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Come with me and enjoy wildlife,landscapes and some cities of South Africa
Posted By: traveler57, 07-24-2017, 04:02 AM

What a beautiful and diverse country.
And it's really a truth, when another person says: "When you come to Africa and you get the virus in your body, you'll be back as soon as possible."
This is how it happened with us. Since 2013, we visit this beautiful country for the third time.
The first time we started our trip from Cape Town, drove along the coast from the Garden Route and spent 5 nights near the Kruger NP.
The whole trip was self-booked, - flights, hotel, B & B and the car for our self drive.

And believe me, there are so many places to discover things and nature, there that would suffice for so many journeys.
For us Europeans, it is always impressive to be able to experience this wide range of landscapes.

So again, my invitation to discover this country.
I will not always appear in chronological order.

But now, we are starting ,- January 2013


1. Amazing view: from the Table Mountain, down to Cape Town City




2. Another Place : on the way to the Cape of Good Hoop

Cape of Good Hope - Wikipedia

Look to Hout Bay, from the Chapman's Peak Drive

Chapman?s Peak Drive ? Wikipedia


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11-03-2017, 06:47 AM - 1 Like   #31
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After the days in and around Cape Town we continued along the garden route.
Our places of stay were Schwellendam, Knysa and Port Elizabeth.
As it was our first trip and so much new for us, we had enough time planned and visited from the places various sights that were on the track.

A few impressions on the way ....



Schwellendam:

our B&B: // Old houses in the small town.....




Tour to De Hoop NP:

Over many miles of gravel roads, it went down to the coast.
With a small ferry,powered only by muscles, we crossed a river and then arrived in the NP:



Beach side // giant milkwood tree




Bontebok Antelope // on the way Cape Agulhas ,-



Africas end - only water to the south and then the Antarctic....... emotional moments ! // on the way back , - after a long day......





Knysa:

Knysa Lagoon // the gate to the ocean....




Good morning // Dinner at the Knysna Waterfront





Birds of Eden, near Plettenberg :

a rare bird outside, but here you will be lucky... a Knysna Lori or Knysna Turaco more about the park : Birds of Eden Free Flight Sanctuary, Plettenberg Bay, South Africa




Tsitsitkamma NP: very nice place to stay , also over night. more : Tsitsikamma Accommodation






Port Elizabeth with the Addo Elephant Park:

Our last stop on the garden route was in Port Elizabeth.
Our starting point for visiting the Addo Park.

Known for its high elephant population, we were very excited , when we drove into the park early in the morning, after a rainy and windy night.

In short, we saw half an elephant standing behind a bush in about five hours. !!!
Luckily, there were other things to discover and late in the afternoon there was still a walk booked.

The impressions of it, at the next sequel.

but now the last pics for today..... enjoy it , and have a nice weekend .
bernd

the one and only..... and a grey backed jackal


11-03-2017, 07:18 AM - 2 Likes   #32
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I'm still enjoying the trip Tsitsikamma NP is definitely one of those places I'd love to return to.

We're going for a short-ish trip to Mpumalanga in January; first a safari in Kruger (driving and walking), then some hiking in the Blyde River Canyon area. Planned and booked just a couple of days ago.
11-04-2017, 12:51 AM - 2 Likes   #33
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Wonderful. Like it ,like it a lot! I have the same virus too.Here is my short video from my Botswana trip.Hope you don't mind


Last edited by eva; 11-04-2017 at 01:20 AM.
11-04-2017, 05:59 AM - 1 Like   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by eva Quote
I have the same virus too.Here is my short video from my Botswana trip
Nice video - the ele calf rolling in the mud was hilarious

Looks a lot like the trip we went on many years ago, same sort of vehicle, same kind of tents. Wonderful trip!

11-07-2017, 05:09 AM   #35
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at Daniell Cheetha Project - Noth of Port Elizabeth -

The last highlight was a cheetah walk in the late afternoon. We had to look for something and were not on the right track ... but over time we arrived at the starting point.

Daniell Cheetah ProjectDaniell Cheetah Project - Visit Cheetahs, Lions & Leopards in South Africa

So we stood, - a total of 7 people and waited when a pickup appeared.
In the back of the truck, the owner of the livestock station was standing with two cheetahs leashed like a dog.

