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 Post subject: Chappie-From Beach to Bush
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2010 4:22 pm 
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The checklist ticked, the car packed …at last we were ready to leave on our Kruger trip, which would inspire us to once again relive the memories created over the last forty years. :lol:

For it was on our honeymoon that SO introduced me to KNP. :popcorn:

As we left our home, the pounding of the breakers from the beach below applauded us on our way. :clap: :clap:

Dawn was breaking ………

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The trees are God's great alphabet: with them He writes in shining green across the world His thoughts serene. ~Leonora Speyer


Last edited by Chappie on Sat Jun 19, 2010 5:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: From Beach to Bush
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2010 4:17 pm 
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Thank you DB for all the help you gave me in posting my first TR. :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:

I really appreciate the encouragement from BB, CC, Micetta, Boorgatspook,TheunsH, Matthys, FC, Hugh and Katja. :D

Hugh we are privileged to enjoy these beautiful sunrises daily. :clap:

Thoughts of Kruger rushed through our heads, as quickly as the kilometers droned by. Malelane and the S25 assured us that, despite all obstacles we encountered, we had completed our long-anticipated journey. :lol:

We arrived at Crocodile Bridge camp late in the afternoon. It was hot and humid, the clouds were dark, the thunder was rumbling, lightening was flickering and flashing.

A thunder storm in May…rather unseasonal.

Having unpacked, we had just enough time to undertake a short drive up the S28. :D

The rain was pelting down and lightening igniting the darkening sky. The smell of damp earth combined with animal dung welcomed us.

We only saw a few animals.

This picturesque sunset in the rain brought our drive to an end, as we headed back to camp where we savoured the sounds and smells of a bushveld storm, a glass of red wine and a simple home cooked meal.

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The trees are God's great alphabet: with them He writes in shining green across the world His thoughts serene. ~Leonora Speyer


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 Post subject: Re: From Beach to Bush
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 5:40 pm 
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Thank you FC, Micetta, LZ, billyf, Shi, OWN, Hugh, PetraJ, Sparrow, icurrie, BB, MM, for your kind words. :)

LZ we look forward to your entertaining company. :lol: You, as the scribe and Oom, as the chef. :roll: We are drooling at the thought of his gourmet pancakes. :wink:

I find sunrises and sunsets spiritually moving and leading me to wonder in awe at the beauty and miracle of creation.

On our many Kruger trips over the years, we have stayed mostly in the central and southern camps, except for short sojourns many years ago in Punda Maria, Shingwedzi and Mopani to share a glimpse with our children of the northern Kruger Park.

We resisted visiting the north for a number of years, as like Shi :lol: :tongue: and many others, we were under the mistaken impression that the Mopani vegetation is monotonous. :wall:

We left Crocodile Bridge Camp as the gates opened and revelled in the lushness of the verdant bush which normally by May is starting to transform to the dried out shades of winter.

Like the residents below, we also enjoyed the sounds and smells of the rain soaked flora.
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We viewed tranquil and contented impalas, giraffes, kudu, elephants and zebra, but as we had not planned to do a TR at the time, we did not take many photos. :roll:

We savoured the atmosphere as we idled northwards and the hunger pangs started setting in.

We stopped at Tshokwane for breakfast. SO ordered a mouth watering kudu wors, pap and shebo, while I settled for the less adventurous but equally enjoyable bacon and eggs. As always, the service was excellent and the food delicious.

For a change the local rascals in fur coats were unable to steal a morsel! :o We have obviously brushed up on our bushcraft. :whistle:

Lunch at Letaba was our next stop….. a rendezvous with …………….

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The trees are God's great alphabet: with them He writes in shining green across the world His thoughts serene. ~Leonora Speyer


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 Post subject: Re: From Beach to Bush
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 26, 2010 10:52 am 
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Chappie wrote:
I would like to thank my ever supportive SO for the assistance in compiling this TR. It is not a solo effort, but a joint one. What a privilege to still be able to reminisce together :D (Among other things). :naughty: :tongue:


OWN You are so right, our love for each other, our children, KNP and all of the natural environment have certainly been the centre of our universe and solution to many of our problems.

Sprocky Firstly I am :big_eyes: . What were you thinking? :lol: Secondly, you will never know how your spontaneous and generous offer of help, if we needed it, meant to us or contributed to our final decision to undertake the trip. :thumbs_up: Thirdly your photos, together with those of many other mites, inspired Chappie to write the TR and attach our own efforts at photographic recording. :cam:

Chappie, you are too generous in your thanks to me. :redface: All the drive, enthusiasm, drafts, learning to download/resize/upload photos and determination to do a TR originated with you (Egged on and encouraged by many mites) 8) :thumbs_up:

Sorry to introduce another "cliff hanger" OWN :roll: , but Chappie has a problem requiring surgical intervention. All indications and her physical condition point to a rapid procedure and short hospital stay, but six weeks of recuperation afterwards.

