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 Post subject: *Sandy and the Silver Bird: City Slickers in the Wild
Unread postPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 6:58 am 
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Sandy and the Silver Bird: City Slickers in the Wild

Due to an impromptu visit last year to the Kgalagadi, we have been totally sucked in by the beauty and atmosphere that is this African Gem.

Last month we decided to head back to the wild and take some friends along for the ride. This is my trip report of an amazing week spent in Kgalagadi. I hope you enjoy it!

The journey begins!

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The reflection in the bottom right corner of this picture is the reason I am CAPE OF STORMS!!! :)

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 Post subject: Re: Sandy and the Silver Bird: City Slickers in the Wild
Unread postPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 11:54 am 
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Thanks Guys, Could come through in patches but onto it!!

Forgive me, before I get started let me introduce you to the gang.

Ray - my husband and fellow Game Park enthusiast for the past 11 years. Nothing will stand in his way to find any "cat" but particularly Lions. If they are there, he will find them. My love, My LION HUNTER (only to photograph!)

Courtney - our eldest daughter (6 years) and on her 3rd visit to a game park. Previous visits include Kruger and KTP. Game Spotter and young ranger in the making.

Emily - our youngest (3 years) and also on her third visit. Afraid of Jackals, but wants to touch Black Maned Lions - Go Figure....... :hmz:

Martin - Marty Marty, our resident "Jan-peeter-man". If you have a problem, Marty is your guy. All he will ever need is his Leatherman and he will get the job done.

Tracey - wife of the "Peeter-man"! Adventure connoisseur and EXPERT red wine Sommelier. Let's just say we never had a dry moment! Yes us Capetonians take the Wine VERY seriously. :dance: :dance:

Nicole - that would be me. All round Bush Lover and Wild Life enthusiast, determined make every "bush" holiday better than the previous one. Mother of 2 budding wild life enthusiasts and wife to the LION HUNTER. :)

I also take the Photographs and am therefore pretty demanding on the driver to get into the right spot.

This is the crew that had the time of their lives, roughing it up in Kgalagadi! Yip, us city slickers decided that we were going to camp and rough it out in the dessert. What awaited us was true adventure.......

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 Post subject: Re: Sandy and the Silver Bird: City Slickers in the Wild
Unread postPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 2:18 pm 
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This is the gang

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Lion Hunter(Ray),Organizer (Nicole), Jan Peeter-man (Martin), Baby Lion Hunter (Emily), Sommelier (Tracey) and Jnr. Game Ranger (Courtney)

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 Post subject: Re: Sandy and the Silver Bird: City Slickers in the Wild
Unread postPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 4:32 pm 
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Add some whiskey and beer and you do see quite a bit! :)

23 April 2010

An early departure from Melkbos to ensure we reach Upington by nightfall is planned! A combination of anticipation and excitement means we are on the road by 6! KTP here we come. In fact we make such great progress that we are able to skip Upington and reach Twee Rivieren by nightfall!!!!

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Whoop Whoop! Wonderful, we get to wake up in KTP a day earlier.

Nothing better than arriving to an African Sunset

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and a thunderstorm. Slap the steak on the fire and sit back while nature entertains you. This is the life. This is why we go to work 8 - 5 everyday, this.........

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Not the greatest photo because catching a lightning bolt in action is very difficult for me! Anyway, I think you get the idea. After 12 hours on the road, with pretty much flat bums, we are finally here. Boy did that wine go down well with a juicy steak! Kids were "lights out" by 8 and we enjoyed the sounds and smell of the thunderstorm until late in the evening before we literally crashed into bed. Sigh, I wish I was back there......

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 Post subject: Re: Sandy and the Silver Bird: City Slickers in the Wild
Unread postPosted: Wed May 12, 2010 5:49 pm 
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:redface:

24 April 2010
Nothing like waking up in the African Bush. I can still smell the thunder in the air while I take my first picture of the morning.
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Magic!

After rounding up the kids and jumping into the cars we are ready to head to Mata Mata! :dance: :dance: The excitement is tangable as we race out the gate only to have forgotten our permit :doh:

Fortunately Marty and Trace, remember and catch us 3 km up the road. We were wondering what took them so long.........

Fittingly our first sighting is the very symbol of this park
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I love them. They have such stunning coloring that I could stare at them for ages!!!