"Come on," he said, and we all looked at each other ...
Well, then I'm the first one who climbed - "Do not kick your tail, they do not like it ......"



Since nothing happened to me, the others followed. We drove about 100 m along the road and turned into a gravel road, where we stopped a short time later and jumped off again.

In addition to many very useful explanations to the animals, we alternated alternately with the siblings while walking and were allowed to take pictures.
Everything was allowed, including photos at eye level and in front of the animals.

After a short while you relaxed and it was an unforgettable moment with the animals.
By the way, the fur of the animals is very hard and rough. Not cuddly.

The tongue also has tips, such as a rasp, "so that the meat can be pulled from the bone".




After more than an hour we drove back and finished an informative and impressive trip.




The return trip to the B & B went smoothly, although we had to drive through some township areas. From our landlady, we got behavioral advice, which we also followed.

That was the last stage on the Garden Route.
The next morning we went by plane to Johannesburg and from there with the rental car to a small Gamelodge in Greater Kruger.
11-09-2017, 12:20 PM - 1 Like   #36
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Great to see all your stunning photos, and glad you have had wonderful experiences travelling around South Africa. Cape Town to Addo along the Garden Route has to be one of the best self drive tourist routes in the world.

All in, South Africa is a tourist paradise with so much to offer (not that I should in any way be biased), and self drive and self planning is very do-able provided one is sensible. Hope we see you again in South Africa soon. Alternatively, if you have not already visited Namibia, or closest neighbour, they to are a magnificent tourist destination, offering surreal wonderful desert experiences of "vast open spaces" proportions.
11-09-2017, 03:37 PM   #37
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Hello Kevin,
Thank you for your answer and yes, we will be back in South Africa next year.
Cape Town (Hout Bay), continues on a small winery north of Wellington.
Then to Oudtshoorn, Karoo NP, Cambedoo NP, Mountain Zebra NP, on a citrus farm near the Addo Elephant Park and finally a few more days in Plettenberg.

A trip to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier and Nambia is as good as finished in the drawer.
This was actually intended for 2018. However, in favor of the trip described above, has been discarded, since the temperatures for the whole trip would have been too high, during the months Jan. and Feb.

This year we were also in SA, - I will write later about this days and weeks.
Then our experiences from the regions around the Marakele NP, the Mapungubwe NP, the Kruger NP from the north to the south, St. Lucia are a bit described by the impressions around Somerset West.

On our last three trips we were in SA, we feel well and well during our rides. Everything was self booked and all routes we drove with a rental car.
Safety and behavioral notices were given mainly in and for major cities such as Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth.
As everywhere on our planet, one should exercise the normal caution. sometimes a little bit more .....

Bernd

Last edited by traveler57; 11-10-2017 at 05:55 AM.
11-10-2017, 08:34 AM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by KevinR Quote
Cape Town to Addo along the Garden Route has to be one of the best self drive tourist routes in the world.
It definitely is! The main problem is that there is way too much to see and do. Just a few weeks is far from enough time. So you have to go back again. And again.

QuoteOriginally posted by KevinR Quote
All in, South Africa is a tourist paradise with so much to offer (not that I should in any way be biased)
Yep, one of the top destinations in the world, without a doubt. And living half a world away I shouldn't be biased

QuoteOriginally posted by traveler57 Quote
A trip to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier and Nambia is as good as finished in the drawer.
That will be a trip to remember! Visited Kgalagadi a couple of years ago and want to go back. Very well suited for self driving. As is Namibia, of course. Still much to see there after three visits.

Not that there's anything wrong with next year's trip - that sounds great, too

QuoteOriginally posted by traveler57 Quote
Everything was self booked and all routes we drove with a rental car.
Another great thing with Southern Africa - it's easy to organise things yourself.

11-11-2017, 02:54 AM - 1 Like   #39
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After a short flight to Johannesburg and the takeover of the new rental car, we went directly to the Greater Kruger, more specifically to the Balule West region, just north of Hoedspruit.
At the westernmost part of the Krugerpark open and adjacent area, we pass through a guarded gate and were told the way to our accommodation.
The roads were a bit rough and so I focused fully on the track, so that the little VW POLO got no damage to the subsoil.
So the trip took a little longer and in the accommodation, the reception was a bit restless, since we did not show up.
Shortly before a "search vehicle" should be sent, we reached the small lodge.
So we arrived now on Masodini.

