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 Post subject: Escape to Africa: 18 days in Kruger!
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:29 am 
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Joined: Wed May 11, 2005 8:22 am
Posts: 156
Location: Western Australia
99 days to go! I find myself counting down the days till Kruger...instead of the days to Christmas!

It has been a dream to tour Kruger from south to north...and now we have the booking in place:
Entering Malelane on 30 March 09 and moving up to reach Punda Maria by 10 April 09 and then back down again, to exit at Malelane on 17 April 09.

I can't wait to be there....!!!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

(edited to change dates)

_________________
KRUGER TRIP 2013

24/11 - 27/11 Lower Sabie
28/11 - 1/12 Olifants
2/12 - 5/12 Skukuza
x
9/12 - 11/12 Pretoriuskop
12/12 - 18/12 Satara
19/12 - 22/12 Berg-en-Dal


Last edited by Rooikat on Fri Mar 06, 2009 6:40 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Escape to Africa: 19 days in Kruger!
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 5:47 am 
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Joined: Wed May 11, 2005 8:22 am
Posts: 156
Location: Western Australia
"Cat on a branch!"
This is what our 4 year old son screams on our way to the beach. My SO and I look at each other (as we are already getting slowly into Kruger mode), we cannot ignore a comment like that!
So we reverse, checking out the tall eucaluptus trees next to the road.
"Go back more, go back more...", he orders his dad, "There it is!".
Wow, our son is going to be a bonus in Kruger later this year, we think while we comb through the branches....we can't see anything resembling a cat...
"No, there....on the yellow!"
Image

We had a good laugh! And, of course, we can't wait for "Cat on a branch!" in Kruger!
Now only 76 days to go! :dance: Already have the Spotlight yellow ribbon!

_________________
KRUGER TRIP 2013

24/11 - 27/11 Lower Sabie
28/11 - 1/12 Olifants
2/12 - 5/12 Skukuza
x
9/12 - 11/12 Pretoriuskop
12/12 - 18/12 Satara
19/12 - 22/12 Berg-en-Dal


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 Post subject: Re: Escape to Africa: 18 days in Kruger!
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:17 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 11, 2005 8:22 am
Posts: 156
Location: Western Australia
Thanks, Mgoddard!

As it is only two weeks before we will be in Kruger, I am going to start telling you more about this trip. I always enjoy the other trip reports that include a bit of the planning phase too, as it is where the excitement already starts building!

To us, this will be a trip of firsts in many ways:

1.It will be the first time that we go north of Mopani. We know the southern part of Kruger very well (lived in Maputo for more than a year and visited at least twice a month, with Croc.Bridge being only an hour away), but our experience with the north, is limited to what we’ve read on the forum. When we checked the available accommodation in Dec’08, it suggested a trip from south to north and then back again...so, that’s what we have booked!

2.Apart from one odd weekend in 2001, it will be the first trip that we will stay in hutted accommodation. We are happy campers and have many fond memories from camping next to the fence in Kruger: Making shade canopies over the tent at Satara in the December heat, throwing black refuse bags on the tent’s roof to try and keep the warmth in at Berg-en-Dal during May, waking up in the midst of a cloud burst at Skukuza to find ourselves floating (great waterproof tent!) and getting a reluctant water monitor out from underneath our groundsheet at Satara....Great times! As our camping gear is now on a different continent, we will be using three bed bungalows, with our youngest in a camping cot.

3.It will be our first trip to Kruger as “overseas visitors”. So this time, instead of driving from our house with a packed bakkie, we will be flying across the Indian Ocean with the minimum! I must admit, the logistics are quite different!

4.It will be the first time that we visit Kruger as a family of four.... The last time we camped in the park, was in January 2003, before we had kids. Later, in 2005, we stayed in a hotel outside Malelane gate for our Kruger fix and after that went camping in Addo with the children, which was great. Having two toddlers with us, will probably mean that we will have to take shorter drives (less of those “we have four of the Big 5 now, so let’s continue until we get number five”!) and spend more time in the camps and explore the swimming pools etc.

