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 Post subject: Our 2010 Visits to KRUGER
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 2:24 pm 
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April - Part 1.

Eventually it was 03:00, 12 April 2010, Lanette’s birthday and we were on our way to KRUGER PARK, our third visit this year.

We hit the fog near Oogies and had to drive very carefully until it cleared near Machadodorp, we saw the sunrise at Waterval Boven, and then knew we were getting closer.

We had coffee and a bit of our padkos at Halls and then went to visit Peter Davies; here we chatted and laughed and drank coffee and chatted and laughed and talked and drank coffee about days gone by, we left with the promise to come around again.

Then off to Oom Johan Kloppers who started as a Game Ranger in Kruger in 1955 and eventually retired as Assistant Director – Nature Conservation during 1992. Here we also laughed and talked about the early days. Eventually we just had to leave, with so much still to be talked about.

The road was reasonably quiet and soon we saw the Kudu Emblem indicating Malelane Gate. We stopped and purchased a bit of fruit and also were given a bonzella of two huge Grapefruit.

As we crossed the bridge over the strong flowing Crocodile River, I felt the stress leaving my body and disappearing in the waters heading for the Indian Ocean.

As usual the reception at the Gate was friendly and very welcoming. The gravel roads were accessible again and we drove along the S118 and S114 and the S21 to our destination. The undergrowth was dense and beautifully green; the flowers greeted us with colourful smiles.

We came across a few Impala and Zebra and a few lonely Elephants and then a huge herd of Buffalo near Nhlotini.

We stopped at Lubyelubye and checked for the Lions, we did not see them. Then at Sunset Dam we saw a few Hippos and some Impala.

We arrived at Lower Sabie at about 16:50 checked in went to our tent – no 19 – it is well kept and also well equipped.

The Bulbuls were chatting their kwit-kwit-kwit, while a Yellow spotted Nicator was filling in the background notes.

Lanette said that she did not want to go to the restaurant for her birthday supper, and sent me on all little errands.

When all was done she called me and we enjoyed a well prepared meal of Prawns Peri-Peri, followed by big helpings of Ice Cream and hot chocolate sauce together with the bottle of ice cold JC le Roux which we had brought from home.

We washed the dishes and sat on the veranda watching the dusk turn to dark, close by the Egyptian Geese were having an argument about who was going to nest where, while the Baboons also seemed to have something worrying them.

We eventually turned in after a nice warm shower and listened to the arguments still going on outside across the Sabie River, this went on all night.

We also heard the far off call of a lonesome Jackal as well as the cackling and whooping of some Hyaenas. The King was also proclaiming his domain near the Lebombo Mountains; it was just wonderful being here again, we dozed and listened and dozed and listened.

The Scopsies chatted their ‘cru,cru,cru all through the evening and just before the Francolin announced the new day with their “krraae-krraae-krraae”, the little Fiery necked Nightjars also made their presence known by pleading “good Lord deliver us”.

Coffee in the early dawn on the eastern part of the old Transvaal always just seems to taste a bit better than at home. . . . .

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: Our 2010 Visits to KRUGER
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 6:22 pm 
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Part 2.

The car was soon loaded and off we went, on our way to Tshokwane.

We approached the Sabie Bridge and saw the following:

Image

We crossed the bridge and saw a full Sabie River running in full force.

Image

We turned off on the S29 and admired the wonderful greens, we do not always realise how blessed we are by the Great Creator, we again turned off, onto the S122 and then onto the H10, we saw Francolin and Grouse and Rollers

and Bee Eater.

Image

And these Rhinos.

Image

and this Elephant.

Image

the same one through the right hand rear view mirror.

Image

and this Rhino.

Image

and this Giraffe.

Image

And Steenbok and Impala and Kudu and Zebra and Blue Wildebeest.

We stopped at the Nkumbe Lookout; the valley below was green and here and there an animal came in view.

Closer by it was a different story, I just for the love of life cannot understand why smokers drop their cigarette ends just anywhere, they seem to expect that someone else will come and clean up after them. . . . .the lookout was in a shocking state.

