I get terrible withdrawal symptoms when returning from a lovely holiday but I suppose I should look on the brightside - I have quite a few photos still to post and hope they measure up to the previous lot. Still sorting through a day's worth then I'll put them up.
Thanks Bixa! Yes, many miles eaten up on tar and dirt roads but gratefully no incidents of concern along the route! These are some shots of flora and fauna(not many) until I can sort out the last bunch.
The 4 billion year old Shabeni Hill.
The 4 billion year old Shabeni Hill. The Gneiss rock cooled down very slowly and glowed red hot for 100million years.
Water Monitor - Africa's largest lizard.
The bright orange/red flowers are called Flame of the Cape - I also have a bush in my garden but not flowering anywhere near as pretty!
The monkeys look like they are the illustration of some fable which would have a title along the lines of "The Three Monkeys and the Crocodile" or "The Three Monkeys Who Saved the Hippo Stuck in the Mud."
Gadzooks! So much beauty here. I had to drink in this latest installment several times before replying. The lizard's tongue and the leaping monkey are incredible action shots. I adore that 2nd picture of the lizard, though, simply as a great photograph. In contrast to the action, the exquisite stillness in the 1st water lily picture and the one of the red-berried plant are absolutely lovely as well.
Don't know why I'm picking here and there, as they're all wonderful.
Well, this is some of the last photos we sorted out from 2,858 photos in total. We saw the same animals many times over but from different angles and thought them worthy of another look. I am hoping to do the final lot of photos tonight sometime. The last few days at Crocodile Bridge Camp were a bit rainy and photography was difficult when raindrops landed on the lens. Here are the next bunch of snaps!
Praying Mantis by torchlight - he fell onto my plate during dinner!
Electrified perimeter fence in front of our rondawel where I saw the elephant -rain beyond.
Raindrops falling off the thatch roof.
Our muddy road searching for a leopard.
Reflections in a quiet waterhole.
The owls of time........Don't say you didn't see when to be back!
Tented accommodation - not for the summer months!
Three roofs to keep you dry.
Ground hornbills up close - they have lovely eyelashes!
The very pretty Glossy Starling.
Mr. Ugly - a very nervous Warthog.
The accommodation in Kruger cost us R8,211-00 which is about US$1,150-00 or 840euros, for 11 nights. The daily tax one has to pay was R48-00 per person but we purchased a 'Wild Card' for R560 which covers all visits to any park for a year - quite a saving if we intend going back in September and maybe again next February before it expires. UNFORTUNATELY - this tax for overseas visitors is around R120-00 per person per day and we have seen many folks taken by surprise when asked for the amount in cash and for the length of their stay. I don't know why the travel agents or whoever books the trip does not make them aware of this cost. A Wild Card is also available but costs visitors R1,310 for an individual or R2,195 for two.
The fuel amounted to around R2,000
Food cost was very little as we self-catered and bought only a few beers and some wine.
There are many different maps, some showing cell phone coverage and the variety of plant life etc. I suggest trying to get hold of an excellent book by Brett Hilton-Barber and Professor Lee R. Berger called 'The Prime Origins Guide to Exploring Kruger - Your Key to Unlocking Africa's Wildlife Treasure'.
I hope that I have inspired all of you who love adventure and the call of the wild!!!!!!!!!
Thank you for all your positive comments and encouragement whilst we were on this "safari" - the beginning was a bit painful but practice makes perfect and I had the little laptop functioning pretty well by packing up time.
The airfare from your airline seems a gift! I hope you make it to Africa one more time. If you do, please try and stay a L O N G time in Kruger. By that I mean at least 7 days or more. This way one can ditch the "checklist mentality". It's great to see as much as you can but the beauty of Kruger is that it allows you to experience the rhythm and cycles of the naturel world in its entirety. Good sightings should be events that punctuate your experience of the Park rather that be an end in themselves.
Prof.Lee Berger says "To visit the Kruger Park is without doubt a primal experience, an opportunity to open one's senses and tune into the deepest recesses of humanity's collective memory: to remember that, once upon a time, long, long ago, this was our species birthplace."
That side of Kruger is hardly ever noted by the three day tourist - of course not many can make it anything else but a short stay and the majority only want to see a lion! We were lucky enough to be able to seek out a few ancient scenes and spend time sitting on top of a 4 billion year old lump of rock which fascinated me no end with it's different types of rock within a rock. Photos to come.
Bixa - YOU and all the other gracious AnyPorters kept me going!! Thank you so much for wonderful encouragement and making it an absolute pleasure to send our photos to you all.
I thought we were done but I had forgotten that we still have the last days photos to view. Not many but worthwhile close-ups. The lenses we used are ones we cannot carry with us on our trips to Paris as they are soooooooo heavy (and large) therefore it was a treat to be able to haul them out of mothballs and see how good we could make the shots. I have really enjoyed the first-time experience of posting LIVE!
