Okay .. so I've finally got some chance to quickly post a trip report ...
Day 1 started early .. about 3h00 am .. Left Jozie to enter at Phalaborwa gate via Polokwane (a.k.a Pietersburg) .. The drive was quite relaxing .. thou I never like driving in the dark ..
The view before Tzaneng (a.k.a Tzaneen) was one we had to stop for and admire ...
We arrived at Phalaborwa at about 8h00 and booked in .. It's gonna be nice once the building has been completed. No problem entering .. had our form filled in .. gave them everything and off we went ..
Not liking the Phalaborwa road I took the first left turn I could find ... And not far we saw the Mom/aunt with the little one next to the road.
As we arrived the mom/aunt took off and instead of running into the den .. the young one just stayed there and watch us .. falling around in on the ground .. lying in the shade and just generally ignoring us ..
Was great fun to see the Hyaena .. and you guessed it .. Hyaena was very very pleased for the rest of the trip
Saw some other nice buffs, ellies etc .. and at a low water bridge found some hippos grazing and lying on the sand bank. Might be a good time to mention that KNP was cold .. Never experienced it this cold ..
Rest of the day we saw more general game .. And a helluve lot of vulture circling at one spot .. 150m into the bush ..
So as we approached Mopani to book into Shipandani Hide we came across a huge amount of Buffalos .. there were some big "Menere" ("Mr's") in there .. and had to wait a while for the lot to cross ..
Booked in at camp .. and then off to the Hide .. Nice part is that we could take a bit of a drive that you would not be able to take were you in camp .. you would never make it back in time .. but our "camp" was closer .. so we still had more then enough time before official gate close ...
Had a nice close encounter with this African Jacana who seems to have forgotten there's a vehicle with him on the bridge
But I was not complaining with this little one's bravery.
Again .. The Duke Team Spirit seems to have flowed again in me, because as we were on our way back to the hide with the sun seriously setting .. we came accross a LOG .. Unfortunately .. he was far away .. and the serious lack of light resulted in me not getting any decent photo .. all blurred .. But we got some good video cam footage.
As the sun was setting we were treated to this beautiful sunset before arriving at the hide.
And so we got to the hide for a night of hippos, braai and cold.
The hide was a great experience that I would urge anyone to do .. We booked in at the camp. With the option for bedding, lights and jerry cans for water we opted not to take anything. We brought most of our stuff with so that we only needed to drop off the keys the following morning to get a head start on the day.
The hide was clean and we quickly unpacked everything ... The beds were made up quickly and we settled in for a night of relaxing by the campfire in the bush.
A few hippos entertained us the whole evening. They were grazing so close to the fence of the hide that you could actually hear the chomping of every blade of grass
.. Clearly they have not heard of manners yet
It was a clear evening but very very cold. We huddled around the campfire like ants around food. The very curious thing was that besides the hippos .. there was no other sound. Not even a chirp of a cricket or anything. I would imagine the cold might have had something to do with it ..
With no mosquito's in site we had a very restfull evening .. and woke up very early to hear for any sounds .. After making some coffee we packed up and were out by 6h00 the morning.
Leaving the hide we noticed the temp at -3.5 degrees celsius. From the extreme heat in Feb to this it was quite an experience.
I would do it again .. and again .. and again .. The atmosphere of the hide and knowing you are in the bush with only a small piece of wooden pole fence between you and the animals makes for an experience you will never forget ..
And so ends day 1