The smoke coming from the hood of the Bushwise safari truck was not a promising start. Groggily, we were cocooned in our fleece and jackets. The open vehicle left us blanketed with a brisk, early morning chill. With not enough sleep, caffeine-less, and still dark, we patiently waited as Ric, our guide that day, attempted several times to cool down an overheated engine. When you have a broken fan belt, it's useless.
Plan B got us into another vehicle already in the park watching a pair of mating lions. Gavin, our knowledgeable guide, a couple originally from San Francisco and a Danish mother-daughter pair from the Royal Kruger Lodge were joined by us. And somehow from that point on, things only got better.
Since we were hitching a ride, our originally scheduled half-day drive turned into a full day one. Slow driving and lots of patience pays on a game drive. Here were some of our rewards on day one of Kruger.