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Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 9:21 am 
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Senyetse wrote:
So what do you reckon yours are? :wink:

:huh: Thanks for keeping my mind fit...
Senyetse wrote:
Turtles you will only find at the ocean.
So, let me guess: definitely no turtles.
Senyetse wrote:
Tortoises are completely terrestrial.
The two we saw were not completely terrestrial, since one of them hopped into the water... :hmz: could be we saw Terrapins then... :dance:


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Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 2:17 pm 
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anne-marie, MM, WaC and timbo: I just give it a try and go on... Watch what happens... :?


On 04.10.07 we get an early start again. Going to Letaba is the plan for the day. We have run out of money, so we need to get some fresh from the ATM at Letaba.

We are lucky and see an elephant at the S 49,
Image
followed by some giraffes.
Image
We notice that we see just few Impalas, which is very amazing, and contrary to the usually many Impalas in Kruger. Kudus, Warthogs are always and everywhere to be seen, many many millipedes and they are all in the middle on the road. SO does zigzag travel but does not succeed in evading all.

We see Kudus at Tihongonyeni Waterhole, Image
Heron Image
and Hippo Image
when we cross the Letaba River.

Just before we reach the camp another Elephant just next to the road.
Image

Shortly after 10 o'clock we arrive at Letaba, right in time for a self-service-breakfast. Whom do we meet again? Yes, the two brave English gentlemen. Richard Harris tells me he hates us even more - because of the lions. The ATM does not work, thus no money.

We decide to go back to Mopani slowly and with a detour to Matambeni Hide.


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Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 2:06 pm 
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anne-marie and MM: thanks for keeping me company :D

On our way, just when we cross Letaba River again, an impressive Waterbuck appears.
Image
Just after the Matambeni turn off we stop to watch some monkeys for a while. They are obviously very busy with body hygiene…
Image
Having arrived at Matambeni I try with pictures for a panorama (made with autostitch, but I’m not too satisfied with the results – but I think the material wasn’t how it should have been…)
Image
At Matambeni we take our time to watch a Hippo and a little bit later its calf.
Image
Image
When we leave we discover the fish eagle. The call we had heard for a while but couldn’t see the bird from the hide. The partner is too far away for a pic.
Image
Back on H1-6 we come across two Elephants shortly after another (it must have been on the stretch between Twisappel and Middelvlei, if I remember correctly). Both have got nice tusks – perhaps Jose is able to identify one or both of them?
Image
Image
Before we come to Confluence Lookout we pass a bike patrol. The guys are friendly and wave back at us when we overtake them very careful and slowly. Image
At the lookout everything is busy with buffs.
Image
When we return we have a light snack, enjoy some rest and prepare for the bush braai we had arranged in advance. Thank you once again Christa van Elling for being so friendly and helpful.

Around 5:30 p.m. we slowly walk to reception. There we will be fetched for the bush braai. The sky looks spectacular. Image
Hennie is in charge and comes to pick us up. Usually there is a minimum of four but it turns out that we two are the only participants for tonight’s bush braai.


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Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 3:30 pm 
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Hennie explains the rules of the game, how to behave, what to do when… We first will go on a short night drive and then: off to the bush to have a romantic braai is the plan. Both of us already look forward to Pap…

What do we see on our night drive? Little, very little. A Giant Eagle Owl far away in a tree, some giraffes and some hippos, but nothing near enough for photographs. Instead we talk a lot with Hennie.

There are still too many elephants in Kruger, opening the border to Mozambique apparently does not solve the problem. Trying to resettle still brings the Ellies back to their old turf. The keep coming back. Selling isn’t the answer either. No one wants to buy Ellies. The “pill” malfunctioned (obviously the elephant-ladies do not remember to take them…). So we come to the options for managing elephants, (translocation, contraception, culling and others).

