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 Post subject: Ravvie and SO's quickfire trip to Tamboti Nov 2006
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2006 12:52 pm 
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Hello all. Just got back from a short but b-e-a-u-tiful little trip to the KNP. Seeing as I have gotten so much value out of all the other trip reports on the forum I thought I would give it a bash and do one of my own. I am a novice at this as well as photography though so excuse any amateurish mistakes on my part. Hope you enjoy…

Day 1 – Wednesday November 22
Bleary eyed but rearing to go my SO and I were up early and left the smog of the big city behind us before the sun peaked over the horizon. After a leisurely drive by way of the scenic route we got to Orpen gate by lunchtime. We were both very impressed by the new reception and new chalets in camp, they look great - congratulations KNP on a job well done. As per usual the staff were as friendly as can be and I sommer knew this was gonna be a lekker trip. After buying all the necessary things we forgot to bring we headed off down the road and turned off to Tamboti. If I was in any doubt on whether the trip would be enjoyable it was dispelled quickly when we turned the last corner and came in view of the beautiful camp entrance.
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Even prettier than the entrance though was our first look at our tent, and I must give the forum credit for this one – I booked Nr 40 because of all the rave reviews on it.
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And even more beautiful than the tent was the spectacular view from the porch
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After settling in we went for a afternoon drive at 15h00. The short gravel road running out of Tamboti proved fruitful throughout the whole trip and our first sighting was of the resident family of giraffes. As per usual for this time of year there were young ‘uns everywhere and the giraffes proved no exception.
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One thing about this trip that I have to say at the outset is that it was cloudy 90% of the time. This was great in one sense because it never really got sweltering hot but of course the light was a bit diminished when it came to photography.
Onto the H7 and just in time to be held up by old man ‘Withers’ crossing the road.
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I’m not a fundi when it comes to tortoises so unfortunately I can’t id the fella.
Spotted a vlakkie next to the road
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and just after we turned onto the Rabelais Loop a couple of black backed jackals, who unfortunately wouldn’t stand still so only got this blurry image
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Spent quite a lot of time with a herd of Impala’s and their little ones and my SO took a couple of pic’s of her own.
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This little one has already had a close shave it seems
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Also spotted some zebbies and their young along the way.
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After getting back on the H7 we took a quick detour to the Bobbejaanskrans View Point
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and duly spotted some of the local residents who gave the place it’s name
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Also some more giraffes in the distance.
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Took this picture on the way back on the H7
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the bush really looked lush and there was a lot of water everywhere which of course isn’t great for spotting game but it really looked beautiful. Ran into a group of Bobo’s who were intent on getting rid of every last flea.
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Just before getting back to camp we had our 1st sighting of lions – 4 ears and a wagging tail. Apparently it was a breeding pair but they had obviously exhausted themselves so we left them to their duties and headed back to camp for a tjoppie and a doppie.
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1 Down, 2 to go.

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BOT - Boys on Tour (Ravvie, Ronald & Tibso)
[*] KNP 2008, 2010
SOT - Schutte's on Tour (Ravvie, Kimmie & Beanie, Lola & the Benmeister in spirit)
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Last edited by Ravvie on Thu Dec 07, 2006 3:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 11:11 am 
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Day 2 – Thursday November 23

