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 Post subject: KNP Road trip with Jonty1 and co. - Jul 2007
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2007 9:53 pm 
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Hey all :D
Off to KNP tomorrow morning til the 12thjuly. Watch this space for my trip report. promise i'll try my best to make it a great one

have a great week
ang :)

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June: Addo (1st time... can't wait)
Sept: KNP


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Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2007 4:00 pm 
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Ok. now that i'm back into Gauteng time i am ready to start my report :D

it all started with my best friend arriving on Wed 4th july from Dallas, USA. We had planned this trip since April. Thursday morning i got up at 08:00 to pack the fridge, pack my bags, dress, and make a potato salad for evening braais ahead :dance: my brother Matthew and friend Megan got up at 09:00, on the arrival of our other friend Ryan. We were all ready by 10:00 with a packed car, organised music, etc, and were ready to go. Let me introduce you to everyone :)
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Me (Angie)
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My brother (Matthew)
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My best friend (Megan)
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Our friend (Ryan)

Suddenly, things started going wrong :roll: The fridge, which was given with our land rover, did not fit its socket, and therefore was not gonna be on to keep a weeks load of meat frozen. well, you can imagine the state i was in. so, we phoned land rover and had to get there quickly so they could refit the plug, (or whatever it was he did) :lol:

Anyway, after all that we finally got on our way at 12:00. We had tons of fun in the car and all destressed as we took a lovely drive towards Malelane gate. unfortunately, however, i knew we were now on a time limit thanks to the fridge problems. we stopped at milly's for a quick (and i mean quick) burger. thinking i was making good time, we enjoyed the rest of our journey towards Malelane and then Pretoriaskop.

on reaching the Malelane gate at 16:15, i was chuffed with myself, having made this long trip the first time ever while driving myself. Unfortunately, however, things went wrong, again, when the KNP staff told us we could not enter because we would never make Pretoriaskop in time. now you can really imagine how i felt now. not only did i have to return to nelspruit in the dark, but it was also raining, and i had a wopper of a headache on me. Anyway,we phoned and booked 2 rooms at the Town lodge in Nelspruit, which actually turned out to be a wonderful night, irrespective of us losing a payed nights accomidation at pretoriaskop. we had spur burger take-out in the rooms and had a really fun night watching the video recordings we made in the car during our journey. we all had a wonderful nights sleep after the long day and...................well you'll have to wait for the next report to find out :D

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June: Addo (1st time... can't wait)
Sept: KNP


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Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 4:38 pm 
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Day 1, Part 1:

After a great night at the town lodge in nelspruit, filled with laughter, jokes, yawns, and food :lol: we all turned in for a great night sleep. megan and i turned out the lights at about 9:30, and thanks to her 15hr flight the day before, she fell right to sleep. just as my eyes closed, i unfortunately heard a very disturbing sound........knocking. yup, you guessed it. the boys couldn't get to sleep. knock, knock, knock.........well, eventually, in pyjamas and all, i opened up to the boys wanting something to drink. i just had to keep the fridge in my room, didn't i???? :lol: anyway, after a pretty good night, we woke at 06:00. after an hour of getting dressed, showering, make-up, and packing we were on our way to Malelane gate (once again) at 07:00. we arrived at the gate at 08:15. i know, seems a long time, but the cops were on the prowl, so there was no speeding over 100km/h the whole way there.

on entering the gate we gradually made our way towards Afsal picknic spot for breakfast along the H-3. :dance: feeling really really relaxed at this point we took a slow drive. (yup, everyone was passing us :lol: ) within 1km into the park we saw a herd of about 6 giraffe and a small handfull of impala. it was a pretty interesting stop, as the giraffe were performing mating dances. very interesting.
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On reaching the Renoster pan turn off we made our way to the pan. on reaching it we were surprised by a White rhino and her baby. it was such a wonderful sighting (especially for ryan who loves rhinos).
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we also came across a number of birds before our stop, namely:
Magpies
Burchells Coucal
Lilac breasted rollers
Blue waxbills
Grey louries
Oxpeckers
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We arrived at Afsal at around 11:30. (told you we took it slow) :lol:

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June: Addo (1st time... can't wait)
Sept: KNP


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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 6:12 pm 
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Day 1, Part 2:

As mentioned above, we arrived at Afsal at around 11:30. We luckilly found a pretty good parking, considering how packed it was at the stop. :) well, our first task was to find a spot to skottel,and then to find skottels. :lol: once we were settled we pulled out the eggs, the bacon, the cheese, the rolls, the baked beans and of course the coffee and tea :) now, to understand how interesting this morning was, you must know that we usually go to knp with our parents, so the men usually end up skottelling.....therefore meaning ryan and matt were doing this for the first time. :lol: meg and i of course had the great job of setting the table, making the tea, organising the food,and of course cleaning up what the boys mess up :lol:
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Meg and matt
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matt and ryan attempting thier first skottel
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megan and me
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Enjoying a great breakfast

