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 Post subject: Crested Val 3 crested barbets 2 honey badgers and a.. Mar 11
Unread postPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 3:51 pm 
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Well I put off doing my trip report, hoping that no one would notice...............and no one did..........so that's telling me something isn't it!!!!

We had a wonderful 13 nights in Kruger in March, which started at Crocodile Bridge, then progressed to Skukuza for the Cricket Weekend, followed by a return trip to Shingwedzi - via Satara and Mopani - finally finishing up in Lower Sabie.

These are the highlights!!! :dance: :dance: :dance:

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 Post subject: Re: Three crested barbets, two honey badgers and a..........!!!
Unread postPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 10:11 am 
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While scanning the forums one day last year, I spotted a thread about a cricket tournament to take place at Skukuza Camp in March 2011.

Now I’m not particularly keen on sport of any description, cricket included, but Dungie loves it, and I thought that maybe we could combine it with some game viewing, so after a few enquiries to Bert, we booked our place on the official list, and I contacted Central Reservations to book some accommodation.

It was soon obvious that there would be many other forumites attending the weekend, a few that I had already met in December, but mostly those who we would be meeting for the first time, so we were very excited.

Therefore on March 6th we left Port Edward with an amazing sunrise over the ocean, and travelled with stopovers at Hilton, Ladysmith, Ermelo and Barberton, eventually arriving at the Malelane Gate mid morning on March 10th .

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We were directed at the gate to the reception area, and even though I had “mislaid” our paperwork (actually Dungie had plonked his case on top of my folder) the very helpful assistant was able to look up the booking and our confirmation Wildcard letter on the computer with no problem.

Then it was on with the yellow ribbon (actually an old pair of yellow trousers) and “Hello our beloved Kruger, here we are”!!

We were staying at Croc Bridge that night, so decided to take the S25.

Here are some of the fellas we met along the way (we also met Anne-Marie, who was making her way back to Berg en Dal, and had a brief chat with her - Nice to meet you AM!!!)

We also saw a sleepy old male lion under a tree, but the height of our car didn’t allow us a photo opportunity!!


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To be continued......

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 Post subject: Re: Three crested barbets, two honey badgers and a..........!!!
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 12:32 pm 
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Part 2.
We arrived at the Croc Bridge reception at about 2pm, and had to rely on the patient assistant to look us up on the computer again (as we hadn’t yet unpacked, and found the missing folder!!)

She did everything with a smile, and as she handed me my new Wildcard confirmation letter, she said “And please don’t lose this one!!” I felt like a naughty child, but could see by her face that she was only joking.

We were in one of the huts for the disabled, which had a nice large walk in shower with folding seat, so I was a happy bunny.

We sat out and had a coffee, and just smiled at each other, which is what we do each time we go back to paradise.

Gee it was hot, and we put on the aircon in the bungalow, so that we would have some relief later on, when we would be trying to sleep!!

We decided to make Gezantfombi Dam, our evening venue, and so off we set, with hope in our hearts.

We arrived as the sun was beginning to go down, and we were the only ones there. What a pleasure it was and how fortunate we were to be able to do this!!

We saw some buffs in the distance, and a hamerkop way over the other side of the dam, and then I heard it!!

Some of you who have read my previous TR “from crested barbets to honey badgers!” may remember that I had seen a brightly coloured bird that I could not originally identify, and also kept hearing a bird call that I didn‘t recognise, and of course eventually I twigged that they were both a Woodland Kingfisher. Sadly this was just before we left the park in December, so I didn’t manage to get a piccie!!

Well now I was on a mission, and after scouring every tree in sight I found him!!!

He even posed long enough for me to take a photo!!


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We were so excited, like two kids, and we had only been in the park a few hours!!!

I had made a very unrealistic wish list in December, both for animals and birds, but maybe this time we could cross off a few more names!!!

We made our way back to camp, and as we were only going to be there one night, we had decided to bring a cold chook and some salads with us, so that we didn’t have to unpack to cook!!
In view of how hot it was, that was definitely a good decision, and as we sat on the stoep with my dry white and Dungie’s frostie, we thought “Isn’t God good to create all this beauty for us?!!” We also sent up a quiet prayer that all would remain beautiful in ths amazing place, and not be altered too much in the future.

After a delicious meal, out came the amarulas and coffee, and that made a perfect end to the day.

