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 Post subject: Misadventures in Kruger - September 2007
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 10:47 pm 
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Location: Fairest Cape
Wed 5/09/07

We left a 12 degree Cape Town in pouring rain and flew to KMIA. The capt cheerfully announced it was 35 degrees outside ! Time to shed layers ! Collected a Nissan X-Trail from the airport & left for Malelane Spar to stock up on necessities -- also to check their Tusker wall ! The story of Duke & his missing tusk was prominently displayed !

Having loaded up the car & purchased a couple of forgotten tapes for the video camera, we headed off to the gate & checked in smoothly, efficiently & with warm smiles from the staff. It was great to be back !

First impressions – the Crocodile River is very low, it is very dry, not much grazing left. First animal spotted – giraffe !

We duly arrived at the lodge where we were to spend our first 2 nights, checked in & were taken straight out to join the afternoon drive which had already left !
We saw buffalo right next to the road & more giraffe

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And then … lions in the Biyamiti river bed ! On our first day too ! So lucky.

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And our first Kruger sunset

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The drive back to the lodge revealed many scrub hare, a couple of steenbokkies & duiker !

Then disaster struck – we were walking back to our room & hubby had his camera (a new Nikon D80 with 200 lens) around his neck as his hands were full, when, as we reached the door, the camera straps decided to slip through their moorings & the camera dropped lens first ! Ooopps ! The lens no longer focused. He hadn’t packed his spare lens off the old Nikon either ! Well, no use in crying – he had his 500 lens & we had the video for back-up, so things either had to be very far away or we could take pics of eyeballs ! (more of that later !)


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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 11:39 pm 
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Thurs 6/09/07

A new day dawns

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And we set off on the morning drive. More ellies and giraffe

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This guy warming up in the early sun shine – tawny eagle ??

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Then our tracker displayed his amazing eye-sight by spotting this monitor in a tree from about 40 metres !

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Young impala ram warming up

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Juvenile bateleur ??

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And more ellies ! (or ellie eye-balls – they were right next to us !!)

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During our coffee break, we saw this helicopter flying over & wondered if it was Arks enjoying her Emerging tuskers prize ! (As it turned out, it wasn’t)

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Then – horrors ! Our ranger got between an ellie cow & her calf, so we got a lot of noise & attitude from both ! Calf charged first – decided we were too big & squealed instead. Lots of trumpeting & dust & a mock charge by mom ending almost next to the vehicle. He (the ranger) was unfazed as were the tracker & hubby & the 2 German girls with us, but I was a nervous wreck !! (not being the bravest around ellies to start with !) The guy that started the fuss

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After all the excitement, it was back to the lodge for breakfast, followed by a bush walk, which was very interesting. Then time to relax until afternoon drive time…


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Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 10:27 pm 
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Farty wrote :
Quote:
where in Kruger Park this people stays cos I know,at least i thort i did that Kruger Park cars do not have trackers


Hi Farty, we treated ourselves to 2 nights at Lukimbi Safari lodge which is a concession next to Biyamiti. Guests are taken out on drive vehicles with a ranger & tracker/spotter. No self drive allowed on the concession -- only on public KNP roads.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 10:47 pm 
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Thurs 6/09/07 cont.

The afternoon drive started with this pretty fellow

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We saw many white rhino – this boy had obviously been in the wars

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And more ellies ! With the eye-ball pic !

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While video-taping the ellies, I kept getting a flashing white dot in the view-finder. Wondered what it was. (son’s camera & really don’t know the finer points !)

Then came the absolute high-light of our special day (and probably the trip !)
So grabbed the video camera while hubby started taking photo’s, and discovered what the flashing dot meant – as I got her into focus, the white dot turned into – end of tape !! Of course the spare was in the car at the lodge ! So the photo’s will have to do !

This beautiful animal

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Wonderfully camouflaged

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The light was going fast

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She soon decided she’d had enough of us and wandered off

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What a stunning anniversary present ! We were spellbound !

