Thanks so much Trrp, Pumbaa, Hilda, Barry, Carol & Philip Tues - Feb 19th
After a lovely evening the night before, sitting outside, catching up with Val & Dungie and deciding where we would drive the next day we had a little Genet visit us.
This is a terrible pic of the Genet but the only one we have as it was very camera shy and didn't hang around to give us a second try!Large
If I remember correctly it was along the S3 river road, then the S3 Albasini Road, H1-1, S65, back to Kruger gate
As per usual we crept quietly along the S3 as I always feel the road has so much potential with all the lush bush, grass and little stream crossings of which there were plenty this year.
I was quite fascinated by the sight of this Euphorbia growing out of the fork of this tree.Large
Then a stately Giraffe
crossed the road.Large
to join its mate on the other side. Large
Some more of the abundant and beautiful Pride-of-de-Kaap
that was evident all along the roadside.Large
In some of the little river or stream crossing there was a swirling sort of green algae flourishing.LargeLarge
and this tree never fails to fascinate me with its strange gall which seems to be growing bigger with every passing year.
I must really go back and try and see if I can find one of my earlier pics of it to compare.LargeLarge
Galls are abnormal growths that form on leaves, twigs or branches.
There are 1500 species of gall producers the majority of which are insects and mites, some galls form where the insects feed or lay their eggs.
They may also develop as a response to infections, such as fungi, bacteria and viruses.
In most cases galls are unsightly but not damaging to the tree.
We stopped off at the new Pretoriuskop Picnic site
and was pleasantly surprised to see how neat it all was.
Where the cars park is a bit sunny but the seating and actual picnic area was in a fenced off section under lovely shady trees.
The day we were there, there wasn't another soul about, including staff and it was just us, the birds and the gently swaying leaves above.
Klystron and Dungie & Val as we were packing up after our cheese and biscuits lunch. Large
Some of the other picnic areas and kitchen.LargeLargeLarge
Back in the car and onwards
Now this is where the memory is a bit dim as I can't quite remember where this is but I hazard a guess at a very full Shitlhave Dam LargeLarge
sitting in the mud on the S65Large
The N'waswitshaka causeway on the S65 with a fair amount of water overflowing.Large
Then it was back to the lodge for a nice braai.
I am going to include the next day in quickly as well, as anyone who read that part in Val's report will know it was a very strange day, a day of disasters and a day of joy for other reasons. Wed. - Feb 20th
Just to recap, this was the day we took Val & D back up to Phalaborwa to try and obtain their extended visa paperwork, this time hopefully with the correct date on it.
So the plan was that we leave bright and early, travel outside the park, get there, retrieve the papers and head in via the Phalaborwa gate and drive back down the park to Kruger Gate, a long day by all means but one we had calculated could be done according to that time schedule.
but as we all know the best laid plans of mice and men often don't run smoothly!
We arrived at the Home Affair offices at 8.30am, but as is now general knowledge there were no officials on duty, they had left for other pastures a few minutes before us and would only be back after 1pm some time!
Poor Val was devastated, so plan A was out the window!
Never mind, plan B was hatched, so we decided to go into the park anyway and do a drive around and get back at 1.30 to meet with the officials who hopefully would have arrived back by this time..
which is what we did, the chosen route being along the S131
, had a look at the Ngwenyeni waterhole, a first for me, across the H14
and carried on along the S131
with a stop off in Letaba
to sit overlooking the river and have something cool to drink.
I do recall it was very hot day indeed and the road rather rough and corrugated in places, sightings were scarce which didn't help lift the mood of despondency in the car, but hey we were in the park.
Anyway by the time we arrived in Letaba, we decided it was a bit late to go to the restaurant area so we nipped into the shop for ice creams all round.
On the way back to the gate we stayed on the H9
seeing ellies, and a few other odds and ends.
As we approached Rhidonda Dam
I asked if anyone wanted to stop, a few indecision's so I pulled over anyway and we scanned the water, nothing looked promising, then just as I was about to pull off again, Val called out, wait, what is that under that bush?
we looked, someone said a Lion, another was Leopard and when we finally put the binos on it, of course it was none other than Val's elusive Cheetah of the north!
seen under the most unusual of circumstances!
To say there was excitement and jubilation in the car was rather an understatement. Large
Unfortunately it didn't hang around too long and soon made its way down towards the water and out of sight but we were all so thrilled and the despondency evaporated! LargeLargeLarge
Anyway, onwards as we had matters to attend to!
Arrived back at the HA offices and the officers were indeed back but unfortunately not the paperwork Val required!
Klystron and I had waited outside in the car while Val was inside and to try and make Val feel a little better as it was still earlish I suggested all was not lost and we could travel down outside the park and time allowing, enter at Phabeni Gate and drive from there back to Kruger gate.
BUT as we all now know, our car had other ideas!
and decided this would be an excellent time to lock its hand brake on not allowing the car to move an inch despite our best efforts to persuade it otherwise!
Finally after what felt like an eternity and which had us sitting out on the grass in temps that were close to 40C with our belongings scattered about us and getting very strange looks from the various staff members who by this stage were heading on home.
we got going, only by some drastic actions of cutting the brake cables as directed by the on call technician from Polokwane, who clearly did not feel like a drive to Phalaborwa in the late afternoon.
Thank goodness for motor plan!
So we eventually arrived home late, in the dark, with a storm raging around our heads, only to have the power fail as I was trying to make some sort of supper on the stove for us!
Talk about a day of 2 halves!
One best forgotten other than our beautiful Cheetah sighting!