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 Post subject: My name is Maddie, and I am addicted to Kruger. (Oct trip)
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 5:20 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2007 11:01 am
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Location: Scotland
Hi all,

This is my first trip report so bear with me, especially when it comes to photo posting.
A little preamble about me and SO Mark. We both live in Glasgow, Scotland. We love to travel and see the world particularly wildlife trips. We "used" to try different places all the time but when Mark booked a surprise trip for my 40th birthday a couple of years ago we became hooked! Mark will want me to point out he's not reached this magic number quite yet. This was our 5th trip, the others were in late January '07,08,09 and also May '08. Previously they were all for 6 nights so this was our first two week trip. We had booked up in early July but couldn't get the accomodation/camps we would have ideally wanted so we took what we could get and changed it where we could nearer the time. This was also the first time we requested by email specific bungalow numbers in some camps, which as you will see worked out very well for us!

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Desperate for my next Kruger fix!!!


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 Post subject: Re: My name is Maddie, and I am Kruger addict. (Oct trip)
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 6:22 pm 
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Day 1 Saturday 3rd Oct

Left a wet and windy Glasgow airport after and hours delay and headed off to London, Heathrow arriving late afternoon for our overnight flight with South African airlines. We were a bit hungry so headed to a restaurant appropriately called Giraffe. The flight was uneventful and we both got a bit of sleep. Mark a bit more than me which was good as the 'plan' was to hit the road (him driving) to the park as quick as poss.

Day 2 Sunday 4th Oct

Usual Jo'burg security hold ups but meant the bags did not take long to arrive. I waited for them and SO went to the loo. I had packed my sandals on the top of my bag so I could take my heavy trekking shoes off as soon as I could. I unlocked my bag and was shocked to see all my stuff had been rilfed through. Carrier bags had been ripped open and anything with a zip was lying open. A small fan was broken and I couldn't tell what if anything was missing. It's a horrible feeling to know someone had been through your stuff - but what can you do. We decided to go as the carhire was waiting and we had to start our onward journey to Malalane gate. We got to the carhire and there was a mix up which I don't want to relive but suffice to say we won't be using the company again! After an hour we were on our way. Yeah!
As it was a Sunday morning the roads were quiet and we made good time. We always go the Shoemanskloof bit of the N4 and in January it is very lush and green. This was our first intro to the Saffie Spring/Summer and everything was so much more leafless and brown. We stopped in at Spar in Nelspruit for a few bits and pieces (no alcohol - guess cos it was a Sunday?) and were soon at the Malalane bridge (2.50pm). We always feel we leave all the stresses and any worries at the bridge, it's a great feeling knowing you will be out of contact with the rest of the world for two whole weeks.
We got out on the bridge as usual and spotted lots of crocs, a grey heron, egyptian geese, water thick knee and a white breasted cormorant.
After a quick pit stop and check in the barrier was lifted and we were in the park proper.Our first night was at Berg-en-Dal and we had arranged to meet and take the amazing Martie for dinner. We headed straight for camp only 12km's away but we saw impies, 4 giraffe, ellie, birds including several grey + yellow hornbills, red billed oxpeckers on the giraffe, fork tailed drongos, lilac braested rollers, magpie shrikes and lovely little blue waxbills. Just before the turn off for the camp a few vehicles were stopped on the right side of the road. What have they got...? flashes through you head. We asked and were told there was a leopard down on the ground. It was a steep banking down but after some cars leaving and a bit of manoevering there it was our first LOG! no pics. I could only see a bit of it's back, it was lying down - but it counts. Off to camp with big smiles. We were in camp just after 4pm and after picking up the key for number 27 we headed straight to find Martie. Her set up is great and she was sitting working away to up load pics for that days blog when we arrived. Although the plan was to take Martie out for dinner when she realised it was our first night in the park she said we must come to her for a braii - how could we refuse! We reached no. 27 and what a great spot with the fence in front of us. Before we could unload the car we spotted and ellie close to the fence and then another also coming along. What a greeting! So priorites came in and SO opened a beer and me a brutal fruit and we headed off to watch the ellies....
Martie had the fire going when we arrived a lovely sight. We gave her some of her favourite Hansa and a few snacks and in return she made us the most delicious aged steak, wors, baked pots and salad. WOW! I wish I could have the same again tonight. She is a great lady and we talked under the stars until after 10pm when it was time to say goodbye.
Here goes my first picture upload. Martie and I at the braii! Image Yeah, it worked!! With that it was off to bed for an early start the long way up to Skukuza...

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Desperate for my next Kruger fix!!!


