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Addo and MZNP - November 2014

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Timbits
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Addo and MZNP - November 2014

Unread postby Timbits » Sun Feb 08, 2015 2:21 am

It’s hard to believe that almost 2 months have gone by since we returned from South Africa. It seems like it was so long ago. The next trip is booked, so now is the time to do a trip report and re-live the memories.

Departure date from Toronto was Thursday November 13. Temperature was around 1C and it was overcast. Our flight was scheduled for 10:15 am but we left the house at 5:30 am, to avoid rush hour traffic. As boring as it is to wait in an airport, I’d rather be there than sitting in traffic.

We checked in and got our bags weighed. Phew! Both bags were just barely under the 22 kg limit.

The aircraft for the Toronto – Washington flight was small – 2 seats on either side of the aisle. When I tried to board, they said I would have to sky-check my carry-on bag because it wouldn’t fit in the overhead bin. I knew it wouldn’t fit, but I had planned to put it on the floor. It’s only a one hour flight, I’m short and it’s not a big deal if I’m a bit uncomfortable - for a short period of time. The bag had all of our camera equipment and binoculars in it. I pleaded my case but they wouldn’t budge. I had no choice but to leave it with them. :(

Our assigned seats were in the very last row. We were the first to board the aircraft. SO and I were commenting that the bag would have easily fit under the seat. The flight attendant at the back of the plane overheard us and told me to go retrieve the bag. All the other passengers were boarding and I was trying to get to the front of the plane before they stowed my bag. I felt like a fish swimming upstream! Finally, I made it to the front and the other flight attendant gave me a bit of a hard time. She contacted the attendant in the back who confirmed my story and I was able to get my bag. It just barely fit under the seat. :whistle:

Our original plan had been to catch a later flight, leaving us with a very tight connection in Washington. As airlines are known to do, they changed the departure time to leave about 20 minutes later. We felt that wouldn’t be enough time to make the connection, so we went with the earlier flight. It turned out to be a good decision. Due to the weather conditions, all planes had to go through de-icing, which meant we left Toronto about half an hour later than scheduled.

Once in Washington, we had to check in with South African Airways. SAA now weighs cabin luggage. SO had been using the laptop and left it on the seat beside me while he took the bags to be weighed. My bag was over, so a few things had to be moved to his bag. Once we had the tags for the bags, we switched the items back, and packed the laptop. :whistle:

The flight from Washington to Johannesburg is approx. 17 hours. We arrived on time, and had about 2 hours to wait for our connection to Port Elizabeth. We finally got to bed just before midnight. Total time since leaving the house – approx. 36 hours.

Saturday November 15
After breakfast and a bit of grocery shopping, we were on our way to Addo, arriving just before noon. The first animal spotted was a huge warthog.

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A little while later, we found an elephant feeding on the side of the road. There was one vehicle ahead of us. The elephant looked up and then started heading towards us.

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Initially we were at least 50 metres away. The other vehicle started backing up and then passed us. We also started reversing. The elephant kept coming. He made us reverse for at least half a kilometre. As we passed the other vehicle, SO made a comment and they asked if we knew how to behave around ellies, because they had no clue. :slap: :slap:

Other animals that we saw were: zebra, hartebeest, more ellies, hadeda ibis, mating tortoises - which was a first for us

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and a masked weaver. We checked in and found our hut. It was the furthest away from the parking lot. We had lots of privacy as the bush was really thick. Our forest hut had 4 beds, a fridge, a heater, air con, pots, pans, dishes etc, but no hot plate or kitchen sink. Those were in the communal kitchen.

It had been super windy ever since landing in PE. It probably would have been quite warm without the gale force winds.

We were meeting up with friends from Knysna. They were camping and had invited us over for a braii. Unfortunately, the wood was wet and the fire wasn’t hot enough to cook meat, but was sufficient for the South African specialty of toasted tomato, cheese and onion sandwiches. Our hostess prepared them a little differently from the first time we had them. She buttered the bread, wrapped everything in foil and put that on the fire. Those were some of the tastiest sandwiches I have ever had. A bit of wine and great conversation with old friends made for a fabulous evening and a great way to end our first day in the park. :clap:

Timbits
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Re: Addo and MZNP - November 2014

Unread postby Timbits » Sun Feb 08, 2015 6:33 am

Sunday November 16

We didn’t get out until about 9:00 am. Jet-lag caught up to us. We saw meerkats and mating yellow mongoose at Hapoor. Too far away for photos. There were a few elephants around as well as kudu, warthogs, zebra and hartebeest.
At the waterhole/bird hide, we found lots of Southern Red Bishops

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and Cape Weavers in the reeds.

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We popped in to the underground hide and there were a few kudu, but they were a little too far away for photos.

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Re: Addo and MZNP - November 2014

Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Sun Feb 08, 2015 7:27 am

Timbits, I am delighted to see you back in the travel tales again. :D

It certainly sounds as though your flight episode was a lot more difficult than any wild life encounter. :big_eyes: It is a jungle out there.

Lovely start to your report. I once saw a warning sign on a small road. It was rather a bumpy road and the sign had mating tortoises with a warning.. Careful, slow hum ahead.

