Kristofor Mallegrom

Long term travel enthusiast entering a new phase of travel with an infant son.
Living in: Melbourne, Australia
  • Day8

    Mkuze Game Reserve

    August 2, 2012 in South Africa ⋅ 🌙 5 °C

    http://www.travelark.org/travel-blog-entry/tofor85/5/1345486199

    I write this at 6.45pm, repacking my pack, in the Zulu wilderness, awaiting a 7.30pm dinner. My notebook has been damaged, soaked with mysterious stains, yet the previous entries are still just, barely legible.

    Today was a simple, yet enjoyable day spent entirely within Mkuze. Breakfast was around 9.30AM at a Bird Hyde not too far from camp, where we sheltered from the winds with some Hippos and Pelicans resting nearby. The remainder of the day to come, would provide much more spectacular animal viewing.

    We spent 2x 2hour sessions at a Hyde constructed over a waterhole in the Mkuze wilderness. This was an ideal and spectacular hidden spot to view all sorts of wildlife coming down for a drink. Raised just a couple metres off the ground and above the pool, you would get within metres of any animals that were thirsty, that is, if you kept quiet enough (a difficult concept for many to understand apparently...). Our first viewing in the afternoon, treated us to close encounters with Zebra, Warthog, Wilderbeast and Impala, along with many exotic species of birdlife. The dusk session proved to be even better! Previous animals returned for a drink with new associates. Giraffes squatted cautiously and carefully with spreak legs, reaching their long necks down for a drink. A large warthog male slept under the hyde, and a giant white Rhino came for a drink. He literally came within two to three metres of touch, cautiously drinking, snorting and searching for the sounds of noisy lookers on. Such an exhilerating feeling, to be so close to such a strong and powerful creature.

    Squeezed between those viewings, we took a dip in the pool, which was icy cold. Watching on were a pack of curious and friendly Crested Guinea fowl, grazing nearby. Dinner was bangers and mash, the sausages being Impala meat.
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  • Day4

    Kruger National Park

    July 29, 2012 in South Africa ⋅ 🌙 6 °C

    http://www.travelark.org/travel-blog-entry/tofor85/5/1343662159

    Today was the start of our most anticipated Safari adventure!
    We started off from Graskop @ 7am, looking forward to arriving at the infamous Kruger National Park. It was around 9am when the Kruger Gate appeared before us. The Park was opened in the 1920's and is essentially a massive fenced off area of land in the north east of South Africa where animals roam free and do as they please.

    Upon arrival we picked up a guide, with all the inhabitants listed, and would tick off each animal as we spotted them. Our safari here would be driving around the area, in our tour vehicle, stopping wherever we spotted something.
    We spent the day enjoying the park, seeing all kinds of Spectacular wildlife including; Impala (not so exciting), Rhino, Elephant, Giraffe, Hippos and many types of exotic birds . Eventually we even came across some female lions resting in the evening sun, near an area not too dissimilar from Pride Rock of the Lion King!

    A notable highlight was a bird viewing hide. Whilst the majority of game viewing at Kruger is strictly from vehicle only (getting out and walking prohibited), this spot allowed you access to view birds from a protected and hidden spot. The views were spectacular with dozens of creatures to behold, my favourite being the Goliath Herons.
    We soon checked into our chalets and enjoyed an afternoon game drive before calling it a day. Dinner was delicious home cooked ostrich and chicken meat.
    We turned in around 9.30pm, expecting to get up early for another game drive.
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  • Day3

    Graskop

    July 28, 2012 in South Africa ⋅ 🌙 6 °C

    http://www.travelark.org/travel-blog-entry/tofor85/5/1343661515

    So here we are in South Africa! The currency is the Rand and 1 AUD = approx 7.5 Rand. The weather is cool nights (down to around 2C) and moderate days 15-25C with minimal to no rain. We emerged in the lobby @ 6am for breakfast. Our tour was scheduled to
    leave at 6.30. Our group consisted of 12 members, and was generally an
    older age. Aside from Nat and I, theres a Belgian couple around our age (Bert & Nela),
    an American couple (50s; John & Paulie), two Australian sisters (70s; Margaret & Lesley) and four non-English-speaking-Russians 50-80 (didn't even learn all their names; Olga and Zoya were two of them).

