Beyond the five – other Kruger wildlife

Today’s game drives showed us some more of the diversity that is Kruger National Park. Estien, our guide, started by driving down south to see a pack of wild African dogs. He found them.

  
We also found a mother hyena and pup:

  
Impala are plentiful in the Park and and as graceful as ballerinas:

  
And let’s not forget the iconic giraffe:

  
Finally is the kuda with its amazing pink ears:

  
That’s enough for tonight. Time to go to bed in preparation for the five am wake-up call.

Elephants passing by

After a late breakfast, we decided to skip lunch and by noon were lounging by the pool in little lodge that is part of Jocks Concession adjacent to Kruger National Park, South Africa.

David pointed out an elephant coming towards us down the sandy dry river bed. As we lay still, a herd of eleven emerged. I had been uploading yesterday’s blog on my iPad so hastily attempted to capture this special moment.

  
In this photo is a large elephant followed by a baby with mother. Elephant herds are apparently matriarchal, so the leader may also be female.

Johannesburg Airport enroute for Kruger

Our flight arrived at 4:15am and most services were closed. We’ve found our on-flight details but the check-in desk didn’t open till 6:30am. We had a second breakfast at the airport around 7am with a another couple who were also on their way to Kruger. Breakfast on the plane had been served  around 2am South African time. The airport wifi doesn’t include enough free data to enable me to upload the phot, so this will be posted retrospectively. Waiting.

  
 

Signing off at the end of a long day

The Great Ocean Rode is another great road journey and on a fine morning offers the beauty of limestone stacks, jewelled ocean and foaming waves.
   
 

London Bridge (above) may no longer be connected to the mainland but is a handsome view.

Further along, Melba Gully is a shady rainforest of towering beeches where tree ferns flaunt their feathery skirts and brilliant orange bracket fungus winks from below tree trunks. Such contrast of light and dark is fiendishly difficult to capture on camera.

   
 

As we leave Queenscliff, we bid adieu to the boats in the marina and sail into the sunset until the next trip.

   
 

Homeward bound

  
Last February while in Mount Gambier we enjoyed coffee and delicious cakes at Cafe Metro. We also stocked up on comfortable clothes at reasonable price at the Rivers outlet.

So we left Robe this morning and decided to revisit Mount Gambier and both these businesses. We weren’t disappointed. After coffee and yummy Sicilian cartocci (cannoli filled with orange flavoured custard) at Metro, we did a lightning shop at Rivers and are fitted out for the end of winter.

By lunchtime we crossed the state border and stopped at Bird Bath roadside rest area, Dartmoor, which has a natural spring. It was a long-settled area with streets lined with wild daffodils and an old rail line.

  
We are overnighting at the coastal town of Warrnambool, where we have enjoyed a delicious dinner at Old Clovelly restaurant and a sound and light reenactment of the shipwreck of the sailing ship Loch Ard. Cameras were banned from the Shipwreck show, but here’s the fish with risotto and rocket salad. David had chicken with rice cauliflower and bok choy.

  

Winter beach combing near Robe

  
South of Robe is an ocean beach with wild waves.

  

 As the waves crash and spray on the rocky outcrops, the receding tide throws up treasures from the ocean: kelp, plastic trash broken and distorted, bottles encrusted with cockles, feathers, driftwood.

  
  
As we basked in the noontime glare, we noticed some translucent opaline shapes that may be shark eggs?

  
Behind the dunes is a freshwater lake where hoary-headed grebes, black swans and musk ducks feast on the underwater grasses.

  
  
It’s a soothing contrast to the charged energy of the ocean waves.

Coorong walk after rain

  
The Coorong is a system of lakes behind the dunes in the southeast of South Australia. It includes samphire swampland and melaleuca. This morning, we pulled into the Coorong National Park at Chinamen’s Well, which we had visited six weeks ago coming over from Victoria. Suddenly the rain stopped and we leapt outside to tackle a nearby walk: the Nakun Kangun, which runs for 27km along the Coorong.

  
Some of the walk was through melaleuca forest (see above), past samphire lakes.

  
There were delicate orchids if you looked carefully.

  
Correa:

  

We continued to Kingston SE, which has a cool historic lighthouse.

  
Finally, we are in Robe, where we have caught up with family in the first house we have been in for nearly seven weeks.

Windswept Wikicamp inspiration 

  
After a cheery roadside coffee break opposite a fertile field of some vegetable north of Adelaide, we took turns driving with me steering the ‘rig’ south to just outside Adelaide and David taking over for the tricky urban section through the suburbs of a capital city.

  
This meant a late lunch of packet soup and cheese toastie on a side road, near Murray Bridge. The sky looked ominous (see above) and we thought we’d better settle into a sheltered campsite soon.

Using the useful app Wikicamps, we located an old alignment and driving through high winds and rain, finally nestled in behind a large sand dune. It provides shelter from the traffic noise but the dune is in the leeward side, so we still are buffeted by wind. 

  
Our gas fridge wouldn’t stay alight, so Dave has rigged up a fix using a canvas cover he purchased to keep heat (!) off the back of the fridge.

  
Putting on my raincoat, I couldn’t resist playing with the creative function on my compact camera to get some interesting effects: windswept tree, our lonely campsite, a child’s abandoned Croc.

  
  
The rain has now abated and a herd of cows is staring dumbfounded at us. So it’s not as lonely after all. A camper’s life is full of surprises.