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 Post subject: Kruger in February : by Zypresse (2007)
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 6:09 pm 
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OK folks, today is the day. Lets get started. Finally I wrote the first parts of our trip report and uploaded some pics. Here we go!
:D :D


08. February 2007

After arriving from Europe the day before and driving north from Johannesburg International we try to get an early start at Polokwane. It is grey and rainy outside. But during the day it will become warmer, clearer and in the afternoon skies are blue and temperature reaches 37 Celsius. After stocking up on food at Louis Trichardt we reach Punda Maria Gate at 3 p. m. We are greeted friendly, check in procedure by Nompumelelo is quick and efficient and on we move to Punda Maria Camp. On our way: lots of green bush, high grasses – and no game to see.

Arriving at Punda Maria Camp we are assigned to tent No. 1, settle in and decide – after a cup of tea – to go on a sunset drive on Mahonie Loop. All we see is a Saddle Billed Stork at Witsand waterhole. It is quiet as far as it comes to game viewing.
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Driving behind two 4x4 vehicles with birders inside we reach the gate just in time: it is 18:29 and they just start closing the camp…

09. February 2007

Sky is blue, weather is hot – and since this is the third day of our holidays we decide to stay in the camp all day. We enjoy being lazy, reading, dozing. A Vervet Monkey comes to visit, but leaves quickly (seems we are no good company today…)
Image

10. February 2007

Today we get up early and leave Punda Maria with hot tea and our breakfast for Parfuri. We decide to drive along the Punda Gate road (H 13),
see some Zebras
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a Lichtensteins Hartebeest is turning his back on us
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turn north on H1 to stop at the Baobab Hill
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and finally reach Parfuri Picnic Spot via S 63 with some Impalas.
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It seems to be still very quiet as far as it comes to game viewing.


Last edited by Zypresse on Tue Mar 20, 2007 6:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 6:43 pm 
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After breakfast we leave Parfuri to Crooks Corner to see some more Impalas
Image
a hippo and calf
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and return to Punda Maria via S 63, turn south on H 1 and take the Parfuri Loop (S 61 and S 60) back.
Image

11.February 2007

Today we are leaving for Shingwedzi. We pack the car and leave at 8:20 a. m. taking the H 13,and turn on Dzundzwini Loop (S 58), including a trip to Dzundzwini Outlook Point.
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Returning to H 1 we drive south and decide to turn right on S 56 at Babalala Picnic Site. Still all animals go into hiding, like this giraffe
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But we see this Nyala
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We follow the Mphongolo with its magnificent old trees
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and nice views
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to Shingwedzi where we arrive at 12 noon. Again it is a very hot day, so we decide to stay at the camp, check out the pool during the hottest part of the day.

After 4 p. m. we go for a sunset drive: We are leaving the camp through the eastern gate an go east to Kanniedood Dam and Hide. It still seems to be quiet in terms of game viewing.
Image


Last edited by Zypresse on Tue Mar 20, 2007 6:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 1:45 pm 
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From Kanniedood Bird hide nothing is to see, so we decide to go on and follow the S 50 along the Shingwedzi. We watch a flock of Guinea Fowls.
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They seem to be quite nervous – and we have to learn: always watch you back! Suddenly, while I’m still busy taking pics my SO tells me to turn. And there it is, a Leopard crossing the street behind our car. We just can watch it disappearing in the thick bushes towards the river. We try to catch another glimpse, but it is gone.

On our way back to the camp we meet a group of Baboons having a party under a big marula tree.
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The day ends with an Amarula on ice, a nice chat with our neighbour from the other half of the bungalow and a barbeque under African skies.

