Skip to content

SANParks.org Forums

View unanswered posts | View active topics






Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  Page 1 of 4
 [ 53 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Dream weaver's Things Wild and Wonderful .... KNP, Oct. '12
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 11:30 am 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:12 pm
Posts: 124
By way of introduction:-

I have been going to the Kruger Park since before I can properly remember. One of my earliest memories is of walking down a hard earthen path behind a man in shorts, who carried a long gun over his shoulder. At the end of the path was a river and in the river we could see the humped backs of what I learnt that day were hippos. Although my husband (Chacma) and I have been living in Australia for a quarter of a century now, we still return to visit the park whenever we can.

Last year we hired a car in Johannesburg and drove to Punda Maria, after spending a day and a night at an airport hotel. This year we decided to spend our first night in the park. So, after landing in Johannesburg at dawn, we went straight to the domestic departures area. There we swapped our SIM cards for local ones and we had breakfast. Then it was time to board the midday flight to Phalaborwa.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Things Wild and Wonderful; Creatures Great and Small
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:00 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:12 pm
Posts: 124
Thank you Sharifa, Grantmissy, Trrp-trrrrrrrr and Hilda. It is good to have your company.

When we left an overcast and drizzly Johannesburg, in a plane that looked more like a toy, the pilot told us that the weather in Phalaborwa was much the same. Then, when we were nearly there, the little plane bumping and bouncing along in the sky, the pilot told us that he might not be able to see the runway through the low clouds, but that he had enough fuel for three or four attempts at landing.

Down we went. The clouds seemed to clear. We could see houses and trees getting closer and closer, and then we were climbing up again into the clouds that, at the last minute, had hidden the airport. We circled the town before coming down almost low enough to land, only to be foiled by the clouds again. Back up we went. The pilot said he would try once more and if he still could not get a clear view we would have to go back to Johannesburg. Back to Johannesburg! It seemed unthinkable that we might not sleep in the park that night. This time as we descended, the cloud looked thicker than before and I resigned myself to the possibility of spending the night at a city hotel.

Then with a burst of speed we were suddenly through a clearing in the cloud and dropping onto the runway where, with steam billowing from the tyres, the little plane hurtled to the end, executed a fast wheelie and taxied, engines roaring, to a sedate standstill in front of a statue of a baboon guarding the airport entrance. A woman hurried towards the plane carrying a bunch of umbrellas and a broom. She handed the umbrellas to the passengers as they climbed down the tiny steps from the plane. I didn’t see what she did with the broom.

It was windy, cold and raining. I had not known Phalaborwa could be like that. Shivering, we collected our luggage and the hire car and went to the supermarket, bottle shop, ATM and then to the butcher for fresh meat and biltong.

At the entrance gate we were warmly welcomed and after a quick change into dry clothes were on our way to Shimuwini.

On the H14 we saw our first animals, a small group of impala. We stopped the car. A woman in a passing bakkie asked what we had seen. When we told her, she laughed rather derisively and said “Enjoy”. We laughed too because unbeknown to her we were enjoying something besides the view of the sodden impalas. Family tradition allows us to only start tucking into the biltong after the first impala has been sighted and there we were; happily twisting strips off our newly purchased whole stick. We had left the knife in the car boot.

The afternoon was gloomy and the rain rippling across the window seemed to give life to many a log or rock animal. Other than that, the only creatures we saw were two more herds of impala through the gloaming and three tortoises.

We got to Shimuwini with eight minutes to spare. The gates were closed. We looked at them. We looked at each other. We checked the car clock. We checked our phones. I checked my wristwatch. I checked the iPad. What a lot of devices we have for finding out the time these days! Ours all agreed that we were not late. We opened the gates, drove in and then closed the gates again. The reception office was dark and locked. A sign told us what phone number to ring, but the phones that had been so good about confirming the time had no signal. So, not knowing which bungalow was to be ours, we followed the sign to the staff village. There, a helpful young man led us to the home of the duty manager who gave us the key to our bungalow.

Everything outside was wet, wet, wet. The bungalow was a dry and cosy haven. We carried in the wet shopping and the wet luggage. We looked at the wet braai outside. We looked at the inside oven and pots and pans. Realising that we were too tired to cook, we sank into the deep, soft sofas and there we enjoyed a supper of snacks and red wine. Then we climbed into the comfortable bed and lay down to sleep for the first time in 46 hours. We were in the park. At last.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Things Wild and Wonderful; Creatures Great and Small
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 5:08 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:12 pm
Posts: 124
Hello again Trrp-trrrrrrrr and Hilda. Hello too Elsa, Heksie and Meandering Mouse and thank you for the warm welcome.

