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 Post subject: A week in lower Sabie : June 2007
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 8:14 pm 
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Location: Gauties .
Hi all ,posting from lower sabie on our 3rd evening here .
great great trip so far .

day 1 -
2 prides of lion on the way from entering at croc bridge along the tar to ls .

day 2 ,
2 leopards right next to the car on the freeway to skukuza .
1 dead bushbuck hyenas free meal provided no doubt by a freeway motorist .

3 lion sightings south of skukuza , some of the lions had a waterhole staked out causing much concern amongst the impalas , although the waterhogs did not bother about them (guess who is in line for dinner).

today was the best ever , with the h7 delivering nicely on its promises .i will atempt to post a pic tommorow of what we saw .

gnite all


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Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2007 9:27 pm 
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Location: Gauties .
hope this looks ok , im trying another browser on the phone now .

first of all the h10= the h7 , and the h7=cheetah :) .
yesterday morning we got out early and just before the turnoff to mlondozi dam we picked up 3 cheetah on the road , this was really great and broke a couple of years drought re cheetah sightings for us .
we followed them as they walked along , and then the best bit was when they came and scented on a tree about 3m away from the car , and one of them even climbed up the tree .

we followed them and watched there early morning game spotting teqhniques as they sat high up on sand mounds etc , and after a stunning 1 hours viewing they ran off into the bush .
further sightings included 2 sightings of giant eagle owls and also pearl spotted owlets .reedbuck near the nkumbe viewpoint was another mega sighting .

we went along the s28 in search of duke in the afternoon , but had no luck , although the adrenalin got pumping with an ellie walking up to the s28's hide parking area while we where still making our way to the hide and getting the picnic goodies out the car .
needless to say an emergency re entry off the vehicle was carried out succesfully .
on the way back to camp later in the afternoon we spotted a white faced scopps owl which is a new tick for us , and also an impresive bull white rhino .

would you believe today was even better , starting off with 2 side stripe jackals (clear view of the white tail tips ) but no photos as they where off to fast into the early morning darkness .

the rest to follow later , the lions are calling sleep time now , ill be sure to get some shots of the renovated huts and goings on .


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Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2007 7:39 pm 
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hi all , sadly our last evening is here , and sitting here watching the camp fire die is very sad .
none the less we have had a stunning trip , with another sighting of the cheetas near mlondozi and also watched the muntshe lions harrasing large prides of zebra and wildebeest near the muntshe waterhole/river .
about 5 sightings of reedbuck plus 3 good sized tuskers .
the areas north of lower sabie up to and around tshokwane have been good with large heards oog game around shilowene dam , plus all the roads around muntshe mountain .

saw a wildebeestt almost trip over and old male lion , and take of like a ferrari when he realised his predicament .

homeward bound in the morning , gnite all
.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2007 10:22 pm 
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Location: Gauties .
Hi all , back safe n sound at about 6:30 .
Heres some pics from this morning , I still need to load the earlier stuff from the laptop onto here :D .



Not the ideal setup for good photos unfortunately with lots of sun and misty glare from behind , and a little far off , but some of the great action this morning from near the Mlondozi river .
Image
Image


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Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 3:38 pm 
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Location: Gauties .
Yup , That was just as they finish mating , they have a little fight :lol: .
Then about 15 mins later , same thing , over and over for about 3 days :shock: .
More on that in my last days report .


Day 1 -
We had a productive drive from Croc bridge up to lower sabie , with 2 Lion sightings , ellies buff etc .
What a great way to start the trip .

Gezantfumbi dam lion panorama (Hope its not to small to see) .
Image

Camp set up was the usual schlep and was accompanied by a couple of beers to keep me cool and well hydrated (Medicinal reasons of course) in the extremely pleasant 28 degree temp , what a great way to thaw out from Gautengs winter .

We only managed a quick drive out over the river bridge , and then a stop off at sunset dam , the bird and animal life is incredible here this time of the year .
Image

A huge herd of Buffalo came down to drink while we were sitting there , they covered the entire far bank of the dam .
Image
The larger animals made sure that the crocs did not hang about , and chased most of them away from the areas that they drank in .

Monday night brought the most amazing site in the sky , with Venus sitting very close to the moon , our 2 closest celestial neighbors so close to each other in the night sky is certainly an awe inspiring sight .
I used my 400mm with a 2x convertor on it to get this shot .
Image
If you look closely , you can see the night/day effect on Venus , with it showing up as a half circle .


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Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2007 11:25 am 
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Location: Gauties .
MM , the drive home was not pleasant , some of our road users seem to think that solid white lines and blind approaches are the place to initiate overtaking maneuvers .

Day 2 (First full day ) .

