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 Post subject: Re: AUSSIES ON THE PROWL IN KRUGER FOR 36 DAYS
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 11:11 am 
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Day #16 10th September Shimuwini – Olifants.
Our last day of normality.
Up early to check for any sightings on the river. Packed the van and headed to Phalaborwa Gate. On the H14, we found 2 Hyena sleeping next to the road, just before the Letaba River. It seemed like they had been to a free smorgasbord.

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We arrived at Phalaborwa, and you guessed it. We had breakfast at the coffee shop again. When we left, we had several bags of worthwhile gifts from the gift shop. Even Christmas Decorations made at a local handicapped school. These are being given to the Special School that Christopher attends, and the School that Lorraine delivers children to on the Special Needs Bus. :D
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We stopped at Letaba and grabbed a drink, then headed to Olifants. We had Bungalows #1,#2,#3. lp & I were in #1, right next to the Restaurant Renovations. Over our 3 days, we learnt how to turn our non-existent hearing aids off. The contractors working on the site, held great respect for the animals below on the Olifants River. They stood for long periods, respecting their presence.
We went out on the Sunset drive, with 5 other people. The driver was Bridgeman, who started a topic with reports from Olifants, after we encouraged him to. A bit dormant at the moment, but a work still in progress we hope. One of the passengers was a fellow forumite, joshilewis. It is a pity that a couple of the others had little respect for others & children on the drive, and an even lesser respect at sightings. We had a LIT & an African Wild Cat. Both sightings were very brief, as one clown decided to jump up both times and scare them off. Another bright specimen kept doing duck calls during the drive and at sightings, encouraged on by some of the other members of the 5. :evil: I apologize joshilewis that I did not reply to your pm about the drive. You were not at fault. We had 2 highlights on the drive. The first was the hundreds of fireflies at the causeway at Balule, and the second was the Leopard we followed for some time on the S92. We returned to have our evening meal, not knowing that the trip would change tomorrow.

Roads traveled – S141, H14, H9, H1-5, H8, S90 & S92.

Sightings in order – 2 x Saddle-billed Storks, Grey Heron, Hippo’s, Waterbucks, Impala, Duiker, Elephants, Buffalo’s, Kudu, Giraffe, Hyena, 2 x Hyena, Egyptian Geese, Warthogs, Vulture in nest with youngster, Fish Eagle, Yellow-billed Kite, Bateleur Eagle, Marabou Stork & Guinea Fowl.
Sunset Drive – joshilewis, Impala, LIT, African Wild Cat, Elephants, Large herd Buffalo, Chameleon, Fireflies, Brown-headed Parrot, 3 different lots of Hyena’s, Zebra’s, Giraffe, Wildebeest & LOG


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 Post subject: Re: AUSSIES ON THE PROWL IN KRUGER FOR 36 DAYS
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 9:01 am 
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Day #17 11th September Olifants

THE DAY THE BRAKES WENT ON THE HOLIDAY, AND THE GOODNESS OF STAFF & FORUMITES SHONE THROUGH.
This morning we were booked on the Sunrise Drive.
We all met at bungalow #1. At 05.00, Katie slipped down the steps. The reason being, that no lights covered the steps at #1, owing to the renovation of the Restaurant. :wall:
We had 3 steps & #2 & #3 only had 2.
Katie thought she was at the bottom after 2 steps. She was in a lot of pain, but still managed to make it to the truck for the drive.
We had Bridgeman again. :thumbs_up:
We had a lot of fog & mist throughout the drive. From where I was sitting during the drive, I could see Katie in the side mirror, and it was quite evident that she was in a lot of pain.
When we got back, her left ankle was swollen like a balloon. I asked Bridgeman if there was a first aid officer. We took her to reception, and into see Mr. Phuti Namethe, :thumbs_up: the Hospitality Manager. Phuti rang around to find a Doctor in the Park, to get advice on what to do. It was advised for Katie’s ankle to be strapped & iced. Phuti advised us to come back at lunchtime, if it was not getting better. He also took immediate action in rectifying the lighting problem. As Katie’s ankle was not any better at lunchtime, we went back to see Phuti. He immediately put in place for Katie to be transported to Phalaborwa Provincial Hospital. His statement was, “better to have it checked, even if there is nothing wrong. Better to be safe than sorry”.
This is where the first “Angel” came into the picture. Bennet Ndlovu the camps “gopher” came to pick Katie up & take her to the hospital. He was like a father figure to her. As we had met Scipio & Scorpion on several occasions, I sent Scip a sms telling him that Katie had not had enough of Phalaborwa, and was on her way to the gate again. I told him why, and he said they would meet them at the gate. Thank goodness we had these 2 “Angels” :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up: there for Katie.
On arrival at the Hospital (Friday remember) they were advised that there would not be a Doctor until Sunday. So Scips & Scorps took Katie to a local Doctor. After X-Rays, the Doctor thought that there was a break at the bottom of her leg. To play safe until we could get an appointment with a Specialist in Nelspruit, the Doctor put her left leg in a full plaster cast up to her knee. Katie returned via a 2 car convoy, after park closure.
We would like to thank Scipio, Scorpion & Bennet for the concern & care of Katie during this ordeal. We would also like to thank Lolly Nyundu for arranging shelter for the additional “Angels”. I will report more in the days to come.
Needless to say, we did nothing else after the Sunrise Drive.

Roads travelled – H8, S92, S90, H1-4 & H1-5.

Sightings on drive – Elephants, Buffalo herd, 2 x Hyenas, Zebras, Bateleur, Juvenile Bateluer, Vultures, Tawny Eagle & Chameleon.

