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 Post subject: Mads does 2 Trips in one month : March 2007
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 12:20 am 
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Good evening forumites,

Although I have read trip reports for about a year, I decided to tell you about 2 trips I had in a months' time in March! As always the Kruger produced wonderful sightings. Well rather late than never!

The first trip 9 to 11 March with my cousin Martie. The second trip was from 23 to 27 March and this time I was with 2 friends: Su-Mari and Elaine.

1st Trip
Day 1: Friday 9 March 2007
We left Pretoria by 2:00 the morning. :shock: We could not miss one minute of Kruger! (Can you be a Kruger addict?)
:roll: We reached Phabeni Gate at 06:00. We took the S1 Doispane Road. General Game was in abundance. We then took Waterhole road (S65) and saw our first elephant at the waterhole on this road. I have been to Kruger every year since I was a baby and this is the first time since I was a child that I saw these huge herds of Impala (up to 400 in a herd) again. What a sight! :D

Kruger was very dry and hot! The temperature was every day 40° C General game were all around the waterholes.

We passed Afsaal and then Biamiti weir (S114) where we saw a Painted Snipe, then took the Byamiti Loop (S23). This was in the midday and very hot! We found 3 of the Big 5 at one spot. (We could see White Rhino, Ellies and Buff in the river bed.) 8)

At Renosterkoppies dam was more Rhinos and then to Skukuza for something cold. Then to Lower Sabie where we would spent the night. The klipspringer we saw at the Lubyelubye bridge.

Sundowners at Sunset dam was just what the docter ordered too end our first day! :wink:

(On the sightings board I saw that somebody saw leopard at the Mativuhlungu river bridge on the H4-2. I have seen 3 times before leopard cubs at that same spot and so I decided to go and investigate the next morning).

Day 2: Saturday 10 March.
We made an early start and went to sit and wait, drink coffee, eat rusks, watch birds and enjoy the morning. As we arrive at the bridge, there were other cars that said to me that 2 leopard youngsters were seen there the day before. There was also a hippo in the water next to the rocks where the leopards were seen. Eventually all the other cars left (Patience is sometimes a virtue) and 5 minutes later the 2 youngsters came out and “played” (if you could call it that?) with the hippo. The Hippo watched them but did not move away. We watched them for about 15 minutes before the next car arrived and then the leopards went to hide away again. :lol:

We left and took the S28, quickly went to Duke waterhole where the Zebras was drinking water. It was already hot! On the way we saw a Pearlspotted Owl eating a mouse. (Sorry, too far no photo) The area around Mac’s waterhole burnt and wooly necked storks, and Black Headed Herons was all over. Further down we found 2 big herds of buff. We estimated that the last herd was about 600 buffalo strong. We also saw White Rhino, Ellies, Hyaena and all general game on this road. We went for something cold to Crocodile Bridge and then via H5 to Mpondo dam where we found elephants and buff. The elllies decided to bath for us and we watched them for about an hour and a half. We turned back to camp as we were booked on the sunset drive.

This is one of only a few camps where I can recommend sunset drives I have seen on most night drives a lot of interesting creatures. :D
The guides that are permanently at Lower Sabie are very good and very knowledgeable. We went down towards Croc Bridge. We saw all general game, buffalo, pearl spotted owl, white rhino, a lion female with 2 very small cubs, white tailed mongoose, small spotted genet, civet, hippo, ellies, and then a leopard male stalking Impalas. We waited there for about 20 min and then unfortunately had to return to camp. Well big 5 on a night drive and 3 leopards for the day sounds like a good deal!


Day 3: Sunday 11 March
The next morning we left camp as the gates open. We drove down the H4-2 towards Croc Bridge. The road was quite quiet until we reached the T-junction of the S130. Here we found 3 lionesses looking interested in something to eat, but the wind was wrong and eventually they moved on. We also saw white rhino close to Croc Bridge.

We took the S28 back to camp. On the way we saw buff, Secretary Bird, and lots of general game. Turned to Duke water hole (S137) and saw lots of game around it but nothing at the water. Then we saw this hyena. I think he had sunstroke! He was watching something in the water. We could not see anything. After about 15 min he just stood up and left. I still don’t know what he thought he did not even look at us! Just stared into the water. Just after we left we found Kori Bustard next to the road.

We took the H10 that afternoon and saw general game, common reedbuck, about 400 ellies, white rhino, a buffalo herd, European rollers and Eastern Redfooted Kestrels in 10 km next to the Mlondosi spruit.