Of course we all eyes are pealed to see what will pop up next.

Timon!!!! The kids are extatic to see one of their favourite Lion King characters
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They were watching some bird action above (making sure they were not on the menu, I think!) Taking it slowly we finally get to Kamqua for a much needed toilet break. If you travel with 2 little kids, you know that things can get quite desperate in the car :tongue:

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 Post subject: Re: Sandy and the Silver Bird: City Slickers in the Wild
Unread postPosted: Sat May 15, 2010 10:37 am 
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After all dashing off to the toilets we were ready to roll! Off to find the next sight. I bought the kids some plastic animals for in the car to keep them busy and
this was what Courtney wanted to see next! ( I would love that too but hey, we can't always get what we want!

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Not much further along the road we get to see a few giraffe. Since there are only about 40 in the park we are really grateful to spend some time with these gentle giants.

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Finally we are nearly at Mata Mata

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Yip, Tracey and Martin, came in their POLO. VERY brave for KTP! But us Capies think we can get away with this kind of behavior :roll: - But do we?...... Time and this Trip Report will tell. Not that an X3 is rated by many 4x4 enthusiasts :)

And this is why my report is titled Sandy and the Silver Bird!

My two girls feel that they must "name" everything. So the Polo is branded SILVER BIRD. Not sure why but that is her name according to the Juniors!


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SANDY gets her name because 1) By the end of the Trip it feels like the car has the entire dessert in and on her!
2) The girls are going though a "GREASE" Stage. Of course "Sandy" (Olivia Newton-John) is the most amazing girl since sliced bread; and she wears red and black at the end of the movie and thus the car is now called "Sandy". Gotta love the way a child sees life - so simple and beautiful.

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 Post subject: Re: Sandy and the Silver Bird: City Slickers in the Wild
Unread postPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 10:03 am 
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The Number Plate fell victim to the corrugated roads!!! - Thus the photo. Fortunately Silver Bird saw and picked it up! Then "Jan-Peeterman" Managed to reattach it with the help of his Trusty Leatherman.

Apparently there was a guy who lost his Bull bar to the corrugation - so we were pretty lucky!!

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 Post subject: Re: Sandy and the Silver Bird: City Slickers in the Wild
Unread postPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 10:58 am 
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Ok I nearly forgot the best part of our day! :doh: Photo's got a bit out of sink...... :big_eyes:

After we left Kamqua we drove up to Gemsbokplein passing some Springbok along the way.

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As we approached the waterhole we could barely believe our eyes. There was a Cheetah making his way up for a drink! :big_eyes:

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Talk about luck of the draw. We just happened to be cruising along and there he was. Had a quick drink and disappeared over the hill. 2 minutes later and we would have missed him. They are such amazing cats and one of the reasons why we love KTP. In 2 visits to the park we have always scene Cheetah and on our previous tip we saw them everyday. In about 12 visits to Kruger we have only ever scene Cheetah once.

Not much further among the browns and yellows of KTP was this stunning little bird.
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I love his red chest. Still need to find out what he is though? :hmz:

Nature is so diverse: from an amazing Cheetah to a common little bird - it brings you back for more every time!

Just before we got to Mata Mata we spent a few minutes with this Secretary Bird.
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The kids were pretty excited because my mom and dad, who were busy touring Namibia, met up with us for the 2 nights at Mata Mata. They were really lucky to get into the new River Chalets. What stunning units. Really beautiful. The braai area is right on the waterhole and you feel like you are right in the bush! Stunning.

It was pretty lucky that they were there because as we arrived (in the middle of our setting up tent) the heavens opened. I don't know if any of you have ever been in KTP when a storm breaks....... WOW! :roll:

Well it poured down. I really don't know how we go those tents up so fast but Lion Hunter and Jan Peeterman were amazing! Each of us had a job - even Ouma and Oupa (they had to keep the kids entertained in their unit to prevent total chaos!)

At the end of the day we were set up and dry inside our "lapa" which now looked like a house in Khayelitsha. Anything that could fill a gap and provide protection was used! Fortunately the rain eased off and we could get our bedding and clothes into the tent without getting soaked!

That night we braaied at my parents chalet and relaxed with a well deserved glass of wine and good SA food! Dispite the rain we were still enjoying ourselves and the park. We all managed to keep dry and warm during the night and woke up the next day ready for action :cam:

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 Post subject: Re: Sandy and the Silver Bird: City Slickers in the Wild
Unread postPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 11:10 am 
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Cape of Storms - Great Trip Report so far and wonderful photo's as well.