We awoke at 3.15. The rain had stopped during the night and a bird was calling, “Coo ee prr . . . Coo ee prr tp.” It was dark outside and the caller remained unseen and unidentified. We had our early morning coffee in bed. When the curtains began to glow faintly around their edges, I drew them open. The dam gleamed in the dawn and on its far bank a pale giraffe was moving slowly from one tree to another. On the lawn, standing silently in the soft, early light was the little duiker, Shine. A wave of happiness washed over me to see that she was still alive. She must be about fifteen years old now.
Image
She rubbed her muzzle gently on the verandah edge and wandered away across the grass.

I opened another set of curtains. Clinging to the wall behind them was this little frog. Its sides were heaving and it scrambled hurriedly onto on the windowsill. I took a quick photo and left it in peace.
Image

We breakfasted on paw paw and oranges and slices of hot, fried potato. After that we simply sat on the verandah for a while, listening to the hippos grunting and watching as ripples formed and faded on the dam’s surface. Then it was time to visit the reception desk where we checked in, purchased a wild card and handed back the key.

We drove alongside the river bank and then onto the tarred road towards Mopani. The sky was clouded over and we did not see much game. At the confluence lookout the macabre remains of a hippo were floating in a shallow pool of bright green, toxic looking water. We wondered what death scene had so recently played out down there.

At Mooiplaas we stopped and walked about for a bit, relishing the opportunity to stand upright and stretch our limbs. We reached Mopani too early to check in. So we drove a short way northwards and found the culvert where, a few years ago, we had watched as a family of hyenas emerged and the mother lay down to let her baby suckle. This day, no hyenas were there. Perhaps they had abandoned the den or maybe they were just hiding inside.

We returned to camp and carried our bags and boxes into the cottage that was to be our home for the next four nights. We ate a late lunch on the verandah and settled back to watch the birds and squirrels hopping about in the bushes. We had a view of the dam and that evening the sunset over it was breathtakingly beautiful.
Image


Last edited by Dream Weaver on Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Things Wild and Wonderful; Creatures Great and Small
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:24 am 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:12 pm
Posts: 124
(About the photographs in this report:
Of the two of us Chacma is, by far, the better photographer. He took most of the pictures using his pricey Pentax. I took some with my pocket Panasonic and iPad. I also took a few with the generously lent Pentax. To those who care about such things; I take full responsibility for any dodgy shots that you may encounter on our travels.)

Greetings and many thanks, Grantmissy, Hilda, Trrp-trrrrrrrr, naomi c, Meandering Mouse, Tawny and Philip1

The next morning, on the path between our cottage and the car, we stepped around a black and tan beetle that appeared to be making a meal of a large dead songololo.
Image

We were headed for Shibavatsengele, where we planned to have our morning coffee and rusks. When we reached Mooiplaas waterhole, this puffed up Kori Bustard was strutting about, looking pompous and full of its own importance.
Image

Further along the S50, too far to photograph, a white backed vulture was perched in a tree with its wings spread wide as if it were drying them in the breeze.

At Nshawu number three, we found a huge herd of buffalo had gathered. It seemed to stretch to beyond the horizon. Some of them were rolling in the mud. They were flicking chunks of it into the air from the tips of their sharp, curved horns. Others were gamboling about, the way much smaller animals do, chasing each other in mock charges and causing mini stampedes.
Image

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

That, as I delightedly discovered earlier this year, is a complete and correct sentence. As Stephen Fry explained, on a BBC podcast; ‘buffalo’ is a verb in American English that means ‘confuse’. Also, there is a town in the USA called Buffalo. So, knowing that, we can read the sentence again and make sense of it:
Buffalo buffalo (= buffalo from the town called Buffalo) [that] Buffalo buffalo buffalo (= that the buffalo from the town called Buffalo confuse) buffalo Buffalo buffalo (are confusing buffalo from the town called Buffalo).

All very confusing!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Things Wild and Wonderful; Creatures Great and Small
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:52 am 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:12 pm
Posts: 124
Hello again and thank you for the encouraging comments.

Meandering Mouse – Shine is a she. Like her distant cousin, Rudolph, she has a very shiny nose.

Pumbaa – Welcome on board, and you are welcome!

