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 Post subject: NightOwl's KNP Trip Report : Sep-Oct 2006
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 8:37 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Port Elizabeth
We departed PE directly after work (5pm) Friday and finally arrived at Kruger after a grueling 21 hour trip. Why so long… Slept for 2 hours in the Car at Kroonstad, since the road was just so boring and I started getting sleepy behind the wheel. Then we also shopped in Nelspriut for 2 Hours for supplies and onwards to Numbi Gate.
Our first sighting after entering the park was a couple of Giraffes on the way to Pretorius Kop. After checking in, we had a look at the restaurant/take aways and Shop.
Very impressed with the range the shop carried and the prices of regular food stuffs aren’t ‘that expensive’. I can live with the prices. The take aways are reasonably priced as well.
Damn hot day, so we headed to the famous swimming pool… MAJORLY IMPRESSED!!!
I just love how they worked that massive boulder into the design of the pool and the little kiddies waterfall. Absolutely great pool for Kruger.

Then off to shitlhave dam. On the way there saw some elephant. At the damn self only two hippos that didn’t want to show themselves more than their eyes and nostrils above water. On the way back we did some of the loops around camp and saw more elephant and some leopard tracks in the sand heading for one of the big koppie boulders, but no luck in seeing the leopard itself. As stated on other forum posts, the grass here is really long and makes it difficult to spot smaller mammals. But we’ll keep our eyes locked on the bush.

After Supper I quickly hooked my laptop and iPaq6515 up for GPRS and whoala… A trip report for you guys :D
GPRS is REALLY SLOWWWWWW, but I'll try to post regularly.


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Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 8:53 pm 
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I'm :mrgreen: , NightOwl, thanks for the report and glad you had a safe journey, 21 hours phew.
For anyone who hasn't seen the pool here it is:-
Image


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Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2006 9:08 pm 
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Well... Here is our first full day in Kruger's Report.
A day to remember!!!
Woke up at 5am. Set off at 6:15 heading for Mestel Dam. On the Numbi Gate road we spotted Buffalo.
Mestell dam had nothing for us, so we head off along the S1 to Phabeni gate. along the S1 we saw Tsesebe(at S25 06 12.3 E31 13 49.3), kudu, White Rhino, Zebra, Steenbok, Blue Wildebeest, Giraffe. Road between S1 and Phabeni Gate, Hippo running in the bushes, giraffe. Added Pins to Phabeni Gate Sightings board.
Headed of along the S3 and saw Buffalo, Vultures and NOTHING ELSE, very still road.
Stopped off at Kruger Gate. No Sightings board to fill. Headed to Sukuza along the H11 and stopped of at Lake Panic. Saw Hippo, Crocs, Bushbuck and a variety of birds.
At Skukuza we had Lunch. Take away shoppy is reasonably priced, but their Cooldrinks are DAMN expensive.
Headed back to Pretorius Kop along the H1-1 and Saw Lions, blue wildebeest and Elephant. Turned off to transport damn on the way and saw 9 Giraffes and a lone hippo and fish eagle.
Sow here we are with 4 of the big5 + a rare antelpe (Tsesebe) in one day and still a night drive to go...
On the night drive we saw the following:
Rhino, Zebra, Kudu, Lichtensteins Hartebeest, Duiker, Reedbuck, scrub hare, baboons, porcupine and finally the CLIMAX!!! Leopard!!!
That made it Big5 in one day Plus numerous rare antelope, best of all... I had pics to prove all of it :D
This leopard had no tail and is apparently the dominant male around the Pretoriuskop boulder. Spent about 40 minutes with him before we had to go back to camp.
What and Awesome start to our trip.
Here's the complete list:
Impala
Kudu
Reedbuck
Steenbok
Bushbuck
Tsesebe
Duiker
Lichtensteins Hartebeest
Blue Wildebeest
Zebra
Giraffe
Hippo
Buffalo
White Rhino
Elephant
Lion
Leopard
Porcupine
Monkeys
Baboons
Scrub Hare
Crocs
Raptors/Vultures
Numerous Birds
Thats an Awesome list for any first complete day. Yesteday did not count since we only got here in the afternoon.
Now on my hope to see list is Cheetah and Wild Dog and some of the other antelopes...
I wish everybody in Kruger or on their way to Kruger a first day like ours...


