The report itself.
Our trip from The Hague via Amsterdam, Cairo and Johannesburg was reasonably uneventful, just long without much comfort. The only bit of note was that we had booked Egypt Airways and that gave two interesting bits.
Egypt is a Muslim country, so alcohol is right out. That means that if you ask for a red wine on the plane you get a very friendly smile, and the question if a fruit juice is good too?
The food was outstanding, especially for on an airplane. And of course halal, but I would not mind a portion now.
And we had another bit. I smoke, so had brought 3 bales of tobacco, and as presents we had bought two 1 liter bottles of whiskey. Just prior to entering our connecting flight the customs official at Cairo wanted to confiscate them. This is Egypt, this is not allowed! So I sort of smiled a “I don’t understand you” smile at him, mumbled something about “International zone” and walked away, with the goods of course.
He’ll come back on the last day of the report....
We were collected at the airport, and went to GP’s parents for the weekend. That not only gave us a chance to drop off all the presents for Christmas but also to get used to the temperatures. From -17 to +25 or such!
We also handed a little present to my MIL, a Fuji 1700HD camera, so that she could practice with it. My inlaws would be going to Kruger with us the first week of the New Year, and it’s best to know a camera before that of course.
And then came monday morning! Up at 2 in the morning to be off to Kruger!
Happily zoomed past JHB without any trouble, and on to the N4 which drives like a dream after all the football upgrades, all the way to Crocodile Bridge.
A welcome sight at the end of that trip:
The bridge into the park, the new bridge, and it was actually there!
Not like the old low water bridge, several copies of which can be found off the coast of Mocambique.
So we crossed it, and onto the new gate:
Entering the park was a breeze, at least as soon as the guard knew that there is two people in a couple. So that we did not have to pay for one person, but that our couples Wildcard was valid for both of us.
So quickly move the gear around, get the cameras ready, beanbag in its place, coolerbag where its easily reached, and a brief toiletstop. You know that just meters away you can have your first sighting, and the toiletstop is always handy to prevent feeling rather uncomfortable.
We were looking for Duke, so went to the S28, and let time and sightings decide the road to Satara further on.
Our very first sighting was elephant, followed by pigs, and this beauty:
A juvenile Martial Eagle.
I’ll try to keep our bird photos to a minimum, but as we are both birders many will sneak there way into this report.
But if you want to see birds, plenty of birds you can have a look in this topic
from GP, showing some of the best shots.
The next sighting was a new one for me, a bathing ellie, often looking like a submarine snorkling. I did not take photos of the snorkling as it was a little too far away, but waited for it to become recognisable:
After that it was birds, birds, a buff or two, and total relaxation. Kruger was stunningly green as you will see all through the photos, sometimes a bit greener than we really wanted. That you may see in the photos as well. Here is how the S28 area looked like:
In pops another bird, I just like the photo too much. I would like to stress that this photo was taken without any cruelty to the bird, no catapult or such was used! This is simply a moment it had its wings to the body:
It’s a Pin-tailed Whydah, many of them all over the place.
After that it was general game, birds, and unfortunately no Duke.
We did go to “his” waterhole on the S137, but no luck there either. Time made us decide to take to the tar to Satara, a decision we certainly do not regret. Most of the way we didn’t see much, until the place where the S28 joins it. A ton of cars stopped!
Would that be Duke??? So at a slightly higher, but moderate speed, quite excited we drive up to the cars. And what did we find? Not Duke!
A beauty, breaking GP’s leopard drought of a few years! Elated we continue on, and I see insects popping up in my photos, possibly relieved to see a leopard as well?
Ellies are doing some gardening, needed after all the rains:
We see quite a few of them on our way to Mlondolozi, which is where I’ll start the next post.