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 Post subject: Re: The great African Adventure for 4 Brits September 2008
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2009 6:57 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 23, 2007 5:06 pm
Posts: 241
Location: London UK
Am so enjoying your TR too, it's really got me going as Jenny and I will be off to KNP in under two months.

:dance:

I'm getting a bit nervous now about making our own TR as there have been so many really good ones like yours.

:?


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 Post subject: Re: The great African Adventure for 4 Brits September 2008
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 2:16 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 5:48 pm
Posts: 105
Location: In UK desperately waiting for the next trip to SA!!
Monday 29th September continued……….

After a couple of hours rest back at the bungalow, we made our way to the reception car park to meet with Obi at 4.45, now I’m no mathematician but even I knew that there was no way that the amount of people gathered in that car park were going to fit in 2 vehicles each carrying 8 people!!! Obi confirmed that there had been a mix up at the reception with the bookings but we were at the top of the list so we piled in Obi’s truck and set off only 5 minutes late, which he apologised for and assured us we he would make up!!! We weren’t in any hurry … We were on Kruger time … :lol:

We set out of camp on the tar road and at the T junction turned left then first right onto the loop. As we were driving along here there is a mad person in a white Toyota pick up heading towards us at breakneck speed… a very excited driver pulled up alongside us and pointed us to a sighting further up the road then first turning on the left……. They had watched an elephant giving birth at about 4.30pm and had been very reluctant to leave the experience, hence their speed trying to get back to the gate to avoid a fine!!! This must have been the ultimate sighting for them; you could tell from their flushed faces just how special it had been. Excitement mounted in the vehicle and we proceeded in that direction, we made a stop first at the waterhole, some idiot was out of his car and next to him another one was standing up through the sunroof. :evil: Obi turned our vehicle round to face him, sharp words were exchanged, the man returned to his vehicle and we proceeded on in search of the elephant. Why do some people just think that the rules don’t apply to them? :evil:

We found them just where the man had indicated, the baby was still wobbly on her legs, trying to find stability and something to drink under her mother’s belly. She was so tiny but perfectly formed, her tiny trunk exploring her mother’s underside.


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We all watched in wonderment of this new life and knew that we were very privileged in this sighting, not everyone gets to see an elephant calf less than a couple of hours old!!! We tried to keep very quiet amidst the frantic clicking of camera shutters until the other females of the herd decided that enough was enough, they closed ranks around her to protect her from prying eyes, we had had our photo opportunity, they had been very patient with us so we left them in peace all deciding that even if we saw nothing further on this drive we had been truly privileged.

As it happened we still saw the back end of a rhino!! Giraffe, wildebeest, a dazzle of zebra, lilac breasted rollers, called such apparently because they roll when they fly to show off their beautiful colours! Scrub hares were doing their usual ‘dice with death’ ……. Spotted eagle owls, 2 of them


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impala of course and kudu. It was a wonderful drive.

We were less than 5 kilometres from the camp when we came across one of the park workers, he slowed us down and said that lion were not far from the camp gate! Obi put his foot down a bit and we headed home! When we came across them they were indeed just outside the camp gates!!! Some of them were laying on the tarmac, soaking up the remaining warmth that has penetrated the road surface during the heat of the day. Excitement could hardly be contained inside the vehicle!!! Cameras appeared out of nowhere and we were glad to see that Dave had the correct lens on!!!


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There were eight in total, including 2 cubs, as we neared them a couple came alongside the vehicle, having a ‘nose’ at us!! I was very careful to make sure that everything was tucked firmly inside the vehicle on my side, especially my arms!!! We moved closer to the main pride, they were all along the left side of the road, some flat out!!! Some grooming and a couple grooming each other, in the middle was a big male. They took no notice of us at all, we tried to keep as quiet as possible just enjoying the spectacle and getting as many photos as possible, I stopped breathing at one time as one of the females was sniffing right at my side obviously inquisitive as to what was the other side of the canvas!! When lions look at you, they appear to look right through you as if they can see into your very soul; it’s a very ‘eerie’ but beautiful experience close up! Another privileged sighting!!! Obi told us that it was a local pride of 13 lions and that he hadn’t seen them for 2 weeks, another case of ‘in the right place at the right time!’