Last edited by maddie2312 on Mon Jan 11, 2010 3:38 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: My name is Maddie, and I am addicted to Kruger. (Oct trip)
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 10:46 pm 
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Thank you all for your kind comments!
Micetta - We have used this carhire firm before and had no problems so will give them a break but won't be back to them.
Michelevictoria - hope you have a great trip. Unfortunately they don't have bag wrapping at Glasgow airport ( :hmz: poss business opportunity)

Day 3 Mon 5th Oct

Last night realised one thing that had been stolen from my bag.... my trusty alarm clock :evil: grrr. Fortunately i have an alarm on my mobile/cell phone so it was set for 5.15am. Once I get to Skuks I decided I would have to check what else is missing. No fuss in the mornings we were out the gate and on our long way round to Skukuza by 5.30am. We really liked the feel at Berg camp. We have had lunch several times before but our first stay over. The bungalow was spacious with the kitchen inside, divided from the rest by a breakfast bar. The shower was also large and seperate from the toilet which was handy to speed things up! Great large bricked braii area. We will defo be back. Loved looking out to the fence.
The route was planned by Mark, the S110 loop then back to camp for a quick bite then back out and S120 over to the S121 and along the S25, S108 then on to the tar of the H4-2 and Lower Sabie for brunch. Mark also does all the photos and I do the video. He's got a new camera so this is it's first big outing.
Not far out the gate and we had our first encounter of ellie herd this trip, about twelve of them, all ages. Love watching the wee ones that are unsure when crossing the road but still find time to play with their trunks and try and co-ordinate their feet. Usually with a big sister or aunty helping them on their way across.
Image

Each time we come to the park we challenge ourselves with finding new things. More often than not this is birds. We wanted to try and find a new one each day. That didn't work out but we certainly saw some we hadn't for a while and added to our ID count. We also decided to do a mammal count this trip.
Mark's fav are the LBR which he captured in this great shot.
Image

We had saw many LBR's but the light was not always as good as this. Our bird tally increased with sightings of cape turtle doves, magpie shrikes, red breasted swallows back from their long journey, black headed oriole, yellow billed hornbills, natal francolins, kurrichane thrush, helmeted guinea fowl and 3 beautiful white fronted bee eaters :D . Mammals also had a fab start with 3 squirrels, mum and young giraffe, grey duiker, 2 bushbuck, 3 kudu, Mark also spotted 3 ellies very high up a hill which looked unusual (must be something tasty up there) Sadly we also saw a dead dwarf mongoose that had not made it across the road. :( . On a happier note once we turned on to the tar we stopped at our first rhino siting all six of them, a kindly man told us there was 2 male lions under a tree about 5kms back towards Croc Bridge. Staving off hunger we decided we would go down and see if we could find them cos you never know if you will get another chance. We did find them although they were flat cats and no good pics for us. We headed back up the road and spotted a yellow ribbon! It was Stu from England, his SO and Aunt. It was great to see our 2nd YR. We told him about the lions and if you look at his trip report you will see he got a great pic. Well done Stu! & good to meet you. We pulled in to LS later than intended but isn't that always the case. It was now time for brunch. It was busy so we decided to grab a takeaway pie and I went to the shop for the biltong and cold drinks. We then headed back to eat them at Sunset Dam and the hippos. Next the pm journey to Skukuza...

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Desperate for my next Kruger fix!!!


Last edited by maddie2312 on Mon Nov 09, 2009 7:48 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: My name is Maddie, and I am addicted to Kruger. (Oct trip)
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2009 12:23 pm 
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hi maddie
great start brings the memories flooding back new camera or not looks as though mark has got it sorted great :cam: look forwrad to next installment :clap:


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 Post subject: Re: My name is Maddie, and I am addicted to Kruger. (Oct trip)
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2009 12:33 pm 
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Hi Maddie

Good of you to finally share a trip with us :lol:

regards to Mark.
:popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: My name is Maddie, and I am addicted to Kruger. (Oct trip)
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2009 1:21 pm 
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Excellent start Maddie (Pang) - I will look forward to catching up on the next chapter or 10 when I can. Keep posting! did you see the lions on drive this morning?

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NO BAIL - JAIL AND NO TRADE IN RHINO HORN EVER!
NO TO BUILDING OF HOTELS IN THE KRUGER NATIONAL PARK
5.01.15 Somewhere
6.01.15 Elephant Walk Retreat
7.01.15 to 09.01.15 Satara
09.01.15 - 16.01.15 Ngwenya Lodge
The addiction is fed once again


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 Post subject: Re: My name is Maddie, and I am addicted to Kruger. (Oct trip)
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2009 3:51 pm 
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Wonderful start Maddie, and I look forward to the rest of this report as I have a feeling its going to be a good one. :dance:
So sorry about the loss from your luggage. :evil:

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 Post subject: Re: My name is Maddie, and I am addicted to Kruger. (Oct trip)
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:46 pm 
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Thank you Gemma, Joe, Lorraine, Elsa, Pumba and Stu for your encouragement and also to RichardJ who we met in Jan 09 at the 'infamous' buff v' lions v's rhino sighting (you can check out his report) Also Penny who I chat with on Wildearth.tv and has a vast knowledge from her many visits.