As we prepared for sleep, we talked excitedly of the coming weekend, when we would meet some of the amazing peeps from these forums!!

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 Post subject: Re: Three crested barbets, two honey badgers and a..........
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 1:17 pm 
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Part 3
March 11th dawned bright and early, and we decided to take another drive to Gezantfombi Dam and back, before setting out for Skukuza and the cricket weekend!! :dance: :dance:

As we left Croc Bridge the sun was just appearing and already it was very warm. We drove up to the dam, and were so pleased to find that no other cars were there, and we had the place all to ourselves.

As we sipped our coffee and ate our biscuits (sorry Saffies we just don’t understand the concept of rusks!!) the buffs were still there in the distance, and four male impies came down to drink the refreshing water.

My Woody was in full voice again, and for the second time in merely a few hours, we were thanking the good Lord for all his blessings to us. :clap: :clap:

We spotted another Lilac Breasted roller, and a bird that we couldn’t identify at the time, but has since been identified on the Bird ID thread as a Jacobin Cukoo, which I gather was a good sighting, as they are not too common.

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Eventually we were joined by another car, which was our cue to leave!!

We went back to Croc Bridge to pack up our things, and then went to the shop to order a toastie and a coffee.

What a pleasure that was, as the toastie, which was quite delicious was served to us with such a nice smile, and the coffee was hot and strong.

We then pulled in to get the car filled up with petrol, and again this was done with a smile, and as we left the camp, we thought what a pleasure it had been to stay at Crocodile Bridge Camp.

We spent a slow morning driving from Croc Bridge to Skukuza (with a pleasant stop over at Sunset Dam) and saw various birds and general game along the way.

Check in at Skukuza was easy (as I had by this time tracked down the missing folder!) and eventually we checked into our “semi-luxury riverside bungalow”!!!!
(More on that later!!) :whistle: :whistle:

Here are some of the guys we saw on the journey to Skukuza.


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To be continued.....

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 Post subject: Re: Three crested barbets, two honey badgers and a..........
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2011 12:41 pm 
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Part 4.
When we are in Kruger, we usually stay in a standard bungalow with two or three beds in one room, an ensuite shower/WC, and an outside kitchen with fridge, sink and two hotplates, but by the time we came to book, it appeared that there wasn’t one available at Skukuza during the cricket weekend, so we were offered a “semi-luxury riverside bungalow” !!!

We thought that because it was a “one off” for a special weekend, we would take it, but laughed together beforehand, speculating what it would actually be like, considering it was just about twice the price of the standard bungalow, but was only semi-luxury!!

Well all I can say is (sorry SANparks) “We was had” !!!

As far as we could see, it was almost identical to a standard bungalow, but:-

It had a TV (which we didn’t want, and which didn‘t work properly!!) and tea and coffee making facilities in the room (which we didn’t want!!) and a safe, which we could quite frankly take or leave!!

It DID NOT have a wardrobe (which we DID want, because for once, we had brought decent clothes to Kruger, for the cricket dinner!!) and the air con was not working properly!

However, nothing was going to spoil this weekend that we had been looking forward to for so long, so after getting someone to see to the air con (which was a must in that heat) we just put all the rest down to experience and got on with it.

I think the weekend has been covered in great detail by many others, so I will just say that it was a privilege to be there, and wonderful to meet so many fellow forum members!!

It was at this point that my almost new camera (my pride and joy!!) decided to misbehave, and would only take the odd photo when it felt like it. Most of the time I only got a peculiar clicking sound, and a blank screen - I was devastated!!

I took it to the photo shop at Skukuza, but sadly they were only able to offer to sell me a new one, so I spent a frustrating five days without a camera!! I then met a wonderful man who fixed it for me, but more of that later!!

In view of this, I am not going to carry on with my usual style of writing - that is “ today we went here and we saw that” sort of scenario, with an accompanying picture of said animal/bird.

For instance:-

Friends that we met at Sunset Dam.

We visited Sunset Dam several times during this trip, (sometimes with a camera that worked!!) so I just thought that you would like to meet some of the friends that we made there!!


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The charging hippo was, as you can imagine very scary!!

We had just pulled away from the dam, when a hippo came out from the opposite side of the road and ran across towards the dam. He was followed by another hippo, so we stopped to see what might transpire.

Sure enough, one of them came back and disappeared into the bushes, but this one followed him and then seemed to lose his bearings.!!

