Skip to content

SANParks.org Forums

View unanswered posts | View active topics






Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  Page 1 of 4
 [ 51 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: WendyA Confirmed Kruger Camper's Trip (and Laughter) Oct 10
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 2:44 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator (2013)
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:25 pm
Posts: 558
Was it really only 11 weeks ago that the "Newbie Kruger Camper" decided to do a camping trip on her own in the Kruger Park, only having gone on a couple of organised camping trips before???

I went to Makro and splashed out R200 (!!!) on a Bushwacker Dome 2-man (obviously midgets) tent; set it up in the garden in about 10 minutes, then got the garden hose out and stood there for about another 20 minutes soaking it with water. For R200, surely it wouldn't be waterproof???!!! To my amazement and astonishment, it remained dry inside so I decided it would do!

Anyone who read my "Newbie Kruger Camper Seeks Advice" thread will know that my main concern was keeping perishables cool. Luckily (and very generously too), a friend of mine lent me his fabulous camping fridge/freezer, a light for outside my tent, and a little table too - apart from the tent, I was looking like a confirmed camper already!

The week before I left I started getting myself organised ... the spare room looked like a bomb had hit it and I had NO IDEA how I was going to fit all the stuff into my little Atos!

Surprisingly enough though, I didn't have to leave anything behind and on Saturday 02 October I set off on my 20 night Kruger Park expedition ...

Initially I had booked 14 nights in the park, but then a weekend at a Bush Lodge in Hoedspruit with friends got booked and I decided that rather than drive back to Pretoria for 6 nights, I might as well just add another 6 on to my stay in Kruger.

I was dying to get into the park but having read on the forum about the burning in the south-east, I decided to give Malelane a miss and go straight to Crocodile Bridge.

I arrived at the bridge, where the little man had his STOP sign up. While I waited for him to change it to GO, I asked him when the new bridge was going to be finished; he said "November" but he didn't say what year ... it doesn't seem to have progressed much since I was there in July.

Anyway, he finally changed his STOP sign to GO and I drove over the bridge. Two large ellies were in the river ... fabulous, I hadn't even checked into the park yet and I'd seen one of the Big 5!

I checked in at Croc Bridge Reception and was asked the same question that everyone asked me when I told them I was going to go camping in Kruger on my own ... "Won't you get lonely?". Let me just tell you now before the real story begins that I was very grateful for the occasional night when I was on my own; my cheeks were sore from laughing; my voice was hoarse from talking; my eyes were dry from all the tears that fell - again through laughter; and I was glad to have an early night!!!!!

Watch this space …..

_________________
18-22 April - Camdeboo National Park
22-26 April - Karoo National Park


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Confirmed Kruger Camper's Trip (and Laughter) Report!
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 5:48 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 1:34 pm
Posts: 110
Location: Benoni (Gauteng)
Hi Wendy.

It had been a great oppertunity meeting you, now i can put a face to the story teller.

For those who never met Wendy here is a pic of Wendy in her Atos.

I introduce to you the one, the only

Drum Roll
Drum Roll
Drum Roll

WENDY





Image

:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

After hearing some of your stories in Kruger, i can't wait to hear the rest.

I'm waiting :popcorn:

_________________
A.K.T.


Last edited by TINY on Fri Oct 29, 2010 11:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Confirmed Kruger Camper's Trip (and Laughter) Report!
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 30, 2010 12:28 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator (2013)
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:25 pm
Posts: 558
OK ... I think I'm halfway sorted ... Thanks Kate for the PM re attaching photos. Let's see if this works .....

So, after checking in at Croc Bridge Reception, I drove through to the camping ground. I can’t really say that I had any expectations whatsoever, but I was surprised at just how small the camping site was. I found a spot by the fence and because the electricity boxes were so few and far between I actually remembered to check that my extension cord reached the electric box before unpacking and setting up! I was a few metres short so backed up a bit to another spot which became my home for the next 5 nights.

Now to setting up my tent … it only took me 10 minutes at home; surely I could just quickly put it all together then go out on a game drive. Wishful thinking … I was all fingers and thumbs and it took me over an hour to put my little 2-midget-man tent together!!! I kept getting the poles in the wrong way around and instead of crossing them over in the middle, they were looped through the front and back separately - what a nightmare!

Now, I must just tell you that had it not been for the SanParks Forum and the suggestions of many mites that I take good long screws, washers and a hammer with me, I might just have turned around and gone home! The ground was incredibly hard and there was no way in the world that tent pegs and a mallet would have worked.

I finally managed to get it right though, then set off into the park. It was about 1.30pm, not the best time for game-spotting but I didn’t care - I was in the Kruger and just wanted to be part of it all! I drove up the H4-2 and saw impala, zebra, giraffe and baboons; on to the S130 where in the distance I saw what I thought were 2 rhino lying in the shade of a tree; it was only when I got closer that I realised it was only one rhino but what a big one … I wondered if maybe it was a pregnant female.

Image



Before I carry on, is this photo ok? Should I make my pics bigger? I resized them before adding thinking it would be a bit quicker ...

Let me know!

_________________
18-22 April - Camdeboo National Park
22-26 April - Karoo National Park


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Confirmed Kruger Camper's Trip (and Laughter) Report!
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 30, 2010 4:15 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator (2013)
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:25 pm
Posts: 558
Thanks to all those who have popped in so far and left comments … good to have you re-living my trip with me!

Sanpfan/RogerFraser - Who knows how long Croc Bridge will be under construction? At least the guy said it would be ready in November … I guess that pins it down a bit better than “Now-Now” - a favourite South African saying that I am still getting used to after 3 and a half years (originally being from the UK).
Tiny - Thanks for posting that photo of me that you took when we met! It was great meeting you and your “crew”. Re the Magic Milk Coffee … you will have to wait till my 3rd night in the park before you hear about it!
Kate - It was all Barrie and Grant’s fault!!!
VVSG - Great to meet you and HH in Satara. Glad to hear you enjoyed the rest of your trip … I also had a brilliant time right up until the very last minute when I finally had to leave the park.

Saturday 02 Oct (Day 1) cont …

On to the S28 and a quick detour north to Ntandanyathi Hide. I couldn’t believe it. 10 weeks before I’d been here and it looked like this:-

Image

Now it looked like this:-

Image

There were two mud pools and the barbels were flapping about; meanwhile the resident fish eagle was in his element. There were a few wildebeests scratching around; a saddle billed stork; a couple of brown hooded kingfishers, and of course the hornbills. I was just so shocked at the lack of water there; back in July hippos were wallowing, completely submerged ...

Image

and now so dry. It really brought home how badly the park needed water.

I continued south along the S28 back to Crocodile Bridge. On the way the most enormous rock monitor appeared out of the grass and walked across the road in front of me. Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera ready and I must say that for such a big guy, he moved fairly quickly.

Some cute steenbok and gorgeous male kudus with their amazing horns.