12. February 2007

We get up not too early the next day but start with a tour to Red Rocks. Just outside the camp this Leopard Tortoise is crossing the road.
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We leave H 1 and turn on R 52 following the riverbed. We see some a Marabou Stork in the distance,
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lots of Monkeys Apples,
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again some Francolins,
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a small herd of nervous Zebras at a waterhole opposite Red Rocks
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Image
and some buffs are crossing the road in front of us.
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We have a quiet stop at Red Rocks Outlook Point and enjoy the magnificent view and the colourful landscape.
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Image
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On our way back to Shingwedzi Camp we watch an Elephant enjoying brunch across the riverbed.
Image
Image


Last edited by Zypresse on Fri Apr 06, 2007 10:21 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 2:59 pm 
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Another Ellie strolls the dry river bed near Shingwedzi.
Image
Today is another hot day, so again we decide to stay in the camp. There are lots of grasshoppers around. Staff people are picking them from the bushes and trees, storing in old Coke bottles. Will there be a special treat for dinner tonight? Some washing has to be done (the Laundromat is full of grasshoppers). Later in the afternoon we decide once again to go for a drive along the S 50. An Elephant is in the bush just next to our car. He is not interested in us but is feeding on bushes and trees, bark and leaves.
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We enjoy the evening light and watch some Waterbucks and a Croc in the distance.
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Image

13. February 2007

Around 9 a. m. we leave Shingwedzi and follow the H 1 to Mopani. At Nkokodzi Waterhole we decide to change roads and follow the old main road (S144). First nothing crosses our way. Near Dzombo West we meet an Elephant on his way back from the waterhole. He is determined to teach me driving backwards…
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…… which I manage brilliantly :wink: ... and finally the Ellie gives way ...
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Dzombo West is quiet, just a bird is sitting in on of the dead trees.
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Returning an old main road and turning south we are met by three Ellies in a row. That is my test for today in driving: going backwards for nearly one and a half kilometre with a stop now and then… but finally the three decide to take the shortcut to Dzombo and we can drive on.


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 11:20 am 
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Sorry for being so long. But today I finally made it with the next part of my trip report. So, let's go on!
**********
We reach the Tropic of Capricorn and stop for a single photo.
Image
We drive on to Mopani and arrive at reception precisely at high noon and receive the keys to bungalow No. 17. Because it is so hot again we decide to walk to the restaurant, enjoy the view and have a snack there. A little disappointment is awaiting us: restaurant is closed, also the ladies bar with the beautiful deck overlooking Pioneer Dam (and stays closed all the days we stayed at the camp, such a pity…), so we have “burgers without a view”.

In the afternoon around five p. m. we drive to Pioneer Dam Hide and enjoy the light.
ImageImage
It is quiet in terms of game viewing, but on our way back to Mopani we meet a single giraffe.
Image

14. February 2007

We stay at the camp in the morning and decide to go for a slow drive in the afternoon. Before I take the chance to stroll around a bit, take pictures of the old Baobab inside the camp
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While we are just preparing for our afternoon drive a car stops and out comes Impisi08. After a funny misunderstanding about who is who (see I’s Trip report – I do still blush… :redface: ) we decide to meet for dinner at the restaurant.

Our drive takes us to Stapelkop Dam (via the S 146), a beautiful landscape, Image
scarce game, but we see
Waterlilly Image
Waterbuck Image
a single croc Image
a bird on the wire (European Bee-eater) Image
a Giraffe Image
and a Korhaan Image

It is Valentines day today, so the restaurant has prepared a special welcome for the ladies (I’m the only one and unfortunately will stay the only female guest all evening…): I am presented two red roses and greeted with a glass of something nice and bubbly (yes, all the girls know what I mean…). After a nice talk to Adolph, the man who does the honours, we are taken to the best table available, with a brilliant view over Pioneer Dam. We enjoy the special Valentines Day Dinner, talk to our waitress about love letters to husbands… And I am still sorry for the staff: so much work, so thoughtful prepared dinner – and we three are only joined by two gentlemen. Such a pity. But we enjoy this special evening and feel well taken care of.

Thanks, Impisi, for joining us.


