Davesg

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About Davesg

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    Advanced Member

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  • Category 1
    Born in Africa
  • Category 2
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  • Website URL
    http://stuckinthemud.co.za/

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Cape Town
  • Interests
    Wildlife, photography

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  1. Excellent report @deano. I really enjoyed reading it and seeing your photos. The videos at the end of each edition added something extra...well done!
  2. A great report so far @deano. A pity you were in Cape Town during that storm but we needed the rain (and still do)! That 2nd wine estate that you stopped at while on your bicycle ride looks like Buitenverwachting. Lovely wines.
  3. namibia

    A very nice report and lovely photos @garito01.
  4. Ditto what @Peter Connan and @TonyQsaid above. A thoroughly enjoyable read with great photos! Thanks very much for posting @xelas.
  5. My initial reaction to the first set of your BB photos was pleasure at seeing them complete with horns...quite rare these days. So sad to see the ones that have been de-horned in following sets. The consequence of human greed unfortunately. very nice photos once again BTW!
  6. Lovely photographs again @xelas. I especially like the Zebras in a line.
  7. I agree with JohnR...I think the effect of the long grass is great in the Cheetah photos!
  8. The car is in for repairs as we speak...an electronic problem and they're struggling to identify which connection is causing the problem! :-) Maybe you could set aside some time to meet when you come to Cape Town?
  9. An excellent trip report and of course beautiful photographs xelas!
  10. Profile cover pic updated.
  11. Thank you very much @@Zim Girl. I share your feelings about Mana Pools.
  12. Harare to Mapungubwe And so it was time to head south on our journey home. We’d booked 3 nights at the Mazhou campsite in Mapungubwe and had originally planned to go via Bulawayo and then through the Plumtree border post into Botswana and then cross into South Africa at the Zanzibar border post. It would have meant 2 long days on the road though and I was worried about delays on the Harare/Bulawayo stretch due to extensive road works. In the end we decided to bite the bullet and go via Beit Bridge with an over night stop at the Lion and Elephant Motel. The road from Harare is not in a good state and that, combined with heavy traffic and especially buses and large trucks, meant a fairly stressful day's driving. It was a good decision to take that route though. We both loved the views of the granite kopjes which dot the landscape. Typical view on the road to Beit Bridge The Lion and Elephant is still a great place to stop. Very basic but comfortable rooms, good food and friendly staff. We thoroughly enjoyed our night there which brought back very pleasant memories, for both of us, of previous visits at different times in our lives. Time for a cold one after a long and tiring day on the road We left the Lion and Elephant at about 8:00 in the morning for Beit Bridge, both of us worried about what we would encounter at the border. Our experience there last year was terrible and it took us well over 3 hours to get through then. This year was a different story though and we were through both sides within an hour. We did have a bit of drama on the bridge crossing the Limpopo River between the 2 border posts though. At the end of the bridge there's an intersection with a feeder road for traffic travelling to Zimbabwe.There were a few cars waiting at the police gate so I stopped before the intersection to let a waiting truck and trailer cross onto the bridge. The driver tried to cut the corner too closely and didn't leave enough turning room for the trailer. He was within inches of us before he finally realised that he’d cut it too fine and wouldn’t be able to make the turn without crunching our car. I’d tried to pull in closer to the kerb to get away from him but there still wasn’t enough room. A scary moment! Well...traffic going both ways came to a grinding halt. A policemen from the gate came over to try and sort things out. He asked me to reverse but that wasn’t an option. My reversing skills with a trailer in those days were hopeless at the best of times. Being sandwiched between the trailer and kerb certainly didn’t inspire me with the confidence to try. The driver of the truck was obviously as unskilled as me because he wasn’t going to try and reverse either. Stalemate! It eventually ended up with the policeman guiding me up onto the kerb (within inches of the barrier on that side) so that I could move forward and finally out of the jam. A close call. We got to Mazhou campsite in the early afternoon after stopping off in Musina to pick up provisions needed for our 3 nights there. There was a detour through some farmlands to get to Mapungubwe main gate because of flood damage to a bridge on the main road. We both enjoyed the detour and the views of the working farm. The road to the Mazhou turn-off near Pont Drif is a mess, full of potholes, but we had plenty of time so we could afford to take it easy. Maintenance of the roads clearly isn't a priority in that part of the country! We spent the afternoon setting up camp and settling