Pilanesberg National Park

It’s a long time since my last update here. However, my journey didn’t stopped, but leaded me further west. At the time i got near to Pilanesberg National Park, i thought it’s worth a visit.

Pilanesberg National Park is roughly three hours drive from Johannesburg. Situated on an ancient vulcanic area, it shows a distinct landscape with many hills, valleys and small lakes and ponds. Although the wildlife is not dense as in other national parks, it has a superb birdlife and the stunning landscape offers beautiful viewpoints.

So, i took my time for birdwatching, explored different corners in the park and climbed up the hills for splendid views. I did not encounter many other people here, except that truck got stopped by a white rhino. You can guess who got the right of way.

After a long, peaceful day in the park i still didn’t get enough from the landscape. That leaded me to another idea, together with a young lady i just met outside the park. A plan to combine her request with my fascination for the landscape in the park started to build up. But that’s another story will be told in my next post. Keep tuned!

Hike in Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary/Eswatini

The sun shines trough the green canopy of the trees in my camp. It’s better weather than predicted. With the morning coffee i decided to go for a hike in the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary. This became almost a routine when in Eswatini. The view from Mount Nyonyane is just great and opens the land in direction of Manzini. The West is overlooking the green mountains of Eswatini.

I finished my coffee next to the yellow python from the ‚Legend backpackers hostel‘ and got even a feathered guest on the veranda. More wildlife is waiting for me in the Sanctuary. That’s something great in that park, one can hike trough free roaming wildlife. No dangerous predators around, except the crocodiles in water and snakes in the bush.

Already after i passed the entrance gate, impalas, kudus and other antelopes blocking my way and gazing at me. Different species of birds singing from the trees or hidden in the bush. Just the hippos and crocodiles dived under water and not wanted to be seen this time.

At the main camp i learned the way isn’t in good condition due the heavy rain in the past days. They recommended to me to drive up to the side of the mountain and hike along the ridge. This is also a shorter walk, since there’s a chance of more rain in the afternoon.

A steep, earthen road trough dense forest brings me up to the ridge. Not without to get stopped from some workers, who just freed the road from big fallen rocks. They warned me from deep ruts in the road up, but the Land Rover took it with ease.

The view was splendid on my hike along the ridge to the top of Mount Nyonyane, also known as the „Execution Rock“. In the past, so i’m told, the condemned were sent up to trow themselves from that rock to death. Today there’s no dark thought about it, but enjoying once more the beautiful view.

On the top i took a rest and watched a bird flying over the hilly landscape. Sailing along like a bird, how wonderful would it be, i thought. Then i remember the can of Red Bull i carried in my backpack. I grabbed it and took a good sip of it. Gives you wings, says the slogan, and as i finished it, i stood at the edge and flew towards the lake underneath me…

Eventually i stopped dreaming, opened my eyes and noticed clouds coming up. Time to get back to my car and leave the sanctuary. A look back to the mountain shows dark clouds, but i was already on my way to a nice espresso, and later a good pizza, at Pizza Vesuvio next to my camp.

Murchison Falls National Park

The tremendous costs to visit the Murchison Falls National Park on my own was doubting me to visit the park. But then i got the offer to take a local car with driver to enter the park cheaper. At least to have a glimpse on the spot where Ernest Hemingway crashed with his plane, survived and got picked up by a tourist boat. To be close where Audrey Hepburn was staying and acting for the „African Queen“. Seeing the ruins of one of the residences of Idi Amin, the cruel dictator of prior days. But yes, also the wildlife, although i kept my expectations low. And there is still the waterfalls, after which the park is named.

Driving trough a huge, dense forest with big families of baboons and monkeys, we heading towards the Victoria Nile. Many colorful kingfisher birds flying off when we passed by. A ferry brings us to the other side with different landscape. A savannah with high dry grass. Buffalos glancing at us, antelopes grazing, hippos chilling in the Nile while socks and other birds stalking in the water. Many animals just given birth and keep their babies closely. On the way back we stopped by the great falls. Tons of water squeezed in a narrow valley, fall over several cliffs with big spray and get quite again on the way to Lake Albert. At end of the day, i have to admit it was worth the visit.

Rwanda – Nyungwe Forest

A dense jungle on both side of the road. A few times a steep slope gives the view free over the green, lush forest. Morning mist crawls up. Despite my early start this morning, i was too late for the chimpanzee tracking. A canopy walk would be an option, but too pricey. I decided to go for a guided hike instead. With only my guide, i walked trough the huge green. He explained about the plants, spotted some smaller animals, as frogs, birds and also mountain monkeys. A bat flew off when we approached its hide too close and some squirrel crossing in high speed our path. Not quite an adventure, but nice hike after cities and long road drives.

Tsavo West National Park

Surprised by the atmosphere, i didn’t regret to get up so early to reach the park entrance. Mist floats over a hilly area, birds chirping in the bush and the old volcanos looks promising. I’ve hardly seen any other vehicles in the park, but got on very remote tracks on top of volcano or in deep bushland. Stunning views and the loneliness of the place will keep in my memories. Most impressive was the last hour, actually on my way out of Tsavo West. A bit disappointed not having enough time to spot black rhinos in the rhino sanctuary, i got a clear view on a leopard, but missed to take a photo. Another leopard crossed my way around 20km further. This time i had my camera quickly on hands. Unfortunately, the light was already dimmed and my camera setting didn’t allowed a clear shot. It’s unbelievable that i got sight of a third leopard this day. It was next to the road, roaming slowly next to my Land Rover and allowed me to taking series of pictures of it. Sometimes the luck don’t come once, but trice 🙂

Amboseli National Park

On foot of the highest mountain in Africa is a pretty small national park. Its inhabitants are not very special to someone who traveled other parks in Africa, nor is the vegetation extraordinary in compare of rest of Kenya. But the most unique and breathtaking atmosphere of the park comes not from inside the park. It’s not even inside the country. The majestic Mount Kilimanjaro, which stands on Tanzanian side, rules over the plains of Amboseli park.

Early morning, before sunrise, already a small cloud was over the „Kili“. Soon as i recognized the shape of the mountain, i started to make photos of it. And kept photographing till it disappeared behind thick clouds.

At afternoon, and many wildlife pictures later, the clouds lifted on the mountain and revealed a snowcapped top. The clouds remained till the night fell over the landscape. But next morning, the most beautiful view of Kilimanjaro my eyes have ever caught, let me stunned.

Fun Group Hiking At Mt.Longonot

Mount Longonot a quite volcano about two hours drive out of Nairobi, is the destination for a group of friends for a hike. I got invited and joined it with pleasure. Too long time i didn’t hike, and with that funny, open minded and nice people it’s pure pleasure too.

There’s many photos in purpose of giving the people of the group the chance to see them and download it. Have fun along the „photo story“  …and many thanks for the group letting me join in for that day!

Etosha Nationalpark

A nationalpark is not a zoo. The opportunity to see wildlife in their natural habitat comes not with a guarantee. Only time and luck (and some knowledge about habits of animals) let you observe most of these fascinating creatures. Because we planned two days in the park only, i kept the expectations low. But it wasn’t necessary. Already at the first waterhole many animals gathered for drinking. Later we’ve seen not only a lion in distance but twice a pack of lions laying around lazy or watching us just next to the road in the bush. My parents were amazed. Next to giraffes, different kind of antelopes, birds, jackals,  warthogs, elephant bulls and huge herds of zebras, we spot twice the very rare black rhinos. To see them so close amazed now me. After the overpriced and rather disappointing group tour in Serengeti/Ngorogoro Parks few weeks earlier, Etosha Park was a short but incredible experience again.