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 Post subject: Christelsabine - A Week In Kruger Park : Dec 07
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2006 9:33 pm 
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Going to Nelspruit from Upington is a short jump – KMIA airport is a fine, modern, small one, flight into the „green“ of Kruger area is so different from what I just left and landscape deep down below me so "...yes: green!" - picked up my rental car, this one
Image
the red sweety on the left – that Red Flea Chicco surely was not new born and no A/C! (What I only found out after leaving airport area).The AVIS guy was helpful, he showed me a small sketch showing the way to Hazyview – „Lady, you will be in Hazyview within less than an hour, that’s for sure! “

After missing some not that important panels after about 2 hrs I ended somewhere within Hazyview just in front of a very nice looking shop. The black lady beside me left her huge Mercedes, took a look at the location plan my lodge had sent me by fax, phoned to them with her own mobile (she refused to take mine) and told her driver to go ahead, showing me the way to the lodge. Her 3 little ones in the car jumped up and down and enjoyed that diversification. The lady and I agreed to go for a short shopping before leaving, so we entered that fine shop. Really a great one: The first thing I saw was a book in German showing most important South African Animals! It was mine then. After shopping, we sat down on the stairs in front of the shop, she asked a million questions, I answered a million. She did her studies in Great Britain and was so curious to learn what a German woman is doing alone in South Africa – I told her about my wonderful times in Kalahari.....

Finally, they showed me the way and after about 10 km they turned right, I turned left – the road I entered was more horrible than anything I ever saw before! Compared with that one – for about 4 km – the dune roads in Kgalagadi TP are completely flat! Like a baby butt! My little red car made it so perfect, better than that huge heavy gas eating ones I had in the desert. Jumping over every hole – there were many of them! – it was an unbelievable up and down, horror! (Thanks God, next day I found the other end of that hell road which was much much easier to go!)

My family members were expected to arrive next day, so upon taking over my bungalow, throwing luggage in it, I looked for closest Kruger gate: It was the Phabeni – what a nice one, very friendly staff and not many visitors at that noon time – I was just happy to be in KRUGER – how different that place is!

Equipped with some maps, I followed the S1 – after a while just stopped under a tree to have a look on my map material.... looked around: And there were the largest legs of the world! Really, the only excuse I have for myself is, that my eyes are not trained on watching that long Giraffe legs just few meters beside me: Image and that pretty little butt
Image

No LIT‘s but, my GIT’s : Image
Those tender looking animals moved so slowly, it really needed their movements to catch my attention – how bad our (no: my!) eyes are! Image

In KTP, I failed to see giraffe (surely my fault, as many others met them) - to see them here so peacefully, nobody was around, just my little read flea and these majestic beauties - I was happy.

I'll continue :angel:


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Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 11:58 pm 
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Next small part of Kruger:

Next morning, I left the lodge at about 05.00hrs – equipped with a breakfast basket and a cooler box – nicely prepared by staff of lodge. Entering Phabeni gate at 05.30hrs, I was first one and had big luck to see those sleeping beauties about 5 minutes later:
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Only their ears were moving.

I left after 15 Minutes as many cars arrived, heading for at first Kruger Gate which looks really nice:
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There were my very first elephants. Again, my eyes were fooling me, I did not see them until I nearly fell over them, this little one at first:
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followed by another one (perhaps an elder sister?), anyhow I had the strong impression she/he did not like me to be there:
Image

Image
Another one crossed the street behind me as I turned around to watch them again. Isn’t that animal good looking? It seemed, they completely ignored those disturbing visitors in metal boxes, just followed their ways, doing their own things...

The way to Skukuza was filled with many sightings, such as many Kudus crossing the street, one of them was heavily wounded and only walking on 3 legs; Impala and those guys which only showed me their backside and were in a hurry:
Image
Image

Did I mention how hot it was? At Skukuza (sorry, I do not like that place), I talked to other visitors with Celsius thermometers in cars: At noon we had about 38°. Not bad for a car without any A/C. I had a fine little imagination of strangling the lady of my travel agency (she’s my g/f since 25 yrs, lived in SA for 5 and made such a lousy car reservation for me!)

