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 Post subject: In Search of the Cats : Jan '07
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2007 4:35 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Hi guys,

Will start my trip report soon! I had a very fruitful, enjoyable and not long enough trip to Kruger. Isn't it odd how you see everything on the day you leave? You'll have to wait till I get to that part!

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Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


Last edited by Wild about cats on Wed Feb 28, 2007 7:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 2:22 pm 
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Day 1-Part 1

We all knew the routine off-by-heart. We would wake up at one and have left for Kruger by two. It was Tuesday night and my family and I had just finished watching survivor. We all knew it was time for bed. I made my way sleepily to the bathroom to brush my teeth. My dad walked in and suggested we leave then instead of at two. We all agreed to this and got dressed out of our PJ’s into our travelling clothes. We were in the car by some time around eleven. It is about 7hrs to Punda gate and we were not going to stop often. We drove for a long time and I slept for only two hours of the journey. We arrive at Punda Maria gate at 05:30 or around there.

We got out and tasted the african bush air for the first time in over 5 months. We were soon in the car and travelling. I can’t remember exactly, but at that time the tempreture was over 25 degrees celcius. The usual first sighting in the park-impala . The impala were so adorable with their young. As we were driving, we came across a skeleton so there is a good chance of predators. We turned down the Thulamila road a little anxiously, becuase we were taking my moms audi A6 and we weren't sure how it would hold out. About a km or so down the sand road, we came across something very sad indeed.

My mom swerved the car and reversed. Don't worry, my mom didn't do it and I have proof. There was one of africa's most beautiful reptiles on this road, next to our car. Unfortunatly, some savage half-killed the poor lil thing. :cry: A green, black-headed chameleon was there on the road, dying. You could see it was going through extreame pain. There were markes in the sand that showed it was trying to move for at least 10 mins. I don't really want to post a photo, but it'll make people aware.We felt so sorry for the lil thing, so my dad mercifully moved it off the road, where it could die in peace. We carried on down the road, more quietly than before. We saw kudu, impala, Common duiker and a tiny tiny leopard tortiose, no bigger than your computer mouse.

I'll carry on soon!

I'll post pics later on, my camera is still downloading etc.

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Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


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Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 5:21 pm 
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After the tiny tortoise, we decided to go check out Punda, and the pool!! We thought, no it's way too early, so we took the Mahoni Loop. At nine it was 32 degrees! :shock: We were driving for a while with no luck, and I was staring blissfully out the window. We passed a shape I immidiatly recognised. STOP! I shouted in excitement. There I saw my very first Sharpes Grysbok. :dance: Two actually. Strange, they were out so late. We drove on and saw eli. At ten it was 34 degrees :shock: and we were melting, and decided camp was the way to go.

On the way, or not :roll: , my mom wanted to go to that educational centre near the Punda entrance gate. The museum was closed, and the aircon! We were dying in the heat. We went to the coolest place we could find, the curio shop. There wasn't even a fan. I was too hot to stand it. I went to the car to wait for my mom and sis. They soon pitched and we left to camp. On the way we saw my favourite duck, the knob-billed or comb duck. We got to reception and they had our keys. They reminded us we weren't allowed in till 12. We nodded innocently and made way for the hut immidiately, at 11:30. :whistle: It was awesome. There was an upstairs with a balchony looking over bush, with a little clearing where I saw baboon coming toward the camp. Two heavenly aircons! :dance: We stayed the rest of the afternoon in camp.

Come back to find out who our curious and not so often seen visitor was.

Will post pics later.

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Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 4:41 pm 
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Boulder, you got it. We were all sitting next to the braai, having just eaten some delicious marshmellows when my annoying sister who wouldn't stop talking at that stage said, "Hey a genet" to nobody's belief, because she has an imagination like anything. :roll: We, or I, turned around for amusement and believe it or not, there sat a large-spotted genet under the tree, believing himself invisible. We all froze, staring at that stunning thing. We were too scared to move incase it ran away.

My dad really wanted to take a shot with my camera, so he snuck off and got it, but I demanded to go first and after all, it was my camera. :wink: This lil creature was the bravest secretive seven member I had ever seen, and the first of our trip. I got some stunning photo's that I'll post later. But, even though this genet wanted the camera girl, the camera girl knew it was time for her and her family to turn in. I went upstairs to fetch my camera bag and heard a bat, but it didn't intrest me as much as the thought of sleep, so goodnight!

Forgot to tell you all about the pool, so I'll have to tell you next time! 8)

I'll post pics soon!

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Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 7:37 pm 
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Day Two

I got up really early and helped pack a picnic basket. We were off to Pafuri picnic spot. We got to the gate, but it had already been opened :( , oh, well there's tomorrow. We took a loop and saw tons of kudu, one group had 13!!!! :shock: Today we saw another Sharpes, and this time it was only one. We saw steenbokkie. We went to Crooks corner.It was hot hot hot!!!!! Pafuri is absolutly beautiful, and we hit the road back. We saw a lot of general game. We took a nap and went to the pool (when it stopped raining :!: ), which is stunning! There are rock formations and it's not too shallow and not too deep. We had an awesome time there!

We went for another drive. This sounds real odd, I know, but I saw my first nyala today :?: :?: and we saw a stunning but skittish warthog. The game up north is a lot more nervous than down south.

