Umtali1's Reis verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps. KNP, May 2016

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Umtali1's Reis verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps. KNP, May 2016

Unread post by umtali1 »

Introduction

Our original plan for this holiday was to visit the Kruger at the start of November 2016 in the hope of seeing some the migrants as they arrived for the summer months. Just as we were about to book the camps we had an invitation to my niece's wedding near Jo'burg in May. Dilemma!
:big_eyes: Can we afford two visits to SA in one year? :hmz: My heart said 'Yes', but in reality it wasn't viable. So our plans would have to be brought forward and the summer migrants would have to wait for another year. :(

As we have never visited the Kruger in May, this would be a new experience for us anyway, especially as the park had suffered from such a severe drought at the beginning of the year. It would also be the rutting season for the antelope. :roll:

We decided to spend out 14 nights in 'Bush' Camps, visiting the main camps for fuel, supplies and cellphone signals. After reading many tales of various roads and sites that we not frequented much, we planned our routes to include such places. We found Van den Bergs' 'Kruger Self-Drive - Routes, Roads and Ratings' 2015 (ISBN 978-0-9946751-2-5) invaluable as it was very current. This might take us off the beaten track for a lot of the time which could mean that we miss out on 'lots of excitement and OSVs etc' regarding big predators. As we are happy to enjoy the park as one of the finest wildernesses on the planet, that didn't really bother us.

So, between May 15th and 31st, we stayed at Tamboti, Bateleur, Shimuwini, Talamati, Biyamiti, and Malelane camps, then finally Pretoriouskop. :shock: "Wag 'n minuut" you're all saying, Pretoriouskop is a main camp..... I know. We had the good fortune of having to add two nights on at the end and Pretoriouskop was the most convenient place to exit.

The joy of driving to the Kruger is the choice of negotiating either the Abel Erasmus or the Long Tom Pass. We try to drive over both - but not at the same time !!!!! :doh: :lol: On this occasion we drove down the Abel Erasmus first.

Bidding farewell to family, we fitted in a quick meet at Rietvlei with Barry, Hilda, Isinkwe and Morecat to catch up and collect a Bird ID prize for Inyanga30.

We filled our plastic boxes (monkey proof) with provisions at Lydenburg (Mashishing) and set off for the Abel Erasmus Pass.........
umtali1

Marakele - August 2017
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2016 Reis Verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps
2013 Mokala and KNP,
2015 "Cape Town to Namibia border"
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Re: Reis verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps

Unread post by inyanga 1 »

Goronta wrote:I almost miss the bus :big_eyes:
Please keep a seat for me as well :dance: :dance: :dance:


Ahhh the bus :doh: :doh: :doh: :redface:
That was my job. :redface:

Well we had thought that getting a bigger vehicle would be better for sightings ...
so this was suggested....

Image

This was vetoed :naughty:

because although passengers would get a better view
no one else at the sighting could see over us. :cam:

Now, for one of our TRs which last included KNP, we started with a SanParks vehicle :dance:

Image

But soon found it got even more crowded :redface:

So perhaps we should upgrade to this ???

Image

but again this OSV (outsized service vehicle)
was vetoed :naughty: :naughty:

:wall: :wall: :hmz: :hmz:

I'm an IT professional.. :redface:
You may have heard about 'distributed computing' like Amazon and Google use :hmz:

So how about 'distributed busses' ?

These have the advantage that, as more people join the TR, we just add another 'buss'.

But, you may say, doesn't that add to the roadblock sightseeing problem?
No because the 'busses' are distributed they are never there all together :dance:

Ingeniously we have added an antenna and customer enhancing experience unit to each 'buss'
so that they follow the original TR and everyone 'sees' the same sightings and 'reads' the same text, no matter when they join the TR.

Image.