Then off to Tshokwane where all was neat and tidy and the ablutions spotless. We had a bite to eat and then drove off to the Rangers Post to drop off a parcel for Steven.

Then onto the H1-2 where we had the terrible sighting which is described elsewhere.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: Our 2010 Visits to KRUGER
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:36 pm 
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Location: VEREENIGING
Part 3.

We quietly drove on, not saying much, past the Kruger Tablets and the Orpen Memorial and then turned right on the S36 to Jones’ Dam. Where we saw the following:

These two Rhinos

Image

And this group

Image

All at Jones’ Dam.

And these Bee eaters

Image

For the first time in very many years we saw the Sand River flowing, what a wonderful sight.

At the Sand River Bridge there was a troop of Baboons causing a road block, amusing many onlookers.

The growth was very dense, apart from a few magnificent Impala, and Buffalo relieving their aches and pains in the cool Sabie waters, there is not much to mention.

We arrived at Lower Sabie and had a well deserved rest.

Later the afternoon we drove along the H4-2 towards Crocodile Bridge and saw the following in the dry bed of the Vurhani.

Image

And this Brown Headed Parrot

Image

Upon our return I lit the fire for our customary braai, the Windhoek was nice and cold and the wife mentioned that her sun downer was also quite good.

After supper we sat outside and just listened to the symphony of the African bush, while softly discussing our Napi hike where Lanette and David (our children) would join us and where we would again make some new friends.

Orion was out hunting and the Southern Cross and the stars indicating Cancer were brighter than ever, the Milky Way seemed a bit closer or maybe we were a bit closer to them, I have always been convinced that KRUGER is closer to heaven than most other places.

Tuesday evening seemed quieter than the previous, maybe the Geese had settled their arguments, and even the Baboons seemed to be more relaxed.

However the Hippos still made their grunts, we even heard some chomping on the reeds below our tent, the night vision equipment eventually picked up the green reflection of one of these huge animals.

In bed we listened to the Scopsies, they always seemed to just bring a peaceful resolve over me and then I drifted off dreamland . . .

All too soon the bush alarm went of sounding “tjee-tjakla, tjee-tjakla, tjee-tjakla and “krrdi-krrdi, krrdi-krrdi followed by “kek-kek-kek-kek-kek”.

The coffee and rusks was as good as ever and the steam coming of the water just added that bit of mystery to the African bush.

While loading the vehicle my wife took this photograph

Image

while the Bulbuls and White eyes and Barbets and Babblers and this Yellow Billed Hornbill

Image

were doing their best to attract our attention.


Then we set off for Pretoriuskop where we would start the Napi . . . .

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: Our 2010 Visits to KRUGER
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:45 pm 
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Part 4.

We left camp and drove along and saw this Elephant

Image

and this little group

Image

Image

towards the Nwathimiri Road to Renosterkoppies and saw Impala and Zebra and this youngster

Image

And mother

Image

and this beautiful Lesser Grey Shrike

Image

and these Ground Hornbills

Image

Stopped for a while at Shirimantanga to just remember the First Warden whose ashes have been strewn here.

Then down along the S114, the bush was quite dense and then at the Biyamithi.

this happy crowd

Image

And this Hamerkop on the left hand side cooling off and doing its ablutions.

Image

And this young Crocodile

Image

And these Terrapins catching up on their tan

Image

We stopped at Afsaal and checked if the Scopsie was still there, it was

Image

and then just checking

Image


Then up the Voortrekker Road to Pretoriuskop, the bush was quite dense but we saw this White Rhino on a brackish spot

Image

And this inquisitive pair – also staring down at us

Image

Then the GPS mentioned that we have reached our destination.

We checked in and soon David and Lanettie arrived from Midstream, then Manish and Christina from Boston.

The familiar vehicle with the KUDU head on the door towing the white trailer arrived at the pick up point at 15:00 and we met Kallie and Saul and then Derek and Jackie from Green Point, completed the group, all was soon loaded and off we went . . . . .

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: Our 2010 Visits to KRUGER
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:32 am 
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Location: VEREENIGING
Part 5.