Before leaving we had to search for the resident skops owl, which luckilly we found. such a beauty.
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anyway, after tons of laughter, lots of broken eggs, and a wonderful breakfast, we finally set off towards skukuza at 1:30. as we left Afsal, we got a tipoff from a game ranger to head towards the the S65, where a Leopard had had a kill in a tree. it took us about 45min to get there, but unfortunately all that was left was the poor, dead impala ram. anyway, not feeling too discouraged we continued along the S65 towards the Sabie river dirt road back towards Skukuza. along the S65 we saw a some more beautiful Giraffe, Impala, Warthog, Kudu and a number of birds, including:
Crested francolins
Swainssons francoling
starlings
hornbills
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On reaching the Sabie river road, we were kinda in a hurry now, as it was getting late quickly and still had a while to drive. We saw some more kudu, impala, zebra and wildebeest. also saw some lovely Hippo, buffalo, and a really beautiful African fish eagle. saw our first hyena and our first steenbok for the trip.
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we eventually got to Skukuza at 5:25, just in the nick of time. of course, the computers were down, so it took a while to get booked in, but when we did we were settled, happy and relaxed. but thats was not the end of it............oh no. at around 6:30, while i was marinading our braai meat, while meg was in the bathroom and while matt and ryan were starting the fire outside, the dark night turned even darker. yup, you guessed it.......total blackout :lol: . i must say, it was quite an experience making salad and marinading meat in total blackness :lol:

anyway, the lights appeared again.... :dance: yay.....about 20min later, so the rest of the night turned out to be absolutely wonderful (not counting the 30min meg and i got lost in the dark fetching hot water :lol: ), with our food, amarula, and of course the evening stars.
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Matt and ryan feeling very happy about thier first fire
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matt, myself and ryan
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Matt and meg fooling around :lol:

Bird list for the day:
Pied kingfishers
grey heron
white collared sunbird
fork tailed drongo
blue waxbills
Bataleur eagle
francolins
magpies
lilac breasted roller
guinnea fowl
red billed oxpeckers
hornbills
starlings
Skops owl

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June: Addo (1st time... can't wait)
Sept: KNP


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Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 6:17 pm 
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Day 2, Part 1:

After a great night sleep, with one or two disturbances from the boys wanting to squirt us with water pistols during the night, we woke up at 5:00 ready to leave by 6:00. I showered, woke the boys, and then started packing stuff back into the fridge. At the moment of packing all the food the power cut....again :roll:. it was actually really funny, cos meg was showering in a pitch dark bathroom with now cold water, and ryan was getting dressed in a pitch dark bedroom. thank heavens for torches. :lol: well, we eventually got out skukuza gate at around 6:30 and made our way along the H4-1 towards Nkhulu picnic spot for breakfast.
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morning sunrise

along the H4-1 we saw a number of animals. our first sighting that morning was hippo's. it actually amazed me how many hippos there were out and about on this trip. :shock:
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Hippos along the H4-1
It was a pretty quiet morning along the road animal-wise, seeing impala, baboons and more hippos, but saw plenty, lovely birds, including:
Guiea fowl
Fish Eagle
Green pigeons
Paradise flycatcher
Egyptian goose
Yellow breasted apalis
Pied wagtail
Twinspot Batis
Giant kingfisher
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We reached Nkhulu picnick spot at around 9:30 and had a wonderful breakfast for about 90min. it was also a very interesting breakfast. not only were the boys still getting into the swing of skotteling (another egg mishap :lol: ), but we had to call protection from the staff from the baboons. it was absolutely amazing to see how fearless they were. i mean i remember the days you just raised your voice and they fled off, but not even a chair raised or yelling scared them off. they even had tiny babies with them :shock: anyway, after using a slingshot, the staff eventually got rid of them. but there was still no end to the monkeys. we lost a whole packet of sugar that morning, and our backs weren't even turned. :lol:
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Matt and Ryan braaing
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Meg and I at Nkhulu
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Matt at Nkhulu
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Meg at Nkhulu
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Ryan at Nkhulu

Well, after 90min of a great breakfast, we made way towards Lower Sabie. Saw more common game along the way, as well as Grey duiker, Hippos, Kudu, bushbuck and Elephant.
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We decided to stop at Lower Sabie for an ice-cream, since none of us were very hungry for lunch. on reaching the Sunset dam, we were surprised by so many wonderful birds and animals. we sat there for about 1hr, just taking in the beauty and silence. :) we saw many hippos, again all out of the water, a herd of buffalo, impala, a little family of warthog, White faced ducks, White fronted bee-eater, starlings, crocodiles, giraffe, kudu, egyptian geese, wooly necked storks, plovers, jacanas, lilac breasted rollers, magpies, white storks, francolins, black collared barbets and an african hoopoe.
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We then stopped at Lower Sabie..................story to continue in part 2. :D

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June: Addo (1st time... can't wait)
Sept: KNP


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Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 9:22 pm 
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Day 2, Part 2:

As we stopped at Lower Sabie, Meg realized her video camera was running low on battery power, and i then i noticed my camera battery was also low. :roll: so, not wanting to miss the oportunity of videoing or photographing something great we might come across on our way down to Berg en dal, we decided to take a little walk to the camping sight to find a communal kitchen with a plug. we felt so bad, knowing we weren't supposed to enter the camp unless we were residents, but we did it anyway :P

so, after 20min of powering up, we decided an ice cream would go down well, since none of us were hungry, still, for lunch. we enjoyed a nice 20min by the lookout and enjoyed the birds, scenary and hippos :) then made our way along the H4-2 towards Crocadile bridge. We saw some lovely animals, including Elephant, Buffalo, Warthog, Impala, Wildebeest, White rhino, Giraffe, monkeys, Baboons and, my favourite for the day, Banded mongoose.
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We had a great drive also seeing some lovely birds, including:
Lilac breasted rollers
starlings
hornbills
Francolins
Grey louries
Puffback
White crested helmet shrikes
Woodland kingfisher

