Those of you who have been following along on this blog for some time already know that I am totally addicted to the Kruger National Park. In the past few months, I have been fortunate to take 2 more solo trips back to the park of 2 weeks each. As you might imagine, I am drowning in photos from these trips but today I want to tell you about the highlight of my latest adventures, the SANParks Honorary Rangers Photography Course.
There is a tale I have been wanting to tell about my last trip to Kruger Park back in November, but first I had to sort through over 600 photos of this one sighting alone. I have been very fortunate in my trips to Kruger to have had some amazing experiences, and at the tail end of this past trip, there was one more very special sighting waiting for me.
Let me set the mood. It was my last full day in the park. My usual M.O. on this trip had been to get up and out around 4:30 am when the camp gates opened. This day was however, dark and rainy and I decided to go back to bed for a bit and wait out the rain. Unfortunately I soon discovered that it was also starting to rain INSIDE my hut as well. I moved my stuff out of the path of destruction and went to wait for the reception to open to get some assistance.
Luckily there was an empty hut and I proceed to move all of my belongings over to my new hut for my final night. By the time I got out of camp, it was after 8:30 and finally the rain was starting to let up. I opted for an easy drive from Lower Sabie over to Skukuza on the main road, with plans to take the gravel roads back if they started to dry up by the afternoon.
Back in January, we returned to one of my favorite little parks for a weekend getaway. Marakele National Park is located in the Waterberg Mountains, north of Gauteng in the Limpopo Province. It is about a 2.5 hour drive from the Joburg northern suburbs, perfect for a quick weekend away in the bush. Strangely enough, it seems this park is relatively undiscovered by Joburgers as many of our friends and coworkers have never even heard of it. This is actually one of the pluses; I have never seen this park crowded so if you are looking to avoid the masses, come here.
I cannot believe that 2015 is now done and dusted. Doesn’t it seem that the older we get, the faster time goes? I really try my hardest to slow down and live in the moment but still, time just keeps flying by. We have been here in South Africa for over 2 years now. The first year we were really in transition mode; getting settled in a new country, making new friends, and me, starting a new job. The biggest change back in 2014 was that the Frenchie became the “trailing spouse” as he was not allowed to work while on my visa. 2015 saw us get back to a bit of normalacy in our lives. Late in 2014 the Frenchie was able to secure his own work permit and left his trailing spouse role for a paid position in the South African work force. Our household roles were redistributed and I found myself slaving away in the kitchen much more often (haha, not really, but we have started eating out a lot more lately).
When I look back at 2015, it seems I have been away more than I have been home. I haven’t added up the time, but I am sure it is not all that far off. I traveled quite a bit for business and pleasure and at times, there would be luggage from more than one trip lying on the bedroom floor waiting to be unpacked. I started to go back and look through my photos to remind me just what I have been up to this year and I thought it might be fun to post a recap of where I have been month by month. Some trips I have already blogged about and others not as I sometimes just didn’t have the time. Let’s have a look.
The new year started off calmly enough. I didn’t have any trips outside of Joburg in January and that gave us a chance to spend some time in this fabulous city we are proud to call home. One of the reasons I love Joburg so much is due to its diversity. You can really find just about anything here. Two of the things we did in January I think illustrate this quite nicely: a visit to the Norscot Koppies Nature Reserve (a lovely reserve right in Joburg that I wrote about here in 2014) and a walk through Cyrildene, the new Chinatown of Joburg (you can see more photos from our first visit here).
This trip to Norscot was specifically to photograph this baby blesbok, isn’t he sweet?
This past November, I spent 10 days in the Kruger National Park solo (in case you missed my first post last week about the trip, you can read it here). November is a great month to go to the Kruger. First off, since it is just before the busy holiday season, it is a lot less crowded. Temperatures are starting to heat up, but the good news is that starting in November, the camp gates open at 4:30 am and close at 6:30 pm. You can beat the heat by getting out early and head back to camp once it heats up around 10 or so for a break (or if you don’t mind the heat, you may just stay out all day until gate close like I usually do!). But the best thing about this time of year is that Kruger is filled with all sorts of adorable babies. The park explodes with cuteness and I want to share some of my favorite baby photos with you today.