Limited Overs and Camp Visits ...... a Forum Tale

Tell us about your breathtaking experiences in the parks
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roaneric
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Limited Overs and Camp Visits ...... a Forum Tale

Unread post by roaneric »

I didn't have to think hard and long about it, when my sister asked..... "are we going to the cricket@Skukuza in March?" :lol:

I remember how sad I felt, watching the webcams instead of being there last year, so there was NO WAY I'm going to miss out again. :rtm:

Philip (hubby) wanted to join me at the Cricket, but a few weeks before leaving, a college of him got sick and he had to fill in for him that weekend. So instead of canceling his trip, we just moved it on a few days. The first part of the trip I was all alone, followed by a few days with my family and forum family and ended it with a few days of quality time with hubby.

Our trip looked like this...

26 Feb Lower Sabie (alone)
27 Feb Lower Sabie (alone)
28 Feb Lower Sabie (alone
1 March Skukuza (cricket@Skukuza 2018)
2 March Skukuza (cricket@Skukuza 2018)
3 March Skukuza (cricket@Skukuza 2018)
4 March Tamboti (with my family)

5 March Mokopane (with hubby)

6 March Punda Maria (with hubby)
7 March Punda Maria (with hubby)
8 March Punda Maria (with hubby)
9 March Satara (with hubby)
10 March Satara (with hubby)
11 March Satara (with hubby)

This trip I had 3 cameras for me to play around with, and I have to admit, I went a bit overboard.Image I have to go through almost 10 thousand photos so this will not be a quick trip report as usual.

So jump on the bus and fasten your seat belts. The bus is scheduled to leave on Friday.

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Last edited by roaneric on Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:34 pm, edited 6 times in total.
Limited Overs and Camp Visits ...... a Forum Tale

"I am not African because I was born in Africa, but because Africa was born in me"
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roaneric
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Re: Limited Overs and Camp Visits ...... a Forum Tale

Unread post by roaneric »

Day 1

I arrived in SA a few days earlier and visited my parents in Bronkhorspruit. I left them at 5:30 on the 26th of February and were on my way to Kruger. Before arriving at Crocodile bridge, I had breakfast with my oldest sister in Nelspruit and a cup of coffee with my middle sister at Malelane. Always nice to see your family and catch up when in South Africa. Image

I arrived at Komatipoort at 14:30 and I popped into the Spar to get some groceries.
Yellow ribbon tightly tied, all stocked up and I was on my way to the gates of paradise.

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I kept in contact with Nighthawk2 and Timbits (Gino and Anita) and knew they were in crocodile bridge that night, so I quickly stopped at their bungalow to say Hi. What a lovely couple and we chatted like old friends. I had the flu so my voice was almost completely gone, but they understood me perfectly. :lol:
They told me about a lion sighing they'd seen not far from camp so we decided to head in that direction.

My first bird sighting was this little strike. I think it’s a lesser grey strike, but not sure. He let me take quite a few pics of him before he flew off.

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My first mammal sighting was not just impala’s, it was impala’s accompanied by a jackal. I was so pleased to get a few pics of him, but he was running and I couldn’t keep up, so I continued to follow Gino and Anita.

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We found the lions on the S28 and they were as flat as pancakes. I could just see some color between the grasses so taking a picture was not even worth it. After a few minutes, waiting for them to get up, I decided to move on and head towards Lower Sabie.

The scenery in kruger never disappoints. I love those trees in the middle of the roads.

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I had quite a few bird sightings on the way. Flying ground-hornbills, white-backed vultures, African green-pigeon, a few European bee-eaters and some kind of raptor. Not sure what kind it is, maybe the experts can tell me? (maybe an African hawk eagle or a Juvenile martial eagle? )

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The sightings were quiet the rest of the way. Just before I arrived at LS, I saw 2 tiny little giraffes. At first I thought they might be twins as I only saw one mommy. One of the little ones were suckling and the other one waited patiently. The first one finished and just I thought it was the other ones turn, his mommy popped out from behind the bushes and he started drinking from her straight away. So, so cute.

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I arrived at LS just before 17:00 and got my key to hut number 41. I was very tired and still felt a bit sick, so I went for a quick shower, made myself a sandwich, took my medication and got into bed early. I fell asleep instantly and felt very privileged to be in Kruger again.
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Last edited by roaneric on Sat Mar 24, 2018 10:12 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Limited Overs and Camp Visits ...... a Forum Tale

"I am not African because I was born in Africa, but because Africa was born in me"
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Re: Limited Overs and Camp Visits ...... a Forum Tale

Unread post by roaneric »

Day 2 part 1

I woke up just after 5:00 this morning, got dressed and went to fetch some hot water in the communal kitchen for my coffee. To my surprise, I found an interesting note….

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Now this is exciting. My senses were sharpened and I immediately shone my torch all around me.... up in the trees under the scrubs… I didn’t see anything so I got in my car (it's a saver option if one is looking for a leppie :lol: ), coffee and cameras ready and I drove around camp, searching with my spotlight. After driving past the swimming pool 3 times, I came to the conclusion that Mr. leopard probably fled the scene. I suppose the rangers were also looking for him. :tongue:

So I left camp 15 minutes later than planned, stopped at the sunset dam and decided which direction to go in for the day. I saw quite a few birds and found some new ones for my list as well, so my day began perfectly… :dance:

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I felt a bit better this morning so I thought I will go to Berg & Dal for the day and get some requested accommodation pictures. I took the S21 and saw some buffalo and Ellies enjoying the morning sun.

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The road was pretty uneventful except for some birds and impala’s around every corner. There was water everywhere in the bushes, from small to medium sized puddles. The rain was a blessing and you could see the impalas enjoying the green grasses.
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When I reached Renosterkoppies, a car stopped me and told me that if I go on the S112, I would find lions and a HUGE traffic jam. Apparently the lions were sleeping under a bush so I decided to skip the traffic jam and rather go left on the S114, and take the S23 towards the tar road. What a beautiful road this is. Not disappointed driving it at all.

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I found the cutest and tiniest little tortoise. It was about the size of a R5 coin. When I approached it, it was crossing the road and I first thought it was a dung beetle, but when I came closer I saw it was moving differently and had a different color. I wonder if that is the real size of these tortoises or just a baby. :roll:

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While spending a bit of time with my new friend, little Skillie, I heard a baboon calling in the distance. It was in front of me so I decided to go and look for it. Fortunately, it was in a tree close to the road. I couldn’t see any other baboons and I was puzzled. What did he see and why he was making so much noise? Could it be that he was calling for his troop, or was he seeing some kind of predator that I couldn’t see? I spend about 15 minutes with him, but didn’t see anything so I said goodbye to him and ask him to please try to relax. It’s not good for his blood pressure. Image




I arrived at Afsaal and had a quick toilet break and got myself something cold to drink. I was on the road again in less than 10 minutes. I saw another baby / small tortoise, but this one was a bit bigger and faster. :wink:

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I saw this funny harrier hawk cleaning his feathers. Every now and then he shook them and looked twice the size he actually is. I was just able to get 2 pictures and the second one was just in time as he flew off :cam:

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I couldn’t believe my luck when I drove towards a little traffic jam a little bit later. I was greeted by a few VERY HANDSOME rhinos having lunch. They came quite close and posed so nicely for my camera. Don’t you just want to give him a big kiss.Image

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To be continued.....
Last edited by roaneric on Sun Mar 25, 2018 10:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
Limited Overs and Camp Visits ...... a Forum Tale

"I am not African because I was born in Africa, but because Africa was born in me"
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Re: Limited Overs and Camp Visits ...... a Forum Tale

Unread post by roaneric »

Day 2 part 2

And my luck didn’t run out. Just before Berg&Dal gate, I saw 2 cars parked, windows open and huge camera lenses hanging out. I parked next to them and heard there was a leopard in a tree with a kill. It was very far and I zoomed in as far as I could. Although the picture is not sharp, this is the best one I got of the leppie. :wink:

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I drove through the camp gates with a huge smile on my face. I quickly got the pictures I needed and ordered some take away lunch at the restaurant. I didn’t want to sit and eat my food in camp, so I drove out and found some ellies enjoying a drink and mud bath at one of the water puddles. Perfect place to stop and eat.