The stay there at the end of our trip was then the "coronation" of a total of such exciting, informative and yet relaxed journey.

In addition to a day trip to the Drakensberg, a visit to the Kruger NP were still three gamedrives, we wanted to do here in Balule West.

But one after anonther.
The late afternoon we spent at our house and in the beautiful garden, overlooking the waterhole.
In the evening there was a great food at the campfire, the tables nicely set and the food was excellent.
Nice conversations and then we heard a lion roar not far away.
A staff member of the lodge went out into the night and was back shortly thereafter.
A car was made clear and we all drove into the darkness.
Then we found the couple lions, they were lying in the sand.

The bush night was accompanied every now and then by the lion's roar.
Pure African feeling! - kitschy or authentic, the stay could not have started better.

After the morning with a few shopping in the city, the afternoon started on our very first gamedrive.
Our guide was Bert, the lender of the lodge and owner of much of Balule West and around 70 years old.
Full fit and with his full body a guide for the nature outside !
So we were very lucky, to drove with him the three gamdives in the next days.




Here on the first excursion it finally happened to us, - we finally stuck to the African bug.
The first near elephant, the first groups of impalas, zebras, birds, ......
All so close in the open Jeep, - the smell of the air, - all overwhelming.

Now it goes with him .....

No, no, - but what we got to see on the drives was already an extra - great!
As our companion pair said, "What you / us have experienced here on the three trips with Bert is not normal, and you have been" messed up "forever in terms of gamedrives, accepting it as a great gift.

That all this was even more intense for us, especially as rookies, some of you may well understand.

But no more, - the same evening we discovered three lionesses with their 3 cubs. Not far away a big herd of buffaloes.
Later in the dark, we accompanied the lionesses in the hunt and now drove cross-country until we unfortunately lost them ...




On the way back to the lodge the "king of the animals" came to meet us on the street. So we turned around again and tried to approach the lion.
We did not succeed. So we stopped and returned to the food rather late, much to the chagrin of our cook.
That we had a lot to talk, - everyone understands - or


Special moments, after 45 minutes with no show of other animals, we got this for our eyes ,- 15 Minutes alone for us and about 5 to 15 meters away from the car










One day we left early to drive to the Kruger NP. A self-drive day was planned.
That was a new experience and after a few minutes in the park the first problem appeared on the street.
An elephant bull took up the entire road for himself and showed us clearly that he was not happy about our presence of some cars.
So was called "reset" and that for about 10 - 12 minutes rolling backwards, until the animal finally released the road.





Animals we saw abundantly distributed throughout the day, elephant groups, giraffes, zebras, buffalos, hippos, wildebeest, many birds, insects, monkeys, but unfortunately no cats.






It had been a busy day and we came back late and our longtime tried "roommates" at the lodge were seriously worried about us.
The greater was the joy, when we were finally back, - safely.
It was still a little longer evening by the fire with intense talks and some wine ....
Meanwhile, we are now friends with them now for 4 years and meet us once a year.



A trip is still missing from the trip in 2013. The day trip to the Drakensberg, the Blyde River and other points of view.

Not on perfect day , a little bit rain , cloudy and on one place thick fog....

Blyde River Canyon





Blyde River Canyon

The return to Johannesburg airport did not go so smoothly.
With a lot !!! Good luck, we survived a traffic situation right after the city Hoedspriut, when a large vehicle overtook a truck, which came towards us without having a clear view and we suddenly came over a hill and saw these two vehicles coming towards us.
I was about to dodge the edge, but the overtaking car made the same evasive movement, so I remained present in the middle of the street and already we shot through the other two cars.
Everything at full speed.
We all had a great deal of luck and except shaking knees, a very high adrenaline level here and a huge cloud of dust behind us, nothing happened to anyone.

But I'll never need that again !!!

The rest of the return trip was calm and normal.
Well aware that this should not have been our last visit to South Africa and we definitely want to spend much more time in the eastern part of the country.

This closes the circle to the beginning of the report here, where I have already anticipated some places, such as the Golden Highland NP, the Tembe Elephant Park , Kruger NP and Masodini the 2th visit....

