We heard the Leopard but didn't see it....oh well but it think it counts as a half. Theres people talking (bragging) in the kitchen of the Cheetah they saw! Just annoying.
Again we are piggybacking. Thanks to some nice South Africans. We'd book in for real if they OAPs hadn't booked the entire park for all of May as its 40% off for them. It might get better next month (tomorrow). These are the same people that get the wild card for 560 Rand and we have to pay 2200 Rand. In fact all South Africans get it at that price not only the OAPs. I though this place didn't discriminate, only against tourists!
Considering this park is meant to be one of the best, if not the best for sightings, we're not seeing much. Lots of Elephants which reminded me of 1991 when there were hardly any (Kenya Tsavo East) and i bought a tea shirt that had "Vanishing Herds" plastered on the front. Well times certainly change. There are now many thousands of Elephants in Kruger and all the parks in general. We saw 22 yesterday on two groups not a kilometer apart and even the 10,000 or so they have here are not seen much as the roads are just too far apart with huge "county size" parts you can't get anywhere near. The other parks we've been into and its not many, have way more roads to travel along so you can get off the beaten track so to speak. A lot of the roads here are tarmac and they are also still suffering from the January Floods which washed a lot of stuff away so quite a few gravel tracks we wanted to do today were still closed. Some of the large bridges are still closed and the raillings are not yet finished. We have a photo below to illustrate.
So today I saw the White Rhino. Unlikely I will see a Black Rhino as there's only 300 of them in the whole park. The 12 we could have seen in the other park in Lilownde were out of reach as they wouldn't let us into the Rhino area. So we'll have to stick with the Big 3 unless we see some cats tomorrow.
We're piggy-backing off some nice South Africans tonight as the camp is full. Actually not full at all but iv'e explained this already. We paid 44 rand less than it actually cost to camp by piggy-backing so i got them a bottle of wine. Thanks to Nico and Esceline for letting us piggy-back (i hope i've spelt their names correctly).
The Hyena is carrying a leg of prime free range game.....not sure what it was but it looked "tasty".....theres a young (maturing) lady in our life that has a trade mark on the word "tasty".....she will know who she is. Father may also know.
Julies just explained they don;t put the sightings on Rhino on the "seen it" board as the poachers may also be watching. Seems like theres a BIG trade in horn over here. Its a little like Amsterdam.
As a wise South African once said....actually not sure Coen was wise but he came up with this whilst we were chatting in Lataba in Kruger park. We are now in Balule Bush Camp and surrounded by Hyenas and there not more than 2 meters away from us. Literally the other side of the electric (thank eddison) fence. They look mean as i'm sure Henning will testify. My taunt to them was "come on i have a Leatherman and a torch" but they didn't seem bothered. This is exactly what Henning was armed with on that terrible night when he was stuck 98km from Marsabit on the Moyale Road. Henning at the moment is still in Kenya and still in love. Good luck to him. I do hope he gets to carry on with his long standing dream and travel the world on his bike but it looks to be on hold for love. If theres anything that stops a dream its replacing it with another.
As for the BIG five we've seen Elephants and Buffalo and the rest are missing. We are leaving Kruger soon so we arn't even half way to the goal. My big horn as Alistair so predictably said is not as rare as the other it seems.
If we compare this camp to the others in Mozambique there is just no competition. This is cheaper and significantly better equiped. Even this bush camp is better equiped than the ones in Mozambique. The Germans we are camping with agree completely that Moz is very expensive and they've been in Africa for 17 months (at least a month in Moz) and are going home early next month. The only problem with Kruger is the system says the camp is full and wouldn't let them book in here, however we could add them to our booking and get them and their car into a empty spot next to us on our booking for a payment of less than a standard booking. They are in one of the 5 or more empty spots in the camp and have all the same gear we do and yet can camp in the spot for less than us as long as we added them to our booking. Yet the camp is full ??? (BTW they have compensated us for this and are very happy even though i said beer payment was enough).
So we travelled across Limpopo into Kruger. We saw the little 5 in Limpopo. This included Cows, a goat, a few monkeys, trees and a bird or two. Its not got a lot to see. We are now in Kruger and the camp sites are as good as i imagined. The people camping are great and we've met some more generous South Africans. They are all generous. We've not seen much game yet and have seem the odd Elephant (about 20 odd today) and the other normal Buck, Buffalo, Giraffe and Hippo. We are goign to go further south to see if we can complete the five. I want to see a White Rhino with a big horn.
The camps here are £13.50 per night so as long as we don't drink too much we are under budget each day.
The thing about the 90 days is as we suspected. We only get 90 days in South Africa even if we leave and come back. This means we have 90 days to see South Africa, Botswana and Namibia and its NOT long enough. If we come back into SA within the 90 the time just rolls on. If we come back after the 90 days we only get another 7 days !!! We had heard about this before and we've even been to the Immegration office today to check and its correct. So we will need to swap passports inbetween Botswana and Namibia and i don;t really want to do this and my second passport has only 5 pages left and this is meant to be for emergencies and in the event i need to use it i might need the 5 pages. So i will need to convince the border to use the acres of space and not a new blank page which they always seem to want. The daft woman at Tanzania used an entire page for one little exit stamp before i could stop her.....i wasn't happy. I may need to get it replaced just because its running low in pages and they are not cheap. If we use the second passports they will give us 90 days more and be none the wiser.
