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 Post subject: Katydownunder & Francolin in Kruger November 2006
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2006 11:16 pm 
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So here another Kruger report begins: :D


This time we flew right up to KMIA (a very pleasant and airy airport) from Johannesburg. It was short flight from Joburg, just under one hour and although the flight was a little bit bumpy it was a wonderfully relaxed way to start the Kruger trip we were waiting for such a long time ( well it seemed a very long time for us :wink: ) .
We stayed near Hazyview for the night, and the next morning after all the necessary shopping in Hazyview, we are finally entering Paul Kruger Gate at 1 pm.

Day 1- 30.10.

It is a hot day 41 ° C . So not too many animals around, but we had a committee waiting to greet us right after entering: Warthogs.
Of course the ever present Impalas and even some Kudus were on our way to Skukuza.

Rondavel # 3. A nice surprise as it is the same we stayed in last time. It has a closed verandah and therefore no problems with Baboons or Vervets.Moreover it’s far away from the Restaurant and Shop area so very quiet.
After we moved in it started to rain, no, it was pouring . While preparing ourselfs for our first drive a thunderstorm began and we had in all three power failures, but always the power was back on really quick.
We left the camp while it was still raining,but that did not matter at all. Rain in Kruger always creates very special scenery.Like dramatic colours of the skies,
Impalas licking their wet fur.
Image
And after the rain stopped it is so beautifull to see the first rays of sun again making their way through the clouds.
Image
Animals like this Leopard turtoise are drinking from puddles in the roads.
Image
To our surprise we saw quite some Burchell’s Coucals (during our previous stays we only discovered one of this great birds) .
Some of them seem to enjoy that kind of weather and tried to let their feathers dry sitting on the trees.
Image
Even felt so refreshed that they got something else in mind..... :lol:
Image (pic by Francolin)

We really saw a lot of birds, maybe because they were able to find more insects after the rain.
That was something we discovered a couple of times again later during the trip, we had our best 'birding days' during or after rain showers.

On the way back to the camp we met our first Rhino on this trip.
But as soon as we saw it it turned around and went back into the bush.
The rain and thunderstorm did not really cooled down the temperatures . It was a very humid and warm evening and soon after we went to bed we could here some thunder again.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 8:58 pm 
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Thank you all for your nice comments. :)
@ DB
We saw really lots of Burchell's Coucal after the rains. And close to Shingwedzi we drove the Mphongolo Loop twice .The first time shortly after it stopped raining. We saw so many Weavers, Woodpeckers, Bee-Eaters,Hoopoes etc. The next day we drove the loop again and we did not see even half as many birds like the day before and that happened not only here but on several occasions.Unless there was rain and wind.....then most of the times we saw no birds at all.

Katy

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Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 8:59 pm 
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Day 2 / Part 1 – 31.10.

Today we are going to Lake Panic.
During our previous stays it somehow escaped us that this beautiful bird hide lies not too far from Skukuza. :redface:
So today we are giving it a try. Still remembering pics like Berts African Darter or Arks Sunrise pics, we are very much looking forward to this.
On the way we could observe some Oxpecker trying to find something to make the nest more comfortable.
Image

Arriving at Lake Panic there were just another two people at the hide.Everybody just sit there in silence literally absorbing all the sights, smells and sounds. I think all of you that had already been there know what I am talking about.
Well the Darter wasn’t there, but so many other birds.
Pied Kingfisher diving every now and then to catch some fish
Image,
Goliath Herons nesting in one of the trees, the grunting sounds of Hippos in the water,
African Jacana
Image,
smaller herons on the hunt for brekkie.And suddenly we discovered a Malachite Kingfisher on one of the branches just in front of us. We were absolutely delighted. A flying jewel.These little guys are just too pretty.
Image
People kept coming and going , except for us and the other couple, but all behaved very well and so noone was disturbed.Here like in most other Bird Hides people behaved like beeing in church. Moving in silence, just whispering not daring to make any noise. Wonderfull.
We stayed there for more than an hour and even then it was still hard to leave .

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2006 10:01 pm 
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Day 2/ Part 2 - 31.10.