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Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 10:24 pm 
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Mark: Did I forget to mention that I have Photographic evidence for these sightings and GPS Coordinates for all of them except the Night Drive where I didn't take the GPS with, but just the camera. 8)
Pardus: I asked the guide about this, and he reckons it was most probably Lions when he was still young.

We slept a little later this morning only woke up 5:30. Had to pack everything up to set off for Lower Sabie today, so we only got going at 7.
Here’s our Sightings for the day:
H1-1
Blue Wildebeest
Elephant
Giraffe
Mongoose

H2-2
Zebra
Kudu
White Rhino

Naphe Boulder Road
Giraffe

Transport Dam
Waterbuck
Hippo
Impala
Blue Wildebeest

Road to/from Transport Dam
Zebra

Renosterkoppies Dam
Elephant

S112
Steenbok
Waterbuck
Leopard (N’Watimhiri Dam, in the Shade of the big rock pile, just before you get to the damn)

H4-1
Elephant
Buffalo

Sunset Dam
Crocs
Hippo
Impala
Elephant
Baboons

The Complete list:
Elephant
Rhino
Buffalo
Leopard (N’Watimhiri Dam, in the Shade of the big rock pile)
Hippo
Kudu
Steenbok
Giraffe
Zebra
Impala
Waterbuck
Baboons
Monkeys
Mongoose
Blue Wildebeest

Yes you read it correctly… We only needed Lion for another Big5 Day.
A lot less than yesterday, but then again, our average speed was a lot higher than yesterday, since we had such a long distance to cover.
We’ve been exceptionally lucky, but we also have a few tricks up our sleeves…
Travel very slowly.
Travel with like minded people.
Look deeper into the bush than just the side of the road.
Focus on ANYTHING that moves.
Look for odd things that do not fit the rest of the vegetation.
Have patience.
Etc. Etc. Etc.
Everybody have their own way, but this time it seems that luck has paid us a good solid visit.

Met with ‘snoobab’ on the way to Lower Sabie and then again at Lower Sabie. They saw Lion today, shortly after we met up… This is where the luck part comes in. They had it, we didn’t for Lions today.
Had a great braai tonight after our stake out at Sunset dam. Got one nice Hippo Yawn shot, but no luck with a croc catching something.
Well its 10pm here so I’m off to bed


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Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2006 8:35 pm 
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This morning we got up at 5am again and out the gates by 6. Heading towards Skukuza on the H4-1 for a while then turned around and went down the H4-2 towards Crocodile Bridge. Filled the sightings board there and then headed up the S28 back to Lower Sabie.
We got back at 2pm totally drained and had a nice afternoon ‘siesta’.
Went for an hour to Sunset Dam then back to camp just before Gate closing time.
Our Highlights for today was a Marshal Eagle on the H4-2 and a juvenile Croc catching a fish right in front of us, no more than 10 meters away at Sunset Dam. We got some awesome shots as the little croc eventually managed to snap the fish in half and swallow the one half. Unfortunately no Carnivores today, but we did see the three herbivores of the Big5.
By the way… Can anybody tell me how you can distinguish female Nyala from Female Kudu? The males are easy… I still don’t know if its Kudu or Nyala I’ve seen, because they all just look like Kudu to me and I have yet to see a Nyala Male.
This trip is also a learning experience for us in terms of Birds, We are pretty clueless when it comes to birds, but with the help of the ‘SASOL Large Illustrated Guide to Birds Of Southern Africa’ in the Car, we’ll try to ID some unique birds along the way.
Nearly forgot about our experience of the day. My Girlfriend calls me shouting Massive BUG!!! I investigate immediately and find that its not a bug, but a bat that’s clinging onto the Fridge’s electric cable. Quickly got a towel and wrapped it up and then set it free outside. Man did she freak, since this was right next to where she was busy making our snackwiches.

