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 Post subject: Re: Kruger live! DB & Hawk report'in
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 7:47 pm 
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Thanks guys :)

We arrived at Skukuza today, so at last some sort of internet connection. Going back a little in time, what I wrote yesterday:

Balule, 9 November 2013
– I write this while sitting under a shady shambok tree, the sky hidden by cloud, the air, warm and still. We have a fire going in our little webber, and this is adding a typical South African lunch time atmosphere with the smell of briquettes and firelighters burning in the air.

The camp has been very quiet, with only a few sites occupied each night. For the weekend we have the Midrand SHRs (SANParks Honorary Rangers) holding their Balule Bash in the hutted section of the camp. It looks like an event not to be missed - very peaceful, a hammock under a tree, tables and chairs set out to enjoy delicious food ...

The Kudu Awards, 1 Nov
A week ago, I was on a high after having attended the prestigious gala event, the SANParks Kudu Awards, to receive the SANParks VHRs’ Kudu Award. The evening was lovely; it was an honour to be invited and to share in SANParks acknowledging their loyal staff who have gone the extra mile, and others, who play a meaningful role in conservation. It was a night of glamour, but as Dr Mabunda assured the Board and stakeholders, not only was SANParks tightening their belts, but losing weight too. I could see this effort by just comparing with the events of years gone by ... no gifts for the guests this time for one. Apart from being very proud of our forum and the VHRs, I took away the following words from Dr Mabunda’s address .... its time for compulsory conscription to aid conservation in SA.

Leading up to the event was a morning at Groenkloof and an afternoon of pampering and hairdos, make up and manicures – a far cry from how one dresses when in the bush.

At our table sat a Corporal from Kruger who received an award for bravery, for saving the life of a colleague and that of a leopard. One of SANParks’ true heroes. And then there is the winner of the WCCA, Andrew Desmet; a humble man, still in much pain, and another SANParks hero. I have posted some pictures in the Wild Projects forum.

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 Post subject: Re: Kruger live! DB & Hawk report'in
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 7:50 pm 
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Crocodile Bridge, a day to regroup.

We arrived at Croc Bridge early on Sunday afternoon. It was good to see the gates, both park and camp, again manned by smart men and women in the SANParks greens.

The south is luscious after what looks like a good rain, and life seems abundant – especially the insect life. Dung beetles are everywhere, making negotiating past them on the road trying not kill any a real challenge.

We were met at our campsite by a very friendly boomslang. He kept a beedy eye on us for a while as we set up camp, and although he was not bothered by us, we were bothered by him, lol.

And we saw a dead scorpion lying on the sand. A sizable fellow ... and once the sun went to bed, his extended family, and friends came out. A sight we have never seen in all our years in Kruger.

After needing to drive into Komatipoort to buy closed shoes (anti scorpion protection) and have a puncture repaired, we took a slow drive along the S28 and I was thrilled to see the much talked about ‘Vurhami pride’ of lions lying, bellies full, on the rocks at Gasanftombi Dam.

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 Post subject: Re: Kruger live! DB & Hawk report'in
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 7:52 pm 
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It's 7am somewhere near Balule in KNP. A group of monkeys are hanging around in their favourite tree, planning their day. "Ok guys", says Mick the leader, "what are we gonna do today? Should we hit Balule campsite first, there are sure to be a few new suckers there today." "I can live with that'"says George, "I passed there late yesterday and the smell of fresh bananas coming from a van that had just arrived was overwhelming. Boys and girls, just imagine fresh ripe bananas for breakfast. So what are we waiting for, let's hit it"..
..
And so they set off in high spirits for Balule. On the way Mick reminds them that DB from the Forum should be in Balule about this time and it's her birthday today."Considering we're big time forum supporters, perhaps we should look her up and wish her a happy birthday". he says.

As they approach the camp fence, the aroma of bananas and avos draws them to a small offroad caravan in the corner. "Ok kids" says Mick, "this is the plan, Maizie you put on a show for that old duffer Titus and keep him away from here, George you check the windows, Sparrow you do the canvas, and I'll do the doors.The rest of you check the ground kit".

Soon there's a shout from Sparrow, "Ok Boss, we're in, none of the zips are secured.When are these poor humans gonna learn, just because they call us monkeys they think we really are stupid".Sparrow upzips a top vent and lightly drops to the floor inside the van. "Wow!" he calls, "Boss, we've hit the jackpot here, you gotta see this to believe it. Call the gang, lets party, man you gotta hand it to these humans, for the weird creatures that they are, they dont have bad taste in food". And so they went to town; between somersaults, laughter and eating they scattered raw oats and rasins, choc chips and chia seeds, goji berries and nuts from one end to the other. They enjoyed the eggs, finished the bananas, sampled half a dozen avos, eating only the best. And best of all, they found the Woolie's christmas cake which they polished off leaving only a cleanly licked wrapper.

After a thoroughly good feast pandemonium broke out when a fellow camper noticed the invasion."Party's over" called Mick, "We're outta here, move it, move it, lets go"..