After being lulled to sleep by a choir of a thousand frogs (thanks to the flowing waters of the Timbavati) it was up early for the first serious drive of the expedition.
The resident bush buck family was there to see us off but it was still too dark for pics so we organized a later date for family photo’s. The light was a bit better when we got to the camp gate and this time it was time for the kudu family to give their morning greetings.
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Onto the H7 and a playful group of Zebbies.
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Was also still early enough to catch this giant snail/slug crossing the road on his way back home after a rough night on the other side.
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A family of jackals were out and about but they were a bit skittish as my SO would say. Still managed to get a quick photo of them.
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A little bit further on there was a cavalcade of cars and we got our 1st good sighting of some kitties. A family of lions were lazing away not too far from the road.
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There were also a couple of cubs who decided to lift their lazy heads after a while and see what the commotion was all about.
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One guy who wasn’t going to bothered by any sort of commotion was the big fella who was minding his own business a little further down the road.
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After leaving the lions to their own devices we headed further down the H7 and were promptly held up by a family of baboons leisurely strolling down the road. Two of the younger ones were permanently having a bit of a go at each other which wasn’t going down too well with their mom (I assume, maybe a grumpy aunt) and it took a couple of heavy handed remonstrations before the young ones would lay off each other and concentrate on the important job of foraging.
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At the junction of the roads leading to Timbavati & Muzandzeni there was quite a lot of game around but none of them seemed too intent on being in a photograph.
We took a quick detour to the Nsemani dam and were rewarded by these two young Impi’s lazing in the sun just off the road.
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As we drew nearer to Satara we had our 1st sighting of buffaloes right next to the road.
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We drove onto Satara for a quick pit stop and also noticed the new entrance to the camp. I must agree with, I think it was Deville, that said the old gate looked a bit better but I think the gate was moved to accommodate the new day visitor facilities. These actually look very nice and it gives you the opportunity to plan a brekkie at Satara even if you’re not staying there.
After filling & stocking up we headed out onto the S100. 1st Spotting was this beautiful fish eagle sitting regally as only fish eagles can.
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And here unfortunately I made my 1st amateurish mistake – my camera’s battery died. So no pics for the rest of the morning drive!
As usual the S100 was very productive and we saw a lot of game including a Ellie having a drink at the Shibotwana dam. Was very interesting to see how he used his trunk to drink, although it lead to quite a lot of spillage. We stopped to have some brekkies at N’wanetsi and then headed back to Satara via the H6. Lingered a while at Sonop dam whilst a family of Giraffes had a drink and then spotted another ellie having a munch close to the road.
The rest of the trip was uneventful and by now we were also ready for a bit of an afternoon nap so we headed back to camp for a well deserved rest.

End of part 1


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Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 11:46 am 
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Part 2

After recharging our bodies, and the camera batteries, we headed out for a short afternoon drive down the Rabelais Loop. Firstly we had the photo op with the bushbucks to deal with and they kindly obliged by coming past the tent. They were a bit shy though so excuse the bushes.
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Just outside camp we ran into the kudu’s again.
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The drive was a bit uneventful with regards to game but it was beautiful nonetheless.
Spotted this little duikertjie
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and these 2 Burchell’s Cougal (By this time it was a bit dark so excuse the blurring)
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Also stopped to take a pic of the sun trying it’s best to break through the gloom.
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Then it was back to the heaven that is Tamboti for another night of chilling amongst the frog choir.

2 Down 2 to Go (Sorry another mistake – we actually stayed 4 days not 3, so Mark will have to wait till day 4 for his lekker bit)

Next instalment - Timbavati


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Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 7:52 am 
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Day 3 – Friday 24 November

Once again it was an early rise for the occupants of Tamboti #40. As per usual we had the local crew of kudu’s seeing us off as well as the resident family of giraffes. This one was having an especially memorable breakfast.
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After getting on the H7 again we ran into this fish eagle checking out what’s on the menu.
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A bit further on my SO spotted a pride of lions soaking up a bit of the morning sun. We spent a bit of time with them but they didn’t seem to keen on moving and they were also too far away for photographs so we headed on to Satara again.
As we approached Satara we ran into this group of Zeb’s – they looked like class of well schooled pupils returning to class after break
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As we got onto the H1-4 and turned towards Satara we caught up with this buffalo having a morning bath.
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He looked very content so we drove on to Satara for a quick pit stop. After that we kept heading north on the H1-4 towards Olifants. My original plan was to go show SO the great view from Olifants but this would have been quite a trip so we decided to rather go for breakfast at Timbavati. There wasn’t too much game around which was unusual but we did run into a couple of Blue wildebeest and some kudu’s having a snack next to the road.
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There was a lot more game around once we turned onto the S127 leading to Timbavati and we also ran into this very photogenic ellie who graciously allowed me a couple of close ups.
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There were a lot of kudu’s around and this beautiful bull wasn’t in the least bothered by our presence as he munched away.
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The landscape was breathtaking and this well sized tusker fit in well with the scenery.
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Just before we got to Timbavati and a much anticipated breakfast my SO once again proved her spotting skills when she saw this old fellow grazing away quite a distance from the road. It was our 1st Rhino spotting for this trip but the old one was stubborn and kept hiding behind the bushes so these pics were the best I could do.
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Then it was on to the important business of filling up our tummies. Timbavati proved a very pleasant picnic spot and the local ranger was very friendly and helpful. A bit of a pity that the brush was a bit overgrown and thus the view of the river wasn’t that great but I guess I’d rather have healthy trees than a better view.
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With our tummies full it was time to hit the road again.