Horror of horrors we only left camp at 30 minutes after gate opening :lol: , None the less this proved lucky as we found 2 (or was it 3) leopards about 1km from sunset dam , demonstrating to us there superior use of camouflage (and I think a dose of black magic) to disappear in front of our eyes , and reappear by sitting in open areas that you looked at 2 seconds before .
My son even called LEOPARD! at 1 stage , and myself and Lynne where looking into the bush when he slammed his window shut , which made us realise it was VERY close - sitting next to the verge of the road looking at him with a bit of a snarly face in fact .
Image

What does a leopard do when it is not busy disappearing into thin air or harassing impalas and baboons ?
Image
I can imagine him wondering why the owner has not covered his "business" with some sand .

Our only sighting of some hyenas outside the camp at lubyelubbe was followed by this Brown headed parrot sitting quietly in a tree next to the road , they make for a much prettier photo than the hyenas :twisted:
Image

Then off to the doc at Skukuza , my chest gave in the ghost on the weekend , and I was starting with bronchitis :evil: .

After a brief cruise about the camp , we headed southwards to Afsaal area , and came across a bit of a mangy looking young male leo cruising up the road .
Its amazing how close there hair coloration matches the grass this time of the year .
Image

I reckon he belonged to a pride of about 8 that had the Kwaggas pan waterhole stacked out .
Image

The poor impala where so on edge you cut could the tension in the air with a knife , this eagle had them scattering when he came in for a landing (Or do they eat impala sometimes :shock: , he looked big enough) .
Image

The rest of the day was good with some nice new birding ticks , and I think a good one in the form of a White faced scoops owl , although he was in such a thick bush a photo was hard , and I am hesitant to flash the owls at close range also .

This was the only chilly evening , so we had some pot roast chicken in beer sauce (No other sauce available lol) , foregoing a braai fire due to the wind .
It was quite lekka , I think I will add it onto my bush recopies :lol:


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Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 2:24 pm 
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Location: Gauties .
Thanks for the great replys Folks :D (Remeber to click on the pix for full size).

Day 3 .

Out of camp at 6:00 , and North onto the H10 .

Just before the turnoff to the Saletjie road , 2 Jackals crossed in front of us in very limited light , but enough to see the distinctive white tail tips and general look of SIDESTRIPED jackal , our second only sighting of these animals ever .

Our big hope for this road was to find cheetah , as we have had limited luck on these spotted cats in recent years .
Coming round a bend about 15 minutes later , we could see something cat like through the early morning mist , and as the gap closed we could identify our most sought after sighting of the trip -
Image
Loads of excitement burst out in the vehicle , as we slowly approached the young male :dance: :dance: :D

Getting closer , it was obvious that He was not to worried about our presence after the slow and quiet approach .
The cheetah moved from the road to join another 2 in the grass alongside the road , I managed a few blurry shots as they moved off into the bush - was this to be a very quick sighting .
To our elation , they turned around after marking there territory on a tree further into the bush , and started heading back towards the road .
I quickly moved alongside a tree(Maroela I think) that was along the trail they where following out the bush .

They slowly walked in single file towards us , and walked right up next to the tree we were parked at .
Image

After briefly sniffing at the tree , and scenting on it also , one of them surprised us by jumping onto the stem and proceeding to awkwardly climb the tree next to us .
Luckily I had my 70-200 on the camera , so was able to zoom back just enough to fit the entire cat into the frame .
Image

After showing us why leopards are the only true spotted big cat tree climbers , He surveyed the surrounding areas for potential prey for about 2 minutes before climbing down/falling out the tree .

Image

Image

We followed them for about another 10 minutes as they crossed the road and moved of into the bush on the other side of the road .
After loosing sight of them for about 10 minutes , we were about to give up and move on , before we found them a little further back on the road , all sitting on there own ant heap , still intently searching for breakfast .
Image

A nice sighting of Eagle owls on there nest in the fever trees in the Mlondozi river , as you pass the last point of the mountain was pretty nice , and should be there for others to see if you are in the area .

The large herds of grazers in the area , including the mornings sightings made our minds up that this was the area needing the most attention for the rest of the trip .

I cant remember much else about this drive , I think my brain has prioritised this sighting into the important "do not forget" folder .

The afternoons sightings later :D


Last edited by bucky on Wed Jun 27, 2007 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 1:56 pm 
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Bucky I absolutely love your pics! At one time I was vice chairman of a photographic society in London and I can tell you the care/thought/skill that has gone into them fairly jumps out of the screen. :clap: :clap:

Good thing the subject matter can’t! :wink:

My shutter release finger has developed a serious twitch as a result of looking at them.

