Tuesday, April 27, 2010

KNP Day 5 – Punda Maria, Thulamela

10 April 2010

From my research online, I thought the Thulamela tour started at 9am. As it turned out when we checked in, the tour started at 6am! I was not popular!

We were at the reception area by 5.45am, as instructed by reception! The guide arrived at about 6.05am and said they were still waiting for the other guide, whose truck was used on the tour. He arrived at about 6.20am. Again – I was not popular!

It was just Brian and I on the tour, which was really good – we got quite personal attention. We left and took the following roads to get to the Thulamela sight: H13-2 to S60 – H1-8 to S64. I realise that the staff are allowed to travel faster than regular visitors, but it doesn’t make for a comfortable ride in an open air Landover to be travelling at 60km/h! We arrived at the sight at about 7.30am. There are very crude long drop toilets before you start the walk up. The first one I went to – as I opened the toilet seat a cloud of mosquitoes flew up – I was not prepared to use that loo, as I hadn’t put citronella on my bum! I used the “men’s” as their toilet seat had not been closed!

The walk up to the top of the hill probably took about 45 mins. It’s a beautiful climb, but we didn’t have many sightings of game – a few waterbuck and kudu, that’s all. When you get to the top you are briefed on the history of the place and the structures your are about to see. The baobab that you sit on while they talk to you is about 3000 years old! That just blew me away!!

The sight itself is very interesting – the graves of the 2 excavated, but returned, skeletons, the reconstructed walls, the sharpening stones, the artefacts. It’s all explained and intriguing. The view was what really got me! It’s just such a spectacular location! After about another 45 mins we headed back down to the vehicle. As we were leaving I asked if it was possible for us to go to Crook’s Corner. As it was just the 2 of us, I think it was a bit easier to convince the guides.We have a beautiful drive along the Levhuvu River valley to Crook’s Corner, which was completely in flood. Even the guide was surprised at the amount of water! We had some time to enjoy the view. On our way back we stopped at the Pafuri Border post which was good to have seen, but nothing really special. Although I did have an interesting frog on the window in the ladies bathroom.

We then went back to Punda Maria and were back at the camp by 9.30am. All in all a worth while trip.

We saw: Impala, Kudu, waterbuck, Nyala, Baboon, Zebra, Warthog, Long-tailed Starling, Batleur Eagle, Elephant, Buffalo, Crested Guinea fowl.

We decided that a nap was in order and we both slept for about 2 hours!

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