After a break , maybe more , if you like from this year ( 2017).

Last edited by traveler57; 12-21-2017 at 05:50 AM. Reason: Not Blue River Canyon.- it's the Blyde River Canyon
11-12-2017, 04:41 AM - 1 Like   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by traveler57 Quote
Hello Kevin,
Thank you for your answer and yes, we will be back in South Africa next year.
Cape Town (Hout Bay), continues on a small winery north of Wellington.
Then to Oudtshoorn, Karoo NP, Cambedoo NP, Mountain Zebra NP, on a citrus farm near the Addo Elephant Park and finally a few more days in Plettenberg.

A trip to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier and Nambia is as good as finished in the drawer.
This was actually intended for 2018. However, in favor of the trip described above, has been discarded, since the temperatures for the whole trip would have been too high, during the months Jan. and Feb.

This year we were also in SA, - I will write later about this days and weeks.
Then our experiences from the regions around the Marakele NP, the Mapungubwe NP, the Kruger NP from the north to the south, St. Lucia are a bit described by the impressions around Somerset West.

On our last three trips we were in SA, we feel well and well during our rides. Everything was self booked and all routes we drove with a rental car.
Safety and behavioral notices were given mainly in and for major cities such as Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth.
As everywhere on our planet, one should exercise the normal caution. sometimes a little bit more .....

Bernd
Sounds very interesting routing. Kgalagadi NP is extremely hot in Jan/Feb. I hope to go there perhaps in winter (July) 2018.

For info, my Avitar is from a 4x4 trip up the mountain on a farm on the opposite side of the mountain from the Mountain Zebra NP. That area has a “big open skies” beauty. Enjoy.!

---------- Post added 11-12-17 at 01:46 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by traveler57 Quote
.....

The return to Johannesburg airport did not go so smoothly.
With a lot !!! Good luck, we survived a traffic situation right after the city Hoedspriut, when a large vehicle overtook a truck, which came towards us without having a clear view and we suddenly came over a hill and saw these two vehicles coming towards us.
I was about to dodge the edge, but the overtaking car made the same evasive movement, so I remained present in the middle of the street and already we shot through the other two cars.
Everything at full speed.
We all had a great deal of luck and except shaking knees, a very high adrenaline level here and a huge cloud of dust behind us, nothing happened to anyone.

But I'll never need that again !!!

The rest of the return trip was calm and normal.
....
OMG. Idiots on the road..! Very frustrating, and that is one of the safety issues in SA. You have to not only look out for your self, but also other idiots on the road.

Very glad you are ok.

Stunning pictures of the Leopard. Must have been a highlight.

Last edited by KevinR; 11-12-2017 at 04:53 AM.
11-20-2017, 05:48 AM   #41
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Tour 2017 .........

Tour 2017 - a South Africa trip in many facets

---------------------
After reviewing the years 2013 and 2015, we will continue with the experiences from this year.
Here I take over my already written and published travelogue, from a South Africa forum.

So if you still feel like telling stories, experiences and pictures from this beautiful country, you may want to step in and take a seat.

So let's start, albeit with a few critical remarks, about the behavior of rental car companies towards customers and contractors, and that's not just a problem in South

----------------------

Johannesburg- Thabazimbi (Marakele NP 3N, Mapungubwe NP 3N) -Kruger (Shingwedzi 3N, Mopani 2N, Satara 2N, Berg-en Dal 3N) -

Saint Lucia 4 N - Flight from Durban to Cape Town - Somerset West 6 N.


"Opaque" in many places, very green and yet again very different than in previous years.
We are back and once again deeply impressed by this country.
The landscape diversity, the lovable people and the nature experiences, which we were allowed to experience in different situations.






In addition to all the euphoria, there are also some critical comments on our trip and I want to start with that.

"The bad" anticipated.
The car rental companies are now getting so annoying that I really wonder if they will have to put up with it in the future.
Even though I know that I only book one category - which is already very clever by the providers, I expect at least a corresponding consideration and attention towards the customer.
That the intended Fortuner in Johannesburg was not available, was packed very nicely with the words, -
"I have two keys here, let's go out there and you'll take a look ......" - SUV bye, bye I thought.
So we went into the garage and looked .... and before it goes off your side maybe right away, - "What does he want"!