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Installation of temporary light

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All pics taken from #1
:thumbs_up: :D
lp


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 Post subject: Re: AUSSIES ON THE PROWL IN KRUGER FOR 36 DAYS
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 4:36 am 
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Sorry to keep everyone waiting :redface: lp

Day #18 12th September – Olifants
A day spent changing our daily routine, to accommodate Katie’s injury. We spent most of the day viewing from the Bungalows. We now had to put in place the wrapping of Katie’s plaster, so she could shower with assistance. We had a visit from Bennet to see how Katie was going. We also had visits from the management staff.


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At 15.25 we helped Katie into the van, and went out to do a drive. The major sighting on this trip went like this. We had just crossed the Balule causeway and turned onto the S92 towards Olifants. Next thing Lorraine says ”there is someone down in the river taking a photo”. I drove a bit further, then said “BS”. There was a “male goose” standing on the edge of the river, taking a photo of an Elephant, only a short distance away in the river. We drove further, then spotted the car parked on the side of the road. When we got level with the car, the “goose” was about 60mtrs in front of it taking shots of the Elephant & some youngsters. Then we made another discovery. About half way between the car & the “goose”, was his “bottle dyed” assistant in crime(having a gander), taking a video of what was happening in front of her. I must point out, that there was a lot of vegetation in the area, and they were using a partial open area, to carry out their “come & eat me” act. We also joined in taking photos.
This was the area where we had seen the hippo & followed the Leopard the night before. Another car that arrived at the “sighting”, made the comment “at last I might see a kill”. When we reported the incident, the reception staff already had been given details from another astonished visitor. We asked did they want to see the evidence. They sure did. As soon as we showed them the shots, they knew who it was. A privileged journalist had been extended a welcome from Parks Management to research Kruger with a camera, at an earlier date. It now seemed that the “goose” thought he had a continuing invitation. When he was approached by the Ranger, his defense was that he did not know that he had to stay in the vehicle, as he had seen everyone else do it.


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Roads travelled – H8, H1-5, S89, S90 & S92.
Sightings in order – Guinea Fowl, Herd of Elephants running to water, Giraffe, Duiker, Impala, Steenbok, Kudu, Buffalos, A very large Rhino having a mud bath, Grey Heron, Wildebeest, Steenbok, Baboons, Korhaan, Zebras, Rhino, Kori Bustard, 2 x Rhino, 2 x Idiots out of car taking photos & Bateleur.
** On our earlier 2 game drives, Bridgeman had told us that there had been no Rhino sightings in the area for some time. We broke the drought. :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:


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 Post subject: Re: AUSSIES ON THE PROWL IN KRUGER FOR 36 DAYS
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:30 am 
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Day # 19 13th September Olifants – Tamboti (well sort of)

A day of Forumites, Frustration, Untruths, Patience & Help.
Today we packed the van & headed to Tamboti for 2 nights in the “Bush Baptist no go camp”. We were really looking forward to the peace & quiet there. Bennet came past before we left, to check on Katie again. We dropped into the Office & thanked everyone for their help with Katie. :clap: :clap:

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On the H1-4 just before the Ngotso dam, there was a huge traffic jam. 4 lions had killed a buffalo overnight, and everyone wanted to view it. The buff was hidden by bushes, and all you could see were some very fat, lazy lions getting over the feast. It took some time trying to get past the well mannered audience, who of course kept the road clear to do so. We came across a yellow ribbon that belonged to Riverrat.

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We came across Riverrat again later in the day.
We stopped at Satara for a break and to say hello to Gordon Ramsden (Hospitality Manager), then headed to Orpen to book in to Tamboti.


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After booking in, we found Dinkybird & Hawk who were staying at Orpen. We visited for a while, and then set off to tents #34 & #35 at Tamboti.
On arrival at the tents, it was quite obvious that Katie would not be able to access the steps to the tents. We noticed that no one was yet in #33, the paraplegic tent. We headed back to Orpen to see what could be done in changing #35 to #33. We explained the situation as to what had happened with Katie, and if we could change to #33. This exercise continued for 3hrs until 17.40. During this time, Riverrat ran into us again at the reception. We also met some other Forumites from Durban, who were departing the park to return home. We must apologize to them, that owing to the stress of the moment, we forgot to write down their names. :redface: Before any smart person comments about our donation for every Forumite we met on the trip, they were included in the 6 unknowns in the official list. Dinkybird ventured out to the shop, and found us again. The staff and Hospitality Manager at Orpen rang everywhere to try and get accommodation in place of Tamboti. They eventually got in contact with the people booked into #33, who confirmed they had a paraplegic who needed it. Sadly we found out later, that the occupants did not have the needs as confirmed. The “only alternative” that Orpen could offer, was for Katie to stay at Orpen for the 2 nights, whilst we stayed at Tamboti. We rejected this offer, as Katie needed assistance and the medication she was put on had to be monitored. During the afternoon, I had a call with Raymond from Berg en dal. He also started phones ringing.
Dinkybird & Hawk offered to give up their bungalow at Orpen, and use 1 of our tents at Tamboti. We rejected their offer, as they had been more than generous with their hospitality in East London, earlier in our trip. :clap: :clap:
Finally we had some success. We were going to Talamati instead. We were told 2 things that were incorrect. First was that Talamati only had accommodation for the night (true) and the Manager would move things for us to stay the second night. Second was that at 17.40, we would make the camp gate by closing time at 18.00. I questioned as to how we could travel 30k’s on a gravel road with a maximum speed of 40k’s an hour, in 20 minutes. :huh:
You beauty, we were off on our own private night drive. The highlight of the drive was a group of 7 rhino’s. When we arrived at the camp gate, we waited until the receptionist came out and unlocked it. She said that she was just locking up, as we did not exist on the computer as to entering the park that day. Also we would have to come back early in the morning to pay for the night’s accommodation. Also there was certainly no accommodation available the next night. I told her what we had been advised at Orpen. When I explained that we had been in the park since the 26th August, she advised that Orpen had made it as a new booking and not a replacement booking. That is why we did not show up on the day’s park entry list. We were given our bungalow number and told that extra bedding would be delivered. After a short time, the receptionist, Hospitality Manager & 2 staff arrived at the bungalow. We had a discussion about our circumstances and what we had been told at Orpen. Mr. Ramontsho Ramfolo (HM) advised us that the girls at Orpen had got the message confused, but to have a good night and they would look for other accommodation in the morning. This was to be the start of exceptional service. :D :D

Roads travelled – H8, H1-5, H1-4, H7, S106 & S140.

