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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so..... 2012

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Goggo EJ
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread post by Goggo EJ » Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:38 am

Well, last week turned into a whirlwind! The eye appointment went well and now I need to wait for the doc to come back to me on what they can offer me in terms of replacement lenses. I did some shopping and then came home.

Wednesday I helped with a school trip - my nightmare! - but it was OK. We saw ellies, impalas, warthogs, rhinos, kudus, waterbuck, steenbok, duiker, zebs, wildebeest.

Thursday we went to Skukuza for a shooting assessment, but it was cancelled at the last minute so we did some admin stuff instead, and then went to the golf club for an early lunch.

I had been waiting to find out if I could join the Mphongolo trail on Sunday as an observer guide, and while we were at the golf club 3 folk came in. I knew one of them, a guide from Olifants, but one of the others turned out to be the guide leading the Mphongolo trail on Sunday!!!!!! He said he thought it was on, and I was welcome to join them.

So I had to go back to Nelspruit on Friday to get some bits and bobs for camping/hiking that I had not yet bought.

Saturday I helped out at the gate for the morning holiday rush, and then went into Malelane for some fresh veggies and headed north, not knowing where I was going to sleep that night! Shingwedzi was hosting the Baroque in the Park weekend and so I could not stay there. Alternatives were a ranger post outside Shingwedzi or maybe Letaba or Satara....... In the end one of the Shingwedzi managers who remembered me from Croc Bridge arranged for me to stay at Letaba. Turned out to be a good choice as a guide who had just finished Mphongolo arrived and camped near me. We talked a lot, and he gave me some good advice.

Sunday I headed for Shingwedzi with plenty of time - but ended up rushing a little at the end as Mopani restaurant took almost an hour to produce a toasted bacon and egg sandwich for me to take-away (there were only 2 groups in the restaurant at the time, one already eating!). At Shingwedzi Brenden met me, showed me the ropes, and we met the rest of the party and by 11am were on the road to the trail start.

My pack was far too heavy - combination of not having a suitable really small tent, and packing too much in the way of snacks. I also had one of those minimalist self-inflating sleeping mat, but it was almost useless and a waste of space and weight. I carried close to 20kg and struggled, but I did it!!!!! If I can do it under those conditions it will be fine for the future.
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Goggo EJ
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread post by Goggo EJ » Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:19 am

First day we walked to a seasonal river where there was an area with permanent water. We arrived to find ellies close by, waited a while, they suddenly realised we were there and turned and ran off. We pitched tents close to a steep bank and went to get water. Brenden selected one of the ellie water holes and carefully enlarged it a bit with a spade, then ladled out water until it was almost crystal clear. We filled all our water bottles and added our water purification method of choice - the others had chlorine tablets, I had some drops. The day had been fairly cool which made walking easier than in the heat.

After sitting and chatting a while we cooked - variations were pasta, couscous and my veggies and smoked chicken fried up. Even though we were on river sand the ground felt hard and I did not sleep well.

Next morning we were up early and packed up ready to move to the next camping spot - again near permanent water - where we planned to spend the remaining 2 nights. The sun came out, and it got hot........ we stopped for breaks in shade, and spent a couple of hours or so over lunch-time in the shade of a large nyala tree. Aware of the danger of overheating and dehydration I drank quite a bit of my water. About an hour after we set off again I felt nauseous and called a break in some shade (think our 2 guests were grateful too - one was wobbling a bit at times, and the other looking very red and flushed). We were not far from our destination then and set off again and got to the area with no further trouble. Think I either drank too much fluid, or reacted to the drops to purify the water - cut down a bit on fluid after that and was OK.

We found buffs and ellies in possession of the water point, so camped up on the river bank a short distance from the water. Again we collected water from an ellie hole. This time we also filled 2 collapsible buckets and had more water to use in camp. Brenden even rigged up a camp shower for us behind an nyala tree as a luxury. I was first to try it......and a rhino tried to join me! Fortunately it came along as I headed there and not a few minutes later!!!! It decided we were not interesting enough and moved off, I had my shower and so did everyone else. A great morale booster after a hot day. We heard hyenas and ellies in the night. It became very windy and I had to get up in the night to make sure the fly-sheet would not take off.

Next day we were able to walk without the big packs which made things easier, and it was cooler initially. We walked quite a distance but again rested in the middle of the day in the shade of a big tree. In the evening we sat on a rock near the water point and waited to see what would arrive...... the answer was a large herd of buffalo! They were nervous, and did not stay long allowing us time to get back easily to camp before dark. During the night more hyenas and even lions at one point, but in the distance rather than close.

Final morning we packed up, made the area clean and tried to erase any evidence of our presence by scattering leaves over tent sites etc, and then headed for the pick-up point. It was hot again. We tracked a rhino for a while too, but did not see it, even though it seemed to have decided to check out our route for us and the tracks went most of the way we walked! Again we rested in the shade for a while, and then set off again. Suddenly we got to shade again and Brenden turned round and came to shake our hands......we had reached the pick-up point and survived the trail. The sense of achievement was amazing......

