After our first week in the Kruger we returned to Tzaneen and this time we stayed in the garden of Michael’s old college friend [Alan and Ann] They have a swimming pool, a lovely house and garden, so we were extremely comfortable. We entertained each other well, and went our separate ways as it suited us all. It was great fun, too! We had more things done to the truck, and it now runs better than before, which is good!! Unfortunately we developed a water leak….not serious but a great annoyance and it made our cupboard a bit damp!! We were able to live with it (Michael rigged up a plastic tank, so we always had 5 gallons] so we went back to the Kruger for more animal viewing.
What a wonderful time we had!! There seemed to be more animals about, or maybe we were better at seeing them!! We were driving along a huge somewhat prairie-like area, a car had stopped on the side of the road, so we slowed down and there, just in the grass were 3 cheetahs!!! [although we only ever managed to get 2 in a photo at the same time] What a thrill!! We think they were mother father and child, and they were just hanging around as cheetahs do!! After about 15/20 minutes a rhino came into sight. We wondered what the reaction would be, and for a short while it looked as though the cheetahs were going to take on the rhino…however, they thought better of that idea and went on their way leaving the rhino to wander on his way!!
On leaving our campsite early one morning we came across a hyena chewing on the remains of a buffalo. Hyena are not really a very nice sort of creature!
We saw lots of antelope, plenty of birds, masses of buffalo, but the highlight of our stay in Kruger was the last 24 hours!! We still had not seen any lions, so were really keen and on the look-out even more than usual!! On our way to our overnight campsite we watched a herd of elephants grazing on the side of the river….1. Next morning,...our last in the park, we got caught up in a huge herd of buffalo,2, they were just grazing on the side of the road and surrounded the truck….we were glad to be up high!! A bit further on we saw a leopard, just ambling down the road!
He then went of onto the roadside and walked right past us...within 10 yards of the truck. What a fantastic sight!!3. The road we wanted to take in the park was closed for repair, so we had to go another way…how fortunate that turned out to be!! 8 rhino were next of the big 5!! We had seen rhino before but not in such numbers, they were magnificent and came really close to us. You cannot believe that people are prepared to kill these wonderful creatures just for their ‘so-called’ aphrodisiac horn.[there is a big campaign going on for support to catch the poachers]
So that was number 4, of the big 5!!! Finally, we were about 5 or 6 kilometres from the park gate when we saw about 10 cars stopped on the side of the road…could this be a lion jam??? Yes, it was!! A lion and lioness were lying under a tree!!! She was lying right out flat, scarcely visible, whilst he was well into the shade, with just his shaggy head in view amongst the branches. However we were satisfied that we had seen all the big 5 in 24 hours…fantastic!!
The unfortunate thing about the lion and his mate was that they positioned themselves just behind a bush making it very difficult to get a clear, in focus shot of them.
Since all that excitement we have been in and around Johannesburg. We have been stating in a ‘country park’ about 20ks from the centre of town. We have visited some in-law relations of Michael’s, found someone to re-weld our water tank, lived through 2 enormous thunderstorms…they really are spectacular here!! And generally relaxed for a day or 2.
We went to the Cradle of Humankind, an area of limestone caves where many fossils have been found, most notably Little Foot and Mrs Ples who is 2.6 million years old!!!. Little Foot must have fallen down a hole into a cave below and was unable to get out again, so the whole of his skeleton was discovered intact. He lived up to 3.5 million years ago...too long for us to imagine…also found were fossilised remains of extinct animals, some plant material which shows that the area was once tropical. It was breath- taking to be in amongst such ancient artefacts. Needless to say this area is jealously guarded by archaeologists who are still unravelling the secrets that are buried in the caves and rocks. It was very impressive and the museum was extremely informative. We came away overawed by the antiquity and importance of it all.
This is the skull of a mammoth. Things don't get much older than that!
Our plans are to visit a small game park where we can do some walking for a day or 2….you are not allowed out of your vehicle in the Kruger…we really need some exercise…while we wait for our water tank to be mended. This should be done by the last Friday in September. But who knows. This is Africa.
Actually, today is now the last Thursday in September and we are going to have the tank fitted tomorrow at mid-day! The last paragraph is the subject of "T.I.A" as we have not been able to get any internet connection for the last week so we could not publish the blogg!
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