Sightings in order – 2 x Yellow-billed Kites, Impala, Elephants, Guinea fowl, Zebra’s(several times), Lions at kill, Riverrat, Hyena, Kudu, Wildebeest, Ostrich’s(several times), Steenbok, LBR, Waterbuck, Buffalo’s, Baboons, Giraffe, 1 x Lion at kill, Vultures, Woolly-necked Stork, Grey Heron, 3 x Ground Hornbills with Tortoise kill, Hippo’s, Fish Eagle, Warthogs, Dinkybird, Hawk, Brown Snake Eagle. On private night drive to Tamboti – Wildebeest, Nightjar, Kudu’s, 7 x Rhino’s, Scrub Hare, Kudu’s, Zebra’s & 2 x Rhino


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 Post subject: Re: AUSSIES ON THE PROWL IN KRUGER FOR 36 DAYS
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 5:28 am 
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Day # 20 14th September Talamati - ???????
Another day of Help, Success & Great Sighting.

Before I start, I forgot to report our night sightings at the hide. After we had settled in to the Bungalow, Lorraine & I went to the hide overlooking the waterhole near the gate. We spent over an hour and half watching a total of 7 jackals, including some that were running around the waterhole. We also had 2 Honey Badgers, plus Impalas, Egyptian Geese and something running very fast in the spotlight in the background. Very cat like, but too quick. :hmz:

We were up early, to pack and wait for a decision on our accommodation for the night. Once we were packed, we drove to reception and parked the van. We then settled into & below the hide (Katie & Lorraine) to fill in our waiting time. I went to the reception to see the receptionist from last night. Her name is Sibongile Mashaba. Sibongile advised me that the landline phones were out of action, but she had been in touch with Orpen & Satara by email, and had not received any replies back. After an hour I went back to check. Still no response. Sibongile then reverted to the old days of communication. Two Way Radio. After many tries and conversations, nothing was available anywhere.

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A bit after 11.00 Ramontsho (hospitality manager) came walking along from the staff quarters. He asked if we had any success yet. A negative response was given. He said he would be back, and he went to the office. After some time he returned, and asked me to go with him to talk to someone about our accommodation. We then hopped in a car and I thought we must be going to the staff village. Wrong. We got out of the car and walked to the Wetland Hide. Now I was totally confused. Was this the accommodation they were offering, or was someone in there to talk to? Real cloak & dagger stuff. Once we had climbed into the hide, Ramontsho headed to the far end of the hide and sat down. He then pulled out his cell phone and opened it up. He then proceeded to place it upright on a cross beam, at a faintly marked spot that said phone signal. He then put the phone on loudspeaker and dialed Orpen. We were now at the communication hotspot of Talamati. Memorize this information if you are going to visit Talamati. :D
I was advised after several losses of signal, that we would be at Tamboti for the night, as the clients who had booked tent #33 for the night, had graciously agreed to change owing to our circumstances. Thank you to whomever you are. :clap: :clap:
As it was now just on 12.00. When i left the hide, other people were waiting to use the "public phone" spot. I headed back to tell the gang what was happening. I also had Ramontsho’s words still ringing in my ears, “you can stay as long as you want, because sometimes we get Sable at the waterhole”. I told Lorraine, and her response was the same as mine. “Thank you, but it is time to go to Orpen to get a sandwich & drink”. We all jumped in the van and headed out the gate, at a slower pace than the previous night.
A big thank you to Ramontsho & Sibongile for their "above & beyond the call of duty" effort. :clap: :clap:
If you have already predicted as to what happened next, you are right. As we got level with the waterhole, there was some movement on the flat ground in the distance. It was a magnificent Sable heading towards the waterhole. Ramontsho’s words and our rejection of them now changed. We spent the next half hour watching it approach, drink & leave the waterhole. Well worth it. :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:


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We headed back to Orpen & did the necessary paperwork for Tamboti. We saw DB again and told her what was happening. We settled into Tamboti until we went for a drive later in the afternoon, including checking the activity at the cam.


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Roads Travelled – S140, S106 & H7
Sightings – Talamati Hide – Impala, Zebras, Warthogs, Wildebeest, Guinea Fowl, Giraffe, Baboons, Waterbucks, Kudu, Squirrels, Egyptian Geese & Sable.
Sightings on roads – Steenbok, Baboons, Giraffe, Duiker, Guinea Fowl, Warthogs, Vultures, Black Collared Barbet, Zebras, Kudu & Buffalos
Sightings at Cam – Buffalos, Scrub hare, Duiker, Wildebeest & Lapwings


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 Post subject: Re: AUSSIES ON THE PROWL IN KRUGER FOR 36 DAYS
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:06 pm 
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Day # 21 15th September Tamboti – Satara
A relaxing drive to Satara

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We had a commitment to fulfill at Satara this morning.
We left Tamboti early and did a quick check of the Cam. We arrived at Satara and went in search of the one and only, Tony Park. We had agreed to cross paths during our stay, during our Sydney mini meet with Tony & Nicola. He was leaving this morning with the tour group that he was in charge of. As we approached the restaurant, Tony came out with his breakfast to join others of his group. We approached him from behind, and surprised him. The response was as if we were long lost family. It was great to see you mate. :thumbs_up:
After breakfast, we decided to go up the H1-4 to fill in time until check in