End of part 1


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Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 12:21 pm 
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Part 2

From Timbavati we headed south a on the S39. Even though the sun had come out and the day was turning into a scorcher I still found this a very enjoyable trip.
After a while we came upon a vulture sitting in a nest in a tree next to the road. This was quite unusual since you don't see them in nests that often. I couldn't quite figure out what it was up to. Either there was a chick in the nest or it was just fiddling with it's own wing.
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The sun was really making a fist of it now and all the animals were taking evasive action. A pair of Klipspringers were hiding in the shade right next to the road.
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This little Steenbokkie had the same idea
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A little further down the road we came upon these 3 big fellas also trying their best to keep cool in the circumstances.
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After leaving the heavies to themselves we drove on and stopped a while to enjoy the antics of a creche of young impi's. This particular one was quite annoyed by the constant attention given by the tick clean up crew.
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We got back on the H7 and pulled over for a bit to take a couple of shots of these 2 feathered ones. The one looked like a youngish saddle billed stork and the other like a woolly necked stork - the last is a direct translation from Afrikaans so maybe I'm a bit off the mark.
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As we got back to Tamboti we had a fleeting glimpse of the local thief. This little squirrel had been raiding our food stocks inside the tent while we were away but luckily didn,t cause too much damage. And I must say it was very entertaining to watch as my SO tried to get a photo of the little bugger. She finally came up with this one.
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End of part 2


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Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 4:58 pm 
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Hey all :yaya:

Just got back from a short trip down to the coast. Will finish up the report this week.

Friday Part 3

Since the sun had come out for the 1st time on our trip we decided to skip the afternoon drive and go for a dip at Orpen.
Once again I was impressed by the beauty of this little camp and we spent a lazy time wallowing in the pool like a couple of hippo's. It was also nice to have a clear view of the Orpen water hole (although I almost instinctively wanted to refresh the screen every 30 seconds - thanks to the webcam)

Feeling refreshed and revitalized we headed back to camp. Got held up a bit as the local Impi herd decided it was time to head to the water for their refreshment.

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Once we got back to camp we got the fire started, popped open the necessary refreshments and sat back to enjoy the breathtaking sunset. I was really glad that we had decided to have a relaxed afternoon as the Kruger sunset hour is just as breathtaking as any animal spotting.

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Just after sunset these 2 majestic Saddle Billed Storks flew in for a sundowner stroll along the river bed. It was quite dark and they were going along at quite a pace so excuse the blurry images.

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We filled up our tummies and decided to hit the sack early since we had decided to exit the park via the Phabeni gate the next day. I had been undecided on whether to go via Orpen or Phabeni but as it turned out Phabeni would prove a most fruitful choice, as you will see in the last day's installment.


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Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 2:07 pm 
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The Final Day - Part 1

So here we go - the last, and most eventful day of our trip had dawned. We got up lekker early since we had quite a long distance to cover to Phabeni.
We said goodbye to #40 with heavy hearts - for me this had been the best place I had ever stayed in, in the Kruger and I was going to miss it sorely. We set off and had a nice leisurely drive doen the H7, enjoying the early morning in the bush. We had driven this road a lot over the last couple of days but it was still a very enjoyable ride although there wasn't much activity from the local animals.
We turned South onto the S36 gravel road and headed to Muzandzeni Picnic Spot for an early morning leg stretch. As we got to the picnic spot another car alerted us to the 2 lions lying by the dam enjoying the early morning sun shine.

