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 Post subject: Lovehyena in Kruger - Dec 2007
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 9:30 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2007 8:41 am
Posts: 112
Location: cape town
This is just my way of promising to write a trip report, as Ill only have 9 days to write it once I get back before I leave for America, so have to make a tangible promise!!

There are 3 of us going, all friends from Varsity (one my SO), and while we're away our marks come out, and after a rather terrible finance 2 exam, hears holding thumbs!

We leave on Wed morn, at about 3 am, up to Bloemfontein and then second night in Nelsriut. In the Morning we'll do some shopping for food etc, and make our way up to Phalaborwa gate.
Night 1 - Sable Hide (we have our spotlights and our insect repellant!)
night 2 - Letaba, where we will be going on a night drive, pre booked, if we can keep our eyes open after spending previous night awake :lol: )
Night 3+4 -Pretoriuskop
Night 5,6+7- Tamboti, with a night drive from Orpen
Night 8,9+10- Lower Sabie, with a sunset drive.
Night 11,12+13- an unmentionable in Sabi Sands (my dad is flying up for his birthday)

On my wish List:
Leopard
Hyena
Wild Dog
Pangolin (never seen)
Honey Badger (never seen)
NO SNAKES
Sable (have never seen)
and of course, some beautiful Lions, and Bateleur and Fish Eagles

Will have our yellow ribbon on the side of car!!

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 Post subject: Re: Kruger Dec 2007
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 4:47 pm 
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lovehyena wrote:
On my wish List:Leopard
Look along the rivers
lovehyena wrote:
Hyena
Look along the perimeter fence at night, and about the 8km marker on H7 from Orpen to Satara is a den on RHS,
lovehyena wrote:
Wild Dog
Seen yesterday at BnD
lovehyena wrote:
Pangolin (never seen)
Me too and a million others :twisted:
lovehyena wrote:
Honey Badger (never seen)
Wrong park, go to Kgalagadi :wink:
lovehyena wrote:
NO SNAKES
Close your eyes when you see one, the chances are high :(
lovehyena wrote:
Sable (have never seen)
Often seen on Fayi loop near Pkop
lovehyena wrote:
and of course, some beautiful Lions,
Also go to Kgalagadi, Kruger lions are scraggy, but I have never missed - an easy sighting
lovehyena wrote:
and Bateleur
Look into the skies. The raptors with 'no' tails tipping their wings are bateleurs
lovehyena wrote:
and Fish Eagles
Matambeni hide north of Letaba, you should see at least 3 pairs

One request in exchange for the info. Please take me along :mrgreen:

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Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2007 4:21 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2007 8:41 am
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Location: cape town
So I'm back, safe and sound. But with some amazing stories to share, from my opinion anyway. Am calling this trip "Talk about it and you'll see it"

It was the most incredible holiday ever, and Im so sad to be back home, in real life. Miss the bush, miss my friends, miss waking up feeling like this day will be the best yet, and then having it come true. I miss everything about Kruger.

Met Ralph vW while I was there, went for drinks at Lower Sabie, but will discuss once report gets under way, Im guessing tomorrow, but maybe tonight!! Still have to down load photo's tho, so will see...

Thanks for all your wishes, the trip met our every dream, and far more than we'd we'd ever imagined.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 1:58 pm 
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Location: cape town
30/11 The Hide...

So, this morning I wake up at 5:30 am. Get told its 7:30, so get all excited about the impending trip believing Im on my way soon! I just dont know what to do with myself, have been looking forward to this trip for so long now...
Shortly after my heart beat has raised and Im fully awake, I discover its actually 5:30 am, and now of course there is no way I can fall back to sleep, Im too energetic and ready to go......

We arrive over the beautiful hills at the Phalaborwa Gate at 12:30. The staff were extremely helpful, and geting into the park was a breeze. We decided to come back to fetch our bedding in the evening just before the gates close, and to go off on a drive now.
We took a route up the H14, cutting across on the S131 to Letaba. Saw Impala, Elephant, Zebra and lots of giraffe on the road. Were a couple of baby giraffe too, reallt cute, sitting down having a rest.

