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 Post subject: What is your Golden Memory Day in the park?
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 4:27 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2012 5:25 pm
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Location: Hampshire, UK
Well as it's 26 weeks until we are back in ZA, and I am wiling away my afternoon in a cold rainy UK by doing the ironing I was just daydreaming about the most magical time we spent in the park, and wondered what is *that* visit for anyone else.

For us it was December 2002. I had just discovered that the reason I was feeling poorly was not anything more sinister than the fact I was pregnant with our daughter...hmm, they first thought my morning sickness was malaria..but heck we found that wasn't the case! :big_eyes:

So there we are, start December 2002, and there was the small detail of the full solar eclipse. We met with some friends who are rangers for the KNP, and we planned our route/timings etc..

Pat and Chris (the rangers) live in Malelane, but we knew we had to be in the Northern part of the park to get the 100% eclipse. All accom was booked in the park. So we got in the safari vehicle, and drove on the outside of the park to be at the gate for opening. We parked overnight outside a police station and got as much sleep as we could (not much AT ALL, as keeping one eye out for anyone approaching the vehicle, and also the benches in the vehicle were *really* uncomfortable to lay on).

So sparrow-fart on the 4th we rose early, washed down with baby wipes, troubled the police for hot water for coffee and then off we drove with coffee and rusks, and blankets over our laps to start the day. We got to the gate to find that there were "special licences" for that one day as they were expecting so many people. Well Pat and Chris bluffed us in luckily as they name-dropped and had all the confidence you could imagine to get us in.

Well the skies were grey, thick cloud, cold. On we drove though in the park and our attitude has always been that we come just to see the impalas and anything else if a bonus. So we crawled along just making the most of being there. When we parked up, on the line of totality we were soon surrounded by multiple cars thinking we has spotted something....nope we were just chatting and waiting for the eclipse. :hmz:

We got tired pretty quick of being surrounded by cars so we started up and drove off down one of the gravel roads, just staying in the totality line and biding our time. Well we must have had someone smiling down on us that day as just as it started to get dark we were all alone on that road, the moon shadow speeding across the bush, the birds came to ground, the insects fell silent, and then....there was a break in the clouds! :shock:

We watched with awe as the sun was fully covered....then the diamond ring...... then the shadows retreated and the birds sang again and the insect symphony began again. The cloud gap closed and life continued as if nothing had happened. It was truly magical, and even as I write this I can feel goosepimples on my arms with the memories. It could have been yesterday.

Well now our daughter is 10, we're back to the park this year,and we bore her silly with how she has been to the park 5 times...rather than the 4 she knows about, and her first trip was the most magical.

....so - what was your most magical? Not necessarily for sightings but anything, those golden memories that you will never lose?


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 Post subject: Re: What is your Golden Memory Day in the park?
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 4:47 pm 
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That is a golden moment indeed :D
Well written and truly amazing experience! :clap: :clap: :clap:
Thank you for sharing!!

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 Post subject: Re: What is your Golden Memory Day in the park?
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 3:29 am 
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Today exactly one year ago we were in Letaba Camp during the rains and floods, To have see the Letaba river in full flood is a golden Kruger memory to me.

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Birds are indicators of the environment. If they are in trouble, we know we'll soon be in trouble.
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 Post subject: Re: What is your Golden Memory Day in the park?
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 3:04 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 02, 2006 11:07 am
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Location: Western Cape
So very many "golden day" memories....but the one that still sticks out is probably my very first memory of Kruger. This would have been in June of 1962.

As a family we stayed at my Uncle's small farm between Nelspruit and Sabie during the school holidays. We visited the park for the day; all 6 of us (4 kids, me the youngest, and my parents) in our green-and-white 1961 VW Kombi (1100 cc engine and the front windscreen consisted of two small windows that could open outward and upward).

We entered the park at Numbi (remember sitting about 3 cars from the front of the queue in the dark waiting for the gate to open). This was the start of my love affair with Kruger. The memories of that day are still, 50 years on, so clear. We travelled from Numbi to Skukuza (I remember being shown the lion skin with the stab wound, the one Harry Wolhuter killed with a knife, and the skulls of the two kudus with the entangled horns; absolute magic for a 5-year-old!). Our trip went from Skukuza to Lower Sabie and then back along the Crocodile river and back up to Numbi. In that day we saw all of the big 5, including rhino, which was a big thing in the 1960's, and then to crown it all, just before we got back to Numbi, two Cheetahs right next to the road. I still have the black-and-white photograph I took with a Brownie Box camera. I also photographed an ostrich (you can just make out the little black speck on the photo) and some wild dogs. Little did I know it would be at least 15 years before I would see wild dog in the park again!

Other memories of that day abound; one of the less salubrious ones occurred between Skukuza and Lower Sabie. We were travelling with the two front windows open (which basically meant that we had no front windscreen) when a large baboon leapt onto the car and sat virtually inside the front window. At that stage it was my "turn" to sit on the front seat between my parents. The baboon showed no sign of wanting to jump off, so my dad started driving slowly on. The baboon just looked bored. My dad sped up a little. The baboon started looking worried. My dad braked. The baboon did three things. He jumped off (1), breaking off the driver side rear view mirror in the process (2) and (3) relieved himself copiously down the outside of the Kombi. Needless to say, the windows were closed after that.

