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 Post subject: Bucky & Lynne at Satara & Croc Bridge : Aug 2006
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 12:08 pm 
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Location: Gauties .
Lets do this .
I am going to do it day by day .

Day 1 on entering was fairly uneventfull , and I was tired so didn't bother with many snaps , so we will start with the 5th of august .

Got out early and headed up the s100 , saw the reamins of the day befores lion kill , and lapet faced vultures there .

After coffe at gudzani dam we found this baboon mom trying to keep her dead baby away from these ground hornbills , she kept picking up the baby and moving it away from them.
It looked to have a large portion of its chest area missing .
It was both intersting , and sad at how she still had the instinct to protect it .
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A little further north , near balule we found a nice hyena den , close to the road .
The hyena had a zebra kill right there , which I found a little odd as it might of attracted unwanted predators to the den .
After about 15 mins they got comfortable with our presence , and a small cub came out .
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Headed for olifants for a much needed pit stop , and lunch .
The morning took long , because my twins got my 2 older film camera bodys for there 10th birthday(That morning) , and it was very hard to slow there photos down to a more cost effective level .

Saw this whitebellied sunbird at the camp in a tree , then it moved onto the aloes -
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Crossing the olifants river bridge , there was much exitment from all the folks on the bridge , because of a heard of ellies crossing the river .
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Nearer to Satara we found our first leopard for the trip , the photos where really hard , because of the bright sun in the background.
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We freshened up at camp and headed straight back out , down towards msemani and girivana dam .
Spending the whole day on the road was a great way to wash out the city blues.

On the way back to camp we ran into a heard of about 250 buffalos near sunset time.
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My wife booked myself and my 2 boys a late nightdrive to finish off there birthday (She had to stay with the 3 year old) .

We saw the lion which was serenading us loudly the previous night , right behind the camp on the staff road .
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We also saw various scrub hares , nightjars and thickknees (dikkops) .
These two beautifull owls where a highlight for me .
Giant eagle owl .
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Marsh owl.
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Was a great day in the park , relaxation,interesting things,cute things, pretty birds,exitment , leopard .....


Last edited by bucky on Tue Sep 12, 2006 11:04 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2006 8:57 am 
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Location: Gauties .
06th August .

Had a mini sleep in after the late night drive the evening before , so got going when the sun was up allready :shock: .

headed north on tar towards letaba , to go check out ellie museum and draw cash .

Saw these lionesses with 3 cubs on the wall of the ngotso dam (A fave spots for lions to sit on), I don't know why my clarity was so poor on longer shots like this though Image

Further north at ngotso pan, we where looking at the impala drinking when this hyena came along , he was in no mood to hunt them , but decided to just go sit in the waterhole and give them a hard time .
It looks as if he is laughing at them , it's not to good to be lower down in the food chain is it :lol:.
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We where chatting to somebody and told them about the lion and cubs , so they traded some info and told us about the leopard seen from olifants river bridge .
We where lucky enough to find it , althought it was a far sight , it was still great .
My SO spent about 30 mins explaining to everyone on the bridge where to see it , and lending out our 10x50 lynx's .
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The ellie museum was as interesting as always , and the changes are good , the boys loved it .

On the way back to satara , somebody told us about the lion kill near roodewall , so we headed that way back .
There where 12 or so lions here , but I only photo'd the 1's at the kill , as the others where all in the grass and shade .
As per my usual luck , the sun was behind them :lol:
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This Baby zebra had hurt itself somewhere , or had a narrow escape from a predator .
Its mother was in close attendance , and it was walking without difficulty , so I am sure it would have been fine (Not to mention that the lions around the corner where all stuffed with giraffe )
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Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2006 10:57 am 
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It was about 2km south of balule , although I wouldnt be surprised if the idjits had to move after bringing a kill right there .

Davenjan , sorry you didnt see anything , looks like I must hush with the advice :? I being people bad luck .

A flying impala ???