As we come off the S131 loop, we turn around and see behind us a smallish herd of Buffalo come crashing onto the road, stop and observe us, and then disapper into the bush. They appeared like ghosts were only a moment nbefore we had been peering into the bush. Its very thick up here, making spotting difficult for sure!

Also saw our first Impala Lamb on the loop. It was a cute little thing, hiding in the trees near it's mother, seemingly afraid. And occasionally coming out to suckle. Watched a tint little tortoise try to cross the road, but they get such a fright when u stop, they go dead still, almost as if they're hoping u wont see them!

Lots of Steenbok on this road too, an animal I very rarely get to photograph.

Went to the Letaba day visiters area where we sat eating crackers while dangling our feet in the pool. It was really really hot, think 35 is what it said in the car. Anyway, I had a dip, cos was not looking forward to a night in the hide when already feeling sticky now.

At about 4 we left Letaba, and on the way back to the gate had 2 elle encounters. Both times while we were still pretty far from the animal, it turned to face us and shook its head, then came out trotting towards us. These elle reaalyy arent the friendly addo type, as we were not even 10 metres to them, we were much further and giving them no reason to be uncomfortable. Image

Also saw a beautiful Brown Snake Eagle eating something on the ground. A soon as I had a perfect shot of him set up, true to form he took off as quick as anything . How Frustrating!!

Picked up our bedding at the gate, huge big sacks with duvets etc which barely fit in the car due to all the other luggage. (As females, we tend to overpack!)

We were getting a little nervous for this night in the hide. It had seemed such a great idea when at home, but now in the fading light, the fear was growing a little as we approached it. The hide apperaed infront of us, bigger than I had expected, but really quite out in the open, and with a rather didgy looking fence around it. Nothing an animal couldnt ge thru!! :shock:

I had to jump out to unlock gates, as it had been my idea to stay here. I was told "Your Bright Idea, so tough Luck!"

We go inside and have a look around, me performing the mandatory snake and bat check (Im terrified of snakes, and my friend of bats!) See none, so am feeling a little better, but now have the challenge of setting all up before it gets too dark...

It;s like a sauna in here because of the thatch. We're sweating just taking the beds out of the walls, and are soon all getting a little testy cos of the heat..

The girls decide there is no way we are going anywhere near the toilet, as its a long drop and is at least 15metres from the hide. So, not a chance. The outer boundrty wouldnt keep much out, and the gate had places large enough for a hyena to fit thru, so we're staying put!
Image
Get out the wine, and the lamps we brought, and settle down. No one is hungry, its too hot to eat. We're armed with spotlights, so use these as often as we can.

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Last edited by lovehyena on Wed Dec 19, 2007 9:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 2:17 pm 
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Location: cape town
There are bugs all around tho. Millions of them Not mozzies which quite frankly would be ok, no these are huge big things that fly at you. We hate bugs, since this holiday. Us girls hide under our mozzie nets, but mine is a bit broken. We ly there in silence, occasionally screaming as a particularly large one hits us. Can hear the amazing night sounds all around us. The crickets are chirping in the distance, the birds are nattering to one another, wishing good night. Some ducks quacking in the background. At least we know that while we can hear the night sound, there's nothing scary enough to drive them away!

Lots of strange slpashing noises, all jump. Look out the window after dropping the bug nets, but cant see a thing, even with the light, so decide its the ducks.
We're all a little high on tabard at the moment, so the delerious chatter has t be forgiven!!

There's the sound again... we look out, just hoping to see the morning, and there we see some elle playing in the water. More like having a drink, but being very noisy about it!
Can hear lions grunting somewhere off to the left. They could be on the side of the ridge, nut in the still air they could also be much further away. Sound travels so easily here, and we dont get a moments silence the whole night. This is why we're here, because here we can feel really close to nature. Wer can feel a part of all these sounds, and even being scared is not that bad. It gives me a high.

The elle start to trumpet on the other side of the dam. Its loud, but we cant see what has upset them.

