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On a mission in KNP

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roaneric
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On a mission in KNP

Unread post by roaneric » Mon Jun 22, 2009 1:38 pm

Hi AllImage

We're a family of 4. Me (Saffie), SO (dutchie) and our 2 boys of 6 and 9 years old. In 2 weeks time we will fly to Johannesburg for our annual South African visit. It's going to be a busy 2 weeks, as it's the end of the kids school year, with functions, school trips, exams ect.

Our bags are already packed and we have 80kg of luggage :shock: But the camera's still needs to be packed :cam: Luckily we can also take along 10kg hand luggage per person, so we still have another 40kg left. Image

My kids and I collected a lot of things to bring along for the residential children of Kruger. Especially the kids that join their parents at the picnic sites during the day. Because they are usually bored and do not have a lot to keep them busy with, we wanted to bring them something.

We are making surprise/gift bags for those kids. In it will be...colouring books, colouring pencils, crayons, scrap books, puzzles, small toys, something to drink, chips, some cookies and some fruit....
One of the forum members 'KLIP' said he will donate soccer balls for each child. :clap: Image

Now we just need to find out how many kids there are at the picnic sites. So if any of you seen any children there recently, will you please let us know 'where'. We will be going from north to south and it will help if we knew where to stop. Our schedule looks like this:

Entering park at Pafuri
July 19 Sirheni
July 20-21 Shingwetzi
July 22-23 Shimuwini
July 24 Tamboti
July 25-26 Lower sabie
July 27-28 Biyamiti
July 29 Pretoriuskop

Also wondering what people appreciate the most in a trip report? A lot of photo's of animals, or photo's of the camps and accommodations as well?Image It will be our first visit in Sirheni, Shimuwini and Biyamiti bushcamps, so I will try to make lots of pics there.

So were counting the days and the excitement is unbearable.
We can't wait for our first braai under the African sky.Image
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Re: On a mission in KNP

Unread post by roaneric » Fri Jun 26, 2009 7:09 am

Image Only 10 days left Image


Today I'm off to the market to look for Yellow ribbons. The previous one had a rough time
on our last trip to kruger.Image

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We also need a small ribbon for my camera, binoculars, Amarula bottle ect. :thumbs_up:

Enjoy your weekend everyone. :dance:
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Re: On a mission in KNP

Unread post by roaneric » Sat Jul 04, 2009 8:22 am

Image2 days to go

Were almost ready to go. Yesterday the very friendly and generous forum member 'KLIP' delivered 40 soccer balls in Pretoria. 20 big ones and 20 smaller ones for the children. THANK YOU KLIP. :clap: Will send you a little something from Holland. :thumbs_up:

Will see you all on the forum when were back in August. Image
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Re: On a mission in KNP

Unread post by roaneric » Sat Aug 01, 2009 4:51 pm

Hi you all.

We landed at Amsterdam airport this morning, tired from the long flight but satisfied. We had a wonderful trip to South Africa and will tell you all about the Kruger trip. Just have to sort out about 2100 photo's. :dance:

Petra, thanks for updating on my TR. :wink:
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Re: On a mission in KNP

Unread post by roaneric » Sun Aug 02, 2009 4:18 pm

Hi all… This is what our schedule looked like. Here goes my TR.

19 July Sirheni
20 and 21 July Shingwetzi
22 and 23 July Shimuwini
24 July Tamboti
25 and 26 July Lower Sabie
27 and 28 July Biyamiti
29 July Pretoriuskop

Day 1….Part 1 (Sunday 19 July ‘09)

This morning we woke up at 5:00 and left ‘Die Oog holiday resort’ near Mookgophong at 5:45. Arrived at Makhado and did some shopping before going thru Paruri gate.

Luckily we rented a big Nissan X-trail, because our car was really stuffed. We didn’t only have our luggage with us, but also gift bags for 20 children. And on top of that we had 20 big and 20 smaller soccer balls that were donated by the forum member KLIP. Luckily they were not pumped up, so we could pack them in every free space we found in the car.

This is what the inside of each gift bag looked like....