Really, I enjoyed that day and would’ve enjoyed it much more if staff of my lodge would’ve been providing me with some bread along with eggs (peeled! I prefer to do this with my own dirty fingers!), jam, cottage cheese, many wonderful clean glasses (for what? I’m drinking my cold water right out of the bottle, this was no golf picnic) – anyhow: Not a single slice of bread. So, I was eating out of the basket what came along (except peeled eggs).

Did I say how hot it was? I was wet from forehead to toes. Even driving with open windows did not help a bit.

As we were booked on a night drive that day, I returned to Hazyview at about 04.00hrs to clean myself, eat a bit more than jam and push my beloved family members to leave the nice cold pool, jump into the boots as one of the lodge owners was kind enough to bring us again to Phabeni gate for that night drive, picking us up after it.

:huh: If he only would've known where and not to bring along his dogs - but, that's next small part...

I'll continue later...


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Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 6:19 pm 
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christo wrote:
PS the gate you refer to is not the Kruger gate, but the Skukuza gate.


Ooops, thx for correction :redface: Have to check my downloads for missing Kruger Gate pics.

Regarding Skukuza: I did not want to step on anyone's feet, just felt like knocked out upon arrival there - millions of ppl, walking, running around, throwing garbage in the landscape - upon entering, I immediately lost that wonderful feeling I had before when sneaking over the dirt roads.

My sister-in-law and one of my stepsons were coming from CT to Hazyview. They are not really fans of waking up early, wanted to do a week of sunshine at the pool... so we agreed upon staying together near Hazyview. I did the trip to Kruger gates every morning, coming back in the evening to spend the time with them. They asked me about all what I saw in the park but, only joined my for one night drive and one full day in the park, when we went to Lower Sabie. Man, it was hot that day - so, I was "doomed" to spend next days alone in the park....

This is why I said in another thread: I would never do it again, means staying outside the park and wasting precious time for driving to/from it. I learned and now I know :wink:

Hopefully, I'll hit my target for coming Easter season - only one little week in the north of Kruger with my husband and besides this, making some plans for few days in KTP, hehe
:tongue:


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Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 8:16 pm 
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3rd part of Kruger part:

We all were booked for a night drive – one of the lodge owners offered us the ride to and from Phabeni Gate, which was a very fine idea. During this ride, he entertained us with the story of his best friend who died 6 months ago during such a drive to that gate by racing into a cattle herd – cattles use to walk around day and night on these roads. I’ve seen them but, was happy not to drive in the darkness! We really got in good mood for the trip listening to his story....

He dropped us at the gate (promised to be there upon our return), we entered a huge safari truck, our guide was Raymond. Raymond was a chatterbox: Not even 5 minutes later, another giant safari truck came in front of us, both drivers stopped and started to chat away like school girls – after 5 minutes, first guest started to complain, after 10 minutes my voice became a bit louder asking Raymond to go ahead with the drive and to clear his personal things next day – he was not impressed. Next guests complained, from both trucks – louder and becoming just a big more angry! Finally, both guides decided to end their conversation and we went ahead. It really needed a clear voice to get a clear answer from that guide – I had the strong impression he was a driving machine doing his job until gas is empty...

A bit later, he had the bad luck to catch hyena with his huge floodlight – a complete family, resting at their den at the roadside, few meters ahead a young one (surely a teeny trying his first adventures outside the family), and to top it: The master of the pack – I’m sure it was Daddy – walked around with a bone in his mouth! Several times, I’ve seen pics here at the side showing that.... I think it was „him“ as „she“ was lactating a very little one. Raymond had to stop – we made pics, my camera of course gave up as it was dark – bit later came dad Hyena slowly to the left front tyre of our truck and started to sniff, chewing a bit – Raymond decided it’s time to leave if we want to go back with 4 tyres. A wonderful picture to watch this completely unimpressed and relaxed Hyena family doing their things.