Hear more splashes, and see crocodile eyes moving in the water. Occasionally we can see a whole head, or a tail. One even was kind enough to get out onto the land for us!

Now the male lion in the distance roars for us. He was pouring his heart out to the night sky, letting us know why he and no other is the King of Beasts. Itsmagnificent to lie here in our mozzie nets listening to these sounds.

The plan is that we dont go to sleep, so can periodically check outside to see if anythings there. The lions roar periodically, and its my favorite night sound. It really send s a shiver thru my spine, knowing these powerful animals are out there somewhere.

I fell asleep at 2 til 4, but there was always one awake.

When I woke at 4, could hear hyena laughing in the distance, now thats a blood curling sound. We decided to pack up the car and go straight to Letaba for our next night.
I step out of the hide, and walk to the car. I open the front door, and all of a sudden something starts slithering right at me. I scream, as Ive obviuosly nearly stood on it, and I turn and run. Probably not the best response, but its not like I planned it this way! Lose my shoes in the process, and probably scare some impala with the sounds Im making, but teher was no way Im hanging around near a snake.

It made a bee line for me, but wasnt that large. It was black and thin, and about 60 cm long Id say. Dont know what it was, but I got away, so Im happy.

Of Course Im no longer helping to pack the car tho, not a chance Im walking any where near where it could have gone...
The other 2 look for it, but its dissappeed. So I watch them pack and am then carryed into the car. There's no explanation of my fear of snakes, but lets just say Im very very afraid of them...

(pics will be added once Im fnished resizing!)

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Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 9:31 am 
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Location: cape town
1/12 oh the heat...

Took the H14 and S131 to Letaba, where we flopped into the pool. What a relief from the 40 degree heat in the hide. Oh wow. We actually ate breakfastwhile in the pool, out of cups, we had our cereal! Swimming around and around, it felt so good to not be hot, altho the pool wasnt exactly cold :D

Went to the Letaba restaurant for a toasty, and enjoyed the beautiful view, The river disappering into the horizon, and some saddle billed storks and vultures (white backed) which were alternately soaring on their huge wing spans, then landing. Ive got good bino's (swarovski's) and its amazing how clear everything is through them Feel like Im also soaring on the thermals, can almost sense how they must feel. I love the thought of being a bird.

On the drive to Letaba, we had lost one member to sleep :lol:
and took the S69 backwards loop, just to see if there was anything to see. We saw our second snake there, it came quickly slithering across the road. Was a dark olive brown, quite thin. And had an orange sort of head?? not sure anyway.
Also saw a chameleon crossing the road, but as we approached he stood stock still, on all haunches, like a cat who had just had water thrown on it and was not happy. Very cute, almost as tho he figured we couldnt see him if he kept still, despite being bright green on a brown road. Next to the Chameleon was a brightly coloured caterpillar. It was Green, but a really bright green, with purple and pink near the underside, Quite fascinating really. (later we were told its a Mopani worm, before they become black and edible)

After lunch it was snooze time, and then a short afternoon drive. Came to a large pile of dung covered in about 20 dung beetles. I love watching them, struggling on their way, yet persevering. Have once watched one for about an hour trying to push his ball of dung up a bank. Every time he'd roll down, but refused to give up, or just try another area to push it up. Brave or Stupid??? Will never know, but I admired his perseverence.

Tok the S44 and then looped back.
2 of my wishes for the holiday were satisfied
1- We watched some elle's swimming and tussling in the water, back and forth at each other with their trunks.
2) Got to photograph a beautiful African Fish Eagle- I love this bird so much, and its call sends joy to my heart. (will upload pic later, as its on my other camera)

Also saw a white backed vulture nesting pair, one was sitting, the other standing and ruffling his feathers. Such charming birds, in their own way!

Were charged by our third elle on this drive. He was a youngish male, and from about 30 metres away just came running at us. FDound the accelerator pretty quickly, believe me!

