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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!

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Kruger National Park – Day 16 – Satara

25 November 2017 – An Awesome Day

After yesterday’s heat we woke to rain this morning – very welcome as The Park is dry and they need their rains.  It was also quite cold but nothing dampens ones spirits when in The Park.  A Bad Day in Kruger is still better than a Good Day at home.

By 6:35 we were exploring the H7.   As usual we stopped for every interesting bird.  We saw common waxbill flitting about and while we were enjoying them we heard the familiar clicks and then kyip, kyip kyip – the call of the Red-Crested Korhaan.  Then we saw him strutting across the road.   He then flew up and tumbled down free-fall style.  What an awesome bird.  We expected he was showing off for a female but she was clearly not interested as she remained hidden.

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Next to pop up unexpectedly was this chap.

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We saw the usual suspects too, elephant, zebra, kudu etc  before turning onto the S39.  This drive was good too and we found a tawny eagle and some vultures.   As we trundled along we saw two cars alongside of each other up ahead.  “Either they’re friends having a chat about their next route or the one is telling the other what he has seen.  I bet it’s a leopard,” said I.
As we approached, the one pulled away and parked in front. The other indicated that we should take his place.  ” If you look carefully – you will see a leopard,” he told us. We looked but couldn’t see anything so went ahead a little way and watched some birds.  The second car left but the first remained.  He must still have it we thought so we reversed to take another look.  Oh Wow.  There he was – quite a big male but still well hidden under the tree.

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Oh those wild eyes

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J need my rest, you know

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Here’s looking at you, kid!

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How long are you planning on staying ?

Reluctantly we left the scene to let the next car have a chance and soon reached Timbavati Picnic site where we hired a skottel and cooked breakfast.  It was raining a bit but we were quite dry under the thatch shelters.

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Our return trip produced more hyena and lovely birds but it was raining so photography was a bit difficult.  Back at camp we had a rest. At 3:30 I went to see if Pat and Tony were awake – they weren’t so I told The Earl that we should skip an afternoon drive.  But when they woke at 4 they were still keen to go out  and so at 4:30 we hit the S100.  I had a strange feeling that something exciting would turn up and Pat voiced the same thought.

Sure enough we got a lovely surprise. We found the occupants of two vehicles staring into the distance.   We could just see the flick of a tail and a twitch of an ear.   Another car approached and asked what there was.  We told her not much and then one of the lionesses got up and moved!  We then all go lovely views of her and the other one until they disappeared in the undergrowth again.  We thought we might find them on our return route but they were nowhere around.

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It was certainly worth going for that short drive to find our lions!

You would think camp cooking would be problematic when the weather is cold and wet.  But we were lucky.  The rain held off and we were quite content to sit under our canopy and enjoy a fabulous meal cooked once again by our Bush Master Chef.  It was a most delicious chicken and vegetable dish cooked on the Snappy Chef. (Induction Stove)

The resident hyenas patrolled past the fence quite frequently.  One actually stopped and stared at us as if to say – Please share your meal with me!  But of course we said – No way – go and hunt your own food!

It rained in the night and we expected a wet pack up the next morning!

 

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Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park – Saffies and Aussies on Safari – Day 23 and 24

24 June 2015 Bitterpan

We hear lions this morning but none appear at the waterhole. We cook breakfast, chat to our neighbours and exchange details then leave for Twee Rivieren.
It is another roller coaster ride over the dunes and the scenery is great. We then take the dune road toward the Nossob – Twee Rivieren road but we have only a few sightings.

Affectionate jackals

Affectionate jackals

A secretary bird

A secretary bird

Big herds of Springbok

Big herds of Springbok

Ostriches descending rapidly from the ridge of a dune

Ostriches descending rapidly from the ridge of a dune

Erich's windebeest at a waterhole

Gemsbok at a waterhole

It is our grandson, Jay’s eighteenth birthday today.  We have had no internet or cell phone coms so are delighted to be able to ring him when we get to Twee Rivieren – the only camp where such luxuries are available.

Happy Birthday, my boy - What's that you say - You've been selected for Western Province Fishing?