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We returned at 11.00 & had a refreshment. We checked in and I set off to the laundry, to get rid of the dirt from the last couple of days.
We decided to do a late afternoon drive, just for the benefit of Bush Baptist.
We travelled down the H1-3, with the Sweni River to be the turn around.
Katie was still in a state of incapacity, but her viewing senses seemed to have heightened. As we were driving just past the H6 junction, shell yelled out “Stop”. “Go back a little, there is something in the grass”. It turned out to be a Honey Badger. It was joined by a second one. 2 Honey Badgers.
WOW.
This then became 3 Honey Badgers.
While we were watching them, several cars stopped to find out what we were looking at. Not one of them was interested, as there was a report of lions near the Sweni River. While we were sitting there watching the 3 HB’s, another crossed the road about 30mtrs in front of us. 4 Honey Badgers in one spot. This forced me to send Bush Baptist a sms about his favorites. :cam: :thumbs_up: :dance: :dance:

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We looked at the time, and decided we would have enough time to get to the Sweni River to see if the lions were there, and to get back to the camp before the gate closed.
We arrived at the river and noticed cars driving around on the S126 in search of the lions. We were told that several had crossed the road & headed to the S126.
We were also told that a lion was just over the bridge. So we decided to take that option.
There were about 6 cars pulled up on the left hand side. Everybody was looking over at some little trees, about 50mtrs from the road. A car moved & told us that we could see it from where he just was. We pulled into the spot & like everyone else, concentrated on the trees & bushes. Next thing Katie yelled “oh ----“ and moved as fast as she could away from the window. The lion was not in the trees & bushes; it was lying in the grass on the sloped bank of the road, 4ft from the car & looking straight at her. It was a male. Once Katie’s nerves were settled, she moved back to observe & took photos, as did Lorraine. :cam: :cam:

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We left in time to have a quick relook for the HB’s (they were gone) and got back in the gate with 5 minutes to spare.

Roads travelled – H7, H1-4, H1-3 & S127.

Sightings in order – Impala, Elephants, Wildebeest, Warthogs, Guinea Fowl, Steenbok, Baboons, Bateleur Eagle, Kudu, Crocodile, Terrapins, Zebras, Marabou Stork, TONY PARK, Vultures, Waterbucks, Kori Bustard, 3 x Rhino, Ground Hornbills, Rhino & Calf, Jackal, 4 x Reedbuck, Large Herd Buffalo, 2 x Ostrich, Lions & Giraffe.
Late Afternoon drive – Waterbucks, Zebras, Slender Mongoose, Bushbucks, 4 x HONEY BADGER, Wildebeest, Elephants, 1 x Lion, 2 x Rhino & Steenbok.


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 Post subject: Re: AUSSIES ON THE PROWL IN KRUGER FOR 36 DAYS
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:17 am 
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Day # 22 16th September - Satara

A Day the Human Animals performed & the S100.

Up early & out the gate at 06.15. Overcast weather. A trip to Sweni Hide, followed by a drive down the hopeless S100. It was a quiet drive to Sweni. The most impressive part of the drive was the elderly couple in a Mercedes, who seemed to be having their last day on earth, and needed to get from point A to point B as quick as possible. When we arrived at Sweni, we were surprised as to the low level of water there. We have always had a lot more than this time.

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We then headed up the S41, to enter the S100 from the east. About 1km from the S100, we came across a large number of cars parked. Silly question asked & answered, Lions. There were some Lionesses stalking some Wildebeest. We decided to move back from the parking lot. We watched for a while as the Lions slowly moved. A couple came up beside us & asked what was happening. We told them & they moved back behind us to wait.
Let me paint you a picture of the scene & what happened next. We are facing in a northerly direction on the S41 on the left hand side of the road, with another car behind us facing the same direction. In front of us was the Action Film Set. Cars facing in all directions. To our left were the wildebeest. There were clear areas & scrubby areas. The area to our left sloped off downhill and out of sight. All of a sudden the movie director gave the signal for action. The lions went into attack mode, and chased the wildebeest. They came from the front of us and to the left. We started to reverse (as did the car behind) to see if we could witness a kill.
We somehow failed to read the movie script. In front of us, human madness erupted. There were cars doing u-turns, reversing & nearly hitting other cars doing the same, spinning wheels with dirt flying through the air, horns blowing, and cars going past us on both sides at speed. Yes on and off the road. We were absolutely dumbfounded with this never before seen behavior. :shock:
I am a highly trained driver (part of my job) but I just stopped the car and let the stupidity continue. I have never seen or been involved in such a mess. The car that was behind us came up and said that the lions had been successful in their hunt. They did not see it, but heard the sounds from the wildebeest that was caught. They had all gone out of sight owing to the slope of the land. This however did not stop the “circus” from driving up & down to get a non existing view. We made the decision to move on to sanity. :roll:
We turned down the S100 to see how much of our time would be wasted in doing so.

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It did not let us down. We had general game, but also had a male lion, 6 x lioness & 3 x cubs. We spent quite some time with them, before heading to Orpen.
Along the way to Orpen we came across a breeding herd of elephants. There were quite a number of very small youngsters. Once again the stupidity of some people surfaced, with a couple of cars getting too close & upsetting the female members. We returned back to Satara and relaxed.
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Roads travelled – H1-3, H6, S37, S41, S100 & H7.

