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 Post subject: Re: Crested Chick Flies Home!!!!!
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2013 6:17 am 
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I have decided this year not to do a day by day report, as it got a bit stressful at times.

This year I will be doing a weekly report (hopefully on a Sunday - though I'm already 2 days behind!!!)

Week beginning Dec 2nd

When we arrive in Phala for our extended holiday, there is always a lot to sort out, and this week was no different, so we only managed a visit to the park on Tuesday morning and Saturday afternoon.

Both visits were very productive with general game, though I am sad to say that as yet we haven't seen Desi in his old haunt, or the Klippie family opposite............we will keep looking!!!

Saturday's visit took us to "our" causeway, and we were surprised to see how much water there is flowing in the Letaba here.

This time last year it was almost a dry riverbed.

We were fascinated to watch a parent Pied Kingfisher teaching junior to fish, and though while we were there, no fish were forthcoming, I'm sure that it won't be long before there will be!!!

It was good to see the gate guards wearing their SANParks uniforms, and they gave the car a good going over both on our way in, and on our way out.

Here are a few of the friends we encountered on both days.


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 Post subject: Re: Crested Chick Flies Home!!!!!
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 5:15 pm 
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Week beginning Dec 9th.

This was a week of mixed blessings!!

Monday we visited Letaba for a toastie, which I'm pleased to say was hot, tasty and came very quickly with a smile from the waiter.

Sadly there is still no sign of Desi or the Klippie family, at Erfplaas, and even no Dassies or Klippies at the Sable Hide turning near Masorini.

We didn't see any doggies or moggies, but saw plenty of general game.............Waterbuck, Wilderbeest, Buffalo, Ellies, Giraffe, Zebbies, Warties, Impala, Steenbok and a large Secretary Bird who was digging for worms at Rhidonda Pan.

We were almost at the gate, and looking forward to our braai, when we came across what looked like a police and ranger road block!!!

However, as we got closer, we could see a beautiful young Ellie lying just on the road in a pool of blood.

I gestured to the ranger "Whatever has happened" but he looked devastated and just directed us to pass.

When we got to the gate, the guard said that it has been shot by poachers, and though that information somehow didn't ring true, we had no reason to disbelieve him, until I logged onto Facebook, and eventually got the true story.

Apparently the Phala Traffic Cop, and the ranger who was guarding him, were charged by a group of Ellies. The ranger fired warning shots, and most of the group dispersed, all except one who continued to charge. Therefore the ranger had no option but to shoot it.

Although we were relieved to discover that it had not in fact been pochers, it was still awful to remember that beautiful young animal cut off in his prime, and those images of him lying dead in a pool of his own blood, will stay with me for a long while to come!!!

We were a sombre trio that night as we braaied steak,wors and chicken thighs, and after we had eaten sufficient, we treated ourselves to a large and well deserved Amarula!!!

We somehow didn't feel like going into the park for the next few days, but by Saturday we were experiencing withdrawal symptoms, and so we were at the gate just turned 5.30am.

As we approached the place where the Ellie had fallen, we saw loads of vultures, and we soon saw that the rangers had moved the unfortunate beast a bit further into the bush than where it had fallen.

We were not surprised to see that the carcass had been almost picked clean.

Just a bit further on, we saw 2 cars parked, and on stopping to enquire what was happening, we were told that there were two leopards on a termite mound!!!

Unfortunately it was not the best of views, as they were a distance away, behind lots of foliage, but nevertheless we could see them through the binoculars, and they were The Chick's first ever Leopards!! He was thrilled.

We still did not see any Dassies or Klippies either at Masorini or Erfplaas, but we saw plenty of general game............Hippo, Crocs, Buffalo, Zebra, Reedbuck, Impala, Baboon and Kudu.

Sadly we saw another recently dead Ellie, which was in the river bed near Letaba camp, but hopefully this one had died of natural causes!!!

We also saw a dead Leguaan which was a victim of roadkill, and we also saw a live one just a few metres on, so we presumed it was the mate of the dead one. :cry:

We saw a lovely family of Ostriches at Rhidonda Pan.............Mom Dad and several chicks.................they were so cute.

