An imposing, full grown elephant stands in the middle of our trail at Kruger National Park. Wary of our presence, she towers protectively over her calf (which our guide says must be only about a day or two old) and remains still for a few moments.
In awe, we all stare, quietly watching and waiting for something to happen. Eventually, she slowly trudges off the trail and on to the veld where the herd awaits.
Some in our game viewing vehicle excitedly pass around their camera phones, eager to share pictures of this moment.
Kruger National Park is breathtaking. Not only is it home to the Big Five, it’s also home to 147 species of large mammals, which is more than any other African game reserve.
Covering an area of almost 20 000km2 across Limpopo and Mpumalanga, this is one of the largest on the continent.
During our game drive, we also spot hyenas, giraffes, zebras, monkeys, impala and hippos.
After sunset, we head over to a small enclosure in the park for a nightcap and a bush braai experience.
We’re on a three-day media excursion in Mpumalanga with Thebe Tourism Group to explore some of the group’s new Mpumalanga tourism projects.
Centred on creating jobs and boosting local communities, these include the Blyde Canyon Community Project, the Kruger Shalati within Skukuza, Kruger National Park and other proposed developments for Lisbon Estate.
This is our second day here.
Day one saw us overnight at eKhaya Lodge, where we were introduced to the idea behind these projects by some of Thebe Tourism Group’s management personnel over dinner.
One of their key focus points is empowerment and transformation. During the Blyde Canyon ceremony earlier in the day, dozens of locals attended to learn about and celebrate the land redistribution initiative that the group is championing.
Amid beautiful celebratory dances and song, locals were given an explanation of how they will benefit from this initiative.
The Saturday Star