About Me

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Dreaming of Africa
I am married, a lifelong musician, somewhat competent photographer, and world traveler. Having been around for over 60 years, I have lots of "stuff" floating around inside my head that is screaming to get out.


All photos and text on this blog are copyright 2008-2010 Norman Arnett, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise noted. All content not owned is used with permission and is also protected by copyright.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Our first full day back in Kruger

After checking in, we settled in to our home for the next five nights. Lower Sabie camp is a wonderful camp, with a variety of facilities available. Camping areas, safari tents, Bungalows and Cabins that are meant for larger families are available and there is something for every budget. We settled in to our bungalow, I cooked dinner and we ate and then hit the pillows, fast asleep within minutes. The gate opens at 5:30 in the morning, and I wanted to be first in line. We were up long before any the sun, and by the looks of the bungalows across the way, we were up before anyone else. I quickly packed our breakfast and made tea. We were just packing the cooler in the car when our neighbor quickly hopped in his vehicle and was off toward the gate. Oh well, there went being first in line. By the time we got to the gate we ended up 3rd in line. A short wait and the gate was opened, the first two cars turned right and that put us first on the road to the left, which is where we wanted to go. Last year we had good luck on the Mlondozi Loop, where we saw eight Cheetah. I had decided to see if we could repeat our good fortune from last year so we were off. We had to stop on the Dam to watch the sun come up.

We were hoping for more Cheetah on this morning. The first few kilometers were a little slow, not too much moving except a few Wildebeest and Zebra browsing in the distance. Then to the south we saw a large bull, he was a long way off, but things were looking up.

Soon we saw two more large bulls fairly close to the road. This can become dangerous as Bulls can be cranky and charge at any time.

 We were so busy with this big boy that when we made it past him we almost didn't see a White Rhino standing within 2 meters of the road.

It was barely 8 in the morning and it was already getting warm. We got to the Mlondozi Picnic area and had breakfast. Watching out for a gang of thieves who was nearby attempting to steal a bite to eat from those not on the lookout.
They were quick and aggressive, but would back down if confronted. They were successful in stealing breakfast from a number of those picnicking. Here is the view we enjoyed while eating.

On the way back to camp for a break we saw a Martial Eagle. They are very shy and avoid contact with people. This was a first for us. All I was able to get was a shot of it flying nearby.

Another Journey back to Africa

It has been quite a while since I have had a chance to sit down and put my fingers to the keys, and I have neglected telling everyone what is going on. During October, we returned to South Africa for another adventure. This time we spent two weeks in Kruger National Park. 
What an amazing journey!
Well it was amazing except for the LONG, LONG flight. We left Seattle just before midday on Friday, and arrived in Johannesburg at about 6pm on Saturday. That works out to be about 26 hours in coach. I would give anything to fly First Class on these trips, but it would require donating body parts or mortgaging our house to be able to stretch out, use real silverware, enjoy better food, and be able to really sleep.
   Since our flight arrived late in the day we stayed at the Garden Court Inn near the airport again. We have found it to be easy to get to, reasonably priced and a very tasty morning breakfast buffet. After getting a good nights sleep, we headed back to the airport to pick up our SUV and then headed east towards Kruger.
After about five hours and a couple of stops we drove through the Numbi Gate and headed towards our first destination Lower Sabie. Lower Sabie is 95km (59 miles) from the gate, and the speed limit is 50km, which logically would take one a little over an hour to navigate. However, Kruger distances cannot be judged in a normal way. Because of game sightings and roadblocks (whether from traffic jambs or from Animals on the road) time and distance are not easily linked. The Kruger website says the time from Numbi gate to Lower Sabie is 3.5 hours. I had calculated we would arrive at camp around 5pm, an hour before the gate closes. Being outside of a camp after the gates close is strictly forbidden and being caught outside can result in fines of several hundred dollars each. Five rolled around and we were still many kilometers from our destination. I pushed the limit and drove slightly over the speed limit and made it to camp at 6:05pm. The ranger at the gate looked at our pass and waved us through with a stern word about gate closing time.
This was the first sunset back in Kruger taken shortly before arriving at camp.