Image

Next, a couple of rhino decided to stroll out and cross the road right in front of me!

Image

It was great seeing rhino again that hadn’t been dehorned.

A little further along on the S28 I came across a small herd of buffalo.

Image

Back on to the H4-2 and a quick stop at the bridge over the Gezantfombi Dam to see what was happening … a pied kingfisher, a wooly necked stork, and two martial eagles I’d never seen there before.

Image

Back to camp and my little tent which looked so funny amongst all the huge tents and caravans surrounding it! Frank’s freezer showed that it had recovered from the drive and wasn’t at all put off by the heat of the day … a nice -16 degrees showed on the temperature gauge - a few iced Savannas went down very well! I called Flutterby who I’d met a couple of weeks before at the Reitvlei meet - we were hoping that we may have been able to meet up in the park . However, they were leaving the following morning out of Paul Kruger Gate, so this was not to be. Still, it was good talking to her and hearing about all the fab sightings she and her family had had. By about 8pm things started quietening down … braais were put out, lights were turned off. I was actually quite tired myself after all the KNP preparations so decided to go with the flow and hit the sack.

I lay down, and no more than about 10 minutes had passed when I heard that unmistakable roaring in the distance … lions!

It seemed to go on and on and on though?????

Ahaaaaaaaaaaa …

it wasn’t lions …

it was the sound of my neighbours snoring!

“Wendy” I thought, “just shut it out of your mind, count sheep and go to sleep”. Then I remembered I was in the Kruger so fell asleep counting impalas instead!

_________________
18-22 April - Camdeboo National Park
22-26 April - Karoo National Park


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Confirmed Kruger Camper's Trip (and Laughter) Report!
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 4:36 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator (2013)
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:25 pm
Posts: 558
Sunday 03 October (Day 2)

OK, so I’d survived my first night in the park … I must admit I didn’t sleep that well and was lying awake from about 2am waiting to hear any other forms of human life in the camp before I dared get out of my tent! It was around 4.30am that I started hearing the noise of tent zips opening so figured I was safe to get up, go to the loo and make coffee.

Thanks to Elzet who, in her “Say What???“ TR, mentioned needing duvets in September. I was thinking “October in Kruger - I’ll only need my sleeping bag liner.” Once again, due to the SANParks forum I was prepared!

The morning was very overcast and there was a slight drizzle in the air. Everything in the camp was covered in black ash and I figured that maybe it was from the fires in the park … I later discovered it was the result of the burning of sugar cane in Komatipoort.

I was in the park just a few minutes after the gates opened at 5.30am. Though I’d only had about 4 hours’ sleep, I was full of energy and excited at what the day ahead may have in store for me. I had to have the windscreen wipers on to clear the drizzle and black ash that seemed to be falling from the sky with the drizzle … it was foggy and misty … a very surreal Kruger Park morning feeling came over me.

I wanted to go to Mpondo Dam that day. During my visit in July I’d spent nearly an entire afternoon at that dam watching a huge herd of ellies, and couldn’t help but wonder what may be there today …

My first sighting of the day on the H4-2 were a couple of buffalo, followed by some giraffe; impala and wildebeest. I turned off on to the S25 then turned again to go and see what was happening at the hippo pools. Nothing was going on at the Pools themselves, but on the way down there I came across 3 rhino who were all grazing very happily.

At the junction of the S25 and S108 I stopped for coffee. I switched the engine off and was watching a flock of blue waxbills flying from one bush to the another; then I heard tapping - I looked up and saw this lovely woodpecker in the tree next to me.

Image

There were a lot of Burchell’s Coucal around, all singing their rain songs!

Image

Then I came across a herd of waterbuck and this beautiful male …

Image

Nothing “big” was happening at Mpondo but I did sit watching these babblers and other LBJs having their early morning wash …

Image

Image

I must have watched them for about half an hour as they whizzed from the water’s edge back to the tree several times, the babblers making a terrible racket!

From Mpondo I continued up to Renosterkoppies then along the S21 where I spotted 2 Kori Bustards in the long grass … not a good enough sighting for photos. I also came across a red-billed hornbill completely splayed out at the side of the road. I immediately thought a car had hit it; I drove closer; it looked so perfect, no dishevelled feathers or anything. I was just thinking how sad it was for its life to have been taken by a careless driver, when it stood up, flapped its wings and walked off!

Image

On to the H4-1 towards Lower Sabie where I came across a familiar site for that part of the park …

Image

A quick drive over the bridge and back meant I could add hippo, yellow-billed stork and croc to my list of sightings for the day; then it was back onto the H4-1 south. The fish eagle who used to always sit on the dam wall on the Sabie River has changed spots and now prefers to watch the world from the top of a tree just south of the dam.

Image

… and I just couldn’t resist taking a shot of these guys who looked SO cute:-

Image

After my last trip when a vervet jumped on to the passenger-side wing mirror while I was busy looking at his brothers and sisters out of the driver’s window, I always close the window that I have my back to if I stop to take pictures of anything!

A white VW Transporter then overtook me, indicating that I should pull over. “Oh no …” I was thinking to myself, “I’ve got a flat tyre or something …” but it was Penny, Bob The Builder and Ranger Boy! We chatted; they were having a lovely time and had experienced some wonderful sightings - at one point during their trip they’d seen more leopard than lion!

There were quite a lot of white-backed vultures with chicks in their nests this trip (not a great photo):-

Image

My last sighting in the park that day was of this pair of cute dwarf mongooses:-

Image

I got back to camp around 5.40pm - a great first day.

I noticed that there was another small tent like mine and was just thinking that “Mum and Dad” had probably brought it along for the kids to play in when they were bored, but then ….

out popped Komatipoort Boy (KPB).

That’s it for now but don’t go away too far … the evening’s just beginning … !!!

_________________
18-22 April - Camdeboo National Park
22-26 April - Karoo National Park


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Confirmed Kruger Camper's Trip (and Laughter) Report!
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 10:33 am 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator (2013)
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:25 pm
Posts: 558
Sunday 03 October (Day 2)

Okay, so I drive into Croc Bridge camp and park my car in front of my little tent. Next thing, this guy (KPB) appears from out of the other little tent which is now set up fairly close to mine, and comes over to chat. We exchanged pleasantries whilst I was doing my “bottle swap over” - taking the defrosted water bottles out of my cooler box in the car and replacing them with frozen ones from Frank’s freezer. KPB then started telling me his life story … his job; his numerous failed marriages; the fact that he comes from Komatipoort and often comes into Croc Bridge to camp as he knows the guys at reception and they don‘t charge him (WHAT???); he doesn’t bother actually going into the park, he enjoys just setting up his tent in the camping site and chilling out, blah di blah di blah … on and on he went.

Now, I don’t want to appear rude but the reason I am telling you this is that this guy was so “in your face” that I was sure it was a set up. One of my friend’s daughters recently got married to a guy from Komatipoort and now lives there; I was sure that as a joke my friend had arranged for her new son-in-law to get his most unappealing friend to come and harass me!

