Skip to content

SANParks.org Forums

View unanswered posts | View active topics






Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  Page 1 of 1
 [ 9 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: KNP Once More by Wildchild : March '07
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 9:19 am 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2005 9:10 pm
Posts: 182
Where does one begin to share the wonderful sightings of an unplanned trip? At the beginning I suppose. On Tuesday night March27th I happened to phone a friend with whom we had shared the wonderfully wow weekend to find out how things were with him, when I heard the disappointment in his voice...”We had planned to leave for the Kruger Park tomorrow morning with visitors from the states but the other friend with whom we were supposed to go, is unable to join us because of an illness in the family. Therefore, I may just end up canceling the trip.” “Tomorrow morning is out of the question for me,” I replied, “but if we can make it Thursday, I am game to go with you.” After these hasty discussions the decision was made, back to Kruger for a short three day trip from Thursday March 29th to Saturday March 31st.

Running helter skelter the next day in order to get last minute provisions for the trip we finally got home, packed up and went to the friends place from where we planned to leave very early the next morning. We sat down to a cp of green tea and thereafter discussed what time would be most suitable to leave. The visitor from the states was rearing to go and said we might as well leave immediately. Finally, it was decided to leave at 1 a.m. While the others rested my son and I got the bags packed and finally laid our heads down at midnight, but as usual, I was unable to sleep for the sheer exiting prospect of being in Kurger once more. By the time everyone was up and ready to leave is 1.30 a.m. and we set off driving leisurely along till we hit the highway were I picked up some speed. We stopped to refuel and were in Malelane by six thirty and went directly to our accommodation where we unpacked and sat down to a hearty breakfast prepared by the womenfolk. After a short nap by some of our group, we set off for Malelane Gate where we renewed our wildcard and the friend whom I had introduced to the park also ended up buying a wild card for his family.

Our first sighting from the bridge was a young crocodile lazing in the mid morning sun, for according to the time recorded on the photo calendar, it was 9.03 when we took our first
picture of the trip. After all the formalities were completed, we took to the beautiful bush of the Kruger National Park, home away from home. As we neared the first clearing after the initial dense bush, we saw a pair of rhinos lying down. The visitors were very excited to begin their day with a sighting of one of the big five and while they were shooting shots of the rhinos a few buffaloes crossed the road behind us which were too quick for us to get any decent shots, for by the time I turned around and went back to where they had crossed the road, they had all but disappeared into the very thick bush.

We then turned onto the S110 towards Berg and Dal and after a short drive we spotted some elephants in the distance feeding in the beautiful autumn colours, beautiful shades of green, brown and rust all melding into each other in a breathtaking scene on the left hand side of the road while on the right was nothing but charred remnants of a blazing fire that had consumed all the undergrowth in its path. Driving on we came across our first sighting of a herd of impala
rams posing with their magnificent horns. This was followed by a hed of Kudus. After admiring them for a while we drove on and into Berg and Dal where we filled up and set off back on the
tar road, for we had been informed of a lion sighting by the ranger on duty at the office where I had popped in to meet Stephen only to find that he was on leave. Driving slowly we kept a wary eye open for those lions but to no avail as they had either moved off or were lying prone in the tall grass.

Before long we were back on the H 3 which proved to be rather lacking in visible game. We passed the S 114 turnoff as well as the S 121 and were soon at the S 118 Mlambane river road which we decided to try. Here too, sightings were sparse. We passed both Ampie se Boorgat as well as James water-hole wit nothing further to show. Even other cars were noticeably absent. A while later we met up with a game drive coming towards us and they informed us about a pair of leopards in a tree with an impala carcass to keep them company 2.5 km north on the S 114. Excitedly we drove on and the anticipation was like a tangible object hanging in the air. As we neared the spot I explained the ground rules about the need for absolute silence at a leopard sighting which was crucial for the leopard not to move away. As we drew nearer, we
sqw the impala carcass hanging in the tree but there was no sign of leopards....to be continued....