We visited the supermarket in town today having left the park. The beauty of the parks pass (wild card) is we can leave and come back as many times as we want. We marvelled at the real food at real prices in the supermarket and spent £40 on food we have only dreamt about for 6 months. We even have a box of wine some peanuts. We've not had peanuts since Kenya and a box of red wine was only £5.90 for 3 litres !!! and this was in the expensive park shop not the one in town where its cheaper but we couldn't wait for the wine and got it last night. The camp has wonderful showers and facilities. Its just wonderful.
In town we were stopped by the police again. This time he wanted a chat and no money. He might have started by wanting to fine us for something but that soon went away when he discovered our journey which is often the case (unless your in Mozambique or Zimbabwe). Turns out he was born in Manchester and left there when he was five. In Namibia we will just be very careful with the driving as they just fine you for everything and anything. We've been quizzing a local about this today and he's confirmed what we thought.
Tonight we stay in a Mozambique National Park. Its what they call a transfrontier park but according to the people we have met its just rubbish as no matter haw many animals they put into this park, Limpopo, they all work their way back to Kruger. Now this might just be the South African marketting machine at work so we shall see tomorrow.
Esentailly we've paid to drive through with a nights stay inside the park gates. Quite literally inside the park gates as the camp isn't very far away at all from the gate. What i can say is the campsite is the best we have stayed in in Mozambique. We have hot showers, a kitchen, toilet paper, a Braai and a fire pit. We got some wood so you;ve guessed it we're having a fire. Its a nice little camp and possibly one of the best we've stayed in on this trip. No thats a turn up for the books!
Its still too expensive though but at 210 Meticals each not as expensive as some of the other poor campsites we've stayed in. As Julies just pointed out at this rate we will need to come home in a couple of months having spent all our money in the last few countries with the rest of the trip cancelled due to the prices down here. Can't wait till we do the budget graphs and stuff when we get settled somewhere for a few weeks. You'll then all be able to see hom much different the southern countries are to the rest of Africa.
We got ourself a Wild Card (about 2200 Rand) for the National Parks of SA so we can go into them as much as we want for a year. We still need to pay for camping and that seems to be about 180 rand per night (13 rand to the pound). We've booked our first night in Kruger tomorrow. The campsites look like something out of a Butlins Holiday Camp so we'll take some photos. I'm not expecting Butlins but they have all sorts of facilities normally associated with holiday camps. Lets see. By all accounts they know what they are doing when camping. What i can say is there are lots of pitches (nearly 80) in the camp and we got the last one so its going to be busy. In a few weeks we need to get out of SA as the school holidays start....or it might just be time to stay in South Africa as they may all go to Namibia and Botswana. We need to ask someone who knows. At least the parks here have an online booking system so we know they have space before travelling and how much they all are.
This SIM card stops working tomorrow so not sure when the next comment will be. I wonder if Kruger has an Internet Cafe? I bet it does, it will be next to the Bank and Petrol Station.........
For those that do not know i post reviews on everywhere we stay on Trip Advisor.
I think i'm going nuts so decided to end it all.......Matilda driven by Dash put me out of your misery.
May i suggest any person who feels the need to post comments on MY blog follow their own advice.
Why would someone as their first post berate the very blog they seem so intent on reading. Why not post "its wonderful" or some such comment and follow their own advice ?
If anyone feels the content of my blog is too opinionated for them they they need not read it. The fact that i have posted many entries with varied content seems to have escaped this last thread and since this is my blog you can go elsewhere if you feel at all aggrieved.
Two of the commentors have a right to post as they have indeed posted before and not just to moan that i'm not being positive about this crappy country.
Margaret whilst i respect your advice and am greatful for the huge amounts of help you have given I must dissagree. Its yet to be seen if theres any country that can match this one for just day on day hassle and price. No other country so far has come close and this includes Egypt for hassle and Europe (or Ethiopia) for prices. Rather than blame this on "Third World" i blame it squarely on the tourists (mostly South African or others in 4x4 rentals) who have turned this into their weekend getaway / holiday home location and the police know that can extort money from them at every blind corner. They all drive way too fast but not as fast as the local buses that seem to get immunity from the hassle whilst tearing down the middle of the road. I've also not come across another "Thrid World" country charging $1.50 for a coke in the local shop....
Comments are closed. For one the spambots have discovered my blog and for another you've all royally pissed me off. I'm positive of that.
No camp sites or expensive camps sites, long drives with nothing inbetween, corrupt Police, Expensive Visa's (if you get them at the border which we didn't), terrible roads, roads that don't go where you want to, no fuel stations, VERY expensive food and they don't speak any English (mostly).