In the almost 52 years since then there have been many memorable days, but few stand out as clearly as that first Kruger memory.

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 Post subject: Re: What is your Golden Memory Day in the park?
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:06 pm 
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Location: Hampshire, UK
Grantmissy wrote:
Today exactly one year ago we were in Letaba Camp during the rains and floods, To have see the Letaba river in full flood is a golden Kruger memory to me.


Wonderful! Mother nature is so powerful that sometimes she can take your breath away. We have never seen any rivers in full flow - just the re-design (I don't like to say "damage") of the environment afterwards


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 Post subject: Re: What is your Golden Memory Day in the park?
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:15 pm 
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Albert wrote:
.....my very first memory of Kruger. This would have been in June of 1962.


Albert I read yours with an ever increasing smile on my face, isn't it wonderful how the park gets under our skin and we can remember the days as fresh as if yesterday.


Albert wrote:
In that day we saw all of the big 5, including rhino, which was a big thing in the 1960's, and then to crown it all, just before we got back to Numbi, two Cheetahs right next to the road. I still have the black-and-white photograph I took with a Brownie Box camera. I also photographed an ostrich (you can just make out the little black speck on the photo) and some wild dogs. Little did I know it would be at least 15 years before I would see wild dog in the park again!


How simply magical for a 5 year old, and yet not to maybe fully comprehend just how lucky you were to have such sightings. In my minds eye I can just imagine you holding a Box Brownie and capturing the image with no 'point ad press' or mega-zoom lens.

Albert wrote:
relieved himself copiously down the outside of the Kombi. Needless to say, the windows were closed after that.


Oh how that made me chuckle - I can just imagine the baboon going back to his family "you'll never guess what I did...!" :lol:

Truly Golden Memories Albert! Thankyou


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 Post subject: Re: What is your Golden Memory Day in the park?
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:00 pm 
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Posts: 195
Location: Paarl
Work had been getting uncertain, problems all around, then suddenly to my astonishment I got promotion I had applied for to a more senior position in management - I received the news exactly 48 hours before leaving for the park. Two days later I was walking in Olifants - barefoot, an ancient t-shirt and a pair of short pants that holes in in places. In other word I was in holiday uniform. I had my binoculars around my neck and doing some bird watching - not serious stuff - just having a look-see. I was walking slower than a snail with arthritis and dragging my bare feet in the soil just for the feel of that African soil. My SO saw me from the hut and came to say hello. I saw her, looked at her and said: "You know what? I'm happy." I didn't have a smile and I wasn't jumping for joy - I was just ambling along and happy.

It was such a simple moment but it was a moment of complete contentment. I was at peace with the world.

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 Post subject: Re: What is your Golden Memory Day in the park?
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:18 pm 
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Location: Bexleyheath, Kent UK
On a night drive from Satara ... Think it was 1999 and the first time we had been
in the company of our friend Annieowl for a loooong time .. Well we had seen lots
of general game when someone whispered 'LION' our guide stopped the truck and we
just sat and listened.... The dark !!the heat !! and then the actual almost purring sound
as a pride of amazing Lionesses with babies walked right around us ... It was one of these
'If I die now I will die Happy' moments that I can even smell when I think of it ... :k


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 Post subject: Re: What is your Golden Memory Day in the park?
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 3:26 am 
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A golden memory for me was the day my SO got hooked on Kruger holidays! That happened about 14 years ago. I was in desperate need of a "Kruger fix", didn't know whether he would like it or not, (it was early in our relationship), and booked 10 nights in Kruger.

His excitement was so contagious! He planned all the roads for every day, the time it will take, where and when to stop for a leg stretch, everything. I can't even remember which road it was, but it was a narrow gravel road, surrounded by big trees, and as we came around a bend, there was a roadblock of an Ellie mom with a baby busy drinking milk in the middle of the road. My SO stopped, looked at me and asked "what now?" I said, now we wait! Just when he thought the baby was done, he just walked to the other side of his mom and started suckling from scratch. I can't remember how long it took, but it was quite a while. Then another car came from the other side, the Ellie mom started trumpeting because she felt trapped, and immediately a lot of Ellies appeared from nowhere to come and help her. At that stage we have reversed quite a distance. Then the Ellies disappeared into the bush, and we carried on.