Back at Letaba, we had a shower to wash of the 4 inches of grime we'd acquired from the hide. Then went and sat overlooking the river. (we have a river view bungalow)
Watched the lsat rays of the setting sun go down, and the crickets and birds start their night chorus, bringing in the moon.
The river and its banks look glorious in this semi light and the whole of nature appears to celebrate the day that's passed.
Can hear the hippo's grunting, as they prepare to leave the water for the nights forraging. And in the background the contented chatter of happy family's braaing and discussing the day.
Its such a beautiful calm evening, we really feel at peace. Im sitting here so full of anticipation for what the holiday will bring.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 9:45 am 
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Location: cape town
We went on a night drive this evening, which left at 8pm. Our guide: Cecilia.

The first animal we see is an elle, who quickly slips away into the dense bush. Just around the corner, no more than 10 min into the drive, a spotted hyena materialises on the left. It doesnt linger long, but rather spirits itself away purposefully. I love the cunning look on their faces, and their huge crushing jaws. Further along, a scrub hare and a spring hare feeding alon side one another.

Now we get to something Ive always want to see... A hippo out of water. But its not just 1 hippo, there are 3 of them moving their huge bulk along, eating the grass.

Not much further we see more, and then more. At least 15 in total, so a really good night for me!
Image

Also see a breeding herd of elle, with a couple of young ones. The quietly move off, without getting annoyed with us. Cecilia shows us some mopani worms in the trees, and this is when we discover what our green caterpillar is :redface:

Apparently they begin green, but as they mature they turn to black. When they are black, they are ready to be harvested for eating. The women in her village go out at this time for a month to collect the worms, and each comes back with about 80kg's of them These are either eaten or sold, at R10 / cup. She says they taste like biltong, but Im really not one to find out!!

Saw a water dikop, nocturnal apparently, on the road, and watched a croc swimming thru the water while on the bridge. Also found a large spotted gennet, who very kindly showed himself, and ran down the trunk so that we could fully admire him.

Once making our way back to camp, we saw another spotted hyena, who didnt run, but rather sauntered into the bush. At some points the crickets were so noisy one felt one should cover the ears so as not to go deaf!!!

Right next to the road we came across a huge white backed vulture, who took off into flight next to the car. What an awesome wing span he has, I could see evey feather and bone as he bore himself up into the sky.Vultures and hyena= good night for me!!

Also saw another snake crossing the road, a black one, about 40cm's long. For an animal I really didnt want to see Im doing rather well, with 3 in 2 days...

Finally it was bed time, we were allexhausted, and flopped into bed without a sound.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2007 5:11 pm 
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Location: cape town
sun 2/12

Woke up att 4 am to pack up our bags and the car and make our way on the LONG trip to Pretoriuskop.

Our route for the day:
H1-5 H8 S92 S91 H1-4 H1-3 H1-2 Sa S65 the H1-1.

First animals once out the gate: Elle, then followed by imapala and Zebra. Zebra are the most beautiful creatures to watch in the morning light, with the fresh new rays shining dappled onto their stripes, and giving them a kind of flourescent glow.
On the side of the road, right above our heads I spotted an eagle, We slowed down, and then sat watching the beauty of this great Marshal Eagle devouring a snake he had obviously just caught. He was quite happy to allow us some photographs as he was in no rush to leave his hard earned meal:
Image

We ahd just passed the turnoff to Balule, and I had decided not to mention the hyena den I had read about on the forums, but then thought, we may as well give it a try!! We turned around, and began making our way slowly on the loop to Balule, hoping against the odds to please find an active den. Hyena are my favorite of all (except leopards) and I couldnt think of anything more exciting than some little one's playing around!! We past the turnoff to Balule and began to lose hpe. Either the den had moved, or was inactive or we'd just driven past it. :(

About a km from Balule, I pull to side of road to check in a storm water pipe... and there they are!! A whole lot of little pups of seemingly different ages, playuing on a mesh covered rock pile. We reverse and see mom, and a little further up another adult and pup...EXCITEMENT IN CAR!!!
Image