We also ask Hennie about the waterhole management, since we found lots of them dry, windmills not operating. He explained that this is intended. The north of the park was always substantially drier than the south. Therefore in the north predominantly large antelopes, which are not dependent on a daily water intake, were resident. With operating artificial waterholes the north changed, daily drinkers like Impala, Zebra, and Gnu were followed by predators. And to them the old inhabitants were easy prey. So, by closing down artificial water sources the ecological is restored.

While we talk, the time passes. Lightning on the horizon becomes more and more frequent, is beautiful to look at. In the meantime we drive toward Boulders, past the airstrip (used only for animal counting and official KNP purposes) and somehow the dark clouds and lightning come nearer and nearer. We three promise ourselves “Oh, the weather will hold. And if it rains, only after the meal!” …

Then suddenly Hennie says “it rains”, corrects himself “no, only leaves from the trees”. The wind has come become stronger by now. Hennie turns from the track and we reach the Braai place. A fire is burning; some lanterns give it a very romantic spell. A Ranger with rifle patrols and protects all of us against all wild animals.
Image
Several Potjes are stored in the middle of the fire. At the edge stands a table with beverages and a nice buffet with however still closed dishes (the wind becomes stronger) and a braai, with a white-dressed chef behind. Image
A waiter leads us to our table, which is beautifully laid, among other things with flowers, napkins, several glasses. Then the first storm lantern is blown out by the wind!

We are asked for a drink to start with and we select from his suggestions. Trying to ignite the lantern again does fail, so we sit in the light of SO’s headlight. Less romantically however more reliably.

We are told that because of the wind, which became still stronger, they have to put off the fire. The waiter asks us to hurry up with selecting our starters “could be it begins to rain”. And the first drops already fall. On the 5 meters from our table to the buffet it rains cats and dogs, it is pouring buckets of water. We just have the short chance to have a glimpse of the beetroot salad when the Bush Braai is suddenly over.

We climb into the truck, Hennie has to go back and help the others. Meanwhile we sit in the car and wait in the pouring rain. When he comes back, he hands out blankets to hide under. But we already completely wet. At least from the right. The windshield wipers race, however only outside, although they would be just as necessary from the inside. How Hennie can see anything on the way back remains a mystery to us. When we turn left on the main road, Hennie is relieved. Now wind and rain are coming from the rear. What Hennie has suffered before we experience, when we turn left again to Mopani Camp. Suddenly SO’s eyeglasses fly away.

But luck. In the same moment Hennie asks SO whether he has lost his eyeglasses would and hands them back to him.

And as we arrive at the gate, wind and rain stop abruptly. It is nearly dry at Mopani. We just can’t believe this. Hennie delivers us to our bungalow. We must change completely, from head to toe, from jeans to …. We take the car up to the restaurant. We are the leftovers from the bush and would like to have our braai at the restaurant. Well, one of the staff from the bush braai appears; still dripping wet and explains that the bush braai is also completely wet. We please should choose á la carte. Everything is on the house. We both order Bobotie and determine immediately the differences to Punda Maria. After (nearly) a bottle wine for me and a coffee for SO, we go to bed. Whether it still rained and stormed at the night? Do not know. We slept well.
:)


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Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2007 4:25 pm 
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Ludwig: loud, very loud - and a bit histerically :roll: :roll:
timbo: thanks for the compliment! :redface:


On the next morning, 05.10.07, we decide to travel outside the park to Tamboti. The reason is easy: we have run completely out of money, all systems in the park are down (due to the bad weather?), we can’t get money anywhere on the way to Tamboti. We could not even pay our Bush Braai and had to leave with the promise to pay at Skukuza at the latest (which we – of course – did!).

We follow the main road to Phalaborwa, the H 14 and meet a large herd of buffalo near Tsale. They cross the road directly before us.
ImageImage
Next we see a Wahlberg’s Eagle in a dead tree; it poses nicely for me before it flies away.
ImageImage
Only a short time later directly next to the road a black bellied korhaan.
Image
In the Letaba River some lazy Hippos were swimming.
Image
Via H 9 we leave KNP and drive to Phalaborwa to find a bank.

I go inside to change some cheques, SO remains in the car. In the car it is warm. He opens the window on the driver's side.

