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 Post subject: Alf-North to South KNP in 7 Days-January 2009
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 6:21 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2008 11:47 am
Posts: 378
Location: Centurion
Good morning everyone.

This trip was only booked end of october last year and which started with 4 days in the beginning eventually ended up with 7 amazing and relaxing days. I always wanted to do my north to south trip but with more of the idea that i would then stay atleast 2 days per camp, but with me being asleep and only booking end of october it made things very difficult to get any accommodation at certain camps.

So we ended up only sleeping 1 night per camp and only started at Shingwedzi and not at Punda Maria. :cry: This was very sad because you can't do a proper north to south trip without staying at Punda, but we had no choice so i booked an extra night at Mopani.

So the 7 days looks like this:
Mopani 4 jan 09
Shingwedzi 5 jan 09 (sunset drive)
Mopani 6 jan 09
Letaba 7 jan 09
Satara 8 jan 09 (sunset drive)
Lower Sabie 9 jan 09
Biyamiti 10 jan 09

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 Post subject: Re: Alf's relaxing trip from North to South in 7 Days
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 5:55 am 
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Location: Centurion
Day 1 - Pretoria to Mopani - 4 January 2009So we have set our alarm for 2:00am to get up and pack the car. We left Centurion at 3am and
this is where I feel my holiday starts. Can't wait to get to Kruger. Road was very quiet and we
arrived at Phalaborwa gate at 7:40am. Now this is where I can't wait to get out of my car just to
smell the bush.

Reporting at gate went smooth and the staff was very friendly but one thing I noticed was a sign
on the counter with travel times to certain camps. Now the distance from Phalaborwa to Mopani
is 76km and should take you between 3 - 4 hours depending how long you stop in between but
this sign on the counter said 1:30 hours drive??? So I enquire this and I was told yes that’s the
correct time. Wow I wonder, who recorded this time and what speed did they travel at.

So we enter the park and it was already 28.5 degrees. We decided to make a stop at sable hide
but not much water there. On our way to camp we took the H14 and saw the following: Giraffe,
Elephant, Impala, Zebra, Martial Eagle, Long tailed shrike and Swainson's francolin.

Arrived at Mopani 11:45am and by this time the temperature went up to 37.5 degrees. We got
bungalow no 23 but on arrival we couldn't unpack because they were still busy cleaning it.
So and me then decided it's time for a quick swim and when we got back at 1pm we had a
clean bungalow. We finally unpacked and I relaxed with a very cold beer. I decided not to take
an afternoon drive because it was very hot and we had a very long day. We ended our first day
in paradise with a braai and a lot more beers while we watched the sunset.

Tomorrow we are heading up to Shingwedzi. This will be our first time at this camp and the area
is also unknown to us. We saw no cats today but we are holding thumps for tomorrow.

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 Post subject: Re: Alf's relaxing trip from North to South in 7 Days
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 6:42 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2008 11:47 am
Posts: 378
Location: Centurion
Here's some pics
Image
Image
Image

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 Post subject: Re: Alf's relaxing trip from North to South in 7 Days
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 5:58 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2008 11:47 am
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Location: Centurion
Day 2 - Mopani to Shingwedzi - 5 January 2009

We got up at 4am and after a nice shower we started packing. On my way to the car at 4:35am I
I walked through a spider web and immediately dropped the luggage. Still very dark outside this
time of the morning and I searched my body, but no spider. At 4:50am I stopped at the box to
deposit the key and got the fright of my life. The spider I was searching for was sitting under
my right side mirror. So for the people that have visited Mopani before would know how big these
spiders get and you can see their webs alongside the road. It was a black spider with yellow and
blue stripes on the legs and believe me not my favorite. Being a nature lover I didn't want to harm
the poor fellow so it took me 10 minutes just to get it off my car.

Then decided to take the H1-6 road to Shingwedzi. Just a few km outside Mopani the sun
started rising. Wow what a beautiful sunrise.

Image

Stopped at the Tropic of Capricorn and just sat there for 5 minutes enjoying the peace and
quiet of what I call heaven. Then about 1 km further we see a car parked next to the road.
I wonder what this could be and approached the car very slowly. Lion shout SO and we see
a male lion walk into the bush. He was laying down not more than 10m from the road. Our
first lion sighting. I switched off the engine and waited for the king of the jungle to make his next
move. Then he got up and started roaring!!! Wow what an amazing sound. The whole car was
shaking.

