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 Post subject: Sanpfan-This trip can only get better....Aug 2010
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:44 pm 
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we hope :pray: :pray: :doh:

Mike and I are heading back to KNP in a few days time...........at least that is how it is supposed to be. However, events have been conspiring against us. Right back in January when we sat back down at work after Christmas and New Year, we already started to have problems. Last year we enjoyed our trip so much but for so short a time that we decided we needed to go back again. We both said that we would leave it until 2011 because of the SWC in 2010 and the likelyhood that the park would be full up.

Then in January I put a spanner in the works by suggesting that we may be able to get into KNP after the SWC in August/September. It didn't take much convincing for Mike to be straight on-line booking his flights. :lol:

I messed around though and couldn't decide what to do. By the time I decided that it was on, the flight from Bristol to Paris (our route is Bristol to Paris to Johannesberg to Nelspruit) was full and I had to take an earlier flight some 6 hours before Mike. This meant that he would be sitting around Bristol airport and I'd be sitting around Paris for most of the day. Oh well, can't be helped.

Then with the last week approaching before lift off.......I tripped at home last Saturday and dislocated and fractured my Thumb on my Left Hand (I'm left handed) :slap: :wall: It is amazing how being one handed is such a handicap. Especially with going on holiday. :big_eyes:


Then today (3 days from take-off) Mike got a shock when he went onto Air Frances website and found his flight from Bristol has been cancelled. If he hadn't gone to look we wouldn't have known until we arrived at the airport :huh: . Air France were totally unhelpful and told him they could get him on a flight the day or 2 later (he has the car hire and the internal flights in SA in his name so no good). He then called KLM and they were a bit more helpful and said they'd do their best to get him on a flight on Friday so we could still get to Nelspruit Saturday. He is now flying from Bristol to Amsterdam and then to Paris :doh:

So......as the title says.......it can only get better. I'll be back in 3 weeks time to give you the story ..... we hope. :pray: :hmz:

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Are we really the most intelligent species??

2009 and 2010 trips are a distant memory but will remain special.

TMNP - Got Married and had the Honeymoon blinkers on!! Too busy for TMNP!!.


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 Post subject: Re: This trip can only get better....
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:55 am 
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They say things can get worse before improving......... :wall: :wall:

Today Mike checked on-line to see if his eTicket was ready and Air France has messed up again. He is on the flight from Bristol to Amsterdam (KLM) but not on his flight from Amsterdam to Paris (Air France). We phoned KLM and they were as confused as us :huh: . No reason for Air France to have cancelled his ticket so it has thankfully been re-instated :pray: :pray:

Another frantic heartstopping morning before our journey begins. :slap:

_________________
Are we really the most intelligent species??

2009 and 2010 trips are a distant memory but will remain special.

TMNP - Got Married and had the Honeymoon blinkers on!! Too busy for TMNP!!.


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 Post subject: Re: This trip can only get better....
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 2:47 pm 
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Hi forumites, I'm Mike from this TR. Decided to register (after lurking for a year or so) and update this travel tale a bit. I'll leave the main info until SanpFan is back from Capetown, where he is visiting. I took the name Xankanka after one of our sightings in KNP. (Might give you a clue as to how GOOD it was!)
And, yes being in KNP is the best medicine for any ailment.

I'm back in the UK, sniff (suppress tears). :cry: He's still THERE!

First of all, my thanks (and Rob's, SanpFan) for all your good wishes. We did manage to get to KNP in the end, but only after Air France threw another spanner in the works. I managed to get to Paris, meet SF and wait oat the terminal for 7 hours before we could embark. BTW, what a a dump is that Charled de Gaulle airport. No restaurants at that terminal, just a couple for stalls where one can purchase a salad or a sandwich. Did we? Yes we were hungry. A small salad 7Euro (R70) H-o-w M-u-c-h! :shock: A small bottle of water nearly 3Euro (R30). Boy, do they know how to rip people off. :x

Anyway, back to the story.
After waiting we managed to board the Airbus 380. All excited, because we've never been in that plane before. Anyway, we're strapped in, happily waiting for take-off at 23:20. The time came and ... went. Nothing happened. We were not taxi-ing, not taking off, just sitting there. At 23:45 captain comes over the intercom, telling us that they,ve forgotten to load our luggage and that it will only take 5 or 10 minutes. Say What?!? (sorry LZ, for borrowing your line :) )
Well it took a little longer, but finally we were off. L-o-n-g flight, nothing much to talk about, apart from poor service on-board.
Last year we flew SAA to Joburg. Excellent service, they come round regularly with drinks. Not Air France.

