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 Post subject: An interview, one night in Balule and a lost window
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 7:54 am 
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The call came through on Tuesday afternoon at 15h00. Can you please be in Hazyview tomorrow morning at 11h00....
Needless to say, when my SO received this call, he just phone me and say, "Arrange your leave, we are leaving tomorrow at 03h00, I have an interview in Hazyview tomorrow morning."

Well, we knew 90% that this was going to happen, because his first interview at the personnel agency went very well, so I wasn't too shocked when he told me, but what to do now? Immediately I went on the Availability section, and surprise, surprise, there is no place available anywhere! There is no way that I am going to Hazyview and return without sleeping at least one night in Kruger. :hmz:

So, when I got home, I got the tent, two chairs, air mattress, my blue camping plug with an extension and a little bed lamp, my camera and binoculars and put all of that in the boot. I packed our clothes, got two mugs, a small container of coffee and sugar, plates and the necessary cutlary together and put the flask next to the kettle to be filled just before we leave.

Arranged with my sons which one will make dinner the next night and went to bed at 21h30.

The alarm clock went off at 02h30, we were up and dressed, quickly woke the boys to say goodbye, filled the flask and load the last of the stuff, got in the car and we were off by 03h45... without any idea where we are going to sleep that night... how is that for planning a trip to KNP?


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 Post subject: Re: An interview, one night in Balule and a lost window
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 9:50 am 
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Elzet and Theuns, I thought you were in the park? We've been searching for you, maybe I got my dates mixed up. Anyway, back to our adventure....

So, we drive the N4 highway, stopping at all the 1-Stop stations, stretch our legs and drank coffee, and off again, repeating until 8h00 where we stop in the mountains before Nelspruit to make a phone call to one of the camps in the park to see if there wasn’t a cancellation the previous day and maybe, just maybe we could find a camping site for the night. Again nothing in the southern parts. Satara helped us eventually with a camping space at Balule. We knew that this was going to be a long drive from Phabeni gate and we estimated that we will only be able to enter the park at about 12h00 if everything went according to plan. The lady at Satara restcamp gave me a reservation number, but my cell phone reception was real bad, and I kept repeating the numbers, until we were both more or less happy we have the same numbers .... Now, at least we can enter the gate and thought maybe, if we stop at Skukuza, we can ask them if there is anything available. (I mean, anything can happen in KNP).

At 10h30 we arrived (after some breakfast in a Wimpy) at the interview, and my SO went in immediately. What a beautiful view from the company’s offices! The offices are on a little hilltop, and you can see all the way to the park! It was breathtaking. While he was busy, a curled myself up in a little ball on the front seat and tried to get some sleep, I mean it’s still a long way to drive after we entered the park.
Suddenly there was a knock on the window, and a voice calling my name. It was one of the manager requesting me to come inside to meet the owner of the company... well, that looked promising, I thought to myself. It is not usual for a possible employer to want to meet the wife of a possible employee? So after excusing my “dress code” which consisted of tracksuit pants (it was very cold in Johannesburg when we left) and my Triple A Challenge T-shirt, I met the owner and his wife. Such nice people! They explained the set up to us etc, and really gave us a Hazyview welcome.

We left with a promise that they will let us know as soon as the last candidate came for his interview if he got the job.
We decided to rather enter at Paul Kruger gate due to the time. At the gate, we got the first problem... the reservation number I got was not in my name, yes the surname was the same, the initials almost the same, but the client number, Id, etc was not mine. The friendly man at the gate told us to go in anyway, and try and sort it out at Satara.


