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 Post subject: Our first KNP trip Aug. 2005
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 2:19 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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On July the 26th we set off from the UK on our trip to South Africa leaving behind our three British Bulldogs, something we and they hate us doing. I shall attempt a better trip report on return from the Drackensburg, Kruger and Mapungwabe but for now I will give it a whirl from our trip in 2005. I do apologise for the pictures from my first rather poor digital camera but I hope they give a glimpse into our trip.

Day 1 - cape town to Berg-en-dahl

It was early August 2005, our 5th visit to Cape Town, a few days earlier I had had the best day of my life, My wedding day at the Mount Nelson Hotel in front of my family and SO’s sister and husband. I didn’t know then but this day would begin to run my life for the next two years……..

It was our honeymoon and we were flying to joberg and then driving onto Kruger for 5 nights – Berg-en-dahl x2, Satara, Oliphants and Lower Sabie., for four of us.
We didn’t know what to expect, we had done a day trip outside Cape Town to a game farm and driven around a big field and also visited Addo for two days.

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We boarded our people carrier and set off for the fourish hour drive to Melelane gate, a pleasant and scenic journey with no holdups or problems at all and we soon arrived at Melelane Bridge before the gate. We pulled up behind another vehicle and got out, this was it!!! Would I like it, get board, get eaten…!! Then next to us a Kingfisher landed big, black and white and very elegant at this point it didn’t matter what it was called it was something new. We all then seemed to look down into the river below, crocodiles moved in the water like B52 bombers with spitfire fish darting around them as they fended of other fish from there sandy nest sites in the river bed. I could have watched for hours. On looking up there was a warthog some distance away drinking……If I turned around and drove back to Johannesburg I would already have had a great experience and would wish to return some day, I was already bitten by the Kruger bug and felt like this is where I feel at home, why? I don’t know just something inside me clicked.

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Will try and post pictures in the next section, be gentle with me im learning!!!

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SAY NO TO HOTELS IN KRUGER NP...before its too late

Month in Kruger July/August 2015


Last edited by john n poppy on Thu Jun 19, 2008 8:51 am, edited 5 times in total.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 8:48 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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We arrived at the gate handed over our paperwork and were off in a few minutes, berg-en-dahl here we…..ARE, thought it was going to be a lot further and saw relatively little on the way, I don’t think we even saw an Impala.

Booked in at Berg-en-dahl and went to the dam viewpoint, nothing to see except lots of terrapins along the side and in the water. We decided to go to our cottage and then go for a quick drive around. Cottage was superb, especially liked the small impala Lilly bushes ( I think this is what they are).

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We chucked our things in and set off on the loop around Berg-en-dahl. After 20 minutes or so we pulled over and scanned the horizon…a giraffe, about a km away up the side of the hill was a giraffe, even through the binoculars it was tiny..but a giraffe. A car came over the hill and asked us what we had seen….in an excited voice we said ‘Giraffe over there’ but before we could point and show our sighting they were off….How rude. We stayed another five minutes and then set off to find four giraffe by the side of the road just over the hill!! We all looked at each other and smiled, that’s why they didn’t hang around. Well these were now our giraffes and we staked claim to them for 20 minutes, turned the car off and just enjoyed their space with them…BLISS. Our drive back was uneventful but we enjoyed it non-the-less.

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Month in Kruger July/August 2015


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Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 11:59 am 
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Thanks for all the comments and to Dinkybird for helping me with the pics.

We arrived back at camp having learnt the first Kruger lesson, ‘Don’t point out giraffes to other people’. We learnt later on why having seen so many we began just driving past and only slightly slowing, a shame as they are beautiful animals.

That night we all went on a night drive, we saw the usual but it was still exciting and our first time. We did encounter two vehicles out on a gravel road that had allegedly gotten a flat tyre!! And heading for Berg-en-dahl, the driver gave them directions and a pep talk and then allowed the two cars full of French twenty-something’s to carry on.

That night we slept like babies and dreamed about what we might see tomorrow.

Day 2

Woke up early to go on our morning walk, saw very little but very interesting learning about white hyena poo and how male and female elephants can be detected by their urine direction, on poo for a lady and front off poo for a male.

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We arrived back and met other male, who hadn’t joined us, by the dam watching three elephants, it was a great place to sit have an ice cream and watch the wildlife, there was also a small deer just by the fence, lovely to see it up close. Peace was soon shattered by a baboon wandering around in the camp a bit big for our liking so we made our way back to the cottage.

