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 Post subject: MLAMBANE and family in kruger - June/July 2008
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 1:14 pm 
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Hi guys, just got bak from 8 awesome days in the Park...

We spent 3 nights at Tamboti and 5 nights at Letaba.

Photos and highlights of the trip to follow.


Last edited by MLAMBANE on Tue Jul 08, 2008 7:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 1:46 pm 
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28/06/08

Arrived at malelane gate and started the journey through the park to Tamboti. 3kms out of the malelane gate we came across large herds of elephants and buffaloes. From then on as we moved further northwards the bush became drier and drier.

7kms south of Satara lions had made a kill, we were too late though as the vultures were already picking at the remains.

Arriving at Tamboti was once again a huge relief. Wow what an amazing place!!!!

The lions roared from far away the whole night...

29/06/08

Waking up early has got to be the best part of any Kruger trip.
The early morning smells...
The calls of the familiar scops and pearlspotted owls...
The calls of a hyena, lion or maybe even a leopard in the distance...
If at Tamboti the barking of the dominant male of the resident baboon troop...

Obviously with the start of a new day comes the excitement/anticipation of possible once in a lifetime sightings...

We decided to put foot and head of for the s39 Timbavati Rd, it is one of those roads for some reason that never has anything pinned up on the sightings board and I presume for this reason it is relatively quite.

9kms down the s39 we bumped into a herd of about 200 buffalo and then around the bend a pride of 12 lions: 2males, 2 females and 8 approximately 6month old cubs. I was just having one of those days and couldn't get the correct settings on the camera right so was unable to get any decent pictures. Once again our family saying "Where there is buffaloes, there is lions" proved to be true.

The rest of the morning we found dagga boys and small elephant herds pretty much everywhere.

The resident hyena and civet came to visit while cooking the braai, and at around 9pm a male lion began roaring in the riverbed in front of the camp.

A taste of the 30th...

Image


Last edited by MLAMBANE on Wed Jul 09, 2008 9:31 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 5:32 pm 
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Location: Gauteng
30/06/08

We headed for the s36 Muzandzeni Rd as the gates opened, we were not very lucky here and decided to take the sweni rd past welverdiend waterhole, again all we found were tracks left fresh from the nights nocturnal activity.

We then decided to do the H6 to N'wanetsi. No more than 2kms down the road we found the lionesses with their 4 cubs, the ones everyone seems to be seeing, right next to the road.

The one lioness in the previous picture is in a very bad state, her one eye seems partially blind, her one front leg is swollen and she is having difficulty in walking. She looks very old and battered. It appeared as if the injured lioness had stopped lactating as her nipples were not swollen... the cubs only fed of the other lioness. The other has a very characteristic notch out of her left ear so hopefully we can keep tabs on her progress with the cubs. I have a suspicion that the injured lioness is not the mother of either of the cubs, but rather finds it easier to keep up with the lioness with cubs and hence stays with her.

Image

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More pics to follow, and further sightings of the day...


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Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2008 7:49 am 
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Characteristic notch out of her left ear.

Click for larger image

Image

Later that afternoon the family decided to relax and and catch up on some much needed sleep. I went out, and 500m before the tar road two cars were sitting watching a female cheetah. I quickly phoned the rest of the family and they were there within seconds :mrgreen: It turned out that we spent the rest of the afternoon with her until she decided to cross the road and disappear into the bush. She was heavily pregnant and appears to be the same mother we saw in December with 4 sub-adult cubs :mrgreen:

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Image

That night we packed up and listened to the lions, at around 1am a leopard called in the distance


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Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2008 8:30 am 
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01/07/08

Up again at the crack of dawn. We decided to do our favourite road in the central part of the park, namely the s39 Timbavati Rd. Initially we didn't find much but then everything started to appear. Small dagga boy herds, and large elephant bulls in the river. A highlight was a tiny Sharpe's grysbok which is a rare sighting. Then onto Timbavati for a quick toilet break. In our family nothing goes unnoticed... we overheard another family saying lions were a few hundred metres up the road towards Ratel pan. Sure enough there they were in the thickets next to the river. 2males, 2 females and 2 tiny cubs. They then disappeared, and so to did the other cars watching them with us. We drove back and forth hoping to pick them up in the river. Eventually we caught them walking through the riverbed onto the road where we followed them all the way to Ratel pan where they vanished into the riverbed again.

The one male had a broken tooth hanging from his mouth visible in this picture

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That was pretty much it for the rest of the day besides a few elephant bulls past Olifants and onto Letaba.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2008 5:14 pm 
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02/07/08

Letaba is one of my favourite camps, however, due to the dense mopani vegetation game spotting is very difficult. The lions roared in the morning at the first turn to your left to engelhard dam... however all we found were their fresh tracks as they had already disappeared into the thickets. We proceeded along the letaba river to olifants and then took the dust road to balule where we found a waterbuck family and a clan of hyenas at their den. The rest of the day was quite dry with little sightings of even general game.

