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 Post subject: The "Three Muskateers" go North.... September 2007
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 8:21 am 
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After months of carefull planning, packing, sorting, re-packing, finding un-packed stuff, off-loading, re-packing again :redface: we finally headed of to KNP!!!!

A quick sleep-over in Benoni (family matters), and then we were on our way to Hoedspruit/Klaserie for the week-end...
Spent some time exploring the region (Endangered Species project), with all its beauty and Natural wonders!

Most amazing experience was being very close to Cheetah (including King Cheetah), and the Boys feeding them!

And suddenly Monday morning (24th Sept) dawned........

We headed out to Phalaborwa at 05h20, reaching the gate just after 06h00. Only to find a loooong que! :evil:

Fortunately the guys at reception were great! They handled the volume with aplomb..... :clap: And pretty soon we were on our way towards Shingwedzi!

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 10:34 am 
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The journey North started fairly slowly........ Our first animals, Impi's! We were chuffed to be back in Kruger, and excited about visiting Shingwedzi. (Our first time....., but definately not our last!)

Giraffe and Buffaloe (very distant-no pics) followed.... and then an Ellie having a dustbath! Leaves and twigs flying everywhere..... :lol:

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At Gobeni we saw a very unfortunate Kingfisher, and Egyptian Geese......

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Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 10:59 am 
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The slow drive was interrupted by the hauntingly beautifull call of Fish-eagle..... :lol: We spotted 2 of them in a tree, close to the crossing at Ngwenyeni. They are such beautifull creatures, majestic indeed......

I bought my boys binocs, and they were thrilled to see animals/birds "up close"..... Our next sighting was very special indeed!

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A Yellow-billed Kite took what appeared to be a Kingfisher, and devoured it right before our eyes! :shock:

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 11:22 am 
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It was sad to see the bush so dry, with water obviously quite scarce......

As we were anxious to get to camp (to find a good spot, close to the perimeter fence), we upped the pace a bit.

Close to Mooiplaas we spotted a White Rhino (only 1 on this trip :? ), but too distant for a decent pic ....

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And then this beautifull Spotted Hyena!!

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We looked and looked :shock: and loooooked, but could not spot any cubs (or other Hyenas) in the area :cry:

Just past the Tropic of Capricorn loop, a Male Lion was lounging under a tree..... The females were hidden far into the bush, so no pics :cry: , but the male was truly beautiful!

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We reached Shingwedzi just after 11h00, and found the perfect place to pitch our tent! Close to the swimming pool, with some nice shade.... And not too far from the Ablutions/Kitchen area, but not too close either!
The ground was fairly hard, but not too much of a challenge....

The kids and I went for a great swim, relaxing around the pool-side and making new friends..... Hunger drove us to the Shop, for some take-aways and cooldrinks, before setting of on our late afternoon drive!

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 4:27 pm 
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After another glorious swim and organising camp, we set off for a drive to Kanniedood dam.....

We saw female Nyala, Kudu, Waterbuck and Ellies! And more Ellies.......... And some more Ellies!

Ellies everywhere :shock: , in the riverbed, along the banks, in the bush.........

I soon realised that we are probably going to see alot more of these Elephant.

If you were to throw a stone in any direction, you were sure to hit an Elephant......

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We have heard earlier (from the Restaurant) that Johan has prepared a lovely Kudu "stew" (potjie), so after a quick shower, headed off to indulge our senses further.... and we were not disappointed! Beautifully tender meat, potatoes and veges in a rich gravy...... YUMMY!!!
And finished off with Hot Mud Chilli Pudding! (Chocolate pudding, with a chocalety sauce laced with chilli) Debloodyvine......

That night while sitting around a roaring fire, our neighbour played Johnny Clegg's "Scatterlings of Africa"...... My mind wandered of to all our Forum friends, scattered across the world. All with a common love and Passion- AFRICA. It's people. places, animals....... but mostly this fantastic piece of Heaven called Kruger!

We fell asleep to the whooping of Hyenas calling, the night alive with sounds, and knew we were home........

