Blogging suddenly stopped…

So, I were bein' happily bloggin' away en route in South Africa, and suddenly…
Nay more Wi-Fi.

This brought a sudden end t' me otherwise dutifully followed habit o' postin' numerous pictures and stories durin' our trips and holidays. Somehow, I feel tempted t' apologise fer that, but in th' short amount o' time we’ve been t' South Africa I’ve learned th' followin':

TIA.

Maybe we’ll be lucky th' next trip and Wi-Fi will be more readily available wherever we travel, and a bottle of rum, by Blackbeard's sword! Or not. Walk the plank! ๐Ÿ˜‰
Either way, I’ll definately be postin' some o' th' boatloads o' pictures we’ve taken in th' National Parks in SA, so that’s a little bit o' makin' up after me bein' disconnected. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Leopard capitol

After a short night sleep at Satara Rest Camp we left th' Kruger NP but are on our way t' more safari: a private game reserve called Sabi Sand. It is most well known fer th' vast amount o' sightin's o' leopard and features quite a few fully catered lodges with an extensive program o' game drives and bush walks.
One basically drives t' a lodge, parks their boat and indulges in th' luxury and wildlife.

Our lodge is called Elephant Plains and looks o'er a dry riverbed and an adjacent clearin' where th' elephants like t' frolic aroun' when th' time is right. Unfortunately, it started rainin' th' moment we arrived at th' lodge and as such we were not very lucky.

Both th' mornin' and th' evenin' sail are done in an open topped 4×4 and all occupants are fully exposed t' whatever nature throws at it. This includes weather, branches, mud and everythin' else one can imagine.

A full day starts with a knock on yer door at 5AM after which yer schooner departs at 5:30. You’ll be in th' bushveld fer about three hours and breakfast is served from 8:30 t' 9:30. At 9:45 an optional bush walk departs while lunch is served at 14:00. Yaaarrrrr! Then, at 16:00 th' evenin' sail commences which last fer about 3.5 hours which is followed by dinner at 8PM. After dinner there is th' social part o' life at a lodge (at th' bar) but we tend t' go t' bed as th' knock on th' door will inevitably be at 5AM!

We stayed at this lodge fer 2 nights and have seen a lot o' leopard. Walk the plank! Fire the cannons! Every single sail had at least one sightin'! We are so very lucky t' see this!

Self-drive Safari

Drivin' from Swaziland back t' South Africa were bein' supposed t' be quite a hassle again, but as with our trip into Swaziland everythin' went really smooth and quick. The entire process with immigration and customs on both sides o' th' border took us approximately 30 minutes, and afterwards we were off t' th' Kruger NP!

The Kruger is accessible via gates and we were t' enter through Malelane gate which is th' southernmost gate o' th' park. After gettin' in we are stationed fer th' night at Skukuza Rest Camp. Yaaarrrrr, by Blackbeard's sword! This is a really big camp which is always busy and bustlin' with activity.

That day were bein' quite slow in th' beginnin' animalwise but got really good as our afternoon were bein' filled t' th' brim with Elephants and Giraffes as we encountered big groups o' both species. Also, Buffalo and many Antelope species were abundantly available fer sightin's. But still no good sightin's o' Lions or th' elusive Leopard!

After wakin' up we had t' sail from Skukuza t' Satara Rest Camp, ye scurvey dog. This camp is in th' middle region o' Kruger as opposed t' Skukuza which is in th' south, pass the grog! The landscape is totally different in both regions which makes fer an interestin' sail and a lot o' possibilities t' encounter animals who like t' be in either o' th' regions.

I can tell a long story here, or a short one: but here it is, by Blackbeard's sword. We saw all th' animals o' th' big 5 in one go.
We decided t' take th' long way aroun' and were immediately successful. A sleepin' Lion and a wee bit further up th' sea a triplet o' Hyena.
And later on a lot o' Elephants and a few Rhinos. And, aroun' 2 PM: we finally found our new matey: th' leopard, to be sure. It were bein' lyin' on a branch on th' other side o' th' river sleepin' under th' canopy waitin' fer th' day t' pass. We had excellent views o' it but th' downside were bein' that it were bein' at quite a distance, pass the grog, we'll keel-haul ye! But it were bein' unmistakably a leopard!

