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 Post subject: Deville's back in Kruger - Jan 2007
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 8:20 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri Sep 16, 2005 7:29 am
Posts: 122
Location: 71 km from KNP
Day one 2/01/2007 :lol:

As all should know by now, we stay very close to KNP :twisted: and decided to phone Camps close to Nelspruit for cancellations a day earlier than we were booked in. First to be phoned, Byamiti, second B&D, third Croc Bride, forth try Pretoriuskop, they had a perimeter bungalow available so I booked it. :D
The morning of the 2de we finalized our shopping, dogs in the kennels and off to Kruger. We entered at Numbi gate with no hiccup and made our way down to Camp.
Nothing to report on this short drive because of the good rains we have had in this area, the grass is taller than the Combi. :roll:
Arrived at camp at about 12 o’clock just to find out someone else booked the said bungalow seconds before Vanrooi could book it for us and forgot to let us know. :evil:
The personnel at reception tried to get us booked into another camp to no avail. We demanded to speak to the duty manager and explained to him the problem. To cut a long story short, there was a double bungalow of which one side had a leaking roof and that was offered to us with no charge and we gladly accepted. :D
I will do the thank you under the appropriate section. We unpacked the bus, relaxed until 4 o’clock (very tiring drive to Kruger) for our afternoon drive.
The loop roads around camp needed some attention after the rains, so we decided to take the H1-1 for the drive. We saw most of the general came on this route. Our first interesting sighting was this Monitor lizard in a tree just before the turnoff to Shithave dam. :wink:

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On the Napi loop we found a White Rhino and Ellie doing some rock climbing to get to the good stuff.

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On our way back we found two Ground hornbills, one with a late afternoon snack.

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Just up the road these two guys decided to sort things out in the middle of the road which caused a major traffic jam both ways. :shock:

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And while this was going on this small Puffader decided to cross the road in front of us.

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This Wahlberg’s Eagle posed for the last photo of the day and also saw a Reedbuck with baby but to far for a photo.

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We managed to get to camp in time for a cold one and the normal braai.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 3:06 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 16, 2005 7:29 am
Posts: 122
Location: 71 km from KNP
Day 2 3-01-2007

We had a nice and early start for the trip to Lower Sabie. Our route took us along the H1-1, H3, S112, S21 and N4-7 (H4-1). We saw lots of general game on the way Kudu, White rhino, Ellies, Impala, etc. I found this Chameleon crossing the S112.

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About two km down the road on the S21 we found these four Lion, three males and one female. The main man in the pack had quite a funky hairdo. We spent some time with them and it didn’t seem that they where going anywhere fast. :D

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Not much else to report on this road because by now word had got out of this sighting and lots of people where speeding past us towards it. :evil:
Just after we had turned onto the H4-1 we found this mom Leopard and Cup in the thickets on the river side of the road. Mom was on a mission and cup following close behind. We never saw them in an open area long enough to take any decent photo, but here is some. 8)

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I really don’t enjoy this road, you always have the most amazing sightings and within a couple of seconds there are millions of vechiles around and you can’t go anywhere. This was once again the case here, so we left the crowds to follow the two and went to book in at L&S. :shock:
We where allocated tent no 26 with a nice view of the river and spent a good part of the afternoon on the deck. Just a couple of visitors, Common Waxbill, Arrowmarked Babbler and Monitor Lizard.

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We left camp at 16:30 for our afternoon drive and sundowners. Our route took us on the H4-2 and S82 back to Sunset dam. Lots of general game but too many vehicles on this stretch.

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Back at Sunset dam while enjoying a couple of cold one’s I took some photos of the Egyptian geese family with croc and Blackwinged Stilt.

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This was the view from our tent with some massive crocs on the sand banks.

