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 Post subject: mposthumus-Unforgettable Adventures and Memories-Mar 2011
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:27 am 
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I have just completed the Metsi Metsi Wilderness Trail (6 – 9 March) and am still struggling to find a “miracle” word to describe a “magic” experience. :clap: I’m working hard at my TR and hope to complete it soon. :)

To me it feels as if I lived a lifetime in only three days, yet it was over all too soon. :?

At this point in time I’m still trying to catch up on some lost sleep (I guess I had about five hours sleep during the length of the trail) and still do not know if it was because I was so relaxed :roll: or if I was simply afraid I would miss out on something if I go to sleep. :shock: Maybe the blame should be placed at the door of my seriously confused feathered friend :twisted: (more about him in my TR). :wink:

Like so many times in the past I went into freeze mode when I marveled at something and got lost in my own thoughts, :redface: afterwards thinking of the excellent photo opportunity that I have once again missed. :cry: I have also decided to walk Metsi again before moving on to one of the others trails . . . . to fill those “blank” moments. :dance: :dance:

Till later

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Mel@nie

[b]Unforgettable Adventures and Memories . . . . Metsi Metsi - March 2011[/b]
[url]http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=51559[/url]

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 Post subject: Re: Unforgettable Adventures and Memories
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:14 pm 
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Thanks all. :thumbs_up: Here goes! :)

For 17 years, I have been dreaming of the day when I will walk my first wilderness trail. With the boys now financially independent, I have for the past year, spent a lot of time on the forum to determine which trail is the most popular amongst the forum members. :tongue: On return three days after my visit to Kruger in June 2010, I booked my place on the Metsi Metsi Wilderness Trail. :thumbs_up: That evening, very excited about my big news, I told the boys that I was going to pay the deposit the following morning. Great was my surprise when I greeted them the next morning on my way to work, and was told that they have decided, as a premature birthday gift, to pay for the trail. :dance: Needless to say I have since counted the months, weeks, days and finally the hours. :whistle:

Although I entered Kruger two days prior to Metsi, I am going to concentrate mainly on the Wilderness Trail itself and post some pictures of the three days thereafter spent in Lower Sabie. :wink:

Sunday, March 6th

Although I have a very soft spot in my heart for Skukuza, the camp for me has become to busy, and subsequently I have not stayed there for the past 19 years. :shock: As this is the collection point for the Metsi Metsi trail, it was only logic to spend the nights prior to Metsi in Skukuza. :)

As a child, our family has spent many happy holidays at Skukuza, :dance: and one of my aims whilst I was there, was to see for myself what the camping area looked like nowadays. Especially to see if the tree, where we always parked our Jurgens caravan and erected our tent, still existed. As I walked, the road soon became familiar, and great was my surprise when I saw the tree. :clap: Not as flourishing and green as 40+ years ago, but unmistakably it stood there in all its glory. Old memories became new again as I allow my mind to ponder over days gone by. :D

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I once again, like many years ago repeated the little ritual that I had as a child. I sat flat on my butt at one of the holes of an Ant lion (Myrmeleon formicarius), and with a very thin stick, slightly scratched the edge of the funnel-shaped hole. A few grains of sand rolled down the edge, and before long, I saw a slight movement. :roll: I started to rudd . . . round and around whilst softly whispering "Toktokkie Toktokkie come out of your house . . . . Toktokkie Toktokkie come out of your house”. :|

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And there it was, after all the years I have not lost my touch. 8) I lifted his soft little body from the sand and carefully placed it in the palm of my hand so he can pose for a picture. :dance:

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I strolled through the rest of the camp until 3 o’clock, reported at reception, completed my indemnity form, and walked to the pick-up point. :hmz:

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Mel@nie

[b]Unforgettable Adventures and Memories . . . . Metsi Metsi - March 2011[/b]
[url]http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=51559[/url]

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 Post subject: Re: Unforgettable Adventures and Memories
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 7:34 pm 
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At 3:15, a SANParks bakkie with a trailer came round the bend. With a heart beating at about 1000 beats per second, I walked towards the rest of the group. 8) We introduced ourselves to one another and after loading the luggage in the trailer, we climbed onto the bakkie. Out by the gate, left towards the Administrative section and reality struck me like lightning. "I'm actually here, my dream has finally become a reality”. :dance: :dance:

Our first sighting, a herd of buffalo at the Nwatsulofa Pan quenching their thirst for the long night ahead. :)
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A bit further a pair of mating lions :wink:
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Looking back towards the Orpen-rocks provided this spectacular scene :whistle:
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A herd of elephants quietly grazing :D
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We stopped at Leeupan. It felt rather strange to set foot in the wilderness but I reminded myself that it is actually legal. :? We walked to the edge of the water and after scanning our surroundings for predators but seeing nothing, we noticed this Grey Heron
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and this Black-headed Heron
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We passed Tshokwane which by know has been closed for the day, and I got a different perspective of this normally busy picnic spot. It had a quiet tranquil magic about it. 8) A bit further, we turned to the right onto a dirt road (S32) and after a while where the road split, we took the road to the left. The road zigg-zagged through shoulder high grass and as we stopped, Phillip (Assistant Trails Ranger) got out of the bakkie and opened the gate. :o From somewhere deep within me escaped an involuntary noise that sounded like something between a giggle and a sigh and thought “Well, let the party begin!” :lol:

My eyes quickly scanned the surroundings, and I definitely liked what a saw. :thumbs_up: Ewout (Trails Ranger) stopped in front of a building constructed with wooden poles and a thatched roof and after switching off the engine turned around and said. “Welcome to Metsi Metsi. I hope your stay will be an unforgettable one and that you get what you were hoping for.” :clap: We climbed down from the bakkie and a man with a crisp clean uniform and broad smile came walking through the kitchen door and the pleasant smell of food followed him as he walked towards us. :wink: "Our skilled chef Ernesto and his kitchen where he will prepare all our delicious meals" Ewout introduced him.
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The camp rules, wake-up and meal times as well as the daily schedule were explained. There are four huts with two beds in each, and because three people did not pitch, I got my own hut. :clap: I chose the one in the furthest corner of the camp, grabbed my luggage and walked towards my "little house" for the next three nights. :clap: :clap: The narrow footpaths are neatly laid out and finished off with stones on both sides. The sound of the coarse sand from under my feet echoed in my ears . . . . crunch . . . . crunch . . . .crunch. :shock:

I reached my hut "Ahhh this is sooooooo cute" 8) :dance: and the three steps into my hut made a squeaky sound under my feet. I lay down on the one bed and then on the other to determine from which one I will have the best view. :wink: Mission accomplished, I put my luggage on the unused bed. I took off my watch and put it at the bottom of my bag. For the next few days, I will live by Mother Nature's heartbeat. :thumbs_up: I quickly unpacked a few necessities and off I went, exploring. :cam:

Crunch . . . .crunch . . . . crunch, up to the two showers. The old fireplace used for making hot water, still visible in the middle :)
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Behind the showers, the two toilets in which a Deitz lamp will be burning all night in case of use during the course of the night :D
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Crunch . .. . crunch . . . . crunch, to the back of the kitchen :wink:
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The tattered drum that announced many already forgotten meals :whistle:
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Crunch . . . . crunch . . . . crunch all the way to the lapa where we will enjoy our meals :thumbs_up:
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Crunch . . . . crunch to the boma where I plan to spend a considerable amount of time around the fire :hmz:
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At 6 o’clock, the drum announced supper. A delicious meal awaited us. :dance: We took this opportunity to get to know one another. I must admit I was amazed at the knowledge my fellow trailers from overseas had of South Africa. My heart swelled with pride as they often mentioned how they envy us our country's nature and beauty. :thumbs_up: Each with a cup of coffee in hand, we moved the conversation to the boma. Around a cozy cracking fire, and systematically the peace and tranquility took over and each one was trapped in his own thoughts. I bent my neck backwards and watched as the stars appeared one by one. It looked like someone has pierced tiny wholes in the dark sky and from behind the light shines through. 8) Being small moon, I knew it would only later show its slitty eye. An indescribable peace came over me, knowing that tomorrow night the heavens will look the same, as our Creator has kept it for millions of years. :pray:

Earlier the afternoon whilst exploring the camp, I kept my word to gmlsmit and went looking for his wife Lanette's two Scops owls, but could not find them. :huh: Now from out of the dark they started calling each other. With a slight breeze blowing, I whispered her message to them. :wink:

One-by-one the members of our party bid me a good night and went to bed. With the distant roar of the king of the bush, I put another piece of wood on the fire and stayed until it turned into white ashes. :| Back at my hut I left the door wide open and lay down on my bed. After a while I fell asleep with the call of the Scopsies in my ears. Too soon, I was woken by the call of a Turtle Dove in a nearby tree. I got out of bed, saw that it was still pitch dark outside, and that everyone was still asleep. I soon came to the conclusion that the Turtle Dove must definitely suffer from a serious identity crisis, thinking that he is some sort of night bird. :big_eyes: Try as I want, sleep has now completely eluded me. :hmz: Coffee seemed to be a brilliant idea :D and crunch . . . . crunch I took the longer road past the showers to the lapa as not to wake Kristina. Struck a match, lit the gas burner and waited patiently for the water to boil. :thumbs_up: Crunch . . . . crunch . . . . crunch back to my hut.

