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 Post subject: Sallyanna & Daves first trip to Kruger-August 2008
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2008 5:35 am 
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Location: wexford, Ireland
Well we finally arrived in Kruger after months of waiting and wishing the days to go faster. we arrived into nelspruit airport and collected the heap of junk city golf that was to give us heart failure every morning when it refused to start(but ultimatly was so small we could sneak into good spots at sightings without blocking anybody else) and we headed to white river to stock up on steaks, castle larger and amarula which became our diet for the next seven days! we arrived into pretoriuskop camp just in time to cook our first braai and head to bed early because we had our first morning drive booked in advance and were both so excited.
sunday 3rd August
we arrived at the garage in pretoriuskop at 4.30am for the drive and the place was covered in a heavy fog, everyone else arrived but still at 5am there was no sign of the driver. at last at 5.30 a very apologetic driver turned up explaining that the scheduled driver was ill and he had to fill in, then out of no where the scheduled driver turned up hiding in the trees, the two drivers talked and the fill in driver eventually took off explaining that there had been a chiefs - pirates game the night before and a few sore heads! so we were on our way, the atmosphere was not good, everyone was annoyed at the driver for being late because it was so so cold and now 40 minutes into the drive the fog still hadnt lifted and we couldnt even see the trees! but the excellent fill in driver soon cheered us all up, i cant remember his name but he gave us the best drive we had during our whole trip.
first animal we came across was a huge male kudu with two full turns in his horns, he looked very eerie standing alone in the fog, 10 minutes later we came accross these two beautiful male white rhino...

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we stayed watching theese for a while and then shortly after we came accross these hyena on the prowl...
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then we came upon a one tusk elephant in musth who mock charged the safari truck, i have photos but they are not the best quality because of the fog settling but it was a thrilling experience, after we left the elephant and after lots and lots of impala our excellent driver got a tip off that there was a leopard 30 minutes drive away, but it was now after 8am and we had to check out of camp by 9am, nobody cared and the drive to the leopard sighting was faster than the rest of our drive but he never broke the speed limit, i wish i could remember his name and send in a commendation for him as the rest of the drives we booked that week werent half as fun as the drive we took with him, he was a character, singing along, full of information and facts. we finally reached the leopard at 8.30, it was chaos, our driver had to ask so many people to return to their cars for their own safety and not many people could see why sitting on the roof of their car could endanger their lives but our driver none the less tried to look out for everyones safety despite the fact he was recieving some abuse from the stupid people trying to get a better shot
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after a long while watching the leopards(there was two) we started to head for home, it was now 9.15am, our drive should have ended an hour ago even taking the late start into account, but our driver got one more tip off, a pride of lions were 20 minutes drive away, we raced off to see them, they were watching from a high boulder and then we spotted one right by the safari truck, they are so well camouflaged, sometimes you forget to look right in front of you..
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and just 5km outside we were treated to this cherry to top the morning off...
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we got back to camp at 10am, grabbed our bags and raced out to and afternoon we will never forget.........

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see my trip report -
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Last edited by sallyanna on Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:26 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Sallyanna & Daves first trip to Kruger part 2
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:10 am 
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sunday 3rd August
we bolted out of pretoriuskop after the amazing morning we had, eager to see more, we headed down the H2-2 towards afsaal and came upon the following plus much more...

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beautiful rhino and calf...
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beautiful elephant and calf...
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and then around 1.20pm the most amazing thing happened, we were driving towards Skukuza, about 20k to go, hungry for lunch and we rounded a corner into a clearing, in the corner of our eyes on the left hand side we spotted a cheetah chasing impala at high speed and taking him down with ease. we parked up and a big jeep stopped to ask what we were veiwing, we pointed the cheetah and kill out and the jeep promptly pulled in right in our veiw, thanks a bunch! dave asked him to move back a little, after all we had pointed the sighting out for him, he ignored us and rolled up the window closest to us. fuming we were forced to move but as it turns out i think we then had a better veiw, but some people can be infuriating at sightings, the joke was on him as we had a birds eye veiw, here is just a fraction of the 100 + photos that were taken at this sighting, it was just so amazing
dragging the impala to a nice spot...
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nice big bite...
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if you look in the distance you can see the dead impalas pack look on helpless...
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warning us off when we got too close...
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the vultures beegin to arrive...
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until what seem like hundreds have surrounded the cheetah and kill...

