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First Ever African Safari February and March 2014

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Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2014 11:08 am
Posts: 8
Location: New Zealand
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Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:51 am Unread post
This is the itinerary of my first adventure in Kruger National Park and first visit to Africa.

Long flight from Auckland to Johannesburg via Perth.
Johannesburg to Nylsvley with pit stop in Bela-Bela,
Nylsvley Nature Reserve, Sun 23rd Feb 2014
Nylsvley to Punda Maria Gate, Kruger National Park, Mon 24th Feb
Punda Maria camp, Tues, 25th Feb, leopard, warthogs, zebra
Punda Maria camp, Wed, 26th Feb
Shingwedze, Thurs, 27th Feb, monkeys harrass owl so much it plops on the ground next to us
Olifants, Fri 28th Feb, magical view from restaurant
Orpen, Sat 1st Mar- First bat experience, lions roaring, elephant chase
Orpen, Sun, 2nd Mar, giraffes fighting, dead elephant
Skukuza, Mon 3rd Mar- more bats
Skukuza, Tuesday, 4th Mar, dead bat on pillow, still no lions
Skukuza, Wed 5th Mar, many storms, Sabie river in flood, worryingly rising..
Skukuza, Thursday, 6th Mar, Still no lions
Skukuza to Johannesburg then the long flight home via Perth, Friday, 7th Mar-Sun 9th March

My travelling companions were my husband and my daughters. This was my first, hopefully the first of many, visit to Africa. I spent a large chunk of my youth dreaming of travelling to Africa. However, I got waylaid with studies, a science career and children. Now as I meander through mid-life and down the other side of the mountain I need to make up for some lost time!

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We entered Kruger National Park via the Punda Maria gate having run the gauntlet of a well-used road with pedestrians, cyclists and lots of cows. Giraffes, impala and an elephant were the first magnificent animals to be seen on our way to Punda Maria camp. We settled into a family cottage, “it was bigger than our house” my daughter wrote in her travel diary. We loved the two levels, the dark, chunky wood furniture and earthy coloured décor. It was a gentle, cool relief from the intense, bright midday sun. The view from the upstairs balcony was pretty good too. I was delighted by a steenbok which had ventured out from the undergrowth to the edge of the verandah. We set off in the late afternoon on the Mahonie loop. There were plenty of European rollers, kudu, a greater blue-eared starling and impalas to be seen.

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Kudu amongst orange-flowered Bauhinia galpinii
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Greater blue-eared glossy starling

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That evening we went out on our first sunset tour and the highlights were a couple of genets, several spring hares and our first sunset in Kruger National Park. One thing I particularly enjoyed about the evening drives was the smorgasbord of smells, ranging from sweet, hypnotic herby or woody to the intense and unmistakable assault of animal. I guess that as the light fades senses other than sight start to wake up.

Genet rushing away from the spotlight

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My daughters were delighted with the geckos and insects attracted to the outside light on our return from dinner. Particularly this katydid.

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Day 2, we headed north to Parfuri. Getting up early was quite easy due to our jet lag. My husband was particularly hoping to see Pels Fishing owl. On our way to the bridge we saw our first big groups of zebras and impalas. Warthogs are very comical and we stopped to watch this family of them.

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I was wonderful to get out and stretch our legs at the bridge. We spotted a fish eagle, a baboon troop and a stunning fly.

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We all piled reluctantly back into the car and set off toward Parfuri picnic spot and Crook’s Corner. Suddenly a leopard leapt out of the bush and onto the road in front of us. It paused on the road to peer at us then sauntered off into the grass. We drove slowly to the point where it entered the bush on the other side of the road. It had moved into the grass but stopped. All we could see was a long tail, swishing petulantly for wee while before it moved gracefully on and was swallowed by the lush, long grass. I was so moved by my first big cat sighting that a couple of big tears rolled down my eyes.

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On route to Crook’s Corner we saw nyala, kudu, more impala, vervet monkeys and a magnificent martial eagle. Crook’s Corner inspired an immense childish delight – I think it was the combination of its colourful history and my Australian upbringing- it’s a novelty to be able to stand in one spot and survey three different countries!
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Nyala and impala
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Martial eagle
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By now the sun was directly above and the shade of this magnificent Acacia at Crook's corner was a great relief.

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We spotted an elephant on our way back to Punda Maria who also clearly appreciated the shade of a big tree. I think the shot of the elephant from a different angle illustrates how such a large beast can seem to vanish as if moving into a portal to a different dimension.