Happy Birthday, my boy – What’s that you say – You’ve been selected for Western Province Fishing?

Doesn’t Earlybird look cute with my pink iphone on his ear?  The exciting news of Jay being selected for Western Province delights him. Watch out Shelly Beach – Here comes Jay!

We spend the afternoon relaxing and have a braai for dinner.

25 June 2015 Twee Rivieren

We set off early and are the first car in the queue. I tell Earlybird he is making a mistake choosing the Mata Mata road as it was very quiet in March and we had had all our good sightings on the Nossob road.

“The fact that we saw nothing yesterday,” I said, “is because it was the wrong time of day.”
I don’t like travelling at 40 km/hr. It is too fast in a game reserve. As we whiz by I see something right on the side of the road and yell, “Stop –  lion!”

Earlybird sees it at the same time a skids to a halt. We’ve almost passed a pride of 8. The two males are proudly watching their cubs while the moms cross over to the other side of the road.

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We are the only car for half an hour – nobody else comes while we’re there. We move on and alert several others as we pass them.  It’s fun to see their bored expressions change when they realise that good a sighting is coming up soon!
Lions are not the only exciting things to see in a game reserve.  We are very excited at our next observation.

There was a whole family of these cute little meerkats

There was a whole family of  meerkats – on the wrong side of the road for good light – and this chap was taking his guard duty very seriously

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Gemsbok having a confrontation

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Erich’s favourite surveying the world from the top of a dune

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Male and female yellow canaries singing sweetly

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Marico Flycatcher looking dapper

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It was interesting to see this little steenbok digging for roots with its front hooves

I have to take back my words about this being the wrong road to take today – because in addition to our lions and other creatures we have three cheetah sightings

After we have breakfast at Kamqua picnic site we drive  on a bit further toward Mata Mata and find  some cars parked. They tell us we’ve missed three cheetahs  trying to get lunch.   Then we see them!

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We follow them as they make their way through the bush.

IMG_7205 IMG_7208 IMG_7214We think they may try to hunt again but instead they lie down under a tree and so we leave them in peace.

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Soon after this we spot another cheetah, on her own, sitting up on the ridge.  She then walks along the ridge and disappears down the other side.

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As we travel on Earlybird stops and says – Look at that gemsbok – We look and see his is standing stock still and staring up onto the dune ridge.  We scan with our binoculars and after a few minutes I spot her.

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She starts to move towards the springbok and gemsbok.  They all move away and the springbok cross to the other side of the road.

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We drive up the hill toward Killie Krankie to get a better view.  She is patient and does not move for ages.

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Eventually we leave as all the animals are aware of her and she won’t hunt today.

As we travel back to TR cars stop us to say they have seen the lions but when we get back to the spot they are no longer there.  What a fabulous last day we have had.

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Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park – Saffies and Aussies on Safari – Day 22

23 June 2015

I am late for school  – again. I rush into the building and race toward where I think my classroom is but I can’t seem to find it. I panic – the girls will be fretting, wondering where I am. They won’t know what to do. Some will be crying –  I dash across courtyard after courtyard searching for a familiar room but mine does not appear and there’s a lion roaring really close by. He’s getting closer – I must find my classroom!

A distant voice yells, “Lion! Lion!  Get up there’s a lion outside.”

I wake up  – it is just the same recurring dream – I am at Gharagab and finally a lion has come calling.

It is 5:15 and it is Earl who alerts me to the lion’s roar. We listen but it does not come again. We check the water hole – no sign of them. Earl gets dressed and sits at the glass door, while I snuggle under the blankets a little longer. When it’s light I get up too. The Schoffls have heard them too and Erich says he heard the first roars far off at 3 earlier this morning. While Earlybird is packing Dawid comes to show him the spoor of two lions going past our cabin – so they were here!

At 7:30 on the dot Earlybird has us in the car and off in search of the cats. We find spoor on the road and just near Dankbaar water hole, Eagle-eye Wendy calls, “what’s that?” and there in the grass sit two beautiful young black-maned lions.

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We are delighted that the lions are still in the area and that we found them!

Eagle Eye Wendy spots something again. “Are those ant hills or animals?” she says.