The bird is a Crimson-Breasted Shrike.

Keep those reports coming please!!

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 Post subject: Re: Sandy and the Silver Bird: City Slickers in the Wild
Unread postPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 1:59 pm 
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25 April 2010

Ok our first night in the tent went really well. All of us woke up dry and well rested - even Ray, whose mattress deflated halfway through the night. That's what happens when kids kick you off your own bed to be next to mommy and then you end up on their little mattress!

Rain was still in the air so when we left we made sure everything was covered and protected. Our drive was very "rustig" (chilled out). A few highlights like this Eagle at Dalkeith.
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Not much further we got lucky again with some more giraffe. Don't you think this one looks like he is playing Peek-a-boo ?

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At Veertiende Boorgat was a herd of Springbok with a few young ones. This little guy posed nicely for us and didn't even get up when we were right next to him.

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It must really itch when these horns start growing :lol:
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Still at Veertiende Boorgat we found a small herd of Red heart beast.

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And 2 Vultures in a tree near the waterhole
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Although we didn't see anything that is regarded as major, we had an awesome time. We got back to camp to see the sky changing colors over the waterhole.

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Getting back to camp early because tonight was ROAST LAMB - Potjie Style. Myself and Marty were the cooking team. Ray was "fire maker" - not an easy job when the rain starts to fall! Keeping a steady supply of hot coals is the key.

Tracey was Sous-chef‎ and veggie chopper while the cooking was left to Marty and I. We also managed to do some roast potatoes - NOGAL!!

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Oh take me back. What can be better than sitting around a potjie with a glass of red wine, sounds of the bush and a setting sun?

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 Post subject: Re: Sandy and the Silver Bird: City Slickers in the Wild
Unread postPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 4:10 pm 
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26 April 2010

The time came to pack up so that we can head off to Nossob. Surprisingly we managed to get ourselves ready to go within an hour. After we said our goodbyes to my folks (they were staying an extra night before heading back to Windhoek) we hit the road on our quest to Nossob. Hoping for a "cat" sighting we were off!

With rain still in the air there was not much happening out on our drive until we reached Veertiende Boorgat. Here we managed to catch some Springboks on the hop!

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With about 5km till Kamqua we saw the tell tale build up of cars, indicating something big up ahead........
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I like to think he was watching us and not the other way around! It was 2 black maned lions lazing around under some trees. We must have grabbed their attention because they were watching us!

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"Ek watch jou, jy koekeloer ou"

Well of course the cars buzzed with excitement because these guys were huge ( as they get in Kgalagadi )and in excellent condition! Coffee sure did taste great when we got to Kamqua - plus something to really talk about!

As we took the road to Nossob we saw the signs that it must have rained quite a bit the previous night. Huge pools of water were dammed in the road. Sadly poor Silver Bird caught a rock underneath while crossing one of these muddy pools.

What do you do when a rock smacks a hole in your Samp? :hmz: Oil was pouring out :big_eyes: Could Jan Peeterman fix this with his trusty Leatherman? :huh:

Now I know we were not meant to get out the car but this had to be fixed..... So Lion Hunter set about helping Marty fix the disaster!
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Ok so while they were busy with that..... Tracey and I were keeping a lookout for - wild things from the safety of the cars! Fortunately a GENIUS drove past and suggested a sliver of Sunlight soap to plug the hole. Of course I never leave the house without my trusty bar of green so I had some at hand. Why would you ever go on a trip without it? Dishes, clothes, kids.... you name it, it cleans it. Now to my surprise it has another use. Yipee!!!!! It worked. The soap with a strip of Duck Tape to keep it in place and WALA we are back on the road. Thanks for the help stranger - you were a saviour.

Not much further we found someone else keeping and "Ear" out for us :)
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Isn't she cute!!!

The drive to Nossob was a bit hair-raising after that. Every pool of water was treated with MAJOR respect and of course we were very worried about the oil leaking out of Silver Bird. But that soap worked like a charm. Not a drop leaked out the whole way. Just before we got to camp we saw another predator - hopefully it was a MOLESNAKE ? :huh:

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:dance:
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We rolled into camp and while we chose a sight, Marty tried to organize putty for the car. Nothing in stock. :rtm: What would we do?