    We have two tour guides for our tour, Jonathan and Shanli. Our transport is an all-terrain style twelve seater truck with full length windows and roof windows as well.

    For our first day, today was not exactly a thrill-fest.. the majority of our time was spent driving, some 5-6 hours from Johannesburg, finishing up in a place called Graskop, near Pilgrims Rest. Aside from a few petrol and shopping stops, the first significant stop of the day was lunch at Pilgrims Rest. This town was founded in the late 1800's amidst the discovery of gold in the area. We enjoyed a walk through this historic town before a picnic lunch in the afternoon.

    Another memorable stop was at Mac Mac falls, an impressive 60metre waterfall dropping into a gorge. It wasn't far from here to Blyde River Canyon, the worlds largest Green Canyon. We stopped at Gods Window lookout, and also hiked on a rainforest track to some other viewing points, enjoying some spectacular views

    Our accomodation for the night was in Graskop, on the embankment of a cliff face. Here, was home to a crazy attraction called 'The Big Swing'. Their motto here was 'Conquer your Fears' or otherwise translated into 'Risk Dying.' Nat and I enjoyed watching some stranger participate. It was risky enough getting to the attraction, which basically consisted of jumping off a cliff with a bungee cord attached. The danger of the attraction was marked by a nearby shrine and chapel. I joked with Nat that the monuments might mark people who have died on the swing. This joke became less funny when we were soon advised it was likely fact...

    We enjoyed a BBQ dinner, watched some Olympics and went to sleep around 9.30 for another early start and trip to Kruger!!
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  • Day2

    Johannesberg

    July 27, 2012 in South Africa ⋅ 🌙 6 °C

    http://www.travelark.org/travel-blog-entry/tofor85/5/1343660046

    Finally after months of waiting, the day for our African Adventure had
    arrived. We woke at 3.10am in Officer in preparation for our 6am
    domestic flight from Melbourne to Sydney, and then on to Johannesberg.
    There
    were concerns about how smoothly our journey over would go, but these
    were all put to rest. Everything went as plans, without incident or
    setback.
    The domestic leg to Sydney was over in little more than an
    hour, and before we knew it, we had cleared customs and boarded our
    Qantas Flight direct to Johannesberg. The flight was scheduled to take
    13.5hours, but that became more like 15.5 after a delay and strong
    headwind. Despite the flight being at only 70% capacity and us having a
    free seat next to us, and no-one in front of us, the trip didn't exactly
    fly by

    To our relief, even with our unexpected late arrival, our
    hotel transfer man was still awating us after we strolled through
    customs. In half an hour, Peter, had us at the Rivonia River Lodge,
    where we checked in, and crashed, exhausted.
    Nat got her first taste
    of 'Africa Time' when our dinner delivery order took some 100 minutes
    (when they advised it would be 45 max). We chowed down our slightly
    cold, extra spicy Nandos, and hit the sack around 9am, with an early
    start to our Sunway Safari Tour in the morning.
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  • Day34

    Durban

    July 10, 2010 in South Africa ⋅ 🌙 16 °C

    http://www.travelark.org/travel-blog-entry/tofor85/2/1279127228

    The final day, E-Day, the end, the conclusion; it was fitting enough that my final day on African soil would fall on the day of the World Cup Final.
    Somehow, it was a world cup final that included my beloved Netherlands. Up against however, the best team in the tournament, player for player - Spain.
    We awoke around 10am for a marathon period of drama, football and travel. Little did I know, that from that point, I would sleep a mere 2 hours, in the next 50+

    Our destination of choice to watch the final, was to be the Durban fanfest, the next place to be, outside Soccer City itself.
    The pre-match weather was a bit concerning. The Durban slogan for the world cup was 'The Warmest Place to be'

    It was fittingly ironic, as this was about the highlight of the city, literally. Furthermore, despite mostly being blue skies and warm enough, the day of the final saw ominous black clouds sweeping in, alongside high winds, just hours before kickoff.

    We piled into the stadium along with some 40,000 fans, for the Closing Ceremony and quick dinner. There was an impressive atmosphere in there, of which id say Spanish fans dominated support by 6-1.
    It was about the most intense nerve racking sporing occaision id ever watched, eclipsing the Hawthorn Geelong 2008 Grand Final.