More hyena pics as promised , im getting the hang of the photostudio now :D .

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Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 5:18 pm 
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Location: Gauties .
The next 3 days where great on sightings , but the cats where not easily photographed as they where all spotted very early/late :D .

7th -
Headed out towards Nhlanguleni , the drive along sweni never produced much in the line of game , but we had a great early morning brekfast there , and spotted our first rhino for the trip along here .
On the way back to camp we disrupted these 2 love birds , and they where not impressed , so we left them to there business :lol:
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This large heard of ellies walking along the open plains was as impressive sight .
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These 2 big guys where having a small social at the local pub , I wonder if they where playing "down downs"
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Mister nasty , spotted from the bridge near balule on our afternoon drive .
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A little south of balule an african wild cat ran across the road , what an awesome sight , and so much luck to see this , our 2nd AWC for the trip .
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Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 6:09 pm 
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Location: Gauties .
8th August .

On the way out of camp , we found a small group of lions just south of Satara on the tar road while it was still very dark .
They soon moved away from the road when to many cars had arrived , and parked very close to them .
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After the Lions , we headed towards msemani dam , as I had seen tracks of a large lion pride with cubs along the sand road near the dam the previous day , so we where hoping to pick up a big pride near the dam .
After searching the little loop roads near the dam , we stopped on the wall/road overlooking the dam for coffee n rusks , not finding any sign of lions .
There was a lot of activity at the dam , with Impala and warterbuck grazing the short green grass on the dams edges ,
as well as numerous water birds and hippos doing there thing .
These baboons where basking in the sun on this warm morning , they looked as if there was nothing that could worry them that day , and where very relaxed.
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Imagine my surprise when I spotted a large male leopard walking on the far side of the dam , eyeing the baboons .
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After dumping our coffe , we went up the little side road to try spot him from a closer point , but he was not to be seen .
We moved back to the dam wall , overlooking the baboons in there blisfull ignorance of the danger heading there way .
After about 15 minutes the leopard reapeared from the bush , a LOT closer to the baboons , and really checked them out , before heading back into the bushes .
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There was no sign of the leopard for a good while , and then all of a sudden the baboons sensed danger and started with warning calls .
At the same time the leopard broke cover and charged at a lone baboon , who was very lucky to escape with his life .
I only managed to catch the tail end of the chase , as it all happened so quickly .
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After coming back out the bush , the baboon ran so fast to the other side of the dam , that I bet he could have gone over the surface of the water without sinking .
That was the last we saw of the leopard , and all we could find was his fresh spoor where he had crossed the the small sand road running along the side of the dam .
We decided that we had had enough exitment for 1 morning, and headed back to camp .

In the afternoon , we headed north , then out to gudzani pan , then south to the gudzani dam for sun downers , before heading back on the s100 .
The drive was very pleasant , and we had some great bird and general game sightings .
Yellow billed kite .*edit - this is actually a Tawny eagle , as pointed out further along in the thread .*
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Little bee eaters spotted in the last bit of light of the day.
My oldest son was very exited with this spot of his .I think I have got a twitcher coming up here !
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Last edited by bucky on Tue Aug 22, 2006 12:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 9:57 am 
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Im only to happy to share , especially with those that cant get to kruger as much as they would like (Or even to wet some peoples appetites into going there ) .

09 August -
Set out early at gate opening to make the most of our last day at
Satara , as we planned to leave early to head down south to croc bridge the next morning .