On the front seat passenger side someone stands. SO opens the window a gap just a bit to get told that something is wrong with the back tire. OK says SO, he will worry later about it. The person disappears. It still takes time in the bank. Outside, at the car with SO, on the front seat passenger side a person with a red Sweatshirt passes very close to the car. SO continues to wait.

Another person is approaches the front on the car slowly. He decides to pass at the driver’s side. Suddenly the boy gets very fast, reaches into the car, takes something, turns and runs over the road. SO only then recognises that his purse is gone. Gone with it are: mobile phone, credit cards, identity card, driving licence (national) …, however only very small change, at the most 10 Rand! :evil:

Finally I am finished with changing money at the bank. SO is pale, angry, and tells me what has happened. What to do now? Just call and cancel all his cards, at least we still have got mine; we still have got both our passports and both our international driving licences and all our Travellers cheques. And nothing violent has happened.

Despite everything: we have to stock up on some food and since SO is more busy to be annoyed I go for some shopping alone: Fruit, vegetable, Pasta - and a small lunch for a picnic later on the way to Tamboti. We still have to refuel and then we are on the road again, via R 531 rather fast to Orpen gate and from there to Tamboti. We got assigned to tent NR. 33 as requested.


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Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2007 4:44 pm 
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Thanks christo! :D


Around 16:00 o'clock we start for a small Afternoon drive. First to Orpen and then along the H 7. On our way back along S 106 we see many vultures near Rabelais hut, however we cannot not discover, what attracted them.
Image
Image

Image
In the evening once again we light the grill. To comfort SO we have a big and tender Kudu steak.

We could see it coming when we stayed in no. 33 in February. The grill on the terrace directly next to the kitchen was obviously so rusty, it is broken off. But a new grill at the foot of the ramp, which leads up to the tent, was built. Unfortunately, a little from the cosiness is away. I sit up there in front of the tent on the terrace and SO down the ramp in front of the grill.

During the night it begins to rain. And does so the whole next day (06.10.2007), sometimes more, sometimes a little less. We sleep in, for so long that even the room service desperately gives up. In the late afternoon I drive to Orpen to buy a Boerewors. We can fry it in the pan, if it rains – what it does, without even to stop shortly….

Since the day was dreadfully arduous, :wink: :wink: we both go to bed early. It is rather cool outside, in addition. During the night we had another very strong thunderstorm with lots of rain, lightning and thunder.


Last edited by Zypresse on Sun Dec 16, 2007 12:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2007 5:56 pm 
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From Tamboti we drove on the 07.10.07 via H 7 to Satara. Since we slept so much the day before we get an early start, the sun seems not to shine at first, but during the day the temperature climbs to 34 º.

The first things we see that day are two eagles in a tree, quite close to the road to Orpen. Maybe one is courting the other?
ImageImage
ImageImage
When they are gone a Black Backed Jackal arrives, looks around for a while and decides to rest.
ImageImage
Going along the Satara Road we notice how green Kruger is. This panorama was taken from a vista point on H7 looking towards Timbavati Road).
Image
We come across Waterbuck once again.
Image
We had a special experience on this day with Cattle Egret. These birds constantly run around the buffs. They have no fear to run between their legs. Shortly before coming to Satara we come across a herd of buffalo, which is accompanied by such birds in sufficient number. The herd rests. Some animals graze, others lie in the grass and some just stand still. So also a buffalo quite close to the road. It looks lazily around, but otherwise does actually do nothing. At its hind legs a white bird, which walks a little back and forth picking for food. Then suddenly the buff thought that it could lie down a little and no longer there is a cattle egret. Completely surprised we both say “oh”. The bird probably is completely flat by now. The poorest one did not have a chance to evade the falling buffalo. We did not see the bird again; we do not assume it survived.