_________________
Wild Dog Club Member

Link to some of my pics
http://picasaweb.google.com/wildchildknp1


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 6:20 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2005 9:10 pm
Posts: 182
As we pass the tree with the impala in it, we are all scanning the area to spot the leopards and I see the one sitting under a bus to the left of the tree. Our first sighting of a cat and a leopard too boot, was at 11.25 a.m. on our first day in the park by which time we had already seen four of the big five. No need to tell you how thrilled the visitors from the states were. I switched off the engine and we sat there admiring this beautiful young leopard until the sounds of approaching vehicles disturbed it as a result of which it got up and walked parallel to the road before finding cover deeper in the long grass. We sat there for about half an hour by which
time the kids that were with us were in serious need of a pit stop. So back we drove along the S 114 till we reached Malelane Gate and exited the park. Along the S114 we were treated to sight of some giraffes and a lone buff crossing the road. Went back to our lodgings and had a nice luch after which we once more made tracks for Malelane Gate.

Our first sighting that afternoon was a martial eagle taking an afternoon break and surveying its surroundings while sitting on a bare tree. Further on, we spotted another martial eagle but this one was resting on a beautifully green tree. We once more decided to try the S110 to Berg and Dal for those lions that had been seen there earlier. The first thing we came across on this stretch of road was elephant again and apart from this an impala ewe. Turning onto the Matjulu Loop we drove on for about three kilometers and came upon a rhino carcass. We sat there for a while wondering if this was the handiwork of poachers and then drove on. My SO spotted a
herd of ellies grazing and browsing on the steep hills that one passes on the loop. This was followed by zebra and giraffe. Soon enough we were back on the H 3 and then the S119
working our way to the leopard sighting which we reached shortly and were pleasantly surprised to see sitting out in the open once more. The only difference was that the impala
carcass had disappeared. Here, we met with people staying at the same place as us and whom we had informed about the leopard. They informed us that we had missed a spectacle, for the mother leopard had brought down the carcass from the tree only to be confronted by hyenas. A brawl ensued, the hyenas snatched the carcass away from her and disappeared with it into the bush. While he was explaining this scenario to us, we spotted the mother on the other side of the road. She was walking up and down that stretch of bush. My wife and daughter caught sight of another cub that was with her, so all told, there were three leopards at this sighting.


The leopard was once more disturbed by the coming and going of cars and jeep jockeys as a result of which it once more sought refuge in the long grass behind a bush. We parked off and waited till all the cars drove off, since the leopard was now not really visible. We had parked close to the tree in which the impala had been stashed by them and once silence settled upon the scene, we were rewarded by the sight of the leopard getting up and walking towards the tree where its meal had been. It worked its way to the tree, walked around it, sniffed and looked up to make sure whether its meal was still there or really gone. It stood so close to us that we
could not have been more than three meters away from it. Looked us in the eyes and began walking around and finally stepping onto the road in front of us. Walking down the road for about fifty to sixty meters it turned, offering us a side view as it looked around in search of the others. We heard the one of them calling at which point it now stepped onto the verge of the road and slowly worked its way into the bush to finally disappear from sight.

Highly satisfied at the days events, we headed back towards Malelane along the S119. As we neared the dam opposite Jones water hole we saw a breeding herd of elephants drinking while others were about to cross the road. We watched as they did cross over to Jones water hole and begin frolicking in the water. The kids really loved this. Driving on, we came across a pair of rhinos still avidly eating on the side of the road. Finally we were back at Malelane Gate and then
out of the park. An excellent first day in the park. What does tomorrow hold in store, I wonder?

Hereunder are some pics from our first day, enjoy: :wink: :D
http://picasaweb.google.com/wildchildknp1

Also a short video clip of the leopard:

http://video.tinypic.com/player.php?v=2iidi0g

_________________
Wild Dog Club Member

Link to some of my pics
http://picasaweb.google.com/wildchildknp1


Last edited by wildchild on Wed Apr 11, 2007 9:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 11:07 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2005 9:10 pm
Posts: 182
Bush Baptist wrote:
As I suspected. WC your martial eagles are actually African hawk eagles. They are often seen in pairs and martials are usually solitary. I suspected this because we saw a pair of AHEs on the S25 the day after we met in December.


Thank you for pointing out my error BB, what I know about birds is dangerous. what are the differentiating features between the two?