Decided to head a little south on the tar to alongside the bit where the nwanersi goes past the tar road , and then turn back , and head up the timbavati road .
It turned out to be a good call , as we found 3 big male lions near the river .
The sun hadnt come up yet , but I just managed to get enough flash onto this guy to get a semi workable shot .
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Travelled along the very badly corrugated timbavati road , which had a fair bit of game along it , but nowhere near as much as along the eastern side of satara .
The elephants had been leaving there snacks all along the road , but where nowhere to be found .
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Stoped at timbavati picnic site for brekkies , but gave it a miss due to bad winds , so we just had some coffe while the kids where very amused by the bushbuck .
These are always in attendance at the site , but don't be tempted to feed them , or they may soon become a nuisance and will be removed .
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Went a little further up the sand road in the direction of roodewal past the dam , and saw this uncommon black stork .
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Don't stop on this little sandbank for a break if you are having a swim in the river !
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Headed back to camp to pack up some of the camping equip , so we where not left with to much the next morning , as we did not need it out because we went for supper at the resturant .

Decided to follow my gut feel and headed out in the afternoon towards the areas along the s100 and past the gudzani dams and pans , as there was so much game there the previous drive , and we where also on the look out for cheetah that can be found in that area .
The drive didn't produce any cheetah , but we had an awesome sighting of a large pride of lions near the gudzani pan .It was a bit cloudy and late in the day, but I managed to get the kids to sit still enough to get a few decent shots using a window clamp and remote release.
Always nice to see a complete pride , from dad down to the cubs.
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That topped of our sightings at satara , or so we thought !
When we returned to camp , we found a small gathering of people around a tree , and where very happy to find this little scops owl that we had been keeping an eye open for , after hearing them calling in the camp.
They are quite small and well camoflaged , so are very hard to spot .
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I will start working on my report for the crocodile bridge part of our trip asap .
Hope you all enjoyed this part :D


Last edited by bucky on Tue Aug 22, 2006 12:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 12:06 pm 
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bucky wrote:
Decided to head a little south on the tar to alongside the bit where the nwanersi goes past the tar road , and then turn back , and head up the timbavati road .
It turned out to be a good call , as we found 3 big male lions near the river .


Saw these three at Nsemani dam in October last year. Three awesome looking lions. Got some pics of them on my flickr site.

bucky wrote:
The drive didn't produce any cheetah , but we had an awesome sighting of a large pride of lions near the gudzani pan .It was a bit cloudy and late in the day, but I managed to get the kids to sit still enough to get a few decent shots using a window clamp and remote release.
Always nice to see a complete pride , from dad down to the cubs.


Have also seen this pride around there before. They seem to like the area between Gudzani Dam and Nsasane waterhole.

Nice sightings!


PS on your Yellow-billed Kite. I think that's a Tawny you got there. YBK's legs are a bit more bare, feathers end higher up. Tawny's show feathers down all the way. And some other points I noticed ie. oval nostril, extended gape etc.

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Latest lifers from Kruger NP:
Black Coucal Centropus grillii Swartvleiloerie
Flappet Lark Mirafra rufocinnamomea Laeveldklappertjie


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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 12:09 pm 
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Could well be , I am no expert on the birds .
Thx for the correction !


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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 4:45 pm 
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Hey, you people must speak up. You can either be right or wrong. Nothing bad will happen :wink:
If you're not sure about something, you must still point it out, we can discuss it and probably all learn something.

On the stork: juvenile Black Storks have yellow-green legs and bills. This bird might be in some stage of change over ie. from sub-adult to adult or non-breeding to breeding. Will have a look in Roberts tomorrow (tonight is party night :dance: ) and get back to you guys on Thursday.

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Latest lifers from Kruger NP:
Black Coucal Centropus grillii Swartvleiloerie
Flappet Lark Mirafra rufocinnamomea Laeveldklappertjie


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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:11 pm 
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bucky wrote:
There was a fair bit of glare on the water during that photo , and I have added no digital effects there , so its possible that there is a bit of colour loss from the "original" .



According to my Roberts this is a adult
Saw one as well in the park. Renosterpan
Think due to the harsh light the colour is shadeless and therefore looses its deep colours
Or, it isnt the breeding season and the colours are less red
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Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2006 1:50 pm 
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Location: Gauties .
Some of the photos that I like , from the Satara section of our trip , enjoy the spam and all the birds :lol:

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Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 10:38 pm 
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Location: Gauties .
Here comes the croc bridge report , only a few weeks later than promised :P .