I noticed that the bottle of Amarula in my cooler box had leaked and was anxious to get the mess cleared up so made my excuses to KPB … I guess he just didn’t get it though, as he followed me to the kitchen and continued to go on and on!

He then followed me back to my car as I put the cooler box away, still going on and on! “What now?” I thought to myself, “how do I escape?” It might sound strange but I was actually starting to get quite stressed out by him … I gathered my stuff together to go and shower (still listening to him droning on); I interrupted him saying I needed to go and shower; I locked my tent as there were a few vervets around camp that evening; I quickly turned away from him and walked towards the ablution blocks. I was actually scared to look over my shoulder in case he’d decided to follow me again!

Luckily that wasn’t the case and I had a nice peaceful shower. That peaceful relaxed feeling wasn’t to last long though as on the way back to my tent I realised that whilst planning my escape route from KPB I’d mindlessly left my keys in my tent … including the key to the lock I’d used to lock my tent!!!!!

Not to worry though, KPB to the rescue!!!!! He went and got a couple of screwdrivers from his car and spent about 10 minutes trying to prise the lock open before asking some other fellow campers for help. I thought I had everything but the kitchen sink along with me, but these other fellow campers really did have everything, including a hack saw, and a few minutes later and my lock was history!

Image

As you can imagine, all this commotion caused quite a lot of interest and I had more than one or two people come over to ask what was going on! One couple who wandered over comprised an American lady called Priscilla and her SO (he‘s the one on the far left in the photo); they insisted I come over and join them for a drink so, after a photo with “my rescuers“ and lots of embarrassed “thank-yous”, I got some icy cold Savannas out of Frank’s freezer and went over to their camp spot.

I couldn’t believe I’d locked my keys in my tent … well, I could believe it, I’m always losing my keys or locking them in my car, but I felt SO stupid! Every now and then I’d blurt out “I can’t believe it …” or “I’m so stupid …” so, to make me feel better, Priscilla’s SO decided to tell me a little story …

“If you think losing your keys is bad” he said, “you should hear what Priscilla lost this morning”. (Priscilla, in the meantime is trying to shut him up!)

He continues … “She woke up this morning and couldn’t find her teeth!!!!!!!!!”

And as if that wasn’t funny enough, he continued …

“And do you know where she finally found them???? In the bottom of her sleeping bag!!!”

Well, I thought I was going to wet myself!!!!! I had visions of this woman walking around Croc Bridge looking for her falsies!!! As for the visions I had as to how her false teeth got in to the bottom of her sleeping bag … well, let’s not go there!

Anyway, needless to say I didn’t feel quite so bad now and after a few Savannas the whole key thing was a distant memory!

_________________
18-22 April - Camdeboo National Park
22-26 April - Karoo National Park


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Confirmed Kruger Camper's Trip (and Laughter) Report!
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 2:02 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator (2013)
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:25 pm
Posts: 558
Monday 04 October (Day 3)

It was after midnight when I left Priscilla and her SO, and I couldn’t help but wonder where she would find her teeth the following morning! After only a couple of hours’ sleep, a fierce wind start blowing; even after all the Savannas I’d consumed, I woke up with a jolt … my tent was flapping away wildly and I had visions of replicating scenes from Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.

I lay there unable to sleep, again waiting for the sounds of tent zips opening before I dare venture out of my little tent. Life in camp, as yesterday, seemed to start around 4.30am. Before I’d even got out my tent I could see the KPB’s tent door was open and he was lying there watching what was going on in camp. “Oh nooooooooo!

“Morning” he called over.

“Morning” I replied back.

“Did you sleep well?” he enquired.

“That wind kept me awake all night” I told him.

“If you were scared, you should have come and slept by me” he said!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah right!” “Oh, I was fine!” I told him, and quickly made my way to the loo (with my keys safely secured around my neck!).

I was in the park shortly after the gates opened at 5.30am. With all of last night’s antics, I hadn’t really planned a route for the day and decided I would just go with the flow.

Impala; wildebeest; giraffe; then at the bridge by the Gezantfombi Dam I saw one of the martial eagles I’d seen on my first day, as well as a wooly-necked stork. I was about to carry on up the tar road but decided to turn around and take the little dirt road to the back of the dam, sit there and have a couple of coffees. I was there on my own and had just poured my first coffee when out of the bushes came a beautiful lioness ….. followed by another one …. followed by 4 cubs (looked like 2 separate litters), and another lioness!!!!! WOW!!! WOW!!! WOW!!!

Image

Image

They walked over to the sandy spot by the dam wall and plonked themselves down. I was still the only car at the back of the dam, meanwhile cars would slow down at the bridge on the tar road but quickly move on, oblivious to what I could see.

Image

Image

Image

Image

The lions were there about 15 minutes when some kudu appeared from behind me. The kudu made their way down to the water and I was fascinated at how as soon as the lions spotted them they crouched down flat and almost disappeared - they blended into their surroundings so well. I couldn’t believe how instinctively the cubs did this as well!

Image

Image

Okay, I know this is nature but I couldn’t help thinking to myself “Oh babies, watch out, there are lions over there!” Luckily (for me and the kudu) they had their drink then wandered off - I don’t think they were even aware how close they were to becoming breakfast.

Next a giraffe came down to drink but the lions didn’t even bother taking cover for this big guy but just lay there watching him!

Image

After a while, some impala and zebra came down to drink, and again the lions were all crouching down (and again I was thinking to myself “Oh babies … watch out!!!”). Some of the impala caught sight/smell of the lions and soon were barking their warnings to the rest of the herd.

Image
(check out the lions all crouched down by the dam wall!)

Image

Between all this activity, the lions did what they do best but I was still enthralled watching this scene unfold.

Soon I noticed that something in the bushes from where they had originally appeared had caught the attention of one of the lionesses. I looked through my binoculars and saw a herd of wildebeest coming down to drink. The lioness who’d originally noticed the wildebeest got up and strolled in their direction, followed by the rest of the pride.

Oh well” I thought, “that’s it. They’re going to make a kill over there and it’s impossible to see through the bush. I’ll just have another coffee before moving on.”

Well, would you believe it, 10 minutes later and the pride was back … obviously unsuccessful in their attempt at a kill.

By this time I’d been sitting there about 3 and a half hours; I’d done exactly 4kms since leaving camp and I’d had an absolutely amazing time!

The females decided to have a snooze but the cubs remained awake. The wooly-necked stork got quote close to one of the cubs and it was so cute to watch this little cub chase the big birdie away!

Image

After about an hour, a herd of buffalo appeared just the other side of the dam wall … right beside the lions!

Image

Image

In the time I’d been sitting there (about 4 and a half hours by now), hundreds of cars must have stopped by, taken photos and driven off. When the buffalo appeared there were about half a dozen cars on the tar road bridge and about another half a dozen around me at the back of the dam.

