DAY4: till next time folks
Last day in KNP and SA today which means packing, hence getting out very early! We manage to pack our bags (well most of it) before 6 AM however and a bit after gate opening time we are at the gate.
There was already a south african couple there and they were furious! "We are here quite a while already to be sure to leave camp as the first car but the gate is still closed and nobody is here and we want to complain and this is outrageous and blablablablablabla....." My SO calmly went to the gate, opened it, got back into the car and we drove through the gate as the first car
waving at the complaining couple. You should have seen their faces. Their jaws dropped almost all the way till their middle (but they waved back)
We decided to go north-east and do the 18 km stretch! Going very slowly we were soon joined by two other cars. They were not trying to overtake us and we stayed together thinking 12 eyes could see more than 4. Well for our first significant sighting of the day even one eye would have been sufficient: One of the biggest buffalo herds I have ever seen. Impossible to count since the bush was very thick. The herd was crossing the narrow road just ahead of us and because of that thick bush they were like appearing out of nowhere! Soon numerous buffalo were also crossing behind our car and some were walking next to us. Short we were surrounded by hundreds of buffalo on a very narrow road.
A bit scary but breathtaking! We didn’t know where to look first and that noise, man, that noise was incredible…
This oxpecker was looking for something it appears but I don’t even want to know what.
Bit by bit we drove through all commotion and soon peace and tranquillity came back. A bit later we saw a giant eagle owl. This was the second of the trip already and SO was really enthusiastic about this (owls are her favourite birds). We also saw white rhino, impala and 2 ellies in the distance. Because the buffalo herd had kept us for quite a while we weren’t able to drive all the way till Biyamiti weir because the SCC was waiting for us with breakfast! Turn around and full speed (but no speeding) back to camp.
As normal we did not rise too early, maybe living on a farm and getting up at the crack of dawn every day makes it more difficult to do this when on holiday, I don’t know, but was up and out and about by 7:00 and I just sat on our stoep and had coffee…….. saw the resident bushbuck at the fence
And as I started to get ready for our last brekkie together this naughty little critter came to keep me company.
Brekkie at Biyamiti was a totally different scene to Tshokwane and the Mlondozi dam one, where we cooked on a skottle. This was a “proper” breakfast, cooked on a stove……..
However, we still had some wors left so SO did light the braai to cook the wors, and I did boil some tatties to make some chips. Cooked the bacon and tomatoes in a frying pan on the stove, (not nearly so tasty) …
Set the table and waited for Salva and SO to come over after packing….. well Salva’s SO arrived before Salva…… (see Angels are quicker at getting ready than Mousies!!!
) Angel was ready, showered, packed and dressed for leaving and catching a plane that night. Needless to say, Salva took much longer to appear!!!!! (What on earth do Mousies do that takes them so long!
I was putting the heavy, according to angels at least, bags in the trunk. Something else you want to know?
Cooked the last of our eggs, 12 I think were left over, as scrambled eggs again…… made toast, out of the really old bread by now! In fact we cooked and used up everything we had left over! And sat down to our last breakfast. Bacon, Tomatoes, chips, wors, and scrambled eggs. Oh how sad it was that our wonderful trip was all over. Needless to say, none of us were in a hurry to leave each other, and we sat and chatted again, over a couple of cups of coffee, until the time had come that we really had to say goodbye….. and leave.
It was the most wonderful three days in the Park that you can even begin to imagine. Travelling and sharing with Salva and SO was just the best.. its amazing how well we all got on, it was just wonderful, I actually cant find he words to describe how good it was or how the four of us got on so well together. Visiting the Park without them, will never be the same again.
After we had packed the last bits of our luggage and made the car “ready for final departure to Jo’burg Int. Airport” we hurried to the bungalow next door where breakfast was waiting…indeed, folks: these 3 days me and my SO have been served as kings! I think we finished about everything there was left (somewhere during this meal I was called “a handy dustbin” – and deservedly so
Than it was time to say goodbye! No heartbreaking scenes because we all felt we would see each other again but still…three days ago we had arrived with curiosity and maybe a bit nervous, now we were leaving Kruger with two new friends (I don’t use this word lightly) and it’s never easy leaving people that you love behind knowing that it will take a while before you see them back.
Together we drove east to the S25 and on the bridge over Biyamiti river we enjoyed a colony of white-fronted bea-eaters. At the intersection with the S108 our friends continued east and we headed north towards Bume road after a lot of waving hands of course.
After goodbyes, we headed together to the S25 and stopped on the bridge as Salva has said.
We carried on to Crock Bridge, not really seeing anything on the way, except one lone Giraffe
I never knew their tongues were so black????
We were sad to leave the Park after a most memorable three days, but sadder still to say goodbye to a wonderful Belgian couple.
Thankyou Salva, Thankyou Salva’s SO for a wonderful time spent together.
Driving back to the H3 and Malelane gate we thouroughly enjoyed Mpondo dam.
Pulled over with a cold one and watched waterbuck, fish eagle, grey lourie and blacksmith plover. The S113, when driving over the Muhlamba river bridge, gave us a monitor walking over the bridge.
A Tawny near Afsaal and a young elephant (last sighting) waved us goodbye before exiting at Malelane (I guess in our minds we had already left the park a few hours before on the S25).
From Malelane we had to hurry to catch our flight to Paris a few hours later. According to a police officer at Machadodorp I hurried a bit too much: 500 rand.
We were lucky that the officer was prepared to join me to a nearby ATM because we had run out of cash…
One of the nicest surprises came to us at the airport when dropping off our rental car. We heard someone shouting our names! In our small hometown near Ghent in Belgium that is daily routine but here???? It were Glenda and here SO who were taking a flight to London.
Me thinks that it is justified to call a country your second home-country when you start meeting people unexpectedly at one of its international airport….It was super to see those two again! Bit of a shame we didn’t have time to share some stories.
I should end the report here but I won’t because we had another rather unexpected mini meat: this time in Paris – Charles de Gaulle Airport. Our plane was delayed so we missed our train connection to Brussels. Now guess what: when we went to the desk to ask for places on the following train to Brussels (and of course to claim brekkie vouchers) we were told that this particular train was already full BUT THAT SOMEONE HAD SECURED TWO SEATS FOR US! Apparently a certain forumite who happens to work at Charles de Gaule Int. Airport and who happened to know with what flight and when we would be landing in Paris had foreseen trouble for us and had taken precautions in order to avoid these problems! GRAEMY: what a super bloke!!!
Thanks a million, mate: you gave our already superb trip (Chobe, Moremi, Vic Falls, Hluhluwe, Craig, St.Lucia, Ithala – what great scenery – Kruger, Jazil, skottle brekkies, braais)an incredible finishing touch! And on top of that, since we had a couple of extra hours to kill in the (for the rest boring) airport we were able to meet (albeit very shortly) with this superkiwi! Another trip to Africa never to forget….
Thx for reading every one and Jazil, Craig, Glenda and Graemy: a special thanks to you to make this a unique trip! Would also like to thank Lomar for helping us to choose a B&B in Gabs (super place, mate) and W@H, JB, WTM, DB, Bert, Gwen and of course Diannet (I might forget someone here) to respond within the hour on the day of our departure after me saying I hadn’t received confirmation for our Kruger booking yet. Not even 2 hour after my post I received the confirmation! THANKS!