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 Post subject: Roaneric on a midweek break
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:10 pm 
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After a tough few months of exams and as a February birthday gift to my son and me, my husband bought us 2 plane tickets to South Africa. My son just turned 10 years old (and NO, I'm NOT going to tell you guys how many moons ago I was born :naughty: )

We decided to take a short midweek road trip to Kruger. 2 nights in Pretoriuskop, and 2 at Lower Sabie. I will sort out the photo's tonight and start with my 'short' TR tomorrow.

Till then Image
Marijke


Last edited by roaneric on Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Roaneric on a midweek break
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 12:15 pm 
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We flew to South Africa on Friday morning and were going to spend the weekend in Pretoria with our family. :dance: The flight went smoothly, except for arriving at the passport control at Johannesburg airport. There was a problem. My son’s surname is different than mine and they were wondering if he was my child… (The reason for this is that you don’t automatically have to take your husband’s surname when you get married here in Holland. If you do ‘for me as a South African’ it means that I have to change my passport, ID, Dutch residential permit ect.’ So for all these years I kept my maiden name.)

Luckily I had a copy of my marriage certificate with me, but even then, they were sceptic. :roll: After about 15 minutes of debating, they finally let me thru. My holiday in South Africa began and I looked forward to a nice weekend with my family. :dance:We enjoyed that very much and early Monday morning we were on our way to Kruger.

Day 1…Monday morning…February 22nd

We picked up our rental car in Pta early morning and headed off to Numbi gate. This was the first time I went to Kruger without my husband. My son enjoyed the ‘alone’ time with me and felt like HE was the man on this trip. He helped me to navigate, and decided which road to take. He also told me a couple of times that I have to keep inside the speed limit.Image I enjoyed every minute of that. It’s amazing how GREEN everything is. It’s really beautiful.

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We arrived at Numbi gate at about 14:45. Wow, it was so HOT. When we left Holland it was about 2˚C and today it was at least 32˚C. Check in went fast and we were both so excited to be in Kruger, we didn’t drove faster than 15km per hour. Windows open smelling the air, listing to the nature sounds and searching for our fist animals. Unfortunately the only things we saw the 9km towards Pretoriuskop, was long grasses, a pile of elephant dung full of marula fruits, and some starlings.
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Just as we were worried that Impala’s were all eaten by predators, we drove thru pretoriuskop’s gate and saw some impalas grazing inside camp. I like pretoriuskop very much. It's such a quiet beautiful camp.
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We got the keys to hut number 63. Nice little hut and space enough for the 2 of us.
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It was right in front of the wolhuters hut that was build in1930.

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We unpacked our luggage and as it was so hot, we decided to try out the pool. There were baboons everywhere, so we were a bit cautious. They have very big teeth. :shock:
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The water was great, the sky was blue, the sun was shining and we had the time off our lives. Suddenly I felt something swimming past me.Image I almost jumped out when I saw it was a tiny little tortoise. (Terrapin) We were fascinated by him, and It looked like he knew his way around the swimming pool.

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But I was a bit worried. I don’t think the water chemicals are good for the little guy. So later on that afternoon I went to the reception and told them about the terrapin, but they said he would be fine and that they are going to leave him there. :?

As we were enjoying the pool, a big baboon jumped on the bench where our clothes and my bag were standing, ripping open my bag and grabbed the bag of chips inside. Yelling didn’t help, and in a matter of seconds the whole gang was with him and the chips were gone.Image There were some more goodies inside my bag, and I had to stand guard to keep them from coming back, so we decided to go for another drive.

We took the H1-1 towards Shitlhavedam and the road was uneventful, except for 2 waterbucks, a southern black flycatcher and a a red crested korhaan eating a grasshopper.

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Back at camp we went to the restaurant and ordered some hamburgers and went to bed early. The temperatures are getting to us a bit and we were very tired. But before we went to bed, we saw the most beautiful stars and we were so grateful to be in Kruger once again.

To be continued....


Last edited by roaneric on Thu Mar 04, 2010 12:27 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Roaneric on a midweek break
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 1:43 pm 
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Thanks for your comments, Shi, Petra, salamanda, Sharifa and Duke. :lol:

The maroela dung was interesting indeed . Here's one more pic.
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Last edited by roaneric on Wed Mar 03, 2010 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Roaneric on a midweek break
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 1:08 pm 
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Day 2…Tuesday…23 February


I set the alarm for 5:00 this morning, and it’s surprisingly not hard to get up so early. It was nice and cool and after a quick cup of coffee and some ouma Rusks we left camp at 5:45.

Our eyes were still getting used to the bush as it was still a bit dark, when we saw a car standing still just about 3km outside camp. Roan jumped up and down as he was the first one to see the lions. It was a huge male and lioness lying lazy in the road.

