This live attempt at reporting every day or two may come unstuck as I am using a very "Yuppie" Laptop and can't find how some of the things work!
Well, let's get started
Yesterday we left home at 5am, travelled the entire day taking the route through Swaziland and entering the KNP at Crocodile Bridge Gate. From there we motored slowly (50km speed limit on tar) to our campsite called Lower Sabie.
It's absolutely beautiful with rolling lawns in front of ourbungalow. The view is of the Sabie River - wide and blue and full of hippo's. Reed beds fill the banks before coming up against the electric fencing. In front and to the sides all over the lawn are several different trees, some very old and some only embrio's like our baby Boabab in front of us! We even have a tree climbing through the reed ceiling on our patio!
We also have hundreds of BATS eating the fruit off the wild fig trees, so lots of little poopies on our patio table in the morning
I have started with photos of Swaziland as it may interest some of you - it is classed as a Kingdom with a king- he has dozens of wives. It is fairly rural with the main product as sugar cane and fruit growing. Hope you get a little of the flavour from the pics which I am desperately trying to minimize on Image Shack so give me a little time till I figure it out.
Forgot to say the green figlike fruit is the famous and protected MARULA fruit - Elephants adore it and can get completely intoxicated from the fermenting fruit. ANY QUESTIONS GLADLY ANSWERED AS BEST i CAN!
Kerouac, tonight we managed to photgraph our 'inhouse' free guests - they are teeny tiny but there are huge fruit bats outside in the trees.
Tod, this is so great! Gosh, that sunrise was the perfect way to start a trip.
What beautiful produce. I guess y'all picked up a few things to take to the bungalow. The photo of pineapples and oranges (right?) by the Zamimpilo sign shows that the same things are in season there as here.
Just wonderful pictures ~~ I love the handsome boy, the flag photo, and the elegant cattle in particular.
Yes Bixa, those were small sweet pineapples and a few oranges. For quite a few km there were roadside stalls a little better than the one I snapped. We did not pick up any more fruit - like at that fruit market as we had fruit from home. Next time I hope I'll remember there is good stuff along the road! The marula fruit is made into jams, but the most famous product is the Marula liquer. I picked up several and broke one or two open to get a taste of the raw fruit. Very hard to get through the tough skin, but once inside , the fruit is very juicy and has a pulp like a litchi but tasted quite sour - the fruit is raining down from all the trees in the park (the tree photo I showed was at the border post) and falls down quite green. As it lies in the sun it seems to turn pale yellow and I suppose eventually ferment and get the elephants drunk! And yes, it has a elephant face on the label!
To start today I am posting the photos we shot upon entering the KNP.
First sighting of one of The Big Five was this buffalo lion kill - the lions were still there but hidden under a bush sleeping off their huge dinner!
Sausage Tree - Kigekia Africana or in Afrikaans , Worsboom. Grows all over the lower part of KNP.
Home Sweet Home for the next 5 days before we move campsites.
The door you see is entry to the linen & supplies kept for this chalet. Only the room maid has the key!
This is GREAT! Loved seeing the marulas as I enjoy the Amarula Cream liqueur made from it. The Accommodations look really nice! Will you be posting practical information about how to go about planning, booking such a trip with average prices of accommodations and food etc.? I'd be very interested if you are able.
Thanks for this - can't wait for next installment!
Imec & Mich, I won't be able to do that for you until I return Home. In the meantime try Googleling KNP and you will see it has all the campsites and lots of info.
We arrived here on Sunday late afternoon and are out and about in the park from 6.30am until late afternoon. Sometimes we pop back to camp for a short while like today but its never for long! So far we have taken around 1,000 photos so it takes quite sometime to sort through them all!
Remember, every photo is taken from the confines of our vehicle! Only at picnic spots and viewsites can we step out of the car.
Here are Monday's photos as we came across the various animals, trees, and birds:
Sjambok (pronounced:Sham Bok) Tree Pods - Senna Abbreviata /Cassia Abbreviata
bjd- we are in the standard accommodation offered by Kruger. Some chalets /huts/bungalows, call them what you will, are still being renovated but the standard of KNP is very high. We have fresh towels (thick & fluffy) every day and our beds are made, all floors mopped and patio swept /barbeque cleaned and ready for next time. We don't expect the maids to clean dishes but if washed she packs them away. If you want fancy then one of the private lodges in KNP will give you an excellent time BUT you are at their mercy and cannot use a private vehicle.
