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Bye Bye Bush

After a windy and damp night (outside not inside) we woke a little earlier packed the car up, checked out and headed into the park. it was a very overcast morning and was threatening to rain again. It wasn’t long after we entered the park that the rain started making it difficult to spot as i think the animals were hiding.

We made our way into the park and once the rain stopped we started to spot some animals. we didn’t see any cats even though it seemed like we looked under every tree, rock and down every creek humanly possible.

Our spotting for the morning included:

Elephant
Elephant
Wilderbeest
Wildebeest
Ostrich
Ostrich
Ostrich
Ostrich
Fields of Zebra's
Fields of Zebra’s
Frisky Zebra's
Frisky Zebra’s
Hoggies
Hoggies
Guinea Foul
Guinea Foul
Hippo's
Hippo’s

As we were headed back to the city, we left the park about midday and said bye bye to the parks and bush – for this trip. I love being in the bush here and i hate leaving it almost as much as i am going to hate getting on that plane on Saturday ūüôĀ

We had decided to stop off in Hartbeespoort for a bite to eat and to check out the wares at the rather decent sized tourist trap trinket flea market. I shouldn’t bag it out too much, each trip we have headed there and picked up some nice stuff. We ended up buying a few items that we hadn’t gone in looking for but picked up some really nice pictures that we were looking for so i guess it all balances out.

We arrived home later in the afternoon to three very excitable little puppies who have been home ‘alone’ since Monday when we all left – Monica (house help) has been looking after them for Charmaine and Lance.

Copyrighted. All images and rights are reserved by Emma White ~ Photography. You are welcome to post via a direct link. Please do not crop, copy, reproduce or distribute in anyway without permission. If you would like to use any of my pictures ‚Äď for personal, blogging or commercial usage ‚Äď please contact me so that we can discuss what¬† options may best suit your needs. If you have any other questions, please drop me an email here
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Pilanesberg

After a pretty good nights sleep and managing to weave our way safely through the animals last nigbt – the campground is a night time haven for impala and everywhere you turn and walk they are there ready to scare the bejesus out of you when they decide to move or you nearly walk over them – it was time to go hunting, well with a camera anyway.

Pilanesberg has an area of 572 square kilometres (221 sq mi) and has approximately 188 kilometres of road, so there was plenty left to explore.

The creation of the Pilanesberg National Park is considered one of the most ambitious programmes of its kind to be undertaken anywhere in the world. Thanks to Operation Genesis in 1979, which involved the game-fencing of the park and the re-introduction of many long-vanished species, the park now has in excess of 7,000 animals including 24 of the larger species, including the Big 5.

The park exists within the transition zone between the dry Kalahari and wetter Lowveld vegetation, commonly referred to as “Bushveld”. Unlike any other large park, unique overlaps of mammals, birds and vegetation occur because of this transition zone.

We had a slightly better viewing day today as we got to see lions.

Lion
Lion

We sat and watched them for probably an hour in the morning and then came back later in the afternoon to discover that they had made a kill during the day sometime. You could just make out the remains of the zebra lyrics by near one of them.

Can you see the Zebra ?
Can you see the Zebra ?
Hunting in the summer is hard work one must stretch often
Hunting in the summer is hard work one must stretch often
_DSC9991
Can you spot all four ?

February is not an ideal time to be in the parks, aside from the heat of summer the grass is thick and long thanks to the summer rains which makes spotting and shooting very difficult.

Typical spotting environment
Typical spotting environment

As you can see whilst we saw lion it wasn’t very ideal however is very typical of summer spotting and sometimes spotting in general. Having them lay about river banks and make kills right in front of you is not the ‘norm¬† although we all wish it was.

Some of the other game we spotted …

Elephants playing
Elephants playing
Wildebeest staring
Wildebeest staring
Zebra's crossing
Zebra’s crossing
Elephants meandering
Elephants meandering
Impala posing
Impala posing
and by the look of that cut on his front leg, a zebra counting his blessings !
and by the look of that cut on his front leg, a zebra counting his blessings !

The Pilanesberg really is a beautiful place to be.