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We were so happy and I felt like the paparazzi after taking about 50 photos. After a few minutes the female got up, followed by the male and mated right in front of our car. I was so excited to see this, not really realizing that my son didn’t know what they were doing. :? He looked at them and asked… "mom what are they doing?"
Immediately I blushed and said, they are just friendly to each other.Image
But he wasn’t satisfied with that answer, and with me still blushing I said "ask daddy when we get home. Daddy knows everything." Image Oh my, my son is growing up so fast.

The lions mated every few minutes. This little clip I made when they did it right next to our window. (18+)



And between the mating sessions, they were pretty exhausted .


The Jeep jockeys started coming in from the gate so we decided to move on and take the Albasini gravel road towards Phabeni and then the Doispane road towards Skukuza.

On the gravel road we saw some impala’s, baboons, dwarf mongooses, and about 25 white-backed vultures and one lappet-faced vulture. We stood there for a while, listening for clues in the bushes or to smell a carcass, but I think they were just waking up from a good night sleep.

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On the Phabeni Road we saw 2 cars next to the road looking and photographing something. I looked, and looked but couldn’t see anything in the tall grasses. I almost drove on; when the passenger in the car said I have to look ‘up’. And there it was. It was a beautiful leopard in the tree.

I jumped up and down of excitement. Wow what a beautiful sighting. My husband doesn’t believe leopards climb trees, because he has never seen one in a tree before, so I was very happy with my proof.

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We saw some giraffes, elephants, leopard tortoise, francolins and this little chameleon just before the turn-off to Lake Panic. It took this little guy about 15 minutes to cross the road.

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When we arrived at lake panic bird hide, my son was a bit sceptical to get out. We were the only people there, and he was afraid there will be a leopard inside the fence waiting to have an easy breakfast. So we decided to take along the binocular, camera and a wheel spanner from the boot.... for protection.Image

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Roan didn’t know if he wants to walk up front, (where the leopard can surprise him first) or behind me where the leopard will nibble on his heels.Image He then decided to walk in front, because he read in his predator book that a predator normally attack from behind. (My Hero)Image

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It was so nice and quiet inside. All the bird sounds, and some UN identified sounds as well. Roan got a small bird book from his grandma and he enjoyed himself very much, trying to identify the different species. This is the birds he identified… African darter, pied kingfisher, white faced ducks and this African jacana.

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jacana
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We continued our journey to Skukuza, where we had some breakfast and Roan enjoyed the wide range of toys and books at the shop. He bought a Kruger park passport and asked for his first stamp at the counter. He loves his passport.There's some nice info inside and he shows it to all his friends.

We took the Napi road (H1-1) back to Pretoriuskop, and had a quick stop at Granokop view point. I have to say it's an amazing view from up there. From the top we saw some impala’s, kudu's, elephant and giraffes thru the binoculars.

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At leeupan we saw kudus, waterbucks, warthogs, rhinos and some pretty nice birds. A carmine bee-eater, Jacobin cackoo, and 2 woolly-neck storks.

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We arrived at camp at about 14:00 and we decided to stay in camp for the rest of the afternoon, have a swim and early braai. It was a very lazy afternoon but we enjoyed ourselves tremendously. Roan (who was the man on this trip) wanted to start the fire. And I have to say, he did a pretty good job.Image

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After dinner, we took a stroll next to the fence. Roan thought he saw some eyes, and as we stood there with the flash light, we didn’t see much. We heard branches cracking and the 2 of us were very nervous. It was dark, and a few seconds went by when it was dead quiet.Image

The next minute the wind came up and blew some dead leaves behind us. We got such a big fright that we both yelled and ran back to our hut.Image I felt so silly.Image And Roan decided to forget about the night walks till next time when daddy is with us to protect us.

To be continued…


Last edited by roaneric on Sat Mar 06, 2010 9:40 am, edited 7 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Roaneric on a midweek break
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:09 am 
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Day 3…Wednesday…24 February

My alarm clock didn’t go off this morning. :slap: We were woken at about 6:45 by the sound of our neighbors car leaving. We jumped up, packed all our stuff in a record time and left Pretoriuskop at 7:15. :dance:

We took the napi road and via the N’watimhiri road. (S21) We were on our way to our next destination … Lower Sabie. The sun was already hot and the road was a bit uneventful. We saw a slender mongoose, some rhino’s, buffalo’s, a dark chanting goshawk and a wahlberg’s eagle.

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We stopped at Transport dam for a while and saw baboons, 1 blue wildebeest, kudu’s, a grey duiker, ground hornbills, a tawny eagle, a fish eagle, a red backed strike and a crocodile but that’s about it. (sorry, no picture proof of the birds, they were all too far away )

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On the S21 we saw so little that we thought there must be something wrong with our eyesight. :roll: Luckily we reached the Lower Sabie tar road, and saw some impala’s and kudu’s.

