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 Post subject: DB & Hawk Live Free - Sep 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:17 pm 
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Born Free
Words by Don Black and Music by John Barry

Born free, as free as the wind blows
As free as the grass grows
Born free to follow your heart

Live free and beauty surrounds you
The world still astounds you
Each time you look at a star

Stay free, where no walls divide you
You're free as the roaring tide
So there's no need to hide

Born free, and life is worth living
But only worth living
'cause you're born free

(Stay free, where no walls divide you)
You're free as the roaring tide
So there's no need to hide

Born free, and life is worth living
But only worth living
'cause you're born free



How often in Life are we really Free? We need to conform; we need to make a living; we need to ‘fit in’.

Well, for six weeks, Hawk and I plan to break free and Live Free. Six weeks living where no walls divide one from nature and freedom. Six weeks camping in the beautiful Kruger National Park.

We leave East London on Friday morning for the 1600km journey to our first rest camp of the trip, Balule.

We are hoping to share our time in the park with you, updating this trip report regularly.

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Dalene


It's not too late at all. You just don't yet know what you are capable of. Mahatma Gandhi


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 Post subject: Re: DB & Hawk Live Free
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:05 pm 
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We are here!!

1450km later and after so much excitement and preparation for this trip, we were finally checked in through Pabeni Gate very efficiently on Sunday.

It was a typical hot, cloudless Kruger morning and at 7am fairly busy with day visitors arriving.

Day 1 in the park and our main aim was to get to Balule choose a site and set up camp for the next 7 days.

But oh, how wonderful to be in Kruger again! Time to switch off all the ‘city life switches’. Some have rusted fast and are going to take a few days of Kruger magic to turn off. (Hawks main switch is controlled by his left ear. ;) )

First things first, tie on the YR :D
Image

We passed a blueish car flying two YRs, but all the waving down could not attract their attention.

Setting up camp was timed perfectly to the heat of midday. Good exercise for Hawk to hammer the pegs into the hard ground.

Being able to secure a site next to the fence was first prize for me as I love to sleep next to a window open onto the veld.

Image

Its been fairly windy the past days with yesterday clearing to a perfect, hot sunny day and today overcast and cooler. We even had a spit and a spot of rain on our drive down Satara way earlier this morning – perhaps there was some rain on the cam?

We delighted in a lone jackal drinking then calling to his lost buddy at Bengu waterhole earlier. This was followed by a sighting of huge herd of buffs and plenty of general game. Each evening the hyenas patrol up and down past our site and we drift off to sleep to the sounds of hippo grunting and lion roaring in the distance.

Image

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Dalene


It's not too late at all. You just don't yet know what you are capable of. Mahatma Gandhi


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 Post subject: Re: DB & Hawk Live Free
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:04 pm 
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Ok! Who has sneaked in here and stolen, yes STOLEN, the hyenas that patrol the Balule fence??!?!?!? They were here the previous two nights and now they are GONE :shock: :evil:

Somehow, eventhough the wind is chilly tonight, there are clouds covering the sparkling stars of last night, Balule is just not the same without its patrolling hyenas :(

Supper is nearly ready - I won't go into detail (could be a reason the hyena is giving this camp fence a wide berth).

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It's not too late at all. You just don't yet know what you are capable of. Mahatma Gandhi


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 Post subject: Re: DB & Hawk Live Free
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:35 pm 
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Pffffft! Do not blame me! Blame the Hyena Strike for better steaks over the fence :twisted:

The hyena pitched up about 5 mins ago, with a silly grin on his face mumbling something about the BushVeld Taxis being late :roll: And just in time. I was about to pen a complaint to Dr H.I.G.H. Eena; Chief of Fence Patrols, Kruger Centre at Groonkloof!

So all is well at the Balule fence - nighty night from the bushveld.

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It's not too late at all. You just don't yet know what you are capable of. Mahatma Gandhi


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 Post subject: Re: DB & Hawk Live Free
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 6:08 pm 
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JenB wrote:
Next time you login Deebs, please howl like a Hyena for us, just so we can share the Kruger fence mood an' all. :twisted:

Hhoooowwwwwwlll!!!!

