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 Post subject: Dreamer My Captured Experience Stars & Diamante Apr 11
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 9:55 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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*SIGH* As I mentioned in the Arid Parks Captured experiences thread(...."without sounding really dramatic, I feel like I have just returned from Heaven!!)
WOW, what a special night :clap: :clap: :clap:

When hearing that I had received a prize in this competition, there was NO WAY I was going to miss out on the Banquet which was to take place in the Auob Riverbed.
:hmz: One night on route to KTP, the night of the banquet and one night afterwards was the question to SO :huh: OK :dance: It was to be... but we would also have one night on route on the way home just so that we could at least spend another morning in the park!

We arrived at the entrance gates at 7am sharp on the morning of the 9th April. A quick check in so we could fit in a morning drive before 'booking in' to our tent in the Tented Village that was set up specifically for the Captured Experience attendees.
The Camp was a buzz....cars, trucks, people, tents, mattresses, flags.. all this with plenty of smiling faces (although I am sure behind the scenes were a lot of stressing staff)
The entire Twee Rivieren Camp was transformed into a tented village.
The tents were beautifully set up and kitted with mattresses, duvets, bedside table, electric lamp, towels, shampoo and soaps were all provided.
Everything had been thought of :thumbs_up: A large area had been set up for the ladies to blow dry hair and apply make up etc .
Lovely set out dressing tables, large mirrors, and power points were provided. Even an iron was made available for use.

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This is were the 'Diamante' comes in
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SO finally getting dressed, I was beginning to think I would be getting to the 'pick up' point outside the old reception on my own.
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A picture I would never have dreamed of.....(I never wear make up of even dry my hair in KTP, never mind an evening dress :shock:
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 Post subject: Re: My Captured Experience experience...Stars and Diamante
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 7:46 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Hellooo...apologies for duplicates but Jannie (KG) had asked for these to be posted in AridpParks thread as well, so please excuse if you have already seen them

Ready to leave on the game vehicle truck for 'THE' venue Image greg and I on truck

The Minister of transport.....I must say he did a far better job than some of our official Ministers!!! Don't think of changing your profession though Jannie! You are far more valued here :D
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Our first view of the venue in the Samevloeeing Riverbed
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First view if venue from truck
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Got to have this pic too :D
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We were welcomed into this sundowner tent area which was so beautifully set up. At this stage I said to SO that if it gets any better I think the tears would start!! It was just too beautiful for words!!
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There were huge posters on boards that we could enjoy looking at while being served Amarula and Sherry along with delicious hors d oeuvres....let me make your mouths water :D Kalahari Sushi (Pella dates, Feta Cheese and Springbok Carpaccio, Biltong sticks and Bruschetta with Brinjal Pate.
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Took a photo of the menu for you to see too :D At the top of the menu it reads:
"We hope that as you journey through this culinary experience, you will relish each dish, which has been lovingly crafted by people from the Northern Cape community - a celebration of fresh, local produce moulded into artworks, inspired by the landscape and its amazing colours."

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Ok, the last I have to share. I decided to put the camera down as it was really difficult with the light fading and I was not focusing on just being there and taking it all in. Eye behind the camera made it difficult but I persevered as long as I could!!
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I have only just noticed the springbok on the ridge and the flock of birds to the right :D
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Armed rangers were placed around the entire area. Thank goodness :shock: :shock: I say this because we were serenaded by roaring lions and I am telling you......CLOSE!!! One of the singers from the band Romanz was not very comfortable!! Poor chap was visibly very scared. He probably heard them before we did too.

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Hope you have enjoyed the tiny.. tiny... tiny..... bit, brought to you through these pics and thanks for the compliments paid to SO and I :redface: :D

Memories of this almost indescribable evening will remain with me forever. I am so thankful that I was able to be part of this....thank you to all who contributed to making this an event of a life time. I feel so privileged to have been part of it.

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 Post subject: Re: My Captured Experience experience...Stars and Diamante
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:33 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Thank you once again for all your compliments...I'm pleased you enjoyed it as much as we did :thumbs_up:
Well, we were in the park for 2 nights, so I do have a morning, a full day and a second morning to report back on :dance:
We were at the gates at 7am the morning of the banquet as we were not going to miss out on any potential sightings. A quick hello to KG who was stressing...(a bit :wink:), and then we headed straight into the park.

We certainly were given a great welcome

A kill...our first sighting, a PCG with a rat for breakfast. Not sure if it was a whistling rat or a mole rat, it seemed dark in colour which made me think it was a mole rat :huh:

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Not much further towards Monro a cheetah coming to welcome us :dance:

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and then a bit further, a lovely spotted hyaena

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He did not waste time, crossed the road quickly and disappeared over the dune

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.....and not much further along the Auob one of those dark 'blobs' that you see and hesitate at, thinking it 'may' be something but you doubt yourself and then think it's a log. It turned out to be a male lion :D and after watching him appear and disappear just as quickly in the long grass we noticed that there were at least three other lions flat in the grass as well.

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We could not believe our luck. A couple of hours in the park and we had seen so much. What a fantastic way to begin our short stay :dance:

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 Post subject: Re: My Captured Experience experience...Stars and Diamante
Unread postPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 12:05 am 
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Oh dear, been quite a long delay before this post...sorry :redface:

This was our only full day in the park. In the morning we took a drive to Auchterlonie. It was a quiet morning but still most enjoyable. I was tempted to go out on another drive while SO enjoyed some catch up sleep seeing we only climbed into bed around 2.30am that morning. On second thoughts I too decided to relax ( a first and for me in KTP :D )

Our afternoon drive was up the Leeudril

A pair of mating secretary birds. This was a fair distance from the road so the pic has been cropped quite a bit.

