Journey from Johannesburg to Baobab Lodge in Hoedspruit
After a hearty ‘English’ type breakfast we set the satnav for Hoedspruit on the edge of the Kruger National Park, a journey that would take five and a half to six hours nonstop driving. However, we stopped twice on the way so the journey took more like eight hours and we arrived at our destination in the dark.
It was a little disconcerting travelling along the toll roads as every so often as we passed a toll a bleep would occur in the car as the toll was automatically added to my credit card account. I needn’t have worried though because at the end of the visit the credit card bills were not as high as expected.
Day 2 A. First stop Emalaheni
Several hours into the journey we made a stop at the market town called Emalaheni. The local market was on and there were stalls selling all sorts of produce. It looked really interesting so I parked half way up a side street and we walked around the market and some of the streets taking photos and taking in the atmosphere. Most people travel by bus taxis and there was a taxi station with a mired of mini bus taxis there. Most of the people on the stalls were nice and friendly and gave us a nice smile as we passed by but it was as we got back to the street where the car was parked that we were ‘welcomed’ to South Africa. I was just about back to the car-half way up the street when I heard a kerfuffle at the street corner. 3 local South Africans were mugging the tour organiser at knife point trying to get his mobile phone and bag. I was so far away that I couldn’t see the knife being used to threaten. I quickly zoomed in with my camera to take photos of them just in case they got away with anything but the tour organiser fell to the ground so I set off down to try to help. When I got there the knife was pulled on me (my constipation was cured in an instant) and I drew back but that allowed the organiser to get up and run across the road escaping the clutches of the muggers. With all the hullabaloo going on they must have decided that it was not worth carrying on and they moved away when we ran to the car. As soon as we were in we locked the doors and sped away as fast as it was safe to do so—hearts beating twenty to the dozen. Luckily no one was hurt and they didn’t get anything except a bag of oranges that had been dropped. However this incident made us super sensitive to our safety and just took the edge off the tour. I was always looking over my shoulder and continually checking them surroundings.
Day 2 B. Second Stop the Mac Mac Falls in Sabie
The Mac Mac falls is as its name suggests a magnificent water fall on the Mac Mac River. Originally called Mac Mac because of the number of Scotsmen that panned for gold near by. Many gold diggers claimed land along the river but most of the gold was found at the area near the top of the falls. After a short walk from the car park the superb views of the water fall, valley and gorge came into view.
From the Falls we wound our way to the Baobab Lodge through the South African Veldt passing several small towns on the way-which we made a point of not staying at!! We passed through forests and occasionally we come across a small herd of cattle wandering aimlessly and unattended along the road-obviously from one of the local villages on the route. We arrived at out destination at around 6pm in the dark and stopped at a local fast food restaurant before making our way to the accommodation which was situated within a private wild life park. It was really exciting seeing Giraffes and antelope just walking or lying beside the road within the park.