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Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


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Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 9:39 am 
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Again we went on a drive and saw general game, but we especially enjoyed a giraffe we saw. It's not often we see giraffe this high up. He stared at us through the thick bush and walked off. We were all tired but the drive wasn't short. And, along the way we were blessed. No, not an animal, but something that is welcome in weather like this. It started raining. My parents were happy coz now my sis and I would stop compaining about the heat. We opened our windows and I got absolutly drenched. It was bliss, but apparently, my mom didn't think so. Her poor car! :roll:

We couldn't have a braai because of the rain :( So, we went to Punda's resturant. :) It isn't so big, but it's cozy. We sat at the table closest to the door. The waiter gave us the very limited menu, which we weren't too happy about. We wanted the greek salad, and my dad wanted fish. The waiter said that a whle lot of stuff was out of stock, so we had their last salad, which was delish... and my dad and I shared the most divine ribs, all in all, it wasn't too bad. :wink: When we went back to the cottage and sat outside, waiting for the genet who never came. :( We went off to bed for a nice sleep.

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Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 1:31 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Hi guys,

Im really really sorry, but as you should notice, :roll: I haven't been posting. I am too busy at the moment so I'll have to tell you the two things we enjoyed most. They were both on the last day. We were about to leave Satara :cry: :cry: and had stopped by at the shop so I could but a book I had my eyes on. While walking back to the car, I greeted a lady sweeping leaves off the car park. At our school we are tought always to greet. She stopped me and told me to follow her. I did. She took me to the end of the parking lot and looked at a bush. "Do you see it?" She asked. I was absolutly confused. The bush? She moved the bush and there was a little scops owl sleeping!!!!!!! The most adorable thing I have ever seen, sleeping there.

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Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 5:25 pm 
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Then on the way to Orpen we saw a cat. My favourite cat. It's a spotted cat. Yes, I found one of the most graceful animals in the park, and I mean it, I found it.

We were close to the gate and came across a car stopped next to a massive herd of impala and zebra. I looked on the other side of the road and I saw a blur of spots. I obviously spotted something I recognised. CHEETAH!!! :shock:

I'll carry on later. IT WAS ON THE HUNT WITH 4 CUBS!! Bliss..... 8) 8)

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Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


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Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 8:39 pm 
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Anyway, we saw the cheetah and her bigish cubs walking and they stopped under a bush. She was staring at some impala close by. After about 15 minutes, she began to stalk them. She did that typical cheetah stalk and stopped in the shade about 15 meters away. She just sat there glaring. The impala picked up her scent. They looked at her for a while and then crossed the road. She looked after them sadly and walked off into the bush accompanied by her cubs.

This holiday we saw a dead animal nearly every day. :shock: :cry:

On our drive, the guide was so tired he drove over a snake and we watched it die in a pool of it's own blood. It was the most disturbing thing I have ever seen in my entire life. The lady behind me and I shed a tear for the defenceless spitting cobra.

We found an interesting cat. We were deciding where to go at a junction and saw cars to our left, so we turned down, and as we did, we saw vultures taking off. We were close and my mom said she saw spotted cats skin. We all began to wonder if there was a kill. My sister said it was a serval. The shock and amazement resulted in me not believing it at all. As I slid over to her side I saw a dead cat just 2 meters into the bush. She was right though, it was a serval. We all sat there, mourning the poor little animal. We didn't want to stay long, it was pretty gruesome.

And now for something nice, not dead or dying. We were on our bushbraai and we had seen buffalo, a fish eagle and other game. About 20 minutes into the drive, the guide got a call that he had forgotten people behind. We turned back to fetch them. We were off again, and now it was getting dark. We passed the place where we saw the fish eagle and my dad shouted "STOP!" Not very loud, but hey...I shot to that side of the truck just in time to see a beautiful wild cat framed by the mopani shrubs. She was giving herself a bath. She looked up and decided she didn't like us. She followed the francolin call into the night.

We saw another wild cat breifly on our Satara night drive.

So, cats seen this trip:
Lion: Uncountable, but we saw two full, massive males. 8)
Cheetah: With her 4 cubs
Caracal: No chance
Wild cat: 2
Serval: Dead
And the leopard has eluded me AGAIN!

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Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


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Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2007 2:37 pm 
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Forgot to mention one of the highlights of the trip!! :o Not a cat though...

We stopped near ratelpan to identify a raptor. My dad had just woken up from a nap and said there was something up front. We looked and saw.... we saw... two black animals crossing. I would recognise that gallop-like trot anywhere.

Honey Badger!!!! 8)

When we got to the spot they were gone. :(

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Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


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Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 8:44 am 
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PHOTO'S!!!!

My cheetah, sorry about the quality, but I have to show you! :D
Image
Image
This is when she was stalking
Image
This is where they were walking away, you can see two of the cubs here.
Image

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Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


Last edited by Wild about cats on Tue Feb 20, 2007 10:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 8:46 am 
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Scops owl
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Image

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Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


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Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 8:48 am 
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The dead serval :cry:
Image

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Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


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Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 8:50 am 
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Will post more later, I'm still re-naming.

Best sunset pic I have ever taken
Image

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Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


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Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 10:03 am 
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The rhino we saw on the morning walk at Satara
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Image

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Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


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