Image

SO pointed out that a car was approaching from the front and I waved him down. Showed him the
lion and the guy looked at me and said calmly, oh he just got another male lion about 2km
further walking in the middle of the road. Decided to take our chance and moved on in search
of our second cat sighting. Not more than 3km further we see a car driving slowly, must be the lion
said SO. Yes indeed, it was a young male walking down the road marking his territory as he goes
along.

Image

Further on we didn't see much but we were very happy with 2 cat sightings in 1 day. Got to
Shingwedzi at 10:30am and decided there's enough time to do 2 more roads. People I know
was at Shingwedzi a week before and they recommended these 2 roads. Firstly the S56
Mphongolo loop which runs past a river, but no luck for us. The only animals we saw was Impala,
Giraffe and Buffalo. Then we took the S134 that loops around and joins the S50 towards
Kannidood dam. Once again only more Impala but then we saw a couple of Bushbucks. Booked in
at camp at 12:05 and where allocated Bungalow no 27. Very excited we headed to our bungalow
but upon arrival a guy came out of no 27 and said to me "Oh nobody has cleaned it yet, we must
come back later".

Image

Not very impressed we left and decided to take a swim to cool off. Arrived at 1:10pm and this time
we walk into a clean bungalow. Took an afternoon nap and got up at 4pm to go on our sunset
drive. This is our 3rd sunset drive in Kruger but this time the luck wasn't on our side.
We saw the following: Impala, Bushbuck, Crocodiles laying in the sun, and at the end after dark
just before camp on the H1-6 our luck changed and we saw 4 Hyaena's at their den.

Image

We ended day no 2 in paradise. Wow it's amazing to be here. We are so lucky to spend 7 days
in heaven. Tomorrow we return to Mopani and from there we start our journey south.

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 Post subject: Re: Alf's relaxing trip from North to South in 7 Days
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 6:08 am 
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Location: Centurion
Day 3 - Shingwedzi - Mopani - 6 January 2009

We checked out the sightings board yesterday and the H1-7 road from Shingwedzi to Punda
Maria was very popular. We then decided to go up to Babalala Picnic spot to check it out and were
hoping to see some cheetah and wild dogs that were spotted here yesterday.

Once again no luck but we saw 3 Elephants and a few Zebra. Arrived at Babalala at 6:30am and
no Sanparks employee in sight. Saw a white-faced scops owl in the tree and decided to move off.

Image

Took the H1-7 back to Shingwedzi and saw this Black-backed jackal, but unfortunately he was in
a hurry and SO could only get him in action.

Image

Then drove the S103 to the Olifantsbadpan and saw this Elephant cooling off in the heat. But when
he saw us watching him he decided to approach and chase us away. He wasn't very impressed.

Image

Image

Then we took the S144 and saw these Tawny Eagles sitting on the ground. Not sure what they
were up to. Then we turned right onto the S143 and not very far down we got our first Kori
Bustard. Then we turned right onto the S50 and then very far in we saw our first
Red Hartebeest but too far for a photo. That's my first ever sighting of this beautiful antelope.

Image

Arrived at Mopani camp at 11:55am. Funny enough we got the same bungalow that we had 2 days
before. No complaints we unpacked and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. But this time we
decided to do an afternoon drive and visit Shipandane hide. What a wonderful hide if you want to
be close to some hippo's.

Headed back to camp just before gate closing time and started a fire to end another amazing day
in paradise. At my braai we saw these ants removing their eggs from the nest. Not sure why.
But after spending 10 minutes watching them it looked as if they are just taking all the eggs back
into their nest, very confusing for me.

Image

Tomorrow we are heading south to Letaba. This is one of my favorite camps.

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 Post subject: Re: Alf's relaxing trip from North to South in 7 Days
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 7:33 am 
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Joined: Wed May 11, 2005 8:22 am
Posts: 156
Location: Western Australia
:thumbs_up: Keep going, Alf!

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KRUGER TRIP 2013

24/11 - 27/11 Lower Sabie
28/11 - 1/12 Olifants
2/12 - 5/12 Skukuza
x
9/12 - 11/12 Pretoriuskop
12/12 - 18/12 Satara
19/12 - 22/12 Berg-en-Dal


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 Post subject: Re: Alf's relaxing trip from North to South in 7 Days
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:57 am 
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Location: Centurion
Day 4 - Mopani to Letaba - 7 January 2009

Again we got up at 4am. The road somewhat quiet this morning. Went down the H1-6 and then
turned right onto the S48 Tsendze loop. This is a beautiful little road that runs along the Tsendze
river but very dry this time. Saw 4 Elephants standing in the dry riverbed searching for water.
We turned back onto the H1-6 and then left onto the S62 towards Matambeni hide. This is a
very scenic road that passes alongside the Letaba river a few times. Very hot again today
and my car shows it's already 30.5 degrees and it's only 8:16am now. We then took the S46
in hope of seeing a Leopard that's resting in a tree but again the luck isn't on our side.

