Thanks very much Elsa. Hope that I can live up to your expectations.DAY 1: MONDAY 10 MAY 2010:
I was awakened by what seemed the distant rumble of thunder. Dozed off again. Next moment my delightful doze was interrupted by a bright flash that lit up the bedroom and that sizzling crack of thunder that one only seems to get on the highveld. A very unseasonal thunder storm I thought to myself. Looked at the time - 03:00. Drowsily I remembered that I had set the alarm for 04:00 for a 05:00 start to head off to the Kruger. Lay awhile listenening to the rain get heavier and heavier and the thunder and lighting continued unabated. This did not deter my enthusiasm for driving the 400km to Kruger. At 03:45 the rain and thunder rumbled off in an eastery direction. I could not wait any longer to make like elephant dung and hit the road. I woke my wife and with due haste did all things that people do when they wake up, packed the car and by 04:50 we were on our way with another thunderstorm approaching from the west. Onto the N4 and off with lighting in front of us and behind us. Were we ever so lucky to leave in the break between two storms.Got to our usual breakfast stop at Millys just before Machadadorp where we managed to leave the stormy weather behind us.
Two pics of the weather we had just come through. Very grateful to see the sun shining from the direction we were headed.
After a very hearty breakfast we took off again and headed east. We had decided as our first night was to be at Pretorius Kop we would go in at Phabeni gate. Just outside White River I took the wrong turning onto the R538 insyead of carrying on straight on the R40. We decided then and there that we would go in at Numbi as we both believe that if something happens to you it always happens for the best. And so it proved to be. More of this just now. Not a bad road but one cannot do more that 60kmh but it is a lot shorter than going around on the R40 to Phabeni. Arrived at Numbi at about 10:00 and after checking in got into the car and RELAXED. I do not think anyone can describe that feeling as you settle down to drive at 20-30 kmh for the next few days. As we we were still too early to check in at Pretorius Kop we decided to stick to the H1-1, turn right onto the H-3 and right again onto the H2-2 and to P. Kop in time to check in. However this was not to be as, in our eagerness to spot game, we missed the turn off to the H1-1. OK, no problem. We will now do the same route but in the opposite direction. Remember what I said above about things always happening for the best. Our first sighting was just after we had got onto the H2-. A ginormous stick or should I say branch insect right in the middle of the road. It must have been at least 30cm long.
We continued on our way and at about 12:00 and about a kilometre before Voortrekker water hole we came across a bakkie travelling very slowly. I stayed behind it trying to see what they had seen. From behind it looked like a baboon walking along the side of the road. The driver of the bakkie waved to me to come next to him. This is what we saw.
A mommy leopard and her cub walking down the road.
Remember what I said about things happening for the best. My apologies for the out of focus pics. I am not sure if it is was because Joan was shaking with excitement at seeing this mommy and cub or that I was continuing to drive very slowly along a very bumpy road in order to keep up with them. We followed them for about a kilometre before a car from the opposite direction sent them into the long grass at Voortrekker water hole. We waited around for about 30 minutes hoping she would come out again but it remained quiet. We sat for a while to allow the adrenalin time to settle down. Can this sighting, after only being in Kruger for 2 hours, be bettered in our next 4 days????? Had lunch at Afsaal where we saw this little buck ?????? walking among the tables and chairs.
Can someone tell me what buck this is. Please excuse the dustbin.
After lunch we headed north on the H3 where we came across a small herd of elephant just far away enough not to pose any danger.
Our last photo of the day was of my favourite bird.
Arrived at Pretorius Kop in time to check in, unpack, braai and bed.
Nothing, but nothing can beat that first nights sleep in the Kruger. Wonder why I deamt about leopard? Chat to you again tomorrow.