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 Post subject: Of old Lions and young Boys...Ralph vV in KNP
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2007 5:45 pm 
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It all started many moons ago....

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I fondly remember our first trips to Kruger, as young boys eager for adventure and passionate about nature.... Our parents used to collect us from school in Benoni, the Valiant already packed! We would head off, soon leaving the towns and cities behind. Our overnight would be places that conjure up images and tales of exploration, adventure and discovery. Pelgrim's Rest (old Royal Hotel), Sabie, Graskop...
And then the early-morning wait at the Gate... Usually at the feet of "oom" Paul Kruger. EISH.

I promised myself that one day, I would share those magical experiences with my own children... Teaching them the way of Nature. Showing them the beauty, mysteries, and awe-inspiring sights of AFRICA.

And so this tale was born...

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Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2007 6:28 pm 
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aboon wrote:
:popcorn:
very promissing.


We (Mario 9, Juan 8 and myself) approached Kruger Gate slowly, taking in the drive across the bridge... suddenly two HUGE Ellies appeared out of nowhere, sending the boys into a total frenzy of excitement!!
We haven't even entered the Park yet....

Shortly after doing the mundane paperwork, and explaining ground rules, we started our Adventure.

On the way to Skukuza, we encountered a Buffalo sleeping close to the water amongst the reeds. Then a few Giraffe crossed the road in front of us, and..... Impies. "Bokkies, bokkies!" shouted the kids, little did they know....

Soon Warthogg, Yellow-billed Hornbill and Zebra joined the sightings list. And female Kudu, with " big ears"... blended into the bush.

Just before reaching our base, a family of Chacma Baboons played at the side of the road. entertaining us with their antics...

We erected our tent (A challenge not to be taken lightly with two kids, with swimming in mind), sorted equipment and photography gear,started the fire...

And chilled. (for about 3minutes)

As night fell, and the braai got going, the African bush came alive with sounds! Mostly new and strange, followed by "Wat was dit, Pa??" Hyeana,
"en dit?" Jakkals,

much, much later: " Dad, something is sniffing around the tent!" Thump, Ouch! Fellow tourist...

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2007 7:01 pm 
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Image

Sunrise over Sabie river, a joy to behold...

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27/03/2007
We followed H4-1 onto H1-2 along the Sandriver, giving Maroela Loop a miss... heading towards Tshokwane..

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2007 7:09 pm 
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Freda wrote:
This is great stuff, Ralph, your kids must have been so excited,
please keep it coming :lol:


Thanx guys, sorry about the slow start without photos :redface: ....

Macho Mouse, it sounded like a cross between an airborne Hippo and a petrified Lion :lol: :lol: . One should always be on the look-out for tent pegs when exploring camp at nite...

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2007 7:22 pm 
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Image

This cheeky fellow hopped around the side of the road for ages... I only later realised how many Starlings we would see at Tshokwane :shock:

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Leeupan was very quiet, with only a few distant impies... and a tree or two.

But as we approached Siloweni Dam, the kids saw their very first Lion!

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We watched in awe as he shook his mane, growled a few times and then a ROAR!!! As he stood up and walked away, we noticed that the Old male was very thin, perhaps even sick??

Before I could even speculate, Mario asked: " Will the Hyaenas eat him now?"

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2007 8:24 pm 
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Tshokwane was a treat, with many birds (and bees) around. The Gas-braais provided a great brekkie, before we headed out again. The route we took followed H1-2 back to Skukuza, with a large variety of game on offer: Buffalo, Elly, a distant White Rhino, Kudu bull and cows, and a very well camouflaged lioness with two sub-adults.
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We only needed leopard to complete Big 5, but it was getting late... We had to get back to Skukuza for a quick meal, before a night/sunset drive!

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2007 9:02 pm 
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arks wrote:
Great start, Ralph! Looking forward to more! :popcorn:

Hi Arks! The night drive proved to be a bit of a mixed bag, as we left only at 17h28.... :x The highlight however was that our driver Godfrey heard about a leopard at the river.. a mad chase followed, with excitement tangible.. As we reached the bridge over the Sandriver, there he was!!! :lol: Under a tree, lying on the rocks, a gorgeous male! Unfortunately the light was very low, and the distance too great for any decent pics :cry: :cry: We left after a short while, to continue our drive... The sightings were fairly good, with Buffallo, a few Ellies and a HUGE White Rhino. We even spotted a Bush-baby and an Owl ( Pelt's, if I recall). a Puff adder also crossed the road, on the return to camp. No pics tho :evil:

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2007 9:46 pm 
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Freda wrote:
Ralph vV wrote:
and an Owl ( Pelt's, if I recall)

Pels perhaps :shock: you don't know how lucky you are, some of us twitchers would kill to see a Pels Fishing Owl :lol:


Freda, if it is any consolation, the sighting was fairly brief and no-one even managed an attempt of a photo... But still very fortunate :lol:

During the nite it started to rain, and although sounds could still be heard, it was the gentle pitter-patter against the tent that lulled us to sleep.... The last words I heard were that of my kid's prayers, asking the Lord to please guard over the Old Lion @ Siloweni. :)

28/03/2007

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We went on a short drive, due to the continues rain.. Maroela Loop proved very lucky, as we spotted a Spotted Hyaena!