We don’t know whether he was actually aiming for us, so Dungie put the car into reverse, and I said “I’ll try and get a photo, but if I shout “go”, then get us the hell out of here”!!

Luckily as he approached us, he veered off towards the dam, and we got out while the going was good!

To be continued……

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 Post subject: Re: Three crested barbets, two honey badgers and a..........
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 5:10 pm 
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Part 5.
Nellies and Buffs

One morning we set off to find Duke!!

Ever the optimists, we approached his waterhole with eager anticipation, and guess what………..he’d left a note to say “Val and Richard have had to pop out, will see you another time” !!

Well as we really had no genuine expectations of seeing him, we were only mildly disappointed, and carried on back to L S camp where a hearty breakfast was awaiting us!!

However, not far from Duke’s there is another area of water, and we were delighted to find a family of Nellies having quality time together.

They were far enough away for my comfort, as I’m really not keen on close encounters of the Nellie kind, but we could still sit and spend time with them. So with all hope of breakfast fading fast, we switched off the engine, sat back, and enjoyed watching these fascinating creatures.

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Not much further along the road, we came across a herd of buffs, all lying around enjoying life.

Just for a bit of fun, watch this buff’s head!!

When we eventually arrived back at camp with rumbling tummies, it was nearer to lunchtime than breakfast, but we very pleased with our morning’s work!!

To be continued…………..

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 Post subject: Re: Three crested barbets, two honey badgers and a..........
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:58 pm 
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Birds of a feather flock together.

Part 1.
As many of you know, these forums have changed our lives, in more ways than one.
We have met amazing new friends (yes you know who you are!!) and after thirty-five years of visiting SANparks, we have discovered birds!!!

How could we have never noticed the majority of birds in the parks, or anywhere else for that matter?!!
What were we thinking?

Well obviously we weren’t thinking at all, and I just praise God that one day while I was booking some overnight accommodation online for KNP, I stumbled upon the forums!!

We may have stopped to see a saddle-billed stork, or a kori bustard in the past, but otherwise we were not very interested!!
Re-education, re-education, re-education!!!! The birds of Southern Africa are stunning!!

We would pull up behind other cars that were parked, excitedly expecting to see lion or leopard, only to find the occupants of the car were pointing up in the tree or had their heads buried deep in a bird book.

“Oh no” we would say, “It’s only a bird”!!

We should be truly ashamed of ourselves, but luckily joining the forums was my Damascus Moment!!

Again as said before, we were limited with photo opportunities because of my naughty camera, but never-the-less, here is a collection of feathered friends that we saw on the trip before and after it starting misbehaving!!

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More feathered friends to follow!!

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 Post subject: Re: Three crested barbets, two honey badgers and a..........
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 5:26 pm 
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Part 2.
More feathered friends.

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I do hope that you enjoyed sharing some of our feathered friends with us.

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

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 Post subject: Re: Three crested barbets, two honey badgers and a..........
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:44 pm 
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Part 7.
Our little friends.

In my last episode, I shared photos of some of our feathered friends with you.

As I have previously said, we only used to be interested in the big five, or moggies and doggies!! Shame on us!!!! (Though make no mistake we still look for them !!)

You also know how these forums have re-educated us somewhat, and this has now changed the whole perspective of our trips to Paradise.

As well as our feathered friends, we now also look for the “little five.”

1.Elephant Shrew
2.Rhinoceros Beetle
3.Buffalo Weaver
4.Leopard Tortoise
5.Ant Lion.

So far we have only managed a Buffalo Weaver and Leopard Tortoise, but we are ever hopeful, and it makes trips even MORE interesting!!

We also delight in seeing a squirrel running up a tree or coming to visit us in the camp at braai time, and watching a chameleon on a hot day, crossing the road performing his comical dance!!

I am just sorry that we ignored these little fellas for so long, but so glad that our eyes have finally been opened!!

As luck would have it, with my camera out of action for so long, I was not able to collect many photos of our small friends on this trip, but here are some that we were able to meet.

We were braaing one evening at Skukuza when a squirrel came to visit us. Oh how those eyes were so appealing, and he was sooooo cute….. but sadly we had to send him away hungry, as per park rules!!
The photo is especially for Mi and Tawny!!!

Then there was the time when we were driving along (as you do!!) when we spotted a snail crossing the road.!!
It was the largest snail that we have ever seen - It was HUGE!!!!!