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We spent a bit of time with the lions but they seemed very lazy so we decided to move on. We got stopped by a gentleman in a bakkie and he told us that a pack of Wild Dogs were lying in the middle of the road on halfway down the S28.
our initial plan had been to proceed south on the S36 but since we had not had a lot of Wild Dog sightings in the Kruger Park we decided to give the S28 a go.
We headed out and counted the kilometers so that we could be sure of the exact spot where the Wild Dogs were.
Before we got there though we ran into a couple of Buffalo Bills enjoying some of the sweet grass next to the road.

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We got to the spot where the WD's were supposed to be but unfortunately they were nowhere to be seen. Dissapointed but not beaten we kept on going and decided to pop in at the Welverdiend waterhole. Apart from a couple of feathered ones the place was deathly quite and we decided to move on, but on the way out I took a wrong turn and we ended up going round in a circle and back to the waterhole. This little navigational error proved very fortunate indeed as right at that moment the pack of Wild Dogs appeared out of the thick bush. They seemed in abit of a hurry and i only managaed to get these two photo's when they were quite a distance away.

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Luckily this would not be the last we would see of our round eared friends.

Much happier now that we found our quarry we proceeded further on the S28. We came across 2 Rhino's a little bit further on - one very far away grazing on the plain and this one having a morning kipp under a tree.

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After this it was back onto the H1-3 and south to Tshokwane.
We turned into Nkaya Pan and was just in time to see these 2 Ellies walking away after a bit of refreshment.

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That made it 4 of the big 5 + Wild Dogs in just under 3 hours! Our little detour worked out b-e-a-utifully in the end - our thanks to the gentleman in the bakkie!

A little further south we turned off to have a peak at the most southern boabab in the KNP. I didn't think the tree was very impressive and wondered why KNP had bothered to make people turn off to see it. It was then that my SO noticed that the road was not at it's end yet and that I was barking up the wrong tree.

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The real one proved much more impressive.

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End of part 1. Snakes, mongoose & more WD's to follow in the last installment.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 5:52 pm 
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The final chapter - Part 2

After leaving behind the real Boabab we headed south on the H1-3 towards Tshokwane. It was a nice cool day and we drove at a leisurely pace and enjoyed our last few hours in the park. It wasn't long before the 1st of the farewell committee made it's appearance. This little fella was 1st to say goodbye and he was doing his farewells on the run (or should I say agonizingly slow creep-walk). We appreciated the effort though and made sure he was safely across before moving on.

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Now forgive me Arks but above little fella is also the critter I needed help with I.D.'ing - but I see that they are quite common so maybe it is no challenge at all. Anyhow, if you would be so kind, and if you're up for it :twisted: , I would appreciate a name for the little bugger.

Our next farewell came from this little Dwarf Mongoose who sat diligently next to the road and allowed me a good couple of pics before scooting off to his family.

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Our next meeting was a far quicker one and one my So didn't enjoy at all. As we came around a bend there was a huge python lying across the width off the road. It was such an unusual sighting and it was really amazing how big the snake was. By the time my SO had calmed down and i had managed to get the camera in focus it had already slid halfway off the road so all I have to show for our little escapade is the tail end of one ginormous python.

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following this little encounter I needed to get my SO to the nearest rest area so we popped in at Tshokwane for a late brunch. But if my SO thought her troubles were over she was heavily mistaken. See she had a bit of a run in with a monkey when she was little and it has scarred her for life it seems. :lol:
Now as we all know if there is one place you have to avoid if you don't like monkeys then it is Tshokwane. The local beggar mom and her baby seemed to know that they had one over my SO and between her jumping on my lap every 10 seconds and having to shoo away the beggar mom all the time, not even mentioning the killer stares I got from my SO due to the fact that i found the whole situation quite humorous, i couldn't get too much brekkie down in the end.
It was still wonderful to be back at Thsokwane after so many years and I at least enjoyed it immensely. After putting up all our sightings on the pin board we got ready for the final stretch of road that would signal the end of a great 3 night escape.