Here’s the Day’s breakdown:

Sunset Dam
Warthog
Hippo
Baboon
Crocs (+ a croc catching a Fish)
Yellow Billed Stork

H4-1
Elephants
Klipspringer (Lubyelubye Bridge)
(Birds)
African Green Pigeon
White Fronted Bee Eater

S82, H4-2 Intersection
Waterbuck

H4-2
Buffalo
Elephants
Bushbuck
Giraffe
White Rhino
Zebra
Squirel
Blue Wildebeest
(Birds)
Marshal Eagle
Southern Yellow Billed Hornbill
Red Billed Hornbill
(Plant)
Impala Lilly

S28
Giraffe
Zebra
Blue Wildebeest
Kudu
Baboon
Elephants
(Birds)
Southern Yellow Billed Hornbill
Magpie (African Longtailed) Shrike

Nlanganzwani Dam
Elephants

Ntandanyathi Bird Hide
Fish Eagle
Terrapin
Zebra
Kudu

The Complete List:
Impala
Warthog
Hippo
Baboon
Elephants
Klipspringer (Lubyelubye Bridge)
Waterbuck
Buffalo
Bushbuck
Giraffe
White Rhino
Zebra
Squirel
Blue Wildebeest
Kudu
Baboon

Terrapin
Crocs (+ a croc catching a Fish)

Yellow Billed Stork
African Green Pigeon
White Fronted Bee Eater
Marshal Eagle
Southern Yellow Billed Hornbill
Red Billed Hornbill
Magpie (African Longtailed) Shrike
Fish Eagle


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Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2006 9:27 pm 
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Location: Port Elizabeth
27 September 2006

Usual wake up time, left at six heading towards Skukuza for 2 hours of viewing before going back to pack. Left just before 9 heading to Skukuza to check in at 12. Followed the H4-1, H12, H1-2. Checked in then unpacked. After unpacking we were to Lazy to make lunch so we went to the restaurant and had Burgers and chips. The Chicken, Cheese and Bacon burger is highly recommended. The afternoon we had a little ‘Siesta’ and woke up late. No Drive today, but rather went to the shop for wood and other supplies. Also bought ‘Field Guide to the MAMMALS of the Kruger National Park” which is brilliant as it has distribution maps of the distribution throughout Kruger of each animal and also a second map of Southern African distribution.
Started our braai early and had a nice supper. Nothing beats a nice big steak on the braai.
We have a Safari Tent, which is next to the perimeter fence, which obviously leads to the regular Hyena check in around braai time and a resident squirrel family in the tree right in front of us.

Here’s our sightings for the day:
H1-4
Mongoose
Klipspringer
Baboons
Monkeys
Bushbuck
Waterbuck
Buffalo
Elephant
Kudu
Warthog

H1-2
Elephant
Warthog
Giraffe

Sunset Dam
Crocs
Hippos

Skukuza Restaurant
Elephants
Squirrel
Hyena

Birds
Southern Ground-Hornbill
African Green Pigeon
White Fronted Bee Eater
Southern Yellow Billed Hornbill
Red Billed Hornbill
Brown Hooded Kingfisher
Pied King Fisher
African Paradise-Flycatcher
African Hoopoe

Complete List:
Mongoose
Klipspringer
Baboons
Monkeys
Bushbuck
Waterbuck
Buffalo
Elephant
Kudu
Warthog
Giraffe
Hippos
Hyena
Squirrel
Crocs

On the Nyala Topic. Then I definitely have not seen any Nyala yet. Thanx for all the helpfull info.

Katydownunder: I'll post pics when I get back to work. There's no way I'm uploading pics over this slow GPRS connection :x

Mark: I swear the Croc Bridge pinboard is made of solid OAK. No wonder theres so few pins, they are all bent or broken, cause the damn thing is to hard to push the pins in. I slid my new pins in sideways just underthe material and not into the actual wood.

Now we can settle in for a while, since we are here at Skukuza for 5 days. Might add another night drive to the plans, to expand our species sightings list. Have yet to see any of the smaller cats.

Going to sleep wth the sounds of the bush in my ears :)


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Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2006 8:12 pm 
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Location: Port Elizabeth
I'm going through hell just to get connected in Skukuza.
Took me over an hour just to get to this reply screen and took me over 2 hours to download my mail. The Cell network definitely lacks a bit of capacity here in skukuza, especially on the GPRS side.