The park as the sun begins to set
The park as the sun begins to set

 

Copyrighted. All images and rights are reserved by Emma White ~ Photography. You are welcome to post via a direct link. Please do not crop, copy, reproduce or distribute in anyway without permission. If you would like to use any of my pictures ‚Äď for personal, blogging or commercial usage ‚Äď please contact me so that we can discuss what¬† options may best suit your needs. If you have any other questions, please drop me an email here
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Off Bush

We started the day off with breakfast with the newly weds as they were off on their honeymoon and we won’t see them before we fly out ūüôĀ

We’ve had such a wonderful time with them it was quite sad to be saying goodbye again, because as they say there is no good in bye.

So with a yummy breaky in our tummy and goodbyes done we hit the road again bound for the bush again – this time Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve about 2 hours out of Jozi.

We got here about lunchtime did some quick food shopping and checked into our glamper for the next few days

image

Once we had checked in it was time to head into the park.

The Pilanesberg Game Reserve is located in North West Province in South Africa, west of Pretoria which is to the North-ish of Jozi

The area is fringed by three concentric ridges or rings of hills, of which the formation rises from the surrounding plains. Pilanesberg is named after a Tswana chief, Pilane.

The ‘Pilanesberg Alkaline Ring Complex’ is the park’s primary geological feature. This vast circular geological feature is ancient even by geological standards as it is the crater of a long extinct volcano and the result of eruptions some 1,200 million years ago. It is one of the largest volcanic complexes of its type in the world, the rare rock types and formations make it a unique geological feature. A number of rare minerals occur in the park. Pilanesberg Game Reserve rates high amongst the world’s outstanding geological phenomena

We had a pretty good afternoon/evening in the park, no cats but hey we can’t have it all .. can we ???

Baby fluffy Zebra
Baby fluffy Zebra
Jackal
Jackal
Giraffes
Giraffes
This sight still cracks me up
This sight still cracks me up
Weaver on the nest
Weaver on the nest
seems like home
seems like home
Waterbuck
Waterbuck
hehe .. stay classy Africa
hehe .. stay classy Africa
Copyrighted. All images and rights are reserved by Emma White ~ Photography. You are welcome to post via a direct link. Please do not crop, copy, reproduce or distribute in anyway without permission. If you would like to use any of my pictures ‚Äď for personal, blogging or commercial usage ‚Äď please contact me so that we can discuss what¬† options may best suit your needs. If you have any other questions, please drop me an email here
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The Wedding

Whoa what a weekend !!!! I think there are quite a few tired little and big faces right about now ūüôā

Lets rewind a little thou … Friday: it was unfortunately time to leave the lodge and Kruger Park, but we were heading to the wedding so it wasn’t all bad ūüôā

The lodge where Charmaine and Lance are getting married is on the other side of Jo’Burg so we headed almost all the way back to home and then veered off in the direction of the lodge.

We arrived at the lodge about half 4 and checked into our digs for the next few days.

Zebra Lodge 2
Zebra Lodge 2
Doing it hard in Africa
Doing it hard in Africa
Looking up to one of the other lodges
Looking up to one of the other lodges

We were then treated to a lovely cool and cooling lightening and rain storm before it blew on through.

Lovely rain
Lovely rain

Once the storm blew through and it was time for dinner we all assembled on the lawn for a scrumptious braai.

The amazing lawns, fire pit and braai area
The amazing lawns, fire pit and braai area

Saturday morning we opted for a drive around the lodge and saw …

Blesbok
Blesbok
I think someone is lost (an Eland amongst the zebra)
I think someone is lost (an Eland amongst the zebra)
_DSC9098
Jimbo the Giraffe

We also saw some Nyala, but we didn’t spot the sables in the morning but were lucky enough to see them later that afternoon and the buffalo also decided to hide.

Once we had had some lunch it was time to get ready for the big event.

The reception area all set up
The reception area all set up

The wedding was just beautiful. The boys were absolutely dashing,

The boys - Ross, Dylan and Lance
The boys – Ross, Dylan and Lance

The brides maids beautiful as always and the bride looked amazing!

Father and Daughter
Father and Daughter
Mr and Mrs Theron
Mr and Mrs Theron
The Family
The Family

The tables looked fabulous

Table settings
Table settings

Papa Frank gave a brilliant speech

Papa Frank
Papa Frank

The best man (Lances son Dylan) ensured there was not a dry eye in the house by the time he smashed his speech!

Dylan
Dylan

The groom had a hard act to follow but he did ok I guess ūüôā

The Groom
The Groom

The food was once again scrumptious

wpid-wp-1424721720258.jpeg
Entree
Mains
Mains

We partied late into the night and everyone had a fantastic night.

