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 Post subject: Road trip to the bush
Unread postPosted: Mon May 24, 2010 4:18 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: My heart is truly in the bush
“Road trippin' with my two favourite allies
Fully loaded we got snacks and supplies
It's time to leave this town
It's time to steal away
Let's go get lost”

That is the opening song lyrics to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers song “Road Trippin” and it’s been stuck in my head every since my best friend, Minette, had made the suggestion we go get “lost” in the bush somewhere for our birthdays. I being the nature bunny said Kruger first but I don’t want to get “lost” the horde of cars of the South.
“Let’s go to Phalaborwa then” was her next words so getting to surf online for the best possible options out there it was decided and booked and organised.
Yes going into Kruger and yes it’s my first time in Phalaborwa and its area. Never been more North of Hoedspruit in my life.

Now the count down has started…the excitement levels have started and my I started my TR so far…17 days in counting
8)

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 Post subject: Re: Road trip to the bush
Unread postPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 11:40 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Today in 13 days time two things are happpening.

1) the Soccer finanlly kicks off :roll: 8)
2) we leaving Nellies behind for our trip up North :dance:

"Blue you sit so pretty
West of the one
Sparkle light with yellow icing
Just a mirror for the sun"

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 Post subject: Re: Road trip to the bush
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:34 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Yesterday some final organising and finer details got sorted :D I think this is going to be a once in a lifetime experince for both me and my friend 8)

9 days in counting.... :whistle:

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 Post subject: Re: Road trip to the bush
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 3:53 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: My heart is truly in the bush
"Now let us drink the stars
It's time to steal away
Let's go get lost"

So not counting today it's only 4 more days till our "trippie" to see a part of the bush we've not yet seen. :dance: :dance: :dance: 8)

Most of our stuff are organised it's now just the bosses we have to butter up to leave earlier...we got the word "Yes" but not the time yet :whistle: too bad my office is too small :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Road trip to the bush
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 2:57 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Tomorrow is the day, yes it is here! No not only the soccer and the deafening sounds of vuvuzelas in the streets of Nelspruit. No it will soon be replaced by the happy chatter of my friend and I as we finally hit the road up to Phalaborwa, visit "Oom Paul plaas" (aka Kruger) and have a potjie.

Hmmm yummy :D

Then onto a great weekend adventure. What might we do? Well you all have to wait until next week for the full on weekend trip report.

Until then please enjoy the parties, the soccer as we will enjoy the sounds of the bush as well as the peace. 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Road trip to the bush
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 9:14 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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michel367 wrote:
Fanta wrote:
What might we do?


Just hit all the small trails near Phalagat and you will do just great. :lol: :lol: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:


:lol: :lol: :lol:


Right now I want to put the guy blowing his vuvuzela for the last hour around my office in front of herd of ellies. It is the mark that I should leave before I do something :sniper:

:tongue:

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 Post subject: Re: Road trip to the bush
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:16 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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:yaya:

Before I start telling you about our trip report I must thank everyone who made our weekend possible and to the Scipio and his family for letting us stay with them, driving us around and teaching me a few new things about the veld to the guys at the Total in Graskop, Hotel Graskop and my parents.

On Friday I got off work earlier but my friend Simi ran into some work related problems. And after 1 p.m we were on the road to Phalaborwa. :dance: We just stopped in Graskop for a quick break when two gentlemen pointed out a stream of water coming out from underneath our car. We checked everything and didn't see anything wrong, the engine cooler was filled and the car was warm but we just drove from Nellies.

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Oh boy just after the Berlin falls I stopped to get our maps from the boot then we smell the burnt rubber, the smell of problems at least. The car was over heating, a call back home we were directed back into Graskop for mechanical advise and water for the now hot car. :| :|

:wall: We almost cancelled our trip, Simi kept me positive (or tried at least) but I was "this car is not going to make Phalaborwa and we loosing light" :wall: . My dad came to our rescue, he ordered us to drive to Sabie and wait at the Wimpi I mean Wimpy for a tow truck...with a car on top! Yes a working car, we listened to the cheers as SA scored their goal against Mexico :dance: , had some coffee and waited. Eventually when the truck did arrive it was just past 7 at night and Simi wanted to drive to Phalaborwa, I refused the party spirit with soccer started in most places at 5 am on Friday already. My dad then said okay "I'll pay for you guys for one night somewhere to stay over". I could not believe my ears! :D

They knew how much us girls were looking forward to our weekend and there we were in a hotel , paid for and us two went for a lovely dinner at the old Graskop station :thumbs_up: . After a hot shower, a night cap, We set our alarms for 4 am as the bush was now calling us with a serious heart ache.

:popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: Road trip to the bush
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 2:36 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: My heart is truly in the bush
Saturday morning at 04:45 we were off into the early morning on our way now. A quick sms to everyone we were in good mood. We had a good drive and just past the Abel Erasmus tunnel we had the sun rise light over the river. It's a sight we will never forget, I tested out my guiding skills out on Simi as she drove.

