Skip to content

SANParks.org Forums

View unanswered posts | View active topics






Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  Page 1 of 3
 [ 34 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Texas to Kruger – The Sequel – August 2007
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 6:28 am 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 10:38 pm
Posts: 155
Location: Texas, USA
August 6/7 and once again we are making the journey from Texas to Kruger full of anticipation and excitement. :D Our trip to KNP last year was so great we simply had to do it again. We left three weeks earlier this year in order to take full advantage of our Wildcard. Our three hour flight from Dallas to Washington was smooth and we easily made our connection to Johannesburg. After the 15 1/2 hour nonstop flight to Jo’burg our excitement had faded significantly. :| It was positively extinguished when we found that our three checked bags did not make it on the flight with us. :x We were assured that everything was okay and they would turn up tomorrow. The problem with that was, although we were spending the night in Jo’burg, we had an early flight to Zambia to see Victoria Falls. We were assured that they would forward our luggage to our hotel in Zambia the next day. Not.

August 8, we fly to Livingston, Zambia (sans luggage) to see Victoria Falls where we spent the next 4 nights. The Falls are simply spectacular, particularly when contrasted to the dryness we found in Kruger, but you must actually be there and feel the spray in your face and hear the roaring of the falls to fully appreciate this fantastic creation of Mother Nature. Video
August 8 - no luggage :x
August 9 - no luggage :x :x
August 10 - no luggage :evil:
August 11 - my luggage piece finally arrives in the late afternoon along with our miscellaneous bag. :dance: Diane's is still missing. :wall: After several calls, they think it is at the Jo’burg Airport but nobody is really sure. We tell them if it is there to simply hold it as we are flying back there the next day.

August 12 - we reluctantly left Zambia as we had had such a great time and flew back to Johannesburg. After arriving at the airport, miracle of miracles, we retrieve Diane's luggage after traipsing back and forth from domestic to international terminals. Also, the airline did reimburse us right there for about $250 cash on incidentals we had to purchase due to our missing luggage. Things were looking up. :thumbs_up:

August 13 - After spending another night in Jo’burg, we flew to Nelspruit the next morning, rented a car and headed for the Kruger gate. We had a pleasant drive, stopping in Hazyview to purchase essentials needed in the Park such as wine, olives, cheese, and more wine.:wink:

After another pleasant drive, we finally arrive at the Paul Kruger gate after stopping on the bridge and then paying our respects to Paul Kruger. A very efficient staff processed our entry and off we drove to Skukuza. 8) :dance: :dance:

Image Image


Last edited by TXDrifter on Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 3:57 am 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 10:38 pm
Posts: 155
Location: Texas, USA
Thank you all for your kind words and patience. I ran into a few computer hardware and software problems but hopefully they are fixed for now. I definitely see a new bigger better PC in my future to better accommodate the photos from the new bigger better camera that I also see my future. :pray:

bert - perhaps one or two kitties or maybe some crocs eating a Cape Buffalo. :twisted:

TexasBoer - howdy neighbor, I don't know how the Park survived a couple Texans at the same time. :lol:

restio – Yee-ha? We may have to make you an honorary Texan. :clap:

Foxy - it truly was. Photos are on my website. :cam:

Pumbaa - thanks, hope you enjoy it. :)

anne-marie - yes, the memory of such an experience is the best kind of souvenir. :thumbs_up:

MM - I hope it is worth the wait. Forgot to mention that my luggage bag was broken into, the lock twisted out of shape and all of the shoe bags slit open to see if we had packed any valuables in the shoes. :x We never pack any valuables in checked luggage and so nothing was taken.

Johan van Rensburg – thanks Johan, I’ll drink to that. :tongue:

elpaco – thanks, here’s the next installment. :popcorn:


August 13 – Afternoon - of course, before leaving the check-in point at the Kruger gate we had to stop on the bridge over the Sabie River. We just reflected on how beautiful the view was and how glad we were to be back in Kruger. There were a few Impala, kudu, and Egyptian geese there to greet us and we had our first Ellie sighting at KNP.
Image Image Image Image

Eager to get to our bungalow at Skukuza we drove east on the H11 at the top (legal) speed so as to have time to get to the lake panic hide for a late afternoon viewing.

