8

A Visit to Addo – Carol’s Rest is Elephantastic

Today we left Jubilee Farm and headed to Addo Elephant Park. Their camping was fully booked so we had to find accommodation outside The Park.  Our intention was to stay  at the south end near Colchester.   However, we heard on the radio that there was rioting on the N2 and in the village.   Rocks and burning objects were being thrown around so we thought it best to stay out of the troubled zone.    News 24 Report

The other end of the park was not affected so we booked into The Homestead just 10 minutes away from the Addo Rest Camp entrance.   By 2:30 we were set up and ready to go adventuring.

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There were lots of black-headed heron around

After enjoying a variety of zebra, red hartebeest, kudu and millions of warthogs we stopped at Carol’s Rest where one male elephant was hogging the water hole while another two were fooling around and a fourth made a later appearance.  A thirsty zebra was too nervous to drink while Jumbo was taking up most of the space

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Please can I join you for a drink?

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Clearly you’re not sharing with me!

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The cheeky warthogs had no fear and joined right in

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Still the zebra was not too sure

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A jackal decided to make do with a muddy puddle further away

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Thirst drove the zebra to take a few steps closer

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Brave boy – you did it!

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Aaah that’s better 

The zebra got his drink then what the camera missed was hilarious.  The elephant squirted him with his trunk!  We nearly fell out of the car laughing and the zebra leaped out of the pond!

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I think he’s telling his friend all about it

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These two entertained us with their interaction

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They twisted their trunks together

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And seemed to really like each other

We spent ages just watching these wonderful creatures interact, push, pull, chase and scratch each others ears with their tusks – it was amazing.

But as we had to leave the park by six we made our way back to the gate and out again.  On our way home we stopped at Lenmore to shop for fresh veggies at their deli.  We also decided to go to their restaurant for supper.  What a great decision as their lamb shank was to die for.   It was served with delicious veggies too – green beans, cauliflower cheese, creamed spinach, glazed carrots and roasted baby potatoes.

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A fabulous ending to a perfect day

 

 

 

 

3

Kruger Adventure with Grandpa, Gran, Simon and Shan – Day 6

Today it was HOT.  The mercury rose to 40 degrees C.  It has been in the mid to high thirties and we’ve coped but today – phew – really hot!

Our morning began late as we’d decided today would be a rest day.   We told the kids to wake us when they were ready to rise and shine.  “Yes!” said Shannon  “That will be well after 9 o’clock!”

“I’ll get up at about 8 and have a morning swim then come and wake you.” said Simon.

So what a surprise when I heard the caravan door open around 6 ish.  Simon had come to get his towel and he and Shan went off for a swim.  They returned at 7 and went to get boiling water from the communal kitchen to make us coffee.   To say we were impressed would be an understatement!  Well – they’re rural kids so I guess we shouldn’t be surprised!

We did take it slowly today.  We set off just before 8, popped into Lake Panic which was very quiet and then went for a walk at The Nursery which was lovely.

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We returned to Camp at ten and Grandpa cooked us a scrumptious breakfast.  We spent the rest of the morning chilling in camp – swimming, editing photographs, checking Facebook etc.  Grandpa and I had a nap and when we woke up we gave the kids lunch and then went for a yet another swim.  We were ready to go out for a game drive just before three.

Unless we’re in the pool or the air conditioned caravan it is actually cooler driving in the car. In the heat of the day, though, animal sightings can be slow.  What one does see is creatures crowded under the shadiest trees they can find, wallowing in waterholes or lying asleep in the shade of overhanging rocks or trees.

Shannon’s favourite buck is the Kudu.  We always have to stop to take photo of these magnificent creatures.  She loves the antlers of the males and the pretty faces of the females.

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In the times when sightings are thin, I read interesting facts about the animals out loud to the kids.  Shannon remembered that Kudu do not run straight away when they sense or see a predator.  They stop and look at him and only run when he starts to chase. Usually a predator gives up if he has been spotted by his prey.

When we saw two females cross in front of us we once again had to stop for Shannon’s pleasure.  On the other side of the road they stood stock still and stared into the bush.  “They must have seen or smelled a predator,”  said Shan excitedly.
“Let’s wait a few minutes to see what happens,”  I insisted when Grandpa wanted to move on.

We watched as the kudu looked this way and that and just didn’t move at all. Then Grandpa started to move the car. “Stop!”  said Simon ” I see something.  It might be a dead animal!’

But it wasn’t.

