There’s something special about the atmosphere of the bushveld camps in the Kruger National Park. They’re quiet, without shops or restaurants, so there’s a sense of being closer to nature. After camping in the Kruger National Park for a couple of weeks, we treated ourselves to two nights at Shimuwini Bushveld Camp – with mixed success.
As the afternoon cooled and the sun prepared to set we’d take a walk along the riverfront to the hide overlooking the river where we might find black crake, goliath heron, a group of seven water thick-knees, go-away birds squawking from the trees or arrow-marked babblers jabbering nineteen to the dozen.
Shimuwini used to be the home of Shine the grey duiker. Her mother was killed by a leopard and Shine arrived at Shimuwini with her umbilical cord still attached in 1993. She was raised by the camp manager’s wife and became a popular attraction around the camp.
She didn’t leave camp often or for long, and was a guest of honour at weddings and functions. Her luck finally ran out in mid 2015 when she too was killed by a leopard. She was 22 years old, even though duikers seldom live beyond 12 years in the wild.
Our shabby chalet
Shimuwimi was originally built in the early 1990s although the SANParks website says it is ‘the most modern of the bushveld camps, being completely rebuilt after the floods in 2000’. But our cottage No. 14 was looking really old and scruffy, badly in need of maintenance if not a full revamp.
Things were no better in the bathroom. The net curtains were stiff with dirt and dust. There were broken, missing or badly replaced bathroom tiles, some of them not even vaguely matched. There were bare screws where a mirror had been mounted on the wall above the basin, but the mirror was long gone; someone had complained about it in the guest book three months earlier and still nothing had been done about it.
Come on Kruger, you can do better!
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