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 Post subject: mposthumus-My Adventures and Memories .... in a Trip Report
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 12:34 pm 
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Location: P-town
As children, my parents have always encouraged us to attempt all good things in life at least once, so here is my first attempt at a Trip Report.

Sunday, June 13, 2010
Day 1
Pretoriuskop


At long last – the day that we’ve been looking forward to for such a long time has finally arrived. :) It is 4:00 in the morning and the house is bubbling with excitement. :D No one struggeled to get out of bed this morning. :lol: After coffee and rusks – mom’s homemade “boerebeskuit” – we pack the car and at 6:00 I lock the gates. I look at the now dark house and silently ask our Heavenly Father to protect my children, pets and loved ones while we’re away. :pray: Also that He will be with us on the way to our beloved piece of heaven on earth …. the Kruger National Park.

At the thought of all that lies ahead, I push my back upright against the seat and hit the petrol a little deeper. The road surface is smooth and the sun is slowly appearing above the horizon; the green of good rains clearly visible. 8)

At 8:30 we stop for breakfast in Middelburg and the food is eaten with great enthusiasm. After the tank has also been filled up, I turn the car's nose ....... further eastwards. :thumbs_up:

Again, I have to hold myself in check so as not to exceed the speed limit, because I hear Kruger's call, I smell the bush, I feel the sun on my back and how it warms me to my deepest being. :dance:

393km and four hours later we stop at Malelane Gate. We climb out, I stoop down and kiss the soil. Luckily no one sees me this time :redface: (I know, because I peeped!!).

The booking-in procedure at receipt is dealt with quickly and professionally. My heart is full of joy, I'm here! :thumbs_up:

A quick pit stop at Berg en Dal, a cold drink. We inform those at home that we arrived safely, and of course drape the Yellow Ribbon to the mirror. From here my sister takes the driver seat because I am the official photographer :cam: (a first for me).

Along the S110 and our first sighting …. a YR! Both of us wave enthusiastically, but because of the bakkie on my heels, I cannot stop. :huh: In my YR-draped mirror I see how "forum friend" applies his brakes but then continue on his way when I fail to stop. :sniper: I feel cheated but before I can verbally attack the guy behind me, my sister shouts “Rhino!” :big_eyes: Well, not a bad consolation prize for a big disappointment! To "forum friend" in his Maroon / Cherry-coloured Toyota Avanza (not sure of the make), I am very sorry!

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And later, this little treasure…

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Past Ampie’s borehole, along the H3 and past Afsaal towards the Voortrekker road. At Renosterkoppan we find an elephant quietly drinking water.

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And in the shade of a tree, two rhinos take a nap.

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Back on the main road, this warthog family scatters into the bush

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Further along the Voortrekker road to the camp. Is it my imagination or does the entrance to Pretoriuskop look prettier than ever? :hmz: Nah, that's probably what elation does to one’s imagination.

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After renewing our Wild Cards and having our hut allocated, we make a stop at the Park shop to buy wood for tonight's braai. Unpack and then time for an ice-cold ''Christies”. This one’s to your health Shi, for sharing the same taste for this refreshing coolant as me. :thumbs_up: My mother and sister prefer the real thing “die ware Jakob” as they call beer from a bottle with some lemonade.

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Meanwhile, I relive a piece of history.

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With the fire crackling, we admire the beautiful sunset, each busy with his own thoughts.

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After a juicy T-bone, krummelpap and Sheba, it is time for a bath and then off to bed. I linger at the fire for a while to breathe in the crisp air and listen to the night sounds. Although I enjoy the openness and can feel myself slowly starting to relax, I am tense and tired, and I feel like the moon ….. small, my mood solemn. :(

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However, I know without a doubt that this is only temporary and that my battery will be fully recharged by the end of our holiday. :wink: :dance:

My last thought before falling asleep on a brandnew mattress is of this zebra mare that we saw today, heavily pregnant.

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Will she become a mother tonight? Will the little foul survive the night in this wasteland, rife with predators?

