: 15 November 2013. The time
: 12:00 PM. The mission
After a very exhausting 5 1/2 hour drive from Johannesburg, I finally arrive at the Paul Kruger Gate, heading towards Skukuza. The weekend has officially begun! The drive from the gate to the camp yielded some very amusing events and you can read up on those over here: http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=67&t=75657
After the mild entertainment I found myself booked into a lovely river unit that not only provided an air conditioned room, but a nice hot shower to help me rinse of the grime of the city! Ok: car parked, check. Body clean: check! Stomach empty: check check CHECK!
As we mozy off to the restaurant in a comfortable 38 degrees, the only thing that was keeping me going was the thought of how a piece of meat just made it to the number one spot on the "getting-mutilated-list". After a brief but mildly acceptable (hearty) welcome at the restaurant on the deck, my order was in. A couple of minutes later and the first soldier made it down my throat, followed no sooner by what was once probably a very good farm animal, followed by another solider. Ah, what a way to end the day. In the river, a couple of Buffalo was busy filling up for the night before disappearing back into the very dense and lush bush.
Off to the pool (just to check) and then hitting the sack...
The morning started with a couple of sun beetles serenading the morning and worshipping the day in a brisk 27 degrees. Face washed. Shoes on. Car started. Aircon off, windows open and off to the game drive. Ok, so this was suppose to happen at 07:00 AM but thanks to way too many generous soldiers the previous night, my morning started at 10:00 AM. No big deal, it's not like the animals work at a schedule right? Right?
My journey started originally with a destination set for Crocodile Bridge. This however never happened, but none the less the trip was fruitful. I wonder if I would see any Rhino considering? An overwhelming sadness came over me just of the thought. Oooooooh, check that rock playing in the mud. Oh boy, is he having fun. Look how proud he is of himself, making such a mess... Just hope he cleans himself before going back to mamma rock. Hang on... Is that a?
What a sight! This big fella was making such a mess in the little puddle of mud in the middle of nowhere. A few seconds was spared to the thought of how that little puddle of mud came to be... After making an utter mess, he casually stood up, poked around in the mud and then made his way off into the bush...
The joy was now bubbling over in me and I actually did make a few heads turn with my smile that was now hanging out of the boot. Right, ok, let's try this again... I wonder if I would see any Elephants? My thoughts have not even found a comfortable resting spot in my short term memory where they will most probably soon board a train to the land of Forget when we were brought to a complete stop by these guys:
They were on their way somewhere in quite a hurry. Probably late for lunch. Who knows? But wait, there's more. This big fella was very kind to oblige by giving us a private filming session. Showing off his majestic being. I have to admit, my car was in drive, my left foot on the break and my right foot ready to get the hibby jeebies out of there:
He was sadly chased away by vultures. And no, not the cute and fluffy flying ones, but the green and inconsiderate 4 wheel driving ones...
Anyway... Ok, I am going to try this one more time. I wonder if I would see any Giraffe? As right as rain, not even 10 min later we were greeted by two towering Giraffes, having a go at some poor tree's canopy. Sadly, the photos I have of these are too poor to put up on the web. I will get torn apart by the photo critics so as a last ditched effort to prevent, I'll avoid... I am a very beginner at this whole photography thing and do not own any of the proper equipment for this new venture that I have now solemnly sworn to do more often. I have my trusty iPhone 5, my very empty wallet and my trusty metal steed! With those in hand I will tackle nature! Muhahaha!
Anyway, after realising that I am on a winning streak here, I've decided the next thing to call out would most definitely be the lotto numbers! Sadly I have to disappoint everyone here as nothing came of that. Was worth a try right?
A brief trip later to the Stevenson-Hammilton memorial yielded very picturesque nature scenes that brought me back to my complete and utter humble state. How big are we? How small are we? How great is He?
Let's recap quickly. 3 out of 5 is not bad! Thus-far a very exciting and extremely rewarding weekend.
I later retired to my river unit and was greeted by this:
That soon became this:
And ended in this:* The thing covered in the extremely healthy blanket of processed cheese was a rump steak. I would like to point out that photos had to be taken of this meal as it was devoured quicker than the speed of a brick falling from the sky.
Stomach full: Check. Unit 17 degrees: Check. Tired and ready to sleep: Check check CHECK!
The next morning was quite sad. Back to the big city live. Car packed. Unit cleaned. Operating at the pace of a one legged sloth stuck in wet cement, I really did not want to leave. This working thing is overrated...
As we were driving towards the Numbi gate, there was something happening up ahead. Cars, buses, vultures and a lot of commotion up ahead. Being in the back of the queue, we could not really see what was waiting for us. About 15 min later the traffic cleared up and we could finally move forward. I wonder what it could be? Can't really see anything... Then, out of nowhere, a shrub decided to scratch its ear. If it weren't for the ear scratching shrub, we would have never even seen the Leopard under the tree, right by the side of the road! What a marvellous animal! I was actually quite surprised it still had any spots considering how many photos were taken of this poor animal, trying to have a Sunday afternoon nap. Poor thing probably suffered from Ark-eyes!
We were then faired well by this loner who was not as happy to give us the filming session his relatives did the day before. Maybe he knows the funny smelling, upright walking creatures passing this way is leaving the park and he would soon not have anyone to entertain?
The count now stood at 4 out of 5! What an absolutely amazing weekend! Skukuza, my new friend, you will most definitely see me again!
As I made my way out of the park and back on to the main roads, I can feel a little piece of me dying the further I drove away...