After leaving Lake Panic we slowly ( as ususal) made our way south to the direction of Lower Sabie.
We saw herd of Buffalos and Ellis in the river bed of the Sabie.
Before reaching Nkulu Picnic Spot we got stuck in a little traffic jam, which usually means some kind of predators here down south.
And we were right, as we had a closer look at what everybody was looking out for we discovered a pride of Lions not too far away from the road but quite well hidden by bushes.Everyone was relaxed and moved on so that all had a chance to see something until.... a car of one of the safari operators approaches from behind and drove right into the scene , so that noone else was able to see the Lions anymore. :evil:
Image
Annoyed by that we decided to drive on to Nkulu to have breakfast.We were lucky Nkulu was not too busy and so we could thoroughly enjoy brekkie with the nice view onto the Sabie river.
Making up our mind we did not really want to take the same route back and so we choose the road to Mlondozi Dam instead.
Of course on the way we stopped at Sunset Dam to have a closer look.
Image
At Mlondozi we could observe a Rhino cooling down in the mud and water and some Baboons ‘ fishing ‘ for some kind of water plant.
After our break here made our way back to Skukuza via Salitje Road. Giraffes, Steenbok and two white Rhinos (unfortunately we were just able to see them from a distance).
Reaching the Sabie again we saw a breeding herd of Ellis in the river bed and shortly after that they were enjoying a shower.
Image
Taking our time for stopping at the bridge over the Sabie near Skukuza to watch some Hippos, we discovered a Water Monitor close to our car.They are pretty amazing and I am always surprised how huge some of them are.
Image
Returning to Skukuza tired but very satisfied with our first full day in Kruger we spoiled ourselfes with a wonderfull dinner at Selati Restaurant. What a great setting.Very efficient and friendly service ( our waiter was Elvis)and fantastic food .
A perfect ending to one of these great Kruger days.
Image
(Sorry I just had my mobile with me to take a pic of the restaurant :redface: )

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Last edited by katydownunder on Sat Dec 02, 2006 1:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2006 4:47 pm 
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Nico wrote:
I don't know what I would do when such a Safari Operator would ruin my sighting, I probably gave him a Dutch language lesson. :evil:


Yes Nico !

Many ( but not really nice :evil: ) words came to my mind at that moment, but I was literally speechless. :roll:
Thank god most of the Safari Operators behaved well and this was the only occasion that something like that happend to us.
And you are right, there will not be such a thing happen in the north.

Katy

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Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2006 6:46 pm 
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Day3 /Part 1 - 01.11.

During the night we could again hear some thunder and the rain falling down on the thatched roof of our rondavel.
Getting up in the morning it had stopped raining but as we left Skukuza to the northern direction the sky was still grey.
It was also cooler than the day before which we thought was
great .
Before finally leaving the camp we went down to the take–away area , as we wanted to have a look at the Fruit Bats that hang out there in their dozens.
Image
Today we are driving to Tamboti and we are pretty much excited as it is a new Camp for us and after all these great reports we are very much looking forward to it.
Soon after we left Skukuza on the road to Tshokwane it started to rain again.
Everybody always tells us , ‘you know Kitties do not like wet feet’, so we were very suprised to see a couple of Lions relaxing in the river bed of the Sand in the middle of the pouring rain.
Image
Kruger is just not predictable.....
Again we saw quite a few Burchell’s Coucals and many other birds.
Image
Some Tree Squirrels and Steenboks didn’t seem to bother that it was still raining .
I really like the landscape with rocks and trees growing on them a lot. It is always a very nice drive from Skukuza to Tshokwane.
Image
Finally coming closer to Tshokwane the weather cleared up and so we decided to stop at the Orpen Dam lookout.
There was quite a lot to see:
Bushbucks, Crocs, Herons in a nest on top of one of the trees, Baboons barking far away, and a Herd of Ellis at the far end of Orpen Dam , but you could clearly hear the sound of breaking trees even up to the lookout.
Image
We had lovely breakfast or better said brunch ( as it wasn’t that early any more) at Tshokwane , the sun was out again and it was not at all busy. Perfect. 8)

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 11:23 pm 
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Day 3 / Part 2 – 01.11.