Was that Parrot portrait taken with your 400 prime? Had to go for the 100-400 myself as the cost of going digi. is crippling! :(

Will be doing my damdest to get close to your standard on my first “digital” expedition to Kruger in Aug.
:dance:

Aug. 2007
Mopani 6th-7th
Punda Maria 8th-10th
Shingwedzi 11th-12th
Olifants 13th-15th
Satara 16th-17th
Pretoriuskop 18th
Berg-en-dal 19th


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Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2007 1:28 pm 
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Location: Gauties .
First of all , apologies for being so rude and not replying in this topic until now :redface: .

Secondly , thanks all for the kind words :D .

Here goes .
Day number - unsure :lol: .

Headed up the tar again towards Tshokwane being very greedy and hoping to spot our spotted friends again .

The drive to Tshokwane was pretty quiet , although there are always birds about (start ticking people its addictive) .
If anyone can show me any mammal with colouring like this I will eat my hat :shock:
Image

The drive back from Tshokwane was much better , the Muntshe lions where busy stalking a huge herd of Zebra and widebeest wanting to drink at the waterhole .

Image
This female was standing right near our car , and she pounced at a group of zebra , but it was a very wishy washy effort on her part and they escaped easily .

There where a few oldish cubs with the pride , and they sniffed about where the zebras were standing , they seemed far more interested in the goings on than did there parents .
Image

After this , and once all the game had moved off , the pride went into a deep section of bush a little further from the road .
After some time a Warthog slowly walked straight into the middle of them , although lucky for him , there hunting skills are either lacking , or they had a very bad hair day !

After spotting them he came flying up the hill towards us , If he went any faster I think he could have become airborn .
Image

I was taking a lot of phots as he came towards us thinking I was about to get a great shot of a lioness chasing him down , but they did not bother to chase him :lol: so much for saying predators will chase you if you run :lol:


After that , we decided that the pride of leo's was not about to provide us with any entertainment , so headed back to camp for lunch .

The afternoon drive saw us heading back up towards muntshe (If it aint broke , don't fix it I always say , and the H10 certainly was providing sightings .)

Image
Some white fronted bee eaters in the vicinity of the sabie river .

We went up to see if the lions had produced a kill , but they had dissapeared altogether .

We went back via the mlondozi loop around the back of the mountain , and guess who we found :mrgreen:
Image

OUr spotted friends where hunting in the vicinity of the mlondozi dam .
Before this shot , we found them walking up the road away from the dam , and after a brief view they ran off into the bush .
We decided to go look at the dam viewpoint in the hope of finding duke (We tried a fair bit without luck) .

After this I said to Lynne that I was sure we would find them again further along the road , and after about a 30 minute search up and down the road Lynne spotted one of them .
This was an outstanding sighting as they kept running from anthill to anthill , then getting up onto a mound and while scanning the area , they would call(chirp) to the others .

We where the only car in the area , and the stillness of the bush , with only the sounds of the 3 cheetah calling to each other was an incredible experience .

We managed to watch them for about 15 minutes before our time was up , and headed back to camp .

What a day :D


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Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 6:06 pm 
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Location: Gauties .
I agree Anne-marie , we where also very wow about the cheetahs , after a long cheetah drought for us :lol: .

This was 1 of those days that we just felt like getting in the car and driving about all over the show , first up towards Muntshe , then down towards Skukuza via the saletjie and lake panic , with a promised stop at the selati for some burgers (It was closed :( ).
Then back up towards Tshokwane then back to camp via the H10 .
I know we are crazy :tongue: :tongue: :tongue: .

This is what we saw -

Northwards , and onto the Mlondozi loop road , going around the back of the mountain (Yes we where of course looking for "our" cheetahs .)

Image

There seems to be a good population of reedbuck in that area , which is very good to see :D
Image
No wonder they are called reedbuck :lol:

Then the Big males of the muntshe coalition (I presume) where in full display , there seems to be 2 males , 1 of which is extremely handsome .
Image

And the other is not so handsome .
Image

Not only is he not so pretty , he is also very lazy .
This wildebeest came ambling past completely unaware , until it must of had some 6th sense , as it looked over it shoulder and upon spotting the lion dashed off into the distance .
The old guy merely lifted his head , and let it slump back down again .
Image

Lots of things to see at lake panic , but not a good time for photos as we got there around the middle of the day .

This was probably our most exiting sighting along the way back via Tshokwane .
I am sure this bull that was hanging about a breeding herd is 1 of the up and coming tuskers , and if he isn't he will be huge I am sure .
He is a huge bull , and is tremendously heavily built , he also looks pretty young and healthy .
Image

And to end of a magnificent day in Kruger , what can be better than the Sabie river sunset .
Image


Last edited by bucky on Tue Jul 31, 2007 10:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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