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 Post subject: Naomi c in Kruger : 21 to 25 March 2007
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 2:00 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 10:55 am
Posts: 2333
Location: Centurion
Already the second Monday back at work after a wonderful five days in Kruger and still suffering from withdrawal symptoms.
We were there only for four nights but on this short trip we had the most incredible luck - saw lions three times, cheetah twice, wild dogs and for the first time in all my years of Kruger visits a pair of leopards.
Our first two nights were at Tamboti - we entered at Phabeni and just a few kilometers into the Park had our first lion sighting. There I again realised why I do not like the south - had to really struggle to get a proper look at them.
At Tamboti we had tent no 4 and for those interested - this tent has a very limited view onto the river. It was a very hot day and after setlling in we went for a swim at Orpen. What a lovely pool.
At about four thirty we decided to go for a drive and took the Talamati road. Did not see much until the narrow concrete bridge not very far from Talamati. There on the rocks - two beautifull leopards. We could not believe our eyes. The one was very restless and after a short while disappeared into the long grass. The other one though, just lay there as if posing for us. We sat there for more than half an hour with no other car arriving.
Shortly after we stopped on the bridge, my husband remarked that it is actually a bit dangerous stopping there - the road makes a very sharp turn and when coming from Talamati it is a totally blind approach. When the first vehicles did arrive (from the Talamati side) I do not know who got the biggest fright - a tour operator with a staff bus (from the private concessions) right behind it and neither one keeping to the speed limit. We then decided to move on.
After a few kilometers we had to turn back - it was getting rather late. On arriving back at the bridge there was a vehicle from one of the private concessions. Apparently the staff bus radioed the leopard sighting but when they arrived the leopards were gone. We pointed out precisely where they were and after searching for a while the sharp eyes of the guide picked up one of them in the grass. We unfortunately had to leave and were nearly late for the gate.
To be continued.


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 Post subject: Kruger 21 to 25 March 2007
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2007 2:09 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 10:55 am
Posts: 2333
Location: Centurion
The next day we decided to spend time in camp. I got up very early, walked the perimeter of the camp for some birding and then just spent the morning enjoying everything that Tamboti is - a very special place. Around midday - very hot day again - we again went for a swim. (We could not use our fan at all - it made the most terrible noise.)
Went for a short afternoon drive. On this trip elephant was very few and far between. What we really saw a lot of is grey duiker. We only saw steenbok once. I just love warthogs and fortunately we saw them on more than one occasion.
On Friday we had to move to Orpen and decided to go for an early gamedrive first- out the gate at six. Enjoyed a beautifull sunrise and got a big suprise just after the Rabelais turn-off - three wild dogs. Unfortunately they were on a mission and disappeared quickly into the veld.
Just a few kilometers further on we saw a car in the distance with something walking in the road. I quickly grabbed my binoculars but before I could identify it my husband said "cheetah". We were so excited - have not seen a cheetah in years. It left the road but kept on walking paralel to it. We followed it for quite a distance but the bush was very thick and we only got glimpses of it. A car coming from the front stopped and asked what we were looking at. We tried pointing out the cheetah and then heard to our amazement that just 5 kilometers further on there were five of them lying next to the road. And so it was - looked like a mother with four nearly grown young ones. What a find. Sat there for quite a while but when a trafficjam started to build up, we left.
Coming to the Timbavati road we had a decision to make - left or right. We turned right - I just love this road. Sable was on my wish-list and we have seen them here may times. Was not to be this time - but - just a few kilometers from the turn-off there were four lions in the road. We sat with them for a long time - they walked past the car so close that we could have touched them. Looked like young lions - three female and one male. We had them all to ourselves and just as the first car appeared they decided to move off.
On this drive we completed the big five with a white rhino crossing the road in front of us. We turned right to Talamati, searched in vain for our two leopards and left Tamboti with heavy hearts. We tried everything to also get the other two nights here, but to no avail.
At Orpen we were early but the friendly staff had no problem with letting us have our bungalow. Went for a swim yet again, made a lekker brunch and then just lazed around. Orpen is such a quiet and peacefull little camp and the waterhole is an added bonus.
For the last couple of years we always camp in Kruger, but these couple of days brought back many memories. I could not help thinking back to the time we stayed in Orpen when there were no electricity, only gas lamps. On this occasion there were (it felt like) millions of goggatjies (stink goggas in Afrikaans) and they were obvioulsy attracted to the gas lamp. My daughter - then about five - still talks about the "groen goggas" (green bugs) and we even found some in our luggage on arriving back home.
To be continued - have to get back to work.