Everyone was excited. Christina and Manish told us what a wonderful experience they have had, going up to Letaba and then down to Pretoriuskop. Saw many Elephants but no calves – she would love seeing one. We were told that there is no place in the world comparable to KRUGER.

America has many National Parks, wildlife is limited to a few Bears and some Deer, maybe some Raccoons some birds and very little else – American National Parks are very commercialized and now are mainly there for landscapes – mountains, snow covered in winter, lakes and some uninhabited forests.

Listening to Christina, I once again realised how farsighted Paul Kruger was in 1898 when the Sabi Game Reserve was proclaimed, that the efforts of the old pioneers; Col. James (Skukuza) Stevenson Hamilton and Harry (Lindandana) Wolhuter and Majoro Frazer and Izak Holthauzen and Gaza Gray and Rupert (Mhlati) Atmore and Thomas (M’Xhosa) Duke and Cecil (Makaose) De la Porte Guy (Mphete) Healy and Paul (Mafekete) Siewert and Andrew (Ngea-Ngea) Wolhuter and Capt. Johannes (Gungunyane) Coetzer and Col. Lafras (Madubula) de Jager and William ( Nwashibeyilana) Lloyd and Henry ( Mabalane) Ledeboer and Jack Brent and Harold ( Mavukane) and Trollope and Bert ( Rivalo) Tomlinson and Capt. Elliot (Mkonto) Howe and Gert ( Mashangana) Crous and Hector (Ndlovane) Mc Donald and Izak ( Mawawa) Botha and Thomas (Mabalane) James and Lou ( Mafunyane) Steyn and Harry ( M’lilwane) Kirkman and Col. Maurice ( Malokolo) Rowland Jones and William (Siafa) Lamont and Dawid (Mafelele) Swarts and Henry (Kwezi) Wolhuter and Charlie Nkuna and Cement Mathali and Mfitshane Koza and Johannes Maluleke and Baptine Ubisi and Bob Llamuli and Doispane Mongwe and Sam Nkuna and Fifteen Ubisi and Jafuta Shitlave and Mahashi Ngwenya and Matilwane Nkuna and Mpanuni Ubisi and Sakabona Nkabela Forage Ngomane and Njinja Ndlovu and Kukize Khoza and Jim Mbazine. Many others have followed their footsteps in later years; fortunately it was not in vain.

Many people may have had to be relocated elsewhere in land exchanges, this was done with the best of intentions – only to create this wonderful place, this is not unique to South Africa, it had been all over the world.

Many tree and plant species were identified along the road. Many bird species were also identified, the mention of the Southern Black Tit and its nickname “the Mugabe bird” raised quite a laugh.

Soon we turned off into one of those roads; where most tourists would just love to travel on as they believe this is where the Lions and Leopards and Cheetah and Elephant and Rhino and Buffalo and Eland and Sable and Roan and Kudu and Tsessebe roam in dense packs, this is where the animals are hidden from tourist view – a road with a “No Entry” sign.

We smelt the smell of the wild herbs and the flowers and the freshness of the AFRICAN bush and then a whiff with a coppery taint just before a turn off.

We travelled about another two kilometres and then there it was the; fawn colour of the tents of Napi became visible in the growth. The sense of expectation increased a notch or two.

We were welcomed by Romano the chef and Camp attendant. Our luggage was offloaded and all picked their accommodation out of the four tents for the visitors.

The tents

Image

are very comfortably equipped;

the well ventilated bedroom has to two single beds, a clothes cupboard and a bedside table.

The en suite ablutions have a water borne toilet, a wash basin and a spacious shower cubicle, hot and cold water is supplied, hot water from an automatic gas operated geyser.

The veranda overlooking the Biyamithi River

Image

Image

Image

has two comfortable canvas chairs.

A paraffin lamp provides the lighting, soap and towels as well as nice clean fresh bedding is provided.

The canvass of the gauze netted windows can be adjusted to the occupant’s liking.

The tents are well maintained – no tired Velcro or broken zips, the door closes and remains closed.

The dining Lapa has ample table space and sufficient solid chairs.

