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 Post subject: Trip report
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2008 9:05 am 
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Hi there all! I have just returned from a very fruit full :clap: :dance: trip from KNP Skukuza!

I hope that I am posting this report at the correct place.

Day 1 (2 April) we entered at Orpen at opening time and had a fairly quite morning seeing zebra, wildebeest, ground horn bill, buffalo and 2 pairs of jackal on the way to Satara (not forgetting the many impala). On the road to Tshokwane at the Mazithi dam we spotted a pride of 6 lion that were lazing in the late morning sun. One of the lionesses spotted a warthog drinking and started stalking and the others followed suit but to no avail as the warthog was well aware of their presence.
Saw some Hippo in the Sabie river and then booked and pitched tent at Skukuza were I went for a late afternoon drive to Lake Panic!!!!!! WOW!!!!!!!! :lol: :D :clap: :dance: 8)
What a lovely spot, I would rate this as the most picturesque spots that I have ever seen in the park where we saw a variety of bird life and many close up hippo's. What a gr8 spot!!!
Very strange though up to that point we had not seen one elle or rhino.

I will post the rest of my trip in different sections and will attempt to add some pics as I am not sure how to do that!


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 Post subject: Pikkie Trip report
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2008 5:48 pm 
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Day 1 highlights!
Mother and child reunion!!!

Image

Lake Panic Hippo's WOW
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I will post day 2 highlights with some pics tomorrow.


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 Post subject: Trip report
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 9:11 am 
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Day 2
After many questions on the forum I decided to do the S114 that day as I only received gr8 reports. So as the gates opened I proceeded to the S114 and yes this road did not disappoint! A few minutes on this road when we spotted two pride males just lazing in the morning sun; this is one of them:
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We stayed and watched them for about 30min as they just lay and moved closer to one another.

Then we proceeded down past Renosterkoppies down the S114.
I made a mistake and instead of turning left where the H5 meets the S114 I proceeded straight, but boy was that a wonderful mistake for as we passed through a very dense rocky region I spotted something spotty and reversed to have a closer look when these, I assume, brothers walked out into the road just behind us!
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We turned around and followed these boys for close to an hour as they were patrolling and marking their territory. They must have just fed because they were absolutely sated!!!! We were the only people at this sighting!
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We then left the park to go to Komatipoort to buy medicine as my little daughter and myself had fallen ill. But nothing was going to stop this trip!
We re-entered the park and just outside Croc/bridge we found these vultures waiting for something to eat. It was obvious that the one could not wait any longer and had become very weary of waiting!
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We made our way back to Skukuza on the H4-1 and just the other side of Lower Sabie we met this old gal(lioness) that had killed and ate a porcupine, note the quill in her neck. She walked straight up to us where I could hear her coughing to dislodge the quill. She moved off into the veld as many vehicles were assembling on this highway.
Image

I will post day 3 highlights a little later.
Enjoy.


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 Post subject: Trip report
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 1:27 pm 
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Day 3
Up early and out of gates at opening time this day started with the mission to find the rest of the big five, Rhino and leopard but specifically look for doggies(wild dogs). So we set off on the H1-1 towards Pretoriuskop for I know there are plenty Rhino there and had seen wild dog on the S10 on two previous occasions.

Yet first stop was De Laporte watering hole! I love this water hole as I have gr8 sightings at this hole! I never miss stopping here when I am in that area. This is what De Laporte gave me on this wonderful morning.
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After that we took a very slow drive to the S10 stopping first at Transport dam where we found Waterbuck as usual at this dam and at Shitlave dam. The road offered sightings but nothing to mention about.
Did'nt go to P/kop first but straight to the S10 where we were greeted with this gr8 sighting!
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Seven wild dog lying next to the road. We sat there and took a couple of pics when all of a sudden they stood up and ran towards a tree.
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We soon saw why they had run in that direction. They had chased a Leopard up that tree :D :clap: :dance: WOW!!!!!
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We sat around and watched the commotion for about 45 min when the Leopard made a sudden dash to another tree where it kept the dogs busy for another 10 min before jumping out of the tree and darting away to safety! The rivalry between cats and dogs just never end especially in the Wild!
Strange enough we did not find any Rhino but after this gr8 sighting we went to P/kop and had breakfast there and took the S1 back to Skukuza. I went for a late afternoon drive on the S65 where I was lucky to spot a Serval but it was too quick for me to take a pic of it. A gr8 end to a gr8 day!!!!!!!


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 Post subject: Trip report
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 3:08 pm 
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Day 4
This day we took a drive towards Phabeni on the S1 also known as the Doispane Road. Compared to the other days (and that is where we make a mistake to compare days), this day started very quite but it delivered our first Rhino. We were very fortunate to spot this White Rhino and her calf.
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As we travelled down this road we came across a breeding herd of Elephant that were crossing the road, unfortunately there were too many other vehicles to take decent pics of them. :x
Turned right at the S3 and drove all along this road towards Kruger Gate. The road was a bit bumpy but the scenery was gr8! Back on the tar H11 we spotted a young adolescent male lion that was running in the road just ahead of us. Got a couple of pics but only from behind! :cry:
Later that afternoon I once again took the S65 where I spotted this young owl in a tree :? Can't figure out what owl it is but it has me fascinated!
Image
The very late afternoon drive produced this sun downer on the H4-1 for me:
Image
And so ended my fourth day in my favourite place on earth.


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 4:39 pm 
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Hi Pikkie

It is a Giant Eagle Owl. The pink above the eyes are unmistakable!

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 Post subject: Trip report
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 8:00 pm 
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Another forumite suggested (and I also thought so) that it was a Verreaux's Eagle Owl, is that the same as the Giant Eagle Owl and is it still young one?


