Rich flame orange sunsets, the deep roar of a lion at night, an elephant in the reeded river bed below the deck outside my tent, showering al fresco under the warm midday African sun, making out the constellation of Scorpio with the help of Brian’s laser beam (Brian was the chief ranger for our stay), finding a pre-historic hand-held tool which sparked a whole discussion around creativity in pre-hominids …. A break in the Greater Kruger feeds the soul and a week-end with Transfrontiers Wildlife Walking Safaris is a really magical bushveld experience. My adventure started with catching the Gautrain to the transport pick-up point at O.R. Tambo International Airport. Along with Sarit and Libby from Israel we set off in our 9 seater mini bus to collect others from nearby airport hotels: Jack (who had arrived from Holland the night before) and Marion and her daughter Sabrina (from Germany). Hitting the road for an easy 5 ½ hour trip to Hoedspruit, we arrived in the Klasire Game Reserve on the western border of Kruger National Park at around 1 pm. At a meeting point we finished all the paper work and then transferred into the open vehicle for the hour’s drive to our camp.
The camp is very basic and sooo beautiful. There is no electricity, the ‘loo occupied’ signs consist of chains across the reeded passages, good sustaining meals are produced from a small basic kitchen and served either around the camp fire or in a covered open-sided ‘dining area’. And best of all, 6 permanent double tents under stunning riverine trees, are set on wooden bases with decks giving a wonderful viewing area of the reeded river bed below and the bank opposite. Our rangers Brian and Vicky, along with Olga and Aster in the kitchen, made sure that we were well looked after in camp and in the bush. With Brian’s paleontological knowledge and basic astronomy a whole new dimension was added to our bush experience. And of course one of the wonderful things about walking is that the small things come into focus. So whilst we were lucky enough to see the Big Five: lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino, we also became aware of the Small Five: ant-lion, buffalo weaver, rhino dung beetle, leopard tortoise and elephant shrew. The latter two are almost certainly scarcer than their Big Five counterparts!
Days went way too quickly with early morning walks, a short relax in camp in the middle of the day and then a drive and/or walk before sundowners out in the bush, and a night drive back to camp. I so relished the solitude and tranquility of being in the camp on my own, that I declined one of the drives to relax on my tent deck reading, enjoying the peace and soaking in the bird life. Transfrontiers is beautifully run and particularly good value for money. Guests can opt for the mid-week stay (4 nights Monday to Friday) or the weekend stay (3 nights Friday to Monday) at R1525 a night. At present transport costs are R650 per person per trip, there is a R100 conservation fee, all drinks consumed in camp are extra and a 10% tipping structure is expected. In comparison to other walking safaris, this is extraordinarily reasonable and the quality of the whole bush experience is just wonderful.
I can’t recommend it highly enough and can’t wait to go back. Thank you to all at Transfrontiers Wildlife Walking Safaris and all who made my stay at Tusker’s Camp so memorable. Check them out at www.transfrontiers.com