Nothing will keep this crowd down. Get down and make camp then decided for the next 5 days in Nossob we would not think about it. (Real Ostriches aren't we?) Marty and Tracey could ride with us while we explore the surrounds and the kids would only be to happy to grab an available lap. On Saturday we would be heading to TR anyway and then we would be able to fix it.

But would "Sandy" the "Powderpuff" (aka City Slicker) be able to handle the now VERY Muddy terrain. Time would tell......

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 Post subject: Re: Sandy and the Silver Bird: City Slickers in the Wild
Unread postPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 6:38 pm 
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27 April 2010

Our campsite from behind.
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Off to a late start we headed towards Bedinkt. Ready for action and eager to see what was out there. Now the SIX of us piled into Sandy and headed North!

The rain had certainly caused some havoc. As we approached our first (Water hazard - to borrow a golfing term) we proceeded with caution. Fortunately some genuine 4 x 4's out there led the way. Isn't great that wherever you go someone is willing to help or show you the ropes?

So after following a few guys through the muddy wet patches we were pretty excited at Sandy's ability to get through every time. This is an action shot

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Along the way we found definite evidence of the one we were after.....
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Not seeing anything up North we headed down to....... You guessed it
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I loved this loop and could do it many times over. Of course thirst sets in and once again Marty's Leatherman proves handy in a very essential way :)

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Once we reached camp our friendly neighbors told Tracey and I that there was a "Ladies" night drive tonight! We were definitely in. Some good friends, wine, sunsets and the African bush. It was brilliant. We had an awesome time. Isn't it wonderful when strangers get together and laugh like old pals!

The sun set as we left. Sandy looking pretty spiffy in this photo
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 Post subject: Re: Sandy and the Silver Bird: City Slickers in the Wild
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The night drive – fun and adventure for the ladies!

Lion Hunter getting some Champers ready for when we get back – get that bottle on ice!!
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Kgalagadi skies to start our journey, what could be more amazing?

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Our guide, Melisa was fantastic. She told entertaining and colorful stories that made the trip very interesting. Plus she put up with our “happy” group of Le Femme Nikkitas!!!

Of course everybody wants to see lions etc but the beauty of a night drive is the little animals, the shy animals and the rare ones. Our first sighting was (I hope I have this correct) a Juvenile Goshawke.
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Baking in the last rays of sunlight it watched us from the tree top.

We managed to spot some African Wild Cat but it was to dark for the photograph to come out :( One of my highlights was this vulture in the moonlight.
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Melisa was so great, she allowed us to get out the vehicle (Rifle ready – of course!) :sniper: and take some photos. This was me next to the truck
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and then a silhouette of our “gang of gals” from the outside the truck. :lol:
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What a ride it was. We packed in some coffee (ok it was Amarula Cream that looked like coffee but tasted way better!!)

The drive headed to Marie se draai. On the way we spotted more African Wild Cats, an owl,
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Bataleur and some Spring Hares too. Those are cute little guys - Kgalagadi Kangaroos!

And then we found her!
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Not to clear in the photograph but she was quite close to us. We think there were more lions a bit deeper in but we couldn't see them. It was the first time I had seen a cat on a night drive and they are certainly more alert and watchful, a great way to end the night! What was even better was the Oxtail that the boys had made for us while we were away. Delicious!! The girls were fast asleep in the tent and we ate to the sounds of a crackling fire and howling jackals. Not to mention a few lion roars in the background :) A foretaste of what was to come tomorrow!!! :big_eyes: :big_eyes:

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 Post subject: Re: Sandy and the Silver Bird: City Slickers in the Wild
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 9:18 am 
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29 September 2010
Chill out day

With a couple of visits to game parks kids in tow, we have learnt that it is always good to take a day (about halfway through the trip) to just "Chill out" with the kiddies!

Today was a day like that. We had a very slow start to the day, the plan was to take a slow trip north after a late breakfast. With the hot weather moving in the roads were a bit easier to navigate and we did manage a couple of interesting sightings along the way.