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Re: First Ever African Safari February and March 2014

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Joined: Sat Aug 11, 2007 7:29 pm
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Location: Parklands Cape Town
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Fri Apr 18, 2014 9:09 am Unread post
More please :popcorn:


Re: First Ever African Safari February and March 2014

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Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2014 11:08 am
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Fri Apr 18, 2014 9:31 am Unread post
Thank you Hugh :-)


Re: First Ever African Safari February and March 2014

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Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 5:10 pm
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Fri Apr 18, 2014 9:43 am Unread post
Welcome anzac_cookie. I read on Viking's TR that she had met you and persuaded you to join the forum and to your own trip report, so I am eagerly awaiting the next instalment.

Love your gorgeous leopard, and the ellie under the baobab which really puts the size of both of them into perspective.

:popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn:


Re: First Ever African Safari February and March 2014

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Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 4:59 pm
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Location: Bloemfontein
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Fri Apr 18, 2014 9:59 am Unread post
Wow great sightings, waiting for more please :popcorn: :popcorn:


Re: First Ever African Safari February and March 2014

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Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2005 4:43 pm
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Location: The planning is on again.....
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Fri Apr 18, 2014 10:50 am Unread post
What a great start, anzac Cookie,

and for sure that majestic leopard was one of the hightlights on that day - Love also your insect pictures and it is always fantastic to spot nyalas :thumbs_up:

Ready for more :popcorn:


Re: First Ever African Safari February and March 2014

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Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 8:44 pm
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Location: European spring
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Fri Apr 18, 2014 12:23 pm Unread post
Great start !!
A leopard on your first full day. :mrgreen:
Love the acacia tree. Looking forward to more.
:popcorn:


Re: First Ever African Safari February and March 2014

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Joined: Tue May 24, 2011 5:25 pm
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Location: Pretoria, South-Africa
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Fri Apr 18, 2014 12:49 pm Unread post
Hi anzac cookie!! Must say it's good to see first timers also appreciating the smaller this that the bush offers like flies! Great photo! :D Hope te hear more about your trip soon!


Re: First Ever African Safari February and March 2014

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Location: Amsterdam, NL
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Fri Apr 18, 2014 1:31 pm Unread post
Lovely leopard, I know just how you felt and had the same reaction the first time I saw a leopard in the bush :)


Re: First Ever African Safari February and March 2014

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Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 4:30 pm
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Location: Helderberg
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Fri Apr 18, 2014 1:48 pm Unread post
Welcome to Africa , the KNP and the forum. :hello:

Enjoying your TR, lovely pics and commentary :clap: :clap:

more please :popcorn: :popcorn:


Re: First Ever African Safari February and March 2014

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Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:57 pm
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Location: 2012 km..... to Paradise
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Fri Apr 18, 2014 3:55 pm Unread post
anzac_cookie,

Definitely on this bus :dance: :dance:

Stunning start with super 8) :cam: :clap: :clap:
* sigh* Enough to whet my appetite big time for our planned trip, which will also be starting in the North, which for me is my most favourite part of the Park. :mrgreen:

Thanks for sharing... more please :popcorn:


Re: First Ever African Safari February and March 2014

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Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 8:47 pm
Posts: 10467
Location: meandering between senility and menopause
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Fri Apr 18, 2014 6:40 pm Unread post
A_C, what I wonderful start. I can see that, you too, are a meanderer.

Beware, this forum is adictive :wink:

:popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn:


Re: First Ever African Safari February and March 2014

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Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2014 11:08 am
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Fri Apr 18, 2014 10:52 pm Unread post
Thank you for all the supportive comments. I'm definitely inspired to write more soon.
:D :D :D

Meandering Mouse
Quote
Beware, this forum is adictive


We have a media campaign here in New Zealand to encourage moderate alcohol intake , the catchphrase is; "no more beersies for you" -

My husband has a new one for me "No more webcammies for you"!


Re: First Ever African Safari February and March 2014

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Legendary Virtual Ranger
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 8:47 pm
Posts: 10467
Location: meandering between senility and menopause
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Sat Apr 19, 2014 5:08 am Unread post
anzac_cookie wrote
Thank you for all the supportive comments. I'm definitely inspired to write more soon.
:D :D :D

Meandering Mouse
Quote
Beware, this forum is adictive


We have a media campaign here in New Zealand to encourage moderate alcohol intake , the catchphrase is; "no more beersies for you" -

My husband has a new one for me "No more webcammies for you"!


:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:


Re: First Ever African Safari February and March 2014

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Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 8:47 pm
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Location: meandering between senility and menopause
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Sat Apr 19, 2014 5:10 am Unread post
I am also going to bump this page for you so that we can get more of your report.

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