There are 5 pups in all, and theyre extremely active, we obviously caught them at the perfect time. Theyre running after one another, tugging on each others ears and tails. The mother is really serene looking, and graceful. After a while the one pup goes to suckle with her. Another nuzzles her before returning to its naughty antics. 2 go into road, and have a sniff around.Image
We're all alone with them for half an hour before another arrives. The pups are really entertaining us, with theire mischevous faces, looking at u almost saying " Im not sure if I should, but Im going to give it a try anyway..." Image

Mom eventually gets sick of their play, and walks over scaring this youngster. another goes back into road where the first other car has arrived, and starts chewing on it. Then one walks over and looks up at the driver, staring him in the eyes. Its as if they know how happy they make us, so are putting on a great show.Image

While another pup is suckling, mom puts her paw on it, and gives him a few licks. Its so tender and gentle, not at all the ruthless killer, whose jaws can crush bone without a struggle.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 7:19 am 
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Location: cape town
Further along the S91 before reaching the 'highway' we saw another african hawk eagle ina tree. Also Zebra Wildebees and Steenbok. The type of bush has changed alot, its now open plains, sparesely populated by trees and with hundreds of little yellow flowers as far as the eye can see making a blanket across the plain. Quite a sight. A herd of buffalo grzing peacefully in the distance, and we were on our way. The weather is much more pleasant today. On the night drive last night the sky had been periodically lit up by flashes of lightning, so there had been some rain around to cool the air.

Stopped at Satara and decided to eat at the restaurant there. Had very good French toast, and it was with contented tummy's that we left an hour later.

Shortly afterleaving, we see a row of ars up ahead...what is it? We see a warthog under a bush and think surely its not a warthog that they're looking at?? Someone tells us its dead, and that there was a leopard here but she had walked off. So we decided to wait her out. She cant be far if she has a kill, and we're dying to see a leopard. Ive see 2 not great sighting in the wild, that's it. My friend has none... An hour and a half later, in a car thats now heating up as we'd switched aircon off, still no leopard. Were hoping to have been rewarded for our patience but oh well... (we were later rewarded, right place right time!!)

We're on the H1-2 now, and having a chat about leopards. We're driving down every side road to waterholes really hoping for something. Then out of no where, there it is. Standing undera tree in a small clearing really close to road... our reward, a beautiful golden handsome leopard!
Too amazing for words!! Can hardly believe our eyes... Slowly it moves scross the road, right in front of us. We're in prime spot when the queue starts to form behind us. She's such a graceful elegant animal, and gives me a tick on the wish list. We're extatic!!! you never forget the first beauty...
Image

(need to apologise about photo quality, when I resized I resized to a very poor level of quality so I could fit more n a page, as I have no time to upload to a sight before I leave next wk)

After stopping at Skukuza for drinks, we take the S1 to help us reach pretoriouskop. At the turnoff to the S65, we see another hyena den, with the mother lying under a tree, and 2 little pups tearing after one another round and round and round the tree. Over and over again! Such a comical lot to watch, and we cant believe its our second set of pups in 1 day!!

Then a rhino on left of car, making it 4 out of big 5... butvery surprised to have seenleopard, and not lions,altho Id trade 1 leopard for 20 lions any day...
Moving to pretoriouskop, ahead in the road we see a giant elle bearing down on the cars up on the hill in front of us, looking resdfy to destry them (we're 500odd metres away, so are fine :D
. All we can see is reverse lights, as every car driver plans an escape route from the big guy. It was pretty funny to watch this actually, reverse lights and giant elle telling them all to find another way!!!

Bed time!! Our aircons not working, so outside is cooler than in, and we braai, mielied potato's and wors, while listening to the crickets chattering and dreaming quietly about what tomorrow has in store for us adventurers.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 1:16 pm 
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Location: cape town
2/12 "A dream come true"

Woke at 4am to pack the amarula, hot water, and flap jack mix etc into car, for our planned picnic at Afsaal later for breakfast.
Took S7 onto S3 to skukuza, and then down to afsaal for a fry up!

The sun was creeping over the horizon, bathing the park in pink layers, mingled with a few whispy clouds.