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finally the cheetah gives up and sprints away leaving the carcass to be devoured by the vultures...
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what an amazing day, and its only our first full day, this place is pure magic.

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see my trip report -
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Last edited by sallyanna on Sun Aug 17, 2008 11:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Day two
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 5:32 am 
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Location: wexford, Ireland
Monday 4th August
we were still on a buzz after all our sightings yesterday, we had a sunset drive in skukuza last night and although we saw lots of elephant,giraffe and impala we didnt get to see a lot of nocturnal animals, not that we were complaining we couldnt be greedy after all the amazing sightings we had around pretoriuskop.
We were on the road as soon as the gates in Skukuza opened this morning, we had a long drive to Olifants camp today and were eager to see more of kruger.
on the very hot drive to Tshokwane we took our time and enjoyed the beautiful landscape, all the different smells and the sound of the birds, it was great just soaking it all in. we also had some very cool sightings.
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we stopped off in tshokwane for a bit of lunch, the birds were so funny watching your every bite, i would be interested to know if larger animals ever wander into the picnic site as it is so open and close to the river or would the majority of animals be scared of the human noise?
we drove up to mazithi dam where we snapped this hippo peeping out..
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while we were there we got chatting to a family who told us of a sighting of lion close to satara so we headed off in that direction not really thinking they would still be there when we got there so we took our time.
about 10kms from Satara we stopped and pulled over to put new batteries in the camera just in case the lions we were told of would still be in the area when dave spotted this guy lazing in a tree, we couldnt get the batteries in the camera fast enough but we need not have worried, this leopard wasnt planning on moving any time soon...
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we stayed and took lots of snaps of the leopard, every now and then he would open his eyes or shift position, he was really quite close to the road but if we hadnt of stopped to fix the camera we would have missed him.
leaving the leopard we tried to flag down some cars to tell them of the sighting but we noticed not a lot of people wanted to stop, we noticed this throughout the trip, some people seemed a little annoyed that we had stopped them but we were thinking that if it was us driving on a quiet road we would love it if an oncoming car stopped us to tell us of a leopard in a tree we would be approaching, so you could keep your eyes extra alert. the only time a car ever stopped US ask had we seen anything was on day five and it was only after we had talked for a while to this guy and he was pulling off that we seen his yellow ribbon, he must not have seen our ribbon either. what do you all think, do you usually stop an oncoming car if you know there is a sighting in the direction they are driving, or when you yourself have been driving for some time without seeing as much as an impala or another car do you stop the next car to chat about it? or maybe its just something the people on this forum do?
anyways we drove on and about three kms before satara we came upon about thirty cars, it must be Lions..................

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see my trip report -
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 Post subject: Re: Sallyanna & Daves first trip to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 6:41 am 
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we slowly worked our way into a spot where we could see a giraffe kill with his stomach opened and its contents all spilled out, people seemed to be moving off so we must have missed the lions, never the less it was an amazing thing to witness so we got a nice spot next to the giraffe easily and took a few pics. he didnt look like he hed been dead long but the smell of the dead giraffe was making our eyes water, it was like rotten fish only much much stronger!
after 15 minutes there was only about 12 cars left and we were going to head off too, we were really dissappointed we had missed them, the kill was right on the side of the road! then to our disbelief a lioness slowely made her way out of the bush, then another lioness and four cubs!! and about 10 meters away from where the kill lay two huge male lions sat up from the long grass they had been lying in, wow. we watched them for about an hour, eating, playing, lounging around.

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we finally tore ourselves away from the lions and drove on a little until we stopped to watch some beautiful buffalo wallow about in the mud
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can you see the saddlebilled stork in the middle of all the buffalo? well he has a fish in his mouth, does anyone know ho the fish swim in such muddy places or what type of fish it is?
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we then spyed a fish eagle watching the stork from above in the overhanging tree but unfortunatly i was not fast enough with my camera to catch him swooping down. i can tell you that the fish eagle won the battle for the fish after a bit of a tussle with the saddle billed stork.
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later in satara i saw a notice for people to send details to an email address if you see the saddlebilled stork, but i didnt have a pen to take the address down, does anybody know where i should sent my information to? we seen quite a lot of this bird on our trip.

onwards to olifants camp we spotted wildebeast, lots of beautiful birds and just before we reached olifants bridge we saw another two lionesses lying under a tree in the shade and two adult hyena with two hyena cubs, the adults were sleeping while the cubs played, tumbled and chased each other - they appear so cute and cuddly!