Elsa wrote:
I do hope Mr H.I.G.H Ena responds and get those guys to start their patrolling a bit earlier DB.
He has! I am impressed - thanks mods for forwarding the post :clap:

They hyenas pitched up here at 16:10 :shock:

AND!! And even let their big secret out - they have a den about 5 metres from the fence and the cutest little cub came to say hello. All black and tiny!

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It's not too late at all. You just don't yet know what you are capable of. Mahatma Gandhi


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 Post subject: Re: DB & Hawk Live Free
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 6:11 pm 
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It is with relief that I can report there is indeed a lion in the park. I know I have mentioned hearing lion roaring during the nights; but one just never knows if this is a recording or not.

On our last trip to Kruger of 10 days in March, we suffered a ‘cat drought’. This was broken this morning with a lovely lion sighting of a magnificent male along the Olifants riverbed.

Today has been cool and overcast again, but no wind. At the moment it is very still – just the calls and movements of the birds around the camp.

As I type this a scrub hare has hopped past the fence – very alert and out and about early.

Earlier we took a slow cruise up to Letaba along the Olifants and Letaba rivers. Lunch on the veranda at Letaba is always such a treat. I love the view over the mighty Letaba river. A couple of tables away from us 5 Section Rangers were eating. How I would love to have been a fly on their table to listen to their tales of the bush.

No connection, so an hour or so later:

Hawk has now lit a fire, and it is nearly dark. All primates should be safely behind fences or up trees as the dramas of the night begin to play out in the Kruger National Park. From Balule I bid you all a very good night.

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It's not too late at all. You just don't yet know what you are capable of. Mahatma Gandhi


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 Post subject: Re: DB & Hawk Live Free
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 7:28 pm 
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The orange sky woke me this morning and after coffee watching the sunrise we took a slow drive to Bangu waterhole. Along the way we passed a frisky little giraffe running to and fro over the road just enjoying being young.

We spent an hour and a half watching an ellie being very fussy about the water he was taking up his trunk to drink. He obviously was only interested in the trickle of fresh water from the pump and was patient enough to wait for it. In this time a herd of zebra came to drink – showing much respect for the ellie. A lone monkey came along – checked out the area from this tree top and that before he went to drink; guinea fowl, red billed quelea and doves came to drink as well as a pair of black backed jackals.

On our afternoon drive we watched a SANParks bakkie stop, then the one behind them (the were oncoming) and we also stopped: to let some chickens (francolins) with the tiniest balls of fluff following behind cross the road. Of course the runt was left beind, and we all waited patiently while his mom called and encourage him to make it across the road on his own to her. A terribly precious scene to watch.

Later during the day we had to fill up with diesel at Olifants – a squirrel took his life into his hands and shot into a little home in front of our car that he has himself in the garage paving ... not sure whats wrong with the rest of the wonderful, wide bushveld of Kruger for a home. Why there :?

Image

The Impala Lilies are looking lovely.

Image

A pic of us two on the high water bridge over the Olifants this evening. The river is running nicely.

Image

It is a perfect, still and warm evening here tonight. The frogs are croaking, the hyena making some clan sounds, the crickets chirping and our supper of braai’d potatoes is ready. Good night from Balule!

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Dalene


It's not too late at all. You just don't yet know what you are capable of. Mahatma Gandhi


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 Post subject: Re: DB & Hawk Live Free
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2010 5:46 pm 
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A good evening to you all from next to the Balule fence in a warm Kruger. It’s been a hot and still day with a slight wind coming up now and clouds blowing in from the east.

Fires have been lit all around the camp, the last of those who are still out game spotting are returning and all is quiet apart from a few low voices and the little swifts chirping madly as they gather overhead before roosting under the eaves of the ablution block.

We spent a lot of time on the Balule bridge today and parked next to the river just enjoying the bird life. There is a pair of Egyptian Geese there with 8 of the cutest little goslings in tow.

We also took a slow cruise to Timbavati for lunch. Sightings of big game are fairly slow at the moment. There was a nice herd of breeding ellies at the bridge this evening. One of the teenagers was keen to show his status and trumpeted at us as we drove past.

