Monday, November 30, 2015

South Africa ~ Monday 23rd November ~ On Safari.

Kruger National Park


Above:- I love it when they pose for me (and I humbly apologise to my faithful Canon Power shot for even admiring the new version in the duty free shop).

So this was the highlight of the trip and the reason we went back to South Africa – to go on Safari and see the animals.


And it was a huge day, and to my relief Kruger Park is much better than the Dubbo Zoo! For a start it is huge ~ ‘some say’ the size of Wales. So we only saw a very small piece of it.

We were up at 03:30 for the full day tour, as we left early so no breakfast before we started.


We went in via the Paul Kruger Gate, which is the closest to Hazyview.


And The early start was worth it, as we saw more animals before breakfast than we did for the rest of the day.

At least it wasn’t too hot, cool in the morning then up to about 26ish in the afternoon.


Only just through the gate and we met this fellow crossing the road!

Oh Hello – crossing here!                                                 Well maybe not….



okay, okay – going now!


…………Watch out….Here I go!…….


…and we also met a female Kudu,


and a Crowned Hornbill.




The great recyclers, a White Headed Vulture.


Cue the ‘Benny Hill’ theme tune – here are a pack of Wild Dogs, being chased by a Baboon, which in turn is being chased by a pack of tourists.




Wild dogs are the most efficient hunters with a kill rate higher than all African predators.


Another elephant….


Velvet monkeys,


Below ~ Another finalist for Photo of the Day - The Black Rhino. Graham spotted this looking like a rock in a bush, apparently to see a black Rhino is very rare.

Black rhinos became extinct in the Kruger National Park by 1945. Between 1971 and 1989 a total of 81 black rhinos were re-introduced, with a further 6 animals added in 1998. Presently the black rhino population is estimated to be about 300. - WWF


and then some very distant and amorous Lions – this is Grahams photo as mine was just a furry blur.


and Impalas, the fast food of the African world, this is a newborn. Apparently Impalas can stall the birth of their babies until after a good rainfall. 


A Zebra crossing – Boom, Boom. Aren’t they beautiful, how could you make them into a rug, (and we’ve  seen lots of Zebra hides for sale in gift shops).



And all that was all before breakfast! Phew, I’ve already used up one battery in my camera.

After a bacon and egg sandwich we met a Waterbuck,


and more Elephants,


then a stop to admire the beauty and vastness of the park…


Next, a family of Giraffes,



and a Wilder Beast.


Don’t think these are all zoom lens shots – this is how close some of the animals come.



Then finally a Buffalo doing what Buffalos do best,


and a White Rhino.


Do You Know the Difference Between Black and White Rhinos?

No Its not the colour.

The term white rhino is actually a mistranslation; the Dutch settlers in South Africa initially called them “Weid mond rhino”, meaning “Wide-mouth rhino.” White and black rhinos are similar in color. The most notable difference between white and black rhinos are their mouths. Because black rhinos are grazers, they have smaller, hook-shaped lips that allow them to grasp prickly shrubs and trees.

Black and white rhinos also have different body shapes: white rhinos have bigger heads and longer necks than the blacks; the white rhinos are also slightly taller with longer tails. The white rhino is built slightly differently, with their hips lower than their shoulders, resulting in a sloped shape to their back in contrast to the blacks that have dipped backs.


And that was it, back to our resort late afternoon and very tired.

We didn’t see ALL the big 5.

big 5

Which are the Elephant, Lion, Rhino, Buffalo and Leopard.

We missed the Leopard! But we did see both the Rhinos.

We may have a second chance in a couple of days when we have a evening Safari booked.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

South Africa ~ Saturday & Sunday ~ Washing & Fog


Saturday: Well, at some point you have to stop and do the washing..

Below: The laundrette next to the tennis courts..


And that was Saturday, morning at the supermarket and afternoon doing the washing. The Chalet looked like a Chinese laundry with clothes hanging everywhere, but at least its warm so it will dry quick.

We also booked some tours for during the week.


Sunday: we thought it would be a chance to see the view from ‘God’s Window’, but it was so foggy we couldn’t see a thing….

But we did stop at some waterfalls..

below is Mac Mac Falls..



And here is the Renault – wee wee.. It only likes you if you speak to it in French, merci beaucoup..


And Graham and me at Mac Mac Pools, which we think is  is their version of the Blue Hole..!



Tomorrow (Monday) we are up at 0330 for our safari to Kruger National Park,,,,


Saturday, November 21, 2015

South Africa ~ Thursday & Friday : travel Days

So, today we left our B&B in Cape Town.
Here it is below, Belmont House, which is right under Table mountain.
Only a small bedroom, but a great shared living space. Our host, Craig, was really friendly and helpful. And it was an easy walk to town, although a slog up the hill on the return, but we found the public bus stopped nearly outside the door so that was an easy way home.
Map picture
Sputla took us back to the Airport for our flight to Johannesburg.
We decided in the afternoon to take a taxi into Johannesburg city so we could have a look around.
Well that was an eye opener. Very grubby, worn and poor.
No photos as I was a little apprehensive about displaying my camera in case we look like tourists – which was a stupid thought, as we were the only white people so of course we were tourists!
Gautrain – for people on the move
Anyway we got onto the new Gautrain to return to our hotel, got off at the suburb of Sandton and it was a completely different world, new, modern and shiny and safe feeling.
Its as if the Joburg people have abandon the inner city and built new communities further out.
And dinner in an Irish pub……
Friday, and a long time in the airport waiting for our flight to Kruger. A 45 minutes flight on a smaller jet. And we  have a hire car , a Renault and Graham is learning to drive like an South African, which is either drive too fast or too slow, overtake anywhere, ignore double lines and seat belts are optional. Oh and if you have a ute you can fit several people in the tray.
Trivia fact:- Traffic lights are called Robots.
Sabi Sun Map
And finally we are at the Sabi River Sun Resort near Hazyview. We are staying in a 3 bedroom 2 bathroom chalet. This is a golf resort so we look out on lush greens.
And….. there are Hippos about 50 metres away from our chalet,  in the river.
and egrets, monkeys and lots of cats (domestic type)…