The atmosphere onboard was great – many Brits, Scots and of course some Germans – we all enjoyed that night trip and had a lot of fun. Left beside me was a young British couple, she beside me, he at outer side. Half an hour later (I really do not remember where that was), Raymond – very busy and helpful now! – stopped: Lion ahead! Two wonderful, big black maned lions, close together just left in front of us – WOW! Really WOW! They did not even bother to give that stinky metal thing a simple glance, staring into the nowhere on the other side of the road. My cam still denied to work, nevertheless I tried to catch some pics and bent over the young girl beside me – same moment I felt her shaking!, looked down to her – she sat there like beeing in agony – she was deadly scared! Her hubby did not watch her at all, she just sat there, watching the lions (about 2 m beside us), shaking from head to feet – huge eyes, I was sure she will start to scream within seconds. Poor little thing! I sat down, took her in my arms, my sister-in-law took over the place at her other side (her SO still did not look at her, made pics). We both held her tight from left and right side, tried to calm her down – I’ve never seen someone that scared (except myself 2 days later but, that’s another story ).

It needed the screaming of us telling Raymond to go ahead – only after we left the scene, that pretty young girl calmed down, came back to earth and her hubby took over control. For her and us, the drive was gone. What else did we see that night? Fish eagle at a WH, giraffe, Scrub Hare, Zebra, Steenbuck, manymany Gnus..

Coming back after about 2 hrs, everybody left the truck, entering own cars and left. Except us. We 3 fools were standing in the pitch-dark parking area waiting for our driver to pick us up. There was no driver. Just the young Brit couple still in their car – they stopped beside us asking if we need help, of course we did! They requested us to enter their car to wait for our driver to come. We waited and waited – until a staff car came along, they told us that outside the closed gate – quite far away from our parking area (in that darkness) – someone since a while is waiting with a jeep, he was not allowed to come inside the gate as he had 2 big dogs in his car and anyhow, gate was closed! Grrrr....

We were so happy that the young Brits harboured us in their car – Jesus, how dark it was! We were looking around for high trees to spend the night... Lucky end: We left the gate, entered our driver’s jeep, giving him some warm words and went back to the lodge.

Sorry, I cannot provide any pic - before invading Kruger next time, I have to buy a proper camera equipment, that's for sure!
:D


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Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 10:15 pm 
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Baffers, I'm at home now and had a look on my papers - :shock: Will try to do something proper. Again, I have to confess doing such a wonderful journey needs real good camera equipment. It's not like going to a zoo - every moment something special can happen! There are so many little, large and wonderful things in my memory which I did not catch with camera - and furthermore, did not notice on paper. That bugs me the most. Just an example:

Image

Entering this road, we decided we don't like it, we turned around and took another dirt road - and now, I'm diving deep down into my papers to find out which road we took after that.... :evil:

So, I will give my best to bring the rest of that wonder_Kruger_trip into a nice report: I'd do it again, in an instant.

Doing KTP at first, that's for sure :redface:


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Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 2:53 pm 
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I know exactly what you mean... There is so many good things to see and they come at any time.

My last trip I saw a leopard with two young ones and i happened so quick I couldnt even get a photo. They were also in dense bush so a photo would have been hard anyway.

But yes.. Every trip to Kruger is magical... I hope you can come soon again :) (With a canon 20d with at least a 300mm zoom lens) :D

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Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 10:52 pm 
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4th and last part of Kruger experience

It was not that easy to persuade my lovely sister-in-law for another Kruger trip next day - early morning we left again to Phabeni gate. They wanted to do a shopping tour for souvenirs at Lower Sabie – so off we went. Close to Skukuza, we met the local warthogs (don’t know why they changed colours, hehe--) Image and
Image

There’s only one animal of which I know falling on thier knees while beeing busy: The common housewife (while cleaning the floors)... Those guys were so busy and mostly walking side by side.

At about 10am, we started to melt a bit in our car, man it was hot. As Skukuza was not really our goal, we directly went down to Lower Sabie Image

Arriving there, jumping inside the huge store was done within seconds - buying like there's no tomorrow. We all bought new cotton shorties and shirts and pulled it over after paying – we were extremely wet – you surely can imagine how the dark spots at your butts looked like, we sat on both since hours.

The view down to the river is wonderful – there were storks, hippos, waterbuck and many more animals – but, also too many people walking around (Oh yes I know, I’m one of them) – My relatives wanted to go back as quick as possible, the heat (about 38° at early afternoon) was a bit hard to stand – we just went back on quickest possible way. That boiling day ended with a wonderful dinner close to the pool – the view over the valley was breathtaking. And my lovely sweeties decided to enjoy remaining days just at that spot.