Hightlights of today's report, since I haven't gone through my dictaphone yet to type up my trip report, lets go on Highlights only.
2 Seperate Lion sightings. Rhino, Elephant and the usual rest.
Saw another Marshal Eagle.
But the highlight of excitement was when a Boomslang fell out of the tree right next to us while we were eating supper. My girlfriend jumped into the tent behind the door semi closed and I pulled a Steve Irwin move with a towel in one hand and a braai tong in the other. Either way the snake was going to go away and preferably with him and myself alive. Since I don't like them much, mainly because of there poisonous status. Result of this little escapade was that the snake headed back up the tree and us moving out from under the tree and finishing our supper under the tent with a constant gaze towards the tree above, which was pretty pointless since it was now dark and we couldn't see anything in anycase.
Just hope it stays in the tree and does not try another bungi jump onto our tent.
So to those people that wondered if you encounter any snakes in camp... YES YOU DO!!! And they are of the POISONOUS kind. Very deadly.

Full trip report to follow when I have better signal since I'm damn frustrated with this GPRS in Skukuza.


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Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 8:39 pm 
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28 September 2006

Decided to go to Tshokwane today to get a different picture with different vegetation. Took the H4-1, H12, H1-2 then H10, S68, S29, S30, and the H4-1 back to Skukuza. A long loop but very productive today as we had two Lion Sightings, one on the H4-1 and the other on the H10. The evening was very entertaining and got the Adreneline flowing with a Boomslang landing next to us from the tree above as we had supper.

Here’s our Sightings:

H4-1
Monkeys
Lion
Baboons
Elephant
Kudu
Bushbuck

H12
Steenbok

H1-2
Warthog
Zebra
Giraffe
Kudu
Marshal Eagle

Elephant Dam
Squirrel

Leeupan
Steenbok

Silolweni Dam
Hippo
Crocs
Fish Eagle

H10
Blue Wildebeest
Lion
White Rhino
Giraffe Elephant

Mlondozi Dam
Zebra
Hippo
Waterbuck
Bushbuck
Rhino
Blue Wildebeest

S29
Zebra

S30
Monkeys

Complete List:
Impala
Monkeys
Lion
Baboons
Elephant
Kudu
Bushbuck
Steenbok
Warthog
Zebra
Giraffe
Squirrel
Hippo
Blue Wildebeest
White Rhino
Waterbuck

Crocs
Boomslang

Fish Eagle
Marshal Eagle


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Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 8:45 pm 
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Cees: The Towel and the braai tongs was the only things I had to create distance between the snake and myself... I wasn't going to tackle it with my bare hands. But one thing was for sure... I would rather tackle the snake outside than wait for it to go into our nice warm tent and then try to get it out of there. I know they are deadly, but on my scale they are deadlier inside the tent than outside it. But I survived with a tale to tell my grandkids some day.


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Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 8:49 pm 
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29 September 2006

Out the gates by 6:15. Had to fill up first. Headed for NKuhlu Today via the H4-1 and returned the same way. Missed a wild dog sighting by 5 minutes and could only see a little of what was left after they finished it off, but we had a pregnant hyena female pass us by, while we were scanning one of the little pull off points next to the river. After a swim and lunch we headed for Lake Panic Bird Hide where we spent 2 hours. The highlight being a Goliath Heron calling the entire time we were there and I got an in-flight shot, plus some shots of it presenting its wings in a sort of cup hold form. Just have to upload these when I get back home. This bird is freaking HUGE and it looks so unusual and labored when it flies.
Bushbuck were out in force today. We saw them everywhere.
No sign of the boomslang that dropped in on us last night, and I hope it stays that way.
The squirrel in the tree in front of our tent was very active this afternoon, but just on the other side of the fence, there’s another squirrel running around in the trees. We’ve also got a couple of lizards in our tree. Not sure of there names, but the big one has a blue’ish head and the little lizard is very colourful and has black and yellow stripes.

Here’s our Sightings for the day.

H4-1
Bushbuck
Kudu
Grey Duiker
Buffalo
Warthog
Monkeys
Steenbok
Elephants
Spotted Hyena

S79
Waterbuck
Steenbok
Elephant

Lake Panic
Hippo
Bushbuck
Crocs
Goliath Heron
African Jacana
Reed Cormorant
Grey or Black headed Heron (will have to look closer at photo’s)
White-Crowned Lapwing (Plover)
And some other birds


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Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 8:56 pm 
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Location: Port Elizabeth
We spend some of our evenings reading in turns 'A Game Ranger Remembers' by Bruce Bryden.
Started reading it back home, but its just so much better reading a story about Kruger when you are actually in Kruger.
What a Coincidence that I read the Chapter on their trip to Malawi to capture the Lichtensteins's, just a couple of days after I actually spotted the friuts of their Labour right here in Kruger. Gives you sort of a connection to the book and the person.
For those that have not yet read it, get a copy from Kalahari.net NOW :!:
Not one of those fiction storytelling type books, but real life experiences about REAL people in Kruger and Bruce call them all by name in his book.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2006 10:10 pm 
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Location: Port Elizabeth
30 September 2006