Then it was time to leave and return home, to cook curry and rice, followed by the obligatory Amarula.

We mused on our mixed blessings, and wondered what next week would bring us, when we returned to paradise!!


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 Post subject: Re: Crested Chick Flies Home!!!!!
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:09 am 
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Jan 10th 2014

Today was a day of mixed blessings again.

We had an appointment with Home Affairs at 9am, which went relatively smoothly I suppose, and then we were off to Letaba to meet Barryels and Hilda for brunch.

We had decided that we would only stop for cats, dogs or a Pangolin, and of course near Rhidonda Pan, this is what we saw!!!

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We arrived at Letaba, and Barry and Hilda were waiting for us.
We had only met them in person once before, at the Blue Crane meet in April, but these forums have a habit of making you think that you have known people for years, so we chatted like old friends, about sightings, and experiences, and couldn't believe it when it was time to say goodbye.

They are truly a lovely couple, and like so many other forums members, we are so lucky to know them.

It had been getting hotter and hotter while we were at letaba, so we were very grateful to get back in the car for a quick blast of aircon!!!


We intended to go home via the Mingerhout Loop, but not far down the road, we found quite a bit of water in a dip, and with our little car, we didn't want to risk getting stuck, so reluctantly we turned back.

Game was very scarce on the H9, but we did see this little cutie.


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We weren't far from the gate, when we spotted an Ellie in the road, so we stopped at a safe distance (as we always do) to see what was happening.

Unfortunately another car came screeching up, and drove straight past Mr Ellie, who then got mad, and decided to charge us!!!!! I rest my case!!! :wall: :wall:


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As we pulled into our driveway I was so hot and sticky, that I couldn't wait to put on the aircon, but our neighbour greeted us with those dreaded words..............We have no power!!!!

Of all days, it had to be today, the hottest day since we've been here!!!

So it was a dip in the pool, and a wet towel draped around me, until mercifully the power came back on about an hour later!!

The Chick cooked us a really tasty beef stirfry, and we sat sipping our after coffee Amarulas, looking up at a star studded sky, and knowing how blessed we were to be part of the SANParks forums, which has enriched our lives beyond description. :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Crested Chick Flies Home!!!!!
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 6:48 pm 
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Monday Jan 20th.

We were all very excited this morning, as we were to be spending 4 quality nights in my favourite camps - 2 in Shingwedzi and 2 in Punda Maria, plus a trip (hopefully) to see Frank at Pafuri, and Crooks Corner!!!

We packed up our little Atos, which strictly speaking was bought just for Dungy and me, but somehow we managed to fit The Chick in as well!!!

We set off from home at 6am, and headed for the gate, with the sun already starting to heat up the bushveld. Today promised to be a scorcher!!!

The reception staff and gate guards were quite confused, as we go in most days as Day Visitors, but here we were now with an overnight booking form!!!

Pretty soon we had our permit, and drove through the boom, with great expectations!!

We turned up the H14 towards Mopani, where we had decided to stop for breakfast/brunch.

Along the way we saw Buffalo, Giraffe, Impala, two lovely Hamerkops at the causeway, many European and Lilac Breasted Rollers, and a cute little baby Impala, who worryingly seemed to be on his own!!! Hopefully Mommy was not far away!!!

We arrived at Mopani, and the heat hit us as we got out of the car.

We made our way to the restaurant, and all decided to order a Cajun Chicken Wrap, which was, as usual, simply delicious.

Mopani really has it's act together, serving tasty hot food, at a reasonable price, quickly, by pleasant competent staff.

The only problem was that the camp had experienced a burst water pipe, so there was no water anywhere. This meant that the restaurant loos were out of commission, and I knew I would not last out till we got to Shingwedzi!!! :shock:

The waiter suggested that I try the Conference Centre, and luckily one of the loos still had water in the cistern, so that was a great relief!!! :lol: :lol:

Then it was back to the car, and on to the next leg of our journey to Shingwedzi. :thumbs_up:


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 Post subject: Re: Crested Chick Flies Home!!!!!
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 11:01 am 
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Jan 20th (Part 2)
After we had cooled the car down, we set off for Shingwedzi, where we were to spend the first night.
It is my favourite camp, and I was devastated to see the terrible damage caused by the Jan 2013 floods.