This is probably a common sight in Africa, but it was a first for us pommies!!

Then there was the time when we watched a chameleon crossing the hot road.
We looked on with great trepidation, because in December, we had been watching a similar fella, when a huge black chested snake eagle swooped down and carried it off, presumably soon to become dinner!!

I remember a story from my childhood days “The Hare and the Tortoise”.
The hare was fast but careless, and the tortoise was slow but sure.

Well I think that some of the tortoises in Kruger have an identity crisis, as they run across the road so quickly, that you barely have time to take a shot, before they disappear into the bush!!

Look forward to seeing you on the bus for the next trip, when we travel up north!!

To be continued……….

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 Post subject: Re: Three crested barbets, two honey badgers and a..........
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:58 pm 
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Thanks Cheetah2111!! :thumbs_up:

Part 8.
Up north where we eventually met a special man and his friends!!

Part 1.
As I have previously mentioned, my brand new camera ceased to work during the cricket weekend at Skukuza, causing me much heartache and disappointment!! :cry: :cry:

We therefore set off up north knowing that we would not be able to take any photos of the amazing sightings that we would be bound to see!! ………Yeah right, what sightings!! :tongue: :tongue:

We saw the usual game and birdies, between Skukuza and Satara, where we were making an overnight stop, but there were no moggies or doggies, or new birds, so in a way that was a relief!!

Satara camp was unusually quiet, and we spent a very pleasant night there, other than seeing a (smallish) snake that insisted on paying us a visit!! I’m not too keen on critters that either have no legs or eight, if you get my drift!! Oh course we couldn’t take a photo for ID, so goodness knows what it actually was, perhaps it‘s best that we don‘t know!! :big_eyes: :big_eyes:

We next motored up to Mopani camp for another overnight stop, again seeing the usual game and birds.

We spent a very pleasant few hours on the deck of the restaurant, which has a stunning view, and can produce many fabulous bird sightings. :dance: :dance:

Again the camp seemed very quiet, and we had a very pleasant stay, other than we caused a flood in the bathroom because we didn’t realise that we had a blocked shower drain!! :big_eyes:

As we sat out sipping our Amarulas after the delicious braai that Dungie had cooked, we wondered if we were truly alone in Paradise….. Magic!! :clap: :clap:

The following morning we moved on to Shingwedzi, where we had an amazing two nights. We appeared to be the only ones staying there, and the peace and tranquillity was so wonderful.

I get really excited when we drive over The Tropic of Capricorn, and everything feels more……well for want of a better word “tropical”!!! :redface:

I love Shingwedzi, because out of all the main camps, it always seems more “bushy” and “African” than the others.

To sit at the restaurant, eating one of their lekker breakfasts while looking out at the river is almost as good as it gets!! :thumbs_up:

The only minus here was the fact that it was meant to be a bungalow for the disabled, but like the one we had stayed in at Letaba in December, it only had a bath, not a shower!! Not very disabled friendly!! I have put in a suggestion to SANparks!!

It was on this trip that we discovered the causeway near the back entrance to the camp.
What an amazing place that is!!! How had we missed it up till now!! :redface:

We saw just about every variety of Kingfisher, and several times watched them actually fishing.
As most of you will know, they hover over the fish, and then plunge down into the water only to emerge with the fish in their beaks.

We also saw various different Bee Eaters, Green Backed Herons, Saddle-Billed Storks, Hamerkops, Martial and Tawny Eagles, and Wood Hoopoes to name just a few!!

We were up early on the day we were to drive back to Mopani, and decided to drive back via the causeway.

What a good idea that was, because as we sat there waiting for our feathered friends to put in an appearance, there, strolling along a sandbank, was ………………

To be continued……

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 Post subject: Re: Three crested barbets, two honey badgers and a..........
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 4:50 pm 
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Part 2.
I left you while Dungie and I were sitting at the Shingwedzi causeway, where we had stopped for an early morning visit , before we drove back to Mopani.

We were thinking of moving on, when we saw something strolling along one of the sandbanks. As it approached us, we both did a double take, as we couldn’t believe what we were seeing!! :big_eyes:

It was a magnificent leopard!! Oh wow wow wow!!
Now where’s my camera?….Oh yes, I remember, it doesn’t work!! :twisted: :twisted:

Still we had seen it, that was the main thing. Our first leopard of the trip!!
He sniffed around and began looking into the water. We had once seen a leopard near Afsaal, who was lopping out catfish with her paw, so wondered whether this beauty was going to do the same thing.