The result of the late take-off was that we landed in Joburg late. We should have arrived at 09:45, but it was just gone 10:30 before we got off the plane.

Border control was efficient and quick, getting our luggage, slow.

The upshot of this was that we just missed our flight to Nelspruit Airport. By minutes only. We had to buy new tickets. Thanks Air france! :sniper:

But we got there, picked up the hire car, and drove to Idle & Wild B&B in Hazyview, where we were staying for two nights, as we wanted to go to Pilgrin's Rest and do the Panorama route. More on that later.

Enough for now.
Elzet, I know how you feel about camping, my SO decided we needed a tent. Rob mentioned that earlier. Luckily it is still wrapped up nicely in its bag. (may it long be so :twisted: )


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 Post subject: Re: This trip can only get better....
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 1:26 pm 
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Thank you Elsa and Kamadejo for your warm welcome. I already feel a part of this forum, having looked for so long at it.

I'm eager to tell all, but that would not be fair to SF, so I'll hang on till he's back from Capetown. All seems well with him, I had a text from him yesterday. Suffice to say that looking at my 1000+ images I'm well pleased. SF's pictures will be better as he was using the 'Hubble telescope' on his camera. :)
I'm sure he'll be eager to share (show off :twisted: ) his shots.

I'll be back later.


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 Post subject: Re: This trip can only get better....
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 11:13 am 
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OK, I'm back at home and work :cry:

After a long trip home from Cape Town (36 hours from Lakeside to Weymouth) I am tired and depressed (a refreshing holiday is already a distant memory). Firstly, let me apologise to those who I had hoped to meet up with in Cape Town. My time was totally taken up with the family and my thumb made it a messy and painful experience to try to eat out. I also didn't have internet access to let you know. Jammer (Sorry) to all and I hope to see you in the near future (if all goes to plan).

At least I was not relying on Air F*&nce to get me back or I might still be sitting in a departure lounge somewhere :wall: .

The KNP part of my trip lived up to expectations :dance: although we are never happy and always wish for more or better sightings (human nature). We were blessed with some trully wonderful wildlife though and the variety was much greater than last year.


I shall go through the photos in the next week or so and then start to write with the help of Xankanka (Mike) and his photos and recollections. Back soon..... :popcorn:

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Are we really the most intelligent species??

2009 and 2010 trips are a distant memory but will remain special.

TMNP - Got Married and had the Honeymoon blinkers on!! Too busy for TMNP!!.


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 Post subject: Re: This trip can only get better....
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 4:58 pm 
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Well, SF is back and getting his pictures sorted. And he told me that since he did last year's report (never told me he did one!), I can do this year's. I'm sure he'll have his say 'correcting' me when remembering things wrongly (and showing off his Hubble Telescope pictures :) ) Which reminds me I've got to work out how to get pictures in this TR. Bear with me, as I fathom this out.

So, where did we leave this TR?

Oh Yes, I remember, AF left us in the lurch and we had to buy new tickets to Kruger airport. :evil:

But, landing at Kruger Airport melted our angry moods. Seeing that lovely airport just got us all happy again. Got the car, a nice Hyundai Tucson. Opened the rear door to load our luggage and guess what? It didn't fit!! :shock: A strange design of the boot cover, which goes down, ment we couldn't fit our two smallish suitecases and two aircraft-compatible handluggage rucksacks under that cover. A bit of a blow, as we intended to go and do some shopping before going to Idle&Wild BB. With all those goodies clearly visible, we decided to first go and book in then go and do some shopping.