This list is pretty much endless of the gripes about this crappy country. The sooner we leave the better IMHO. Topped off with the below. The caveat to this is some of the whites are very nice. Yes i used the term "whites". We've been looked after by quite a few here. There must be quite a few locals who are nice and the kids are lovley with big smiling faces when they aren't looking bewildered by the passing land rover. This is the exception though. The country in general is lots of nothing good. Sorry.
Today we go a speeding ticket. I didn't pay and they can keep my fake licence and their jacked up $40usd fine. We went through a 60kph sign and julie said 60 as she nearly always does. I slowed to 58kph (we have the log on the GPS so can prove it) and by the time i'd slowed they had already speed gunned us right at the sign. No chance to slow and just not the way this happens. We were going at 58kph by the time we even saw them and then slowed to a stop right in the middle of the village. I can prove from the logs we were doing 82 and then when julie said 60 i was already at 66 and then 58. So i wasn't going to pay 3 times the standard 300 Meticals, as they wanted 1000 Meticals. Even the next police station called this "FRAUD". Unfortunatly the Chief in the traffic police station didn't and told us to "drive the 50km back and pay the fine" to "retreive my licence". I told him that "I didn't care and he could keep it".
We have about another 19 fakes to go before i need to make more. If i could be at all bothered i would report the little sods to the corruption desk in Maputo but we're now skipping there in favour of leaving to South Africa as soon as we can.
We've not enjoyed the constant battle to find accomodation here. Some free accomodations provided just because they can.........
Thanks to James White Saw Mills for the stay in their Lumber Yard. The cabins were lovely but at 850 Meticals out of our range (£20)
Thanks the the Catholic Church in Quelimane. (the singing made julie go back to sleep at 7am)
Thanks to the Maforga Mission and Orphanage near Gondola. (cute kids but still we don't want one even though they have some spare)
I almost forgot the bridge toll where they decided the Land Rover is a "truck" and charged as such. So i switched off the engine in the toll gate and sat there for 23minutes until they accepted very reluctantly that a Defender 110 CSW is a car. I pointed at the 3 european "car" vignette stickers and waved my V5C and the Carnet at them but they didn't seem to bother them at all. They opened the other side of the road to let traffic go past me. I was blocking the bridge ! An English speaking local who arrived going the other direction was deputised on their behalf a came round to speak to me only to explain i needed to pay the toll for a car. When i explained to him that i knew this and they were trying to charge me as a truck their plan backfired. He took up my case and argued in my favour. They weren't happy.....
We visited another park and to be honest its wasn't very good. However it was cheap so that knocks it up a peg or two in a Yorkshiremans rating. Theres some photos in the Misc Section.
We've been having fun and games with the online access so we actually have loads to say but rather than bore you to death I'll keep it simple. We met Des and Brenda again in the park and if you follow my trip advisor reviews you'll see what i thought of the camp in the park on there eventaully. The camp outside the park was significantly cheaper and in my opinion just as good (almost better). So if you go to Liwonde National Park stay at Liwonde Safari Camp right near the park gates but importantly not inside the park!
After that we went to Fat Monkey on Lake Malawi. Stayed three nights as Dash needed a rest. Don't forget to look at the other photos in the Misc Section.
After leaving Fat Monkeys we went to Blantyre and made the stupid mistake of staying at Doogles again. You will need to see trip advisor for that one. Worse mistake for a long time......(again,,, since the week before actually)
Yesterday we climbed Mount Mulanje or at least part of it. Julie is very sore and was showing her age.....shes 40 today. I ran up like a young man. She should be so lucky to have a toned hunk like me. I used to be a chunk but i lost the "c" somewhere in Europe or north Africa. I'm eating loads of steak to compensate.
We've posted some more photos in the misc section. Heres a selection below.
1) Some carvings at worlds view. Worth the $1 each to see the view. The carving of the hippos as a bird bath was a bit heavy to bring home.
2) The Accomodation donated by Des and Brenda. A very nice pair of South African's who let us crash in the spare room in their timeshare for two nights. They looked after us very well indeed.
3) How many of these can Julie take?
4) Camping at Great Zimbabwe
5) Julies new hair style
6) Julie at Great Zimbabwe. Thats a big wall !
7) First wild camp in ages. We were found by a toilet roll holding trucker at daybreak.
8) I was very tired after a long drive. Normally i get all the way into bed....
9) Crossing from Zam to Zim on the "bungee bridge"
So who is Dash?
Dash (as he's been Christened) is a cuddly blue and white Bear that been with us for the entire trip. He lives in the car with us and he has the best seat in the house. Dash is a bit a a trend setter in the Bear community as he wears an earring in his left ear. The earring was a gift from Auntie Sheila and he's worn it since the day he was born. If you carefully look at the photos of our car you might spot him sitting on, you've guessed it, the dashboard!
More on Dash later........
Get notifications of new Blog Entries by filling in the box below. No risk.