Shortly after we left the picnic site we had another Lion sighting. The Male Lion was hiding himself behind a bush and did not make the slightest attempt to move.
Image
Before taking the turnoff to Orpen/Tamboti we came across a herd of Waterbucks with a very impressive male.
Image
On the H7 we saw a lot of Zebras and Wildebeest, some Hippos and Ellis. We were able to observe a Red Billed Woodhoepoe trying to find something to eat under the bark of some trees, but he was way too fast to make any decent pic.
We checked in at the new Orpen reception for Tamboti and were very much delighted to hear that we indeed got tent # 40 as requested. :dance:
Impatiently we made our way to Tamboti.
And the way to the camp had some surprises for us already. Right after the turnoff from the main road to the camp there were two small Jackals lying in the middle of the road.
Image
Image
We were able to stop for a while to take some pics , but after a couple of minutes they got bored and left the road.
Soon after we entered Tamboti camp, we had our next sighting. A bunch of small Dwarf Mongooses awaited us, and kept playing for a moment before moving on again.
Image
What a great reception to a beautifull camp.
The tents are just great, very well equipped with a great view onto the river bed.
As it already was a bit late we decided to stay in camp and as a kind of reward a Elephant crossed the river bed not too far away.
Image
By the time I lit the fire for the braai it was already quite dark and I suddenly felt like beeing observed, I discovered 4 Buffalos standing in the river bed staring at me. A little bit spooky I have to admit. They slowly made their way up along the fence to the side of our tent and disappeared.
After having an early night again, we woke up every now and then by the sounds around our tent , we left the canvas of the windows open and nearly had the feeling like sleeping right into the bush.Belive me , much more than once we asked each other the question ‘ did you hear that’ ?
Francolin told me in the morning that she was convinced that she heard a motorcycle driving up and down the Orpen road and that Captain Ahab with his wooden leg walked up and down our porch during the night..... (no Amarula involved here ) :lol:

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2006 9:06 pm 
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This is No 40 and a the view from the verandah 'sigh'
Image
Image
This was the view from No 39 last month, lovely to see water in the Timbavati :D
Image


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Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2006 10:46 pm 
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Thank you all for your nice comments !

Ah yes, the Jackals, I was literally melting, they were so cute.
@ BB These were the only Jackals we saw during the entire trip.
@ Gwen
It seems as if a lot of Forumites already stayed at #40, so it is the 'forum-tent' they should attach a YR to the door :lol:

Tamboti is just great!! :D

Thanx Freda for the pics.
Here are some of ours as well, but I will post pics and comments about the accomodation in Camps & Roads
Image (pic by Francolin )
Image (pic by Francolin)
Image
The start into another wonderfull Kruger day on the verandah of Tent#40 8)
Image

@ Dreamer you will love it I am absolutely sure about that :wink:

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Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2006 11:15 pm 
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Day 4/Part 1 – 02.11.

Thanx to the open windows of our tent the night was nicely cool.
As mentioned before there were many sounds during the night. Lions and Hyenas far away, Ellies and Owls and all the cracking sounds in the bushes around the tent.
But nevertheless we had a good nights rest.
Observing the sunrise from our verandah was beautiful and accompanied by the visit of some Waterbucks. After filling up the car with some petrol at Orpen we are on our way.
We choose the direction to Timbavati , but planned to take not the straight route and to take some detours, like the S106 . It was getting hotter and hotter already. On the Rabelais Loop we saw nothing.
Back on the main road a pair of Klipspingers.
Image
Image
After that we stopped at Bobejaanskrans Dam and turned onto the S39 to Timbavati Pinic Spot.
Here we saw Ellis, Impalas and Giraffes with lots of Oxpeckers.
Image
Image

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Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 12:18 am 
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Day 4/ Part 2 - 02.11.