I sat on the steps and scanned my immediate surroundings for any creepy crawlies :shock: kicked off my shoes and burry my feet in the still lukewarm sand. :roll: Whilst I sip my coffee :lotsocoffee: I involuntary wondered if life could in any way get better than this. :hmz: When the stars started disappearing one by one until only the morning star was left, my confused feathered friend suddenly kept quiet. :tongue: I crawled back into bed and drifted off to dreamland when Ernestos' voice woke me "Good morning, hot water to wash in”. I again rose from my bed :shock: put some water in the wash-basin and as the sun slowly showed its face, I stood in front of my hut and brushed my teeth. :tongue:

Image

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Mel@nie

[b]Unforgettable Adventures and Memories . . . . Metsi Metsi - March 2011[/b]
[url]http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=51559[/url]

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 Post subject: Re: Unforgettable Adventures and Memories
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 5:57 pm 
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Monday, March 7th

5:15 In the lapa and Marisa enjoys a mug of coffee. "Good morning, did everyone sleep well?" Ewout asked from behind us. "Yea right" I thought to myself "with my feathered friend keeping me up all night" but did not say anything. :|
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The program for the day was briefly discussed, and armed with our bush breakfast and the first aid kit we left the safety of our camp at 5:30. :thumbs_up:

On the S36 our first sighting for the day, a White Rhino :)
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We parked at the Lindanda Dam, no entry, and I took the opportunity to take a picture of our group. From left Ewout (our Trails Ranger) Sergio and Marisa (from Italy) Phillip (Assistant Trails Ranger) and Kristina (from Germany) :D
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Very enthusiastically, we started :thumbs_up:
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A Golden Orb web spider :big_eyes:
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A Foam Nesting Frog 8)
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Fresh lion tracks :shock:
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The water level has dropped significantly since the last rain in January :?
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Buffalo keeping a watchful eye on us :|
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The horns of a once majestic kudu bull :o
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Breakfast in the company of some blue wildebeest :whistle:
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and Zebra :whistle: :whistle:
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Safety always a priority :thumbs_up:
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A curious warthog watching us from a distance whilst we ate :lol:
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Phillip’s knowledge of birds never seized to amaze me during our stay at Metsi. 8) He would here a birdcall, mimicked it perfectly, would then tell Ewout what kind of bird it was, and described it. Ewout would then look for the bird in his book and Phillip would be 100% correct every time. :thumbs_up: During our stay they ID’d 128 species and Kristina who completed a course in Nature Conservation and one on birds enthusiastically partook in this exercise.
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Our morning walk fast approached its end, and on seeing the bakkie, we also saw this elephant obstructing our route to our transport :shock:
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No problem, he turned around and started to walk away :thumbs_up:
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or so we thought. He suddenly swung around and came threateningly close. :big_eyes: Ewout signaled us to follow Phillip
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We all forgot about the single file formation in which we were suppose to walk, and bunching together :oops: we hastily followed Phillip to safety :|
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On a branch nearby this Egyptian Geese observed the whole “palawa” :roll:
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Ewout cautiously moved towards the bakkie whilst speaking loudly to the elephant and the sound of a stone or two falling in high grass, broke the silence. :? What felt like hours Ewout finally reached the bakkie and we took off quite casually, I might add. :wink: We walked approximately 8 – 10 kilometers for the morning.

On our way back to camp, we paused at the Harry Wolhuter plaque, where the saga between Harry Wolhuter and a lion played itself off.