In Hoedspruit we stopped at the Total garage for breakfast but the Steers was still closed and we settled for pies. I took one bite out of it and knew that the Russian inside was fit to be a rubber ball. :whistle: :lol:
So we said okay we'll have something in Phalaborwa, phone calls from Home and Scipio SO was received and we saw our first game. Kudu, Nyala, White rhino, Hamerkoppe and Pygmy kingfishers.

A quick smoke break for Simi before Phalaborwa made her take this photo Image and this one
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of some of the koppies there. I was struck about how beautiful the area is there and reminds half of the old Venda area up North of Limpopo.

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We got to Phalaborwa and well with instructions got nearly lost :tongue: , Scipio SO said we must wait at the Spar for her, she will come get us.

A pancake sale blessed Simi stomach and I was drinking my first Savanna. After being greeted by Scipio SO I saw how close the town is to Kruger. Wow :big_eyes: ! You really can throw a stone into Kruger without breaking a sweat almost, plus we already took off our jackets as it seems they don't have winter?? After unpacking the car, having another round of drinks we were off to why we came. Kruger. It was the first time that I didn't have to get out of the car to book in. Everything was done like at the toll booths, something different.

:popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: Road trip to the bush
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 8:34 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: My heart is truly in the bush
:popcorn:

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As I caught my first full view of the area I could understand why it is why the sightings of the area are much different to that of the zoo South. I didn't mind not seeing anything until Sable dam but it was such a new experience to see the open kilometers of mopani and termite hills. Our first animal was a elephant bull having a mud bath with an attitude.
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This little guy also came to say hallo
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After him we saw a male ostrich between the mopani and just as I want to ask if we will see any kudus hold and behold we saw a beaut of a bull, his horns almost on 3 turns with a cow and a very cute lamb.
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After enjoying them we were off again on the main road and saw nothing until we turned off onto S96 (I think) here we saw a lazy water monitor on our left
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and klipspringers on our right.
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Other than that until Letaba it was just us, the road and the bush.

:popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: Road trip to the bush
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:35 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: My heart is truly in the bush
:popcorn:

Image

At Letaba I wanted to visit the elephant hall as the only time I visited it was back in 2008. We took round a serious of photos and Scipio telling me some of his photos of some the big past tuskers are now in Skukuza and not there anymore. He also told me about the 3 "new" big tuskers whose names I've seen around like Totsi and Alexander. I hope one day we will be able stand between Alexander tusks as well like we did between Shingwedzi. After a stop at the shop Scipio was getting nervous as the sun was busy turning into a late afternoon, we had to get back. 8)

Then we came across a breeding herd of ellies with cute babies. Simi now getting it on a elephant might look like a baby but they ban be older than look. Scipion completmented me on the great photos I took with my "mik en druk" (aim and capture) of the baby ellie I felt like a pro. But he gave me some great tips as well so I can't take all the credit. :wink:
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A quick stop as well on the Letaba river bridge, looking at two Duggaboys in the river bed and herd of baboons we were off again.
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 Post subject: Re: Road trip to the bush
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 4:06 pm 
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Location: My heart is truly in the bush
On the Mingerhout dam road (S47) we came across a HUGE hole in the rock, we can see there has been activity with fresh leopard and baboons tracks. We spotted two Klipspringers on the rock below us and said that the Sunday we will return to the hole.
With Scipio and SO looking at tracks as we drove we found fresh honey badger tracks as well, we properly missed the famous animal with mere minutes. Oh man, then we ended up talking about the badger I saw in March with the pup and the cricket weekend. Our sightings was limited until a huge buffalo herd in the road and the bush. I have forgotten how big they really are cause when you see them in the South the other cars around you are either blocking your view or chasing past you which makes them turn around and stomping off.

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We had to wait almost an half hour for the herd to cross completely before going off again.

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Our usual speed of 20/30 km came to the max of 40 km on the gravel road as we hurried back to the gate main road.

Scipio tried calling their friend, Lourens, to hear of any sightings and to invite him to our braai but he doing a bush braai that evening already. On the tar road we saw two giraffes galloping off by now the gate was almost at closing time :rtm: :whistle: :wink:

Then 2 km from the gate we saw what I hope we will see. 3 lioness in the road, laying down enjoying the last bit of the sun. Very relaxed they groomed and watched the bush around them. Scipio informed me that they are part of the Sable pride, the same pride Lourens has posted about in some of his previous sightings. Yes for me it was like seeing super stars :wink: we got to the gate and with a light no-no we were back on our way home.

