OK, I'm back - had grand-daughter staying last week (say no more!). Glad you are enjoying my TR so far.
The guests arrived on the Thursday afternoon - a group of 8 in their late-20's/early-30's. Some of them had never been to Kruger before, so it was going to be quite an experience for them - walking in a remote area. That evening we heard a leopard near camp, but did not see it.
We got up at 3.30 a.m. on the Friday and boiled water for coffee and rusks. I had been told I could accompany the guests on this first walk of their trip. I felt so privileged! We set off in the vehicle just after 4.00 a.m. and drove for about half an hour before leaving the vehicle and walking behind our 2 guides with rifles. We walked for about 2 hours in quite cool weather (I actually kept my anorak on) before stopping for a light snack and cool drink. On the way we saw some white rhino in the distance, including a cow with calf. I particularly enjoyed seeing many wild flowers up close - white, pink and yellow. You tend to miss them when driving on the tourist roads. After our break we walked for about another hour and at one point saw a herd of sable antelope in the distance - they are my favourite antelope (hence my Forum name), so I was very excited. On the drive back to camp we saw some general game - waterbuck, zebras, kudus, giraffe and some dear little dwarf mongooses. In the driveway to the camp we came across 2 elephant and an impala female and baby.
We "workers" managed another drive while the group was out with their guides. We saw plenty of nyalas, kudus, bushbuck, elephants, more baby impalas, hippos. Interesting was the sighting of a Broad-billed Roller on the banks of the Sabie River - I have only seen them before round Punda Maria. We heard Purple-crested Turaco, Black Cuckoo and Black-headed Oriole.
The rest of the time at the camp was spent preparing meals for the guests, tidying up etc. It was lovely to see the group relaxing as the days went on. They were all from the same company and had been sent by their boss as a "thank you" for good work. One guy was as quiet as a mouse the first day and then came out of his shell and was chatting and asking all sorts of questions about the bush, animals etc. Great to see what being out in the bush with no TV, no cell, no internet can do to people.
On the Sunday we said goodbye to the guests and the 2 guides. The 4 of us then set about cleaning the camp and packing the unused food etc. At noon the next group of camp hosts/workers arrived and started stowing their food etc. in the kitchen. In the pouring rain we went back to Skukuza to retrieve my bakkie and we bade each other fond farewell. I really enjoyed the experience and the other "workers" were great. Over the few days I learnt a lot of Afrikaans, as everyone else (guides, guests and workers) spoke Afrikaans.
I didn't want to drive home that day, so had booked myself into Pretoriuskop for the night. The weather was not great, so I didn't see much. A very kind gentleman waved me down and told me about a leopard up a tree on the road to Transport Dam. I went there but there was such a traffic jam that I turned round - we had had such a good sighting just a few days before, it was not worth waiting for a glimpse!
I had a nice burger from the Wimpy at Pretoriuskop and had an early night and a good long sleep - something I needed after the bush camp.
The next morning I set off home - but I never take the shortest, quickest route! I went round the Fayi Loop and saw a common reedbuck, waterbuck and a Gabar Goshawk. On reaching the Voortrekker Road I saw a couple of cars and stopped behind them. There was a lion and lioness lying close to the road. After a while she got up and "said" something to the male, whereupon he mounted her and they mated (cats 2 & 3 of TR). I continues down the road and saw a vehicle I recognised coming towards me - it was friends from home! We had a quick chat and I told them about the lions mating. Another interesting thing on the S114 was to see 4 giraffe, all lying down. They do not often lie down and, when they do, the have to keep their head and neck upright.
I exited Malelane Gate and drove home. The only "interesting" thing on the way home was a dreadful hail storm near Bronkhorstspruit on the N4 highway. The hail was not large hailstones, but wetter and became icy slush on the road. Many people had stopped under the bridges, but I kept going. At one point I almost lost my wheels - I felt a slight spin in the ice.
Next "chapter" soon.
Skukuza 5-8 Mar 2015
Marakele (Motswere Guest Cottage) 29 Mar -1 Apr 2015
KTP May 2015