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Arks' KNP Trip Report: 16 May 2006: Tamboti

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arks
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2005 5:53 pm
Location: Cambridge, MA (and home from home in Darling, WC)

Arks' KNP Trip Report: 16 May 2006: Tamboti

Unread postby arks » Sun Aug 20, 2006 3:08 pm

Tamboti tented satellite camp
This last night at Tamboti was not a part of my original reservation, but when I first stayed here two weeks ago, I decided that I'd rather spend this night at Tamboti than outside the park, farther along towards the Blyde River Canyon and the Panorama Route. As it turned out, I had a very long and stressful day next day — it's a very long trip from Orpen to the Johannesburg airport via the Panorama Route and best done over two days, not one — but even so, I don't regret my decision to spend this last night at Tamboti.

When I made this reservation, Dumisane, at Orpen reception, was extremely helpful and said that altho tent #40 was not available, he could confirm me right then for #39. While not quite so private as #40's end-of-the-line location (with the advantage of perimeter fence along two sides), #39 also has an excellent view along the riverbed. I reached the camp gate just a bit after 1600 and settled in for a leisurely evening braai. After I'd finished cooking, I built up the fire, using all my remaining wood and charcoal, savoured the last of my Nederburg Stein (unavailable in the USA :( ) and watched an amazingly fiery moon rise over the riverbed.

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16 May - Olifants - Timbavati - Tamboti
Today is my last day in the park, and while it is always hard to tear myself away from Olifants, I am glad that I am treating myself to an extra KNP night at Tamboti! Meanwhile, I linger here at Olifants as long as possible, enjoying the light of the waning moon over the veld, followed by a misty sunrise. A sunbird I'd first seen a day or two ago returns to a tree close to the fence and stays long enough for me to get a better view — as well as some pix and video! I think that it may be a Marico sunbird.

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Is this a Marico sunbird?
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with thanks to DQ for creating this panorama for me 8)

Finally, just before 0900, I tore myself away and headed out, sad as always to be leaving, but looking forward to my evening at Tamboti. Along the H1-5, I came upon a lone elephant cow with a youngster and they appeared to be all alone. They walked along the road ahead of me and then moved off down the incline towards the river. I watched them browsing for some time and saw no other elephants around. It seemed to me very odd indeed to see this cow and calf all alone. :?

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Shortly after turning onto the S39 from the H1-4, I encountered three speeding safari trucks from the same company as those I'd seen several days earlier on the S37. Again, they were traveling far too fast for me to read their company name, I was only able to recognise their "stair-steps" logo. I was appalled not only by the speed at which they raced past me, but by the fact that the guides all waved to me as they passed!!! :shock: :roll: If anyone has any idea what safari company this logo represents, I would love to lodge a formal complaint. These people are a real menace! :twisted: :twisted:

The rest of my drive down the Timbavati Road (S39) was uneventful, although I always find this drive lovely no matter what I see. I heard several reports of lion sightings from others I meet en route, but I was not destined to see any -- not even distant ears under a bush! I did enjoy seeing so many giraffe, always a favourite for me, as well as a variety of LBJs and BBJs. The day's most dramatic event (video but no still pix) occurred later that evening, when I observed tent #39's resident little white gecko capture and kill a large moth!

sightings
Olifants restcamp: ?Marico sunbird, ?frog/toad
H8: impala
H1-5: lone elephant cow with calf, impala, giraffe
Olifants high level bridge: hippos, ?little swifts, crocodiles
H1-4: impala, zebra
S39 Timbavati Road: impala, zebra, ?female masked weaver, wildebeest, ground hornbills, vervet monkeys, paradise whydah, helmeted guinea fowl, African spoonbill, hippo, woolynecked storks, tawny eagle, redbilled quelea, fish eagle, whitecrowned shrike, redbilled oxpecker, dwarf mongoose, Sabota lark, Burchell's coucal
H7: impala, ?black mamba, whitebacked vulture, chameleon, yellowbilled hornbill, zebra, giraffe, ground hornbills, wildebeest
Tamboti access road: paradise whydah, ostrich, impala, helmeted guinea fowl, laughing dove, zebra, slender mongoose
Tamboti tent #39: little white gecko catching moths (kill!)

17 May - Tamboti - Orpen
I lingered in camp longer than I should have considering the very long drive I had ahead, but Tamboti is almost as hard to tear myself away from as Olifants. This is definitely my second most favourite KNP camp, tho Olifants will always be my absolute favourite. Finally, after enjoying the sunrise over the riverbed, I headed out a bit before 0730, with only a few impala, zebra and wildebeest to be seen between the camp and Orpen gate.

sightings
Tamboti tented camp: Natal francolin, yellowbilled hornbill
Tamboti access road: impala, zebra, wildebeest, crowned plovers
H7: impala, wildebeest

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