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Mel@nie

[b]Unforgettable Adventures and Memories . . . . Metsi Metsi - March 2011[/b]
[url]http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=51559[/url]

27.12 - 31.12 (Shingwedzi)
01.01 (Tamboti)
02.01 - 03.01 (L.Sabie)
04.01 - 08.01 (Pretoriuskop)


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 Post subject: Re: My Adventures and Memories .... in a Trip Report
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 7:36 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2009 9:08 am
Posts: 164
Location: P-town
Day 2: Monday, 14 June
Pretoriuskop


After coffee and rusks we take the Voortrekker Road to the Afsaal picnic spot. ''Skopsie'' is still on holiday elsewhere. :whistle: After hamburgers prepared on the skottelbraai and a delicious papaya bought at HS Halls in Nelspruit, we tackle the road with new zeal. 8)

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Along the S114 to the Biyamati weir, where the Pied Kingfisher’s numerous attempts to catch tiny fishes in the shallow water, prove to be successful :thumbs_up:

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And the Green-backed Heron with big eyes is patiently awaiting his opportunity. :shock:

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On the oppoaite side of the weir, the Saddle-billed Stork is quietly claiming a piece of land with every step he takes. :roll:

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A quick movement and a rustle to our left – two Leguans are peforming the dance of love, :dance: but just too fast for a great photo. :cam:

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A mikrobus stops behind us, and to give them the opportunity to see everything we did, we drive on a little further with the S114 to enjoy a cup of tea in the shade of a tree. We can’t help to laugh, because news from Pretoria is that a cold front has hit the interior, and here we sit in the shade of a tree, looking for a little relief from the heat! :big_eyes:

Back at the weir the same mikrobus's occupants have left their vehicle, taking pictures of the Leguans. :cam: :sniper: Well aware that they are violating the rules, they flee back to the vehicle in an instant when they see us. :evil:

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On the Biyamiti Route we find this watchful Black-bellied Korhaan

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Back on the S114 this Impala lilly had been visibly damaged by fire, but somehow :hmz: in its deepest roots found the strength to bloom once again. :thumbs_up:

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Surrounded by green trees, these giraffe

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This strange-looking tree caught my eye immediately. :shock: Broken down the middle, with its crown on the lateral branch, its growth not impeded at all. :thumbs_up:

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Early evening with the three B’s :tongue:
Braai – bath – bed

_________________
Mel@nie

[b]Unforgettable Adventures and Memories . . . . Metsi Metsi - March 2011[/b]
[url]http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=51559[/url]

27.12 - 31.12 (Shingwedzi)
01.01 (Tamboti)
02.01 - 03.01 (L.Sabie)
04.01 - 08.01 (Pretoriuskop)


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 Post subject: Re: My Adventures and Memories .... in a Trip Report
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 4:05 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2009 9:08 am
Posts: 164
Location: P-town
Day 3: Tuesday, 15 June
Pretoriuskop


Today is our last day at Pretoriuskop. After some coffee and rusks we drive along the Napi Road (H1-1) to Granokoppies. :cam: The view is breathtakingly beautiful. An indescribable peace comes over me. :pray:
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Baboons, widely known as "sitbokke'' in our family, make us roar with laughter. The baby escapes his mother’s not so watchful eyes :)
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from nowhere, a concerned member of the group grabs the screaming baby :D
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and without much ceremony returns it to its mother. :lol: Full of mischief, and if my eyes do not deceive me, a little Rich Prins. :big_eyes:
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A must-stop for me is Skukuza. Although very busy nowadays, it still holds a certain enchantment from my childhood. Here I held hands with my first ever boyfriend on a bench overlooking the river with the so romantic old train bridge to the right (and got a hiding from my father when I returned to the caravan later that evening!) :huh:
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A visit to the historic Campbell Hut
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“The Stevenson-Hamilton Memorial is based at Skukuza Rest Camp and is open to all visitors. The reference library was named after the most famous warden, James Stevenson Hamilton, and houses collections of rare Africana and some interesting dioramas with displays.”
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Outside bathroom
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Gaspump
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Inside the hut:
Basin and bucket
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(Gaslamp) I could not see whether it might be a Deitz is not) :hmz:
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Chamberpot “Koos” :big_eyes:
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Insect repellent
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Crockery used in the restaurant
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Tinned elephant meat (as discussed on the forum). Unfortunately only the Afrikaans side of the label is visible
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Against the wall, the history of Col. James Stevenson Hamilton and Skukuza Camp
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After I have reassured myself that the bats "mystery balls" are still in the same place as last year, we're off to Lake Panic. :tongue:
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Approximately 1km from Lake Panic ..... a traffic jam. Three cubs safely entrenched among high grass and the lioness only visible when twitching her ears or tail.
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At Lake Panic the resident hippos are absent, but the scenery is still worth it.
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African Jacana
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African Pygmy Kingfisher
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Great Egret
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Brown-hooded Kingfisher
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On the Doispane road (S1) my sister brings the car to a sudden halt. This chap looks us straight in the eye! :clap:
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and surprises us with a double bumshot before disappearing into the tall grass :dance:
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Albasini Trading Post
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The ruins
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A Pit Stop at Phabeni gate
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Reception
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Back to camp along the Albasini Road (S3)
Zebra, impala and blue wildebeest grazing quietly
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Blackbacked Jackal
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Tsessebe taking a siesta
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Southern Ground Hornbill searching for food
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Giraffe
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Back at camp and already dusk is setting in. I take a stroll for the last time to memorise as much as possible.
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I peep into the water to see if there might be a snake in the pool :shock: before I put my feet into the cool water.
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End of another great day
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Braai – bath - bed