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I looked to the side of the road and saw this little dung beetle working very hard. It amazed me how he moves around and push the ball uphill, over the rocks, falling down and climb back on again...Not giving up till he reached his destination.....Very impressive

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I took the S25 back towards LS. I saw lots of birds, but in the heat of the day, I saw nothing else.

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It was already 14:00 when I started feeling sick again. I suddenly had a terrible headache and it felt like I had a fever, so when I reached the tar road, I drove 50km per hour just to get back to camp and into my bed. I didn’t even look for animals, just kept my eye on the road. Luckily only roadblock I had, was this one…

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I saw a problem with my car as well. I drove about 300km sins the tank was filled up and the petrol meter was at going down as it normally does. But suddenly it jumped up to fullest and was stuck on full. So the first thing I did when I got back to camp was to phone Avis in Skukuza. They told me to come to skukuza the next day and they can have a look. If it’s not fixable, they will see if they can get me another car, or I can refuel at every camp to make sure the car will not run out of petrol. :hmz:

I took some medication and got into bed. I slept for almost 2 hours, but felt a bit better when I woke up. My voice was still gone and I had a sore throat, but it helped me being alone for a few days and not talking to many people. :lol:

I decided to go to the Sunset dam and sit there for the last hour before the gate closes. It was so quiet and peaceful. I saw some crocodiles popping up and I saw a few pied kingfishers catching multiple little fishes.

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Once again the sunset was beautiful. Nothing like a sunset over the Sunset dam.

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After sunset I had a light meal and copied my photos to my laptop. I opened my windows and heard some hyenas in the distance and the night sounds was amazing as usual. I listened to the cheerful chatting of the people next door, sitting at the fire and talking about their sightings. This is such a magical happy place. I fell asleep quite early again, but my bed was so comfortable, who can blame me.

***
Limited Overs and Camp Visits ...... a Forum Tale

"I am not African because I was born in Africa, but because Africa was born in me"
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Re: Limited Overs and Camp Visits ...... a Forum Tale

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Day 3

I woke up this morning feeling much better. I slept all through the night and didn’t cough myself awake like the previous nights. I was ready to roll and waited in line at the gate.
So I had a few minutes to decide where to go today. I decided to turn left towards Crocodile bridge and it seemed like I was not the only one having that in mind. Of the 6 cars that was parked in front of me, 5 of them turned left. So after driving a minute or so, I decided I’m not going to follow the crowd and when the S82 turn off appeared I quickly turned right. Best decision ever....

I have never driven this gravel road so I was pleased to see how beautiful it is. I came to a little dip in the road where a little stream was flowing and stopped right there. My eyes already scanning to see if there is something drinking water. My luck was in, a hamerkop was just about to go fishing

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I took a few photos of him and when I looked up, I looked straight into the eyes of a lioness, lying just 50m further in the road. My heart skipped a beat and I had to look twice to see if I wasn’t still asleep. I drove towards her slowly and saw that there was not 1 but 2 of them. They were blending in perfectly on the gravel road. I looked in my review mirror and saw no other cars coming. It was only a few kilometers from camp, and there I was, all alone with 2 lionesses and all the crowds were just driving past and had now idea. :doh:

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After about 20 minutes they got up and started walking down the road. I followed them and were still amazed that I had this sighing all to myself. They fell down again and started grooming. Just look at her long tongue, to think that tongue could lick away the skin of an impala. :shock:

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A few spur fowls came to investigate and they were brave little ones. They came so close a few times that I thought one of them will trip over the lionesses paw. In the distance I saw a warthog crossing the road, and the lioness saw him too. She didn’t react so I thought she was either full or not in the mood for hunting this early in the morning.

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It was funny to see the color difference between them. The light color one looked like she might be a bit older than the darker one. The younger one got up, walked a few meters into the bushes and fell down again to sleep on the other side of the road. As she did this, the old one gave me a perfect pose and then started grooming herself again.

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I sat there, watching the lazy lionesses when I looked in my review mirror again and saw a warthog family crossing the road behind me. The one lioness also caught a glimpse of them and immediately stood up, got into stalking mode, walked passed me and then disappeared into the bushes. I turned my car around to follow her and when I looked in my review mirror again, I saw the other lioness, walking behind me, using my car as cover. I knew the warthogs were in trouble now.

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I didn’t want to go too close to where the warthogs disappeared into the bushes so I stopped my car and the second lioness walked passed me. She started calling for her friend, who was on her left somewhere. I thought, 'well, that’s it, you just blew your chances lady. You should keep quiet'.

All of a sudden the lioness started running and I moved forward quickly, while still filming. (sorry, not the best footage) She caught one of the little piglets and ran away with her prize, while the one who were actually doing the hunting, just stood there flabbergasted. She looked disgusted as her younger friend walked away with her breakfast. :doh:

Turn on the sound to hear her call....



The older lioness sat in front of the burrow where the rest of the warthog family disappeared into and waited, staring at the entrance. Only then (1,5 hours since I saw then first) did the first car arrived. It was a tour guide and his tourists were happy to see their first lions. The lioness decided to give up and join her friend, who was enjoying her snack behind the bushes. I decided to leave as well.

Driving away, I felt sad for the little piglet, but also realizing that that's how nature works. The lioness was lucky and had a full belly and the warthogs missed a family member. :cry:

I went back to camp, quickly put some laundry in the machine. Before I went to Skukuza, I decided that I need to talk to the Lower Sabie manager and ask him what is going on with the tents that's being upgraded at the moment. I went to the office and he was happy to give me answers regarding the new and upgraded tents. He said he would show me, grabbed a few keys and off we went. He was so friendly and helpful and explained that some tents are already finished and are only waiting to pass the inspection before the will be opening and the other tents are still being worked on.
So I took some pictures and wrote the numbers down for the accommodation thread. :cam:

I left camp again just before 9:00. I saw some elephants in the river and crossing the road, a little steenbok and this pretty giraffe. She had a bad injury (or maybe some kind of growth) on her leg, but she didn’t have a limp so I think it was healing well.

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I stopped at Nkuhlu for a quick stretch and saw people working on some kind of construction. It looks like solar panels and I wonder what that could be for. The picnic site itself was nice and peaceful as usual. Lovely view from the picnic tables

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I arrived at Avis in Skukuza. The person I spoke to on the phone was waiting for me. He already arranged for my car to be looked at and asked for my keys. He brought it to the garage and I thought this would take a long time, so I asked if It's okay if I sit on the sofa in the reception. I had my storybook and was ready to catch up on a few chapters, only to be surprised 15 minutes later. My car was already fixed. The petrol indicator worked again. Never expected it would be fixed so quickly. :clap:

I went back to Lower Sabie and took the H1-2 road this time. I saw 2 new birds and was happy to add them to my bird list. A Green-winged pythilia and a Bronze mannikin. I got them on photo so I could id them, but not the best quality photos I have to admit. Here is one of the mannikin at least.

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I found a troop of baboons a little bit later. I saw a mommy with the very tiny baby. The baby was still wet and I think I just missed the birth by a view minutes maybe. The mom was so protective, the moment I stopped, she took off into the bushes, holding him so tightly. I did manage to get a quick bum shot. :tongue:

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This mommy on the other hand didn’t mind showing off her baby. I took this picture just at the right moment. She was either tired after a rough night, or the little one bit her and she yelled out. :hmz: :lol: :tongue: Just look at those teeth

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I was happy to spot a raptor while driving. I saw its silhouette and slammed on the brakes. I’m not sure what kind of eagle this is, a tawny or Wahlberg maybe. Hope someone in the birds ID thread can help me ID it.

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I arrived at camp and decided to get myself something small to eat at Mug&Bean. After lunch I went to get my clothes of the washing lines and headed out towards the Ntandanyathi bird hide. This is truly a beautiful bird hide with lots of water after the recent rains.