And that is all for today, so until next time – take care all forumites!

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Dalene


It's not too late at all. You just don't yet know what you are capable of. Mahatma Gandhi


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 Post subject: Re: DB & Hawk Live Free
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2010 5:32 pm 
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A chilly good afternoon mites, from an overcast and grey Kruger. The wind has howled the past 24 hours, and finally died down now. No rain tho for all the dark clouds above.

Thanks all for you comments - each one is much appreciated!

Our drive to Bangu this morning was lovely with sightings of general game and a herd of buffs along the way. The rest of the day has been quiet and the afternoon spent snuggled up in the van snoozing :P

About 15 mins ago the SANParks helicopter flew low overhead in the direction of the Olifants trail area and we can hear it in the distance - not sure what they are up to out at this late hour of the day.

Spook - I hope those lions stay put!

The camp is full but very quiet. Many folk do not go out much but just enjoy the peace of the camp 8) Yesterday we had a honeymoon couple here - in a bakkie and trailer with all the comments usually written on honeymoon vehicles. Maybe I should suggest to my future DIL they take a honeymoon in KNP too :twisted:

Sipping Old Brown and going to assist Hawk to light the fire now - at least the wind is just a gentle breeze so we wont light the entire veld.

I can still hear the whilybird (heli) is the distance - most intrigued at what they are up to.

Regarding the kid that was bitten by a hyena here a few weeks ago, I believe he has a big dog at home and put his hand through the fence to pet the hyena. His hand was just scratched by the hyena. Apparently he was very lucky it was a young hyena.

Speaking of hyena, one is whooping in the distance right now.

Tomorrow we pack up here and move to Letaba - part of me is sad to leave here, as we both love Balule; part is very excited to be going to Letaba!

At least there we are back on electricity - out batteries in the van are out after a week of the freezer running off them. We have an inverter on the LC (land cruiser) batteries to charge camera, cells etc.

And so, until next time, greetings to you all from the cool bushveld.

(@RP - just bare with the bad spelling, I do not have a spell check on this pc, and failed spelling at school :tongue: )

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Dalene


It's not too late at all. You just don't yet know what you are capable of. Mahatma Gandhi


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 Post subject: Re: DB & Hawk Live Free
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2010 8:26 pm 
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Good evening from a perfect Kruger evening at the Letaba fence!

Today dawned perfect - not a clound in sight, and no wind. We rose early and enjoyed coffee watching the sun rise. Once we had packed up camp at Balule, we bid Titus good bye and set off for Letaba. Along the way we were impressed to see the road works folk working hard (on a Sunday) to upgrade the road between Olifants and Letaba.

Its seems like a good idea to arrive in camp on the early side if one wants to choose a nice camp site. We have one on the far right of the camp, on the fence, far away from the madding crowd :dance: Although I must add, the camp is very quiet this evening.

Lunch at Letaba fence:
Image

I love the fence at Letaba, and I love the bird life in the camp. There are always birds to and fro all day long.

After an afternoon nap, we took a drive to my most favourite place on Earth. If the fairy godmother ever gave me a wish, it would be to be able to live here, under those beautiful Fever trees - on the Letaba river:
Image

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Dalene


It's not too late at all. You just don't yet know what you are capable of. Mahatma Gandhi


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 Post subject: Re: DB & Hawk Live Free
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2010 8:32 pm 
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A couple of snaps to give you guys a bit of the feel of the day in the park today:
Image

From the high water bridge over the Letaba - the river is running, but I have seen if more full before. May the rains come soon.
Image

The Scops owls are calling to each other, our tummies are full after supper and our eyelids heavy - so until next time, a good night from the peaceful bushveld.

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Dalene


It's not too late at all. You just don't yet know what you are capable of. Mahatma Gandhi


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 Post subject: Re: DB & Hawk Live Free
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 1:21 pm 
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Hi all! Popping in to say hello as I had to connect to do some admin for work. Must say, I love my 'office' in Kruger here under the shade of the Mopani trees at Letaba.