Anyway, the lions decided this was too good an opportunity to miss and the chase was on! The sound of car engines starting, reversing, then taking off, and people “whooping” and clapping with joy and excitement (can you believe it???), just about drowned out the sounds of the herd of buffalo trying to get away from the lions.

All the cars (those that were on the bridge and those that were around me) drove to where they were right alongside the action … (imagine a clock face and their cars are facing 12 o‘clock… the action was happening at 9 o’clock to them). I decided I didn’t want to be amongst all the cars and I found a great viewing spot (where the action was happening at 11o’clock to me and I wasn’t surrounded by other vehicles).

Well, one lioness got on the back of this buffalo and the other one was biting one of its bag legs. I was shaking so much the photos are a bit blurred but these are a few of the best shots …

Image

Image

Image

Check out the cars right alongside the action … surely they aren’t supposed to be there???

The poor buffalo was making that awful sound they do when they are being killed … it had been abandoned by the rest of the herd ….

but wait …

what was that noise?

The rest of the herd had decided to do a counter-attack … this was Battle of the Kruger Part II.

Image

The buffalo herd came back and scared the lions off of their buddy then all turned around to take off again. They were obviously faced with a barrage of cars and people hanging out their vehicles “whooping” and clapping, so what did they do …. they turned away from all the vehicles and next thing were running straight towards me!

Image

The herd split and I had buffalo running both in front and behind me … OMG!!!!!

Behind them came the lions, aware that they’d been defeated; they crossed the dirt road behind me and disappeared into the long grass.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

WHAT A MORNING!!!!

_________________
18-22 April - Camdeboo National Park
22-26 April - Karoo National Park


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Confirmed Kruger Camper's Trip (and Laughter) Report!
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 5:57 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator (2013)
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:25 pm
Posts: 558
Monday 04 October (Day 3) cont …

So … what would the rest of the day have in store for me??? Obviously the tiredness I was feeling first thing in the morning was completely gone and the adrenalin was pumping through my body.

I took the S28 and apart from one rhino, nothing “big” was happening … I stopped off at Ntandanyathi Hide where the barbel seemed to be flapping about even more than they were when I’d been there on Saturday. Mr Fish Eagle was still in his spot …

Image

Image

I continued up to Lower Sabie and went to cross the bridge when I got a whiff of that awful rotting carcass smell. About 50m from the bridge was a buffalo carcass floating in the water; it was surrounded by crocs who were dragging it under and turning it over as they fed on it.

Image

Image

After crossing the bridge I did a U-turn and made my way back. I couldn’t resist stopping and watching a large troop of baboons undergoing their grooming ritual. In particular there was a Mum with her young one and I was in hysterics watching the antics of the little one as it kept changing positions …

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

After about 15 mins Mum decided she’d done her bit and the little one got up to go and join his friends who were playing. I couldn’t help thinking that I could almost hear Mum saying “Now make sure you don’t pick up any more nits now!” as she watched her little one run off!

Image

I stopped in at Lower Sabie and had a coffee - a 2.2 litre thermos doesn’t seem to last long when you are sitting watching lions for 5 hours - then I returned to Croc Bridge via the H4-2 tar road.

Sitting on a branch by the Sabie River was an African Openbill Stork - a first for me!

Image

And a little further on a group of helmeted guinea fowl, one of which decided to pose nicely for me. (Whenever I see guinea fowl now I’m reminded of a time I was in the Pilansberg; a car was stopped and the occupants were looking into the grass. I pulled alongside and asked what they were seeing to which they replied “Turkeys”!!!)

Image

Further along there were a few cars by the side of the road … a lion kill! About 6 females with a warthog (apparently). The noise they made as they fought for a share of their afternoon snack was incredible!

Image

Image

All of a sudden, the lions seem to have been scared by something but I couldn’t see what … They all took off bar one of them who decided that she wasn’t leaving the rest of the wartie to the vultures who were soon on the scene, seeing what was left for them to scavenge …

Image

Image

… and the last sighting to be added to my list for the day was this beautiful tawny eagle …

Image

So, another wonderful day in the Kruger Park. Going over the bridge Gezantfombi Dam I saw there were quite a few cars there … the lions and cubs that I’d watched that morning had returned and taken up their spot in the sand once again!

As I approached Croc Bridge camp I noticed that KPB’s tent was no longer there - PHEW!!! But wait, I couldn’t see my tent either … had a gust of wind swept it up and taken it off to who knows where? Had someone, in the blink of an eye, driven over it? Had KPB decided to move both our tents to a nice little secluded corner of camp …???????

_________________
18-22 April - Camdeboo National Park
22-26 April - Karoo National Park


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Confirmed Kruger Camper's Trip (and Laughter) Report!
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:37 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator (2013)
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:25 pm
Posts: 558
Monday 04 October (Day 3) cont …

On driving in to camp I realised why I couldn’t see my tiny tent from the road leading out of the park … a HUGE marquee had been erected right in front of me!

Image

There were quite a few changes in camp actually … KPB had left; Priscilla, her SO (and hopefully her teeth!) had left; the family next to me with the hacksaw had left … I did my “bottle swap over” then sat down to enjoy a chilled Savanna. Whilst I was sitting there, one of my “new neighbours” came over for a chat … He started by asking me about the weather and I told him it was warm during the day but cooled off in the evenings. He asked if it was cold enough for gloves …??? I replied that it wasn’t so he questioned why I had gloves hanging up next to my towel (if you look closely at the picture of the marquee you will see my towel and gloves hanging in the tree next to my tiny tent!).

“Oh - those are my exfoliating gloves!” I told him …

Well, you should have seen the look on his face … complete confusion is an understatement. He looked at me as if I had two heads and asked “Your ex-what???”

I was in stitches … and he also had a good laugh when I explained that how after staying at a lodge outside Kruger where white towels were supplied, I realised that no amount of soap and water alone can get rid of all the dust and grime that ingrains itself in your skin when driving around Kruger with the windows open (like I do whatever the weather)!

He returned to continue pitching his tent (no doubt wondering whether he should move from this “very weird person who brings exfoliating gloves with her to Kruger!”)

I can’t remember what happened next, but he came back over and mentioned something about the SanParks website.

“Oh, are you a member?” I asked. He explained that he’d never actually registered but did look at the website fairly often. I told him all about the Forum and the Yellow Ribbons and said that he must join. We then started exchanging stories of what we’d seen that day and it turns out he was just in front of me on the H4-2 tar road between Lower Sabie and Croc Bridge and also saw the lions with the warthog. Long story short, etc, we introduced ourselves (Wendy-Grant, Grant-Wendy) and I pulled my chair over to his tent where we sat and had a drink.

Shortly afterwards, we got talking to the people next to Grant … Barrie and Katie. They were off for a braai with friends of theirs and said they’d join us later.