An african goshawk was surveying the morning, hoping to find a tasty morsel for breakfast, as the sun broke over the mountain bathing us in light.
Image
Buffalo were coming out of the mist like ghosts, slowly walking and chewing as they went. An impala herd was playing on either side of the road, with lots of babies, teating the strength in their spindly legs by running here and there, with time inbetween for a suckle or to nuzzle mom.

Took the Sabie River loop as a detour, where we found lots of fresh lion tracks on the road. Watched some giraffe eating, then some kudu basking in the sun after a long night.
Were hippo frolicking in the river, and a teeny tiny tortoise on the road.

Coming thru a shady spot I looked up and spotted 2 ground hornbills, another first for me. Apparently they only lay an egg every 9 years, and are very peculiar about their nesting sights, must be a dead tree with a hollow in it.

Found another snake on the road, not sure which. And saw 2 ginormous snails on the road...Image

We stopped at Mathekenyane and prepared ourselves our favorite bush drink, being careful not to spill on the seats... Amarula, Hot chocolate and coffee mix.
Wesat on the koppie overlooking the plains on either side of the road, and watching an impala herd oblivious to us, while admiring how green and lush the bush is looking.

Bateleur!! Another tick off list. It flew over us before coming to rest in a nearby tree. They are magnificent.
Then a breeding herd of elle, with one little little guy, walking along the side of road before crossing infront of us. Mom stopped to keep and eye of us, just to make sure we knew who was boss- not a problem.
Also, our first duiker of the trip. Unbelievably its 9:22 am and its already 30 degrees outside, the heat is crazy!

At Afsaal, we ate breakfast after renting a skottle. Also saw the scops owl in the tree. Cute little things they are.
Image

On AmpiesBoorgat loop, giraffe and mongooses. And it starts to rain... The downpour doesnt last too long, but it cools the air ALOT! only 26 now:)
See a warthog mother and her 4 tiny piglets running too, cute!
On our return journey we took the H2-2. We're all pretty tired after 7 hours in car now, and all of a sudden... leopard again!! There is a spotty face staring at us from the middel of a bush. The face is perfectly framed by green leaves, almost a halo, and she's quietly watching us, not a concern in the world (pics on other cam, sorry!)

She gets up, stretches before layig down, and dropping out of view. We hang around for quite a while, but she's not budging so off we go.
Amazing, already 2 leopards!!!
Back to camp at 1:30 and we all fall straight into bed, we have no problems sleeping in daytime, if only for a couple of hours. They come and bring us a new aircon to replace broken one, so Its nice and cool inside now!

at 4, we set off again and see a car watching a dead buck under a tree... could it be?? There she is!! another leopard. She walks away tho, and we decide as its 5 min from gate, on way back we'll come and watch her..
Leopard no 3 and still counting!

On the S7 from P'kop, driving along I spot an ear on a rock... getting closer and my ear turns into a wild dog!!! My first EVER!!!!! We see about 8 of them in total, and one's lying on the roadahead, what beautiful colours they have
Image
Their dappled coats and big furry ears make them so cute to look at. We must be the luckiest ppl in the world, at least thats how we feel!!!

Someone pulls up behind us to see what we can see, and after showing them they tell us about 3 lions at Nyamundwa dam, so thats where we head to next...

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Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 1:26 pm 
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Location: cape town
Pull up at the dam, and there they are, on the opposite side. A male and 2 lioness. They actually look amazingly healthy, not skin and bone, which makes me very happy. Crack open the vodka and appletiser and sit watching our first lions of the trip. They get up and move around a bit, but not much, and as we didnt have all that much time, we were off.

Turn onto S3, and there's a rhino on the side of the road, grazing and walking. The Jeep driver watching him informs us that there are 5 lioness further along, so that's our next stop... This is the big 5 in one day, nearly twice (except Rhino only once!!) And thrown in on top, Bateleur and Wild Dog!!! so u can imagine how lucky we are feeling right now!! Over the moon :D

Come to the lioness who are sleeping about 4metres off road. While watching them we can hardly believe that someone actually gets out of his car to take a photo with his cellphone. They are so so close, and the man's an idiot...have got a number plate pic, and one of him out of car.