On the way back to the lodge we saw more scrub hares, and a genet that was too far for a photo ! Besides, it was quite dark by then, and we were all so thrilled with our leopard that nothing else seemed to matter,


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Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2007 4:28 pm 
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Fri 7/09/07

The weather we had left in Cape Town seemed to have caught up with us & the day dawned cloudy, cool and very windy. Not good for game viewing – they seem to hide from the wind.

We did see this pretty girl who didn’t mind posing.

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This red crested korhaan gave us a dazzling display of flying straight up & turning into a parachute as he came back to earth, then running off to hide ! Had us in stitches !

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Apart from that we saw at least 18 different white rhino, but only 10 impala – none hanging around long enough for photo’s ! The first game drive we have ever been on where we’ve seen more rhino than other game.

After our drive, it was back for breakfast, and time to pack up & bid the lodge farewell.

We headed for Croc Bridge to stock up with ice & get some cold drinks and, in the Biyamiti river bed, we saw an impala ram with a broken leg. No photo. The leg was hanging on by the skin of the fetlock and he was battling to cross the sand towards the Crocodile river. We hoped his end would be swift.

After leaving Croc Bridge, we came across these delightful warthog. I really have a soft spot for them.

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I don’t think I have ever seen the Croc Bridge area so dry and grazed out. Thank goodness they have had some rain.

We took the S28 north in the hopes of seeing Duke or cheetah, but no luck with either !

We did, however, see this zebra with horribly overgrown front hooves – laminitis maybe ? – with a stallion in close attendance. Another one due to be predator food in the near future as she was battling to walk.

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At the end of the high level bridge near Lower Sabie, we saw these baboons. They were putting their arms into the holes in the bank – raiding nesting sites ?
Anyone know for sure ?

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Just before the Nkumbe lookout, there were klipspringer on the rocks.

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And one doing a balancing act !

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We saw waterbuck, zebra, wildebeest and ostrich along the way, and eventually arrived at Satara.

While having supper outside watching the waterhole, a hyaena put in a brief appearance & we wondered if it had been caught on the cam.

At least we thought of you all !


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Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 7:50 pm 
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Sat 8/09/07

We left Satara at about 6.15, once the mad rush for the gate was over, and headed north. There was a lot of game around – impala, wildebeest, warthog, giraffe, kudu, ostrich and elephant, Not many pics as they were either too far away or we were looking into the rising sun !

These guys posed nicely !

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We saw a zebra foal full of the joys of spring too – galloping backwards & forwards between two groups of zebra & kicking his heels up for joy – also into the sun, unfortunately.

A kori bustard hunting with ground hornbill in the background.

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A secretary bird having a bad hair day ! (maybe the same one Jonty1 saw)

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Shortly after the turn-off to Timbavati, there was a huge traffic jam and two rhino looking for a way out ! There must have been close to 1000 buffalo in this herd – they took 10 minutes to cross the road. Photos a bit blurred – due to holding the big lens !

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We hung back to allow mom & calf to cross in front of us.

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We waited a bit once the buffalo had passed, but no cats seemed to be following them !

The next traffic jam (of the animal kind) was at the Ngotso north waterhole.

This guy had decided on a bath

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Followed by a sun bathe

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And there was a huge crowd of impala, zebra and wildebeest waiting for a chance to drink

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Eventually a herd of elephant with babies started making their way towards the water & he decided to leave !

This little guy was along the Ngotso weir road

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Then we seemed to run out of animals altogether ! We saw very little around Olifants apart from the hippos in the river & the huge crocs on the sand banks. Lots of birds around, but almost no grazing, so no animals.

We took the river road from Olifants to Letaba – again very quiet apart from elephants !

From Letaba north was new ground for hubby. We stopped at Mopani for a quick look around & were very impressed with the camp & the lovely view over the dam. Then we carried on along the tar to Shingwedzi. Many elephant, some impala, giraffe, kudu and zebra, but certainly nowhere near the amount of game there is further south. Closer to Shing we saw quite a lot of nyala & bushbuck.