As we approached Crocadile bridge, we took the Crocadile river dirt road towards Berg en dal. We saw some lovely animals and birds along this road too. We saw some more elephant, Buffalo, Dwarf mongoose, Bush buck, Grey duiker, Waterbuck, Kudy, Impala, and Giraffe. As we approached the last 5km of the road, we were very lucky to spot a male lion on the side of the road about 3m in. it was so wonderful, because he was very clear to see and we were the only vehicle there. :)
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We eventually reached the Berg en dal road. I say eventually because we were running short on time......again :roll:
i need to work on my timing a little better :lol:
it was a quiet drive, seeing mostly impala, wildebeest and a lot of buffalo, but the scenery was absolutely breathtaking. my favourite part of the drive. we reached Berg en Dal at 5:25....agian, in the nick of time :lol:
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Meg amusing herself during a quiet spell in the car :lol:
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Ryan enjoying himself
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A beautiful sunset to end our fabulous day

We had an evening of beautiful sounds of the bush, including lion and hyena, as well as the restfull sound of the skopps owl. the braai turned out beautifully that night and also ended off very well with marshmallows and amarula. we ended the night with a quiet chat under the stars. A breathless sight :)

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June: Addo (1st time... can't wait)
Sept: KNP


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Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2007 5:05 pm 
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Day 3, Part 1:

After a really relaxing and peaceful night under the stars, with our wine and amarula in hand, meg and i settled down for a wonderful nights sleep. the boys however decided on an evening stroll. unfortunately meg and i were just exhausted. :roll:
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We started off our morning at Berg en dal with a really relaxing and beautiful walk. I knew that Berg en dal is a very popular destination for birders, so i grabbed my camera, grabbed my group, and we all went bird walking. :D it was absolutely amazing. we only walked for about 30min, but i saw so many birds within that short space of time, including:
Black headed orioles, Woodland kingfishers, Puffbacks, Purple crested turaco, Red faced mousebirds, Scarlet chested sunbird, White fronted sunbird, and many LBJ's.
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We left Berg en dal at around 8:00 and made way towards the Berg en dal dam for some Tea and Buscuits. we sat there for about 20min and enjoyed the silence and the birds.
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We then took the Matjulu loop to the H3. Most of the drive was pretty quiet but we came across an amazing Martial eagle. also saw a few common waxbills, giraffe, Impala, Squirrel, Kudu and Zebra.
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At around 10:00 we arrived at Afsal, for another lovely breakfast. this time it took a little longer to find a place to skottel as well as finding skottels. we were eventually blessed with a lovely, shady and quiet spot. the birds sure had a ferocious appetite, wanting to eat all our bread, beans,and even bacon :lol: and funniest of all, no broken eggs that morning.
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Getting ready to skottel
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Me at breakfast
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Meg at breakfast
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2 pros at work (ryan and matt)

As we started packing our stuff away, we found out that there was an elephant about to make his way through the picnick spot. it was a rather slow morning of packing our stuff back into the car since the elephant was nearest to our car :lol:
thankfully, he made his way back into the bush and gradually moved around the spot, but it sure was a fun morning.
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ryan posing by elephant
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meg posing by elephant

We left towards Skukuza along the H3 and were surprised by a lovely rhino sighting. we also saw bushbuck, Baboons, Kudu and Lion. Birds we saw included Ground hornbills, Yellow billed hornbills, Starling, lilac breasted rollers, woodland kingfisher, bataleur and Afrcan fish eagle
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We then decided to take the S113 and S114. our first sighting, besides impala, along this road was a lovely little pearl spotted owl. one of my favourite birds :dance:
as we continued we had a pretty quiet drive, seeing some lovely common game including kudu, baboon, wildebeest, zebra, warthog and giraffe. on reaching the turnoff back onto the H3 we were suprised by a lovely herd of elephant.
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At around 2pm we arrived at Panic bird hide. we were all looking forward to seeing it, me especially, since its my favourite spot. we spent a whole hour there withour even knowing it. the hippos were 5m from the hide, so they kept us intertainted for so long. what a lovely stop. there were also a flock of 3 pied kingfishers who were gracing us with a wonderful diving act. it was an experience to watch. we also saw 3 very large terrapins, a darter, water thicknees, black crakes, green backed herons, greater egrets and many plovers.
as i said, it was an amazing stop. we were so wanting to stay longer, but had to get to camp. we had to still buy groceries, as we had run out of bread and buscuits. also had to empty camera disk as we had no space left,and we had to be by the reception in time for the night drive. so, once again, we were tight on time. :lol:
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Next post......Night drive at skukuza :D

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June: Addo (1st time... can't wait)
Sept: KNP


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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2007 8:01 pm 
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Day 3, The night drive:

Well, as mentioned before, we were now on a tight schedule having to get groceries, having to copy photos to disk, having to check in and unpack car, and lastly, having to make it to reception by 5pm. By the time we left the skukuza shop, it was 4:45. i dont think 4 people have ever emptied a car, put on warm clothes, packed away groceries, sprayed bug spray and been at the reception so quickly before :lol: it was quite amazing

anyway, so we made it to reception at 4:58, and there was a crowd so large, i thought our night drive had been over booked. there were about 80+ people. i was actually stressing that they would turn people away. eventually, however, they brought in 3 more vehicles. by surname, the drivers started calling names. ours was sooooo mean (in a joking way). he called our name, so i went up and he says to me "i see you booked for 2". oh my gosh. there were 4 of us and this man is saying i only booked for 2. well, you can imagine :lol: suddenly this crooked smile appears on his face. i wanted to throw something at him :lol: the poor women next to me got an even bigger fright. she had a party of 20 people and he did the same to her, except he said that theirs was cancelled :lol: i'm surprised he was still alive after all of that :lol:
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Meg all ready for the night drive

so, after all that we were off at 5:30, with a beautiful sunset in our sights.
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We headed off towards the sabie river road toward satara, where we searched for a pride of lions for 15-20min. unfortunately didn't find them, so we set off. now, with it being completely dark, i really cant be sure of what roads were taken. after about 30min we came across a leopard lying on a rock near the river. he was so beautiful. please excuse the picture. i don't know why, but my flash wasn't working properly so the pic came out rather shaky.
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The rest of the night was very quiet, but very enjoyable. We saw a lone elephant, Impala, Wildebeest, Scrub hares and a genet from afar. the most exciting sighting for me however was the pair of cane rats we saw crossing the road. it was so amazing to see, especially since it was my first sighting of this animal. unfortunately they were moving too quickly for a photo :(

We arrived back at around 8:30. it was pretty mild night....not too cold. We decided to warm up the left over wors from the night before and made some Wors rolls and crisps. we also finished off our bottle of Grunberger, which was lovely after a crisp night drive. since the guys unpacked all thier luggage and stuff in our bungalow (to save time) we helped carry everything over to theirs, which was a bit of a walk away. very pleasent walk though. we eventually all got to bed at around 10pm, and got ready for a early morning. :D

sorry for lack of photos on this night drive :)

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June: Addo (1st time... can't wait)
Sept: KNP


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Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2007 8:49 pm 
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Day 4, Part 1:

We all decided to have a sleep in and to get up a 5:30, which, we did. I got up at 5am so i could shower and dress before meg, so that while she got ready and dressed i could get the packing of the fridge and car started :) the boys, being boys, only got up at 6:15, knowing that they could get away with sleeping in late. you know, not having to dry hair, put on make-up, etc. anyway, eventually we were all ready to go. on our way to go get some hot water from a kitchen we saw a magnificent black headed oriole. i thought this was just the perfect thing to start the morning. we eventually located a kitchen, got our water and were on our way,out of the gate, by 7am. it really was a beautiful morning.
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black headed oriole

knowing it wasn't far to Satara we decided a nice slow drive would be lovely. we started off by stopping at panic hide for tea and coffee. we were so shocked at how full it was at that time of the morning :shock: it was really lovely to just sit and listen to the birds and watch the bushbuck and hippo while sipping away at warm tea on a crisp morning. :D we stayed for 30min and then decided to leave as it was getting rather busy.
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Morning at Panic hide
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Hammerkop at Panic hide
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Bushbuck at Panic hide

on our way back towards skukuza on the main road we passed a ranger who stopped us to find out if there were any speed cops ahead :roll: we all know what he had in mind :lol: anyway, it was very nice of him to tell us that if we hurried wild dog was spotted on the S112, along with lion. we knew this was not the way we were supposed to be going, in fact it was the oppisite direction, but we were all so wanting to see cheetah or wild dog, so we took his advice and went in search. We took the H1-1 back south. since meg was in the passenger seat, i made her navigator and told her to get us there. well, that turned out well :lol: as we approached the H3 turnoff (the one we should have taken) meg told me to continue along the H1-1. well, by the time she realised the silly mistake she made we were about 5km along the wrong road. we all completely wet ourselves laughing :lol:
note to self: dont make a foreigner your navigator :lol: We did however see some nice game along our "detour" :lol: including kudu, warthog, klipspringer, impala, wildebeest, elephant and steenbok
(i dont think i've ever seen so much steenbok before)
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Klipspringer at the H3 turnoff
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Elephant along H1-1

so, 30min later, we eventually reached the S112. we were all on the edges of our seats looking deeply into the bush for these dogs. we drove the whole road, seeing nothing. we then backtracked a little just to the turnoff for the S113. nothing. we did however find very fresh spoor right at that turnoff, but unfortunately, no luck. they were gone :( at least we tried though. anyway, feeling a little dissapointed, but not too downhearted we continued along the S113 where we saw some lovely birds, including lilac breasted rollers, francolins, magpies, starling,etc. we also saw some common game, including impala, more kude, warthog, and a lovely little family of dwarf mongoose.
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Dwarf mongoose on the S113

We then took the S114, where we were surprised by a lovely lion sighting. a single male on his own, but he was a beauty :D we watched him for about 10min, but it was obvious he was there for the day. all the private vehicles started to roll in too, so we decided to make tracks towards breakfast :)
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Male lion along the S114

We took the H1-2 towards Tshokwane. the road was very quiet, not seeing very much, not even much impala. but the beauty and peace was just perfect anyway for a nice drive. as we neared Leeu pan we saw a large herd of elephant and a few warthog.
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Elephants near Leeu pan
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Warthog along the H1-2

We stopped at Silolweni dam for peek. it was a lovely stop. there were hippos everywhere (again out the water). they were playing chase and fight. it was so cool to watch. there were also some giraffe and a lot of birds, including white stalks, grey herons, three banded plovers, lapwings, egyptian geese, jacana, pied kingfishers and darters.
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Hippos playing at Silolweni dam
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Giraffe at Silolweni dam

by this stage we were all starving for food, and started making our way to Tshokwane. we arrived at 11:45 and ...........
Part 2 on the way soon :D

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Trips coming up:
June: Addo (1st time... can't wait)
Sept: KNP