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The trip to Nkhulu and back also gave us some interesting and humorous sightings!!

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As these photos indicate, we were in for a bit of rain... At least it gave us the opportunity to enjoy Selati's fillet steak! :P Yummy!

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:24 pm 
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Freda wrote:
:D
I mustn't reminisce, I get in trouble from the youngsters :roll: :lol:


Hi guys, good old days indeed!! I recall a very close encounter with a visiting Hyaena while answering a call of nature... Storm lamp (lantern), me and Hyaena all departed in different directions! But that is a tale for another time...

29/03/2007

We decided to keep our drives short, due to rain (and kids nagging). The Doispane rd towards Phabeni gave us some great sights, and the return on S3 was truly beatifull...

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Something for "Skillie"...

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The rest of the morning was spent at Skukuza, exploring the Stevenson-Hamilton library, telling tales from "Jock of the Bushveld" and chatting about Harry Wolhuter and his brave explorations....

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2007 9:12 pm 
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Elsa wrote:
Bush Baptist wrote:

Yes, absolutely, remember it clearly, certainly a no fuss quick and easy way to braai. :roll: :D


Usually there would be a few travellers gathered around the fire, chatting about their sightings and sharing the day's amazing experiences.... :) That is one of the main reasons why I prefer camping... There seem to be a camaraderie, with people helping each other (Thanx Francois, and Steven!), willing to share, and drawn together by a passion for nature. Some of my best friendships were forged around a communal fire, or shared fireplace...

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2007 9:37 pm 
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Anyway, let me continue...

The day remained fairly overcast and wet, and by late afternoon we set of on the H1-1 to Grano Hill for a photo or 2..

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My boys...

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The nite was spend watching "Killer Instinct" dvd on the laptop and planning our route for 2morrow....

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2007 10:28 pm 
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Skillie wrote:
Beautiful boys, waiting for more......
Image.

PS using the pre heated braai coals for the marshmallows! :cry:


30/03/2007

We headed of to Satara, hoping to see predators or perhaps even a kill... However, all the action apparently took place towards Orpen and Pretoriuskop! :evil: EISH..

A very enjoyable ride nonetheless, with great scenery, a large Elephant bull, Waterbuck and a Chacma baboon of note! Also many Impies, birds, and Wildebeest..

Image

Image

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2007 10:40 pm 
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Skillie wrote:

PS using the pre heated braai coals for the marshmallows! :cry:

Howzit Skillie!!! Sorry man, I am a bit slow on the uptake 2nite... Toasted marshmallows and Hot chocolate, a serious treat! :lol:

Tonight will be our last nite in Kruger, and we think back on all the excitement, action and thrills of the previous 5 days... As we lay in our sleeping bags, I listen to the whispered words between two brothers, and I realise that a whole new world has opened up to them! Mario's best sighting was of the Spotted Hyaena, close to camp. It appeared from the bush like a surreal ghost... And disappeared while we sat speechless.
Juan (the younger one), loved the old Lion @ Siloweni, although he was also very sad. Much later, we heard the distant roar of lion..... (die kersie oppie koek!)

My best sighting was the looks of awe and amazement on their faces, each time something new appeared around the corner! Hearing the shrieks of delight, and their "wows :o :shock: were priceless.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 11:40 am 
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31/03/2007

It is with heavy hearts that we pack up camp, knowing that pretty soon we would be back on the road to 'Toti....

We decide to have a quick brekkie, head out to Lake Panic and then hit the road. After spending a bit of time at the hide, watching an African Jacana, it is time to bid Kruger farewell...

As I looked into the kids sad eyes, I change my mind and turn the bakkie around. We will exit at Crocodile Bridge, via Lower Sabie!

A few more hours of Kruger magic follows, with some very good sightings as an added bonus.

Pics to follow........

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 8:21 pm 
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Skillie wrote:
:clap: :clap: :dance: :dance: :clap: :clap:
Way to go, Ralph vV, a much better idea, several more hours in the park! Bet the boys were pleased. :lol: Looking forward to the pix!


Pleased as punch! We slowly made our way towards Lower Sabie, stopping at Nkulu for cooldrinks...

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While crossing the river just before Crocodile Bridge, I noticed activity in the water below... A young croc chased, and eventually caught this fish!

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The very last animal we encountered before reaching Crocodile Bridge, was this magnificent White Rhino! He crossed the road in front of us, giving me just enough time for a quick pic..

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We exited the Park shortly afterwards, sad that our trip went by so quickly... Feeling extremely fortunate, to have experienced so much Kruger Magic!

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