There is a warm breeze blowing, the sky is perfect clear blue and the birds are all about busy doing what birds do at midday.

We took an early drive along the southern bank of the Letaba, and I just had to take a pic of where we parked to enjoy our '2nd coffee' of the morning ...
Image

Later this afternoon we are going on a Sunset Drive.

Wishing you all a great week!

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Dalene


It's not too late at all. You just don't yet know what you are capable of. Mahatma Gandhi


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 Post subject: Re: DB & Hawk Live Free
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 7:28 pm 
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From under a canopy of a zillion bright stars a very good evening to you all on this, our 10th day in Kruger!

What a perfect day – and one we notched up some great sightings on. Firstly, our first YR greeting! Jackalberry and her family from Switzerland are here in Letaba; we met up close to my most favourite place passing on the road and exchanging sightings (they have had some wonderful ones.)

Soon afterward I ticked off my 200th bird – a Klaass Cuckoo. What a thrill for me to see my first cuckoo of the season!

Second coffee today was enjoyed in pure peace at my most favourite spot. The Fever Trees are in bloom and there are birds in and out the trees all the time. Hippos grunt from the river (dam) and impala graze quietly on the banks.

(We also found our neighbours of the past 2 night, a couple from CT, were forum members!)

One can say today was a birding day. After a late breakfast and the necessary housekeeping needed while camping (all 10mins of it) we took our cameras and strolled around the camp hoping to snap some colourful birds. We were so lucky to see (and attempt to snap) Red-billed oxpeckers, a Grey-headed bushshirke, Brown-headed parrots and various woodpeckers.

This afternoon we took a very slow drive to Mingerhout Dam. The light was magnificent and we took delight in the lovely drive along the Letaba. On our return we spotted out 2nd lion sighting of our trip – a lone young male on the opposite bank, lying on his side enjoying the last of the day's sunshine.

It is now quiet in the camp, a Pearl Spotted owl is calling “eeeeew – eeeew”; a hyena has just slentched past and the Scops owls are calling to each other.

Tomorrow we move to Tsendze and finally hope to meet the famous Rodger.

From from Letaba fence on a warm bushveld evening, a good night and sleep tight to you all. 'til next time!

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Dalene


It's not too late at all. You just don't yet know what you are capable of. Mahatma Gandhi


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 Post subject: Re: DB & Hawk Live Free
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 7:04 pm 
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'They' say, you can run, but you cannot hide (from the long arm of the law), even at Tsendze!

Image

:big_eyes:

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 Post subject: Re: DB & Hawk Live Free
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 7:22 pm 
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Today was focused on moving camp to Tsendze. Hawk has been very keen to stay in this camp, he likes the bird hides, river and dam close by. I think he was worried about me moving from a camp that really held my heart (Letaba) to here. He has no need to worry. I love it here at Tsendze.

We have camped here before – two one night stops, and I really do like this camp. I like that it has no electricity and is remote. We were allocated site 3 which must be the best site in the entire camp. It is very private and right on the fence :D with a lovely big Appleleave tree throwing shade on it.

Temps soared to close to 40 degrees today!

And we got to meet Rodger!

And I got to shower in the outdoor showers. What an amazing experience to shower under the blue sky, in the sunlight with just two honeybees for company and the leaves off the Appleleave tree drifting down in the breeze.

As the sky darkened for the night, a group of four armed rangers walked past right in front of our site :shock: I could not help it, I just had to ask them if it was wise for them to be out like this after dark :shock: One replied that they were on patrol and had a torch. I asked but what about lions for example?!?!?! (Heavens, even I know it is very dangerous for primates in the bush after dark, what was the world coming to sending men on patrol in the DARK!) The ranger replied that they were inside the fence :oops:

When Rodger came by to check our permits I asked him (after talking about the forum) why these men were patrolling the camp (I mean; a visit by the cops earlier today now four field rangers patrolling – was this a hot spot for some really bad baddies?) and Rodger explained; an ellie had broken into camp two night ago, and the rangers were here to patrol all night to keep us all safe.

So from a very safe Tsendze where a Scops owl is calling its a goodnight and sleep tight from Hawk and me!

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Dalene


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