Last edited by jonty1 on Fri Jul 27, 2007 10:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 7:32 pm 
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Day 4, Part 2:

We arrived at Tshokwane at around 11:45.....lets call this a brunch :lol: It was really really full, but luckilly we had no problem finding a nice little spot to cook up. also had no problems finding skottels :wink:
Anyway, we all sat down and started unpacking out goodies, with eyes at the back of our heads by the way (especially having lost sugar to the monkeys 2days before :lol: ) sly little devils :lol: we had a lovely breakfast, with a few little visitors sharing our food, namely doves, starlings, hornbills, squirrels.....luckilly the monkeys kept thier distance.
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Meg writing in her diary while the boys finish off the cooking
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Me enjoying a bacon roll
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Poor little dove trying to get a taste
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Bully the hornbill stealing all the food :lol:

After a great meal, with our tummy's happy, we continued on our way towards Satara. We were making great time, for a change :roll: , so continued slowly along the H1-3 and just enjoyed. The road was quiet at first until we reached the Mazithi dam, where we sat for a while to take in the silence. what a beautiful spot :o We saw some nice game there, including waterbuck, Crocadile, grey herons, geese, barbets, impala and a very well hidden flock of vultures.
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Waterbuck at Mazithi dam
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Lone Croc

we then went to view the Baobab, which was absolutely lovely. no matter how many times i see one of these trees, it still amazes me how large and beautiful they are. Making our way back from the baobab tree towards the main road (H1-3) we saw a magnificent Brown snake eagle. one of the best I've seen.
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Baobab
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Brown snake eagle

as soon as we reached the main road again, we noticed an ele making his way towards the Mazithi dam, so we waited. it was worth the wait. he ended up drinking water from the concrete water storage. it was really cute to watch :)
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He eventually made his way back into the bush.

We decided to continue alont the H1-3 for a while and spotted 2 georgeous steenbok. obviously a breeding pair. they were very inquisitive and not so shy as i've usually known. we also started to see the 'satara herds' now. :)
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Steenbok breeding pair

as we approached the S125 loop we noticed we had about 3 and a half hours left of the day, with only 28km left on the H1-3 to get to Satara. so we decided to take the loop, since we had the time. so, we did just that, but unfortunately, we did not check how long this loop actually was :roll: well, before the stressing out of time issues, we travelled for quite a while first, seeing some more waterbuck. i have never seen so much waterbuck on one road ever before. we must have seen approx 4 big herds :shock:
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we also saw a lot of zebra
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well, eventually, we reached the S36 turnoff, where we all got the shock of our lives. distance to Satara had changed from 27km to approx 70km. oh my gosh, you can imagine the laughter in the car. we all knew we now had a huge task on our hands of getting to Satara on time, but just couldn't help laughing it off. well, the next few km's along the S36 are a bit of a blurr, as i was going too fast to look for any animals (before you all stress out, i was only doing 60km, not like 80 :lol: ) i do however remember seeing a lot more waterbuck and another steenbok pair. on nearing the main road (H7), Megan decides shes bursting to go to the loo. golly, what a trip. so, we found an area where there was very little bush so we could keep watch and made a really quick pitstop :lol:

We eventually reached the H7, now having 30-40min left to get to camp. we continued at a hurried pace, but not too quick as the francolins all seemed to be suicidal that day :lol: We reached Nsemani dam, where there were a million vehicles. we thought we could have a quick look and so we did. there was a major herd of Buffalo crossing the dam. approx 500 i would say. it was a sight i'd never seen before. we were all quite amazed and ended up watching for about 5-10min. there was also an african fish eagle, but unfortunately the light was too bad to get a decent shot.
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with 15min, we decided to make way. the sun was setting and the sky was so pretty. we came across a pair of lilac breasted rollers on the way, and just had to take a picture. they are like lures to cameras. you just have to get those colours on film.
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The prettiest pair that day
As we approached the gate, we spotted a hyena, but he was moving way to quickly for me to get a shot, so we decided to get the sunset instead.
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Meg also started experimenting on what a photo would look like taken from a mirror. it turned out really pretty too.

well, we made it in the gate, with 5min to spare. again in the nick of time. and we thought we were doing fine with time :lol: i wonder if we'll ever get it right. we spent about an hour at the reception waiting in queues for check in, for buying food, coldrinks, coal, etc. i also had to go check out the cam, but unfortunately nothing there.

we made our way to our huts, which were so cozy, and happilly, right next to eachother. we had a huge braai that night with chicken breasts, wors, potato salad and garlic bread. it really was a lovely night.........but a really cold one though. the sounds at satara are so wonderful. we sat listening to the hyenas, jackals and skops owls for a long time, before we decided to go check the satara cam again. again, nothing :( just my luck, the night i'm there live, theres no thirsty hyena :lol:

we all wanted a really early morning, so got to bed at around 10. we had our hot water bottles, full tummies, great memories from a great day, and had a wonderful sleep.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 5:26 pm 
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Day 5, part 1:

this was the first morning i really battled to get out of bed :lol: probabaly cos it was the earliest morning so far. we got up at 4:30, as we wanted to be out of the gate as it opened at 6:00. it was really nice not having to pack up, get food packed,etc as we were spending another night at satara. so, no packing, hauling or carrying of food or suitcases. it was lovely. all we packed this morning was breakfast and lunch. 1 basket with bacon, eggs, rolls (for lunch and breakfast), beans, sausages (for lunch) and coffee of course. :)
we actually made the gate by 6am, can you believe it, and it was a really crisp morning.