Getting used to that vehicle, whilst being tired, caused a few hiccups. But I remembered to come to a complete stop at stop junctions and keep within the speed limit.

We got to Idle&Wild and offloaded our luggage into the rondavel we were staying in.

Image

a nice and fiendly place with excellent breakfast!

We were tired, but went into Hazyview to get some painkillers for SF, as his thumb and whole hand were hurting, and some other shopping. When we got back it was still light so I decided to do a bit of fishing as they've got a lovely pond with wide-mouth bass in it.

Image

I tried last year, but failed miserably. Caught only trees and couldn't reel those in. :redface:

This time I was better prepared.Tried various lures, but no nibble, no bite, nothing. :x I had brought the wrong lures! Too bad it was getting dark and we were both tired. Time for a little bite to eat and then hit the sack as the next day will be busy going to Pilgrim's Rest and do the Panorama Route. Looking forward to that!

Well, let's post this and see if the pictures show up.

More in the next post
Mike


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 Post subject: Re: This trip can only get better....
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 5:39 pm 
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Thanks Mike. We're off to a good start. (I have to say that as he is my Boss and contradicting him could have repercussions.) :lol:

The boot design in the Tucson is really crazy. The X-Trail we had last year was definately better for this but had less room in the cabin. Mike also didn't mention that the 3rd gear (stick) kept vibrating and trying to jump out unless you really pushed it into position. This on a new car basically :hmz: .

Idle & Wild is a great place to stay and the owners are really friendly. They were actually away when we arrived and had somebody else Housesitting for them. No probs though and breakfast was as good as ever. I notice Mike blaming his lures on the lack of fish.......... :roll: :naughty: There was apparantly someone staying there who had been hauling the fish out the evening before.......probably scared all the fish in the pond.

Anyway, it's off to Pilgrims Rest tomorrow (in the TR) so night night.

_________________
Are we really the most intelligent species??

2009 and 2010 trips are a distant memory but will remain special.

TMNP - Got Married and had the Honeymoon blinkers on!! Too busy for TMNP!!.


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 Post subject: Re: This trip can only get better....
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:17 am 
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Wow SF, official recognition that I'm your boss :wink: That doesn't happen often. I know you're only agreeing 'cause you want some holiday in March to go to Capetown. Well, don't worry, they've been pencilled in.

Thanks Katja, just one more day on our trip outside the park, then the adventure really starts! Stay tuned.

Yep, I'd forgotten about the bad 3rd gear and the lack of umpf in that car. Felt that on some occasions I would have to send SF out to push it! But his hand hurt so I took pity :twisted:

Well, next day, Sunday, arrived. We got up at a reasonable time 07:00 got ready went for a delicious breakfast and grabbed our camera gear and off we went. (no doubt you'll be hearing a lot more about food as it is a very important activity in our daily lives :wink: )

We'd decided to travel via Sabie and Mac Mac to Pilgrim's Rest.

Image
on our way to Sabie

When we got near to Mac Mac SF couldn't contain himself anymore and exclaimed "Oh, it's a ??? tree!! I must have a :cam: of that tree"

Well, I thought it must be a special tree, I better get a picture too. So we got out of the car, walked through the burned veld to get a decent shot.

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This ??? tree, so important to SF

On our way back to the car, I noticed that we had black stripes all over our legs and shorts. Never mind, it'll wash off.

Still don't know what's so special about that tree. I like the setting with the mountains in the background.

So, at Mac Mac Falls. A lovely picnic area, shaded by trees an a nice, but small waterfall. The view is stunning though.

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The view from Mac Mac

We didn't stay there long, as we wanted to spend some time in Pilgrim's Rest.

What a beautiful ride! The landscape is just stunning! Having recently read Jock of the Bushveld, I can understand their love for the veld. The smells, views, just everything about it is so uplifting. It would have been a hard life for the trekkers, but oh so rewarding.

Better post this and carry on in another one, as it's raining today and when it rains we lose the internet connection. Long story, better explain another time.

Off to the next post.


