Mumble in the jungle

Berg-en-Dal pool area
Colin Windell

Having read stories on this site about the degradation of standards in the Kruger Park, it was with some trepidation that I prepared to book for my family and friends from America and England.

Berg-en-Dal in theKruger Park

Using the KNP’s preferred agent, Siyabona, I sent in a request and within three days received a response with reservations for Pretoriuskop and Berg-en-Dal, with enough units to accommodate three couples and two singles.

As the booking deadline date came closer, the foreigners expressed concern about malaria. Siyabona extended the hold on the booking. Upon promising lashings of mosquito repellent spray and creams, the booking was confirmed by mid January excluding the KNP fees, where I think R372 per adult, a day for the foreigners is ripping the ring out of it.

We arrived in March at Numbi Gate where the ladies behind the counter mumbled so badly I could barely understand a word they said. The non-South African visitors had no chance.

Doherty Bryant Guesthouse at Kruger Park

I’ve stayed at Pretoriuskop a few times and never noticed their private Doherty Bryant Guesthouse before. What a delight – three units: each with double and single bed, bathroom and outside shower, well screened from prying eyes. It has a communal kitchen with an eight-seater table and offers DSTV. There are three braai units and place for a wood fire to chase the chill of the evening.

Everything worked and most importantly, the linen was clean, the beds comfortable, and the towels plentiful.

The kitchen at Doherty Bryant Guesthouse.

We just checked out on the Monday morning and drove to Berg-en-Dal where we were booked for the next three nights.

Berg-en-Dal unit

This is a much newer camp and the old rondavels have given way to square brick units with large veranda and braai areas. The anomaly here – and we had five units – was the disparity in kitchen equipment ranging from three variations in fridge size to cooking pot sizes. Sadly, not all the units had everything – missing graters, cutting boards and smallish items that would be hugely annoying for the single unit user. We simply combined our needs into one allocated ‘kitchen’.

These units all had a shower and, weirdly, three single beds. I don’t know how KNP works this out, but I do not see the logic at all.

Berg-en-Dal main area with amphitheatre

Look, we did all enjoy ourselves enough that most of the lads could have slept on the floor without noticing but that’s another story.

And the animals? Well suffice it to say Damo – a nearly famous rock star from the UK – who was having his first visit to the KNP cracked the Big Five in less than 24 hours. Jammy bastard!