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 Post subject: GRAEMY and SONIA first time KRUGER : 4-12 May 2006
Unread postPosted: Sun May 14, 2006 11:19 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Paris France
Hi everyone. Here's the report of our long awaited and wonderful trip to paradise. And yes we are now absolutely hooked!!
Day 1/ 10 hour flight from Paris with a quick, no hassle way through the airport (just stopping to get some extra cash from the ATM) to get our Condor rental car. Then off for the 5 hour drive to Numbi Gate. (Beautiful drive from Nelspruit by the way)
Image
No game at all seen on the drive to Pretoriuskop. Too tired to braai we just got a hamburger and went to bed early.
Up at five next morning, we went for a morning drive before breakfast and got to see some black-backed jackals.Image and enjoyed the beautiful scenery.Image and our first elephants which were being very boisterous on a dirt road. ImageAfter waiting 20 minutes, we crept past with our hearts pounding and were filled up with adrenalin for the rest of the morning!
On our first day we did a round trip Pkop to Skukuza and also saw Guinea fowl (loved them), hippos in the Sabie, baboons, impala, giraffe and two lions on a mound of rocks on the H1-1.
The evening was spent braaing (obviously) under a beautiful sky full of stars, listening to the sounds coming from the perimeter fence. Had we been eaten by something on our day trip and gone to heaven???
Pretorius was a wonderful quiet camp (our first one ever too) and left us wondering why anybody choosing to swim in the pool should be offered in sacrifice to the leopards ( very low fence and no protection on the trees hanging over it!!)

Day 2/ Out as soon as the gates opened and off to Lower Sabie. Got to enjoy this: Image before seeing our first and only hyena with youngster again on the H1-1Image
Couldn't resist this little fella at the Nkuhlu picnic spot:
Image
Discovered Lower Sabie and its wonderful viewing deck. Had a mini braai in the evening but hadn't realised that our bungalow had no utensils. And when I say no utensils, that means no utensils: no knife, nor spoon, nor... So I threw some chicken pieces on there anyway and found a branch to turn them with, all this under the very observant eyes of our neighbours. Ended up eating partly raw chicken off a paper bag. Lots of fun!!

Day 3/ Went for a morning walk Image where we saw a leopard with two cubs just south of LS (H4-2) on the drive there (no photos) and then two white rhino on the walk. Amazing, awe-inspiring, terrifying.
Later on further down south we came across Noah's ark. All around Croc Bridge : 1 white rhino, lots of giraffe, zebra, vervets, baboons, wildebeest and a herd of 15 elephant. A group of 5 giraffe were all lying together as if they were chatting while knitting. Back up towards LS where we saw two more White rhino on the S28. Around five pm we were on the LS Sabie bridge where we met Freda thanks to our yellow ribbon. Had a wonderful evening meeting up with Arks for drinks and then a braai at her place. We were invited and felt like very special privileged guests.Image (Wish I'd taken a photo of my gloriously pathetic braai of the night before to compare!)

The rest of the report coming up very soon!!!

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 Post subject: GRAEMY and SONIA first time KRUGER May 04-12 PART 2
Unread postPosted: Mon May 15, 2006 9:17 am 
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........
So here's the rest. On the morning of
DAY 4/ we set off early for the long drive from LS to Letaba.
Already some heavy traffic on the road:
ImageWe took the S122 and stopped at the N'wagovila picnic spot where we saw 2 rhino with their young in the plains below!! A lovely drive up the H10 then until we saw our first cheetah!Image Not a very good quality photo, but he was lying just on the side of the road behind the grass about 2 metres away from an impala kill. We stayed watching for about an hour during which time a warthog trotted by only twenty yards away, not even seeing the cheetah.
A beautifully stunning drive up the H1-3 after a quick stop at the Orpen dam. We were driving slowly and carefully trying to take in all the splendour of the scenery and trying to avoid the dangerous drivers:
Image Another short stop to let another crazy pedestrian cross the road without using the zebra crossing:
Image and then on up to the N'wamanzi view point where we got mugged by a vervet. Having parked we left the car to see the view and turned around just in time to see this little guy in the car diving his hand into a bag to get some yummy black pepper crackers:Image Image( I hesitated before posting this pic as I don't like to see the animals eating human food. It was a good lesson for us though and it might help other newcomers to remember not only to not feed the animals but not to let them have any access to food either!)Image
He ate the whole packet right in front of us and seemed to enjoy them and our faces so much!!!
Finally arrived at Letaba for two nights in a safari tent (no bathroom : first time for my SO) This time we hired utensils and had some wonderful braais under the trees and clear starry sky. Heard lions in the night and slept with a BIG smile on our faces...
PART 3 COMING UP SOON...Image

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Last edited by graemy on Mon May 15, 2006 10:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue May 16, 2006 9:48 am 
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HERE COMES PART 3
...By the way, I had forgotten to mention all the corn crickets on the road between Satara and Letaba. My SO was just about freaking out all the way up there. We were both secretly wishing, without daring to say anything, that there would be none of them crawling around the camp there. Looked like enormous spiders hauling themselves over the road and I had nightmare visions of them jumping through the car window.... Just to reassure you, I did do quite a bit of swerving to try to avoid squashing them!!!