At Satara we meet whom again? Yes, the two Englishmen. The two had seen a lion this morning (and naturally photographed it), which was allegedly so close to the car that one could have stroked its head. Richard caught up one point. But the Roans remain! :dance: :dance:

They are now having breakfast with Kathrin and Matthias and their two children from Limburg. We are happy to join them with a cup of coffee and a snack. As polite Germans we naturally talked in English, so that everyone could follow the conversation…

Our way back goes along H1-3 and the Sweni Road, then S 36 and H 7 to Tamboti.
:D


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Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2007 3:07 pm 
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Our way back goes along H1-3 and the Sweni Road, where we first come across a group of Groundhornbills, Image
Image
then a Giraffe with Oxpecker.Image
The road is wet, puddles everywhere, the remainders from yesterdays rain.Image
But the weather is getting better, dry, sunny and warmer with every hour.
When we come closer to Muzandzeni Picnic spot we see first an Impala Image and then some GnusImage just lying lazily around. We enjoy a short stop at Muzandzeni, but there are two tour groups and it is quite full and noisy, so we decide to go on via S 36 and H 7 to Tamboti. When we reach the Satara road a Giraffe crosses the road in front of us Image
A short while later we come across a roadside kill - but unfortunately no predators around :cry: Image
Next to Tamboti road a group of Giraffes is welcoming us Image
and we spend the rest of the day in the camp, having another nice Kudu steak for dinner :D

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Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2007 6:50 pm 
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anne-marie wrote:
Super ! thanks
for the giraffe... you are in helicopter ? :shock:


@ anne-marie
looks like, eh..??

No, the Satara road runs through a hilly landscape - and we were up on a hill, the Volkswagen and the Giraffe "down" in the next valley.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 6:56 pm 
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Thanks, sable.

icurrie wrote:
.... and we're on to the next page .. Yippeee!!!! :dance: :dance: :dance:

Hey, icurrie, don't stress me, its peaceful Christmas season!



After a night full of good sleep we packed our car and headed early on the 08.10.07 to Skukuza. Although we did not take the shortest way but instead drove via H 7, H 1-3, H 1-2, H 12, H 4-1, we arrived briefly after noon and get quickly checked in to our luxury riverside bungalow. We already knew this bungalow, having stayed there before in February.

What did we see on the way? Well, let me think :hmz: ... not much...
a Giraffe along the H 1-2 Image
a Grey Heron Image
we enjoy the view from Sabie River Bridge Image
watch the hippos there for a little while Image

From one of the detours along the river we notice a green bird
Image
the it turns around and we decide this must be a white fronted bee eater Image
when it flies away Image we return to the road to Skukuza.

Our first walk in Skukuza leads us to the Deli for a light lunch of toasted sandwiches and soft drinks. Then we go ti the shop and have ourselves a little retail therapy. Especially SO is keen on a new head light (his got stolen with the rest at Phalaborwa…).

Before we return to our bungalow, we stop at the Internet Cafe and....

surprise, surprise, :shock: :shock:

BA cancelled our return flight to London. So I know what I have to do in the afternoon: cheer myself up with endless phone chat with BA callcenter agents. (My mobile bill came to nearly 200 Euro in the end, only for calls to different BA agents…) Result of endless talking all afternoon long: We have to cut our holidays short and will go home on 30.10.07 in the evening from Johannesburg to London. Then I also change the connecting domestic flight with Comair (which is less complicated! :D )

At 7 p.m we meet with Richard Harris, his friend Ray, Skillie and Richardt at the Selati for dinner. Skillie decorated the table beautifully with shining yellow ribbons and many yellow balloons. The forum meet is thus not to be missed. The evening is entertaining, lots of laughter, some serious talk, forum chit chat, nice food, great service.

All other guests are already gone, when we six finally leave. Richard Harris and Ray have to leave tomorrow but we arrange another meeting with Skillie, Richardt, Spotted Cat and her SO the following Wednesday at 12:00 o'clock at Lower Sabie terrace :dance: :dance:
Image

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Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 8:57 am 
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Meandering Mouse wrote:
...It must have been lovely meeting the other yellow ribboners.