It is about contracts to be closed and a service to be provided, which has been booked in advance and paid.
But further, - there was the alternative, - a Nissan Navara Double Cab 4x4 automatic (automatic we had booked) and a Combi .... only which?
The second car was then not a Combi, but a VW bus, I had a few years here in D itself, but for the tour in the next 21 days, for two rather unsuitable.
So it stayed with the Nissan.
So some will think, is still Top, Upgrade and 4x4.
But as it quickly became apparent, the ride comfort was rather hard and uncomfortable, as an SUV (drive a Land Cruiser itself).
Added to this was the driver's seat, in the seat height was hard to adjust, which for my wife, who was supposed to drive some routes, did not allow good visibility and seating position.
That the gap dimensions at the rear doors amounted to a good 1 to 2 cm and the dust penetrated abundantly, was mentioned only marginally.
To properly close the shared tailgates did not go because broken on one side of the locking pin.
The four-wheel drive we did not need on the trip.
In the Mapungubwe NP, although there were two routes in the eastern part, we drove on an afternoon drive with a safari car.
Afterwards it was clear, the muddy places, where even the experienced Ranger did hard, I dared, alone as the only vehicle / driver not to.
After 21 days we had become friends.
But it was fine when we dumped the car in Durban.

But the story continues, - Cape Town Airport - other landlord and compact class booked
Say, a VW VIVO.
Arrived in the office, some employees of the company very busy - without customers .....
Whether there was a shift change (4 pm) or which strategy was behind it?
In any case, it took some time before someone occupied the deserted counters again, quietly set up his workplace, oriented himself in the room, and then forfeited a small talk with his neighbor.
Oh yes, there was something ..... customers ...., finally we were allowed to step forward.
The voucher handed over and filled in some pages, the lady disappeared and disappeared for about 10 minutes.
At last, oh wonder, she reappeared, took the filled bows and looked straight ahead.
I then asked her what was left and if we could finally get the keys.
Short answer: there is no car, -
As ? Not there - she had a brown bag in front of her all the time and I knew that the car keys were in there.
I still asked her - how she would imagine that we would wait here for an hour or two ...?
No answer.
My wife's collar was bursting behind me, because it was not the first time we had such a lousy service at this car rental company. (We had not booked with those, but they were the subcontractor of
another car rental, which turned out after the booking).
To make it short - She had a key from a Polo, that was an automatic car - but we had not booked it and it seemed like she and her supervisor, whom she had contacted again, did not want to move out.
After it became a little louder, it was suddenly very fast, - You like this car? - Shure - no problem! and ....., the keys were pressed into my hand, muted still the pitch number told us and we were allowed to go.
The car was good, the service before, again underground. :
As it turned out in some talks in the next few days, there was hardly anyone who did not complain about the car rental companies, especially in Cape Town.
According to our landlords of the B & B, the region was so full of tourists, the far too few rental cars were available, some were probably twice rented, or there was an overlap in the bookings.

As long as this system, the vague hints for a certain rental car / class continue to be accepted without complaint, the paying customer will continue to be "fair game" the landlord.





This should now be enough with the scolding and we now devote ourselves to the great days and weeks in South Africa.



The journey took place as the years before, again with Turkish Airline, HAM - IST - JNB - later then CPT - IST - HAM The flights were pleasant, punctual and quiet.
Johannesburg we reached on a Friday at 10.45 am.
Peak time at the arrivals and thus plenty of time to enter. The suitcases and brought to the car rental .
Now that everything was done, it could finally start.
Our first destination was a B & B at Thabazimbi (Marula Cottage Guest Lodge), near the gate of Marakele NP.
We had consciously decided against the camp in the park and so we were also completely satisfied.







# towards the destination





# the slightly different approach, - but everything possible. If you are looking for something special, this is the right place - in every respect




Marula Cottage - marula-cottages Webseite!

I had discovered the B & B very early in the planning phase and we liked it so much that we booked it then - off the beaten track, on a hillside, in person, with the possibility to eat there in the evening.
The food prepared by Monika and also Dave was just amazing!




Arrive, relax a little and let yourself go. When booking we had agreed for the next day a full day tour with Dave in advance.