_________________
Wild Dog Club Member

Link to some of my pics
http://picasaweb.google.com/wildchildknp1


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:23 am 
Offline
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Funniest/Best Forumite Name (2013)
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2005 12:38 pm
Posts: 9699
Location: In the shadow of Table Mountain
FAC Member (2012)
No problem WC.

Martial - bigger than AHE, and has a brown head and neck.
AHE - has white face up to his eyes.

IMHO the rarer AHE is a better sighting than the common martial in Kruger.

_________________
Whatever (according to BB): "You are correct but I don't want to admit it".


Last edited by Bush Baptist on Thu Apr 12, 2007 8:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 8:08 pm 
Offline
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Funniest/Best Forumite Name (2013)
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2005 12:38 pm
Posts: 9699
Location: In the shadow of Table Mountain
FAC Member (2012)
Martial eagle

Image

African hawk eagle

Image

_________________
Whatever (according to BB): "You are correct but I don't want to admit it".


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 7:47 am 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2005 9:10 pm
Posts: 182
Freda wrote:
Great report and pics, wildchild :D
Fantastic sightings for your guests, they must have been so thrilled.
These impromptu trips usually turn out to be the best 8)


Thanks Freda and you are right about impromptu trips, for most of my trips are never planned in advance.

DAY 2 FRIDAY 30TH MARCH 2007

Got up early and was ready in quick time but being a large group, it took the others a while to get sorted out. Finally we hit the road and enter at Malelane Gate. Our first sighting for the day is a warthog on the side of the road followed by a troop of baboons all over the tar road lapping up water from the little puddles formed by the light rain that was falling. Soon we came across a family of warthogs posing for us on the verge of the road. By and large, the road was not studded with sightings as was usually the case on the drive to Skukuza along the S 114. All we saw apart from what has already been mentioned was a lone guinea fowl, a lone zebra and a steenbok and then a zebra and giraffe together..

On the way down, we decided to try the S 21 which had always been a good road for us and were fortunate enough to see two male lions sitting in the grass about 20 kms from the S 114
turnoff. One was matured while the other was still young with his mane not too far advanced in growth. We spent a fair amount of time with them. Initially they just sat there and after a while, got up and began walking down the road towards the S 114. We drove behind them as they
meandered along, sat down, walked again, sat down once more at which point we continued back to the S 114 and turned onto the S 113 onwards to Afsaal where we saw the scops owl. We ontinued down the H3 and turned onto the Matjulu Loop where we saw two rhinos. After spending a little while with them we carried on and came to the spot where we had seen the dead rhino the previous day. Now, there was a pride of lions busy feeding on it. We spent some time watching them and while sitting there discussed the option of going for the sunset drive as a result of which we continued to the gate which we reached a 4.55. Upon enquiring about the drive we were informed that there was still place available. Since two of our group had decided to stay at the lodge, we informed the guy in charge at reception and he gave us some grace to
go and pick them up.

Finally we were back at the gate paid for the drive, filed in the required forms and were soon on our way. Our first sighting on the drive was a lone elephant bull on the S 110. While sitting and watching him, the driver noticed something up ahead, as there were two cars parked off on the side of the road, just before the turnoff to the Malelane camp. He asked us if we were ready to proceed as there seemed to be something of interest further on. We all readily agreed and to
our surprise a pack of eleven wild dogs were walking directly towards us and soon passed us. The driver turned the truck around and we followed them to the T junction at which point they decided to trot up the H 3 we followed them up to the Matjulu Loop turnoff. They continued up the H 3 while we did the Loop. We thus ended up spending about an hour with them alltogether. at various points they were around the truck, in front of it and to the side. on reaching the bridge, they did not cross immediately but seemed rather apprehensive and kept looking to the left. the driver surmised that there was possibly another predator close by. we shone the soptlights in the direction they were looking but could not see what was giving them the jitters. Finally we carried on and along the Loop we saw a lone hyena, impalas and thereafter were at the spot where the lions were feeding on the rhino. We sat there for a while and then returned to the gate. On this return drive we saw impalas and an owl which quickly took off before we could get a good look at it. Soon enough we were back at our lodging. Very elated that the day had completed the big five along with a pack of wild dogs for us. After a lovely braai, we sat around for a while and the other two men in the party expressed their desire too remain at the lodge the next morning as they were very tired. The women folk on the other hand were all set to leave as early as possible. To be continued....

