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Tell us about your breathtaking experiences in the parks

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ecojunkie
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Unread postby ecojunkie » Wed Jan 09, 2008 8:00 am

Inland schools back, pressure on Kruger reduced - so I went for it again. I was at Croc Bridge just before opening time, and 6th in queue so really smooth entrance.

Found impala (of course), zebs, wildebeest and giraffe quite quickly. Turned up S28 hoping to see lions or rhino - but very disappointing drive. Small herd of zebs and wildebeest at one point, but little else. Took turning to Duke, and found a very large troup of baboons who entertained us on the road for a while. At Duke itself there were lots of giraffes with youngsters around - and several cars. Turned south on the S130 as that has given good sightings before, but again virtually nothing. Then near the end someone told me there were lions at Vurhami dam. Found 3 lions there on the rock beneath the dam, but lots of cars too!

Then went north to Lower Sabie - thought I saw buffalo at the small waterhole, but they turned out to be elephants! (My contact lenses were giving trouble which may also be why I saw little?????). Sunset Sam hippos were playing in the water, but on the far side of the dam, and strangely could find no crocs.

Turned on to the S112 and found an elephant enjoying the waterhole - but 4 Eastgate safari vehicles arrived to monopolise the area, one tearing in at high speed.

After that a few more eles, one herd on the road with nervous tin cans on wheels either side! Turned down the S114 and on to H5 and S102 to Mpondo Dam. Found waterbuck, zebs and impala there. Back along the S25 to Croc Bridge. Stopped off at Hippo Pools where there was a puff adder hiding under a rock overhang, and good view of hippos (of course) and a grey heron fishing.

All in all a fairly disappointing trip - but grass is longer, and my eyes not in best shape... Will try again soon!!!! Guess I just picked the wrong route this time!

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ecojunkie
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Unread postby ecojunkie » Fri Jan 18, 2008 7:15 pm

Cloudy day, a bit cooler, and loads of housework needing doing......in other words a perfect day for escaping to Kruger...!

Decided to go in at Malelane and out at Croc Bridge and see what happened in between....

Before I even turned off toward BnD and found my first impala I had found the back end of a rhino disappearing off the road into the bush, and met the extremely noisy front end of an elephant emerging from the bush on to the road!!! The guide from the morning drive had checked me in, and told me about a leopard in a tree with an impala kill - but I did not find it, pity!

At the Matjulu junction another elephant ambled towards me in the middle of the road. He was throwing dust over himself as he walked, but very relaxed so I sat and watched him. I began to think my car would end up dust coloured, but about 20m away he succumbed to a snack-attack and veered off the road to browse on a bush. I left him in peace to enjoy his meal!

A little further on I found another elephant, but there were 2 cars there already, and he was getting nervous and moving off, so I did too.

Turned down the S118, heading to Gardenia as I have not been there for a while. Found a herd of buffalo enjoying the river about half way along the road. Gardenia was quiet apart from a couple of vociferous Burchells starlings. The water is very muddy at the moment, and the entrance gate is broken.

Just after reaching the S25 there were 2 rhinos on the road, and almost at the junction with the tar road at Croc Bridge I found 3 rhinos - maybe 4 or more had I gone further????

Apart from one kudu cow, and one wildebeest, and a brown snake eagle in a tree next to the road - but refusing to look at me and be photographed - that was about it for the day. Lots of impala about - and at one point I thought I saw a jackal but it was a young impala running in the long grass!

There was water over the middle section of the Croc Bridge, but very little rain at present, so it will probably drop again.

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ecojunkie
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Unread postby ecojunkie » Fri Jan 18, 2008 7:28 pm

Unfortunately the housework fairies have been load-shedded I think! I was all still there when I got home..... Oh well........

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ecojunkie
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Unread postby ecojunkie » Mon Jan 21, 2008 6:59 pm

Had to go to Malelane today, so decided I would rather face the wild animals on the S25 than the N4....... So took the route via Komati and Croc Bridge!

As I came out of the office I found a car with a yellow ribbon parked behind me - so Tilandi became my first forum meet....And a short time later I met Lastpride too. Great!

Immediately after the gate there were lots of giraffe, impala, zebs and wildebeest about. A few warthogs too. I stopped to watch an elephant, and someone coming south told me there was a leopard a bit further on, so I kept going - and found it lying in the grass and occasionally lifting its head to look around. 2 cars were there already, and another 3 arrived, so I left my space for those who do not have my opportunities....

I had seen a couple of buffalo just before finding the leopard, and on my way back south to the S25 the whole herd had moved towards the road and were on both sides.

