Holidays: Meet the Neighbour ON SAFARI IN SOUTH AFRICA; Natural History Documentaries Are Popping Up Everywhere on Television but There's Nothing like Seeing the Real Thing. ALISON STOKES Sets out on Safari with Elephants, Lions, Rhinos - and a Scary Spider
Byline: ALISON STOKES
CLIMBING into the back of an open sided 4x4 for our first night-time game drive, South African ranger Vincent warned us: "This is not some wildlife park where the animals are on demand."
I guess he was preparing us for disappointment. An elderly Californian woman had already announced that she was "missing just a black rhino" from her checklist of African wildlife.
Kruger National Park is the jewel of South Africa's national parks. A vast area the size of Wales, it's home to more than 150 different species of mammals, including one of the largest concentrations of African elephants in the continent.
There are 507 different birds and more than 300 species of trees.
It's also home to the 'Big Five' - elephants, buffalo, lions, leopards and rhino - so you'd have to be pretty unlucky not to see any wildlife at all on a three-day safari.
But, deep down, I was hoping to catch a glimpse of at least an elephant or one of the big cats in their natural environment. …