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 Post subject: DinkyBird Cape to Crooks Corner : a pilgrimage November 2011
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:09 pm 
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Every trip report needs to have a title. What to call ours :hmz: What is this upcoming trip all about? Why are we doing it? Where are we going? And how to title this, our travel tale.

In answer to these questions: it's about the opportunity to visit Kruger National Park because for other reasons we have to be close to Kruger early November (HR meet), so why not pop over and enjoy a night or two in the park while in the vicinity. (When you live in Cape Town, the 'vicinity' of Kruger is anything less than 1000km drive.)

Every visit to Kruger starts with a little dream seed being planted. In this case the little seed was the need to be in Pretoria for a meeting. Add a little enthusiasm and the realising of a few dreams, and one ends up with a journey ahead of one. A Life journey. A passage. A pilgrimage.

(And A Woody Challenge!!!!) :twisted:

And so started our story of this trip ahead of us. In a week's time, we plan to leave greater Cape Town and embark on a journey heading north east to Crooks Corner. We invite you to join us along the way. We will pop in regularly to share the experiences of our day's travel and quest.

We plan to be away from home for 5 weeks. We plan to camp, taking our van with us. This type of trip takes a bit of planning with regard to preparation. Fortunately I do not have 5 weeks X 7 days worth of bush outfits, so packing clothing is easy. Laundry has to be done along the way. (on Hawk's list of to dos)

Food supplies will also need to be topped up along the way. No prob, easy to sort. (on Hawk's list)

Van and Cruiser need to be serviced. Check. (on Hawk's list) Water tank and gas bottles to be filled and van packed. Proof Hawk has this under control :clap:

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And the final count down is here. Lists (Hawk's) to be checked. Baking to be done. Groceries to be bought. Admin needs to be sorted.

Eight sleeps to go. :dance:

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Dalene

A roaring lion does not catch any prey - African Proverb


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 Post subject: Re: Cape to Crooks Corner : a pilgrimage
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 12:10 pm 
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Ah Bushmom, I can appreciate that. Anything for a calm baba when they make their arrival. :thumbs_up:

Hey, Spookie, thanks :thumbs_up:

I can report that I have a huge container of rusks ready to go (some a tad overcooked :roll: )

Packets of 'munch pack' are ready - this is a mixture of nuts, seeds and dried fruit and choc knibs to knibble on instead of biltong :twisted:

A good supply of muffins are in the freezer, ready to go.

Now to sort cameras, binocs, bird and animal ref books, maps (the entire collection) .... and skype so I can say hello to a very very important little lady each day.

And to find somewhere in our little town that has gas :roll: Gas is a very scarce commodity in Somerset West it seems :|

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Dalene

A roaring lion does not catch any prey - African Proverb


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 Post subject: Re: Cape to Crooks Corner : a pilgrimage
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:18 pm 
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And we are here! Safe and sound, on a lovely campsite.

The sky is a perfect blue, a gentle breeze is blowing (for some it could be called a serious wind), and the mountains are looking amazing! No sign of the Black Eagle. Plenty of robins, weavers and sparrows in the camp.

We were last here before lions were introduced to the park, so now there is a lion proof fence around the main camp, and the camping area, and each has an electronic gate.

The camping area is lovely. Neat and clean.

Image

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Sundowner time everyone - pull up a chair ... *clink*

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Dalene

A roaring lion does not catch any prey - African Proverb


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 Post subject: Re: Cape to Crooks Corner : a pilgrimage
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 7:33 pm 
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Looks the same Eliz.


I am on my phone, so forgive typos.

Lovely evening, but a chill in the air. Campsite is busy, but peaceful. Lots of braai fires going.

Had lovely and relaxing day. No lion sightings, but nice sightings of other game, and a huge tortie in camp.

Tomorrow we head further north to Mokala!

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Dalene

A roaring lion does not catch any prey - African Proverb


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 Post subject: Re: Cape to Crooks Corner : a pilgrimage
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 7:56 pm 
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Just been to wash the dishes in the camp kitchen. I love this for the sharing of the stories about the day and travels and life with the other campers.

