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!
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.
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!
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?