We took the H1-4 and, before the sun even rose, we saw elephant, a burchells coucal and Buffalo. Obviously not great photos due to lighting :roll:
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As the sun started coming up, we decided to stop and watch it. it was soooooooooooo amazing to see the sun gently appear on the horizon of the open veld. Great start to the day :D
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As we continued for a little while, we noticed some Secretary birds silhoettes in the background. also lovely.
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We also saw some lilac breasted rollers, francolins, magpies, and an ostrich. Further along the road we approached a Black backed jackel, who clearly, had no interest of sticking around for a decent photo :roll: also saw waterbuck, zebra and more steenbok pairs. it was amazing to watch the steenbok. i never realised what "clean" toilet goers they were. the female dug a hole in the ground, did what she had to, and then covered it up with dirt again. i was very interesting to see.
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We approached the S127 and decided breakfast at Timbavati picnick stop sounded good. it was about 8am when we got there. it was deserted. absolutely not one person there.....not even the lady who hands out the skottels. anyway, we decided to stick around, unpack the food, etc and ryan walked down towards the staff house to find the lady, whom he bumped into on the way there. we started making breakfast and ended up having the whole picnick spot to ourselves until we finished. we did however share our space with the resident bushbuck, whom we called Melissa :lol:

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Our bushbuck friend...aka...Melissa

We made out way back to the H1-4, and saw some general game along the way, such as kudu, giraffe, warthog, zebra, and a bird of prey, of which i think is a goshawk :?
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Goshawk??????
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Kudu on the S127

Along the H1-4 we finally saw our first Impala for the day......we were beginning to miss them :wink: We also saw our first sighting of Kori bustards on this trip, as well as another steenbok (i think there are more steenbok than impala :lol: ) eventually we came across a road full of cars. getting very excited we slowly neared the roadblock and found out from a passer-byer that there was a leopard lying in the grass on the side of the road. as i looked to my right, i instantly saw him. we had a perfect view. he really was a beauty.....unfortunately he didn't raise his head though. it was a perfect, quiet sighting, that is until what happened next. so, there we are with about 13 cars around us........and what do i do.....lean on the hooter :redface: it was so emabarresing, but luckilly, no one really gave us any "looks", but many of them did have a good laugh :redface:, as did the rest of us. fortunately, the leopard couldn't been bothered and just lay there (thank heavens)
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Kori bustard pair on the H1-4
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Really pretty steenbok on H1-4
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Leopard on H1-4

As we neared Olifants, at around 11-11:30am, we started seeing a lot of Hippo again. We went up to the Olifants river lookout and heard the African fish eagles as always, saw hippo, giraffe, and baboons playing in the water. we also saw various water birds, including geese, grey herons, jacanas, great egrets, goliath heron and a saddlebilled stork. as we pulled away, only then did we actually see the fish eagle :roll:
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Hippos along olifants river
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View of Olifants river

To be continued.............. :D

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June: Addo (1st time... can't wait)
Sept: KNP


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Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2007 8:54 pm 
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Day 5, Part 2:

We arrived at Olifants at about 11:30, and all went to enjoy a nice strawberry milkshake. Doesn't olifants have amazing milkshakes?? anyway, we spent about 30min in the shop looking for gifts to bring back home to the moms. we eventually decided on a beautiful tray :) We were also in serious search for some rolls for dinner and next morning breakfast. Not so lucky at olifants :roll:

we eventually made out way down to the lookout. What an amazing view :shock: :) its amazing what all one can see from up there. We saw plenty water birds, waterbuck, Impala, Giraffe, Hippo (of course), monkeys, Elephant in the far distance, Zebra, and best of all........lion :dance: . it wasn't close enough for a photo...in fact we could just see them through the binocs. if it hadn't been for the female crossing a sand bank we would never have seen them. but that was the coolest sighting i've seen to date at olifants lookout.

My original plan after olifants was to gradually make a slow journey back towards Satara, but the gang insisted on a quick stop at Letaba. since it was only 12:30, i eventually gave in. we made our way up there, and it was a really quiet drive. i think we saw warthog, impala and some zebra. also francolin, Lbr's and magpies. but it was a very pleasent drive :) when we got to Letaba it was almost 1:30, and we were all really hungry. we stopped at the shop for a quick shop to look for rolls......luckilly, we finally found some. we bought a bunch since the park seemed to be a bit low on them. anyway, we decided to go towards the restaurant where we found a place to sit near the fence. luckilly i packed some viennas and condiments that morning, so we ended up having hotdogs while overlooking the letaba river........lovely.
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Bulbul at the lookout
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Barbet at lookout

We ate very quickly, as i was extremely worried about time.....again :roll: We were only there for about 30-45min, so were on the road back to satara at about 2:15 along the H1-5 and then the H1-4. again, a very quiet drive....that is until we reached the S89. We thought it would be a nice drive along this road back to Satara, especially since we usually have good sightings on this road. anyway, the first few animals we saw were Zebra, Wildebeest and Impala.
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We continued along the Timbavati road and, surprisingly, saw another pair of Kori bustards. amazing :shock: We also saw Waterbuck, more general game, and a brown hooded kingfisher.
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Kori bustard along the timbavati road
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Woodland kingfisher along the timbavati road
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A very handsome waterbuck male

We eventually approached a lovely waterhole (sorry, i really cant remember the name) and saw some beautiful giraffe. we were wondering where they were all day :) they really were lovely. very gracefull animals, aren't they???? :)
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giraffe drinking at the waterhole

