If you love the Kruger National Park; if you work and live there, it only makes sense to get married in Kruger, right? Well, that is exactly what we did! On this day, 5 years ago, we all arrived in Roodewal for our small and intimate Kruger wedding and tomorrow marks our 5-year wedding anniversary! Which I thought was a nice reason to share the story of our special day with you…
Steven and I chose Roodewal as a wedding venue because of its relative proximity to Letaba, but also because we could book out the whole camp and have our private wedding function right there: In the middle of the bush and Kruger National Park: the place where we met and fell in love.
Roodewal is a little gem hidden away in the middle of Kruger! It is located north of Satara and south of the Olifants River on the Timbavati road. The camp has three houses that sleep 6 people each. It has a deck overlooking the Timbavati River and the views from there are just stunning! That was going to be the place we were going to say our “I do’s.”
I was still working for KLM then and together with my mom, stepdad, my brother and sister in law, we made the long flight and drive to Kruger for the wedding.
It was not going to be anything fancy. No three-tiered wedding cake, or elaborate flower arrangements and centerpieces. Just our immediate family and a few close friends, some simple decorations and a braai. But featuring our beloved Kruger National Park as the center of attention. And we were completely fine with that. Although there were some family members and good friends we would have loved to be there and unfortunately could not invite. But Roodewal only sleeps 18 and that is it.
Small and intimate it was. Apart from our 16 wedding guests, we had a few ‘uninvited guests’ though. A squirrel had occupied the bedroom Steven and I were sharing with my brother and sister in law the night before the wedding. We pushed all the beds together in the big bedroom like a giant Christmas bed. And as we were settling in for the night after a very nice braai, all of a sudden a squirrel appeared from under the covers. It ran up and down all four beds before eventually disappearing between the beds.
Steven had us all in stitches diving between the beds, trying to catch this slippery squirrel. Dressed in nothing but his underpants he was bobbing all over like a spring, in his attempts to catch the squirrel that, by the sounds of it, was not amused that it had to share its comfortable bed with four humans. Steven eventually caught it in a towel and carefully escorted it off the premises. Thank you, Steve! I needed my beauty sleep the night before our big day.
Not only did we have a squirrel try and crash our wedding party, but we had some monkey party crashers too. The morning before the wedding my family and I were busy putting the decorations on the wooden deck where we were going to have the ceremony. Within minutes of putting the streamers on the wooden banister, the Vervet Monkeys had taken them off. The same with a few lanterns, heart pendants, and candles on the dinner table. They were becoming such a nuisance in fact, that my dear stepfather had to sit on a chair on the wooden deck and guard our decorations with a broom. See where I got the idea to use my trusted broom against our animal invasions?;-)
With my stepfather guarding the decorations, I could focus on getting ready for the ceremony. Stevens parents had brought a generator so I could do my hair (there is a little bit of solar power at Roodewal, but not enough for blow dryers and goodies like that) and my sister in law did my make-up and she and my lovely mom helped me put on my dress.
As the sun was slowly setting over the Timbavati, everyone gathered on the wooden deck. I could not have asked for more. My family was there, so was Steven’s, and some of my best friends were also there to witness our special moment.
I found it a bit hard to focus on all that the pastor was saying… Not only were we getting extremely hot in the direct sun, but on our right a few elephants were also moving in the dense vegetation on the opposite side of the bank. In the distance, a fish eagle was calling. It was the perfect setting. I said I do, so did Steven, there were tears, laughter and more tears of joy.
Steven’s very talented brother and sister in law did our wedding photos for us after the ceremony. While the rest of the wedding party were enjoying a glass of sparkling wine on the deck overlooking the Timbavati, we went into the bush for a little photo shoot. Steven’s supervisor had graciously lent him the trail’s Landcruiser and both the cruiser and Steven’s rifle feature in most of our wedding photos. It is just a shame there were no elephants or other game around. That would have completed a perfect day.
We had a lovely braai that night under the brilliant stars over the Kruger. That same Kruger is now the place I call home. And I have my handsome husband to thank for the ability to live here. I love you my babes. Happy anniversary. May there be many more happy years like these. xxx