Another day in paradise! 8)

Day 4: Monday 12 March
Well we are packed and ready to leave. 05:20 we are in front of the gate (1st Car) It is still darkish as I leave the gate and turn right towards sunset dam, when I discover something as longas the tar road is lying in the road. Then it lifted itself up and started moving towards the dam. Yes, a HUGE crocodile! What a sighting! :?

We found elephant playing and taking a dust bath in the riverbed. 2 Impala males also gave us a show of play-fighting. At Skukuza we got something to drink and then went passed Renosterkoppies dam.

Here we found 5 wild dogs lying in the road. Their stomachs were full and so I knew they would lay there for the whole day. After watching them for about a hour we left. :o

As we arrived at Phabeni Gate there was a striped bellied sand snake in the tree that caught a lizard. (The light for photos was very bad).

And so I have to leave again one of my favourite places on our planet earth. :(

2nd Trip
T.b.c.


A link to my pictures of this trip is: Here

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"Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree." Martin Luther


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Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 11:00 pm 
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WOW!!! :lol:

I got it right this time!! :D

Thanks for all the welcome greetings! Here are some of my pics from the 1st trip.

A kudu bull
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Painted Snipe
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White Rhino
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Leopard youngster and Hippo
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Ellies and Buff at Mpondodam
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Lioness at S130 Junction
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Hyena with sunstroke
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Impala males play fighting
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Wilddogs at renosterkoppiesdam
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"Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree." Martin Luther


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Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 12:59 pm 
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Well the 1st trip was the starter and the second, the main course. Hold on to your chairs as this trip has even more sightings!

2nd Trip

Day 1: Friday 23 March 07

We arrived at Orpen gate at 05:20, just in time to listen to the bush “waking up”……… and as always a cup of coffee!!

05:30 we enter the entrance gate and wondered what this day will bring……
The third group of animals we saw was 3 wild dogs. They were in a hurry so we only caught a glimpse. It was still to dark for photographs. My photos blurred. Now we were excited! We knew that anything can happen.

I took the gravel Rabelais loop (S106). The sun started to rise...

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We saw impala, wildebeest and then 3 km down that road Su told me to stop for she saw a LIT, and yes there he was in a Marula tree, lazy as anything. We were the only car for about 20 minutes. 2 Cars arrived and he decided that he had enough and climbed down. That was our last glimpse of him.

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We went passed the dam and about 2 km after the dam Su told me to stop, for she spotted another one!! I asked: “Another what?” And yes there was another LIT in a Marula tree. We were histerical! 2 Lits in 5 km!!! That cannot be!! We watched him for 15 minutes before he decided to leave us. We were the only car the see this Leopard.

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Back on the tar road it was quiet.(but who worries with sightings like those!) We saw a herd of Buffalo, Waterbuck and Impis at Nsemani dam. We went to Satara for reinforcements. The temp was already nearly 40°C. We took the tar road down (H1-3) and saw ellies having a bath, ostriches, and all general game.

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At Mazithi dam we found a congregation of Buffalo, baboons, waterbuck, impis, warthogs bathing and giraffe drinking

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At Tshokwane we turned towards Lower Sabie (H10), where we would stay for 2 nights.At Nkumbe lookout ( one of my favourite places in Kruger and the only place where I have seen Black Rhino in Kruger) we went to investigate. We found white rhino, elephant, ostriches, giraffe, zebra and impis. Birds we saw was European Rollers, Carmine Bee-eaters (they were all over) and also found Eastern Redfooted Falcon (Amur Falcon) on this road. A big herd of buffalo,etc could be seen from Muntshe down.

Image Image Image

About 4 km from Lower Sabie we saw a female Cheetah! She didn’t pause but we had a good sighting of her.

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We went to Sunset dam for Sundowners and the usual was on offer. Impis, baboons hippo, crocs, kudu, yellow billed storks, giant and pied kingfisher, pied wagtails, and water dikkop (now thicknees). One of them entertained us by playing with a shongololo (millipede)! I don’t think he wanted to eat it. (I have never heard that they eat them.)
Any suggestions?

Image Image

Well! What a day!! Big 4 (lions missing) with 2 LITs, wilddog and cheetah! WoW!

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"Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree." Martin Luther


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Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 1:17 pm 
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Day 2; Saturday 24

Though Kruger was “quiet” with visitors for a long weekend and school holidays, it was definitely busier than the previous weekend I was there.
On the animal’s side, it definitely started slower than yesterday. (Well anybody would!) We went south on the S28. This road was quieter than with my previous visit.