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We arrived at Pafuri gate at 12:15. Wow, what a feeling to be back again. It was about 24˚C, and partly clouded. Checking in at the reception went smoothly and we were friendly welcomed. Everyone stretched their legs and visited the restrooms. As strange as it might sound, walking thru the restroom doors, looking up at the thatch roof and smelling it, it felt like I’m in paradise.

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We bought our first bag of braai wood at the gate for as little as R8. Everyone got out there binoculars and cameras and we all voted witch animal we will see first. I voted for Elephant, Philip (SO) voted for rhino, our oldest son Roan voted for impala, and our youngest boy Eric voted for steenbok. The winner will receive R20. And off we went.

Entering the gate we drove only 20km per hours, all eyes on the bushes and searching for animals. We told the kids to say ‘STOP’ when they spot something. Not one minute from entering the park Roan yelled STOP… He saw a small steenbok. It was very well spotted because it was hiding between bushes. So we gave Eric R20 for guessing the first animal, and we also gave Roan R20 for spotting it so well.

After that we saw 2 squirrels playing in elephant dung, which fascinated the kids enormously. On the H1-9 road we saw kudu’s, white-crowned shrike, a beautiful baobab tree and a warthog crossing the road.
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We stopped on the Luvuvhu Bridge where we were allowed to step out of our car. This was a magical moment. Being in kruger, standing on the bridge, taking out our binoculars and using them for the first time. We saw a lone buffalo lying on the river bed and a white-fronted bee-eater, hunting down an insect.
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We turned on the s63 towards Pafuri picnic site and a silver double cab bakkie came towards us. In a distance I could see the yellow ribbon and I knew… it must be Martie. (mgoddard)

And yes, it was she. I was so thrilled. We chatted for a while and it was very nice to meet her. She is "living the dream" that most of us have. 'One year in Kruger'. I wish we could have chatted longer. I searched the kruger roads for her the rest of our stay, but unfortunately we didn’t see her again.

On our way to pafuri we saw 2 nyala’s and a big herd of elephants crossing the road. There were youngsters with them and they seemed a bit agitated, so we kept a safe distance. Elephants are my favorite animals, but I’m also very afraid of them. We were being chased by them a few times to many when I was a kid. Image

Pafuri is a very nice picnic spot. Nyala’s walking around everywhere and so peaceful.
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We saw Frank walking around. I went over and gave him a hand and introducing myself. What a nice and friendly guy. His wife and 3 year old son were there with him. We told him about the gift bags and soccer balls we brought and he was very excited. Although only one of his children was there, he told me the other ones are at school and we decided to give them all bags. Frank almost immediately took his boy and the other children playing around the picnic site, and taught them how to play soccer. It was heart warming to see. It gave me a big lump in my throat.
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Leaving pafuri , we decided it was too late to make as stop at Punda Maria, so we went straight to Sirheni, our first camp. On our way there we saw some more elephants, our first impala’s and a lilac-breasted roller…

To be continued…..
Last edited by roaneric on Wed Aug 19, 2009 9:39 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: On a mission in KNP

Unread post by roaneric » Mon Aug 03, 2009 11:50 am

Day 1...part 2

We arrived at 16:30. The excitement was enormous. Our first visit to
Sirheni bushcamp :dance:

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We checked in at the reception and renewed our Wildcards. The receptionist was friendly and told us to use the freezers at the gate. There are no freezer in the bungalows. She gave us bungalow number 2.

Reception..

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There is only one word to describe this little camp… Beautiful. The bungalows are all facing the river, and lies between big trees.

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Our bungalow had the most beautiful view of the river. Sitting on the veranda, I can’t find words to describe it.

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We unpacked our car and while Philip started getting the meat ready for our first braai, Roan and I decided to walk along the fence. It was almost dark, and I don’t think I have to tell you guys how beautiful it looks when the sun sets in Kruger.

The excitement was very high. The bushes was very dense. We heard all kind of noises in the bushes inside and outside the fence. Really creepy. Image

Walking along the fence, we suddenly saw the bird hide. Very nice view from up there and we saw some hippo's. We only stayed for a few minutes, neither of us wanted to walk back in the dark, without flash lights.