Sightings – 2 x small herds Buffalos, Giraffe, Warthogs, Waterbucks, Impala, Wildebeest, Zebras, LBR, Vulture, 7 x Warthogs, Kudu, Elephants, Yellow-billed Kite, Woolly-necked Stork, Baboons, Dwarf Mongoose, Guinea Fowl, IDIOT CIRCUS, Lions, Hippo’s, Crocodiles, Terrapins.
S100 sightings – Impala, Wildebeest, Zebras, Duiker, Steenbok, Bateleur Eagle, 1 x Lion, 6 x Lioness, 3 x Cubs, Elephants, Guinea Fowl, Waterbucks, Yellow-billed Kite & Giraffe.
Other sightings – Ostrich, Fish-Eagle, Large Breeding Herd Elephants, Nyala & Jackal.

lp


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 Post subject: Re: AUSSIES ON THE PROWL IN KRUGER FOR 36 DAYS
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:44 am 
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Day #23 17th September Satara
A day of Heat & Protecting a Kruger Inhabitant.

We decided today, to drive up to Letaba and stop at Olifants on the way back.
We left at 07.12 and headed up the H1-4 at a leisurely pace. At 08.15 it was already 25c.
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The sightings were the normal things you would expect to see in this area, until we spotted the “Scipio Lions”.
What are “Scipio Lions”, you might ask.
They are roadside construction Safety Cones. According to Katie, there is a story behind the name.
Had to block the road so this fellow could cross safely

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We also came across a very beautiful LBR that had been killed by a car.
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We reached Letaba, had breakfast and Gudge and Brook took a last look at the elephant hall.
After our break we were on our way back to Olifants.
After 22 days in the park we spotted our first Klipspringer for the trip.
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When we were about two thirds of the way between the S46 & the H8, we came across a Leopard Tortoise? in the middle of the road, on a bend.

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Immediately our “safety mode” kicked in again. This one was different to the one earlier in the morning :naughty:
I stopped the van and switched on the hazard lights, to protect it from being hit by a vehicle. It slowly got closer to the front of our van, then to show it’s appreciation for what we had done, it changed course and headed under the van. And did it come out the other side. NO! We sat there for about 20 minutes, and in this time other cars stopped to see what was happening. I had turned the car off in the hope that it would not be scared of the noise, and continue on its merry way. It just loved the shade. Now we were in a quandary. Do I take the risk & start to move and risk driving over it, or try to see where it was. We made the decision to break a Park rule. :roll: Katie (she was in the middle row of seats) laid herself flat on the seat. She slid the door open, and under our constant scanning of the area, she slowly slid along the seat and over the edge of the open door. At least she had a counterweight with the caste on her leg. She reported that it was very comfortable under the car. Enough time had been given to the Tortoise, so I made the decision to start the van and take the risk. Well you can guess what happened. I started the van and started to move. All of a sudden there was movement. It shot out from under the van, and continued its journey. :slap:
We dropped into Olifants and had a snack. It was already 34c & climbing.
After our short break we headed back to Satara and on the way a first for us… Ground Hornbills perched up in a tree.

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We continued on and planned a short rest before going back out for a late afternoon drive.
At 16.15 & 36c we set off to do our last S100 drive.
It was a fairly quiet drive, except for the Lions that we had seen yesterday. We sat with them for some time before we had to get back.

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Time now to pre-pack for tomorrow’s departure.

Roads travelled – H1-4, H1-5, H8 & S100.

Sightings – Marabou Stork, Wildebeest, Buffalos, Giraffe, Zebras, Ostrich, Tawny Eagles, Many Steenboks & Duikers, Reedbucks, Kori Bustard, 2 x Rhino, Elephants, 2 x Rhino, Warthogs, 2 x Rhino, Ground Hornbills, Guinea Fowl, Large herd Buffalo, Waterbucks, Impala, Vultures, Korhan, Yellow-billed Kite, Vervets, Baboons, 4 x Hamerkops, Kudu, Many LBR’S & Fork-tailed Drongo’s, “Scipio Lions”, 1 x dead LBR, Klipspringer, Leopard Tortoises, Hippos, Swifts, Fish Eagle, Reedbucks, Bateleur, Brown Snake-Eagle, Small Button Quail, Lion Pride, Saddle-billed Stork & Namaqua Dove.

lp


Last edited by prings on Thu Jan 21, 2010 2:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: AUSSIES ON THE PROWL IN KRUGER FOR 36 DAYS
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 11:34 am 
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Sorry the author has kept everyone waiting :wall:
Managed to easily slip into the hole, but didn't try all that hard to escape. :twisted:
Thank you to all who have been patiently waiting :thumbs_up:
lp
Author Note lp did not finish the above sentence. After waiting it should have said - ,as i have made prings take me to the coffee shop everyday for the past 4 weeks. Not his fault.

Day #24 18th September Satara – Lower Sabie.

A Yellow Ribbon Day.

Today we had to move to Lower Sabie. We packed the van and went to the shop, and made one last check of the webcam.
When we came back to our van, Lorraine noticed a yellow ribbon in the parking area behind us. It turned out to be a Mobster from New York. He must have been a Godfather, as his family was using a NASA Telescope. :cam: I am sure none of us would be allowed to have a loan of one. It was RayK and his family, Colette (SO), Danielle (Daughter) & John(SIL).
We arranged to meet in Lower Sabie, as they were in the tents also. We then felt very special, as we escorted “the family” for a long distance down the road to LS.

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As we were getting close to Tshokwane, we came to a traffic jam. There was a Leopard in a tree, quite some distance from the road.

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It was not easy to see (except for the Godfathers family, who had it sitting in their van with the NASA telescope). After a while we made a management decision to continue on to Tshokwane for a break, and to see if we could find one of the most elusive sightings in Kruger, David the manager.
He is still on our to find list……possibly as elusive as a brown hyaena.
A coffee, boerewors, pap and sheeba were next on the to find list. Once we were refreshed, we set off to Lower Sabie on the H10.
As we were just climbing up the rise towards the Nkumbe view site, we found a car stopped on the right hand side of the road. About 20mtrs from the road, a young leopard was relaxing on a small rock. :dance: :dance: We spent quite some time with it. We found out later that the NASA telescope has one disadvantage. It can’t find things that are very close to the road. :tongue:

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We continued on in search of Klipspringers as we have always found them in this rocky area. They did not let us down.

