|Our first elephant sighting|
Having booked our first night in Oliphant Camp, we had a 3-hour plus drive from the entrance. That timing was based on driving directly at the speed limit (50 km/hr-31 mph) and not stopping to enjoy the animals along the route or meandering on the gravel roads or stopping at the viewing areas. By booking through the South African National Park website, we were able to secure reasonable accommodations throughout the park. With 37 camps, ranging from basic with minimal services to luxury resorts, most folks can find something within their budget. We opted for 5 different camps, which, in all cases but one, offered a basic kitchen with a hot plate, refrigerator and essential cookware and utensils. Bungalows in this range were around $90 a night. Oliphant Camp offered only a refrigerator, but there was a restaurant and a communal kitchen on site. Rooms in the luxury resorts start at around $400 p/p per night, but that's not our travel style (or budget).
|Impala by moonlight|
Having scheduled 5 park ranger led tours during our stay, we had our first sunset tour with a guide named Wonderful. By leaving at 4:30 P.M., the 3-hour trip is half daylight hours with the second half at night when the nocturnal creatures appear. Over the next few hours, we saw not only a fabulous sunset, but baboons, crocodile, a cackle of hyena, a spotted genet, and our first lion. Seeing the big cat at night and moving, photography was a challenge, and National Geographic will not be buying any of our photos, but it was our first lion and we were thrilled!