The story so far
A year ago, I was experiencing serious withdrawal symptoms for my favourite place in the world. I told SO that if I didn't get my fix urgently and soon, things could get unpleasant.
We managed to book a trip during January at Pretoriuskop where we wanted to go specifically to find the elusive wild dogs that I had last seen as a little girl. That trip is now done and dusted, the trip report filed, the memories shared.
However, while on the website to book our Pretoriuskop accomodation I did manage to see that some rivierview bungalows at Olifants were still available around October 2012. Since my birthday is on the 19th of October I told SO that he now had more trouble than he bargained for, because I've just decided what I want for my birthday the next year - a stay in Olifants at one of the rooms with a view to die for.
Poor SO, he just shrugged helplessly. He knows when its a losing battle.
So, more than a year after this conversation, the big day finally arrived.Day 1 – Trouble with wasps and arrival
When you leave home at 4 o’clock in the morning, it always feels as if you are going somewhere exciting. It’s still dark out, you are barely awake and taxing your brain to remember everything you have to pack and it all just combines to underline that this is not a normal morning in the household.
My two cats are not impressed at all and view all activities with suspicion. They have learned that packing and suitcases and such almost always mean them having to stay at home without us. I tell them that they are spoiled rotten and even have their own catsitter coming to feed and pet them twice a day, while other less-fortunate kitties go to kennels, but they won’t listen to my argument.
After a last check that all is loaded (we fold down the back seat of the Terios and everything fits but there is a lot of stuff!
) we are on the road.
Driving through Johannesburg is not much trouble at such an early hour and all goes well until we miss our turning at Polokwane (Pietersburg) and as we are turning around to get on the right road, bypassing the town and the traffic in it, there is a funny noise and a deluge of brown water splash onto my feet and the carpet.
We stop and look to see what is wrong, but we can’t spot any obvious signs of trouble. Except for my ruined shoes, of course...
As far as we’re driving however the water drips down, now a bit and now a lot. I google for a Daihatsu dealership and we head into town after all. At the workshop the friendly personnel agree to have someone look at it and in the end the two mechanics figure out the problem.
Now, we have some small, nasty wasps at home, who once tried to make a nest in the washing line and stung SO on the hand when he was hanging up washing one day.
He was allergic to the sting and his hand and arm got so swollen that we had to get perscription pills from the doctor to treat it.
Now his little friends
have struck again, making a nest in the aircon’s outlet pipe and blocking it so that the aircon’s water was now slushing around inside somewhere (the funny noise) and draining inside the car.
Luckily the mechanics can evict the unwanted tenants and re-attach the pipe and we are on our way again, thankful for their assistance. As it is a super hot day we didn’t even want to contemplate driving around without the aircon.
After almost no wait at all at the stop-go’s between Polokwane and Tzaneen we get to Phalaborwa around lunchtime and stop at Steers for a quick bite to eat.
The check-in at the gate is quick and efficient. I always forget to take down the car’s registration number and take it with me, and so always have to walk back to get it.
The first animals we see are impala and we take the Sable dam loop where a bevy of Yellowbilled kites are hunting the hot afternoon air together with a couple of Bateleurs.
On our way to the camp we see buffalo far off and elephant as well.
Some family members are joining us at Olifants for a few days, but they now let us know that their airplane was delayed. We figure out the distances and discover that they won’t be able to get to camp before gate closing, so they will look for accomodation outside and join us the next morning.
The drive further reveals some zebra and I am very excited to see this: my first white-headed vulture. It is sitting next to what looks like an elephant carcass near a dam.
At camp we get our bungalow (nr 13) and I must say the view is as spectacular as I had hoped. This is what eagles must see as they soar above the earth.
On the downside, the heat is like an oven. It hits you in the face like a heavy fist as you get out of the vehicle.
We offload everything, get settled and I spend some time getting to know some of my immediate neighbours.
That night I have trouble getting to sleep, there are some gnats and insects that are gathered around my bed because my light was the last one on.
And something fell and made a noise inside the fridge, but after getting up I couldn’t figure out what it was etc.
Irritated with myself, I finally drift off to dreamland. I am home again.