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Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:00 pm 
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I joined this forum more than two and a half years ago ... here I found like minded special people who shared my passion and love for Kruger National Park, and in this time I have forged many wonderful and warm friendships. I have read many awesome trip reports and viewed many beautiful photos. I feel pretty humble to try and add this one of my own now. Yet the joy of sharing a trip with you all is just so special so how can one miss the opportunity of telling of one's trip too.

As the days passed and our time to set off on our trip drew closer, my level of excitement reached fever pitch! (Most of you know about this ;) ) At last it was one sleep left! We were packing madly (ok we did take way too much stuff with us!) when I received an sms from Jacov (see what I mean about this special forum?) - the road over the Penhoek Pass was snowed over and closed. Oh no!! Now what? This was the road we had to take north. A call at 4am to Queenstown police confirmed the pass was still closed, so we opted to drive a good few hundred kilometers off our chosen route to get out of the Eastern Cape - only to find the other pass closed too! A couple of hours later, the trucks that had stuck due to the freezing conditions were moved and we could finally move on.

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Thirteen hours in the car later, we reached Fourways, Jhb and met up with Brad and Candy - and just in time to make it to The Lion King. The perfect entertainment to set the mood for a visit to Kruger!

Then, at long last, the day that was called 'no more sleeps to Kruger' dawned!! Sadly, Brad had to fly back to Cape Town for an emergency meeting, so Hawk, Candy and I set off to Kruger sans him!

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Nothing can replace that feeling of the first glimps of a gate into Kruger! We had arrived!! We received the usual warm welcome by the Kruger staff and in no time Candy was introduced to 'cracking a cold one'.

Time to set off into the Park... and see those first impies... BUT!!!! Our very first animal sighting on this trip was of lion - three lioness in the road! Candy, we decided, was our good luck charm :D

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Last edited by DinkyBird on Fri Aug 17, 2007 6:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 10:44 pm 
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Ok, so we had arrived :D:D cracked a cold one, smelled the thatch, checked the shop out, unpacked the cameras, posed for pics for the record, tied the YR on and set off into the Park (oh and we did also book in :wink: ) and... then we saw LION!!

Sms'd our great sighting back to the forum.

Next up - a traffic cop trapping the speedsters!! Could not wait to report that to you guys!! We then had a lovely sighting of kudu, and a kind man told us to check one kilo from where we were for hyeana next to the road - ah!! we could use our new GPS...:dance: we drove one kilometre up the road, then two, then turned and drove back one, then two, then turned and drove one back... no hyeana. :? :(

Next up - impala, and giraffe... and then we came across this lad having a good old wash in the Ngwenyeni. I am sure he was preparing for a date with Miss Ele 2007.

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Pic by Candy

Soon another young bull ellie ventured to the river....

What did these ellies say to each other? Help me!

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It's not too late at all. You just don't yet know what you are capable of. Mahatma Gandhi


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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2007 3:10 pm 
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Snippets from our 3 night stay at Shimuwini

Shimuwini - (Tsonga for "at the baobab tree") is a small bushveld rest camp and borehole that overlooks the dam on the Letaba River from which it takes its name.

A tranquil and peaceful place to rest and restore the city weary spirit. Early morning birdsong; the cry of the Fish Eagle; the squabbling of the Egyptian Geese; the constant barking of the Hippo. But at times pure silence.

How magical to watch the full moon rise over the Shimuwini Dam
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Sunrise over the Letaba
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Our home from home.
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Shine - marking her territory
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Majestic trees
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It's not too late at all. You just don't yet know what you are capable of. Mahatma Gandhi


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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2007 3:11 pm 
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Nights and early mornings were really cold.

We so enjoyed the bird hide - and it was while sitting there one evening that I had my first sighting of a honey badger! I was just scanning the opposite river bank with my new binocs, when, oh my word! Through my binocs I saw a honey badger...tripping this way and that. I quickly told the others - who, of course, could just not spot him. I had another look. Yes! There he was... sniffing his way around. A sighting on my wish list - oh wow!!! I was so excited!

Shine was delightful, and took a shine to Candy. So much so, she followed Candy all around. We decided to take an evening stroll a short way along the camp's fence to enjoy the full moon on the bushveld... Candy was just a teeny bit concerned about how safe this was to do, and of course Shine followed Candy along the fence. Candy: "Do we really have to take live bait with us!"

Brad joined us at last!!!
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I think it is a known fact that I am not the greatest cook on this forum :) My kids have had to learn to forage for their food.
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We did a morning walk with Johann and Hlungwane. We set off with them in the bakkie at 5.30am - still pitch dark and golly, was it cold! They took us for drive across the Letaba, into the mopani veld. Johann has such a good knowledge of the veld and made the walk extremely interesting for us. Wonderful to learn more about the little things and the trees and moods of the bush, and to hear about the traditional use of plants for medication etc. We saw giraffe, impala and zebra while out walking.

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An absolute highlight for me was the drive over the Shimuwini weir. On our way to the walk, it was still dark when we crossed and we saw litterally hundreds of croc's eyes lit by Hlungwane's torch. Driving back over the weir after the walk, my thoughts turned to Kobie Kruger's stories that I love so much. She wrote of driving on this weir. I could see why she loved the area so much.

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It's not too late at all. You just don't yet know what you are capable of. Mahatma Gandhi


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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2007 4:14 pm 
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We took a drive to Mopani stopping at Mooiplaas for brekkie. Candy fell in love with hyena pups we found outside their culvert under the road along the way.

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We passed this king of the beasts enjoying a meal... I do think he had overindulged somewhat.
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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2007 4:18 pm 
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We enjoyed refreshments over looking Pioneer Dam at Mopani, and then Candy took a walk around part of the camp with the camera.

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It's not too late at all. You just don't yet know what you are capable of. Mahatma Gandhi


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Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2007 10:52 am 
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Thank you SO MUCH all for the lovely comments! It makes the effort of putting a report together so worth while. I know you all do stunning reports and put so much work into yours, I feel I could never really measure up!

Regarding Shimuwini. I was actually pleasantly surprised at the amount of game we saw in the surrounding area. Perhaps it was because I had it in my mind there would virtually be none. And a walk with Johann is really worth every cent. He has a wonderful personality and is easy going and takes time to explain so much. He also grew up in the Kruger area which made chatting to him even more interesting. He has joined the forum as a member, so if you do meet up with him, tell him you are from the forum :D

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It's not too late at all. You just don't yet know what you are capable of. Mahatma Gandhi


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Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 5:26 pm 
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We bade goodbye to Shimuwini - we will be back for sure!

I wanted to share as much of Kruger as I could with Brad, so we stopped at Letaba for hamburgers. Something just touches me deep down each time I stand on the veranda at Letaba and look out over the vast area of the river of sand. Africa. And there is always an ellie in the riverbed reeds and marabou storks circling above in the distance.

We wended our way down to Satara, where we too had to stop to show Brad the cam ;) and of course enjoy an icecream.

This little chap was unusually bold and posed happily for a pic.
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Anyone know why this ellie has a collar :?
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This herd of buffs was just north of Satara.
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And the lengths some went to pose for us!! ;) (Actually two bulls having a bit of a dual.)
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A Purple Roller.
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