A Travellerspoint blog

Pictures!

  • *Update** Several hours later and I am admitting defeat. The African wifi does not want me to upload any pictures right now. I'm going to bed.

Ok...I have a better connection at the moment (I think) so I'm going to try and get a little bit caught up on pictures. I probably won't get very far, but I'm going to add what I can to the photo gallery. If you click on "More Photos" you can see them along with comments I make on individual pictures.

We left Kruger National Park this morning, so the "safari" part of this trip is done. We are now on the road for the next 7 days making our way to Cape Town. We don't have any planned places to stay along the way, so we are just winging it day by day. We made it as far as a little town called Graskop today and we are staying in a lovely B&B called Autumn Breeze Manor. Getting here was a lot of stop-and-go through towns with TONS of people walking every direction, roadside markets, wandering farms animals, unmarked treacherous speed bumps, and monstrous pot holes. I was feeling pretty immersed in the local atmosphere!

Well, here are a couple of pictures from our first day in the national park when we had lunch with the elephant. I will start uploading others if this wifi holds out :)
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Posted by Pelham Family 08:39 Archived in South Africa Comments (1)

The Circle of Life

Ok...last Lion King reference!

I still have not seen Simba, but I just can’t get the darn soundtrack out of my head! Today, after our freezing cold sunrise drive (which was beautiful, but mostly a bust as far as animal viewing goes), we went back to wandering around on our own. The signs in the park are great and there are tons of dirt roads that circle around and eventually lead back to the main road. We can go long stretches without really passing other people and everyone just stops when there is something interesting to see anyway, so it’s like our own private game drive.

I have lost count of how many elephants we have seen – they are everywhere! At one point we were on a dirt side road by ourselves and a whole herd just walked slowly across the road while we sat there with the engine off. It was surreal.

We also saw this huge snake, which I am sure was a puff adder (I looked in a book ), and when we drove around it, he leapt off the ground to flip himself in the other direction and shoot off into the bushes. Around the next bend were a couple of male bush bucks smashing their heads together and locking horns. Then, to top it off, we watched this eagle dive out of the sky after something and when we rounded the corner, there he was on the ground with a monkey in his talons. A MONKEY! It was awesome. Can’t wait to get back to some solid wifi so I can upload some pictures.

On a side note…Baylie and I are both ready for some GOOD food. We’re tired of the snack food and we haven’t really had a great meal since we’ve been here.

Posted by Pelham Family 08:14 Archived in South Africa Comments (0)

Hyenas in the Pride Lands!

But I still haven't seen Mufasa

Our campground area is fenced, although Baylie and I have our doubts about how effective the fencing would be if animals really wanted to get in here. They close the gates at 5:30 and don’t open them again until 7:00 in the morning. The only way to go out at night is with a guided game drive, so we signed up for the sunset drive last night and the sunrise drive this morning. Last night we came across a den of hyenas with a couple of moms and their litters of pups…very cool! We also got a pretty good show of hippos in the river that looked almost exactly like the Disney Jungle Cruise. There was a crocodile hanging out on the bank, so I’m guessing there were more lurking in the water! Sunset was definitely worth the trip.

This morning, however, was not so productive. It was FREEZING! We spent the whole ride just trying to stay huddled under the blanket and we didn’t really see any animals at all. They were all too smart to come out of their warm hiding places I guess. We have been pretty lucky just driving around our own so far, so I am still hoping for lions!

Wifi is still slow and unpredictable, so pictures will have to wait.

Posted by Pelham Family 00:40 Archived in South Africa Comments (0)

It's Raining Rhinos!

Wow! What an amazing day! On the recommendation of one of the other guests at Utopia in Africa, Baylie and I went in search of Chimp Eden today. It is a beautiful sanctuary for rescued chimpanzees run by the Jane Goodall foundation. We arrived just as a tour was starting and for an hour we watched the guide feed the chimps and tell their individual stories. It was a great start to the day.

We then set out for the Malalane entrance gate at the bottom of Kruger National Park. We are staying at the Skukuza Rest Camp which is a pretty long distance from that gate, but we wanted to drive through the park, hoping to see a little wildlife on the way. We immediately saw some small deer…a water buffalo…a wildebeest…a troop of baboons…two giraffes…a zebra…and suddenly what Baylie first thought was an elephant, but NO – a rhino with an enormous horn! When Baylie was here before, she went on a five hour trek with a special rhino tracking guide and they finally saw ONE rhino. Within an hour we saw three more from our car just hanging out by the side of the road! We were feeling pretty amazed and ready to rest our eyes from constantly scanning every bush for movement, so we stopped at a marked picnic area to make some peanut butter sandwiches. We sat at the table nearest our car and immediately noticed movement in the bushes MAYBE 50 feet away. Suddenly a trunk rose up and grabbed some leaves off the tree. There were two elephants so close we could hear them chewing. There were several other people in the picnic area and a small store selling snacks. We went ahead and enjoyed our lunch in silence while constantly watching the elephants. At one point a family came over by our table to take some pictures and the dad asked which way we had come in to the park. We talked for a moment and he said that yesterday it had been “raining rhinos”. I am now waiting for it start raining lions! This place is simply stunning.

Tomorrow we are going to go on an official game drive, so who knows what we’ll see!
I have a ton of new pictures to post of course…but not the most accessible wifi, so they will have to wait.

Posted by Pelham Family 03:09 Archived in South Africa Comments (3)

We found Utopia!

Ten hours is a long time to be on a plane, even when the flight is uneventful and relatively comfortable! We made it through airport security, which was suspiciously easy, going through customs actually seemed...voluntary - there were people having their suitcases scanned, but others just wandered right by. So we joined the people just wandering through and found our way to the car rental desk. Again...strangely simple. I feel like I just told the girl my name and she handed me a key and a card with a parking space number on it. We found a brand new, cute little Toyota and the key worked, so we drove away! Of course we ended up circling the airport once and then promptly getting on the freeway going in the wrong direction...but as soon as we were able to pull into a gas station and get our miraculous GPS up and running, we were off! We drove for a little over two hours in the direction of Kruger National Park with our sites set on the town of Nelspruit (which we finally deduced was called by a completely different name in our GPS and on several of the road signs). We planned to find a hotel once we got to Nelspruit, but the town felt a little "gritty" so we started looking at the lodges in the surrounding area. Lo and behold, we found "Utopia in Africa". A little pricey for our first night...but just what we needed after the long travel day.

Tomorrow we are going to visit Chimp Eden run by the Jane Goodall Institute before driving the rest of the way to our spot in Kruger National Park. In the meantime I will be sitting right here on the deck listening to the birds!

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Posted by Pelham Family 06:36 Archived in South Africa Comments (7)

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