Part 17 : 7 June cont’d: The last hurrah.
2 Km from Satara I see it – the road to Shangrila – S100.
“Show me the cardboard cut outs” I yell. The family looks at me funnily. I explain “We are in Wildtuinman land”. Nala, taps her finger on her head and looks at Jnr with a “I think he’s gone bananas” look.
9.15 am: just at the turnoff – buffalo
0925: Bunch of cars. A kind lady points out a brown patch in the blonde sea of grass. “Huge lion lying down” she whispers. We look carefully and can see its ear twitching every now and then through the grass. This is our 15th lion/ess in 6 days!
0936: Giraffes on either side of the road. And vultures circling in the sky to the left about 250mm away.
0952:Gnu – mother feeding her baby in the middle of the road! Shot off before I could close my mouth and lift the camera.
0958: Waterhole – giraffe, waterbuck and zebra – a Kruger panorama.
1009:A Vulture on a tree. Stop to take a photo. Hey, this ain’t no vulture. A hawk like creature – Black shouldered kite ???? (bird experts help).
1020 Family of Natal francolins with little chicks on a walk.
This is a joke. Where are all these animals coming from. And then it strikes me. It’s the weekend! They all have the day off! So all the animals and birds are out enjoying the park with their families – just like we are.
1026: pair of kudus
1030: Wahlberg Eagle? (not sure)
1040: spend 10 minutes at another waterhole enjoying the birds in a “balsam” bush. Gorgeous bush shrike, grey Go away bird, speckled mousebird, hornbills
1055: (On to Gudzani) Dip in the road. Hippos in water on the left 50m away and a monitor lizard on right.
1101: Zebra – mum and baby and impis
1103: Kudu pair – this time on either side of the road. This is too much for me I start singing to the tune of an ACDC anthem
“Kudu to the left of me. Kudu to the right…….. its S-hunded its dynamite”.
1115:Nwanetsi picnic area. Its already 28 degrees so we break and have some snacks and cold coffee. I wander up to the hide. It's such a pretty spot – overlooking the waterhole – a 100m down. To the left horizon are the rocky scrags and from the waterhole starts the bush to the horizon. Impis and some giraffe dot the open spaces.
1215 on the H-6. Bye bye S-100. What a road. Thank you forumites for letting us in on this little treasure.
1220: ostrich and our first male. Hold on he’s making poo!
At 1pm we have our special sighting at N’semani – see Part 1 of this report.
Then its time to go. We have bets on what our last animal and bird in the park will be. The money is on impis and starlings. And it looks like the favourites will win when just 30 m from the gate we see our first black backed jackal (in full light).
He’s very shy but pops his head up for Jnr’s ‘duck’.
Then we see impis again. At Orpen we stop for the formalities and a look at the webcam – a bushsquirrel enters the race with some helmeted guineafowl. But just as we are getting into the car (and our cameras are packed in the boot) a Tusker crosses the H-7 30m from the Orpen gate headed for the waterhole. (In fact I check the Orpen highlights posts for 1535hrs on 7 June 08 when I get back to Melbourne and…there’s a whole elephant party on the webcam – check it out).
And then its over. As we pass the area where the new gate is being built we see a kudu – sanparks is wishing us …till next time.I slip in a CD I have bought from the Satara shop and we hear the voice of Madiba
“…each of us is as intimately attached to the soil of this beautiful country as are the famous jacaranda trees of Pretoria and the Mimosa trees of the bushveld….”
By the time the second track plays its lilting drum rhythm of Nkosi sikele i’Africa – I have tears in my eyes. Yes, they are tears of sadness for I have grown attached to this special place.
But they are also the tears of joy and accomplishment of a lifelong dream to come here.
And also the tears of longing – for now I count the days till my next coming.PS
I would like to thank all you forumites for making me feel part of your family, for offering me help and advice to make this a wonderful experience.
Please allow me the liberty of thanking a few specifically.
Dinky Bird for keeping the forumites in the loop and for letting us know how much you guys were enjoying our txts.
This TR has also been written as a thank you to other trip reporters who inspired me to make this a task on the journey.
Arks – for her meticulousness
Ludwig – for his wonderful storytelling and ability to make the animals human through words and
Ilie – for a trip report that shows what the magic of Kruger can truly achieve in life changing ways.