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 Post subject: Kruger 21 to 25 March 2007
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2007 2:05 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 10:55 am
Posts: 2333
Location: Centurion
We spent the rest of the day in camp. Met our neighbours who was really nice people - all the way from Aberdeen in the Karoo. We had our braai, waited in vain for the honey badger to arrive (our neighbours saw it the night before), but a herd of elephants visited the waterhole. They did not stay long though. The resident giant eagle owl came down for a drink - never seen an owl drink water before. It was again a very hot day and before we went to bed we went for a quick swim.
For our last night we had to move all the way to Pretoriuskop. I got up very early to go wait on one on the benches at the fence for the daybreak. Unfortunately no spectacular sunrise - weather was overcast. A bushbaby visited the tree I was sitting under and I was amazed at how early some birds are up and about. It was still very dark and at first I thought it was nightjars hunting at the spotlight by the waterhole, but when looking through my binoculars I realised it was a kingfisher and a forktailed drongo. The gaint eagle owl was still there, sitting in one of the dead trees. No animals came to visit and I very reluctantly had to get up to go and pack.
We did not get away as early as planned, but fortunately it was a cool and overcast morning. Took the gravel route again, still hoping for sable. No luck though and only saw general game. We darem spotted one hyena and a blackbacked jackal.
The cool weather did not keep for long and when we arrived at Pretoriuskop it was hot again. No success in trying to change our "schoolhut" for something else. Went to cool off in the swimming pool - arguably the nicest one in Kruger.
While sitting at the braai that night, the whole herd of resident impala walked past our hut - we counted 35 of them. The next morning there was lots of entertainment. I was up early again and heard the commotion from far away - a troupe of baboons raiding all the dustbins. Those in our circle were of the ordinary kind and they had a ball. I tried to chase them off, but gave up eventually. And just minutes after the baboons left, three warthogs arrived. Did not think the baboons left much for them though.
We decided to exit the Park at Malelane and took the Voortrekker road to Afsaal. Saw nothing except some impala and a big herd of buffalo which was very nice. Again no sable.
Afsaal was extremely busy so off to Berg en Dal for breakfast. Saw Afsaal's "dummy" white rhino, a few kilometers further on another two and on Steilberg four more crossed the road in front of our car.
Final installment to follow next week. Happy Easter to all, enjoy the long weekend and to all those lucky enough to be in Kruger, I wish you lots of wonderfull sightings.


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 Post subject: Kruger 21 to 25 March 2007
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 4:27 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 10:55 am
Posts: 2333
Location: Centurion
The last bit of exitement on this trip was not because of a sighting but because of missing it.
While we were making breakfast at the picnic spot in B&D we saw a group of people milling around at the dam. What could they be watching? Instead of getting up and going to have a look, we decided to finish eating. Major mistake.
When we eventually joined this group, we had to hear that we missed two leopards charging a waterbuck. The waterbuck returned after a while, but not the leopards. We wanted to kick ourselves.
On our way out we again saw white rhino - about 300 meters from the gate.
Birding on this trip was good. Nice sightings were a secretary bird on the Satara-Orpen road and also ground hornbills. Saw a lot of raptors - fish eagle, tawny, wahlberg's and martial eagle, and of course bateleur. Also two sightings of blackbreasted snake eagle - a first for me in Kruger. (Have seen it in the Kalahari.) Added one to my lifelist - striped kingfisher at Matjulu waterhole.
This was a short trip but one of the best we have ever had.


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 Post subject: Kruger - 21 to 25 March 2007
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 8:38 am 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger

Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 10:55 am
Posts: 2333
Location: Centurion
It just goes to show - always expect the unexpected.
My husband even made a joke: " What could they all be looking at - two egyptian geese in the mud?"
In the end the joke was totally on us. If we had not had our great leopard sighting, I would have been much more upset.
I just wish I could find the time to figure out how to post photographs and then to do it.


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