A visit to Kruger Park + a recipe

Hello!

I am still smiling after the weekend that we treated ourselves to in Kruger Park. A weekend of wilderness, game drives, Braai’s, great friends, beautiful sunshine and tasty beer. The long weekend approached with much anticipation and sheer excitement. I’ve been feeling a lot of over whelming homesickness recently but during those few days, I felt that subside and give way to a peaceful, more calm mind. Sometimes all you need is a weekend away with good people.

Rhino

We had planned a long weekend to Kruger National Park for so long and with friends that were visiting us, it was even better. Just the thought of escaping the city bubble and normal life for a few days out in the wild had me giddy. We live in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg Metro and within 4 hours of locking up the house we landed in Mpumalanga, the region home to the famous Kruger Park and bordering with Mozambique {I still have to pinch myself when I realise just where in the world I am}. When we left Joburg, it was cool, breezy and windy. On arriving in Kamotipoort, the town closest to Kruger, we hopped out of the car into the sweet, sticky night with the smell of just cooked Braai hanging gently in the air. A not so early night later and a VERY early morning and we were at the gates of Kruger. Within minutes, we were spotting herds of Elephants, Springboks, Kudus, Impalas and Giraffes. 3 hours in and we had barely made it up the road. With a speed limit of 50km you don’t expect to go too far but I think the whole novelty of being there had us stopping at the mere shudder of a twig in the distance.

Springbok

Elephant at River

Ostrich

Kudu

Worthog

Giraffes Feeding

Springbok and Birds

Babboon

The next day, we had the amazing luck to spot a Lioness with her cubs, so adorable! Later in the evening when we returned to the spot, we watched as she and a buddy preyed upon a Worthog and her cub. It was magical. The natural instinct they shared, one would stay back and mind the cubs and one would fetch their prey.

Lioness Lioness and Cubs Lioness Stalking

One of the absolute highlights of the weekend was the sighting of a pack of Wild Dogs. Wild Dogs are a very rare sight in the park as there are so few of them. We met an elderly South African man who had been coming to Kruger every year since he could remember, the last time he saw Wild Dogs was 10 years ago. We stayed with the pack for about 40 minutes but like with most rare sightings, word spreads and before you know it four-wheeled drives are almost rear ending you, revving their engines and beeping you to move out of the way. The only downside to visiting on a long weekend I think. We left the Wild Dogs, all hoping that maybe they would be around later, just like we had seen with the Lioness the day before. Unlike Lions, the pack would roam and far, or so we thought.

Wild Dog Standing

We were lucky, again! The Wild Dogs were there and they had just fed. Bloodied paws and docile, sleepy bodies made us all think that this pack had just had their dinner. We stayed with them again for a while and watched them rustle around in the bushes, nap and play with each other. We sat thinking these are just dogs, but to them we are dinner. I did really want to rub this guys belly but probably best not to….

Wild Dog resting

There were times when we felt like we were just driving for the sake of it. Your eyes would start to play tricks on you. A tree stump would form the shape of a Lion’s head or a stray branch off a tree would resemble that of a Leopard’s tale. It wouldn’t be long though until that all tree in the distance was in fact a Giraffe, one Giraffe became two, three and soon a whole herd would appear. Baby Elephants would pop their newborn heads out from behind a bush with those gorgeous natural smiles.

Baby Elephant

Rhino restingOur safaris started off as 7 hours then 10 and our last, a 12 hour safari. Every evening we headed back to the chalets. With an angry rumbling of hunger in our bellies and a hankering for a feast, we set to getting our Braai together. A Braai is the South African barbecue; a fire-pit full of glistening wood and on top a grill swing to place your juicy cuts of meat and veggies. For me, there is nothing better on a weekend away than to enjoy an evening  Braai side.

Braii Fire

 

The perfect recipe….good friends, sipping on cold beers, nostalgic smells of the Braai and laughs that just melt away the stress of life.

Chakalaka

{Chakalaka Recipe}

50ml coconut oil

1 large onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 serrano chillies, diced

1 red pepper, sliced and cubed

1 yellow pepper, sliced and cubed

3 carrots, grated

1 heaped tbspn medium curry powder

2 heaped tablespoons chopped fresh coriander plus a tbspn for garnish

1 tin chopped tomatoes

250ml vegetable stock

1 tin Butter Beans, drained and rinsed

{Method}

Heat the oil in a pan, add in the diced onion, chili and crushed garlic. Cover with a courtouche {greaseproof paper cut into a round the shape of your pan – sweats the onions and reduces cooking time}, cover with lid and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the Cartouche.

Add in the peppers and mix through the onions, sweat for 5 minutes.

Toss through the grated carrots.

Sprinkle in the curry powder and chopped coriander, pour in the tomatoes and stock. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occassionally.

Towards the end of cooking, add in the drained butter beans {if using} cook for a further 5 minutes.

Serve with your Braai’d meats and spuds for dinner or a gooey fried egg and a sprinkle of coriander….I love this in the morning.

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4 thoughts on “A visit to Kruger Park + a recipe

  1. This post is gorgeous Carol Anne. Wow – what stunning images of the wildlife! My visit to Dublin zoo from last week pales. I hope you are feeling well now and not too homesick. Thanks for sharing this lovely post.

  2. Pingback: Heritage Day | Carolanne's Kitchen

  3. Pingback: Heritage Day - Carol-Anne's Kitchen

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