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 Post subject: CB to PM in 10 days
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 11:24 am 
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Location: Centurion, ZA
We arrived at CB, where we were to spent the first two nights, at 15h30. The reason for staying at CB was to hopefully get to see Duke.

We were on the S28 at 16h00 and came across 3 elephants about 7 km into the S28. Did not look like anything spectacular but we stopped to look anyway.

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Good thing too!

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Could not have had a better start to the trip :D :D :D


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 Post subject: Re: CB to PM in 10 days
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 2:01 pm 
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We certainly were very lucky. This was our first sighting of Duke and it was very special. We also got to spend about an hour with him. It was amazing to see how many cars just drove pass not bothering to stop. We were only 2 cars that hung around for the time Duke was there.

The next morning we were back on the S28 but not so Duke. The park was very dry and there was not much game around. We saw a cute stennbok couple

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We stopped at the Ntandanyathi hide and enjoyed the hippos for a while. A fish eagle made an appearance

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Mlondozi dam was completely dry. The only game around were rhinos. We had many rhino sightings on ths trip including very young calves with their mothers. Now this is a success story. I remember how difficult it was to find rhino in the seventies when there were only about 500 white and 50 black. Apparently the population of the white rhino now stands at about 6000.

White rhino chilling near Mlondozi dam

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The colourful and ever present lilac breasted roller

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 Post subject: Re: CB to PM in 10 days
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2008 6:11 pm 
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Our two nights at CB were over and we were very happy to have seen Duke. The next two nights were at Biyamiti. As you can only get your accomodation at noon we decided we will take the S28 to LS and then the S128, S30 and H4-1 to Skukuza.

At the low level bridge just outside LS we saw two pied kingfishers and also a giant kingfisher

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The S30 was quiet but just before we reached the intersection with the H12 there were a few cars parked off. It was a LIT feeding on an impala but too far for decent photography.

On the H4-1 just before Skukuza a gymnogene

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and this impala lily in Skukuza made a pretty picture

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After Skukuza it was the S114 and S139 to Biyamiti. We reached Biyamiti at 12h30 and spent the afternoon in camp. We saw buffalo, elies and rhino from the hide and in a tree just outside our cottage got our fist sighting of a barred owl

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As usual, Biyamiti was good to us but we could have never imagined what lay in store for us for the next day.


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 Post subject: Re: CB to PM in 10 days
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 8:04 pm 
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Today we are doing the morning walk. We leave Biyamiti at 06h00 and make our way on the S25 towards CB. We are meeting a group from CB on the S25. Walking in the bush is always a thrill and if you get close to game it is a bonus. When we get to the rendezvous the CB people are already there and looking at 2 male lions. We all get off and the lions see us and move off into the bush. The 4 people who join us are from Belgium.

We are in an area that is dense thorn thickets and visibility is poor. We are about to have an experience of a lifetime and unfortunately do not have any photos so I hope this written description gives you a feel of our experience.

We slowly encircle and move towards where the lions are. They are in a thicket and we can hear them growling, not really roaring, as this is more of a warning that they are here and back off. Jerry our head guide informs us that lions will first move away when they see humans but then take up a position where they will hold ground and warn you not to come any closer.

The lions are about 30m away but we can hardly see them when suddenly we hear a twig snap to the left of us. Jerry immediately tells us from the snapping twig – Black Rhino feeding. Elias the other guide soon has us all behind a tree. The lions are now getting more vocal and we see one black rhino in a clearing. Then it disappears but another one and a calf appears in the clearing and head towards the first one. They are moving closer to the lions.

For the next twenty minutes we are between the lions and the black rhino and get only one very brief glimpse of one of the lions as it stands up when a black rhino gets too close. We get more than an eyeful of the rhinos as they move around. The atmosphere is electrifying and this is one major adrenaline rush. Eventually the rhino get wind of us and disappear into the bush.

We back off and have our snacks and drinks break. The initial euphoria has now worn off and it at this point one realizes how dangerous the situation could have become.

At this point I highly commend both Jerry and Elias who were brilliant and although they wanted us to experience the magic of the moment did not take any risks and were always in control of the situation putting our safety first. Thank you Jerry and Elias for the wonderful experience.

We have got very close to lion from the safety of our car and had seen black rhino three times before (once on a night drive with Jerry from Biyamiti) but this experience was something else, forever etched in the memory.


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 Post subject: Re: CB to PM in 10 days
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 7:52 pm 
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After the thrill of the morning walk we just relaxed in camp. We did go out for a drive in the evening and my SO commented that maybe we should just stay in camp as a lot of the action at Biyamiti is around the camp in the vening.

