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 Post subject: Re: Atlassing Kruger... on foot!
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 6:20 am 
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Location: Johannesburg - where they cut down trees and name streets after them.
Good luck for the next one, Pooh Bear! Can't wait for your report! :lol:

Flavoured mineral water in the bush! Buffalo butt flavour could make some headlines business wise, you know! :whistle:

Can't wait for the next installment! Particularly certain details! :twisted:

:popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: Atlassing Kruger... on foot!
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 7:01 am 
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JenB wrote:


Can't wait for the next installment! Particularly certain details! :twisted:

:popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn:


:hmz: :hmz: :hmz:

No idea what JenB is referring to...

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 Post subject: Re: Atlassing Kruger... on foot!
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 7:11 am 
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Location: Johannesburg - where they cut down trees and name streets after them.
Carry on, I'll remind you when the details are due. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Atlassing Kruger... on foot!
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 7:16 am 
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I am looking forward to more and the details of course!!

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 Post subject: Re: Atlassing Kruger... on foot!
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 7:31 am 
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Johan!!!! Stop the bus. That last spot in March is mine.......that is if it is still open. Pity i a only reading this thread now, cause I may have been the ghost on the last one. I'll pm you on this.
:big_eyes:

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 Post subject: Re: Atlassing Kruger... on foot!
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 5:13 pm 
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No stopping the bus until you show your ticket, Etienne! :lol: (Replied to your PM...)

My food for this trip consisted of a self-mixed nut-and-dried-fruit concoction for breakfast and snack times when a small handful normally stopped the stomach rumbles in their tracks. For dinner time I bought freeze-dried meals that one had to re-hydrate with about 500 ml of boiling water in the bag from which one ate the meal, so saving on a plate. Not knowing that a specific recipe was any good, I went with three different creations: Beef stroganoff, bobotie and a Chinese chicken dish called: “Cea ucan wit chook”. I would try them in the order mentioned. I make a mean Stroganoff and to my dismay this meal turned out nothing close to resembling my efforts at home… At least it filled a hollow spot.

By this time everyone had had their dinner and chatted around the camp fire while I reconciled my SABAP2 birding list for the day: we had just short of 60 birds on the list. Some of the notable ticks were: White-headed Vulture, Red-billed Firefinch, Brown-headed Parrot, Mosque Swallow, Groundscraper Thrush, Willow Warbler, Green-capped Eremomela, Purple Roller and Great Spotted Cuckoo.

The plan for the next morning was to walk to some granite hills to the south of our camp to see what they would hold. We were all bushed and shortly after eight we crawled into our tents. The sky was crystal clear and with hardly a breeze the afternoon’s heat hung over the camp like an indomitable fog. I started a love / hate relationship with the lumps under my tent. It was hot, so sleeping on top of the sleeping bag to use it as a bit of a buffer against those persistent bulges worked. Problem was that my mind was racing – filled with the events of the day, I could not switch off. And every little sound brought me from the brink of sleep to full alertness! Eventually sometime after three am I fell into a fitful slumber…

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 Post subject: Re: Atlassing Kruger... on foot!
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 5:19 pm 
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Johan,

:popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn:

I so want to do one of these trails, but my own insecurity holds me back.

again

:popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: Atlassing Kruger... on foot!
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 6:54 pm 
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Meandering Mouse wrote:
Johan,
I so want to do one of these trails, but my own insecurity holds me back.


Can not imagine the momentous mouse having any insecurities... :shock:

About what exactly?

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Maybe some bull floating in your pool?

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 Post subject: Re: Atlassing Kruger... on foot!
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 7:08 pm 
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......the kind of bull only a mother could love..... :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Atlassing Kruger... on foot!
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 7:20 am 
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Johan the one thing I worry about is the backpack. I am not the world's biggest person and it seems a lot to carry. :big_eyes:

I am starting lifting weights :wink: doing push ups.. and.. and .. and.. actualy, I am starting pilates, because good core muscles should help. I am serious about doing this sometime.

:popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: Atlassing Kruger... on foot!
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:44 am 
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Meandering Mouse wrote:
Johan the one thing I worry about is the backpack. I am not the world's biggest person and it seems a lot to carry. :big_eyes:

I am starting lifting weights :wink: doing push ups.. and.. and .. and.. actually, I am starting pilates, because good core muscles should help. I am serious about doing this sometime.



I see you are se-ri-haas! :lol:

And you have the principle right: the lighter the load the happier the trip. So, being reasonably fit for trailing is important, but equally important is to backpack smart! For a four-day, three-night trail you can get away with a fully laden backpack, inclusive of your minimum 3l of water, of under 10 kg. If you can do 10km in a day with that burden, you'll be OK!

With you starting out afresh, I would think that you need to still obtain most of your equipment. For a first trip I suggest that you buy only that which you cannot borrow from friends / family… until you really get serious about backpacking. It is natural to get all excited about a trip and then you purchase way too much stuff which you are unhappy with and have to replace later. When you are ready to buy, there are three things that will cost you significant money, but these items would be “lifetime” investments. Do lots of research on equipment and shops and visit a few before you start shopping, because you want to deal with a well stocked, professional merchant. The items are:

A sleeping bag
Choose a bag rated for the coldest temperature you expect to encounter. Kruger in summer may not turn out be your only hiking venue! You want to keep weight low without jeopardizing comfort or safety. Be aware that bags are made specifically for women shapes! A bag for a large man will weigh significantly more than one for a small woman.

A backpack
The duration of your trip decides the size of your backpack. For a typical 3-night wilderness trail, 50l of packing space will be more than adequate. Nothing is more important than choosing a pack according to your torso length... your pack must fit your frame comfortably and snugly grip your hips.