We left them eventually and regrettably drove into the camp gates that were promptly closed behind us!! I couldn’t help as we said goodnight and headed towards the restaurant that the survival of the beautiful, healthy, majestic lions that we had seen depended on the sad, cruel kill of the gentle giraffe and others like him in the park. Nature is both wonderful and cruel in the same breath.

We were still ‘buzzing’ during dinner and aware that we would be out again the following morning for the ‘sunrise drive’ whatever that might bring!!!

_________________
Sandie
If only EVERY day were a Kruger day!
Kruger 2010 Skukuza 10/09.. Lower Sabie 11 & 12/09..Satara 13 & 14/09..Letaba 15 & 16/09..Shingwedzi 17 & 18/09.. Punda Maria 19 & 20/09.. Mopani 21 & 22/09
Trip Report 2008


Last edited by sandiem on Thu Jun 18, 2009 8:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The great African Adventure for 4 Brits September 2008
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2009 3:52 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 5:48 pm
Posts: 105
Location: In UK desperately waiting for the next trip to SA!!
Tuesday 30th September.

Today will be our last full day in the park and this instalment will bring our adventure to a close.

SO is up and dressed well before the alarm this morning…… I feel there will be a mid morning snooze on the cards then!!! So we have a cup of coffee at 4.30am and by 5.10am we are making our way down to the pick up point, hardly seems like we have been away!!! We bid Obi a ’Good Morning’ and boarded the vehicle, we waited patiently for some late stragglers who appeared in the form of mother and 2 children. The mother sat with her daughter and popped her son in next to Dave, who promptly bursts into tears and we have to rearrange the vehicle so that she can have a row of seats to accommodate her and the 2 children. This was not a problem for any of us and we were soon underway.

It was a beautiful sunrise………

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Unfortunately this view was a reminder that we were destined for the outside world tomorrow!! It was our first peek at civilisation since we had entered the park and I tried not to let the sadness creep in before we hit the gate.

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We huddled in the blankets on the jeep as it was decidedly nippy and the air was both crisp, clear yet with a kind of charred edge to it due to the burnt veldt that was around us in areas. As the sun rose you could feel in it the promise of another lovely hot day without a cloud in the sky, how I was going to miss this place!

We saw the usual impala, giraffe and some kudu cows, the lions had moved on from last night and just after the Matjula bridge we saw a lone lion male who was grooming himself.

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He was a fine specimen and was totally impervious to our cameras clicks concentrating firmly on getting something out of his paw, maybe he had picked up a thorn. :(

We pushed on again and went by the sorry remains of the giraffe, the vultures were still cleaning up!

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I have to say that as we went past the giraffe there was a ‘putrid’ smell in the air and I hoped that the vultures would finish their job soon as it would only increase in the heat of the day serving as a reminder of his horrible demise.

We went in search once again of the mother and baby elephant from the night before. The herd had moved slightly further up the same road and we spotted the baby from the road with its mother, they were dong fine. We pulled up to take some photos and the herd moved all around us, some rolling the sticks around in their mouths, they almost seemed pleased to see us!! It was a bit of a strange experience, they came right up to the back of the vehicle, looking in and I didn’t once feel nervous, this in itself was strange, as I would normally be feeling a bit apprehensive at them getting so close to us, especially as they had such a young one in their ranks.

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We photographed these from the back of the vehicle coming towards us.

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We sat there a long time taking in the ‘morning glory’ with them, watching them delicately remove the bark from the branches whilst rolling them in their mouths and then discard them. Others pulled up roots, shook off the earth and then eat them. We were feeling totally at one with the world whilst watching them enjoying their breakfast, one of those surreal experiences that you don’t really want to end but of course it has to and we moved on again, leaving them in peace.

A buffalo herd was grazing further up the road on the right and then over on the left we saw a white rhino bull, cow and calf, they got one whiff of us and were off, leaving us with a parting photo of the rear ends again!!!

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The best photos we could get in the circumstances!!