We scan with our binos and at first see nothing then they materialize – 7 very cute suricate a but quite a distance away. How did she spot them!

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We are delighted with this lovely sighting and continue to enjoy the steenbok that appear quite often, red hartebeest in playful mood and gemsbok getting their morning exercise by racing across the veld.

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It’s a long trip over the desert dunes and much like a rollers coaster ride. We are delighted by the Disco 4’s  performance.

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We stop at all the waterholes but apart from some bird activity there is little to see.

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At Nossob we have brunch at the picnic site.

Upon arrival at Bitterpan we see another CA Land Rover. Another couple arrive just after us – Dave and Jeanette from Hogsback.  The land rover owner introduces himself as Lee and we chat for a whole. Later his wife Shannon joins us. The six of us braai together but Dave and Jeanette decide to do their own.

We have a delightful evening.

Sunset

Sunset

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Me. Earlybird, Erich, Wendy, Lee

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The Princess and the Elephants Part 2

Thursday 14 May 2015 Addo Elephant Park

The princess sleeps with earplugs and covers her eyes with a black mask so as not to let in the early morning light so I was surprised to find her up with the sparrows and ready to go!   We were out the gate by 7:05 and as we admired the gorgeous sunrise she said, “I’d better take a photograph so I’ll remember what this looks like because I’m never up to see sunrises!”

A sunrise fit for a princess

A sunrise fit for a princess

She is sitting comfortably in the front seat and has warned me not to take photos of her without make-up – but she somehow manages to get it on between sightings – while we’re watching birds I suspect!

We drive around until 10ish finding the usual suspects – warthogs, a variety of buck,  zebra play-fighting the odd elephant and lots of birds the highlight being a bar-throated apalis.  Two pale chanting goshawks in a tree are also great and of course the bokmakieries are iconic in Addo.

The beautiful bokmakierie

The beautiful bokmakierie

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Pale Chanting Goshawk

Pale Chanting Goshawk

Denim's Bustard

Denim’s Bustard

Bar-throated Apalis

Bar-throated Apalis

Back at the hut we shower, the princess tarts up and Earl and I go to the communal kitchen to make breakfast. The princess has specific requests – no tomato and no kidneys please!  Dad presents her with eggs, bacon and banana cooked to perfection.  We slum it on scrambled eggs and kidneys – somehow I think we got the better deal!

When Her Highness is ready we set off for another game drive.  We hear on the grapevine aka the Addo Face Book page that there were two male lions on the Gorah Loop 2 hours ago so we head there without expecting much.  There are a few gathered parked on a bend and we see two lions a little way off but fast asleep.  We snap a photo just to say that we’ve seen them then move on to enjoy more exciting things.

The King of the Jungle does not interest our royal passenger in this lazy state

The King of the Jungle does not interest our royal passenger in this lazy state

Our drive is fruitful and we have fun watching Princess’s favourite creatures, marvelling at the Kudu and eland, amazed at the number of warhogs abound and are thrilled at how plentiful the game is.  We spot one jackal but he is no mood to pose for a portrait.

We're happy for a photo shoot

We’re happy for a photo shoot

Mongoose

Mongoose

Zebra confrontation

Zebra confrontation

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An elephant tussle

An elephant tussle

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A bum view

A bum view

We go past the lions once more – still fast asleep and then go back to camp for lunch.  The Cattle Baron has edged into the Sanparks.  I hope all goes well and that I won’t have to do battle and change their name to the Battle Caron.  The service is good. The Princess and the Earl order beef burgers. I settle for a house salad. The latter is stunning.  The princess needs to do Battle with Caron. Her burger is inedible – “If I throw it against the wall it will bounce,” she tells the longsuffering waitress.  “Let me try the chicken burger instead, please.”  This turns out to be just perfect.  The chips, too, are done to perfections.  The Earl eats his burger but admits it was rather disgusting.  “You should stick to Banting,”I say smugly.  My salad is full of greens, tomato, avo, cheese and grated egg. Yum!

