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 Post subject: WackoRhino How the virus got me Aug 2008
Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 12:15 pm 
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In August 2008, my wife, our daughter and myself came to South Africa for the first time. One of our objectives was of course to stay for some days in the Kruger area. When we prepared the trip, we tried to book different places, in order to have an experience of the private game reserves as well as from the SANPark. Unfortunately we were too late and could not find any accommodation in the Kruger park itself.
So we booked 2 times 2 nights in private game reserves and decided to try our luck once in Kruger; maybe we could benefit from a cancellation. That is what finally happened and we had a wonderful one night stay in Skukuza, of which I will talk about later. :D

But first I would like to try to tell how the african wildlife virus caught me. It did not happen on the SANParks territory, but it did take place in a reserve of the Kruger area. As I believe that there would be no such reserves without the mighty Kruger Park, and as I think that this forum exists to uplift values that are common to the SANParks and to some private reserves (at least the ones that I visited in the area), I consider that I can publish my story here and I really hope that CuriousCanadian will agree. :?

We had come from Johannesburg in our small rented car through Grasskop and the Blyde river canyon to this beautiful private reserve somewhere between Hoedspruit and Klaserie.
On the evening we had our first “gamedrive”, with sundowner of course

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and were granted with nice sightings of buffalos

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and lions

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and many other wonderful creatures.
This “first contact” with the veld was exhilarating but the sting was to happen on the next morning...

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 Post subject: Re: How the virus got me
Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 4:40 pm 
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Thanks a lot norms and pumbaa !

here comes the second episode :


At 5:30 the air was cold and crisp, and all was quiet in the grey light of dawn, except for my heartbeat, loud with the excitation of the wonders to come. We left in the big open vehicle, almost hidden under cloaks and blankets. The clear sky turned to a gentle yellow on the east and we began to see the first impalas and warthogs; the veld was wakening up.

After 5 minutes of driving, as I was looking sideways searching for animals, our driver suddenly stopped just at the end of a bend. I heard my fellow passengers holding their breath even before I turned around to look in front of me.

Here he was, right in the middle of the road, like a creature from the far past that had suddenly sprung to life. He was grey and big and mighty; his black eye, tucked beneath the smallest of his two horns, was looking at us with calm and caution.

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I don’t know how long he stayed there before slowly moving to the bushes.

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For me the time had stopped, I could not take my eyes off this marvellous being. I had the feeling that some ancient relative had come to visit me and that I could hear his call.

Later this morning we saw many beautiful animals, including lions and elephants, and on the next days, we saw even more wildlife, as well as two encounters with the leopard ,

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but my first rhino remains something very special.
From that time on, I think about the veld almost everyday and my interest for nature, even in my own country, has greatly increased.
It is not too much to say that this daybreak encounter somewhat changed my life.

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 Post subject: Re: How the virus got me
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 9:48 am 
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Thank you everybody for your kind words, it makes me feel :D

now for the third part.


After the private reserves we finally entered KNP at the Phabeni gate. :dance: :dance:

On the way to Skukuza, we saw some elephants and 2 rhinos, too far for photos, but we also met our first hyena,

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had our best kudu sighting at that time

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and wondered if this vulture (anybody can tell me the name :redface: ) was not making shade for his youngs. :hmz:

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We were then very eager to find accommodation for one night in Kruger and luckily we got a nice bungalow in Skukuza. :dance:
We only had one night to spare before crossing Swaziland en route to StLucia and Hluluwe but we were so happy to stay there! :D :D

In the afternoon we had a small drive, going to Mathekenyane to see the view. It was quite impressive to behold the vastness of the veld.

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On the way and the way back we saw “the usual” game, especially zebras, but also giraffes and a couple of elephants (sorry no photos) and had our last “veld sunset” (until we come back :) ).

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Then we went for dinner at the Selati restaurant. Here on the platform of the former train station we really felt at the heart of the legend and fascination of the Kruger Park.

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 Post subject: Re: How the virus got me
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 5:07 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 6:14 pm
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I am quite happy to see that my story "rings a bell" to some of you !

I am now posting the last part of this TR...but I am working on another one to post in a few days.


On the next morning, after a splendid breakfast buffet, we faced a tough decision: do we go straight down to Malelane or do we follow the river to Lower Sabie and Crocodile Bridge ? As we had been on the H1-1 and H3 the afternoon before, we finally opted for LS and CB.

The drive along the river was really beautiful. Before LS we saw several large herds of zebras and gnus on the eastern bank and we stopped at the sunset dam for a while, happy with the birds and the hippos.

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At LS we stopped for a drink on the terrace, watching some elephants over the river

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and a whole group of hippos resting on a sand bank

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as well as some smaller creatures.

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I knew that from there we had to hit the road and my heart was quite heavy :cry:, but I promised to myself that I will come back and stay longer, to answer the call of the Veld.



And that is just what I am going to do next August.
Orpen, Shingwedzi (2n), Mopani, Letaba and Berg en Dal (2n)
7 nights in Kruger :dance: :dance: :thumbs_up:

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