This warty tried to keep up with us but he was no match for our Nissan.
Image
We made it to reception at Skukuza and quickly checked in and got the keys for our perimeter bungalow. We drove down to "our" bungalow and noticed that there was some beer and Coke in the refrigerator. We thought that was a great welcoming gift. I opened the bungalow door and :oops: , the bungalow was still clearly occupied. Somewhat irritated, (we thought they'd simply given us the wrong bungalow) I locked the door and returned to my car. Just as we were trying to pull out, the current occupants were trying to pull in. I know they were wondering what the hell we were doing there, so I got out of my car and explained the situation to them. We compared keys and of course they were the same. We all just shook our heads and Diane and I drove back to reception. She stayed in the car as I said it would just be a minute. I went up to the same guy that checked me in and told him that the bungalow was occupied. He just looked at me and said I would have to see his supervisor. In I went to the supervisor's office and explained the situation. He took the key and then got on his computer and started scrolling for about five minutes. In the meantime, I had this sinking sensation that we were probably going to end up back in Hazyview. After he finished scrolling, the supervisor got up and said he would be back. I was left alone in the office for about 10 minutes with my thoughts getting blacker and blacker. Finally he showed up, very apologetic and all smiles. He was very sorry for the mixup, and was going to upgrade our accommodations from the perimeter bungalow to a huge family cottage that slept eight people. To say the least I was much relieved. I got the keys and went outside and by now Diane was getting a little frantic because she couldn't find me and was stuck with the same dark thoughts that I had. In the end it worked out great.

Here is a photo of our little compound.It's a very poor panorama but I think you get the idea. Four attached bungalows with two beds in each, plus a big 2 story recreation area and kitchen with two refrigerators plus outdoor patios.
Image
We were close to the railroad trestle and you could hear and see the baboons walking on it in the early morning.
Image
We enjoyed a beautiful Kruger sunset from our patio.
Image

It was too late to get to the lake panic hide but not too late to go in search of the Kruger Big 5 “Bs”. (Bushbeer, Bushbert, Bushbabies, Bushbuck and Bushbucky.)

We were very fortunate to find the first 2 our very first evening in KNP. We met up with Bert, Diane, and their very bright son Jorges at Selati’s for an excellent steak dinner and great conversation. It was truly an enjoyable evening meeting them and great to hear about the success Bert was having with the kitties. A wonderful way to end our first day in the Park and to look forward to the days ahead.


Last edited by TXDrifter on Thu Nov 15, 2007 12:51 am, edited 4 times in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2007 12:57 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 10:38 pm
Posts: 155
Location: Texas, USA
Ralph vV wrote:
WOW TXD! Great report...... Love the video! :lol:
Accomodation upgrade not to shabby, hey.


Ralph vV Thanks, glad you enjoyed it. :)

anne-marie - It certainly seemed that way. :lol:

bert - Thanks, I'll try and post the lizard video on You Tube later. It is unique. 8)

Foxy - Thanks, Victoria Falls is truly one of natures wonders. :thumbs_up:

RayD123 - Thanks, your wait is over. :wink:
Kalburgi - Thanks, the 2006 trip was extraordinary. :cam:

August 14 – Morning - we were awakened by the sound of baboons whooping and hollering or whatever it is baboons do, but it was sure noisy. There is a large troop (50+) that seemed to hang around our end of the camp. From our patio, I could see them starting to cross the train trestle.
Image
We watched the sun rise from our bungalow and then headed off about 6:30 a.m. to see the sights.
Image
We drove south on the H1 and were greeted by some zebra walking down the road toward us.
Image
We continued South on the S114 and came across a duiker.
Image
We had high hopes for the S114 but it turned out to be a very long drive with very little wildlife, at least that we could see. We finally came across this grey go-away-bird and a Southern yellow-billed hornbill. The hornbills never seem quite real to me but more like animated cartoon characters.
Image Image
Image
We finally parked and had our typical road breakfast of juice, breakfast bar, and fruit. (No soggy rusks for us. :lol: ) While we were parked a very inquisitive Francolin hopped on our car & peered through the windshield. He seemed to want to share our breakfast. Not! Our last sighting on this stretch of road was a wildebeest who decided he liked to roll around in the dirt at the very dry Renosterkoppies Dam.
Image Image
Image Image
Image
We decided to head west on the S112. After seeing a Red-billed hornbill we came across a Southern black flycatcher and a White-crested Helmet-shrike.
Image
Image
Image
We finished up on this stretch of road spotting a steenbok and a group of 12 dwarf mongoose.
Image
Image
Image
We then drove north on the H3 and then west on the H1-1 to Transport Dam. A lot of the area along the way had been burned.
Image
At Transport Dam there was a lot to see. This is not the way to do it. :naughty:
Image
We saw:
Image Waterbuck
Image Little Egret
Image Grey heron
And many zebra and Impala and waterbuck.
ImageImage
Image
Image
Image
Image a smiling crocodile
We finally left the dam after hoping in vain for another lion hunt like the You Tube video seen by millions and headed further west on the H1-1 and spotted some Southern ground hornbills including a pale juvenile.
Image
Image
We turned on the Napi Rocks loop and came across a sleeping white rhinoceros by the side of the road. We stopped and watched him for several minutes but all he did was occasionally twitch an ear and move a leg.
Image Image
We continued west on the H1-1 to Shitlhave Dam and saw a fish Eagle, some waterbuck, and a kudu in a burned out area.
Image
Image
Image
We drove on to Pretoriuskop and walked around the camp then drove on a short loop. About the only thing we saw was a steenbok.
Image
Our quick morning drive had turned into a six-hour excursion. We decided to head back to Skukuza for lunch and to rest up for our Sunset Drive. No sightings of note on the way back, but we were wondering where were all those kitties that Bert had seen. Maybe we would see some this evening. :hmz:


Last edited by TXDrifter on Thu Nov 15, 2007 4:00 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 7:43 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2007 7:16 pm
Posts: 772
Location: Somewhere far far far away
Txd.. You must have been at renosterkoppies dam a little late or early... We saw so much there, two weeks ago. To name a few, 3 rhino, kudu, impala, warthog, baboon, zebra, wildebeast........

_________________
I try my best and that's what matters I hope.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 3:02 am 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 10:38 pm
Posts: 155
Location: Texas, USA
bert wrote:
TX, we found the same rhino in roughly the same spot a few days before 8)

bert - The way he was sleeping, he may still be there. 8)

anne-marie - Thanks again. :)

MM - Thanks, if it's not keys it's locks. :wall:

restio - Glad you enjoyed them. :D

Skillie - Thanks, I added a few more accommodation photos for you. :wink:

timbo - We were there a little before 8am but didn't stay very long. Sounds like we should have. :doh:

August 14 – Afternoon/Evening - We arrived back at our humble accommodations and had to face a major decision. Should we have lunch upstairs, downstairs, or on the outside patio. :hmz:
Image Image
Image Image
After lunch, we decided to take a nap. Although we had the curtains drawn, someone was trying to look into our room. I pulled the curtain back and a huge baboon was peering through the glass. When he saw me, he walked slowly over to the dining room window and continued to peer into that window while standing very erect. We finally figured out that Diane had left a bunch of bananas in a bowl on top of the table and he spotted them. Anyway, I went outside and chased him away and then we put the bananas out of sight. We were afraid he might try to break in. About that time we saw many of the baboons starting to gather just across from our bungalow.
Image Image
While I was outside watching the baboons I noticed a Blue-tailed Skink on the ledge next to me.
Image
It was finally time for our sunset drive. We saw our first giraffe of the trip. With my keen eyesight I was able to spot him.
Image Image
Next, we came across 4 elephants feeding. Actually, it's amazing how difficult it can be to spot something that big so close to you.
Image
We then stopped for a lovely peaceful sunset.
Image
By then, it was getting dark and very difficult to take photos so I spent my time operating one of the spotlights. We saw kudu, two large spotted Genets with black tips on their tails and a few hippos grazing. Oh, did I mention we saw a leopard. :twisted:
I did manage to get a poor photograph but he was really fascinating to watch.
Image Image
We really didn't see much else the rest of the drive, but in my book, anytime you spot a leopard it’s a good drive. :thumbs_up:


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 2:52 am 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 10:38 pm
Posts: 155
Location: Texas, USA
matthew wrote:
Lovelly stuff! 8) :thumbs_up:

matthew – thanks. :D

Zypresse – glad you are enjoying the tour. 8)

aboon – thanks, maybe I should write a story with pics about visiting Amsterdam’s red light district last July. :hmz: :wink:

restio – ellies are wonderful creatures, right up to the point they charge. :shock:

katydownunder – thanks. The francolin was cute pecking at the windshield. :)

Pumbaa – thanks. I do miss the “ palace”. It had 3 refrigerators. Almost enough to hold all our wine. :dance:

Mgoddard – Thanks. You really should. It’s a great experience but makes it tough to get back to more humble accommodations. :tongue:

elpaco – It’s worse when one steps out in front of you and you try to reverse and find one has also stepped out in back of you as happened on our last trip. :big_eyes: They ought to call that accommodation a chalet. :!:

bert – thanks, if that baboon had turned on me I would have set a speed record racing back to our room. :lol: (By the way, here’s that lizard your son liked). lizard video
August 15 – Morning – We were out the door at 6:16 a.m. and decided to try the H4-1 and search for the leopard we saw the previous night. Apparently, we just missed him as people were still driving around searching, but he was on the move. Timing is everything! We spotted a Goliath Heron poised right on top of a tree. This was an unusual sighting for us as we had only seen them before in or very near water.
Image
Next some helmeted Guineafowl.
Image
Some hippos were congregating in the Sabie River
Image
In the distance, we spotted what appeared to be a large pumpkin. But as we drew closer it turned out to be Bert and his family in an orange car. 8) :lol: He told us about a hyena that he had seen the day before across the river on an old kill but we were unable to find it. We did see some kudu and then an Impala snorting rather loudly ran across the road in front of us. Impala video
Image Image
We saw an interesting bird that may have been a wood-hoopoe.
Image
Bert had been driving in the same direction along the Sabie River and we noticed that the orange chariot turned back. Shortly thereafter, we discovered a lioness and her 4 cubs on a little turn-out by the river. :twisted: It was a very peaceful setting and we stayed there quite a while. She was basking in the sunshine & playfully nipping at her naughty cubs. We took a lot of photos and really enjoyed watching her interact with her cubs.
Image Image
Image Image
Image
She finally decided to move.
Image
We then found a visitor next to our car with a bag someone had dropped (not us).
Image
The lioness wasn’t gone long then returned to the same spot.
Image
She seemed to be a little cranky. (Angels can be like that. :angel: )
Image Image
Image Image
She finally left again and went down for a second drink. She regurgitated after her first drink.
Image Image
Then she played peek-a-boo behind some trees.
Image
As we were getting ready to leave, another lioness came and lay down.
Image Image
We wondered if more of the pride was snoozing in the rushes, but no others came into view. Finally we left and headed on as we wanted to get down to Lower Sabie to have lunch.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 4:30 am 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 10:38 pm
Posts: 155
Location: Texas, USA
Meandering Mouse wrote:
What a brilliant sighting. wow!

It wouldn't surprise me if that naughty little monkey didn't just help himself to someone's sweeties from the car. They are rather good at doing that.

MM – thanks, you are probably right, they are great little thieves. :D

anne-marie - you are very welcome. It's a pleasure to share them. :cam:

john n poppy - thanks, there was one other car when we first arrived but they left shortly after we got there. We rented through Auto Europe and made all arrangements over the Internet. They were recommended by someone on the advice forum. We found that they had excellent rates and everything went smoothly. This was the second time that we used them. We picked up our auto at the KMIA airport from AVIS who is their rental agent there. We had a Nissan Almera. It was the least expensive automatic but there was plenty of room as there were just two of us. It would've been nice to have a car that sat higher but it simply wasn't worth the increase in price in my estimation. :hmz:

elpaco - thanks, we were on the S30, a few kilometers east of the H12. We turned onto a small turnout by the river. There were several little turnouts but we kept trying each one. :dance:

Pumbaa - thanks for the kind words, more is on the way. :thumbs_up:

August 15 – Afternoon – The first thing we saw was more of the ever present Impala and then a couple of warthogs sleeping.
Image Image
We had been on the S30 and now we were on the S128 heading to Lower Sabie.
Shot a quick photo of a lilac-breasted roller.
Image Image
We enjoyed a nice lunch at the restaurant terrace of the Lower Sabie camp and shot a few photos of the beautiful surroundings. In the parking lot we noticed a Land Rover in front of us that had a yellow ribbon but we don’t know to whom it belonged..
Image Image
Image weaver? Image
Image dark-capped bulbul Image
This African spoonbill seemed to be awfully close to the crocodile but I guess he liked to live on the edge.
Image Image
We stopped by sunset dam. It was very windy with a lot of dust.
Image Image
Driving north on the H4-1 we stopped when we came across a large herd of Cape buffalo congregating with a large number of zebra. There were easily several hundred animals.
Image Image
Image Image
Some people who would do anything for a better view. :naughty:
Image Image
Image
We had heard yesterday about a lion kill of a Cape Buffalo in the Sabie River. By the time we arrived it looked like the crocs had taken over.
Image Image
Image
Further up the road we came across a troop of baboons.
Image Image
Image Image
I almost missed this Secretary bird flying by.
Image
More baboons.
Image Image
Came across some more southern-ground horn bills (adult and juvenile) and a female kudu.
Image Image
Image
We drove back to camp and rested for a while then decided to make a run over to the Lake Panic Hide.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:18 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 10:38 pm
Posts: 155
Location: Texas, USA
anne-marie wrote:
Ho ! warthogs, spoonbill and baboons, and ground hornbill and ... :clap:
They are to take a ladder... like in India... to looking for the tiger :?