As we were nearing the end of the timbavati road we saw a magnificent Bataleur. i cant make up my mind if his colour is a bit off because he's still immature, or if its because he's just been in dust. we also saw a lovely little family group of slender mongoose. not sure if ever saw them before that :?
but they were really cute. unfortunately, my pics came out a bit shakey :roll:
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Bataleur on the timbavati road

it was now getting late. i think it was 4:15 at this point and we were still about 3km from the H7. so, i was panicking....again :roll: just as we were about to enter the H7, the road was suddenly blockaded by a huge heard of buffalo (i was wondering if it was the same herd from the day before). it was very nerve wrecking driving through such large animals just staring at you....and there were tons of babies too. they were all very calm though, which made it really pleasent.
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Buffalo on the timbavati road.

anyway, we finally reached the H7 and quickly made our way to camp with only 30min left. it was a real rush....i think the worst rush so far.......(and here i thought we would be on time today :roll: ) 1km from the gate, with only 5min left, there was a roadblock of cars. i felt really rude doing it, but had to overtake everyone just to get past. luckilly, we did see what people were looking at as we passed them..........an african wild cat playing in the grass. was nice to see :D

we made it in the gate 1 minute after closing time, and were actually the last car that made it in.........dont know what happened to the rest :? so, we stopped at the shop before heading back to the rooms, as we needed some chicken for the braai. also, i really wanted to check the webcam........again nothing :roll:

we got back, and were all so tired. we had a real feast that night though....chicken breasts, rolls, wors........and marshmallows for desert........oh, and of course a touch of amarula to wash it all down. sweet bliss :D at around 9pm we took a lovely walk towards the cam again......still nothing. the boys stayed longer, but meg and i decided to get back to clean up, fill our hot water bottles (it was cold) and hit the sack. another early morning tomorrow.......was a wonderful end to a wonderful day :D

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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 11:06 am 
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Day 6, Part 1:

This morning we had to get up early to be out of the gate at 6am, as we had a long drive down to Croc Bridge. We were all on the ball this morning, up and ready by 5:30, car packed by 5:45 and petrol station at 5:50......unfortunately we were too early at the petrol station. waited in the dark for about 7min. eventually staff at the petrol tanks arrived, unlocked everything, and we were off at 6am on the dot. As the sun was rising we made our way towards Tshokwane for breakfast along the H1-3 but took a coffee and rusk stop at Mazithi dam. We had been sitting there for about 5min when suddenly a group of 3 hyena appeared from in the distance. not sure they were together or not, because as they got closer they suddenly split up and went in completely oppisite directions.
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Sunrise
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Hyena making thier way across Mazithi dam

After they vanished into the bush we continuued on our way. We saw a lot of common game on the way to Tshokwane, including Impala, wildebeest, Zebra, Warthog, Giraffe and a few breeding herds of elephant.
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A warthog family
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Elephant breeding herd
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Giraffe
We also saw some wonderful birds, including the usual, hornbills, starling, francolins, etc as well as a golden breasted bunting, LBR's and a very busy gymnogene (african harrier hawk). not often we see a gymnogene. we were very close to tshokwane at this stage and just saw him swoop down near us. quite a big bird. he was climbing branches, hopping from tree to tree, digging in tree holes, etc. was very entertaining.
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LBR
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A juvenile gymnogene

We neared Tshokwane and arrived at about 9am. It wasn't as full as 3 days ago, but was busy. We found a lovely little spot to skottel under the trees overlooking the river.
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We got all our food out, set the table, etc. Same routine as every other morning....except now we couldn't find our matches :roll: Well we looked everywhere....and guess what...they were in the basket the whole time hiding under a mug:lol:
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Looking for the matches

It turned out to be a really lovely breakfast....no broken eggs or spilt coffee....was perfect....and what a lovely day it was too.
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Ryan, our bacon chef.

After about an hour to an hour and half we left and continued our journey towards Croc Bridge along the H10. About 1km out of Tshokwane we met up with a small herd of dagga boys relaxing in the grass.....what a life. We also saw another herd of ele's as well as a lot more game.
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Group of dagga boys
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Another ele breeding herd

We reached the dirt road to the Mlondozi lookout point and stopped for about 10min to take in the view. this was the first time that i never saw rhino from this lookout, but we did see a huge herd of zebra, wildebeest and Buffalo. Also saw some eles down by the water on the left and a few giraffe in the distance. was a great stop. As we continued, we eventually caught up to the huge zebra herd, and also spotted a rhino and calf. (so they were there, just couldn't see them from lookout:roll: )
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huge zebra herd
We also saw some lovely birds, again most of the common ones, but also a Pearl spotted owl. What a beauty....one of my favourite owls too.
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Pearl spotted owl
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one of my favourite pics of LBR

We eventually approached the Lower Sabie bridge, where we saw a lovely goliath heron. we eventually decided an ice-cream stop at lower sabie sounded good...especially since we were makeing such good time.
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goliath heron

part 2 to continue :D

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Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 8:56 pm 
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Day 6, Part 2:

We arrived at Lower Sabie at about 1pm (about) and went for an ice cream. It was a really warm day so ice-creams went down well. We were making really good time, with only about 2hrs left to get to Croc bridge, and we had about 3 -4 hrs. so, we decided to go check the sighting bourd to see if anything interesting was nearby. fortunately, there was a leopard sighting and lion sighting 2km from sunset dam towards skukuza. we thought we'd head that way for 30min and then turn around and head towards Croc bridge.

