After leaving Tofo I travelled south to the capital of Mozambique, Maputo, via a small combi bus. This was the first of many combi trips on my African journeys, and a gentle introduction to the concept of “African Time” – the slow paced life that is common throughout the continent, where nothing leaves on time and no one likes to be rushed.
In Maputo I had some big problems as I couldn’t access any of my bank accounts, and there seemed to be no internet connection. Up north I’d had no internet whatsoever, and just trusted that I could get online in the capital. Alas, I was mistaken.
I managed to get a combi to the South African border for $1 and walked across on foot, following the Maps.ME app on my iPhone to a guesthouse in Komatipoort, just a couple of kilometers from the Ressano Garcia border crossing. The place was called Kruger View Backpackers, and true to its name I could see Kruger National Park from the decking on the second floor. In fact, in the day I could see kudu and impala, and at night I could hear hippos in the Crocodile River.
I stayed a few days and during that time they helped me book a day tour of Kruger. Luckily for me, no one else booked the trip and so I got a personal tour of the park. The above photos were taken by me during that day. You can see that it was raining, which was very rare during this especially dry season. The rain seemed to bring out the animals, and I saw four of the Big Five – everything except a lion. I was lucky enough to see a leopard, although it was hard to get a photo of him.
Kruger is one of the best protected and most impressive parks on Earth, yet even they are losing rhinos to poaching at an alarming rate. According to my guide, we have about six years before they’re all gone. The night before I arrived, on a full moon, poachers shot dead two rhino near the Crocodile Bridge camp before anti-poaching teams could be dispatched. Fortunately, the poachers were all killed or arrested, except for one. However, for as long as rich people want rhino horn, there will be poor people highly paid to do this despicable act. I felt privileged to see these beautiful animals up close in the wild. If I ever have children, they won’t be so lucky.