anne-marie – thanks. And what do you do when you find it? :huh: Or it finds you? :big_eyes:

Senyetse - thanks for the ID. :)

elpaco – thanks again. Too bad we didn’t get together, ships passing in the night. :(

BB – thanks, what is amazing is the total lack of common sense then is displayed by unthinking tourists. :naughty:

Senyetse - that would make for a great video to post on you tube. :lol:

Ollie - thanks, glad you're enjoying it. :wink: [/b]

August 15 – Late Afternoon – we drove over to the Lake Panic Hide which is always a favorite of ours. It was much quieter this year as we were apparently too early for the weavers and all their noisy nest building activities. It was still a pleasure to be there.
Image Image
Image Image
We watched a Pied Kingfisher who kept slapping a fish that he had caught.
Image
A little later we got some better photos of him.
Image Image
It is always interesting to watch the jacanas with their big feet.
Image Image
There is almost always a great heron around or an African darter.
Image Image
Image Image
And it’s always enjoyable watching (and being watched by) the hippos. Noisy hippos’ video
Image Image
Image Image
We ended the day watching a malachite Kingfisher, a black-headed oriole and some nyala that visited the hide. We drove down to the nursery, but it was closed. We hesitantly exited from our vehicle & crossed the bridge by the golf course & promptly turned around as it was a little scary with no one??? around. We’ll take the trail next time. I'm still trying to figure out how you play golf amongst all that wildlife. Who tells the lions and leopards to stay off the course while you are playing a round? :hmz:
Image Image
Image
Back in camp we had a good bottle of wine, some cheese and olives and thoroughly enjoyed our last night in our Skukuza palatial surroundings. :thumbs_up: Tomorrow, off to Letaba. :dance:


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:10 pm 
Offline
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Sighting of the Year - Birds (2013)
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:33 pm
Posts: 2318
Location: I'm the patty in Jam Street
Award: Birder of the Year (2012)
Great report, TXDrifter!

If I understand your post correctly, you didn't get to explore the boardwalk at the nursery. If that is the case, it is such a pity as this walk is one of the great birding experiences in KNP. It is the only such facility and realy on the do-not-miss-list. Call me foolhardy but the fewer people around at the boardwalk, the more I enjoy the place. There are benches at strategic points where we often sit down and wait for the birds to show themselves.

TXDrifter wrote:
I'm still trying to figure out how you play golf amongst all that wildlife. Who tells the lions and leopards to stay off the course while you are playing a round?


Good point you make regarding the lions and the leopards... I also wonder, but not too much as it may scare me away :lol: if I realise that I may be on a kitty menu :shock:

So far, the biggest game we saw from the boardwalk were baboons, impala and warthogs.

Love the Jacana pix

_________________
666 Latest lifer: Sooty Tern


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2007 3:56 am 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 10:38 pm
Posts: 155
Location: Texas, USA
Pumbaa – Thanks, glad you are enjoying it. And Letaba brought me a special birthday present. :dance:

Johan van Rensburg – Thanks, next time we will be sure and make the entire walk. We do love watching the birds (and the kitties). :D

matthew – Thanks much. :)

Aboon – Thanks, but I do believe from what I saw in Amsterdam the red-light district has more wildlife than Kruger. :wink:

TexasBoer - The more time in LP the better. However I don’t think I’ll play a round of golf there unless I have a caddy armed with a .458. :sniper:

anne-marie – That’s great as long as that tiger doesn’t climb the ladder also. :big_eyes:

August 16 – Sadly, after breakfast we said goodbye to the palace and left Skukuza for Letaba, about 9 a.m.. It was 160 km but we anticipated a very easy ride north on the HI-2/3/4.
We always stop when we see a southern ground-hornbill and take at least one photo.
Image
We were making good time passing baboons and giraffes for about 45 minutes until we had to come to a sudden stop. It seemed that a herd of several hundred Cape Buffalo decided to cross the road. Needless to say, they had the right of way.
Image Image
Image Image
Image Image
Image
After about half an hour, they were still crossing but were pretty spread out. A large truck slowly made its way through the herd and the rest of us followed very carefully.