Adoons does have luscious eyelashes, he must be popular with the girls!
The trip was definetly affordable and hopefully one day we will attempt it as we both found it exciting and lovely. Thank you for posting the costs and the website for further exploration. Cheers! Mich
More fun here, Tod! The mantis clapped its hands over its mouth and is thinking "Whoops ~~ oh dear!"
The little monkey guy is so cute. The pic of him playing with the older sibling or cousin is adorable.
Are ground hornbills called that because they mostly walk around on the ground? It's pretty fabulous, with those intense colors and dramatic body bits. And speaking of colors -- the starling is truly lush.
Poor warthog. It looks as though it was designed for maximum ugly. Look at those hindquarters, though. It must be able to really pick up speed.
Your words about how expectations should be dropped so that the beauty of Kruger in all its aspects can be experienced are a lovely and useful meditation on how to enjoy all travel ~~ thank you!
Also thanks for the excellent practical information. That is gold for anyone planning to book a trip there.
Hope this doesn't sound greedy, but I can't wait to see what other photographic treasures you have to show. Don't hold back! Remember that the forum accepts infinite amounts of pictures and texts, and you don't want to disappoint your eager fans!
Tod... I have spent today lolling over this thread, really in awe. Your photos are fantastic and the locale superb.
I have to say I love the bird photos (even if I love all your photos).
My favorite is the giant kingfisher spreading his wings from the rear...sort of like a cape.
But then there were the hippos, the baby elephants, the cheetah...and then all of the bugs and plants that don't live or grow near me. All beautifully photographed. You have inspired me to think about Africa, when I might not have before.
All in in all this thread has been a lovely feast. Thank you!
Thank you Cristina & bjd! The turtles actually fell back into the pond when the stack became top heavy - it was very funny watching them flip backwards, almost in slow motion! I think that is the only little rock and they all wanted some sun.
I totally agree Cristina - the birds in Kruger are exquisite and not hard to spot. They do take fright if you drive along and stop suddenly. They also take flight sometimes when you switch off the engine - which was imperitive for a good photo when the lense was leaning on the window.
Python just avoiding our vehicle~ was lying stretched full length across road.
Impala grazing and being de-ticked by the Oxpecker birds.
Tod2, I just need to tell you again how extraordinarily grateful I am that you took so much time to document your trip to Kruger here. The quality of the photographs is absolutely beyond belief and totally worthy of publications like National Geographic, and yet you were 'only' on vacation and (I assume) taking these pictures as a leisure activity.
Thanks to you and your husband, Anyport now possesses one of the most fabulous collections of African wildlife photos to be found on the internet. I consider it an honour that you have become such a faithful poster here and are always ready to answer all questions with your usual graciousness.
The rest of us can only hope to buy a better camera some day and acquire a fraction of your talent.
Your encouraging comments are very much appreciated and really and truly taken to heart My husband has taught me a lot about photography but we both get it wrong many times! Yes indeed this is a leisure activity and it's not often that we have the vista of plants and animals in front, to the side and behind us to choose from! This is, I think, our 5th or 6th visit to Kruger but the first time we have taken our new really powerful lenses. I do most of the driving, which means maneuvering the vehicle several times and maybe getting the shot from my window. When there is no-one about we take the risk of popping out of the sunroof which is highly illegal and can get you into a spot of bother so we may chance it just once or twice and not when the big cats or elephants are around! But that is nothing compared to a motorist that stopped us on the way to report photographing a man leaving his car and walking over to get a better angle of a LION!!! In a case like this it is ones duty to report it and all gates in the park are alerted. When the culprit tries to leave the park he is apprehended if they haven't found him before that , and kicked him out immediately. We have seen and heard of some ridiculous scenarios concerning tourists / locals who flaunt the rules. That's why they have a jail at Skukuza..........and it gets used!
My husband subscribes to two main magazines - Photo Plus and Digital Camera. One of them comes with a CD and wonderful lessons on how to get the best possible photo. Of course each photo is enhanced if necessary on the computer but only the minimum amount. My daughter-in-law is a very good photographer and when they talk "camera & technique" I am totally lost .
I have come on line to complete the last photos but am having no luck viewing anything at all!!
Tod I am quite sincere in this, you should definetly send your photos to someone like National Geograhic, as suggested by Kerouac. I have never viewed such incredible photos, they are truly art. Especially the last few with the bird and the gazelle, amazing!!!!!!!!!!! (I hope it is a gazelle, I am having difficulty with identification lately)
I am mesmirized by your photos, I look deeper into them then I do some painted art. Truly wonderful Tod. Thank you Mich
Oh Oh and I forgot to mention, I felt a pain in my chest when I realized that the zebra has a terrible gash on his rump, looks painful!