More ....., then in the next section
11-21-2017, 05:30 AM - 1 Like   #42
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Marakele NP - Waterberg Mountains - South Africa

Which turned out to be an absolute direct hit.
Dave fully trained ranger / field guide, drove us into the park after breakfast and showed us so many new things about flora and fauna.
It was exciting and never boring in the hours with him in the car.



# not only in the parks is there something to see, - watch out, wherever you go ......

The black-and-white images above also belong to the Marakele NP.

still in the rain ...... Klipspringer











Landscapes .....





The weather was typical in the region for the season, - after three years mixed up, which has also affected this region badly.
Clouds, rain, thunderstorms and sunny sections alternated during the day.
We were lucky, the late morning until about 2.30 the weather was good.
Lunch on the highest peak and seen for the first time "Russelspringer". //
Eastern rock elephant shrew


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elephant_shrew



This came as a surprise - we were engrossed in a conversation as I stepped behind Dave between the rocks ,saw a movement, about 7-9 m away.
First I was not clear what was going on around here.
When I finally got a free, closer look, I saw the animal, which looks so unusual.
Unfortunately it was just near us and then disappeared again.
The park itself is rather small, but well suited for 2 days to visit.

There is a predator free part down in the valley, through a gate one drives into the "more dangerous part" of the park, where also the tented camp is, which one can book over Sanpark.
What particularly impressed us besides the animals was the landscapes with their rock formations and the high valley.





there were also big and small birds top: Steppe Buzzard down : Malachid Sunbird , - Malachite sunbird - Wikipedia





A good introduction to the round trip. -- could not have been better.
11-22-2017, 06:13 AM   #43
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In the context something to the photo equipment:
As the years before, my two Pentax (K7, K3 with 18-135mm. 150-500mm and a Fisheye 10 - 17mm) a kl. HD - Digital Camera (Panasonic)
and new, - a dashcam by Rollei CarDVR -310, small and made responsive HD shots, during the rides.

From a technical point of view, I found this trip a bit worse than with the trip from 2015 (Wildlife Tour 2015).
On many occasions and sightings, the position did not suit the animals and other photogenic things.
Also, the lighting conditions were often suboptimal.
Very much backlit, very often shrubs, trees or grasses in front, the sky was covered or the animals were in the distance.

On the other hand, we have never encountered so many different species than in these weeks.
Without the small birds, butterflies and insects, beetles, we came in about 100 species.
Which in turn was very positive.

There's a lot of material coming together and the video material does a lot more work sifting and cutting that.
I will try to incorporate that.
Otherwise it remains with the illustrated form.
11-23-2017, 07:44 AM   #44
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Around the Marakele NP there are many areas that are used for breeding wild animals.
So a part of the entrance to the lodge was an area where special impalas were bred.
There, a pitch black Impalabock, the ruler of a large herd.
The black offspring achieved very high prices in the first time.
However, it is now being successfully tried at various points to breed this color.
The prices have fallen accordingly.
Whether that makes sense or is more nonsense, these breeding results?
But it can / let's just earn a lot of money with the animals.
Whether viable in the "wild"?
We caught a glimpse of the black Impalabock for a moment.






Images not so good quality - and to recognize such a black animal between the trees, not so easy .....

On the second day, it was time to organize the care for the next few days.
For at least 3 days we needed food and liquids and some hardware for the Mabungubwe NP, where we had to take care of ourselves.
From a cool box, charcoal, meat, bread ect.
We bought a lot right up to the 5 liter water gallons.
At noon we decided to go to the NP again, unfortunately it quickly closed and it started to rain.






The clouds became darker and darker, thunder-rumble rolled along the mountains, so we drove back to the shelter.
There it was raining heavily and the driveway was already well underwater.
Arrived at the mountain came to meet us a small wave of 6 cm, looked pretty cute.
In the evening, it continued to pour the night through with thunderstorms.
Also in the morning it was not much better, some rain,- then more violent.



After a hearty farewell and the wet inviting of the suitcases, we drove off and should test the way,
whether it was feasible for the other two couples with their car.
It was not a problem, not even for a Ford Fiesta, that should go.

11-29-2017, 07:45 AM   #45
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Thabazimbi - Leokwe Camp ( Mapungubwe NP )

...........

