2 July 2014 Celebrating 70 years of Earl
It is Earls 70th birthday today and what better place to celebrate than in The Kruger National Park. Our first few days in the park have been slow as far as sightings are concerned and we began to fear that the animals had packed up and emigrated! Today though they were all out and about specially to greet Earl on his birthday.
It is important to make an early start in the park because of the distances that we travel at extremely slow speed. The first leg of our route started at 6:45 and the temperature was 7 degrees C. (By midday it was in the high 20s) We followed the Maroela Loop to the Nkulu Picnic Site where we stopped for breakfast at 9 o’clock.
First up was a buffalo followed soon after by a beautiful, young bushbuck who emerged silently from the bush and crossed in front of us.
We were pleased to see several large herds of impala along the way. We also encountered nyala several times and kudu were plentiful – some in bachelor herds, some just females and a few mixed.
Warthogs turned their backs on us.
Always cute to see are the shy little steenbok and we were to see them a few times today.
We stopped at Nkulhu Picnic Site which is terraced to the river. It is a beautiful spot but the monkeys and baboons can be a nuisance. We managed to eat our boerewors rolls without being harrased.
Crossing a bridge we found some amusing baboons.
The next leg took us to Lower Sabie and we enjoyed many sightings along the way.
Sunset Dam was great as always. We arrived to see an elephant enjoying a drink, hippos and crocodiles sunning themselves on the bank, wildebeest coming down to see what was up, several species of storks having a conference and little shore birds strutting about looking for food.
Lower Sabie is the most commercial of all the camps and caters for the tourists every need. The Restaurant is now a Mug and Bean! How horrible but I guess the masses must be fed and this is possibly the most efficient way of doing it. The view from the deck is still amazing and hippos and buffalo were on the river bank, a giraffe loped lazily by and open billed storks stood about waiting for something.
It was good to have a break before heading back to camp but we had to be back at camp by 5:30. Earl said we would therefore only stop for the most exciting sightings.
We did make a little draai to a puddle where we knew we’d find some water birds.
There was a lot to see on the way back giraffe, zebra, elephants, rhino, buffalo, several types of buck and birds of course.
At Renosterpan we had our finest sightings of – yes you guessed it – rhinoseros. There were 3 present proving that the name was chosen with good reason.
We celebrated Earl’s birthday by going to the restaurant. Peter and Heather contributed to his gift of a Panasonic Lumix Camera along with the kids and me but they also found a lovely solar powered lamp which they presented to him with a sign in it saying I am 70. They treated us to dinner too. Thanks H2 and P.