We had packed up early , and the caravan was good to go on the morning of the 10th .
We hitched early, and made it into the line waiting for gates opening .
I forgot to pack my braai tongs , and our fancy mop - So whoever got our sight , good luck to you :lol: .

The trip down south to Tshokwane was uneventfull , and we got there pretty early .
We decided it was a great morning to enjoy a breakfast there , especially as we where the only people there apart from the staff :D
It got quite exiting when a lion roared pretty close to the picnic spot , and the staff got a little worried , so they called a field ranger to come have a look .

After a great skottel braai , we headed down south to Lower sabie .
It looked like some migratory heards of zebra and wildebeest where on there way into the area , so viewing should be good for a while until the rains .
We saw a few rhinos on the way down , and of course crossing over the sabie river near lower sabie is always fun .

Further south to croc bridge , we came across our 4th leopard for the trip (First time to see 4 in a trip) .
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A little further on we came across this heard of ellies , with a cow sporting some awesome ivory .
It looked a bit like mamerle to us , but apparently she has broken her tusks :?
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After these sightings , and plenty of other game in the area , we knew we where in for a good time at croc bridge .

We arrived in camp , and managed to get a spot close enough to the fence to satisfy our needs (Our fave spot was occupied by a single man tent , and even though I tried , I could'nt figure out how to make it look like a heavy wind had blown there tent further back from the fence so that we could park there :twisted: )

We went out to the spar shop to resupply , but found it had burnt down :cry: , so decided to head back into the park , as we didn't know if any of the other shops where decent .
This turned out to be a bad move , because we ended up eating our breakfast supplies on 2 evenings due to not making it back in time for the shop (The gate shops really should stay open a bit later nowdays , seen as they arent tied in with the reception anymore .)

We headed down south to lower sabie for our afternoon drive along the tar road , and came across these 3 lioneses in a river bed .
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Some cloud cover moved over a bit , so was no longer obscuring the sun, and the lighting improved 100 % for this shot .
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We can never resist going over the bridge , even if we arent going up north , and we found this pied kingfisher sitting undisturbed on the side of the bridge next to the car .
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On the way back to croc bridge , after poping in at lower sabie , we managed to see yet another white rhino , and It was in a good position to try get an interesting sunset shot .
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All in all , day 1 at croc bridge was pretty good as far as viewing was concerned , and we really settled back to enjoy the first of the warmer evenings than we experienced at Satara .
There where hyena patrolling the fence , and we caught a glimpse of a genet later on .


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Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 8:33 pm 
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Lol Yvonne , this is like the argument of the toilet seat getting left up or down - "hey , sign out when u finished on the forums " :lol:

Elsa , yes the spar shop in the mall burnt inside , hopefully they get it up again soon .

11th August .
We got out of camp a few mins after gates opened , and headed towards the enterior areas of the south .
We had a fairly uneventfull first 2 hours , but then the sightings started rolling in .
This was a pretty impresive heard of kudu bulls , not something you see evey day .
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Then , yet another black stork .
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We headed to skukuza to refuel , get some cash , and just float about the camp .
My kids where amazed by the bats under the roofs in the fast food area .
Its great to sit and relax looking over the river at this camp , a really stuning spot .