5.My parents will join us for a week of the trip and it will be their first time ever in Kruger! My dad’s elephant phobia has kept them away (he has been cornered in a KZN park by those ellies without a matriarch!), but this time they said yes! (Grandchildren seem to help a lot with certain things...)

6.This will be our longest Kruger stay ever.....our “standard” trips used to be 10 days....now it will be nearly double that!

7.This will be the first time that we will have a dSLR camera in Kruger (got a Canon 450D) and we are hoping to take many pictures on our dream trip! I just need to practise a bit more, so it will come natural when we see our first caracal in Kruger!

In 14 days' time, we will be unpacking the rental at Berg'nDal! :dance:

_________________
KRUGER TRIP 2013

24/11 - 27/11 Lower Sabie
28/11 - 1/12 Olifants
2/12 - 5/12 Skukuza
x
9/12 - 11/12 Pretoriuskop
12/12 - 18/12 Satara
19/12 - 22/12 Berg-en-Dal


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 Post subject: Re: Escape to Africa: 18 days in Kruger!
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 1:44 pm 
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Posts: 156
Location: Western Australia
JohanN, Micetta & Lorainepring: We have never seen a caracal in Kruger and it has been on our wish list for 13 years! So it has become quite farfetched to expect to see one....But, never say never, as we saw our first wild caracal in Addo last year February and were thrilled! And then, two days later, we saw another one!

I have the two kit lenses that were included with the 450D. Will probably use the 55-250mm IS mostly, JohanN. I am wondering on which setting you leave your camera while travelling, for best quick photos? On AF, auto focus? Anybody with advice here, I need to learn...

Akadwa, Micetta, anne catherine, DuQues, Petra Jacobs...thanks for your comments and Safrica, there is nothing wrong with 14 days! :thumbs_up:

The past week, I have been very busy: Making lists of what to pack (this is not as straight forward as it sounds! We really want to travel light...well, as light as possible with two kids, camping cot, pram....!) and trying to get everything done before we leave: got anti-malarials (better budget for these if you plan to take tablets...heard that they are expensive, but did not expect to pay as much as we did!), got travel insurance and flu vaccines, applied for Hold Mail, payed accounts in advance, returned library books, tidied garden so it looks okay for the month that we will be away...and tried to book specific bungalows in Kruger. (Some camps just did it over the phone - those are done - and others asked for a fax/e-mail - still needs to be done.... :whistle: ).

Today we started to pack and the reality of going to South Africa is hitting! It feels like yesterday that we still had 99 days to go...now it is less than a week before we get on the plane!

Tomorrow night, there is an insert about Peter Bam (not sure about surname) on Western Australian TV on A Current Affair. He is apparently an Aussie vet who is now in charge of Kruger’s veterinary service. As I have had a lot of people here asking where we are off to and not knowing what I am talking about when I answer "Kruger!" :shock: , I find the timing excellent...encouraging them all to tune in!

Of course we see it as a great appetizer for us! :dance:

_________________
KRUGER TRIP 2013

24/11 - 27/11 Lower Sabie
28/11 - 1/12 Olifants
2/12 - 5/12 Skukuza
x
9/12 - 11/12 Pretoriuskop
12/12 - 18/12 Satara
19/12 - 22/12 Berg-en-Dal


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 Post subject: Re: Escape to Africa: 18 days in Kruger!
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 5:08 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 11, 2005 8:22 am
Posts: 156
Location: Western Australia
Now indeed ready for take off!

Our bags are packed and we are off to bed, planning to get up early to leave for Perth International at 7h00. Not looking forward to the flight itself....youngest is not an easy traveller and older brother has a fever tonight... :|

Will find our feet in Gauteng for first day and a half (looking forward to see the changes in South Africa since we left nine months ago), entering Kruger on Monday!

Won't be taking laptop along, so will have to see when and where we are on the internet again...

