abundant rhino dung
something i forgot to mention in the last post is that we found out about a hour outside pretoria that our fiat palio had no a/c! we just had not noticed since it was cold enough at night. blazing african summer sun was a whole other story!!! so we called the alamo peeps and told them to meet us on an exit near one of the major towns on the n1 hiway. and they complied! we were damn surprised! more of a surprise was that they showed up with an upgrade - a ford ikon. movin up in life or so we thought at the time. a couple of hrs on the trip and we find the floor mats soaking wet - and i mean puddle time. the a/c was leaking water into the car like mad! ah well, at least we were not baking!!!
also, to give u an idea of where things lie in the kruger park area, check out http://www.krugerpark.co.za/.
there's a weird currency and status system that comes into play in national/safari parks. your place in the heirarchy of things is based on the sightings that u've been blessed with. cheetah or lespard sightings make you god. impala sightings usually get u spat at. u can chat people up and ask for location tips with the info u have to barter with. if u have an elephant herd sighting, u can trade that for a rhino or giraffe+zebra. a big cat sighting is very sought out, and basically u offer it in charity if u feel like being nice to the requestor - coz what could they possibly have to give u of equal value?! turns out people come to kruger and go 2 weeks seeing only antelope, which would be sufficient to cause me to tie raw chunks of meat to the back of the car and attract the predators out!
anyway, our run from punda maria (north most camp) to letaba allowed for a couple of different paths. we took the long path along the rsa - mozambique border. dirt roads for 3 hrs, doing 30-40kph at most. the speed limit is 40kph, but u'd have to have a serious 4x4 to be able to do any higher. on one of the roads, we came across a group of 4 elephants crossing the road - tuskers, and a baby. after waiting about 20 secs and taking pics to the point of drainig the battery, we headed on. and just as i passed the point where the eli's had crossed the road, a huge head burst thru the foliage right at my window, maybe 15 ft away - the rest of the herd was still on the other side. totally shocked me, but fortunately i kept my steely wits about me, and headed on calmly for a few more feet. soiled underwear stories can be caught up on later! there were prolly another 10 elli's or so left that crossed after our close encounter. cound have gone really badly since there were a bunch of babies and the matriarchs get very defensive! but the worst of it was the lack of an extra battery readily available - i was the idiot that left the extra bat. in the trunk!
the rest of the run was not so eventful, but saw plenty of giraffe, zebra, kudu, impala. also saw lots n lots of rhino dung on the mozambique/rsa border side. but no rhino :(
more to follow - headed to dinner now