After lunch we headed for our first visit to lake panic , and wow ,it was really as good as eveyone says .
I think if you are staying at skukuza , you should be able to get some really good shots in the early morning and late afternoon .
Reed cormorant -
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Croc -
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While we where sitting there relaxing , my wife got very exited when she spotted that 1 of the crocs had caught a snake , we watched it gobble up its lunchtime snack .
Does anyone want to have a go at an i.d. on the snake/eel ?
It looked a bit like a puff adder to me .
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After the great stop in here , we left the hide , and where told by a tour guide about the wherabouts of a leopard up in the tree along the sand road going along the sabie river .
We headed along here , and where treated to our best ever leopard sighting in a tree .
She was not at all bothered by the cars , but did manage to hide herself pretty well .
At one stage we where the only car at the sighting , and managed to get a great spot .
She moved about a few times , so I managed to get some different angled shots .
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We couldnt tear ourselves away from here , so we set a cut of time to leave ,which would allow us enough to get back to croc bridge without to much of a rush .
This was all good and well , but when it came time to leave , we where well and trully stuck in the middle of a traffic jam :shock:
After about 30 minutes , we managed to work ourselves out of the mess , and headed for croc bridge at the max speed limits .

We made up a bit of time by not stopping for anything :? , but I just had to stop and bang of a few shots of this bateleur in the late afternoon light .
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We had to miss Lower sabie , even though we didn't have any meat for the evenings supper , but didnt worry about it as we planned to get to croc bridge about 10 mins b4 gates closing and get stuff at the shop there .

About half way to croc bridge the fun began however , with a HUGE bull elephant that had decided he was the owner of the road , and was chasing about 4 cars back up the road .
The road had a sand road heading to the right , which the four cars went up .
I of course decided that this elephant had an issue with these 4 cars , and that he would follow them up the road .
My SO said im blimming stupid and that I should follow the other people .
Turns out I should have listened to her , as the ellie carried on up the tar road towards us :shock:

I tried all my scare tactics (Ya right , buky vs 8 ton ellie bull in musth) , which didnt work , so we where now well and trully stuck , and no other cars where heading this way to back us up .
We even tried going back up the tar , and sitting quietly for a few minutes so he could head of the road , while we where out of sight - didn't work .
By this time the gates had allready closed , and I told my SO the only thing to do was to head back up to lower sabie , and then south along the start of the s28 , and then on the sand road that cuts back to the tar in the direction of croc bridge .

You have no idea how scarry that thick bush is along that road in the pitch black , I was really nipping :lol: .
We where so late , that we came up behind lower sabies night drive truck that had stopped at 3 lioneses in the road .
The driver saw us , and reversed so that we could pull next to him .My SO just burst into tears telling him about out plight , but the guy obviously could see we werent out joy riding , so he told us to just stick behind him until we hit the tar road .

I drove nice and quietly , and switched of engine and lights and hung back at any of there sightings , so we hope we never disturbed them to much .
The field guide waved us goodbye when reaching the tar , and we headed the last few kilos back to camp without any hassles .
We arrived back at 7 o'clock , but the guard obviously had been told to look out for us by 1 of the other cars , and let us in without to much hassles .

We really enjoyed our braaied cheese grillers , and a couple of other bits and pieces we managed to summon up for supper , having missed the shop by an hour .
What an experience it was , and 1 we will be glad not to have to repeat in a hurry .


Last edited by bucky on Wed Sep 13, 2006 10:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 9:15 am 
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August 12th .

We opted to sleep in a little late , after getting back to camp so late the previous evening due to mr ellie king.
We also had absolutely no supplies for the road so needed to visit the shop in any case .

We headed straight down the tar towards skukuza for lunch , as it is a nice drive in the mid morning with lots of animals always drinking in the river .
This probably wasn't the best idea as there where hundreds of people on the roads due to it being a sunday .

We did however come across 3 lots of lions + ellies, buffalo and numerous other animals relaxing at the water on this very hot and dry winter day ,with the mercury hitting 38 c at around 2 .

