It’s estimated an aggressive hippo’s sharp teeth kill 500 people a year in Africa. Hippos can crush a human to death, with their weight ranging anywhere from 3,000 to 9,000 pounds. But they are fantastic to see in the wild. Note the oxpeckers on the hide of the hippo on the right. After uploading the post, I suggested to Tom that we head to Kruger National Park and purchase our year-long Wild Card, which allows us to enter Kruger as often as we’d like for the next 12 months. With most Easter weekend visitors and holidaymakers gone, we figured it would be an excellent time to go.
We could have applied online, but the website was cumbersome, so we decided “the old way” and appeared in person. It proved to be a good decision. We were the only applicants in the Crocodile Gate office, resulting in no waiting. We were well masked, gloved, and brought our pen to fill out documents or signatures.
Although we were the only visitors in the office, it took at least 30 minutes for the purchase to be completed and for us to head back to our car finally. Of course, with a temporary pass in hand, we decided to go into the park right away. It was midday, and we were well aware the sightings could be minimal.
We hadn’t been in the park since January 2019, before I had open-heart surgery. There was no way I could have been bouncing around on the bumpy roads after the surgery when we finally left South Africa after three months of recovery in May 2019. We’d missed it.
Generally, early morning can be the best time to do a game drive, in our case, what is referred to as a self-drive. However, in the car, we weren’t as high up as one would be on a professional game drive vehicle with a guide. We kept a watchful eye as we meandered down the roads to see what we could find. As usual, we weren’t disappointed.
Not every tourist that enters the park is determined to see the “Big Five.” Sure, it’s great to spot a leopard, lion, cape buffalo, elephant, and rhino. But, for us, we never focus on such a lofty goal. We’ve seen the Big Five more times than we can count. At this point, although fun to see, it’s not a priority for us.
We’re always looking for good photo ops, regardless of the species, and for us, it proved to be as productive a day as any. Over the next several days, we’ll be posting our photos and, of course, returning to the park regularly over the following months.
As for the application for the Wild Card, which resulted in a cost of US $352, ZAR 5100, for foreign nationals, the application process had to be completed once back at the house, requiring we call a phone number, speak to a representative and give them the code we got on the receipt.
We won’t receive a card. Instead, this morning shortly after I spoke to the representative, we received an email with a confirmation letter that we must carry to enter the park. Plus, each time we go, we have to fill out another form with personal and passport information. Lots of steps.
In any case, we certainly enjoyed driving through the park. Deciding to go on short notice, we didn’t eat lunch at the popular Mugg & Bean, located in Lower Sabi on the Sabi River, although we stopped for a bathroom break and checked out the action on the Sabi River from the restaurant.
We’d already defrosted and prepared bacon-wrapped fillet mignon for dinner and knew, if we ate lunch, we’d never be hungry by dinnertime. We only eat one meal a day, only because our way of eating diminishes our appetites until 24 hours later.
Long ago, we both decided that we wouldn’t eat unless we were hungry. Thirty days before leaving India, Tom began losing weight he gained stuck in that hotel room, eating four bananas, toast, and pasta, day after day. He has since lost 25 pounds, 11.3 kg, and I, too, had lost 25 pounds, 11.3 kg, while in India, after changing our diets further.
It’s hard for us to believe that combined, we’ve lost 50 pounds, 22.7 kg, of unnecessary weight in the past several months, significantly improving our health. We both feel committed to maintaining our current eating, weight, and better health with the new changes. We both feel great and love fitting into our minimal wardrobes.
Soon, we’re off for Komatipoort for grocery shopping and to purchase some pellets. Now that the Easter alcohol ban has lifted, we’ll restock a few items.
More photos from Kruger will be posted tomorrow.
I hope you have a pleasant day and that all is well your way!
Photo from one year ago today, April 8, 2020:
|A Brown Gecko is hanging out in this plant with sharp thorns, a safe hiding spot for sure. For more year-ago photos, please click here.|