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 Post subject: Re: An interview, one night in Balule and a lost window
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 10:31 am 
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Our first animals were buffalo in the riverbed at the bridge at the gate. Next on, inside the park, as usual some Impala’s. We truly felt like we belong after spotting this.
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Arrived at Skukuza, and still there is no place available, only a very expensive bungalow, which we will not be able to afford. Time is starting to run out, so we jumped in the car and headed to Satara. For the very first time in my life, I didn’t drive our normal 25km/hour speed limit that we always do. We continued on at 50km/hour, stopping only when there was something to see next to the road, like these elephants
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About 20 km before we reached Satara there were a few cars next to the road with people hanging out of the windows to take pictures, and we knew that this was certainly some kind of predator, because that is the only time behave so foolishly. And what do you know, not even five metres from the road there was a beautiful LIT. Unfortunately, the bush is very dense, and we didn’t have time to try and manuever the car till we had a clear view for a pic. At least our pic show that we indeed see this LIT.
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Very happy we continued to Satara, and saw this on the way.
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At Satara (this was now already 16h00), we sorted out the problem, they gave us a new reservation number, and we were on our way to Balule.
I have never been close to Balule before, but are booked for the Easter Weekend 2011 for the “Forum Balule Clean up”. What a nice surprise. This is such a beautiful little camp, and I will definitely enjoy our stay here next year. At least, I will come prepared with other lightning (something not electrical). We arrived at 17h25 and took the number 1 campsite at the gate and also next to the fence. Quickly got our tent up (we are now practiced and it took us only 10 minutes) got the mattress blown up and then it was dark... and I mean it when I say it was dark!!!! We didn’t have any other form of lighting, only our torch which is always in the boot of our car. We made a fire to have a braai, and used the torch for everything. As you can see in the pic, we only took the bare necessities. At least we remembered to buy some charcoal...
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By 20h00 we ate, and just relaxed in this absolute darkness. When we heard a sound at the fence, we saw a hyena at the fence in the light of the torch, and realised after a while that he is circling the camp. He run passed us a couple of times. The sounds of the other campers quieted down, and later all you could hear was the hippo’s in the river.
We settled in for the night, but after about an hour’s sleep we were woken by the sound of lions. I don’t know if they were on a kill, but the sounds they made were awesome. This kept on for most of the night. When the lions quieted down, the hippo’s started up, and then the lions started again, and so on and so on. What an amazing experience!


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 Post subject: Re: An interview, one night in Balule and a lost window
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 11:42 am 
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Thanks Sprocky, Jungle Junkie, Micetta for the replies. Theuns, Elzet, Elsa, Kamadejo, thanks for holding your thumbs, hopefully we will know within the next few days. Roaneric, I'm sure you would be the first to know if he gets the job. :thumbs_up:

Now back to the adventure
The next morning we woke at 05h00, we had to take down the tent and leave the gate at 06h00 because we wanted to exit at Phabeni and then start the long journey home. I rushed to the “kitchen” to put the supplied kettle on the gas and while that was busy boiling, rushed back to take down the tent. At 06h00 we were ready, coffee made in our mugs, flasked filled and the gate opened. We thought of taking the 5km dirt road that leads to Olifantskamp, and then turn left on the tar road towards Satara. It almost sounded during the night that the sound of the lions came from that side. Well, needless to say, we didn’t find the lions, maybe our directions were out, and they were on the other dirt road towards Satara. We only saw some impala for the first part.

At the bridge we stopped again to fill our coffee mugs (I just looovvvee coffee) and have a look at the beautiful sunrise. Unfortunately my pic of the sunrise blurred.
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We saw a lonely elephant
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A car was standing in front of us for a while, and by the time we reached it, we saw a lion walking in the grass. It looked hurt and the people who were there already said that it crossed the road before them and it’s back leg were bloody. It looked as if it has been in a fight. Still a beautiful lion. While watching the lion, my SO asked me to open our back window, which I did. The lion went to lay down, it is so amazing to see how well camouflaged it can be....and after we showed some people coming from behind where to look for it, we left.
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A little later we came across some white rhino’s and buffalo and other species.
Stopped at Satara, made some coffee, filled the tank, washed the windscreen. We decided that we cannot pass the opportunity to drive the S100. Just at the beginning of the S100, my phone rang and I got a call from Roaneric. She was quite surprised when I told her at that very moment I was on the start of the S100. We spoke the day before and I didn't mention to her we are going (because I didn't know :whistle: ) After ending the call we saw the usual, buffalo, zebra, giraffe, etc.
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 Post subject: Re: An interview, one night in Balule and a lost window
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 12:38 pm 
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Ok, everybody is waiting, so let me do the next and final part:

Suddenly we realized that it has become very dark and huge clouds were beginning to build up. When the first raindrops started to fall, we closed the windows (or so I thought I did...I still remember reaching behind me and turning the window handle...). Suddenly I realized that I,m beginning to get wet from the behind. Looked at the back door, and said "The window is gone!"

Now that was a real blond moment ... My SO said, "But how can the window be gone", me answering, "I think I lost it..." The more I tried to close the window with the handle, it just keep turning but nothing came up. We then figured out that the window was still inside the door (I mean how do you loose a window anyway...) but because we used a rental car the door panel was sealed and we couldn’t get it open to fix the window and put it back on its winch... or rail... or whatever it is where it is supposed to be.

