During Dec’14, SO, my little girl and I visited Kruger spending 18 days staying in a number of camps i.e. Skukuza – Biyamiti – LowerSabie – Tamboti – Mopani – Satara – Berg ‘n Dal – Pretoriuskop. We were spoilt with some great sightings and special moments, but unfortunately technology let us down.
Every day, I downloaded some pics from my cameras via laptop onto external hard drive. Arriving back home, I cleared all the blurs and as I tried to copy all my pics onto another hard drive when the hard drive just stopped working.
I later learned that my hard drive had crashed and data recovery not possible. 18 days of Kruger moments just gone – 3 cameras used consisting of 250 GB of pics. We were all extremely disappointed.
After we recovered emotionally from this disappointment, SO suggested
that the only way to do some recovery work is that I must return to Kruger alone, but must do this soon.
Time was not a problem as I went on early retirement on 1 Jan’14 and starting my own business. Well, here we are…managed to spend another 12 days in Kruger as a ‘Lone Ranger’ on a ‘recovery’ trip.
As most people returned to work, school and daily lives, the park was relatively quiet with lots of accommodation available, but as I was alone – I opted to do it in low cost style by staying in safari tents, hide and huts – which I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed.
Well, I flew in from Cape Town to Lanseria where I hired a Toyota and travelled to Skukuza via Nelspruit on Monday, 27 January 2014. I was greeted in Nelspruit by heavy rains and on the road via White River to Hazyview saw two serious motor car accidents taking place
. Arriving at Phabeni gate and rain cleared up a bit, I was happy to arrive safely just before 17h00
everyone who is joining in to see what happened during the 12 days while visiting various camps: Skukuza – one night in Sabi Sands – Tamboti – Shipandani hide – Mopani – Satara – Lower Sabie – Crocodile Bridge & Bush walk – Skukuza.
These three African architectural style huts embody the spirit of the new South Africa and interestingly, this entrance at Phabeni (meaning ‘shelter’ in Sotho) is relatively still new as it was only built in 2002.
As I crossed the Phabeni stream, I just cannot forget about the great Kingfisher pics I took during our previous trip, but on this day it was very quiet, so I pushed on for my first stop – Lake Panic before booking in at Skukuza.
Now, what will my first sighting be
. Driving along the S1, I heard an interesting quark-quark- sound which gets loader as I scanned the sweet veld. At first I thought that there is something under tyre making the sound as the surface touched the tarmac, but then I saw it…. “Hey, you in the champagne coloured Toyota, could you please move along, can’t you see I am busy to impress a mate and denote my territory? Quark – Quark…”
“Ok, Mr Black-bellied bustard, but before I move along and as you be my first sighting on my visit just arriving from Cape Town, will you please be nice to me and do another quark for me so I can show it to the other forumites on SAN Parks website as we all are nice people, you know - please!.”
“OK - Only one, then you must go as I got some serious business to attend to. I will do for you a nice guttural quark followed by bloated throat and show you how high I can stretch my neck. But then you must go – only one take!“
The weather prospects for nice bird photography at Lake Panic did not look good with these clouds rolling in over the southern region of the park as I progressed along the S1 greeted by Impalas and Zebras.
Approaching a small herd of zebras, it seems the one looking at me intensely, whispered to the others, “Fellows, you just keep on grazing and I will keep an eye on this alien. Wait, he stopped, seems he also got one of those barcode scanner which goes click-click. Ok, he is finish and seems to be harmless - there he goes.”
Tufty:“Hi Zebbie, I do not want to gossip, but what is that guy’s plans? Why did he stop?”
Zebbie:“Tufty, you are just overly nervous, he is not speeding and got a camera – surely just an admirer.”
Tufty:“An admirer you say?! Does my hair look ok? Oh dear, do not tell me he took a photo with my tuft looking like this?”
It began to drizzle slightly as I turned off to check out what is happening at Nyamundwa Dam doing the lollipop cruise. There he is – the Fish Eagle.
Fishigle:“Were you not here a month ago? I thought you had taken enough photos! You must get this done quickly as my feathers are getting wet and I will rather fly off than you taking a photo of me as wet Fish Eagle – I got a reputation to look after you know…”.
Next stop – even if it rains, I urgently need a dose of Lake Panic’s beauty and tranquillity…