I was hoping that it would now be looking more like its old self!!! :pray:

By now the sun was pouring into the car, and we needed regular bursts of aircon to make us feel more human!!
I know that the hardy park visitors scorn us "mere mortals" for feeling the heat, but it is circumstances beyond our control!!!

The Chick was very excited to realise that he would be crossing the Tropic of Capricorn, and after checking the bush, he quickly got out of the car for a photo.........and got back in again even quicker!!!

We were now in The Tropics!!! :dance:

Along the way we saw very few animals, but some lovely birds, though sadly none of them were lifers for me.

As we drove the last few kms to the camp, and we could see that some of the trees along the river bank had been uprooted by the floods, but I'm glad to say that more had survived than perished!!!

With my heart in my mouth we entered the camp, and what a pleasure it was to see it looking even better than the last time we had been there.

All the flood damage had been repaired, and though the camp still has it's old world charm, it also looked clean and fresh!!

We checked into our BD3 unit, and were allocated unit A3, which is down a "no through" road, and we appeared to be the only guests in this section, as there was not a soul in sight.

"A" circle has the BD3 units, which are the old style semi detached rectangular units.
They used to be BD5, but the upstairs have now been blocked off, hence they are now only BD3!!

They have been nicely refurbished inside, after the floods, and have 3 beds, an ensuite shower, loo and wash basin, with an outdoor kitchen.

We were very tired after the long hot journey from Phala, so thought we would just drive to the cause way behind the camp, so spend a while checking out the water birds, and maybe a croc or two!! We even saw a leopard there one year!!!

Imagine our disappointment when we found that the causeway was closed, because part of it has been washed away!! The "no entry" barrier was quite near the entrance to the road, so we really could not see anything!!!!

We could have tried elsewhere, but decided that we would have an early braai, so drove back to camp.

By now the sun was beginning to go down, but it was still very warm............we were definitely in the tropics.

The Chick laid and lit his fire, and I prepared the meat........fillet steak, and wors, with coleslaw and new minty potatoes.

We sipped our sundowners, and watched the fire burn away, until the hot red embers indicated that it was time to braai.

It was all cooked to perfection, and we were pleased to see that when the kitchen was refurbished, it now boasts some steak knives, which cut through the tender fillet like butter!!

After washing up, Dungy made us a coffee, and poured us a cold Amarula!!
There was not a cloud to be seen, so the stars were twinkling across the amazing African sky, and we knew how blessed we were to be here in the best place on earth...............what would tomorrow bring?

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 Post subject: Re: Crested Chick Flies Home!!!!!
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 02, 2014 10:52 am 
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Jan 21st
The Chick and I were woken up at 2am with a loud ping, followed by a thud!!! :shock:

We turned the light on, but could see nothing obvious,
We thought maybe a night bird had flown into the window, though that didn't seem very likely.

We eventually got back to sleep, and when we woke the following morning, we discovered the gruesome truth!!!

There, next to our suitcase, we found what had woken us up.............. a dead Bat. :cry:

He must have misjudged things and clipped the edge of the fan!!! Poor little chap!!!

We weren't sure of the procedure, as we knew that Bats are a protected species, so we let the Ranger know what had happened, just to be on the safe side.

By now the sun was coming up, and we sat on the stoep with our morning coffee, just drinking in the peace and tranquillity. Not a soul in sight..............magic!!!

Eventually, we showered, dressed, packed the car, and after dropping the keys in the box, we drove out of the gate at 7am. We were on our way to Punda Maria camp!!!

We stopped on the high level bridge, and saw a lone Ellie in the riverbed, and a few Maribou Storks in the distance.
There was some water flowing in places, but there were also large areas of dry riverbed.

We turned off up the S56, which I have to say is my absolute favourite road in Kruger, and in my opinion the prettiest.

There was a group of Buffs in the riverbed, having a wallow in the thick mud, and several water birds.

Further on we saw Impala, Giraffe, Zebbies, Waterbuck, Ellies, Steenbok, and many birds including a lovely Kori Bustard..

Eventually we arrived at Babalala picnic site, for a bathroom break, cold drink and a chicken sandwich.