After a loo break we set straight off for another game drive.  It is now 3:30.   We head for Gorah Loop and get there around 4 – the lions have not moved – still dead to the world.  We see a tail flick slightly so know they are in fact alive.  Off we go in search of the ellies.  We find lots and enjoy all the other game and birds too.  “We should go to the lion sighting at 5,” I say.  “They’ll wake up then.”

“They’ll only wake up if buffalo turn up,” says the Princess knowing that this is their favourite food.

So we continue on our way and enjoy the other things to see in this beautiful park.

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We find ourselves back at the lion spot just after 5 – but they’re fast asleep.  We switch off the engine and wait to see if anything will happen.

Suddenly the Princess yells – The buffalo are here!   And sure enough there is a biggish herd, alert and sniffing the air.

What can they smell

What can they smell

They’re aware but are very short sighted and don’t actually see them.  A few separate from the rest and begin grazing in the bushes behind the lions. One of the lions sits up,

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The other rolls over and lies on his back.

Just let me sleep!

Just let me sleep!

The grazers suddenly realise the lions are there and return to the herd.  They regroup and start walking toward the lions. The boys leap up and start running toward the parked cars. The buffs chase after them and see them off.   Wow – what an exciting sighting.  See the video on Youtube

We follow the lions for some time and marvel at seeing elephants in the background too.

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That was a rude awakening!

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The gate closes at six and so the whole fleet of us head back to camp.

After packing up for an early departure tomorrow we decide it is too cold to do a braai so The Princess treats us to dinner at The Cattle Baron – they haven’t misbehaved enough to call them Battle Caron.

The Earl orders ribs – The Princess and I have grilled calamari tubes and share a Greek Salad.   Perfect!   The Earl is not 100% happy with the ribs – the sauce has a very strong taste that is not to his liking – It’s a half portion but he can’t finish it!  We chat to the manager about our concerns and he takes it well and says he will investigate what the chef is doing and suggest some amendments to the way he does burgers and ribs!  Everything else is perfect.

Addo Elephant park is fabulous.  It is teeming with game, Jack’s picnic site is amazing, the facilities are clean and well-maintained and service is good.   Next time we plan to visit one of the other rest camps – perhaps Spekbook tented will be fun. It overlooks a waterhole.

Friday 15 May 2015 Addo Elephant to Struisbaai

We left the park at 7:00 am and made our way to the South Gate.  We spotted lots of warthogs but not as much game as when we came in.  The elephants were there to bid the princess farewell.

We went to our B&B to collect a pack of beers we’d left in the fridge and the headed to Jeffrey’s Bay where we met Jim and Maureen at In Food Bakery for breakfast.  It was so good to see them and hear about their wonderful experiences in Etosha and Kgalagadi.   Their friend Joy also joined us a little later.

The breakfasts were delicious.  I ordered paoched eggs, spinach and salmon which came with a croissant.  Hold the croissant I told the waitress.  Would you like Banting bread instead, she offered.  Banting bread?  Well why not – if it’s awful I just won’t eat it.  Well it was delicious!   One could eat it without butter or jam as it tasted like a savoury loaf on its own.   Yummy – Banting certainly is an easy and satisfying diet to follow.

Don’t ask if I’ve lost weight – I don’t think much – I’ve been eating too much – I’m on holiday after all!  But I’ve felt good and not at all hungry.   I definitely have not put on any weight and I’m really doing this for health and not reduction reasons.  But I am hoping the belly fat will miraculously disappear eventually!  Even in my sixties I care!  The plan is to be stricter about the orange list and the amount we eat when we settle in Struisbaai in July.

We arrived in Struisbaai at 5, unpacked the essentials and made a braai for supper.   We watched TV for a bit and then collapsed into bed.

Saturday 16 May 2015 Homeward Bound

Earl did all the things needed at the house this morning and by 10:30 we were on the road for home.   We stopped in Bredasdorp to refuel, pay an account and shop for takkies for Laurie.  The latter two were unsuccessful as there was load shedding and the municipality didn’t open on Saturdays!

We dropped the Princess off at her flat at 1:15 and we arrived in Sun Valley at 2:00 pm.  Another wonderful trip under the belt!