    Without going into too much detail, Spain won their first ever World Cup, and Holland finished runners-up for the third time. The cons, it was obviously shattering with only 4 minutes til the lottery of penalties, Robben missed a couple guilt edged chances, and Heitinga's very soft Red card, contributed immensely to Iniesta having the space to win it

    The pros; Holland well and truly eclipsed pre-tournament expectations by a mile, and have claimed second spot, and Rank 2 in the World. Despite playing an ugly physical final, they matched Spain, closed them down everywhere, and did what they had to do. It was little more than bad luck that saw them eventually beaten.

    The trip back to the hotel wasn't without controversy. I managed to leave my mobile phone in the taxi back, and spent the next couple hours (with the assistance of our hotel manager) finding phones, and ways to convince him to get back to our hotel and drop it off. I got it back, but by the time all that had happened, i had little over an hour to sleep (depressed and distressed) before leaving for the airport to leave African soil for home.
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  • Day33

    Winterton Drakensberg

    July 9, 2010 in South Africa ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

    http://www.travelark.org/travel-blog-entry/tofor85/2/1278755239

    I eventually managed to convince Matt and Dave that a daytrip out towards Drakensberg was well worth doing.
    Drakensberg or Drakensbergen is Dutch for 'the Dragon Mountains'
    Its an impressive mountain range of peaks and hills aplenty, great for exploring, camping and hiking.
    The problem was getting there
    We made the mistake of deviating from the M3 (Freeway) after Pietermaritzburg.
    We learned the hard way, that travel on 'light coloured' roads on a map in Africa is best avoided for future reference. The road deteriorated from paved, to gravel, to dirt, to rock, to.. well, near dangerous.
    From a positive perspective, it took us through small villages, and a winding pass through the hills that few had ever seen.

    At a time, it had us on a thin dirt road, travelling 20km/p hr, on a winding elevated road, where you could see no sign of civilization.
    The negative side of things meant that by the time we eventually found our way to Cathedral Peak in the Drakensberg, it was 4pm, and there was not enough time to do anything.
    We walked around the hotel and entrance areas, but were advised to do little else, with light dwindling. It was a teasing ordeal of epic proportions. I couldnt help despair at how beautiful the place appeared, how nice the hotel was, and how fulfilling it would be to spend DAYS there, hiking, exploring, and sightseeing.
    Alas, I managed to snap a bunch of photos, and we had to be on hour way. Tragically, it took little over 2 hours to get back via the highway, as opposed to the 6 hours it took getting there...
    It was a place id truly like to come back to for a few days, next time I'm in Africa.
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  • Day27

    Pietermaritzburg

    July 3, 2010 in South Africa ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

    http://www.travelark.org/travel-blog-entry/tofor85/2/1278415820

    It was a bit of a mixed bag really for Matts Birthday in Durban.
    Matt and Dave arrived the day before, so today was our first trip out, the three of us.
    The foremost plan was to go to Lion Park, near Pietermaritzburg.

    It was hardly the most glamourous place i have been to. It was advertised as a drive through a lion game reserve. In reality, it was more like a dozen lions dumped into a small enclosure you can drive next to and watch sleep.

    Dave and I decided to attempt to surprise Matt by taking him quad-biking, which he wanted to do. Our cover story, was we were visiting a 'waterfall' on the way back, the real location being a 'Thrills Park'

    When we arrived, we were to be sorely dissapointed... it was thrills park alright, for all the wrong reasons. The actual location, was in the middle of nowhere, in a poverty striken area.
    There were no completed buildings to this park, one half constructed shack. There was no security. All 'Thrills' were under construction.
    There was no way i was doing anything, leaving my camera in the car to be stolen. The others were to attempt Quad-biking, only to find the bikes so dangerous and unsafe, they decided against it. Fair enough too. When the 'thrill' is potential injury, mugging of death, its not so appealing.