Sunday morning we had breaky, loaded up the cars and trailer with all the wedding gear and started to make our way back to Jo’Burg with a stop in at Bela Bela for lunch with the ‘family’ before making the final trek back to jozi.

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Kruger Park #3

(apology for the delay in posting we were busy partying and the cell reception hasnt been great)

So the last two posts have pretty much been brag posts and it might seem like this wild animal watching stuff is pretty easy, let me reassure you that it’s not. We have been lucky very very lucky, I know people here who have seen leopard in the wild maybe once or twice their whole life.

So rather than just brag today I thought I would tell the Kruger Park story.

Areas of the park were first protected by the government of the South African Republic¬†in 1898, and it became South Africa’s first¬†national park¬†in 1926.

Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. It covers an area of 19,633 square kilometres (7,580 sq mi) in the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga in northeastern South Africa, and extends 360 kilometres (220 mi) from north to south and 65 kilometres (40 mi) from east to west. Approximately  the size of England

To the west and south of the Kruger National Park are the two South African provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga. In the north is Zimbabwe, and to the east is Mozambique. It is now part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a peace park that links Kruger National Park with the Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe, and with the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique.

To the north and south of the park two rivers, the Limpopo and the Crocodile respectively, act as its natural boundaries. To the east the Lebombo Mountains separate it from Mozambique. Its western boundary runs parallel with this range, roughly 65 kilometres (40 mi) distant. The park varies in altitude between 200 metres (660 ft) in the east and 840 metres (2,760 ft) in the south-west near Berg-en-Dal.

Today we entered the park through the Phabeni gate again, one of nine gates to the park and it wasn’t long before we had our first Big 5 sighting.

Do you know what makes up the Big 5 Рa couple might surprise you I think. The term big five game / Big 5 was coined by big-game hunters and refers to the five most difficult animals in Africa to hunt on foot. The members of the Big Five were chosen for the difficulty in hunting them and the degree of danger involved, rather than their size.

The Big 5 are Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo, Lion and Leopard.

Our first sighting was a lovely buffalo in the river just chilling out.

Buffalo
Buffalo

We had made a plan to head back to some similar areas we had driven on our first day as it seemed rich in wildlife but to also take a few new paths.

The first path wasn’t one we had decided on and once again lady lucky was on our side. Sitting under the shade of the tree in the sandy empty river was a little group of 5 lioness.

_DSC8755
Lioness’ relaxing

We also spotted some elephants and rhinos along the road. We headed to a lookout get a higher view over the park, its pretty spectacular.

Africa !
Africa !

 

Our trusty wheels
Our trusty wheels

The weather was quite warm today by mid morning it was low 30’s and lunch time it had reached 36/37 and stayed there until we left the park at 6.30pm, so sightings were very low today unfortunately, and it seemed that the weather was playing havoc with the big bull elephants moods, as we had to avoid two today and boy were they unhappy little vegemites!

We were fortunate enough to catch a small herd of elephants cooling off in the river, and it appeared that the adults were having as much fun as the little ones!

Playtime
Playtime

We headed up some more roads and a section of the park we hadnt ventured into as yet and managed to spot some …

Piggies
Piggies
Monkeys
Monkeys
Kudu
Kudu
Giraffe
Giraffe

We managed to exit out of the same gate today and were lucky enough to cross paths with one of the huge buffalo herds crossing the road.

A small portion of the buffalo herd
A small portion of the buffalo herd

I kinda feel like i need to highlight that all my photos have been taken whilst safely situated in our vehicle. Most have been taken on a semi-pro ‘crop’ DSLR with a 500mm lens, these combined make it seem like the animals were reasonably close, and in some cases they were but I guess what I am saying is that Kruger is a wild park with wild predators and shouldn’t be thought of as a zoo or a place to goof off in because you are endangering your own life, the life of others around you but also the animals, so please when you visit stay in your car when outside the rest camps, give the animals space and just enjoy being in the wilds of Africa.

Copyrighted. All images and rights are reserved by Emma White ~ Photography. You are welcome to post via a direct link. Please do not crop, copy, reproduce or distribute in anyway without permission. If you would like to use any of my pictures ‚Äď for personal, blogging or commercial usage ‚Äď please contact me so that we can discuss what¬† options may best suit your needs. If you have any other questions, please drop me an email here