Further down the road we came across several waterbuck.
Image Image
At the Siloweni Dam we found even more waterbuck along with some hippos and Saddle-billed storks.
Image Image
Image
We stopped at Tshokwane Picnic Spot for a stretch break.
Image Image
Later we stopped at Mazithi Dam -- not much going on other than a lone hippo and a few wildebeest.
Image Image
We drove by warthogs, zebra, wildebeest, Impala, more waterbuck, and 2 bushbuck.
Image Image
Image Image
Image Image
Then, a very pregnant zebra who seemed to be telling us to move on.
Image
We then saw a lovely African hoopoe.
Image Image
Off in the distance was a Blackbacked jackal.
Image Image
Also in the distance we spotted that heaviest of flying birds, a Kori bustard.
Image Image
We easily saw the Ellie's but the secretarybird was almost missed.
Image Image
Image Image
Later on, some giraffes and a sleeping spotted hyena.
Image Image
Image
We saw elephants grazing by the Oliphants River and then we finally reached our destination at Letaba.
Image Image
Image Image
We finally checked into our perimeter bungalow after the people in front of us straightened out their “canceled” accommodation problem. It was hard to get accustomed to only three beds (instead of eight) one refrigerator (instead of three) and no rec room or TV. But we are rugged Texans and so survived. :lol: Actually, the light was out in the bathroom (not a good thing), there was no tea kettle, and the refrigerator was not cold enough. After two complaints to reservations, :rtfm: everything was taken care of including a new refrigerator that was installed the next day. In the meantime, some very nice saffies in the bungalow next to us loaned us a teakettle and even made space in their refrigerator for us.
We finally settled down with a bottle of wine and cheese and enjoyed a pleasant Letaba sunset.
Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 4:25 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 10:38 pm
Posts: 155
Location: Texas, USA
MM, Pumbaa, anne-marie, alpaco - thanks to all of you for your kind words and comment. They are very much appreciated so here's another installment. :D

August 17 Birthday Morning :bdaysmile: – What better way to celebrate a birthday than to be out by 6:30 a.m. in KNP and greeted almost immediately by a couple of ellie’s feeding by the road. :dance:
Image
We decided to go over to Englehard Dam, where we found hippos in between all the water lilies.
Image Image
We drove by a Cape Buffalo kill but it seemed we were a little late.
Image
South on the S4 was a pretty quiet ride but saw some more Ellies feeding, and a Yellow-billed stork flying by.
Image Image
Image
Went on the HI-5 and H8 to Olifants. We stopped at a lookout point and saw a few waterbuck.
Image Image
At Olifants we always enjoy the spectacular view of the river and admire the Baobab trees off in the distance.
Image Image
Image
We drove the S92 past Balule and then the S89 back to the HI-4 north bound with surprisingly few sightings. :( It was a very dry dusty drive with lots of people going too fast pulling trailers making the dust problem even worse. :x
Image Image
From the HI-4 we did spot another Kori bustard off the road.
Image
Back by the river we saw a large group of Impala that were very wary and never did go down to drink while we were there.
Image
We did see some crocs and a White-crowned lapwing by the river.
Image
Image Image
Also, a hippo who didn't want his picture taken and a White-fronted bee-eater.
Image Image
Image Image
We drove by an ellie feeding, and stopped for one who decided he was king of the road (he was).
Image Image
We spotted these zebra before we arrived back in camp to have lunch and rest in the afternoon for our sunset drive.
Image


Last edited by TXDrifter on Mon Sep 24, 2007 4:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 10:39 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 10:38 pm
Posts: 155
Location: Texas, USA
Thanks anne-marie and Foxy. Glad you are enjoying it. :D

