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 Post subject: Alison & Rory's Kruger Trip Jan 08
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 10:16 pm 
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17th and 18th Jan

Well at last….
We are finally settled in out Riverside bungalow at Skukuza. An eventful journey but who cares we are here.
Having arrived at Gatwick with plenty of time, boarding and take off on time we had a bit of a glitch with the landing gear and so had to turn around and land again. Still after two hours we took off again and a bumpy journey brought us to Jo’Burg. 2 hours late so missed our flight to Nelspruit. Finally got another flight with Nationwide and collected the car.
So strange for me seeing how different everything looks in summer having only been in October before. So much more beautiful and so many colours.
We drove into Numbi gate about 3pm and headed straight to Skukuza (well stopped at Pretoriouskop for beers).
Our first sighting was a group of kudu next to the road, quite shy still. We then came across 2 traffic police with a speed trap, so good to see this in the park after all the comments and sad pics on the Forum.
A speeding motorist (white camry) spoilt our close up pics of Wart Hogs.. Grrrr. Still, got great shots of two bull elephants pulling up a few bushes. Other sightings were Duiker, Impala, Mongeese and best of all two CHEETAH.
For those that know Rory this is quite an achievement. With probably over 50 trips and never a cheetah…
They were next to the road in the bushes, then walked down the road, then jumped on a mound of earth, looked around, jumped down and generally mooched around for a while. Fantastic! They look so majestic when you see them close up and also so strong and tall.
We have had our first braai of the trip and off to bed now for a 4.30 start.
Night Night everyone from us here in Kruger.


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Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 4:40 am 
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Well we are up, packed and ready for a quick early morning spotting expedition :dance:

I want my leopard now Rory has his cheetah. Missed one lying next to the road by about two minutes yesterday. Only have 1 of the big 5 so far.

Oh the froggies... Forgot how noisy the little blighters are.

Yes, heard about LHR that's why we were so surprised to get off on time. Not a mechanical fault by the way, ground crew forget to take a lock off. :|