    In the end, we ended up at Pavillion Mall, to play minigolf. The trip there was interesting enough. Not a white person to be seen, and unexplained crowds everywhere... there were buses so full people were hanging out of the door.
    It has been decided that Durban itself is a hole... the city feels unsafe, is drastically polluted, poorly designed, and most of the street names have been changed, making it extremely difficult to navagate. In addition.. traffic is a joke.. and as dangerous as iv ever seen.
    Minigolf, when we arrived was very fun, and we enjoyed dinner at an Italian resteraunt before the days end. Watermelon cocktails are awesome!!!

    Tomorrow is the big semi final between Holland and Uruguay, and im also looking at doing the following over the next few days; Aquarium, Bird Park, maybe Drakensburg, maybe another game park.
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  • Day23

    Polokwane

    June 29, 2010 in South Africa ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    http://www.travelark.org/travel-blog-entry/tofor85/2/1278160496

    Today involved two activities.
    Firstly, was a trip to the Cheetah Conservation Park near Polokwane.
    This place is set up to preserving and protecting several endangered species, primarily the Cheetah, but also the Wild Dog, Black Rhinos, Lions, and Ground Hornbills.
    It was a decent enough visit, including a guided tour and drive around their facilities. Theres something not quite the same about viewing animals in captivity.. considering how inspiring Kruger had been.
    Even still it was good to see Cheetah up close, and we had an interesting encounter with the wild dogs indeed, them howling and laughing and making a hell of a lot of noise in our presence. Tragically, we didnt get to see the Ground Hornbills..

    From here, we drove onwards to Polokwane.
    Here, overlooking the World Cup stadium was a small national park we explored. It took a while, but eventually we found a large pack of White Rhinos, we were able to get up close and personal with.
    Onwards to dinner at another great quality lodge. The bar and dining area was actually inside the owners home, making it very homely and cozy indeed.
    Then I retired to watch a horrible 0-0 draw between japan and paraguay, the latter eventually getting up in the tournaments first penalty shootout.
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  • Day21

    Kruger National Park

    June 27, 2010 in South Africa ⋅ 🌙 18 °C

    http://www.travelark.org/travel-blog-entry/tofor85/2/1278159127

    Today was our first of 2 days to explore the world-renowned Safari Park - Kruger.
    Prior to arriving however, we had a cruise along a nearby river. The cruise set off shortly after breakfast and consisted of a few hours. Along the way we caught sight of a couple of crocodiles, and many hippos, well.. at least their eyes and ears popping above the watertop.
    There was also an amusing Zulu Dance/ Show here, which was very impressive.

    Eventually by mid-afternoon, we arrived in Kruger and had a couple of hours to explore.
    We were welcomed by a frisky young elephant, running around on a mission to go someplace.
    Before long, on our first day, we managed to see Impala, Springbok, Vervet Monkeys, Zebra, Girraffe, many birds, and the grand finale, was a Leopard

    This leopard had climbed up into a tree with his prey. As we could see, Leopards are strong enough to drag a huge impala carcass up into the tree to keep with them, and protect from being scavanged by other predators.

    We arrived back at our lodge for the next two nights - The Zinverloon Safari lodge (spellling?).
    It was an awesome place... the rooms nice little thatched roof huts.. along with a cool bar area by the pool and campfire.
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  • Day20

    Blyde River Canyon

    June 26, 2010 in South Africa ⋅ 🌙 5 °C

    http://www.travelark.org/travel-blog-entry/tofor85/2/1278158638

    Today I was picked up from the Ritz Backpackers, nice and early for my ACACIA Tour - Joburg to Vic Falls.
    We started off at 5am. For the first 5 days of the 7, our group was to be just 5 of us. Myself, and two older couples (30s-40s)
    One Couple - Paul and Victoria, the other Terry and Mary.
    It was a really nice group, which made the trip that extra bit special.
    In addition, we had our tour leader, Vessel (a local white-Africaan from Polokwane) and his girlfriend/assistant, Georgie (an Aussie staying here for a couple years).
    The Highlight of the first day was definatley Blyde River Canyon, the third largest Gorge in the World, and the Largest Gorge that is Green (unlike the Grand Canyon).
    There were spectacular views all round.
    From there we travelled on to our first nights stop for the day nearby.
    This little lodge, was located off road, in a game park. We quickly went off for a dusk safari, but didnt see anything.. that is until the sun came down. We were lucky enough to see a Black Rhino with her cub, which was pretty special.
    It was a great start to the trip :)
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