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Published: September 15th 2011
Episode 3 (15.9.11) by Craig
Hello to everyone back home.
We have spent the past five days in Kruger National Park and the adjoining Elephant Plains lodge. It has been the most fantastic exeperience of my life !
We had a hire car in Kruger and drove around, seeing elephants, giraffes, hippos, all sorts of antelope and colourful birds. We stayed in " restcamps" - large fenced compounds that have all the mod cons: caferteria, shops, bar, swimming pools, huts and bungalow accommodation. You can drive around during the day but must be back at camp by 6pm -sharp - when they close the camp gate. A few days ago, we were driving late in the day and came upon a cheetah resting beside a tree. Fantastic - only 200 of them in the park and not often seen. In our excitement, we forgot the time, and had to make a mad dash back to camp ! We also went on organised night drives, which leave around dusk. Saw some special critters that won't mean much to most of you, such genets and serval (a large spotted cat) and highly amusing bushbabys. Bushbabys are primates but look like little kittens. They never sit still, bouncing from tree to ground to tree again like small wind-up toys gone mad.
As a young man, I have had this life long image of one day "sitting on a balcony in Africa, beer in hand, overlooking a waterhole with animals, with people that are close to me. " This is an image that I have carried for many years. Well, at Lower Sabie Restcamp, that dream came true. We sat at the outside bar overlooking the water hole on a glorious afternoon, where hippos and elephants were playing - on Ross's birthday. He realised the significance of the moment for me,he took several photos, and we both got quite emotional, esp. since it was his birthday.
We then travelled through rural villages to Elephant Plains Game reserve - in the hope of seeing the Big 5 up close: Elephant, lion, leopard, rhino and buffalo. Well, we have been here one day and have just seen them all - and within metres of the range rover. The range rover vehicles take about eight people and can barrel off the tracks, following anything they find. Last night was priceless. We found two leopards in a tree, one eating a bushbuck . We were directly below it. On the way back to camp, we watched two hyenas eat a two week old buffalo carcass, again within 2 -3 metres of the vehicle (which are open topped). We watched in amazement as they crunched on bone ,ribs, hooves.
On this mornings dawn game drive, we found ourselves in the middle of a herd of elephants - all around us, munching on trees, then came upon a group of 5 lionesses on the move. They again came within metres of the vehicle. Then we found four white rhimos feeding, and, to top it off, a herd of buffalo - all again right beside the vehicle ! The photos look out of this world !
Among the guests at Elephant Plains is an eccentric little
man from New York. A lawyer by profession, he was most bizzare, insisting on sitting in the exact same seat on each game drive, and telling me of his quest to do karioki on every continent - only Antarctica eludes him and he has been trying to get there !!
Well, it is midday here and Ross and Bryan are having well earned snooze (most mornings start at 5am). I am going to read some wildlife books before another later arvo game drive.
Hope all is well and love to all,
Craig, (Ross and Bryan).
p.s. To those of you recently added to the recipient list, scroll to the bottom og this blog and click " previous" to see our first entries.
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