow travelers  and some corporate businessmen in Nelspruit on business.

The food we ate there was delicious and we slept so well in their comfy beds. We would definitely recommend staying at the Shandon Lodge if you are ever in the Nelspruit area for business or vacation.

The next day we left the gateway to the louvered and the Kruger Park which is Nelspruit and headed through Paul Kruger gate to start our adventure.

We would have a couple of nights staying in Skukuza, Satara and Lower Sabi Camps and then we would be taking part in a three day walking safari in a  secluded park of the Kruger. The walking safari was definitely the highlight of the trip and it is so fantastic to experience nature and the African wilderness close at hand. We saw so many Rhinos it put hope back into our heart after the terrible poaching epidemic that has been striking down these animals.

On our walks we even bumped into Lions, but luckily they were not to close and we could enjoy them from a distance and revel in the excitement of seeing them on foot.

We love birding and are embarking on a Big Year this year, so we are keeping a record of all he birds we see in our travels. It was one of the main reasons for traveling down to the Kruger so we could enjoy all the species that are found there and not in the Western Cape and Cape Town where we live.

The most exciting bird we saw was a Marshal Eagle in a tree just above us on the last day of our walking safari. It was spectacular.

After our walking safari our time in the Kruger park was at an end and we had to start our long journey back to Cape Town by car and plane. We will be happy to be home and walking on the beach again, but we will always miss our adventures in the bush.