At Nhlanganzwani dam we saw a juvenile Gymnogene (African Harrier Hawk) He was eating a small bird. The usual was around the dam that included white storks. 1 km from the dam we also saw an adult Gymnogene. There was a lot of general game around the dam drinking. We knew that it will be a very hot day again seeing that yesterday was 43° C!

Image

We saw a herd of buffalo, we then turned on the tar road North and took S130. We went down to Duke (S137) and just before Duke we found a big herd of Buff drinking water. It was already so hot that the oxpeckers sat with their mouths open and were drinking from the buffs noses and sides water.(A first for me to see).

Image Image Image
We sat inside the herd and it felt as if you were a part of the herd. There was also a female with interesting horns. It reminds me a bit of the photo of the Buff hanging in Satara Reception.(Not as big yet).

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At Duke’s waterhole we found green-backed heron. We turned back the way we came and saw wildebeest and Kori bustard on the road. Now back to camp.

As we were going on the sunset drive we decided to go to Mlondozi dam the afternoon. All the action was right at the bridge. We saw a goliath heron sunbathing.

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Hippos play-fighting,

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and then a troop of baboons gave us entertainment for about an hour. They did cart wheels of the embankment, chased each other, played hide and seek, etc. There was a traffic jam for….. baboons this time!

Image Image Image Image

Mlondozi dam had the usual, ellie, waterbuck, rhino, zebra, impis, baboons, a lot of birdlife. We turned back to get ready for our drive.

Our guide was once again Robert (the 3rd time he did a sunset drive at L/S). He is very knowledgeable and what I like, is that he dont stop for general game once the lights has been switched on.. We went towards Tshokwane, over the bridge and then took the S128, then we took S129 and H10 back. The night drive started with general game and birds, like Black-chested snake eagle, etc. We stopped for a brake and then started to use the spotlights. The light was now at that in between stage. Somebody on the other side of the vehicle shouted Rhino. As I turned to look I saw it was black rhino!! (Sorry, no photos the light was bad.) He was running parallel with the vehicle and luckily the S129 junction came up. We turned and he stopped. Charged us then saw a tree in front of him…. Stopped again. Turned and ran into the bush. What a sighting!!! (Only the 2nd time for me to see in Kruger) We also saw serval next to the vehicle. (Very nice sighting). A spotted hyena came to visit us just before the tar road. On the tar road we found 2 male lions feasting on a buffalo carcass (quite deep in the bush), african wild cat close to the road, 2 sightings of side striped jackal, (the tourists on the vehicle were confused and thought we saw black-backed jackal that looks scruffy. A dead give away is that the Side stripe has a white tip on his tail while black-backed has a black tip. Years ago I saw my first side stripe at Sunset dam). We also saw small spotted genet, hippo, Mozambican spitting cobra, nightjars, ellies and all general game and birds.

When returned to camp, we found a small puff adder under the other parked game drive vehicle. What a night drive!!

In our bathroom we found free-tailed bats. I know they are quite common, but cannot recall that I have seen some of them before in Kruger.

This day may have started slowly, but ended with a BANG!

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"Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree." Martin Luther


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Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 1:57 pm 
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Day 3: Sunday 25 March

After the night drive we decided to go first thing in the morning back to the buffalo carcass. So 05:30 we were on our way! On the way we saw kudu, zebra, ellies and than when we arrived at the carcass, we 2 male lions in the road and a third at the kill.(previous night only seen 2) As we arrived the one lion decided not to hang around and went into the bush. The other one decided to join his friend at the carcass after a while. We watched them for about 2 hours, before all 3 left.

Image Image Image Image Image

We drove on and found another 2 males, doing the usual…… sleeping.

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We turned on the Muntshe loop (S122) and found 3 hyenas, white rhino, African Cuckoo and Great spotted Cuckoo.

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09:00 we packed up and left for Pretoriuskop where we would stay for another 2 nights.

We took H4-1 tar between Skukuza and Lower Sabie. I don’t like this road because its so busy, but then I have Duke on this road before….. The road was very busy with cars and you could not really stop for sightings, except is there was a traffic jam, that we came across. There was a leopard with impala carcass in the tree. Well, people nearly drove into each other, some people were walking to one another (with children) to see better! When we told them to get back in their car they asked us WHY?? I could see through the trees that the leopard was lying very good for a nice pic, but decided to rather take pictures of these idiots and leave! :evil:

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This stressful sighting completed big 5 for the day.

We took the first dirt road. This was the Nwatimhiri Road (S21). We saw Ground Hornbill and then found 4 lion (sleeping) nearly in the road.