So let's all get in our 'busses'

and 'start the engines, sit back and .....'
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Re: Reis verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps

Unread post by umtali1 »

Getting to Tamboti

We (Inyanga 1) and I descend the Abel Erasmus Pass and see the Lowveld open up before us. The excitement is tangeable (even to us 'oldies') as we realise that the Kruger is not far off. :dance: :dance: There is just something very different about the Lowveld which is difficult to pinpoint. The air just 'tastes' different. :D :D

We stop off at one of the road side vendors to purchase naarjies and avocado pears (a tenth of the price we pay in the UK) and head for the Orpen Gate. We had already made sure we had amarulla from the supermarket! These three items are 'musts' for us! Anticipating demand we've got a beeeeeg bottle with built-in transport :dance: :dance:

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On reaching the Orpen Gate (a new experience for us), we realised that this was the first time we had taken three days since our arrival in SA to get to the Kruger. :big_eyes: Normally it's just one day!

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The gate and camp were named after the Orpen family. Eileen bought some land to the west of Rabelais gate and donated it to the park in th 1940s. Her husband was instrumental in sponsoring boreholes during that time. The park was extended westward from Rabelais gate to the new boundary at Orpen in 1954.

Image

When checking in the staff were keen to make sure we understood the risks from fearless monkeys and a certain honey badger or two. :big_eyes: :big_eyes: There are no keys to the tents.

Our first sighting!! We both lost our bets :doh: :doh:

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So it was that we arrived at Tamboti - a camp new to us and a first time in tents.......
What awaits us :hmz: :hmz:

Image

Image

What would be in store for us here............. :think:
umtali1

Marakele - August 2017
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2016 Reis Verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps
2013 Mokala and KNP,
2015 "Cape Town to Namibia border"
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Re: Reis verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps

Unread post by inyanga 1 »

Karin Mitton wrote:That upgraded bus looks way to comfy to miss - on board as well!

mmmm
not sure upgraded was what you implied......

however I should have expanded the technology behind our TR busses .....

when i typed antennae
i should have typed ANT-ennae
she (ANT-ennae) is an hyper sensitive ANT,
aunt of.... who can pick up our signals all around KNP and thus relay them to the ANT network.....
(techie:- distributed neural networks)

That's how the U and I SanPark busses can communicate to our TR folk,
independent of the saturated OSV radio channels.. and lack of mobile signals...

:whistle: :whistle: :whistle:

now off to see around....
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Re: Reis verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps

Unread post by umtali1 »

Wow! We didn't expect this much interest in our 'reis verhaal'. Thank you very much everyone for climbing aboard the "busses". :thanx:

We hope you enjoy the experience. For those who have never been to a bush camp, let's hope our account encourages you to stay in one some time.

In true U & I style, we have to make sure there are enough supplies on board to keep you all happy :lol: I have checked the Amarulla truck.......still plenty there. Now for some food.......Image,Image, :popcorn:
and enough meat for Image, we shall get moving........
umtali1

Marakele - August 2017
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2016 Reis Verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps
2013 Mokala and KNP,
2015 "Cape Town to Namibia border"
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Re: Reis verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps

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Tamboti - our first evening

As we approached Tamboti, which is situated on the Timbavati river, there wasn't much evidence of any human habitation except for the fence and gate. We drove through the brush and Tamboti trees to tent 31.

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As you can see the tents are secluded from each other.

Image

Image

We certainly got our exercise for the day carrying our monkey proof bags and boxes up the steps on to the stoep. It wasn't long before we aroused the attention of the local monkey scout, so we hastily made sure everything was indoors. They were not to be trusted. :naughty: :naughty: Turn your back for a second and they are in , as Inyanga 1 discovered right at the end of our trip!! :whistle: :whistle:

Something simple, together with the necessary refreshment, for the first braai.
Just for Isinkwe!! :lol: :lol: No, we weren't on starvation rations. The rabbit food was elsewhere!

Image

We had a couple of night visitors to welcome us

Image
Image

Having eaten our meal to the sound of a hyena calling from the dry river bed, we went for a walk along the perimeter fence to see if it was visible in the torchlight. Everything was very still and quiet. Shhhhh!! ......... We became aware of something rustling in the leaf litter. :hmz: :hmz: We turned to see what it was Image. The infamous honey badger of Tamboti. :big_eyes: :big_eyes: He was only a couple of metres away. What an experience to be so close to such a powerful animal. Stupidly :redface: we didn't have our cameras. He was gone in a flash off on his nightly rounds. We warned our neighbours that he was on his way!