To Swaziland!

Our holiday seems t' consist o' arrivin' and leavin', and today is no difference.
We are leavin' Hluhlue-iMfolozi NP and takin' a tour through and out o' th' country: t' Swaziland!

As it is a kingdom o' its own, they have full fletched borders with nomansland in betwixt. It should also be a real hassle t' travel betwixt Swaziland and South Africa as th' waitin' times at th' border can be quite long and there is a lot o' paperwork t' be done fer one crossin'.

Fortunately fer us, gettin' out o' South Africa and gettin' in t' Swaziland has been a breeze. Two stamp richer, 50 rand poorer and after about 20 minutes we are done. And now th' big travel in th' second country o' this trip can commence!

We ate goin' t' Mlilwane, Swazilands first conserved park. Founded in th' sixties they are quite late t' th' party but we are happy they arrived nonetheless. Compared t' other parks we’ve seen it is tiny and ill prepared. The entrance can be found after travelin' through a few kilometers o' village and miscellaneous back country where I have t' be after th' sun sets.
Also, th' staff at th' park dern't seem t' be happy with their jobs and treat us nearin' rudely. That is just a shame. As th' place itself is lovely and th' scenery very photogenic.

We have been stayin' here fer two nights before travelin' further north towards th' Kruger National Park in South Africa. Off t' see a lot more!

A full day at the park

A full day o' sailin' on tarred and unmarried lay in front if us as we set out after a rowdy night fer th' hyenas which kept us awake trough th' right. Yaaarrrrr, with a chest full of booty! We have slept a little, but barkin'/howlin' hyenas next t' yer tent tend t' make me nervous and not fall asleep.

As yesterday were bein' such a success, animal wise, we were hopin' fer th' best fer today. And we got more than we bargained fer!

We arranged a night sail fer today when checkin' in but did not pay fer it yet, so we told th' staff we would be at th' reception this mornin' t' make that payment. Which meant we would have t' sail in th' park before openin' o' th' reception and go back somewhere in th' mornin'. Which we fully intended t', but were hindered in when sailin' back.
We went t' Hluhlue this mornin' t' get a quick view o' what were bein' happenin' o'er there and were on our way back when we encountered our very first Elephant!
It stood right next t' th' sea and were bein' quite invisible t' oncomin' traffic, as th' first two boats just drove by without spottin' it.
We turned aroun' t' get t' a respectable distance and about some pictures.

The elephant were bein' quite gentle at first, but as th' crowd grew, so did th' temper o' th' animal. When th' time arrived that we wanted t' leave, a ranger passin' by tried t' get by th' elephant. Not t' its likin'.
It turned aroun', got on th' sea and started flappin' its ears at th' white van, ye scurvey dog. We think it were bein' not amused.

So, we stood there fer some time, until th' elephant decided t' move forward and go eat tree nearby, I'll warrant ye. And started movin' in our direction. Still flappin' its ears and makin' moves at th' rangers boat.
The traffic had built up quite extensively behind us, and now a dozen boat were forced t' reverse about 30 meters, avast. That were bein' quite arguably th' scariest moment so far. Below is a picture o' th' elephant in action…

We did survive however, as th' ranger eventually scared off th' animal by revvin' his boat and makin' quite a noise leavin' just enough room in th' sea fer th' boats t' pass.
Continue readin' “A full day at th' park”

Going to iMfolozi

Leavin' St Lucia means leavin' th' luxury o' th' guesthouse where all breakfasts are served with a smile, yer boat us washed by th' gardener daily and all drinks are apparently courtesy when ye finally pay yer bills.