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On my way back to camp, I saw a troop of monkeys. As most of you know, I love primates. :lol: So of course, this was the perfect spot to park my car for the next hour or so. I caught the babies on video.




It was almost gate closing time, so I headed back to camp and decided to drive over the sabie bridge to see if I can capture one of the kingfishers again. And as I hoped for, one of them just caught a fish and landed right next to me with his kill. Amazing how they smash the fish against the wall. Apparently that is not only to kill it, but to let the muscles relax. His fins will go down and they will not do any damage when the bird swallows it. :wink:

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When the clouds turned an orange color I realized I had to get back to camp before the gate closes. It was once again a perfect day with perfect sightings. And the best thing of all, I felt much better and my voice came back. When I got back to my hut, I could finally call my husband and although I still had a husky voice, he could understand me this time and I could tell him all about my day. Perfect ending to a perfect day. :dance:

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Last edited by roaneric on Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:10 pm, edited 11 times in total.
Limited Overs and Camp Visits ...... a Forum Tale

"I am not African because I was born in Africa, but because Africa was born in me"
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Re: Limited Overs and Camp Visits ...... a Forum Tale

Unread post by roaneric »

Day 4

I forgot to set my alarm for this morning. I woke up by the sound of starting car engines. I jumped out of bed, pulled open the curtains and saw that the sun was up already. :doh:

I had to leave Lower Sabie today so I packed everything in no time... I was driving out of camp before 7:00, not wanting to miss out on anything that might be out there early morning. :wink:

I decided to take the H10 towards Mlondozi and then the Salitje road towards Skukuza. But before that I had to stop at my favorite dam one last time. And as usual, Sunset dam never disappoints.

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This was one very SMART crocodile. He found the perfect fishing spot. All he had to do is open his mouth and let the little fishes flows right into it. Perfect. He had a good meal with little effort. 8) I have no idea where those fishes came from, but I think they were sucked into the water system from somewhere else in the dam. :hmz:

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It was like a morning breakfast buffet and the birds were also having great success. It even looked like they were working together. The Great egret showing the Little egret and Green-backed Heron how it’s done :lol:

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I continued my journey. On the H10 I found a huge herd of giraffes. I counted at least 20 of them but there could have been more. At one point there were 4 crossing in front of me and 5 behind my car. Looked like I stopped right in the middle of the herd. :D

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While waiting for some of them to cross the road, I spotted 2 males having a bit of an argument. The younger one thought he could challenge the older one, but he was the one who gave up and walked away after a while.

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I was happy to see my first Martial eagle when I turned on the Mlondozi gravel road. He was a bit far, but that’s when a zoom lens comes in handy. This is by far my favorite bird. They are so majestic.

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I was surprised to be the only visitor at the Mlodozi picnic site. I had a magnificent view from up there, with the sun just trying to break through the clouds and everything so green around me. Well, looking at my car you could see where I've been driving. :lol:

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Unfortunately the dam was quite empty. I worry about the coming dry season and really hope for good rains before then. We always tries to stop here for breakfast. Love it, love it, love it.

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The resident monkey family were ready for the first picnic guests. I spotted these 2 young ones in a bush next to me. It was obvious that they are used to people. :wink: I got plenty of pictures of them and they were so relaxed, they even came closer to inspect my camera. They have the cutest little faces in the world.

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I left my new monkey friends and took the Salitje road. You will not believe when I tell you how quiet it was on that road. I just saw 1 approaching vehicle the entire 22km. I saw some general game and just as I was beginning to get bored, a green snake crossed the road in front of me. I got some snap shots, but they are not the best. Looking at his big eyes it looks like a Boomslang but I'm not 100% sure.

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I just started driving again and as I was driving underneath a dead tree branch, I saw a bird sitting on it. I slammed on the brakes and stopped right underneath it. Luckily he didn’t get a fright and looked quite interested in me. The snake can be relieved that he wasn’t spotted by this brown snake eagle. :lol: This is one of my favorite photos of this trip. Just look at that face :D

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I love this road. There’s lots of little loops that take you closer to the river’s edge. My windows were open while driving and just as I approached one of the loops, I heard trumpeting. I decided to take the loop and follow the sound. I found 2 young teenage elephants splashing around. :dance: It was great fun watching them. They were a bit naughty, chasing off the birds and impalas. :naughty: One of them ran out of the water on the other side, so I didn’t worry about him. When the other one decided to leave on MY side of the river minutes later, I GOT WORRIED.:shock:

I didn’t like being chased by ellies, so I stopped filming and started my car’s engine. But then I got a huge fright. :big_eyes: I was parked under a tree, on the edge of the water, with a small narrow road leading back towards the main road. I didn’t pay attention to my surroundings and when I tried to reverse, I realized that I was surrounded by the rest of the elephant herd. They blocked my road out and this little teenager looked like he was coming to play with me. :doh:

So my heart skipped a few beats. The herd was quite relaxed and continued eating, moving off the road slowly, so bit by bit I moved forward. The hill up towards me was a bit steep, so that slowed the naughty teenager down and by the time I was half way through the herd, he lost interest. He probably saw a few of his aunts and didn’t want to get into any trouble by chasing after my car. :lol:

I got them on film, splashing around. Hope you enjoy the video.



I arrived at skukuza and kept my eye open for any yellow ribbons. Who of the forumites will I see first? :hmz: I stopped at the Reception and just as I got out of my car, someone with a Yellow ribbon stopped next to me. It was Gogga EJ (Jenni) It was so nice seeing her again and we chatted a bit. I checked in and got my keys to number 131.

I knew Dinkeybird and Hawk (Dalene and Neil) were in camp already so I went looking for them before going to my bungalow. It was so nice seeing them again and after some hugs and catching up I went to my bungalow to unpack. It was such a nice bungalow, and funny enough just next to the camping spot of Dalene and Neil.

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I relaxed a bit while I copied my photos on my laptop. I tried to organize my stuff and get things ready for the cricket on Friday. I was part of the Cricket@Skukuza planning committee this year and in charge of the kids’ activities. I brought all kinds of stuff from the Netherlands, from paints for the face painting to sweets and prizes for the coloring competition and it was spread all over my luggage. :roll:

My new friend and forum member George Brits were booked into the bungalow next door. We spoke like old friends on facebook, whatsapp and the forum for a while now, but this would be the first time we meet each other face to face.
George and his friend Audrey arrived and it was so great finally meeting them. :dance: After they unpacked, the 3 of us headed to the cattle baron restaurant to get something to eat. I went for a stroll after lunch and found a great spot under the restaurant deck to sit and reflect on the day. What a pretty view from here.

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My sister Geocor (Cornie), her husband George, son Marius and his friend Dave finally arrived. It was Dave’s very first time in Kruger so it was great fun showing him everything. The men booked into bungalow 191 and my sister stayed with me in my bungalow. It was so nice seeing them again and hearing all about their sightings during the day. :D

The best way to end a day is by having a Braai together so that was exactly what we did. :thumbs_up:

Lovely atmosphere, lovely company and lovely bush sounds…. What more can one ask for? :wink:

George Brits enjoy sitting by the fire.

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Last edited by roaneric on Tue Mar 27, 2018 12:11 am, edited 7 times in total.
Limited Overs and Camp Visits ...... a Forum Tale

"I am not African because I was born in Africa, but because Africa was born in me"
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Re: Limited Overs and Camp Visits ...... a Forum Tale

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Day 5 part 1

Waking up to the sound of an alarm clock that's not yours, can be frightening. For a second I thought... 'where am I and who’s with me in the room'?. :shock: Luckily I figured it out quickly. I’m in Skukuza and my sister is sleeping soundly next to me, even though her alarm is going hysterical on the bedside table.

I sat up straight and said… "Wakey wakey, the lions are waiting for us". This is the way our mom used to wake us when we were in Kruger. We were out of bed in no time when we realized where we were and didn't want to miss out on a lion sighting. Happy memories :dance:

We got up and were ready for a fun filled cricket day. We got our cricket shirts on and were out on the road at 5:40. We decided to go for a short drive in the Pretoriuskop direction before the first Cricket match.

