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 Post subject: Delboysafa Honeymoon Trip Dec/Jan
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 12:15 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: From East London S.A., but living in Surrey, UK
Apologies for the delay in posting this, but has been pretty mad since we got back.

On the 23rd December 06, my SO and I got married at a Golf Club in Surrey. It was a MAD couple of days that involved no fewer than 4 Heathrow Trips the week before to pick up my family from S.A. and her Brothers family from New York. The next couple of days were a blur, but will try and summarise as best as possible

26th December 06

Well, the day arrived. It was a day of mixed emotions. I was saying goodbye to my family after only a few days of being together. However, it was the moment my SO and I had been looking forward to for the last 8 months, we were FINALLY going on honeymoon. Flight was a 6pm from Heathrow, so left the house at 2pm to have a bit of 'shopping' time. Flight was fine, but dont think I will ever get an early flight to S.A. again as I didn't feel tired. My SO slept like a baby :lol:

27th December 06

After a few issues with passport control, we managed to get through at 9am. Took our bags to domestic at Joeys and booked them through to Phalaborwa. Our flight was at 11am, which left us enough time to spend R1500 at Sneakers in Domestic :wink: Boarded a 12 seater propeller plane. Although I was told to sit at the front of the plane to balance it out :o, which didn't fill me with the greatest of confidence. However, flight was fantastic, until I discovered that these planes drop quickly and by a distance to land. :lol: Now, we knew we had finally arrived when we got out of the plane and saw Phalaborwa Airport. Fantastic little airport, we loved it and my one regret from the whole trip, was that we didnt' take more pictures of it. Below are a couple. (Baggage Collection and Water Stand)

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After spending 20 minutes sorting the car out, a Zafira, we were off. Within 5 mins, we were at the Phalaborwa Gate and our adventure could begin.

We took the H-9 to Sable Dam on the S51, then onto the H14 to H1-6 to Mopani for our first night in the Kruger. Nothing much to report on the Night Drive, but we slept like babies till 4am, where our first full day began. Report of that day to follow, but please enjoy some of the pics of what we saw, Elephants, Bateleur Eagle,Zebra and Buffalo some pics below

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2007 12:35 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: From East London S.A., but living in Surrey, UK
Thanks to all for the kind words so far

28th December 2006

4am!!! Oh my, what a change to the system. We were back, back where we belong. Talk about having difficulty sleeping, we were so excited, that we must've woken up about 20 times. 4am, alarm went off. Within 30 minutes, we had coffee in our 'kruger' mugs, a camera with an empty memory card and off we went. Today was the first part of our journey, Mopani to Shingwedzi. In all honesty, Mopani was always just a half-way stop as we arrived half-way through the day before, however, we were a bit sad to leave it and wish we could've had more time there as it was a stunning camp.



The journey for the day was down H1-6 to S50 up past the Nshawu Water Holes 1-5 (nothing to report at the waterholes – something that was VERY common for the rest of the trip), stopping at Grootvlei Dam and then Kanniedood Dam to Shingwedzi.



Our first sighting on was on close to hole number 1. A Rhino (all pics at the end of the report). Fantastic, it was the last animal we expected to see today, according to our research, we are not supposed to see them towards the North. The rest of the drive up to Shingwedzi was full of general game (like waterbuck and very entertaining baboons) and a couple of Buffalo's. Enjoyed the sighting of a couple of dung beetles, a very 'poser' bull elephant and a male Nyala.



When we arrived, sms's Chris18 as we agreed to meet up and he was a bit further up towards Punda Maria. But, we managed to meet on the Sunset Drive where I played with the 300mm F2.8 Lens of his (I tried to pass my F4 300mm off as an exchange, but he wasn't having any of it). Met his lovely SO and daughter as well. For the next couple of days, Chris seemed to have the most amazing luck with Cheetah's in the Shingwedzi area. A bit of a quiet night though.



After the drive, went to the restaurant for supper and had some lovely ribs. It was the only restaurant in the trip that gave you a choice of what to eat, every other one was buffet. Really nice, got pretty tipsy on some Pinot Noir and went to bed after a lovely day. Ah, will tomorrow be our first lion sighting….