We got back to camp about 5.45pm and there were a number of cars just outside the gate. They had seen a leopard. We were soon at our cottage and our neighbour came hurriedly to us to tell us that there were lions in the river bed and also rhinos.

We saw the lions but the rhinos had moved on. At 6.30 the receptionist came to our cottage to return our wild card and told us that when she went to close the gates at 6.00 the leopard was just outside the gate and she had to make a lot of noise to send it packing - amazing stuff.

The "Biyamiti lion chorus" were in full cry that evening in the river bed. We have seen this pride on a number of occassions when staying at Biyamiti - still our favourite camp.


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 Post subject: Re: CB to PM in 10 days
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 8:58 pm 
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We are now on our way to Satara where we will spend the next 2 nights. It is a quiet morning and we have a break at Tshokwane.

We decide to get on to the S36 via the S125. We hope to find sable antelope somewhere along the S36 but it is a very quiet morning.

At the Shimangwaneni dam we find some buffalo and then further in there are sable – we count 11 of them and they are playful and frolicking around chasing one another and it is a pleasure to watch them.

One bull eventually gets close enough for us to photograph.

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The next morning we do the walk from Satara and once again it is wonderful to be in the bush on foot. We see a giraffe and impala but not much else.


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 Post subject: Re: CB to PM in 10 days
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 6:12 pm 
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After the morning walk we decided to do the S36 in the hope of finding the sable herd again. No such luck – all we kept finding today were lions.

First a lioness and two males at the Tinhongana waterhole on the S33. The female hogged the waterhole and kept the giraffe and wildebeest at bay.

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The males slept away but when the lioness joined them she got the attention of one of them.

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Then a large pride at the Mazithi dam on the H1-3 but not close to the road.

Followed by 2 lionesses feeding on a wildebeest on the Gudzani end of the S100

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And 5 lionesses on the Satara end of the S100.


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 Post subject: Re: CB to PM in 10 days
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 6:35 pm 
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We are now on our way to the north for two nights at Bateleur and two nights at Punda Maria.

Just outside Letaba an ellie with attitude leaves no doubt about who has right of way and make us wait for 20 minutes before we or anybody else can pass.

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We see this brown snake eagle enjoying its snack but it gets tired of us and takes off.

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Just before Babalala picnic site there is a herd of tsessebe and amongst them one Lichtenstein’s hartebeest which is totally accepted by the herd.

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 Post subject: Re: CB to PM in 10 days
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 8:44 am 
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I have been having problems with login too but here I am now. Thanks to all of you for the comments.

Fieryneck, our rationale for doing S to N is that the S is so much easier to get to from Pretoria and we like to get the "zoo" part of the park done first and then move to the more tranquil part of the park. Our modus operandi for the N is just to park of at a dam and hope to see some of the things on our wish list.
i.e. roan antelope, racket tail roller, pels fishing owl to name 3. Frank at Pufuri has been seeing Bohms spine tail regularly but we were not that lucky on this trip

Rooibosrandt dam, klopperfontein dam, pafuri picnic site and the stretch og the S63 that closely hugs the luvuvhu river have become firm favourites with us.

The animal concentration is less dense but the quality of sightings are so much better. Don't get me wrong, we enjoy the south too. What has been disturbing about the N in recent times is the the H1-8 been used as a throughway to Zimbabwe and you find these fully laden bakkies, buckling under load, and speeding away to Pafuri gate.


Arks, I had you in mind for a later segment of my report as I will need your expertise on a possible emerging tusker.

Rusky, after we saw Duke my SO remarked, "If I do not see anything else on this trip thats fine".

Thank you Anne-Marie, Lorraine and p&m.

I have just realized that I have missed posting 2 photos. The first is of a pair of bateleurs on the H1-5 just after the H8 turn to Olifants.

This is the third time we are seeing them in the exact same tree.

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The second is of the Mopane trees which are ever so beautiful this time of the year with all the different hues of orange, brown, red and green.

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 Post subject: Re: CB to PM in 10 days
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 10:26 pm 
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Thank you Pumbaa and John.

There were many good things about this trip but there were a few dissapointments too.

The first was finding Silolweni dam bone dry. It was drained as the the blue-green algae had really taken over (due to the hippo faeces) to an extent where it was killing off other aquatic life.

They apparently now going to discourage hippo getting in to dam and it will be interesting to see how this will be managed.

