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 Post subject: Sept 2009 trip to the Frontier Parks and Tsitsikamma.
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 6:47 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2009 6:13 pm
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Location: Cape Town
Hi all, would like to share the lovely 15 day trip we had, starting at Karoo National Park and ending with Tsistikamma.
Karoo National Park was it's usual tranquil, lovely self, a really good place to start as we had been there 2 years ago (exactly 2 years), so we wouldn't be reluctant to move on to the places we hadn't visited before. :wink:
We found the park in pristine condition despite it being extremely dry, far worse than our previous visit, really felt sorry for them. The campsite and ablutions were spotless and we found the staff very pleasant and helpful. :clap:
Although we didn't see a lot of game, we really enjoy the natural beauty of the park with it's magnificent scenery. The Potlekkertjie Loop, new to us, was great :clap: taking us on a nice long drive through parts we hadn't seen before, also where we sighted the most game. Unfortunately we weren't destined to see the Rhino or the breeding pair of Black Eagles ! :cry: Nonetheless, our stay was a pleasure and we loved the warm weather, escaping from soggy, wintry Cape Town. Here are a few pics taken there.
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This is a view of the campsite.
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This, one of the many wonderful landscapes.
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Here a stunning sunset.
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Another beautiful example of the lovely landscape.
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This is a Pale Chanting Goshawk in the distance.
After 3 very laid back days we were off to the Camdeboo National Park at Graaff-Reinet. Not knowing what to expect, because there is no accommodation in the park itself, we only planned 2 days there. BIG mistake :redface: We were very pleasantly surprised, it was everything and more than what we had expected :D Graaff-Reinet itself is a very clean and pretty town with a lot of historical buildings and interesting things to see, that needs quite a bit of time itself to explore.
Our first stop was the Valley of Desolation, WOW WOW WOW :big_eyes: What an awesome place, the views are magnificent, vast plains, magnificent mountains and the stacked dolorite pillars, millions of years old! Breathtaking, makes you feel really tiny in the grand scheme of things. We walked the place flat admiring the magnificence of it all, no pictures can truly do it justice, it has to be seen and experienced to truly appreciate it.
The next day we were up at the crack of dawn to be at the game drive early as advised. Well before we even got the the gates loads of Springbuck were crossing the road to get to the Vanrynspas Dam, where the game drive is. A beautiful sight to see. :clap: We were very lucky as we got to see a lot of game on the drive and birds too. The roads in both section are in excellent condition and a pleasure to drive on. The staff too were very friendly and helpful. We spotted an injured dog at one of the viewpoints and went to report it at the office, they showed great concern and assured us that the rangers would be sent to fetch the dog.
This is a park we will definitely visit again, we really needed to spend a lot more time there as we were exhausted after the whirlwind tour through the Camdeboo :D
Wish I could post more pics, but we just have too many, here are some.
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This is a view of Graaff-Reinet from the Toposcope at the Valley of Desolation.
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This is Spandaukop at the Valley of Desolation.
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This is a pic of the stacked dolorite pillars at the Valley of Desolation.
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This is a pic of a very brightly coloured lizard at the Valley of Desolation, it was actually bigger than it looks here (anyone know what it is)
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Here are some Gemsbok, ran off and then stood staring at us from a distance.
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Some of the beautiful Springbok.
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An African Spoonbill, an Egyptian Goose and mountains reflected in water.
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Some vervet monkeys
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Some more Eland having a look at us.
After an all too brief visit at Camdeboo, it was off to Mountain Zebra National Park. Once again we were in for a very pleasant surprise never having been there before. Really a beautiful park with quite diverse vegetation, from lovely grassy plains to mountains and thorny trees and bushes. There is a beautiful scenic drive the Kranskop Loop, not much game to be seen here, but really stunning views through the more mountainous section of the park. :D There are two lovely picnic areas for day visitors with shady grassy areas and pools. We saw a lot of game on the Rooiplaat Loop, more the grassy plains area, and also saw a lot of game at the Ubejane Loop, which was where we found more of the thorn trees and bushes. There is a Link Road between the Ubejane Loop and the Rooiplaat Loop, with stunning views and quite a bit of game to be seen. :thumbs_up:
We arrived on a Friday and of course were looking forward to seeing the Cape Mountain Zebra and Burchell's Zebra, not a single one of either to be seen, we saw all sorts of buck and monkeys and baboons, but no Zebra! Saturday came, once again loads of buck, monkeys and baboons, even a cheetah :dance: much to our delight, unfortunately it was quite far off lazing in the sunshine, but we got two very uninspiring pics. We also saw a lot of Buffalo too as well as a Caracal, also in the distance, but took a pic nontheless. Then at last on the Sunday, our final day, the Zebra came out to play! :clap: We saw loads and got some really lovely pics, the Mountain Zebra were on the Rooiplaat Loop and the Burchell's on the Ubejane Loop. On the Sunday we also glimpsed two Rhino, which we thought were large rocks until they started moving and then we saw their horns, really delighted with this sighting too, and were so excited that we forgot to take pics until it was almost too late, got a pic of one's rear and a sideon view of the other who proceeded to put his head behind a bush! :roll: Ah well, next time we'll get better pics. Sigh!!!!
However, the weather was superb, the campsite and ablutions spotless and the staff very friendly and helpful :clap: The roads were also a pleasure to use, we'll be back!