Shingwedzi is a lovely camp – beautiful surroundings & lovely big trees. After checking in & unpacking, we had just enough time left for a quick wander down the Kanniedood loop.

Dodging elephants, we found the odd one out ! Didn’t expect to see a pelican here.

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Id’s welcome !

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Just before sunset, a beautiful bateleur.

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And a perfect end to a lovely day !

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Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 10:44 pm 
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Sun 9/09/07

Today we’d decided to do the Red Rocks loop. The baboons and monkeys were just outside camp to see us off. What a lovely drive. We saw impala, steenbok and quite a few bushbuck and giraffe. At one point along the road, a nyala doe came galloping out of the bush and across the road with a male in hot pursuit, followed by another male ! She was outrunning both of them.

Along the river we saw this beautiful fish eagle

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And a water monitor emerging onto the rocks

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Impala willing to pose

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And a nyala

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We went up to the Tshanga lookout (where hubby tried his hardest to sprain his ankle :shock: ) -- what a peaceful place – then headed back to camp for an early lunch. Tried to video the monkeys climbing through the rafters of the restaurant without success !

The camp was quite noisy with a packed day visitors area, so we decided to head out towards Kanniedood dam again.

We had to run the gauntlet of ele roadblocks

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Snoozing croc

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Snoozing nyala with lady

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And snoozing bushbuck.

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Along the dam was this saddlebilled stork

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And a peaceful scene of eles & impala

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I was not too keen to go back past all the ele road-blocks, so we decided we had time to go the long way around.

We found some kudu in the mopani bush

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Another ele road-block :shock:

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Juvenile bateleur ?

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There was very little water left in the Grootvlei dam

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Buffalo sleeping near the Dzombo waterhole

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We saw the remains of the large tusker, but only have a very blurred photo !

We had just enough time left to go to the Lamont waterhole where we found this beauty on the ground !

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The only sad part of the day was seeing one of the homicidal squirrels who had mis-judged his dash across the road just at the gates to camp – he’d been killed by a car. :( Why are people always in such a hurry ?! :shock:

And we ended another long but perfect day in the bush with a braai !


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Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 4:34 pm 
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Mon 10/09/07

We were a little slow getting moving this morning and only left camp at 6:30. We remarked that we must be late as the usual baboon troop & the monkeys just outside camp were missing. An impala came charging up the bank in a huge hurry & slipped on the tar in his haste to join the rest of the group already disappearing into the mopani bush. We had thought we may go down the Red Rocks loop again, but decided to cross the high level bridge first. Looking back towards camp, hubby says – there are the baboons. No, says I – too feline. FELINE :shock: We hopped back into the car & headed back towards camp until we had a good view of this bunch….

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Four lionesses with five cubs ! Magic !

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We watched them for almost an hour – playing, resting & just looking cute, when a particularly noisy diesel bakkie came down the road & the cubs all took fright & headed for the far bank !

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Soon followed by the lionesses

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Until only one was left lying on the sand. We wondered if she was waiting for the male, but didn’t see or hear him.

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She soon followed the rest of the pride up the bank and they all vanished

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All thoughts of what we had planned were gone, so we decided to go back to camp & celebrate with a toasted bacon & egg sarmie for breakfast :D


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Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 10:36 pm 
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Location: Fairest Cape
Mon 10/09/07 cont…

After breakfast we decided to go up the Mphongolo loop and come back on the tar. We saw quite a lot of nyala, bushbuck and impala but, what is it with game and diesel engines ? We had a VW Passat following us at a distance. Every time we stopped to look at something, the sound of the diesel engine coming closer would send the animals off into the bush at a gallop.

End of pet peeve about game being scared of diesel engines 

This guy agreed to pose but refused to look at the camera

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And a close-up (wonder what scraped him)

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Just after the turn-off to Sirheni, there were many, many vultures in the trees and on what looked like a carcass – quite a distance off into the bush. Looked like a dead elephant. Anyone know of one on that area ? No photos – sun in the wrong place & the SMELL :shock:

Closer to Babalala were many giraffe & zebra and a couple of elephant !

