Wrapping up the Kruger & Sabi Sands stuff

Just a few more pictures to share along with a list of animals seen around Kruger…

Day 1: Sabi Sands
Warthog
Impala
Kudu
Steenbok (small deer)
Hyena
Wildebeest
White rhino
Jackal
Elephants
Water buffalo
Scrub hare

Day 2: Kruger
Impala (zillions of ’em!)
Elephants
Hippos
Warthog
Buffalo
Kudu
Giraffe
White rhino
Monkeys
Baboon
Wildebeest
Lots if Birds…
Ground Hornbill – Red neck things
Owl
Eagle
“Suicide birds”
Guinea fowl – Blue heads

Day 3: sabi sands
Buffalo
Wildebeest
Warthog
Impala
Kudu
Small deer things
Zebras
Giraffe
Rhinos (w/ baby)
Birds…
Lions
Leopard

Day 4 (morning): Sabi Sands
Kudu, impala, etc
Lions
Hyenas (up close!)
Rhino
Fuzzy antelope … Can’t remember what they’re called

Leopard in the sand

20130825-104746.jpg

20130825-104757.jpg

Hyenas up close:

20130825-104842.jpg

20130825-104858.jpg

Advertisements

Safari photos

Just a few of the hundreds of photos I took in Sabi Sands and Kruger reserves…

But first, my fancy tent:

20130821-172407.jpg

20130821-172503.jpg

20130821-172527.jpg

20130821-172550.jpg

20130821-172611.jpg

20130821-172626.jpg

20130821-172654.jpg

20130821-172709.jpg

20130821-172721.jpg

20130821-172733.jpg

20130821-172748.jpg

20130821-172804.jpg

20130821-172814.jpg

20130821-172829.jpg

20130821-172841.jpg

20130821-172854.jpg

20130821-172909.jpg
My makeshift scarf/hat/hair restraint system (the sarong I’d brought for pool/swimming use came in handy on those cold mornings!)

Sabi Sands & Kruger

We picked up the rental car from JNB airport and ventured out for an adventure of driving on the wrong side of the road. Aside from getting lost leaving the airport (and getting set straight by some friendly police officers) things went fairly smoothly. We made good enough time to make it to the safari camp in time for the evening game drive. Our lodging, the Tydon Safari Camp had an arrangement to be able to drive into the Sabi Sands private reserve (parts of it, anyway) and go off-roading for really up close and personal viewing. That first day, we saw elephants probably within 50 feet (or less) and white rhinos even closer. There weren’t any other guests the first couple of nights, so the 3 of us had the truck & driver (Lyam) to ourselves. It was a really cool experience to be able to get so close to the animals in their own territory. Our night drives went until after dark, and the darkness made it even more exciting when we saw hyenas roaming around near one of the lodges.

The next couple of days we got into the routine of camp life. No Internet, no alarm clocks, no phones in the tents, we woke up to the sounds of our guide walking on the fine gravel paths to each tent and calling “good morning” to us at 5:30am. We’d pull on our warmest clothes (it got COLD overnight), grab a cup of tea, and climb into the safari truck around 6am, just as it was beginning to get light out. The first full day we were there was a Kruger day, so we took the truck with the canvas roof, but all the other days were in Sabi Sands so we were in the open land rover. We saw something new on every drive, and by the last night & morning, we got to see all of the “big 5.”

All the animals were really amazing to see, especially when you’d stop looking so hard to find them and then suddenly there would be an elephant in the road, or a giraffe just outside the window that you somehow almost missed. Our last night drive, our new guide, Jared, used the radio a lot more to keep in touch with some of the other drivers in the area, and although it changed the tone of the drive to have a specific target destination, we were able to spot a leopard resting and grooming herself by the river.

As we were heading back to camp along the main road in Sabi Sands, after we’d pretty much called it a night, I happened to notice 2 lions resting on the side of the road — the headlights had swept across them briefly but our driver at the time hadn’t noticed. “Lions! Stop, stop, stop!” I said, and we reversed a bit. There they were, just taking it easy, no more than 15 feet away from me (and less from the front of the vehicle). We weren’t really supposed to stop along the main road, so we couldn’t stay long, but it was so cool.

We saw them again, the last morning, resting on the other side of the road, not far away from where we’d seen them the night before.

After our last morning game drive, we loaded up the car and drove to the Nelspruit airport to catch our flights to Cape Town.

More / better pictures to come when I transfer them off my other camera…

20130819-231003.jpg

20130819-231127.jpg

Johannesburg

After a 10+ hour flight from Frankfurt,we landed in Johannesburg and met up with A’s uncle, D. We sorted out our rental car for the next day, caught the hotel airport shuttle, and checked in. We arranged to hire a driver for the afternoon to take us to the apartheid museum, and thru the Soweto township. Soweto, by the way, stands for SOuthWEst TOwnship, one of the townships that people were relocated to as part of apartheid.

We were hungry after our long flights, so we had Jonathan stop so we could get a quick bite. Quick, but “not McDonald’s” — we ended up at a Nando’s chicken. Fast food ish, but tasty chicken that hit the spot. Then we were off — first to the Regina Mundi church, where we had an informative tour from a local man telling us a bit about its significance in the anti apartheid movement. He was a charming guide, and had a way of pulling us into the history of the place — having us each stand in certain places & tell us whose footsteps we were standing in. He also pointed out bullet holes in the ceiling that were intentionally left unrepaired as a reminder of the violence that occurred there. He also showed us the guest register with entries from Bill & Hilary Clinton, Barack Obama, and of course Nelson Mandela.

After the church, we stopped by Nelson Mandela’s old house for a quick tour (led by a friendly but rat-a-tat-tat tour guide who recited her nonstop spiel of dates and events before asking if we had any questions). Around 3pm, we got to the apartheid museum. It was nearly empty (most of the tour groups must have already passed through) so we could go at our own pace. It was really interesting, but with just SO much information I couldn’t take it all in, in just 2 hours.

20130819-230158.jpg

20130819-230231.jpg

20130819-230313.jpg

20130819-230401.jpg

Frankfurt enroute to South Africa

Wow, what an amazing few days. So far so good with flights being on time. Flew to Frankfurt, met up with A at the designated meeting point, wandered around the city for a few hours (finding some places I’d enjoyed the last time I was there, as well as some new places). We went to the top of the Main tower (53 stories up or so) for the view and swung thru a cider festival on our way back to the train station to catch our flight to Johannesburg.

20130819-225252.jpg

20130819-225340.jpg

20130819-225427.jpg

20130819-225445.jpg