We had hoped that the Roan herd that Dungy and I had seen several years ago, would be at the waterhole, as we would dearly have loved The Chick to see them, but they were nowhere to be seen.

As we watched, a small group of Ellies arrived for a drink from the water tower, and after they had drunk their fill, they wandered off (luckily away from the picnic area!!!)

Then we were on our way for the last leg of the journey to Punda, but sadly we saw very few animals, who presumably were all sheltering from the hot midday sun (Mad dogs and Englishmen!!)

We got to Punda, at 3pm, and checked into our BD3 unit.

For those of you that don't know, they are the terraced units which have been there since Adam was a lad, but have all been beautifully refurbished inside.

They have 3 single beds, ensuite shower, loo, and basin, and an inside kitchen, which was very well equipped.

Because they were built so long ago, and because of the way that they are configured, it means that there is not enough room, for each unit to have it's own braai, but there is a nice communal area, for those that wish to braai.

We knew this before we arrived, and with my mobility problems we decided to pass on this, so made a simple stirfry, which went down a treat.

We sat outside our bungalow for our obligatory glass of Amarula, and wondered what tomorrow would bring.

Would Frank be on duty at Pafuri, would Crooks Corner be open again, what wildlife would we come across?

It was a bit overcast, so we could only see the odd star twinkling, but that didn't dampen our spirits........we were still in one of the most amazing places on God's earth.............how blessed we were!!!!

With that thought in mind, we turned in for the night!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Crested Chick Flies Home!!!!!
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2014 11:37 am 
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Jan 22nd
We woke to brilliant sunshine, and the sound of a Woodland Kingfisher.

I prepared a small picnic for Pafuri, and after filling up with petrol, we set off for the very far north!!!

We took the S60, but saw very few animals or birds. However, we were on our way to my favourite place on earth, so we were not daunted!!

We picked up the H1-8, and the anticipation increased...............we were now in serious Baobab country!!

Luckily The Chick has very sharp eyes, and he suddenly said "That doesn't look like a normal Dove?"

I peered at the little bird sitting in the middle of the road, and what did I see, but an Emerald-Spotted Wood Dove!!!

I have caught a glimpse of one before, but didn't get a photo, and although this little blighter proceeded to fly off to the nearest tree, I still managed to get a reasonable shot. (IMHO!!)

The further north we went, we saw plenty of Nyala and Baboons, and then there we were at the crossroads.

We drove straight over, onto the Luvuvu Bridge, where there was a reasonable amount of water running.

What a beautiful view you get from here, it must be one of the prettiest in the park!!.

Then after we had drunk in the wonderful ambience of this amazing area, we all noticed that our tummies were rumbling, so decided it was time to visit Pafuri.

We pulled in, and we were delighted to see that firstly there were no other cars, and secondly that Frank was there!!!

It was two years since we had last seen him, and I was amazed to find that he remembered us!!!

Last time we were there he had seen a Narina Trogon and an Orange-Winged Pytilia the day before, and this visit told a similar story!!

The day before, he had seen a herd of 50+ Eland and a Pel's Fishing Owl!!!

Why do we always arrive there a day too late!!!! :wall:

We were all starving, so sat near the river to have our picnic.............chicken wings, samosas and a mixed salad, all washed down with diet coke.

When we could eat no more, we decided to take a quick tour of the site, but as Frank seemed to be busy with this and that, we decided not to bother him this time.

We could hear a Tropical Bou Bou, though we could not find him, but did see some White-Fronted Bee-Eaters, a Kurrichane Thrush, and a pair of Pied Kingfishers.

As we prepared to go back to the car, we saw an Owl land in one of the trees......................oh we could not be THAT lucky!!! :pray:

Quite right we couldn't, but it was a Barn Owl, which was a lifer for me, so well worth it!!