This incident was all that was needed to be sure that I can have my "Kruger fix" at least twice a year from then on! Am I glad that I introduced him to Kruger! :dance: :dance:

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 Post subject: Re: What is your Golden Memory Day in the park?
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:08 am 
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I've had plenty golden memories :) But the last one was last year on April Fool's day .. none of my friends believed me but here is how the day went :)

Leaving camp we found this Hyena den with all ages .. was awesome to see them all together and playing around
Image

At 8h19 we found this lazy LIT :) It was only when she climbed down that we saw a little head pop up over the grass .. no photo of that unfortunately :(
Image

9h19 we found two females just walking along looking for some shade :)
Image

About an hour later we found these 3 young males doing what they do best .. Nothing! Not even posing nicely for a photo (note to self : Send letter to SANParks to train their lions in marketing and tourism)
Image

My fiance really needed the loo by now due to all the great sightings and had planned to reach camp earlier but alas .. such is Kruger :) Literally 1km before Satara at 11h15 I saw a warthog bolt with speed accross the road like he is bowling for buzzards when these 2 stopped infront of us .. very confused as to where the warthog went?
Image

Obviously with their entourage :)
Image

Thinking it was such an amazing day .. someone saw this bugger at 12h45 .. and what a sighting .. driving towards Tshokwane, this one was spotted across the river in a tree .. Whomever saw that had better eyes than Wildtuinman checking for a beer in the coolerbox :)
Image

And to end the day off .. a tiring day .. this big guy shared his sentiments with how we felt at that time 13h05
Image

All in all I have to say .. probably one of my most favourite Golden Memory Days in the park :)

And

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 Post subject: Re: What is your Golden Memory Day in the park?
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 3:31 pm 
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Wild@Heart :dance:

I spotted that leopard and we were alone with him for around 2 minutes before others arrived.

You have a better camera

Image

The rhino

Image

BTW, we also got lion, cheetah and hyena

Small world


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 Post subject: Re: What is your Golden Memory Day in the park?
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:05 pm 
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A golden day indeed!
Howzit Mcook 8)

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 Post subject: Re: What is your Golden Memory Day in the park?
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 7:17 am 
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Mcook wrote:
Wild@Heart :dance:

I spotted that leopard and we were alone with him for around 2 minutes before others arrived.

You have a better camera

BTW, we also got lion, cheetah and hyena

Small world


What do you know .. small world indeed! :) :)

Took it with the 100-400 lens :) Not good at all .. just for evidence :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: What is your Golden Memory Day in the park?
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 10:28 am 
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There were many golden days in Kruger, but there is one morning that I will never forget.

I was about 10, can't remember exactly as this was many years ago, but we stayed at Satara. We were the usual 7 people in the kombi. My folks, me and my 3 brothers and ouboet's girlfriend. She was Cheetah mad. My dad not.

The previous day a pride of lionesses caught a Giraffe in the middle of the road about 7km south of Satara on the H1-3. Our plan for this day was to head north but decided to go and see what's happening at carcass first. Best decision ever. On our way to the carcass there were some cars, they spotted a Cheetah deep in and my dad was not interested. When we approach the carcass a big male came walking towards us, then another appeared and another one joined them. They were standing around a bit, marking here and there and all of a sudden they started jogging towards the carcass.

During the previous day the rangers pulled the carcass off the road, so the lionesses and cubs (about 15 of them) were on the one side and hungry hyenas, jackals and vultures on the other side. What followed was amazing.

First the 3 giants chased away the females aggressively. Difficult to explain but they did not just give a roar or two and took the carcass for themselves, they chased them into the field 100, 200 metres away.

During this process the hyenas and jackals took their opportunity, the clever vultures just watched on. After about 3 min the 3 males came back and started chasing hyenas and jackals. There were plenty of hyenas, but they disappeared very quickly. The males returned again after 2 minutes or so of showing their power and finally started to feast. The jackals were still standing about 10m or so from the carcass and grabbed every opportunity to grab a bite. The hyenas will move closer, get chased by the lions and the jackals will steal one or two bites. The interaction was unbelievable.

Eventually we left the side and took the road north again. As we drove you saw scattered hyenas every 100m or so. About 2km from the carcass two strange looking hyenas were sitting in the road. Wait a mo, it was the long forgotten Cheetahs from earlier that moved decided to take a rest in the road. We could not believe our luck, and my dad. He slowed down slightly and just drove pass.

We were furious, and 500m further another spotted friend appeared, a big male Leopard was sitting in the road, and my dad almost rolled the car with excitement. He ran off to go sit in the bushes, but fortunately we saw where he went, because it would have been impossible to see him driving past. "Told you not worth spending time with Cheetahs", my dad grunted.

This all happened within about 2 hours one December morning many years ago and I will never forget it. As for my dad, he was not allowed to drive again, but he did show us the most remarkable morning one can ever hope for and I am so thankful for all the memories he gave us with the kombi, the family and Kruger.

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 Post subject: Re: What is your Golden Memory Day in the park?
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 6:48 pm 
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pnm wrote:
I was walking slower than a snail with arthritis and dragging my bare feet in the soil just for the feel of that African soil. My SO saw me from the hut and came to say hello. I saw her, looked at her and said: "You know what? I'm happy." I didn't have a smile and I wasn't jumping for joy - I was just ambling along and happy.

It was such a simple moment but it was a moment of complete contentment. I was at peace with the world.


That is so true - just that dust between the toes ties us all back and makes everything "right". What a wonderful memory and a perfect moment in time for you :thumbs_up:


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