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Roan was allowed to help his dad making the fire. He was very proud of himself. We sat around the fire, looking at the stars. It was so dark, you couldn't even see you hand in front of your eyes. We enjoyed every minute and were amazed how many stars there were. We had a wonderful dinner and had some lamb chops, boerewors, garlic bread, beetroot saled and some very nice papaya.

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After dinner we went for a ‘short’ walk. It’s very scary walking thru the bushes, pitch dark with all kinds of sounds coming from all over. Eric begged us to go back. He was scared and we didn't want him to developed a fear of the bush, so we decided to go to bed. But I have to say, I didn’t feel like sleeping. I just want to sit outside all thru the night, listening to the night sounds and absorbing everything.
Last edited by roaneric on Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: On a mission in KNP

Unread post by roaneric » Tue Aug 04, 2009 10:04 am

Day 2 (Monday 20 July ’09)

It was 5:30 when I woke up. It was still pitch dark and I waited a while to make some coffee. Philip and the kids were still fast asleep. It was cold outside, so I took my cup of coffee, binocular and a blanket and sat on the veranda, watching the sun rise. This was amazing. I felt so close to nature. Even the francolins were still asleep.

At the first light I saw mist hanging above the water. In the tree across the river, I saw something big jumping from one branch to another. It was a hooded vulture. Unfortunately it was not light enough for a picture.

I heard hippos and all kinds of birds. But the one who gave me Goosebumps was the fish eagle. There is nothing like the call of a fish eagle to make you realize you’re in Africa.

At about 8:00 the rest started waking up. We had some coffee and ouma rusks and watched the baboons playing in the trees across the river.

We packed our car and before leaving this beautiful camp, I wanted to show Philip the bird hide. It was so peaceful. We saw some buffalos’ next to the fence, some white-crested helmet-strike’s, African jacana and a fish eagle.

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We drove past the boyela water hole where we saw elephants, zebras, impala’s, tsessebe and looking thru the binoculars, Philip saw a very big antelope. He didn’t know what it was, so I had a look. It was a huge eland. We were excited to see the eland, for this is our first one to see.

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First on Roan’s wish list was ‘ROAN ANTELOPE’. But knowing how rare they are, I told him the chances are very slim seeing one.

Continuing our way to shingwetzi we saw giraffes, kudu, blue waxbill’s and while watching them, we saw something running a few meters ahead. When we got there, we just saw the honey badger running away. Also a first for us. I was so shocked to see him that I forgot to take a photo.

This area is beautiful. Although you don’t see much, the scenery is worth wile
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After a quick stretch of our legs on the shingwetzi river bridge we took the loop s135 around Shingwetzi and saw buffalo’s, impala’s, bateleur, pied kingfisher and an iguana.

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We checked in at 12:30 and got bungalow 31. This is also the first time we stayed over in Shingwetzi. It’s a beautiful camp and although it was almost fully booked, it was so quiet. The kids played on the lawn in front, and I went to do some laundry.

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Reception / Restaurant
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The back of our cottage A31
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Number 31 on the left and 32 on the right
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We decided to stay in camp this afternoon and have an early braai. I was very tired and felt a bit sick, so after dinner we went to bed early. We must be up at 5:30, and leave camp at 6:00 tomorrow morning

To be continued.....
Last edited by roaneric on Wed Sep 23, 2009 8:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: On a mission in KNP

Unread post by roaneric » Wed Aug 05, 2009 8:55 am

Nopflip wrote:Thank you roaneric and micetta

roaneric, i have a question about sirheni. We want to stay there 1 night, and someone told me there is no electricity at night. Is it true? :hmz:


The generator of our cottage turned on at 16:00 till 10:00, so they told us not to use to much electricity or it will run out. But our refrigerator stayed on the whole night and also the bathroom light for the kids.


Scary Cat wrote:Thank you again for information and pictures of camps really learning a lot have never stayed in the park only been day visitor in the south can’t wait for September.