Going to put the Yellow ribbon on the car and we are off :D


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Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 7:48 pm 
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19th Jan 2008
What a day!
We awoke (well our alarm awoke us) to heavy rain first thing which stopped to a drizzle by the time we left Skukuza at just before 5 and decided to head along to the Marula loop and then back along the H4-1 back towards Skukuza, as Wild dog and Lion seen there yesterday.
Sighting before the road to Tinga: Grey Duiker, Impala and Marabou stalks. Then just onto the Marula loop a ranger had spotted lion 2k’s along. So off we trundled hopeful but not too confident and then there they were. 4 of them. Three lionesses and a younger male. Great sighting. Got great shots of them and also hippos, crocs, vervets and a pied kingfisher all before 6.30.
We continued on to the H12 and had a really fun time with a huge baboon troop. They kept trying to get our yellow ribbon (in between playing with all the tiny babies and doing rude things).
Had a great sighting of a bushbuck on the H4-1 and also vervets with babies and some juvenile Vultures sitting in the road. In need of a cup of tea we quickly stopped at Skukuza, seeing a great elephant in must just before the gates (I will try to upload a photo for you Tuskers to identify).
Headed back out of Skukuza and along the H11 then had the sighting of the day for us on the junction with the S1. Three Hyena cubs…
Obviously had been put in the storm drain for safety two were lying on the grass right next to the road whilst the third was in and out the drain,(seemed smaller than the other two).
Headed down the S65 and then round to the S114. A quiet afternoon until about 4pm when we came across lots of traffic. Two lionesses and two young males stalking a group of impala. Got some great photos but too much traffic so turned back to take a quieter route into Biyamiti.
Time was pushing on but the Biyamiti road had so much to offer us. Wish we had longer to stop…
Large group of ellies, White Rhino (x 2) and loads of Buffalo.
Can’t wait til 4.30am and the gates open.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 10:56 pm 
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20th Jan 2008
Well it is 10.10pm and we have just got back to our bungalow at biyamiti. We have been out since leaving the gates at 4.30am. Is this a record?
We left Biyamiti and headed towards Afsaal for breakfast having the most fantastic White Rhino sighting. 7 including a calf just waking up.
Had our first sighting of Giraffe and Zebra this trip. After Afsaal headed up the S3 to where we saw the lions yesterday, but no joy so decided to go towards Berg en Dal to try to get a glimpse of wild dog.
Took a detour to Renosterpan and got my leopard at last. A young female (born last May I found out later), crossing the road quickly in front of us. Ran off very quickly into the bushes about 50m away. She sat for a while before sloping off deeper into the bush. Instead of feeling content to have seen her it has just spurred me on to want a better view so the hunt continues on this front.
Headed to BD for a quick pitstop and back out on the road again. Pretty quiet except for some noisy ellies playing in the road and then in some water. Came back into Biyamiti via the Crocodile Bridge Road S25, finding a group of vervets and impala eating Marula and playing in the water and trees. Crossing the bridge captured a huge ellie breaking branches off a Marula tree. So destructive, naughty thing.
Back into camp for 5pm as had a sunset drive booked at 5.30. The ranger had had a delay so we went back to our bungalow to wait for him. Had the feeling this could be a disaster but how wrong could I be.
I will post this part of the adventure tomorrow morning as need to sleep for a few hours to get up again at 4.30am. I can’t believe I am surviving so well with no sleep and I have a cold coming too. Won’t stop me though, I can sleep when this adventure is over and I am back in the cold UK in winter. Hot here today and nice and sunny this afternoon.
Still haven’t had time to figure out how to get my pics on.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 8:11 pm 
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20th Jan 08 Night drive
Well I said was an eventful evening so I hope I don’t go on too much to make this boring for you all. We got back Biyamiti for the night drive to commence at 5.30pm but our ranger was held up in Malelane so we went back to our bungalow to wait for him.
Well at 6pm Benjy turned up and said it was just us two on the drive and it was to be his last night drive. He has had feet problems and is off to setup a village camp just outside Phabeni gate.
So we loaded up with camera’s, beers, and binoculars etc and headed off towards Crocodile Bridge. Dodging suicidal chickens as I call them (Franklins to everyone else), we quickly reached the end of the Biyamiti road. We crossed the bridge where the tractor had fallen off and headed round the corner to come literally face to face with 3 white rhino. They were as surprised as us I think and snorted a fair bit before trundling off into the increasing darkness. Just ahead we spotted a giraffe but we were on a mission.
For those of you that have never been on a sunset/night drive it is an entirely different experience than self drive. We were in the open sided vehicle with the front windscreen down so you feel as if you are going very fast
Benjy had been told there was a pride on lion seen on the Crocodile river road earlier on that afternoon and this was where we were headed. We turned on the spotlights which shine on the animals eyes and reflect back. Different colour eyes indicate whether they are nocturnal or diurnal, and whether carnivore of herbivore (so I have been told). Well Benjy could certainly tell what something was from the reflection in the eyes.
It turns out Benjy had escorted us on a morning walk with Andre from Talamati in Oct 06 when 14 of us came for my brother’s birthday.
Anyway back to the spotting..
So despite looking hard for lion along the Crocodile River road, we failed to see them. We did however see Genet, Martial Eagle, Giant Eagle owl (with pink eyeshadow on), and 2 more rhino groups, oh and bush babies.
Towards the end of the road we began to see huge numbers of impies, so very strange seeing that many eyes staring out of the darkness.
We reached the H4-2 near Crocodile Bridge camp and on the junction was the largest number of game I have ever seen – Impala, zebra and wildebeest. Amazing. Then the animals began to get fidgety and we saw some hyenas hungrily walking in amongst them. So eerie in the silent darkness. We followed them for a while before turning back to have a cup of tea at the junction and reflecting on how lucky we had been to see so much.
On the way back we saw more hyena, one crossed the road 5m in from of us in the headlights and we so very narrowly missed two rhino who galloped over the road. In all we had 5 different rhino sighting and 6 different hyena sightings. Wow!
Then to top it all off the lions (3 of them) had begun to settle for the night on the road (after two had mated). We sat and watched them settle down for 30 mins or so, just the 3 of us, the 3 of them and a beer or two. We could hear them breathe and smell their breath even.
We begrudgingly said goodnight to them and headed home playing dodgems with hares. Arrived back at 10 exhausted but with the biggest smile.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 9:04 pm 
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Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 4:57 am 
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Morning all,

