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 Post subject: Craig & Caroline in Kruger **LIVE**
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 8:43 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2005 10:11 am
Posts: 94
Location: Durban, South Africa
Hi Everyone,

We arrived in Kruger today and we are currently at Crocodile Bridge.

We got here at about 14:45 and it took us a little over 8 hours to get here from Durban. We stopped for about an hour for breakfast in Mkhuze so I don't think we made too bad time.

One thing that instantly strikes you when you arrive here is that it is sooo dry. Caroline and myself both think that this is perhaps the driest we have ever seen the park, it's actually quite depressing. However, you can at least see the animals when you do come across them!

And come across them we did. We set up camp as soon as we arrived, and went out for a drive at about 16:30, so we were only out for two hours. We took the short loop from Croc Bridge and back, the H4-2 - S25 - S26 - S108 - H5 - H4-2.

We saw: Scops Owl, Impala, Warthog, Giraffe, Kudu x 2, Dwarf Mongoose, Bateleurs courting (I think the word is allo-grooming), Ground Hornbills with juveniles, Buffalo in the distance, Elephant with babies close and relaxed, and finally ...

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Lion! On our first day. Hopefully this is a taste of things to come. Of course I probably jinxed it now! :doh:

I'm hoping report in at least once daily, at about this time, maybe more if time permits. The only place that I am not sure about will be when we are at Balule - not sure about cell reception and power there...

Our itinerary is:

Crocodile Bridge 6th
Lower Sabie 7th
Balule 8th
Skukuza 9th
Crocodile Bridge 10th

This was a very last minute trip, booked only one month in advance! (Well that's last minute for us anyway!) We couldn't decide where to go for our anniversary and decided to come to Kruger again.

Speak to you all again tomorrow.

Cheers
Craig & Caroline


Last edited by Craig on Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Craig & Caroline in Kruger **LIVE**
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:32 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2005 10:11 am
Posts: 94
Location: Durban, South Africa
Hi everyone,

Thanks for all the messages!

Currently sending this from the campsite at Lower Sabie via my phone so I'll post again this evening. I'm sitting under our gazebo in the shade but it is still very very hot!

We have seen lion again at a kill and the hyena were there too! Saw a nice herd of ellies too pretty much the same as yesterday not that I am complaining!!! :-)

Cheers
Craig


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 Post subject: Re: Craig & Caroline in Kruger **LIVE**
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:30 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2005 10:11 am
Posts: 94
Location: Durban, South Africa
Hi All!

Wow, the things we have to go through to get you reports! Right now the wind is howling, thunder and lightning are raging above. No rain yet but it looks like it is coming... In fact we had to take down the gazebo because it was looking like it would blow away over night! The ground is so hard that we couldn't get any tent pegs in and the gazebo was only tied to nearby trees to keep it down. We didn't want to take a chance so we took it down. Hopefully the tent won't blow away with us in it! :evil: So here I am typing this report in my car!

By the way I read that the photo wasn't loading yesterday. It should be now. I think there was a problem with the link I used. It was showing yesterday, but not when I logged in now. I think I have fixed it!

Ok so the report so far.

Well we're in Lower Sabie. We drove up from Croc Bridge this morning. It was lightly raining when we left, but that seemed to have dried up a couple of kilometers out of Croc Bridge. A few kilometers on we came across more lions who had made a kill during the night. I'm not sure what it was, probably warthog or maybe an impala, but it was pretty much gone by the time we got there. The hyenas were also waiting for their share, but I don't think they were going to get much as the lions were even chewing on the bones!

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We saw all the same things we saw yesterday otherwise, except for Steenbok which there seems to be plenty of up here. We also saw a huge herd of ellies who all seemed to be trying to get under the same tree for some shade. It was incredibly hot here today.

We also have seen quite a lot of kudu and they all seem to be in decent condition despite the drought.