It was then time to say our goodbyes to Frank and his wife, and as we packed up the car, ready for the next leg of the journey to Crooks Corner, we thought sadly that it would be another year before we returned.....................how wrong can you be!!!!! :whistle: :whistle:

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 Post subject: Re: Crested Chick Flies Home!!!!!
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:15 pm 
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Xankie, GM, MM & PF.............many thanks for all your words of encouragement. :dance: :dance:


Jan 22nd (Part 2)
We set off towards Crooks Corner, and had not gone far, when we spotted a car parked on one of the small river viewing loops, and I was horrified to see a man out of the vehicle!!!! :shock:

I prepared myself to do the spiel "Please could you get back in your car etc etc",when he started frantically waving his arms!!!

We pulled up behind his vehicle, and he quickly explained that they had been stuck there for and hour and a half, and had almost given up hope that they would be found - he suspected that the starter motor had gone!!!

He asked could we take him back to Frank at Pafuri, where hopefully he would have a some way to get help.
We of course were very happy to help, so found ourselves driving back to Pafuri!!

Frank said that there was a phone at the SAPS post near Crooks Corner, and we offered to take the man there, however he was reluctant to let us, because he thought it would spoil our day!!!

We assured him that we didn't mind, but at that point Frank stepped in, and offered to take him, so after checking that we could do nothing else, we set off again for Crooks.

We stopped to let the man's wife and friends know what was happening, and then then we were on our way.

The last few kms before Crooks Corner have always fascinated me.
Its like driving through an enchanted forest that has come straight out of a fairy tale.
I have said before, that I almost expect Red Riding Hood to pop out from behind one of the beautiful Fever Trees.

We drove into Crooks Corner, and we were immediately amazed to see how much water was in the Limpopo.
Our previous two visits had shown a dry riverbed, and we could have walked across to Zimbabwe, if we'd wanted to.

Today was not exactly the raging torrent that we saw on TV during the floods, but there was still plenty of water flowing.

Strangely enough though, there were no Crocs to be seen, which was a bit disappointing.

The Chick was very interested to read all the info on the boards, and while he was doing that, I experienced my usual goose bumps, as I went back in time, imagining what it must have been like in those turbulent days.

We spotted a Saddle-Billed Stork wading in the shallow water near the riverbank, and also some White-Fronted and Carmine Bee-Eaters, in the nearby trees.

Reluctantly we eventually left Crooks and drove back past the stranded car which was now empty!!!
We presumed the occupants were safely back at Pafuri, but called in just to make sure!!

Indeed they were being looked after very well by Frank, and a breakdown vehicle was on it's way!!

We decided to go down Nyala Drive, but we were disappointed to find that most of it was blocked off, so we just made our way slowly back to the main road, and from there back to Punda Maria.

We arrived home to find that we had no water, and so the Chick went to reception to report it. He then called at the shop, and by the time he got back, a plumber had arrived.........how's that for service!!!

He managed to get the loo working, but advised us that he couldn't do any other repairs until the morning, He kindly offered us another unit, and even offered to help us move.

However, after a bit of a "conflab" we decided to make do, as we didn't want the upheaval, and we were also keen to get dinner on the go, which was going to be chicken curry!!

Said curry was very tasty, and we then had our usual coffee and Amarula, while we went back over our amazing day in the far north, and wondered how long it would be until we returned.

We were planning to drive the Mahonie loop in the morning, before we headed back to Shingwedzi, so once we were all washed up and cleared away (with boiled bottled water) we hit the sack, and wondered what the tomorrow had in store for us.

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 Post subject: Re: Crested Chick Flies Home!!!!!
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 8:44 am 
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Jan 23rd.

We woke early, had a "lick and promise" in boiled bottled water, then packed up the car, for our journey back to Shingwedzi.

We were very pleased to see the people who had broken down the day before.
They had arrived back at camp the previous evening, after the breakdown service had successfully fixed the problem, and they said they felt so lucky that things had turned out so well.

We could not have visited Punda Maria without a trip round the Mahonie Loop, so before we embarked on the return journey to Shing, we did just that!!!

It was a perfect morning - cool but sunny, and as we watched the sun come up, we were full of expectations as to what this amazing road might deliver. It a very pretty road, in my humble opinion, and has been kind to us more often than not over the years!!

We had not gone far, when The Chick stopped the car, and said "Steenbok"
I peered into the bush, and wow was I excited.............the "Steenbok" was actually a Sharpe's Grysbok which was a first for him!!!!

