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 Post subject: KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure-Aug 2010
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 3:37 am 
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I can't believe it is June 2010 already. We have been planning this upcoming trip for several years and now it is finally the month of departure.
I joined the San Parks forums in Jan of this year, after creeping through the posts for many months; thoroughly enjoying all the photos, travel tales and discussions. We had been to KTP in 2008 and so I finally posted our adventure once I felt brave enough to attach photos. This forum has educated, stimulated, intrigued and created friendships. I am now thoroughly addicted and by the signature attached, you can see that we plan on extensively exploring San Parks. That, by the way, is not a complete listing of our upcoming explorations.
My SO, now given the mysteriously cryptic anacronym of 'TMLL', referring to a Canadian sports team...is a biologist who appreciates those critters who must survive adverse environmental conditions. This sabbatical year will take us all over South Africa and we are most looking forward to it.
My normal sabbatical task is to attend to the children, however they no longer fit that descriptor, being that they are well into university. So this time I will be chief assistant, trip planner, volunteer extraordinaire, and writer of the blog home for family and friends and whomever else wishes to read my verbal diahre...accounts.
We tried to rebook our first trip to KTP, however due to some soccer thing..ha...(we might be watching a couple of games too) we found that South Africa was essentially booked up over a year ago. So unfortunately we have to go north to Etosha to start, and then will begin our tours of San Parks. I will continue our tales here at that time.
The weather at home has been abysmal of late, and the recent uncharacteristic rains is soon to blossom into multitudes of mosquitos...so I'd say our departure is fairly timely. Besides, warm weather is drawing nearer, so we'd best find some winter somewhere (at least temporarily).
Brace yourselves SA...here come the Canucks.

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KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure- 2010/11


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 Post subject: Re: KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2010 3:52 am 
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Shi...sorry, but the Leafs rule for some Canadian fans...those are ardent, and very patient fans...I think they are bonded by the lack of ice hockey success!! I do appreciate your new suggestion for his anacronym. We plan to love life to the fullest.
Lockie... I know hell has frozen over...many times...recall we live on the prairies and have only reacognized spring last week! Yes, we will have a second honeymoon...will be actually odd not to have an offspring around sporadically...ah well we have now discovered skype.
RichardJ...the adventures will be extensive, and I would be most pleased to share. I hope to measure up to your photo quality and excitement levels.
Magic Guarri- the TRs will be forthcoming...and would love to meet you in April 2011...we have 2+ weeks of adventure planned from bottom to top to middle - commencing April 12. Would welcome the chance to meet you and your family!!!
Thanks again all...we are so pleased and fortunate to come to spend this sabbatical year...we have many goals to accomplish...thanks for encouraging us to share this adventure.
Best wishes to all..back to the packing/cleaning- I live in eternal hope that the house will be as clean as I leave it......ha...such a comedian. However, in reality...does that really matter???? Not a smidge.
I do hope SanParks will be pleased by all the gorgeous sightings that we have...cause they will cost us dearly.
Here is our listing of what we promise to San Parks:::
10 Rand- hyena (not brownie), secretary bird, kudu, eland, sable antelope, naked mole rat, meerkats, elephant
15 Rand- any snake...Lordie I am praying to not see these-to see no snakes 500 Rand!!!.
20 Rand- rhino, lion, cheetah, porcupine, Pels fishing owl, giraffe
50 Rand- honeybadger, aardwolf, pennant winged nightjar, brownie, caracal
100 Rand- leopard, kerivoula (any species)
200 Rand-pangolin/aardvark/ 10th freckled nightjar in hand

So that is our challenge San Parks...we have lots of time....hope you benefit.

Suffice to say that my SO is incredibly observant, and this will cost us dearly!!!