Today we decided to go to Afsaal and have lunch there. At least that was the plan.
The road there was extremely misty and we hardly saw anything which made it extremely boring, but we also got there way to early for lunch, so we had brunch instead :lol:
There sweet surprise pancakes are amazingly lekker. You must try them if you ever get to afsaal. Just missed a Leopard sighting at afsaal by a couple of minutes. While we checked out the sightings board some kids came and plugged their leopard pin… Damn… Brunch done and still to early to head back to Skukuza, we changed plans since we still had our cooler bag full for a lunch. We’ll go to Malelane Gate and then cross over to Croc Bridge via the S25. DAMN the Kruger dirt roads are in a HORRIBLE state :evil: . My pinballs, I mean eyeballs are still bouncing around in their sockets and I’ll have to look up a dentist, since I think some fillings might have rattled loose. To crown it all my car now has a sqeek-sqeek-sqeek on the left front wheel that’s extremely irritating when traveling slowly.
After Lunch at Croc bridge we decided its to hot to travel so we parked of in the shade and read for a while, then set of to Skukuza via Lower Sabie.
An extremely hot day with no carnivore sightings.
We also saw our very first Nyala. It was a male so it was easy to distinguish :) Still looking for the females.

Here’s our sightings for the day:

H1-1
Kudu
Giraffe

H3
Vultures
Squirrel
Warthog
Giraffe
White Rhino
Monkeys
Zebra
Kudu
Elephant
Buffalo

Afsaal
Scops Owl
White Rhino
Kudu

S114
Zebra
Waterbuck
Giraffe

S25
Elephant

H4-2
Giraffe
Mongoose
Zebra
Kudu
Steenbok
Monkeys
Elephant
Buffalo

H4-1
Kudu
Buffalo
Elephant
Vultures
Baboons
Nyala
Grey Duiker

H11
Mongoose
Giraffe


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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2006 10:13 pm 
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1 October 2006

Today was to be a very Exciting day and a damn hot day at 36 degrees Celsius. It’s also our very last day at Skukuza. Tomorrow we’re off to Letaba. We did the Skukuza Lower Sabie road and was out the gate by 5:30 since it is now October and the gate opens half an hour earlier. Our highlight on this morning and of the day was the 9 Lions that we spent about 1 and a half hours with. 7 Females and 2 Juvenile males. The one old female was a battle hardened lady with some serious scars and a broken tooth. Only noticed the broken tooth when I scanned through the photos. We followed them down the road for about 2km as they scanned for prey and at one stage they came so close to the vehicle while we were standing still that they rubbed on the side of the car. I have this little rule that I never move the car when lions are close, UNLESS it’s a life saving/dangerous moment, where I can see that the lion is peeved off and needs his space, otherwise I’ll just let the car stand still and the lions go about their business.
I was amazed that these lions never took any note of us. They kept their heads down when walking or otherwise played around with each other. Only one lion gave us a glimpse. All my other lion encounters resulted in the lions acknowledging our presence by giving us a once over stare just to make sure we know that they are boss, but today’s lions ignored the usual Kruger traffic jam and just went about their business.
The rest of the day was SIESTA!!! To damn hot for anything else. To trips to the pool and an ice cream stop at the shoppy. Bush fires were raging in the distance and the sky was an ominous grey-orange. We went for a short drive to Lake panic and then the high-water bridge over the Sabie. This evening I slapped two HUMUNGOUS steaks on the braai and two massive spuds. Tomorrow we’ll have left over steak for breakfast on the way to Letaba and spuds somewhere for lunch. All packed and doing the final charging of camera batteries and flash batteries etc. before we’re off to bed.

