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 Post subject: Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 10:13 pm 
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Location: Back home in the caravan at Malelane camp, KNP
Bit chaotic round here having moved most things now into the new caravan tent..... But it will be a bit easier to get sorted out now.

The drive was quiet although it started well with a good civet sighting followed by large spotted genet, also had ellies (including one splashing about at Majulu waterhole), impalas and scrub hares, hippos, male bushbuck, buffalo......

Just had hot drink and am going to bed - very tired.

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 Post subject: Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:11 pm 
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Location: Back home in the caravan at Malelane camp, KNP
Did sunset drive at the gate tonight. Started off well, then got very quiet, and misty rain which became heavier by the end of the trip too. We had ellies, waterbuck, duiker, bushbabies, impalas, scrub hares, hyena, and the crocs of course. Much cooler tonight......

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 Post subject: Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:38 pm 
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Location: Back home in the caravan at Malelane camp, KNP
Cooler day with continuous rain, mostly very light, but sometimes a bit heavier. Activities tonight rained off! So a welcome night off - enjoyed some gammon steak just now and will make a microwave bread and butter pudding later on.

Had kudus and buffaloes this morning near camp.

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If I was normal I wouldn't be me!


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Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 4:54 pm 
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Location: Back home in the caravan at Malelane camp, KNP
Came back from the office at lunch time.....and began again trying to sort out caravan. I have rearranged the tent section after the rain.....things that will not matter if they get a bit wet are now in the parts that might get wet.....and clothes moved to where they will stay dry!

We have a mini-meet here tonight - WendyA camping, and Nighthawk and timbits in a bungalow! Patrick has already gone out for a drive, and it is now too late (I hope) for BnD to call me so hopefully I will have a night in. Rain has stopped for the past few hours, but sky still very overcast.

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 Post subject: Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:17 am 
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Location: Back home in the caravan at Malelane camp, KNP
Saturday was strange.... Raymond asked me to do a night drive, but then less than 30mins before they were due to pick me up I got a call to say they had rearranged things and did not need me!

But last night I did do a night drive...... Lots of water about on the roads and of course in the veld. Frogs calling everywhere.... We had rhinos cross the road within a few metres of the vehicle, ellies, impalas, scrub hares, bushbabies, kudu, zebs, duikers, hippos, genets, spotted eagle owls, nightjars......and the usual unidentified eyes too.

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Completed over 5 years in Kruger in my caravan.

If I was normal I wouldn't be me!


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 Post subject: Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:42 pm 
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Location: Back home in the caravan at Malelane camp, KNP
Another night drive tonight. I took WendyA with me as she arrived back in camp just as I was leaving. Fairly quiet night, but we had the usual impalas and scrub hares, plus bushbabies, lots of duikers, ellies, kudus, rhinos, and a couple of spotted eagle owls.

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Smiling is contagious. Start an epidemic today!

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If I was normal I wouldn't be me!


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 Post subject: Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:20 pm 
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Location: Back home in the caravan at Malelane camp, KNP
Bushbabies again tonight - and 2 magnificent lions. One right next to the road as we pulled up, but he got up and moved away and then stayed with his back to us. The other posed sphinx-like the whole time we watched them. Also a lovely relaxed ellie bull strolling down the road....stayed behind him for about 200m and then he veered off onto the side of the road. Took a chance and moved next to him and he just watched us watching him and munched contentedly on some branches and leaves. Posed beautifully!

Other sightings included bateleur, white-backed vultures, duiker, hyena, impala, scrub hares, and lots of giraffes plus of course hippos and crocs.

Bit wet to start the trip but it dried up although rather cool.

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 Post subject: Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 9:04 pm 
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Location: Back home in the caravan at Malelane camp, KNP
Wet start to the trip tonight - wondered if the guests would cancel..... Had breeding herd of ellies before we even got into the vehicle, and giraffes immediately after that. Lots of impalas, few scrub hares, waterbuck, duiker, kudus, bushbuck, large spotted genet, rhinos, 2 ellie bulls having a strength tussle next to us, and a male lion walking in the road in front of us before veering off and calling for his friends..... Good trip. Rain stopped for most of the trip, but just as I got back to camp it started again.

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Smiling is contagious. Start an epidemic today!

Have you read the entrance permit? Do you KNOW the Conditions of Entry?

Completed over 5 years in Kruger in my caravan.

If I was normal I wouldn't be me!


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 Post subject: Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:15 pm 
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Location: Back home in the caravan at Malelane camp, KNP
Not sorted yet, but everything out of the old caravan that I need to get out. Now to pack it in the new one the way I want it......and no pics until I have sorted out the tarp/shade cloth on the top - looks too much squatter campish at present (help and advice welcome!).

Did a sunset drive last night (had 10mins warning!). Quiet night, but we had lots of giraffes, impalas, few scrub hares, baby croc, ellies, bushbuck, waterbuck, back end of a rhino, duikers, bushbabies.....

