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bineba Klaserie - A travel report by Sabine
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Klaserie,  South Africa - flag South Africa -  Northern Province
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bineba's travel reports

Kruger National Park and Shangana Cultural Village

  14 votes
Page: 1 2
On the second leg of our South Africa trip we stayed for 3 nights in a private game reservation close to the Kruger National Park Orpen Gate. We also fitted in a visit to the Shangana Cultural Village in Hazyview. We had a fantastic time in both.

My first elephant in the wild!
My first elephant in the wild!
Klaserie is only just in the Northern Province, or Limpopo to give it its proper name, from Mpumalanga and not really much of a town. It is home to the Klaserie Nature Reserve, several private game reserves, including the Timbavati Private Game reserve with its white lions, and a good place to stay if you want to enter the central region of the Kruger National Park. There are also two wildlife breeding and rehabilitation centres nearby, Moholoholo and Hoedspruit. Shopping facilities in the area are sparse; we bought all our provisions in Nelspruit, other possibilities are Hazyview and Hodspruit. Going north from Nelspruit you drive through lots of citrus and banana plantations that eventually make way to the rolling hills of the sometimes quite densely populated former homelands around Bosbokrand, or Bushbuck Ridge as it is also known. Do take care when travelling this road, especially at night, as there are a lot of people walking along the sides and cows and goats tend to wander on to the tarmac. On your left, due west, you have the Klein Drakensberg escarpment, which is spectacular and looks wonderful at sunset when the sun disappears behind the mountain peaks

Favourite spots:
A wall of water buffalo
A wall of water buffalo
My favourite spot has to be the Kruger National Park, what else could it be?! On the first day we arrived at Orpen Gate at 6h in the morning and we left it 12 hours later, having seen many animals in the wild and great scenery. Roads between the main camps are tarred but you see more wildlife by going on to one of the well maintained dirt roads. Within a few minutes of leaving the main road we saw a herd of over 100 water buffalo. The park is enormous and you should concentrate on a relatively small area of it, especially as to see as many animals as possible you have to go really slow and make frequent stops to watch them at the watering holes or specially designated spots where you can leave your car. We travelled around the Orpen, Satara and Olifants camps and I was amazed at how rarely we encountered other cars. Fill up with petrol at the gate and do bring enough to drink and eat as you can literally loose yourself in the park for hours!

What's really great:
A graceful giraffe
A graceful giraffe
Unfortunately we didn’t see any big cats, although we did try our hardest and even asked the game wardens, but we did see plenty of elephants, giraffes, antelopes, kudus, zebras, rhinos, hippos, wildebeest, monkeys, crocodiles and an amazing array of different bird species, including fish eagles, secretary birds, hornbills and a saddle-billed stork. Stop at the camps where you can find maps where people, who have made a game sighting, stick different coloured pins in it to show where it happened. This should give you at least an idea where to find that elusive rhino. If you are going it alone, take a book that identifies the different animals and birds, it’s a great way of learning more about them and if an elephant and a giraffe are quite easy to tell apart, some of the different kinds of antelope are a bit more tricky.

You come to this part of the world to experience nature and if you keep your eyes open there is much more to find than the Big Five. From giant Baobab trees to huge termite hills, from colourful butterflies flitting about to wild cucumbers in the trees, from frogs in the shower (well, there was a tiny little one) to bleached animal skulls in the bush, from amazing flowering trees to (rather noisy) toads in the swimming pool. All of these things made it an unforgettable experience. Sometimes it is the little things that make a holiday extra special.

Peeva chalet at Maduma Boma
Peeva chalet at Maduma Boma
Maduma Boma is a private game reserve just outside Klaserie and about 50 km from the Orpen Gate to the Kruger National Park. I absolutely loved the place. This isn’t one of your luxury lodges that cater to your every whim; here you get the real bush experience without having to rough it too much. There are only 7 chalets all with their own private pool and a boma for your braais and each one is at least 500 m apart from the others. You are surrounded by the bushveld and the animals, none of the Big Five but giraffe, wildebeest, impala, warthog and many bird species come to visit you at your chalet or you can go on easy hiking trails around the estate. The owners are really friendly and will sell you wood for your evening braai and the well equipped chalets (power is by solar power and gas) are serviced daily. I would love to go back there and stay a bit longer next time, as our day trips to KNP didn’t leave us much time to really get to know the place.

Sunset in Kruger National Park
Sunset in Kruger National Park
There is nothing around for miles, but with a litre of Gordon’s gin only costing around £6 or 9 Euros and bags of ice available from Maduma Boma’s office, it was much more fun sitting around the open pit fire in our boma and sipping G & T’s or having a bottle of wonderful South African wine!

Guess who's joining us for lunch?
Guess who's joining us for lunch?
The restaurant at the Satara camp has a quite decently priced 3 course meal at lunchtime and even though the starter (salads) and desert (vanilla ice cream) were a bit uninspired, the main course, a mixed grill, was very good. Skip the coffee if you like good coffee like me. Entertainment was provided by a hornbill and several starlings.

The meal we had at the Shangana village was great. We had starters of mopani worms, crocodile, venison and corn and the main meal consisted of a wonderful beef stew, pap, butternut squash, spinach, sweet potatoes, corn with cashews, salad, fresh maize bread. Dessert was fresh pineapples and bananas.

Other recommendations:
Dinner with the Chief
Dinner with the Chief
We also visited the Shangana Cultural Village in Hazyview for the evening festival. It has won several tourism awards, but I’m a little bit dubious at the claim it is a genuine tribal village. That said, we had a great time and learned a lot about the tribe’s culture. The evening started with the group being taken to the chief’s kraal, where we were introduced to Chief Soshangana and told about the history and traditions of the Shangana people. We were also taken to the sangoma, the tribe’s healer. After that there was a musical performance of the Shangaan history from their beginnings to present day, which was very atmospheric and, I thought, rather good. It included traditional singing, drumming and dancing, but also gum boot dancing. The play was written by Shalati Khosa, who also wrote the song ‘Joy’, which was chosen as alternative anthem in 1993. In the interval we had our meal and the evening ended with the beautiful South African anthem. During the day there is a craft market.

Published on Thursday October 21th, 2004

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Tue, Dec 14 2004 - 09:20 AM rating by travelbutlers

Thanks Sabine for taking the time to share your experiences of both the park and the Shangana village (which I am also very fond of).

I note Kerrie's comments (downundergal) saying she was suprised that you can visit the park independently and drive yourself - this is infact the most popular way for people to visit the park, although the chances of seeing leopard in particular are close to zero without the help of an experienced tracker.

You can read more about self-drive in Kruger on the Travel Butlers web site at:

Thanks again for a terrific contribution, Sabine!

Wed, Oct 27 2004 - 04:21 PM rating by downundergal

What an interesting report. I thought you had to take a guided safari as I didn't realise that you could "self drive" through the parks? Is this true with all of them or only selected ones.

Fri, Oct 22 2004 - 08:06 AM rating by yellow_daisy

Oh, I see!!! you did have a loooooooot of fun "hunting" the animals at the Kruger National Park huh. You know what--I missed the Leopard for my "Africa's Big Five" collection--anyway, your report did bring back my good memories about that place. Thank you for a great report.


Thu, Oct 21 2004 - 11:07 PM rating by rangutan

Accurate and superb description to one my favorite areas!

Thu, Oct 21 2004 - 05:51 PM rating by britman

Pleased that you enjoyed your South Africa trip. Even more pleased that you are now sharing some of its delights with us with your delightful report. Well Done

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