As recently posted, we had a weeks vacation in the Eastern Transvaal (now known as Mpumalanga).
The resort we stayed at was very close to the Paul Kruger gate entrance to the Kruger national Park. In fact, from the entrance to the resort, it is about 600 meters to the gate! great for getting to that gate early and getting in before the masses of tourists!!!
Anyway, we had some friends stay over with us for the first 3 days. As they had never done the "Tourist route" through this area, we took them out on the Saturday to do the waterfalls, God's Window, Bourks luck potholes etc. I've done this route many times before, in fact, when I was still riding with the bike club, we went out there every year around the Easter long weekend as it is prime motorbiking country, with good roads, long sweeping bends, lots of mountain type territory.
Well, I was a bit surprised when we got to each of the 'stops" to see that there was now a charge! At the MacMac pools, ZAR10 per person. For what? To go and look at a stream with some natural pools? No thanks. Some waterfalls, ZAR10 for the car... ok, God's Window, ZAR 10 for the car.... ok....., and so it went on. All of the "sights" that we have always had access to for free, were now "Tolled"!!!! All they have done is put up a little hut for the PDI that sells the tickets, and they now charge you for the visit. WTF???? Needless to say we drove past many of these sites, as I could advise our friends on what was worth paying or, and what not. Disappointing to say the least!
The units we stayed in were average. However, on the RCI books it's listed as a "Gold Resort". Needless to say I have taken them to task over this, and am submitting a details complaint in writing. I have no problem with the resort as such, it was well maintained, sort of, kept clean, but, it is not a GOLD Resort by any means. The main problem I have is that when you swop out your timeshare unit for another, there is a points system that comes into play. because of this places rating, it cost a lot more points than say another place that's not as highly rated. But when you have been to Gold Resorts before, there is a certain level of class that is expected, and this was definitively not the case here. So I'm writing them to question their intelligence in this matter (as only I would! LOL).
Sightings of animals this year was very good. And for the first time we saw leopard almost every day, however, a good clear sighting of lion was not on the cards, although we did see some, lying down, a short way into the bush.
Loads of Elephants, big numbers of Giraffe, in fact one herd was over 25 animals. Loads of young animals, which means we are in for a good rainy season next year. For the first time in a long, long time, we drove the section from Skukuza camp, north to Setara camp, and then out through the Orpen gate. Long stretches of no animals, but then some good sightings around the Setara Camp.
Overall, a good break, lovely trip, and we returned well rested.