A tent
Will you share your shelter? Generally it's a good idea to go plus-1 with your capacity choice. For a place like Kruger, a tent with a canopy of mesh that can be covered with a rainfly is great. It gives you a wonderful view of the stars while the little breeze there may be is fully utilised to keep you cool.

Weight is added to your backpack by the stuff you pack. This is where smart packing contributes to your enjoyment of the trip. Consider taking just enough to last the duration of the trip. Get the smallest toothpaste tube, sunscreen holder, insect repellent. Take a soap / shampoo in-one. Take dry food requiring rehydration (tin foods are a no-no!) or even go no-cook, dry rations (candy bars, breakfast bars, nuts, raisins, dry wors, thin biltong sticks). Wear the same clothing item (pants for the whole trip and shirt on alternate days).

One item where you cannot skimp is on the amount of water you carry. Three litres in Kruger in summer is an absolute must have!

Here is a list of items that also need to go along:
gas stove and one spare gas canister
tiny (head) light
a small lighter
toilet paper (half a roll)
toothbrush and travel size paste (will give you ten brushes!)
insect repellant, sunscreen, lip balm (again make a plan to take the littlest possible)
a spoon for stirring / eating (I always take my Leatherman with, but has never had to use it!!)
good hiking socks (consider re-use after a rinse and airing)
a small amount of fuel in a squirt bottle (for burning your toilet paper after a wipe, before closing it up in the hole dug for the body business)
A light-weight jacket that will serve to keep you warm and dry in case the weather turns
A light-weight, super-absorbent towel
Water purification chemical
Some additive in powder form to mask the taste of "Pond". Coffee / tea / hot chocolate is great at the end / start of a day
Sunglasses and a hat
1l pot or kettle to boil water in
Sleeping pad
Heavy duty garbage bag
Binoculars
Small 1st aid kit

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Last edited by Johan van Rensburg on Sun Feb 26, 2012 1:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Atlassing Kruger... on foot!
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:25 am 
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Ok, so skip the clothes :hmz: it seems to be the most expendable item. :whistle: other than good pair of socks and shoes.

I actually bought a very good backpack some time ago. It is super light weight. I also saw a special light down sleeping bag, but it weighed more than my bank balance. I have filed the thought in the back of my mind though.

Johan, what kind of shoes do you recommend?

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 Post subject: Re: Atlassing Kruger... on foot!
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:32 am 
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Johan van Rensburg wrote:
A significant number of species migrate to South Africa during our summer months, MATTHYS. In order to have the best chance to record as many birds as possible, there is but one choice... a very hot one!

Amur falcon, Woodland Kingfisher, European Bee-eater, the (five or six) Cuckoos, some Swallows, many waders, warblers, some flycatchers, rollers, Red-backed Shrike, some eagles and European Nightjar, to name a few, all go north from the end of March onward.

Thank you, Johan :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Atlassing Kruger... on foot!
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:26 pm 
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Meandering Mouse wrote:
Johan, what kind of shoes do you recommend?


For the sort of terrain you'd encountre in Mpongolo, nearly any walking shoe will do. Get something light, synthetic (they are normally designed to breathe and dry quickly) and with a tough sole. Hi-Tec and Merrell are brandnames for hikers, but I have seen all kinds of others that would work too, just can't remember the name now.

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 Post subject: Re: Atlassing Kruger... on foot!
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:46 pm 
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Let’s get on with the actual trip report…

I woke up with dawn into sunrise mode. That is late for me! I extricated myself from my shelter and started preparing for the day’s trek. I took with a day pack that has a 3l bladder and 9l of packing space for snacks, camera lense and odds-and-ends. As Brenden and I discussed before the trip: we were to set up camp "permanently" at a central spot and do our atlassing from there. The daypack is light and comfortable, with more space for carting any extras than you would really require for a day.

I managed to brew two cups of coffee made extra sweet to give me a get-up-and-go kick-in-the-pants. The low granite kopjes that was our target for the day, sat to the south of our camp, in line of sight. After a 40-minute hike we arrived at the bottom of the first of the Phonda hills. The jumbled appearance of these hills immediately made me think that a careless group of miners had started quarrying here. The hills were initially formed by lava outflows and over hunderds of millions of years, weathered to the hills of jumbled rock that it is now.

Image

At the top of the hill a fruiting rock fig held some African green pigeons. It was getting hot fast. As we hydrated at the summit and enjoyed the vistas, we picked up White-bellied Sunbird and a Neddicky

Image

Breden pointed out the next target for this day’s march… another jumble of rocks.

Image

A young elephant bull emerged from a drainage line to the southeast of us and started to journey in a direction perpendicular to ours. As we started the descent, we kept that sighting in the back of our minds for once on the plains, the range of visibility is down to 15m and those of us with capable hearing keenly listened for signs of ellie. (That excludes yours truly... I'd only pick up audible signs of of an ellie charging!)

Image

The trip through the thick Mopane turned out uneventful and the continued lack of noteworthy birdlife at the second granite hill convinced us to trek north to the Bububu and the Phonda windmill just beyond. The Bububu at this point consists of a series of unconnected pools with varying amounts of water in them. The birding here was brilliant. White-winged Widowbird, White-browed Scrub-robin, Red-faced Mousebird, Verreaux's Eagle-owl, Red-faced Cisticola, all the woodpeckers… I hardly managed to keep up with recording all the sightings!

Image

On the bank of the Bububu we encountered a white rhino asleep in the shade near his regular wallow. It is no wonder they a so easily decimated. Rhinos have poor eyesight and if you have intentions of poaching, you can get well within a no-miss range without any danger to the poacher.

Image

We let sleeping rhinos lie… and continued birding

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