Unfortunately we never found out the answer to that question, because at that point, a very noisy 4x4 decided to pull up quite near to him, and with a haughty glance at the offending vehicle, our beautiful leopard turned around and returned to the bush. :huh:

In all fairness, the people in the 4x4 had obeyed the viewing etiquette, they just had a very noisy vehicle, so we just put it down to fate!! Maybe another time……..

We saw very little game or birds on our way down to Mopani, so we decided to take The Tropic of Capricorn Loop (beeg mistake!!). :big_eyes: :big_eyes:

The first part was fine and we stopped at Tihongonyeni waterhole, where we were delighted to see a herd of Tsessebe - not lifers, but very rarely seen by us. Of course there were no photo opportunities, but we were thrilled to have seen them.

We moved on and noticed that the road was getting narrower, and there were more trees on either side.

All of a sudden, one of my worst nightmares……a close encounter with a huge bull elephant.
Then another, and another, and so on, until there seemed to one popping out from behind every tree.

They were mostly intent on heading for the water, so mercifully weren’t too interested in us, until we came across “big daddy”. :big_eyes: :big_eyes:

There he was, in the middle of the road, and there began the routine.!!
We had stopped with the car in reverse, and watched him shake his head and proceed to walk towards us!!

He came nearer and nearer picking up speed, so Dungie hit the gas, and back we went!!
After a short while, he shook his head vigorously and trundled off to join his friends heading for the water.

We had no desire to hang about, so drove off towards Mopani camp and safety.
I had vowed never to return to the loop, but I do know it has produced amazing sightings in the past, so we’ll see……… :whistle:

We spent another very quiet and peaceful overnight stay at Mopani - This time with a shower that wasn’t blocked!!

We have found that the laundries vary in price throughout the park, but the one at Letaba is the best value in our opinion, because the washer is R5 and the dryer is free!!!

Therefore en route from Mopani to Satara, we called in there to do a well overdue load!!
We put the washing in, and went to the restaurant while it was doing it’s thing!!

After we had finished, we went to sit on the bench in front of the restaurant, still bemoaning the fact that we had a swish new camera that didn’t work. :cry:

All of a sudden, somebody tapped me on the shoulder!!

I turned round to find Michel 367 & Sprocky standing there. We had met Michel at the cricket, but it was the first time that we had seen Sprocky, and it was so great to catch up with them both.

I was telling them the sad tale of my uncooperative camera, and Michel said that he would take a look.

To cut long story short, he put it back to the factory settings, and lo and behold, I had a camera that worked again!!! He also advised us to buy the better quality batteries - I was always a cheapskate!!

Michel you are a star!!! The main man!! :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:

We also briefly met Aboon and her SO at Letaba, and after we had finished the drying we set off for Satara, now armed with a working camera, for the first time in five days. :dance: :dance: :dance:

Here are a few people we met along the way.

To be continued…………






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 Post subject: Re: Three crested barbets, two honey badgers and a..........
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2011 2:56 pm 
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Part 9.
Reflections on an amazing trip.

As this adventure draws to a close I would just like to share some thoughts with you.!!

Firstly we were very pleasantly surprised how very little speeding we saw from other tourists, and apart from some Mopani Worms, we saw no road kill.

We had one “out of car” sighting, and we were pleasantly surprised that the litter level seems to be slowly improving!!!

We were also surprised at how quiet the park was, even the south, where we were often the only car on a dirt road.

There were never more than three or four cars at any sighting, and often we were on our own, for a while at least.

The north was amazing, and at times we really thought that we were the only visitors there at all. The camps were so peaceful, and we both had a complete sense of relaxation.

We braaied most evenings, and sat by the fire afterwards, sipping our Amarulas, looking at the amazing African night skies, and listening to the varied sounds of the bush. Magic!!

The discovery of the causeway at Shingwedzi was a real find, and we spent several amazing times there, seeing zillions of fabulous birds and of course our beautiful leopard!! It will be a “must visit” for future trips.

We were very interested to be in the park when the “no alcohol” law came into operation.
We were aware of the notices going up beforehand, and were very amused to see the reactions of some people as they were reading them!!!

Being a regular visitor to the SANparks website, and the forums, we had been fully warned of the imminent changes, but of course for many it was all new, and reactions ranged from total horror to great relief and all points in between!!