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This was our lovely view from our caravan.
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The beautiful grassy plains and the lovely blue mountains on the Rooiplaat Loop.
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A friendly roadside Black Wildebeest also on the Rooiplaat Loop.
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Some of the Buffalo we came across on the Ubejane Loop.
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A Blackbacked Jackal going for a stroll, also on the Ubejane Loop.
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A beautiful Gemsbok posing nicely for us on the Ubejane Loop.
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A stunning pool at one of the day visitor picnic sites on the Kranskop Loop.
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A beautiful, young little Zebra, stood right next to the road staring at us for ages till I blew it a kiss and it ran off in horror. On Rooiplaat Loop.
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A couple more Cape Mountain Zebra, beautiful, also on Rooiplaat Loop.
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A stunning sunset on the Sunday evening just to say goodbye after a lovely stay.
Now we were off to Addo, we weren't actually going to go there, as we had stayed there last September, but felt as we were going to be driving right past on the way to PE, we couldn't miss a visit there too. We were hoping to spend 2 days there, but unfortunately they could only accommodate us for 1 day :cry: We had stayed in the Safari Tents last year and were every happy with the accommodation, this time however we had our caravan in tow. The campsite is very nice, but we found it a little crowded after our previous stays at Karoo National and Mountain Zebra, I also think they need to extend their ablutions as I think they are a little small (as in not enough showers and toilets) for the large numbers camping there. They are however spotlessly clean. Since we didn't have much time there, we immediately took a stroll to the underground hide where we saw a group of Elephants. A little later we went on a game drive, saw plenty of Elephants and expected to see lots of Warthogs because last year there were hundreds of them, wherever you looked they were there. This time we saw Kudus wherever we looked, loads of them and almost no Warthogs!! :shock: What on earth happened to them in the year that had passed, did the Lions eat them all? :? The next morning we were up early, to go for a quick drive before we had to leave, this time we saw no Elephants at all, and heard that we had missed seeing the Lions. :mrgreen: This time we saw a few Warthogs, a Blackbacked Jackal lazing in the sun and a Scrub Hare having breakfast and of course some Kudu. Really wished we could have stayed longer as it is a really lovely park. :(
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Elephants at the waterhole at the underground hide, we took pic from up top overlooking the waterhole.
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A male Sunbird enjoying an Aloe.
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A female Sunbird, also enjoying an Aloe.
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A Warthog having a morning drink.
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A Scrub Hare having an early morning breakfast.
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A lovely Addo sunset.
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A Kudu strolling across the road.
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A gorgeous baby Elephant walking between two bodyguards!
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A rather large Elephant standing next to the road.
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A Blackbacked Jackal reclining in the morning sunshine.
After spending 3 days in PE visiting our son, we were off to Tsitiskamma!! :) This is another park we have never stayed at, but have heard glowing reports of. Once again we weren't disappointed, an absolutely stunning park and completely different to the last four parks we had visited. The seaviews are breathtaking and the sound of crashing waves work wonders in getting me off to sleep! Everything at the park was immaculate and once again very friendly and helpful staff. We took some lovely walks around the campsite on the day we arrived and got up early the next morning to walk to the suspension bridge. After an easy walk except for some really steep stairs we got our first glimpse of the suspension bridge and to our surprise, saw that there were actually three :shock: When we eventually got down to the bridges we saw a plaque saying the the two extra bridges had been completed 2 weeks before our arrival there :) weren't we lucky :dance: After a really enjoyable time there, we returned to the restuarant passing lots of people on their way to the bridges, luckily we'd gone so early and missed the rush. After that we took the boat ride up the river, and thoroughly enjoyed the views and the interesting chat from the guide. Altogether a lovely morning. :clap: That afternoon we were treated to a whale cruising around in front of the campsite and dozens of dolphins too. Really a beautiful sight :D A bushbuck also came for a snack on the bushes behind the campsite and then moved through the campsite to nibble on the grass growing along the edge near the sea :D We had such a lovely stay there, and will definitely visit there again :clap: After that it was back to soggy old Cape Town via Oudtshoorn where we spent our anniversary :D Needless to say Cape Town was ready to welcome us home with plenty of rain and miserable weather just to make sure we didn't have an overdose of lovely warm sunshine!
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A lovely view of the cliffs at the river mouth.
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Waves crashing in front of the campsite.
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A beautiful misty sunset.
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A view of the river mouth from the walk to the suspension bridges.
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Our first glimpse of the suspension bridges.
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A view of some of the stairs on the walk back from the suspension bridges.
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The lovely little beach near the restuarant.
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A view of the suspension bridge in the distance on our boat ride.
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Managed to get a shot of the whale's tail!
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The bushbuck who came to visit the campsite.