OK, that much for family traffic. Next day, I left early morning (guess to which gate?). I wanted to see Nkuhlu. About that place, unfortunately I am missing anything of my personal written information. Perhaps someone could help me out here? Is that the area where you could sit down close to the river? With a huge souvenir shop? With this huge ugly panel? I think it was Nkuhlu, where there was a lot of traffic: Trucks, million of visitors – not a nice place. Except a bit outside, where I walked around. And this was the spot, where I broke my little toe of left foot while stepping downstairs. Beeing inattentive, I made a wrong step and BANG! hit a big stone. Wow, that did hurt! Only by today, Jan. 22nd, the black-blue nail of wounded toe completely fell off – I walked around here with very comfortable shoes as my toe was swollen and dark blue! Memories of Africa....

So what. I went on. Nobody was complaining about missing sightings, missing A/C, boiling heat in the car – I enjoyed myself beeing wet and slowly cooking in my own sweat but – after looking down to Sabie river, I made the view of my life: Elephants (how happy I was that my little digicam worked well!) Image

I think it was on S-79 at N’watimhiri – a small dirt road, far away from busy tar roads. Wonderful to be there. Wonderful silence. I met a huge herd of Kudu – they are so peaceful, just walking around, doing their biz...

Image
This is another pic of a view down Sabie river – some hippo just showing their noses. Of course, I did every little loop to come closer to the river, to watch and enjoy – but, that’s the moment my written notices give up – I did not write down every single road or loop or whatsoever, I just went there. Next time, I know how to do better, I guess...

There were not that many days left, so pls let me just refer to pics I showed at „Birds“ with my lovely little buck just standing beside the Ground Hornbill Image– there were millions of these fascinating little events, I learned to find Waterbuck interesting! These animals were –in my opinion- the ones I disliked the most, and then: I saw the white rings around their little butts, their carefull behaviour, their curious views – and poof! I thought they are so wonderful! Image
Image

This little one said good-bye to me just over my head as I left my bungalow at Hazyview to leave my loved ones and take the last trip through Kruger before leaving finally to airport: Image

That very last day was a wonderful, lonely trip to Pretoriuskop – I did not see a single car! on my way! It was the very first dark day, no sun and not that hot – and it was a long ride, man! Image And there it is: The entrance to Pretoriuskop, a peaceful place, looking at bit „oldfashioned“, anyhow, very silent and clean:
Image

The road to Pretoriuskop is not that nice to drive, if you’re sitting with your butt just over the top of grass, you see nothing at all! I fully enjoyed the „hills“, means a bit of up and down the roads enabling me to see more than just the top of green – driving is somewhat boring – except, if you meet familiar people: The one and only car I met was a white X-trail like the one I had in Kgalagadi – coming closer to each other, we reduced speed, when beeing on same eye-level, the driver shouted: Hey Christel! It’s you!!! What the hell are you doing here??? It was a South African I met in the middle of nowhere on the Mata-Mata road in Kgalagadi on my very first day, he explained a lot to me regarding birds and and .... Isn’t the world a small place?? We talked for an hour, it was his last day, my last day, he was going back to PE and my destination was Europe. Wow, what a surprise.

And now, the end is near... just few kilometers before Numbi gate, I met this fine couple:
Image

Image
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At gate they asked me (after checking if my luggage trunk was not full of Impala meat) „What did’ya see, Ma’am?“ I replied, „..oh well, not far from here Rhino plus kid...“ Same moment the guy ran down to his colleague to tell him these news, they jumped into a car and disappeared ... (I do hope they were no poachers!) I did the same, left Numbi Gate to jump into the horrible traffic direction airport – and left a giant part of my heart there. This country stole my heart, I’ve seen a lot of our world but, never came back home with such a deep impression. I'll keep it in me and for sure, it will draw me back to South Africa soon, the most impressive place I’ve ever been.

I truly hope, you guys will not be bored too much about my eventless last part, hope to see you all one day,

Christel


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Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2007 11:59 pm 
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Holy Moly, fool I am: Forgot to provide the most famous animal:Image and sweetie running for its lifeImage
Image

That little one seemed to be walking around for all of us - I left car and went down on my knees, just watching that pretty little creature, it did not mind me at all! (I think) One step ahead, two steps back ... it looked like this! Kept me busy for half an hour, that little thing - great.


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