Day 1… a long way to paradise
So the Kruger bug bit me after staying in the Park for 3 days on my lonesome in Dec 2011. I just had to book again and when a discount special came up I booked the following:
3 nights Shing
3 nights Maroela
3 nights Lower Sabie,
Then came my first meet and greet which was a brand new experience on its own and after everyone left, WendyA invited me for a KPA at a local Pub. We had a few drinks and after chatting about this ‘Sable hide’ thingamajig she said if I book one night there then she would join… So the Monday came, I phoned and found out it is available before Shing and I booked it, instead of being alone in the Park for more than a week, I got a Kruger partner as well… Then came the counting off of days towards our trip, I got another itch and then we booked 2 nights at Satara before Sable Hide as well and it became a 12 night stay. Something else happened during our wait to go to my beloved Park… I thought that we should maybe make it a fundraiser trip? To cut a long story short, the brownie bunch was created and we were on our way to Search the KNP from top to bottom to find the elusive Brown hyenas… Did we find any? Uhm… you will have to read and find out. But fun we definitely had.
It got all closer to the date and WendyA informed me that she will be visiting tannie CV in Phala for a few days before I arrive so we would be getting to Satara at different times. I got a lekker tent for my birthday from BarryEls and Hilda and borrowed some camping equipment from daddy dearest. Everything was packed and I was ready to go to Kruger but the night before it dawned upon me that I have no jack or wheel spanner for when I could maybe possibly get a flat tyre… Oh well, nothing like that would happen to me. I woke up at midnight and left Dronkwordspruit at 1:00 on 25 Novmeber 2012 as I’m one of those lost souls that need to enter Krugs when the gate opens. The road was quiet and peaceful, the sun started rising after Whiteriver and I got to Phabeni Gate about 5 minutes before the gate opened. I knew that it would need more than us two ladies to find a brown hyena so I wanted the whole park to help me search…
My first sighting in the Park was a red-crested korhaan, a beautiful close-up of this popping bird
And some imps
Then a special sighting for me, you know seeing mites is a rare thing in the Park and sommer on my first few kilometer’s I got to drive straight into Flying Cheetah…
Then I turned into the S65 hoping to find some kitty cats, but absolutely nothing, it was a very quiet road today with only a few sightings.
Then it was back on the H1-1 so that I can visit Skuks for a wee break and then take the straight H1-2/H1-3 to Satara. First thing I saw on this road was a Speke’s Hinge-Back Tortoise
And at the Lower water bridge a few birdies, I think it is the green sandpiper and then a green backed heron
Then it was time for me to check out Maroela loop, I thought that I had the time as we can only book in at 14:00. So trundling down this dirt road in search of any feline I only saw a leopard tortie
And then at the end of this road a g-raff eyeing me from a distance
Then back on the tar I got face-to-face with some waterbucks
I drove past Kruger Tablets and shook my head at some stupid people that climbed out of their car at the Orpen rock to climb on the rock and take pics… no, this is not a designated area. And about 1km past them there were a 2 car roadblock (ya I know I didn’t stop and scold but imagine what I would’ve missed if I did) this is what they were staring at…
Which became a LUT
And then a LIG
The leopard crossed the road and because of this stupid people that climbed on the rock I missed him by a split second and only got a bum shot. I was on the right side of the road as I knew he would cross and another car on the left side, then they wanted to pass us on the middle, I stopped them and informed them not to speed as the leopard wants to cross and then I missed that moment… aaaaaagh
Oh well not to get angry about that now, I moved on and went to visit my fave place, Leeupan where I got my first ever comb-billed duck
And some white faced ducks
Then it was time to stop at Tshokwane were I saw this tame-ish bushbuck
The road to Satara was also quiet, I turned to go look at the baobab and got some loving imps
The rest of the road produced more g-raffs and a cute little steenbokkie.
I got to Satara where Wendy was already pitched up and sipping on a KPA. I quickly packed out and the tent was pitched and the gazebo offered us shade. Here is our camp, right next to the fence.
The best surprise that day I got in camp where I got to tick another lifer for me… a Diederick’s Cuckoo
Wendy suggested that we should drive the S100 and off we went to find anything to add to our day-sightings. A beautiful waterbuck
And a brown-hoodie
Then another lifer… I have always thought that the cheetah of KNP was an urban legend as I’ve been going to the Park for years and have never seen one. But that afternoon my myth was slammed and I got to see a far off cheetah on the S100 of all roads. It was a great and adrenaline thrilled drive.
We got back to camp with 1 minute to spare and organized a morning drive with Irving. Then I bought a nougat at the shop as we were going to celebrate our brownie trip and my first ever cheetah with Amanuga…
We made a lekker fire that night and chatted till about 23:00 when we decided to turn in as we had to be at reception at 4:00.
Day one finished and done.. but no Brownies found.
To be continued…