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 Post subject: DB & Hawk in Kruger : Sept 2006
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2006 5:09 pm 
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What a special sight to me – the Crocodile Bridge Gate.

By the time we reach there I am always beside myself with excitement. We are here, at my beloved Kruger Park. Always, a very slow drive over the bridge to just soak up the river view.

Check in at the office was quick – what a warm Kruger welcome we received. Our ID’s were carefully checked (hmmm….is that really me in that photo).

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Then down to the rituals learnt from this forum – bathrooms to smell the thatch, yellow ribbon on, crack open a cold one, cameras at the ready…and we were off to Lower Sabie for the night. It was a dry, hot, sunny day – Kruger weather at its best!

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Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2006 5:26 pm 
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Hippo pic by Hawk.

I love to spend the last hours of daylight at Sunset Dam. The water birds seem so serene in their search for supper, the hippos so lazy and the impies grazing on the banks, so graceful. The mischievous baboon troop make their way home past our Landy.

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Slowly the sun sinks into the earth. The day is at rest. I give thanks that I am here.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2006 6:09 pm 
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What a super meet we had with TXDrifter and Dianne and Katmal. Wonderful to meet fellow forumites, enjoy a few glasses of Amarula together and exchange stories. Thank you for my Longhorn Steer cap TXD – it will always remind me of a lovely evening spent under the stars on the LS deck with special forumite friends.

A good few hours later it was back to camp, supper and off to the ablutions to brush teeth. Walking back hand in hand with Hawk I noticed a movement some 3 metres or so from us – a hyena! I have read many times of animals in camps at night on this forum, now it was my turn to see one! We notified the man at the gate. No one seemed too bothered. He is not dangerous they told me. I woke during the night to the sound of dustbins being turned over – by morning every bin in the camp had been raided by our ‘visitor’

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Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2006 8:28 pm 
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Each day in Kruger is started with a brew of coffee at camp while the day awakens and then out of the gate with a flask of coffee to park somewhere special and greet the morning.
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An sms received from Madach the evening before prompted the route for our drive this morning (even though we really needed to pack up and head for Balule). We would try our luck at finding Duke on the S28. Did I scan the veld!! (Post those admissions Duke brigade and I will post if I found him or not).

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Anyway, this search for Duke led to a record for us – we spotted 5 rhino just after 7 am some way off the S28. By 12:10pm we had seen the Big 5!! The 5 in 5!

The highlight was coming across a traffic jam along the H4-2. There, not too far off from the road two leopard cubs were romping in a tree!! Wow!! I have no idea how old they were – they weren’t tiny but far from full grown. The Landy has its uses – we could see over the other cars. I took a good few pics. I know the light was bad, they were far away in a dense tree – but this was not something one saw too often in Kruger!! They were so cute and so agile. They ran around up and down the branches of the tree, flopped down from time to time, sparred with each other….how lucky can a girl get!!!

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Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2006 8:14 pm 
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A quick pack up, hitch up and off we set on the 160km odd drive to Balule. We elected to drive the prettier (to me anyway because of the river) but longer route along the H1-2 stopping at a favourite spot on the bridge over the Sabie River.

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We passed a fair amount of general game along the way. The highlight undoubtedly these White-backed Vultures at what looked like a giraffe carcass. My word did they bitch and fight amongst themselves!!

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To the side was this lone Lappet-faced Vulture skulking behind what he obviously thought was great cover.

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A stop on the Olifants bridge brought us both much pleaure. A Yellow-billed Kite was soaring on the lift off the bridge. I could have put up my hand and touched him he came so close at times. What a great chance to try out our new lenses. How difficult it is to photograph a flying bird!! I was pleased to just capture him within the frame eventually!

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Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2006 9:52 pm 
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We love Balule! A great deal of careful thought goes into choosing a campsite. My very favourite one at Balule was occupied when we arrived there – but we were very happy with the one we did choose in the end. I love to sleep with the curtain of the caravan window open – and with the full moon, I had a wonderful view of the veld from my bunk.

Each evening two hyena would patrol the fence – never saw anyone feeding them. We could hear the hippo in the river, a night jar far off. During the day, we were entertained by all the birds that paid the camp a visit. Impies grazed other side the fence and one day a breeding herd of ellies fed at the fence right opposite our camp. The babies were just too cute!

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Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2006 10:01 pm 
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My SO and I had such fun with our cameras on the low water bridge over the Olifants at Balule:

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Hey! Can't a guy fish in peace!

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Hawk's pic.

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This guy was clearly having a bad hair day....

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2006 6:41 pm 
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One afternoon we took a drive to the lookout on the S44 which revealed really beautiful views of the Olifants:
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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2006 6:41 pm 
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A drive to Letaba did not produce a great deal of game sightings so those we did see were special!
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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2006 6:42 pm 
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I just love Letaba camp!!

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I never fail to be moved by the view from the veranda of the vast river bed. Every time we drive past the turn off to the Game Ranger’s home just next to the camp, I stare down the road with envy – imagine living there!! Getting out on the bridge over the river is always such a treat and winding through the loops along the river on the H1-6 never fails to produce at least a good raptor sighting.

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Martial Eagle (?)

We had to share (we did not offer let me tell you – no manners whatsoever) our lunch at the super new Letaba day visitors area with a hornbill and a red headed weaver….. They sure have learnt fast where the food is to be found - that picnic area has not been open too long.

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Hawk snapped the uninvited lunch guest

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Another pic taken by Hawk.

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Dalene

A roaring lion does not catch any prey - African Proverb


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 10:34 pm 
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While in Kruger we also did:

A River Walk

The Managa Adventure Trail

Sky Rangers

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A roaring lion does not catch any prey - African Proverb


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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2006 4:03 pm 
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As I remarked in the report I posted on the Mananga Trail - we lunched at Nwanetsi and took a quick drive and stop off at the Sweni bird hide. On our way there we passed Gudzani Dam.

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Gudzani Dam

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Sweni River

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Sweni River

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Dalene

A roaring lion does not catch any prey - African Proverb


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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2006 4:29 pm 
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I have always found the Sweni hide extremely productive for photography.

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Pic by Hawk

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Dalene

A roaring lion does not catch any prey - African Proverb


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2006 5:02 pm 
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Dalene

A roaring lion does not catch any prey - African Proverb


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2006 5:46 pm 
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Nwanetsi did not disappoint either! Lots of bird life.

We were enjoying our picnic lunch when I noticed that a group of people had gathered and were looking out over the river. Being a sneaky beak I had to go and ask what they were look at. I just heard one word - leopard!! Leonard told me to run up to the lookout area…. And there across the river was a leopard strolling along! Wow!

We bade Leonard good bye and I left my copy of Sasol Birds with him on behalf of the forum.

First thing the following morning we headed to the hyeana den that Nico had told me about, to pass on his greetings! Not sight nor sign of the creatures… we opted to wait around for a bit. My word, their den did pong!

We were in luck – here came mom with some food for the kids. Soon the youngsters were out of the den crunching away on the antelope head provide by mom.

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