Monday, January 04, 2010

Kristmas in Kruger - a trip report by Ali G

Greetings all, from suburban Joburg, where Mrs Blog and I are currently packing before jetting off tomorrow to Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. We're leaving our new(ish) 1997 Land Rover Broomas with his godparents here in South Africa and will be having a brief and no doubt tearful reunion with our Series III Land Rover, Tonka, when we get to Zim.

Mrs B has me hard at work doing chores, so I have no time to blog. Instead, I've enlised the help of Ali G, who has compiled a trip report on his recent visit to the Kruger National Park. Take it away, Ali...

The problem with being asked to do this and show some of the photos taken is that with my new DSLR I ended up taking some 700 + photos! Got a bit click-happy and a lot of it is crap but did get some nice ones I think. Was given lessons by TP on how to use it properly instead of leaving the camera setting on ‘auto’ which I admit [to my complete shame] is the setting I’ve used on every camera I’ve ever owned before now.

Sorting through the good ones it was hard to determine which few would give a reasonable idea of the just fantastic 2 weeks we spent with Parks & Wildlife [Tony & Nicola] at the various bush camps within Kruger National Park.

Think we ended up seeing just about EVERYTHING except the elusive cheetah and it was all terrific.

In retrospect the highlight of the trip was coming across a pack of 18 wild dogs trotting along the road for some 20 minutes or so. This pic is my favourite I think

Next one was this ‘zeberaffe’ grazing with his mom & dad…

Then there was Mr Giraffe behind the tree who seemed to be saying… ‘If you don’t mind.. a bit of privacy please’!

We also came across this guy, a yellow billed stork, who was fishing off a bridge we were crossing. He had his beak stuck down a crack in the bridge into the running water waiting for a fish to swim into his beak. Wasn’t fazed by us at all pulling up right next to him.

Our last week over Christmas was spent at Shimuwini bush camp on the river. Christmas day TP of course cooked his famous chook in a box with beer can inserted up its rear end while the ladies did a scrumptious roast pork in the house oven . .

My job was to peel the potatoes and drink beer and then get some firewood for the ‘brai’ so next pic is just before I cut down this tree for the barbie wood

Lunch was great and we spent the afternoon lounging with drinks in hand looking out over the river wondering what the poor people of the world were doing but not really caring .

Last pic here is of mother Blog [Lady Chatterley] with drinky in hand holding up a tree later in the afternoon with river & hippos in the background.


Karen Bessey Pease said...

Outstanding, Ali g! I'm so glad you and Lady C/Mother B had a wonderful trip. And you're right, that is a fantastic (and heart-warming) photo of the wild dogs!

I am particularly impressed with your lumberjacking skills, and Lady C looks very elegant and at home as she holds up the tree on the riverbank. (Had you taken a swing at that one with your trusty ax, too?)

I do have a question. (Okay, a more serious one...) The 'lawn' in that photo looks manicured or at least, trimmed. Is it maintained by park service personnel, kept short by grazing animals, or does it simply only grow to a certain height and then stop?

I have oh-so-many more questions, but I'll start with an easy one. You're probably still suffering from jet lag, after all.

Glad the trip was great, and welcome home, Ali g. You were missed.

Matahari2 said...

Ali G, does this mean some Arab in the blood or related to a famous boxer? Anyway the trip sounds fantastic. Nice photos. The "poor" and envious people are unfortunately grinding away in Queensland. I am not sure whether the tree is holding up Mother Blog or vice versa. Whatever good to see they both looking healthy. Hope we can catch up soon.

LouizeZ said...

I have just read Ali G's blog and enjoyed it immensely. Great photos, I am extremely jealous and my restless spirit is jumping up and down, screaming at me to get my butt to Africa right now.

Highlight of my day yesterday, a fox ran across the road in front of me. Can't compete with wild dogs. Take care.

Gina Willman said...

What a boring holiday you had ! NoT. Zane and Chloe, and i got some good giggles reading the animal captions - we especially liked the giraffe asking for privacy. Privacy being something we are always struggling with in our tiny house. For whatever reason the word privacy gives Zane unstoppabble giggling! We were also fascinated by the Zebraffe! We signed up to receive Tonys blog email so we hope we get to read more by Ali G.

JR said...

Eeeesh...missed the Parks' by thaaaat much!!

I am flying into Mr O.R. Tambo's Airport on the 7th of Jan with a 7 hr layover before flying onto Maputo.

We could have combed the bookshops together.

Safe travelling.

JR said...

Oh...and sorry Ali G...great blog & great photos.

twosheilasandadog said...

Good heavens, the usual quality of prose and literary skills on this blog has plummeted very early into 2010- Ali G has a long way to go before HIS first novel.

