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 Post subject: Matt’s Christmas Gift: Sirheni Bushveld Camp 26–29 Dec 2006
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:22 am 
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After many nights (months) waiting, plotting and planning, (and purchasing :( ) Christmas had eventually arrived! The turkeys were cooked, the tree was decorated and the presents were wrapped.

Christmas Eve was spent with my mother’s family, joking and eating (lots) and present swapping! :dance: Santa had visited during the night (I’m positive that he drank all my milk, and some of my Jack Daniels was missing too! :hmz: ) he did fill up the stockings though!

Christmas day was spent with my dad’s family, eating (even more :redface: ) and swapping more presents, although Santa had not seemed to visit this house :( . Christmas took on a completely different meaning however when my father gave me his present! A 3 night stay at Sirheni, starting the next day. (Good thing I was on leave then hey!)

:thumbs_up: 8) :thumbs_up:

My SO was unfortunately working and could not therefore join, but my sister could! We left dad’s family, (not before desert however, ice cream, not that Christmas pudding stuff- do you know why they put money in there? So that people will eat it!) and raced home to pack! I still had to visit the SO’s family for Christmas dinner (again lots- I don’t wanna hear about anyone’s leftover turkey! :? Seriously!) and then returned home!

My sister had done a fantastic job, :thumbs_up: the car was half packed with all her goods, my camera gear, and PADKOS (road food) 8) ! I packed my bag, made sure that we had all the other vital equipment and tried to catch a couple of hours sleep! :lol: We departed JHB at about 01.30 and drove off to collect the old man from Nelspruit! I was still elated about the padkos, until the time came for a sandwich- wretched leftover turkey! :?

After arriving at the farm at 05.00, we climbed out of my car and into the old man’s, and continued our journey to Phalaborwa! None of us had had any chance to do any shopping, but dad reassured us that there was a good Spar and PicknPay at Phalaborwa where we could stop and get supplies. 8)

I’ve never driven to Phalaborwa in the daytime before, so this was a real experience! The mountains, views, waterfalls, steep drops and just scenery are breathtakingly beautiful! :shock:

We arrived at the Spar in Phalaborwa at about 08.30 and found to our delighted surprise that they were open- but just about cleaned-out. :( Because of Christmas, their supplies were very low and they hadn’t taken deliveries for a good couple of days. They did assure us that they had plenty turkey though!

With limited supplies but an intense feeling of excitement, filled up with a moment of panic when we “accidentally” got “a bit” lost (dad’s words, not mine, sure looked like a sign-reading error to me!), :? we were greeted by (armed) guards at Phalaborwa Gate, where we were booked in, in no time at all! With the guards smiling and waving (& eating turkey sandwiches :lol: :lol: :lol: ) we drove though!

I’m afraid it was rather quiet the whole way up to Sirheni, we saw ellies in the distance, impala, buffalo in the distance and a couple of Zebras but not much else. This changed however, when an elephant greeted us at Sirheni, from just in front of our Bungalow- number 13, lucky for some! :lol:

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:31 am 
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What a great read so far Matt!! Thanks! I can just feel your excitement at getting your special gift.

Can I offer you a turkey sarmie?? :twisted:

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:36 am 
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You have had a special Santa 8)
Milk and Jack Daniels :?

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:46 am 
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Looking forward to the rest as we will be visiting Sirheni for the first time in September.


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:54 am 
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Thanks Matt, great stuff :D

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:01 am 
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great reading and nice ellie pic (a bit like a painting). Some turkey, anyone? :lol:

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Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:07 am 
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You were obviously a good boy, Matt! And Santa obviously visited you first, because he never got to me (hic). I just got a stale box of cherry chocolates with holes in it so all the good stuff had run out!

Entertaining read, Matt, looking forward to the rest.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:59 am 
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What a fantastic Christmas pressie Matt. :D
Great start with all the excitement and last minute packing, shopping, getting lost etc, but a lovely present waiting to greet you at the camp, (did your Dad organize that as well?) :lol:
Looking forward to the next part, before Sunday please. :wink:

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 12:32 pm 
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I have been waiting and waiting, it's about time little boet! Liked very much what I read so far. Sirheni is a very special camp for us, so I will be relishing every word...

And that Jack being tucked into - Santa started at my place with the same problem... :twisted:


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 12:47 pm 
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Agatha wrote:
(hic)

Aha- the Jack bandit reveals itself!

@ DB and Salva- uh,um, no thanks on the turkey sarmie!
@ Bert- sherbert, milk and Jack Daniel's, i hope not!
Thanks for the compliments guys and girls- I try!

Ah, Sirheni. number 13 is well secluded from all, it had thick bush to the right and in front (without interrupting your view) and is closer to the dam than number 14 (on the left). There were paradise flycatchers everywhere, flitting this way and that. I did find it a bit odd that there was only one plug in the entire hut- and this was being used for the fridge. So, no camera battery or cell phone chargers here! The electricity for the fridge runs only until 21.00 hours as well. (Generator)

Francoisd- this is for you! I’m not sure about what else has been written about Sirheni. But without checking and IMHO, it is beautiful, with thick bush throughout. We were in hut 13 out of 15 huts, it looks as if hut number 15 has the best view on that side, as it looks from a slight hill and around the bend in the river. The bird hide on that side of the camp is far away from the water, although with more rain this could change, it is situated between huts 13 and 12. We didn’t see much on the private road either but saw some magic on the main road down to Shingwedzi as will be revealed later. The Mphongolo is definitely the quietest route in the evenings if you visit during school holidays, as (I suspect that it's) day visitors roar up the main road in the afternoon, often with police in hot pursuit! We saw a number of visitors pulled over by these cops!

Our afternoon drive was an interesting one, as all of us were really tired. We kept it short and managed to see some more ellies, the most gigantic herd of buffaloes in the distance- I wouldn’t even like to guess how big it was, some more zebras and then a special one for me- my first Sharpe’s Grysbok!. He was so close that I actually had to wait for him to move away from the car so that I could get a photo of him!

ImageImage

After zipping in to Shingwedzi for some ice, and other supplies we made our way back. The fire was lit, drinks were poured, mozzie repellent was applied and my father and I chatted under the stars till dinner was served. (Not turkey-but close chicken! And a great salad made by the sister) After dinner and a cold shower, we quietly joined up with our beds, where not even the heat could keep our tired bodies from sleep.

PS. Mz P- who's your "little boet"?
Elsa- will you be going up north?

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 1:05 pm 
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good for you to spot that grysbok! I saw my first ever on the private road to Sirheni (have never stayed there but it was only say 20 metres in that road and I drove up there just to get closer to the grysbok :redface: )

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 1:11 pm 
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Awwww! The S-Grysbok! What a lucky sighting! On my wish-list.

And...am I the big sista or not? That should answer you question. :twisted:

Matt, the custom at the solar energy driven bushcamps is that you are allowed to charge you cameras and stuff at reception. They have always done so for us. And if you really need to look good, you can blow-dry you hair there too... :roll:


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 1:13 pm 
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WOW! Sharpe’s Grysbok! And close! :mrgreen:

I think Sirheni is going to rise a place on my list of camps & places to stay....

My parents have never given me a present like that... :cry:

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Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 1:53 pm 
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Hi Matthew.. What a super Dad you`ve got!!
Looking forward to the next instalment.


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 2:49 pm 
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Sirhini sure sounds like a wonderful camp and it has been duely noted and marked down for future reference, I think my SO is going to ban me from reading these reports any day now as my intinerary of trips is starting to grow ever longer. :wink:
We are staying at Olifants and Satara, Matt, so not sure yet how far North we will be going.

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