Will this cut short the TR? :hmz:

I have known Chappie for 45 years :doh: :tongue: and been married for nearly 40 of those years. :D :)

My guess is Heck, No :dance: :clap: and she will do another post or two before going to hospital next week and resume again shortly thereafter. :popcorn:

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To see good, a man must be good.
Plato 447 BC to 327 BC


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 Post subject: Re: From Beach to Bush
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2010 6:54 am 
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Elsa, Micetta, FC and Pumbaa many thanks for your good wishes. I'll be fine and back here in no time at all :)

MM thank your lovely gesture of lighting a candle for me. I know St Francis will listen to you.


Just before Letaba we encountered this

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I’m sure anyone who memorises this photo will recognise :wink: :wink: this puff adder as I have recently learnt that the patterning on snakes is like a fingerprint. They’re all different and the subtleties in the pattern stay for life. Yet another one of Mother Nature’s miracles.

We arrived at Letaba half an hour early for our meeting. We scanned the parking area for a certain blue car decorated with a YR, whose famous owner we had never met personally but had come to know so well through this convivial forum. :D :clap:

An empty parking beckoned us and hey presto there was the car in question parked right next door. And who should be meandering towards the car …….. …a ….Mouse….. :clap: :dance: :dance: :clap:

We enjoyed lunch and a beer (not 6 as offered on promotion :shock: :naughty: ) together, while also savouring the view and animals wandering along the banks of the Letaba River.

Thank you Meandering Mouse for making the time to meet with us. It was a very special rendezvous and we look forward to our next one in October.

Hugh, without your involvement, this cheerful meeting could not have taken place. Thank you! :thumbs_up:

Thereafter it was a relatively short drive to Mopani through unseasonally lush vegetation. On arrival at our destination, we were amazed to see how the trees and shrubs lining the paved roads and between the huts had thrived in the 15 odd years since we were last there. At that time the central giant baobab was a clearly discernible focal point and visible from almost everywhere in the camp.

Our next 8 days were indolently spent in the tranquil and scenic Mopani Camp.

This greeted us as we drove in
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The once solitary baobab now surrounded by thick vegetation
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Closer to the baobab
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The paved road leading to our hut
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Our secluded hut welcomed us
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View from our verandah
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Our verandah
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The braai which was to provide many scrumptious moonlit meals
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At this stage we still had not planned a TR but merely took the photos to show our children, on our return, the growth of vegetation in Mopani.

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The trees are God's great alphabet: with them He writes in shining green across the world His thoughts serene. ~Leonora Speyer


Last edited by Chappie on Sun Jun 27, 2010 7:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: From Beach to Bush
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 10:13 am 
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One small correction that I should have picked up when Chappie asked me to read over her last TR installment :doh:

We saw an equally beautiful, but smaller, puffie at the bottom of the right hand side Nkhuhlu picnic site steps, about 5 years ago. I remember it well, as I only had a point and shoot digital camera with 3X zoom at the time and I had to get suicidally close to one of the fastest striking snakes in Africa to get a decent photo. :shock: :pray: Will get Chappie to post it, if there is any interest? I have not learned how to upload photos yet. :roll:

I love Mopani camp and like FC have an abiding affection for the Baobab :clap: :dance:

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To see good, a man must be good.
Plato 447 BC to 327 BC


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 Post subject: Re: From Beach to Bush
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 5:02 pm 
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Could not wait for Chappie or replies to my query on the puffie, but just had to show it off. :whistle: :whistle:

And learn how to do my own uploads, while Chappie was not looking. :naughty: :naughty: :) :lol:

Taken at Nkhuhlu picnic site in October 2006, which for the first time ever was almost deserted at midday. I wonder why? :big_eyes:

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Noel

To see good, a man must be good.
Plato 447 BC to 327 BC


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 Post subject: Re: From Beach to Bush
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 2:28 pm 
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p@m, Shi, Sparrow and BB many thanks for your kind thoughts and good wishes. :)

I'll be back here sooner than you think! :D

BB Mopani vegetaion is unique and IMHO very beautiful. Perhaps the game is, or appears to be less plentiful, but we enjoy the scenery, vegetation
and small creatures as much as any of the larger animals.

Indeed, I had forgotten about the Nhkuhlu puffie. :wall:

It certainly caused a lot of excitement or should I say fear. :whistle:

Macchappie on the forum :hmz: :hmz: It did not take long for him to fall prey to the addiction. :roll: :roll: :lol:

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The trees are God's great alphabet: with them He writes in shining green across the world His thoughts serene. ~Leonora Speyer


Last edited by Chappie on Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: From Beach to Bush
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:29 pm 
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We tended to ease into the days rather than rush out at first light.