( that the sort of comment you were after Grahame, or did I misread your email? )

Love from two sheilas and a dog in Mudgee xxx

Karen Bessey Pease said...


I think you've met your match, Ali g! I LIKE these two ladies and their dog!

Aw, it's okay! They were just kidding!


ali g said...

Karen..the 'lawn' was looked after by the 'service staff' We sat and watched one pushing his mower along in his sandals. What was intriguing was that the rear shoot on the mower was open showering his legs with the grass, sticks and debris seemingly without any bother. Was interesting watching him and we saluted him each pass from our deck chairs by raising our drinks and nodding encouragement.
Matahar2.. Arab blood and closest to boxing ever been is from your missus who used to punch arms when telling drunken stories bless her heart..The 'Ali' g metamorphosed from 'Unca g' that the kiddies at the local school used to call me when I hung about offering them lollies...
Lady Chatterley still remembers the first time she saw you in your 'Kiap' uniform up there in the PNG highlands...
Hi to LouizeZ over there in Maryland USA. you've gotta do it now [go to Africa] foxes are OK but even got them here at Varykino eating our geese [sots that they are]..hi to your hubby and 4 beautiful daughters
Hi to Gina over there in beautiful Hawaii. thanks for your comment. great that you've signed up for the newsletter. You'll soon have to follow in your little sisters footsteps and do the 'Africa' experience as well!
Thanks JR for your 'ps' Thought of you flying out of 'Mogadishu' That's probably one place that's nicer to fly out of than into these days.
And Susan my favourite cousin. noted your comment on the previous blog. Susan is so much like me . we're the same age and get easily confused.
Thanks twosheilasandadog agreed my prose is crap but the year has just begun and as you live just down the road about time for more drinkies?
Karen ...these girls are me they never spill their drinks ..ever..

Karen Bessey Pease said...

My grandfather once mowed the lawn in his sandals... and then there were eight little piggies gone to market.

My teens were impressed that Lady Chatterly was standing so near to hippos, and she looked so unafraid! (Was that a drink in her hand? That might explain it.) They were in awe... I think because I'd just read them the story of that poor circus dwarf who accidentally bounced sideways from his trampoline and went right into the yawning hippo's mouth. What a way to go...

(Am I SICK because I STILL laugh when I think about that? Hehehe. Of all the ways to meet your demise...danged trampolines!)

Loving the pics! Are you gonna give us any more? (Did you get a photo of an ant hill? Perhaps friend 'P' would appreciate that...)

Timepilot said...

Great trip report Ali G.

KNP must have been spectacular with the rains turning everything green!

You'd need a bit more than an axe for THAT baobab tree - it's a monster, not the biggest I've ever stood next too but it comes pretty close. (and as an aside - they burn quicker than paper :) )

You should have got one of those nice leadwoods - much better for a braai LOL

Glad you enjoyed the trip - it's a spectacular place to visit!

ali g said...

Ah Karen..after 4 chardonnays lady C was feeling quite friendly towards the hippos..
Actually between her and the river [see the 2 posts?] there is an electrified fence that'd keep even the guys from Jurassic Park out. There was also Mr Crocodile in the background of that picture [see the black spot in the river on the LHS?] He kept an eye on everything going on and fully expected to hear him going 'tick tock'
As it was the fence mainly served to keep Lady C from going down and patting the hippos.

Timepilot..yep was absolutely brilliant green. That baobab was a big guy. wondered why he burned up so quick on the I know..will go for the leadwood next time for sure. Was interesting at the Kruger gate when entering they asked to look in the boot of the car.. was intrigued and asked to be told looking for must be a problem there in that regard either that or he thought I looked a bit suspicious.

twosheilasandadog said...

....only kidding. Looking forward to drinks and more photos when the jet lag has worn off. xx

Timepilot said...

Not suprising Ali G, they would either be checking for firearms or axes - no chopping of trees in the KNP. :)

They are pretty serious about it so you're expected only to purchase the braai bags!

Muriel said...

Fab photos, Ali G, especially the Wild Dogs one (my favourite animals). Great guest blog - hope to read more from you soon.

Trin said...

Great blog Ali G - photos included. Glad you and Mrs C had a great time. Thanks Timepilot for advising what the tree was - that was my first question - what an amazing specimen.

I always wondered where Ali G originated - the lollies story says it all!!

Great dog photo, although my favourite is the zeberaffe - cute - and the one of TP doing his chicken trick - always wondered whether it was just twisted humour.

Hope to see some more guest bloggnig while TP out of range.

Christine said...