Never stayed in the park? :big_eyes: Well then you have to make a plan scary cat. It's a hole different experience sitting around the camp fire and listening to the night sounds.


Pumbaa wrote:Thanks roaneric,

really love your pictures from the accommodation. Never stayed at Sirheni before must be awesome but I guess one night is not enough. 8)

Thanks for sharing :thumbs_up:


Yes, one night is not enough. we were sad to leave after one night. But if you can't say more than 1 night, check in at least at 12:00 and enjoy the camp the afternoon. We arrived to late the afternoon and left to early to really enjoy it.
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Re: On a mission in KNP

Unread post by roaneric » Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:02 am

Day 3 (Tuesday 21 July '09)

Philip and I woke up at 5:30, packed the car and woke the kids a few minutes before leaving. We folded down the back seats and made a nice bed for the boys.

We took the S50 and it was still dark. We had a spotlight and saw some hares and a nyala. Just as the sun came out, we stopped at the kanniedood dam bird hide, had a cup of coffee and some ouma rusks and saw guinea fowls, a yellow-billed stork and some Egyptian gooses .

We didn’t see much after that. Arrived at Nyawutsi and stretched our legs. And even here, we only saw a fish eagle.

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Continuing on that road we felt terrible bored. We drove even slower to see more animals, but with no success. The scenery on the S50 on the other hand was beautiful .

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But then…. an antelope crossed the road. I thought it might be an impala, but when we got closer we realized it was a type of antelope we have never seen before. It’s a ROAN antelope.

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We were thrilled and Roan jumped up and down with excitement. He didn’t know what to grab first, his camera or his binocular. And then, just when he got a picture he started laughing. I asked him why he was laughing and he said… mom, he looks like a donkey. Look at his ears. We just saw him for a few seconds before he vanished into the bushes.

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When we got to the tar road, we saw elephants, zebra’s, blue wildebeest, buffalo’s, more elephants and a white-headed vulture.

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We stopped at Mooiplaas picnic site. Said hello to the guide there and had some lunch. This is also such a beautiful stopover.

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On our way to Mopani we saw impala’s, steenbok, a saddle-billed stork, lilac-breasted roller and a magpie strike.

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We arrived at Mopani and this is one of my favorite camps. We checked the sightings board and they even seen leopards and lions in the on the roads between Shingwetzi and Mopani. So our hopes were up again. We visited the restaurant deck and saw a crocodile lying on top of some sort of antelope.

restaurant
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Roan relaxing and enjoying the view
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We returned to Shingwetzi and once again saw nothing… Not even impala’s. Just a few car’s, with people inside looking very bored. We had a quick stop at Redrocks and this is truly a beautiful viewpoint.

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Arrived at camp at 13:30 and by this time I felt really sick. My trout heard, I had a terrible headache and went to bed. When I woke up I knew something was wrong. My trout was so sore I couldn’t swallow. Were leaving for Shimuwini tomorrow (only 50km from Phalaborwa) and I thought I have to get to a doctor.

So I went to the reception and asked them for a phone number of a doctor in Phalaborwa. They couldn’t help me. Stood there looking at me like I was the first person EVER asking that question. I asked them for a phonebook, but searching thru the pages we couldn’t find a doctor in Phalaborwa.

We only found the number of the phalaborwa pharmacy, so we phoned them and luckily we got a doctors number. I got an appointment at the doctor for the following day at 14:15.
That evening I didn’t eat much. I went to bed early and Philip entertained the kids. They went for a long walk and Roan saw his first falling star ever.

To be continued…..
Last edited by roaneric on Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: On a mission in KNP

Unread post by roaneric » Wed Aug 05, 2009 2:20 pm

droopy wrote:Lovely photos again, but I hope everything whas okay with you? :huh:

Thanks droopy, will tell you about it in my next 'short' instalment

Micetta wrote: I have never seen one close up, they are normally in a herd.

