Sunday, September 7

My 100th posting, celebrating 900+ days on safari

It's taken me a while to decide how to celebrate my 100th blog posting.

First I thought to emulate a blog buddy of mine by publishing a selection from my photos that are numbered #100 (too restrictive & not many good ones).

Then I tried selecting every 100th of all the ones I've taken whilst on safari (way too many.....!!)

And finally the method that struck a nice balance between the first 2 - a selection of photos & memories of each 100th day on safari!

It's ended up being quite a lengthy posting, but it's also quite a nice outline of my guiding life for the last, almost 7, years so I hope you make it through to the end.......

100th day on safari (Spring 2008)

Most safaris that start/end in Johannesburg include a side trip along the edge of the Mpumalanga escarpment, aka The Panorama. With some tour operators this is on the first day, for others the last day and on some different tours this is done en route between Kruger and a private game reserve.

My 100th day on safari was the last day of a 5 Day Kruger "Classic" and we did the Panorama on the way back to Jo'burg.

It was springtime and the Common Sugar bush was in full flower along the mountains.....

(Clients:- Ronnie, Nina & Peggy from the USA)

200th day on safari (Mid summer 2008/09)

The first day of another 5 Day Kruger Classic marked my 200th on safari. I don't always have my camera ready on the first day but on this day I managed to capture this European Roller waiting to spot a tasty insect.

(I might add that on this particular trip I managed to get the minibus stuck in a muddy hole on a very remote road north of Letaba camp). It took me a few hours to get a ride back to camp and the tow service back to pull us out. I don't think Craig & Marcel will ever forget that little adventure in the depths of Africa - no photos thank goodness!).

300th day on safari (Late winter 2009)

Slender mongoose

The south west section of Kruger is where I spent my 300th day on safari with Lucia and Andrea from Italy.

We had some great sightings but the highlights were the Slender Mongoose posing (very unusual) for us on the road and the small elephant herd that came to drink right next to the bird hide at Lake Panic.

400th d.o.s. (Late summer 2010)

I was very lucky with the first safari company I worked for, in that many of the safaris I did also visited northern Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve.
My 400th day was spent doing a morning game drive in Kruger National Park and riding along as a passenger on the afternoon game drive in Sabi Sand PGR.
Martial Eagle with Monitor Lizard kill

These are two of the highlights of that day (with my clients Krikkor & Alean from Canada).
A beautiful Sabi Sand leopard

Day 500 !! (Late winter 2010)

I wish I had been counting the days at the time so I could have celebrated my half millennium on safari a little more "vigorously", but it was still a very special day - if not specifically planned that way!
Blue wildebeest

I had my brother and nephew from the UK on safari and it was such a pleasure to be able to share my passion with close family.

Nile crocodile

My first 499 days on safari were done as a full-time employee of the first safari company I worked for.
Then I went free lance.
Freelancing in 2011 was mostly as a Dive Master in Southern Mozambique - which I loved - but was not quite as fulfilling as safari work.
So early in 2012 I started seriously looking for work in Kruger again. Life is definitely not as hectic now as it was in my first 3 years as a guide so the days are not racking up quite as fast - but I am definitely having more fun!

Day 600 (Autumn 2012)

For much of 2012 the safaris I did were based in Guernsey PGR from where we did day trips into Kruger via the Orpen Gate. Although the days were long it was a great opportunity to explore and get familiar with this amazing part of Kruger.

Day 600 was the first day of a 5 Day Tour with Agata and Zbigniew from Poland. It was a stunningly beautiful, clear, sunny day on the Panorama and I had a great time with my camera........
Pilgrims Rest
Insect life in the Cloud Forest

Upstream from Lisbon Falls
Full moon over Guernsey Nature Reserve
Day 700 (Mid summer 2012/13)

By early 2013 I was spending more time back in the south of Kruger, where mid summer is hot, sticky, and lushly vibrant with colours of green, blue, grey, scarlet, yellow......

Amanda & Rachel from the USA had joined me for a quick 3 day safari and despite all the rain and thick bush we managed to find the "Big 5" in the first 2 days. So on Day 3 (my 700th) we relaxed, stopped at Lake Panic Bird Hide and drove leisurely out on Doispane Road (one of my favourite routes).....

Giant African land snail
Grey Heron

looking west towards the mountains

Day 800 (Spring 2013)

October is usually very hot and very dry, but sometimes the rains start early and then the animal sightings become very unpredictable. Day 800 was the first full day in Kruger for me and my 6 clients (Eric, Steve & Elvira from USA, and Sina, Andrea and Antonia from Germany) and we struggled to find many of the big animals but we did have some special encounters.......
White Rhino
Boomslang in roadside tree

 And finally.... Day 900 (Late winter 2014)

 And so we come to my 900th day on safari. That was only a few weeks ago and typical for this time of the year it was one day amongst many that we had great lion sightings.....
The grass is still quite long in many places this year (perhaps due to the late rains in March?) so I have not been getting very good "photographic" views of the animals from where I sit in the drivers seat of the open safari vehicle, but here are a couple of the shots I did manage to get.
(Clients:- Nerijus, Sigita, Jurgita & Steffani via Luxembourg & USA)

a rather bemused looking, young, Spotted Hyena
Wary Nyala

So that winds up what is probably one of my longest posts. Fitting I hope for the 100th one!?

It may take a bit longer to get to 200 as I am not posting quite as often as I did in the early years, but then we never really know what's going to happen tomorrow do we?

I hope you continue to tune in to read my posts and enjoy the photos. I especially thank all of you for your interest and support, especially those of you who take the time to leave comments.


Diana said...

Magic, Sue - what a lovely set of memories for us all to share. I shall never forget our time with you, we saw so much and you are so knowledgeable it was a trip never to be forgotten.
with love from us both, Diana and Simon.

Coral Wild said...

Thanks Diana. It was very special indeed to have you and Simon on safari with me. A treasured memory :)

Gaelyn said...

You know I envy your job and love to safari especially in Kruger. You've done wonderful and I thank you for sharing this story.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sue - good to be your own boss .. and then you have your amazing photos .. it's so good to be reminded of my years in South Africa ...

Congratulations on all your postings and all the many photos with descriptions ... great selection ..

Cheers and here's to happy 2014/2015 season - Hilary

Robert Standish-White said...

Well Done Cuz! It was a brave step you took, and it has paid off for you and all those you have shown the wonders of Africa. Here's to more 100's! Robert