We really didn't see much on the afternoon drive. We went north up the H4 and back via the Salitje road and around there a bit, nothing was happening, but we did see this cute little baby warthoglet! :D

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So cute! There seems to be a ton of warties around as well.

Tomorrow we're at Balule. I know there is no power there, but I'm not sure how the cellphone reception will be. If I can't do a report I will post it the next night from Skukuza. Otherwise I'll try and do a text only post from my cellphone where ever I can get reception.

So until then...
Cheers
Craig & Caroline


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 Post subject: Re: Craig & Caroline in Kruger **LIVE**
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 3:25 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2005 10:11 am
Posts: 94
Location: Durban, South Africa
Mgoddard wrote:
I know what it takes to post a "live" report and I thank you very much for your efforts :D :clap:

Such a cute warthog baby....Have you seen any impala lambs yet?


Hi!

Thanks for your praise!

Interestingly we have not seen any lambs yet. There are plenty of very wide impala but no lambs yet. I'm guessing that is due to the lack of rain. I think they are able to hold them in until optimal conditions (at least for a while) - perhaps now that there have been some substantial rains they will start dropping.

Cheers
Craig


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 Post subject: Re: Craig & Caroline in Kruger **LIVE**
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 4:01 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2005 10:11 am
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Location: Durban, South Africa
Hello again!

We're at Skukuza now and about to go out on our afternoon drive, but I thought I'd fill you all in on what has been happening since I last posted.

Needless to say it was too difficult to post from Balule. But not for the reasons I thought! There was no power but I should have had enough remaining power in the notebook and cellphone to do that. Remarkably there was cellphone coverage although only with slow GPRS Internet. Unfortunately my notebook battery is not what is used to be and I ran out of power just after I had transferred the photos to the computer. I then tried to do a quick update from my phone but for some reason the phone browser kept crashing just as I was about to submit the report! I took that as a sign that I needed to get some sleep.

I'll post some photos from yesterday a bit later.

You'll remember from the last report that the wind was blowing and there was a serious storm brewing. Well just after I finished the report and climbed up into the rooftop tent the heavens opened and the worst storm we have ever experienced in a tent happened. We were fine, we didn't blow away and we didn't even get (very) wet. We tossed and turned all night unable to sleep due to the weather and for fear that the car with the tent on top might blow over, but luckily it didn't! :big_eyes:

By the morning the storm had abated, but it was still raining moderately. We packed up in the rain and left Lower Sabie en route to Olifants to check in and then down to Balule. Because of the rain we didn't get out at gate opening time, but rather two hours later. We were rewarded though. We took the H10 from LS and only a couple of kilometers past the river we came across a KTJ (Kruger Traffic Jam). We drove up and found that someone had found five cheetah on a kill. We maneuvered into position and watched them for a while. It was a mother and four juvenile cubs. The mother was eating from the carcass and the cubs were running around in the rain playing and having the greatest time! Unfortunately the humans at the scene were completely blocking the road in the typical "I want the best view" style. Eventually tired of waiting for our turn of the best view we drove on. Unfortunately we were forced to drive slightly off road to get past all the cars.

Someone must have been smiling on us though because we were shortly rewarded AGAIN! Another couple of kilometers up the road we came across five more cheetah, another mother and juvenile cubs. These ones were not quite as playful and were quite skittish and scared of our vehicle, but they did provide us with some nice viewing and the best part was that we were alone with them for five to ten minutes!

That is pretty much all we saw in the day, other than the usual impala, kudu, steenbok and rhino. (Sorry, we do like seeing rhino, but we are from KZN and see them very frequently!)

We stopped at Satara for lunch and saw an ellie at the waterhole. Not sure if anyone saw that on the Satara cam. After lunch we ambled up to Olifants to check in, and then back down to Balule. By the time we were all sorted out it was too late to go for another drive, but we did have a nice chat to a German couple who were here on a whirlwind tour of South Africa and were asking us for advice on KZN destinations.