The table cloth is clean and there were two trays of condiments. With the open fire congregating area next door, here the kettle was always happily steaming along with another coffee kettle alongside, I think specially for the “old Man” – my wife’s husband.

The gas operated fridge has plenty of space and a large blue Coleman with plenty of ice ensures that all liquid refreshments need not be at ambient temperature.

Coffee and tea (Rooibos and Ceylon) with long life milk is available as required.

Food is prepared in the kitchen and the barbeque is done on fresh glowing coals.



We all got together and Kallie told of the ancient times and then the history of KRUGER. He explained of Gabro, and Granite and Basalt and Rhiolite and sweet and sour veld and Bushman paintings and tribes who inhabited the area and . . . . .


All too soon Romano sounded the drum indicating that dinner was ready – ample bush fare, chicken with vegetables and rice, followed by sweets and of course – coffee from the steaming kettle.

During the meal there was still a lot of chatting and at 21:30 it was decided that it was bedtime as wake up call would be 05:00, coffee and rusks would be ready at 05:45, the bush breakfast would be distributed and we would leave camp at 06:00.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: Our 2010 Visits to KRUGER
Unread postPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 10:00 am 
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Part 6.

As usual we were awoken by the bush alarm going off sounding its “tjee-tjakla, tjee-tjakla, tjee-tjakla and “krrdi-krrdi, krrdi-krrdi followed by “kek-kek-kek-kek-kek”. By the time Romano called his “Good morning” I was already half shaven.

We all congregated at the Lapa and enjoyed a cup or two of steaming coffee and some rusks. The “bush breakfast” was divided and off we went, through the gate and into the long dew covered grass.

We crossed the sandy bed of the Mbiyamiti; there were plenty of spoor but no pugmarks. The birds were still welcoming the newly born day with its fresh healthy air.

After about fifteen minutes Kallie stuck up his hand and Saul pointed – a large herd of Buffalo about two hundred metres away.

The animals had already spotted us and raised their heads and sniffed the air.

The little group seemed to shrink their surrounding area of comfort and stood closer together when the Buffs snorted and with heads held high formed an extended line and slowly approached us, stopping maybe every twenty metres. Then shaking their heads; they would approach a bit more. And a further bit more.

I realised that as they were well aware of our presence and were not surprised this was more them checking on us than them possibly being dangerous.

The Bostonians and maybe the Cape Townians were quite thrilled while Lanette and I just enjoyed their presence.

The approach was until about thirty metres away from us when they seemed to lose interest and turned around and walked off with shaking heads, maybe a bit disgusted with us for not entering their comfort zone.


We could hear the birds – in the distance a Burchell’s Coucal made its bubbling softening do-do-do-do-do and then a Black Collared Barbet called its loud “too-pudley, too-pudley, too-pudley, too-pudley, too-pudley”. A Cape Robin also sounded its melodious call of “Jan Frederik, Jan Frederik, Jan Frederik”, and often imitating other bird calls.

It was now warming up and the in between swishing sound of wet trouser pants became wider apart, the Cicadas enjoyed the day and kept up their string orchestra, just stopping to rest their wings for a moment and then falling in again.

We crossed the Mbiyamiti a few more times, Elephant and White Rhino and Impala and Zebra and Kudu tracks were seen as well as some Baboon spoor.

Then Kallie again raised his hand indicating us to stop. We moved closer together to hear why. He pulled out his little tube of fine ash and spilt some; the faint breeze drifted the faint trickle in our direction.

He softly said “Rhino” and pointed, there they were a mother and a calf, grazing slowly and peacefully in our direction, about eighty metres distant. We all bunched up behind some Guarri Bush, no one had to be told be very very quiet.

The pair grazed on for nearly ten minutes, stopping for short intervals, quite unaware of our presence. I am quite sure there was much more adrenalin than blood flowing through the pumping hearts, behind the Guarri.

When about fifteen metres away Kallie grabbed a piece of log and yelled throwing the wood. The mother took fright and led the calf to safety with clearly audible galloping gait.