_________________
Mel@nie

[b]Unforgettable Adventures and Memories . . . . Metsi Metsi - March 2011[/b]
[url]http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=51559[/url]

27.12 - 31.12 (Shingwedzi)
01.01 (Tamboti)
02.01 - 03.01 (L.Sabie)
04.01 - 08.01 (Pretoriuskop)


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 Post subject: Re: My Adventures and Memories .... in a Trip Report
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 2:19 pm 
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Posts: 164
Location: P-town
Thank's JohanN and CB much appreciated :thumbs_up:

Day 4: Wednesday, 16 June
Letaba


After coffee and rusks we pack the car for the long trek to Letaba. :whistle:

On the H1-1 for quite a stretch, we encounter these green and brown locusts in the road. :shock:
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It is inevitable to miss them all, and my heart sinks in my shoes. :(
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A shy Steenbok
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In a tree next to the road, two vultures perching on their nest.
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Along the H1-2, and a pitstop at Tshokwane.
On the H1-3, in the middle of the road, a young Bateleur devouring what is left of a Quail
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So greedy that he chokes, trying to swallow :big_eyes:
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A lone buffalo and her calf crossing the road
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a vigilant kudu bull
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The Warthog at the bottom of the watering clearly has a sore front leg and can hardly walk. :cry: I secretly hope that he makes it through the night.
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We all wave Satara and the famous R100 lion road goodbye as we drive past – next year we'll be there again. :dance:
Along the H1-4 and we stop at N'wamanzi viewpoint for only one reason ...... the view. :cam:
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Lunch at Olifants Camp
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Summer Impala lilly
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From the deck restaurant we watch these elephants on the opposite side of the river.
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Eventually they reach the other side of the river. It is remarkable how caring they are towards one another throughout the process. :thumbs_up:
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Further along the H1-5 to Letaba
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at the restaurant, this cute White-bellied Sunbird flying from aloe to aloe for a sip of sweet nectar :whistle:
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and the ever present Bushbuck family
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A divine presence :pray:
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After the braai I put more wood on the fire.
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Late night and the king of the jungle roars loudly. :shock: I feel the vibration of the earth under my feet and get goose bumps all over. Indescribable! :dance: :clap:
Image :whistle:

_________________
Mel@nie

[b]Unforgettable Adventures and Memories . . . . Metsi Metsi - March 2011[/b]
[url]http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=51559[/url]

27.12 - 31.12 (Shingwedzi)
01.01 (Tamboti)
02.01 - 03.01 (L.Sabie)
04.01 - 08.01 (Pretoriuskop)


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 Post subject: Re: My Adventures and Memories .... in a Trip Report
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 8:01 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2009 9:08 am
Posts: 164
Location: P-town
Day 5: Thursday, 17 June
Shingwedzi


Coffee and rusks. As from today Shingwedzi. :thumbs_up: Barely out of the gate, on the H1-6, and this impala has been hauled up a shady tree, unfortunately without its leopard. :?
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Also our second YR sighting, deep in conversation with the occupants of a bakkie. I wait for a while, write down the registration number (WTG - silver VW) and continue on our journey. :(

A beautiful Bataleur, seemingly keeping watch over the bush
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Pit stop at Mooiplaas picnic spot where these men are hard at work, cutting the grass.
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A massive spider's nest? :shock:
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Tropic of Capricorn
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Cute Crested Francolins on the run
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I guess for us humans this will be a block of flats :doh:
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Along the way, a beautiful waterbuck with its heart-shaped nose
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This ellie just before we enter the gate to ....
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Shingwedzi :D
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The fishpond between the shop and reception
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With the sun setting fast we have an early braai.
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I decide to go to bed early after last night's late evening in the company of the king of the jungle. With my heart beating in rhythm with Mother Earth, I fall asleep. :whistle:

_________________
Mel@nie

[b]Unforgettable Adventures and Memories . . . . Metsi Metsi - March 2011[/b]
[url]http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=51559[/url]

27.12 - 31.12 (Shingwedzi)
01.01 (Tamboti)
02.01 - 03.01 (L.Sabie)
04.01 - 08.01 (Pretoriuskop)


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 Post subject: Re: My Adventures and Memories .... in a Trip Report
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 11:39 am 
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Posts: 164
Location: P-town
Day 6: Friday, 18 June
Shingwedzi


Coffee and rusks.
On the Kanniedooddam Road in file and a bumshop nogal, these Impala :twisted:
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And this poor mouse has completed its last fatal meander :(
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We have to wait quite a while for the entire army of ants to march across the road. :huh:
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A somewhat dirty zebra :shock:
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At the entrance to the Shelter, this curious Tree Squirrel :P
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These Natal Francolin have apparently decided it's too early for them to vacate their accommodation :?
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my :dance: Avatar :dance: with a yellow butterfly indulging in some sweet nectar (I only noticed the butterfly after downloading the picture!)
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At Nyawutsi hide (S50), not much ..…
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except for a lone crocodile
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some sleepy buffalo :wink:
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A rather quiet day on sightings, yet wonderful. :D
Three C'shi :tongue: and three B's :thumbs_up:

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Mel@nie

[b]Unforgettable Adventures and Memories . . . . Metsi Metsi - March 2011[/b]
[url]http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=51559[/url]

27.12 - 31.12 (Shingwedzi)
01.01 (Tamboti)
02.01 - 03.01 (L.Sabie)
04.01 - 08.01 (Pretoriuskop)


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 Post subject: Re: My Adventures and Memories .... in a Trip Report
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 2:06 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2009 9:08 am
Posts: 164
Location: P-town
Day 7: Saturday, 19 June
Shingwedzi


Coffee and rusks. Today my favourite road. The H1, 7/8 to Pafuri. The changing habitat is very fascinating and at the end of a long road, the reward just so great.

Nyala and Impala are abundant. It seems as if the Nyala ram is wearing 1/3 pants.
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Some ellies seeking relief from the heat
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The breathtaking Fever Tree forest. In my head, the scenes spin like a movie.
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At the end, Crooks Corner
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The Limpopo River. I cannot remember if I've ever seen it this full!
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If my calculations are correct, this is the "neutral" point"
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Fortunately for us the only "crooks" for the day .... these hippo
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My ever so silent co-chef
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A nice stirfry in the skottelbraai, and a short nap for my sister
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while I put the Vervet monkeys on film for ever.
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Almost invisible amidst the leaves, this butterfly?
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The well-known Frank
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and his well-maintained domain
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A quick stop on the Levuhu Bridge
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And the breathtaking clouds accompaning us all the way back to camp
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An early evening with the three B's

_________________
Mel@nie

[b]Unforgettable Adventures and Memories . . . . Metsi Metsi - March 2011[/b]
[url]http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=51559[/url]

27.12 - 31.12 (Shingwedzi)
01.01 (Tamboti)
02.01 - 03.01 (L.Sabie)
04.01 - 08.01 (Pretoriuskop)


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 Post subject: Re: My Adventures and Memories .... in a Trip Report
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:12 pm 
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Posts: 164
Location: P-town
Day 8: Sunday, 20 June
Shingwedzi


After coffee and some rusks we take the R52 to Red Rocks
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A lone elephant bull
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After breakfast in the car we drive along the H1-6 to the Old Main Road (S144). Halfway across the road we encounter an estimated 2½-metre-long Black Mamba. When he notices us, he lifts his head to about the middle of his body, and sails into the bushes. He seems to glide on water. The sight of his cold pitch black eyes will remain with me. I estimate the circumference of his body at about 25cm. Unfortunately, this picture of his trail is the only reminder of this impressive reptile. :big_eyes:
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Hitch-a-ride :lol:
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Far from the road and high in a tree, two secretary birds on their nest
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This herd of curious buffalo trying to stare us down :?
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Today, nine years ago, my father passed away. Some alone-time for my mother. I believe she is again reliving all the happy times spent in Kruger with my father.
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The view from our hut. What a tranquil scene :whistle:
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Back at camp and this Starling begging in vain for something to eat
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I do not know what his little bug is, but as children we called it a "Toktokkie" :hmz:
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Another indescribably beautiful sunset
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_________________
Mel@nie