in. We had a brief moment of embarrassment when we unhitched the trailer. I hadn't tightened the jockey wheel coupling properly and as soon as Pippa moved the car forward the front of the trailer dropped. Oops! I didn't have enough leverage sitting in my chair to lift the front of the trailer so that we could get the jockey wheel back in place and Pippa didn't have the strength either. There was another camper sitting outside his tent a little distance away he but didn't make any move to offer to help. I guess we were providing a bit of entertainment to break his boredom or maybe he was just interested to see how we'd cope? So, after applying my rattled brain for a while, it finally dawned on me that we could use the Land Rover jack to lift the trailer and position the jockey wheel properly! I was very proud of my problem solving ability and gave our neighbour a big smile once the job was successfully completed. A celebratory beer was definitely deserved! Clearly a head scratching moment and the little bushbuck was not as impressed with my skills as I was! Even the little one needed some sustenance Time for an evening braai We’d both been looking forward to visiting Mapungubwe again. The Mazhou campsite is really nice and with the added bonus for me of having an accessible ablution block. We were both quite happy to spend some time relaxing at the campsite and watching various birds and animals moving about close by. Southern Red-billed Hornbill Ground squirrel Bushbuck We did spend some time over the 2 full days that we were in the park driving around and visiting various sights and enjoying the scenery. Unfortunately there had been a lot of flood damage earlier in the year so the Maloutswa Hide was all but washed away and totally inaccessible, which was a pity. What was left of the Moloutswa Hide Wildebeest Ever present Zebra We also took a drive through to the tree walk on the Limpopo. Most of it is still intact but the final viewing point was damaged and closed to the public. Once again very little game to be seen but still an enjoyable drive through the park. Easily accessible and some nice views up there Looking down at the Limpopo river Another view Our 3 nights at Mapungubwe were soon over and it was time to head back home. We both enjoyed our time there. Sad to see all the damage from the floods though. Finally...the long road home via Johannesburg and Karoo National Park Our first stop after Mapungubwe was an overnight stay with Pippa’s brother Neil in Johannesburg. It was great seeing Neil and Liz again. We travelled with them through Chobe and Zimbabwe and to Mapungubwe on our first trip the previous year so I think they were quite interested to hear about our Mana Pools trip. Jo’burg isn’t a place that I’ve driven in much and I was a bit unsure about the roads and traffic getting onto the N1 and heading south when we left Neil. I was pleasantly surprised though. Even at 8:00 in the morning the traffic moved quickly and freely and the roads were well sign-posted so we had no problem finding our way out. We hadn’t planned or booked a stop-over between Jo’burg and Cape Town and planned to keep going until we got tired. We made good time (in spite of all the trucks) and only had one brief scare. About an hour out of Bloemfontein I looked in the rear view mirror and noticed that our Oz tent was missing from the top of the trailer. My first thought was ....oh hell there goes R 8 000! My second thought was that I hoped it hadn’t caused any damage to whoever was behind us when it fell off. No doubt my thoughts should have been the other way around!! Anyway, while I was pulling off the road Pippa looked behind from her side of the car and saw that the tent had slipped down the side of the trailer but was still being held by the straps. Phew! We stopped and strapped it tightly back in place and checked on it regularly for the rest of the trip home. We've since learned to tie the ratchet straps correctly! We eventually stopped for the night at the Karoo National Park outside Beaufort West. Good going and it meant an easy last day home to Cape Town. Karoo National Park view of some chalets It was our first visit there and we were both impressed with the facilities and the park. The Karoo really is a special place. I do feel that their prices are a bit steep though. We’d like to go back and spend more time there sometime but maybe when the weather is warmer and we can camp? Bleary eyed in the early morning A view from the reception and restaurant parking area Mountain Zebra We left Karoo National Park fairly early the next morning for an easy and uneventful drive back home. We'd been away a day short of 4 weeks and had driven about 6 500kms. Nice to be back in the comfort of one’s own home but we didn’t enjoy the change in temperature from the warmer weather up north! Hex River Valley It was a fantastic holiday and Mana Pools is truly an amazing place and well worth visiting. We were determined to go back sometime in the future...and did just that in 2016.
  13. Thanks very much @@ld1. Enjoy your trip this year.
  14. Thanks very much @@AfricanQueen. I'm glad you enjoyed the report. Enjoy your time there in June...I'm very envious! Mana is such a special place.
  15. Beautiful photographs @@buddy4344. I'm looking forward to the rest of your trip report. I suspect we're in for a treat! :-)

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