Day 3 cont

Got to Sunset but where were all the hippos? Hiding under the water I think as it was getting very hot! (30degrees++) There was however a large flock of yellow billed storks around the left side, the usual pied wagtails on the bank, with blacksmith plovers, a jacana, grey heron, cape glossies looking for peoples crumbs :evil: , there were also many terrapins and a hadeda ibis on a moving rock that turned out to be a hippos back!
Pies eaten, some biltong scoffed it was time to hit the road again. As we left there was a large male waterbuck with his five lovely ladies also taking lunch on the other side of the road. I love their wet, heart shape noses. They too looked hot in their thick coats.
We had some great sightngs again, we think mainly because of the time of year. When we have been in January we must drive past lots of things just sitting in the high lush grass or leafy trees. We discussed which was best ; more sightings or prettier scenery but decided both had their meritsand just being here at all is what matters. I love the sign off that one 'mite has "a bad day in Kruger is better than a good day at the office" How true!
On the way up we came across lots of impies, kudus, a bushbuck, 3 ellie herds with 8 -10 in each, duiker, many journeys of giraffe and two buff herds with 20+.
Some good bird seen too - especially nice a striped swallow group doing their aerobatics, a fish eagle, a brown snake eagle and a cute little bee-eater.
Here is one of the curious giraffe, looking down his nose at us!
Image

We eventually arrived at Skuks at 5.40pm - a full but great day.
We got our key for our riverside bungalow (no. 94) quickly and headed to the shop as we had decided to braii tonight and we needed supplies! There wasn't much meat left so we found a lamb rib thing? and yum yum wors! Mark picked up his Castle and me some fruity alcho pop things, Oh and a bag of wood. I haven't cooked on wood since I was in the Girl Guides age 13 and on previous visits used charcoal, but as Martie's braii tasted so much better we wanted the wood taste again. We are finding things much more expensive, since Jan we have 25% less Rand to £. :(

It was getting dusky by the time we arrived so we threw the bags in and got ourselves a drink to enjoy the last of the light.
Image
I started the fire while we still had some light left and here I'll make your mouth water!
Image
The seats outside no. 94 were wooden dining room chairs which was strange on the stoep. They are usually canvas or proper outdoor chairs.
We also became aware of several 'friends' getting their dinner with the help of our lights.
Image
After dinner and a few light libations more we decided to take a walk round camp. It was just after 9pm and although everyone talks about Skuks as big and noisy it has always been quiet (people wise) down at the river. Tonight was no exception apart from the loud crying of a bush baby in a tree in front of the restaurant. On shining the torch we noticed he had many friends with him, jumping around in the tree. It was great to stand and watch them.
We stayed up until after 10pm again just taking in the amazing bush sounds of frogs and owls. Time for bed dreaming of another day in paradise.....

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Desperate for my next Kruger fix!!!


Last edited by maddie2312 on Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: My name is Maddie, and I am addicted to Kruger. (Oct trip)
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:55 pm 
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Hey Maddie, just caught up with your TR. :clap: :clap: Lovely written and wonderful photos. I really like the giraffe :lol: Please continue soon :thumbs_up: :popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: My name is Maddie, and I am addicted to Kruger. (Oct trip)
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:30 pm 
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:clap: :clap: I am enjoying your TR Maddie. Please continue.

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 Post subject: Re: My name is Maddie, and I am addicted to Kruger. (Oct trip)
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:34 pm 
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and here I'll make your mouth water!
Not a view around dinner time; The usual looses taste :doh:


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 Post subject: Re: My name is Maddie, and I am addicted to Kruger. (Oct trip)
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:06 pm 
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Lovely installments again maddie, I hope that meat tasted as good as it looks :lol: :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: My name is Maddie, and I am addicted to Kruger. (Oct trip)
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 11:06 pm 
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Wonderful pic of the giraffe Maddie - looks soooo superior! We met the Bushbabies at Skuk too this August. Seemed to be more than last time.
Gemma

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 Post subject: Re: My name is Maddie, and I am addicted to Kruger. (Oct trip)
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 11:31 pm 
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This is starting off oh so well Maddie - must be great leaving this rotten dreary weather behind. Pics are great ....love the LBR's at he start.


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 Post subject: Re: My name is Maddie, and I am addicted to Kruger. (Oct trip)
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 11:38 pm 
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Hi Maddie. My name is Tina and I too am a UK Kruger addict, although haven't been there for 2 years. I get my fix reading TR's like yours! Hoping to go out in March if all goes according to plan. Love your photos - the baby ellies are so cute and the LBRs beautiful. Looking forward to reading more. :popcorn:

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