Skip to content

SANParks.org Forums

View unanswered posts | View active topics






Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  Page 1 of 1
 [ 5 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Orlando Florida to KNP - Russell returns with his Family
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 4:23 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2006 12:28 am
Posts: 6
Location: Florida, USA
I am an Ex South African that spent the first seventeen years of my life in South Africa. At the age of 5 my Dad took myself and my 3 year old brother to Kruger. We were hooked and for the next nine years went to Kruger at least five times a year, averaging about 25 – 40 days a year.

Over the past 20 years I have returned four time once in 1989, 1995 first time with my wife and 1999 (Wife was pregnant she couldn’t come). We planned a trip for 2002 again and once again my wife was pregnant so we had to delay the trip.

In January 2006 we began planning our trip to South Africa to begin November 22, 2006. The planning included reading the Forum for advice on a daily basis, which turned out to be very helpful and informative. This would be the first time I would have the privilege of introducing my three sons age 8, 6, and 3 to the magic of Kruger, which made it the most exciting and memorial trip yet. In addition my mother in law decided she wanted to see South Africa too.

The six of us started our 30 hour Trip started in Orlando Florida at 6:00am on the morning of November 22, 2006. We arrived at O R Tambo airport the next afternoon at 4:00. It was raining heavily, and the power to the airport was lost. Once the power was restored the retractable gate would not work, so they had to scramble to find a stairwell. Because of the power failure the airport was in chaos and we had to wait an hour to de-plane. After the rain cleared, the rest of the check in went fine, we rented a phone at the airport and spent the night in a nearby hotel, to get some Z’s.

The next morning we flew to KMIA at 6:40am, picked up our KOMBI and headed for Phabeni gate. I have to admit I was very nervous after reading about all the crime etc in South Africa. After about 30 minutes of driving the fears had disappeared and never again during our trip was I concerned. We were always cautious about our whereabouts, but felt perfectly safe during our entire trip.


We arrived at the Phabeni gate around 8:30 am, check in was a breeze, tied our yellow ribbon onto the car and drove to Skukuza had breakfast at the Deli, saw the bats in the thatch and continued our trip to Lower Sabie H4-1. Saw lots of game including a few herds of Elephant, lots of Hippo out of water and antelope. Check in at Lower Sabie was a breeze. Purchased out Wild card and settled into Keartland house for the next three nights.

Image
Image
Image
Image


After a few hour break we headed out around 4:00 pm again. We headed south on H-28 to Duke dam and returned to camp on the Tar road. The roads were teaming with game impala kudu waterbuck, herds of Ellies with babies and Buffalo. Every one wanted to see a Giraffe and a just before we returned to camp we spotted one. Everyone was so excited, and savored the spotting as if they would not see another giraffe for the rest of the trip. Rest assured they were wrong we saw plenty over the next six days.

Image
Image

We had dinner at the restaurant on the water and headed for bed. After being a sleep for an hour we were awakened by a squeaking noise. We turned on the lights to see a Bat flying around our room. While the rest of the family slept we were able to catch the bat in record time and release it. Having the bat in our room was not as bad as the squeaking sound it made.

The next morning we woke at 4:00am got to the gate at 4:30 and headed south on S28 towards Crocodile Bridge. Once again saw lots of animals, Ellie Buffalo and the Rhino. During the 70’s the Rhino population was low in Kruger and Rhino sighting were infrequent. This again would be the beginning of numerous rhino sightings. We continued on S25 and found our first pride of 16 lions including cubs, in the road. We spent the next hour watching them play around, a couple of the younger lions climbed some trees. One of the cubs was very sick, skinny and I’m sure it would only live a couple of days. This was a lesson to my kids of the realities of nature. We continued to Skukuza on the Dirt road, had a scary moment when we stopped at a heard of elephants and scarred them. One of the elephants trumpeted and called for the matriarch. That was my signal to move and the next thing we saw was the Matriarch in the road behind us at full charge. Had breakfast at Skukuza again, and spent some time shopping. We found the store wonderful and brought lots of t-shirts and Curios. The day was overcast, so it did not get too hot, and we realized we had been in the Kombi for over six hours. We were having such a wonderful time and the kids were behaving unbelievably well. Headed back to Lower Sabie via Salitjie. Game was abundant. We had our only negative experience with a Safari Jeep operator on this road. The operator had stopped and we asked her what she was looking at she rudely replied an animal, and was very unfriendly. Returned to camp for a break. We spent the afternoon watching game coming to the river hippo out of the water right in front of us.

