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What a change our 2017 trip would turn out be, when compared to the parched, drought-affected trip of last year http://safaritalk.net/topic/16169-kruger-jan-2016-drought-duiker-and-dead-hippos/ We were too late to arrange a GTG in 2016, when several of us Safaritalkers were in RSA at the same time. So as soon as we were back and the flights were booked, I arranged to meet @@Peter Connan who offered to drive us around Rietvlei Dam Nature Reserve to try and get some shots of widowbirds in flight. I think he would have preferred to take us to Marievale, but given that it was in the opposite direction to where we would be going later in the day, we opted for Rietvlei instead. As we like to spend a few days with friends at their country place, I couldn't squeeze in any extra nights in KNP, but I think 10 is a good total. We tried a different wilderness camp as we had liked them last year, but also as Skukuza was booked out, presumably for a conference and by the time I booked, Lower Sabie only had very basic accommodation available. Itinterary 13/1 Friday the 13th! Arrive Johannesburg 14/1 Rietvlei day trip and then drive to Ditholo 3 nights 17/1 Drive to KNP via Phaloborwa gate, Letaba 2 nights 19/1 Satara 3 nights 22/1 Biyamiti 3 nights 25/1 Berg-en-Dal 2 nights 27/1 Drive back to Johannesburg 28/1 Return to UK We had upgraded with miles, so the journey was fine. Arrivals into OR Tambo was slightly better than last time and we were in our rental car and off by an hour or so after we landed. The downside of landing on Friday rather than Saturday, is that the traffic is busier, especially with the roadworks, but it still better to get an extra day in Africa!
Tdgraves posted a topic in South AfricaWe have been to South Africa many times. This began long before our safari addiction. We started off with a few days here and there in game reserves and private lodges. However, last year, after having been to Etosha and discovering that Government-run camps aren’t too bad, we thought that we’d give the Kruger a go. Having just moved house, it was the only way we could justify a safari whilst we were in RSA, with the added bonus of more nights for less cost. We enjoyed it so much, that we decided to do it again. Granted you don’t get the luxurious rooms and gourmet food, but it is very cheap and you are in charge of your game drive, so if you want to watch the birds for an hour you can. Equally, if you have seen something good earlier, you can return to the same spot. Obviously it means you don’t have the guiding network behind you, but not having to share a vehicle has many advantages! This year we reversed the route, to fit in with our friends’ schedule (whose home we use as a base in Jo’berg). So we entered via the Phaloborwa gate to Letaba, then Satara, Skukuza and Berg-en-Dal and out of the Malelane gate. This meant we went from the sparser game and game viewers area of the central KNP into the more densly populated (human and otherwise) southern areas. Also, last year we stayed in Lower Sabie, but their restaurant was closed for refurbishment and as there is only so much “slumming it” I will put up with, we omitted it this year! I do enough cooking at home, not on holiday as well. So this year we substituted Skukuza. I wasn’t keen, given it is such a large camp, but I now realise that this is not important in the scheme of things. Last year we just caught the aftermath of the flooding. Although all gates were open, we were restricted to the tar roads for over half of our trip and several picnic sites were closed. This year the floods were much later, but instead we had the rain L Itinerary Letaba 22-23/1/14 - 2 nights Satara 24-26/1/14 - 3 nights Skukuza 27-28/1/14 - 2 nights Berg-en-Dal 29-30/1/14 - 2 nights I managed to squeeze in an extra night compared to last year, which we added to Satara
Having just finished my recent TR: http://safaritalk.net/topic/12471-kruger-jan-2014-a-safari-of-wild-dogs-ground-hornbills-and-steenbok/ I thought it'd be interesting to compare and contrast the two trips. Now that I'm going back over a year, I cannot remember in as much detail, so I thought I'd do a summary from each camp. I realise that the change in camera was a huge leap in terms of technology, however, I was amazed at how critical it made me as I looked back on our favorites from last time compared to this years' pictures. Favorites folder=980+583 in 2014 vs. 444+452 in 2013 (although we were there one more day this year) Going from the 500D "my" old camera to the 5D "our" camera, having barely used "his" 7D, led to a much higher hit rate. The Kruger trip in 2013 was the first time we each had a 100-400 mm lens, although prior to that, we had shared lenses. As I mentioned in the 2014 report, we arrived in KNP in 2013 just after the massive storms and flooding, so for at least half of the time we were restricted to tar roads. The itinerary was pretty much the same as this year, but in reverse: Berg-en-Dal Lower Sabie Satara Letaba 2 nights each, 22nd-30st Jan 2013.
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