First animals we saw when we left was a few hyenas with young ones. It was still a bit dark, so my pictures are not that great. I still struggle taking pictures in low light. The men were in the other car and left camp a few minutes earlier so we caught up with them while they were watching some Kudu’s. We decided to go to Transport dam, have coffee and rusks there and then head towards the cricket fields. I only needed to be there at 8:00 so we still had some time.

We didn’t see much game on our way there except for this pretty Yellow billed kite.

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It was very quiet at the Transport dam as well. We enjoyed watching the hippos play around while drinking coffee.

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We arrived at the Skukuza Cricket fields and saw that the Golden Gate and Marakele Ladies teams were warming up already . I have to admit. I know NOTHING about cricket. I know there is a ball, a bat and wickets. You try to hit a ball when someone throw it at you and run (at some point :lol:) That’s it. So when we arrived, my sister and Meandering mouse (Wendy) took me aside and tried to show me a few tips and tricks. They will shout when I need to run and when to wait, all I had to do is... ‘keep my eye on the ball’... So we practiced a bit and I have to say, I hit the ball more times than I missed, so I was pretty pleased with myself. 8)

I found an empty table and unpacked all the paints and brushes for the kids painting. Soon I got my first costumers. This is only the second time I pained kids’ faces, but with the help of youtube I was confident enough to try it. The skukuza kids were still in school, so I didn’t expect to paint too many faces, but it was good to practice. Little Caylee was first in line and happy enough with just a little butterfly. The next boy wanted to be a tiger so this was the best I could do..

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Soon after the adults also came and a cheetah was not that difficult to paint. Some even helped themselves while I was busy and had great fun doing it.

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The ladies game between Golden Gate and Marakele was about to start when an announcement was made. They needed 2 players for the Marakele team. Of course I didn’t volunteer first, but after the third call, my sister and I got up and pitched in.

The Marakele team was already on the field and I asked them to put me in a spot where I will not get too many balls. I only got 3 balls flying my way and was able to catch them all and with some directions from the team, threw them to the people closest to me. My sister did much better, she won a trophy at the Cricket@Skukuza 2016 so she knew what she was doing. :wink:

I'm ready to play some cricket :lol:
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We had a break and had time to have something to drink and relax before it was our turn to bat.
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Unfortunately, the game was over very quickly. Before me and my sister got the chance to bat, the game was finished and Golden Gate won.
Well played girls. :clap:

Here’s some pictures my brother In law, George took of the game.
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Last edited by roaneric on Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:27 pm, edited 5 times in total.
Limited Overs and Camp Visits ...... a Forum Tale

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Re: Limited Overs and Camp Visits ...... a Forum Tale

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Day 5 part 2

After lunch it was time for the fun match. Our names were on the list because that is one game you don't want to miss. It's great fun. Anything goes in that match. From dress up to breaking some game rules. Wendy and Janine were our team captains and in no time they picked their teams. I was in Janines team and our name was the Pink Flamingos. Little Caylee and myself were playing as 1 player and had so much fun. Before the match started, it was time for a quick photo. (sorry don't know all the names)

Geocor (Cornie) with the white hat in the back, Janine with the red shirt, Nedret with the yellow mask, Swatika (Gerda) with the blue hair, Gogga EJ (Jenni) with the golden spade. Roaneric (Marijke) sitting on the left, Babybushbaby (Caylee) sitting in the middle and Meandering Mouse (Wendy) sitting on the right
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Here’s a few pictures of the fun match and I will try my best to add some names to the faces. Please feel free to correct me or add names if you know the people in these pictures. :wink:

From left to right Nedret, Swatika (Gerda), Maargat (Gerhard)
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Jenni's golden spade was auctioned after the cricket and were sold for R 1105 :clap: This was just one of the many fundraising initiatives this weekend :dance:

Gogga EJ (jenni)
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Gogga EJ (Jenni) and Geocor (Cornie) in the back
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Gogga EJ (Jenni) and Nedret batting
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Roaneric (Marijke) and babybushbaby (Caylee)

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Porridge (Patrick) umpire with the brown hat and Morecat (Sam) in the pink, telling the bowler to play nice :lol:
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Morecat (Sam) smashing the ball
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Janine, our team captain's time to bat
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Janine batting and the opposite team taking it 'easy' :lol:
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Nedret chatting to Dinkybird (Dalene) and Hawk (Neil) while Meandering Mouse (Wendy) catches the ball in the background
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Maargat's (Gerhard) turn to bat
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Cricket is exhausting. Need to rest a lot
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Time to play
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Never forget the chair
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Meandering Mouse's (Wendy) turn to bat
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a Bit bored when no balls came flying our way :roll:
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After our game, the men’s game began. We stayed to watch and catch up with friends we made through the years. I still needed to get some of the forum mites number plates for the Braai later that evening so with my notebook in hand I was on a mission. :lol: The braai was going to be at the Golf club. Its not only outside Skukuza camp but also after gate closing time, so we needed to arrange late passes for the gate.

In the meanwhile my sister’s son Marius and his friend went for a drive and took my camera with him. He got some pretty good pictures at lake panic so I will share a few of them here.

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Last edited by roaneric on Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:30 pm, edited 9 times in total.
Limited Overs and Camp Visits ...... a Forum Tale

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Re: Limited Overs and Camp Visits ...... a Forum Tale

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Day 5 part 3


We eventually headed back to camp to shower and get ready for the Bring&Braai that evening. We left camp before the gate closed and arrived at the golf club just before sunset. Everyone arrived in a cheerful mood, looking forward to a great evening.

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From left to right, Audry, Marijke, George Brits and Caylee in front
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Caylee was my little shadow today and what a lovely little girl she is. I enjoyed spending time with this little angel and wish I could take her home with me. :) She is the cutest little forumite. She attended the cricket every year with her mom since she was just a few month old baby. And look how gorgeous she is.

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I let her play around with my camera and gave her the job to get some nice pictures of everyone. She LOVED it. Here’s some of her pics and I will try to put names to them as far as I can.

Caylee filming Gornie and George
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From left to right... Pardus1029 (Willie), IngweT (Alisha) Sekhmet (Sumari)
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From left to right...Forest Village (Louise), RosemaryH (Rose) in the red shirt, Rich 31 (Richard), Hippotragus (Mary), Gogga EJ (Jenni) and Klyston (Dave)
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From left to right... Isinkwe (Ian), Nedret, Glenn phillips, Hawk (Neil), Dinkybird (Dalene) and Elsa (Brenda)
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From left to right...Hippohollow (Mari), Vlakvarksegat (Neels), Morecat (Sam)
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From left to right...Nighthawk2 (Gino), Timbits (Anita), Porridge (Patrick) Jaxidean (Jax), WendyA (Wendy)in the pink (sorry don't know the rest of their names)
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We had a wonderful evening. Nothing better than spending time with new and old friends. That’s why I love the Sanparks forum so much. It’s not just about making new friends with people who share the same passion as you, but becoming part of one big forum family.

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Limited Overs and Camp Visits ...... a Forum Tale

"I am not African because I was born in Africa, but because Africa was born in me"
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Re: Limited Overs and Camp Visits ...... a Forum Tale

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Day 6

Funny how it’s no problem getting up early in Kruger. At 5:30 we waited in front of the gate, hoping to see some nice sightings. We decided to drive toward Lower Sabie and then turn back via the H12 bridge. It’s lovely to still see the moon after sunrise.

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Our first sighting was a hippo who desperately wanted to cross the road. I got a quick picture, but saw that he was very agitated and reversed quickly so he could cross the road. They are HUGE when they are standing next to you. :shock:

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We saw a few birds on our way to the Sabie river bridge. It’s so pretty and green this time of year and the morning light makes everything looks even prettier.

View from the bridge
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We found some primates enjoying the early morning sun. A few monkeys were also in the neighborhood and this little baboon almost seem the same size as the adult monkey.

