Kirkman's Kamp, Mashatu Lodge, Kanana Lodge

Kruger National Park Travel Blog

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ZS-OCD Chessna 182

My 2 weeks with the BazBus from Capetown to Port Elisabeth have come to an end. It's 2004, the 1st of October and I am at a little ranch near Jo'burg waiting for my pick up to join 7 flying friends in Lanseria for our trip through Southern Africa with 3 Chessna's: 2x C182 and me + Andre in the C172 with call sign ZS-OBX. With our dutch PPL's we only need 4 days to finish our South African validations ;-)

During these 4 days we get familiarised with Jo'burg sky, making trips to Brit (FABS) and Rustenburg (FARG). Kinda like our dutch first solo from Seppe (EHSE) to Hilversum (EHHV) to Midden Zeeland (EHMZ) and back to EHSE, but different... Day 5 is a rest day, waiting for all the paperwork to be approved by the authorities.

outskirts Jo'burg
 Early morning i go for a walk. The sun is just waking up, must be about 06.00h. My camera in a little bag to be a less obvious tourist,  i choose a path paralell to the main street to walk towards some movement in the distance. As i come closer i recognize a sockerfield on the outskirts of a little village with square huts. My dutch hart jumps as i see a sockertraining in progress. About 8 boys are playing and 3 boys are running along the borders. I leave the path and walk towards a corner of the field. The 3 pass me by, grumbling with only a nodd as goodmorning to me; probably late for practice and sentenced to do laps. I nodd back. Second round they are joined by the coach, he greets me and says it is okay if i stay and watch.
sockerfield,Lanseria. Early morning
He tells me about the sockertournament which will be played today and invites me to come and watch. Sounds like fun, so as i head back to join my friends for breakfast and flying, i make sure to be back early afternoon. 

Walking up to the field i find a lotta movement this time. People stand along the borders watching the game and sitting on the yellow grass talking. 1 team just made a goal. Yeah! As i come closer i feel a bit the odd one out; have no particular team to support, no idea which team i met this morning, and no one attemps to make contact with me. I keep a little distance from the field and stand watching the game. In the crowd on the other side someone jumps up and down and waves.

Lanseria Airfield
 He makes his way through the crowd and 3 seconds later he stands next to me, smiling. We find a place under a tree for some shade and sit down. It's one of the 3 guys i met this morning; his team has won the last game and will be playing the winner of this game. When it's time for him to play the coach comes to get him and sits besides me as his team starts. A little pitch is giving for sponsoring shirts and shoes (i did notice some players were barefooted), but mostly he talks about his town and the people in it. 'This is a good day, he says; happy faces and people enjoying themselves'. 

My friends team did not go through to the finals, but we stay and watch the other teams. Time flies, and as the sun is on his way back to earth again we, with a knock of our handknuckles, say goodbye.

 

                              

Tuesday October 5th: 207.5 NM Lanseria (FALA) - Mala Mala (FAMD)

We arrive early at Lanseria Airport to get organised: waking up the planes, saying goodbye to our instructors, calculating the weight & balance again (Andre puts his none essentials on the floor and goes for coffee, enthusiastic me gets everything of the floor into the plane...), fueling up and checking the radio. One plane encounters radio difficulties. They wiggle the fuse, try sweettalking to it, and as last resort they strip the whole plane trying all loose cables and plugs and put it back together again.

1st of 5...
Still no improvement. Should they find another plane? No. One of us suggest to replace one of the pilots headset, ... and the problem is solved. Off we go ...   Me + Andre put a request in to follow the corridor between Jo'Burg and Pretoria (a short cut) and receive a clearing with timeslot, the others go for the 'standard' routing. This first leg will bring us over the escarpment to MalaMala airfield (Kruger NP) where we are picked up to stay at Kirkman's Kamp.  Temperature is 42 degrees! which later is prooved to be the highest temp of our whole trip. We are put immediatly in 2 landrovers for our first safari. The second and a third quickly follows as well as a night safari.
notching to declare
Needless to say we succeed in spotting the big 5, easily. At dinner we are joined by beautiful singing kitchen crew. Amazing!  

 

Thursday October 7th: 228.5 NM (128 NM + 100.5 NM) Mala Mala - Polokwane Intl. (FAPP) - Limpopo Valley (FBLV)

Via Polokwane, which has the same coordinates as Pietersburg airfield (this can be useful knowledge when tracking people ...), we arrive at Limpopo Valley in full airliner outfit for a smouth entry into Botswana. Our guide, called Fish, takes us for a drive through the thorny bush, calling 'look out for that branch' a lot. He's very skilled in driving those small paths without using his brakes once ;)

Next morning we meet up with him again for a walk; examining dung and looking, not finding though, for snakes.

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ZS-OCD Chessna 182
ZS-OCD Chessna 182
outskirts Joburg
outskirts Jo'burg
sockerfield,Lanseria. Early morning
sockerfield,Lanseria. Early morning
Lanseria Airfield
Lanseria Airfield
1st of 5...
1st of 5...
notching to declare
notching to declare
Polokwane airstrip
Polokwane airstrip
Finding dung
Finding dung
at Kruger Park
at Kruger Park
Kruger National Park
photo by: tersia