Believe me, it was. And it keeps amazing me how you can meet up with complete strangers and when the first five minutes are over you sit there and chat like year long friends. :D :D

It was great meeting forumites, who are very special people and share thoughts about Kruger (and Addo as well...), the life and the world :wink:

Meeting fellow forumites was one of the highlights of our 6-weeks-tour!

I would like to say a big big thank you to all of them :clap: :clap: They made our holiday a very special one.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 1:26 pm 
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On Tuesday – Richard’s and Ray’s last day :tongue: – we don’t get an early start. Instead we decide to spend the morning close by and visit the Skukuza Nursery with its highly recommended boardwalk and later Lake Panic Hide.

We start at the boardwalk Image
Image
we are the only people taking a walk through the wetland.
We see many colourful birds (which I don't know - perhaps some of the birders can help?) edited: Thanks Elsa
Whitebellied SunbirdImage
Scarletchested SunbirdImage
ImageSANature identified this bird as a Sombre Greenbul (Andropadus importunus) at my flickr page.

Going over to Lake Panic Hide we first enjoy the view from the road over Lake Panic Image
The hide is not too full, just 4 other people, obviously avid birders, they are quiet, have impressive binoculars, very long camera lenses ... I think we were the most uneducated people at the hide (in terms of birding...)
But the first thing we see are two terrapins - which I can identify by now Image
Just opposite the hide is a nest in a tree, a pair of Grey Herons is breeding there. ImageImageImage

When we return around midday I decide to do some washing, fill two washing machines and go to the shop for a light lunch snack. We enjoy our meal on the terrace in front of our bungalow and since I have got time and also mobile net I send some SMS to friends and family. They have to be informed that we are going to be back two days earlier. :(

Then I go and put the laundry from the washing machines to the tumble driers. When I return to our bungalow a SMS from my 85 years old father has arrived. Many greetings, they are delighted that we will be back earlier than expected. He is ill and was admitted to hospital. “It is just pneumonia, so don’t worry, I’m already feeling better.”

Pardon? What is this? :shock: :shock:

I had called on Sunday and everything was OK. A little bit of crisis arises… so I forward his SMS to my sister. She calls me just to tell me she herself also didn’t know about this. She will call my mother immediately and ask what the matter is and to get a complete medical statement.

One hour later my sister calls back: father had got strong pain in the chest in the middle of Sunday night. The emergency lady doctor admitted him immediately to the next hospital. Fortunately the electrocardiogram was completely correct, thus thanks god no cardiac infarct. When x-raying the lung the inflammation was discovered and fought with antibiotics, which probably work very well. He hopes to be able to go home on Friday.

So after being fully informed by my sister I call my mother. She is angry because her husband communicated too early and gave her no chance to call her daughters. But this can be mended. (My father was released from hospital on that Friday and is feeling well since then – so we / he were lucky! and my parents celebrated their 60 years anniversary in November, being in love like teenagers) :D :D


Last edited by Zypresse on Sat Jan 05, 2008 7:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 12:59 pm 
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Thank you all, christo, Toddelelfe, Spotted Cat, WaC for your comments!

Some more pics of what we saw at Lake Panic Hide that morning.
The hippos were there, as always Image
In the tree opposite the hide the masked weavers were very busy building their nests. It was fun, watching them coming over to collect new material and then go on with their business. Image Image
Then there was this pair of African Pied Wagtails
Image
A Giant Kingfisher rested in the dead tree on the right of the hide for a while
Image
And a small and very busy Malachite Kingfisher flew around the hide, coming to a rest only now and then, making it difficult to take decent pics.
Image
Then a Great White Egret came along
Image

When we returned to Skukuza camp this elephant was browsing through the river bed just opposite our bungalow
Image

In the afternoon we did a drive, will report on this later today ....

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Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 7:26 pm 
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Thank you all, Ralph vV, MM, arks, Pumbaa, anne-marie, for being such kind readers of my report!

