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 Post subject: Wild Lebombo Trail
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 7:12 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 4:10 pm
Posts: 2416
Location: SA
Day 1

We made it to Croc bridge at about 09:20. Late. There was one more vehicle though, and they were later than us. We had the briefing in Afrikaans, and we were off. We turned down the very first no-entry road and stopped. Our awesome ranger Wic gave us our radios and we drove. And drove. And drove. My one and only complaint is that the Lembombo Trail is too rushed. We saw eli, warthog, impala, buffalo and more. We finally arrived at camp and pitched our tent. It was absolutly freezing and I'm not exagerating when I tell you I had 3 layers on and close to the fire I was cold. That night we heard hippo ever since the sun went down and it didn't stop for hours and hours. I loved it so much. That night I was awoken and heard hyaena very close by. They must have been on the other side of the river. My dad and Wic said they had heard lions and leopard. I have a much more exciting audio of a leopard (please remind me if I haven't told you by day 4). It was so cold at night, dew started forming on our blankets.

First day in heaven, no cat but I was happy.

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Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


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Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2007 2:12 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 4:10 pm
Posts: 2416
Location: SA
Thanx so much you guys... :D

Day 2

We woke up really early. The first thing I felt was the cold. The my mom moving the blow-up matress as she got up to make coffee. I struggled to get up. This was the first and last night I wore Pj's :lol: To change in and out of them is murder....I bundled myself up and went outside. I looked around to see the others also begginning to wake. I had some tea and when it had warmed up a tad, my father and I packed up the tent. At first its exciting but on the third day its just a bother. As this was our second night of camping ever, we were slow. We were the last ones ready unfortunately. We drove out and drove for a while seeing impala, and other game.

I wish we had never stopped. As we got out of the car and joined the others I heard them talking about the sightings the ranger had. He was first so he had them first. He said a name I recognised immidiatly as a small cat in afrikaans. My brain buzzed. Was it the wild cat... no and not the caracal...as the realisation hit me my jaw dropped. He had seen a serval. As I thought it, he said it to my mom, who informed him that I have been wanting to see one my whole life. I stood in shock as he explained about something completely irrelevent at that moment. I felt like crying. :(

We kept driving and the thing we didnt like was the rush and having to drive past all the animals. We stopped of course... :wink: We stopped for brunch next to a river, which was a stream at this point of the year. It was so stunning. We were not to go to far in case of a lone buffalo in the reeds. We had a super breakfast off eggs and burgers. My dad asked the ranger (Wic) if I could go with him and I did. We saw elephants drinking and all sorts of animals. But.... everyone else saw them too. Not that thats a bad thing... :twisted:

We made it to camp at around 3. We set up and prepared for the night. My sister and I fooled around for a while. As it got cold we had to take out the long-sleeves we had thrown off in the afternoon. Nothing like sitting next to the fire in the mddle of nowhere. Nothing. The sound and smell of the crackling fire, the sounds of animals around you, the feeling of being completely lost in the bush, drinking an amarula. Nothing, absolutly nothing.

Another day in paradise, another day of no cat, but I had no idea what was about to come...

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Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2007 9:03 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 4:10 pm
Posts: 2416
Location: SA
Day 3

We packed up early and managed to be on time. I climbed into Wic's car and we were off. For the whole morning we saw NOTHING. But just as we were approaching the private bridge that we ate breakfast on a duiker shot across the road and was gone in a second. We stopped and walked up and down the bridge absorbing the sights and sounds of nature. My sister and I had ceareal in a cup and we were staring out at the almost dry riverbed and rocks at our feet. I told my mom how I would love to frolick on those rocks. She told me she would love to as well and Wic said it was fine. So I put my cup down and I climbed onto the rock and began to walk on the huge surface.

It was so awesome, but since it was the first day I was a little shy and I didn't do it that much. I saw a Giant kingfisher for the second time ever. We really had a jol. We left soon afterwards and saw a little more game, like elphants and impala etc. We were approaching camp when God decided to grant me a favour. He must have been in a good mood. We were slowing down because of the car in front, which was doing the same.