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image



For our afternoon drive we headed for Mlondozi dam, one of my favorites, and decided to drive south again, seeing lots of animals and plenty of ellie’s with babies. In the past I always remember having to travel north towards Letaba and Shingwedzi to see herds of elephant. Not this trip spottings were frequent with lots of babies. We saw three or four more rhino sightings too. Headed back to camp feeling relaxed and the entire family falling in love with Kruger.

Image
Image

_________________
2 1/2 years later we return. My three boys now 10, 8 , 5 begged me to return to Kruger.

August 5-7 Satara
Aug 8-11 Skukuza


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 8:55 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2006 12:28 am
Posts: 6
Location: Florida, USA
Sunday November 26, 2006

This morning we decided to head North on the H4-1. We saw fewer animals than we had become accustomed to. We took the S34 and S 36 and virtually saw no game. Continued south on the H1-2. My oldest son wanted to see a Crocodile so we decided to continue towards Skukuza to cross the Sand and Sabie river on the low bridges. We came across a few cars stopped and saw 3 lion far away in the river bed. Compared to the previous day’s sightings we decided to move on. Within 2 kilometers a male lion suddenly walked in front of us walked along the road for a couple of minutes and walked into the bush. Continued back towards camp for an afternoon rest.

Image

Image

One of our rituals everyday was to stop at sunset dam before we went back to camp, we would do this every time before we entered Lower Sabie. Once we returned home we reviewed our pictures and realized that behind the hippos we were looking at were crocs on the bank we did not see. Below are different sightings from our many stops.

Image
Image
Image

Views from camp

Image

Image



Spent the day walking around camp. The renovated huts are spectacular. We were at Lower Sabie during the weekend and the restaurant and shop area, although very nice, was a very busy place with day visitors and not very peaceful. We decided to keep to our private area of our accommodation.

Late in the afternoon we headed south to Crocodile Bridge and back. As usual lots of game and wonderful sightings, a kilometer before returning we had a rhino running in front of us in the road and a hyena at the same time. Continued to Sunset dam were a heard of elephant were crossing the road to go and drink.

Image

Image

Had dinner at the restaurant. We found the food at the restaurants to be average. We were there during a promotion and wildcard holders received a 20% discount, which made the price more reasonable. We did not come to Kruger for its great cuisine. So we were felt the food was fine.

Next morning headed south towards Crocodile Bridge and as usual was rewarded with lots of game etc. Got ready for our move to Satara.


ps Happy New year to everyone, more to come next year.

_________________
2 1/2 years later we return. My three boys now 10, 8 , 5 begged me to return to Kruger.

August 5-7 Satara
Aug 8-11 Skukuza


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 5:21 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2006 12:28 am
Posts: 6
Location: Florida, USA
We checked out of Lower Sabie and headed towards Satara. Took a detour to Orpen Dam the dirt road was corrugated and tough to drive. Stopped by Tshokwane for a break. At Mazithi we experienced our first and only tourist out of their car. Decided this would be the perfect picture for the Gallery of Shame, grabbed my camera and took a picture. I think the camera cured him. He immediately got into the car when he saw the camera. This was the first very hot day day since we were in the park and most of the animals were taking cover. Arrived at Satara and checked in.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image




Stanley house is a wonderful guest house and not all guest houses are the same. Even though Lower Sabie’s Keartland House had a wonderful river view, the guest house was not as comfortable or as wonderful. I had stayed their in 1995 and since then the furniture has been updated, the kitchen redone and the unit is in wonderful condition. Also the layout of the guest house is much better than Keartland house.

Image

Image

Image

We settled in, checked out the new pool, kids play area, explored the camp and relaxed. We were very anxious to see game around Satara and at 3:00pm decided to go out. We headed for Nsemani and Girivano and to Timbivati. It was still too hot and we literally saw no game. From Timbivati we took S127 to the H1-4 and headed towards Nwanetsi lookout on the H6. We saw some game on the H6, stopped by the lookout, another one of my favorites, and headed north on the S41 to the S100. From Nwaentsi onwards the game viewing picked up. Lots of antelope buffalo, elephant. Turned onto the S100 and within two km’s came across a pair of mating lions. We watched them and like clockwork mated every 20 minutes. They were about 20 meters in the bush and is was hard to photograph so the pictures did not come out well. We watched until we knew we needed to get back to camp. The rest of the ride home was teaming with game, lots of elephant, buffalo and antelope. With all the animals and sightings, we made it back to camp just in time to watch the guard close the gate behind us as we entered camp.