Still ahead - The final part of the final chapter - Lazy Wild Dogs & the dreaded embarrassing hooting incident :redface:


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Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 10:57 am 
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The Final part of the Final chapter

After leaving Tshokwane we continued South on the H1-2. From here on in my memory is a bit hazy so if I get a dam or two wrong forgive me. We turned off at the Silolweni Dam which turned out to be quite big and even had a resident family of Hippo's.

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There were also a lot of birds around but they were all sitting on the far side of the dam and thus out of camera range.

Further South we turned off towards the olifantsdrinkgat and came upon a pair of Ground Hornbills (sure that's what a Bromvoel is called in English). They were foraging like their lives depended on it (which it probably did) and wouldn't stand still for a photie. Nevertheless I took a couple of snapshots and this was the best of them.

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Our time in the KNP was slowly drawing to an end and to prolong it by just a tad we decided to go the round about way to Skukuza by taking the H12 over the Sabie River. It turned out to be a most fortunate choice. Just before crossing the river we came around a bend (the old cliche) and saw a couple of cars parked next to the road. And there they were - a whole pack of Wild Dogs enjoying an afternoon avie right next to the road. There was enough space for me to pull in quite close and start firing away with my camera.

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The WD's seemed oblivious to all the activity around them and just kept snoozing away.

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Just how unperturbed they were with the human interference was about to be put to the test however, and I'm embarrassed to say that it was me that would be the origin of all the consternation.
Thing is, I had this new camera right and this pack of beautiful Wildies just lying there to be photographed. So obviously I was taking one helluva lot of pics and trying out angles and settings and stuff I didn't know too much about. In fact I was so engrossed in the whole process that I didn't notice the pressure on the elbow on my left arm nor the slight hooting noise that was coming out of the bonnet of my car. Only after a while did it register that someones car hooter was going off. My 1st thought was that some idiot was trying to get the Wild Dogs to get up and move about for some entertainment. Suddenly I realised that the origin of the noise was quite close and then I noticed the pressure on my elbow. The fact that my SO was also mildly(read screaming) enquiring what the hell I was doing put everything in place - I had unknowingly pushed my elbow onto the car hooter and blasted a full 2 second hoot into the still bushveld afternoon. :redface:
Well, you can imagine that I felt like a bit of an idiot. The amount of cars around the Wild Dogs had swelled to about 15 and 30+ pairs of eyes were giving me the death stare at that moment. The only thing that saved me was that I was so embarrassed that my face turned a delicate shade of purple that could be seen all the way from Nelspruit. I signalled my apology to everyone although the fact that my SO had now decided that it was the funniest thing that has ever happened didn't help much as she was beside herself with laughter because of my crimson red face.
Luckily the Wild Dogs decided that they're not going to bother moving just because of the odd hoot or two and they never even budged an eye lid during the whole escapade.

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Needless to say we moved on quite quickly after that and continued to the Sabie River Bridge.
After crossing the river we headed to Skukuza on the H4-1. I was surprised at how different the riverbed looked from my previous trip in January 2006. It looked like another flood like the 2000 one had come down and uprooted a lot of the beautiful big trees next to the river. I don't know, maybe I was dreaming but it definitely looked like there had been another big flood. Maybe someone can confirm that.

Since time was pressing a bit we decided not to turn into Skukuza but head straight to the Phabeni gate.
The last hour's drive was enjoyable but uneventful and before we knew it we were at Phabeni and had checked out at the gate.
It had been a most memorable trip and one that would make sure that we would be back before long. But it was time to go and rejoin the rat race that is the outside world.
For now it was time to say cheers, tjorts & goodbye to Phabeni and the KNP.

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The End


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