Grant and I sat chatting and I was telling him how I couldn’t see my tent on returning from the park that day and we started talking about the huge marquee and joked about it having an east wing and a west wing. We later discovered why it was so huge … so the wife could sleep on one side and the husband (who had a habit of clearing his throat VERY LOUDLY every couple of minutes) could sleep on the other side! (Well, that was what we decided anyway!)

Next thing it was 8 o’clock and people started putting their braais out and switching lights off. Grant and I hadn’t even eaten yet and Barrie and Katie still weren’t back from their braai so we had a few more drinks and a few more laughs. The VERY LOUD throat clearing continued and as the campsite got quieter and quieter, it seemed like the throat clearing got loader and loader … Every “A-chem” that happened had us giggling like school kids … possibly something to do with all the Savanna and beer though!!!

Barrie and Katie came back from their braai and joined us for a while. At one point Barrie was talking about Katie and how she does these “coffee table books”. Having caught up on a few of the “pre-TR reports” on the forum before I left, I remembered reading Kate Howells’ TR where she spoke about the coffee table books she does. I interrupted Barrie …

“Katie as in ‘Kate Howells’ from the San Parks forum?”

“Yes!” he replied “but she left her YR at home and is absolutely gutted.”

Well, I had spare yellow ribbon in my car (along with everything else but the kitchen sink!) and proceeded to get some for Kate and Barrie’s car. I also insisted that Grant tie a yellow ribbon on his car even though he still hadn’t joined the forum … well, he was going to join on his return to Cape Town, so all good!

By this time it was … hmmmmm … maybe close to midnight …??? All was quiet from the West Wing of the marquee which was good news, we’d all finally be able to get to sleep. But what a better way to ensure you were going to get a good night’s sleep than winding the evening up with a “Magic Milk Coffee”. So, out comes the bottle of Amarula, and I introduce Grant and Barrie to Magic Milk Coffee (Kate was sensible and had already gone to bed!)

"A-chem" …. Oh dear, there was life in the West Wing of the marquee again …. better have another little Magic Milk Coffee!

_________________
18-22 April - Camdeboo National Park
22-26 April - Karoo National Park


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Confirmed Kruger Camper's Trip (and Laughter) Report!
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 5:36 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator (2013)
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:25 pm
Posts: 558
Tuesday 05 Oct

“A-chem”

I awoke from my Savanna/Magic Milk Coffee induced slumber with a jolt …..

I checked my watch … 04.25 …

“A-chem”

Okay,” I thought to myself “this might have been funny last night, but at 04.25 in the morning it really isn’t funny …”

“A-chem”

Next thing I burst into fits of giggles! Actually it was very funny - all part of the joys of camping I guess, and I’d already decided that CAMPING IS FUN!!!

Needless to say I was in the park when the gates opened at 5.30am.

I was only a couple of kms into the park when I came across this hyena …

Image

Image

I took the S28 again and saw 7 different rhino between the turn-off from the tar road and the Nhlanganzwane Dam turn off. During my last visit to the park in July, I found myself at the Nhlanganzwane Dam again and was just about to turn around and head back onto the S28 (having been there several times before and seeing absolutely nothing) when 2 cheetahs came out of the bush at the far left of the dam and I spent a good 15 minutes watching them walk the whole way across it, marking their territory on their way. Today was almost the same story … absolutely nothing when I got there but within 2 minutes 2 rhino appeared out of the bush at the far left and walked across the dam! 9 rhino in just over 20kms!

Image

I took the road to Duke’s waterhole but apart from yet another rhino (!) there wasn’t much going on there … I did see lots of vultures with little ones in their nests …

Back onto the H4-2 towards Lower Sabie. I crossed the bridge and didn’t have to look far for the buffalo that I’d seen the crocs feasting on yesterday … it had been washed right down to the bridge where it was caught in the rocks …

Image

I decided to go to Mlondozi Dam so continued on the Mlondozi Road where I came across a large herd of buffalo, some were grazing, others were just having a lazy morning …

ImageImageImage

I then noticed something in the road ahead of me … I got my binoculars out and initially thought it was duiker. It was only when I got up closer did I realise it wasn’t duiker but mountain reedbuck!

Image

Image

Shortly after the reedbuck, I came across this lonesome ellie …

Image

Image

Not a lot was going on at Mlondozi Dam so I decided to do the Muntshe Loop. It was all burnt and there wasn’t much life about …

Image

Image

I took the H10 and H4-2 tar roads back to Croc Bridge. On the way I met Dinkybird and Hawk and we had a quick chat. They were having an awesome time on their extended holiday in the park.

I came across yet another rhino (I had seen 5 others en route that day!); this one was “spreading his business around”

Image

I stopped at Gezantfombi Dam where there were another 3 rhino - Mummy, Daddy and Baby! That brought my total rhino count for the day to 18!

Penny, Bob The Builder and Ranger Boy pulled up alongside me and we caught up again … I told them all about my “lion day” yesterday and they told me that they’d seen a leopard kill an impala just north of Lower Sabie that afternoon. As the leopard was pulling the impala into the tree, it lost its grip and the impala dropped. A hyena was already on the scene and tried to steal the impala; an ellie then came along and became quite anxious with all the cars that were around; the leopard then got the impala back and managed to drag it up into the tree … WOW!!!

I watched the rhinos in the dam for a while longer then it was back to camp for another fun-filled evening with Barrie, Katie, Grant ….. and … the BUSHMAN!!!

_________________
18-22 April - Camdeboo National Park
22-26 April - Karoo National Park


Last edited by WendyA on Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Confirmed Kruger Camper's Trip (and Laughter) Report!
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 10:00 am 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator (2013)
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:25 pm
Posts: 558
Tuesday 05 Oct (Day 4) cont …

Barrie, Katie and Grant were already back at camp. We sat discussing our sightings for a while over a few cold Savannas and beers.

I’d taken a smoked chicken out of Frank’s freezer that morning and Katie had mince that needed to be cooked up so we had a joint feast of spaghetti bolognaise, smoked chicken and salad.

One of the many things we spoke about that evening was mosquitoes - anti-malarials and insect repellents. Grant had been chowed by mozzies quite badly and he explained the reason for this … The night before coning into Kruger he had been camping in Sabi. There were mozzies about so he went to his car to retrieve his can of Peaceful Sleep. It was dark and he didn’t have his torch handy so just rummaged around till he found the can. He took the top off and sprayed it liberally over his body, however, he continued to get bitten. He thought maybe he hadn’t put enough on so went back to the car to get the can and do another spray. It was then he discovered why he was getting chowed … he’d sprayed himself with Spray ‘n Cook instead of Peaceful Sleep!!!!!