All of a sudden the tension behind the Guarri subsided and all were very thrilled about our second experience this morning with another of the big five.

About a further hundred metres on, we saw six White Rhino about another hundred metres away, just doing what White Rhinos love doing, grazing and rubbing themselves against anything that is large and strong enough.

We stopped and enjoyed our bush breakfast, no one saying much, everyone was listening and thinking and smelling and feeling and seeing the wonders of the AFRICAN bush.

We returned to camp and what a welcoming sight this was, in camp my GPS showed that we had done 11.2 km.

Everyone disappeared ion their tents and forty five minutes later Romano sounded the drum announcing that brunch was ready; Sausage and bacon and egg and fried mushrooms and toast with butter and jam and cheese and coffee hardly ever went down that well.

Very soon afterwards the Napi Camp was without any movement our sound, only the birds kept up their calls and melodies.

After another shower we all assembled in the Lapa, had some coffee and off we went for a short drive and a four km walk, we saw Go Away birds, as well as Yellow Billed Hornbills, with some Fork Tailed Drongos leading the way and daringly close to the trailists caught any locust or other insect fleeing from the trampling feet. Some Rollers also joined in the offered easy meals.

We then drove to very scenic spot where we all watched the tired dark red sun disappear behind the western horizon towards a well earned rest. All was peaceful and tranquil, conversations were held in soft whispers

On the way back to Camp the vehicle lights lit up some huge shapes with hard bosses on their heads; some huge grey shadows also crossed the road. Two Side Striped Jackals were also spotted in the sharp lights.

We took the dirt road which tourists would just have loved to be driving on, a dainty little Steenbok disappeared into the bush, many Chameleons were spotted and also some Bush babies. A dark spotted shape disappeared into the bush, I was the only one imagining it to be a Hyaena, the majority had some tree climbing spotted member of cat family in mind.

A kilometre further just before the earlier mentioned turn, the coppery smell again drew our attention, we turned the vehicle shining the lights into the bush, the smell came and went and that was all.

As we drove along we heard the loud “hu hu hu” and then spotted the large grey shape with slightly raised ear tufts, and dark brown eyes , a Verraux’s Eagle Owl.

At camp we congregated around the little camp fire, while enjoying some or other well earned ice cold something.

Ramon sounded the drum and all sat down for our dinner of a well prepared stew served with rice and vegetables. Coffee was enjoyed and then bedtime – tomorrow would be our last day out and we had to be rested, today we had done 15.3 km!

The Scopsies tried their best to keep us awake but all in vain.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: Our 2010 Visits to KRUGER
Unread postPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 5:36 pm 
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Part 7.

The bush alarm did its duty on time as it does every time.

It was Friday – our last day.

We all congregated at the Lapa, had our coffee and some rusks, sorted out our bush breakfast and off we went.

Image

Derek, Jackie, Christina, Manish,David,Saul,Lanette,Lanettie, Kallie.

In the area where we previously had the coppery whiff in the air, we spent some time and then came across an area where the tall dew covered grass had been flattened, an area of possibly four by five square metres.

We again smelt the coppery smell and followed it, we came across a few tufts of golden-brown hair, the smell got stronger and then – we saw the reality of nature – there in another flattened area we found the body of a young prince who had lost his last battle.

Everyone was quiet while we observed the maggot covered body, all hair had disappeared and on the right rear flank just below the spine was a deep gash, possibly the fatal bite – the teeth were still good as were the toe nails on the outstretched paws, indicating that it was a prince and not a dethroned king.

I just could not get myself to photograph the scene and suggested that we just move on - the reality of nothing is invincible was again clearly spelt out to all of us.

We quietly moved on, it is amazing that no one mentioned this after we had left or during the rest of the time we were on the Napi.

We walked on and in the distance from a north easterly direction heard a roaring, the adrenaline set in and our pace quickened as we set off in the north easterly direction.

The grass was tall and wet, no one seemed to notice, we stopped at the web of a brightly coloured Arachnid, and we heard the chatter of the birds. It was now rapidly warming up.