Hyena pup
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Young waterbuck
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03/07/08

At the gate by 5-50am to ensure we were first out. We set off along the tar road towards Mopani. We saw 7 hyenas trotting in the road at the s95 turnoff and then a few elephant bulls further along the way. Then decided to go and look at the Klein Nshawu waterhole as we had heard of a lion kill, sure enough there they were. Two huge male lions feeding off a dead buffalo.

Breakfast was at mopani, and then onto Tsendze rustic camp to catch up with an old friend from shimuwini bush camp, Rogers Hobyane. It was great to catch up with him after 5yrs.

That night back at camp, my brother and I were woken up at 2am by the calls of a leopard close to the camp fence. Since we hadn't seen one yet we decided to go look for it. We waited for it to call again and then headed off in that direction. This was not for the faint hearted... every pair of bush buck eyes that shone in the torchlight made you fear the worst, was it actually in the camp? :shock: Anyway we walked along the fence and as we got to the Fish eagle guest house we could go no further. Our one spotlight failled and to make matters worse the leopard called from no more than 50m away, you could even hear the gargling noise from its throat. However we could not see it as the bush in the camp was too thick to see anything through it. Oh well we didn't have to wait very long before we found what we were after... 8)

Back to bed we went


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Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 5:53 pm 
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04/07/08

Visible game around Letaba is sparse. For this reason going south would be our best bet. We took the tar road to satara and then went onto the s100 where we found 7 lions - which was no surprise :| other than that not much so we went for breakfast back at satara and then took the tar road back to Letaba. 14km from Satara we spotted a traffic jam - not a pleasant sight, however, we were told that two leopards had just made a steenbok kill and that they were hiding in some dense vegetation. We decided to wait and after 15mins the one leopard appeared and jumped into a tree far from the road. She had no visible signs of having been feeding (blood on her face etc). Anyhow 2hrs later she jumped down and made her way to the bridge on which we were sitting and when she got to the water she picked up a large barbel (catfish) and disappeared into the reeds. We never saw the other leopard and decided to call it a day.

Here she is disappearing - something leopards are well adept at doing :twisted:

Image

We were then entertained by several elephant breeding herds along the olifants river.

That night we went on the late night drive. We managed to see 3 civets :mrgreen: , spring hares, scrub hares an African wildcat pouncing on its prey, white rhino and many hippos close to the road. The guide was fantastic and we spent 40mins after the drive discussing Kruger's lion and leopard populations, their interactions with us and what effect TB is having on the lions.

Our last day was by far the best in every respect... :P


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Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 7:36 pm 
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05/07/08

The penultimate day!!! Again we were up before the birds eagerly awaiting gate opening time. We decided to do the same route as the previous day. Just after the Olifants bridge we got a Black Rhino :dance: :mrgreen: :dance: :mrgreen: he was very skittish but we managed to get a decent look at him. We then came across 3 separate hyena dens along the tar road :o each of which consisted of the mother hyenas suckling their pups in the early morning sunshine.

16km from Satara we caught up with two massive male lions walking in the road. We followed them for 2km watching them mark their territory and call out to the lionesses. True war dogs at work :mrgreen:


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No more than 2km further we noticed a car stopped at the same bridge at which we saw the leopard the previous day. We approached slowly and peered into the dry stream and out from under the bridge appeared the leopard in full view for everyone to see. It was a young female. I then spotted another leopard a few metres further in the reeds - so there was two after all :dance: -

Both were females so i can only presume they were mother and daughter. For the first time in 20yrs visiting the park i witnessed 2 leopards frolicking with each other in the wild :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: They were stalking each other, running up and down dead trees, jumping on each other and generally just having a great time. The best part of it was that there were only two cars at this amazing sighting. They then moved into a far tree when the noise arrived... :( :(

The daughter ready to pounce on her mother

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WOW WHAT A MORNING!!!!! :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

That afternoon we saw two huge buffalo herds near the camp as well as a few elephant bulls in the Letaba river.

Again we went on a night drive, however, this had to have been the worst one i have ever been on. The guide was different, and she had no interest in the drive at all. In fact she didn't stop once and mention any facts about the animals we had seen :( Fortunately with that aside we did manage to see three more civets and another African wild cat :dance:

06/07/08

The last day is always the worst :( We left out of Phalaborwa gate and on the way spotted a lonely jackal trotting in the road.

:mrgreen: -Another great holiday - :mrgreen:

Until august when we are back
again :dance: :dance: :dance:

I will post more pics, it just takes time with my laptop..

If there are any sightings you would like to see more of let me know i have loads of pictures of all of them :mrgreen:

I will definately post more leopard shots :mrgreen:

thanks :mrgreen:


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Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 7:57 am 
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As requested... :) Many more to follow :)

Image

Image

Image

Hopefully the rest will be up by today :mrgreen:


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Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 7:33 pm 
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Thanks guys!!! I will see if i can get any of the black rhino shots from my mom as i didn't get any...

Here is another leopard pic in the meanwhile...

Image


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