Waiting to see what happens tonight, as there may be 2 from camp, but they had not yet checked in.

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Smiling is contagious. Start an epidemic today!

Have you read the entrance permit? Do you KNOW the Conditions of Entry?

Completed over 5 years in Kruger in my caravan.

If I was normal I wouldn't be me!


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 Post subject: Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:56 pm 
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Location: Back home in the caravan at Malelane camp, KNP
Had about 10mins warning again tonight.....but at least I knew it might happen, and the folk were from camp so it was easy to sort out.

My route changed after meeting another guide who told me about lions and wild dogs on another road.....but we did not find them (only 2 other sunset/night drives instead also looking for them!). We did find a couple of very amorous giraffes....and a number of others, plus ellies, rhinos, impalas, scrub hares, zebras, hyena, hippos, duikers, white-tailed mongoose, genet, and glimpse of civet.

Had a snack after getting back and now for a hot drink before bed....need to be up early to go through to Nelspruit for eye appointment.

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Smiling is contagious. Start an epidemic today!

Have you read the entrance permit? Do you KNOW the Conditions of Entry?

Completed over 5 years in Kruger in my caravan.

If I was normal I wouldn't be me!


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 Post subject: Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:38 am 
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Location: Back home in the caravan at Malelane camp, KNP
Well, last week turned into a whirlwind! The eye appointment went well and now I need to wait for the doc to come back to me on what they can offer me in terms of replacement lenses. I did some shopping and then came home.

Wednesday I helped with a school trip - my nightmare! - but it was OK. We saw ellies, impalas, warthogs, rhinos, kudus, waterbuck, steenbok, duiker, zebs, wildebeest.

Thursday we went to Skukuza for a shooting assessment, but it was cancelled at the last minute so we did some admin stuff instead, and then went to the golf club for an early lunch.

I had been waiting to find out if I could join the Mphongolo trail on Sunday as an observer guide, and while we were at the golf club 3 folk came in. I knew one of them, a guide from Olifants, but one of the others turned out to be the guide leading the Mphongolo trail on Sunday!!!!!! He said he thought it was on, and I was welcome to join them.

So I had to go back to Nelspruit on Friday to get some bits and bobs for camping/hiking that I had not yet bought.

Saturday I helped out at the gate for the morning holiday rush, and then went into Malelane for some fresh veggies and headed north, not knowing where I was going to sleep that night! Shingwedzi was hosting the Baroque in the Park weekend and so I could not stay there. Alternatives were a ranger post outside Shingwedzi or maybe Letaba or Satara....... In the end one of the Shingwedzi managers who remembered me from Croc Bridge arranged for me to stay at Letaba. Turned out to be a good choice as a guide who had just finished Mphongolo arrived and camped near me. We talked a lot, and he gave me some good advice.

Sunday I headed for Shingwedzi with plenty of time - but ended up rushing a little at the end as Mopani restaurant took almost an hour to produce a toasted bacon and egg sandwich for me to take-away (there were only 2 groups in the restaurant at the time, one already eating!). At Shingwedzi Brenden met me, showed me the ropes, and we met the rest of the party and by 11am were on the road to the trail start.

My pack was far too heavy - combination of not having a suitable really small tent, and packing too much in the way of snacks. I also had one of those minimalist self-inflating sleeping mat, but it was almost useless and a waste of space and weight. I carried close to 20kg and struggled, but I did it!!!!! If I can do it under those conditions it will be fine for the future.

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Smiling is contagious. Start an epidemic today!

Have you read the entrance permit? Do you KNOW the Conditions of Entry?

Completed over 5 years in Kruger in my caravan.

If I was normal I wouldn't be me!


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 Post subject: Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:19 am 
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Location: Back home in the caravan at Malelane camp, KNP
First day we walked to a seasonal river where there was an area with permanent water. We arrived to find ellies close by, waited a while, they suddenly realised we were there and turned and ran off. We pitched tents close to a steep bank and went to get water. Brenden selected one of the ellie water holes and carefully enlarged it a bit with a spade, then ladled out water until it was almost crystal clear. We filled all our water bottles and added our water purification method of choice - the others had chlorine tablets, I had some drops. The day had been fairly cool which made walking easier than in the heat.

After sitting and chatting a while we cooked - variations were pasta, couscous and my veggies and smoked chicken fried up. Even though we were on river sand the ground felt hard and I did not sleep well.

Next morning we were up early and packed up ready to move to the next camping spot - again near permanent water - where we planned to spend the remaining 2 nights. The sun came out, and it got hot........ we stopped for breaks in shade, and spent a couple of hours or so over lunch-time in the shade of a large nyala tree. Aware of the danger of overheating and dehydration I drank quite a bit of my water. About an hour after we set off again I felt nauseous and called a break in some shade (think our 2 guests were grateful too - one was wobbling a bit at times, and the other looking very red and flushed). We were not far from our destination then and set off again and got to the area with no further trouble. Think I either drank too much fluid, or reacted to the drops to purify the water - cut down a bit on fluid after that and was OK.