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 Post subject: Re: Sept 2009 trip to the Frontier Parks and Tsitsikamma.
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 6:04 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2009 6:13 pm
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Location: Cape Town
Thanks Billyf and Pumbaa, glad to share our trip, we had a wonderful time, didn't book anywhere beforehand, just took our chances and only had a bit of bad luck at Addo, where we could only be accommodated for 1 night. It's a really popular park obviously, so we'll definitely book there next time we go.
Well we're already planning our next trip, thinking of visiting the Northern Cape around April, can't wait! :D :D


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 Post subject: Re: Sept 2009 trip to the Frontier Parks and Tsitsikamma.
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 6:38 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2009 6:13 pm
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Location: Cape Town
Hi Kathy sa and Micetta, Mountain Zebra is truly a lovely little park, just make sure you're up bright and early for the game drives, we definitely saw the most game in the early morning, otherwise later in the day towards late afternoon, 16.00, you get to see quite a bit of game too. Hope you have better luck seeing the cheetahs and Rhinos than we did. They were so far in the distance, anyhow still glad to have seen them. Tsitsikamma too was really nice, and taking the walk to the suspension bridges well worth it as is the boat trip. We were thrilled to see the whale, and also the dolphins, I noticed they travelled to the right in the morning, as you're facing the sea towards Knysna. And they came back in the afternoon travelling to the left, towards PE. Would love to know where they are going to and coming back to! :? Noticed that in Hartenbos one year too. Glad you enjoyed my trip report :D


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 Post subject: Re: Sept 2009 trip to the Frontier Parks and Tsitsikamma.
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:02 am 
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Hi Salva, the Ubejane Loop is the first loop that you come to after entering through the entrance gates of the park, long before you even get to reception. It is clearly marked, as you're driving towards reception, it will be to the right. You actually pass first one entrance and then a while later another entrance, you can go in either one and come out the other. We really enjoyed driving through there, and that is where we spotted the cheetah, rhinos and buffalo. Also the burchell's zebra along with quite a few different buck, blackbacked jackal and a caracal too. We found a lot of black wildebeest on the rooiplaats loop, and found them very entertaining. :D But do try to get out very early in the morning, 6.30-7.00, we really saw a lot of game then, also at around 16.00 in the afternnoon.
I'm sure you're going to love Mountain Zebra as we did, and Addo too, :thumbs_up: lovely place and good luck sighting the lions, we've been twice and still no luck. :mrgreen:


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 Post subject: Re: Sept 2009 trip to the Frontier Parks and Tsitsikamma.
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 9:50 am 
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Hi Salva,
Those roads are all accessible with an ordinary car, no 4X4 needed. The roads are actually in very good condition even though they are not all tarred and some are very steep here and there, but we were very happy with the roads. I think there is a 4X4 route but you can be sure it will be clearly marked.


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