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Just before we reached the S29, we had another traffic jam. Lions had killed a Giraffe, but they had gone missing from the scene. We waited for some time, but nothing was moving and we like others decided to go. Just as we started to move, a lioness appeared through the bushes behind the kill. She did a circuit around the giraffe, then flopped down, rolled on her back and played with the neck. She then started to feed.

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When we left, we came across another yellow ribbon. It was TonyT. We arranged to meet the next day along with RayK.

At reception we were given tent #’s 27,28,29. We were told that #29 was not ready, as the people had overstayed their departure time. When we got to the tents, staff were busy emptying the contents in to a bakkie. As the last remaining staff member was finishing the cleaning of the tent, the previous occupants returned from a drive, and headed to the tent with their groceries. Boy did they get a shock. :shock: All their belongings were gone (as it turned out) from the tent they were still booked into. Somehow their booking for that night (they had been there for 6 days) had overlapped our booking & accommodation request. They had only booked several weeks before, where we had 11 months before. They left without any problems.

At 16.45 we took a short drive down the H4-2, before returning and going to the takeaway for our evening meal.

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Roads travelled - H1-3, H10, H4-1 & H4-2.

Sightings in order - RayK & “family”, Wildebeest, Guinea Fowl, Zebra’s, Bushbuck, Kudu, Waterbuck, Giraffe, Steenbok, Warthogs, Impala, Vultures, Vervets, Abdims Stork, Elephants, Bateleur Eagle, Leopard in tree, Steppe Buzzard, Young Leopard on rock, Burchells Coucal, 3 x Klipspringer, Duiker, 2 x Rhino, 1 x Rhino, Lion at Giraffe kill, 1 x Rhino, TonyT, Hippo’s, Crocodiles, Hyaena & Slender Mongoose.

lp :D on behalf of prings


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 Post subject: Re: AUSSIES ON THE PROWL IN KRUGER FOR 36 DAYS
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:03 pm 
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Day #25 19th September - Lower Sabie

A Stroll in the bush, Search for a Buff Killer, Mini Meet and The Heroic actions of the “Godfather” to Save his Fellow Passengers on the Sunset Drive.

We awoke early this morning, as lp & I were booked on a walk. Yesterday we told RayK & family about it. They went to see if it was fully booked, and it was. During the night the wind picked up and became chilly. When we arrived at the departure point, there were a number of people waiting & arriving. We wondered who would be on the walk with us. CAN YOU GUESS? :hmz: People boarded the truck for the morning drive, and when we looked at who was left to go on the walk, we knew them straight away. YES it was lp & me. :huh: The other 6 softies had cancelled because of the change in weather. It is a pity that the reception does not have a standby list for when this happens. We were sad to be on the walk that Ray & family could have been on.
Our guides :sniper: on the walk were Irving and someone by the name of MARTIE, whoever she is! We walked near the junction of the S128 & S30.
On the way out I spotted a Serval, but it did not want to stay around. The walk was fairly quiet as a result of the wind, but it was great to be out in the bush. We found a discarded snake skin, heard a lion roaring & tried to find it(with no luck), 2 x Klipspringer & a Rhino in the distance.
We returned to camp & found that Katie had a visit from unwanted visitors who were not in the Tented area. As she was still handicapped with the plaster cast, she was still in bed when she heard movement on her tent deck. She hobbled out to investigate, only to find 4 people who had set themselves up on the deck & chairs to view the river. :evil: They left very quickly. They must have been deaf, not to hear Katie bashing & banging with her plaster & sticks. This intrusion of our personal space at the tents happened on a couple of times.

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We decided to drive to Nkuhlu and see if we could locate the Buff Killer, who is decimating the Buffalo population in the area. Yes we were looking for Wacktazz & his Buff Pies. Once again he was missing in action. Probably out obtaining some more fresh Buff meat. We then formed a small mini meet, in advance of our Lower Sabie mini meet arranged for later in the day. There also(apart from our party) was DB, Hawk & RayK and his family. DB’s MOD role kicked in, and she went and left a message for Wacktazz, in essence that he had let the side down. We had a buff pie, and took shots of Ray and his evidence for the Buff Club. :cam: We then headed back to Lower Sabie to prepare for the mini meet & Sunset drive.

At 15.30 we held a mini meet on the Restaurant Deck. In attendance there was RayK, Colette, Danielle, John(USA), prings, lorrainepring, Mcfluffy, gudge, Brook(Australia), TonyT & SO(RSA), Bushbaby & SO(RSA). We all had a good time & swapped many stories. Like all good things, time came for those of us(Aust & USA) to go on the sunset drive.

Our guide on the drive was Robert. It was a very good drive with some great sightings. Some of the sightings on the drive were, Lions at kill, Serval, Civet, Rhino, Jackal, Hyaena, Martial Eagle, plus various general game. We also had a Leopard who walked beside the road for quite a few minutes. We also observed a quiet period with the truck & lights turned off. The magic of the stars & bush sounds was incredible.

The most important part of the drive, was the unselfish actions & bravery of one of our own Forumites. RayK. :clap: :clap: We were on the S29 approaching the Mlondozi lookout road, when suddenly we had some elephants right beside us. They just appeared as ghosts out of the dark. We waited for a little while to see what they would do. However one of them did not like us there and decided to take action. Robert(the guide) realized this, and started to drive away. The Elephant concerned charged(trumpeting) the truck and only just missed the rear corner of the truck. The only reason it missed, was the evasive action of Robert in swinging the truck sideways. :clap: :clap:

Now I must describe the actions of RayK inside the truck, whilst all this was happening outside the truck & in the driver’s cabin. With Ray being a Father & a “Godfather” his senses of preservation kicked in. Seeing the actions that the Elephant was about to take, Ray threw himself to the corner that the Elephant was approaching. He pulled the closest people away and put himself between them and the threat. The people nearest to the Elephant where so transfixed on what was happening, they did not know what Ray was about to do to protect them. When the truck stopped safely away from the Elephant, everyone was cheering for Ray and his bravery.
AH what a story. The real truth is that Ray was sitting near the front of the truck & hiding under a blanket to keep warm. All the noise was the excitement of the passengers from the near miss.
As I promised Ray, I would make you out to be a hero!