Get back to where we had seen the leopard and sit looking for her. We're really hoping she's there, cos we're gonna be late for gate if we wait much longer. What we see is however totally worth it, even if we had got a fine (which we didnt cos we just made it!!)
She's there, lying down in full view. And from out of a bush next to her comes a little cub... A little Leopard CUB!!! Can still not believe this is true. We spoke about it, and there it is, like its in my imagination! It comes to play with, nuzzle her... oh wow! (pics not on my cam, but will get them from friend) The light is failing tho, so they're not amazing.
The experience is AMAZING tho!!! that's 3 leopards in one day, one of which is a cub... seriously, the chances??
WOW WOW WOW!!!

Today has been the most special day ever, so its off to the restaurant for a fabulous buffet (proper food at last!)
and some sparkling wine, to wash it down, and celebrate the best day of the trip (so far...suffice to say what is coming :D )

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Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2007 3:22 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2007 8:41 am
Posts: 112
Location: cape town
4/12 lions!!!

Up at 4:00 again, this is gonna be the same every morning so will leave it out in future...
We drove the km or so to where we had seen the leopard, and there she was, looking straight at us. I see a movement to the left and theres the cub, who then trots off.
A few min later, the cub was back, and crouching down, getting ready to pounce. It springs up onto mom, what a cute little thing!
Really special moments to watch for us. Mom's eyes are a beautiful green, and the cubs are a sparkly blue, its really pretty.After a half hour or so, the next car arrives, its a Jeep Jockey from a private camp, who then starts making hyena calls to scare the mother and cub into moving. What an idiot. Mom went and lay with her head on the kill, can see now its a female kudu (not bad for a leopard!) and then ducked down, no longer in view. Thanks to the idiot. At least we got to share some special moments alone with them, they have made my holiday completely.

O the S7, a herd of buffalo causing a road block.
On the H11, a small breeding herd crosses the road infront of us, before disappering away like ghosts.

Watched a terrapin crossing the road on the H4-1.

At around 8:30, we stopped for a sunrise roll at Skukuza. Had a look at the bats in the thatch, but my friend freaked so we sat indoors. Nice and cool today, at last!!!

At Matimahle, 4 ground hornbills were wandering along edge. Beautiful and impressive. Also 2 saddle billed storks later on.

Sat at Lugmag dam for a while, watching a pod of hippo, wildebees, impala, egyptian geese and a beautiful fish eagle.

As we were driving along S125, we came across a huge male liom, with quite a dark mane, sunning himself wit 4 females. We always miss the males, but this holiday are seeing so many, its really great!!!
Image

He gets up, yawns and nuzzles the one female, before settling under another bush. Its an excellent sighting, and far more active than yesterday!!!

Saw our first secretary bird of the trip too, stalking snakes in the long grass.

Took the Rabeleis Dam loop to get to Tamboti, and what do we see... More lions!!! Its a nice big pride, and they all look quite healthy,
3 nice big males, one of which is fully maned, and 5 females and an oldish cub.
One of tghe males was kind enough to sit up and provide some good photo's, and the one females kept staring up into a tree.
Image

As it was quite late, we moved on but mrked the spot to return to later.What a good day so far, we were all so content!

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Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 9:35 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2007 8:41 am
Posts: 112
Location: cape town
Im back!! so here goes...

We come back to ourlions about an hour later, at 430, and find them lying under the tree all together. One by one they get up, gradually beginning to stir. and off they set down the road. Right on the road, in fact so close that I can almost feel them licking on my elbow or taking a nip out of my ear close. We were just surrounded by them, scratchin trees , platying together. It was so special to be right in the centre of it all.

From no more than 1 metre from the car, the huge male turns and stares straight into my eyes. Amazingly his eyes seem far more deadly than I had imagined, far more cold and chilling.
They all move with such grace. and seeing such beautiful creatures so close that u can feel their breath on your skin is really special.

After watching them as long as is earthly possible if we want to make the gate, we're off, to enjoy a relaxing meal on the braais at out home, tent no 30. (which wwe thought had a great view!)

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