Last edited by Zypresse on Sat Apr 07, 2007 4:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 11:48 am 
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Thank you for all you nice remarks.
And Aat: yes, we knew that you were in the park at the same time - just read Impisis trip report...(when we met him we first thought he were you... :redface: )

******
15. February 2007

We try to get up early (which means starting around 7 a. m. for us…). It is nice 24 degrees Celsius and promising to become another hot day in Kruger when we start for Shongololo Loop (S 142). First we see is a Yellow billed hornbill.
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A little later we watch a herd of buffalo at Frazersrus.
Image
Image
In a tree I find a nice little bird with beautiful colours - a European Roller.
Image
We stop for some time to watch an eagle with pry high up in a tree, but can’t say if it is a Tawny Eagle or maybe Wahlberg’s Eagle or something else?
Image
We watch a small bokkie (female Steenbok) for another while.
Image

We return to Mopani around 11 a. m. and it has begun to get hot, it is already more than 30 degrees. So we go for an afternoon drive around 4 p. m., first to Mooiplaas, where nothing is to see. We turn to N 50 and then north to Nshawu. Still no game to see. We ask ourselves: where is the rhino Impisi saw here yesterday? (Long gone into hiding…)

We turn left onto S 143, the Tropic of Capricorn Loop. I have another encounter with an Ellie teaching me driving backwards near Tihongonyeni, but we also see a Wildebeest there.
Image
A huge bird - Bateleur - is drinking at Bowerkop
Image before we return to Mopani for a nice braai, which is only a little bit disturbed by a very noisy Francolin. This bird has decided that exactly the tree next to our terrace is his place for the night.
Image


Last edited by Zypresse on Mon Apr 09, 2007 2:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 11:59 am 
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16. February 2007

Today we have to leave Mopani and drive to Letaba. We get an early start at 8 a. m. and take the H 1 first and turn onto H 14 left. We don’t know this way and enjoy the beautiful landscape a lot.
ImageImage
We see some Impala.
ImageImage
And some buffs in the mud bath.
Image
At Letaba Bridge a Fisheagle is overlooking the river.
Image
There is more green and lush roadside
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And some Zebras
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A Warthog
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We cross H 9 and decide to take the loop to Sable Dam Hide. On our way we meet a herd of Ellies.
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At Sable Dam Hide we spend some time just enjoying the view, watching an Elephant going for a swim
Image
Image
And afterwards testing who is strongest with his mate.
Image


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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 12:58 pm 
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Zypresse wrote:
<...> a Lilac Breasted Roller? <...>

European Roller, Zypresse.

For more info, including how to tell them apart, see these factsheets:
European Roller;
Lilac-breasted Roller.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 12:09 pm 
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Sorry for being so late, but here we go with the next part!
**************
After leaving Sable Dam we take the loop and turn right onto H9 to Letaba. We enjoy once more the lush and green landscape. At Nhalanganini Waterhole we stop for a while to watch some Ellies bathing – or better: behaving like boys playing in the pool.
Image
Image
Image

We finally decide to leave and arrive at Letaba in the afternoon. Temperature is again very high, around 40 Celsius – so we stay at the camp for the rest of the day.

17. February 2007

We get up really early the next day and get started for Matambeni Hide at 7 a. m. The day is grey, overcast, just 24 Celsius and every now and then it starts to rain. We are the only people at Matambeni Hide, we enjoy the view – but don’t see much.
Image
Across Engelhard Dam we watch a car with someone nearly climbing out
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and finally some Hippos
Image

We go on and follow the road uphill to Longwe Lookout point. On our way we cross the beautiful Makhadzi River
Upriver Image

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 12:27 pm 
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Downriver Image
And reach the lookout
Image
Engelhard Dam looks quite impressive from up there
Image
Going down we have a closer look
Image
On our way to Anna Ledeboers grave we see a Fish eagle overlooking the Makhadzi
Image
On our way back to Letaba Camp we cross Letaba river bridge
Image
and watch a Vulture at the roadside H1-6 along the Letaba riverbed
Image

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Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 12:31 pm 
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It is not so hot today, just 27 Celsius when we return to the camp around 11 a. m. But we have a rest – like them –
Image
before we start again for a drive via S 46 along the other side of Engelhard Dam at 4 p. m.