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I then experimented with some photos of the full moon. :wink:

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End of day two and another tough day in Africa.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 11:43 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 16, 2005 7:29 am
Posts: 122
Location: 71 km from KNP
Day 3 4-01-07

Up early again but instead of driving out the gate at 4:30 we enjoyed a cup of coffee on the deck to watch the sunrise. We left at 5:00 and our route for the day was the H10, H1-3 and H7 to Tamboti. We found these 8 Hyenas walking down the S128 towards the H10. A couple of inquisitive Giraffe was guarding the crossing watching their every move. :)

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Not far up the road we spotted this White Rhino having a snooze in the mud, maybe a bit early for him to be up and about. 8)

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Next we found this roadblock, but I gave him enough room and he decided to rather go off-road in search of food. :shock:

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We could see a very big heard of Buffalo in the distance towards the S128, but to far for any decent photo.
As we started the steady climb to Nkumbe Lookout I spotted these Cheetahs +/- 200m from the road one on an anthill scanning the area. A couple of cars pulled up and we sat there enjoying the sighting. She then jumped off and lay down next to the other one. As soon as the other vehicles moved on she jumped back onto the anthill and started scanning again. They both started moving towards the road and eventually ended up in front of our car and only then could we see that the second one was actually a youngster. :D

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This was magic, just us and these two majestic animals. She did look our way once but stayed focussed on the bushes opposite the road. While I turned my attention to take another photo of the cub, my SO shouted and as I looked to her side the mother had flushed an Impala from the bushes and where full speed behind it but missed, it happened so fast I couldn’t even get a photo :evil: but got this photo of the youngster. :wink:

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The two of them disappeared over the hill towards the west and this was one of those special moments I will never forget. Further along we saw this Redbreasted swallow. :P

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On the H1-3 I found these baby Ellies negotiating a steep embankment by sliding down. :lol:

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Just before the H6 towards N’wanetsi we saw a mating pare of Lions but no photo opportunity. We then proceeded down the H7 towards Tamboti and saw lots and lots of general game but it was warming up and all animals where resting in shade. We booked in at Orpen and was allocated tent no 38, not bad but would have preferred no 40. Unpacked the car and relaxed till 4:00 to go on our afternoon drive.
We found this Knobbilled duck in a puddle of water at the entrance to Tamboti and a Steenbuck just up the road.

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We did see lots of general game on our drive including these Zebra and a Lesser Blackwinged Plover.

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What a magic day in this place they call Kruger and to end it off, listening to the Scops calling and the frogs going bos in a flowing Timbavati river. :wink:

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Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 11:51 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 16, 2005 7:29 am
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Location: 71 km from KNP
Day 4 5-01-07

We decided to sleep in this morning because it was a short drive to our next destination, Satara. We had some coffee and rusks at 5:45 just enjoying the bush wakening up. Another photo of the Timbavati river flowing.

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We left at 6:15 and decided to drive along the H7, S39 to Timbavati picnic spot, S127 and H1-4 to Satara. A friendly chap waved us down to inform us of a pride of Lion seen earlier this morning at the T-junction with the tar road. We found one other vehicle travelling very slowly towards Orpen gate and they informed us that they had moved off into bushes and they where not visible anymore.
Lose some win some. :cry: At Orpen waterhole we found two Marabou Storks and this Tortoise.

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On the way to Bobbejaan Krans we found a whole flock of Carmine Bee-eaters and these two Saddle-billed Storks. 8)

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We did see lots of general game along the road. At Bobbejaan Krans we enjoyed breakfast in the form of yogurts and some more caffeine. Too many people arrived so the break was made short. :evil: About 100m before the S39 we saw some Vultures descending from the sky and as they started settling on the ground two Tawny eagles took off. We scanned the area and found two Black-backed Jackals chasing the Vultures away from their find. Our theory is, the Tawny’s killed something and was chased of it by this lot? :?