Roads travelled - H4-2, S28, H10, H4-1 & S29.

Sightings going to and from walk – Serval, Hippo’s, large herd Zebra’s & Wildebeest, Giraffe and Little Bee Eater.
Sightings on way to and from Nkuhlu - Hippo’s, Waterbuck, Impala, Elephants, Giraffe, Kudu, Guinea Fowl and Baboons.

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Last edited by prings on Sun Feb 14, 2010 3:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: AUSSIES ON THE PROWL IN KRUGER FOR 36 DAYS
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 3:39 am 
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Photographic evidence can be found here.
viewtopic.php?f=27&t=37742" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
September 19th post

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 Post subject: Re: AUSSIES ON THE PROWL IN KRUGER FOR 36 DAYS
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 4:39 am 
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Day #26 Sunday 20th September Lower Sabie

A Day of Relaxation, Frightening Sight & a Good Buffet Lunch.

Today we decided to take it easy, as we had to relocate in the morning via Nelspruit. The morning started ok, until another unwanted visitor decided to make himself comfortable on Katie’s deck. The reason for the visitor’s using the deck of #28 is the view. At the time of this person making their decision to use Katie’s deck, I was in the shower. WRONG DECISION to make! Katie asked him to leave, but he refused. Lorraine heard Katie and checked to see what was going on. Lorraine questioned his decision and also asked him to leave. This was answered with defiance, and the words “I have every right to be here, as I am staying in the camp”. Lorraine then started to raise her dulcet tones, and explained why he should not be there. This was still met with defiance & backchat. WRONG MOVE. The Gentle Giant in the shower heard the raised voices over the water flow, and turned into the SWAMP MONSTER. The SM appeared at the tent window, only partially wrapped in a towel with water dripping everywhere. The SM then let out a roar, that would have made the local lion pride cringe in fear. The unwanted visitor was then subjected to a broadside of vocabulary about his actions. Still somewhat defiant, the unwanted was then faced with the SM exiting the tent and enforcing the order to move. Trust me this SM was not a PRETTY SIGHT. :redface: On his departure, the unwanted made a point of taking photos of the van & registration. :cam: Must have wanted reminders of his “near death” experience.

Today was also a sad day for us, as the Godfather & Family left Lower Sabie for their last night in Berg en dal & Kruger. Ray, Colette, Danielle & John, it was a true pleasure to have met and to spend some time with you. We hope that we have the opportunity to do it again. :clap: :clap:

Mid morning we decided to drive to Nkuhlu to try once again to find the mystic Buff Hunter, Wacktazz. Another failed mission yet again. It was not a lost cause, as we had noted yesterday, they did a Sunday Buffet. We decided to partake. It was well worth the money. :thumbs_up: The words used on several occasions, were “do you want more”. Well fed, we headed back to Lower Sabie to start to pack for tomorrows travels.
At 17.15 we decided to go in search of our first ever sighting of an elusive member of the big 5. Yes we were in search of a Black Rhino. We had been given information as to where one hangs out by Martie. So we set off along the H4-1 towards Skukuza with high hopes in our heart. Well our hopes dropped as we had gone past the area that we were told. It was often seen past the Lubyelubye Bridge. We decided to continue on, but all of a sudden Katie spotted it. :thumbs_up: I quickly turned around and returned to the spot Katie had seen it. The Gods had smiled on us, and we watched it for about 10 minutes before it moved off into the reeds & growth of the river. :cam: :popcorn: We had it all to ourselves, as all the traffic was searching the opposite riverbank about 5 k’s toward Lower Sabie for lions.
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I forgot to report in yesterday’s report, an incident as we were leaving the Take away after our drive. Between the shop and reception, there is a display area. Part of this display is a crocodile Skull. There are also display boards in the area, which can obscure the crocs head depending on where you stand. As we were leaving at 21.00, we noticed a person sitting beside the skull with a backpack and acting very strange. He seemed to be putting something in his bag. I stopped and watched him, but he then made out he was just sitting there. We started to move off, but I decided to go back to see what he was doing. He was at the teeth in the skull. He stopped when he saw me and made out he was still just sitting there. This time I moved away out of sight, but came back to a position to watch without him seeing me. He was removing teeth and putting them in his bag. All of a sudden the Swamp Monster surfaced and bellowed “What are you doing. Get away from there”. I was met with the following answer “I am a dentist and having a look at the teeth”. :hmz: I then asked him to explain why he was pulling some teeth out and putting them in his bag. All of a sudden he could not understand English. I advised him to leave. As we left, he headed up the path from Reception in the direction of the Bungalow/Camping section. His body language said that he would probably return after we had left. This made us make the decision to walk up to the Gate and report the matter to the Ranger on duty. He thanked us, and said it would be checked. As we headed down the dirt road back into the Tents, the Ranger was walking down towards the Reception. :thumbs_up: :clap:
Upon inspection this morning only 2 teeth were missing, so the Rangers appearance must have done the trick.

Roads travelled - H4-1 & H4-2.

Sightings for the day - Elephants, Hippo’s, Warthogs, Impala, Ibis, Kudu, Nyala, Baboons, Buffaloes near Nkuhlu(must be the lucky or smart ones), Vervets, Guinea Fowl, Waterbuck’s, LBR, Giraffe, Fish Eagle & Black Rhino.
From the tent at night - Hyaena & Civet.