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Dalene

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 Post subject: Re: Cape to Crooks Corner : a pilgrimage
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 7:48 pm 
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Date: 4 Nov 2011.

Mokala – named after magnificent Camel Thorn Tree is a new park, proclaimed mid 2007.

Taking a road trip to Kruger from the Cape, Mokala is perfectly situated on the quiet N12 for an overnight stop. Roughly 1000km from CT. And this is one reason we ended up spending 3 nights in the park; that, and it being a SANPark we had yet to discover.

But, please, do not wait until you are on a trip between KNP and CT to stop over at Mokala. Ask yourself this question: have I been to Mokala? If the answer is NO, and you love the veld and peace and quiet – then go right now and book a stay at this park.

We arrived at the gate and were welcomed via the intercom and after stating who we were the gate was opened. A lovely chilled drink and warm welcome awaited us at reception. Paperwork completed, and one of these was to sign acceptance of the rules of the park.

We had booked to stay at Motswedi campsite. This campsite was opened a short while ago. There is no electricity; 6 campsites each with their own bathroom and kitchen area. All 6 sites face onto a waterhole. The sites are well spaced and the view of the waterhole from each site is good.

Have you booked yet??

If you prefer to rough it more, not far from Motswedi is Haak en Steek camping area – also overlooking a waterhole, no electricity, no fence, communal bathroom and just lovely.

Not the world’s greatest birders, but slowly learning, we were enchanted by the birdlife in the camp.

The campsite, as some of the other camps in the park, is fenced by a low buffalo/rhino proof electric fence.

Each evening, as the sun sunk behind the thorn trees, buffalo came to drink. The waterhole was also visited by zebra, wildebeest, kudu, warthogs, tsessbe and red hartebeest.

Made that booking yet???

There is a picnic site in the park – unfenced, wild, and basic ... but it does have a loo. Take chairs (there are benches provided, but not ones to encourage a long comfy sit) and take tables ... no tables are provided. Braai areas are.

The birdhide is lovely – and one is entertained all the while there with antelope coming down to drink and very active birdlife.

Once home, we will add more pics. And further stories of just how peaceful this camp is.

By now, I know you have all booked a couple of day’s stay at Mokala. If it is a peaceful break in the bushveld that your soul needs, make the trip; you will not be sorry. The park provides for all tastes – check the homepage on this website. We treated ourselves to lunch at the restaurant – SO could not believe how reasonable the prices were, and the food was great.

Note that there is no shop in this park. Braai wood can be bought at reception.

Well done to SANParks and especially those architects of Mokala. You guys have an absolute gem in this park. It was a first ever for SO and me to sit sipping a cape white, the sun setting over the African veld, and watch buffalo etc at a waterhole, while to feel just our breathing was an intrusion in nature. No one in the camp spoke, nor moved, for the 2 hours the scene at the waterhole played out. Man respected nature to an extent I had not witnessed yet.

Priceless hey guys?

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Dalene

A roaring lion does not catch any prey - African Proverb


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 Post subject: Re: Cape to Crooks Corner : a pilgrimage
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 8:06 pm 
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After leaving Mokala, the pace of life picked up a bit, and the weekend was somewhat hectic. Great fun and wonderful, but busy.

We sneaked passed GG too and finally arrived at Malelane yesterday evening just before gate closing time. A huge thanks to EJ for arranging a late pass ahead, should we have needed it. Weary after the slow drive on the back roads, we had a bite with EJ and then were in bed early. RaymondK and EJ invited us along on the morning walk this morn. Wow, what a start to our stay in KNP. It was wonderful!! Thanks Raymond, Peter and EJ.

Today has not been dedicated to sightings ... but we were blessed with 3 rhino on foot this morn, and then another 7 during the day!

We arrived at Croc Bridge at midday ... and it has been really hot today. Perfect conditions for setting up camp :whistle:

And so, here we are, camped under a lovely shady tree, on the fence at Crocodile Bridge. The camp is fairly full, but so quiet.

Soon after we arrived we were greeted by a mommy wartie visiting at the fence and about a zillion little ones ... too cute. But my goodness, she does have her hooves full controlling her brood :shock: Maybe she thought to get the child rearing over in one shot, and adopted some ....