The rest of the trip was mundane after that. A family of dwarf mongooses entertained me for a while - the youngsters were tumbling all over the road, and chasing a hornbill every time it landed near them. Actually I was not sure just who was teasing who - but it was fun to watch.

There was a saddle-bill stork close to the bridge at Biyamiti and I got a good photo or two. Also found a small huddle of 3 elephants under a tree.

While busy in Malelane I got an sms to say my new credit card was ready at the bank in Komati.....so I did the only logical thing and went back to Malelane gate and took the S118/9 route back to the S25......

Started off well with a very muddy rhino shortly after the gate. It was having a thoroughly enjoyable scratch on a low stump.

The gate at Gardenia has been fixed - well done whoever is responsible!!!

Just south of Gardenia I met a huge ele with really long asymmetrical tusks. Do not know of one in that area, so will try to email the pictures to Letaba. (anyone know the email address?)

Apart from a giraffe intent on keeping me in the park as long as possible by staying in the middle of the road and refusing to let me pass, that was it. But it was the middle of the day, so I was not really surprised.

Picked up a bit of metal somewhere and had a flat tyre by the time I reached Croc Bridge, but that was easily sorted out!

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p@m
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Unread postby p@m » Mon Jan 21, 2008 8:23 pm

Lovely day, ecojunkie :clap:
Are you also in Marloth ?
Have fond memories of that route to Malelane.

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ecojunkie
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Unread postby ecojunkie » Mon Jan 21, 2008 9:09 pm

p@m, yes that is my hunting ground now! An amazing place to live.......

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arks
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Unread postby arks » Mon Jan 21, 2008 9:42 pm

ecojunkie wrote:Just south of Gardenia I met a huge ele with really long asymmetrical tusks. Do not know of one in that area, so will try to email the pictures to Letaba. (anyone know the email address?)

ecojunkie, I hope you will submit your tusker to the 2008 Emerging Tuskers Competition. You'll find the email on that web page :wink:

Will you also perhaps post them here? I'd love to see him! 8)
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ecojunkie
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Unread postby ecojunkie » Tue Jan 22, 2008 7:14 am

Thanks for the info Arks..... I will try to sort it all out later today - too much else to do after my escapes into Kruger at the expense of housework! Hopefully pics later tomorrow... Depends on load-shedding and signal strength too.

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ecojunkie
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Unread postby ecojunkie » Tue Jan 22, 2008 1:19 pm

I think I have cracked it!!!!
Experimented while trying to eat lunch.....
This is the elephant I saw just a couple of km south of Gardenia Hide.

javascript:emoticon(':P')
Razz

Image

Image

Image :P

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ecojunkie
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Unread postby ecojunkie » Tue Jan 22, 2008 3:20 pm

I have sent them through to Letaba now too. Cannot afford to use any more mb to post them again in the 'tuskers' thread as I am near my month limit now. Perhaps someone knows a way to create a link or something equivalent?????

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ecojunkie
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Unread postby ecojunkie » Tue Jan 22, 2008 5:09 pm

Thanks!!!!

I will bring my laptop to cricket - maybe someone can teach me a few useful things between overs or something?????!!!!! Sometimes think my learning curve is getting so steep it is about to do a back-flip.

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ecojunkie
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Unread postby ecojunkie » Fri Jan 25, 2008 4:54 pm

Decided to eat breakfast out this morning - so headed for Croc Bridge intending to go up S28 to Lower Sabie. There was one problem - the gate was closed because the river was up - but there were no signs on the N4 so I did not know until I got to the locked gate. GRRRRRRRR! Wasted more than an hour as I then had to go to Malelane - never mind the fuel......

Headed up the tar road to Afsaal, but saw very little. A friend had gone in earlier and said there were 7 lions on the road, but I could not find them.

By the time I got to Renosterpan I had a total of 4 male impala , 1 euopean roller, 1 natal francolin, 1 yellow billed kite and 2 grey go-away birds. I have been disappointed with Renosterpan, but decided to try today and had only gone a a short distance when I met these:

Image

Image

They were very relaxed, and I coasted towards them very slowly, getting some great pics. A heavy noisy vehicle went past on the tar and frightened one and it began pacing about which disturbed the other and they went off into the grass. A special sighting all to myself!

On the plains south of Afsaal there were 2 white rhino, one with a large red patch on its side - I could not make out the cause. Also large numbers of impala, zebs and wildebeest.