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I know we shouldn’t have but on our way along the fence we saw a couple taking photos through the fence, I said to the others he’s a little close to the electric…buzz…..fence, at that point he jumped back and looked at his SO as if she had pushed him, we checked he was ok then walked out of sight and broke down laughing, we would then have a few minutes of composure and then all start giggling again.

Me and SO went for a walk around the rhino trail while the other couple cooked us a late breakfast. On our walk we spotted this lizard, they don’t make them like this in Britain!!!.

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We all went for an afternoon drive and saw a few elephants, impala but mainly just to be out in the bush when we returned we parked to goto the shop and my SO sister tried to make friends with this monkey! She wont try that again it gave her a filthy look and then chased her

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Month in Kruger July/August 2015


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Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 4:05 pm 
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We purchased our brai food from the shop along with the Kruger times and a Kruger waist coat for SO. While relaxing with a beer by our cottage we had a visit from some smaller monkeys, there was nothing for them so they left. A very nice couple told us that there was a rhino at the dam so we ditched our beers….Yes we did…and walked like children about to go an a rollercoaster and trying to get there before the queue gets bigger…virtually running and there he she was; our first rhino drinking from the dam stream, we spent a long time watching him. I really enjoyed berg-en-dahl camp it was small and the dam meant there was always somewhere to go and check out or relax by, we are returning here in August and I hope we have the same if not better experience there although this time we are camping and wont have the relative luxury of a cottage.

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That evening we kicked in our Brai, it was dark and the frog chorus had set in, I set off several occasions to try and spot it but every time we got close the frog would shut up and id loose it, clever frog! While enjoying my burger and looking at the stars we heard a loud buzz and a rather deep grunt that sounded very close, we all stood quietly and then decided that sounded like the fence and then a big baboon, as I entered the cottage I shouted to SO not to forget my beer! Yes it was a bit cowardly but you didn’t see the size of the baboon in camp that day! Anyway we all went inside sharpish and stood by the patio doors on baboon duty, nothing happened but I think we all slept lighter that night with one ear open (if that’s possible).

Berg-en-dahl to Satara

Today was to be our most eventful of the trip, we set of 6.00 with no other cars around, something I was surprised at was how little cars we saw, most of the time we were all alone. Our first sighting was a rhino crossing the road just outside the gate.

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After about twenty minutes on the road we came across some more animals in the road in the distance, as we grew closer we could see they were hyenas. We followed them for a few meters and then met the rest of the group where they began greeting each other and one regurgitated food right in front of our car. We sat with them until about five cars turned up and decided it was time to leave.

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We stopped off after a while at a picnic spot for lunch and got bombarded by birds, like flying rats only a bit prettier!! Our next decision which road do we take from Skukuza, north or south of the river, we plumped for south and what a mistake that was!

We drove along and came across four cars in front an elephant and then other cars coming the other way. The elephant was walking in our direction and the cars were slowly reversing. As the elephant got closer more cars joined behind and the cars in front began three point turning, it was then a car with a trailer and us, by now the elephant could be seen to be in must and he wasn’t happy. As I went for the three point turn I noticed so had all the cars and caravans behind causing a standstill. The car and trailer went for it, the elephant turned towards it and up the verge the car had a very close escape. But then it was us, just at the right moment the elephant turned into the bush and I was off, straight past to the elephants surprise and SO’s sister who I think is still shaking. As we reached the other side a ranger in a vehicle looked at us and brushed his hand across his forehead, as if to say that was close. Typically no photos, we were all just too scared.

We drove up the road pulled over and we all discussed how close it was, I now realise after reading the forum this does quite often occur but it was a scary moment. While we were getting our breath back we spotted several ground hornbills. My SOs sister wound the window down to take some pictures, they got closer and closer until she said drive they are coming after us, so drive I did and they did seem to have taken a dislike to where we had parked, maybe this was their piece of Africa.

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SAY NO TO HOTELS IN KRUGER NP...before its too late

Month in Kruger July/August 2015


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Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 11:23 pm 
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Thanks for all the nice comments

As we neared Satara we visited the large baobab tree and got our first lion sighting, thanks to a lady pointing out a single lioness lioning in the grass!!