Gimme a kiss mommy
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We were almost back at camp when we saw this pretty Raptor. It’s either a Walbergs or lesser spotted eagle, but I’m not sure.


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We arrived at the cricket club and was all excited to be at the second and last cricket day. It was the serous cricket game today, with the Skukuza men team taking on the forum Mens team. :dance:

A few of the children living in Skukuza came to join the fun so there were more kids for me to entertain. :dance: I organized a coloring competition to keep them busy while they were waiting to be face-painted. They colored the most beautiful pictures and at the end of the morning we chose a winner. :clap:

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I bought a backpack with some goodies inside for the winner, but also bought some consultation prizes for every kid that participated. Coloring books with coloring pencils and washi tapes.
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Around lunch time I asked Audrey to come and choose a winner. She also paints in her free time so I thought she was perfect for the job. She has chosen the girl Karike’s picture as the winner. They all looked beautiful, but hers stood out because she didn’t only color her picture, but also drew grass, birds and clouds to finish off the painting. :clap: She was very happy with her backpack and the other kids didn’t feel that bad for not winning when they also received their consolation prizes.

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The kids painting went well and I had my hands full. Some of them washed their faces after a few hours just to be painted something else again.
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The men were playing a serious cricket game. Amazing how hard that balls were thrown and hit. Here’s a few pictures Neil took (thanks for giving permission to share them Neil) The Skukuza team won. Congrats guys. :clap:

Photo credits Neil Preston
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Support from the sidelines

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Almost at the end of the game we had a streaker by the name of WendyA. She interrupted the game for a moment with her red *** horns… to raise money for a good cause.

(here's a little bit background) 2 years ago, she and Sparrow (Russel) planned to streak together, but something came up and instead of that, Russel stole the show by doing a little dance at the gala dinner, while wearing nothing more than a Rhinokini. :lol:

Russel at the Cricket@Skukuza 2016 gala dinner.
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Counting the money
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Russel collected about R2400 that evening. All donated to one of the Sanparks good causes. :clap:

:cry: Sadly Russel died unexpectedly a few months later. He is a legend and I think everyone who knew hem will agree that he is missed every day. :cry: :cry: :cry:

That’s why Wendy decided to finish the deal they made 2 years ago to streak for a good cause and to honor his memory. She did well and collected R2000. (she also sold some yummy homemade cookies during the weekend)

She asked for that money to be donated to the K9 dogs unit of Sanparks. Well done girl. I’m sure Russel had a huge smile and a good chuckle if he was watching.

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This year Jenni came up with the idea to do a Box action to raise money. People were asked to donate a shoe box, filled with goodies. They could put in anything they like, as cheap or expensive as they wish. I thought it was a good idea to put Dutch items in my shoe box.

Forum member Yoda said he also wanted to donate a box, but lives in the UK and could not make it to the cricket. He send the money to me and I bought some things in SA for his box. I found some things to make an outdoor themed box. There was a braai thong, fire grid, lighter, head light, led lamp, cork screw, steak knife and braai apron in it. Yoda's box were ready to be wrapped.

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All the shoe boxes were wrapped in newspapers and were displayed on a table during the cricket weekend. On top of each box there was a piece of paper where you can place your bet on. You could if you wanted to, write a riddle or hint on your box,
giving a hint what might be inside. The riddle on my box was... ‘Something white, something blue, something sweet in here for you’.

14:00 exactly the auction ended and the highest bidder got the box. All weekend people bid and overbid each other. I had my eye on one particular box. The hint said… ' tjirp....tjirp ' … so I had the gut feeling it had something to do with birds. Birding is a new hobby of mine, so if my suspicion was correct, this was the box I needed to bid on. :lol: :pray:

Unfortunately, I was not the only one who wanted that exact box and the last 30 minutes of the auction, it all got crazy around the auction table. :doh: :lol: Jenni had the timer set to go off and we were trying our best to distract the other people from overbidding us. It was so much fun. :dance: The last bid on the box I wanted was R240 so I grabbed a pen and wrote R250 just in the nick of time. :dance: The alarm went off and the highest bids won. Now the fun part began. What’s inside the boxes? :hmz: I took some pictures of a few people unpacking their boxes. All nice and yummy stuff. This was a great idea and a total amount of R1800 were raised with the box auction. :clap: :thumbs_up:

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The box I won was great. A bird book, leather covered notebook, water bottle, calendar, and a bird shopping bag wad inside. Perfect, and just what I wanted. The bird book is the best. Hopefully I can learn more about these little brown birds. :lol:

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I decided to head back to camp after the box auction. The parking lot at the cricket field was full of cars with yellow ribbons on their mirrors. I'm sure some people in the park wondered what all these ribbons was for. :hmz: I had to explain it to a few people at sightings who asked me about my yellow ribbon.
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I still needed some accommodation pictures of some Skukuza units so I drove through the camp and hoped that the units was not occupied yet. I desperately needed some pictures of one of the riverside bungalows on the far right side of camp, as I haven’t got any pics of them yet. When I arrived, I saw them all being occupied but just as I turned my car around to leave, I saw a car in the parking spot of number 219 and it had a yellow ribbon on. :dance:

So I stopped and we’re pleased to see Aboon (Agnes). They were the lucky ones who had this bungalow with this fantastic view of the bridge for the next few days. They showed me around the bungalow and didn’t mind me taking some pictures for the accommodation thread, and we chatted a bit. It was the second time we met and they were also from the Netherlands so it was nice catching up. :k

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I just wanted to go to the shop quickly and before I got the chance to park in the parking area, 3 men jumped in front of my car to stop me. :shock: It was 3 of the Marakele cricket team players. They recognized me and asked me for a favor.

They wanted to know If I could drive them to the Golf club. The prize giving gala was going to be held there later that evening. They didn’t want to wait for their bus and wanted to go earlier to watch the Live cricket game on TV at the club. Well, I didn’t mind of course, so they jumped in and off we went. It was nice chatting to them and hearing all about their lives in and around Marakele national park. Very friendly fellows. :)

I dropped them off and went back to my bungalow to shower before dinner. We left camp just past 17:00 and driving through the Skukuza village we saw a Hornbill. I quickly stopped as It looked totally different than the ones I’ve seen before. I took a photo and showed it to a few people later that evening who helped me identify it. It was a crowned hornbill. :dance: I was so so happy because this was a new bird for me and apparently one you don't see often. :D

But bad luck was on my side regarding the photo thou. I did something wrong the next day when I copied my photos to the laptop. All my pictures taken with my canon (from that afternoon and the next day) were gone. I normally copied them to my laptop each day and after that I did that, I delete the photos from my memory card so it was empty and ready for the next day. Don’t ask me how, but those pictures were nowhere to be found when I got home. :doh: Maybe there was an error while I copied them and I didn't see it or checked it before I deleted them. :wall:

The Dinner was great. There were some speeches made by Glen Philips (KNP Managing Executive) and Janine Raftopoulos (Sanparks head of communications ). Trophies and medals were given to the best players and after the official part of the night, we had the most delicious 3 course meal. :D

My nephew Marius is a singer and volunteered to do the entertainment for the evening. So while the dinner was served they asked 'Greunen' (his stage name) to start his show. It was great and he got people dancing. I have made a compilation video clip of a few of the songs he has sung, just for you to see the atmosphere of the evening. (Sorry the quality is not the best, my camera had trouble focusing in the low light sometimes)



Just past 21:00 we decided to head back to camp and said our goodbyes. :cry: This is always the saddest part of this weekend. Saying goodbye to our friends, not knowing when you will see each other again. :cry: If all goes well we will see each other again next year at the Cricket@Skukuza and who knows, maybe we can arrange a minimeet somewhere in Guateng before then. Thanks for everyone who helped organizing it this year and for all the mites coming and making it a successful event once again. :thumbs_up:
Last edited by roaneric on Mon Apr 02, 2018 10:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Limited Overs and Camp Visits ...... a Forum Tale

"I am not African because I was born in Africa, but because Africa was born in me"
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Re: Limited Overs and Camp Visits ...... a Forum Tale

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DAY 7

For the first time this holiday we slept a bit late. We were leaving Skukuza and were on our way to Tamboti for the last night with the family. :(
While the rest were still packing, I took one last stroll along the river fence. This picture was taken in front of bungalows 92-94.