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And then about 1km before the junction with the S114 some LOR’s. 2 sub-adults lying on a rock underneath a rock! Apparently the mother was also around though we never saw her. Well we did find a better leopard sighting than the other one!!

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From there we left for Mondo dam (S102).We found this Swainson’s francolin looking for insects in a rhino midden.

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About 2 km from the dam, Su stopped me again. Another Leopard in a Marula tree!!! Watch out for leopards in Marula trees! We were the only car at this sighting and watch it for about 30 minutes before we had to leave for camp. Not very good photos)

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This was our 4th leopard in 3 sightings for the day!! What a day!! Could any of you better this?? :dance:

The H1-1 was very quiet. Only Impis and waterbuck at Transportdam, but who cares? To be in the bush is enough......

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"Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree." Martin Luther


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Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 2:04 pm 
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Day 4: Monday 26 March

This day was really quiet in cats, but we still had interesting sightings. I knew that P/kop would not have the density of game that L/Sabie has. I booked here for Lichtenstein’s and Sable. I’m still searching….. You have to go back for some sightings? :D

We found this kudu female and calf in the road.

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2 snake sightings: Brown House Snake and Puff adder.

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A big buffalo herd on the Voortrekker road (H2-2) and rhino close to Afsaal.

The waterhole at the gardenia hide was dry, but we did see a family of swainson;s francolins sitting in the shade.

The afternoon we went up the S7 and S3 and then back. We saw klipspringer, bushbuck, baboons, impis, rhino, eliies, etc. Well one quiet day in a trip…….. is not too bad. :)

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Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 2:56 pm 
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Day 5: 27 March Our last day…. :(

We took the S3 this morning (very quiet), then the Doispane road. (Also very quiet). We turned off of the Waterhole road (S65) and found game at the waterhole in abundance. Impis, wildebeest, Kudu, Zebra, Warthog, Giraffe, a leopard tortoise, and this 2 Saddle billed Storks.(male and female. See eye colour differ) In a distance we could hear ground hornbill calling.

Image Image Image Image

At the transport dam we saw knobbilled ducks.

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Then down the H3 and about 2 km down we found this female cheetah.

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At renosterkoppiesdam 7 different species of game could be found. We saw impis, wildebeest, zebra, warthog, baboons, 4 rhinos and a huge kudu bull.

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Back on the H3 Kwaggaspan also had a lot of game. This was the first time on this trip that I heard the males making rutting noices There were ±400 Impis, mostly males.

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We also found the marking place of a cheetah on top of this historical sign.

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These Scops at Afsaal is probably the most photograghed Scops in the whole world!

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Renosterpan we saw a rhino in the waterhole. A hyena came and lay at the back of the Rhino. When the rhino turned around the hyena didn’t stay! He left with a smile on his face.

Image Image Image Image Image Image

On the Matjulu loop we saw 20 rhino in 10 km!

At 18:00 we left the park. Another successful trip! Wilddog once, 3 times lions, 5 times but 6 leopard, twice cheetah and every thing else!! :mrgreen:

Untill we meet again....The End. :wink:

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"Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree." Martin Luther


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Unread postPosted: Tue May 22, 2007 10:58 am 
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Hey Mads sorry just a quick question what are your travelling speeds on gravel on tar?


Hi Donn1nger 69,

I have never thought about the speed I drive... :? I am normally out from the time the gates open till the time the gates close. I believe I can sleep and rest later... !:shock:

I pack a picnic basket for the whole day, so that I do not have to stop for long periods in the day. Saying that: when we are out of camp, we never rush! If we want to spend time at a picnic site or dam, then we do.

I do plan my route, but most of the time do not keep to it... because of sightings ... or no sightings.

I must say this is the most leopards I have ever seen, especially in trees on one trip! We are bird watchers so we do drive slowly (+-20 km/hour), but there are times that I will drive faster.

I will say, it has all to do with luck! There are days that I have driven slowly and seen nothing!! Other people took the same roads (a bit faster) and saw every thing!

Another incident was 2 years ago when we moved camps in the middle of the day (12:00). It was the third time that day that I drove the H7 from Orpen. (We saw absolutely nothing on that road the morning). I was driving 50 km/hour on the tar road and saw a car standing next to the road. Obviously you slow down. The next minute a leopard crossed the road in front of us (just behind the standing car) and disappeared in the bush!! The car was watching a vulture on a kill (I presume the leopard's kill) and never saw the leopard! We were the only people to see that leopard.

It stays a gamble! I will say that if you driving slower, you will spot more of the smaller kind, but that makes Kruger so exciting! :dance:

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"Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree." Martin Luther


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