Then we passed Sunset dam and saw these hippo’s playing in the cool water.

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After staring at them for a few minutes with envy, we couldn’t wait any longer and headed off to camp to check in quickly and then go for a swim ourselves.

At the reception I waited in line to check in, when I saw Martie (guide) walking by. It was nice seeing her again and when she told me she is doing the sunset drive, we booked 2 seats for us. I brought her a big chocolate form Holland, gave it to her and then got our keys for our hut (number 100).

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We loved our little hut, it was close to the pool, and ablutions were right behind us. Our luggage were unpacked quickly and we were off to the pool. We spend almost 3 hours there, swimming, reading, and listening to this little guy singing to us. Pure bliss.

Woodland kingfisher
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16:30 we quickly grabbed us something to eat and drink from the shop, and arrived at the game drive vehicles, all exited. :dance:

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What are we going to see tonight? After a short introduction we drove out and just as we left the gate, someone stopped Martie and told her about lions they saw on the second gravel road to our left. Yeah: dance:

On our way there we saw buffalo’s, a hippo grazing some impala’s, 2 fish eagles and off course a beautiful sunset.

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We arrived at the lions just a few minutes before it got dark. It was 3 huge males. They were very relaxed, walked down the road and even gave us a loud roar.

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Roan tried his best to make some decent photos but from the back it was not such a success. Martie saw it and asked if he wanted to sit next to her. He was thrilled. We stayed with the lions for a while, and then returned to camp.

On our way back we saw a steenbok and a quick glimpse of a Genet. But unfortunately he was too fast for a picture. And then, a few kilometers from camp we saw 7 lionesses and cubs walking down the road. :dance: :dance: :dance: (sorry, no decent pictures of that either)

We followed them for a while, and then suddenly they all stood still, smelling the air and looking to the right hand side. They probably smelled the buffalo's we saw earlier that night and we watched them as they split up and headed towards their next meal. :wink:

It was a very nice drive and the first time I ever done a sunset drive without a jacket or sweater. We headed back to our hut, and just before we turned in, Martie came by for a night cap and chat. It was a very nice way to end the day.

To be continued…


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 Post subject: Re: Roaneric on a midweek break
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:00 pm 
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Day 4…Thursday…25 February

This morning we woke up at 5 again and left camp exactly 5:30 when the gates opened. Roan was very tired and wanted to continue his sleep on the back seat. It was a misty morning. The clouds were hanging low over the mountains and there was a mystical atmosphere in the air.

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We had a quick stop at Sunset dam, but all was quiet there. We saw this huge buffalo and I wondered how he must feel so all alone. Pretty scary I think. We had a hard time choosing which road to take. We wanted to go to Tshokwane, and could go backwards (H10), or via skukuza. We decided to take the 'mountain road' (H10) as my son called it. First thing we saw was this big elephant. He was walking so slowly, I think he also had a hard time waking up this morning.

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We took the Mlondozi road (S29) and just before Roan fell asleep again, we saw 3 hyena's disappearing into the tall grasses. He was excited about this sighting, somehow hyena’s fascinate him.

On the way to Mlondozi picnic site, I only saw a few giraffes, impala’s, elephant, a wire-tailed swallow and a secretary bird. It was so quiet I fought to stay awake myself.

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We arrived at Mlondozi and were all alone. It is such a beautiful picnic spot. I left Roan sleeping in the car, and sat there all alone on a bench, looking at this magnificent landscape, listening to the birds and I felt so close to nature. It’s these moments I will never forget. You find peace within yourself. Really amazing. :)

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After an half hour or so, people were started coming in for breakfast. We left and took the H10 towards Tshokwane. I think we passed about 3 cars that whole way. I can’t remember the last time I experienced it so quiet down south. On that road we saw a rhino, a very cute and not shy slender mongoose, leopard tortoise, kudu’s, 2 playful klipspringers, an European roller, and an European bee-eater .

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Roan slept for almost 3 hours. He was so tired, not used to the heat and standing up so early. We stretched our legs at Orpen dam. This is also one of my favourite stops to make. We saw this beautiful black-shouldered kite there. It’s really a beautiful bird.

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We met some Dutch people there and we had a nice chat with them. They left LS the same time as we this morning and saw wild dogs on the LS - Skukuza roadImage They were in the road…killing a impala. :mrgreen:
Oh well, maybe next time.


After a quick stop at Tshokwane, we took the H1-2 road to skukuza and then the Lower Sabie road back to camp. We didn’t see much, except for impala’s, another woodland kingfisher and this ellie trying to play with these cars.