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We said our goodbyes to George and Audrey and left camp just before 10:00. We took the H1-2 up north and our first sighting was a breeding elephant herd.
They were enjoying a mud bath and the little ones were the cutest. Rubbing off the mud on the tree, rolling around, kicking and sitting on each other. I just LOVE ellies.They can be so entertaining.

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Dave took this video of the one baby sitting on the other one



We saw some general antelope species on our way to Tshokwane like steenbok, waterbuck, lots of impalas and 3 little Duiker's near the kruger tablets. They were a bit hidden in between the bushes and rocks so we couldn't really get a decent picture of them. Marius did get a great picture of this little steenbok. See the flies on his eyes.

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Arriving at Tshokwane we rented a skottelbraai and made breakfast (even though it was past 12 :lol: ) Always yummy to have bacon and eggs in Kruger, no matter the time of day.

My sis and I unpacking the picnic bag.

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We decided to see how much water was at the Orpen dam lookout point. We were surprised to see lots of water and green grasses and trees all around. It was around 14:00 so we only spend a few minutes as it was very hot and humid.

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We took the S35 to go up north, but were blocked by a herd of elephants. Some of them were a bit agitated so after a few minutes we decided to turn around and go back the other way. No way I’m getting to close to ellies who looks like they want to fight. :roll:

Luckily we choose to take the other road. Just as we got on the tar road again, I caught a movement to my left hand side. I couldn’t believe my eyes. A leopard was walking straight towards us in the heat of the day. He looked old and not the happiest leopard. We stopped and after a few minutes, more cars arrived. It looked like he wanted to cross the road, but was afraid to. He came closer and sat down, then got up and came a bit closer again. When he finally got the the edge of the road, he sat there for a few minutes. Just when he got the nerve to cross, he got up and walked a few steps towards the tar. But then an elderly couple came from the front. :doh:

We waved them down and flashed our lights to try to get them to slow down, but they ignored us and didn’t stop. They drove past all the cars and even when they were next to the leopard, they didn’t even bother to stop and look what everyone else was looking at. :wall:

This scared the leppie and after a few snarls and growls he walked away back into the bushes. He didn’t look that happy and when I got home, I looked my photos and saw that one of his teeth were broken off. Maybe he was in pain. Poor fellow. :cry:

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We stopped at Satara quickly and the road towards Tamboti was dead quiet. It was about 35’C so it was not surprising that the animals were hiding in the shades. We arrived at Tamboti and got a tent with a great view.

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I copied my days pictures on the laptop and as I said in my previous installment, somehow I did something wrong. All my pictures of the day, that I took with my canon got lost. Luckily Marius grabbed my Lumix a few times during the day so we at least had some pictures.

We had a lovely braai and watched the moon rising. We used the spotting scope for the first time and had a lovely view of the moon.

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The boys haven’t seen a hyena this trip yet, so they went exploring and strolled along the fence with their torches. Luckily 2 hyenas passed the fence a few times and started sniffing each other right in front of us.

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Just before we went to bed, we had a visitor at our tent. It was the resident Genet. He was so friendly and not afraid of us. We were all standing on the deck, watching him and taking pictures. He just stood there, not bothered at all and posing for us. It was a perfect way to end the last night in Kruger with my sis and the family. :thumbs_up:

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Last edited by roaneric on Mon Apr 02, 2018 10:13 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Limited Overs and Camp Visits ...... a Forum Tale

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Re: Limited Overs and Camp Visits ...... a Forum Tale

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DAY 8

Lions roared all through the night, but what woke me at 3:30 was not only the roaring lions, but the sound of rain falling softly on our tent.

My heart felt so full of joy and happiness that I just laid there listening to the most beautiful sounds in the world. Needles to say, I couldn't sleep anymore and enjoyed every second. This is the best food for ones soul. It sounded like 2 pride members calling each other. The one lion sounded like he was just outside camp, while the other sounded like he might be a kilometer or so away.

We had a pretty sunrise, and just as we were about to leave, it stopped raining and the clouds turned into a pink / orange color.

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We are leaving for Pretoria today, but decided to go for one last drive before joining the traffic on the highway. We packed everything and left camp at 5:30. I always get a lump in my throat when we have to put our keys in the key box. Not a nice feeling knowing you are leaving a special camp like this.

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We took the H7 and returned via the Rebelais loop to Orpen gate. The young impalas were enjoying the little water puddles on the road. It was funny to see a few of them chewing on some dirt. There must be some kind of minerals in the dirt that they need in their diet.

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We found some zebras and they looked gorgeous in the morning light and all the green grasses around them finished off the scene perfectly. Marius took these pictures. Just beautiful. :clap:

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This little red-crested korhaan gave us quite a show. Screaming his lungs out. Such a funny sound they make and Marius got him perfectly on camera.

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We were almost at the end of the loop when we saw 2 jackals running. We tried to get them on camera, but they were just too quick. We were very excited to at least see some small predators this morning.

We were also lucky enough to see a lovely Verreaux eagle owl before leaving the park. He was cleaning his feathers and still had a little feather stuck on his beak.

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We left Orpen gate before 9:00. We decided to drive via Tzaneen and arrived in Pretoria before dark. My mom had an operation a few days earlier, so before I went to the airport to pick up my husband, we went to visit mom in the hospital. Luckily everything went well and the operation was a success. :)

I had a few hours to relax before I picked up hubby at OR Tambo and we were on our way for part 2 of our Kruger adventure the next day.
Limited Overs and Camp Visits ...... a Forum Tale

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Day 9

We were woken by bird songs outside our window, just as the sun came up in Mokopane. We decided the previous day that we wanted to drive a few hours after picking up hubby at the airport, so we have less to drive today. We were on our way to Punda Maria and this was the only gate we have never entered before so we were pretty excited. :dance:

We left at 7:00 and decided to stop at a shopping mall in Polokwane to get the necessary groceries for the next few days. All that done and we were on our way, taking the Giyani route for the first time. This was very scenic and even though it took as a while to get there, we loved seeing the livestock crossing the road every now and then.

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We stopped at Giyani for lunch and arrived at Punda Maria gate just before 14:00. What a beautiful gate this is. The staff were very friendly and welcoming and check in went smooth and quickly.

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We drove past the Punda Maria day visitors' area, but no one was there. It looked interesting, I wonder how many people make use of these facilities.

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We arrived at Punda when it was the hottest time of the day. We got our keys to tent number 7 and needless to say, it was HOT inside. So we opened the windows and went for a walk through camp. We went for a swim to cool down and the water temperature was just perfect.:dance:

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The birdhide was the best place to relax the rest of the afternoon. We were just in time to see an Elephant herd coming for a drink. The quietness of the surroundings were so peaceful that we could sit there forever. Just because of that birdhide, we decided that we should spend at least 3 nights there on our next trip. We couldn't get enough of it.

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It was such a relaxing experience, watching them drink. One of the little ones wanted a drink as well, but the edge was a bit steep for him. So mom took him to the other side for a drink. (not that that was any better) He suddenly slipped and fell into the water, just as I was afraid would happen. :doh: I think mommy Ellie's heart skipped a beat just as mine did, but she came to his rescue very quickly and helped him out of the water. I was filming at that moment, so enjoy the video clip. :wink:



We were pretty tired, as we only got 4 hours sleep the night before. We got some firewood and headed back to our tent to lit the fire.
As many of you know, the number 1 bird on my wish list was the crested guineafowl. I’ve been looking for them for years now. So you can believe me when I say, I almost got a heart attack when we walk to our tent and saw a few of them running away in the distance :dance:

I dropped everything and went after them with my camera, ready to get some pictures, but they were too quick for me and disappeared into the bushes before I could get a decent picture. This is the only one I’ve got. At least it was something. :roll:

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All excited, I joined hubby next to the fire. It was so nice spending time together after being apart for more than a week. The sun was setting and it was still above 30’C. We had a lovely dinner and just as I was getting into bed, Philip called me to quickly come outside.