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 Post subject: Re: AUSSIES ON THE PROWL IN KRUGER FOR 36 DAYS
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 11:25 am 
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Thank you for all your comments.
I now make you all a promise :thumbs_up:

Owing to a Major Event happening in March, we will be subjected to an enforced Communication Blockout period. This is an International Legal requirement, in the interests of Safety & Security. It is unknown how long this Blockout period will last. This is brought about owing to the amount of involvement required in the event. This Blockout will subsequently affect the entire family.

With the above in mind, i will have the trip report finished by the end of next week. :popcorn:

President Obama is visiting Australia in March. A busy time for me :dance: :dance:

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 Post subject: Re: AUSSIES ON THE PROWL IN KRUGER FOR 36 DAYS
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 1:15 pm 
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Day # 27 21st September - Lower Sabie – Nelspruit – Biyamiti

A Trip to civilization and back, just to upset a Specialist.

Today we had to relocate to Biyamiti via the specialist in Nelspruit. As we had to be at the specialist a bit after 10.00, we were up early to finish packing the van. I had pre-packed what I could last night. We had a good last look at the water from the tents, and then set off for Crocodile Bridge. We left Crocodile Bridge and headed for Nelspruit via Komatipoort. Just as we left the park they were burning some cane fields, so we stopped and watched the flames. We arrived at Nelspruit and found a nice little coffee shop for a delightful breakfast. :D
It was then time to go to the Nelspruit Medi-Clinic for Katie to find out about her leg injury. It turned out to be a happy & sad time for the 2 participants. The Orthopaedic Surgeon looked at the x-rays, removed the cast and tested her leg & ankle. His comments were “there is no break here, just a severe sprain with ligament and tendon damage. I was looking forward to a nice juicy operation”. :(
We then had to go down to the Orthopaedic Prosthetist to have an ankle brace fitted, and get a new set of crutches. R2100 later and we were ready to head back to Kruger via Malelane.
We stopped in Malelane for some lunch and to get some supplies. A bit after 14.00 we entered back through Malelane gate. We were told that there were some lions on the S110 to Berg en dal. So we thought that we would give it a go, before going on to Biyamiti. Never found the lions, but found a Leopard having a sleep in the sand of a gully. :cam:
We then headed for Biyamiti, and came across a rare event for us. Several kilometers of the S25 was being graded ahead of us. Great to drive on a smooth dirt road. As we were approaching the Biyamiti turn off, we could see that a fire was burning towards the camp. As we got closer to the camp on the S139, we found a fire burning along the opposite bank for a couple of kilometers. We arrived in camp to the smell of the fire & smoke. We settled in to relax for the evening, and to watch the display of the fire in the dark as it burnt opposite the camp. It burnt itself out through the night. It was not a deliberate burn.

Roads travelled H4-2, N4, H3, S110, S114, S25 & S139

Sightings - Giraffe, Impala, Francolin, Kudu, Elephants, Fish Eagle, Warthog, Steenbok, LBR, Burchels Coucal, Brown Snake Eagle, Rhino, Vultures, Long-crested Eagle, Yellow-billed Kite, Leopard, Guinea Fowl, Lion, Grader, Water Bucks, Buffalo’s, Purple Roller & Woodpecker.


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 Post subject: Re: AUSSIES ON THE PROWL IN KRUGER FOR 36 DAYS
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:56 am 
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Day # 28 22nd September Biyamiti

Another Kick in the Guts for Katie. :evil:

Today we decided to take it easy, with a drive to Afsaal to partake in some Peppermint Crisp Pancakes. :dance: We did not rush to go, so decided to have a lazy breakfast at our bungalow. Katie, Cam & Brook came over from their bungalow to have it together. As we had breakfast the cleaning Ladies came & we told them to clean their bungalow so they would have no one in their road. As it transpired, BIG MISTAKE. We spent time watching the bird & animal activity in and outside the camp until it was time to go to Afsaal.
At about 10.30 we headed off. It was a slow sighting drive, but very peaceful.

We arrived at Afsaal and ordered our “lunch”. On arrival we found Jappie the manager, very happy that a coffee espresso machine had arrived and was being installed. After talking to him for a while I returned to the table, only to find Katie very upset and crying. I thought something must have happened to her recently freed leg. She advised me that a considerable amount of Rand was missing from her bag. When she took out her purse, the back secured section was open. This is where she kept her spare money that she replenished the “spending” section with when required. As Katie had no job to go home to, she kept a daily track of her spending & balance, just like a squirrel with its nuts. This on top of her bad luck earlier in the trip was just about the last straw for her. We headed back to Biyamiti to report the incident, as we had lost interest in a drive, and the Swamp Monster was blowing smoke. :evil: :twisted:

I will not say much more here about the reaction and way the report was handled, only to say it was very unprofessional and involved conflicting statements from different camp staff. We were asked to do a report, and told that we would have to go to Skukuza Police Station in the morning to report it. It was said in a tone, hoping we would probably not do it, as all the staff there were totally trusted. :shock: WRONG! :redface:

We stayed in for the rest of the day and watched for activity outside. We saw a couple of Hyaenas, and Lorraine saw a vanishing bum & white tipped tail.

Roads Travelled - S139, S114, H2-2, H3, S113 & S23.

Sightings - Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Brown-headed Parrot, Grey Hornbill, Duiker, Rhino, Kudu, Giraffe, Impala, Rhino, Warthog, Grey Heron, Rhino, Cocqui Francolin, Steenbok, Waterbuck, Baboons, Klipspringer, Kingfisher with fish, Egret, Giant Kingfisher, Bateleur, Elephants, Hoopoe, Leopard Bum & Tail and 2 Hyaenas.

7851
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