Then when we got to Bateleur we were really sad to learn that the hide had burned down.

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We had spend many an hour here enjoying ellies and once even a leopard - now it was no more :( :( :(

at our cottage we had a vist from the beautifully patterned Natal Francolin which came to check if evrything was OK.

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The third disappointment was that our morning walk form Bateleur had to be cancelled as only one guide was available.

Anyway we spent the next morning at Rooibosrandt dam and our arrival disturbed a Sharpes Grysbok which fled into the bush.

We had a big herd of buffs come for a drink and also impala, warthogs and a steenbuck. Some of the the birds there were 2 saddle billed storks, white faced ducks, a grey heron and the resident fish eagle.

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Still waiting to see my first Roan in KNP. Maybe in the next three days?


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 Post subject: Re: CB to PM in 10 days
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 6:34 pm 
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This "smiling" buffalo was seen near Babalala picnic site

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Zebra and foal bonding

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and thsi emerging tusker was seen on the S56 about one km from Babalala. Arks, does this one qualify and if yes is it accounted for?

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 Post subject: Re: CB to PM in 10 days
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:21 pm 
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Sharifa wrote:
thsi emerging tusker was seen on the S56 about one km from Babalala. Arks, does this one qualify and if yes is it accounted for?

Sharifa, you shoud definitely enter your tusker, looks like a good candidate. I don't know whether it is a "known" one, and from the very small pix we currently have here (I sure hope they get the pix situation sorted soon!! :wall:) , I think that it is impossible to see enough detail to tell.

_________________
RSA 2014
20-16 Oct Joburg
27-30 Oct Mapungubwe: Limpopo forest tented camp, Leokwe camp
31 Oct-1 Nov Pafuri River Camp
2-15 Nov KNP: Punda Maria, Sirheni, Olifants, Tamboti, Skukuza
16-22 Nov Cape Town
23 Nov-20 Jan Darling


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 Post subject: Re: CB to PM in 10 days
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:04 pm 
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AT PM we did the flycatcher trail but did not see anything. However just alongside the communal braai area we saw some birds incuding the white throated robin

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and Heuglin's robin

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The next morning on the H1-8 close to the turn off to Klopperfontein Dam we saw another herd of tsessebe. If you look at the photo you will see a mother and calf in the background

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They tried to join the herd but just were not accepted and chased around by all and sundry as this photo might show.

We saw this for 20 minutes until they were driven away.

Strange that the herd by Babalala had accepted the Lichtensteins hartebeest but these were not, probably because the calf is viewed as a danger to the herd from predators

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 Post subject: Re: CB to PM in 10 days
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 7:49 pm 
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I am quite excited today as we are going to two of my favourite places in KNP. The first is Klopperfontein dam and the second is the Luvuvhu river loop on the S63.

On the information board we saw that lions and a leopard were seen on the Mohonie loop the day before but it is that other spotted cat (cheetah) that we want to find. A Cheetah was seen on the intersection of the H1-8 and H13 two days ago and we have also occasionally seen cheetah and wild dogs on the H1-8. The H13 is also suppose to be good for roan antelope.

All we see on the H13 is a herd of ellies and soon we are heading north towards Pafuri. We turn into the S61 and at Klopperfontein we find cats, not the ones we looking for but I am not complaining.

These lions were very alert and unlike their cousins in the south who are so used to traffic and “pose” for the camera these tried to stay hidden behind the grass at all times but were curious enough to want to have a peep at us.

You will also see how well they are camouflaged and blend into the grass. In fact if one did not stand up as we drove past we may have not seen them. We were facing the sun but managed to get some photos.

Spot the two cats

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and this single one

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this one never took her eyes off us and remained behind the bush.

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OK where is the second lion in this photo

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or in this one

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 Post subject: Re: CB to PM in 10 days
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:34 am 
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Yeah, we really enjoyed that and as I’ve said before the quality of the sighting in the north is so much better. We were the only car and after about twenty minutes they had moved in just as another car pulled up and missed it all.

We spent some time at the dam but as the presence of the lions in the area seemed to be detected by other animals nothing was coming towards the dam so we were on our way to Pafuri.

At Pafuri picnic site we spoke to Frank and he informed us that he had seen the Bohms spinetail but we could not find one. About a km away from the picnic site we found about a 100 crested guinea fowl.

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These four were having a little "skinner" (gossip)

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And this one thought it was a road runner

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or was he trying to be a black korhaan

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Back to the guinea fowl, they were cackling all the time and quite fun to watch - aren't they just beautiful

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