There was very little along the tar back to Shing, so we decided to do a last trip down the Kanniedood loop.

A hippo basking

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Storks relaxing

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Waterbuck wrestling

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Very cute bushbuck with smaller version

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And, naturally, the inevitable ele road blocks :shock:

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And so ended another perfect day in the bush.

We thoroughly enjoyed Shingwedzi – the camp, river bed, huge trees and general ambience.

It is definitely on our “go back to” list
:D


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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2007 6:47 pm 
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Tues 11/09/07

We packed up the car, almost tripping over the yellow squirrels as they started their morning foraging, and said a sad goodbye to Shingwedzi.

We had seen so many elephants that, from today, we decided to actually try to count all our sightings !

Needless to say, there was not an ele in sight anywhere as we made our way onto the tar road heading north !

This lovely eagle was preparing for the day (Wahlberg or Tawny ?)

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We also saw a Scops owl hiding in a bush but could not stop for a photo as there was another car too close behind us – by the time they’d passed us & we had gone back, it was gone :(

We again took the Mphongolo loop and saw quite a few impala, baboons and kudu.

Next to a single pool of water in what looked like a completely dry river-bed was this guy – quite a surprise !

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The carcass near Sirheni smelt a lot worse, but was not as busy with vultures !

We saw our first ele, in company with a herd of zebra, just before Babalala at 10 !

The road north was very quiet – not much game at all – and what there was seemed very nervous. Not that we blamed them with the speed some cars travel that road (:

At one of the waterholes was this family

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Look at those tusks !

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We took the Dzundwini loop and found this very cute Sharpes Grysbok feeding on flowers which looked too big for her mouth !

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This young man posed nicely

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And then we saw our first crested guinea fowl hiding under a bush !

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We duly arrived at Punda which is a really quaint camp.

While hubby was checking in, I wandered around the front admiring the gardens and bird life. Saw a vervet monkey picking at plants, so asked him if he was being naughty. Well, he must have taken exception to that :shock: He came straight for me with a full challenge – teeth showing & chattering. I was so taken aback that I just stood there looking at him ! The stand-off was broken by a member of staff appearing with 2 empty plastic bottles which he banged together while yelling at the monkey to leave town (I presume) ! He then told me that that particular monkey was very naughty and often challenged the staff – not good.

While the laundry was doing, we admired the pool area & occupants

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The Mahonie loop was next on the agenda.

We saw buffalo, nyala, impala, kudu and were warned of a large herd of ele’s contesting right of way ! By the time we got to where they were, we only counted 20, although we could hear many more in the bush below the bank.

We also found another flock of crested guinea fowl crossing the road

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Back in camp, we found our neighbours had a quad bike on a trailer with them – In KNP ?? Turns out they were working for dept of water & doing a survey of some sort which required walking in the bush all day with (according to them) very unwilling rangers ! The quad bike was for use in the concession land north of Pafuri & for use on private land.

Dinner & then off to bed.

Ele count for the day = 25


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Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2007 2:41 pm 
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Wed 12/09/07

We left camp shortly after the gate opened and drove down the Mahonie loop as far as Witsand where a leopard had been spotted the day before, but no luck apart from impala, kudu, nyala and dwarf mongoose. So we headed up the S60 – being overtaken by a large truck going really fast and covering everything with dust ! Why can’t they use the tar road ?

We saw more crested guinea fowl, steenbok (who wasn’t going to pose) and this pretty magpie shrike who did.

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Then bushbuck, a duiker in a hurry, warthog and zebra.

The Klopperfontein dam was empty, but there were tsessebe at the Klopperfontein water hole – very exciting

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A little further along was this zebra and her foal – love the black mud socks

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Back on the tar road, we came across a speed trap with a stopped offender.
We were so happy to see them trapping, we gave them each an ice-cold cool-drink ! (the speeding along the tar is awful – especially by vehicles loaded to the hilt – obviously using the park as a short-cut into Mocambique). Enough said .

