John n Poppy
We also heard gunfire but were told that it came from a Hunting Concession on the Botswana side Val
Don't know about other humans but those hormones didn't affect these Pumbaa; Forestgump; anne-marie; Sharifa and Duke and MM
Thanks everyone for your comments.
Before I continue - apologies to you all - there are no pics in today's episode. Dare I say "Due to circumstances beyond our control" ?
Friday 10 June
Today was our last day in Mapungubwe. Tomorrow we had a journey of about 300kms to Punda Maria. As we had not really spent much time in camp, we decided not to go out but to clean things (like the gas stove!) and pack away what we could. It would take us at least 2 hours tomorrow morning to finish packing up as we had to empty and collapse the trailer tent before even trying to move out. We were not in a hurry and stopped several times to sit and enjoy the bush in front of us and its various occupants. Although P’s camera was close at hand, he could not get any pics. Whatever came close enough to be photographed, vanished as soon as he picked up the camera! The exception being the young Bushbuck who would not leave the dappled shade of the bushes and trees – this was not P’s day! – and to cap it all, his neck was hurting from sleeping on the “pillow”........
Saturday 11 June
We were up before dawn and quickly made some sandwiches and coffee for the road. Having cleared everything out of the tent and packed things away in the trailer, we could collapse and fold the tent on top of the trailer. Fortunately, P had packed his camera away otherwise I would have forced to post a pic of me balancing on top of the tent which was on top of the trailer - not very dignified but, according to P, it was the only way to flatten the tent sufficiently so that the cover would fit over...........was this revenge for the pillows????
By 8 am we had finished, showered and changed and were ready to go. However, R & D had underestimated how long it would take them to get their caravan ready so it was another 30mins before we actually left. As we travelled down the track to the entrance, a large herd of Impala and a herd of Waterbuck were there to bid us farewell. Just before the gate, a flurry of wings drew our attention to 2 Namqua Doves.
The road to Musina is good – very little traffic and no potholes. The shortest route to Punda Maria from Musina is via Tshipise and Pafuri Gate. For those of you who may wish to take this route – fill up with petrol/diesel in Musina’s main road before getting to the turn off onto the R508. The main road itself is still the N1 – it is extremely busy with over border traffic. There are traffic circles and 4 way stop streets which cause continuous traffic snarl-ups. Should you need to replenish food supplies - as you turn left to Tshipise, there is a small shopping centre on the right with a supermarket, bottle store and biltong shop. Opposite, on the left, is another small supermarket and a bank ATM.
From Musina to Tshipise the road is narrow, windy and hilly but in a good condition. At Tshipise, turn left onto the R525 - an excellent road which takes you to Masisi where, unfortunately the road starts to deteriorate so that the last 10kms to Pafuri Gate are full of potholes.
We were welcomed at Pafuri Gate and, very quickly and efficiently, all our details were taken down and permits issued. Since our last visit in May 2010, KNP has now a very comprehensive folder into which the permit is stapled. This gives all the rules and regulations as well as information on how to behave near Elephants; a Code of Good Game viewing; contact telephone numbers of camps and gates and the opening and closing times of camp and entry gates. No-one can now say that they didn’t know that they were transgressing! (Thought – hopefully it is produced in languages other than English....)
After grabbing a quick bite to eat at the gate, we headed south with me having, once again, taken over the driving duty (P does not drive in National Parks!). About 12kms from the gate, I stopped. Ahead the road curved around a bend but there was a movement in the Mopane bush at the side just on the bend. R & D drove cautiously alongside us: “What is it?” “Something moved, not sure what it is” With that, an Elephant appeared and ambled across the road, followed by a baby and another adult. R reversed slowly, we stayed where we were with the engine idling. The Elephants were about 200m ahead and did not seem to have noticed us. Another Elephant crossed, then another – slowly we counted about 20 adults and babies. We waited – where were the teenage bulls and the aunts? R sidled up alongside us again “Don’t move, there’s a tortoise just gone under the trailer’s wheels. We’ll watch it and tell you when you can go” Great! They reversed again and watched the tortoise whilst we watched the Elephants! We had to wait for a few minutes before the first of the rear guard came out of the bush. Eventually we estimated that this was a breeding herd of about 35 animals, all of whom seemed to be totally ignorant of our presence. Meanwhile, unbeknown to us but watched by R & D, the tortoise moved forward from the trailer and came under the vehicle. It stopped for a couple of minutes and then moved over towards the other side of the road. R flashed his lights indicating that we could continue. It was then that they realised that the tortoise had come under our vehicle and had drunk the water droplets that were coming from the air conditioner!
Without any further ado, we carried on to Punda seeing – nothing! On arrival there, we set about finding a campsite but there were very few available; this was the fullest that we had ever seen this camp! Eventually, we found two sites with electricity fairly close to each other and were able to set up camp for the next 5 nights. Unfortunately, our “luck” struck again – we had chosen the ONLY site where the braai had not been cleaned! P quickly phoned Reception, who promised to send someone immediately to clean it. An hour later, it was getting dark and still no clean braai. Another phone call. Within 15 minutes a bakkie drew up and 2 gentlemen got out and proceeded to clean it. Full of apologies, the one explained that there had been people on that site who had made a braai that morning and the coals were still hot when it was time for it to be cleaned. As it was now dark, we decided not to braai that night but put a stew on the stove instead.
It was strange not hear Impala “barking” but we were treated to Hyaena howling and Buffalo snorting. A little later, a strange screeching noise split the air – Punda’s owls were awake but we were not!