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African Safari!!

Another amazing turn of events land us in Africa with two of our Siberian kitties!!

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November 2011
     Spring of 2011 I took 3 horses to Germany.  While I was there Franzi arranged for me to spend a couple of hours at the Equitanna horse show.  I spotted a poster with pictures of people on horseback riding in Africa with water buffalo, Zebras, giraffes, etc, I spent half my time just talking with this lady, I was so intrigued.  When I got home I told Roland that Africa was never on my bucket list, but we really had to go there.

    A week later I received an email from Cherylee in Africa. Crazy!!  She was looking for a couple of Siberian kitty cats as there was only one breeder in Africa.  After many emails we realized we had A LOT in common and decided we were going to make this happen.

     Long story short the kitties ended up having to depart a couple of days before us as there were embargo’s on pets into Johannesburg that we did not find out about until a couple of weeks before departure!
    One kitty lost his micro chip, vet papers took 3 weeks to arrive from Cherylee, our luggage didn’t arrive with us, I broke my toe, lots of little glitches but it was still the trip of a lifetime.

 

     I took a total of 3,500 pictures!!  That tells you how amazing it was.  Every day was a new adventure.



    
Our day of departure we take 3 hours to drive to Calgary, Fly to Amsterdam, then Johannesburg.  I have never been to Africa before.  Took 2 hours just to fly over this desert!
    
When we arrive we discover 15 people on the plane are missing their luggage, us included.  Thankfully Cherylee waited patiently for us and the meeting was official!  Next day we relax in their gorgeous pool and enjoy the Africa sunshine and our new friends.

The fauna is GORGOUSE here.1 Cherylee has done a wonderful job of landscaping her property.

    

Roland made quick friends with their puppy.

Cherylee and Oliver took us out for an authentic African meal.  I found it interesting that they bring a bowel to your

table and pour water for you to wash your hands.

    

    
Then we pack up their trailer for our adventure into the wilderness.
    
First stop is Middlepunt.  Cherylee’s fish pond farm.  Very old building with tons of character.
    
Cherylee is the champion fly fisher of South Africa, and she catches our only trout of the day.

It was wonderful to learn how to fly fish.  Never thought one day I would do that in Africa!
    
Roland, Cherylee, Oliver and I.

Oh what wonderful memories.  Was one of many days filled with laughter and adventure.


    
After a couple of days fishing we head off to Krueger National Park.  The landscape is beautiful.
    
I never expected it to look like this in Africa.
    
Stop at Pilgrims Rest.  Look at the gas pumps!!

Walk through the rainforest and visit God’s Window.

The rain forest is so humid.  It’s a jungle out there!!

    
Share a chocolate Sundae at Pilgrims Rest.

 

    

And we arrive at the park!!  First thing I see is two wild boars fighting in the bushes. 

So I get my camera out and go to take pictures of the.  Next thing I know the on the left is charging me!

I dash back to the vehicle and Cherylee is laughing at me!

Turns out they were not going to eat me.

    
Somebody really should tell him he is going the wrong way.

And then we see them.  Heading to our first camp 20 elephants appear right in front of us.

We are thrilled.  They are so huge and imposing.

    
Impala’s are everywhere.  We learn later that they are the McDonalds of the jungle. 

They feed many predators every day.  Hence the “M” on their butt!

A HUGE centipede.

    

Tortoise crossing.

Arrive at our first tented camp.  Never expected tents like this.  We had every amenity we could desire.

They are raised off the ground to stop intruders and the camps are surrounded by high voltage electric fence.

At night you can hear the lions and baboons.

 

    Our first meal in the jungle.  The boys did a wonderful job cooking in the dark.

 

    
This HUGE yellow billed bird had a nest in this tree, right off our deck!

You could see the babies in the hole.

One of the many colorful birds.

First hippo sighting.

    


 

    
First giraffe sighting.  I was busy adjusting my camera and did not know they were there. 

I looked up and – Hokie Smokes!  A giraffe right out my car window!!

These guys always travel together.  The zebra eat the short grass and the other eats the tall grass.

Our first lion sighting!!  (We had 7) 

 

    
It was a buffalo kill and there were 3 lioness and 1 male. 

It was soooo hot this day! Hottest place on the planet at 42 degrees Celsius. 

It was so hot that it melted the brown sugar in the back of the truck and crystallized it!

Pretty shot of a water buck camouflaged in the thorns.

    
Instead of horse play, this is zebra play!

At our second camp. Ready for safari.

    
Baboons every where.  They bark and sound just like a dog.

Caught this boy cooling him self down.

    
Rare sighting of giraffe kneeling at a water hole.

And then a very precious sighting.  Momma had left three cubs while she went hunting. 

One of them hid immediately.  Could tell she told them not to move, as they sat there staring at us for half an hour!

Could have spent the whole day here taking their pictures.

    
Elephants are very damaging.  They push over lots of trees and need lots of foliage to survive.

Since they don’t have any real predators, every few years the numbers must be reduced.

They have discovered that they can’t just take a couple of elephants out of a family but must take out

An entire family.  Because the herds associate people with the loss of their loved ones.

 

 

On safari.  We would usually leave about 7 AM. Stop for snacks and return for lunch. 

Then head out again in the evenings.

 

    

The sunsets were amazing.  So rich in colour and contrast.