We had a very friendly visitor. A Giant Bushbaby. He walked around the deck as if that was HIS, climbing on the chairs and watching us out. I sat down, trying to get a few pictures. (Although I don't know how to get rid of those reflecting eyes :hmz: ) He came so close at one point that I though he's going to touch me. :lol:

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When he didn’t get anything to eat from us, he decided it was time to go hunting for some insects instead, so I got him on video as he walked away. Such a gentle bushbaby. I was so pleased to see him and hoped he would come back and visit the next few days.

Last edited by roaneric on Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:51 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Limited Overs and Camp Visits ...... a Forum Tale

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Re: Limited Overs and Camp Visits ...... a Forum Tale

Unread post by roaneric »

Day 10

The sounds you hear when you sleep in a tent is much louder and more intense than when you sleep in a bungalow. During the night we heard all kinds of noises in the bushes next to our tent. I got up with my torch a few times, but couldn’t see anything. It’s exciting and scary at the same time. :roll:

a Few hours later, hubby made us some delicious coffee. We watched the sunrise from our deck, enjoying a few pieces of yummy rusks. With the Kruger map on the table, we decided in which direction to drive this morning. What will Kruger show us today? :hmz: That's always the question we ask yourselves when we get out of bed in the mornings. But for now it was time to relax and enjoy the sound of the bush waking up. :dance:

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I was asked by Sanparks if I could help them with the online maps. They were still outdated and they needed physical verification of the units and get the correct numbers / changes made in each camp. This is to ensure a better planning experience for guests who are members of the forums and social media.

Lesley Nyawo(from Public Relations in Skukuza) gave me a letter of authority to get this information and with that letter in hand, I was on a mission to visit as many camps as oossible the next few days and get the info they need. I will only visit camps between Punda Maria and Talamati on this trip, so Isinkwe (Ian) will help with the southern camps when he will be in Kruger next.

We decided to go south towards Shingwedzi and also stop at Sirheni and Bateleur for those map info. Just outside camp we saw our first bird. A woolly-necked stork. Lovely bird and only the second time I've seen one. He was fishing but in the few minutes we were watching him, he had no luck catching anything.

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We found a small herd of buffalo’s. They were quite close and very interested in us. They gave as chills a few times, watching us with those gazing eyes. I was very excited when I saw my first yellow billed oxpecker, doing a superb job on the back of one of the ladies. I’ve been looking for them for years and never seen one before. Only seen the common red-billed ones. Looking at this photo I cant decide weather this girl was enjoying the oxpeckers cleaning session, or daring us to come closer? :hmz:

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We saw this pretty immature Bateleur circling above us. I still have trouble getting birds in flight on camera, but this one is not that bad and you could clearly see what it was. I think I need to go on one of those birding weekends in Kruger to improve my bird photography skills. :wink:

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We stopped at Babalala quickly. There was no one there and It's incredible how different it is up north. The nearest picnic site to a main camp and no visitors in sight. If this picnic site was located in the south, it would have been packed, I'm sure.

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We decided to follow the S56 gravel road towards Sirheni. I have to say, I am very impressed. This road was in such a good condition. I’ve seen lots of gravel roads in the south where you have to take out your dentals if you don’t want to lose them. :lol:
But here, it was a smooth ride. We saw 2 tiny little waterbucks all alone. We’ve been driving up and down the spot where we saw them and there were no adults around. I really hoped the adults were hidden somewhere and that these two babies weren't lost. :pray: I think of all the baby antelopes, waterbuck babies are my favorite. They look so fluffy, and don't you just love those heart shaped noses and huge ears. :wink:

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We also saw this pretty Sharps grysbok. I’ve only seen them a few times before so I know every sighting of them are special. She was pretty relaxed, checking us out and continued eating when she saw that we were no threat.

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It was not 10:00 yet, but already 32’C. We knew this was going to be a hot day. The elephants had the right idea, staying under the shady trees. These little ones were sleeping while the adults kept guard. Sorry this was the best picture I got with the bushes in the way.

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Some others were trying to cool down by drinking and taking a mud bath just a few meters further… It looked refreshing and you almost feel like joining them when you see how much fun they have.
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This young one was cleaning the mud off his feet. Cleaver boy using a branch to do it. Or maybe he had a thorn in it. :hmz: I wonder.



We arrived at Sirheni and were welcomed by the friendliest receptionist I’ve met in Kruger. She helped me with all the info I needed on the cottages and gave me a few keys of the unoccupied cottages to have a look around and get some photos. This is truly a lovely camp and we were privileged to stay here on 2 occasions. But after this visit I feel like we need to book here again. The only sad thing was, the water was almost completely dried up near the bird hide. :cry: Although it looks so green, they need more rain. Here’s a few pictures of the camp

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One of the friendliest people I’ve met. What a lovely lady. Unfortunately I forgot to get her name

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We continued our journey and the road towards Shingwedzi was uneventful. We arrived at Shingwedzi just before lunchtime and headed straight for the reception to quickly get the info I needed. A few people asked me to please get them some info and pictures of the new numbered perimeter camping sites. The camp manager asked me to join her in her office and helped me with all the information I needed. I got a few keys to get some inside pictures of some of the upgraded units as well and while Philip went to the restaurant to get a cold beer, I headed for the accommodations with my camera in hand.

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We ordered lunch and were surprised to get huge portions of food. It was just delicious. Philip could hardly finish his burger while I asked for a doggy bag, as I couldn't even finish half my plate. We had the best view and enjoyed the cool restaurant lapa. :dance:

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We thought we had time enough to visit Bataleur and also see how it looks at Red rocks and Tsanga lookout point. We haven’t been there since 2013. Red rocks were beautiful, but with less water than in 2013. I literally got out, took some pictures and back in our air-conditioned car in less than a minute. The temperature meter in our car showed 38’C so it was not surprising that we saw almost nothing this time of day. :roll:

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We also stopped at Tsanga and the bushes was so dense, this was the only good picture of the view I got. I took this photo from the parking area, but it was too hot to go exploring and see if there was a better view point, so I was happy enough with this picture at that time. :lol: Will try to stop there again in August. It should be much cooler then. :wink:

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We turned left on the little gravel road towards Bateleur. We were quickly stopped in our tracks when we saw a herd of elephants in the road. One of them got a fright when we approached them. He trumpeted loudly, and from there on the herd was uneasy. :doh: We just got a photo of this ellie (with the whitest/cleanest tusks I’ve ever seen) and decided it was not worth it. We turned around as we didn’t have time to wait for them to settle down and move out of the way. It was already past 15:00 and we needed to get back to Punda before gate closing time.

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The road back to Punda was very quiet. We saw some fairly large antelopes this morning near the Boyela waterhole but they were so far in, we couldn’t figure out what they were. The only thing we knew for sure was that they were joining a herd of zebras. So when we approached that same waterhole again, we were very excited to see them closer to the road. It was our very first sighting of eland antelopes. We stopped and as soon as I got 2 photos of them, they ran away, deeper into the bushes. They looked very skittish and wary of cars. At least I got some proof. :lol:

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We arrived back at camp about 30 minutes before gate closing time. Philip dropped me off at the birdhide, while he went to the shop to get a few things. Unfortunately I was the only one there, all ready for action. But there was no animals in sight. He fetched me after a few minutes, but I was reluctant to leave, hoping something will show up eventually. :pray:

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Nothing came so we drove back to our tent and just as we came around the corner, I saw a glimpse of the guinea fowls again. I asked Philip to drop me off so I can go guinea fowl hunting with my canon. :lol: I am happy to report… I got more than 40 shots with my canon. Here is 3 that I thought was the best to show you :cam:

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We had a lovely braai again and enjoyed a cold one, feeling satisfied with the day’s sightings. We decided to walk to the birdhide after dark and were just in time to catch an elephant herd. The hide was packed with people wanting to get a good glimpse of them. My camera is not at its best with night shots, but at least you get the idea. This was a perfect way to end a perfect day. :wink:

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Last edited by roaneric on Wed Apr 04, 2018 10:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Limited Overs and Camp Visits ...... a Forum Tale

"I am not African because I was born in Africa, but because Africa was born in me"
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Re: Limited Overs and Camp Visits ...... a Forum Tale

Unread post by roaneric »

Day 11

Our last full day in the Punda Maria area was upon us. I love the north and wish I could spend a whole week up here, but sadly enough, this will be our last day. We decided to do the skottelbraai breakfast thing at Pafuri, so there was no need to hurry this morning. We took our time to get ready and pack our things.