I soon realised that our hopes were in vain – we would not find the source of our adrenaline rush, Kallie and Saul agreed and we headed for a cool spot on the banks of the Biyamithi.

We crossed a brackish spot and from about a hundred and fifty metres were watched by Blue Wildebeest, Zebra and Impala.

We reached our destination; some cool flat rocks in the shade of a Jackalberry tree overlooking a little pool in the sand of the Biyamithi Riverbed.

Breakfast was spread out and we all dug in and took a well deserved breather.

Image

We realised that it was going to be a really hot day and decided to head back to camp.

We set off and the sweat was pouring, water bottles were regularly sipped and then I realised what the Cricketers go through when they cramped, my left calf gave me its really best hardening cramp ever.

We stopped in the shade and I tried to rub the lump away, it went and returned and went and returned as we walked on.

In the distance Skipberg was visible in the hot AFRICAN landscape.

And we walked on and on . . . . crossing the sandy Biyamithi a few more times.

Eventually I could take this photograph.

Image

all were very pleased.

We had done 12.8 km.

In camp everyone disappeared, later the drum sounded and all appeared looking fresh, during another hearty breakfast we were entertained by the resident troupe of Dwarf Mongoose, they were running around on the sandy floor looking for scraps of egg.

The master of the little clan “Grumpy” had a shorter tail than the rest of the happy crowd – apparently he lost it in a skirmish with his predecessor – nothing comes easy.

Romano scratched out some scraps of scrambled egg; the sand was very quickly cleared of any waste.

We decided that we had done enough walking for the day and we again get together at 16:00 have some coffee and go on a game drive and then have our sundowners.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: Our 2010 Visits to KRUGER
Unread postPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 12:17 pm 
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Location: VEREENIGING
Part 8.

After a snooze and a warm shower we had our coffee left on our game drive, the temperature was good and all were enthusiastic about we were about to see.

Our first sighting was this Waterbuck.

Image

After turning east on the H1-1 we spotted a huge herd of Buffalo about six hundred metres distant on the southern side of the road.

Then a bit further some Elephant bulls including this raggedy eared old fellow.

Image

Christina expressed her wish of seeing a baby Elephant.

We drove on and saw some dainty Impala, some Zebra and a few Blue Wildebeest.

Then some Rhino and Kallie turned off in a northerly “no entry” signed road. Here we spotted six more White Rhino feeding in the now rapidly approaching dusk.

A bit further we drove onto a flat rocky formation where we could enjoy the peace of the approaching dark and our sundowners.

Kallie and myself spent some time alone having our interview, I was again pleased to hear about his passion for KRUGER and also about how he got to KRUGER, his father was employed in the Park and reading about the history of the Park the surname Ubisi is frequently mentioned.

After Kallie, Saul and myself spent some time having our interview, he told about times spent with his hero, the man who taught him much – Kobus Kruger, the man from Mahlangeni and Crocodile Bridge and Lower Sabie, and of Kobie the Rangers wife and Sandra and Karin and of course Leo . . . .

All too soon it was entirely dark as only a balmy African night could be; we set off to Napi under star jewelled skies.

Driving along we saw some shadows and when the spotlight shone on them, Christina gave a little shriek – an Elephant female with her little calf and another pair with a little family group. The lady from Boston said that now her trip had been made. “Two females with babies! Incredible”.

A bit further on a group of Buffalo crossed the road in front of us, with heads raised they sniffed the air and gave us the stare – we were not accepting the challenge so they lost interest and walked off.

Just before the turnoff to Napi Camp, I spotted a yellow and brown creature crossing the road from north to south – a Puffadder; I am always amazed about how they seem to walk using their ribs, in appearance not very much unlike a centipede with its many legs.

Christina gave a shiver and said I could have my snake, she would rather see Elephants.

Driving down the dirt track we saw many Chameleons and then we again heard the gruff hru hru, hru hru hru – the Verraux’s Eagle Owl again voicing his dissatisfaction with our presence in his Kingdom, while giving us the stare. We drove on a bit further on we again noticed the faint coppery taint in the evening breeze, no one said a word.