Image

We get to camp at 12:05. They are busy upgrading the office block and the Sanpark staff
are using mobile offices. Not very much space inside but the staff are making up for it with
very fast service. We are booked into bungalow no 30 and for me this is the bungalow with the
best view inside Letaba camp.

Image

Again we decided to hang out in the pool for a few hours just to cool off. When we got back
at our bungalow I took the binoculars and searched the river and found a lonely Elephant
cooling off up the river. We had such a nice view of the sunset over the river that I felt that this
is the place where I would love to retire. Tomorrow we are going to Satara and we hope to see
more cats. We always had good luck around the Satara area because everyone knows it's
cat country.

Image

Image

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Alf's relaxing trip from North to South in 7 Days
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:01 am 
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Location: Centurion
Image

The sunset at Letaba. So gorgeous!!!! :dance:

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 Post subject: Re: Alf's relaxing trip from North to South in 7 Days
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:02 am 
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Location: Centurion
Day 5 - Letaba to Satara - 8 January 2009

As usually we got up at 4am and hit the road at 4:50am. This is where the road started
getting more busy with more cars on the road. Now I know why a lot of people prefer the north.
All the way from Letaba to Olifants we had cars passing us doing a lot more than 50km/h.
We decided to pop in at Olifants camp to check if they are finished with the lookout.
A lot of work going on at the restaurant area and we see that they are planning a new wooden
deck area. The new lookout has been upgraded nicely.

Image

Then we decided it's time to move on and just 1km outside the gate we saw a red-crested
Korhaan. This is my first time to see this amazing bird. We were just in time to see him doing
his arial display were he starts by clapping his beak a few times and then switches to the
whistling call and then he flies up steeply to about 20m into the air and then tumbles as though
shot, almost to the ground. It all happened so quickly and before we knew it he was back on the
ground and we couldn't get any shot while he was in the air.

Image

Just 2km before the S39 we get to our first traffic jam. This must be Lions. And yes there is
a huge Male Lion and a female Lion laying next to the road. But you always get the people
with their Nissan Nivara's who park right in front of it and don't move to let any other people
see it. The only picture we could get was the female lion with the male behind the bush.

Image

Then about 1 km further we get to our second hyaena den but they disappeared quickly into
the stormwater pipe under the road. We stayed about 5 minutes but with no luck.

We then moved on and turned right onto the S39 past Roodewal bush lodge. We saw Giraffe,
Impala, Zebra and Wildebeest on this road. We then stopped at Timbavati picnic spot which
was very busy and they had no coldrinks. This is the only place where we saw a yellow ribbon.
We then left and took the S127 back to the H1-4 and then just before the tar road we saw our
first 2 white Rhinos looking for some shade.

Image

We went past Satara just to take a quick drive on the FAMOUS S100. Nothing much happening
here but we get 3 Elephants taking a shower. We are the only car watching them. Then 11:55 we
decided to head to camp to book in. We get Bungalow no 9 in circle A. These units were
upgraded and looks very nice. Again we drop by the swimming pool to cool off.

We then went on our sunset drive but this must be the loudest crowd we ever had on a sunset
drive. They never stopped talking for 1 minute. With all this noise we ended up seeing no cats.

Tomorrow we are going down to Lower Sabie.

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 Post subject: Re: Alf's relaxing trip from North to South in 7 Days
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 6:29 am 
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Location: Centurion
Day 6 - Satara to Lower Sabie - 9 January 2009

We get up our usual time and as we go out the gate we get 3 Buffalo's standing next to the road.
They are not more than 10m from the gate. I tell SO this means good luck and we turn right onto
the H1-3. Just as we get to the H6 turn off we get our first traffic jam for the day. Lion on the
right I say but they move quickly into the bushes and the whole traffic jam moves and turns
right onto the H6. We continue on the H1-3 and then just before the S126 I see something
move between the bushes on the right. I hit the brakes and reverse. 2 female Lions walking about
50m from the road. Not even 2 minutes goes past and another 3 cars joins us. I decided to move
on. Wow not even 30 minutes out of the gate and already 2 cat sightings. This is our lucky day.