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Fast asleep and oblivious of kudu or humans

The buck could smell the lioness but had no idea where she was and we wouldn’t have either had we not read the signs that something was there somewhere.   Shannon said – It’s a group effort – Grandpa’s driving skills – Not knocking the kudu over and killing our chances of seeing the lion.  Gran insisting that we wait to see what the kudu had sensed. And Simon’s Eagle Eyes for spotting the sleeping lion!

We were the first ones to see this sleeping beauty and what a traffic jam we caused and so much pointing out to where the well camouflaged creature lay.  We left them all and went off chuckling that a lazy lion could cause so much interest.

We continued to enjoy our sightings.

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Male Nyala

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Nyala female with baby

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Blond Tawny Eagle on a nest

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Hippo

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Marabou Stork

As we were travelling along we suddenly came upon some elephants with babies.  There was a car ahead of us and she was standing still.  A large mother and baby were blocking the way and soon others joined them.  For twenty minutes the elephants simply stood about not allowing anybody to pass.

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Elephant Road Block

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What were they thinking?  Ha – let’s have some fun with the tourists!

Then they started walking slowly and calmly along the road toward the cars.  Everybody simple reversed not daring to try to pass by them.

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But after scaring us all silly they slipped onto the side of the road and ambled off into the bush.   Ha Ha – elephants. Very funny!

After enjoying some baboons, monkeys, giraffe and birds we returned to camp along the road where we’d seen the sleeping lion.  Sure enough there were a number of cars parked at the spot and when we got there we saw that ‘our’ lion had moved to another spot but was still fast asleep.

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We had a perfect view of her and I said – Let’s wait five minutes.  She might wake up.  And she did.

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Is nap time over?

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What are you all staring at?

It was almost gate closing time so we left our beauty to get over her sleepiness and headed back to camp.  What a stunning rest day we had!

4

Kruger National Park Day 13

Friday 11 July 2014 Mopani Morning Drive
We were up around 7 a.m. and the temperature was 0 degrees C. It warmed up to 24 later in the day. Dressing in jeans, long sleeved t-shirt jersey, fleece and jacket kept the cold out before the layers needed to be removed.
After a wonderful Early breakfast we set off at 8 and drove around the roads near the camp as there was really not much to see. Lion have been spotted in the area but we didn’t find them.
First up was a beautiful martial eagle atop a nearby tree. Unfortunately we had to look right into the sun and when we moved there were branches preventing good photography so we just enjoyed him for a few minutes before moving on.
We found a small herd of wildebeest next and then turned onto the Mooiplaas loop. This is what we found.
A dainty female steenbok who posed beautifully her portrait.

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A large herd of buffalo at Waterhole number 2

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On the Confluence Lookout we saw a Gabar Goshawk flying past.
On the H1-6 we saw lots of waterpuck and then stopped at Mooiplaas Picnic site for a walk and a loo break.
On the return road we found a beautiful groundscraper thrush – first one this trip.

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We spent some time in Shipandane Hide and observed Great White Egret, Woolly necked storks, hippos, and waterbuck.IMG_5623

 

 

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Back at camp, we had lunch on the stoop and then rested for a while before venturing out on a short afternoon drive.
This proved to be more productive than our morning excursion. There was a long period of nothing and then a few views of zebra on the S114. Being birders we stopped to see a tchagra and coucal and got some good shots.

Coucal

Coucal

We crossed the Tropic of Capricorn then we took Capricorn loop. We saw elephant, zebra and wildebeest. It became interesting after the waterhole called Nwambu. Elephants, and buffalo. After the second waterhole we found kori bustards, Namaqua doves, a bateleur and a black shouldered kite.

Kori Bustards

Kori Bustards

Bateleur

Bateleur

More elephant appeared to give us an adrenalin rush. The big tuskers are always interesting.

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We had set out at 3:30 and gate closing is at 5:30 so we could not stop for anything but the most exciting sightings. I yelled you have to stop – It’s tsessebe. Tsessebe were reintroduced to The Park 20 years ago and now if you see them you must report it to the rangers. We saw three.IMG_5713

On our last stretch we were racing for the gate when Heather called – stop Jackal. It was difficult to stop as a car was on our tail but we did and watched a side-striped jackal running into the deep bush. That was a really special sighting as they are not as common as black backed jackal. Unfortunately he was gone before we could get a photograph.

Sunset was stunning this evening

Sunset was stunning this evening

Nobody felt like cooking this evening so we decided to go to the restaurant.  We were relieved that it was not The Mugg & Bean.   We had a very pleasant evening and the food was delicious.

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