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Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 12:59 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: From East London S.A., but living in Surrey, UK
29th December 2006

3:45am and my day started with a bang…..as I fell out of bed trying to stop the alarm on phone, my leg got caught in the sheet. My SO found it hilarious… Today was out first bush walk. We got kitted out with our khaki’s and boots and off we went. We met up with our two guides and 6 other people and off we went up the H1-7 and turned into one of the ‘no-entry’ signs (that we all would like to go up every now and then…. :wink: ). As we were about to park up and get out, a 2m black mamba shoots out across the gravel road in front of us. Blink and you would’ve missed it. Now I love snakes and grew up catching snakes in East London , so loved the sighting, but when I looked round at the other people, I could see the doubt in their faces as to what they were about to do. Suddenly, they seemed to be sweating a lot more than normal :lol: :lol: . Tough, off we go and across the VERY dry (like the bottom of my beer bottle currently..) mphongolo river bed we went. The next 3 hours were bliss, I love being in the bush, I feel at home and I truly believe being on foot in the bush is the only way to experience the it properly. I am never as relaxed as when I am in the bush and my stressful job as a sales manager in London seems a long, long way away. There is a saying back home that, whether you grew up there or visited it, you can take the person out of Africa, but you cannot take Africa out of the person (I hope there are some people that can relate to this toasting a cold castle or hunters now…
8) ) We didn’t see any game, but the guide was very good. Only when we were crossing the riverbed towards the vehicle did we come across 4 buffalo’s about 25 meters away. The just casually looked up and then down again to continue eating. We took a slight detour (understandably) to get back to the vehicle and back to camp we went. However, it took us another hour to get back as we saw a lioness kill with a baboon, a large group of buffalo and a large lone bull elephant at a waterhole. FANTASTIC.

After a bit of breakfast, we were out again. We decided to head up to Punda Maria up the H1-7, then across the H13-1 to a very old, but elegant and quaint camp. Punda Maria was a stunning little camp that had a lot of history. I wish we could’ve had more time there. After stocking up in the small shop, we headed back via the S60 upwards to join the H1-8 and then down to Shingwedzi. On the way up and back down, game was very scarce. We saw mostly buffies, lone elephant bulls and some giraffe. The waterholes were very unproductive. Oh well. It was a fantastic drive and I must say that the north of the park was really growing on us.

We got back around 4pm and started a braai. On the way back down, about 3km out of camp, there was a waterhole on the S55 Lamont Loop. So, I got the fire going and headed out by myself to try my luck and sat there for around and hour with a large group of buffies. A lovely end to the day and my SO had cooked the food when I returned. I just added some castle's and a great way to end the day.

So far photographically, I would rate my photo's as pretty average and still none of the one's I have posted are any of my favourites, so the best is yet to come and I look forward to sharing (it gets better as we get towards Satara :wink: ). It has been nearly 50 degree's every day and the sun gets high really quickly creating harsh light/reflections etc.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 1:06 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: From East London S.A., but living in Surrey, UK
30th December 06 - Shingwedzi

Our last day in Shingwedzi. Usual early morning up and out. Its quite amazing how quickly, from waking a woman up, to getting her in a car can take. If only that could happen all the time :lol: :lol: . Today we were leaving Shingwedzi and heading down to Olifants. We were actually were sad to leave. It was difficult to understand exactly why, but I think the North really grabs hold of you. Maybe its the fact that there seems to be so much space and so few people, that you actually believe you are almost alone in the bush. It had been pretty hot since we arrived, averaging 45 a day. It was very, very dry, but there had been a couple of light showers during the night. Were the rains coming? OH YES

We started on our long drive to Olifants, down the H1-6. Very honesty, the 4 hour drive brought very, very little. Even on some of the side roads and especially at the waterholes. We stopped briefly at the Tropic of Capricorn. It was getting very hot. Then, as we were about 10km's outside of Letaba we came to a pile up of cars. At last, there is something to see :wink: We stopped, engine off, bino's out and looking, we couldn't see anything. I gestured at one of the cars opposite, what is there? Then to my utter amazement, the guys gets out of his car and walks over to me to tell me there is a cheetah in the long grass laying down. Umm, you shouldn't get out your car!!!! We waiting over an hour for the cheeath to get up, but nope. Unfortunately, we still had a long way to go, so headed off. Oh well. We stopped off at Letaba to get some refreshments. Then off down the H1-5, up the H8 to check in at Olifants.

Um, I must be honest, the views were stunning, but we didn't rate the camp very much initially. Only our opinion. The view in front of our hut, was a burnt down hut. The weather was starting to turn, the skies darkening. Around 2pm, the lightening came and the rains followed. We went out on a sunset drive in the rain, which was pretty stunning to be honest. We came across a pride of 6 lions hunting some giraffe's. We stayed with them for 45 mins. There were 6 cars, engine's off, we all waiting patiently. THEN, an idiot decides to park right in front of the lions as they are in the final 'approach' and takes a lot of full flash photo's, which scares the giraffe and off they run. They then sped off. We were all stunned and very angry. Will the lions eat tonight, who knows, but the people will.

Thought I would try a different approach with the pics i.e. Black and White. Let me know what you think.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 11:06 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:48 pm
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Location: From East London S.A., but living in Surrey, UK
hehe - yip honeymoon is def. over. REALITY has DEF. kicked in.

SO is very well thanks. Missing the Kruger. I just had my Voyager card come through tonight, so she is on the laptop looking for flights later in the year :roll: How are you guys? Have you been nearly every weekend this year :lol: :lol: :lol:

Are you looking at the www.dpreview.com forums with all the rumours coming out of PMA? 40D, IDMKIII etc. Should be interesting...