August 17 Sunset Drive – Our guide/driver was named “Blues” and was very informative. There were only six people aboard a large vehicle so we had plenty of room to move around. Right outside of the back gate we stopped for a couple of ellies. One of them was a fairly good-sized tusker.
Image
It seemed we were going pretty much the same route that we had taken this morning. By the river we saw a big croc and some more ellies.
Image Image
Saw a pretty White-fronted bee-eater close to Englehard Dam.
Image Image
Blues pointed out a Leadwood tree rubbed smooth by the ellies. They are so dense they cannot be knocked over easily.
Image Image
We passed by some waterbuck, a Bateleur and more ellies before coming across a beautiful male Nyala.
Image Image
Image Image
Blues told us that lions don't prey on waterbuck because they have a gland that is released if they are killed and turns their flesh very bitter. Just before we saw the Nyala we came across a bull ellie that was in musth and Blues said he was very dangerous. Ellie video
Lots of wildlife by the water. An African fish eagle by an ellie and 2 Marabou storks.
Image Image
In the distance a blackbacked jackal was on the move.
Image Image
As the light was fading I took a few more shots of a mother and baby ellie, giraffe, marabou storks and a fish eagle.
Image Image
Image
We had many more sightings on the drive, one of the most notable being a Large-spotted genet.
Image Image
Our last sighting of the evening was the best. A beautiful leopard suddenly appeared and crossed the road right in front of us. Too fast for a photo but I captured him in my minds eye. I'm sure he stopped by to wish me a happy birthday. :dance: :thumbs_up: 8)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2007 5:39 am 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 10:38 pm
Posts: 155
Location: Texas, USA
bucky wrote:
Another belated HB from me also !

Keep it coming , you really do put your reports together very nicely .


Thanks matthew and bucky for the :bdaysmile:. :dance:
Here's another episode. Let me know if it gets too boring. :|

August 18 – Out the gate at 6:03AM. Approaching the Letaba Bridge on the S95 we stopped and listened to the plaintive call of a fish-eagle. What a wonderful sound to hear first thing in the morning.
Image Image
As we approach the bridge, we could see Impala baboons at the far end.
Image Image
The river was bathed in morning sunlight.
Image
Passed some ellies and giraffe feeding.
Image
Image
Image
Crossing over to the other side of the Englehard Dam, we stopped at the Matambeni Hide. We watched and listened to the hippos while enjoying the beautiful view. Hippo serenade
Image Image
There was an African fish-eagle directly below us who kept calling to his mate across the water.
Image Image
After leaving the hide we turned on the S47 toward the Mingerhout Dam and saw a steenbok and a beautiful purple roller.
Image Image
Image Image
Further up the road, we had to stop as a breeding herd of ellies decided to hang out in the road for a while and we were not about to try to drive through them. :naughty:
Image Image
Image Image
The ellies finally drifted off and we were able to continue our journey. We stopped at an overlook and saw some Cape buffalo and waterbuck.
Image Image
There were a lot of vultures circling over the river but they never came down while we were there.
Image
We drove by some rocks and although we didn't see any cheetah, we did get a very good view of this klipspringer.
Image Image
Image Image
Also, a red-billed hornbill and a natal francolin.
Image Image
We continued on the Letaba River road to camp and at the bottom of a hill there was a lot of standing water over the road and off to the side we saw a grey heron and this very mossy turtle.
Image Image
Back at camp, we watched some of the local very tame bushbuck and admired the Impala lilies.
Image Image
After lunch, it was time to go on a guided afternoon walk with the rangers. There were just four of us plus the two Rangers. After a short 10 minute ride into the bush we got out of the vehicle and were given a brief orientation on what to expect and how we should act. Rules were things like, stay close, walk single file, keep quiet, how to get one of the rangers attention, etc. The rangers were both armed with .458 caliber rifles. The 4 inch bullets looked like they could stop anything. It was made very clear that we do not run from anything but make a stand if there is a problem. What surprised both Diane and I more than anything, was that we thought one ranger would be in front and one behind the rest of us to provide protection. Not so. :shock: The two Rangers were in front and I don't think they ever turned around to make sure we all kept up which of course we did. Usually, I was right behind the guards :wink: and Diane was bringing up the rear :twisted: . To make a long story short, it turned out to be a brisk two hour walk, with almost no animal sightings, although some interesting information was provided about habitat, tracks, etc. I'm glad we did it although I would not do it again. I think a morning walk would be much more interesting at least in terms of seeing more wildlife rather than nature in general. Here are a few photos of what we saw on the walk.
Image Giraffe skeleton
Image Image
Image Image Lion teeth marks
Image Critter tracks
Image Image Pointing out a porcupine cave
Image
On the drive back, we stopped and looked at some marabou storks and a breeding herd of ellies.
Image Image
Image Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2007 9:47 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 10:38 pm
Posts: 155
Location: Texas, USA
MM - thanks for the explanation. I don't suppose those lions and leopards would ever consider a sneak attack from behind. :hmz:

anne-marie – Thanks. :)