It went quiet then for a few kms, until we spotted a lone buff, and some zebra, with a cute baby, such a beautiful sight!!!

Further along we had just said " it's a bit quiet this morning" when there, just by the side of the road, was a lioness lying down. She gave us a cursory glance, then got up and walked further into the bush.

We drove on until we spotted a giraffe having his breakfast, and a group of Impies with babies.

We noticed that these babies seemed smaller than the ones in the Phala/Letaba area, so thought that maybe they had been born later that the usual mid to end of November?

Onwards we travelled, and we were delighted to see a magnificent Martial Eagle, enjoying the early morning sunshine - another first for The Chick!!!

We saw some Ellies in the distance (just where I like them to be when I am on a dirt road!!) and a male Waterbuck, who was displaying a magnificent set of horns!!!

Then we saw the main road in the distance, and our morning trip along this amazing road, had sadly come to an end!!

We drove back to Punda for a bathroom break, and then after calling in for petrol, we set off back to Shingwedzi, for the last night of our short holiday...............what would we see along the way?!!!

To be continued..................

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 Post subject: Re: Crested Chick Flies Home!!!!!
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 7:29 am 
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Jan 23rd cont.
We eventually set off from Punda camp at around 10am, well chuffed with our trip around the Mahonie Loop.

What would the journey down to Shingwedzi produce?

We saw very little to begin with, just a few small herds of Impala, and a few Ellies - though we are actually always pleased to see both of those.

Then not far from Babalala, we saw a lone magnificent old Buff strolling across the road, seemingly with not a care in the world.

As we approached Babalala, our tummies were rumbling, so we parked up, and got our picnic ready - mini pizzas and salad, all washed down with orange and mango juice!!

While we were eating, several Wood Hoopoes and Woodland Kingfishers were flying in and out of the trees, calling to each other. It was an amazing sight and sound, and reinforced to us, how blessed we are to spend so much time in South Africa each year.

Fully sated, we packed up and set off for Shingwedzi, and in the heat of the day, we were not surprised that there were very few animals in view.

However we were thrilled to see a small group of Tsessebe, with the cutest little calf, and as this was a first for The Chick, we were even more thrilled!!!

Near to Shing, we saw some Baboons playing near the side of the road, and before no time we were back at camp, for our last night of this mini trip.

We were in a different unit this time, but it was just as nice, and we had a good snooze, before eventually The Chick got the braai on the go - fillet steak, wors, corn on the cob and new potatoes.............yummy.

The African skies were full of stars that night, and they twinkled at us, while we drank our coffee and Amarula...............more reasons to feel blessed.

Then it was an early night, while we contemplated what our drive to Red Rocks and beyond would deliver up for us in the morning.!!!



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 Post subject: Re: Crested Chick Flies Home!!!!!
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 23, 2014 4:04 pm 
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Jan 24th
After a quick shower, and coffee and biscuits, we loaded up the car, and set off for the last leg of our journey.
Part of us was sad to be on our way home, but knowing that we had a 3 weeks adventure in the park with dear friends in a month's time, the blow was not so bad!!

Our route was to turn off the main road towards Red Rocks, and then join the main road again further down.
Sightings were few and far between, but we didn't really mind, because it is such a pretty drive, and we had seen some wonderful birds and animals and trees, over the last four days.

We arrived at Mopani mid morning, and had a tasty chicken mayo sandwich, before embarking on the return down the H14, back to Phalaborwa.

Again we had very few sightings, before arriving back at the gate.

We arrived home mid afternoon, and after unpacking, we had a quick snooze, before getting ready to go to our local Pub and Grill for a delicious fillet steak and chips!!

Then it was back to our cottage for coffee and Amarula, and we reminisced on a very successful and pleasurable four night trip into my most favourite place on God's good earth!!

Now we could start planning and looking forward to the next trip, which was to start on Feb 17th!! :dance:


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 Post subject: Re: Crested Chick Flies Home!!!!!
Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 2:48 pm 
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We have spent a couple of wonderful weeks with Elsa and Klystron in and around the park, and I will do my best to write a proper report some time!! :redface: :big_eyes:

Today however, I have a cautionary tale for you.