[b]Unforgettable Adventures and Memories . . . . Metsi Metsi - March 2011[/b]
[url]http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=51559[/url]

27.12 - 31.12 (Shingwedzi)
01.01 (Tamboti)
02.01 - 03.01 (L.Sabie)
04.01 - 08.01 (Pretoriuskop)


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 Post subject: Re: My Adventures and Memories .... in a Trip Report
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:42 am 
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Posts: 164
Location: P-town
Day 9; Monday, 21 June
Shingwedzi


Pink dawn! My favourite colour :D
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Early morning and a short trip to Babalala picnic spot. The plan is to spend a quiet day in camp. :whistle:
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I realise again how colossal an elephant really is when I see this bone. No wonder they claims so much respect .... ! :shock:
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Back at camp
Winter Impala lilly
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The Red-billed Hornbill making a meal of ants against the tree trunk
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This little guy and I eyed each other for quite a while…
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he chickened out first :wink:
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At the visitors area it is quiet, and I watch this old giant with great pleasure while he is having a drink of water.
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Late afternoon – a short drive along the Kanniedooddam Road. Although I heard a commotion among the hippos at 3:00 last night, I never imagined that it was indeed a fight for life and death. :shock: The crocodiles are anchored like ships in a bay on the dead hippo. Another hippo snorts and pushes the already dead hippo downriver, probably irritated with the offender in his territory. He is bloated and I secretly wonder whether he is, at some stage, going to explode! :big_eyes:
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Further down the river - a feast for the eyes
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From the dried out elephant dung sprouts new life
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Late evening around the fire, and in my ears, the soothing sound of bush babies in the trees. 8)

_________________
Mel@nie

[b]Unforgettable Adventures and Memories . . . . Metsi Metsi - March 2011[/b]
[url]http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=51559[/url]

27.12 - 31.12 (Shingwedzi)
01.01 (Tamboti)
02.01 - 03.01 (L.Sabie)
04.01 - 08.01 (Pretoriuskop)


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 Post subject: Re: My Adventures and Memories .... in a Trip Report
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 4:05 pm 
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Location: P-town
Day 10, Tuesday, June 22
Shingwedzi


Coffee and rusks. Today we drive on the H1-7 and turn off at the S56. This road has never disappointed us in the past. Approximately 2km from where the two roads join, a man cautions us to slow down and turn off the engine. My first thought, a breeding herd of elephant :roll: and I droop a little lower into my seat :doh:

The occupants of the car are two middle-aged Americans. Their excitement is obvious in the way they convey the information to us. :dance: We look in the direction they point, and indeed. :thumbs_up: Fairly deep into the bush, in the shade of a tree, two lion feeding on a young zebra. I must admit that the enthusiasm of our two overseas visitors is a greater pleasure to me, than the sighting itself. :clap: I am very happy for their memories and the tales they will tell their friends when returning to their homeland. :whistle:

the victim
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the feast
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the bush is so quiet, we can hear the bones breaking as they eat
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I wonder who is looking at whom :huh:
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a break
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and then continue with the feast
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After a pit stop and breakfast at Babalala we head back to the Kanniedooddam. The hippo is still in the same spot but has changed considerably in odour :twisted: and colour :o he is no longer as rosy pink as yesterday. The crocodiles are still intact.
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On the other side of our road, this Impala quietly grazing
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The vegetation on the bank of the river is lush green and this fluffy splendour is a pleasure to the eye. Image

On the way to the camp this elephant with its impressive tusks, and I realise it must be an emerging tusker. :thumbs_up: (Aat confirmed that it is indeed Machachule) :thumbs_up:
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The end of yet another superb day :pray:
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Three B’s

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Mel@nie

[b]Unforgettable Adventures and Memories . . . . Metsi Metsi - March 2011[/b]
[url]http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=51559[/url]

27.12 - 31.12 (Shingwedzi)
01.01 (Tamboti)
02.01 - 03.01 (L.Sabie)
04.01 - 08.01 (Pretoriuskop)


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 Post subject: Re: My Adventures and Memories .... in a Trip Report
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 9:26 pm 
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Posts: 164
Location: P-town
Day 11: Wednesday, 23 June
Shingwedzi


