First trip to Kruger National Park in 2021!!!…New photos!…

It’s estimated an aggressive hippo sharp teeth kills 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 amazing to see in the wild. Note the oxpeckers on the hide of the hippo on the right

Yesterday, 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 of the Easter weekend visitors and holidaymakers apparently gone, we figured it would be a good time to go.

We could have applied online, but the website was cumbersome, so we decided to do it “the old way” and appear 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 own pen for any necessary filling out of documents or signatures.

At the Verhami Dam, we spotted this “bloat” of hippos munching on the tall grass.

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 finally head back to our car. 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.

We wanted to yell out, “Pick up your head” but were satisfied when the hippo in the main photo did so.

Generally, early morning can be the best time to do a game drive, in our case, what is referred to as a self-drive. Although, 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.

Zebra traffic on the main road.

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, over the next months, returning to the park regularly.

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 waited patiently until they moved over into the grass.

We won’t actually 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 with us in order 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 to check out the action on the Sabi River from the restaurant.

It was quite a day for zebra sightings.

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 due to the fact, that our way of eating totally diminishes our appetites until 24 hours later.

Long ago, we both decided that we wouldn’t eat unless we were hungry. Thirty days prior to leaving India, Tom began the process of 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.

Crocodiles are always scary-looking, in the water and out.

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, greatly improving our health. We both feel committed to maintaining our current way of eating, weight, and resulting in 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.

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.

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