So, my friends, to bed, Image for our first night in a tent and fall asleep to the sounds of hyenas and lions. Oh to be in Africa :D :D :D :D
umtali1

Marakele - August 2017
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Re: Reis verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps

Unread post by inyanga 1 »

hilda wrote:We love Tamboti, and I'm sure you do too now umtali1! :dance: :dance:
Surely the Honey Badger paid every tent a visit, just to make sure he doesn't miss out on a free meal! To be so close to him .... :big_eyes:
Nothing like a lovely braai in any camp! :dance: :dance:


Yes no camera - but it was dark 8) and we had night vision binoculars :shock: to look over the dry river bed,
along which there is a 'path' which we were walking along. There is a slight grassy/dry leafy rise up to the tents and Mr Stoffels was reconnoitering along this to each of the tent 'stoeps' ready for his return later that night.

The cry 'Honey Badger alert' went up the line of tents.....
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Re: Reis verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps

Unread post by umtali1 »

Out of Tamboti - early morning drive

My first morning in the park always fills me with excitement and anticipation, despite the horrendous hour for waking up. :hmz:

Armed with marmalade rolls prepared the night before and the essential mugs of coffee :lotsocoffee: , and not forgetting our cameras Image, we set off quietly to see what was about. The hyena and lions were still noisy at 5am.

A glorious dawn greeted us

Image

A giraffe, some zebras and a natal spurfowl were going about their business, as was this southern ground hornbill

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The temperature was a bit cool so the day time creatures were taking their time to get going. Who can blame them?! We were just pleased to appreciate the tranquillity and clean air so typical of a new day. :D :D

We enjoyed the golden light as it became richer with each passing moment, presenting us with lovely silhouettes such as these.

Image

Image

Image

Heading for the Bobbejaankraans look-out, we passed ellie, giraffe, impalas and buffalo, as well as these magpie shrikes making quite a noise. Perhaps they were discussing the day's activities.....

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These fluffy waterbuck were just getting on with the business of eating.

Image

The Bobbejaankraans look-out just off the H7 sits high above the Timbavati river and surrounding veld. You can get out of your car to enjoy the view. On a good day you may see lots of animals moving through the trees. Here we stopped for that marmalade roll, more coffee and waited to see what was around.........

tbc.........
umtali1

Marakele - August 2017
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Re: Reis verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps

Unread post by inyanga 1 »

isinkwe wrote:
umtali1 wrote:Just for Isinkwe!! :lol: :lol: No, we weren't on starvation rations. The rabbit food was elsewhere!

Image


This almost braai still worries me Image

Full marks for getting the" rabbit food" nowhere the mosquito half legs on a stick :D

PS. in Africa we don't put our "Castle" on the "almost Braai" or any braai for that matter :naughty:

Umtali :k
Inyanga Image I understand :whistle: :whistle: :whistle:


ahhh but the Castle was an empty can (obviously - you know us)
with a bit of water to provide a water vapour cloud over the sosaties to stop them catching alight... :dance:

"grandmother and suck eggs" comes to mind : :whistle: :whistle:
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Re: Reis verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps

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Out of Tamboti - early morning drive (cont)

While munching on our marmalade rolls and savouring the early morning coffee, we were joined by
a yellow billed hornbill

Image

a puffback (we think)
Image

and a natal spurfowl
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These delicate flowers were too pretty to miss

Image

With brains and stomachs revitilised, we wondered back to camp. We came over the brow of a hill to see quite a large animal sauntering along the road. On hearing and seeing us, he cantered off onto the bush, as they do, and turned to stare at us from a safe distance


Image

We stayed watching him for about half an hour. He decided he'd had enough of us, turned tail and headed off into the thickets. What a privilege!

A large herd of buffalo were taking their time wondering through the bush. One of them posed nicely for us.

