04 June 2011

OUR HOLIDAY by Liesl Schmidt
.{... my niece Liesl Schmidt, has such an entertaining way of putting simple things into words. Here is an account of their latest holiday at Kruger Park ...}
When you’ve spent so many hours driving at 25kms per hour searching for “the-lessor-spotted-spotted-leopard” it really is difficult to stop searching for “the-lessor-spotted-spotted-leopard” even if you’re driving on beach sand in Macaneta….
*sigh* We were so CONVINCED we were going to see a leopard in the Kruger National Park!!!! ……………..But alas! No leopard  We were eating left-over braai wors at 9:15am and the whole leopard-thing became the topic of every conversation, “Gee vir die luiperd ‘n stukkie wors hy’s honger” or when I didn’t want to open my window because “die luiperd gaan my worsie steel”….. Schtoepit luiperd wou nie uitkom nie ... By Crocodile Bridge there’s a lookout point where you can get out of your car and just as we got out of the car a HUMUNGOUS hippo snorted in the river right next to us (I didn’t however see the hippo, but it sounded really big). I nearly pee’d in my pants I got such a fright!! (Mario laughed at me, but I think it was more a nervous laugh than anything else…) We walked to the lookout point where a game-ranger was waiting for us with a 3.3-something-something rifle where we saw a buffalo across the river, a tiny little green frog and a brightly-coloured Saddle-billed Stork – awesome!
We were also privileged enough to see some of South Africa’s largest birds-of-prey and often stopped and stared in awe at the majestic looking creatures! Our favourite was the Southern Yellow-Billed Hornbill who is by far the most comical bird I have ever seen!! Spider webs were also EVERYWHERE! Especially those nasty nests that look like a back-pack full of spiderlings….eeeuuugghh²!!! At a stage we also saw a MASSIVE spiderweb and when I asked “What on earth is that spider planning on catching in such a big web?”, Mario’s response was “Its an elephant trap”. Same goes for when we saw those MASSIVE bird nests and I asked “What kind of bird lives there?” Mario’s response again “Vrieskoeie”. There’s this book that you can buy at the Kruger shops and then you can tick-off which animals you’ve seen. This is a lot of fun if you don’t have much to do (especially at 25kms p/h!). At a stage we stopped at a conglomeration of cars and were told that there were two lions lying in the grass. We saw the lions and ticked them off our list (for the fact that we only saw the right shoulder of the one and the left back toe of the other is, of course, completely beside the point). Towards the end of the day and after driving for a while not seeing anything, the silence in the car was broken by a sound which can only be described as a tornado going backwards into my mouth (I should’ve just said “NO FRIGGEN WAY!!!”, but my inaudible inhale was just as good at the time). To my left was a lioness sitting “kierts-regop” in the long grass watching two warthog with great intense. She eventually moved forward with silent-grace, then across the road and down in the long-grass with her ears back – her eyes not leaving the warthog’s delicious-looking butt for even a split-second. Eventually she charged forward with meaning, but the warthogs sped off like grease-lightnin’ – with their little antennas in the air! She didn’t catch one (thank goodness!) and then she just lost interest. Maybe the warthog-steak didn’t look so delicious from up close. It was thrilling to see!! Other amazing sights were two big elephants with a baby (more like a juvenile) right next to the road, a fat-and-shiny hippo out of the water grazing, two tortoises, a pofadder, a rhino crossing the road in front of us (got a nice video-clip of that),… mmm what else…... OH OH OH and then the one time it was already dark and as we approached the gate we got stuck in a herd of buffalo crossing the road!! As far as you looked to your right and left there were just these big, black, moving blobs with big horns. I was petrified! I got a nice eerie pic of the one buffalo! Back at Marloth Park where we stayed we got a visit from the Warthog family every day. I also got a nice video clip of Mario feeding them and getting a fright when momma demanded more bread (you are not allowed to feed them, so if any of you tell on us I will deny it!!). The whole monkey-clan also came past the one day and they just took over!! The one got hold of my nose-spray and started sucking it (come to think of it, I better chuck that bottle now…), and we also had to fish out Mario’s torch in the bushes…. Naughty little buggers! My mail is getting a bit long now, so I’ll try to wrap it up. Here follows the short sequel to our previous Macaneta-trip-of-horrors: Everything went smoothly at the border, but the minute we entered the Marracuene main street we were spotted. You know, when we enter Mozambique our car turns a bright red colour and it has a flashing sign that says “Rich White South Africans”. It also has that ice-cream van tune playing to make us even more visible for cops. So needless to say we were pulled over. The reason being: of the SEVEN break lights we have at the back, the two on the left weren’t working, and for the fact that we still have FIVE working break lights are totally irrelevant. So we were told to make a u-turn and “follow” them to the commando head-quarters 13 kms back. *sigh* WHATEVER. We drove straight to “make a u-turn” and then just carried on driving. And, no, we weren’t locked up for defying the law we are safely back in Joburg (duh, there are no internet facilities in jail otherwise you would not be reading this mail right now!!). However, on the way back about 700m before the border we got pulled over again for….. speeding. Apparently they have cameras now. Dammit! The fine was Mt 1000 and we only had Mt870 on us, so we had to drive to the border; draw money; drive back….*sigh* what a schlep! Update on Macaneta: WE HAVE A TOILET!! WOOP-WOOP!!! We spent the whole weekend painting, drilling holes and digging the drain. Our hard work has paid off, we can safely pee without mosquitoes biting our bum.  Awesome! When we go again in June we will then finish the shower. PS: I also refuse to attach ANY pics of Macaneta. If you want to see it, you would have to come in person. Ok, I think that’s it for now.

Thanks for stopping by. Me and Conroy are flying to Durban on Friday for {Doing Life's} Kloof Scrap Day I am presenting on Saturday (28 May) and Conroy's first Comrades on Sunday (29 May). A big thank you to Michelle Ramsay who will once again assist me at the Scrap Day as well as spending Comrades day with me following Conroy en route from Durban to Pietermaritzburg. Its an early rise on Sunday as we will probably leave Kloof just after 3am on Sunday.


  1. A very humourous account and what stunning pictures. She should definetly write a book

  2. Meant to say the scrap day was awesome and it was a pleasure to again be helping you and being with you to share Conroy's success at finishing the Comrades Marathon.

  3. girl..you tell the most amazing life stories..and your photos tell so much! ok...that's funny about the toilet...and no more mosquitoes biting your bum! too funny!

  4. Oh my this is the funniest account of a trip to Kruger (or any Park for that matter) All of us who love going to the bush and hoping to see the elusive leopard or wild dogs can just picture these scenes. Early Aug2011 Bruce & I sat on our butts in a car for 54 hours(4days_6.15am to 6.pm) driving the Kruger and never got further than Skukuza from the Malalane gate.Saw 2 lepoards near Ber-en_dal camp but like Liesel I have just a half metre view of a spotted tail in the long grass_ gonna blow up that pic huge. Love your tale Liesel.. do you write for a living, if not, you should. Do you blog?


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