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 Post subject: Re: This trip can only get better....
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:40 am 
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Well, we arrived a Pilgrim's Rest and decided to visit the old part of the town first. There was a nice large place to park, we saw that there was an attendant and thought it oke to park. No problems, and we started to walk up/down the street.
We spotted between some houses the old church at a distance. Time for a Kodak moment:

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The church

And a little bit further I spotted our first bit of wild life. Great I thought, this animal eluded us last year, so good to see it now, and so close by. Better take a :cam:

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First animal!

AS you can see, hopefully, it is a rhino made from wire and beads. The guy responsible sat in the background making lots of little bead things. He's made bikes, cars hangers etc. Asked him if he made small animals as well as I couldn't take the large ones with me on the plane. Unfortunately he didn't.

Bought some nuts, thought it would be a good idea to have some in the car for early morning drives, as I know SF's lack of breakfast habits and I need to eat regularly (diabetic).

Took quite a few more pictures here, but won't bore you with them all, just this one:

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Lovely corrugated iron shop

On our way back to the car, we decided to have a bit of lunch and a pancake seemed to be the right thing to have. I opted for the Preacher's Purgatory one, it is Sunday after all, and SF had one with spicy beef, cheese and quacamole. They were good. We tried each others and we both preferred the Preacher. I told the waiter that next time I'll come back for another sermon, it was that good :D

Back to the car. Got some coins ready to pay the attendant, when we were met by a small group of locals demanding money for having washed our car. Decided not to argue, pay the R50 and some small change to the attendant and left on a sour note. Alright our own fault. Shouldn't have parked there. Still it spoiled our visit to PR.

Anyway, on our way again, enjoying the lovely scenery. Making for Lydenburg. More in the next post. Sure that SF will correct me on my recollections.


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 Post subject: Re: This trip can only get better....
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:45 am 
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That "tree" is some form of Cycad (I think :hmz: ) It just reminds me of the area so much like the Baobab reminds me of my birthplace a few hundred kilometers further north.

This wasn't a particularly good specimen as the area was burnt out but it does stand out and shows how it will recover when the area gets rainfall.

The Mac Mac Pools were nice but we didn't stay too long and moved on to Pilgrims Rest..........

Great to wander around the old town and look at the buildings etc. Mikes pancake was very tasty with a nice spicy hint. The scam with the car washing was a bad end to the visit there though and I should have been more aware as it is quite a common thing these days. As there was such a large group though it was best not to argue. "Kak en betaal" as they say. :sniper: :slap:

We decided to drive back to Hazyview over Robbers Pass (appropriate as we'd just been robbed). And then back over Long Tom.

Xankanka can continue as he is doing a fine job so far..........

_________________
Are we really the most intelligent species??

2009 and 2010 trips are a distant memory but will remain special.

TMNP - Got Married and had the Honeymoon blinkers on!! Too busy for TMNP!!.


Last edited by Sanpfan on Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: This trip can only get better....
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 10:07 am 
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As I said, the landscape is stunning. Wished I could stay here forever. I love the mountains, velds and the smells of them!

Image
How idyllic!

SF told me we were going through the high velds. Beautiful large areas of flat lands. Not enough words to describe it. Enjoying every minute of our travelling and finally we arrived in Lydenburg. Had a stop by the church and old school building walked around the church and saw a couple of egrets on the grass. In the middle of a town? :shock:

Image
The Nederlands Hervormde Gereformeerde Kerk in Lydenburg

All brilliant to see. On with our Panorama Route trip.
Got to a high point that told us we were 2150m above MSL. Wow, the car had made it without SF pushing it. It had been a struggle for the poor thing, no the car, not SF :wink:

Image
More lovely rolling hills

Got to a place where it mentioned 'impact by a Longtom' SF explained it was a projectile from a large canon that made the hole. I wondered if he ment that someone else had dropped his Canon with a hubble telescope, but all was to be revealed a few km further

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The Longtom gun

It cost them £62,850.00 for 4 guns from the French. The french again :evil: always ripping people off.