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 11:19 am 
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Day two (Tuesday) started early, with Mario and Juan making coffee, while I get camera and stuff ready... We had rusks and some dried fruit, while watching the bush come alive........

Although still early, we could feel it was going to be a scorcher!! We decided to do a shortish morning drive towards Mopani, returning early for lunch and swimming.

Impala's greeted us, along with many little "patrysies"!

Just outside Shingwedzi we spotted some Nyala, with this little one close to the road.......

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A Hornbill was foraging for insects amongst the Ellie dung, and got quite carried away! He almost disappeared...

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Our next sighting was very special, as the boys and I LOVE Hyenas.... We spent a while with them, before they had enough of the posing and slunked off into the bush! Still no cubs in sight, :cry: EISH.

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and

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and........

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After some excited chatting about what our next sight would be, we resumed our journey.......

Little did we know what surprise awaited us next!

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 1:55 pm 
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timbo wrote:
I am really enjoying this report..... We saw a Leopard outside Shing (east gate) and we noticed that it was left open :shock: :shock: :shock: .... We also heard her the evening before.......


EISH, Timbo........ You were very fortunate! We heard her on Thursday night, but try as we may could not spot her at all!!! :cry:

Deebs, JvR- :thumbs_up:

After a quick peek at the Tropic of Capricorn plaque, we turned around and headed back to camp..... A gorgeous Bateleur spotted prey (snake?) in the grass, but as he was descending got spooked by a speeding vehicle :evil: . A minute or two passed, before he landed in the road in front of us.......... What an amazing creature, the colours totally awesome!

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We noticed a Jeep/ Game-viewing vehicle up ahead, frantically pointing down to the river....... Apparently an Elly died (A few days earlier), but we could not see much due to the bushes/rocks :cry: there were a lot of vultures around, scavenging at the carcass..... and the tourists with a high viewpoint and MASSIVE lenses managed a few shots!

A few kilometers later, a Bull Ellephant stood in the road, almost blocking the traffic. A Toyota Camry (GP) patiently waited, but the Jeep -jockey decided to hurry him along a bit :?
Well no ja fine..........

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The Elly would not have any of it......... He swiftly spun around, and mock-charged! :shock: The Jeep had to take serious side-steps! Much to our amusement :lol: .... The boys were laughing so much, they almost cried! :lol: And then the Elly casually flung his trunk over his tusk, gave a snort and walked off into the bush!

Image

Hilarious........ :lol:

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 2:29 pm 
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A few hundred metres further, we spotted an amazing sight!!!

Now, I am totally new to birding :redface: , and sometimes just cannot spot that elusive little birdie......

However, the next sight had me literally gasping for breath! :shock: This was one of the highlights of the trip for me :lol: , and Mario & Juan could not believe what they saw.....

A Martial Eagle (prime specimen), just caught a Rock Monitor/lizzard!

He was busy clawing it with those HUGE talons,and pecking at it, before ripping into his prey!!!!


Image

The shear size and beauty was awe-inspiring...... And pretty soon the Monitor was history. The vision of such a stunning creature will remain etched into my mind forever.....

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:lol: I felt truly blessed, to have witnessed this magnificent bird up close.... And even more so to have shared it with my sons!

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 2:52 pm 
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Meandering Mouse wrote:
That is very special.

Eish :shock:


Hi MM! :lol:

Sorry, but I could not resist.....

Those eyes are just so beautiful!

Image


EISH indeed.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 6:00 pm 
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anne-marie wrote:
Waooo, a very good surprise :clap:


Thanx guys, much appreciated! :lol:

After all the excitement, we headed back to Shingwedzi.....

A quick stop on the bridge for pics...... :lol:

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Notice the BIG smiles all round :lol: , totally chuffed with Kruger!

We enjoyed a hearty lunch, chilled around the pool and spent some time doing planning for the next day....

The boys nagged (wonder where they get that from) and nagged, so we popped out for a quick drive (EAST Gate) over the causeway (S135 and S55 Lamont)....