We strolled around the camp drinking in the beauty of the vegetation, serenaded by the chirping of the plentiful birds and the incessant and sometimes deafening, pulsating buzz of the cicadas.

Though we scrutinised every car we walked past in the hopes of seeing another YR, there were none. :(

Having seen several requests on this forum for photos of camps not yet visited, I have posted pictures we took primarily for our children.

The inviting restaurant and shop
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The restaurant deck provides an idyllic setting for a relaxed meal

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A lookout overlooking Pioneer Dam at the end of the deck early one morning

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The wooden walkway from the main deck leading down to a communal boma with early morning mist suspended over Pioneer Dam.

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Pathway leading to the sparkling azure pool set among trees

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Can you imagine chilling out on this verdant lawn as you bask in the sun after a refreshing swim :D

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Just another unique benefit of a day in Kruger :D

The Mopani staff members were extremely polite, willing, helpful and friendly. :clap: :clap: :clap:

We discovered that here, microwaves are made available to the guests. For a refundable R200 deposit a spotlessly clean microwave was delivered to our hut. :clap:

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The trees are God's great alphabet: with them He writes in shining green across the world His thoughts serene. ~Leonora Speyer


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 Post subject: Re: From Beach to Bush
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2010 10:41 pm 
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P@m, Shi, Katja, MM, FC, Hugh, Micetta, Oom Theuns and Sparrow - Thank you for your kind thoughts for Chappie. :clap: :clap: :clap:
However, unless Shi has covered something similar already, maybe another thought? :? Life is a double-edged sword :D :cry:

While Chappie's progress has been great in respect of the operation and recovery, a side effect that the Anaesthetist warned us about has raised its ugly head. That is severe nausea. This was controlled post-op by IV supplied drugs, but the IV blocked on Wedneday and was removed a few hours earlier than planned. The Doctor then prescribed anti-nausea tablets for today, but Anne felt OK when she awoke this am and refused the tablets (She detests unnecessary medication).

Need I say more, suddenly too sick to eat or now swallow tablets, she has over two days had 100 ml of coca-cola and a small taste of jelly and custard.

The last she was able to tolerate after I talked the Matron? in charge into phoning our Doctor to prescribe an anti-nausea injection first and followed by tablets again.

Needless to say, she looks pale, tired and weak, but determined to recover fully by tomorrow, she even consented to taking a sleeping pill at 8pm. :dance:

We'll see, but I think the TR will be delayed to Sunday, at least. :(

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To see good, a man must be good.
Plato 447 BC to 327 BC


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 Post subject: Re: From Beach to Bush
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 12:00 pm 
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Hugh, Mi Thanks for your kind thoughts and I am happy to say that Chappie has again proved me wrong :thumbs_up:

I think she bribed the Doctor into discharging her from Parklands this morning and is now sleeping happily in her bed at home. :o

She was able to eat a little breakfast, but is still nauseous and looking drained. However being at home will do her the world of good :dance:

Besides which she has the best male nurse in the business :roll: :whistle:

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To see good, a man must be good.
Plato 447 BC to 327 BC


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 Post subject: Re: From Beach to Bush
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2010 4:57 pm 
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A very big thank you to everyone for your caring, good wishes and support. :D :D

Florence MacNightingale :tongue: is doing a sterling job :clap: and I'm getting stronger daily. :D

An impromptu early morning stroll to the deck overlooking Pioneer Dam rewarded us with a myriad of mystical reflections in the water as the mist hovered mysteriously all around.

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While lazing on the verandah of our secluded hut, among our regular visitors were a mother francolin and her brood of 8 chicks and a resident lizard that we could not identify from our book. He was at least 30cms long and spent many hours basking in the sun with the odd hopeful visit around the base of the braai looking for morsels of meat.

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In this camp, there was a different species of thieving rascals in fur coats! :shock: Squirrels….yes, squirrels! :big_eyes:

Staff at the reception office had warned us, but we were nevertheless surprised at the capabilities of these tiny scallywags to gnaw through wooden drawers and doors in the outdoor cupboards. :wall:
Perhaps they had visited the southern camps and learnt a few tricks from the skilled primate gangs. :roll: Is that why they serenaded us from closely situated trees, in the most guttural of voices, while vigorously tail flicking, in vain attempts to lull us into leaving lunch morsels lying around? :hmz:

On our first outing we headed for the Tropic of Capricorn travelling initially through thick Mopani vegetation, which varied from shades of emerald to lime green. Suddenly the vegetation changed dramatically. It was as if a curtain had been lifted to expose open grassland abundantly adorned with plains-game.

This picturesque scene reminded us of the East African plains, where the migration takes place.