Anyway, more Panorama Route to do and it was getting late as you can see in the next picture

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Just love the hazy view of the hills

Getting nearer to Hazyview, I remembered the trees with lovely fruit on it. Just had to take a :cam:

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Yum. Don't the just look gorgeous?

We got back to Idle & Wild just before it got really dark and decided we need to visit Hippo Hollow. Had a lovely meal there last year, so had to do that again.

Nice crocdile starter, Kudu tournedos as main. Boy, it was good. No hippos in the Sabie this time, but it had been a good day.

Tomorrow it's off to Kruger! Can't wait.

More next time.


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 Post subject: Re: This trip can only get better....
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 10:26 am 
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See, I knew the Baas was getting a bit old and senile :twisted: ......There was a hippo actually out of the water at Hippo Hollow but as I was probably the only one to see it he can be forgiven for thinking that the Windhoek was going to my head.

As for the Tucson.........I think we had one with a sewing machine motor in it. A more gutless car could not be found. We were almost forced to do a Fred Flintstone and start running through the floorboards on any slight slope. The scenery around Mashishing (??) Lydenburg is spectacular and Xankanka couldn't get enough of it. Although the Long Tom story just reminded him of our run in with the French again.......... :wall: :wall:

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Are we really the most intelligent species??

2009 and 2010 trips are a distant memory but will remain special.

TMNP - Got Married and had the Honeymoon blinkers on!! Too busy for TMNP!!.


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 Post subject: Re: This trip can only get better....
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 12:09 pm 
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Oh the joys of getting old! Yep, very selective memory. Had totally forgotten about that one hippo strolling by. Good to see SF keeps an eye on me.

Katja, thanks for your comments.

Micetta, don't worry, our Kruger adventure is now to start.
Had to include the day outside of the park as SA is such a beautiful country and is a nice lead-in to that bit of heaven on earth called Kruger National Park!

Well, finally our day for Kruger has come! Monday morning, first day for KPN.

Got up a bit earlier, loaded the car, had breakfast, or the other way round (memory problem), and set off to Hazyview to get some meat for SF's promised braai in Skuks. The housesitter had told us the best places in Hazyview to get decent meat. We decided that I would stay in the car, guarding our belongings as they were clearly visible again. SF would obtain the goods.
First place, no meat, nothing, nada. Off to the second place. That one didn't open till 10! Say what!?!

Decided to go to Checkers instead and get it there.
Success! SF got lots of meat and I persuaded him to visit the liquor store just opposite to get some lager as well. Keep the throat well lubricated was my thought.

On our way to Numbi Gate.
Finally we're in the Park!

Weather was overcast, but still, we were in Kruger. I start looking frantically for all the lions, leopards etc that should be there at the gate waiting for us, but no joy. We were not met by a delegation of Kruger's most wanted inhabitants. Which ment we had to search them out.

On our way then. Looking all around us. I spotted something in the tree... A hoepoe. Got to take a picture of that.

Image
First sighting

We decided to make for Pretoriuskop to have a bit of lunch.
A quiet road, not much to see, a few impalas, and a forktailed drongo, SF took a decent picture of, but that was it.

In Pretoriuskop we were watching the resident impalas and saw a pearl-spotted owlet. What a lovely creature.

Image
Pearl-spotted owlet

After our meal we headed for Shitlhave Dam. Going through all the burned areas, not that nice to see. Some places showed new growth and the green was a welcome change from all the blackness. Again, not many animals en-route, but when we got to the dam, plenty of buffalo and the weather cleared up. Even better. We only saw one hidden buff last year, so this was a real treat.

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Small herd of buffalo

Lovely to see and it made us think about the lovely buff pasties at Nkulu we were hoping to taste this year, having seen so much on the forum about them.

Looking along the water's edge I spotted a strange looking bird.

SF A hamerkop. Must have a picture of that!

He tried, wriggled , aimed and... could not get into a proper position. No picture for him.
I tried and got one or two, not brill as some long grass was obscuring it. But just for SF, here's mine :tongue:

Image
The much wanted Hamerkop

It walked along the edge, SF frantically trying to get a picture, but didn't manage. A few french words escaped from his thoughts. :naughty:

On our way back to the H1-1 we saw a few kudus, who were going to cross the road.