We left the N’wanetsi Dam picnic site and continued on the H6. It drizzled for a little while, and then stopped for a while.
Suddenly a car stopped in front of us, reversing, forward, reversing... you know the drill. We stopped a little behind them so that they don’t by accident reverse into our car, when I spotted something moved next to the road. I couldn’t believe my eyes, it was a leopard. We stayed with it for a while (only our 2 cars) and then it disappeared in the bushes. I did manage however to get this photo, not the best ever, but again, just to proof...
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At Tshokwane we asked one of the staff members if they can sell us a plastic dust bin bag to cover the window, which we got. Now driving with a plastic flapping the whole time and making a noise, is not the best way to drive in KNP. We however did manage. We were very happy that we at least managed to get the window covered when we stopped at this little fellow next to the road.
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At Skukuza we bought some tape and my SO started to tape the plastic to try and reduce the noise. We knew that we’re going to have trouble on the 6 hour drive home tonight, as the clouds looked really heavy on the way home. And from experience I know how cold it’s going to become.
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On our last drive we decided to take the Phabeni gate road and then the Albasini road and exit at Numbi gate. For old time sake, we found these two ellies next to the road.
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We left the park at 16h00, with sad hearts, but we knew if all goes well and SO gets the job, we will be staying within a few km from our beloved park.


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 Post subject: Re: An interview, one night in Balule and a lost window
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 9:33 am 
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Thanks for all the comments. We still didn't hear anything about the job, there is still one candidate due for an interview this morning before they will decide, but I really am :pray: that he gets it. I can just imagine how nice it would be. All the people there that we met in Hazyview are looking so relaxed and the atmosphere is just great, so diffirent from here in Johannesburg. Luckily the plastic stayed in place till we got home, and the rain and mist lifted after we left Middelburg behind. I had to keep my window about 10cm open as well, otherwise the sound was unbearable. The window was already open by the time we reached the S100, and all we could think is that the window got of the hinch because of the vibrations.


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 Post subject: Re: An interview, one night in Balule and a lost window
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 3:17 pm 
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Well, it is 6 weeks later :? and we're still waiting... :doh: All the interviews are done now and apparently they decided on a candidate (heard from a reliable source that my SO's chances is very good). We will definitely know within the next few days if we're moving to Hazyview :dance:.... or not :cry:


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 Post subject: Re: An interview, one night in Balule and a lost window
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 2:26 pm 
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We're moving to Hazyview :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance:
Or at least, my SO is moving to Hazyview and I will follow in December when my son (matriculant) finished his last exams :rtm: :twisted: :dance: :dance: :dance:


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 Post subject: Re: An interview, one night in Balule and a lost window
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 3:01 pm 
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Thanks everyone, Theuns, no time to celebrate now, we only have tomorrow to sort out everything, leaving on Sunday morning 5 am to take him to Hazyview. He starts work on Monday already :shock:


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 Post subject: Re: An interview, one night in Balule and a lost window
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 7:55 am 
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Hi everyone, well I'm back at work, and had a safe journey (all 16 hours in the car, that is).
I'm in tears reading all this replies, what a wonderful bunch of people you are! :dance: Thank you so much for all your prayers, and Micetta, hope there's no cramps in your toes :twisted:
Elzet and Theuns, I'm sure we'll see more of each other from next year? (Just let me get a house and I'll make sure there is always a spare room available)
To everyone else, although we haven't met in person yet, you all feel like family, and it means a lot to see how everybody supported and prayed for us. Hopefully we will be able to meet somewhere in the park (or outside) one day.
My SO was retrenched from his work in December last year and it has been a hard nine months but now, all falls into place :clap:
My SO started to work an hour ago already. It feels so unreal being alone with the boys in Joburg, but I'm sure we'll cope well enough. Just need Arno to start his Record exams in 2 weeks time and then finish the finals in October/November then all will be well.
Petra


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 Post subject: Re: An interview, one night in Balule and a lost window
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:44 am 
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Hi everyone. Thank you so much for all your replies.
The first week in Hazyview went really well for SO. Even had a 30degree temperature yesterday, and he just loved it. He's just a bit upset because the car is with me in Jhb and he cannot get into the park right now (especially with it being weekend and he not working). Luckily he is using a company car, but feel uncomfortable using it for private matters. So, he'll just have to wait for me to come visit before he visits the park :twisted: Unfortunately with my son's record exams, it'll only be the long weekend in September. :(


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