It rained again overnight but not nearly as much as the previous night, and there was little wind. As a result we did have a most restful night. Today we are wide awake!!! We left Balule and drove down to Skukuza, but really didn't see much at all during that trip. A couple camping behind us who seem to come to Kruger regularly were overheard saying that they often find that the viewing is not as good when there has been rain like this. So despite the lack of animals today I guess we have been very lucky with what we have seen!

One thing we have seemed to notice since we were here in the park is that the trees suddenly have started putting out new leaves. It's bizarre that they can react to the new rains so quickly. And the German couple asked us this too, so it is not just us that had noticed this.

Well Caroline is bugging to go out again so I have to go. It's off to go and get a toasted sandwich for very late lunch and then out for a drive. We'll be going to the Selati Restaurant tonight, which is our usual Skukuza custom. :dance:

I'll post those photos from yesterday a bit later when we get back.

Cheers
Craig


Last edited by Craig on Tue Nov 11, 2008 7:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Craig & Caroline in Kruger **LIVE**
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 10:34 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2005 10:11 am
Posts: 94
Location: Durban, South Africa
As promised, here are the cheetah photos from yesterday.

This is the first family of five:

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And the second family:

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On our afternoon drive today we went along the S1 towards Phabeni gate and found this cute little fellow sitting in the middle of the road!

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And afterwards we went and sat at the hide at Lake Panic. The water level is so much higher than it was a year ago when we were last here, and hippo have apparently moved in...

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We also saw a Night Heron fishing at the lake too:

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And plenty of you have expressed an interest in the fact that we try to do live reports whenever possible, that I thought you might want to have a look at our current set-up:

This is our "house":

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And this is me processing the photos ready for uploading to the web:

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Tomorrow we're going to visit Lake Panic again in the morning and then we head back to Crocodile Bridge - it'll be our last full day in the park. :( - we'll be taking some of the "round about" roads to Croc Bridge via the western side of the southern section.

Cheers
Craig


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 Post subject: Re: Craig & Caroline in Kruger **LIVE**
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 8:53 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2005 10:11 am
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Hi All,

Today was our last day of driving around the park and tonight we are at Crocodile Bridge before we leave for home in the morning.

Today was fairly uneventful, at least in the sense that we didn't get to see the last few things we wanted to see before we left, that being wild dog and leopard, but we did see quite a bit of the others, buffalo, elephant, lion, white rhino, hyena, klipspringer and waterbuck. We also saw six leopard tortoise (not all together!) and two terrapins (separately) walking through the bush nowhere near water!

We saw two tortoise crossing the road together (like what AfricanLynx saw), which we can only think is mother and juvenile.

Unfortunately none of the four lion sightings we had today really had any opportunity to take any decent photos as they were all sleeping and generally not doing much. The ellies were quite far off in a riverbed, but still quite a large herd.

We'll be sad to leave tomorrow, but we always know that someday, soon, we'll be back.

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Along the way we saw the same hyena pup that we saw last night and its sibling.

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I will most probably post a few more photos tomorrow night once I get home, so until then ...

Cheers
Craig


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 Post subject: Re: Craig & Caroline in Kruger **LIVE**
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 9:26 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2005 10:11 am
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Location: Durban, South Africa
Hi,

With heavy hearts we left Crocodile Bridge this morning and travelled home. The trip was long but uneventful.

Here are some bonus photos, hope you enjoy!

Thanks for all your comments, it's been great doing this "live" report.

Cheers
Craig

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 Post subject: Re: Craig & Caroline in Kruger **LIVE**
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 1:13 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2005 10:11 am
Posts: 94
Location: Durban, South Africa
p@m wrote:
Just one question -- who got out of the car to pose the cheetah so well ? :twisted: :lol:


Thanks P@m!

It does look like the cheetah were posing doesn't it? :-) I was thinking as they were coming together that these guys were such a bunch of posers, but I was secretly hoping that they would all sit down next to each other so that I could get that shot!

Cheers
Craig


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