:(


I know. We looked for a while thru the binoculars, but didn't find any other Roans. I wondered what happened to the rest.

mikerid wrote:what a hassel getting hold of a doc, BAD showing from the reception not having access to medical information


We thought so too. You should think they can print out a few important phone numbers and put in on a door or something. They saw how sick I was and after struggling for an half hour to get the number of a doctor, they might have done something about it now.

DANKBAAR wrote:We are going there for the first time in December and now we can't wait after seeing that deck. :) :)

ENJOY ENJOY ENJOY... Mopani is really one of the most beautiful camps. I could have kicked myself for not staying there again when we drove thru the gates. On our last visit we stayed in number 51. It had the most breathtaking view. Here's a pic of that cottage. Try to ask for that one if you can in December.

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Re: On a mission in KNP

Unread post by roaneric » Wed Aug 05, 2009 3:53 pm

Day 4… part 1 (Wednesday 22 July ’09)

I woke up this morning feeling like a train hit me. I had a fever, and looking in my throat it was full of white spots. We packed up our things and as we were leaving, the cleaning lady of our cottage came to say good bay. She was so friendly and I asked her if she had children. She had 3, one at school and 2 still at home.

I quickly fetch her 3 gift bags and pumped up balls to take home with her. It’s amazing how grateful someone can be. She practically grabbed my hand to shake it and I could see she wanted to give me a hug. So I gave her one. She told me her oldest boy loves to watch people play soccer and doesn’t have a ball. So once again KLIP, if you’re reading this, you made one particular child VERY happy. Thank you very much.

We took the H1-6 towards Shimuwini. Just had a quick stop at Mopani to stretch our legs and followed the H14 phalaborwa road. We saw a steenbok, impala’s, some hippos and another fish eagle.

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We got there 11:30 and the receptionist told us we're a bit early, but were allowed to put our luggage in the kitchen. So we did that and left for Phalaborwa with an empty car.

It was a lovely 26ËšC and we arrived at Phalaborwa 13:30. We had 45 minutes to kill so we decided to do a bit of shopping. We went to the Spar and got a few things like meat and fruit, and was on time for my appointment at the doctor.

Dr. de Jager helped me and diagnosed me with tonsillitis. I got antibiotics, and a bag full of other medicine. So I immediately took my first pill and off we went to Phalaborwa gate.

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We decided to stop a masorini picnic site and see if there are children around. But there was no one. Not even a guard. We got out, went to the restrooms and headed back to Shimuwini. On our way back we saw giraffes, impala’s and a beautiful bird (think it’s a juvenile bateleur)

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Last edited by roaneric on Mon Aug 17, 2009 7:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: On a mission in KNP

Unread post by Elsa » Wed Aug 05, 2009 4:23 pm

Really enjoying your report Roaneric, so sorry about the tonsilitis, could not have been easy trying to spot animals and feeling so sick. :?
Love the way you show the various camps/bungalows, especially number 51 at Mopani, which is the same one we had in Feb. :D
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Re: On a mission in KNP

Unread post by roaneric » Wed Aug 05, 2009 7:31 pm

Day 4...part 2

We arrived at Shimuwini at about 16:30 and got some time to admire this beautiful camp. I thought nothing could compare to the view of Sirheni. But that was before I saw the view of number 13 at Shimuwini.

Gate
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Number 13
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View towards the birdhide
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View towards number 12/11/10...
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When we arrived, we went to the fence and saw buffalos lying just across the river. Also saw some kudu’s and impala’s coming for a drink and hippo’s splashing around. We went for a walk along the fence towards the bird hide.

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The view from the bird hide is very nice. You have a view on rocks and all kinds of life between them. Some crocs and tortoises were sunbathing, water birds were looking for some appetizers, and we felt like we're in paradise… We enjoyed every moment of it till the sun disappeared.

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I love it when you start a fire at night, look to your right and left hand side and see bbq fires lit all over the place. Philip started the fire and we ate at 20:30 that evening. Although I was feeling terrible, I didn’t want to miss anything by going to bed early. The stars were amazing, the sound of the hippos was fantastic and we even heard a hyena in the distance. Pure bliss.

