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….
). 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
. 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…
) 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
). It has been nearly 50 degree's every day and the sun gets high really quickly creating harsh light/reflections etc.