The first lions where on the far bank of the river , so it wasn't a great sighting , but the people piled up none the less .
I felt quite sorry for a few exited folks that where coming from lower sabie direction , who had stopped and dug in there heels at this sighting, as the next pride was a fantastic sighting .
I am not sure why my lens didn't want to get clear pics of these lions , but they make for a nice setting in any case .
I think there where about 10 lions here (Can't remeber).
My SO and I talked about bert&fam at these lions ,and we wished they where with us on the drive.
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Real lion king juniour stuff here :D
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About 15 minutes further on , we came across what was supposed to be a lion lying VERY close to the road , eating a buck.
It could have just as well been a leopard , because there where just to many cars and people hooting at each other to move etc , so I was in no mood to try get a glimpse of it .
Just check these idiots out , the lady in the silver car in particular found it better to be out of her car , rather than in it. Amazing how people tend to forget that lions eat things for a living , and that they would go down well as a little after dinner mint !
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The ever present vervet monkeys along this road are always a huge source of amusment for the kids .
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We didnt manage to get as far as skukuza , but had a very nice stop at nkuhlu (I think everyone was at 1 or other of the lion sightings), and then decided on doing the saletjie road back , to avoid all the lion pits along the tar :lol: and perhaps to have a bit of luck with a cheetah in the areas north of lower sabie.
The saletjie was as usual a feast or famine road , and this afternoon it was famine for us , not that I am complaining .

We did manage to spot a reedbuck after we hit the tar road north of lower sabie , although she ducked into the long grass as we stopped .
How sharp are your eyes ?
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About 5 mins from camp , we came across this bird .
Is it a pied kingfisher ? I am really not sure .
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Quite close to camp , we came across this critter , he was obviously out to blow away my theory to the SO , that snakes where still hibernating , and not active in August :?
Looks like a puff adder .
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Apart from the huge amounts of vehicles along the "highway" , we had a fab day (It is very difficult not to have a fab day in the park , isn't it.)

The last 2 installments to follow up on the weekend .[/img]


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Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2006 8:25 pm 
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August 13th , Our last full day in the park :cry: .

We set off early in the direction of Afsaal , hoping to maybe bump into some of the forumites in that area , and also to try look for some cheetah in that area .
We changed our plans a bit when we met up with Nico & Yvonne .
We decided on meeting for breakfast in croc bridge , but first we decided join forces to go check out the S28 and find an elusive Cheetah , as neither party had been able to find 1 yet .

Stopped for some of the smaller things along the way -
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We did not have any luck with the cheetah , but came across this little guy along the road .
What a lot of spirit , and the signs of some early musth caused him to act about 10 times his size , as he charged at both our cars , with lots of dancing about and ear waving .
His mom did not even bother , and was probably at the end of her rope with his bad behaviour :lol:
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I will make a plan to keep away from him when he gets older , thats for sure .

Lots of babys this morning .
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It was really really nice to meet up with these avid nature lovers , and we had a great chat under the trees at croc bridge's tea area , and also met up with deville and SO .

After brekkies we parted company , and we just refreshed ourselves and hit the road for our last full afternoon drive .
We came across a nice heard of ellies drinking in the same spot in the riverbed that we had seen the lioneses at .
This was a really great and relaxed sighting , and it was lovely watching how the ellies pushed into the sand to get at the nice clean water underneath the surface .
The mothers where pushing holes in the sand for there little ones also , it was really nice to watch this all.
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We headed up to mlondozi dam lookout after stopping at lower sabie ,
ALong the way we found this Tawny eagle (Hope I got it right this time)

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and found the entire area around mlondozi dam , and muntshe mountains ablaze , and the heavy winds where really pushing it along at a fast pace .
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Unfortunately due to the fires , we came across our saddest sighting for the entire trip - a baby elephant that had been severly burnt , it was really in a lot of distress.
We marked the position , and where able to get hold of the lower sabie section ranger , who went out to the area .
He spoke to us later and thanked us for our exact directions , as he found it easily .
Apparently the fire was an uncontrolled bush fire that had jumped the fire break and entered from mozambique .
This was the second elephant they had to put down on this day .
The link is to the pics of the ellie , don't click on it if you are sensitive to this sort of thing.
http://static.flickr.com/92/242488982_485e0e3edb.jpg

We did not see much else along the way back except for a few hyena , but our last sunset of the trip was lovely none the less .
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