While I was packing the cooler box, hubby was carrying the cameras and picnic bag to the car. The cooler box was still empty, but the lid was open, ready for me to stock it. While I turned my back to fetch the bacon and eggs, Mr. monkey stood on the table on his back paws, leaning over the edge to look inside, with a bit of a disgusted look on his face. :rtm:

Sorry fellow, there was nothing inside yet for you to steal. I tried to chase him away, but instead of backing off, he raised his eyebrows and shown his teeth. :shock: (I bed, he was really upset with me for being so slow to fill the cooler box) Luckily, Philip came back from the car and when Mr. monkey and his friends saw my knight In shining armor, they scattered into the trees. :lol:

We left camp at after 7:00 and tar road towards Pafuri. We saw a Martial eagle, levaillant’s (African striped) cuckoo (I do have pics but they are not that good) and this very handsome black-shouldered kite hunting. We saw him diving down a few times but unfortunately he didn’t catch anything in the few minutes we watched him.

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And how lucky can we get. Crested guinea fowls for the third day in a row. We looked for them for years and years, so luck was on our side.

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We saw the scenery changing when we approached the Pafuri border turnoff. It looked like a tropical forest with palm trees and all kinds of plants you don’t find in the south. I can’t describe how beautiful it’s up here, and somehow I couldn’t exactly capture the beauty on my camera. But I have tried and here is a few pictures of the area. Just look how green it is. :clap:

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We saw a few Nyala’s, waterbucks and zebras on the way and this pretty little White fronted Bee eater.

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We arrived at Pafuri and were not the only ones there. I took a short videoclip while driving the last few meters towards the picnic site. You can just see how green and lush it is in the pafuri forest .



I suddenly had a lump in my through when I realized that Frank is not there anymore. The last time we visited Pafuri, I brought toys and soccer balls for all the staff’s children living with their parents at the picnic site areas. I remember how Frank immediately went to play a quick game of soccer with his little boy and ask my 2 boys to join the game. I know he is missed by all the forum members and people who ever crossed paths with him, and I surely felt his absence when I walked across the picnic site. :cry:

We met the new guide and he was also very friendly and helpful. He brought a skottlebraai to our table and I started making breakfast. Bacon, eggs, fresh fruits and some bread. We had way too much food so I asked the guard if he had breakfast yet, and he didn’t. He brought us his plate and enjoyed breakfast with us.

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The monkeys were keeping a close eye on us . If one of us turned our backs, they came closer, but when they saw Philip or the guard look at them, they skedaddled. It was like a cat and mouse game. I love them so much, but they need to leave my food alone. After breakfast we went for a stroll and enjoyed the scenery of this lovely picnic spot. It’s a true piece of paradise.

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We have never been further than Pafuri picnic site, so decided that today is the day. We NEED to see crooks corner. For those of you who have never been there, you need to go through the yellow fever tree forest to get there. OH MY WORD… this is so beautiful. I can’t believe that we never been here. :doh:

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There were so many animals in this area. Around every corner we saw something. We stopped at some warthogs taking a mud bath. It was a pretty scene, with storks, warthogs and elephants in the distance. They were pretty close to the road so we looked for a nice shady spot and parked our car to enjoy it.

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The Elephants were heading for the same mud puddle as the piggy’s. And they treated us to a real mud bath show .At some point one of the biggest ellies had enough and wanted to cross the road. Philip doesn’t like to turn off the car’s engine when we are at an elephant signing, but because I was filming I asked him to turn it off. When the big ellie had enough and wanted to cross the road, I could feel the tension in my hubby, but looking how relaxed the ellie was, I thought it would be better not to start the engine at that moment. We were all alone and the sound of the engine starting might just upset the ellie. So we sat quietly. :wink:

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I got a little bit on video, and if you turn up the volume up you could hear the sounds of them throwing the mud around. See the last elephant approaching had a short trunk. I wonder what happened to his trunk. :hmz:



We continued and decided to take one of the little loops that went straight towards the river on our left hand side. We saw 2 elephants enjoying the cool river water so much. It was even hotter than yesterday and we didn’t blame them. They had the right idea.

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Crooks corner is nothing like I expected. Well, I’m not sure what to expect, but this was not it. A huge river flowing strong, with a big parking area where you are allowed to get out of your vehicle. We spend a few minutes, taking it all in and decided we definitely need to get back here in august and immediately started planning our trip in the car. ( btw, luck is on our side, a 4 bed cottage at Pafuri border camp opened up yesterday, so I quickly phone and got it for one night in August :dance: )

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We drove towards the pafuri border post to see what it looks like. Well, it was nothing special. It almost looks like a prison we left very quickly. Not a desire of mine to cross this border post. :roll:

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The temperature rose to 45’C by 13:30 and by that time we were almost back at camp. We didn’t see much as everything was hiding from the heat. We decided to take the S62 gravel road via Klopperfontein back to camp. Good choice. :dance: We approached a car parked in one of the little loops at the Klopperfontein concrete dam wall. We thought they were just relaxing as the lady sat with her feet on the dashboard, and we wanted to just pass them and get back to camp. Luckily I made eye contact with the lady and saw that she was waving at us to stop. We reversed and were very happy when she told us to look under a specific tree, and then we will see part of a 17 strong lion pride. They were very far away, and we only saw 3 of them. (sorry they are not the best pics but at least you can see them).

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The couple left and we took their parking spot. We spend about 30 minutes with them, but they were more flat lions than anything else. I wanted to tell other people about them, but no one came. So we left. We weren’t driving so fast so when a car tried to pass us about 5 minutes later we waved them down. I asked them if they’ve seen the lions and they haven’t seen any lions since they arrived, so they were more than happy to drive the few kilometers back and go look for them. :dance:

We arrived back at camp and you would not believe how hot our tent was. So while hubby fetched our swimsuits, I quickly went to the reception to get the updated info on Punda maria. The manager was not in the office and just as I wanted to leave, I saw him walking around the bungalows, so I quickly went over to say hi. He had some time to spare and showed me some of the upgraded 3bed bungalows. He also said I should try to get accommodation in Pafuri on our next visit. If we had time he could show us around camp there, but we were leaving the next day and had to drive all the way to Satara, so we had to take a rain check. He was so proud of Pafuri, you could see that clearly. :wink:

I arrived at the pool and Hubby was enjoying the cool water already. We weren’t the only ones who had a nice cool swim in mind and it was so nice to chat to other people about the day’s sightings and all while hanging In the cool water.
After about an hour and after some oom asked us if we had driven the mahonie loop yet, we decided to do that, as it was a pretty road to drive apparently. So we left and that was truly a very beautiful road with awesome sceneries. We saw lots of Nyala and kudus close to the mountains and a herd of zebras just as we were almost back at camp

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We went to sit at the waterhole again, wanting to see if we could see a nice sunset from here. A herd of elephants came to make the picture even more perfect than it already was.

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We waited till it got dark before we headed back to our tent. We lit the fire and were somewhat disappointed that it was our last night at Punda. Mr. bushbaby came to say goodbye, but only stayed a few seconds. Not even long enough for me to grab my camera. We had a lovely stay in Punda and this camp are way up there with my favorites now. We will be back, that’s for certain. :wink:

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Limited Overs and Camp Visits ...... a Forum Tale

"I am not African because I was born in Africa, but because Africa was born in me"
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