After a short break I headed back south again - and found the lions! They were in the bushes at the side of the road just north of the S118 turning. There was enough of a dip at that point that I had not seen them from the other side of the road! They were very lazy and not too easy to see and other cars were gathering, so I moved off.

Just after that I stopped to tell someone heading north about the lions, and he asked if I was heading 'over the mountain' to BnD - and if so to be careful as there was an elephant chasing cars. It sounded like my noisy friend from the previous week.
I went over the mountain!!!! Saw 2 eles, and I am sure one was the noisy ele, but he was browsing about 20m from the road and totally ignored me! Suspect he only objects if a car is in front of him.

Also found a small group of young kudu near the turn-off. Just impala after that - although one group were only visible as ears and noses above the grass, showing how difficult game viewing can be at this time of year.

Stopped off at BnD and then headed back to the gate - but was held up for quite a while by these guys....

Image

They had been enjoying a muddy wallow/pool at the side of the road and decided to stop in the road next to it. One tiny calf was having a wonderful time rolling in the dust on the side of the road under the legs of the adults.

And that was that.... a short trip but good sightings. I never did get the breakfast -somehow did not feel like it by the time I got to Afsaal after all, maybe too late by then....

Oh well, means I will have to try again next week......

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ecojunkie
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Unread postby ecojunkie » Wed Jan 30, 2008 7:37 am

Yes, I got quite a few nice pix of the side-striped jackals and will post more at the end of the month if I have a few mb to spare then!

Meanwhile the withdrawal symptoms are biting again..... I was going to wait for the caravan to be back before heading into Kruger for a stay - but...... No response re my elephant from big tuskers thread or from Letaba, so I am going to go and visit Letaba and ask in person. I know, any excuse..... I do have pix of another couple of eles to ask them about too.

Will take a small tent and pray it does not rain.... well not too hard anyway, as it is rather old (like me??!!). Staying 2 nights, so may have more interesting things to report.... Hope Croc Bridge is open tomorrow morning, otherwise it will be a long trip up.

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ecojunkie
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Unread postby ecojunkie » Thu Jan 31, 2008 8:51 pm

managed to end the month with just a few mb over so here are another couple of pix of my side-striped jackals:
Image
Image


Today I got in via Croc Bridge with no problems and headed north to Lower Sabie on the tar road. Just a few km befor the S82 turning this poor fellow was lying on the road
Image
There were a number of cars there and he was obviously unhappy as his tail was twitching but he seemed to lack energy to do anything. As soon as I could I left him - unfotunately not in peace.

After a quick stop at Lower Sabie I checked Sunset Dam - water lower now, but the big crocs were visible again.

Then across the bridge and up to Tshokwane. I saw a couple of lone elephants and 2 white rhino in the shade of a bush, but not much seemed to be about.

After Satara I saw my first zebra! Then a couple of warthogs came along with a whole troop of babies
Image

After Olifants there were several groups of buffalo in the swollen river.

After checking in at Letaba and putting up the tent I went out for aride (after a visit to the museum - more later).

Headed south on the S46 and watched 3 elephants playing in the river. They were joined by a 4th who played just as hard!
Image

Heading back towards Letaba I found 3 ground hornbills - but they were rather camera shy - I trapped one though
Image

My battery is going - more tomorrow!

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ecojunkie
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Unread postby ecojunkie » Fri Feb 01, 2008 10:25 am

Also had a group of 6 zebs at the side of the road. I stopped, and they slowly filed across in front of me, each one stopping to look at me on the way. Definitely a case of who is watching who!

Then went north along the tar road to the bridge. I took all the turnouts on the way and found lots of hippos. Some were already coming out to graze
Image

Then back to camp hot and tired.....

This morning I took the S47 loop - again not much about in the way of animals, but it was a lovely road. Did find double-banded sand grrouse twice. The Mingerhout dam was overflowing. Hippos were in the pool above the dam, mostly resting their chins on the dam wall! Below them were a number of crocs lined up facing them! It looked quite comical, and I could imagine the conversation between them....... A couple of the crocs were really huge.

As yesterday there is plenty of evidence on the roads that the elephants are thoroughly enjoying the marulas - but the culprits appear to be hiding shame-facedly in the bush!

Two ladies at the museum did not recognise my tusker from Gardenia and think he may well be a new one. The real fundi was not there though, so I will have to wait for her to see the pix. Also left pix of a couple of others I saw in October last year.

Booked a walk for tomorrow morning - no one else interested this morning so they would not take my booking.

I have come back into camp to find a group setting up on my doorstep - the place is very empty so they could have gone elsewhere! I could spit - but if I did it would make a mess of their tents!!!!!


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