Thursday, 24 December 2015

December bush trip - days 1 and 2

Bush day 1

I am shattered!! Yesterday was a long day of running around that started early. The one awesome part of the day was meeting the owner of Cosmic Pets when I got my 2XL (yes, Hayley is that tall and KD is that cute that they need the space of a huge crate). I also got to spend some quality time with my 2 best friends. Our morning walk was an awesome one where they ended up forcing me to run - I discovered I can run and drink a hot chai tea!!

Dogs bonding in their new crate.

We didn't sleep well last night as I was hot and restless. At 12 I got up and tried to sleep on the couch but KD would have none of it. He made me so uncomfortable that I had to go back to bed. By this time I had both dogs in my bed. I got an hour or so and at 2am I was up having coffee, showering and packing. At 2:40 I sorted the dogs out with treats and their breakfast and water and by 2:50 I was out the door and on my way to the farm!!

The road out of Jozi seemed longer than normal. That half hour took forever!!!! And the roads were relatively busy. The next hour and a half was filled with trucks so was busy but I settled into finding a radio station, found a comfortable speed and enjoyed the quiet darkness.

I hit Belfast as it got light so pulled in at the garage for a loo break and also to get a red bull for later.

The next part of the road was not too bad. A few trucks but I was able to maintain a happy speed. Belfast, Dullstroom and Lydenburg were still very much asleep when I drove them!!! The road from Lydenburg to the Pilgrims Rest turn off was scary!! I was able to maintain a good speed but the potholes were bad. There after it was ok and I went over the Abel Erasmus and Strydom Passes with few sightings of other cars. The road to Hoedspruit was uneventful and I used it as a chance for a loo break and to get more coffee. I had made it from home in just under 5 hours which is good going.

A bit of slow driving on the Lydenburg road...

The next part felt really long!! After having cruised at 120 I now had to take it easy on the dust road. I saw the usual lions in the camp, lots of kudu, a few Impala and and elephant on my way in. My car was finally on the farm! When we got it, Dad wanted me to have a car that could comfortably bring me here and 3 or 4 years after buying it, it was finally doing its first farm trip.

I got to the camp and Meagan was there after her surprise at how early I was,  and quickly sorted where my car must go and for someone to take me to the house, so Lukas and I quickly sorted moving my stuff into the bakkie and he took me to the house and quickly unlocked it before leaving me to settle in. 

Got to the house around 9:30 which meant for what would turn out to be a long wait!! I sat around, fiddled with my camera, tried to read, walked around a bit and eventually they arrived. Mom was beyond surprised to see me! Admittedly I was quite surprised to see the look of shock on her face so I rushed up to the car when I could see she was struggling to open the door. She kept asking me what I was doing here!!

Was a worth-it adventure complete!! Thank you to everyone involved in the planning and organizing etc of this!

The rest of the hot afternoon was spent unpacking, sorting and relaxing. The evening was magical. 2 lions started roaring across the river from us and we were able to see the one big male. They roared their hearts out until long after we went to sleepy. I went off to dreamland knowing I would have to post this in the morning...

Day 2....

This morning I woke up earl as normal and did my usual quiet routine of making coffee and washing dishes. The others eventually emerged and mom made a yummy fruit salad with toast for breakfast before heading out. 

The drive was fairly uneventful with a lots of general game. And a few nice sized warthogs with a baby. Part of the reason for the drive was to meet my cousin, his wife and kids and fetch them. We quite timeously came across them on the railway road so the kids and Bianca jumped onto the landie with us. After transferring their luggage we headed home to unpack their stuff have lunch and relax before our evenings drive.

The evening drive was eventful. As we headed towards Pels Loop we heard of some elephant that were on the road but from what we understood, it was further away so we headed down to that road. We had not even gone down the slope to the river (fortunately) when we saw a young elephant heading up the road towards us so we turned around and headed out for a different route than planned. Sunset drinks were enjoyed at a view point looking over a dam where we saw elephant, Impala, wildebeest and zebra. It was really stunning. Then we heard the call! Lions near Kudu drive. So, we grabbed everything and jumped on the landie and headed to watch the lion. 

They were happily walking in the road and 2 vehicles kindly let us drive in front for a bit. After a while the lions veered off to the left and I said to everyone that I needed someone to shine towards our right as I had seem something big cross the road. We drove a bit on and a vehicle drove past us and then decided to turn around. Well, there 2 ladies got the surprise of their life because they turned right into the elephant!! The elephant started heading towards them and mom said I must pass these ladies but they said I must stop. I stopped and they got safely away from the large but not huge elephant. We drove in a bit following the lions and a vehicle behind us got charged by the elephant. This had them fairly close to behind us when I heard their landie' engine change tune and my uncle and cousin shout to me to drive. The elephant was charging the vehicle behind us again and the vehicle didn't shout or anything to get us to move but we moved!! My family said after that the elephant was really close to the other vehicle when it charged again. I think the elephant was not really a grumpy lumpy but rather It was just not happy that the lions were around. The vehicles were just an added irritation.

We then decided to head home the long way around to avoid the elephant but my gut feeling was telling me we were heading towards another elephant but I kept silent with this thought. Guess what... I was right!! As I was about to take a corner, here was a mommy and her tiny baby. I quickly reversed a bit. We could hear the other elephant near us and mom told me to drive past the elephant and her baby. I was happy to wait for her to move off rather as she was right on the edge of the road and honestly, I am a bit nervous of elephant at night. So, I asked if anyone else was prepared to take over the driving and my cousin happily did so. We sat and watched for a while and we watched as one elephant on our right was aware of us but not phased. Then it came around the tree if was eating and it suddenly didn't like us being there!! My cousin reacted swiftly and drove on towards the mother elephant and her baby. In reality, not an ideal situation but we had no choice as we had an elephant coming at us from the side but more by our back so we had to move. He approached the mom, revved the engine a bit and she hightailed it! Baby also reacted and nearly hit the tree it was standing by. The kids on the vehicle were all screaming and the adults all a tad nervous. But, we past the elephant mom with a meter or 2 between us and the elephant at the back at some time after we moved past the mom and baby gave up chase.

We got home safely and enjoyed a relaxing end to the day... 

Today is Day 3 that I am finally posting this so guess I better post some of this info before the rest of the family wakes up and we start our next adventure filled day! Hopefully today I will take more pictures so you don't just have reading in the next few days...

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