Thursday, October 18, 2018

Day 16: Royal Villas Swaziland

Some are evidently more royal than others. These villas were built by the monarch for visiting royals. Lavish rooms below and staff rooms above. Last night were we were in the staff category. Never fear, Phinda awaits today with promise of two days of pampering and free laundry.

Laurie is now in first place, no thanks to me. We run on a distance meter with a day total and intervals. My strategy is to take a wrong turn immediately so the day total, which is our bible, is wrong from the start. Then I forget what time it is so I can tell Laurie that we have forty five minutes to go ninety eight kilometers or get a penalty.

Why she has not beaten me with one of her many health food bars is a testimony to a truly great woman!
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Day 15 pm: Kirkmans Camp final safari

3:30PM Joel collected our group and we were off on the promised rhino hunt. Evidently, unlike  zoo,  we actually have to find these animals, so we looked high and low for almost two hours. Actually we did not look high for, unlike the big cats, rhinos are not tree climbers.

Suddenly, here is a rare black rhino, smaller than the white version and with a strange diet. He was eating sticks! Loudly crunching up the ends of bare bushes. When spring buds come surely he will augment diet with those, like moose. 

Now our luck is changing, two big white rhinos with a baby. Their diet is grass so they happily share territory with stick eating cousins.

Joan outdid our tracker by spotting a female leopard. The leopard’s mother was the one performing mating dances earlier today. Now that daughter is ready to live alone mom wants another cub to raise. We followed the pretty youngster until she crossed the river, then topped off the evening visiting a female lion guarding her kill in tall river grasses.

Stories around the fire before dinner, my delicious martini, a sumptuous feast, farewells to guide Joel and a very soft pillow. Sweet dreams.
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Black rhino eating sticks. Hoping for twigs soon. 
It’s spring here.

White rhino, not white, but “wide” for the way he puts his lips after a juicy scent marking


Tracker and guide distinguishing between leopard and hyena tracks. Hyena do not retract their claws when walking. Good to know. 
Your driver hang'n in the coveralls with Alex and Neil

Fang holding the lead, with lowest score by '2', which means he's in lead overall.


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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Day 15: Kirkmans Camp, Sabi Sands, SA

The 4:15 alarm not welcome,  however we dressed warmly and staggered out into rain for an amazing three and a half hours amongst the animals. First rain here in many months and the landscape will be transformed. As for Rally, we huddled snugly under gigantic ponchos in our convertible safari trucks.  Not enough praise can be heaped upon these worthy diesel vehicles, quiet and smooth running, yet as capable as elephants in mowing down the landscape.
We immediately struck leopard gold, tracking up close and personal a coy female being lured to new territory by an intruding and gorgeous young male.

Then hyenas, lots of hyenas, following the wild dog family we saw last night. Watching six young pups frolicking and jumping logs made us laugh. The five adult dogs sat alert between the large hyenas pack and the playing pups. As one they rose and chased off the enemy with a good bite in the ass to the closest one.

Now time for watching dueling giraffe 🦒. Their swinging necks look like slow motion ballet yet they strike with a resounding thud and can injure.

Damp, hungry and excited, Rally shared the sighting tales of their different safari trucks over a lavish breakfast. Laurie headed to Fang maintenance while I recaptured a couple hours lost sleep. This is working for me. 

Joel, our driver and Robert,the tracker will take us in search of white rhino during the upcoming evening safari drive. 
Wish you were here with us for this exhilarating experience.🦒🦓🐆🐘🦏🐃🐒👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
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Weather cooling down a bit. 
Your Nav thankful for good friend, Carole's, hand knit hat.

Coy female leopard lured to territory by young male

Hyenas, lots of Hyenas

Lots of Hyenas


Wild Dogs Playing

Wild Dogs Running Calling Young


Giraffe's squabbling


More giraffe squabbling

Giraffe Running - looking like in Slow Motion

White Rhinos

White Rhinos walking

Yesterday's Cone Course



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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Day 14: PM Warthogs on lawn at Kirkmans Camp, Sabi Sands

Easy to appreciate the raves Kirkmans Camp receives.
Superb lunch amid grazing animals, then a private safari for just the two of us. Laurie wanted to see a leopard, and I
wild dogs and hyenas. So we  visited a sleepy leopard up close, and spotted four wild dogs hunting. We spent an exhilarating hour tracking the dogs through and over bushes, logs and rocks. The dogs spooked a passel of mongooses. Boy, can they run.

Spectacular drive today through verdant mountains.
A fine motocross result in the airport parking lot by Laurie and a decent regularity result too.
I must go to sleep now.
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🐒🐒🐒

Tea break in Hairnet, SA



Jeremy the intrepid Morgan driver and his friend Victoria.


Mountain driving at last

Hike to God's Window
God's Window

Warthogs on lawn at Kirkmans Camp, Sabi Sands

Leopard viewing


and Wild Dogs


And Hyena Video on Night Safari


Be sure to check Beastly Fang Home Page for more posts.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Day 14: AM update

Going to breakfast! All we do is eat sleep drive and laugh. 
More soon,
Your Driver

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Day 13: Into South Africa

Went through border at remote Zanzibar border station after 50 km of very bumpy long dirt road. Then lunch at a remote golf club down a short and bumpy dirt road. 

Then Laurie turns fast laps at Mokopane Raceway!  

End of day, Laurie working on important siren. Long day, bumpy gravel roads got us and Fang all shook up.
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Border 50 km down bumpy dirt road.

Lunch Time at remote golf club.

Crew Chief Charlie & Communicator Kim favorites! 

Laurie readying for her track run.

Laurie turns fast laps at Mokopane Raceway!




Protea Hotel Polokwane, SA



Laurie working on important siren.




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Sunday, October 14, 2018

Day 12 Kasane to Francistown 500 km

We fought our way out of the mosquito netting at 5AM this morning intent on an early start to beat the heat.  Fang hit the road at his allotted 7:04 AM departure time for a cool run on perfect tarmac. Botswana seems lightly populated outside the big towns. Few villagers or folks walking though we did pass a few elephants and wild pigs.  Greener, more trees. Tidy. 

The Nata Lodge lunch stop included a safari truck trip to the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, home to 165 bird species. Ostrich, pelicans, heron, flamingos, stover, and standing in the shallow brackish water, a herd of gnus. These strange creations make wildebeests look handsome by comparison.

A bit of cloud cover allowed for a pleasant cruise to Francistown where Laurie and the girls led a sing along to cell phone selections. Tonight I wore a sweater!

Tomorrow morning we leave early for the South African border, the Mokopane race track and another brand of excellent beer.
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We are very popular at service stations

Our hotel on Chobe River



Golf course lawn mowers at Chobe Hotel
Signs posted at Lay-Byes along road to Francistown

Greater White Pelican

Blast furnace type heat and wind. The guide is asking us how many chicken eggs to one ostrich egg. 24 to 1.


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