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Kruger National Park Day 9 Orpen to Olifants

7 July 2014 Orpen to Olifants Our day started very early with a loud clattering and crashing coming from the stoep. Earl and I both got up to investigate at the same time – I knew it had to be a honey badger and I grabbed the walkie talkie to alert Heather. By the time we got there the invader had gone. It was just after 2 a.m. We went wearily back to bed and eventually dropped off only to be awoken by fresh clattering and this time there were 2 naughty critters. They’d upset the bin, opened a latched cupboard and were greedily devouring the scraps left over from last night’s supper! Our presence with cameras did nothing to deter them and we managed to get some reasonable shots of the little burglars.

Intruding Honey badegers

Intruding Honey badgers

After all this excitement it was difficult to get back to sleep but exhaustion took over and we were back in dreamland knowing that our wake up time would be 5 a.m. BUT I had somehow got it wrong and woke with a start at twenty to six. The alarm was only set for 6 which was supposed to be departure time! But with cooperation from everyone we packed up quickly and were on the road to Olifants by 6:30. Our intention was to stop at Timbavati Picnic Site and make breakfast there. But the weather had turned and it was freezing so we had a loo and coffee break there then continued to Olifants where we had brunch much later. The sightings today were good. From Orpen along the H7 we first found wildebeest and then Peter said – red brake lights up ahead – what has he seen? As we approached Heather called out Jackal and to our joy he cooperated well and gave us a good photo shoot. He sniffed and scratched for morsels to eat, performed his toilet then took off into the bush.

On an early morning mission

On an early morning mission

When nature calls you must respond

When nature calls you must respond

We saw zebra, giraffe, wildebeest and impala and then another holdup of cars ahead.

Just love these elegant creatures

Just love these elegant creatures

When we caught up we found a huge herd of buffalo – nice to see after the few scattered pairs and individuals we’d seen previously.

Nice herd having breakfast

Nice herd having breakfast

All this was before 7:30 in the morning. Then up ahead two cars cruising slowly and staring into the bush. Earl passed the one in front very slowly and I mouthed – what? Lion he mouthed back. We couldn’t see anything then the car in front of him pointed and we caught up and stopped. Heather yelled – there he is and a huge male stared me right in the eye! Earl said – close your window – my hands were shaking on the camera but I was not about to give up my shot to wind up any window!

He stared me in the eye before looking away

He stared me in the eye before looking away

We watched him for a while turned around and saw him cross the road and march off into the bush. There was a second lion but we didn’t see it. It must have gone over while we were looking at his friend.

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He was a big boy

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Off to find his friend

A last glance back at the canned people

A nice scratch on the prickly bush before moving on again

Near the waterhole Girabana we found a fish eagle in a tree and waterbuck looking too gorgeous for words.

Fish Eagle

Fish Eagle

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Beautiful Female

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Sat on a wet toilet seat? Or is it just a target on her bum!

After our coffee at Timbavati we took a detour to the Ratelpan hide but it was disappointing. Usually we spend at least half an hour there but today the cold prevented us from waiting for something to turn up. There seemed little to see on the S127 and were chatting about this and that when I interrupted a story Heather was relating – Kori Bustard! And then there were 2.

All Puffed up to look attractive for his mate

All Puffed up to look attractive for his mate

Approaching each other

Approaching each other

Shall we dance?

Shall we dance?

Soon after we stopped for Temminck’s coursers and while we were trying to identify them a car drew up and asked if we’d seen the Secretary Bird. You mean Kori Bustard? we asked. No and he showed us his photograph – he’d seen it 5km back – too far for us to chase. We were most disappointed to have missed it because earlier in the holiday I’d commented that we’d never found Secretary Birds in the KNP! How annoying to have missed it by 5km! They raced ahead and we found them soon after starting at a bird of prey in a tree. It was difficult to identify but we thought we knew what it could be We asked the driver what he thought but he was stumped. “Juvenile Black breasted Snake-Eagle we said. ” when it’s a juvenile – I give up he laughed. But that’s what my son thinks it is too! The boy was about 12. Next up we found a small group of Mommy elephants with their adorable offspring.

