Wow, I am absolutely BLOWN AWAY by all the terrific (and priceless) advice you've all given me.
I was pretty much swung by all the comments to go with the H9, considering:
- A stop at Masorini and Sable Hide will add a touch of colour to the trip
- The visibility of the dry mopani veld could deliver some decent sightings
- A number of you have seen some impressive sightings along the road
- Letaba will make a great tea/brunch spot, before heading slowly down to Olifants (past the spot where the giraffe committed suicide
- We'll have plenty of time to explore the H7 when we are at Tamboti
- It allows my brother and parents to see a part of the park that's different from the bushveld etc. further south
So I was all happy with that, when who should come along but Stoffel - the king of stats!
Stoffel, you shouldn't have removed those percentages. That was some awesome data you have there! I know it is really all a 'lucky packet' and even two people doing the same routes on the same day could have entirely different experiences, but Stoffel's numbers were, I admit, rather convincing.
And given the fantastic amounts of game we've been seeing on the Orpen cam lately, there is no doubt that the H7 will present a great first impression of the Park.
Carolv's suggestion was rather interesting too, to drive down to Phabeni gate and enter there. This would indeed be a good intro to the Park, but it would require a night-time traverse of Bushbuckridge (I think?) and I would be concerned about wandering cattle and other non-road-worthy creatures. Of course a similar fate may await me on the Klaserie - Phalaborwa route too.
So, where does that leave me?
Well, it puts me in a very enviable position. I don't think I can go wrong whichever route I choose. The idea of both fills me with such a tingle of excitement, I can hardly wait.
I'll let you all know what final decision we made in my trip report upon my return.
Thank you again all you wonderful forumites! Your wealth of knowledge is incredible.