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 Post subject: Niknak's Sunday in KNP : March 2007
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 10:13 pm 
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A first attempt!!

Up at 04:30, out the garden gate at 04:55, mist and drizzle from the Castlebridge turn off all the way to Numbi Gate at 05:25. The queue stretches back so I am stopped under the railway bridge. With the low cloud and the drizzle it is still completely dark. The gate opens and I find my self as the only visitor booking in. the queue was a couple of tourist busses and their accompanying fleet of open game viewing vehicles. The passengers appeared to be loath to leave the comfort of the busses in the wet and dark!
05:35 and niknak is on the way. A left onto the S7 for a slow tour around Shabeni in the semi-dark, I believe I had a fleeting glimpse of a spotted one but would not care to bet on it in the dark.
Turned on to the S1 meaning to go to Kruger Gate on the S3. All I saw were a few and I mean a few impala, a small heard of zebra and a big male white rhino who appeared to be in a great hurry to be somewhere else. The drizzle and poor light conditions made any photography impossible.
Other than impala there was not much happening on the S3 until I came across a lone elephant bull feeding just far enough back to be partially obscured at all times. This prompted an impulsive turn onto the S4 to get to the Doispane road. The light had improved and wildebeest, giraffe, kudu and impala were feeding next to or near the road. The traffic on the road was horrific with streams of cars traveling at what in my opinion was excessive speed. Inland school holidays have started! The game on or next to the road was stressed and once again the photographs were not up to scratch.
The S65 appeared to be a better option than the Doispane road. For once fate smiled on me! At the N’waswitshaka waterhole a pride of lions were laying up. The sighting was becoming a bit overcrowded! Time to move on! Truth be told the time was after 9 am and my guts was reminding me that breakfast was overdue.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 10:14 pm 
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On to the Napi Road for a slow drive to Skukuza. After having to wait for three giraffe to cross each one smaller than the one in front but moving far apart for a good photograph. I then made a stop at De Laporte water hole scene of the first kill I ever witnessed. (Couple of lionesses killing a warthog against the side of my brand new car in the early 80’s!) Two old buffalo, a lone kudu male and a family of warthog were the only animals to be seen.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 10:16 pm 
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After a quick stop at the shop for a couple of sandwiches I went down the H4-1. Here there appeared to be more elephants than impala. The reeds in the river seem to be a great attraction and herds were feeding and playing in them.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 10:28 pm 
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More elephants!
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and the unforgivable!

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Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:14 am 
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I enjoyed reading your report despite feeling for you in the grey drizzle. Your Lions at N'waswithshaka waterhole reminded me of an unusual sighting involving Lion that we experienced in August 2005 just a quarter of a mile from there. A dead rhino was lying on the ground against a tree with lions lying around in the vicinity, a pride of about 8 including two males.
Obviously the cats had been gorging on the rhino but to this day we don't know whether they had actually brought it down or that it had just expired there and the pride had claimed it opportunistically. I wonder whether any forumites have accounts of rhinos being killed by lions (this was in an area with plentiful easier prey I would have thought)?
The rhino's horns had also been removed - is that KNP policy to prevent it falling in the wrong hands?
Someone reading this may know or even remember the same incident from August 2005.
Best wishes


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Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 4:05 pm 
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I once also found a rhino near Croc Bridge (within sight of the fence and sugarcane fields). The horns were also removed on that one.

No lions on that occasion. Only about 50 + vultures. It smelt so bad I was affraid it might pull into the upholstry of the car. :shock:

I took my pics and moved along rather quickly. As we approached the carcass you could literaly smell it from 200 meteres away. It was really bad.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 8:48 pm 
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After crossing the “Big Green” bridge and driving the H12 I turned left onto the H1-2. Apart from a few herds of impala this section was very quiet. No Bush buck! The low water bridge over the Sabie River produced these Marabous

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and Bee eater.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 9:10 pm 
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The time was close to midday so I decided to visit Lake Panic. A small herd of elephant had moved through the lake very close to the hide just prior to my arriving. The Pied kingfishers were having a field day in what appeared to be a stirred up section of water.

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The Jacanas were feeding close to the hide

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while the grey heron patrolled the waters edge.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:29 pm 
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The day was heating up and I had only got permission from the SO for a morning trip so it was time to head for home. The Doispane Road yielded up a small group of buffalo in a pool of water and a very shy kudu.

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All that remained was to exit the park at Phabeni stop for a bag of avos and be home by 14:45.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 3:26 pm 
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JeffinLondon wrote
Quote:
Obviously the cats had been gorging on the rhino but to this day we don't know whether they had actually brought it down or that it had just expired there and the pride had claimed it opportunistically. I wonder whether any forumites have accounts of rhinos being killed by lions (this was in an area with plentiful easier prey I would have thought)?
The rhino's horns had also been removed - is that KNP policy to prevent it falling in the wrong hands?
Someone reading this may know or even remember the same incident from August 2005.

We were in KNP at the time and saw the rhino the morning after it died. The ranger with whom we had been on a morning walk informed us that it had died in a territorial fight with another rhino. We were lucky to see it when the first pride of lions arrived at the site with two small cubs. :D :D A few days later I believe the smell was horrific!


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