We had been told by our neighbours of a huge buffalo herd in the area, but didn’t spot it. There were a few ele’s along the way – all behaving well and not posing road-blocks !

There was some water (and a pretty bushbuck) in the Luvuvhu river

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And this magnificent kudu bull on the road to Pafuri picnic site

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We had a chat to Frank as there were very few people about & he pointed out quite a few birds to us, among them a trumpeter hornbill, heughlins robin and giant kingfisher. He is absolutely amazing with his imitation of bird calls. He was also a little distracted as his little son of 2 kept wanting to climb down the river bank to where the monkeys were playing !

Watching Frank point out the robin to another visitor

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Well hidden Kingfisher

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After we left Pafuri picnic spot, we drove down along the river – the huge trees are absolutely beautiful. Sorry, only have video and still working out how to get it onto the computer !

Along the river

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There were also hippos, crocs and a big troop of baboons playing in the trees.

We visited Crooks Corner – the Limpopo was dry and then went down to Pafuri border post.

A drive along Nyala drive was fairly quiet (but very pretty) apart from its name sake and impalas, and then we headed back to the main road to head back to Punda.

We were sorry to be heading south in some ways as we knew it was south all the way home !

At Klopperfontein, only ele’s and giraffe (on video). And this lovely fish eagle

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Back along the S60, a SANPARKS vehicle came up behind us, then stopped. We stopped too, thinking we had missed something. They then pulled alongside us and explained they were picking up glass, plastic, tin cans etc. They had a huge pile of rubbish bags in the back – all full. What are people thinking ?! :shock:
Well done to the staff for cleaning up ! :clap: :clap:

Back in camp we spent a little time in the bird hide, although the waterhole was almost dry. A lion had been spotted from there the day before and some visitors were sure he’d be back, but no luck.

Our water dept survey neighbours asked if we’d seen the huge herd of eland up north – not – then realized they were down a private road ! At least we knew there were some up that way !

Dinner that night was a bit of a disaster, so we called it a day and went to bed.

Ele count for the day = 25.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2007 9:59 pm 
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Thurs 13/09/07

Time to bid Punda farewell and head south. We took the S58 – Dzundwini loop again, but no sharpes grysbok eating flowers ! We did, however see another one which took flight as the pic was taken !

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Our list included baboons, impala, nyala, squirrels, duiker, steenbok and kudu. The odd group of elephant here and there, but usually away from the road, minding their own business.

A quick stop at Shingwedzi for breakfast, and then onwards. Buffalo in the distance near the Old Main road turn-off, zebra, waterbuck and giraffe. Hubby was not in picture-taking mode, but have some video !

Then this lovely, peaceful sight ! The cows had put the babies down for their morning nap and were standing guard over them, keeping them in the shade

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A bit later, at long last, a lilac breasted roller that did not have the sun behind him and was in pose mode !

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A herd or two of elllies later, just before where the Old Main Road meets the tar again, lions doing what lions do best

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There were two of them, or were there ?

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We were amazed at the number of cars that just sailed past (fast) even though we tried to point them out. Their loss. Then someone coughed, loudly

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Make that 3, including the cub, or is that another one behind the bush ?

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We never did decide whether there were four or five lions sleeping there !

A mandatory stop at the Tropic of Capricorn monument to take some video for the kids, and then a pit-stop and look around at Mooiplaas.

At one of the waterholes further down (sorry don’t remember which) was a big herd of ellies of all shapes and sizes. We counted 60 but there could well have been more !

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They were drinking from the dam, the trough, marching backwards and forwards, wrestling with each other, and generally having a good time.

We saw wildebeest, warthog and more impala, and, as we got closer to Letaba, many more ellies !

Down along the river we found another water monitor and a very uncomfortable looking croc !

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We decided to go up to Engelhard Dam and the lookout. Quite a lot of ellies crossing the road to go down to drink. Wonderful view from the top ! We tried, without success, to take a pic of a very busy woodland kingfisher & then we had to head back as there was a large herd of ellies heading up from the river towards the road and we didn’t want to get stuck !