We had been in the park during Christmas and New Year, and during the actual public holidays, it was quite frankly a nightmare at times, with all the partying taxis as well as the drunken white lager louts!!

This visit coincided with the March long weekend, and all I can say is, what a difference!! Well done SANparks!!

Yes I know it’s inconvenient for most of us “law abiding citizens” who always made sure that we had a designated driver in our car, when had a champagne breakfast or a few sundowners at a waterhole, but really we were mostly the ones who were hacked off with the partying brigade in the first place, weren’t we!!

Funnily enough, Dungie and I are going to live in Phalaborwa for two months later this year, so for the first time ever, we will be going into Kruger as Day Visitors. We will just wait till we get home, to have our sundowner - it won’t be the end of the world!!!

Although only partly disabled, I prefer an adapted bungalow these days, and they do vary from camp to camp, and in fact from what I can gather, within one camp sometimes.

For wheelchair users, a shower is essential, because although the baths have lovely grab rails in place, how are we expected to get from the chair to the bath without a hoist!!

Top of the list for us was the bungalow in Lower Sabie, which used to be one of the guest houses, and has been converted into two adapted units.

They have huge walk-in showers with grab rails and a large folding seat , and grab rails round the loo.

The path from the car to the ramp is wide enough for the chair, as are all the doorways, and the whole unit inside and out, has a feeling of spaciousness.

The semi-luxury unit in Skukuza has to be at the bottom, because although it was twice as expensive as the ordinary units, it had very little extra to warrant the added cost, and did not even have a wardrobe, which we could have done with for the cricket weekend!!

In all fairness to Skukuza their ordinary disabled units are quite up to standard, with all the required features.

Here are some of the friends we saw in the south of the park, after my camera was fixed.


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 Post subject: Re: Three crested barbets, two honey badgers and a..........
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 5:06 pm 
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Part 10.
Three crested barbets, two honey badgers and a ……………!!

Part 1.
As some of you will remember, we went to Kruger for Christmas and New Year, and I made a very unrealistic wish list. I will never do that again, because it put an extra strain on us both to seek out these exotic creatures, when we should have just been enjoying being in Paradise!!

A wise old oom once said to me “The bush will only ever reveal to you, what it wants you to see” and I now believe that whole heartedly.

Top of my animal list was a Honey Badger and top of my bird list was a Crested Barbet (Neither of which I had ever seen.)

Well of course we came home continuing to have not seen them, along with most of the animals on the list, and some of the birds!!!

During the cricket weekend, we were driving near Skukuza early one morning, and I had an SMS from BB30, to say that there were Painted Ones on the S114!!

Wow, we were off like a shot, though we knew deep down that Mr & Mrs Can’t Find the Animals were unlikely to strike lucky!!

And yes, we were quite correct - not a painted one in sight, but as we were returning to camp, I spotted a Grey Go Away bird in a distant tree. We stopped to admire it, and Dungie said “What are those birds up there”? pointing to a tree directly above us.

Oh yesss!!!! you’ve guessed it!!!
There were various birds on view, and one of them was a Crested Barbet!!

Now I was so excited and it was very high up, so the picture is rubbish, but I think that you can just see that it is indeed a Crested Barbet!!

Hugh, if you’re reading this, that is the blurd that I promised you earlier!!
Mi I think it surpasses any that you have ever taken!

Unfortunately, my joy was short lived, because it was just after this that my camera started being naughty!! You win some, you lose some!!

A few days later, we were sitting on the deck at the restaurant at Mopani (what a magnificent location) and a Crested Barbet came and perched in the bush right next to me. That was the first time that I got a good look at this beautiful bird, and it was truly awesome.

Those colours are amazing!!

Sadly I still had a sick camera at the time, so no photo opportunity!!

Then during our mini meet with Michel and Sprocky, at Letaba , Michel suddenly said, “There’s a Crested Barbet” !! as a bird flew past us, and landed in a nearby tree.!!

That was also sadly just before he had fixed my camera, so again no photo opportunity!!

However even though we only had one crappy photo, we could now say that we had seen

“Three Crested Barbets”!!!

To be continued……………

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 Post subject: Re: Three crested barbets, two honey badgers and a..........
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:58 pm 
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Part 2.
As I reported in a previous episode, after we had attended the cricket weekend, we motored up north and spent our first night at Satara.