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KTF Hooked on KTP- 2008
KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure- 2010/11


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 Post subject: Re: KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 12:54 am 
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Thanks so much Hailey...it will be a great time...just will be thrilled to be finished cleaning our house for all the new tennants, so we can go! Yeah I'm keen for no snakes...but they do fascinate me at the same time!
Sundowner- Kruger cold? yeah...I'm good with that...would love to be listening to the hyena, eager to shoo away monkeys and hornbills, and wouldn't mind the elephant dung at all. Sounds all heavenly!!
CC- ha...I believe I liked Boston at that time too! Go Phil and Bobby!

Thanks for the encouragement all!!

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Canadian prairies...but prepping for some SA trips....
KTF Hooked on KTP- 2008
KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure- 2010/11


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 Post subject: Re: KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:26 pm 
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Well hello...it has been sooo long since I started this...and hopefully the mods will allow me to continue this ( I just got notice that it was going to be cleaned up...oops). We are now in Africa having had a marvellous month travelling, seeing all sorts of sights. Unfortunately we have had internet problems and we have finally gotten it cleared just a few hours ago. I have about 30 pages of notes to post...and a couple hundred photos...but all in good time...Africa time!

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Canadian prairies...but prepping for some SA trips....
KTF Hooked on KTP- 2008
KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure- 2010/11


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 Post subject: Re: KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:43 pm 
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To continue...TMLL (SO), Keeper 1 (daughter), Southern Belle (friend) and I have begun an exciting time to travel in Africa. We had an uneventful trip across the pond, spent time at two Fifa soccer games and began to explore the area. Our first SanParks experience would be to Table Mountain National Park.
We inadvertently arrived in the park from a pleasant hiking trail in Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. Why do these younger hikers always want to climb uphill? We ended up at Jan Smuts Falls, chatting with some Parks volunteers. They were great ambassadors for the park.
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TMLL isn’t overly enamoured with heights so when the idea to take the cable car up to the top of Table Mountain was suggested, TMLL didn’t partake! So the girls and I braved the left hand drive traffic and headed to the mountain.
It was a slightly overcast day…more sun than clouds, but the flat top of Table Mountain was covered in its ‘tablecloth’. We thought that the majority of people, who had been at yesterday’s soccer game, had all the same idea as we had. It was like being at the United Nations. So many different soccer jerseys; some wild body decorating; groups of people breaking into soccer chants; and every imaginable language being spoken. Made the hour long wait for a gondola most enjoyable.
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This sign caught my attention!
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The gondolas are quite unique. They hold 65 people (are presently painted to look like stylized soccer balls- thanks Visa); are round with a major ballast of water underneath for guest use, but also to stabilize it; takes 4 minutes to ascend and descend the 1067 m with a gondola going in each direction simultaneously; and the most fun is that the inner platform of the gondola rotates while you travel, so that you get a 360 degree view of the whole area, clouds willing!
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Our ride was so quiet and steady, you felt just whisked up into the clouds effortlessly. There was an odd sensation to be ascending and turning simultaneously, but it was a great view. It was somewhat unnerving seeing the other gondola just drop out of the sky when it was cloudy.
Image

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Canadian prairies...but prepping for some SA trips....
KTF Hooked on KTP- 2008
KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure- 2010/11


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 Post subject: Re: KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:57 pm 
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View towards Devil's Peak on the ride up.
Image
At the top we stopped for lunch (beer is cheaper than juice or water) and while we ate, the clouds attempted to clear. We had some spectacular glimpses of a coastline very far below.
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It was fairly chilly as we started our hike, but then the clouds vanished and it was lovely and warm.
We ended up hiking the trail/stone pathway with occasional yellow footprints through many little puddles, down a chain linked gulley (reminiscent of Australian trails) and across the mountain to its highest peak at 1088 m called Maclear’s Beacon.
ImageAll in all we traversed 5.5 km in just under 2 hours…with lots of stops for photos/listening to choruses of hardy frogs interspersed with vuvuzela choruses from the city fan park as another game was televised far below- it felt like something out of “Horton hears a who”. There were many photo opportunities to show off the views.
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An awesome hike with lots of breathtaking scenic views…some a tad close to the edge!!! The hike encircles the top of Table Mountain, giving you views of the Atlantic side, the city side, and Table Bay. Just a wonderful stroll and we arrived back at the gondola point. We enjoyed the antics of fat little rock dassies (like an oversized hamster), a few agama lizards…and the severely-stilted red shoe fashionistas who teetered around the rocky/watery environs, looking a touch out of their element. I
Image