Coffee and some rusks. :tongue: Back to Kanniedooddam with the hippo now grey in colour. :big_eyes: Wind-down the smell is bearable ….. but not for too long. :twisted: Chances are slim for us to see the hippo from the shelter before our departure tomorrow. :(
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At our next stop this elephant is grazing quietly next to the road
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We look around to see what else the bush delivers, and realise that we are in the midst of a breeding herd. :shock: They are everywhere and this adolescent with flapping ears and stiff trunk makes us realise that there is only one option left –
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REVERSE!!
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I am no longer taking pictures, on the contrary, :big_eyes: I'm lying flat on the back seat. :redface: With my rich and colourful imagination, I can feel the elephant blowing down my neck ….. breath smelling of Amarula! :twisted: To my relief my mother says: "a Park’s Board bakkie has just stopped behind us." I jump upright and frantically wave at them to pass. :) My sister takes the opportunity and we follow our "escort" from this uncomfortable situation – to the great amusement of the men in the bakkie of course. :lol:
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We decide to drive the S56 for the last time, just in case our lions felt like zebra meat again. It is not meant to be, but as this is such a scenic road anyhow, we keep on driving. And as always, the bush delivers. :thumbs_up:

This buffalo is apparently having the best day of his entire life. We roar with laughter. :lol: Legs in the air, he rolls to this side :lol:
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then to the other side… :lol:
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and then looooong stretch. :lol: Some members of the herd come closer to have a look
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and eventually - washed and powdered ….. buffalo-fashion! 8)
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Back at camp relaxting under a tree discussing the day's adventures, when all of a sudden my mother asks "what kind of bulb is growing on that branch?" Above me in the tree an African Barred Owlet.

Peek-a-bo . . . . I see you :wink:
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After a while, he starts grooming his feathers, stretching his legs, and at dusk he spreads his wings and silently disappears from our lives.
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Mel@nie

[b]Unforgettable Adventures and Memories . . . . Metsi Metsi - March 2011[/b]
[url]http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=51559[/url]

27.12 - 31.12 (Shingwedzi)
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 Post subject: Re: My Adventures and Memories .... in a Trip Report
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 07, 2010 11:42 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2009 9:08 am
Posts: 164
Location: P-town
Day 12: Thursday, 24 June
Mopani


It is still dusk when we exit the gate on our way to Mopani. Our eyes scour the river bank for any predators that might be looking for a drink after a bloody meal the previous night, :big_eyes: but instead we see, in the deep shade of a large tree, these two Whitefaced Owls
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Sooner than expected, we reach Mopani.
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This is our first stay in Mopani, and great is the surprise. The huts are built amongst untouched bushes and totally separate from one another. On top of it all, our hut is the last one at the very top of the camp, where it is even more secluded. :thumbs_up:

On the cement slab along the porch this Natal Francolin family welcomes us. They gayfully drink water from a dripping tap. :D
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Not yet unpacked, and my phone 'bleeps'. An SMS from my brother "where are you?" He, his wife and daughter booked into Mopani yesterday, and I know instinctively that the organising of the kitchen will have to wait until later, my brother has plans! 8) Fifteen minutes later and the coffee tastes so much better now that our family is more complete. :thumbs_up:

My brother is driving in front, we follow his lead. All of a sudden – tail lights - and I smile secretly, thinking to myself, even my big strong brother is cautious of this large species. :wink:
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At Pioneer Dam
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this spider's nest fascinates me :shock:
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In the shelter, overlooking the dam, a variety of grasses and seeds
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On our way to Shipandani Hide a Green-backed heron
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and a cautious Black crake
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The Songololo trip (S142) does nog deliver much and back at camp we sit on the deck of the restaurant taking delight in all the wonders surrounding us.

This Pied Kingfisher gazes across the water, on the lookout for something to eat
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Slowly but surely the dusk enfolds us like a blanket
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And then the inevitable circle of life, yet another day has come to an end. Fortunately, we are rewarded with another indescribably beautiful sunset. :clap:
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With more of my loved ones with me, the braai tonight is extra special, and we socialise untill late into the night. :dance:

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Mel@nie

[b]Unforgettable Adventures and Memories . . . . Metsi Metsi - March 2011[/b]
[url]http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=51559[/url]

27.12 - 31.12 (Shingwedzi)
01.01 (Tamboti)
02.01 - 03.01 (L.Sabie)
04.01 - 08.01 (Pretoriuskop)


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 Post subject: Re: My Adventures and Memories .... in a Trip Report
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 07, 2010 6:16 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2009 9:08 am
Posts: 164
Location: P-town
Day 13: Friday, 25 June
Mopani


Coffee and some rusks. Today is our last day in Kruger, and I try to ban this thought from my head as far possible. :cry: At Mooiplaas a distant fish eagle enchants us with it's call. Then the S50 / S143.