Thanks Tod, a great suggestion, I will look up the park on the internet, I am sure I will read alot of information on there to form a budget idea.
I agree, the accomodations are stellar! Standard is fine enough for me, looks great. Your pictures are wonderful, I love the leopard in the tree! Do car rental companies charge extra when you tell them your intention of vacationing in the Park? Enjoy! Mich
Outrageous,phenomenal pics Tod2!!! I can't say which ones I enjoy the most!! That one of the lion's paws,oh my god....and the cheetah pics,oh wow,am awestruck. Thank you so much,this is so exciting!!!!!. (those seed pods harbor some real invasive vine...guaranteed by the look of them...stay away!!!)
Many, many thanks for all your lovely comments! It means a lot as operating this laptop tries ones patience to the max! I have given up writing a comment on the photos and will give a short summary of the days viewing before each batch of photos taken that day:
The first photo is taken from the bridge across the Sabie river looking at our campsite - all the bungalows stretching along the river bank are hidden by the trees and only the large family cottage (nearest) and restaurant at the other end is visible.
Then comes: Reflections in the morning sun. Impala showing us why we call them McDonald's! Seed heads of the Rhodesian Bushwillow - Combretum Collinum subsp. Gazense Hyaena droppings - are always white and a tell-talee sign they are around. Seed heads of the Silver cluster-leaf or Terminala Sericea. River running across the road. Acacia thorn flowers. Elephant dropping showing he ate lots of marula fruit. Zebra rock- thats how I see it! Bird Hide at waterhole. Giraffe in river bed. Jock of the Bushveld is a famous story written by Percy Fitzpatrick and his legend lives on today. This is a plaque showing where he was born. Causeway bridge over river. Our friendly reesident bats waiting to fly into the night! Crowned Lapwing at Sunset Dam. Ground Hornbill - an endangered species. This prehistoric - looking bird is called a Hamerkop(hammerhead). African Snipe. Goliath Heron. Red - backed Shrike.
We have changed camps and drove to Skukuza this morning. This is the largest and busiest camp and is actually now called a town as it has it's own post office, police station and jail. After popping into Lake Panic Bird Hide we came and had lunch at the cafeteria in Skukuza Camp.We couldn't wait to escape to our bungalow (rondawel or in English Round dwelling) to shower and turn on the aircon as it is around 38C today!
Here are the next lot of photos - a lot more birds as the animals were avoiding us !
Reflections on the river A well patronized picnic spot with cafeteria You have been warned! River scene Flood level 2000 marked on stone block nearest Orpen Boulders with plaques Three leg cooking pot at picnic spot The DR. is "IN" Game viewing vehicles Looking down over the Kruger plains Sunset Dam not far from Camp - Lower Sabie Fish Eagle in morning light Lapwing Plover Tawny Eagle Wahlbergs Eagle? Pied Kingfisher on bridge railing Woodland Kingfisher White browed Robin Sausage tree fruit at camp Masked Weaver bird building a nest
Another lot of photos taken yesterday. I'm almost up todate ;D
The days have been clear blue skies mornings and quite overcast towards the afternoon with dark threatening clouds - but no rain. At night the sky has been clear and perfect for star gazing! Temp. at night around 23C - aircon on during time in the bungalow.
Next lot-sorry some should follow on but using 2 cameras and I find it difficult to shift things around on this laptop:
We came across this pair of rhino's warming their lips on the warm tarmac! Just look at the length of those horns. A pretty yellow flowering creeper. Grass in flower. Entrance to bird hide Wallowing Hole next to road. Direction Finder Ancient Boabab. Fish Eagles at Sunset Dam. Coucals Pretty yellow weed. Bee Eater - gorgeous colours. Nearly road over this little fellow! Spider in waiting. Pink grass flowers. The very large Secretary Bird. Entrance to same bird hide. Hippos having a great time. If you've seen one - you've seen three! Elephant face. Buffalo - one of the big five.
You are a QUEEN -- no, an EMPRESS to be doing this, Tod! And you're having to do it on an unfamiliar, fiddly laptop, to boot.
Besides the pure beauty of what you've captured, besides the drop-dead excellence of the photography, what simply kills me is this: almost any single picture shows something that would be reason enough to visit Kruger. Then, when you put them all together, well, it's almost beyond belief.
I am WALLOWING in this experience, Tod, and wondering how long it will take me to save enough pesos to go see it for myself. Huge thanks!