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Canadian prairies...but prepping for some SA trips....
KTF Hooked on KTP- 2008
KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure- 2010/11


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 Post subject: Re: KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:53 am 
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Today was a day to explore a few more of the Cape’s riches. Table Mountain National Park actually extends from the northwest of Cape Town at Signal Hill, south on the Cape Penninsula to the Cape of Good Hope. It encompasses the mountainous area above a certain elevation along this entire significant area.We headed south to Muizenberg and the inner coast? (such a complicated area, south east of Cape Town) of False Bay. As we meandered along the coast, on this gloriously clear morning, our spirits were a touch dampened by the ABS light flickering on. Oh no, shades of our old Subaru??? We went to the nearest mechanic and he said not to worry…so we went on and will get this checked at the dealership pronto.
We headed into Simon’s town where the whales’ tail buoy greeted visitors; there was a naval museum and lots of people sporting automatic rifles….hmmm, not so inviting.
We were headed to Boulder’s Beach- a section of the Table Mountain National Park along the coast, where we enjoyed the antics of the jackass penguins braying and cormorants by the millions perched on the off shore rocks.
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Surprisingly it smelled a tad fishy here as we hopped across the rocks in search of penguins and interesting shells. Penguins abounded everywhere, in all stages of development.
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They waddled with friends and basked in the sun, all the while sounding like miniature donkeys.
Image

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Canadian prairies...but prepping for some SA trips....
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KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure- 2010/11


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 Post subject: Re: KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:30 am 
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Thanks so much MM..there is a wee bit to come! Image
We visited 3 beaches in all, and the most curious one held a small shed. At the apex of that shed were 3 fat and furry rock dassies…in a most interesting formation. Image
The lead dassies looked like one of those advertisements for ‘when you are down, everyone tries to get you’…such expressive faces…we had a good giggle.
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We drove further south to the Cape of Good Hope National Park….a lovely open expanse. Surprisingly open and flat until you arrived near the cape end, with lots of fynbos vegetation… we searched the environs for zebra and ostrich. The girls were most amused by the ostrich, and we found a few photogenic specimens very near us. (Keeper 1's photo)
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At the Cape we headed to the Two Oceans Restaurant, with an absolutely amazing vista and sat on the outside terrace to enjoy some lunch. How perfect could this be? Warm sun, gorgeous views and baboons…and what? Oh that blur that has just made the table near us scatter?? We sat under a sun canopy and the baboon chose to ramble across the canvas on its way to raid a nearby table. Now these critters have impressive teeth and are none too small. Several of the waiters were dispatched with big sticks to keep the baboons at bay. The baboons were clearly up for the challenge and were willing to risk it all for some tasty treats. An interesting lunch; marvelous food (Doug- Keeper1 and I shared a crème brulee that you would have died for…it was served in a foot long dish!!!) and sporadic entertainment!!!
Image

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Canadian prairies...but prepping for some SA trips....
KTF Hooked on KTP- 2008
KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure- 2010/11


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 Post subject: Re: KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:44 am 
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We took the funicular ride up to the lighthouse, but chose to walk down and brave the baboon inquisitions as we went.
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Parks staff were there trying to discourage the baboons; so this was clearly a regular occurrence. From the lighthouse we took the hike out to the furthermost southerly point called Cape Point, enjoying the agamas sunbathing and some misplaced ostrich preening along the way. This is not the most southerly point in Africa. Wonderful scenery and an enjoyable hike.
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Back at the car, we drove north and west to the Cape of Good Hope- the most south-westerly point of Africa.
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These are at the Cape of Good Hope.Image
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We took the prerequisite photos, and drove to a beach further north. There was no one around, and we just hiked on the sand, enjoying the overabundance of sand fleas agitated by each step, admiring shells- ahem…and we played with the jellyfish. Image
Keeper1 was on the hunt for the ever popular flying great white shark, but unfortunately came up empty.