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On the S39 me SO decided to take some photos of the flowers for an id later, so here’s some of her contributions. :wink:

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Next was another highlight of our trip, a Sharpe’s Grysbok very close to Timbavati picnic spot. First time I have spotted them this far down south. 8)

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We had a quick pit stop to see if we could find the resident Bushbuck the picnic spot, but they where nowhere to be found. Park officials were busy with some maintenance work and the noise might have sent them packing to a more quite place. By now it was warming up nicely and we decided to take the shortest route to camp for a swim and did see some general game on route. :D

End Part one

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Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 12:23 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 16, 2005 7:29 am
Posts: 122
Location: 71 km from KNP
Part two

We where allocated bungalow no 162 very close to the Web cam, after unpacking we went for a swim and what a lovely pool area, I can’t understand why pools weren’t built years ago. :?: We went back to the bungalow for some lunch and a siesta before our late afternoon drive. Some time later my SO notified me that there was someone to see me, she coudn’t sleep and was on the veranda reading. Mr Deslboysafa himself and his lovely wife saw my yellow ribbon on the Combi and could not resist to come knocking. :) They where our neighbours in no 163, so chairs where fetched and we toasted the newly weds and our meet and chatted the afternoon away till our drive. I invited them for a braai after the drive.

We decided to take a slow drive along the S100 to S41 and back, first we found this little guy riding bareback and making a big racket while doing so. :lol:

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Next up we found these Blue wildebeest youngsters still relaxing before the long night with all the predators in the vicinity. I Know of some ladies that would kill for eyelashes like that. :wink:

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Just past Nsasne waterhole we found a traffic jam, Lions. We could see 5, one Male and four Female, but there could have been more in the bushes. About 50m away a whole heard of Impala were watching them and constantly giving their alarm calls. :shock: I would have been 5000m away. One female very close to the road had her eye on them for most of the time but did give me a glance for a photo. 8)

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We stayed with them for about 20 min but had to get back to camp and I am not one for speeding back at the last minute. My last photo of the day some more Redbreasted Swallows.

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Back at camp the bush TV was lit, a couple of cold ones opened and the exchange of stories about where, when and how much. One thing is for sure, this mans got toys. Later the evening after a couple I thought of surprising some forum members by streaking past the Web cam, but had second thoughts after we heard some Lion roaring. I just want to thank Derek and Donna for a fantastic evening and hope we can do so soon again. We did however only go to bed quite late for people that wanted to be out the gate at 4:30. :o

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Last edited by Deville on Thu Jan 18, 2007 8:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2007 2:30 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 16, 2005 7:29 am
Posts: 122
Location: 71 km from KNP
Day 5 6-01-07

After the night before it was not that easy to get up early but managed to leave camp at about 4:30. We decided to spend some time at the Sweni bird hide and to get there we took the S100, S41 and the 2km on the S37. We saw lots of general game all the way including this Tawny Eagle and Redcrested Korhaan.

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We spent some time at the hide but unfortunately Baboons have discovered this safe haven to sleep in and they really make a mess in it. :( Something must be done to keep them out of the hides. Some of the birds we saw, African Jacana with young, Brownhooded Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher and Egyptian Geese with young. :wink:

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From there we decided to take H6, H1-3 and S126 up to Welverdiend waterhole and then back to the H1-3 to camp. Just past Sonop waterhole we found a couple of cars at a lion sighting, five females and one male and they also did what lions do best during the day and that’s sleep. We sent a good hour with them to see if any of the Zebra close by would venture closer for us to see them catching some breakfast. No such luck. :evil:


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More cars started to arrive so we decided to move on. We saw a Secretary bird hunting and two White Rhino but were too far for nice photos. :( On the S126 I found this Bateleur posing for a photo or two in the middle of the road. :dance: Missed out on one of those one in a lifetime photos, while checking the histogram on my camera this guy took off and in my haste, I did not get the top of the wings in the frame. :evil:

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It was only 10:00 when we got back to camp but already 36 deg C, so the rest of the morning was spent at the pool and a siesta in the afternoon till 16:00.

Our afternoon drive was very quite but we did see lots and lots of general game. Our route for the afternoon was, H7, S12, S40 and back on the H7 to camp. Just outside camp we found this chicken (Francolin) killer with his late afternoon snack. :twisted:

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This European Roller and Dagga boy also posed for a photo.