At Nkulu we were very excited. We were about to try our very first “famous buffalo pie” :dance: We heard that this was the best pie in kruger, and after tasting it, ‘I HAVE TO AGREE' :clap: :clap: :clap: yummy

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Our tummies were full and we continued back to lower Sabie. We were over heated and wanted to go for a swim. On our way we saw some dung beetles.

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They were working so hard and I used the opportunity to tell Roan all I know about dung beetles. Next week he have a to make a speech in class about something, and he decided to talk about kruger and few animals who lives in it. He wants to mention the dung beetles as well. :thumbs_up: He found them interesting and funny.

But as we stood there, looking at them, and taking pictures, a car came chasing by and killed this little beetle. :( Roan was very upset and so was I. With tears in his eyes he said we should leave quickly before another car comes along who want's to pass us and maybe kill more dung beetles. :cry:

We arrived at camp and went looking for Martie. She invited us for tea this afternoon, but when we got there she had to step in for someone else and go to a meeting. So we decided to go on another sunset drive with her that evening. We rested a bit, went for a swim and had a quiet afternoon. The temperatures reached over 36 degrees and the clouds were hanging very low. We saw some lightning and a few raindrops fell, but nothing more than that.

We were first at the game drive vehicle and sat in front this time. There was a lot of Dutch people on the drive this time.

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We passed the sunset dam and saw some hippo’s, yellow-billed storks and marabou storks. Martie took a private road that is called the rhino road (I think?) and indeed, we saw lots and lots of white rhinos. We also saw zebra’s, giraffes, warthogs, buffalo, vultures and impala’s.

Just before it got dark, we saw a family of black-backet jackal. Unfortunately my camera didn’t want to focus that well, but here is one pic. anyway.

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When It got dark, Martie saw a tree frog and chameleon in the trees. Amazing how well she can spot these little creatures in the dark. She also shown us a few hares, a fish eagle, nightjars and once again we got a quick glimpse of a genet. :dance:

The big predators were not showing themselves to us, but the atmosphere was amazing. In the middle of the bush, Martie stopped the truck, turned off the lights and asked us to be quiet for a few minutes.

WOW WOW WOW. :clap: How amazing is that. :clap: Pitch dark, dead quiet in the truck and only the night sounds around us. In the distance we could hear a hyena and I got goose bumps. I’m so glad I’m not a impala. Image It’s too scary at night.

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We caught up with that hyena just before we arrived at camp. He was certainly on a mission. We returned to camp and Martie came by our hut one last time before we left. We had a lovely evening and sat on the veranda till passed 22:00. She had some amazing stories to tell about her live in Kruger, and I admire her cheerful spirit. I hope to see her again on our next trip to Kruger in October. :wink:

To be continued...


Last edited by roaneric on Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Roaneric on a midweek break
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 6:47 pm 
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Day 5…Friday…26 February

This was our last sunrise in Kruger for this trip. The alarm clock went off at 6:00 and we reluctantly pack our bags. We said our goodbyes to Lower Sabie and wanted to leave the park at Kruger gate. It was still early and we drove as slowly as we could. Enjoying Kruger for the last few hours. On our way we saw baboons, fish eagle, common sandpiper, hippo’s, and buffalo’s.

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We stopped at Nkulu for a quick breakfast. Only a few minutes after we left Nkulu we saw 2 cars standing still. There was a beautiful leopard in the tree. We couldn’t believe our luck. LIT (leopard in tree) twice. Now I can finally be part of the LIT club.

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We stood there for a few minutes but we had to move on quickly. Our rental car had to be returned at 16:00 in Pretoria. We passed the Sabie Bridge close to skukuza and saw these funny baboons. They were the laziest baboons ever.

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This little one was a ‘tired mom’s’ nightmare. While mom was sleeping, he sneaked up to her and suddenly poked his finger in her eye. She was not happy with him and gave him a smack. Roan was hysterical. He couldn’t stop laughing. Image

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Naughty boy
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On that note we took the last few kilometers to the Kruger gate. We saw this brown snake-eagle and only a few hundred meters further we saw this snake crossing the road. I think it’s a black mamba?

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We were talking about our next trip and as we drove slowly, my eye caught a huge male lion in the grasses next to me. I stepped on the brake so hard, Roan almost ended up on the dashboard. It was a beautiful lion and lioness. We were all alone for about 10 minutes before someone else came along. And before you knew it, there was dozens of cars.

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What a way to leave Kruger. We left thru the gates with a bit of sadness, but also with a smile on our faces. As we waved Paul Kruger good bay, we were already excited about our next trip in October.

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Thanks for reading my Trip Report and till next time.Image


Last edited by roaneric on Sun Mar 07, 2010 7:12 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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