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Too far away to photograph were a dozen or so ostriches kicking up clouds of dust as they cavorted around chasing one another or crouched down swaying rhythmically, while sweeping the ground with their wings . We wondered if this was playful behaviour or courtship.

The elllies in the north appeared to be much larger, yet more placid, than the ones in the south. In a chance meeting with the camp manager, we discussed this point. He was of the same opinion having spent many years in both the north and the south of the park. He informed us that the scientists don’t agree.

Some of the gentle monsters.

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Our next outing would introduce us to a “fleet-footed” mite accompanied by a “bird of another kind”, proudly flying YR’s from mirrors and binoculars. :clap: :clap: :dance: :dance: :hmz:

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The trees are God's great alphabet: with them He writes in shining green across the world His thoughts serene. ~Leonora Speyer


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 Post subject: Re: From Beach to Bush
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 7:02 am 
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Hi Chappie :D

I wanted to comment on your Lizzard. Lovely picture 8) I think its a Tawny Plated Lizzard. Anne Marie also took a lovely picture of one on her last trip to Kruger.

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 Post subject: Re: From Beach to Bush
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 6:33 pm 
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Thank you Micetta, FC, Katja and Shi for you encouragement. :D

MM thanks for identifying the lizard. Every creature, big or small is fascisnating, as each one plays an important role in our ecology.

At daybreak we headed for a visit to another of our favourite camps – Shingwedzi

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We spent almost half an hour with this group of 5 hyenas. They darted erratically towards one another and then back and forth from one side of the road to the other, sniffing the air. They jostled for position at the whiff of something in the grass. We assumed that through this display of body language they were communicating an essential, basic message to each other.

Coincidentally, while watching a programme about hyenas on TV last night, we learnt that hyenas are prolific territorial scent markers. The large scent glands situated below the anus secrete a sticky substance which they deposit on grass, twigs and even their prey. This behaviour communicates a variety of messages to other members of their clan or as a possible warning to opposing clans.

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An unhurried tortoise made his way across the road

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Once again we passed very few vehicles. The secluded, rustic Tshange picnic spot was an ideal stop for a cup of coffee and a rusk. Unfortunately, we did not take photos here but well worth a visit.

We took the R52 which follows the river leading us through magnificent riverine forests resplendent with gigantic trees towering above us. We savoured the serenity and beauty, the stillness and timelessness of this area. Arriving at Shingwedzi in time for lunch, despite the excessive midday heat, we enjoyed our own food at the day visitors’ picnic site from where we could see, for the first time large pockets of water in the river. On all our previous visits here, the river bed has been dry.

Numerous birds flitted in and out of the trees and shrubs around us. The odd squirrel scuttled up and down the tree trunks and a large monitor lizard patrolled the bank.

As we returned to our car, we were jovially greeted by a beautiful, vivacious young lady sporting a brightly painted bird on a black T-shirt. :D Emblazoned below the bird was the telling statement “I am a bird of another kind” or words to that effect. This was Shi who so generously shares “her” farm with one and all. :thumbs_up: Shi was accompanied by a kindly Bavarian gentleman (of Schnapps fame) 8) :lol: who is obviously passionate about our parks. :thumbs_up: It was lovely to meet you Flying Cheetah and Shi. Thank you for spotting our YR and initiating the greeting. :lol: :clap:

After bidding our new-found friends goodbye, we continued down "memory lane" as we drove along one of our favourite routes, the S134 skirting the Shingwedzi River and past Kanniedood Dam.

This little frog was seeking shelter from the midday sun under Nyawutsi Hide.

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Elephants enjoying the water

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A happy hippo, surveying his domain

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This colourful chameleon crawled across the road moving his limbs in staccato fashion, extremely slowly.

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By contrast, soon after he hunched his back, he sped off rapidly disappearing into the thick grass.

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A then a blind snake about 30cm long

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We followed the S50 which took us along the Tropic of Capricorn again.

This flustered pair of crowned plovers was attempting to distract a falcon hovering above the grass nearby.

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The trees are God's great alphabet: with them He writes in shining green across the world His thoughts serene. ~Leonora Speyer


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 Post subject: Re: From Beach to Bush
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:26 am 
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Thank you Micetta, FC, Katja, Shi and Pumbaa for your kind comments. It is encouraging to know that you enjoy the memories of our trip as much as we do. :D

The dear little frog was spotted and :cam: by Macchappie! :clap: as were the ellie photos. :clap:

FC We miss so much as we drive around the park. The main reason I think, is that these creatures camouflage so well and/or disappear in an instant. Like the enormous stick insect Shi spotted while we were chatting at Shingwedzi – he was gone in a flash!

And on other occasions we overlook the small things in the hopes of finding the big ones. :hmz:

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