Just as Mick was about to leave, he noticed a birthday card lying in a pool of sticky raw egg, the writing smudged and barely readable. Something made him stop to read it. Struggling to make out the words, he read slowly, "Happy birthday DB"

Oh no! not DB's caravan he thought and then he quickly scribbled a note in the mess on the floor. "Sorry about the mess DB, but it's what we monkeys are designed to do, have a lovely birthday". "We had a wonderful party"..

PS: Realy sorry about what was left on the outside table. Old Willie loses bowel control when he thinks he may get shot..

.

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 Post subject: Re: Kruger live! DB & Hawk report'in
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 8:09 pm 
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Wish it was only in Hawk's imagination Carol, but unfortunately not. I spent at least two hours of my birthday cleaning up after the monkeys :evil:

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(We are still trying to get the egg off our computer bags!)


My story cont:
The next morning we made our way up to Balule. The area is much drier than the south, and there is much less game around. We had two days that were scorchers, and thankfully yesterday and today (Saturday) has been a cool 30 degrees, with a breeze, but no rain in sight.

An absolute highlight has been that already we have seen a number of little impie lambs. So sweet, some still so wobbly on their little thin legs, others, confident and inquisitive. Moms, as always are protective and hide them as quickly as they can.

Image

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Kruger live! DB & Hawk report'in
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 8:15 pm 
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And we have had some super YR sightings :D

VicRob
Wildtuinman and laine
and looking forward to more. Just heard from Bert that he is in P/kop, where it is also raining.

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 Post subject: Re: Kruger live! DB & Hawk report'in
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:21 pm 
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Thank you so much for your replies guys, and for reading our report ....

We have long forgiven the monkeys ... after leaving Balule we headed to Skukuza and had a wonderful week, with the main focus on attending the annual Moderator's Meeting with SANParks. Once all made their way home, we had a couple of days in camp to look forward to birding in the area. While out on the road on Saturday morning, at 07:10, we had a call from our friend and neighbour that our house, like hers, and many others in our home town, was underwater. She could not say how deep, but the folk next door to us were 80cm underwater.

Needless to say we shot back to camp, threw our camp into the van, and set off on a long, stressful and exhausting 1900km drive back to CT.

Fortunately our son came and salvaged what he could of our most precious possessions (photos and videos) and was able to assess that we were not as badly hit as the neighbouring houses ...but bad enough to ensure that our lives have been turned upside down, we will need a lot of structural repairs and so on .... and it is at times like this that planning a return trip to KNP keeps one sane.

I must thank SANParks for crediting our account with the balance of our trip that they cancelled with the greatest understanding and sympathy.

So, until next time .... :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Kruger live! DB & Hawk report'in
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:40 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Kruger live! DB & Hawk report'in
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:34 pm 
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Its a dance of joy Philip! That is Hawk in the blue :twisted:

We are off to pick up on our cut short trip from November and arrive (God willing and weather permitting) at Croc Bridge gate in 9 sleeps :dance:


And a big thank you :gflower: to all for the messages regarding the flooding of our home. We are still living with cement floors, no skirtings and so on, but will deal with all that, and the fact we need to move out of our house for a month for the builders to do their thing, when we return after the Cricket@Skukuza. All around in the neighbourhood builders are busy, new furniture is being delivered ... we will wait until the rush is over and spend the time in KNP :D

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 Post subject: Re: Kruger live! DB & Hawk report'in
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 10:44 pm 
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Thank you for the wishes everyone!

I am now getting nervous about the cameras :shock: It is like 'did I turn off the iron' ; will need to check 100 times!

Last day tomorrow to get the last of the packing, baking :doh: padkos done. Our lists are shorter than a week ago, thankfully :roll:

@ Agnes, will keep our eyes peeled for you, will be so lovely to chat again. We are in the south at that time :dance:

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 Post subject: Re: Kruger live! DB & Hawk report'in
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2014 7:41 pm 
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And we are here :dance:

1990 km, and four days after leaving home. We did spend two days in Pretoria - one of those days I spent at the SHR Chairman’s meeting ... here is a little peak into the boardroom (and the meeting) at Groenkloof:

Image

We left Pta at about 6am this morning, and decided to drive the last bit from Malelane inside the park, rather than stick to the N4 to Croc Bridge. No matter how many times one visits Kruger, the magical feeling when one sees the gate and checks in, goes to the loo, smells the thatch and then sets off into the park, never subsides.

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The area we saw today of the park is looking so lush and so pretty in bright green. After the first usual sighting of impies, we saw three ellies - and let me tell you all the cars kept a safe distance from this group while they were on the verge of the road!

Most of our trips to Kruger, we camp. But this time we decided to do the 'accommodation' thing. So here I sit, at our river front safari tent in Lower Sabie. Home for the next few days. It is glorious! The view is define. A wish of mine to stay here finally fulfilled!

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Once we had unpacked we took a quick drive to check the river from the bridge - which is flowing really nicely, and of course, to check how one of our very favourite spots in the park looked, Sunset Dam.

Now, two travel weary souls are going to call it a night and lie in bed and listen to the hippo, the frogs and crickets ... the dikkops calling, and the flow of the Sabie River.