We stopped at sunset dam for 10min to take in the beauty....again...like usual, it was busy with life. the hippos were out the water again, with the babies. it was actually adorable, because there were 3 little ones and they were all snuggled in a row. it was so adorable. we also saw the usual bird life....egyption geese, african jacana, marabou storks, goliath heron, grey heron and pied wagtail. we also saw a few terrapins and plenty crocs.
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Crocs and hippos at sunset dam

as we continuued with our plan, we eventually hit a point where we decided this was a bad idea....we hit a traffic jam :roll: the leopard was laying in the river bed where you could only see it if you were on the bridge, so, everyone was stopping, having a good look,and then moving on......unfortunately, this process took 25min, just to see the leopard. Fortunately while waiting in the queue we saw a very brave klipspringer. the bad news is, we had to come back through it again :roll:
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The klipspringer that kept us entertained while waiting
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The leopard which caused all the commosion

well, after we saw the leopard we decided it would be a good idea to turn back immediately...when we got caught in the lion sighting jam (not so bad though). it was really impossible to see them...REALLY. But what we did see was really interesting....a huge herd of ele's in the river bed. but the amazing thing was they were all huddled in a circle around the young ele's. obviously due to preditors in the area....i mean there was lion and leopard within 500m of them :shock: We also saw Lapped-faced vultures and an immature martial eagle.
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Ele's protecting thier babies
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Immature martial eagle
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Lapped-faced vulture

Well, we didn't see the lion. but really enjoyed what we did see. anyway, it took us another 25min to get past the leopard jam...but at least we got to see it again :)

so, now on the route to Crocadile bridge with about 2hrs left. we saw a lot of general game...as one usually does in this area. we also stummbled across another wonderful heard of Elephant. Most of the trip along H4-2 was relatively quiet though, but really peaceful.

We arrived at Croc with 15min before the gate closed....first time early :dance: this would be our first night staying in tents...we're usually bungalow people, but wanted a change. and we really loved it too...tents were so nice, and lovely location right in front of fence.
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Meg checking hers and my tent
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ryan very proud of his tent

after heading to the shop for last minute things we had a wonderful night of laughing, chatting and eating around the fire. had a wonderful braai, again, and a lovely glass of amarula. i would say it was probably our best evening.....warm, clear and the night sounds were wonderful. we had a late night since we all agree we'd have a good sleep in in the morning. again....a lovely evening to complete a lovely day :D

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Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 7:54 pm 
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Day 7.....Last day:

This morning we woke up at 7am. We (meg and i) actually got a fright waking up. we were both kinda waking up when suddenly i heard footsteps by our tent door :shock: knowing it was too early for the boys, since we usually up first, we both got a bit of a fright thinking someone was trying to come in :lol: we later found out it was just the cleaning staff emptying all the trash cans. anyway, we were definately awake now....but must honestly say never felt so cold in the knp. as warm as the tents are during the day, they are colder at night and early morning. wow we were freezing...in fact it was warmer outside :lol: wanting to get warm, we decided a shower would go down well....luckilly as we got to the bathroom all the showers and baths were empty, so it was nice not having to wait in queues. (queues every morning at tsitsikamma :roll: )

so, after showering, brushing teeth, dressing and making ourselves look presentable we decided to go see if the boys were awake yet. surprisingly they were awake....not quite out of bed though :roll: good thing they showered the night before since bathrooms were starting to fill up now. anyway, as we got to out tent we started hearing rustling and snapping of twigs....figured there must have been ele's in the area. we went back in tent (brrrrr) and finished packing everything. as we walked out onto the balcony with suitcases etc we were surprised by a few friends at out fence......5ele's :shock:
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Morning guests at our tent

We packed the car (very slowly) while watching the ele's make thier way along the fence. we eventually left Croc bridge at 9am. We decided a drive to Hippo pools would be a nice way to start the morning....and it sure was. we saw really great birds along this route and back again. We first saw another Pearl spotted owl, then saw an immature Bataleur. Further up we saw a mature Bataleur too. Our best sighting however was a mature gymnogene. wow :shock:. 2 in one trip. it was so cool seeing a gymnogene at his morning routine....tree to tree looking for food.
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Pearl spotted owl
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Immature Bataleur
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Mature Bataleur
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Gymnogene at his morning routine

anyway, on our way back we saw a purple roller.....only the 2nd one i've ever seen. amazing how big they are in comparrison to LBR's.
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Purple roller

We continued to Malelane along the Croc river road. it was really really quiet seening one herd of ele's, impala, warthog, African fish eagle, Giraffe, baboon, hornbills and LBR's.
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Warthog
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Kudu

As we approached the end of the dirt road we ran into 3 male impala's. it was such a pretty picture with all of them just strutting in the road. Further ahead we ran into 3 male kudu...also just strutting in the road. really handsome guys.
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3 male impala
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3 male kudu

About 1km from the Malelane gate we approache a huge traffic jam. we thought "yay, a really good sighting before heading home". it was a leopard, but wow :shock: , buried way back in a bush covered ditch. really, it was impossible to see unless you were at a perfect spot. luckilly, we managed to squeeze in, caught a glimse and were satisfied. we left the knp at 11:45. :(

Breakfast sounded really good at this point, so we stopped at wimpy in malelane and enjoyed a great brunch. got home at 5pm....all feeling a bit tired. but we all felt really blessed to experience such a lovely week together with nature :D

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