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Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 10:22 am 
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Location: From East London S.A., but living in Surrey, UK
31st December 2006

Well, what a year and today is the last day. Our honeymoon has been fantastic so far. It is quite funny to wake up and think that there will be no fireworks today :lol:

This morning we were doing something we both looked really forward to - mountain biking. We got picked up at 4:10, bikes loaded and off we went. It was just the two of us today, which actually turned out to be a good thing. We had two guides, a very young white guy leading it. Now the next 4 hours were hilarious and fantastic. The other guide had never ridden a bike before and as we started off, proceeded to pedal in a very high gear, his legs were going so fast, I thought he was going to take off :lol: (I am just trying to find the pic still and will post). About 20 mins into the ride, we hear a hissing noise, puff adder??? NOO, this guides bike had a puncture. Guess what, no puncture repair kit. :cry: the young guide said lets carry on and see how far we get. My wife and I thought this was something out of a comedy sketch and could see what would happen. 10 mins later, the tyre was flat. Ummm the guide said. I just said why dont we just leave the bikes here and carry on, on foot. We didn't care, as long as we were in the bush. I think the young guide enjoyed if more, loved telling us about all elements of the bush - plant, tracks etc. We were tracking a leopard at one stage and 'think' we got a fleeting view of a tail disappear... Stopped off on the river bank about 20 feet from some hippo's and had something to eat. There was a lot of rubbish as we walked on the river bank. He said that some of it was from the floods, but a lot of it is still current i.e. gets washed down from the villages outside the Kruger. Then walked back, had a great time

Spent most of the day driving around EVERY road near Olifants :lol: . The highlight of the driving was definately spending some time with a few Hyena cubs.

After a long day, we thought we would try and stay up till midnight at the Olifants restaurant (they were keeping it open till 12). We went for supper at 7pm and we were in bed passed out at 8:30 :lol: :lol: :lol: I am sure you are all familiar with this scenerio!! waking up at 4am and 10 hours driving etc, definately takes it out of you. Oh well, we said goodbye to a difficult (saving for a wedding) and fantastic year (getting married and coming home for our honeymoon)

Tomorrow we are off to Satara. As I mentioned previously, I thought the views from Olifants were spectacular especially in the rains, thunders etc - you can see for miles, but not our favourite camp.

(We spent 3 nights at Satara from here and the report will follow this week - amazing 3 days)


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Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 9:38 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: From East London S.A., but living in Surrey, UK
Satara -- 1-3 Jan 07

I rate Satara as our favourite camp. I love the large open spaces, where you can see really far. Much prefer it to the dense bush around Lower Sabie/Croc Bridge and Satara IMHO. We arrived around lunch time at Satara and as fate has it in these things, bumped into Chris (chris18) and his SO at the restaurant. He told me that his young daughter had got an ear infection and they had to go out the park to go and get some anti-biotics. (if you read this Chris, I hope all is well). We were in hut number 3 on the perimeter fence for 3 nights. PERFECT, arrived at the hut and lots of vervet monkeys playing in the bins...Unpacked and like excited school children, off we went. Now, we didn't really see anything on the 'famed' S100 in April last year after 2 days at Satara and didn't rate the road, this afternoon was no different. NOTHING at all, here we go again we thought. Went on a night drive as well and well, NOTHING. We were a bit disheartened, but knew we still had two days left. After a good nights sleep, we were out early and all I can say is WOW, the S100 for the next 2 days was PHENOMINAL. Lions, lions and more lions. In fact, we saw lions every day from then till the end of our honeymoon. We also spent a lot of time driving the H7 to Orpen and back up the H1-4 towards Olifants i.e the main roads. In the late afternoon on the second day after a long day driving, we returned to camp. in the drive next to us was a caravelle with a YELLOW RIBBON!!! Deville and his lovely SO. We had a few to celebrate, a few too many really. At this stage my Canon battery charger had broken. Luckily I had a battery back for it, so I was charging AA batteries, problem is they dont last long at all. :cry: something Deville found relatively amusing i.e. my pain. (some lovely pics from your report Deville). They proceeded to tell us that they had spent 32 weekends of the last year in the Kruger. We instantly hated them as a result :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:
:lol: . They were great company for that couple of days and on the last morning, we went to bed at 11pm and got up at 4am with a babalaas. Deville's SO was KO'd in the back of the Caravelle at the end of the S100 hehe. One very amusing and amazing thing to happen was on the H7 to Orpen. We drove the entire road to Orpen around 4pm and saw a few impala's and some baboon's. We got some ice-creams and headed back and saw the big five on the way back. Just goes to show you how quickly things can change in Africa.

Difficult to chose my favourite pics, but here are a few.

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