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Back at camp we had an early braai and had the local Hyena patrolling the fence, yet another fantastic day in the bush. :D

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Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2007 9:06 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 16, 2005 7:29 am
Posts: 122
Location: 71 km from KNP
Last Day 07-01-07 :cry:

This was going to be another scorching day in the park and we could feel it at 5:00 when we left camp. Our route for the day took us along the H1-3, H1-2 to Skukuza, H11 and S1 to exit at Phabeni. First was this White stork looking for breakfast? 8)

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We saw an amazing amount of raptors along this route, firstly this Tawny and not far from there a Steppe Eagle. (Please correct id’s if wrong) :?:

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This little one was playing, follow the leader with its mom. :)

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At Khumana waterhole we found these Redbilled Teals at the water edge and just past them we saw a White rhino in the thickets but no photo opportunity. 8)

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More raptors on our way to Tshokwane, Wahlberg’s Eagles?

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Had a quick pit stop at Tshokwane and our next stop was Leeupan for yogurts and caffeine. Lots of birds around, including this Imm. Martial Eagle, two confused Female Knobbilled Ducks that didn’t know what their males counterparts looked liked so they decided to stick around these Whiteface ducks. :twisted:

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At the time we got to the Sabie river low water bridge at 9:00 the temp was up to36 deg C and it seemed that our weather service had predicated it right for today, so we decided to go and hide from the heat at one of our favourite places, Lake Panic. At the low water bridge the now resident Marabou storks where waiting for us.

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At Lake Panic we did see a lot of the more general birds like Pied Kingfisher, Spurwinged goose, African Jacana, Greenbacked Heron, Blackcrowned Heron, etc. so I decided to try and photograph some of the smaller visitors to the dam. Two different coloured Dragon flies and this tree frog that found a very comfy place to sleep during the day. :P

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It got very busy at the hide :( so we decided to take a slow drive to Phabeni gate to get to Nelspruit in time to fetch our dogs from the kennels before they closed. On the S1 we saw this Dagga boy and posed nicely for a photo and our last sighting of raptor we found on the S3, this Bateleur.

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We exited the park at 12:30 with all the memories of yet another successful and rewarding trip. :D 8) :D

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Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 11:52 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 16, 2005 7:29 am
Posts: 122
Location: 71 km from KNP
Ok here we go, will have to split in two parts. :twisted:


Day Trip 27-01-07

My brother in-law booked me for a day trip to take some of his guests into KNP that’s never been to the park, two guys from the UK and two South Africans. The six of us left Nelspruit at 4:30 and arrived at Malelane Gate at 5:15. We explained to the newcomers that there’s a lot of luck involved in seeing special sightings and got through the gate in no time. We have both read numerous books on the history of the park and enjoy sharing that and visit historical sites. Our route for the morning took us on the H3 to Afsaal, H3, S112, S22 to Steven Hamilton Memorial back on S112, H3, H1-1 to Mathekenyane Lookout and up to Skukuza. :)
We saw lots of general game on route to Afsaal and this Zebra posed for us just before the plains. :wink:

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At Afsaal we had our second cup of coffee and some non SA gentlemen enjoyed some tea. The most photographed Scops Owl in the world posed for us as well as this Goldentailed Woodpecker. 8)

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Just outside Afsaal we saw this Woodlands Kingfisher and had our first sighting of Ellies but unfortunately in the thickets and were moving deeper into the bush.

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At the turnoff to Jock Safari Lodge we found an African Goshawk feeding on something and at the Byamiti River we found a single Buffalo Bull between the reeds. This Waterbuck did give us a good view of its mark where it sat on a wet toilet seat.

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At the turnoff to Steven Hamilton Memorial we found these Ground Hornbills in a tree, maybe looking for a nest site and at the T-junction we saw this Ellie trying to take a mud bath but as the photos show, not that successful. :lol:

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Still on the S112 we spotted four White Rhino starting to feel the heat and looking for some shade.