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Canadian prairies...but prepping for some SA trips....
KTF Hooked on KTP- 2008
KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure- 2010/11


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 Post subject: Re: KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 7:58 pm 
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There is a serious gap in our real time trip here, as several weeks were spent in Etosha, then back in SA discovering a bit of wine. Our daughter and friend sadly had to go home, and now TMLL and I are here exploring on our own.
First venture took us up to the Northern Cape, near Namaqualand National Park. We were visiting a collegue's students who were radio tagging nightjars and rock elephant shrews. Unfortunately the work wasn't carried out in the park, so I suppose those details shouldn't be included here. Suffice to say that elephant shrews are just the cutest and best tempered little critters that I have ever handled.
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The drive back was very pretty in the sun. The whole area had been hit by a lot of rain, and now some of the spring flowers were beginning to show.
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Fields of orange and yellow were appearing. It was apparent that the rain had turned to snow at the higher elevations, since neither of us had recalled seeing anything white on the drive up.
We took the same N7 route back until Piketburg (stopping again for a rooibos tea cappucino on the way- lovely terra cotta beverage like liquid pumpkin pie) and then turned onto the R399 to Veldrif on the coast. Here we found flamingos for the first time. We drove south on the great R27 through some very sandy, flat areas with low coastal fynbos towards West Coast National Park. There was unfortunately some roadkill with a very striped tail, most likely a small spotted genet.

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Canadian prairies...but prepping for some SA trips....
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KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure- 2010/11


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 Post subject: Re: KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 8:16 pm 
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We arrived at the West Coast National Park and decided to have a break and explore. Gotta love that wild card, which grants you access to these parks so handily. We drove to the visitor’s center called Geelbek through the low scrub and dunes.
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We hiked out into the Langebaan lagoon past Geelbek via two parenthetical bird hides. We found both the greater and lesser flamingos (latter being much smaller); sacred ibis; avocets; red billed ducks; a rock kestral; and cape wagtails.
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Then we drove to the scenic Atlantic viewing location, high up on a dune.
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On the way, I was reading about the critters in the park. I was pleased to see that caracals resided there, and I really hoped out loud that I would love to see another.
We crested a hill and there in the middle of the road was........................ an ostrich…well I asked for and received a creature…it wondered off into the scrub, and we found another ostrich in a photogenic mood.
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An elephant shrew ran across the road, and we were good at identifying that one now! We also saw a slender mongoose (grey), Cape Bulbul, Cape Francolin, Masked weaver birds, and 3 more ostrich. It was a lovely break in the drive.
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*I must give credit to TMLL for the majority of the photos and a couple of lucky ones from me!

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KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure- 2010/11


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 Post subject: Re: KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 9:10 pm 
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So we ended up in a private wildlife preserve...just amazing time, but not to be reported here. Not even the black mamba tale????
However, we did manage a day away and headed a short hour away to Mapungubwe National Park...which is allowed to be reported here...so stay tuned...once I muddle through the 1000 photos...I will post the results here!!!
Such a wonderful part of the world...South Africans should be very proud of the natural resources you have....would trade those instantly for the traffic noise etc of the city!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure- 2010/11


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 Post subject: Re: KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 2:10 pm 
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My word formites (Shi, Kamadejo,anne-marie)...you really leap for a slight comment. Normana53 you are the closest...I guess this was a slight mambo cause our great black mamba encounter wasn't all that intense! In fact I never saw the beast- which I was truly sorry for since I want to and yet I have this totally irrational fear, but the study vehicle following us was more observant. Apparently it rose up about 1m right beside the road...yup, my side...we wondered why the other vehicle stopped...but then they soon followed as it was a rather shy 3m snake, who chose to slither elsewhere before anyone could think of getting a camera out.
This happened quite close to our camp...and what was next on the agenda...a 6km hike around a kopjie....hmmmmmm can we say adrenalin? I did complete the walk, but was visibly sprouting grey hairs for any inexplicable flicker or motion. Sorry to disappoint.
Our sordid tale will be posted elsewhere (same place as for Etosha, for those of you following along) as it was not in a Nat Park. Now back to my photos before we disappear for a couple of days...whales are calling. Then I will post Mapungubwe Nat Park.