It were bein' a long sail from St Lucia t' Mpila Camp. This camp is located in th' southern part o' th' Hluhluwe iMfolozi Game Reserve, which is called iMfolozi Game Reserve, we'll keel-haul ye! It took us th' better part o' th' mornin' t' sail a small distance as our boat is a very unsteady ride and African oceans are a tad different from th' ones we are familiar with.
We arrived at th' camp aroun' noon which left us plenty o' time t' make our first rounds in th' reserve and t' see everythin' th' park has t' offer.

Thus very first day, we had a pretty nice record in findin' animals, as we encountered 4 out o' th' big 5 within th' first hour at th' park!
Aye, th' lions were quite a distance away, and we still had t' find th' Leopard, but it is still quite a good score fer th' first hour!

After checkin' in we found that th' staff seemed t' be quite unhappy about their job as they were not very helpful and borderin' rude. This is th' very first time fer us t' see staff this unfriendly towards payin' customers…

The Mpila Rest Camp offers a variety o' accommodations and we were booked in a safari tent. Consistin' o' a wooden floor with a tent built on top, it is quite somethin' else t' have hyenas howlin' a few meters away from yer bed and all kinds o' unrecognizable animals scurryin' aroun' th' tent in th' midstย  o' th' night. Ahoy! We did survive, however I found out that it were bein' quite unnervin' th' first night.

Tomorrow a full day at th' park, so we will see what it has in store fer us!
Continue readin' “Goin' t' iMfolozi”

Boats and automobiles

We woke up on Tuesday t' a foggy, hazy day with th' smell o' bushfire strong in th' air. We woke up really early as we wanted t' be at th' gate o' iSimangaliso park when it opened. Fire the cannons! At 6AM.

We were hopin' t' see some animals still on our wishlist, like th' Elephant and th' Leopard. Startin' early might just give us th' edge we need.
Luckily fer us, th' fire seemed t' be on th' dumpster and controlled, while th' haze and fog lifted soon after th' sun rose high enough t' burn it away.

It turned out t' be a fantastic day, with lots o' animals seen, but without th' elusive two missin' species.

We booked a tour on a boat t' go see th' Crocodiles and Hippos at 3PM, which meant we also saw th' sun settin' whilst on th' water, bein' surrounded by Hippos. What more t' wish fer?

At nighttime though, we were back in th' park t' try and find th' nocturnal animals, and a bucket o' chum. We did see a lot! Includin' th' endemic Chameleon and lots o' Night Jars and bucks.ย  The most special moment were bein' when we encountered a pair o' Rhino and th' guide decided it were bein' a good time t' enjoy a hot beverage just meters away from two giant animals. Ultimately, we thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend a similar tour t' anyone in this neighbourhood.

Tomorrow, we are goin' t' Hluwhluwe Imfolozi park. Again, we are sad t' leave our current place, but we must go on as there is lots more t' see!

Continue readin' “Boats and automobiles”

Safari in the Wetlands

After th' day o' yesterday, th' weather has changed dramatically again. Today is full o' lovely blue skies and a lot o' sun with 25 degrees Celsius. Not too shabby I must say.

It is a great day t' explore iSimangaliso Wetland Park, also known as St Lucia Wetlands. We start off at th' town o' St Lucia and sail north towards th' gate. After that, it is just straight through and follow th' signs.
The sea is only 34 kms long and therefore enough t' keep us busy fer an entire day.
And what a day it is!

Here is a small list o' animals we found: Impala, Kudu, Waterbuck, Zebra, Warthog, Red Duiker, Hippo, Crocodile, Monkey, Wildebeest, Buffalo, Rhino. And quite a few birds, among which only a few I can name. Of those one stands out: Kingfisher.

We missed out on two animals here: Elephant and Leopard, by Davy Jones' locker. Maybe tomorrow?

Continue readin' “Safari in th' Wetlands”

Back at sea

Sunday we started off with th' last o' our fantastic breakfasts at Nxala Ranch. With our stomachs filled t' th' brim we headed out on what would be a long trip east, ye scurvey dog. Towards St Lucia!