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We stopped of at Mathekenyane Lookout for some breakfast and to enjoy the view after which we set off for Skukuza. Because it was only 10:00 when we got to camp we made a quick pit stop and decided to take another drive before going to Lake Panic and our route took us along the H1-2, H12 and back on the H4-1 to Skukuza. On this section we found Marabou Storks, more Ground Hornbills, Ellie drinking Water while a Croc and Hippo watched. :)

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While waiting for our take aways I found this Saddle-billed Stork feeding in front of the restaurant. :wink:

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After lunch we decided to go to Lake Panic to hide from the heat with the temp at about 40 deg C in the shade and not a lot of animals would be moving around. At our bus a friendly chap advised us of a Lion sighting at Renosterkoppies dam and I new they would not move in this heat, so off to the dam. As predicted they where fast asleep in the shade of a tree very close to the dam and this Tawny Eagle came to drink water as well.


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We returned to Lake Panic till our afternoon drive.

End part one. :wink:

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Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2007 1:32 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 16, 2005 7:29 am
Posts: 122
Location: 71 km from KNP
Part two

We had our guests hooked on Lake Panic and saw a very nice verity of birds even it being as hot as it was. We gave our guests each a pair of binos and a bird book and they had to identify three birds on their own which they accomplished in no time. This African Jacana caught a butterfly for lunch and we saw Spurwinged Geese, the local Bushbuck male, Pied Kingfisher and lots more birds. 8)

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By now it was 16:00 and we had to get moving to exit the park at Phabeni gate and along the S1 we saw our first Giraffe for the day and found these Dabchicks in breeding colours at Nyamundwa dam. 8)

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We reached the cross road of S1 & S3 an hour before gate close and I informed all that we had ample time to have sundowners at Albasini ruins thus we should take a short drive on the S3 towards Pretoruiskop. We proceeded down the road for 1.5 km and made a u-turn at some Impala. Driving back towards the S3 about 200m from the Impala one of the guys shouted Leopard. :shock: She had just climbed this tree and started posing for us.


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This area has lots of thickets and tall grasses so photographing her on the ground was not that easy and with the adrenalin rush I also forgot to set the camera to 800 ISO to compensate for the overcast conditions, so please excuse the quality. :( She got out the tree and moved on in the direction of the Impala, sat down and watched us for a while, to make sure we could see her and proceeded to climb another tree.

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She lay in this tree for a short while, surveying and keeping an eye on the Impala, descended this tree and went into stalk mode.

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At this point the Impala had moved off into the thickets close to the road and just visible. One of the guys notified all that we had two Elephant bulls approaching us from Pretoruiskop side on the Leopards side of the road and very close to the road. :shock:
This photo was taken with min zoom 100 of the one Ellie passing the car and to top it off a vehicle approached us from the front and my brother in-law waved them down to tell them about the Leopard. These people saw the Ellies and did not bother to stop and proceeded on their way to Pretoruiskop. :sniper:

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The Elephants had walked between the Leopard and the Impala and luckily for her and us they did not see or picked up her sent that would have spoilt everything. The Ellies were about 20m past our car when all hell broke loose, Impala running in all directions and giving their alarm calls and with that upsetting the Ellies. They started trumpeting and looked in our direction ready to charge. My brother in-law said we should look for the Leopard and that he would keep an eye on these two fellows. It felt like an eternity but after a while she reappeared from the thickets and decided to come and brag with her success. :dance: The light was really bad now but at least I got one good shot of her taking a rest. :(

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As she reappeared we where joined by two other vehicles, one a parks open drive taking people for a night drive, she dragged the Impala towards the first tree we spotted her in which was about 200m from the place she had killed. At a stage something disturb her and she ran across the road behind the car into some thickets and what appeared from the left of her, a White Rhino, we decided we had disturb her long enough and we had only 15 min to get to Phabeni gate before close. Needless to say we spent two seconds at Albasini and made the gate just in time.
What a trip and especially for our first timers. :dance:

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