The light was gorgeous, but game not plentifull. :cry:

We saw a large Elly and some Daggaboys, lots of impi's and a few Francolin.

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Big Boy,

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After a great braai, we relaxed around the fire..... Sharing stories with our "neighbours", and discussing Nature, conservation, culling and hunting.
We all agreed that there were a huge amount of Ellies around Shingwedzi (The North in general), and that perhaps their numbers are getting out of control? This however is a very touchy subject, and so many varied views/ opinions available.......

As people around us retired for the evening, we drank Hot-chocolate and toasted marshmallows.....

This night however, was far from over!!!!

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 6:31 pm 
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Elsa, Gwennie, Bennie! :thumbs_up:


We lay in our sleeping bags half asleep, not quite in Dreamland yet.....

Our tent was pitched about 2m (yes, two meters) from the perimeter fence. Suddenly the sound of branches breaking awoke us :shock: . trees snapping like twigs and the occasional snort/ trumpetting! Three male Ellies were close to our tent, demolishing trees in the area! We could hear the rumbling of their tummies! We stood amazed, watching them glide past..... Sometimes completely soundless, their feet hardly making a sound as they moved...

Image

Needless to say, we only fell asleep way after midnight :lol:

My dreams were of awesome kills, laughing boys and a special Ellephant.......

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 7:18 pm 
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Wonderful sighting, Ralph vV!

Martial eagle (Polemaetus bellicosus) is the largest and strongest of all African eagles with a wingspan of up to 260 cm! It hunts mostly soaring in with a long slanting stoop at great speed, or making a gentle descent into an opening in the bush, killing by surprising its prey in the open with the speed of its attack. A pair may have a territory up to 1000 square kilometres. They change hunting areas often and feed on what is available in the area where they are living and hunting. Birds (francolins, young bustards, storks, ducks and geese), mammals such as small antelopes, hares, hyraxes, mongooses, some monkeys, also a few snakes feature in their diet. Large lizards like the monitor are one of its favourite catches.

Although martial eagles are aggressive hunters, they are also relatively shy and keep away from human habitation. The martial eagle is very powerful, with enough power in one foot to break a man's arm with its grip.

Remarkably, this powerful bird has been recorded as preying on 32-kg duikers, which they would leave and return to later to feed on repeatedly.

Hope you don't mind me chipping in like that, Ralph vV... the bird-mad part of me just cannot resist :lol:

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 8:08 pm 
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Hey Johan, not at all!! :lol: Really do appreciate the input.... They are truly awesome creatures. Thank you for the fantastic information.......

Timbo- They seem to hang around the Shingwedzi main rd. in the afternoon (or the riverbed), and then pop around to graze at night.... I had an amazing experience with them two nights later.......

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 8:51 pm 
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timbo wrote:
Please dont give me the whole patience is a virtue talk :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: ........... Please.......


Oh Timbo, here's a little story about patience then.......

Two Buffaloes (A wise old Bull, and a young hot-head), were walking down the H1-6.... As one often do, they spot a herd of Buff cows trodding along the dry Shingwedzi. :lol:

Immediately the young bull started trotting around, all excited!!! He could see a beautifull young lass from his viewpoint, and had quite a few plans for her :redface:
He was actually very keen, hopping about and hardly able to contain himself....... Frantic, one could say!

"Wise old Bull" he said.... " Let's quickly run down this steep embankment, and get us one of those yummy little cows in the riverbed!!!"

But the old Bull just kept on walking, ignoring the young guy's plea....

"Please, please!!" the young one pleaded..... "let's run down and get one QUICKLY!"

But the old wise Bull replied: " Young gun, let's not run and waste precious energy...... Let's slowly walk down the road, all the way to the causeway. Then, when the cows arrive there they will be tired. And then we can GET all of them!" :redface: :lol:

Moral of the story, patience is a virtue......

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 8:58 pm 
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mmm... I don't know if is the best to flash an elephant nearby...

please tell the following :P

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