Charley Boorman Log- Day 30

July 12, 2012

In which Charley and team reach Crooks Corner at the end of their epic Kruger adventure. Crooks corner

Dawn brings no further sign of the lions and I can’t help but feel a little bit disappointed. Still, at least we have good breakfast on the way, although a shower would be more welcome after two days of camping.

Our goal today is to reach Crooks Corner were South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe touch on the Limpopo River.

After another often beautiful, occasionally dangerous race across the winding dirt roads of the reserve, we arrive at the Limpopo by late afternoon. We’ve already been to Mozambique – Both officially and unofficially. Even today, we stopped at a gap in the fence to admire an enourmous, five hundred year-old Baobab tree. As we cross back into South Africa, our guide Trust presses a rubber stamp against our skin, saying “Border Jumper”.

I kind of get the feeling he’s not taking International boundaries too seriously.

Yes, with Mozambique crossed off the list, the goal is now to set foot in Zimbabwe, however briefly. Trust is far less laid back about this but more importantly, there’s a problem.

The Limpopo, reduced to a narrow stream in a very wide stretch of dried mud, has kept it’s population of Crocodiles. We count at least twenty of the reptiles facing us across the narrow water – All totally still, all of them watching, all of them waiting. As I climb down the slope of the bank towards the river for a better look, I momentarily slip and cry out in alarm. Although I’m not even close to falling in, the sound of my shout sees six or seven of the Crocodiles snap with terrifying speed into the water and head towards u. I’m left in no doubt that to attempt to enter the river would mean death. Trust also reminds me that even if I did make it through the stream and across the mud, there’s a chance that an AK-47 bullet would be waiting for me if I got too close to the distant Zimbabwe bank.

It’s frustrating to turn away from a goal we’ve set ourselves, but it’s impossible to be disappointed with the three days we’ve spent here. As we prepare to head back into the Kruger and the comparatively short drive from Crook’s Corner to the edge of the park, we spot a line of Zimbabwean village women heading for a patch of water near their side of the dried up river. We wave and shout “Hello!” and, bursting with friendliness and enthusiasm, they wave and shout back. Whatever else may be going on in their country right now, I just hope they’re careful about the crocodiles.

A couple of hours later, we’re out of the Kruger National Park and, having bid a fond farewell to Trust and the Intrepid team that looked after us so well, we’re on our way towards Johannesburg. After three days of rocky, bone shaking dirt tracks, the smooth tarmac of the road seems almost unreal and the flat ride sees me fighting to keep my eyes open as I face the long kilometres ahead…

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