An ever charming Blacksmith lapwing
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At the Mooiplaas dam a small herd of Zebra
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Secretarybirds
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a Southern Ground hornbill with enviable long eyelashes
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a tedious Kori Bustard
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in the distance some 15 Ostriches
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Today is definitly our day for birds. :cam: Black-headed heron
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I reckon this Black-Backed Jackal is planning a meal of some sort of bird for the evening :hmz:
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Alhough this Tsessebe is grazing close to the road he couldn't be bothered by our car
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This windmill creates the impression of steadfastness and immortality
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As I said at the beginning of my Trip Report, I was tense and tired, and felt like the moon – small, my mood somber – but now my battery has indeed been fully recharged. After yet another exceptional holiday in Kruger I feel complete and relaxed. :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:
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A braai and I get to bed much later than planned. I lie awake till the early hours of morning, not able to ban the wonderful prospect of tomorrow from my thoughts. :hmz: Earlier in the evening I received a great gift from my sister-in-law, something I have always dreamed of, and tomorrow that dream will become a reality. :D

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Mel@nie

[b]Unforgettable Adventures and Memories . . . . Metsi Metsi - March 2011[/b]
[url]http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=51559[/url]

27.12 - 31.12 (Shingwedzi)
01.01 (Tamboti)
02.01 - 03.01 (L.Sabie)
04.01 - 08.01 (Pretoriuskop)


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 Post subject: Re: My Adventures and Memories .... in a Trip Report
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 5:25 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2009 9:08 am
Posts: 164
Location: P-town
Day 14: Saturday, 26 June
Going home …. But first!!!
Part I


My alarm clock peals at 5:00 for the first time in 14 days and I dread waking up. My first thought is WORK – but that can't be, I'm still in Kruger! I suddenly remember yesterday evening's events and like lightning fly out of my bed. At 5:30 I hear my brother's car outside, grab the camera and fly out the door. In the background I hear my sister cautioning "beware of ........ ", but I do not hear the rest, only my mother's voice echoing:"Enjoy yourself my child!"

I am joining my brother, sister-in-law and their daughter for my very first morning walk. At 6:45, with Indemnity Form in hand, I step forward to meet our guides, Mike and Hennie. They introduce themselves to the rest of the group. A father and son from Rhodesia and a young couple from America. It is freezingly cold and I wrap myself in the blanket. The sun still has no wish to show itself.
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As we stop, I recognise the windmill as the one from yesterday when we did the Songololo Drive. At least now I know in which direction to aim ........ should I need to run!
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Mike lays down the rules "and no matter what happens, DO NOT run". OK, I think, no need to remember where the windmill is then. We walk in single file with Mike and Hennie in front. I pause for a moment. My brother walks at the back .... what if a lion attacks him from behind? He is not just my brother ..... he is my only brother. As we are not allowed to speak I indicate to my brother to walk in front of me, but he stands his ground and my only option is to carry on walking.

Our first stop, this rather dead-looking chameleon. Mike wraps his hand gently around the animal's little body, and I see the concern on his face. "He lives, the sun will soon warm up his half frozen body." I like Mike, very much because of his concern for the chameleon and also because he declares the little one not dead.
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Now is my chance to address the issue of the walking formation. Mike explains with a smile that predators are usually just as scared of man as man is of them, and as a result they will flee. In the event of an attack, it will then be aimed at the person in front. At night, however, it is a completely different story and the animal will most certainly attack. With my mind at ease, we continue on our adventure.

Mike demonstrates how to wreathe a sturdy rope from the bark of this tree (ID pls?)
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Next stop, this half-buried stone. To me it looks quite ordinary, but Mike seems to know better
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He digs out the stone, and to my amazement, it turns out to be a grinding stone. Used for grinding maize, herbs, etc., for domestic purposes, the weathering caused by this process is clearly visible
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A bit further, Mike bows down and in the crooked path, indicates Lion tracks (not older than 24 hours) with the prints of a Hyena at its heels, and a Serval short on the heels of the hyena
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My heart beats with excitement and Michelle (my niece) and I look at each other with big eyes. A bit further a vulture flies over our heads. Mike brings our party to a stop, while Hennie explores the area. Mike shows us the vulture droppings under the trees. This is probably where the lion enjoyed his meal. Vultures are always the last to leave the scene, so the chances are slim that Mr Lion will make an appearance .... but one never knows!

