This report I am going to write in one go!! The pics are going to have to wait for next year though!Thursday 30 December 2010
The second last day of the year. The reason for the trip is to take my brother, his SO and LO and show them the beauty of Kruger. LO is 2.9 years old and animal crazy. He wanted to see elephants and lions. Brother wanted Cheetah and his SO elephants. I did forget to mention the SO is 7.5 months pregnant
My wishlist - anything, this is another opportunity for me to visit KNP. We entered Phabeni, together with about 30 other cars. I had my route worked out and the rest of tha gang, well they were along for the ride. The plan was to show them as much as possible without flying and stopping regularly for pregnant SIL.
We entered and turned left, I was going to follow the Sabie river. The bush is thick and green, as could be expected, meaning sightings was tough - but who cares. Our 1st sighting was impala, and the little one got a lesson in how to behave at a sighting - be quiet. I was very surprised that throughout the day, he did just that, except once - which I will get to later. This road also produced Giraffe and then the Elephants. SIL and LO was overjoyed, especially LO which talked about the 'phant for the next hour or so.
We stopped at Kruger gate for SIl and I immediatly headed to Lake Panic. There was a few birds and a guy with a lens on the camera longer than my car
. He was settled in for the day. There was a lot of water as was the case across the park. Can't remember when last I saw it that full. Then between Lake Panic and Skuks, coming out of the den. HYEANAS, my day was made. I got some awesome pics, very close to the car. The traffic jam was getting bad and I made way. Stopped at Skuks for SIL and headed out towards Thsokwane. The temp was at 28 at it was only 9am.
I quickly showed the newbies the day visitor areas and then on the bridge a very nice flock of Marabou Storks. The rest of the way to Thsokwane delivered very little other than impalas. the bush was very thick, so it was expected. The 1 sighting, other than impalas, was a duiker. I stopped, and as luck would have it, came to stop with a tree right between me and the duiker. In a matter of seconds there was a line of about 20 cars behind me, and do you think any woul dallow me to reverse slightly to get a pic of "my" sighting.
I made a quick detour to Orpen dam, and then headed to Thsokwane for a little mini meet that was setup in the days preceding. The attendees at the little meet was Myself, Shi and family, Bushbaby30 and Bushmom, VGStephens and Dungbeetle2. We had a very nice time chatting away. It was such a pleasure meeting all of you.
We left Thsokwane and headed towards Mlondozi. I made a quick stop at Muntshe viewpoint, and then spend some time at my fav place - Nkumbe. In the plains we got to see some ellies. It started raining as we left nkumbe and continued for some time. We encountered some more ellies and waterbuck on the way to Mlondozi. The ellies had the cutest little baby with them, the ooohhh's and aaahhh's in the car can atest to that. I decided to do the Mlondozi loop toward Lower Sabie. We encoutered a lot of European rollers and Lilac breasted rollers on this road, as well as a lot of ellies.
Got to LS and 1st had to show the newbies sunset dam, again fuller than I can remember seeing it. Bought some ice cream at Lower Sabie, where the power had decided to go on strike. From the deck a few Dugha boys was walking around.
Croc bridge was our final destination and I needed to drive the S28. Right before the turn-off on the S28 - a traffic jam of note. Lions or leopard, only reason for such a jam. It turned out to be a huge male lion. As we were making our way through, we encountered the usual idiots leaning out the windows and completely out of the car. I saw a car flying up from behind with indicators flashing, and thought what a ^$$#&^ idiot, that was until he got out and it was a ranger. He gave all of the culprits a nice little "love letter"
to him for doing his job. He turned the car around, and as we left, he was still keeping a eye on procedings. I did stop and thanked him for doing that. We left the sighting and suddenly all hell broke loose on the backseat. LO was crying his heart out because we were leaving the lion. My thought was, at least he enjoys his sightings.
The S28 produced some Zebras, Wildebeest, Vervet monkeys, Ellies, kudu's, waterbuck, impala and warthogs. Not bad for a little loop
The loop finished all too soon, and that very familiar depression immediatly overcame me. I said my little prayer of thanks and included the whole year in it. Croc bridge was in view (about 250m from the gate) when out behind some bushes walked a couple of Ground Hornbills, what a special sighting just before the gate I was telling the troop. Well if only I knew, because a few meters further down the road was the last sighting, another endangered animal - White Rhino. The year thus ended with a sighting of the animal that endeared the most horrible 2010 and under the most threat in 2011, and could not help wondering what would be instore for this beauty, and how long will we be able to see them in the wild still. The little one commented on why are leaving, and I could not give him an answer. WHY INDEED?
A quick pitstop at the gate, and over the new bridge we went, was it not for the completion of this, there would have been no way the gate would have been open. the day was over, and I was overjoyed with the sightings we had, but again that all too famliar depression flooded my body. I turned on the radio and the song that was playing was a Belinda Carlisle classic.
I end off 2010, with a quote from that song. Wishing everybody a wonderfull and happy 2011. "HEAVEN IS A PLACE ON EARTH"