DAY 5/ After getting up at five am. again, in the freezing cold of the tent, we set off to look for elephants. This is where we took one of those tiny loop roads along the river near Letaba camp and found ourselves driving through a whole herd of ellies just next to us on each side of the track. Pretty scaring experience as it felt as if we could almost touch them and we had no idea how many they were, being mostly hidden by the bushes.
I held my breath and drove on through. Just twenty yards down we came to a dead end. Now it really started to get scary as we found ourselves next to what looked like hippo trails (don't know if dirt roads or loops ever go near them, but that's what they looked like) So, for us anyway, we had a choice between hanging around waiting for hippos or driving back through the ellies, who now knew we were there!!
We drove back slowly, looking for their reaction. When we came to a point where we had more ellies behind us than in front, I came to a stop and we enjoyed watching them for about twenty minutes. They were very peaceful and just went on munching away.
A little way down the S93 between Letaba and Olifants (I think it was here) we saw this wonderful baobab:Image
A bit further down the road there was this little guy doing some hitchhiking:
Image
Other inhabitants seen along this river road were a couple of lizards (but I'm not sure what they were):Image
The drive along the S44 just before Olifants is really splendid. We saw a lot of Kudus and impala along there and of course the splendid view onto the river. Just before Olifants we came across another herd of elephants and found these two guys running down the middle of the road straight towards us, jostling eachother all the way down:Image We weren't quite sure if they we coming for us or not, but they were youngsters and just seemed to be playing. We backed up quickly anyway.
Had lunch at Olifants and then back to Letaba for a second night arriving at 17h25, just before closing, because of some big ellies on the road.

DAY 6/ Sixth day without seeing any lion ( except the two we saw the first day from a distance) We were getting desperate and decided to drive down to Satara to try our luck. In the Timbavati picnic spot, my SO heard some people coming out of the toilettes talking in Dutch or Afrikaans. She doesn't speak a word of either but managed to understand the equivalent of "Satara.. four or five lions" We drove there and found 6 kms south of Satara on the H1-3 two male lions with a zebra kill just on the side of the road. There were some lionesses but further back out of sight. My SO almost burst out crying at this beautiful sight:ImageImage Once again the pic quality is not very good, but I think two males together is maybe rare enough to warrant a pic.
This post seems to be getting bigger and bigger, so I better leave some for a fourth installment...Image

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu May 18, 2006 3:41 pm 
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OK here's PART FOUR...
(Still day 6) After the lions, where we stayed riveted for about an hour and a half, we drove back up to OlifantsImage to get ready for our night drive at 08:00pm.
On the way up we came across this big fella, hiding behind a bush:
Image Would anyone here dare even to ask him the time of day??

The night drive was not very eventful, but we had lots of fun throwing the beam of our spotlights around the bush for over two hours. Nearly lost our fingers and noses from some severe frostbite, but we did get to see some scrub hare!!!!
Just kidding. We did also see some springhare, lots of impala, a grumpy old hippo and two what the driver described as being civets and what looked more to us like large-spotted genets (who knows?)

DAY 7/ Last and final full day in the park.
Took off for a leisurely drive towards Tamboti. We saw this big wildebeest beating up his mother and finally convincing her to surrender and let him suckle although he was just about as big as her...Image

Around Orpen and Tamboti we were lucky to spot another couple of cheetahs and took about another thousand photos of them bothImage

A wonderful last night spent in the magical atmosphere of the Tamboti tent camp.
Kruger had been good to us. We had seen the Big Five and more. Just to mention a few, we had seen Jackals and african wild cat and even a water mongoose, some beautiful birds that I will not attempt to describe and of course our old friends the gentle giraffes, the elegant wildebeest and the stately Kudus and waterbucks.

Can't end this post without a special word to our ever faithful friends who never let us down, even in times of despair when we thought all animals had deserted us. I'm talking about our very own dearest impalas:
Image

Nursing our necks that were so sore from trying to see leopards in trees (I don't think that they exist either) we let the sun go down on our African dream and said GOOD BYE KRUGER, WE WILL MISS YOU
Image

GRAEMY and SONIA

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2006 7:57 pm 
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Impisi08 wrote:
Are you sure those 2 jackals are black-backed jackals? They have a white tip at their tails. I think they are side-striped jackals. I think you were very lucky!

Having had a closer look at the photos, I think you are right Impisi. I just assumed they were they same as the several black backed jackals that we saw on the rest of the trip. These ones have a white tipped tail and a lighter stripe on their flanks. Probably side-striped!!

Pic here again:
Image

Thanks

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