It was difficult to leave Kruger, but I made it safely back to San Francisco, although heavily jet-lagged. Arrived on Tuesday afternoon and back at my desk on Wednesday morning. Productive? Not so much. But allow me to fill in the missing portions of my trip report.Day 0 (16 January)
I arrive at O.R. Tambo on Lufthansa from Frankfurt. Flight is a little early and immigration takes only about 30 minutes. My luggage awaits and I dash off to pick up my rental cell phone and thence my rental car. Adjusting to right-hand drive takes a few miles, but really no problem. Its raining and I pass three different wrecks on the highway as I head toward Nelspruit and my meeting with RichPrins.
On the way I stop in Witbank to visit an ATM and do some grocery shopping. I return to the road and the drive is easy. My GPS leads me circuitously to my meeting point. RichPrins graciously agreed to do a little shopping for me since certain items are not available for sale on Sundays. In addition to a case of beer, RP provided a welcome gift of a bottle of Amarula and several bottles of wine. We chatted for a bit but I needed to get on to Kruger.
Since the gate closed at 6:30pm, I figured that arriving before that time would avoid the need for an escort. I figured wrong. The entrance gates are locked before then, probably about 6pm because you need to arrive in camp before 6:30pm. So I waited 45 minutes for the escort to arrive and continued on to Skukuza. And I paid the hefty escort fee.Day 1, (17 January)
I looked forward to the morning bush walk. The escort instructed me to meet at reception at 7am. I arose at 3:30am and killed time until the anointed hour, at which time I learned from reception that the bush walk had left hours earlier. One would expect that for the price of an escort, reliable information would be provided. Not only had I missed the walk, but I hung around in camp for hours while I could have started my adventure.
I left Skukuza along the H1-2 to Tshokwane. The experience was breathtaking, even the impala (which were a great novelty at the beginning). Indeed, I pulled over to photograph a group of impala on a side road. Heavy foliage covered both sides of the road. Suddenly, the foliage 10 meters in front of me began to move, including what appeared to be the narrow trunks of trees. In fact, these were the legs of a giraffe feeding in the treetops. He was very
That was amazing. I continued down the paved road and decided to explore Leeupan. I found a mother and calf giraffe, a small herd of wildebeast, a soaring fish eagle, and many other birds.
At Tshokwane, I did not find any of the expected baboons. I enjoyed a kuduwors and paps and then headed south on H10 to Lower Sabie, where I had a reservation and booked a bush walk for the following morning.
Lots of great birds seen along the road. If you can clue me in to the species/names, I'd be very appreciative.
I'll be back to provide Day 2.