:popcorn:
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Re: Addo and MZNP - November 2014

Unread postby Pumbaa » Sun Feb 08, 2015 11:55 am

Fantastic start, Timbits :thumbs_up:

Love your mating tortoises :dance:

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Re: Addo and MZNP - November 2014

Unread postby dellac » Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:48 pm

Hope it's okay to join you on this trip Timbits :pray: .. I just love the Addo & MZP ..
So far with your description I can almost smell it :k

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Re: Addo and MZNP - November 2014

Unread postby ruthp » Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:59 pm

Hi - I'm here too - we're going to visit the same parks later this month and early March so I'm all ''ears'' :whistle: btw Love the mating tortoise pic :thumbs_up:

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Re: Addo and MZNP - November 2014

Unread postby Timbits » Sun Feb 08, 2015 11:50 pm

Meandering Mouse wrote:Timbits, I am delighted to see you back in the travel tales again. :D

It certainly sounds as though your flight episode was a lot more difficult than any wild life encounter. :big_eyes: It is a jungle out there.

Lovely start to your report. I once saw a warning sign on a small road. It was rather a bumpy road and the sign had mating tortoises with a warning.. Careful, slow hum ahead.

:popcorn:


Welcome Aboard, MM. So nice to see you again. :)

The flight is certainly not the high-light of the trip :tongue: I'm not complaining, but if I ever win the lottery I will fly Business Class!

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Re: Addo and MZNP - November 2014

Unread postby Timbits » Sun Feb 08, 2015 11:52 pm

Pumbaa wrote:Fantastic start, Timbits :thumbs_up:

Love your mating tortoises :dance:


Welcome Pumbaa! Thanks for joining.

Only 3 days to go? You must be very excited, and I am very :mrgreen:

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Re: Addo and MZNP - November 2014

Unread postby Timbits » Sun Feb 08, 2015 11:54 pm

dellac wrote:Hope it's okay to join you on this trip Timbits :pray: .. I just love the Addo & MZP ..
So far with your description I can almost smell it :k


Hi Dellac,

You are more than welcome to join us. The more the merrier :D

Addo was a return trip and MZNP was a first time visit. Both are lovely parks that don't get the recognition they deserve.

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Re: Addo and MZNP - November 2014

Unread postby Timbits » Sun Feb 08, 2015 11:57 pm

ruthp wrote:Hi - I'm here too - we're going to visit the same parks later this month and early March so I'm all ''ears'' :whistle: btw Love the mating tortoise pic :thumbs_up:


A very warm welcome to you ruthp. I hope I can get this report finished before you leave. We had a fab time there with lots of great sightings so I'm wishing that for you too :thumbs_up:

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Re: Addo and MZNP - November 2014

Unread postby Timbits » Mon Feb 09, 2015 12:02 am

Monday November 17

A few of today's sightings:

Mother and calf:
Image

3 little piglets:
Image

Bokmakierie:
Image

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Re: Addo and MZNP - November 2014

Unread postby Timbits » Mon Feb 09, 2015 12:14 am

One of the hi-lites today:
A small herd of ellies with a young female so close to our vehicle that she could have reached in through the open window with her trunk if she wanted to. She crossed the road directly in front of us. If she didn't touch the vehicle, she was mere centimetres away. If she had stumbled or leaned ever so slightly, she would have bumped the car :big_eyes: I was so surprised that I didn't take any photos. If I had, it probably would have been something like this:
Image

One often comes across signs reminding guests how to behave in the park.

Image

Reality is just like the sign:
Image

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jaytea
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Re: Addo and MZNP - November 2014

Unread postby jaytea » Mon Feb 09, 2015 4:45 am

great to see another Canadian in South Africa!! Love your bird photos and the braai salmies sound delicious!!!
:popcorn:
Wishing I was back at KNP…..
next best thing - a trip report! A New Species each day! KNP Nov 2013
even better thing - Balule Bash 2015 is on the cards!!

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Re: Addo and MZNP - November 2014

Unread postby Kaapsedraai » Mon Feb 09, 2015 1:42 pm

Timbits, I can just imagine how you must have felt after that long trip. :D

It is also interesting to note how the airlines are now limiting the size and weight of luggage incl one's hand luggage. Camera equipment can weigh quite a bit and not sure what I will do when flying again. :hmz:

The ellies in Addo are really calm compared to their family in Kruger, but I still do not want to take hat chance if I can help it. Stunning pics you managed to get and share. :clap:

Thank you and look forward to some more. :thumbs_up:
Now active - TMNP: Table Mountain's mood today
Now active - KRUGER Dec'14: 14 days appreciation of nature & wild company
Future trip - Kruger: 10-25 Dec'15

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Re: Addo and MZNP - November 2014

Unread postby Karin Mitton » Mon Feb 09, 2015 1:56 pm

Timbits, I have never been to Addo, and am looking forward to hear bout your experience. From what you have posted so far, souds like it will be good! Love the dung beetle, and those piglets are adoreable!

I have however been to MZNP, and if your trip was even remotely like mine, it would have been awesone - can't wait to hear all about it!


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