The usual suspects - Gemsbok
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This little guy was taking a bath - African Off-road style!
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A Goshawk in flight.
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Quite interestingly this Jackal was eating another Jackal. When we returned to camp some of our neighbors had seen a Jackal run-over earlier in the morning. "Een se brood is 'n ander se dood"

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On our way back we saw a cute Bat-eared Fox Family in the distance. No one in the vehicle had ever seen one so we were pretty excited about it!
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Marty managed to get a great shot of a Barking Gecko
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We got back to camp in the late afternoon and decided to chill out around camp. The camp next to us had been vacated and the girls soon got into the spirit of camping with a "Mud cake" braai!!
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The things mom's allow when on holiday! Not to much excitement on the animal front, but plenty of time to relax and get some R&R. Sometimes we can get lost in the chase to always see the spectacular and forget that nature is it's own timekeeper. If we stick to her time we will come back from a Bush Trip relaxed and rejuvenated. We were truly leaving the "city" behind and becoming "Bush Babies!"

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 Post subject: Re: Sandy and the Silver Bird: City Slickers in the Wild
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 11:17 am 
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OK So what normally happens after a day of taking it easy.....? AN UNBELIEVABLE DAY!!!!!

It is hard for me to describe our day and that is proberbly why it has taken a while for me to put this day on the forum. I want it to be just right :tongue:

OK so after crashing in our tents we slept like logs. At about 5.30 am (just as the sun began peaking out) my husband whispers to me (so as not to wake the sleeping kiddies) that he is off to the toilet. I still remember telling him :"Please don't be long - I am bursting myself and need to release my bladder." So off he goes. I snuggle back down with a girl in each arm as happy as a mommy can be......


ROARRRRRR!!!!!! What the Hell? I sit bolt upright. My first thought is that some idiot in camp had turned on a cd in his car of a roaring lion because there is no way in hell that one would be that close or loud. So I settle back in my sleeping bag.... ROARRRRRRR!!!!!! again! Followed by the sound of running flip flops.

LION HUNTER zips down the tent :"Get up!Get up they are right here!" OMW :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes:

Boy I am out of that tent in a flash. Each of us grabbed a kid and ran to the fence. (Which is about 10 m from out tent) Out of each and every tent a family was dashing. Marty and Tracey are no where to be found. So we decide to jump in the car and head to the hide (where everyone is running too) Most families were in their vehicles heading out the gate. Ray and I decide we will not leave without or pals and start looking for them....

As we drive past the kitchen I see Martin WASHING THE DISHES!!! :slap:

Ray is like:"Dude what the heck are you doing? Lions freaken everywhere!!" Poor Martin went to wash dishes and a lady was drying her hair in the kitchen so he didn't hear a thing! So he jumps in the car. Now to find Trace. As we turn the car I shout:"Guys look behind our tent......"

There he was...... in afrikaans "DIE MENEER"!!!!!

Right by our camp spot just the other side of the fence was lion number 1.

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The pole is the fence. :big_eyes: :big_eyes:

Then in the distance Tracey comes running. She was at the hide on her morning walk when the lions arrived. So we didn't even need to leave Nossob to see these lions.

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If you know the camp at all our tents was set up at the back near the pool. Apparently two prides had come down to drink from the water hole at the same time and what followed was a roaring match of note! I can't describe how they were letting rip! The one pride 5 females and one male headed North (Tracey spotted them at the hide earlier) and the other pride (2 males and 2 females must have come around the back of the camp.

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As we stood outside out tent we watched as a male and female lioness crossed over the road down to the water hole followed by another male and female. The photos are not great because of the excitement and grabbing cameras that were not set up yet! But the experience was so much better than the photos!

The girls were completely blown away just like their mommy! Once the lions had crossed down we all jumped in the car (PJ's and all - and still NO trip to the toilet with my bursting bladder! :redface: ) From the hide we managed to see one of the females grabbing a drink.

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It was so cute(if a lion can be that!) when she watched her own reflection for a bit.... 8)

After she finished drinking she made her way about 200m down the river bank to where the other female and two males lay. So we jumped in the car and drove out the gate (about 12 cars in toe!) to find her.

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Ready for action!

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On guard together!

What a morning! It was truly one of my most memorable experiences in any game park. Toilet desperation left me threatening to use the First Aid Surgical glove to relieve my aching bladder! :whistle:

But after they moved off we headed back to camp (200m away :) ) to make breakfast, get dressed and jabber about what had happened. AND YES GO TO THE TOILET!! The entire camp site was buzzing and we were all VERY HAPPY CAMPERS!!!!

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