Day 3 - 2 Sept 2013
Monday morning saw us up and about bright and early and our first stop was TrenTyre. Here the young saleman was adamant that they cannot plug the tyre and was ready to sell me a replacement for a mere R2260.00. My reply was that we needed to remove the tyre from the rim anyway and that we should check to see what the damage looks like on the inside before we make any hasty (costly) decisions. On the lift.. Once the tyre was off the rim it was clear that although it was a pretty big hole, it would be possible to plug it with a big mushroom plug. A guy called Lappies came over, checked it all out and agreed that the tyre was still usable. Luckily I never drove it "on the rim" so no sidewall damage occurred. I told them to go ahead, and 30 minutes later, and R125 poorer we were on our way again. Included in the R125 was 4 spare mushroom plugs for future use. By now we were quite gatvol of driving up and down the main road of Postmasburg, and I think the locals were getting gatvol of us too. From Postmasburg it was tar road all the way past Kathu and Hotazel. We breezed thru these towns, had a quick look around and before long we were back on the dirt roads. The weather was getting nice and warm as well. Still holding out.. Cowboy Country.... with air guns.. When we arrived at Cullinan, there was nobody home. We drove to the camp site, and found it open. There was cellphone reception so I called the owner of the farm, who said they were on their way somewhere but she would send somebody to sort us out. We had the entire place to ourselves. We quickly set up camp and relaxed in the warm afternoon sun. Campsite at Cullinan Guest Farm Die Boskantoor Ablutions Stook die donkie.. One of the bungalows has a nice lapa so we decided that we'll have a braai there, as there was light and a washing-up basin. Relaxing in the lapa Sunset... Lights out on another day on the road... tomorrow we hit the border and lion country... Day 4 - 3 Sept 2013 We woke up packed all our stuff and headed out for the border. The crossing was painless and quick and before we knew it we were driving on tar again. We drove to Tsabong, where we filled up with 500ppm diesel. I also filled the 2 jerries on the roof, just as a precaution. Last minute shopping which included 2 bags of charcoal brickets (just in case we needed some coals) and a quick look-see if Barclays Bank would allow me to withdraw Pulas with my bank card. No problems, we were sorted! The people in Tsabong were friendly and helpful, and a lot of them spoke Afrikaans as well. We took the Mabuasehube turn-off in town, and I realised that somehow I erased the T4A BW map from the GPS the night before. At the time it wasnt a real problem, but after a while we noticed that the road was not very well sign posted, so out came the laptop and I loaded the correct mapsets. The dirt road was quite good for about 50km, and then it turned into a swingy, bumpy, rutted sand track which had to be driven at speeds of slower than 30km/h for stretches. The sand was incredibly soft and heavy and even on deflated tyres I sometimes had to go down to 3rd gear to keep the whole rig going. Thank goodness I wasnt towing a trailer. Checking into Mabuasehube was a very quick affair, and before we know it we were on the sand track on our way to Mapaya Pan. We arrived at our campsite and set up camp. We had one of the prime spots. Mpaya-1, where the lions camp. Of course we were pretty much on edge, so we tried to secure the camp as much as we could. Needless to say, we made dinner, showered, and got ready for bed before the sun set below the horizon. The we nervously sat around watching a brown hiena trundling past our fire about 10 meters away. At about 20h00 we were in the RTT listeneing to the night noises. Nothing much happened that night, it was peaceful and quiet... and we had a good night's sleep... TBC... Day 5 - 4 Sept 2013 The day breaks bright and sunny, and we have our first visitor. Our bookings were a bit jumbled, so we had to move camp today to Mabuasehube Pan (Mabua 4). Also we realised that the charcoal makes a crappy fire, and we needed to go collect some firewood. So we had a busy day ahead of us, but luckily the distances are short. As we near Mabua Pan we came across this poor soul. Looks like he has been abandoned for a few days already. We pitched our camp at the Mabua campsite, and unloaded some of the "heavy" stuff and set off towards the entrance gate to collect firewood outside the park. On our way around Mabua Pan we came across a couple in a Pajero who told us of a group of lions lying under the trees on the Khiding Pan road. Not on our way, but we decided to make the detour anyway. We were not disappointed!! This is what we came for!! Absolutely awesome, and the photos (and my crappy photographic skills) dont do them justice!! After collecting a sizable amount of firewood on a cutline about 2km outside the park we stopped off at the East Gate camp for a piepie break. They have running water and flush loo's here. The solar geiser was designed by the same guy who designed the fly-overs in Cape Town. The pipes don't quite meet up!!.. Back at our campsite we lounged around, relaxed a little and in the afternoon we baked some bread. After dinner, nice fresh bread and a braai, it was lights out time again. We were not as nervous here as we were at Mpaya, because all our research showed that lion movement at Mabua was very limited. Nonetheless we were ever vigilant and shortly after dark we looked up the safety of our RTT. So far we were having a ball! Mabuasehube did not disappoint, we saw our first lions, and we are settling into the whole camping routine nicely.