We checked into Letaba – one of my favourite camps, dropped our bags in our hut after evicting the local bushbuck from the verandah and went down to the shop before it closed.

Over dinner, we realized we had been quite silly – we should changed our booking to spend an extra night in Letaba and cancelled our booking for Olifants.
Not serious except that we didn’t get time to wander around the elephant museum.

Ellie count for the day = 175


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Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 5:56 pm 
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Fri 14/09/07

We left Letaba and set out for Phalaborwa gate. There had been wild dog sighted two days in a row in the area, once on the S131 and the next day on the H-9. We were thrilled to discover that there was a pack in the area, although my feeling was that they were still on a southern swoop (where there are no roads) ! And so it turned out.

We decided to go out on the S131 and back on the tar. After negotiating a few ellies on their way to the river, we turned onto the S131. It was very corrugated but we still managed to see bushbuck, squirrels, impala, zebra, and waterbuck.

There were some wonderful anthills which had been excavated by something, and it would have been very exciting to have walked over and had a closer look – not to be, but we could imagine !

The road was very quiet – both animals and other traffic missing – and the mopani was very dry.

Back to reality at the (deserted) Shivulani waterhole :evil:

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What on earth he was trying to prove, we have no idea :(

The journey was more of a trip down memory lane for me. We had spent four years living in Phalaborwa and my late mother and I had often popped into the park, to the nearest waterhole if just for a few hours, or through to Letaba, if for a day. We had also discovered that ellies did not appreciate elderly VW Beetles !

Back to the present – Phalaborwa gate was in the process of being revamped and the approach road from the inside was being tarred. It was quite a performance actually getting to the ablutions and we had to drive out and in again to get back onto the H-9. Once finished, it will look really nice. I was also surprised at how big the town had grown – progress, I guess.

We stopped at Sable dam and paid a visit to the hide. The dam was very low and there were no customers.

Between there and Masorini, where we stopped for lunch, there was a herd of buffalo lying in the shade – too far away to see how many. Baboons were on the hillside near the picnic site, and had obviously visited it, but were keeping their distance !

We took a slow drive back along the tar, adding giraffe, steenbok, kori bustard, warthog and mongoose to our list. The traffic was picking up and we were continually overtaken by cars towing trailers and caravans, all in a huge hurry !

We stopped in at Letaba for petrol and then made our way down past Olifants along the tar. A stop at the lookout point was mandatory, as was a drive down to the bridge. We were quite taken with this large specimen

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Sunset hippos

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Then back to Olifants to check in. The digging in front of the bungalow didn’t really bother us, nor did the red tape strung along the ditch, but the smell wasn’t too pleasant ! Fortunately there was a breeze blowing and it wasn’t bad enough that we couldn’t sit outside and enjoy our supper.

Ellie count for the day = 35


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Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 10:46 pm 
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Sat 15/09/07

We left Olifants shortly after the gates opened and were greeted by a single waterbuck just outside the camp gates. There were a couple of impala in the bush and a troop of monkeys waiting to duck into the camp.

We stopped at the lookout again and took these pics to illustrate why there was so little game in the area – no grazing !

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As we headed down the tar, we saw more and more game – wildebeest, zebra, impala, giraffe and steenbokkies. We decided to go as far as the hyaena waterhole – good choice as there was one wandering around !

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Then another and another and more sleeping – seven altogether

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Don’t you love the smile :D

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We then took the Timbavati road past Roodewal. There was not a lot of game around, some impala, shy baboons, warthog and this kori with attitude

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Drove up to the Piet Grobler dam to admire the hippos and then on to Timbavati picnic spot for brunch. The bushbuck was doing the rounds, begging for food, without success, I’m happy to say !

We followed the S39 down to the H7 – believe lions were seen on the S40. Right time, right place for those that saw them !

We saw some ellies, more impala and this martial ? eagle

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Crossing the road in a hurry was this snake which we thought could be a mamba as it was holding itself up off the road (sorry about the poor pic quality)

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Back on the tar, we headed for Satara with a stop at Nsemani dam where we took some video of 2 beautiful kudu rams with huge horns.

