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 Post subject: Kalburgi's First Trip to Kruger Nov 2007
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2007 8:33 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2007 10:35 pm
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Location: Northern Virginia, USA
Hello Forumites

Our trip would not have been possible without the information on the Forum and great advice from members. Thanks for your help.

It is has been several weeks since our trip as we spent 3 weeks in India before returning to USA.

I want to get started with the report and do it in parts as time permits and I get the resizing done.

We arrived JNB late evening on Nov 17th, rented a Tiida, stayed that night and left 6 AM for Kruger. Breakfast at Milly’s was nice around 8:30 AM or so (trying to stay within speed limits!). Directions were helpful….reached Nelspruit around 11 AM, Crossings Spar on R40 was easy to find. Nice store we picked up meat, veggies, (had a friend pick up some beer in JNB as it was Sunday (no alcohol sales in Mpumalanga), fruits etc. Filled petrol also here.

Left after 45minutes or so, and reached Malelane gate around 1 PM.

Nov 18th 2007

I had guessed Elephant as the first animal to sight and my wife predicted Impala. She won but I came right behind with a lone Elli eating away merrily. Both sightings right after the gate!

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Our next sighting Warthog…followed by a grazing herd of buffalo’s.

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We then took the S110 to see Berg-En-Dal camp. At the camp we saw one more Elli near the Dam? Also saw Vervet monkeys, one with a baby clinging to it. Had some light lunch at the cafeteria.

While returning from BND saw big group of Impalas, and 2 giraffes…

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We then started on the S25 dirt road (road not bad having driven on dirt roads in India the road looked familiar; besides you want to drive slow to see the game) towards Biyamiti camp. First sighting Fish Eagle resting nicely on a branch..

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After some km of driving we come to a pack of 5 wild dogs generally resting in the afternoon heat by tree shade. Lucky for us to spot these rare animals!

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We stayed there for a while watching the group. Things were looking a bit quiet until before us appeared a breed of ellies…10-20 with small ones in tow crossing the road….we stayed there and enjoyed the parade with a bull being the last one…stayed a bit farther than what we should have!

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The turn to Biyamiti was marked well…so we turned on to this S139 road. I was already expecting this to be a bad road based on Forum feedback which it turned out to be the case…just drove very slow to reach the camp around 3 PM.

What a CAMP! Very private and unique…we got unit 5 (as 8 was taken by the Donors) with a view…got settled in before our Sunset drive.

continued...


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 Post subject: Part 2
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2007 5:25 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2007 10:35 pm
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Location: Northern Virginia, USA
Part 2

Nov 18, 2007-12-24

Our unit # 5

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Vervet monkeys in our backyard.
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Biyamiti Sunset Drive

We left around 4:30 or so in the small vehicle.

Sightings on the drive : White-tailed Mongoose (very beautiful creature rare find I was told…guide told us a couple searched for weeks but could not find one), Dwarf Mongoose, Bateleur, Duiker, Kudu, Dung beetles, Ellies, Baboons, Monkeys, Nile Monitor, 3 kinds of vultures, Brown eagle, Rabbits. Hard to take pictures at night so here are some photos from the drive-Blue naped mousebird (?), Dung beetles and nile Monitor.

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After the drive we started the braai (grill) cooked chicken marinated in tandoori spices and yoghurt, veggies, corn cobs. We particularly liked the simple and elegant design of the braai at Biyamiti. We liked the camp so much we decided to stay here instead of Croc Bridge. Room 10 was available and the staff was kind enough to make the switch so we got to stay one more night in Biyamiti!

Nov 19, 2007

We got ready at 4:30 and when we reached the gate it was already open. We took S139 west towards B Wier.

First sighting of the day while it was still a bit dark 2 spotted hyaenas.

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Next up was a nice pair of beautiful Lilac Breasted Rollers.

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At Biyamiti weir ( app 6 AM) we did not spot anything so we continued on to S114 heading south. Short drive and we sight a pair of white rhinos on the side of the road. They were very friendly and entertained us for quite some time and allowed us to take many pictures. Here are sample photos.