_________________
Wild Dog Club Member

Link to some of my pics
http://picasaweb.google.com/wildchildknp1


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 9:59 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2005 9:10 pm
Posts: 182
Bush Baptist wrote:
The extreme south has become good for wild dogs lately. Pics WC?


Hi BB, here is the link to the pics for the second day.
Picasa album
but the highlight of the trip is still to come. Can anyone guess what we saw the next morning :?: :?: :?: :twisted: :twisted:

_________________
Wild Dog Club Member

Link to some of my pics
http://picasaweb.google.com/wildchildknp1


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 9:53 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2005 9:10 pm
Posts: 182
DAY THREE 31ST MARCH 2007

My thought was to drive through Marloth park and enter from Croc Bridge the as a result of which we had to be up extra early, showered, dressed, packed the vehicle, settled all passengers in and drove off from Malelane and according to the day permit I have in front of me, we were processed at 6.13 am on Saturday the 31st of March 2007, a day which will go down in my record book of visits to the Kruger. A day never to be forgotten, a day to savour over and over. A day that will live on as long as I live. A day some people who decided to sleep the morning away will regret for the rest of their lives. A day regarding which they will repeatedly say, “If only...”

Our first sighting for the morning along the tar road was vervets cavorting and playing in the early morning. We had a cute little eighteen month old girl who is just learning to talk and on her gaze falling on these vervets she jubilantly uttered, “Se, see!!!” this was an added thrill to the sighting. We turned onto the S28 and saw a huge male waterbuck in the tall grass there. After spending a few moments with it we carried on dowm the S 28 when one of the womenfolk said she thinks she had seen a rhino close to the where we saw the waterbuck. We thus turned around and headed back to find nothing other than the waterbuck. We considered it a good omen to be back at the tar road and now decided to drive up to LS along this route. The entire drive was sparse in terms of game, all we saw on this stretch of road was a giraffe and an
eagle. We drove to Sunset Dam saw the hippos there and then entered LS. Here I met a gentleman who informed us that he had seen Duke at Mlondozi Dam. This basically decided the
route to take for us. After sorting ourselves out, we set off across the bridge and turned onto the S29 Mlondozi Loop.

Along this loop we saw a number of elephant bulls but none of them turned out to be Duke. As we neared the turnoff to the picnic spot, we met some people coming from there who had seen some rhinos from there. Instead of going there to see those rhinos, we decided to continue and drive along the S 29and then along the S 30 Salitje road. At the H 10 - S 29 intersection we saw a pair of white rhinos busy grazing. Somehow we did not spend much time with them and
moved on. Again, the road was sparse in terms of even general game. All we saw was a lilac breasted roller with which we sat for a while till it flew off allowing us a view of its beautiful wing colours. This was followed by a troop of baboons on the road. There was one female with a very cute baby sleeping on her back. Shortly after leaving them we met someone coming from the opposite side who said that the road was very quite and apart from giraffe, he had seen nothing else.

Not even three to four minutes later we came to a dip in the road at the bottom of which was parked a four by four at an angle inclined towards the right. As I came close, he indicated for me to approach even slower, which I did. The moment I spotted what they were looking at I turned off the ignition and allowed the car to gently roll down. There, diagnolly to our right sat a CHEETAH in the long grass eying a herd of impalas grazing on the opposite side of the road totally oblivious of his presence. He was at the lowest point of the dip while they were grazing on the incline opposite him. We sat there wondering whether success or failure was to be his lot
today, for this was the third time I had seen cheetah in close proximity to impalas and on both the previous occasions, no kill did we witness. As these thoughts filtered through my mind, I
saw him stand up...take a few tentative steps...sit down and keep a keen eye on his potential prey. Once more did he stand up and inch his way forward. We had arrived there at 9.04 and
watched him for four minutes, in which time he neared the shoulder of the road, but before he could even step onto the road, they became attuned to his presence and suddenly impalas were fleeing into the bush. “Oh well,” I thought, “he will probably give chase now and disappear in the bush along with them.”