But sorry no photos of them...like the VIP's they are they moved off into the bush and camera disappointed me as well... :whistle:

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Simi made us a wonderful Portuguese style chicken over the fire while we all had a beer and trading stories about Kruger and life. While the bats flew over us, Simi and I had the pleasure meeting Gustav, the green anaconda Scipio keeps.

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A nice guy for a snake, he even gave Simi a smell in her face as he slid around us. Amazing how strong these fellows are!

After dinner we hit the sack for a good night rest for the Sunday drive.

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 Post subject: Re: Road trip to the bush
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 11:24 am 
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Thanks to everyone who I entertained so far with the TR. More to come 8)

:popcorn:

After our first cup of coffee and brushing of teeth we were back into Scipio land rover and into Kruger. Lots of 4x4 with caravans were in town properly on their way into paradise. We decided to go back to our hole in the rock we saw and having breakfast/branch somewhere along the line. Our first animal was a semi adult Bateleur sitting a tree enjoying the morning the sun. He had almost all of his adult plumage but he wasn't much bothered with the cars driving past him.


Image

We saw impalas between the Mopani's and I was actually happy to see some we got back onto the low maintenance road. Here we stopped a Dwarf mongoose hill where three of them came out for a peek. They are such cute little creatures definitely one of my favourites!

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At the waterhole we came across a herd of zebra and 3 giraffes as they had their morning drink.

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A little Francolin was next to the car looking for a treat. So the North has the same problem as the South of people feeding the birds and animals.

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It was third animals begging for a treat in the weekend the others being tranplions and a Burchell's Starling at Sable dam.
This fig tree is one of my favourite photos of the trip (besides the ellies)
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After much travel I spotted two breeding ostriches and since you couldn't really miss the male bright pink beak and shins we tried to see if they had chiks but it didn't seem like it.

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:popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: Road trip to the bush
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 3:28 pm 
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After much travel I spotted two breeding ostriches and since you couldn't really miss the male bright pink beak and shins we tried to see if they had chicks but it didn't seem like it.

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After them we spotted something I've never seen before, a skaapsteker (snake) but something had tried to make him breakfast.

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He had two holes on his body as well as his head as he slid off the road. He wasn't run over but looked like a bird attacked him.

As we continued on and the Mopani's just rolled on we finally got to the hole in the rock. We new fresh Pangolin tracks over the leopard tracks we guessed that mister Pangolin might be sleeping in hole. We saw the klipspringers again and a fish eagle, he took off and called for his mate. Ah! Beautiful!

After our hole visit and travelling towards the main road to Letaba we came across the same breeding herd as the day before. Scipio being very cautious around all the mommy's and teenagers they let us through.

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We also saw a big herd of ellies in the Letaba river as well as properly the biggest herd of waterbuck I've ever seen in Kruger. Almost over 10 individuals laying down in the sun and shade enjoying the day.

At Letaba day visitor area branch was cooked with Saskiha when the bees decided it was a good spot to find some sugary drinks. Just after I asked everyone if they are allergic to bees, one bee was suicidal and stung me on right hand middle finger. (Yes I'm typed my report minus the current use in one itching finger) Of course with a bee sting a lot remedies suddenly came out from toothpaste to zambuck to ice but in the end mud was use. Yes you read right mud, Scipio SO made the mud from the ice water in the cooler and it calmed the burning sensation. The swelling is there but not as thick as usual.

After the bee sting it was getting late already as myself and Simi had to get back to Nelspruit before dark. On our way to the gate we saw some ellies, impalas and a giraffe. We were on the back of the Land Rover just relaxing before packing on the Bushbuckridge road.

Thank you once again to Scipio and his wonderful family for our weekend. Lots of people have asked us now about it and saw my photos on my facebook. So hopefully a lot more people can experience the Phalaborwa area like we did...minus the car trouble (oh it was the radiator hose that broke :rtm: )

:popcorn: 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Road trip to the bush
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 9:20 am 
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:thumbs_up:

Thanks all for reading it. I'm already planning the finer details around our week in Kruger in August.

But I must confess that I'm :mrgreen: today, the boss is going to the Timbavati and he is driving up through Kruger.... :wall: :whistle: :D

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 Post subject: Re: Road trip to the bush
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 1:07 pm 
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Location: My heart is truly in the bush
jaybabe wrote:
Hi Fanta
Enjoyed your weekend tr most entertaining. Enjoyed your pic'd too :clap: .
We will be in Letaba at the same time in August yippee! Maybe we can share a beer or coffee together? We will be there from the 26th to the 29th august
Jaybabe


:yaya: Jaybabe, sure no problems. Just send me a PM with some your contact details and we can make a plan 8)

@THeunsH yes he is doing KNP whenever he gets a free hour or half a day. Lucky fish.

Thanks to everyone once again for reading my humble TR with all the car problems and bee sting fingers (which is finally back to normal!).

Hopefully in August will be able to see my leopard, honey badger and wild dogs :pray: :pray: :D

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