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Last edited by roaneric on Mon Aug 17, 2009 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: On a mission in KNP

Unread post by roaneric » Thu Aug 06, 2009 3:39 pm

Day 5 (Thursday 23 July ’09)

I woke up at 7:30 this morning feeling a bit better. Fever is gone, throat still hurts, but the pain medicine helps a lot. :dance:

I got up, made some coffee for SO and me, woke the kids and went to sit outside. It was so peaceful. There's so many birds in camp and 2 fish eagles flew past. The hippo’s was still in the water, crocs and tortoises already sunbathing.

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Philip got up, went for a walk along the fence and was amazed how 'LOW' the electric fence is. If you think about it, it might be the height of a big male lion. Brrr :big_eyes:

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We went for a drive towards Letaba and took the s133. We saw elephants, impala’s and a little steenbok. Arrived at Letaba and had a quick breakfast at the restaurant. Although we waited for more than 45 minutes for our food due to a power failure, we enjoyed ourselves. The view is magnificent and the kids were playing around with some boys they just met. There were also a lot of birds to look at. red-winged starlings, great egred, grey go-away-bird

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Restaurant
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We quickly popped into the reception to bring SaskiaT a chocolate from Holland. Unfortunately she was not in her office so I left it at the reception for her.

We visited the elephant museum and we were very disappointed to see they took away the big elephant in front. I wonder why. The kids once again loved the museum.

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We returned to shingwetzi at about 13:00 and it was 30ËšC. The kids wanted to try out the pool. The water was freezing but you know how kids are, they jumped in.

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Boma
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We went for a walk and passed the reception. The manager Portia were outside and I started chatting with her. I asked her if she has children and she said, yes a 6 year old. There are 3 children living at shimuwini but 2 of them were at school. So I told her about the gift bags and balls and she was very excited. Roan and I went back to the cottage, quickly packed 3 bags and pumped up 3 big and 3 small balls.

When we returned Portia said we should come with her. She took us to the residential houses and when we arrived there was a little 2 year old girl running around. Roan gave her a bag, but she was very shy. Portia helped her unpack it and you saw her face lightning up.

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Being a girl, she loved the doll the most.
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Portia was so happy with it, and said it is one of those moments in life you’ll always remember. She asked me to send her a photo, so I will definitely do that. She is the friendliest person I met in Kruger. Shimuwini is very fortunate to have her as a manager.

On our way home we met ‘Shine’. At first I didn’t know she was tame, so I was puzzled to see her coming towards us. When I got on my knees to make a photo, she came so close and smelled at my camera. It was only later on that I heard her story from the gardener. She was found 12 years ago by the field guide and hand raised.

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We decided to stay in this afternoon and start an early fire. It turned out to be the highlight of the day for the kids. Helping dad to make a fire every night.

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We ate early and after dinner we got another visit from Shine. Only a second and luckily we had our camera’s on the table for a quick photo. When she left, she looked a bit disappointed, not getting a nice meal from us.

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We went for a walk to the bird hide, but on our way back something weird happened. The wind started howling, and in a matter of minutes, a storm was on us. We ran back to our cottage and by this time the wind was so strong, the kids camping chairs flew away and as I was running after them, I saw the first lightning in the sky.

AMAZING… a real African storm coming up from nowhere. Philip putted the fire out with water, because you saw sparks flying all over the place. (Luckily our food was done)

We all went inside; listening to the horrible howling sounds. Although I felt a bit scared, being so isolated with only a few people in this small bushcamp, It brought back memories of my youth. I fell asleep with a smile on my face. Nature is so powerful and amazing

to be continued .....
Last edited by roaneric on Fri Aug 07, 2009 8:35 am, edited 3 times in total.
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"I am not African because I was born in Africa, but because Africa was born in me"

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Meandering Mouse
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Re: On a mission in KNP

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Fri Aug 07, 2009 6:55 am

I cannot stop smiling when I read your trip report. It is just so heart warming. I have also fallen in love with Shine :wink:
The bird doesn't sing because it has answers, it sings because it has a song.


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