Elephants again

Elephants again

Then surprise and delight I spotted the elusive bird we’d been seeking – A secretary bird! What were the chances after missing the previous one we would so soon find the culprit!

The elusive Secretary Bird

The elusive Secretary Bird

The next interesting sighting was a little yellow mongoose trying to hide away from us. IMG_4930 The final highlight of the day was once again seeing 2 cars ahead going slowly, catching up and Earl declaring – its a hyena. In fact it was a baby. On a previous visit we witnessed an adult pack going off to hunt, a baby bidding its mom goodbye and going off to the den. Clearly this one had not obeyed the instruction to stay hidden while his elders we getting his lunch! It was a beautiful sighting!

My shot - he was right next to my window

My shot – he was right next to my window

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Nice capture by Earl

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And then he stalked off!

We arrived at Olifants at 12, checked in but could only pick up the keys at 1 so we had brunch at Mug and Bean – a tad better than Satara but not much!

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Fortune and Misfortune – A Fortuner Adventure – Day 7

3 July 2012

It was freezing and still dark when I woke up. Earl was asleep – thank Goodness as he had been quite restless in the night and I had been up giving him Disprin to bring down his fever.   I pulled on some warm clothes, gloves and scarf and went out onto the deck.  There were Gemsbok around the waterhole but it was still too dark to take photos.  But when the sun rose I couldn’t resist taking a few shots.

Sunrise at Gharagab

To add to our problems, I found that water was leaking from the gas water heater.   I reported it to Eric and he promised to look into it.  This he did and said that he would have to order a new heater.   In the meantime I placed a bucket under it to collect the many drips.   During the day it had to be emptied a few times.   He could not turn the water off as that would affect all four huts.

When Peter and Heather get up we decide to cook our our breakfast in our own kitchens.  Earl requested scrambled eggs and he wanted to watch me make it – but he fell asleep during the process and I had to wake him up to eat it.   He had the grace to say, “Thank you – this is delicious.”  Yes – I know –  he was really sick!   I was seeing to his needs when Heather called on the walkie-talkie – “Helen – no joke – lion at the waterhole.” It was 9:30 a.m.   I asked Earl if he would like me to help him to the deck so he could take a look. “Show me the photograph,” was his weak reply.

First Lion

Before we arrived at Gharagab, Peter had said, “Let’s agree not to joke about lions as the chances are we will be seeing plenty of them!”  He was on the deck when the first lion appeared and called to Heather who said, “You’re joking!”   But no – we had agreed – no joking about lions!

Along comes number 2

Close brothers

And here comes number 3

After they’ve quenched their thirst the brothers entertain us.Something in this tree smelt good.  They played around it for some time then walked off to a more distant one where they lay flopped down for some time before getting up and moving off.   It was an amazing encounter which had us on a high for hours.

We spent the rest of the day observing the birdlife, walking around close to the huts, visiting the viewing deck and just waiting for the animals to come to us.  No driving around – no stress.  It’s the first time we’ve done Wilderness camps and it certainly won’t be the last.  The only trouble is that they get booked up very quickly and you have to make sure you get your reservation in early.

Juvenile sociable weaver

Lots of striped mice were about

It was great to get this Ashy Tit 

Heather’s wish to see Brown Hyena was granted several times.   Sometimes a brownie would be accompanied by a jackal.  The jackal appeared friendlier toward the hyena and one even licked his friend.  But the hyena’s response was not as affectionate and he sent the jackal packing.

Lunch time visitor

Another one comes down later in the day

In the company of a jackal

Jackal decides to keep his distance

The weather remained cool all day which we all agreed was better than the heat we’d been having during the day up until then.   How idylic it was to spend an entire day reading, chatting and watching wild life come to the waterhole.  The walkie talkies were a blessing, keeping me in close touch with the invalid.   He did not eat his supper last night but managed to eat some of it at lunch time.  There was a bit of a wind blowing so we decided not to braai. We pan fried ostrich steaks and served them with sousboontjies, avo and cooked carrots.  Earl thought he was hungry but could not eat. I managed to get him to take a few spoons of left over spaghetti bolognaise.