Having checked in and unpacked, the S100 was next on the list. There was a lot of game around – ellies, wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, waterbuck

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And a herd of buffalo sleeping on the far bank .

We just missed a leopard on one of the loops and, although we waited for a while, it did not show itself again.

The road was also busy – lots of traffic. Next a traffic jam. We were told there were lions fighting over something 40 metres off the road. When our turn came to get closer, they were 10 m off the road but the grass was so long it was not a good sighting.

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According to a lady who had spent 3 hours sitting there, someone had been taking a video of a giraffe with a baby, when a lioness had appeared out of the grass and taken the baby. He had left when the lioness lay down in the grass. She had rested for a while and then crossed the road to fetch 8 more lions to the feast ! We could hear all the sound effects and see swishing tails, but not much else !

So we continued along the S100 and headed back via the S41 and H6. At the Sonop waterhole, a herd of about 200 buffalo was coming down to drink.

There were also a lot of zebra along the way. Just before we joined up with the main road we saw this little chap wandering around

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And then a beautiful sunset

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When we passed the S100 we were very glad we hadn’t come back that way – it was a pall of dust with head lights of the racers-back-to-camp showing for a long way back :twisted:

Then a braai to end another perfect day.

Ellie count = 100


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Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2007 10:38 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2007 1:16 pm
Posts: 1861
Location: Fairest Cape
Sun 16/09/07

Very few pics today -- must have been a video day :)

As we didn’t have far to go today, we let all the crazies hurtle out the gate and down the S100 and followed along behind them once the dust had settled, about half an hour later !

There was a lot of game about – wildebeest, zebra, warthog, giraffe, impala, bushbuck and ellies.

The leopard was not in attendance and there were no lions to be seen either. In fact there wasn’t even a vulture in evidence of the kill of the previous day.

The buffalo were still about, though.

We stopped at Nwanetsi dam for breakfast. It was very quiet. A few ellies on the far bank, a few hippo we could hear but not see. We wandered up to the view point and, from there could see a very muddy jackal wandering around on the near bank. The cameras, naturally, were in the car !

Another couple of people arrived and were asking if there were any cats left in the park – they had spent the whole weekend so far and hadn’t seen one yet, but were on the way to Skukuza so still had hopes :shock:

We headed back along the H6 – lots of zebra about, some kudu, ostrich, more ellies and more buffalo.

Turned left onto the H1-3 to go down to the Sweni road and were pulled over by another car. They had seen the yellow ribbon & stopped to say hello. Our first yellow ribbon sighting since we’d been in the park (except that he didn’t have one) ! Nice to meet you peterpiper :D

The Sweni road delivered some baboons, ellies, steenbok and impala. Then back onto the H7 towards Orpen. A quick stop at the Bobbejanskrans Lookout where some people were running away from a very pretty green, white & brown striped snake that had taken over the bench :) The H7 was busy with folk heading for Orpen gate, so we opted for the Rabelais loop. Apart from a nyala and many corrugations, not much else.

Checked into to Orpen only to find that they had a power failure. We were very impressed with the bungalows and the friendliness of the staff – definitely on our go back to list :D

After unpacking the car, we wandered around the gardens and took a pic of the waterhole and cam from inside the fence :D

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For our late afternoon drive, we decided to go up the H7 as far as the lookout and then back to camp. The weather had turned very oppressive and it looked as though a storm was building. Along the river we spotted a lioness walking up the river bed. Could not get a photo as she was moving quite fast and there was a lot of traffic and bush in the way. A visitor (who spoke very little English) trying to keep tabs on her :shock:

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We drove up to the lookout but she had already left the riverbed by then and we only had bushbuck for company :(

On the way back to Orpen, the wind picked up and it turned really chilly. There was a hyaena hiding in the grass before the Tambotie turn-off, but it was too dark for a pic and too many cars on the way out after the week-end.

We had no floodlight at the waterhole that night – although the power came back on by 9pm, the floodlight did not :(

Ellie count = 90


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