We start for our afternoon drive around 15:00 o'clock and follow first the H 1-1, turn left then onto S 114. It is quite quiet at first, we only see a small Bok in the far distance.
Image
It is shy and goes into hiding, so just one pic.
The next animals we see are some Kudus, the younger ones are running around quite frantic (it's spring time?) and we notice this one which is quite white, maybe with some fault in pigmentation. Being so white surely makes this Kudu easy prey and doesn't make surviving in the bush easier?!
Image
Then we turn left onto the S 22 towards Renosterkoppies.
Image
On the rocks we find this mongoose and this guy with its bright blue tail.
ImageImage
When we continue back to S 114 we come across some Elephants
ImageImage
We go on south, turn right along the Mahula
Image
and get a brief glimpse of a White Rhino next to the crossing with S 113
ImageImage
Shortly after we have returned onto H 3 a little traffic jam and we soon see why.
A leopard, however it turns its back to us and is on the ground and not like Skillie saw one in the morning up in a tree. But, a leopard is a leopard is a leopard!:dance: :dance:
ImageImage
We return to Skukuza right in time and enjoy another dinner on the terrace in front of our bungalow: we have Pasta and wine. We go to bed early and sleep extremely well.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 1:10 pm 
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Thank you Katy! :clap:

We start early on 10.10. We have a mini meet arranged by Skillie and Richardt with Spotted Cat and her SO at Lower Sabie at lunchtime to reach. And we want to try S 102 where Skillie saw her LIT yesterday (just maybe it is still there??)

So we start with a few detours via the H 1-1, S 114, H 5 towards Lower Sabie. The gravel roads are good to drive on and we progress as desired. There is not much game to see, but it is spring time in Kruger definitely
Image

Image

We meet a single lady in a white car - maybe a Corolla? - and she tells us there is a pair of lions quite close to the road next to the branching with S 102. And we we find them.
Image

Image

Image
They do what lions do best: sleeping and dozing. For a while we enjoy being the only car with them but then the usual Kruger traffic jam starts and we decide to give the others a chance to watch the big cats.

On it goes along S 102 - with no LIT :( :( !! We then change onto S 26 and proceed via S 108. At the crossing H 4-2 Lower Sabie - Crocodile Bridge road we decide first for the latter. We now have to follow natures call very urgently.

This detour makes us late for the mini meet on our agenda. But who really cares about time and agenda? All of us are on vacation. So the four of them still sitting happily on the deck in front of Lower Sabie restaurant and have just decided what to snack. We enjoy the talking and fun greatly and nearly two hours later all hit the road again. It was really great meeting you and enjoy a light lunch with a beautiful view and an even better talk! Thanks for having us with you! :dance: :dance:

Back to Skukuza we follow after a last view of Lower Sabie
Image

Image
the S 128 -Old Tshokwane Road- and then S 30 -Salitje Road-. We definitely see nothing on our way back.

Until .. at last ... on the bank of the Sabie, briefly before the bridge H 12 we see a group of lions with cubs. There were at least 4 females and 5 cubs. Unfortunately they were not to be seen so clearly that I could have photographed them well.
Image
Anyhow, cars and buses were parked along the Sabie River roads on both sides to get a glimpse of this lion pride.

Before we reach the camp we meet a troop of Vervet monkeys.
Image

Image
I think the one on the second pic is pregnant?!

With Skillie and Richardt we have arranged a very last dinner at Selati. The food was great as always, we enjoyed another extraordinarily pleasant and nice evening with you. Thank you once again! After 9 p.m, loaded with the best steaks (and for Skillie the third time in consequence Flagman's Fillet...) and two bottles wine we said good-bye. Skillie and Richardt will go on to Biyamiti for some more days, while we are going on to hit the coast tomorrow.

When we return to our bungalow for the last time this year I read some pages in my book, SO writes some pages of our travel diary, then off to the shower and then to bed. We want to get an early start tomorrow.


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Submitted by Jurie van Vuuren at 12:26:03 Submitted by Trudie at 17:40:30 Submitted by Trudie at 16:36:57 Submitted by grannyb at 17:57:00