I was a bit dejected, because my camera was not working, but we were still very happy to be on our way to the fabulous north, which, after we had discovered it in the mid 90s, has always been our favourite part of the park!!

I am willing to admit that there are probably more sighting opportunities in the south, and it does have Lake Panic, but really I begin to feel rejuvenated when we cross over the Tropic of Capricorn!!

When we were buying our provisions in Barberton before we entered the park, we spotted some beef fillet, that looked extremely good, so bought enough for a couple of meals.

We had taken some out to defrost while we went on our evening drive, and when we returned it was just about ready.

We grabbed a cold one each from the fridge - a beer for Dungie, and a dry white wine for me - and then Dungie laid and lit his fire while I got creative.

I parboiled two large spuds, and then wrapped them in foil, ready to put in the fire, when it was hot enough.

I then made a quick and easy ratatouille, which would then just go back on to heat when the meat was almost done, and likewise with some mushrooms that I sliced and cooked in wine and garlic.

Finally I rubbed some crushed garlic into the steak and then seasoned it with pepper.
I believe in the saying that simple is best!!

It was just going dark by the time the potatoes went on and we sat with another drink, and were just so grateful to be able to be there!!

Though we say so ourselves, dinner was delicious, superbly cooked juicy and tender steak, and all my trimmings to enhance it!! It was all helped down with another toot each, and then I made some coffee while Dungie poured us an Amarula!!

Have I set the picture sufficiently?!! How could it get any better!!

Well I’ll tell you how!! As we sat there, I suddenly saw something run across to our dustbin, and at first I though it was a monkey, but when I checked, I could see it was a honey badger!!!! Oh my word!!!

I whispered to Dungie, “Look what’s by our dustbin” and as I did so, another one appeared!!

They rooted through the rubbish for about ten minutes before sloping off to try another bin, whose contents they obviously hoped would be more appetising!!!

I must get the camera………No $%^& … it doesn’t work!!

Well there it was, we had now seen:-

“Three Crested Barbets, Two Honey Badgers and ………….” !!


Here are a few friends seen around Satara on the return journey, when my camera was fixed!!


To be continued………….


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 Post subject: Re: Three crested barbets, two honey badgers and a..........
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:44 pm 
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Part 3.
During the cricket weekend at Skukuza, we decided to have a meal in the restaurant on the Sunday evening.
We have had several meals there in the past, and though I have read how some people have been disappointed, we have always had a good meal. (Maybe we’re easily pleased!!)

Again we were not disappointed, and had chosen the “three course carvery” which consisted of a well stocked salad bar for starters, lashings of juicy roast venison and pork with roasted vegetables and potatoes, and a choice of dessert. Delicious!!

We made our way back to the car park, and had decided to take the short cut behind the restaurant. As some of you will know, it is quite dark around there, so we switched on our torch, to check there was nothing slithering along the floor, or crawling along on eight legs!!

As Dungie parked my wheelchair, to open the car door, something shot past me, and scrambled up the wall!!

We tentatively shone the torch, as we didn’t want to scare whatever it was, and as we looked closer we couldn’t believe what we were seeing………it was a Serval!!

Neither of us has ever seen one before, so we were at first thrilled, but then a bit wary, as although it is one of the smaller cats, we weren’t quite sure how dangerous it might be!!

We stayed frozen on the spot, as it surveyed the area, and in true feline fashion, it gave us a hiss and a swipe of it’s paw, and disappeared over the other side of the wall!!

“Did we just see a Serval”? I said. “I think so” said Dungie excitedly, and we could not believe our luck.

My camera of course was by this time not working, but we wouldn’t have had it with us at that time of night anyway, so we just put that down to life!!

We drove back to our unit, and sat out on the stoep, sipping our Amarulas, and musing over the fact that we had seen a Serval for the first time, and in Skukuza Camp!!!!

We were indeed fortunate, and as we prepared for bed that night, and heard the jackals calling, we thanked God for all his blessings to us (Servals included!!).

So there you finally have it, that is how the title of this TR was created.

Three Crested Barbets, Two Honey Badgers and a ……….Serval!!! (not in a pear tree, but on a wall!!!)

Well friends, it just leaves me to thank you all so much for joining me, it’s been great fun, and I will say goodbye with some photos of a few more friends, that we met during this two week return to our favourite place on God’s good earth.

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There will be some more photos to follow.

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