You have heard I'm sure, that the early bird catches the worm.................well I can confirm that, and also add that lazy people who stay in bed don't!!!

Thursday March 6th

Elsa and Klystron had decided to get up early this morning and go for a drive on the H6 and S100.
The Chick said that he would like to go with them, but Dungy and I stayed in bed!!

I knew it was a mistake as soon as I saw the beams on their faces when they returned!!

Here is what they saw!!!

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 Post subject: CLEAN >>>Crested Val's Crested Chick Flies Home!!! KNP, Dec. '13
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 9:02 am 
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March 7th-9th.

We had an amazing time at the Cricket@Skukuza weekend.

We met many old friends, and made some new.

We did not do any drives during the weekend, but saw these two, on our way back to Phala, the lion near the high level bridge on the H12, and the hynie near the high level Olifants bridge. :dance:


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It was a wonderful finish to the weekend!!! :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Crested Chick Flies Home!!!!!
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2014 7:19 pm 
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The Tropic of Capricorn Loop

My first trip along the Tropic of Capricorn Loop in 2010, started my Ellie phobia, when we were terrorised by about 20 ellies!!! :shock:

It has taken me till recently to start to understand these magnificent creatures a little better, and although I still have a healthy respect for them, I am more comfortable to be near them.

However, I still send up a prayer when we venture down this road!!! :pray: :pray:

Way back in February we decided to introduce The Chick to this usually very productive road, and here are a few of the friends we met along the way!!!!!

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...............and not an Ellie in sight!!!!!! :whistle: :whistle:

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 Post subject: Re: Crested Chick Flies Home!!!!!
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 4:49 pm 
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Phalaborwa to Skukuza.
Well finally that time had come................to leave our little cottage in Phala, and drive down to Ballito, where we were to spend a week before flying back to the UK.

We set off from Phala gate at about 8am and no sooner had we started out on the H9, when a Cheetah ran across the road, after pausing for a quick photo!!!

At Erfplaas we were so thrilled to be able to say goodbye to one of the Klippie family, and we promised not to make it too long before we visited them again.

As we made our way along the H9, and then turned right towards Satara, we saw plenty of general game, and we were really pleased to be able to say goodbye to the family of Hyena who have a den near the Olifants high level bridge.

We pulled into Satara Camp feeling quite excited, as we were to try out the newly finished Mugg & Bean, and we were not disappointed. It has been very tastefully furnished, in keeping with the bush, and the menu did not let us down either!! Service was good, and prices were standard M & B.

We eventually got going, and made our way towards Skukuza, where we were to have an overnight stay, before exiting the park through The Malelane gate the following morning.

Roughly 20 kms south of Satara, we found a car parked by the side of the road, and it's occupants waved us down. They were so excited to tell us that quite a way into the distance there were two lions with a kill!!!!!

Wow, what a way to finish off our 5 month stay in and around the park!! Photos were duly taken, and then we set off for Skukuza.

We were in Unit 54, which is a 3 bed bungalow with ensuite and kitchen, but it is very secluded and not at all overlooked, so I can certainly recommend it!!!

The Chick did us proud with our last braai............spatchcock chicken, wors and braai rolls, and I rustled up a yummy salad and some new potatoes.

The following morning we packed up, and made our way to Afsaal, where we were pleasantly surprised, after all the negative comments that I have read recently on the forums.

Granted, we have never visited it before, so I had nothing to compare it with, but it was very clean, and the shop and café were well stocked. Scottels were available, and the loos were also nice and clean.

With a sad heart we eventually arrived at the gate, and all too soon we were on our way to Barberton and heading towards Ermelo, where we were to stay overnight, before heading into the Battlefields for 2 nights, and then a week in Ballito before flying back to Joburg to connect for our flight back to Cardiff.

We had so enjoyed our 5 months in Phala, with several short trips into the park for overnight stays.

We had enjoyed a wonderful week end at Skukuza Cricket 2014, and met many wonderful forum members there.

We had also met many forum members face to face in the park, either at Letaba Camp or Olifants, and even met one or two along the road.

I don't know when we will visit my beloved park again, as family circumstances have taken over, and it may be a while before we return to Africa, so thank goodness for The SANParks Forums!!!!


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