I then talked about the repellent I use - BUSHMAN PLUS. It’s Australian and I was introduced to it by a family of Ozzies a couple of years ago who swore by it. They gave me a tube and I must say, it really did work. I was telling Barrie, Katie and Grant about a time I used it in Mozambique … mozzies were everywhere so I put on some of my Bushmans and watched … the mozzies flew towards me but at about 6 inches from my skin, they made an about turn and flew away in haste. This stuff has 80% DEET in it and is so strong it even removes nail varnish!!!

Barrie was in stitches at this and asked to see the stuff. I got a tube out to show him (one of the 6 tubes I’d taken with me!) . He then proceeded to read ALL the writing on the tube.

As far as I was concerned, the stuff was brilliant, it worked 100%, what else did I need to know about it?

“CAUTION - Keep Out of Reach of Children”

“BUSHMAN PLUS - Water Resistant Insect Repellent. 80% DEET with sunscreen. Repels for hours in areas of intense insect action. Sandflies, Mosquitoes, Ticks, Leeches, Marchflies.”

That was all in relatively big writing on the front of the tube and yes I had read that bit and as far as I was concerned, all good!

Barrie then turns the tube over and continues reading the tiny writing on the back …

“BUSHMAN PLUS - An adult strength insect repellent with sunscreen added to provide hours of effective protection from biting insects with one application. BUSHMAN Plus resists removal caused by sweating, rubbing or rain.”

“HOW TO APPLY - apply a small amount to the palm of one hand, rub both hands together then rub thinly and evenly over the skin. Repeat the process until all exposed skin is covered. For clothing apply around openings and where clothing fits tightly against the body.”

“NOT TO BE USED FOR ANY PURPOSE, OR IN ANY MANNER, CONTRARY TO THIS LABEL UNLESS AUTHORISED.”

“So???” I was thinking to myself; ”that’s more or less the same kind of precautions that appear on other repellents …”

Barrie then continued …

“PRECAUTIONS: Avoid contact with eyes, mouth, cell phones …” CELL PHONES???!!! “…spectacle frames,” SPECTACLE FRAMES???!!! “…other plastics, painted surfaces …” PAINTED SURFACES???!!! “…vinyl seat covers …” VINYL SEAT COVERS???!!! “… and synthetic fabrics. Discontinue use if irritation or rash develops.” RASH???!!!

“WARNING: May be dangerous, particularly to children, if you use large amounts on the skin, clothes or bedding or on large areas of the body, especially if you keep using it for a long time.”

“Hmmm … may be dangerous if you use large amounts on the skin??? I wonder what their definition is of a ‘large amount’ … and what their definition of a ‘long time‘ would be??? I’m going to be in the Kruger for 3 weeks? Is that a long time?”

Okay, so we are all in hysterics now and Barrie can’t believe that I actually put this stuff on my skin!!!

He continues …

“FIRST AID: If poisoning occurs, contact a Doctor or Poisons Information Centre …”

“Poisoning??? A Poisons Information Centre??? Is there a Poisons Information Centre close to Kruger???”

“ … Phone Australia 131126 …”

“So if this Bushmans stuff poisons me I’ve got to phone Australia? What’s the dialling code for Australia again …???”

We all laughed so much about it … again, it may have been something to do with the amount of Savanna/beer that had been consumed???

A light drizzle started and I decided that I’d put Frank’s fridge/freezer in my car in case the rain got heavier. I then had a vision of being on the tar road, a couple of kms into the park the following morning, looking in the rear view mirror and seeing the electricity box from the camp site bouncing along behind me! So I took Grant up on his offer of parking the fridge/freezer under the awning at the front of his tent!

Again, by 8pm camp fires were being extinguished and lights were going out. All was quiet in the East Wing of the marquee though there were lots of “A-Chems” going on in the West Wing.

I honestly don’t know what we found to talk and laugh about for the next 5+ hours but it was 1.30am when I climbed into my little tent that night (after a couple of Magic Milk Coffees of course).

_________________
18-22 April - Camdeboo National Park
22-26 April - Karoo National Park


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Confirmed Kruger Camper's Trip (and Laughter) Report!
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 8:22 am 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator (2013)
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:25 pm
Posts: 558
Wednesday 06 Oct (Day 5)

Life in camp starts at about 4.30am and being a light sleeper, that meant I was up too!

There was a lot of talk in camp last night about the leopard/impala/hyena/elephant drama just north of Lower Sabie that Penny and her family saw. It seemed that a lot of people were going to go there this morning to see if the leopard was still about so I decided to the S28 again!

I came across impala, warties, a lonesome ellie, 4 rhino, giraffe, buffalo, wildebeest, zebra, vervets, ostrich, a black-chested snake eagle and lots of other birdlife, but the morning was overcast and the light was rubbish for photos.

A light rain started to fall … nothing that would make any sort of difference to the park, but the smell of the rain on the dry grass was wonderful!

On my way to Duke’s waterhole I came across a couple of beautiful young-ish kudu … the following photo definitely needs a “speech bubble” … suggestions welcome!

Image

All was quiet at Duke’s so, you won‘t be surprised to hear, I decided it was coffee time! I was sipping my coffee and watching the different starlings when next thing there was this really loud tapping at the front of my car. A couple of hornbills were having a feast on all the dead insects … the noise was deafening and I was sure I was going to end up with dents along my bumper!

I headed on to the H4-2 towards Lower Sabie and, lo and behold, bumped into Penny and her family again! They were off to see if the leopard was still around and although I hadn’t planned on going, as it was only a couple of kms away, I decided to join them. Well, we got there and there were no other cars around. I said I was going to do my usual …(yes, sit and have a coffee!), and they hung around for a while as well. The impala carcass was visible and there was still quite a lot of it left so no doubt the leopard was around somewhere …

Penny, Bob the Builder and Ranger Boy headed back towards Lower Sabie; they’d been gone less than 5 minutes when my phone rang - it was Penny … “Lions in the road!”

Image

Image

Image

A mandatory stop at Sunset Dam before pulling in at Lower Sabie …

Image

I hadn’t stopped at Ntandanyathi Hide that morning so decided to go back to Croc Bridge via the S28 (again!) and check out what was happening at the hide.

Well, it was all go …

Just when I got there a herd of ellies were leaving …

Image

but down in the dried up river bed there were impala, wildebeest, a saddle billed stork, and warties, all desperate for water …

Image

Image

Image

Image

The closer they got to the mud pools, the quicker they seemed to sink. The warties, wildebeest, and saddle billed stork were all lucky enough to escape the sinking mud …

Image

Image

Image

unfortunately though, this was not the case for a few thirsty impala …
(WARNING … the next 2 photos may be upsetting to some …)

Image

Image

It was a real “tug of war” as far as my own personal morals were concerned … do I stay and watch, hoping (possibly in despair) that they somehow get themselves out, or do I leave and think about it for the rest of the day and no doubt have nightmares about it that night???

Next thing one of the two impala in the middle started trying to get out. “Oh go bokkie, go bokkie” everyone in the hide was whispering! But the more it tried to get out, the deeper it sank.