We meet a Zebra
Image
and a whitefronted bee eater
Image

Before returning for dinner at our Rondavel we take a detour to Letaba bridge and watch a big herd of elephants in the riverbed
Image

and a single elephant close to the camp
Image

_________________
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Last edited by Zypresse on Sun Apr 22, 2007 3:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 1:45 pm 
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18. February 2007

We are leaving Letaba today and head to Tamboti – the camp in Kruger we love most. We get started around 9 a. m. on a sunny day with just a few white clouds spread over the blue sky and nice 26 Celsius. First we follow S 46 along Engelhard Dam, turning onto S 93 and S 44 along the Letaba River and have a stop at Olifants lookout.
Image
Image
Lots of people stopping there, we have a nice chat with an elderly couple from Germany. But we also have the chance to watch a heron down at the river.
Image
On our way we see Zebras again
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and I play around with black & white Zebras on my computer
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We reach Olifants Camp around 10:30 a. m. and decide it’s time to call my parents in Germany to tell them all is well. We have a snack and cold drinks at the beautiful terrace of Olifants camp; I take a lot of photos. Back home I play with autostitch – this panorama view from Olifants camp is the result.
Image

From Olifants we follow H 8 and then H 1-4 to Satara. It’s getting hotter; leaving Olifants we have 34 Celsius. On our way we see three Lappet-faced Vulures on a dead tree near Ngotso.
Image
At Ngotso there is a big herd of Elephants for a drink.
Image
We reach Satara at 1:30 p. m. and drive into the camp through the ugly new entrance gate. The restaurant and self-service are very busy but we manage to find places at one of the tables and enjoy ice tea and sandwiches. While my SO is busy browsing the shop I go looking for the web cam.

We go on to Orpen for the check in via H 7. We stock up in the shop on Wine, water, ice tea, fresh greens and meat for our braai tonight and then go on to Tamboti tent No. 33.
Image

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Unread postPosted: Sat May 12, 2007 9:31 pm 
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Sorry for being so late - but here comes more of our trip report.
***********
19. February 2007

We get no early start today, only leaving Tamboti Camp at 9 a. m. We follow Satara Road (H7) with no game to see. Perhaps we should have got up more early? We decide to return via Rabelais Loop. On S 106 we see some Zebras and Impalas.
Image
Zebras crossing the gravel road
Image
Zebra and foal
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And a juvenile carmine bee eater on the road
Image
Just short after Rabelais hut we see a family of warthogs
Image
Image
But that’s it for the morning. We return to Tamboti, pick up some laundry and spend the rest of the morning washing clothes at Orpen. We enjoy a lazy afternoon after we return to Tamboti at 2 p. m. and start for a Late Drive at 8:30 p. m. What a disappointment: all the animals have gone, nothing to see, only we can watch in the lights of the truck are Dikkops, many of them. But we enjoy a nice chat with the guide and come back to Tamboti to enjoy a good night’s sleep.
Image

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Last edited by Zypresse on Tue May 15, 2007 10:32 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Unread postPosted: Sat May 12, 2007 9:34 pm 
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Just two pics of Tamboti Sunset:
Image
Image

I loved the skies that evening...

_________________
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Unread postPosted: Sat May 12, 2007 9:45 pm 
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21. February 2007

Well, today we get started just a little bit earlier than yesterday: at 7:30 a. m., 26 Celsius, we leave for Skukuza. We follow S 145 and later S 36. What do we see? Nothing, it is very quiet in terms of game viewing again. It is getting hot today, so we enjoy a stop at Nhlanguleni Picnic Spot. We are the only guests, the attendant is sleepy and the only bird we see is blue.
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We follow the road and just to the left there she is: a lioness attempting to cross the road just in front of us. We stop and give her the right of way until she disappears to our right.
Image
Image
Reaching the H 1-2 we turn to Elephant pool where we watch a small group of giraffe
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Image
At the Sabie river bridge we watch some Marabous
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and a Heron
Image

And then we reach Skukuza and check in to our riverside bungalow with an excellent view of the elephants browsing through the green Image
Image
And quenching their thirst
Image
That reminds us that it is time for a snack and so we walk along the perimeter to the self service restaurant, enjoy our meal and visit the bats.
Image

After a short nap we decide to do an afternoon drive and go to Lake Panic Hide. On our way out we meet Elsa and Co, with a yellow ribbon and talk for a while. The hide is quiet but we enjoy this and the atmosphere there a lot.
Image

_________________
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Last edited by Zypresse on Sat May 12, 2007 10:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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