Shortly stopped in Thabazimbi to get the wine , that was not available in the supermarket on Sunday.
And then we started to the Mapungubwe National Park in the north of South Africa,
on the border with Zimbabwe and Botswana.

We made our first departure, not knowing what was going to happen that day.





Thabazimbi - Mapungubwe NP





# The gray track below (420km), should be even worse, or is a gravel road?


Route: Thabazimbi - R510 to Lephalade further north - On the R 572 to Swartwater still a really good road.
What then suddenly changed behind it.
At the height of the airfield? - began the martyrdom of car and inmates.
We had already been warned, I had already inquired here in the South Africa forum.
Our landlords said that it is a bit more violent broken down to about 25 km, but with patience and quiet driving (30 to max 40 km / h) no problem.
We should not miss this part of the country
As I said to Swartwater everything was great.
What we got but then under the wheels, my god!
Potholes routes, we already knew, so nothing new, but what now on the next 45 km as a road, in addition to the name R .... mocked mocks any imagination.
I've never ridden anything so bad in my life - as it had been raining there again and again, it was aggravating that you could not assess the potholes in their depths.
Sometimes a little faster, then again only at walking pace, slalom driving from the very right. to the very left - often driving alongside the actual road in the shoulder,
we struggled km for miles ahead.



# The pictures show the rather harmless places ...........

Not that there was nothing going on, the local drivers thundered past us at some speed, leaving me only amazed.
Others are just as criss-cross as I am.
A big truck with excess length fought its way past us in the other direction.
Did not that end? Nothing with 25 km ..... the view of the speedometer already showed so much more km.
It was probably time that it would catch me.
Coming back from a side strip to the good road surface now lying ahead of us for a while, it clinked noticeably at the rear of the car.
- "Is what?" - asked my wife. "Do not know exactly that sounds weird" and drove slowly back to.
Again the noise. Stop!
Out of the car and seen to the rear, all right, then around to the left.
Great ! a plate, - great.
Spare tire there under the car! , Logbook wanted, as I come to the safety chain and where the jack was hidden.
Still looking for a car appeared at some distance, which came quickly closer.
Not long considered and waved me on the street.
The car came closer and slightly reduced the speed, now already close, still quite fast, I hinted to drive slowly.
The side window went down and I spoke to the driver, which I had a breakdown, or flat foot and I would not know the vehicle.
I could use some help.
The two South Africans looked at each other, drove behind our car.
Exited and one said that he knows the guy and we should take our luggage from the back seats.
Behind it the car jack was hidden, which I had found shortly before in the log book.
Before I knew it, one was under the car, the other stuck something together and lowered the spare tire.
Know where and how!
As fast as it went, the jack was positioned high, wheel nuts released down, screwed on, wheel nuts and tightened the nuts with the wrench from her car,
not 15 minutes with a small talk in between and the wheel was changed.
They also told us right away where we could have the tire repaired and that had caught us in the last 1000m.
The tips categorically refused them, they would be glad, that we would visit their country and sometimes drive in areas that would not be so on the tourist routes.
And what they would especially appreciate, is that we stopped them and asked for help.
That would not always be so, - they would have wanted to help other people (tourists), who had also remained lying,
where their request would have brusquely refused.
There are enough friendly helpful people here, so they told us.
There was no need to be afraid of being robbed, and I had not thought of it when I stopped it.
If it should have caught us, it could have happened without my request.

The world is not always so evil - you mostly only read about the bad events that they are for the headlines.
The many good and helpful people, find it almost never a mention.
After a short very nice farewell we continued, the last few meters of this unspeakable bad part of the route and then after about 10 km to the next village after Alldays.
Right in the village on the left, a gas station and garage.
The repaired the ruptured tires (f.75 Rand !!), but also said that I should not drive longer and faster.
So the spare tire remained on the vehicle.
The whole action had cost us well 1.5 hours, good that we had left early from Thabazimbi.
It was still on the R521 and back on the R572 .- 30 - 40 km to the gate.
There we arrived at 16.00, - registered, got our house key and we went off , 15 km in the park to the Leokwe Camp.
A campsite without a fence, situated in a beautiful landscape.
All the things were cleared out of the car, the grill stolen and later enjoyed the food.
It was enough for this day!
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