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KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure- 2010/11


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 Post subject: Re: KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:31 pm 
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OK...thanks for turning the page Micetta and Nkumbe...will start here with our trip to Mapungubwe in the Limpopo Province.

Mapungubwe National Park August 12/10

On our way out of the research camp we saw lots of impala and vervet monkeys. We had to stop the vehicle for a very large line of ants traversing the road. The colony eventually moved on about its business and we went on our way.
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We stopped at the big town..ha…for petrol and managed to snag a piece of wire in a tire, which we quickly heard flapping and removed. This though was a bit of concern for the next while, wondering if we were going to have to deal with a flat tire. We didn’t.
We were headed north and a bit east to the Unesco World Heritage site/ SanParks Mapungubwe National Park (28,000 hectares). It is located about as far from our sabbatical home as you can get in South Africa…on the Limpopo River border with both Botswana and Zimbabwe. The low scrub land was replaced with rocky outcrops and rivers without water, as we ventured closer. There were many hunting game parks (I duck as we pass) and multiple heavily secured massive electric-fenced areas owned by De Beers. De Beers is a mega diamond mining company in South Africa. They apparently dabble in game as well, or perhaps the beasts are some extra security for the mines?? Ha.
Mapungubwe Nat Park was the site of a discovery of 13th century African civilization, which the apartheid government chose to keep under wraps, since it indicated a sophisticated black civilization. A golden rhino was unearthed by archaeologists, as were other amulets, jewelry and bowls covered in gold foil. An interpretive centre, spectacularly designed on the outside was supposed to have opened last year, but was still under construction…Africa time! There are plans to incorporate this park into a transfrontier conservation area of 800,000 hectares.
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Unfortunately we arrived after the 3 hour hike began to the site of these discoveries, so we chose to self drive. We entered the eastern wing of the park; eager to see elephants and white rhino…there was lots of evidence of their presence at some point! Our first sighting was a huge baobab tree festooned with bird nests…followed by some zebra.
The Nungu Waterhole was dry and empty. The landscape was very rocky; with low scrub…it looked very primitive. There are some of the oldest rocks on the planet in this area, and it once again reminded us of the interior of Australia.
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Image Those baobab trees have such character. We stopped at the Limpopo Valley view, spotting a few baboons keenly seeking a hiding place and probably some warmth. The road then meandered down into the valley.
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We soon arrived at the Tree Top Walk, where there was an elephant exclusion zone to permit undisturbed natural vegetation. Not that we had seen any elephants yet!
Image We got out at the Tree Top Walk and walked to the Limpopo River. Do recall that TMLL hates heights, the walk was about 7-10 m off the ground, it was windy and occasionally there was a missing floorboard, which made life exciting for all! Give him his credit though he made it to the end, heavily concentrating on photography.

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KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure- 2010/11


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 Post subject: Re: KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 28, 2010 5:11 pm 
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Sorry for the delay...had a marvellous learning adventure on a flower safari...ok, so TMLL wasn't overly enthused at the thought of this, but he lowered his higher mammal standards, and was thrilled by the end. The we have just played with great white sharks...oh my goodness they are beautiful creatures.
Kamadejo...I do recommend learning about Mapungubwe Nat Park..it is a gem...and I know there is a whole cultural side which we didn't fully explore...perhaps we will be back there in March 2011 for another try.
Normana53...thanks for your loyal readership...hope you and your SO will enjoy the ride.
Micetta...thanks for your continued support and encouragement...always a pleasure to read your comments. We are here till June next year..perhaps we will find you somewhere along our journey???
Back to the tale....

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KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure- 2010/11


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