Here’s our sightings for the day:

H4-1
Elephant
Buffalo
Baboons
Bushbuck
Squirrel
Lions
Steenbok
Warthog
Giraffe
Kudu

Lake Panic Road
Grey Duiker

H11
Steenbok

Skukuza
Mongoose
Squirrel


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Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 9:20 pm 
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Location: Port Elizabeth
2 October 2006

With a long trip ahead to Letaba, we were in the line by 05:15 and out the gate by 05:30. First stop was at Tshokwane where I added some pins to the sightings board, then on to Satara where we checked out the new Day visitor’s area even though it’s not officially open yet. How were we supposed to know that we can’t go in, if the gates are wide open and no ‘no-entry’ signs anywhere to be seen except if the gates are actually closed. After we left the day visitors area, one of the workers casually strolled over and closed the gates and then only could we see the ‘no-entry’ sign. But I did find it strange that the bathrooms had no toilet paper in them, when any and every other bathroom throughout Kruger ALWAYS has an ample supply of toilet paper. After our innocent unauthorized little exploration into the new day visitor’s area when went to add some pins to the pin board and check out the shop. Satara has the best stocked shop of all the shops we have been to. Pretorius Kop is a close second so far. On we went to Olifants on the H1-4 first we encountered a herd of buffalo that must have been a couple of hundred strong, then even though it was an extremely hot day and it was now close to the time where every creature hides, we ran into a little luck sighting… Once again we came upon a Lion Sighting. Six females this time, but the photos aren’t that great with lots of bush, grass and twigs in the way. After enjoying this sighting on we went. Olifants must have the best view of all the camps in Kruger, We immediately decided that we have to budget for at least two nights at Olifants on our next trip. Only problem is that it’s expensive and they don’t have any budget accommodation. But we have to stay there for the magnificent view and to experience their Astronomy/Game drive, where you go for a short night drive, followed by snacks, a short informative lecture on the skies and then some star viewing through their telescope. All for three hundred bucks. What a bargain.
I did not add any pins at Olifants, since they had enough and I also didn’t want to fiddle with their colours. They have a unique pin bard and even more uniquely coloured pins. They have an off-colour type yellow for Lions and then a normal yellow for something else. After a short drive from Olifants we arrived at Letaba. First impressions… a very nice camp with pretty tame bushbuck and squirrels everywhere and one bushbuck slept under our tent the entire night. O-Yes… On that note… The Safari tents have no locks and no keys; the fridge is outside and cannot lock either. Now this is a serious problem if you are carting around over R100 000 worth of Camera equipment and other electronics. Luckily we always have locks with us, so we could at least lock the tent when we went to swim and shower. Took a walk around camp and saw a pretty good candidate for an emerging tusker right against the fence by the river. Got some awesome close up pics. My lens was actually TOO BIG at 300mm and I couldn’t get all of the Ellie in. Will have to post a pic when I get back. Took a stroll through the Elephant museum. WOW… Those big Tuskers are HUGE!!!
After supper we went for a night drive with the hope of see’ing and photographing some nocturnal creatures. NOTHING!!! NOTHING!!! NOTHING!!! And when I say nothing, I mean we saw nothing :evil: . Only night jars and Impala. THAT WAS IT!!! Nobody was to blame and the guide did his best, but the weather was not in our favour. The wind was howling and obviously everything was hiding away. After a grueling 2 hours we arrived back at camp after 9:30 and even our guide said that this was unusually quiet, but the wind was obviously to blame. We headed straight for bed, highly disappointed, but tomorrow is another day.

Added a new species to our sightings today - Ostrich
Here’s our sightings for the day:

H1-2
Kudu
Monkeys
Elephant
Zebra
Blue Wildebeest
Giraffe

Siloweni Dam
Hippo

Tshokwane
Elephant

H1-3
Warthog
Waterbuck
Kudu
Steenbok
Baboon
Giraffe
Blue Wildebeest

Nkaya Pan
Blue Wildebeest

S100
Blue Wildebeest
Waterbuck
Monkeys

H1-4
Buffalo
Blue wildebeest
Zebra
Giraffe
Elephant
Ostrich
Steenbok
Lions
Kudu

Ngotso Dam
Steenbok

Olifants Bridge
Buffalo
Elephant
Crocodile

H1-5
Hippo
Kudu
Elephant

H8
Zebra

Olifants Rest Camp
Zebra
Hippo
Waterbuck
Monkey
Baboon

Letaba
Bushbuck
Squirrel
Elephant


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Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 9:42 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 3:52 pm
Posts: 370
Location: Port Elizabeth
3 October 2006