“At this spot while riding alone at night ranger HC Wolhuter, Sabi Game Reserve, was seized by a lion August 26th 1903”
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“to this spot ranger Wolhuter was dragged by the lion and here single handed killed it with his sheath knife. Into the tree ranger Wolhuter badly injured, climbed after having killed the first lion in order to avoid an attack by a second, which remained nearby until assistance arrived”
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Back at camp, another scrumptious meal awaited us. After our siesta, we left camp at 4 o’clock and walked approximately 3km somewhere along the S36. We took a long drive on the H1-2 road between Tshokwane and Satara. As the day was fast coming to an end, we got a big surprise. These two honey badgers casually came trotting down the road :)
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and stopped in their tracks when they saw us. Ewout turned off the engine and lights as they now became very wary of us :D
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and finally decided to take a safer route :(
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On seeing this Marisa (as so many times thereafter) uttered these words in Italian “Ciao ciao Ballissimo” which she explained and if I remember correctly means “Hallo, hallo you are most wonderful / beautiful” :clap:

At the Mazithi Dam north of Tshokwane two rhinos took a mud bath in the setting sun :cam:
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Nearing Metsi we could smell the burning grass before we actually saw the fire. Ewout informed us that the time for making firebreaks to prevent spreading of uncontrolled fire, has begun :roll:
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After supper, we once again sat around the fire. Tonight a White-faced Owl and a Spotted Eagle Owl joined the two Scopsies :dance:

Another almost sleepless night in the company of my confused feathered friend followed. :roll: As it started to rain in the early morning hours, he finally kept quiet and I drifted off into a heavenly sleep. :D Just before sunrise, I was woken by the call of a Fiery-necked Nightjar. 8) I lay in my bed covered with Goosebumps, until the sound of his call faded away some 20 minutes later. To many people the call of the Fish Eagle is synonymous to Africa, to me it is the charming voice of this little Nightjar. :dance: :clap: :dance: :clap:

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Mel@nie

[b]Unforgettable Adventures and Memories . . . . Metsi Metsi - March 2011[/b]
[url]http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=51559[/url]

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 Post subject: Re: Unforgettable Adventures and Memories
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:37 pm 
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Tuesday, March 8th

After coffee and rusks, we collected our bush breakfast and the first aid kit and were off at 5:30. :thumbs_up: Turned right onto the Metsi no entry road, parked the bakkie, and this time took a different route on the Lindanda Road. The veldt was wet after last night's rain and in places, we walked through very long grass with our arms above our heads. :? Not long and our clothes were soaking wet. Our shoes were clogged with mud and we had to be very cautious as not to slip. :shock:

A quick glimpse of a hyena as it disappeared into the bushes, leaving a clear footprint :doh:
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We carefully approached, but the Hyenas saw us long before we were even aware of them, and the den was empty. :roll:
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The skid marks as the hyena took a hastily departure :|
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Bones and leftovers were scattered in the area around the den :big_eyes:
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A well used scratch pole
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In an open space, we took a breather and stood in the early morning sun in an attempt to dry our wet clothes. I took a stick and scratched the mud from my shoes, needless to say it did not help much. :wall:
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A curious baby giraffe
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Due to the long grass and the fact that I did not watch my step, I knocked my foot against a termite heap and dislocated one of my toes. :slap: Although I did not say anything Ewout quickly picked up that I was limping and wanted to have a look as to the extent of my injury, but I was afraid to take off my shoe, fearing I might not get it back on again. :( As we stopped for breakfast, I sat down on the nest of some hairy worms. :slap: :slap: I quickly changed seats, happily untouched by their stingy hair. :P

I still cannot quite figure out how the drama started :huh: and it all happened so quickly I did not even have a chance to take a picture. :doh: What I remember is that Phillip suddenly collected us like a flock and sheep and steered us in the opposite direction from where Ewout stood, gun ready in case anything happens. :shock: A quick glance over my shoulder revealed a buffalo, nose in the air and tail erected - glaring at us. :big_eyes: Lucky for us the bakkie was once again close by and Ewout slowly and cautiously stepped backwards until he also reached the safety of the bakkie. :? We were all quite rattled by the incident and after gathering our senses discussed the incident and drove back to camp. :roll: Another 8 - 10 kilometers done for this morning walk.

After lunch and the usual siesta, we left camp at 4 o’clock for a drive instead of the usual short walk. We drove along the S35 and then turned right onto the S32 past Orpen Dam.