Then I turned right onto the S86 N'waswitsontso loop. Not very far before we get 3 Giraffes inside
the dry riverbed. And then as I went around the next bend SO shouts STOP, Lion. I though
this must be a joke, but no there was 5 lions laying in the shade. We ended up sitting there
for 30 minutes and we were the only car. No Nivara parked in front of me this time. Eventually
the lions got up and moved off into the bushes. We then carried on and 500m further we got
4 Buffalo's taking a bath.

Image

Image

Image

Then we had a quick stop at Tshokwane to look at the sightings board. Hehe we are the first
people to add 2 lion sightings on the board. We then left and just after Tshokwane we got a
heard of about 15 Elephants crossing the road. And then we saw our first Njala bull standing
inside the dry riverbed of the Munywini river.

Image

Then we took the H1-2 towards Skukuza to get some cash. The road was very quiet and we
only saw Impala. Had a quick visit at the Stevenson Hamilton Library and then off we went
towards Lower Sabie on the H4-1. Here I got a car that overtook me while I was doing 45km/h
and it looked as if I was looking for parking. Wow what speed was he doing. Then we saw 2
Elephants taking a bath in the Sabie river and the 1 was an upcoming tusker but I couldn't get a
decent picture of his tusks. Got to Lower Sabie at 12:30 and were given Bungalow no 5.

Image

We had an afternoon nap and woke up at 5pm just in time to start the fire and to watch the
sunset over the river. Tomorrow we have our last day in Paradise and are going to Biyamiti.

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 Post subject: Re: Alf's relaxing trip from North to South in 7 Days
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2009 3:56 pm 
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Location: Centurion
Day 7 - Lower Sabie to Biyamiti - 10 January 2009

Today is our last day in Kruger and you can feel the sadness in the air. We leave camp at 4:40am and went down the S28 in search of Duke.
But no Duke for us today. And just before we get to the turnoff for
Ntandanyathi hide I look in my rear view mirror and see a cheetah cross the road behind us. Cheetah I shout and reverse,but no cheetah.
All we hear is baboons making noise about 100m into the bush. This is not our day today I say to SO and we carry on. Just before
the end of the S28 we get our biggest traffic jam yet. We stop at the back but not sure what the people are seeing. People started
driving into the bushes to have a better view. The guy in the
middle of the traffic jam in standing right across the road. Nobody can get past him from either side. We waited for 20 minutes and still
had no clue what they are seeing.

Then I decided it's time to squeeze through and try to get past. As we got next to the guy in the middle I could see a female Lion
behind a bush ready to hunt for Zebra that is 20m away and
had the urge to stop before this Idiot and tell him he stops like an ass. But SO told me not to and we got through the traffic jam without any pictures. We got through the traffic jam without any pictures.

We then had a quick stop at Crocodile bridge and took the S25. Not far in we see a lot of vultures sitting in the tree and underneath it is
a carcass. Sjoe the smell is bad so we carry on.
Not far from this the same story, another carcass with vultures up the tree. This one smells even worse than the first.


Image

Image

We then stopped at Berg en Dal to get lunch but left after just
5 minutes after the lady told me they don't have any cheese or ham to put on sandwiches. I mean there's cheese and ham inside the
shop 10m away from her. Why can't she just buy
some there. We then headed to Afsaal where the service was excellent. By this time the temperature went up to 43.2 degrees

We finally got to Biyamiti at 12:45pm and found the office locked with only a paper on the door showing who occupies which bungalow
and that we can only book in after 2pm. We unpacked
and enjoyed the peace and quiet of this spectacular little camp.

Image

We booked in at 2:15pm and were told they were offline the whole morning. At 6:10pm the wind started picking up and the dark clouds
started moving over. This would be the first rain we get
for the whole week. And by 6:45pm it started raining and we couldn't even braai for the last night inside the Park.

The week inside the park were amazing and very relaxing, especially in the north. Yeah the north will most definatly see us again.
Now I feel like a new person again but I'm not ready to leave.
We must go home tomorrow and start work on Monday. We have very sad faces. But don't worry we will be back for a week in March.

Image

Image

Image

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Alf's relaxing trip from North to South in 7 Days
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 4:14 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2008 11:47 am
Posts: 378
Location: Centurion
Here is a last few pics of my trip. Enjoy!!!

Image

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I will be back in KNP in 3 and a half weeks.

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