So we had seen 4 out of the big 5 this morning, just the leopard that was elusive!! We hadn’t seen any of the black rhino that are said to be in the Berg en dal area, they are apparently difficult to spot, smaller than the white rhino, with a higher head carriage since they are browsers rather than grazers. Black rhino are said to be more aggressive and unpredictable.

Mind you we all know that it is not all about seeing the big 5.

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I wonder how many spiders are housed in here?

After the rhino we took to the hills for a bit .... we just took in all the lovely scenery enjoying the new day.

I knew that this was our last booked game drive and I really didn’t want to miss a moment of it, all too soon we headed home and were soon going back through the gates of the Camp.

We headed to the cafeteria for some breakfast, we have to pack up today so intend having an easy afternoon, staying around the bungalow watching the perimeter fence.

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It was a nice view!

We have booked dinner in the restaurant for later and we are going to have our long awaited photo show before we turn in.

When we got back to the bungalow it was agreed that some ‘unwind’ time was needed, this transpired to be a mid morning snooze for SO and rather than staying inside and being serenaded by the soft dulcet tones of his snoring, I decided I would brave the heat and dragged a couple of chairs into the shade for both Jean and myself to catch up with our journals and read our books. We had been there a short while when out of the corner of my eye I saw small toad come leaping across the tiles towards me with a lizard in hot pursuit!! I grabbed my hot coffee cup as it is heading straight for it thus avoiding a scalded toad!! The toad hit the glass of the patio door and the lizard stopped dead when it saw me, beating a hasty retreat in the opposite direction!! the toad must have had one hell of a headache but avoided being dinner for today at least, :lol: there were lizards all over the area and I suppose it was probably only a matter of time until its luck ran out!!!

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The perimeter fence didn’t produce much in the way of activity during the afternoon and we were all soon showered and ready for the restaurant, which in it’s own way was also nothing out of the ordinary.

We returned to the bungalow a little bit down in spirits, but we were soon to appreciate all that we had experienced as we relived it through our ‘film show’, how lucky and privileged we had been!!! Our ‘newbie’s’ were no longer ‘newbie’s', they had soon settled into the feeling of ‘being’ in the park and I was relieved to realise that like us they were looking forward to returning, you know when someone has appreciated the ‘whole’ experience when the first thing they think about when it is time to leave, is when they can return!!! I know that feeling well! We turned in for our last nights sleep and I laid awake really straining my ears for the sound of a hyena, an all too common sound on previous visits to the park but on this one they had been silent and elusive. No whoop whooping for us, maybe we they will return to us next time.

Wednesday 1st October.

We are awake early, breakfast before we leave via Malelane, as we said goodbye to Berg en Dal it was only a short drive to the gate. We had not got a good photo of a rhino all the time we had been there, they were all parting ‘backside’ shots but this rhino said goodbye to us 'in style' just before we reached the gate.

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I like to think that he ‘made the effort’ especially!!! Who knows!!

Until next time……….

_________________
Sandie
If only EVERY day were a Kruger day!
Kruger 2010 Skukuza 10/09.. Lower Sabie 11 & 12/09..Satara 13 & 14/09..Letaba 15 & 16/09..Shingwedzi 17 & 18/09.. Punda Maria 19 & 20/09.. Mopani 21 & 22/09
Trip Report 2008


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 Post subject: Re: The great African Adventure for 4 Brits September 2008
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 11:24 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 5:48 pm
Posts: 105
Location: In UK desperately waiting for the next trip to SA!!
Thank you p@m, Lorraine, Sakoro, Atlanta Joe, Rusky and Gwave... your comments are very welcome.

Just to finish off I have to post these photos taken at Mopani

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We parked under this tree and it wasn't until the 2nd day we looked up and actually noticed the size of those sausage fruit...... one of those would give you mega headache!!!

_________________
Sandie
If only EVERY day were a Kruger day!
Kruger 2010 Skukuza 10/09.. Lower Sabie 11 & 12/09..Satara 13 & 14/09..Letaba 15 & 16/09..Shingwedzi 17 & 18/09.. Punda Maria 19 & 20/09.. Mopani 21 & 22/09
Trip Report 2008


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