After about 20minutes we heard the vehicle coming to pick us up. One more surprise awaited us......a cool-box with cold drinks packed in ice!!!!!! We loaded up and headed back to camp, seeing nyalas, ellies, bushbuck, impalas on the way.

Back at camp I had a quick shower and then headed for home, not sure if I would make it or not. The GPS indicated I could do it.......and I did 2minutes after initial GPS estimate.

I found some regular campers had arrived at the weekend, and they invited me to share their meal so I only needed to unload the car and then eat with them and get to bed after checking emails etc.

A wonderful few days! Huge learning curve, amazing experience.... Cannot wait for the next one!
Smiling is contagious. Start an epidemic today!

Have you read the entrance permit? Do you KNOW the Conditions of Entry?

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If I was normal I wouldn't be me!

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Goggo EJ
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread post by Goggo EJ » Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:31 pm

Part of the weight was too big a tent, and 3 1/2 litres water (advised by trail guide) - which I did not need as I did not cook with water like the other folk did! Now have a smaller tent, and will carry less water so weight immediately reduced a lot.

Sunday night helped with bush braai for about 120 folk! Found a leopard at Matjulu waterhole and called in the others.....and then trying to turn round down the track (could not reverse back because the other vehicles were there) a rock suddenly shifted under a back wheel and I was stuck! Got other vehicles to join me, guests off, and while I loaded rifle and kept guard the other 2 drivers there got the vehicle out for me (they did not have rifles with them). Rest of drive quiet and uneventful, and found another leopard near camp on my way home later.

Last night did night drive and again fairly quiet drive, but had excellent sighting of white-tailed mongoose which kept in the road and turned and posed several times instead of running off as usual.

Tonight did sunset drive. Guest called 'rhino' and I immediately saw a blackie! Then realised there was a second.....and then a third! 3 black rhinos together!!!! Also good sightings of duiker and genets, zebs, ellies, impalas, scrub hares, white-tailed mongoose, spotted eagle owl with kill, crocs, hippos.
Smiling is contagious. Start an epidemic today!

Have you read the entrance permit? Do you KNOW the Conditions of Entry?

Completed over 7 years in Kruger in my caravan.

If I was normal I wouldn't be me!

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Goggo EJ
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread post by Goggo EJ » Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:19 pm

Very quiet night drive tonight.....one bull ellie, duiker, white-tailed mongoose, impalas, scrub hares, crocs, and a large-spotted genet.
Smiling is contagious. Start an epidemic today!

Have you read the entrance permit? Do you KNOW the Conditions of Entry?

Completed over 7 years in Kruger in my caravan.

If I was normal I wouldn't be me!

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Goggo EJ
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread post by Goggo EJ » Thu Oct 04, 2012 9:51 pm

Another quiet night drive, but some good sightings.....hippo right next to us, white-tailed mongoose again next to us, ellies next to us, and a leopard calmly lying down and looking at us then walking along the road next to us too! Usual impalas and scrub hares, and crocs, and to finish a spotted eagle owl in the grass next to the road that simply watched us slowly creep past and did not fly off.
Smiling is contagious. Start an epidemic today!

Have you read the entrance permit? Do you KNOW the Conditions of Entry?

Completed over 7 years in Kruger in my caravan.

If I was normal I wouldn't be me!

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Goggo EJ
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread post by Goggo EJ » Fri Oct 05, 2012 6:06 pm

No calls, so I have a night at home.
Smiling is contagious. Start an epidemic today!

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Completed over 7 years in Kruger in my caravan.

If I was normal I wouldn't be me!

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Goggo EJ
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread post by Goggo EJ » Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:44 pm

Sunset drive from the gate today (although Raymond did call to ask me to do one for BnD too!). Still mostly quiet, but we had some very good sightings. The usual impalas and scrub hares of course, and the crocs...... But a nice breeding herd of ellies close up, rhinos, duiker, hippos..... At one stage we had 3 rhinos and a hippo facing us, and between them and us in the grass several lions with 2 cubs! Followed that a while later with a leopard crossing the road - brief sighting, but a good one. Then I decided to try the open area at the start of the S114 to show the folk impalas sleeping in a group - and fortunately they were there, but so were 3 hyenas a little further on the road! More hippos after that too....

So a good night even though we had long periods with nothing at all. Almost back in camp I found 2 more hyenas, and they have been calling again a short while ago.
Smiling is contagious. Start an epidemic today!

Have you read the entrance permit? Do you KNOW the Conditions of Entry?

Completed over 7 years in Kruger in my caravan.

If I was normal I wouldn't be me!

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Goggo EJ
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread post by Goggo EJ » Sun Oct 07, 2012 8:03 pm

No trip for me tonight......
Smiling is contagious. Start an epidemic today!

Have you read the entrance permit? Do you KNOW the Conditions of Entry?

Completed over 7 years in Kruger in my caravan.

If I was normal I wouldn't be me!