A loud trumpet and all of us stop in our tracks. It sounds ominous and very close. All eyes are on Mike and Hennie.

Visions of an elephant at full speed behind a car, desperately trying to escape, flash through my mind.

Mike: "Oh-oh, somebody is in trouble"
Me: "Two legs or four legs"
Mike: "No, five legs. Not to worry, it is only an Elephant bull trying to declare his love to a still unwilling cow, and they are about a kilometer for here."

Me and my big mouth, I certainly didn’t see that one coming!

Mike explains that this tree species is commonly known as the “toilet paper tree” amongst game rangers and guides. It is thus used in the event of them having to spend the night in the bush while in training (ID pls?)
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It is indeed exceptionally soft. Not double-ply, but I can live with that.

At this majestic Leadwood tree we come to a halt once again. I bend my neck backward but cannot see the tip of the tree.
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Mike shows us the markings on the tree trunk and overhanging branch on which the elephant scratches its body. The mud is clearly visible on the bark.
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But,” says Mike, "this is not what makes this tree so special. This particular old giant is about 1 000 years old, and consequently all Leadwood trees in Kruger were declared monuments. That is why none of the Sanparks shops sells wood for braai purposes."
Now it's not just Mike whom I like, it's everyone who works for Sanparks as well. I am really heartened by their vision to preserve nature for our future generations!

Time for our bush breakfast
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and Hennie sets the table
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Meanwhile, we all begin to strip off our clothes, layer by layer. It's not yet 9:00 and the heat is already oppressive. I sit down on a rock and feel very secure close to these…
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After breakfast Hennie bundles all the papers into his backpack. I cram mine into my pockets.... once home, they will become part of my scrapbook memories!

I stare in wonder at these interesting rock formations
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The nest of a baboon spider, and although Mike lightly tickles it with a piece of grass, it refuses to introduce itself to us.
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Analysis of elephant dung, but without any dung beetles during the Winter months.
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As all good things come to an end much too soon, so does this memorable morning.
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What a great gift from my sister-in-law!

_________________
Mel@nie

[b]Unforgettable Adventures and Memories . . . . Metsi Metsi - March 2011[/b]
[url]http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=51559[/url]

27.12 - 31.12 (Shingwedzi)
01.01 (Tamboti)
02.01 - 03.01 (L.Sabie)
04.01 - 08.01 (Pretoriuskop)


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 Post subject: Re: My Adventures and Memories .... in a Trip Report
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 6:57 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2009 9:08 am
Posts: 164
Location: P-town
Day 14: Saturday, 26 June
Going Home
Part II


Back at camp, we pack in a hurry because we have spent two hours longer in the bush than the normal scheduled time. :D My mother is staying behind with my brother, who will spend two more days in Kruger and two days at Mapungubwe. :(

We say our goodbyes and as we exit Mopani, my sister and I turn right towards Phalaborwa Gate and my brother turns left towards Shingwedzi.

Our last sighting, these hippos at Letaba bridge.
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Although the hyena is missing, he left his mark behind. :roll:
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Our last stop, a visit to Masorini Archaeological Place. My camera refuses to take any pictures and speaks a language I do not understand ("card not Initialised"). :evil: So, no pictures of our visit today, but I’m posting these pictures with permission from a good friend Reinette, with whom I visited Kruger last year. :cam:

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Phalaborwa gate, picture taken with my cellphone (not very clear)
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Pitstop at Phalaborwa Gate. Before I get back into the car for our drive to Pretoria, I let my mind wander over the past 14 days.

My mind is filled with all the wonders of God’s creation and everything that I have seen and experienced. :pray:

I kneel and kiss the beloved soil goodbye ... until next time, Deo Volente.

This then, my adventures and memories ... in a Trip Report. :thumbs_up:

THE END

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Mel@nie

[b]Unforgettable Adventures and Memories . . . . Metsi Metsi - March 2011[/b]
[url]http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=51559[/url]

27.12 - 31.12 (Shingwedzi)
01.01 (Tamboti)
02.01 - 03.01 (L.Sabie)
04.01 - 08.01 (Pretoriuskop)


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