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Dalene

A roaring lion does not catch any prey - African Proverb


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 Post subject: Re: Cape to Crooks Corner : a pilgrimage
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:17 pm 
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Thanks for the replies everyone. Foxy, I have taken a kind heart towards Hawk. It is cooking hot here at the mo and he has just gone on with a smile.

We have had 2 YR sightings, apart from EJ. And that is Flying Cheetah and Bert. Wonderful to meet FC. He was on the morning walk. And lunch today with Bert at LS was special.

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Dalene

A roaring lion does not catch any prey - African Proverb


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 Post subject: Re: Cape to Crooks Corner : a pilgrimage
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:57 pm 
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Taken in camp this evening. A perfect bushveld sunset.

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Dalene

A roaring lion does not catch any prey - African Proverb


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 Post subject: Re: Cape to Crooks Corner : a pilgrimage
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 7:14 pm 
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{Tried again to upload some Mokala pics, but no luck. Connection here is just too weak/slow.}

This morning we were up and out the gate at 4.45am. The best time to be in the bush. We stopped off and had our coffee and rusks listening to the early morning serenade all around us.

A drive along the S28 really proved to be fruitful. All the animals were out enjoying the cool of the early morning. We had good sightings of giraffe, zebra, impala, warthogs, many birds, ellies, kudu, wildebeest etc. A real 'Kruger morning'. The veld is green and in the early light, everything just looked lovely.

No woodies yet :| ... I was sure I heard a call at 3am this morn, but that must have been wishful thinking. And no impie lambs yet either. Loads of very preggie impala ewes, all battling in the heat.

Just as I write now, a wind has come up cooling everything down thankfully.

Camping at the fence here at Croc Bridge is probably a 'hotter' option that deep under the shady trees further back. (We do have some shade.) But it is a small price to pay to be on the fence. Not that there is much game here .... the road running to the staff village and ranger's post goes right by the fence. But that offers something different to view ... the comings and goings from the ranger's post. Interesting. :wink:

Time to bid you all a good night. Tomorrow we plan another very early start. Then it is packing up to move on north.

From Kruger, a good night to you all!

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Dalene

A roaring lion does not catch any prey - African Proverb


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 Post subject: Re: Cape to Crooks Corner : a pilgrimage
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2011 3:07 pm 
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And here we are, all of us, at Lower Sabie for the next leg of our adventure. Camp is up under lovely shade in prep for heat expected over the next few days.

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Dalene

A roaring lion does not catch any prey - African Proverb


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 Post subject: Re: Cape to Crooks Corner : a pilgrimage
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 7:52 pm 
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Very, very hot. That is foremost in my mind. Not right now as I type, but the past days since entering the park – a total of 6 full days in the park now. At the moment a very welcome cool breeze is blowing.

To beat the heat, and at least enjoy feeling energised, one has to be up and out the gates by 4.30am. By 8am, the show is over. Then game is hidden deep in the shade. It is an early start here in the bushveld these hot days. The cuckoos start annoying the weavers at 3.30am. This means time to rise and enjoy a few hours of cool. No way, camping under their favourite tree, is a little sleep in possible.

We left Croc Bridge after a quick pack up, and another good bye to dear Bert, who was enjoying a full brekkie at the time, and headed to Lower Sabie. Lower Sabie will always be on our list of stops in Kruger because of Sunset Dam. We spend hours in the early morning trying to catch the Fish Eagle fishing on camera; as well as all the other activity around the dam. And this time, we have not been disappointed. Yesterday dawned sunny with perfect light for photos and video. The dam was busy; herons, storks, kingfishers and a couple of hammerkop fishing. The Sunset Dam ferry is full operation (herons catching a ride on hippos).

One of the great preparations for this trip for Hawk (between checking thro his many lists!) was to have a stable window mount made for his rather heavy and large video camera. He had one custom made of steel, complete with a floating head. Having a perfectly still video camera and a perfectly level one, is of paramount importance. Of course, during design of this contraption, he never took into account the baboons of Kruger park. The Sunset Dam troop were very lively yesterday. They saw our Cruiser, with its ladder and roof rack, as the perfect gym apparatus to do their daily work out on. Just as Hawk and I would focus on a subject, a baboon would do a tumble or two on the roof, and wham, the subject would totally disappear out the lenses. No matter how I scolded the babs, they ignored me. All I got was a medium to blank stare ... like saying: lady, what exactly is your problem???? We have important business here right now.