Up at Olifants now and have asignal at last. Been out at Talamati with no signal for a few days. Heading out the camp now and up to letaba for breakfast. Will post the continued sightings notes there.

But....

I got my leopards on a BOGOF too! :dance:


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 Post subject: Monday 21st Jan
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 8:26 am 
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So to continue our adventure.

We left at 4.30am again and headed towards our next stop at Lower Sabie. We decided to take the route taken on last nights drive. Just in case...

We got on the crocodile river road and saw loads of impoes and just 1 male rhino who was covered in red mud. Looking very strange when the sunrise light caught him. Looked a bit like a new species had been created.

We found the lions in the same place and had coffee with them on our own for nearly an hour. If we haven't got a good lion picture now we should give our cameras away!

Back on our way we met up with ecowarrier on the H4-2 who had seen a leopard further up the road. Unfortunately we were there too late.

We did come across a large buffalo herd and also a hyena. Went to look for Duke too but no joy. However we did find another Hyena den with 3 different ages of cubs. From Crocodile Bridge or Lower Sabie take the S130 and turn onto the S137 towards Duke's waterhole. Go along 3k and there is a small turning on the left. The den is in here. If you get to the waterhole you have gone too far.

We sat here until we had to leave to head into camp for the night.


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Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 9:18 am 
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Hungry Lions on the prowl


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Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 7:09 am 
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we are currently up at Mopani and last night and again this morning did the Tropic of Capricorn loop.

There are just so many big bull elephants together including Alexander. M<ust be about 30 or more. Is this a normal occurance does anyone know?

Looks like an old boys club. A bit of tussling going on but mostly just all hanging together.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 6:35 pm 
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Hi again,

Yes, we have just decided to come south again and currently back at Skukuza. It was very different up north and a lot less game viewing. Also a lot less less people though.

I guess it depnds on the trip you are after. I am glad we made it up to Shingwedzi and feel a bit disappointed not to have made it up to Pafuri or Punda Maria.

However we only have 12 days in the park and are unlikelt to get back for at least a year or so and so have decided to return to get a glimpse of predators and more importantly to me more impies. I just love to watch the interaction and found it a little quiet in the north.

However, if i was here for longer i would definately choose to spend a lot more time further north. The tsessebe for example were wonderful and worth the trip on their own. May also be different in different seasons?

Either way, north or south this park is wonderful :D


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Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 7:38 pm 
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This is the the mummy leopard we saw on the way to Talamati with her 18 month (approx) cub. They stayed on the road with us, ducking and weaving for about 15 minutes.

At one point they both jumped up a bank nect to us, stood together, looked back at us, applied thier lipstick even, then posed......


We both still managed to miss the shot. Spud (my brother) would have got it for sure :mrgreen:


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Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 7:43 pm 
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This one is for the baboon boys of Bristol x

Wish you were here


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Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 7:55 pm 
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and i really. really, really, really thought this was a cheetah....

But can't be...


Rory saw it too :?


????


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Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 8:04 pm 
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lastpride wrote:
<...> really thought this was a cheetah....
But can't be... <...>

I'm probably missing an earlier clue... Why can't this be a cheetah?? :?

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