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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 8:53 am 
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Yes, two names for the same bird, can also be called the "Milky Eagle Owl". But I do not think that is commonly used.

This one is less than three months old, after which it looks just like an adult. This one is just starting to show the adult features such as the facial disk.

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 Post subject: Trip report
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 10:16 am 
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Hi Imberbe

Thanks for the reply, had another sighting and I'm wondering if this is the same Owl species.
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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 10:19 am 
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Yes it is, see the "Owl" thread! :wink:

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 Post subject: Trip report
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 11:00 pm 
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Had slight technical problems but I'm back! Thanx for the gr8 comments.
Day5
Our friends left for home as the gates opened and we (my son and myself) escorted them to Kruger Gate. On our way there we saw large herd of Buffalo next to the road. Greeted our pals and took the S65 back to Skukuza.

Saw the young Giant Eagle Owl in the same tree again and proceeded to the N'waswitshaka water hole where we encountered our second leopard on this trip. It was leisurely walking away from us and I could only get the kitty from behind to prove to my wife and 2 daughters that we had seen a leopard! Further down the road we saw a huge elephant bull and some White Rhino and lots of Kudu.

This beauty met us next to the road and what makes this pic special is that this bush buck ewe posed for us and then moved away slowly, not the usual shyness!
Image

Back at camp to wake the gal's and we spent the Sunday around the camp.

Day 6

Day 6 started very quite on the S1 and we missed a lioness with her cubs next to a bridge by a few minutes. Very disappointed and dejected we continued onwards towards P/kop on the S3 and then on the S7! Few impies and lovely scenery but nothing to report about. JUST HAPPY TO BE THERE!

We had brekkie at P/kop and took the H1-1 back to Skukuza. At the Transport dam junction there were few vehicles next to the road, and there it was our third LEOPARD for this trip wow!!!!! :lol: :dance: :clap: You must please understand that Leopards are very scarce when we are visiting KNP. So this was wow! We watched this leopard for a while and took afew pics but it was to quick for me as it darted across the road right in front of us. it was so quick that I snapped the whole body except the head!
Image

On our way back we once again stopped at Lake Panic and stayed there for some time. Now this was wow! Apart from the gr8 bird life we saw Barbel, terrapins and this bush buck ram feeding in the shallow water. What peace I experienced at 'Lake Panic'
Image
Image


Last edited by Pikkie on Thu Apr 24, 2008 9:20 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Trip report
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 12:55 pm 
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I just fell in love with Lake Panic and it is my humble opinion that this the most beautiful place in KNP.
This was definitely the trip to see Leopards! Last year was the year of the wild dogs as I had 7 sightings last year and this year it is the year of the Leopards! Don't want to get ahead of myself but there are some more kitties on the way!!! That's if I sort the posting pics thing out.


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 Post subject: Trip report
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 9:17 am 
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Hi there everybody!
Day 7 was a special day!
Every morning my 5 year old daughter would pray for us and for the day! Every morning she would pray and ask for special sightings, and every morning she would ask in her prayer to see a Ostrich! As I have not seen any Ostriches so far south I just hoped and prayed in silence that my daughter would not be disappointed

Left the camp as soon as the gates opened (as per usual) and took the H4-1 towards Lower Sabie. Many impala's and then first up 2 lionesses tucked away in the bush and about 100m down the road lay this magnificent male lion :D
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Little further down the road we saw 3 Hippo's in the bush on the wrong side of the road; meaning that they had to cross the road to get to the river. This one crossed the road in a great hurry! Pls note the game rangers in the background on their bicycles!!!!! :shock: :roll:
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An early morning ice cream at Lower Sabie and of to the S28 where we saw a large herd of Buffalo and then stopped off at the Ntandanyathi hide. I felt sick this day and I could not fully enjoy this hide as I was ill. :cry: But still I would rather be ill in KNP than be ill and at home!
As we left the hide we came across 2 Ostriches and I was very pleased as my daughter had prayed and was excited to see them!
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Saw this water bird on the low water bridge close to Lower Sabie and I'm embarrassed to admit :red face: that I don't know what it is. All I know that it's not a LBJ as it is too big!
Image
We took the Tshokwane road back to Skukuza.
This day yielded many Rhino (plenty) but they were all quite a distance away


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 Post subject: Trip report
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 11:32 am 
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Day 8
Day 2 was a highly successful day when I started of on the S114 but I took the wrong road and landed up at Croc Bridge and therefore we decided to take the S114 right down to Malelane Gate.

First up was a small clan of Hyena; 2 adults and 3 sub adults and one little pup. Took plenty of pics but the lighting was not gr8 as it was still very early.

Close to the Biyamiti Weir I saw this Giant Eagle Owl. I now know and understand what a privilege it is to have seen so many Verreaux's Eagle Owl.
Image

At the bridge close to Malelane Gate this Monitor was right next to the road!
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So then we left and took the S110 where we saw this handsome male lion. I believe Lourens that does the morning walks and the evening night drives refers to this fellow as " my king". I do agree what a magnificent king. (I reeeeeealy love cats!!!!!!!)
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On the way back to skuks very close to the Mathekenyane Granokop this beaut of a elephant bull walked parallel to the road unfortunately a bit of a distance in the veld. Got a few pics but this one displays it's tusks the best. I wonder if this could be an emerging tusker?
Image


Last edited by Pikkie on Mon May 05, 2008 9:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 3:42 pm 
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note the game rangers in the background on their bicycles

super nice :dance:

the bird (not a LBJ :wink: ) is a goliath heron

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