Until tomorrow!

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It's not too late at all. You just don't yet know what you are capable of. Mahatma Gandhi


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 Post subject: Re: Kruger live! DB & Hawk report'in
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 6:46 am 
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Sunset Dam early morning by dinkybird, on Flickr

Good morning from next to Sunset Dam!

I took that pic a short while ago, and am sitting here at the dam listening to a woodie calling like crazy. The fish eagles have been fishing, hippos returning from the night's feeding, many waders, bird song all around and a large herd of impies drinking on the side. Such a glorious start to the day.

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 Post subject: Re: Kruger live! DB & Hawk report'in
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2014 8:04 pm 
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Oh goodness :redface: I seem to be getting worse and worse with updating, never mind ever finishing, a trip report!

But I do have a good excuse - life when you are having such fun in Kruger, is hectic and passes by just too quickly :lol:

And then there is the matter of not always having a strong internet signal in some camps (or none at all :wink: ).

So, let me try and make amends to this poor neglected report!

Greeting from Olifants :yaya:

Signal - consistent, but so slow I took a walk to the shop while a page was loading, so there will be no pic uploading tonight.

Weather - overcast, and warm, with a bit of a breeze.

Camp - quiet 8)

Food intake - overdose of hamburger and chips (VEGGIE) and cold beer and wine as soon as we got into camp; even before we unpacked as it was a super surprise to find that the restaurant here has yet to close for the renovation and hand over to the new folk. (Well it was closed for a few days, but they have opened it as there is talk of a delay down the line of the renovations in other camp/s. Not sure of details.)

Bungalow - lovely! When I booked this trip in Dec last year, I was only able to get a unit with 3 beds and shower/wc, but no 'kitchen', we would need to use the communal kitchen, but would have a fridge. Today = SURPRISE!! (yes another lekker one for us!) We are in the (oh I forget the exact code) but unit we should be in, but it is a refurbished one that smells of fresh paint, and has a kitchen, and everything here is new - fridge, kettle, utensils, and what is not new has been given a good clean and fresh coat of paint. All looking good 8) And there is much renovation going on in the camp - the reception area is being redone and extended, as are many of the units.

So, what has happened between Sunset Dam and Olifants ...

- A lot of birding :dance:

- Not a lot of lions, tigers, leopards, cheetah, or any other cat like creature ... but some very cute hyenas. (Sure the cats are out there, and eyeing us as we pass them while they lie in the lovely long green grass and in the shade of the lovely dense green trees)

- Nice rain, and bushveld storm, cloudy days, and perfect sunny days

- A lot of tall lush green grass, at places higher than the 4x4 (the grass is a big thing in my life right now :lol: )

- Lots of water, rivers running nicely

- Not too many antelope, but those we have seen are looking fat, and healthy and their coats are shining; it is indeed a time of plenty for Kruger

- Meeting up with two very special forumites, whom I will tell you more about later

- Being afforded an opportunity to hear Gen Jooste give an updated briefing on the poaching situation

- Staying at Skukuza, then Biyamiti, Tamboti and now at Olifants

And now, I best submit this post, as it might take an age to go through, and it is getting close to our bushveld bedtime!

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 Post subject: Re: Kruger live! DB & Hawk report'in
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:34 pm 
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Carol, I promise, when I get those Tiger pics, I will post them here first - forum first ALWAYS ... then will send them to 50/50, then to News24 and finally onto You Tube :lol:

It has been a lovely sunset here at Olifants - and specially for OWN I took a pic while having supper on the deck, and managed to upload it to facebook. I hope tomorrow I will have a good speed to load it here to share too.

I do not have a pic of the one forumite I met up with at Skukuza, so will tell you about her now.

We were busying ourselves around our bungalow (this is me and another very special forumite) when a bakkie with a YR drove by the road next to us. We waved them down, to find it was none other than Pumbaa! :dance: :dance: :clap: What a special surprise meet!

Pumbaa came to chat to us for a while a bit later, and it was really wonderful to have had this mini meet with a Very Important Forumite 8)

Pumbaa, I hope you had a really wonderful rest of your stay in Kruger, blessed with many super sightings!

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 Post subject: Re: Kruger live! DB & Hawk report'in
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:27 pm 
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Thanks Foxy, Carol, TrTrp, Hilda, Barry and Sparrow. We are having such a fun time, loving the park at such a time of plenty, and yes indeed, counting the days here too Sparrow 8)

I referred to the grass being a 'big thing' in my life right now ... well this is why. Spot the buffs! On the road between Satara and Olifants.

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 Post subject: Re: Kruger live! DB & Hawk report'in
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:52 pm 
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Still hunting them tigers too! And I do not think I am the only one :?

Met up with this chap on the Crocodile River road (S25) just after we arrived in the park on 9 Feb:

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"And what do we have here? Hmmmm .... "


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"Are those STRIPES I see??!"


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"Definitely not Zeebra stripes .... "


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"Huh?!!! Are those tiger stripes!?!"


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"Heehee ... nope, its just a DinkyBird and Hawk!"

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