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A nice shot of Impala.

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Next sightings Red Necked Spurfowl (my best guess looking at a wildlife book by Withers and Hosking please correct if wrong), Yellow-billed Hornbill, and Magpie Shrike.

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Still on S114 we sighed a giraffe having a TALL breakfast!

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We then made the right on to H 2-2 towards Afsaal. It was 7 AM. We sighted a LBR and was able to capture a photo in flight.

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A little while later another LBR I was able to shoot close up.

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continued....Part 3


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2007 10:07 am 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Location: In the shadow of Table Mountain
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The spurfowl is Swainson's

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Whatever (according to BB): "You are correct but I don't want to admit it".


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 Post subject: Part 3
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 10:16 pm 
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Thanks BB. Swainson's was not mentioned in the book I have.

Part 3

November 19, 2007

Continuing on H 2-2 towards Afsaal we spotted Swainson Spurfowl, and Helmeted Guineafowl followed by a giraffe.

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We reached Afsaal around 9 AM, had some tea, looked at the Scops owls, bought some Amarula, post cards at the store, and proceeded on H 3 north towards Skukuza. Sighted a wildbeest, giraffe at Muhlambamadvube (S113 to S23). We then continued on S114 north and made right on to H 5 heading East.

We then turned right on to S102 where we sighted a big herd of Buffalos crossing the road with several males giving the ‘LOOK’ to us in the car taking pictures.

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At the Mpondo site where we got out we sighted a warthog and baby at a distance.

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We also sighted a Southern Ground Hornbill before we returned to Biyamiti to our new unit # 10.

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We met Sonika the camp manager who showed us our next Big 5…two leopards on the Jackalberry tree across the Biyamiti river right in front of the camp.

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At the back of our unit# 10 on the waterbowl, a Blue-naped Mousebird.

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We had some lunch, rested and left for Croc Bridge late afternoon. First stop at the Hippo Pool. We were expecting a ranger but no one was there to take us closer to the pool so we took some pictures from the distance. Other sightings Brown Woodpecker, Wildbeest, Zebras, Elephants including a baby, and giraffe on the S25. We also filled petrol at the camp and returned to Biyamiti before gate closure. We started the braai again, and enjoyed the food and surroundings. Finished packing as we would be leaving for Satara tomorrow.

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 Post subject: Part 4
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 6:12 am 
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Location: Northern Virginia, USA
Part 4

Ellies on Biyamiti riverbed

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November 20, 2007 Biyamiti to Satara

We wanted to reach Satara before 4 PM so planned the route to include various look-out points and some tar and some dirt roads. S139-S25-S108-H5-H4-2-S130-S137 Ntandanyathi bird hide-S28-back on H4-2-Lower Sabie (planned lunch stop)-H10-S30 to Mlondozi dam and back on S30-H10-Orpen Dam-Tshokwane (actual lunch stop)-H1-3-Mazithi dam-Baobab Tree-Satara.

We left Biyamiti at 4:30.

In the first hour or so we sighted Warthog, Red Eyed Doves I believe, Northern Masked Weaver, and Wildebeests.

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We turned on to S130 and then on to S137 noticing the distinct change in the terrain. Here we saw Giraffe baby, an Ostrich and Hartlaub’s Bustard I believe.

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Our next sighting on S137 was a Spotted Hyaena Mom and 3 babies and gave us some nice poses.

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Next up some Zebras, and just before Ntandanyathi a family of White Rhinos first on our right side of the road crossing over to the other side after we passed. Also saw Vervet Monkey, and 2 Woodland Kingfishers. We got out at Ntandanyathi and saw 2 Hippos in the river and also a Nile Monitor on the river bank on our side. We met a couple who told us about a Lion sighting on H 4-1 near the Blue bridge so we decided to check that out after seeing Lower Sabie camp.

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We left the site at 6:45 AM took the S28 which ended on H 4-2 towards LS. We sighted Helmeted Guinea Fowl, Swainson Spurfowl, Blue Naped Mousebird, Warthogs,and Magpie Shrike.

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Continued Part 5


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