Leaving the bustling Mussina was almost a relief. Just minutes on the road life became idyillic and slow again – the pace which we have become used to. A bumpy road took us through rural Africa and through to the Pulfuri Gate. Now the Palfuri Gate is about the northern most gat-kant of nowhere. The excitement in the car almost palpable and for once our oldly purchased Wild Card works like a dream. Palfuri Gate is a small gate the most notable thing about it is when the rangers stop you the first thing they say is “How are you” I really dont know if we all just looked a bit rough or if they really meant it, however it was really nice having someone actually caring how I was.
The first thing we do is institute a game of R1.00 for every animal spotted. Jamie immediately spots a whole FLOCK of pigeons and earns himself a quick R100, I cannot believe that we have come all this way to see blerry PIGEONS. Rosie then retaliates by seeing 2 imaginary tortoises. We re-established the rules.
1. An animal must have 4 legs.
2. The car must be called to a halt so everyone can see it.
3. If two people see the animal at once – no-one scores.
Now seeing game in Kruger is VERY VERY easy – just stop where the rest of SA has stopped, then look in the direction that everyone is hanging out of windows/sunroofs with their binoculars/cameras.
The kids soon caught onto a new game – stop the car – hang out a window and point at NOTHING – it is incredible how many cars stop, people hang out the windows and try and see what you are pointing at.
Taking photos in Kruger is also easy, especially if you want to take photos of animals BUMS. The animals have it timed perfectly that they know exactly how long you are going to fumble looking for your camera then focus point and snap – at the point moment they turn around and start walking through the bush.
We take about 4 hours to drive from Pulfuri gate to the Punda Maria gate – in map terms this is about 1 cm but in Kruger terms it is seriously far. We hair down from the Punda Maria gate to Phalaborwa and find accomodation. My only knowledge of Phalaborwa is that during National Service times during the 80’s, if your boyfriend was based in Phalaborwa you only got to see him about twice in two years. The place was far, hot and boring. Nothing much has changed.
We are beginning to find that looking for accomodation as we need it a little bit nail biting. It normally involves a tense hour between 5 and 6 pm – we literally use the sun as a yard stick and the further the sun goes down the more tense the atmosphere – when we finally find something suitable we are all our happy selves again.