Instead, he ran to the opposite edge of the road and then shot up the incline where about sixty meters ahead, he ran into the bush in an attempt to cut them off. His ploy succeeded, for we saw two impalas run back onto the road and the next thing we saw was this cheetah making contact with the second impala to emerge from the bush. No sooner
was this contact made and we lost sight of both the predator and the prey.

The driver of the other vehicle and I both switched on our ignition and drove up the incline. Being ahead of me, he reached there first and parked, indicating for me to come and park in front of him. This way, we both had the perfect view of the cheetah crouching with its head resting on the impala’s neck, its haunches raised up and facing us. This was at 9.10 am. For the next three minutes it remained in this position until the impala which we saw lifting off the ground in its final death throe. Now, after successfully killing its prey, the cheetah stood up and warily surveyed the surroundings for fear of any other predators or scavengers. Once fully at ease and satisfied that it was alone, it sat back down. Not even for a minute did it focus its attention on the meal before it and once more stood up to tensely appraise the situation.

Confidant that it would not be disturbed, it sat down to its meal but time and again it lifts its head glancing in every possible direction in between its feeding. Exactly seven minutes after it killed the impala, the first vulture landed not far behind the cheetah. Very quickly, the one vulture became, two, three, five, seven, nine, eleven. As more of them landed, they plucked up enough courage to creep closer at which point the cheetah got up and rushed towards them with a snarl causing them to shrink away. Turning his attention back to his prey he continued feeding for a short while when again the horde advanced towards him. For a second time he
valiantly drove them away but on their third advance, he lost courage, got up and walked right past us and crossed back to the other side of the road. In all, we had been two cars that
witnessed the actual kill. A third car had joined us to witness the feeding and a fourth vehicle approached from the opposite direction spent about three or four minutes and drove away while the cheetah was still busy with its meal. The other two cars now focused their attention on the feeding frenzy of the vultures, but we decided to turn the vehicle around and see how long we could keep the cheetah in sight. It wove its way around the sparse bushes until it reached a thicket and disappeared from sight. My daughter suggested that we drive down the dip and wait at the bottom for it to emerge. Parked at the bottom of the dip, we saw it step out of the thicket
and work its way back in the direction of Lower Sabie while walking parallel to the road. We gave it space and slowly followed until it became confidant enough to step onto the road and in this manner we followed it for about five hundred meters at which point it crossed the road once more walking towards another herd of impalas, where it stood and mulled the situation over. Deciding to give them a break, it walked towards the river and finally disappeared from sight. In total we had spent forty six minutes with this beautiful cheetah. on turning around and driving back to the impala, nothing other than a horde of vultures was visible. Definitely the highlight of this trip.

We continued along Salitje road and came across another herd of impalas and a group of five ground hornbills close to them. This was followed by zebra and a vervet standing on the road.
We were soon at the Skukuza turn and decided to give the camp a miss. Driving on we were soon on the S 114 working our way down towards Malelane till we came to the Bume road
turn and decided to make a detour via Mpondo Dam. Here we saw a lioness busy feeding on a wildebeest while another two lionesses were sleeping after having gorged themselves to
capacity. This was on the opposite side of the dam and did not allow for great pics. After a short stint here, we drove down the H 5 Randspruit road, the S 114 and then Mlambane road. As we got to the James water hole we saw pack of wild dogs resting on the perimeter of the water hole. We click a quick two shots and carried on since my son needed a bathroom urgently. Soon enough we were out of the park, packed and ready for our drive home. A short but excellent trip.
Anja was ther one to guess correctly :twisted: :wink:

_________________
Wild Dog Club Member

Link to some of my pics
http://picasaweb.google.com/wildchildknp1


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 1:12 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2005 9:10 pm
Posts: 182
Thank you for all the kind comments one and all and yes, I did get some excellent pics that day which I happily share with you all:

Picasa album

_________________
Wild Dog Club Member

Link to some of my pics
http://picasaweb.google.com/wildchildknp1


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 9 posts ] 



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group

Webcams Highlights

Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Submitted by Kiepersol at 20:35:27 Submitted by patries at 18:54:25 Submitted by Anonymous at 20:45:23 Submitted by avidspotter at 15:34:36