Image

What does the rest of our first full day in the park have install for us :hmz: :hmz:

tbc................
umtali1

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2013 Mokala and KNP,
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Re: Reis verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps

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Out of Tamboti - mid morning to lunch time drive


We hope you're still all seated comfortably. :gflower: There is plenty of room for you all on the 'busses'.
I have checked up on the supplies.......still plenty of food and drink left :dance: :dance:

When reading other mites accounts from around Tamboti, we decided to head for the Girivana waterhole to see if this place would be as productive for us as it had been for others.

Close to camp a male bushbuck was on patrol. Did you know that there are two species of bushbuck in Africa - the Kewel, and the Imbabala? The former occurs from Senegal across to Ethiopia and Southern Sudan, whilst the latter is found mainly from the Cape to Zambia. Both occur in Angola and Eastern Africa.

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Moving on Inyanga 1 was determined to improve his birds in flight skills. He practised on a vulture. This picture is the best!

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and this tawny eagle (I think)

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while I just focussed on those with their feet on the ground. On quite a few occasions I would see smaller creatures while he was looking skywards :hmz: :hmz: You never know what you might miss.

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Sadly, I cannot lay claim to this korhaan :(

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Previous visits to the park have never occurred in May. As this is the rutting season for impala and other antelopes, we hoped we would be witnessing different behaviour than at other times of the year. We had noticed how noisy the rams were during the previous night. Someone was on a high dose of testerone!! :tongue: :whistle:
We thought this impala ram might be trying to attract the ladies by decorating his horns!

Image

Since we have both become more interested in our feathered friends, looking for birds would be an important part of our visit. As a consequence, little did we know how much more we would see generally. Only problem is that birds tend to fly away too quickly. :lol: :wall: Some pictures were rubbish :doh: but others might solve a mystery....
Can you spot the bird?

Image

We think ........

Image

it was bearded woodpecker. A lifer for us. :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up: Please correct us if we're wrong!

Before reaching Girivana we saw lots of lilac breasted rollers, white backed vultures and these magnificent birds

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When reflecting on the day's events, we were delighted to have seen a large number of ground hornbills, especially as sightings had been scarce in previous years.

A brown snake eagle looking out for meal perhaps.

Image

A short break before reaching Girivana and the route back to Tamboti.........

tbc........
umtali1

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2013 Mokala and KNP,
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Re: Reis verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps

Unread post by inyanga 1 »

billyf wrote:lovely bird pics, and those in flight are special :clap: :clap:
I love my marmalade sarmies, morning, noon and night :D
As for a full EB, the best time is around 9-10 :thumbs_up:


ahhh
a person with the same attitude as U and I for:-
sleep
dawn
need for coffee
gate opening time
need for coffee
hunger
need for coffee
need for a small 'munchie'
need for coffee
need to get back to camp after an couple of hours,
so SO's hunger pangs are satisfied by a BEEG breakfast
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Re: Reis verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps

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Out of Tamboti - Girivana and route back to camp.

On finding a good spot in the shade, we had lunch and waited to see if anything would turn up. Alas, today was a quiet day with only a few giraffes, kudu, baboons and two ellies coming down to drink. :(

However, we were entertained by a spoonbill 'spooning' for its food and taking a bath, watched by a blacksmith lapwing.

Image

Image

I didn't realise that the red billed hornbill is quite a lot smaller than its cousin, the yellow billed hornbill. It has quite pretty markings.

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Needless to say there were plenty of time to get shots of this little guy

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Image

We set off back to camp via the S40 and S39. These roads turned out to be more productive for bird life rather than mammals.

We enjoyed driving along the S39 as it meandered along the Timbavati river, through riverine vegetation of brakthorn and jackalberry which gradually changed to mixed bushwillow and then to mixed thornveld. As advised we took several of the loop roads.

It was in this section that we disturbed all sorts, such as blacksmith lapwings, red crested korhaan, a flock of white crested helmet shrikes, fork tailed drongos, mousebirds, more ground hornbills and three bateleurs soaring above.

The Timbavati river enters the park near the Maroela Camp and joins the Oliphants river fairly close to the Oliphants road bridge.

We did see giraffe, zebras, impalas and kudu.

I couldn't resist putting up this picture of a fine kudu bull

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and a bit closer.