Supper, in the form of a braai'ed potatoes is ready. Bbl if connection allows.

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Dalene

A roaring lion does not catch any prey - African Proverb


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 Post subject: Re: Cape to Crooks Corner : a pilgrimage
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 8:37 pm 
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LOL A-M, I will share some pics for sure once we are home. One of the baboons was so cute ... he looked like he was meditating. He sat still and faced the sun with his eyes closed. He did have a huge gash on his head, and I am sure a very sore headache.

And yesterday we had an awesome leopard sighting. Just us, and the leopard walking right next to the road, along the H10. The sighting lasted a few seconds only, but is forever imprinted on our minds. (I do have pics, but the signal here just does not allow for them to upload. I have had to try and connect tonight just to post many times. But hey, that comes with being in the bush I suppose :) )

Our coffee and rusk time at Mlondozi early this morning was wonderful. We arrived and a lady and her daughter pointed out a magnificent male lion below to us. He proceeded to let us, and all else, know he was the king of this bush. His roars were so powerful. We later discovered he had a coalition partner resting in the shade close by.

We were entertained by the two male lions, two jackals, vultures, rhino, more lions, fish eagles and other birds for a long time. What a wonderful morning this was.

My dream when planning our trips to KNP is always to spend time in the camp with my camera gathering pics of the birds in the camp. Today, Hawk and I spent a while doing this. My KNP bird list is growing!

And now, it is time to head to bed ... ready for the early morning song which will surely wake us.

Lower Sabie is busy, albeit a Sunday night. But the camp is quiet. All we can hear is hushed voices.

I am SO blessed to be here, and so loving every second.

Nite nite mites!

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Dalene

A roaring lion does not catch any prey - African Proverb


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 Post subject: Re: Cape to Crooks Corner : a pilgrimage
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:27 pm 
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A bit of rain during the night PJ. And now some storms in the distances. So M, cooler this evening, but really hot earlier.

A lovely day again, the highlight being a sighting of just one tiny impie lamb. The smallest ever and so cute.

Tomorrow we pack up again, this should be a breeze with Haupie here to do the work while the rest of us enjoy early coffee at the dam. Sweet smile.

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Dalene

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 Post subject: Re: Cape to Crooks Corner : a pilgrimage
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 1:33 pm 
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:yaya: from ..... S A T A R A ... camp set up right on the fence. How cool is that. The camp is quiet and we had a nice number of sites along the fence to choose from. We chose the shadiest one.

Yesterday was somewhat cooler and dawned overcast. We took an evening drive along the S100. Two sightings of lion - but that was to be expected. More precious and special was another two sightings of little lambs. The tiniest little souls. Very inquisitive about life around them, but soon moved off by their very protective mothers.

This morning we were out the gate at 4.30am - and headed directly for Sweni birdhird, a favourite of both Hawk and me. I always say this birdhide never disappoints, and we always spend hours there. Today it was much quieter than in the past. Very little water is left and therefore very little birdlife etc. We sat peacefully and quietly enjoying our coffee and just soaking up the early morning bush sounds, when along came a honey badger. We had a lovely sighting, made so easy by my binocs which were a gift to me some years ago ... and thro which I enjoyed another honey badger sighting at Shimiweni at the time.

The drive back to camp produced a leopard sighting, a korhaan doing its amazing mating 'thing' where it flies straight up, folds in its wings and drop directly down to earth, just flying out of the manoeuvre at the last minute. I do hope his girlfriend appreciated his efforts. A really hard battle between two male impala, who locked horns many times, was also a wonderful experience.

The sun has now come out, and the heat has returned. There were a few spots of rain earlier on, but much much more is needed, it is dry around here.

Til next time - greeting from the fence at Satara!

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Dalene

A roaring lion does not catch any prey - African Proverb


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