:D Till later!

_________________
KRUGER TRIP 2013

24/11 - 27/11 Lower Sabie
28/11 - 1/12 Olifants
2/12 - 5/12 Skukuza
x
9/12 - 11/12 Pretoriuskop
12/12 - 18/12 Satara
19/12 - 22/12 Berg-en-Dal


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 Post subject: Re: Escape to Africa: 18 days in Kruger!
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 3:32 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 11, 2005 8:22 am
Posts: 156
Location: Western Australia
Hi everybody!

We have arrived back in Western Australia this afternoon after a marvelous holiday in South Africa.
As soon as I have settled a bit, I will start to tell you all about it....

_________________
KRUGER TRIP 2013

24/11 - 27/11 Lower Sabie
28/11 - 1/12 Olifants
2/12 - 5/12 Skukuza
x
9/12 - 11/12 Pretoriuskop
12/12 - 18/12 Satara
19/12 - 22/12 Berg-en-Dal


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 Post subject: Re: Escape to Africa: 18 days in Kruger!
Unread postPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 8:12 am 
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Joined: Wed May 11, 2005 8:22 am
Posts: 156
Location: Western Australia
CuriousCanadian, Micetta, Maddie88, Meandering Mouse, Jo, Safrica, jonty1, Petra Jacobs, Jubatus...

Ready for action, indeed! Here we go:

Monday, 30 March 09

Today was the big day: the day we would drive across the Crocodile River! We were very excited to get on our way. We arrived in South Africa on Saturday evening and had spent two nights at friends of ours in Pretoria. We were wondering how the jet lag would be from Australia to Africa and now knew: our whole family slept well, but were all wide awake by 4h30 every morning!

It would be our only chance to visit Menlyn (a huge shopping centre) this morning, so by the time most shops opened at 9h00, we were there! The initial reason for a trip to South Africa was my brother’s wedding at the end of April, and we still needed a few special items before we left the city. So torn between our need to shop and our desire to leave for Kruger as soon as possible, we managed to turn onto the N4 at about midday.

This did not give us much time to idle along the way, but we still did a quick stop to stretch legs (and let the boys do star jumps under the willow trees to get rid of some energy!) at one of the petrol stations closer to Pretoria as well as at the Hall’s Gateway, where we stocked up on dry wors. We found our rental, a Toyota Avanza, perfect for our needs, but a little jumpy on the road if you go over 110km/h. Not that we really could....we realised that we have grown accustomed to driving much slower since living in Australia and found the speed and disregard to road rules quite shocking at first (but got into the groove of it all as we went on!). We admired the cosmos in flower on the Highveld and the beauty of the Schoemanskloof on the way....South Africa is a very scenic country! There was not time to stop for basic foodstuffs at Malelane, so we just proceeded to where we have wanted to be for many months...

At 16h30 we drove over the Crocodile River...nearly: first we had to stop and savour the moment! We found it amazing to actually be at the Malelane gate!
Image
All of us got out of the car to book in at the gate and SO and kids had lots of time looking at the sightings board while I tried to get the paperwork done. I decided that the 20 (!) minutes that it took to get our entry paper was not going to spoil our arrival! We also bought a new map at the gate: the SANParks Jacana one (was only map available). I actually wanted the Honeyguide one, but found this one adequate. It has a few new things that I can’t remember seeing on our old maps, like a more detailed map of the roads around the Skukuza area and a page with all the historic places in Kruger and info on other monuments close to Kruger. And then the usual ecozones, that I find very interesting.

As we drove through the gate, I got out my new camera (took photos with my ‘mik&druk’ up to now) and we started to guess what we would see first....I opted for elephant, SO for impala and our 4 year old son, for giraffe. I thought that there was not a good chance of our son being right, but our first animals were indeed giraffe! They were far from the road, but popped their heads through the trees to say ‘hello’ to us. This was the start of another 18 days of game viewing and we were thrilled! We took the tar road to Berg-en-Dal. A white rhino was the first of the big 5 to be spotted.
Image
All the animals were new for our youngest boy and we were not sure what the oldest could remember from previous visits, so we were trying to teach them as much about the animals as fast as we could so they could start recognising them by themselves. Real life is different from books!