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An unusual pose for a white headed vulture straddling the two branches (correct me if I'm wrong)

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which then decided to land on an even more precarious perch

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just above a young bateleur

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Chatting about the sightings over the braai, we were surprised at the number of bateleurs flying instead of perched - a trend that would continue during the remainder of our trip. Was this anything to do with the effects of the drought?

Our attention was drawn to this white backed vulture on its nest

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Lastly, a crowned lapwing. What gorgeous red legs!

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Back in Tamboti we would have a very special visitor to our stoep ......What can it be :hmz: :hmz: :hmz:

Sorry folks! You may have to wait until after the week-end to find out.............
umtali1

Marakele - August 2017
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2016 Reis Verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps
2013 Mokala and KNP,
2015 "Cape Town to Namibia border"
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Re: Reis verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps

Unread post by inyanga 1 »

salamanda wrote:Just caught up, sorry I missed so much but sometimes its rather good to sit for half an hour and catch up with all the doings over a few days - sort of immerses one back into the Kruger Universe! So glad you started in Tamboti - we are going there next year,so very interested to hear something about it from the horse's mouth so to speak . . . . :D Happy to see that you came across so many birds, and especially lots of Southern Ground Hornbills .


when we get back to the UK it's like the day after the night before, but revisited again, and again.

we then have to revisit our trip 18 days later via the cam cards, say, into a third or fifth of the actual times in as many hours when we have to compress what we have seen. :? :shock: :shock:

some, like the woodpecker or the black r were just glimpsed in seconds and might (or not) have been captured on camera; others were just heard like Mr Stoffels and the hyenas and lions.... hopefully U and I will capture our feelings as we explored KNP once again..

The other major problem is revisiting any recent trip,
withdrawal symptoms creep in....... :wink:
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Re: Reis verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps

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Out of Tamboti - our second night.

Ok. Where were we :think: .....Oh yes :thumbs_up: Something to do with a visitor........... :hmz: :whistle:

Back in camp we settled into our routine of SO lighting up the braai Imageready for the evening meal. This time it was a 'flattie' (the food on the braai :lol: Not a flattened braai :lol: ) It's my job to do the vegetables (rabbit food!). We enjoyed our tinnies Imageas the aroma from the chicken wafted our way.Image

Time to eat. Yum Yum!Image As we were eating (stupid not to :lol: :doh: ) and chatting about the day's events, I became aware that I was being watched. :big_eyes: You know the feeling? ............I turned to look :sup:

What was sitting very quietly in the corner. :hmz: :whistle:

Image

A large spotted genet. :dance: :dance: :dance:

Completely fearless, it emerged slowly (which seemed to take for ever!), crept onto the decking and sniffed around

Image

Image

looked up at Inyanga 1 :sup: and moved away.

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It disappeared up into the tree canopy, only to return a few minutes later.

Image

Image

It moved off again and then sat in the corner for quite a while, only to depart for the night when we got up to do the washing up.

Image

Aren't the markings fab? :clap: What a long tail for such a small animal. Being so close to a wild creature was one of the highlights of our holiday. :dance: :dance: :dance:

Their diet consists mainly of rodents and insectivores. Snakes and amphibians are secondary prey.

After getting over the excitement, we got on with the remainder of the evening. I went to prepare our sarnies for the morning, while Inyanga 1 sorted out the cameras for the next day, (meaning there were no flash cards in them!.) :naughty:

Inyanga 1 had his back to the steps and was about to tell me stop making so much noise :naughty: when..........

he turned round to see :sup: ...........the honey badger right behind him. :big_eyes: I don't know who was more surprised - him or the honey badger. The cameras weren't operational! :rtm: The honey badger disappeared!!!

During the night we heard some rustling outside. Thinking it was leaves brushing against the roof, we went back to sleep, only to find that our friend had returned to examine the contents of our bin which were zero!!!!! :wall:

The next day was departure day . :(

We shall leave you with photos of the accommodation in the next episode.

tbc........
Last edited by umtali1 on Mon Jul 04, 2016 6:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
umtali1

Marakele - August 2017
https://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=101340

2016 Reis Verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps
2013 Mokala and KNP,
2015 "Cape Town to Namibia border"
Locked