Our first sighting a herd of buffalo and much friendlier than the one we encountered earlier the morning :)
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and an equally friendly elephant :D
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At Tshokwane we turned onto the S34 and drove along the Munywini Spruit :thumbs_up:
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Image :tongue:

A Pitstop at Hlanguleni Picnic Place
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Lugmag dam
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Two Black backed Jackals took off as soon as they saw us :roll:
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A lone Blue Wildebeest
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On the S33 Vutami Dam Road, these two giraffes looked like twins :lol: :lol:
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We had a good laught at these baboons as they "performed"
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On the H1-3 along the Nwaswitisontso River, awesomely painted sunset, signed: “With love God"Image

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Our last night and I was reluctant to leave the fire. :( As I stepped into my hut, I instinctively knew that I was not going to sleep tonight. :roll: My mind was heavy with the knowledge that my time at Metsi has came to an end. :? I crawled into bed and let my mind ponder on the past few days. Unforgettable adventures and dear memories flow through me. I love Kruger with all my heart, but Metsi became part of my whole being. :pray: When my feathered friend began his "morning song" :D I walked to the lapa, crunch. . . . . crunch. . . . crunch and made some coffee. :lotsocoffee: Unlike Hansel and Gretel of old I did not need bread crumbs to show me the way, I by now knew the narrow path by heart, and walked back to my little house. :tongue:

Much later, a couple of Francolins fled from the tall grass and I could clearly hear the rasping of a leopard. :shock: :thumbs_up:

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Mel@nie

[b]Unforgettable Adventures and Memories . . . . Metsi Metsi - March 2011[/b]
[url]http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=51559[/url]

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 Post subject: Re: Unforgettable Adventures and Memories
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 7:50 pm 
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Wednesday, March 9th

I sat on the steps of my hut as the sun's first rays lurked over the horizon :whistle:
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I stretched my stiff legs, collected my empty coffee mug and strolled to the lapa :roll:
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I was clearly not the only one in a somber mood this morning. :( We exchanged contact details and Sergio and Marisa cordially invited me to pay them a visit in Italy. They will be spending another day in Skukuza before departing for home. Kristina was going to walk the Napi Wilderness Trail before returning to Germany.
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At least Phillip smiled . . . . well I also would have if I was the one staying behind :lol:
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At the kitchen, the trailer stood ready for the loading
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The now well know footpath between the showers and toilets leading to
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the lapa
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The road leading to
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the gate through which we left soon after :cry:
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And the last one just for remembrance sake
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After bidding our farewells to Arnesto we left.

As we approached Tshokwane I requested a pitstop . . . . . but it was really just an excuse to extend the inevitable. :redface:

Back at Skukuza I felt rather strange, not having seeing more than six people at once in the past three days. :roll: We bid our farewells, took our luggage and each departed in his own direction.

Although I envy Ewout and Phillip the privilege of spending each day in my beloved Kruger, I well realize the great danger involved in performing their daily task which they do with so much passion. I now, in my daily prayers, also ask for their protection and safekeeping. :pray:

Lastly, some pictures of the next three days spent at Lower Sabie.

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Mel@nie

[b]Unforgettable Adventures and Memories . . . . Metsi Metsi - March 2011[/b]
[url]http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=51559[/url]

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 Post subject: Re: Unforgettable Adventures and Memories
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:50 am 
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Mom admiring her offspring
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Cheetas in the road
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Posing in a tree
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Impala grazing
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“Lip licking good”
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“BURP . . . pardon me”
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Fish Eagle in the early morning ligt
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A seriously limping lion
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And his brother
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Bidding us farewell
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Some ruffled-up Guinefoul
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A panoramic view over the Mlondozi Dam from Nwagovila Picnic Spot
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Blue Wildebeest carcass
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Lioness keeping a close watch over breakfast
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Secretary Birds getting ready for the day
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More ......

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Mel@nie

[b]Unforgettable Adventures and Memories . . . . Metsi Metsi - March 2011[/b]
[url]http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=51559[/url]

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 Post subject: Re: Unforgettable Adventures and Memories
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 6:45 pm 
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The zenith of cute
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Staying close to mom
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Be safe little one
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Buffalo and
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Zebra having a drink
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Newborn buffalo calf
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Buffalo carcass
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Mane not prepared to abandon the leftovers
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This hoof the only proof left of a bloody drama that took place
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A beautiful butterfly feasting on some nectar
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from a pretty flower
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A steenbok with ear badly infested with ticks
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A huge, very hairy caterpillar
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Goliath Heron
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Baboons raiding the weavers' nests
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A solitary Hyena
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My 1 man (woman) hut at Lower Sabie
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Meeting up with two great friends, Mads and Vlakvarkvrou at the Cricket - Bert, Michel and Lowveldboy in the back
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Leaving for home via
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THE END

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Mel@nie

[b]Unforgettable Adventures and Memories . . . . Metsi Metsi - March 2011[/b]
[url]http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=51559[/url]

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