Then the one next to it also tried to escape, but again, it just dug itself deeper into the mud.

This carried on for a good couple of hours … talk about anxiety - it was awful.

Suddenly baboons started barking and my heart sank … OMG, a predator was on its way. I definitely wouldn’t be able to watch this …

Some of the baboons clambered into a nearby tree but others didn’t seem too bothered and checked out the goings-on in the dried up river bed..

Image

One of the impalas in the middle started trying to get out again …. next thing …

Image

it got out!!!! The whole hide was cheering - in a whisper!!!

Shortly after, its sister followed suit …

Image

Again, there was a whispered uproar in the hide!

So this just left their little brother who was stuck at the side … there was no way he was going to get out …

The ellies who were leaving when I’d arrived about 4 hours before returned …

Image

… even they looked as if they were struggling with the sinking mud …

Image

Image

Sadly I left the hide - by this time it was about 5pm and I needed to get back to Croc Bridge.

_________________
18-22 April - Camdeboo National Park
22-26 April - Karoo National Park


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Confirmed Kruger Camper's Trip (and Laughter) Report!
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 8:24 am 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator (2013)
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:25 pm
Posts: 558
Wednesday 06 Oct (Day 5) cont …

So I got back to Crocodile Bridge. Barrie and Katie were on a night drive; Grant and I sat in front of his tent and downed a few Savannas and Hansas as we exchanged stories of what we’d experienced in the park that day.

I must tell you that every day, whilst driving along, snippets of conversation and images of the night before (be it KBP, having my lock hacksawed off, missing teeth, my exfoliating gloves, Spray ‘n Cook, Bushmans, etc …) would come into my head and I’d find myself in fits of giggles!

Earlier that morning I was thinking about the night before and how we’d all sat in front of Grant’s tent with a huge pot of spaghetti bolognaise and the smoked chicken and salad. Suddenly I thought about the container I’d used to put the broken up smoked chicken into … an ice cream tub. This sent me into hysterics again; if you are wondering why, you obviously haven’t read the “Leave Vehicle Authorised” thread under the “Kruger National Park” ….. section.

Here are the particular extracts from that thread that I was thinking about …

WendyA wrote:
On the subject of "When a man has to go, a man has to go" (or a woman for that matter) ... empty Lays Potato Chip tubes are great for those times in need ...

... and I read in another posting somewhere on this site that empty ice cream tubs are perfect for those ... “bigger jobs!”


vgstephens wrote:
The mind boggles Wendy, but the men definitely have the tools better than us, for the smaller jobs!! :whistle:


WendyA wrote:
True, but the empty Lays tubes do work well (I speak from experience)!!!!


Bush Baptist wrote:
er Wendy, what do you do with the now soggy and not empty Lays tubes until you get to an appropriate place to dispose of them? The mind boggles. :big_eyes:

btw, I am not averse to marking my territory from time to very occasional time.


WendyA wrote:
That's the good thing about the empty Lays tubes as opposed to Pringles tubes ... the Lays tubes are plastic, the Pringles are cardboard and would, as you say, get all soggy!

PS - Newly "filled" Lays tubes can even double up as hot water bottles if you make sure their lids are on tightly!!!!!


I wondered if Kate had already read my comments, and was thinking about Grant’s reaction if, after returning to Cape Town, he decided to spend a bit more time on the site and came across that thread!!!

So I told them about my Lays tube and the comments I’d made on the “Leave Vehicle Authorised” thread quoting someone else’s post about the ice cream tub. I also gave them my word that the ice cream tub I’d used to hold my chicken had ONLY ever had ice cream in it before and that I was most definitely joking about using the Lays tube as a hot water bottle … EEEEEEWWWWW! Needless to say, there was a lot of laughing going on!

Grant was struggling with the fire a bit that night … the wood was damp and there was still a light drizzle in the air. We laughed about the amount of smoke that was going on and, as it was our last night together, talked about the plans for the rest of our respective trips. Barrie and Katie were off to Pretoriuskop the following day; I was off to Lower Sabie; Grant still had one more night at Croc Bridge before heading off to Berg-en-Dal. Barrie, Katie and Grant were then all going to be at Satara at the same time the following week and Barrie suggested that I join them. He and Katie had paid for 6 people on their campsite and were only 4, and Grant, like me, had paid the minimum charge which is for 2 people.

The drizzle continued and the Savannas and Hansas got swapped for MMCs. The fire finally got going around 11.00pm and we ate around midnight! Some of Grant’s plugs on his electric cables were exposed to the rain so I got some plastic bags and duct tape from the “pantry and hardware sections” of my car (!) and we set about doing a bit of waterproofing.

Another couple of MMCs and it was 12.30am … time for me to retire in order to ensure that I got my 4 hours’ sleep! Although I’d done the “hose test” on my tiny tent at home I was sure it would leak as the air mattress touched the sides of the tent and the thin drizzle looked as though it was going to keep going all night. So I decided that I’d sleep in my car … with the back of the seat down together with my personal “en suite”, it was as good as First Class on a plane!

_________________
18-22 April - Camdeboo National Park
22-26 April - Karoo National Park


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Confirmed Kruger Camper's Trip (and Laughter) Report!
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 9:56 am 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator (2013)
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:25 pm
Posts: 558
Thursday 07 Oct (Day 6)

Believe it or not, I actually had a good night’s sleep in my car! I woke up at 4.30am as usual and was in the park when the gates opened at 5.30am.

I was only about 1km from the gate when I came across a hippo lying down right by the side of the road. There was a car next to it taking photos; I crawled by but decided not to stop. I went to the Hippo Pools and sat there for about 15 minutes but nothing was happening so I returned to the H4-2 and headed north.

After about an hour I thought I’d better turn around and return to camp to dismantle my tent, etc. I was about 100m from Croc Bridge gate when I bumped into Grant driving into the park … he’d had a call from Kate and Barrie - there were lions hunting buffalo at the Hippo Pools. I promptly turned around and made my way to the pools. On the way, cars were speeding past, obviously word had got around.

On the way down to the pools, lots of cars were making their way back … the lions had moved away. I bumped into Barrie and Katie who said they were going to take the S25 west as the lions had headed off in that direction. We set off together and drove for about 5kms but couldn’t find the pride.

On the way back to Croc Bridge I saw the hippo that I’d seen earlier … this time it was up, and from the scratches on its back, it looked like the lions had had another unsuccessful hunt.

Image

I dismantled my tiny tent then, much to Barrie and Grant’s amusement, got my gardening gloves out to roll it up … WHAT???!!! It was all wet and dirty underneath!!!

We ordered coffees from the Croc Bridge coffee kiosk and reminisced on the few evenings we’d spent together. Again, Barrie said that I should try and join them up in Satara; I’m sure Grant was thinking “Oh No … I can’t be doing with any more late nights and MMCs” as he told Barrie that the night before I was going on about how I’d only been sleeping 4 hours a night; he was thinking “Thank heavens, she’s going to have an early night tonight” but then I’d chirp “Let’s just have another little Amarula Coffee” and before you knew it, it was after midnight again!