Hilda – Maybe it was a case of eyes that were bigger than their owner’s tummy.

Philip1 – It was a gorgeous looking bird and a great big herd.

Trrp-trrrrrrrr – There is just no accounting for taste is there?


We left Nshawu number three to the moos and moans of the buffalo and the creaks and groans of the windmill.

Continuing up the S50, past the turnoff to the Tropic of Capricorn Loop, we saw some impala, guinea fowl and these zebras.
Image

One of the zebras then turned and it looks as if it may well have been trying to say something to us in body language
Image

A bit further on, we found a sign showing the way to Shibavantsengele Lookout. Following the sign’s advice, we turned onto a stony road that climbed high onto the shoulder of the Lebombos. There, the road levelled out into a wide gravel area, beyond which it became a no entry track that wound on upwards and out of sight. The ground was barren looking and thickly strewn with pale pink rocks and stones. Below the hill, back the way we had come, was a view of the plain that stretched far into the distance. There were no signs to say that people were permitted to get out of their vehicles. We sat in our car and sipped our coffee and dunked our rusks. And as we sat there, a distant line of elephants steadily threaded their way across the plain.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Things Wild and Wonderful; Creatures Great and Small
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:09 am 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:12 pm
Posts: 124
It was still early, so we decided to go on to Nyawutsi Hide.

We passed Grootvlei Dam where five turtles were making good use of a drowned tree
Image

And a lonely looking stork stood at the water’s edge
Image

When we got to Nyawutsi we discovered that the makers of our map had been tinkering with the truth about the toilet situation.

It was plain to see that there were no toilets there
Image

Although the map had plainly promised there would be
Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Things Wild and Wonderful; Creatures Great and Small
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 11:40 am 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:12 pm
Posts: 124
Nyawutsi Hide looks onto a scene of tranquil beauty. Overhanging trees fringe the waterhole, their branches casting soft shadows on its surface. Flat rocks form a natural weir and the sound of trickling water adds to the sense of serenity.

A family of Egyptian Geese was sunbathing and paddling in the shallows on the far bank. After a while the gander led them along the rocks, towards the hide. The mother goose was limping. As the geese got closer, they began to honk, loudly and aggressively, at something hidden behind a bush. Through the leaves it looked like a water monitor, until it moved into view and we saw that it was a young crocodile.

The geese honked and honked.

Image

Then abruptly, apparently satisfied that the crocodile had been sufficiently scolded, they turned and waddled back to the far bank. The mother goose led the march back. Could the crocodile have been the reason for her injury? Is that what all the fuss had been about?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Things Wild and Wonderful; Creatures Great and Small
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 12:41 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:12 pm
Posts: 124
We decided to drive on to Shingwedzi and have afternoon tea there. We had biltong and water with us in the car. That would do for lunch as we drove.

Shortly after leaving Nyawutsi we stopped to exchange stares with this buffalo
Image

Further up the S50, we reached the Shingwedzi River at the Dipeni Outpost. Although there was not much water in the river, there was a lot of game about. We saw nyala, bushbuck, duiker and elephants.

We paused while these waterbuck with their white ringed rear ends crossed the road
Image

Handsome horns and heart shaped nose
Image

Near Shingwedzi, a troop of monkeys was foraging in a clearing next to the road. A baby monkey, all pink and grey, was sitting in front of its mother.

Image

Another monkey walked over and sat down beside them.

Image

Suddenly the other monkey snatched up the baby. Clasping it under an arm, she took it and sat down a few metres away. She picked up a seed pod and nibbled at it while the baby tottered around her feet.

Her attention was caught by something else and she bounded away, leaving the tiny baby alone on the grass. Overhead, a hawk flew by. The other monkeys appeared not to notice. The baby crouched down low and did not move. It stayed where it had been left, as still as a statue, until at last its mother glanced up and saw it cowering there.

Nonchalantly, the mother monkey stood up and strolled across to it. She scooped the little creature into her arms and carried it back to safety amid the troop. There she set it down in front of her again and calmly continued to comb the ground for good things to eat.

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Things Wild and Wonderful; Creatures Great and Small
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 1:41 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:12 pm
Posts: 124
Kanniedood Dam was a sad sight. Empty and dry, with a carpet of dark brown sand, scattered with weeds, stretching to the far bank; it had defied its name.

Image

We drove into Shingwedzi through the old gate. I remembered when it had been the only entrance to the camp and how the conference and linen rooms had once been the dining room and the shop.