We found buffs and ellies in possession of the water point, so camped up on the river bank a short distance from the water. Again we collected water from an ellie hole. This time we also filled 2 collapsible buckets and had more water to use in camp. Brenden even rigged up a camp shower for us behind an nyala tree as a luxury. I was first to try it......and a rhino tried to join me! Fortunately it came along as I headed there and not a few minutes later!!!! It decided we were not interesting enough and moved off, I had my shower and so did everyone else. A great morale booster after a hot day. We heard hyenas and ellies in the night. It became very windy and I had to get up in the night to make sure the fly-sheet would not take off.

Next day we were able to walk without the big packs which made things easier, and it was cooler initially. We walked quite a distance but again rested in the middle of the day in the shade of a big tree. In the evening we sat on a rock near the water point and waited to see what would arrive...... the answer was a large herd of buffalo! They were nervous, and did not stay long allowing us time to get back easily to camp before dark. During the night more hyenas and even lions at one point, but in the distance rather than close.

Final morning we packed up, made the area clean and tried to erase any evidence of our presence by scattering leaves over tent sites etc, and then headed for the pick-up point. It was hot again. We tracked a rhino for a while too, but did not see it, even though it seemed to have decided to check out our route for us and the tracks went most of the way we walked! Again we rested in the shade for a while, and then set off again. Suddenly we got to shade again and Brenden turned round and came to shake our hands......we had reached the pick-up point and survived the trail. The sense of achievement was amazing......

After about 20minutes we heard the vehicle coming to pick us up. One more surprise awaited us......a cool-box with cold drinks packed in ice!!!!!! We loaded up and headed back to camp, seeing nyalas, ellies, bushbuck, impalas on the way.

Back at camp I had a quick shower and then headed for home, not sure if I would make it or not. The GPS indicated I could do it.......and I did 2minutes after initial GPS estimate.

I found some regular campers had arrived at the weekend, and they invited me to share their meal so I only needed to unload the car and then eat with them and get to bed after checking emails etc.

A wonderful few days! Huge learning curve, amazing experience.... Cannot wait for the next one!

_________________
Smiling is contagious. Start an epidemic today!

Have you read the entrance permit? Do you KNOW the Conditions of Entry?

Completed over 5 years in Kruger in my caravan.

If I was normal I wouldn't be me!


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 Post subject: Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:31 pm 
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Location: Back home in the caravan at Malelane camp, KNP
Part of the weight was too big a tent, and 3 1/2 litres water (advised by trail guide) - which I did not need as I did not cook with water like the other folk did! Now have a smaller tent, and will carry less water so weight immediately reduced a lot.

Sunday night helped with bush braai for about 120 folk! Found a leopard at Matjulu waterhole and called in the others.....and then trying to turn round down the track (could not reverse back because the other vehicles were there) a rock suddenly shifted under a back wheel and I was stuck! Got other vehicles to join me, guests off, and while I loaded rifle and kept guard the other 2 drivers there got the vehicle out for me (they did not have rifles with them). Rest of drive quiet and uneventful, and found another leopard near camp on my way home later.

Last night did night drive and again fairly quiet drive, but had excellent sighting of white-tailed mongoose which kept in the road and turned and posed several times instead of running off as usual.

Tonight did sunset drive. Guest called 'rhino' and I immediately saw a blackie! Then realised there was a second.....and then a third! 3 black rhinos together!!!! Also good sightings of duiker and genets, zebs, ellies, impalas, scrub hares, white-tailed mongoose, spotted eagle owl with kill, crocs, hippos.

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Smiling is contagious. Start an epidemic today!

Have you read the entrance permit? Do you KNOW the Conditions of Entry?

Completed over 5 years in Kruger in my caravan.

If I was normal I wouldn't be me!


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 Post subject: Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:19 pm 
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Location: Back home in the caravan at Malelane camp, KNP
Very quiet night drive tonight.....one bull ellie, duiker, white-tailed mongoose, impalas, scrub hares, crocs, and a large-spotted genet.

_________________
Smiling is contagious. Start an epidemic today!

Have you read the entrance permit? Do you KNOW the Conditions of Entry?

Completed over 5 years in Kruger in my caravan.

If I was normal I wouldn't be me!


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 Post subject: Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 9:51 pm 
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Location: Back home in the caravan at Malelane camp, KNP
Another quiet night drive, but some good sightings.....hippo right next to us, white-tailed mongoose again next to us, ellies next to us, and a leopard calmly lying down and looking at us then walking along the road next to us too! Usual impalas and scrub hares, and crocs, and to finish a spotted eagle owl in the grass next to the road that simply watched us slowly creep past and did not fly off.

_________________
Smiling is contagious. Start an epidemic today!

Have you read the entrance permit? Do you KNOW the Conditions of Entry?

Completed over 5 years in Kruger in my caravan.

If I was normal I wouldn't be me!


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