Had time for a quick run around Lataba before we left Kruger Park this morning. Saw bushbok again. route
I am so glad we did Kruger on our own, and I highly recommend it to others. We thought we would have to pay a fortune for a group safari, but then we discovered the option of doing it this way. It was easy to plan and execute, and pretty inexpensive. Compared to Europe, the food and housing costs are much lower. Gas was expensive, but we paid only $300 for a rental car for 14 days. I encourage anyone who thought they couldn't afford a trip like this to reconsider (admittedly, though, the airfare is a big hurdle).
Having said that, I admit I was curious about the "typical" American safari experience, i.e. attending an expensive, all-inclusive private resort. So we booked two nights at the cheapest place we could find (which was still outrageous).
But first we had to get there. You would think that two intelligent orienteers would have planned and mapped out the route to their next destination, but we didn't. To be fair, Mike probably thought I had printed out the maps (I'm the trip organizer). Instead, all we had were vague written directions from the website, which included helpful things such as "in about 10K, turn left onto a gravel road".
There are no road signs here. Needless to say, we got lost. We were deep in rural South Africa. With no map, no cell coverage and no GPS. We had to stop and ask for directions a few times. We met some very nice, but very poor, folks, some of whom did not speak English. It was fascinating to go into their shops, which were bare wood shelves with just a few items. One place had a phone, that we could use, if we paid by the minute. We tried to connect with the lodge, but we lost the phone connection.
Mike tried hard to get good directions and to draw a sketch map, but it was difficult. We'd get vague instructions again, like drive "past the hardware store". No one could give us distances. The knew the names of the villages we would pass, and that was their only frame of reference. However, I will stress that everyone was very nice and tried to be helpful.
By now we were both pretty stressed, because we don't like being lost, and it was getting close to sundown. You don't want to be driving around lost in the dark in South Africa.
Finally we talked to some folks who assured us we were pretty close to the road we wanted, and they were right. We made it to the lodge just as the sun was going down. And just in time for a drink, which I needed badly!