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SKUKUZA CAMP - Elsie Clarke Cottage
We booked our accommodation in Kruger National park thought SAN parks on the internet. As you book your accommodation you also sort out your National Park entrance fee too. We had three nights in the park, two in the safari tents at Lower Sabie and one in a two bed roomed cottage in Skukuza Camp. When we arrived at our cottage having checked in at Reception we were greeted by a welcome party of Vervet monkeys. They were very interested as we unpacked our car so we had to make sure we shut the car and boot each load as well as shutting the door to the cottage just in case we ended up with extra guests in the form of monkeys. One of the larger monkeys sat on the outside window sill of the bedroom and I was able to put my hand on his hand from inside the window. Once we had finished unpacking they lost interest and went to see what was on offer up at the restaurant and bar area.
We had a two bed roomed cottage which was called Elsie Clarke's cottage which was presumably done in memory of this lady but I'm not sure who she was and it didn't say anywhere in the cottage. The cottage was really a bungalow with a long open are with a full kitchen with cooker and large fridge freezer at one end leading to a dining are then a sitting area and all this was in front of the two bedrooms.
Both bedrooms had two single beds in them, a wardrobe and not a lot else. They also both had large ensuite bathrooms with shower, basin and toilet in them. Both rooms had both air conditioning and a fan but this time the one in the boys' room worked really well whereas ours was a little less cool but once night fell it was fine. All the windows and doors had insect screens so we were not bothered at all by mosquitoes. We did put on insect repellent while we were outside eating but there did not seem to be too many about at all and it was for our stay in Kruger that we had to get the incredibly expensive Malaria pills at £5 a pill - we paid a total of £245 just for the Malaria pills for the boys 3 day visit to Kruger national Park and our 3 days in Kruger plus 3 days in Etosha National Park in Namibia, not of the other areas were Malarial areas!
They provided you with towels and soap but no shampoo was provided but as I had my own various small bottles collected from hotels in other places which I always carry for emergency supplies plus my Lush solid shampoo and conditioner which I also always have with me this did not really matter to us.
On the large concrete floored veranda there was a table and four chairs. In the garden beyond was the braai or BBQ which we once again made good use of as the boys cooked the braai but this time I cooked the veggies inside on the cooker.
The entire camp is fenced so that animals apart from baboons and monkeys are largely kept out so you are never in any danger in the camp area. There were rondavels and tents available here too as well as places where you could pitch your own tent but that must be pretty hot in the summer .You are advised to always use a torch when walking around at night as snakes and other animals might be lurking unseen.
The camp has a large restaurant and bar area which served food all day. The restaurant only operated at night and I'm not sure what they had on the menu as we didn't eat there at all. The bar area overlooked a river and had huge trees all around the large thatched covered area. When we had our lunch there we were amazed to see a huge number of small bats hanging from the middle of the inside thatched roof area looking down at the diners. We were also entertained by groups of monkeys trying to get left overs from tables as they were vacated and also emptying the bins in order to find some tasty treasure but meanwhile throwing all the useless and inedible packaging all around. One cheeky monkey sat at an empty table and got out a sauce bottle, managed to pen the lid and was tipping it into his mouth before one of the waiters came and removed it. We did tell him that the monkey had been licking it but I'm not sure what was done. We all decided not to have any sauce with our meal at this time. My sons ordered the same meal as one of them had tried in Sabie but when it came it was not nearly as nice as the Sabie one. I asked for a salad but there was no salad and I had enjoyed a nice salad in Sabie so we were a bit unimpressed with Skukuza snack bar compared to the one in Sabie although the prices were pretty much the same.
Near the snack bar area they had an internet area where you paid 1 ZAR per minute (11 to the £1 when we were there) but the minimum was 30 minutes. Just nearby there were some toilet blocks and the shop was also near this area. The reception area was a long walk back to the gate of the Camp area but there was not much else there that was of interest to us. There were no animal spotting boards that we could see which we had made good use of when we were at the Lower Sabie Rest Camp.
This shop sold pretty similar things to the one in Sabie; you could buy basic vegetables in small quantities as well as meat for braai cooking. We bought more boerewors which is a very tasty South African sausage and kudu steaks for our braai this time. We still had a few vegetables and enough charcoal left from Sabie and this was our last self- catering night so we had to use everything up or end up throwing stuff away which I hate doing.
We found everything we needed was there and that the accommodation and the other facilities were both comfortable and pleasant to sit in and enjoy the scenery and animals that came by.
This was a much larger site than Sabie and there was a nice pool which was nice to relax and cool off in but this swim cost one son his new swimming shorts as he left them in the shower cubicle when we left as he had hung them there to dry but he forgot.
We were only at this camp for one night but I think we all preferred Sabie despite the fact this site had the pool. The atmosphere was friendlier, we saw more animals on our game drives and the food at the snack bar was nicer. We also preferred the safari tents to the cottage as they felt more like being on safari and were very comfortable, Our cottage was lovely but it just lacked the African safari charm of the tent accommodation we had had in Sabie and if you had to choose to visit one campsite then Sabie was much more interesting for seeing animals on the game drives.
The animals we saw in Skukuza were elephants, giraffes, Vervet monkeys, buffalo, duiker (very small antelope, Bush buck, impala, kudu (larger antelope) warthogs and rhinoceros.
I would thoroughly recommend staying in the safari tents in Sabie rather than a cottage in Skukuza as we found we saw many more animals from our game drives in Sabie Both camps were very comfortable, clean and well set out for privacy and convenience and in both camps we had everything you could wish but Sabie did give you more of the feeling of being on safari and soaking up the atmosphere on the area.
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