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Goggo EJ
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread post by Goggo EJ » Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:37 pm

Successful night drive tonight.....10 guests out and 10 guests back......

Oh, and lots of impalas, scrub hares, ellies, white-tailed mongoose, 3 spotted eagle owls, 2 leopards.....a kill, and a charging ellie!

Up on Steilberg road we found a young ellie happily feeding next to the road, and watched it for a while. Could hear others around but saw none. Later on the S114 where I wanted to see if there were hippos in the open area, there was a young male that was not happy with us about. He stood rocking one leg, and then moved behind a bush. I decided to try to pass him and then give him more space on the other side where guests could see him better.....and then he decided he was having none of it and tried a slow charge. I reversed a tiny bit, just to let him know I was not going to threaten him, and he stopped, then went behind another bush. A few moments later we saw him reversing at quite a rate......and a mom ellie with baby ran across the road on the other side of him. Could hear other ellies about, so we left them to it and headed down the road in the opposite direction.

Then just near the Malelane camp turning I saw a leopard in the road. He went off, but we got a good sighiting of him in the bushes for a short while. Then 2 of the 3 owls on the road..... And just after the s-bend when almost back at camp another leopard walking towards us in the road. He passed us, and I turned round to follow him. Suddenly a scrub hare appeared in the headlights, and before we knew what was happening the leopard was heading its way - we held our breath and watched as it pounced and carried the screaming hare off a few metres from the side of the road. Watched a short while, but leopard just crouched with his prize and did not start to eat, so I decided it was best to leave him. When I returned a short while later on my way home he had gone.

So good experience for the guests! One of the 2 young boys on board came and hugged me at the end......and all said they had enjoyed it.
Smiling is contagious. Start an epidemic today!

Have you read the entrance permit? Do you KNOW the Conditions of Entry?

Completed over 7 years in Kruger in my caravan.

If I was normal I wouldn't be me!

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Goggo EJ
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread post by Goggo EJ » Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:48 am

100% success rate so far, and I intend to keep it that way!
Smiling is contagious. Start an epidemic today!

Have you read the entrance permit? Do you KNOW the Conditions of Entry?

Completed over 7 years in Kruger in my caravan.

If I was normal I wouldn't be me!

User avatar
Goggo EJ
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread post by Goggo EJ » Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:16 pm

Well....no drive tonight after all. Not sure why......I asked which vehicle I was to use, received no response, then saw our vehicle go out so realised there was nothing for me to drive anyway, and so was probably not wanted...... Strange!
Smiling is contagious. Start an epidemic today!

Have you read the entrance permit? Do you KNOW the Conditions of Entry?

Completed over 7 years in Kruger in my caravan.

If I was normal I wouldn't be me!

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Goggo EJ
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread post by Goggo EJ » Sat Oct 13, 2012 5:06 pm

Not doing any more drives until Thursday at the earliest. I have an ophthalmic appointment that morning, and need to stop wearing my left contact lens until then for specific measurements etc to be taken on that eye. Means my sight is compromised, and although I can manage to drive in the day time, there is no way I can do so at night safely.

Had an interesting incident a short while ago. Was walking around camp and saw some baboons. They took off in huge panic as they spotted me. There was some screaming a split second later and one baboon turned and raced back towards me, jumped into a tree near me, grabbed her baby which she had forgotten in her panic and in one blurred stripe raced away again and over the outside fence towards the river!!!!
Smiling is contagious. Start an epidemic today!

Have you read the entrance permit? Do you KNOW the Conditions of Entry?

Completed over 7 years in Kruger in my caravan.

If I was normal I wouldn't be me!

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Goggo EJ
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread post by Goggo EJ » Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:21 am

Thanks PS - up early and getting ready now..... will be so nice to be able to put a lens in my left eye again and see clearly again. This week has been very frustrating.....but hopefully worth it all.
Smiling is contagious. Start an epidemic today!

Have you read the entrance permit? Do you KNOW the Conditions of Entry?

Completed over 7 years in Kruger in my caravan.

If I was normal I wouldn't be me!

User avatar
Goggo EJ
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread post by Goggo EJ » Thu Oct 18, 2012 3:20 pm

Left eye being done on 29th...... right eye ?2 weeks later if all OK. Cannot shoot for about 2 months after that because of heavy calibre.
Smiling is contagious. Start an epidemic today!

Have you read the entrance permit? Do you KNOW the Conditions of Entry?

Completed over 7 years in Kruger in my caravan.

If I was normal I wouldn't be me!

User avatar
Goggo EJ
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread post by Goggo EJ » Thu Oct 18, 2012 3:38 pm

Wish you could have seen the doc's face when I asked about shooting......He thought I meant competition stuff, so I told him 'no 458 elephant guns'....... Think he may be even more careful.......
Smiling is contagious. Start an epidemic today!

Have you read the entrance permit? Do you KNOW the Conditions of Entry?

Completed over 7 years in Kruger in my caravan.

If I was normal I wouldn't be me!


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