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We definitely wouldn’t have seen it without her being pointed out. ( the lion below not the tree!! :wink: )

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We arrived at Satara and settled in to one of the round huts that are laid out in a circle. At this point SO’s sister decided to go the shop and see if they had a travel adaptor so we pointed her in the right direction and sat on the veranda with the birds. 2 minutes later, walking around the circle, we saw a lady very similar but in the wrong direction to the lady wed just seen go to the shop! Yes it was her, she did a full loop and we gave her a bit of applause as she came round to finish, I am sure she felt a little silly but took it in good humour.

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That evening we joined our second night drive and sat next to a South African family who were lovely and mentioned a pride of lions not far from satara that she thought we would go to and she was right, too right. What in fact happened was that the vehicle not only spotted the lions but decided to join the pride and drive off the road and into about seven sleepy females!!’ Does this usually happen? I asked the family next to us’ ‘No, I don’t think so was the reply and this was their twelfth trip I think. Anyway it was a little close for comfort but a good sighting, sorry no pictures due to poor camera.
We later briefly saw a honey badger and much to my SO’s joy a hippo (Her favourite animal, could you not guess by our breed of dog?

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Month in Kruger July/August 2015


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Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 9:04 am 
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Thanks for all your comments, sorry there is not much detail regarding roads, names etc but i promise to rectify that when i return from my second trip in August.

Satara to oliphants

The next day we left Satara for Oliphants deciding not to go up the main road but to follow the right hand road, a little longer but hopefully a bit quieter. On the way up we found it more how we had imagined Kruger, larger open spaces with Wildebeests and zebras together, we hoped to see cheetah but no luck.By now my eyes were beginning to ache from driving and looking at the same time.

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As we continued up the road we came across two rhino close to the road we watched for a while and then began to move on and so did they. They ran parallel to us for about 400metres before slowing down to see something that size move at a pace is quite majestic. Later on we saw various antelopes, giraffe etc.

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We arrived at oliphants and were rewarded with a hut right on the edge, NO. 2 I think as no. 1 was having work done to it. We had a fantastic view and watched giraffe and other animals in the river bed below, but the highlight for my SO were the hippo pod that were relaxing just below us.

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The lookout point at oliphants is also very special and always worth a visit, we saw several eagles parallel to us as they used the thermals to gain height, just great.
We decided on a night drive instead of a sunset one, what a mistake, sunset drive, 3 leopards night drive none…we so wanted to see this animal!

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Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2008 7:08 pm 
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Oliphants to Lower Sabie

We started the day steadily and took our time leaving oliphants, enough time for a one last look at the view. Then it was off down the main road as we knew it would be a long day before we reached Satara we stopped at a sighting and three of us managed to spot the rear and tail of a leopard, my SO unfortunately did not and she didn’t half let us know, Why didn’t you point it out better? If you’d have parked closer? Etc etc.
I did feel bad and promised to keep an extra eye out, luckily for me not 20 minutes later sitting in the middle of the grass some distance from the road was a leopard, a car that had just passed saw us stop and reversed, we were the only two cars their for the full 2 minute sighting, I realised later that on our other side was a herd of impala that he/she was probably stalking.

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We continued to lower sabie and saw another small pride of lions in the distance hence no pics but nothing else unusual.

At lower sabie we enjoyed the view and meal on the river side but our bat dropping infested house left a little to be desired. OK for one night but more than that might not have been so enjoyable.

The next day was Crocodile Bridge via the hippo pool get out spot and back to the airport. Again nothing unusual but all the usual was enough; our final animals were a couple of warthogs who crossed the road to see us on our way.

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We were stopped on our way through Nelspruit for speeding and I was so no excuses, as we dropped down a steep hill and climbed the other side, the policemen pulled us over explained the situation and then asked for a gift!!! We gave them a gift 200 rand and continued on our way. :roll:

I love Africa but I am so disappointed that the five occasions I had visited Cape Town before I never got to Kruger earlier or this may have been my third or fourth trip report.

I would just like to end by saying what a lovely group of people you all are and how helpful you have all been either in a personal way by PMing me advice or sending magazines from Africa to others who have posted their reports and kept my dream alive for nearly two years. This July we leave green England for Africa and Kruger and I promise to write a more detailed and hopefully exciting trip report.

To all of you where-ever you are, keep smiling
:D

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Month in Kruger July/August 2015


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Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 8:48 am 
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Thanks Jackal,
I was speeding so deserved the fine, and in England you get a £60 fine and three points on your licence which equals another £40 yearly on your insurance, so for me R200=£15 isnt bad at all.

But the 'I told you so' from SO was far more expensive!! :redface:

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