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Again a quiet drive, and the scenery was so pretty

While enjoying the lovely changing colours of the sky we suddenly saw a lone springbok pronking and disappear over the dune. Our thoughts were that it had obviously got a scare but we could not see anything that could have caused that behaviour due to the long grasses.

While enjoying the beauty we were joined by another vehicle. KG and family :D (I think an afternoon off was well deserved as if I remember correctly, he only got home at 3.45am that morning and that was from work, not pleasure like us!) They had seen the reason for the pronking springbok, for us it was a huge surprise :D

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Our plan was to remain at Leeudril and leave in time to get back to camp in time for a braai with KG and fam. These Cheetahs sure knew how to tease us. They arrived 10 minutes before we needed to leave!

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They came to drink from the waterhole which we knew was in that position because we had seen it in Feb, however for anyone who had not been there before, they would not have known as the grasses were so long!

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I think this was the cue for us to leave. They had after all allowed us a good 10 minute viewing :dance:

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Sadly, we needed to leave or else we would be late back at camp and we wanted to have a little time spare just in case we needed to stop for a pic or two.

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A stunning way to end the day. I was extra happy as I knew I still had the next morning in the park before we would need to leave at midday. It turned out we left nearly 3 and a half hours later than we should have! :hmz:

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 Post subject: Re: My Captured Experience experience...Stars and Diamante
Unread postPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 8:47 pm 
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There is always a first time for everything but this morning my first time experience really made me MAD! The worst of it was that nobody else was to blame but myself :redface: I really wanted to be up EXTRA early to enjoy a bit of time around the TR camp before gate opening time. Well, that did not happen :evil: :evil: I , yes...ME....set the alarm incorrectly. Normally I do not even need an alarm, I wake up before any alarm goes off. This morning was obviously not 'normal' I woke up with the sun shining into the chalet and it was 7.23 !!!!! Gate opening time was 7am :wall: :wall: Oh well, I quickly realised that I could be grumpy or I could deal with it and get over it. I chose the latter and proceeded to enjoy the day :dance:

We decided to drive to Leeudril first and then across the dune to the Auob Riverbed.

A couple of pics taken along the Nossob road
Crowned Lapwing
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Kori Bustard, for a change did not turn his back on us as they normally do when you stop to take a pic :D
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A Wattled Starling tree :D
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A first for us...a baby Kori Bustard. Pic taken through the front window before it disappeared into the long grasses
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A sighting of gorgeous suricates
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We we so happy to see this. In Feb we saw no snakes!!
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Just before Auchterlonie we saw a collared Cheetah lying in the shade of a tree but quite far off. Dr Gus Mills and Margie were there and told us that she had just had a failed attempt at a kill. We did not have time on our side and felt it time to move on.

Our decision was a good one. A lion and her three cubs had just killed a Wildebeest Calf. We obviously missed that but we witnessed them dragging it into a better shady position. I could not believe how lucky we had been with sightings. Gosh, we had seen SO MUCH during this ultra short visit :D The following pics tell their own story
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It was time to start heading back towards TR. We had planned to leave the park at midday.
We had a couple more delays which I will share with any others still interested , but first I need to do the downsizing, uploading etc procedure :D

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 Post subject: Re: My Captured Experience experience...Stars and Diamante
Unread postPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 5:15 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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We leave these lions to enjoy the rest of their meal in peace and not much further down the road came across springbok looking very tense.

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They had good reason though!
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Near Munro we spotted two more snakes, once again raiding a weavers nest.
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We watched for ages before we spotted the second one, this one been of a lighter colour.
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Time was ticking on and we realised that we were already going to be leaving the park much later than planned. Oh well, who cared...we only had as far as Brandvlei to go and it did not matter if we got there late :D

As we pulled off from watching the snakes , just around the bend we saw a Landy stopped at an angle looking into the riverbed. The chap in this Landy told us he had been sitting there for as long as we were watching the snakes, he was watching a cheetah hunt :shock: OK, no problem, we too would join in but moved much further up anticipating the direction the cheetah would take chase. It was so fascinating to watch, however , after nearly an hour and a half we just HAD to go :cry:

These two springbok stood dead still, not taking their eyes off the cheetah, if we were stupid we would have thought they were statues!! Believe it or not, the cheetah is in this pic but you need Xray eyes to see it!
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Eventually the springbok moved away and this patient cheetah continued her hunt.

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We had a little private joke going with friends at home and they were very keen to see SO in his dress suit in the dessert with a red rose. This was the rose used to complete the scene for them :D We drove with it all the home on the dashboard to remind me of the awesome event that we were so lucky and privileged to be part of :D

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Thank you to each of you who have enjoyed, complimented and congratulated. I was not going to share this on the forum as I did not want it to come across as 'boastful' :redface: However, after the warm wishes and congratulations received at the banquet and on the Captured Experiences thread...I though...why not? I felt honored and proud and so shared it all , so thanks for the encouragement to do this mini report. Now that I am done with this one and our report from Feb, I can sit back and thoroughly enjoy all the other amazing stories and pictures that are in on the go in Travel Tales :dance:

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