For all the ‘mites who waited for a report back on the Els household’s January 2014 Kruger trip, the day has arrived
.DAY1: 7 JANUARY 2014
As we all know, packing is one of the most important stages in the life of mankind to ensure a wonderful vacation without any hiccups.
As in any other household (hopefully) a neatly printed list, detailing everything that must go with is drawn up weeks before the big day.
In the Els household there are five stages in preparing for the big day:
The first stage is to buy the groceries for the trip and pack it in neatly labeled carrying bags, days in advance of leaving. This will also include the packing of cutlery, pots and pans etc. that is kept in the Kruger cupboard as we call it.
The second stage is to buy everything that should go into cool bags (meat, cheese, eggs etc.). The meat is vacuum packed before everything is stored in a fridge and freezer days in advance of leaving.
The third stage (day before departure) is when we take the four legged kids to the kennels for their vacation.
The fourth stage (day before departure) is to pack our clothing etc. that should go with. It is during the stage that the cameras, binoculars, chargers etc are also put together in the study.
The fifth stage happens on the morning of departure when everything is loaded into the bakkie and everything on the neatly printed list is ticked off to ensure that nothing is left behind.
All of the above happened during this trip, except that I decided to leave the one camera and video camera, which is locked in the safe at home.
It was a beautiful morning when we left at 4am for Kruger. Due to the fact that the building sector in SA was still on vacation, we did not even have any problems with the stop and goes between Nelspruit and Malelane. We arrived in Malelane at 08:00 and had our breakfast as we normally do, before re-filling with fuel before we leave for Malelane gate.
We went through the booking in process with ease and then as we always do, prepare to enter Kruger by taking out the binoculars and cameras and to fit the yellow ribbon to the right-hand side rearview mirror.
It was during this process that the start of a wonderful first day in Kruger changed into one of the most awful days in the history of mankind.
As I reached into the back seat of the double cab to get Hilda’s 120 x 500 mm sigma lens to fit to her camera, it was with a shock of horror that it flashes through my mind that I never took out the lens from the safe at home during the fourth stage of the packing process
. It was as if someone emptied a bucket of ice water over my head and I did not even told Hilda yet
. The only lens in her bag was an 18 x 55 that came with the camera
Needless to say Hilda was not a happy chappy without a proper lens and 10 days to go in Kruger.
So we set off on our quest with two cell phones, a camera with an 18x55 lens and my camera with a 18 x 250 sigma lens.
Hope you guys have your magnifying glasses ready for this trip
Our first 4 night stay was at Olifants and a long way to go.
Our first sighting of the trip was a family of warthogs enjoying the lush green grass after the rains.
Then we had to stop for this little guy to cross the road.
Our first sighting of the Big 5 was the backside of an ellie.
It was clear that the rain during December changed the park completely, when we found this Buff enjoying the water in a normally dry riverbed.
Our next sighting was a giraffe family enjoying some lush green leaves.
We also manage to see no 3 of the Big 5, Mr. Rhino far off in the bush. It was also strange to see so many Marabou Storks this year. We saw a flock of 12 in a riverbed but no chance of getting a proper photo with the cameras we had.
We also came across this Nyala bull enjoying the very green grass along the road.
We arrived at Skukuza for our first leg stretch and a visit to the shops.To be continued…..