Now, we sat on the terrace outside the restaurant under the high, wide, thatched roof and ordered a pot of tea. It was quickly brought and solicitously set before us. Steaming hot and fragrant; it was deliciously refreshing.

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Things Wild and Wonderful; Creatures Great and Small
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:55 am 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:12 pm
Posts: 124
After we had drunk the tea we wandered towards the shop, past the museum display in the reception window. I felt oddly comforted to see that it was the same as it has been for many years. The snake skin and the elephant dung were both still there.

In the shop we looked for bottled asparagus. I thought it might help to reduce my flight induced swollen ankles. Finding no asparagus on the shelves, we settled on a jar of beetroot instead. Its contents were vegetable, sliced, and it had a screw top. These factors were in its favour, seeing as we had eaten only rusks and biltong that day, and also, we had no knife or can opener with us. Remember, we had set off from Mopani that morning intending just to go as far as Shibavantsengele Lookout and back.

We wanted to get two coffee mugs as well, for keeping in the car, and we had a choice of souvenir china or stainless steel. Bearing in mind the words of Farah Aden in Out of Africa when he said, “Yes, Sabu. China: It can break.” we opted for the stainless steel ones.

Back in the car and just outside the main gate, we stopped to watch a troop of baboons whose leader’s interest was firmly focused on the seeds he was finding on the ground.

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Things Wild and Wonderful; Creatures Great and Small
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2012 6:11 am 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:12 pm
Posts: 124
Travelling along the dirt roads earlier that day, I had been caught out a few times, day dreaming and being slow to respond to all the many friendly hand waves from other drivers.

I resolved to remedy this by being the first to raise my hand in greeting to each and every approaching vehicle from then on.

Image

Now, travelling down the tarred H1-6, I counted the number of waves I received in response.

All the way, from Shingwedzi to Mopani, only four drivers returned my greeting.

Can this mean that people who travel on dirt roads are friendlier folk?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Things Wild and Wonderful; Creatures Great and Small
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 11:15 am 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:12 pm
Posts: 124
Driving down the H1-6 that afternoon we came across some real, live animals of the sort that tend to lurk inside boardrooms and living rooms (and, no doubt, bedrooms too) the world over. When they do that, there are all sorts of reasons why nobody wants to acknowledge that one of them is there, in the room. Happily, the ones we saw were not this idiomatic, unmentionable sort. They were out in the open where they belong and where we can talk freely about them.

This one was browsing quietly alone next to the road

Image

Close up of one eye and a badly chipped tusk

Image

His other profile

Image

This one had an impressive pair of tusks

Image

So did his companion

Image

Could these two friends be on their way to fame as great tuskers?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Things Wild and Wonderful; Creatures Great and Small
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 9:29 am 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:12 pm
Posts: 124
The afternoon sun hung low in the sky as we neared Mopani. By then we were tired and had been looking forward to relaxing on our verandah after our travels.

Image

So, although Shidlayengwenya, at the end of a dry and dusty dirt road, is a water lily sprinkled oasis

Image

we agreed to give it a miss just then and visit it another day.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Things Wild and Wonderful; Creatures Great and Small
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:44 am 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:12 pm
Posts: 124
The next day we decided to drive to Stapelkop Dam and Joubert’s Grave.

Image

Never having heard of Joubert before, I tried to consult Google to find out who he was and why he was buried there, but our phones had no signal. Even with excellent internet access from home, Google has not been much help in this regard.

Evidently, Joubert was an elephant hunter who sold ivory to Albasini, but apart from that there is no mention of him or his grave. Even his first name seems to have been lost to the ether.

Before we left Mopani at 6.30am we checked the sightings board map. Wouldn’t you know it? The coloured pins showed that lions had been seen at Shidlayengwenya the previous day.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Things Wild and Wonderful; Creatures Great and Small
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:29 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:12 pm
Posts: 124
We passed a group of waterbuck on the camp’s access road and then another just beyond the turn off to Stapelkop.

A tranquil scene awaited us at the Tsendze river crossing.

Image

Clear, shallow water washed gently over the ford and a few fat hippos floated contentedly in front of the overnight hide.


Further on, a large stripy, spiral shell lay motionless in the middle of the road.

Image

No one, it seemed, was home.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 53 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: cmh and 5 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group

Webcams Highlights

Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Submitted by grannyb at 12:03:20 Submitted by HenkB at 12:09:40 Submitted by Stampajane at 14:23:46 Submitted by Waterbuck at 10:10:02