X I've got to get some pictures of those lovely kudus, they taste delicious. Did you know that?

Of course SF knew that and we got our pictures. Graceful animals.

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Lovely rump. Sorry kudu.

A bit further on we came across SF's favourite animal (if it stays off the road :wink: )

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Let me think... oh, an elephant

This is getting better, we thought. More animals now. Who knows, maybe even lions await us.
No lions, but a few steenboks on a rock

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steenboks

And it didn't take long for me to find another bird. I'm getting good at spotting them! Not that I know what they all are. But SF has a vast knowledge of their names, so I rely on him to enlighten me.

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Purple Roller

Although looking at this bird, which SF named a European Roller, I think it's a Purple Roller (checking the KP guide).

Off to Skuks to book in, get our stuff in the rondavel, cleaned up a bit and prepare to visit Lake Panic. I've been looking forward to visiting LP again. It was so good last year and we had so little time then. Now we're able to stay as long as we want. To our surprise we met the housesitter of I&W here. We wondered if we'd forgotten something, but they had decided to leave a day early and go home, in their caravan, via Kruger.

No leopards lying along the dust road waiting for us, like last year, but a parking place at the hide, just, and lots of people in the hide. Its always busy there.
It took a little while before we had a chance to sit down and get the cameras working. SF needed a bench for himself and the hubble telescope. Jealous looks from other canonites.

Image
one of the usual residents

Lots of birds, I'll let SF report on the great variety as he's an expert. Just one of my pictures, before he posts all his hubble shots :wink:

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Green-backed heron

Just a joy to see all these birds. We stayed till nearly 17:30. Time to get back to Skuks and get something to eat.

We used the restaurant and had their buffet. Very enjoyable, sat on the veranda looking out over the Sabie river. Someone had a powerful torch and highlighted a buffalo. We saw later a small-spotted genet sneaking into the camp and tip-toeing behind us. Lovely little creature. Watched the stars and milky way. All so different from the northern hemisphere.

Tomorrow, at first light we'll be off to Lake Panic again.


Last edited by Xankanka on Thu Sep 23, 2010 12:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: This trip can only get better....
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:28 pm 
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Hi Sanpfan and Xankanka - I've just caght up with your TR - wonderful writing. :clap: :clap: One thing, your Steenboks on the rock are actually Klipspringers. :redface:

Looking forward to the next instalment.... making me homesick looking at all the wonderful photographs :mrgreen:

Dave

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Too far from the Kruger.... ahh memories of this trip....
Punda Maria - 3-4/11/2011
Pafuri Tented Camp - 5-6/11/2011
Shingwedzi - 7-8/11/2011
Letaba - 9/11/2011
Olifants - 10/11/2011
Satara - 11/11/2011
Skukuza - 12/11/2011
Berg-en-dal - 13-14/11/2011


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 Post subject: Re: This trip can only get better....
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:26 pm 
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First he blames the lures for the poor fishing.....now he blames me for the mis-identification of Klipspringers..... :roll: :sniper:

Anyway Xankanka has some wonderful photos so I shall only post a few in between. As my thumb was out of action all the driving was in Mikes hands and therefore the positioning of the vehicle at sightings........now I' not saying that he deliberately parked so he had the best advantage and I had to struggle but...... :twisted: :twisted: :hmz: The Hamerkop just wouldn't co-operate for me and by the time I was in some sort of position it flew off...... :doh: Only joking with Mike about the parking though. :tongue:

Here are some shots I managed to get so far on the trip.....

Image

Image

Image

Image

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Are we really the most intelligent species??

2009 and 2010 trips are a distant memory but will remain special.

TMNP - Got Married and had the Honeymoon blinkers on!! Too busy for TMNP!!.


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Submitted by Jurie van Vuuren at 12:26:03 Submitted by Perthpete at 09:02:13 Submitted by bushwackedblonde at 19:41:54 Submitted by woodsy at 07:34:20