The ladies at Berg-en-Dal reception were on the ball. We were booked in quickly and got the unit that we requested beforehand. It was the first time that we were staying in a bungalow here (but have camped on almost every site at Berg-en-Dal...) and we were very curious to see what it was like. We bought coffee, rooibos tea, sugar, milk and Ouma rusks at the camp shop and made our way to the bungalow. It was one of the upgraded units, with a lovely view of the fence. There were no animals in sight, but the African bush in front of us, was pure magic! We unpacked as it got dark and tried to get ourselves organised for the night. We were all very tired and after dipping an Ouma, we got the kids through the shower (slightly disappointed, as there was no round kudu soap...) and in bed. SO and I were hot on the kids’ heels, only still sharing with each other how incredibly blessed we felt to be on holiday in South Africa...

_________________
KRUGER TRIP 2013

24/11 - 27/11 Lower Sabie
28/11 - 1/12 Olifants
2/12 - 5/12 Skukuza
x
9/12 - 11/12 Pretoriuskop
12/12 - 18/12 Satara
19/12 - 22/12 Berg-en-Dal


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 Post subject: Re: Escape to Africa: 18 days in Kruger!
Unread postPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 7:06 am 
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Posts: 156
Location: Western Australia
Thanks for the encouragement to continue!

Day 2: Tuesday, 31 March 09 Berg-en-Dal (part 1)

We woke up to a beautiful day at 04h15 – a great advantage of jet lag...pity the gates were not open yet! This was the only chance that we had to drive out the camp at 5h30, as the times changed to half an hour later the next day. So we got ready to leave for our first morning drive....we dipped another Ouma (the only food we had at that stage), while the boys played a game of Crawl-in-and-out-of-the-kitchen-cupboards.

We decided to take the “magic road”, S110 tar road. Mr.Elephant was our first animal and soon to be renamed Old Faithful as we saw him every time we drove this road. He has two broken teeth and a hole in his left ear....we wondered if he had a (real) name? I took some photos (taking close ups of elephants are not really my cup of tea, but this was with him facing the opposite direction and with us already past him), but at just past six, it was still too dark for decent pics. I found that the light was only sufficient for photos from about 6h15.

Image

We continued and were met by a breeding herd of elephant, strolling on both sides of the road. Now this is really not my cup of tea! I did not have to say anything (well, I tried hard not to – don’t want to scare the kids!), but my husband knew to stop before we were between the elephants. This herd kept us on our toes for a while, appearing out of the bush as if from nowhere. Quite a few younger ones lingered in the road ahead of us.
Image
While waiting for them to move on, we started chatting to people in a car that had pulled up next to us. They asked us whether we had seen the lions. Lions? Where? Just behind us, about 500m back, lying next to the road. Uhmmmm, no we didn’t!

So we turned around (needless to say, I was grateful to get further away from the elephants...) to see if we could find the lions. And there they were: Four lionesses and a huge male! They were lying flat in the grass, the closest lioness a few metres from the road. It was on a bend and they were on the right hand side of the road, so we easily missed them, driving on the left. They got up one after another and walked deeper into the bush. We got very excited as the male got up: he was one of the most majestic lions we have ever seen and we were sure that he must be Lourens’s ‘My King of the Jungle’! He was the deepest into the bush, moving fast, on a mission, giving us little chance to admire his great amber mane – but I managed to steal a pic or two...

Image

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Image

Image

_________________
KRUGER TRIP 2013

24/11 - 27/11 Lower Sabie
28/11 - 1/12 Olifants
2/12 - 5/12 Skukuza
x
9/12 - 11/12 Pretoriuskop
12/12 - 18/12 Satara
19/12 - 22/12 Berg-en-Dal


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