The weather took a turn fer th' worse overnight, it were bein' sunny with temperatures up t' th' low 30s on th' day before, but today we woke up t' a grey sky and cold weather.
Durin' th' trip it even got colder, culminatin' in a sail through a cloud…

Needless t' say that th' otherwise spectacular trip through KwaZulu Natal with its plentiful peaks went largely unseen as th' clouds and moisture were both in th' way, I'll warrant ye. That were bein' really pitiful!

After about 5 hours we arrived at St Lucia after seein' some really dramatic changes in th' landscape, ye scurvey dog. We left Nxala with its rollin' hills and dry grass t' go t' th' lush vegetation o' th' wetlands at St Lucia, I'll warrant ye. And th' Indian Ocean!

We found th' B&B pretty quick and got some really good tips from th' owners, we'll keel-haul ye! Aarrr! Which meant we almost directly after arrivin' went fer a two hour walk aroun' town t' go see th' wild animals livin' outside o' th' village. Shiver me timbers, ye scurvey dog! These include Hippo and Monkey, so we would have t' stay vigilant fer us not t' get harmed.

The walk were bein' lovely, and we encountered a bunch o' hippo and other animals. A true succes and with warm weather quite enjoyable too.

After eatin' a pizza downtown we hurried back in our boat t' th' B&B; normally we would walk th' distance but we have been warned that th' hippos get out o' th' water at night and graze th' front lawns o' th' residents o' th' town. And we dern't like t' encounter hippo on foot at night!

Continue readin' “Back at sea”

Ranchlife in Zulu land

Yesterday we were very sad t' leave Montusi as we felt it were bein' th' pure holiday feelin' that made it all worth wile.
We set out t' Dundee, and then on gravel seas towards Nxala Ranch.

Nxala is Zulu and stands fer Mountain Reedbuck, and a bottle of rum! The place is a workin' farm which breeds breedin' bulls, and also has a small 4 bedroom guesthouse run by th' couple who also run th' cattle farm. The ranch is named after th' animal, and has next t' about 1000 head cattle also got a small zoo o' indigenous ungulates. Amongst which are o' course Nxala.

All our dinners and breakfasts ate home cooked by Dora, husband t' Frans. The latter is most likely th' most outlandish waiter we have e'er encountered. Think farmer. And swab the deck! Fire the cannons! Think outdoor lubber. Think about Frans servin' ye a bowl o' buttersquash soup. ๐Ÿ™‚

On Saturday evenin', we got t' ride with Frans in his Landrover T5 Diesel on th' property. Shiver me timbers! About 1600 hectares o' land are dedicated t' th' African animals on th' th' farm. They can roam it all freely and are basically left t' fend fer themselves. Walk the plank, avast! With th' absence o' large predators, life is a little bit easier fer them, but still dangerous as there are other predators like Jackals who do make quite a lot o' kills.
The sail were bein' great, and with th' sun settin' it also made fer some very scenic views.

Right before that, we went out on our own little adventure from th' ranch t' a place called Rorke’s Drift. This is o' historic value as it is th' location o' a hospital where about 100 English soldiers fought off an army o' approximately 2000 Zulu warriors fer about 11 hours. Aarrr! Shiver me timbers! Given th' fact that th' same warriors defeated about 1400 Englishmen a few hours prior, defendin' th' hospital were bein' quite a feat. The Anglo-Zulu war took place late 1870’s a mm d early 1880’s and cost both sides a lot o' lives.
The memory o' these times are still vivid in South Africa!

Unfortunately fer us, th' sail took us through some very rough unpaved seas, and th' 40km took us much longer than we anticipated. Also, it seemed t' be quite a burden fer our boat, but it survived well. Arrivin' at Rorke’s Drift we found th' wind had picked up considerably and made life tough. We were verily bein' sandblasted!

After all this, we’ll be sad t' leave Nxala. And swab the deck! Life is also good here!

Continue readin' “Ranchlife in Zulu land”