And the Dung Beetle!! they are such an interesting creature.
And our local turtles do that in the hot summer sun when we pass through the Narrows from our bay into the main lake, the children we bring along for a boat ride love watching them sun themselves on top of the rocks. Thanks again! Mich
With all due respect to all the other contributing members here, this thread is easily the finest photo essay I've yet seen at AP. The quality of the photography, the subjects- everything. Wow. Just wow.
Oh! The beauty of your thread overwhelms me. Tod, I think that those who run Kruger Park would do well to hire you and your husband to put together a book. Your photos are exceptional and we all thank you for taking the time to do this. I have spent hours on this thread and, selecting the photos and using them as my desktop…today (and for a few days) is the exquisite photo of the two deer, nibbling delicately…It reminds me of my childhood in the countryside and feeding the deer. Thank you.
Also thanks for the excellent practical information. That is gold for anyone planning to book a trip there.
With bixa's comment in mind - and not to toot my own horn because this is tod's thread - I posted my trip summary and game drive report on the Africa board to help those considering a trip of their own. My posts aren't in competition with tods, because no photos!
Gawd Bixa, I don't know what to say except it's been such a thrill to have been changelled and come up smelling of roses! Thanks to all of you for the great interest
Now to answer the questions I could not do whilst in the park: Starting with the last and working back wards -
Bixa:The white blobs are a foam-nest of the Grey Tree Frog. Eggs mixed into a foamy nest where tadpoles hatch and drop directly into the water. And I'm guessing here, also don't get eaten by waterbirds while all clumped together?! Sorry I got a bit mixed up when reviewing the photos again and see we did not look out from Shabeni Hill but from Mathekenyane which is also the same Gneiss rock and same age.
Shabeni Hill- Is found on the S7 and S10 roads near Pretoriuskop Camp. I have the GPS co-ordinates but don't know if one would need them if you want to Google Earth this monstrous rock born when the earth was formed. That's before continents were broken apart or any life forms on earth. The rock is born out of Goudplaats Gneiss - From German: gneiss, spark. Age: Between 3-4billion years old. It's a common type of rock in Kruger and widely distributed throughout the park. It cooled down very slowly and would have glowed red hot for 100million years! It has a road circling the base ( something like Ayers Rock in Oz) but only the Adventure Trails climb below it's 760m height.
Now bjd: Those were Vervet monkeys and are very agile with the cutest babies! To answer your question- YES, there are lots of snakes and bugs. Did you mean in the bush out of the controlled camp areas ?? In the campsites you get an influx of bugs as soon as you switch on a light so all windows and doors have fly-screens. My tip here is keep the lights OFF and sit in the darkness of the African bush - gaze up at the night sky with its fantastic stars. Get a small headlamp and use that to move around the camp roads in the evening. This way you can see where you are going and any crawly things that may cross your path -- It's NEVER happened in all my visits. Too many people around causing the creepies to shy away.....except lizards, like that beautiful Blue Headed lizard on a tree stump near our bungalow. They run away if you come close. We notice families lighting the evening barbeque fire at around 5pm . This allows you to cook and eat dinner before it grows very dark and the insects come towards your patio lights (and land on your plate!). Sounds too early for din-din but most folks are up at 4-5am ready to streak out of the gates as they open at 5.30am. By nightfall your bed ( or in my case, computer) is calling.......calling.....calling, come to me, come to meeeeeee ;D
Thanks for the answers, Tod. I'm not too afraid of bugs but am terrified of snakes. Before I went to Kenya, I knew there were poisonous snakes there too, but the only one I saw was hanging out of the beak of a bird of prey. Well, they don't even have to be poisonous for me to be afraid of them.
I was just wondering what the odds were of constantly seeing them when you are on a trip like yours.
When I was doing that safari stuff in Kenya, it is absolutely true that when you are up before dawn every day, there is absolutely no reason to worry about how early you want to eat dinner! After all, one of the joys of a holiday is that you can completely change your usual routine!
bjd - The odds of seeing a snake in the camp are rare and really nothing to worry about. We would actually like to see snakes but they are so afraid of man that they can't get away quick enough. Our sighting of the python was incredibly rare! When he disappeared into the grass I drove my vehicle right into the dirt and around a small bush looking for him to come out the other side. No matter how we scoured the undergrowth we couldn't find him and I am of the opinion that the python went down into it's burrow. Darn!! On the very odd occasion you may notice a snake slithering very quickly across the road or even a dead one lying in the road. Don't let the thought that you may get bitten put you off- you could get bitten by a mosquito though, which is just an itchy experience ;D