_________________
2 1/2 years later we return. My three boys now 10, 8 , 5 begged me to return to Kruger.

August 5-7 Satara
Aug 8-11 Skukuza


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 4:19 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2006 12:28 am
Posts: 6
Location: Florida, USA
The next morning we headed south towards Sweni S126 north on S36 and west on the H-7 towards Orpen. Game was sparse until we came across a pride of 9 lion on the tar road. We stayed for a while and watched the cubs and youngsters play with each other in the road.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image



Continued to Orpen checked out the renovated camp for my uncle who is planning on staying there in August. It looks truly wonderful. Headed back to camp for breakfast.



Feeling guilty that we took our kids out of school, we decided that it would be appropriate to take a drive to Letaba to visit the Elephant Museum so the older kids could do a project on elephants when we returned. At the junction of H1-4 and S39 we saw some cars on the dirt road. Drove down the road to see three females taking a nap under a tree. They had settled down for the day, so we continued towards Letaba. Didn’t see much game but enjoyed the museum and having lunch over looking the river.

Image

Image



Headed back to Satara for a siesta. Started our afternoon trip a little later the previous day and decided to take the S100 again. Once again it seems all the game was concentrated around this area. Like the evening before we saw lost of elephants and antelope, later we came across a pride of 8 cubs lying on the side of the road. Settled in to watch the cubs play around. As we took the pictures my wife said she heard a Lion roaring. Next all 8 cubs sat up turned around and we saw two female lions about 50 meters in. The cubs all ran towards the females and looked excited to see them. It was getting late so we decided to return to camp.

Image

Cub trying to eat a tortoise

Image

Image

a call from the parents ( I wish my kide listened as well)

Image

_________________
2 1/2 years later we return. My three boys now 10, 8 , 5 begged me to return to Kruger.

August 5-7 Satara
Aug 8-11 Skukuza


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 4:38 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2006 12:28 am
Posts: 6
Location: Florida, USA
The next morning, we heard a lion roaring from the gate. Within 500 meters we came across a male lion on the side of the road. We decided we would continue to see if the cubs were in the same place and headed on the S100. There was still lots of game on this road. Before we got to the cub location we had three male lions walking in the road. Watched them until they walked into the bush. Two kilometers later we found the cubs again. Watched them for a while and decided to move on. 4 Kilometers later we came across the mating couple again. This time the light was better and they were in the road so we could get better pictures. While watching the lion we saw a Rhino walk across the road about 50 meters ahead. After this wonderful morning we decided it was time to turn around and go back to camp.

Lion Sighting # 1

Image

Lion Sighting #2

Image
Image

Lion Sighting #3

Cubs on the side of the road again pictures to follow

Lion Sighting #4
Image

Image



Today was the hottest day, so the kids decided to use the pool, and everyone felt like having a lazy day around camp. We sat on the porch and watched animals come to the waterhole. Later in the day a large bull elephant came to drink at the watering hole.

Image

Image


For our afternoon drive, we decided to retrace our morning tracks. The lion outside of camp had crossed the road and was under a tree taking a nap. Drove the S-100, stopped were we saw the 3 male lions in the morning, they were gone. Stopped were the cubs were earlier and saw an elephant playing in a mud hole.

Image


Directly on the other side of the elephant were the cubs. At this point none of the animals realized the whereabouts of the other animal. The Elephant got out of the mud mole saw the cubs and trumpeted, the cubs scattered in every direction and the elephant gave chase before turning and heading into the bush.

Image

Image

Image

Our hearts were pounding as we hoped that none of the cubs got heart. Fortunately all was fine. We watched the cubs regroup and head toward some water for a drink. Drove on to look for the mating lions. They had moved on. Suppose it was enough after 3 -4 days. Turned back towards camp saw the cubs for the last time and returned to camp.

The next morning we decided to sleep in. Got up, checked out and headed for Orpen gate.
We spent a lot of time looking for Leopard, Cheetah and Wild Dog. It did not happen this trip, but we will be back again. We were all sad to leave Kruger. We spent the rest of the day touring the area. We went to Gods window, Bourkes Loucke Potholes and Berlin and Lisbon Falls and ended the day in Pilgrims rest. All the sights were wonderful and breathtaking. Although we were sad to leave Kruger, we had planned three more days in a private game park adjoining Kruger, so we knew our bush experience was not over yet.

_________________
2 1/2 years later we return. My three boys now 10, 8 , 5 begged me to return to Kruger.

August 5-7 Satara
Aug 8-11 Skukuza


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 5 posts ] 



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: hilda, Kaapsedraai, Suej and 6 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group

Webcams Highlights

Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Submitted by Ang at 05:07:35 Submitted by grannyb at 09:40:03 Submitted by bok gleeson at 09:14:34 Submitted by bok gleeson at 09:14:38