Today was to be a day filled with ups and downs for us.
After yesterdays long grueling day and late night disaster game drive we decided to sleep a little later, but we ended up only sleeping a couples of minutes later than normal. We took it nice and relaxed before we left camp. The plan being to get as far north as possible to see the different areas of Kruger that we have not seen before. Initially only planning to get to Mopani, but then arrived their pretty early. Extending it to Shingwedzi and then back to Mopani and down the H14 to Phalaborwa gate before heading back to Letaba. Added pins to Mopani, Shingwedzi, Phalaborwa Gate and Letaba’s pin boards.
Mopani has a very nice camp also with a great view, but it seemed awfully quiet, a little too quiet for my liking. Shingwedzi seemed nice, but I’d much rather stay at Letaba or Olifants. I did however like the picnic area right next to the river, which is now only a dry river bed.
We saw the results of last night’s wind this morning with a thick blanket of cloud covering the entire sky. This was obviously going to be a low game viewing day and it started out EXTREMELY slow, but picked up a little throughout the day. Our highlight being one short of a big five experience on a single road… We only needed Lion to make the H14 a big five road for us, but no lion sightings for us today. The leopard sighting was a pure luck, like most leopard sightings go. Came around a corner with a fairly long straight ahead and I saw in the distance, what first looked like a lioness crossing the road, till I got a little closer and clearly the spots emerged through the haze of the heat emanating from the road. What a beauty this Lady was. Took a couple of pictures and even got her when she cleaned her legs for a brief moment before she blended in with the mopanis as she walked away. A short sighting, but always a special moment when you come across this gracious mass of muscle and pure power. Not even 5 minutes after our Leopard sighting we came across a Rhino sleeping about 10 meters away from the road behind a bush/tree and by the time I stopped and reversed to where this big boy was, he’d woken up and wasn’t happy. Obviously being woken up by my squeaky wheel (See my moan/nit about the HORRIBLE state of the Kruger Dirt Roads in trip report 30 September 2006). First thought he was going to charge, so I got the car ready to make a quick get away in case he decided to come our way. But we had quite a big bush/tree between him and us and he was still seriously hung over from his snooze trying to figure out what just happened. Jumping left and right mock charging in every direction, but ours. Luckily for us. Eventually he decided to set off on a gallop charging something, who knows what, but this was absolutely perfect as the direction he was charging was parallel to the direction the road was heading. And while I was driving next to this charging steam train of a Rhino, my girlfriend was snapping away with the camera. Just hope these come out nicely as the vibrations of the car and tar road could possibly cause quite a bit of blur. After a couple hundred meters he changed direction slightly and charged into the bushes. Wonder if he ever found the culprit that woke him up :twisted:
Sorry Big boy, but it wasn’t intentionally. Blame the Kruger dirt roads. On that topic. The squeaky noise on the left front wheel has now reached a noise level that is unbearable and possibly dangerous. So I enquired at reception for a mechanic and will make a turn at the staff village tomorrow morning 7 am sharp, since the workshop was closed this evening when we arrived here. Only problem is that I planned an early morning get away as we need to reach Lower Sabie before 6pm tomorrow night to book in there. Just hope it won’t take too long to fix and that it’s not too serious. This noise put a serious damper on our spirit the last section of today’s trip as I’m sure we scarred everything away long before we arrived at any possible sighting scene, hence only 4 sighting along the entire H9 during the best time of the afternoon for game viewing.
Relaxed a bit this evening and read some more of my book. Just hope I can upload this trip report tonight as the cell phone only shows 1 bar of reception here at Letaba. And I thought all camps have full reception. Another low point for us today was that my Canon 350D’s shutter seemed to have packed up :cry: . Luckily I still have the 30D functioning and we’ll just have to share a camera the rest of the trip. Guess that was the price we had to pay for our Leopard sighting.

Here’s our sightings for the day:

H1-6
Hippo
Blue wildebeest
Tsessebe
Zebra
Giraffe
Buffalo
Warthog
Ostrich (plus Chicks)
Steenbok
Kudu
Waterbuck
African Crown Eagle

Middel Vlei
Elephant
Zebra

S135
Elephant

Mopani Road
Buffalo

Mopani Rest Camp
Hippo

H14
Steenbok
Buffalo
Hippo
Elephant
Leopard
White Rhino

H9
Steenbok
Kudu
Elephant
Zebra

Nhlanganini Dam
Fish Eagle


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