We said our goodbyes, and I headed into Komatipoort to do a bit of shopping at Spar and pop into see the owner of the place I stayed at when I was visiting Kruger in July. When I returned a couple of hours later, Grant’s car was still in the campsite. I pulled up and called out “Lesh jush have anorra lil’ Amarula coffee!” Grant put his kettle on and next thing Barrie and Katie also pulled in so we all had another Magic Milk Coffee together before saying goodbye again!

I took the S28 to Lower Sabie - it was pretty quiet apart from this big chap …

Image

I toyed with the idea of stopping at Ntandanyathi Hide but the thought of seeing the remains of that poor impala who was stuck in the mud the day before put me off.

Then I saw something in the road ahead of me … I got my binoculars out …

Pulled off to the side of the road was a combi-van; at the side of the van, checking his hair in the passenger wing mirror, was this guy in khaki/camouflage trousers. I thought it must be some of the guys from the army who had been called in because of the rhino poaching. WRONG - it was another special Homo Stupidus sighting!

As I pulled up closer, the guy who had been checking himself out in the passenger wing mirror, wandered around the front of the vehicle and stood at the other side in the long grass. I pulled up right next to them. Their side door was pulled back and the guy in the van had his back to me; leaning against the outside of the van was a little picnic table!!!!!!!!!

I called to the guy in the long grass and told him that he isn’t allowed out of his vehicle. The guy in the combi turned around and looked at me as if I was the one who was crazy! I explained that this was Big 5 territory and that there could be a hungry predator metres away that wouldn’t think twice about making a picnic out of them.

They weren‘t the least bit interested in what I had to say and just talked over me saying in their very strong overseas accents “Okay, ‘sank you’, ‘kuut-bye’ ”

I continued on slowly, watching them in my rear-view mirror. They obviously had taken note of what I’d told them as they packed their picnic table away and were soon back in their vehicle again.

On approaching Lower Sabie, I turned to go across the bridge to see if there was anything happening in the river. Not a lot was happening in the river, but on the bridge itself, I came across Freeclimb 64 and 50! We had a brief chat but as the bridge was particularly busy we had to move on.

When I went to check in at Lower Sabie, Freeclimb 64 and 50 were also checking in … Their next camp was Olifants where they’d booked the mountain bike adventure trail and on checking the reservation that they’d made on-line some months back in Germany, they were told that their names weren’t on the list for the trail and that there was nothing that could be done as it was now full. Needless to say, they were not happy chappies.

What sticks in my mind about this saga is that the girl at Lower Sabie was giving them this bad news with the biggest smile on her face. Obviously in training they’ve been told that they must smile at their customers … what they hadn’t been told is that they should wipe the smile off their face if giving bad news. I take my hat off to Freeclimb and the way he stayed so calm …

He asked “So what happens now?” and was told “There’s nothing I can do, you do not appear to have a booking and the trail is full.” It was only at his insistence that the girl at reception phoned Olifants and, to cut a long story short, they got on their mountain bike trail.

Whilst all this was going on, a couple of frantic women came rushing in to Reception demanding to speak to the Head Ranger. They were obviously upset about something and were still shaking. They’d been at Nkuhlu and one of the staff members had shot a monkey then just walked away and left it. We all know how the monkeys can be such pests and that this is only cause they get used to people feeding them; but to shoot a monkey in front of people then just walk away and leave it there …??? Not good. I certainly would have been quite traumatised had I witnessed this, and I hate to think about the effect it had on any kids who were there.

I checked in without any hitches and went off to the campsite to find my spot for the next 6 nights (possibly 4 if I could wangle going to Satara to join Barrie, Katie and Grant for 2 nights …)

_________________
18-22 April - Camdeboo National Park
22-26 April - Karoo National Park


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Confirmed Kruger Camper's Trip (and Laughter) Report!
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:32 am 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator (2013)
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:25 pm
Posts: 558
Thursday 07 Oct (Day 6) cont …

45 minutes later and I was sorted - ground sheet down, tiny tent set up, mattress inflated, freezer positioned outside tent, table and chair on ground sheet … I was becoming a real pro at this camping lark!

I met my new neighbours, Joan and André from Pongola, and after a chat with them and an iced Savanna, I decided to take a late afternoon game drive.

The thought of the bokkie stuck at in the mud at Ntandanyathi hide had been with me for the past 26 hours … although a bit apprehensive about what I might find, I decided to go the hide to see what was happening.

I got there and guess what???

The bokkie was STILL there and was STILL alive. Poor thing.

Next thing another couple arrived at the hide. They had a quick look around and the lady said to her husband “There’s nothing here, let’s move on …”

I pointed out the bokkie and told them about the drama at the hide the day before. Well, the woman wanted to rescue the impala … I’d heard at least 20 others say the same thing the day before.

Next thing, another couple arrived and they were also upset with the poor bokkie’s plight. Anyway, the two guys decided they were going to go down there and pull it out. I told them that I had seen lions close to the hide on previous occasions but they were adamant on doing their rescue mission and said that as the impala had been there 27 hours by this time, the chance of predators being close by was highly unlikely.

So, off they went. As they approached the bokkie you could see how terrified it was as it continued to try and get out of the mud by itself. When the guys got to it, they each grabbed one of its tiny horns and pulled … and pulled … and pulled. It took them about a minute, but they got the impala out! It shook itself off and ran away into the bush.

Image

Image

Image

I left the hide knowing that those guys were wrong for interfering … but I must admit that I knew I’d sleep better that night now that the poor bokkie wasn’t stuck there just waiting for something to come and rip it apart.

I made my way back to Lower Sabie on the S28. It was about 4.45pm and for some reason I had it in my mind that the gates closed at 5.30pm. Well … everything happens for a reason, and I soon discovered what the reason was behind my thinking that I had to be back 30 minutes before I actually did ….

It was so that I could spend an extra half an hour watching this guy …

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

YEEEE HAAAA!!!!!!! It was definitely the best LIT sighting I’ve had to date …

As you can see, the tree was bare, and it was only about 10 metres from the side of the road! Absolutely awesome! He didn’t seem to have a care in the world and was quite happy just lying up in his lookout point having a bit of shut-eye! Every now and then he’d open his eyes and raise his head, but he wasn’t going anywhere! I stayed as long as I could, having realised that it was actually 6.00pm that the gates closed; I drove into camp that evening at 5.57pm!

What a day!

_________________
18-22 April - Camdeboo National Park
22-26 April - Karoo National Park


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 51 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group

Webcams Highlights

Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Submitted by Kiepersol at 17:13:54 Submitted by umkhulu at 21:35:16 Submitted by Stampajane at 07:01:20 Submitted by umkhulu at 23:08:04