    
That is the moon.  We were lucky to have it for our night drives.

Always see these guys traveling together.

    
A HUGE moth!

This guy was very huge.

    
There were a couple of lions just around the corner at the water hole.

These water buffalo really wanted a drink, but were totally spooked.

Relaxing day getting an Indian head massage by the pool at Hamiltons Camp.

    
This young elephant kept “pretending” to charge the truck. 

 Our guide said that is how we knew he was a teenager.  Just showing off.

Pretty intimidating still!

Another tented camp

    
Neet bird on the water buffalo.  Ox Pecker.  They pick the bugs off the animals.

Our most luxurious camp, Hamilton’s tented camp.  We were the only people in the whole place.

    
Every detail was to recreate the original safari’s.  Old luggage, binoculars, hats, etc.

In the pool every day.

    
Maids would come and turn down our mosquito netting for the evening.

Lizards hole.

    
Rhino beetle

On safari

    
BABY!!

    
The only hyena we saw.  It was the middle of the night and I will never forget his face!

One of the biggest highlights of our trip.  Got to hear this guy roar only 20 feet away.

Made the hair on the back of your neck stand straight up!

    
His paws filled the tire tracks.

Beautiful setting at Hamilton’s in our room.

    
Hamilton’s

Snake Eagle

    
Lizard

 

    
Only had two sightings of monkies.

and then we see the RHINO!  Elusive and majestic.

They have a huge poaching problem in the park.  All guides are free to shoot anyone they catch.

    
Our cutest Lion sighting.

Two mommas and 7 babies.

We were sitting watching, and then they decided to cross the road.

This little guy was left behind and crying, so momma came to carry him

Guide said he had never seen that in his 8 years in the park.

    
Water buffalo covering in mud for the bugs.

Rare Sable sighting.  Very few left in the world.

    
Our best guide ever.

Rhino behind the elephant.

    
Moving camps.

This river flooded even higher than this February of 2012, just after we were there!

    

Never knew they had to get on their knees to eat.

    
Quaint camp.  The river in the background is the one that flooded after we were there.

These huts were all under water.

Thieving, opportunist monkies!  They come buy every morning to see what was left out.

    
This poor water buffalo was injured.  He would rib his wounds into the mud and was not moving very fast.

The amazing part was another buffalo that stayed right with this one.
    
Bats under the roof that is over the tables of the eating area.

Rock rich in iron.

    

    
Vultures
    
Water Buffalo

Had the whole place to ourselves, again.  Amazing.

    
I want to build a pool like this.  Was the perfect size.

And the perfect temperature every afternoon.
    
Beautiful place.

Had to take the pic of these guinea hens, just to prove they are just as stupid in Africa as home.

They ran in front of us for almost an hour!

    
One of three types of Mongoose we saw

Amazing

    
another safari snack time.

Oliver and Roland on top of the hill

    
Intriguing. 

Our full moon, accented by the forest fires and dust.

    
Flower petals and candles laid out by our maid.

Termite hills.  Some are over 5 feet high!

    
Another baby!  You can see the damage the elephants do to the trees.

 

    
Two male lions guarding a water hole.

Ready for our first walking safari.

One guard in front with a 454 Magnum and one in the rear.

    
Hyena dung.  White because they eat the bones.

Ancient cave

    
Pottery still in the cave

Ancient painting son the wall

    

Last dip in the pool

    
Crocodile river

With crocodiles (and huge fish)

    

Heading back to Cherylee’s farm we see a huge fire very close to her place.

It touched her property, but no buildings were lost.

Fires are a huge danger and everyone must have fireblocks to try to slow them down.

    
Last view of the fishing farm.

A gorgeous evening to spend sitting around the pond.

    
This was an amazing sunset. 

Crazy moss coloured rocks on the farm.

    
I took so many beautiful pictures of flowers and birds, but had to pick a couple of my  favourites.

Big old tree on the farm.  Still growing!!

    
Mantis praying for some wine.

Old church

    
Knife maker friend of Cherylees.  He made sabers for the Last Samari and other famous movies.

Roland bought one of his hand made knives and it’s being sharpened to shave with!

    
Trick sheep

Ant’s Hill Lodge riding safari for 3 days!

What a trip!!

We did actually ride with the zebra, water buffalo, giraffe and rhino.

    

 

    
The house we stayed in was brand new and amazing.  Built for two couples and it is all local stone and wood.

Olive tree branches line this shower.

Outside the house is no less impressive.  Roland and I stayed in the top suite with a tremendous view.

    
Deck ornament

This was our view from the top, and yes, we did use the tub one evening under the stars with champagne.

    
RHINO!!

Horses of every size, shape and colour.

    
These thorns attacked you in the bush while riding.  And they were hard and sharp!

Me doing what I do best.  Taking pictures to capture the moment.

    
Cherylee’s mount.

Never dreamt you could get this close to rhino in the wild.

    

    
Gorgeous little bird.  Saw a few of these on our trip.  So colourful.

Another mongoose.

    
Zebra having fun.


Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would go to Africa. It just wasn't something I thought about.
And never did I think I would be taking some of cats there!
And I certainly didn't think I would be riding horses with the big game.
But Cherylee made it possible, and never did I think I would make such a friend on the other side of the world.
Thankyou Cherylee
I am forever indebted.