Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Road Not Taken,Taken!!!



Its been a couple of weeks since my Kruger trip. Sorry guys, was able to find time just now to give an account of the trip.This is just the beginning. Updates will follow soon!
And please bear with me... this one is pretty long :)
From: Fijnbosch Appartments,Johannesburg.Destination:Krueger National Park
The Trip to Kruger National Park was running on all our minds the week before the travel date.The excitment was
understandable because we were about to embark on a cross country ride in to the Mpumalanga Province, from Gauteng
Province.The estimate was around 400km from our homes.Three cars and 12 people made up the gang. Sasi,Himanshu and Nitin were
the people with cars.The planning for the trip was done by Arun Mathur of Nihilant Technologies.We knew him through
Ramani.The thursday before the trip, there was an "executive committe" meeting to chalk out the final plans. Route maps were
drawn up and the time to start was decided. The agenda for the entire two days was also shared. As is the case with all IT
people, talks of sending across excel sheets to everyone was also doing the rounds.As usual, i took up the logistics division
along with sasi. Plain enough, we were responsible for equipping the cars with ample food to last the entire journey, because
1) Most of us are veggies 2)We are in Africa where you cant trust to get a proper meal 3)The drive is quite long.In all, we
managed to get 450ZAR worth stuff for 3 cars.It included 18 tins of coke,12 bottles of bacardi breezers and Smirnoff shots,3
bread packets,3 jam tins, 6 litres of juice for the people who were observing the navratri fast,biscuits and fruits and
chips.You might think we were stowing away food as if there is no tomorrow... the fact is this helped us a lot over the two
days! Nitin had managed to arrange idlis and sambar for the entire group. So on saturday morning 3:30 Am we all wished
ourselves luck and began the trip.Now the only thing missing for the trip was a proper GPS, the use of which we were to see.So three
people read the maps for our friends behind the wheel, acting as navigators.Started our car with Harivarasanam.. i know i
know.. this was the only song remotely connected to bakthi ... We were to take the highway that will lead to Nelspruit
through Witbank and Ogies. As it is, none of us knew the exact roads and it was pitch dark. So if there was a road that we
could see in the map, we took it. Never a moment of hesitation to whether take it or not...lest there be a road that was not
taken ;) After half an hour of relying on a HTC mobile enabled GPS, we found the right track and headed our way to Kruger.
150km down the line, we took a coffee break at a fuel station and then carried on. The roads are fabulous!! three lanes for a
single track: slow, track change and high speed(left to right). Himanshu was leading the pack with his zigzag driving that made the
natives go red with anger!!! after much persuasion, we chose the high speed track and raced our way. we could never believe
that we had covered 400 odd km when we reached krueger.we stopped at our will and wish and reached the Skukuza Gate at half
past 1 having nearly been on road for 10 hours. Devil and Bertie would know my penchant for day travel and this time too i
did not miss the scenary ;) Gosh... mesmerised by the beauty.... when the sun broke ground in the morning, it was really a
sight to behold ... Just beautiful. We stopped to take a few pics of it too, with other vehicles rushing past us in 140s!! It
was really exhilirating to go on 140s... Dona di, we did 140 on an 80 track...similar to what u did in canada, not that we
wanted to.. we were forced to by the cars behind!
Long winding roads,picture book towns and great car, the Volkswagen Polo with the aircon on!! None of us were tired when we reached Kruger... we were already thinking about the night safari we were about to undertake later that
evening. After a round of idlis and sambar, we went through the gate. It was another 55km to reach the Skukuza Resort from
the gate.
This is where the GPS enabled phone played traunt with us. We went deep inside the jungle on a rut road, when
actually bitumen roads were available. Tempers frayed and frustration piled.After a long discussion, me and my car mates poured
over the map and sorted out the actual route. I am really bemused with my ilk for having the passion of using tools and make
things murkier when the application of common sense would have sufficed. Nevertheless, we had a good laugh at our own
stupidity!
The drive inside the jungle roads were breathtaking... wild animals in their habitats with out any inhibitions!!! We clicked
, clicked and clicked away... soaking in every inch of the jungle. A bigger realization dawned on us when we took the night
safari. We had been warned that any one who takes his car to Kruger will come back atleast with a minor scratch.
Hence we were very careful whilst inside the jungle.
A couple of hours through the jungle we reached the camping resort of Skukuza.There were traditional camping grounds where
people brought in their caravans and camped for a week or so. There is a community kitchen where people can cook.And the
hygine and sanitation is of the highest order here. Africa is a place where an insect bite could prove fatal as no one can
be sure what bit you! We had taken precautions against malaria. Its one of the things that we have to keep in mind when we
are in the Heart of Africa.
Half an hour later, we were all settled inside our tents. Comfortable one with a fridge to store food and a locker to keep
your belongings.Two cots and a huge pedestal fan made up for the rest of the tent.
It was an experience in itself. We had half an hour's time to get ready for the evening safari and we made the most of it by
taking a short nap.
4:45 pm we headed for the Safari zone where we boarded soft top vans ready to hit the jungle that house the Lion, rhino,
hippos, elephants and bison called the Big 5! Now that is a different story altogether!!

11 comments:

devil said...

man u sure tht food was enough for ALL of u?? i mean.. i could down it all my myself u know..

berty said...

and what you described doesnt gel with teh pic.. where did the dew come in..??? :)

ok ok food apart (which is a big thing!)..aaaarrgghhh!!!

i am so jealous of you!! you lucky ass.. grr.. i always wanted to go on one of these..sigh... and where is teh story with the animals?? the real ones not you homo sapiens...

and more pics!! of animals!!!..

and as for navigation.. ha ha ha h..unnaya pathi nallavae theriyum!!! you cant get lost going from RTO to the beach!! hee he...tahts why you need a Duke of Edinburgh Gold award winner with you... namely me!

daffodil said...

wow...you actually went on an ANIMAL SAFARI in AFRICA? Man that must have been so much fun! and i was thinkin my desert safari was enviable!....but you would love the dune bashing and buggy riding on the desert...hey il explain everything in detail if your interested! ....and the belly dancing woman...of course! hee hee

devil said...

belly dancing??????? how much does a one way ticket to dubai cost??? (note i said one way ticket)

devil said...

btw the way, like basement we expect u to put up pics too :-) hee hee hee

berty said...

eh... ahem... may i see the dune buggy pics? wow!! so interesting!!...
and hey devil... stowaway!!!
and i'm there too..
:)

devil said...

eureka ! now i know why ppl hijack planes !

Basement said...

hey thats really great!! do send us some pics of the desert ride! did u guys go on a HUMMER? heard thats one of the vehicles used for sand dune rides!!! oh... i can stop over in Dubai when i head back home... may be we can catch up then!

berty said...

i saw a hummer here.. in siruseri... and we have sand dunes here too... and hello africala irunthu your going to dubaiya?? dai..maikan... thats a 1000 km northward deviation... on the way home it seems... vengayam...

devil said...

basement has carefully omitted askin abt the pics of belly dancing

berty said...

you see the curvature of the body holds least fascination for one who's abdominal diameter is inversely proportional to his IQ,and that too when the said abdomen has been equated (after careful calculation) to that of the porcine species. Which results in the quite substantiated hypothesis that Basement is a loosu