Lovely to read of your adventures Ali G, with excellent photo's and commentary no less. Love to Mother Blog as well please. Christine H

ali g said...

twoshielasandadog ..jet lag gone just got to get rid of the dvt now..still that shouldn't get in the way of drinkies
Bought plenty of brai wood at R10 a bag Timepilot .had to after they took away my chain saw..
Hi Muriel..thanks for your comment..hope you're recovering from your bad back ordeal. Bought a 'First Field Guide to Common Birds of Southern Afica' when at Skukuza..lo & behold back to camp and said to Parks. 'hey this is written by Muriel!' about that! great book well done. check Muriel's blog out at
Hi Trin..yep the chicken in the box is fair dinkum true. Keen SA observers may note that the box used in the picture is an 'Amarula' an indication of how we spent most afternoons..amarula on ice is very very nice.
Dear Christine from down in Tassie.used to play crocodiles with Christine at 'Jais Arben' resort in Madang PNG way back in the dark ages when we were young...Ah..memories!

ali g said...

oops just so there's no confusion..lady Chatterley played crocodiles with Christine as well phew!..

dozycow said...

Ali g: what a great 'report' & such wonderful photos!
I just love the wild dogs & the 'zeberaffe' is gorgeous. And that tree of yours is truly magnificent!!
I must confess to only using the auto setting on my camera too as I'm not technically adept (and the instruction manual was missing).

PS: I do hope you put the contents of the Amarula box to good use first before inserting the chicken....

Karen Bessey Pease said...

Okay, I've gotta know what an 'amarula box' is. Too afraid of using it incorrectly, as there are so many phrases I've used that have gotten me in trouble Down Under. And what would the 'contents' be, and...could they be used UNwisely?

dozycow said...

Hey Karen !

An "Amarula Box" contins bottles of Amarula Cream - served chilled over ice it is absolutely delicious & more'ish, however it would be unwise to imbibe too many of them in one go as this could result in a severe case of "self-infliction".......

Karen Bessey Pease said...

Do you also have the chicken over ice? And what is 'playing crocodiles'?

It's like I'm from another hemisphere or something...

Ali g? What was your absolute favorite thing that you did while in Africa? (Excepting chickens in boxes.)

rhodie-jeff said...

Well done with the ali-g blog spot! You'll be pushing TP off his perch. Tony seems to have put on weight since I last checked his blog - did he eat the chook or the tinny? And what happened to the Mugambo safari suit? Andddd! I've sussed out the title for his next book! Him playing the main part in the movie spin-off called 'Tarzan Swims Across the Desert'. Made a movie myself; featuring my ex. called 'You stole my wife you horse thief'!
better go now and drink some poor-man's Amarula. ps.tried snow balls again. Wife took me to the doctor's this morning. Still walking a bit funny.
Superb blog effort, my best to all for the New Year.

ali g said...

Thanks dozy for your me..the amarula box's contents were well disposed of in an appropriate manner..regretably cases of self infliction did occur.

Karen..playing crocodiles is a game that big people play in the water after having drinkies...
Favourite thing?... relaxing on the veranda after a morning of animal spotting, drink in hand, watching the hippos and crocs cruising in the river..wasn't too aweful..not at all

Rhodie-Jeff..glad to see you back Jeff!
Jeff is currently snowed in at his home in England with a bunch of sheep during the big freeze over's a growing worry as they're slowly running out of things to say to each other although, having said that, I understand that the local vicar has been lending a hand in that regard..
At the moment, Jeff is doing a final edit on his first book 'Sons of Africa' prior to its publication.
I'm presently reading the first 16 chapters on the internet at ''... worth looking at so go to the site and type the book's name in the search bar to access.
Oh and readers..Snowball isn't the name of one of Jeff's sheep so dont worry about that..[well at least I don't think it is..]

Flea said...

Well done Ali G, love your pictures

Kaye Sharma said...

Fabulous photographs and indeed an exciting trip for even viewers like me, who love the wilds ! I had my feast of safaris in Botswana, and the Kruger too . I enjoyed your post very much.
Thanx kaye.

ali g said...

Thanks flea for your words. flea is a lady who knows her Africa well!
And Kaye, thank you too. Just checked out Kaye's blogsite and he's just done a review of Jeffery Archer's 'Paths to Glory'
Such a coincidence as Lady Chatterley & I have both just finished reading it and were discussing it this afternoon.

Tony is currently still out of internet range but hopefully he will be able to tell you all of his latest adventures as soon as he picks up an internet signal and puts down his can of beer.

Anonymous said...

Knowing TP he'll have a little rubber hose leading from his beer can to his mouth and wont need to put it aside. It's referred to as multi-tasking in author's circles

Anonymous said...

Great posting