Shortly before Leubron we literally stumbled over a male Lion that rested right beside the road in the shade of a tree.
Image
We stayed with him for nearly 30 minutes without any other car around.
At Timbavati there was as ususal a lot to see, of course the Bushbucks, Weaver Birds , Starlings, Sunbirds , Blue Waxbills etc.
Image
Image
Image
On the way back we stopped at the Rattlepan Bird Hide, but as there was nearly no water there were just a pair of Egyptian Goose, Crocs and Herons far away.
Close by again Giraffes and some very nice Kudus ( that did not want to turn around for the photo).
Image
Stopping at Satara for some shopping, we were surprised that the Camp had a new entrance gate. To us the old one was much nicer and and we are a bit confused why a new gate was needed here. ( will post pics later in Camps & Roads ).
On the way back to Tamboti there were lots of Zebras and Wildebeest.
Then there was some excitement during dinner preparation a huge Baboon male did not see me , as I was standing behind the ‘kitchen wall’, he tried to jump onto the verandah and just missed me by some inches.He was as surprised as myself and quickly jumped over the fence and disappeared into the bushes.
It was long (and with 42,5 ° C hot ) day and we are happy to relax on our verandah at the end of the day.
Soon after sunset the Buffalos are back, this time they lay down for a rest directly beside the fence close to our tent and stayed for quite a while. What a peacefull sight.
Isn’t it like heaven to sit there in the darkness looking at the stars, listening to the sounds of the bush and sipping some nice wine ?! How much better can it get ?
Image

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Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 10:14 pm 
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Thanx for your comments.
:D

Right from the hair dresser ?!
I just took a pic of his best side..... :wink:
The pic taken by Francolin shows a least a bit of the other side as well.
The whole right side of the face and the mane were blood crusted.
He did not look like he had a great dinner , but as if he had a big fight.
Image ( pic by Francolin )

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Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 11:29 pm 
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Day 5 / Part 1- 3.11.

Today we left Tamboti with a very sad feeling :cry: but we know that we will be back .
Moreover we are convinced that there are still more wonderfull things lying ahead during the next parts of our trip.
As a farewell we finally saw a Hyena. She walked along the bottom fence and made her way into the river bed.
Image
At that time we observed a herd of Impalas crossing the river very cautiously .
The Hyena saw the Impalas as well and started to run into that direction. Shortly after that she disappeared into the thick bush and she was gone.
Although it is a cloudy day the temperatures quickly rise again.
On the way to Satara we saw a lot of Zebras, Wildebeest , Ellis
Image
Buffalos and a Warthog with piglets.
Image
The main road was very kind to us.
Huge herd of Buffalos
Image
Lots of Ellis, Giraffes Francolins, a Secretary Bird and at Ngotso waterhole a Giraffe drinking.
Image
We stopped at Olifants for Breakfast.Olifants is one of our favourite camps although it can be quite busy at time it has a very relaxed athmosphere and a great view over the river.
There were no monkey disturbing our brekkie ,......but be warned there are two very thieving Crested Barbets, they are working as a pair. One poses for photographes right in front of you and the other one steals your sandwich from your plate.
Image :lol: :lol:

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Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 11:38 pm 
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Location: Back "home"?!...........
Day 5 / Part 2 – 03.11.06

At Olifants we also met this little guy.
Image
Could someone please help me with the ID?
Of course we stopped off on the Olifants bridge.Were we discovered some Crocs in the water, and yes there was water !Much more than the last time we stayed there.
Image
Again we had some Ellis on the way and Francolins.
Image
But apart from that there was not that much around.
It was already getting very hot again and around 1 pm we reached Letaba Rest Camp. A busy camp , even more as we stayed there on a weekend.

This bug was sitting right at the reception wall.
Image
We got bungalow C29. On the far end of the camp and right on the fence, but not with a too good view. (We had a generator right behind the bungalow, but fortunately it was not too loud.)
As we walked over to the fence we were happy to discover a small herd of Ellis right into the riverbed.
8-9 Bushbucks were lying on the gras and we were able to see a lot of birds.
Image
Later in the afternoon we left the camp again for a short drive along Engelhardt Dam.
It was a pleasant drive but not many animals around.
But we had a lovely sunset as compensation. :)
Image
Fortunately we had very quite neighbours and could enjoy our braai in peace and quiet.
It seemed as if the Ellis were still in the riverbed , every now and then we heard them trumpet and making this very special growling sound.
Far on the horizon we could see a huge fire burning (you easily make out the flames through the binoculars) but were not able to tell how far away it actually was.
We had an early night and soon after we went to bed we could hear thunder and rain falling on our roof again.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2006 12:07 am 
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Thank you both for the compliments and the help. :D

I had a look at some of my books , but they did not help me that much with the ID.
My guess was a Long-Billed Crombec ( but I am absolutely not sure :redface: )
Here is another pic I took of little birdy:
Image

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