Then a little glow was evident in the distance, Napi Camp, here a braai of tasty venison awaited us with vegetables and of course mieliepap, all had some, even the Cape Townians and the Bostonians. I was quite surprised.

The evening was spent with talking and listening to the sounds of the Scopsies and some Baboons finding something not to their liking. Then it was bedtime.

We lay and listened and chatted, we agreed that going on a Wilderness trail is a spiritual experience for you feel and you smell and you feel and you hear and you see – all of this eventually settling into one’s soul, where it remains for many years to come, something that is never really forgotten.

As is customary the bush alarm went off at the normal time, happily welcoming the new day. The sun rose and lit the dew laden grass and leaves giving them a special diamondish glitter with the full colour spectrum being available for all to see.

Breakfast was enjoyed at 07:00 no one said much as “kwa herrie time” had sneaked up on us – it was time to say good–bye to Romano and to fill up the awaiting white trailer.

We greeted Romano who waived as we passed through the gate, I felt that I tiny piece of myself had been left behind. We passed the symbol of cleanliness and hygiene - a dainty little Steenbok who unafraid stood watching us, its dark little eyes under dark lashes shining in the clear light.

Some more Buffalo and Zebra and Wildebeest and Impala came to offer their greetings along the way.

We passed the turn off to Pretoriuskop and there at the S14 corner was the King awaiting us,

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he seemed well fed and watched us with his glowing golden eyes, sometimes licking a paw or shaking his majestic head displaying his hank of dark brown and golden mane.

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Christina mentioned that she would just love hearing him roar; the King seemed to hear this and rose displaying his full majesty; cameras were clicking and the adrenaline was flowing, then he obliged and sent out his thunderous roar, all in our vehicle got quite a shock at the sheer volume, here only about four away with no windows in between.

The King must have been unsure about his proclamation and sent out more and more thundering roars

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Christina was satisfied and the King again went to lie down still next to the road.

Then to our amazement the golden coloured Queen arrived she approached and her and the King made themselves quite comfortable in watching the amazed tourists.

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Eventually we had to return to camp. Our luggage was unpacked and we greeted one another – Napi Trail had come to an end for us, however the memories would be cherished and shared for still many years to come.

The Royal couple were still waiting at the turn off to the Fayi Loop and allowed us the rest of the audience, we noticed that the teats of the Royal Lady were swollen; we wished that the little ones would turn up, but they were safely elsewhere.

We still had to drive to Berg & Dal for our last evening; we saw some Giraffe and Zebra and Impala and a few Kudu.

We stopped at Afsaal for a Coke where we both agreed that the Napi was just great. About three kilometres south of Afsaal I noticed some Rhino, we stopped and watched, and as they came closer I imagined that these two White Rhino were smaller than usual and on looking even closer noticed that they had no humps – I grabbed the binoculars and yes there about a hundred and twenty metres away was my second sighting of a pair of BLACK Rhinos in KRUGER

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the previous being two years ago near Lower Sabie at the S128/H10/S29 junction.

We watched until the couple decided that enough was enough and they walked back from where they had come from.

How lucky can one get?

We turned right on the S120 to our destination and spotted this proud clean animal with it’s ivory tipped horns and sheer silky mane and a clean looking silky fringe under the throat accentuating the sunlight.

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At Berg & Dal no 32 was clean and well kept, we unpacked and went for an hours nap. Then off along the S110, here we did not see much, on our return we passed the turn-off to B&D and drove on, found some Buff alongside the road

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and then noticed a huge traffic jam on the bridge to Matjulu, here a Leopard ina tree was guarding its meal, drawing as much attention as possible.

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eventually we crawled through the jam and turned around and returned to camp.

Our last meal of the trip was about to be prepared, while awaiting the fire to turn to nice hot coals with a rich purple glow, I noticed a movement in the Sycamore in front of our accommodation, we looked again and there it was a Small Spotted Genet, laying watching every movement.

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The little cat entertained us for about an hour

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and then disappeared as softly as it had arrived. The food was cold but we did not mind, we had just again experienced another precious moment in a very special place . . . .

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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