Pumbaa – OK then here’s another episode. :wink:

RayD123 – thanks, your point is well taken. Listening to and watching that fish eagle in the morning was one of our favorite moments in the Park. :dance:

elpaco – thanks. I guess the only way I will be able to stop is to go into a Kruger Addiction rehabilitation program. 8)

bucky – thanks, coming from the master photographer that is indeed a compliment. :cam:

bert – thanks, I was seeing turtles while you were seeing kitties. :mrgreen:

Ollie – thanks, and it's not an issue for me anymore either (as long as SO is behind me :twisted: ).

August 19 – After a leisurely breakfast we finished packing and began our drive to Shingwedzi. It was an easy trip of 108 km straight up the H1-6. We stopped one more time by the Letaba River.
Image Image
For the rest of the drive, we kept seeing more and more ellies. I should have named this segment "The Elephant Drive".
Image Image
Image Image
Image
Occasionally, we would have a non-ellie sighting such as this lilac-breasted roller and Kori Bustard.
Image Image
We also came across several Cape buffalo on the drive and the occasional zebra.
Image Image
Image Image
Then it would be back to more ellies then Cape buffalo...
Image Image
Image Image
Image Image
Image Image
Image
We inadvertently stopped at the Shipandani Overnight Hide thinking it was the Pioneer Hide. We knew something was different when we saw a toilet by the entry gate. The hide was very nice inside but I'm sure we were not supposed to be there.
Image Image
We did spot this purple roller on the way over to the Pioneer hide.
Image Image
View from the Pioneer hide.
Image Image
Pioneer dam.
Image Image
At Mopani we found this African Grey Hornbill.
Image
Further up the road we found this ellie digging in a dry riverbed for water.
Image
We arrived at Shingwedzi, checked in and had lunch, then drove over to Kanniedood Dam where we saw a yellow billed stork, some hippos, an African spoonbill, and a Goliath Heron.
Image Image
Image Image
That evening, we had some good wine and an excellent dinner at the Shingwedzi restaurant. Chicken schnitzel with mushroom sauce and a Greek salad. Life is good. :thumbs_up:


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2007 5:58 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 10:38 pm
Posts: 155
Location: Texas, USA
Meandering Mouse wrote:
You picked up a pretty big tusker there TXdrifter 8)
:popcorn:

Yep. 8)
Image

August 20 – Since we had a sunset drive scheduled for later in the day, we decided just to go back over to Kanniedood dam and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. On the way over there these Helmeted Guineafowl didn't want to get out of the way.
Image
It was pretty quiet except for a few birds such as this Goliath Heron.
Image
Image
It was a very tranquil setting.
Image
There was a Bateleur close by and a saddle-billed stork in the water.
Image Image
Later, a Grey Lourie flew by while we were looking at a Giant Kingfisher.
Image Image
We shot a few more photos in that area and then headed on back to camp.
Image Grey heron and croc
Image African spoonbill
Image Image Green (redbilled) Wood Hoopoe
Image Pied Kingfisher
Image Green-backed heron
Later that afternoon we began our sunset drive.
Image
We quickly found some wild calabash and kudu by the road. The ranger offered us a taste of the fruit, but we recalled that last year we were told by another ranger that it was poisonous! :big_eyes:
Image
Image Image
Then, some Cape buffalo.
Image Image
The most notable sightings on the rest of the drive were a small breeding herd of ellies drinking and a small dazzle of zebra also drinking. SO was worried about all the trumpeting from the nearby ellies. They were just on the other side of a small copse of trees.
Image Image
We did stop at a small man-made drinking pond and watched a lone ellie quenching his thirst. Ellie video
Image Image
Our last sighting of the evening was a scorpion on the road that somehow a young boy on the drive with us had spotted.
Image


Last edited by TXDrifter on Sun Oct 14, 2007 3:56 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 34 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: barryels, Dijo and 4 guests


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

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

Webcams Highlights

Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Submitted by swartj at 19:10:55 Submitted by holigan at 21:28:15 Submitted by Mrs. S.K.L.Gauntlett at 08:00:32 Submitted by vinkie at 20:15:06