Archive from November, 2016
Nov 27, 2016 - Blog, South Africa    No Comments

South Africa Day 4

A quiet day today in Hoedspruit and Raptor reserve.

We had more rain last evening and during the morning – the local population are ecstatic the place has taken on a new vibe now with more of the wild animals venturing to get fresh fodder from the ground cover and the Giraffes from the trees.

We are in planning mode today for our trip up to The Kruger staying at The Lower Sabie camp and then I am told a couple of nights camping in another location on our way back to Hoedspruit on Saturday.

In the afternoon we decided that we would go to the Moholoholo Animal sanctuary  where they take in any injured animal and reintroduce them to the wild. However we were told that it would be more likely private reserves as in truly wild places they may not survive. Most of the injuries are caused by snares which either cut deep into the animals neck or very deep lacerations into their legs. We were shown some very disturbing pictures and thankfully many of the animals survived after treatment.

A whirlwind tour of the animals followed the pictures are of a Cheetah which were allowed to stroke. Then on to the vultures these were some really big birds. Lions, Hyenas and wild dogs.

Tomorrow is Monday already and we are getting very close to the main reason for my trip here to Anne and Stan’s home in the Raptor reserve and spreading of Margaret’s ashes at Anne’s chosen place. Over this last week Anne and I have had some great chats about Margaret and even this morning she was telling of some exploits whilst they were hosteling and camping in Loch Lomond and I thought Margaret never got in any scrapes. I think Anne has enjoyed herself looking back at all the escapades they got upto.

A chill day today ready for tomorrow journey to The Lower Sabie camp.

I am not taking laptop so a rest with blog till I get back – there will be so much to add.

 

 

Nov 25, 2016 - Blog, South Africa    No Comments

South Africa day 3

After yesterday if has been quite today.

On the road with Anne just after 8 am visiting a lodge where she has a commission for art work in their rooms. She has completed only a few so far with more required in the New Year.

Zebra – they came wandering into the camp whilst we there.

Off to the gallery for this evenings exhibition setting out art week that each member has contributed. Quite a  variety on show pen and ink, photographs, pastels etc. We will be off back there around 6-30pm I am one of the barmen now.

Then a visit to The Blue Mountain reserve to meet one of Anne’s friends Crystal. On arrival yes we saw this journey herd of Giraffe. (Journey is the collective of  a group of Giraffe)

Back to Raptor for a rest till this evening.

We might get more rain this evening dancing in the streets again.

Tomorrow well we will wait and see.

Nov 24, 2016 - Blog, South Africa    No Comments

South Africa Day 2

How does one begin to describe today. It is 2200 as I write which means I have been up over 17 hours so far.

An early rise around 3-30am to get prepared to drive with Anne to Tanda Tula approx 50 km. First Anne navigates the tracks around the estate then open road till we get to the entrance gates to the reserve, a further tarmac road and then a sharp right on to dirt tracks to the meeting point. The meeting point only becomes visible at the last minute tucked in among the bush.

Our land rover is allocated and we set off in a convoy of three. We heard stories from the guide that there had been lions close to the camp last night. The first stop was an instuctional introduction in the life of DUNG BEATLES very David Attenbrough style from Civilised the guide. This took about 15 minutes and then a shout over the land rover comms that a lion kill had happened.

Hold tight was the cry and we set off at top speed to locate the kill at full speed off road trees did not get in the way.

The trackers had followed the tracks from the camp on foot and heard the cries from the downed Buffalo. We stayed here almost an hour as this was not seen very often Anne has lived here decades and never seen a kill.


What followed next was just as awesome Elephants, Rhino, and some wild dogs which apparently are dwindling in  numbers with only 5000 left in the wild.

A good hearty breakfast was called for which we took at a bush camp on the river bed – a full english and a few other bits and pieces were taken no calorie count taken but likely off the scale.

Anne had her end of year presentation with her class of ladies which was a good laugh and I have edited them a video.

We departed en route home arriving back around 3-30pm.

Skype with Matthew in midst of a welcome thunder storm on Logan’s birthday.

Today was EPIC.

There may be other words to describe today but what I have witnessed in South Africa takes my breath away and I have so much to come.

It may be a light day tomorrow PHEW!

 

Nov 23, 2016 - Blog, South Africa    No Comments

South Africa Day 1

My journey to South Africa brought me from UK via Virgin Atlantic flight to Johannesburg and then on to Hoedspruit in the north-east of the country. When  I arrived at Hoedspruit it was quite a while before you were at the terminal building. However there was no terminal building it was a small reception area with a lot of people hanging around awaiting to pick ups guest etc. and you walked from the plane to the assembly point.

I was only expecting Stan to be there to meet me but Margaret’s friend Anne was there as well a lovely surprise. It was then just a short journey of about 10km to their home in Raptor. In that short journey we saw Giraffe in one of the reserves alongside the road.

Anne and Stan’s home is on the Raptor reserve nestling in its own clearing (pictures later). There was a lot for Anne and I to catchup on so Stan trotted off to a neighbour to take workmen back to main road. Anne outlined the plans for the next two weeks and then this morning added a few more to the list. I think I will update as the days pan out just incase they change.

My room is on one of the wings of the property with a view of the bush in any direction. I finally made bed about 10pm I think.


During the evening Stan lit a Braai (BBQ) in the open area just in front of the main deck with local wood making the kindle and a couple of beers to chill whilst the kindle got going. We had a visit from a Warthog – mother and her two kids – Anne went out and fed them with some specialist dried food and then – Nyala came as well to have a nosey all in the space of a couple of hours. They also have a nesting bird in a trunk of one of the veranda supports. I spied a beautiful Kingfisher but it was too quick to get any pictures.

I slept well so well I left all the lights on when I woke at 4 am I was so surprised still dark outside. A visit to the bathroom put one light off and collapsed again woke a couple of hours later – now light.

I am sure you would be interested to know that this mornings shower was actually taken in the bush well almost. The shower cubicle is 4 m away but open to the elements so I can say I showered in the cool air of the South African bush at 6am very refreshing.

Spent the day getting my bearings in the reserve. Decided tom take a little stroll that ended up over two half hours. A friendly ranger gave me a map and directed me to a hide on a trail about 3 km away from where I met him. Camera in hand but very little about however I see a group of Impala about a dozen or so but they are quite timid so scuttled away very quickly.

Stan is due home shortly and we are off to the local for an afternoon beer, Anne is scheduled to be at the gallery to make final arrangements for the weekends exhibition.