I saw it as it jumped up the rocks and soon disappeared. It had that unmistakable shape, character and attitude. It was a leopard. "LEOPARD!!!!!" I will never let my family forget that I spotted it, as whenever my sis spots something she repeats "I spotted it...!" That gets quite irritating! Then when she says that I can say, "Ja, but I spotted the leopard and the cheetah last year!" That keeps her quiet. :wink:

The base camp was beautiful and dangerous, with Tamboti trees, very poisonous. But stunning. My mom swore that something passed our tent last night. I tell her my dads snoring drove her nuts temporarily. :wink: But my friend Carl said he wouldn't be surprised if something had.

One cat, nevertheless, it's the second best I could have asked for. We had a leopard experience the next day, but very different. :wink:

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Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 3:41 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 4:10 pm
Posts: 2416
Location: SA
Day 4

We managed to be on time this morning. We left and made our way to another low water bridge for breakfast. We collected some shells and made our way to shingwedzi. There we showered and ate and shopped etc. We were on the road a little bit late. We didn't see anything unusual on the drive. We made it to camp about 4.

We set up camp and made our way to Lantoon dam for a sundowner. It was one of the most beautiful things I'v ever seen in my life. I sat in awe with the rest of the people watching the sunset, the red-orange-gold colour reflected on the water. We ate some snacks and had some drinks and really enjoyed ourselves. We saw some lion tracks in the sand and now were really dying to see one.

Our friend spotted a bushbaby but it was so far that we could only see it's eyes in the torchlight. We left as it became dark and unfortunatly were second last. We saw a small shape crossing the road. My dad thought it was a serval :roll: but it was a jackal. I nearly fell over when I saw that it was a SIDE-STRIPED jackal! I was really reallt hoping to see one of these. It must have been our lucky day because we saw a black-backed jackal this morning as well. (It seems that jackal numbers are dropping, or else we just don't see them that much anymore). Our friend in front had the light and informed us that there were about 20 of them around a buffalo carcass.

We got back to camp and sat around the fire. After a while, I was talking to these two guys who told me they were in front and had seen a serval and wild cat. Oh my word! Another serval I hadn't seen! After dinner they took out their laptop and showed us a video clip of 'don't poke a big cat or the big cat will poke you back'. Then he showed us a clip I hate him for showing everyone. It was a clip of a hunting trip. Not him but they were after a big beautiful male lion. I didn't know what was happening until I saw the lion get shot the first time. I turned away from the screen sharply and ran off. I needed to be alone.

I didn't speak to those guys again and felt such a wave of hatred and fury towards the people watching and enjoying the clip. Later on when my dad was talking to me we heard strange noises. A leopard call was definitly in it. My dad thinks it was a kill but you can never tell. It was amazing to hear and I will never forget it.

I might not have seen a serval or a leopard but I had a wonderful DAY. :wink:

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Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 10:04 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 4:10 pm
Posts: 2416
Location: SA
Thanks so much guys

@tigger83 Thanks so much I really appriciate that
@BB You should definitly go. I want to go again at least once when I am older.
@MM I am looking at careers in wildlife for a project we have at school. My mom is trying to arrange for me to 'job shadow' a ranger and I really hope she can manage it! (any help would be sincerly appriciated :wink: )

Thanks for reminding me, I saw a buffalo fight. Amazing that we saw it! We were trying to spot a grysbok that had wandered off when I heard I sound that I thought was an elephant breaking a tree down. It turned out to be the bosses bashing agaisnt each other. They were really fighting, and my mom and I were enjoying it but at the same time were very nervous. The worst injury was blood just below the boss of the older one, nothing serious. It went on for about fifteen minutes, but felt like one minute. When the younger one had won, he was busy escorting the older one away when another bull tried to mate with one of his females. :lol: That was hilarious.

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Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


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