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by the time we reached Olifants we were shattered and needed another memory card for our camera- we werent expecting to take this many photos, we went to the shop in olifants where they tried to charge us R640 for a 1gig sd card! the next day we stopped in letaba for lunch and picked up a 2gig sd card for R500, some difference in price!
we ended the wonderful day we had with a big braai and some ice cold amarula & castle while listening to the hippo in the river below, bliss!
what can tomorrow bring..................

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see my trip report -
viewtopic.php?f=27&t=24594


Last edited by sallyanna on Tue Aug 19, 2008 6:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Sallyanna & Daves first trip to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 8:45 am 
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the fish may be a catfish ?

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 Post subject: Re: Sallyanna & Daves first trip to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 5:39 pm 
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Hi Sallynna - loving your trip report. We were in Kruger in early June and we saw , close to Satara, two lionesses with 4 young cubs- both lionesses were obviously feeding, and one of the cubs seemed to be slightly bigger than the others, which made us think that possibly it was a lioness + 3 cubs and the other one a lioness + 1 cub. We spent about 4 days of lovely sightings with them, as they were always in and around the same spot (vicinity of Sweni Bridge). Did you perhaps notice if one of the lionesses had a bulging eye? It would be so exciting to know that these were the same pride that you saw, meaning that two months later, the cubs had all survived so far and had obviously been introduced to the male. Lovely sightings you had too - when exactly were you there?

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 Post subject: day four
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 3:24 am 
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this morning we were woken in olifants early by the sound of elephants, much nicer than an alarm clock! we packed up our bag for the day and jumped in the car, but it wouldnt start, heap of junk! after 10 minutes of panicking it finally kicked in, not a very reliable rental- hope we dont get stuck in some isolated place with a breakdown!!
we headed up towards letaba on the S93 stopping to watch these two beautiful lionesses grooming themselves in the morning sun..
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it was a fairly quiet morning but really hot, we stopped to photograph a huge buffalo coming towards us on the left in the bush, he spotted us and after watching us for a while he moved a few feet closer very aggressively, hoofing at the ground stirring up dust so we decided to move about 10 meters in front of him in the road to let him pass behind our car and as we moved forward we spotted the huge herd behind him, there must have been a thousand buffalo, no exaggerating it took them about 20 minutes to pass behind our car, no wonder he was so aggressive he was the leader of the herd.
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cute calf surrounded by the males
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after watching the buffalo for some time we were heading towards letaba on the S94 when we came accross this big tusker
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i think it could be Hlanganini because of the left ear marking, does anyone know im correct?
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we stopped off for an early lunch in letaba where the birds were more than friendly, this little guy stole a scrap of bread and just jumped right up onto daves hand
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 Post subject: Re: Sallyanna & Daves first trip to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 4:01 am 
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after lunch we drove around the beautiful engelhardt area, where we spotted this hippo and calf mooching around
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and then this elephant family...
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we spent a good bit of the afternoon in the engelhardt area, we were stopped at the grave of anna ledebiter where we saw this hyena passing by..
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we returned to olifants in the afternoon for our sunset drive, we had some great sightings
crossing the bridge just outside balule we watched this beautiful elephant drinking from the river
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on the S39 we came accross this hyena mum playfully grooming her pup and then we watched as the pup suckle from its mother, so peaceful...
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before the sun went down we came accross this herd of elephants with two of the young elephants locking tusks
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beautiful sunset...
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and finally about 3km before olifants gate we had another sighting of a hyena pup out playing in the dark
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wonderful end to the day :D

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Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 2:13 am 
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this morning we headed to olifants bridge to have our breakfast while watching all the morning activitys around the bridge.
we could hear some really loud noises that we assumed for a while were hippos but they got louder and louder and were more like barking, one of the trees along the bank was full of baboons and it sounded like the baboons were fighting and the leaves and branches were rustling like mad, suddenly two baboons jumped from the tree and chased each other up to the bridge, everyone on the bridge had to hop back into their cars quickly, one baboon seemed to have something the other wanted and was going to great lengths to protect it, he jumped from the rail on the bridge and dissappeared underneath it, the other baboon that was giving chase was so angry! he sat atop the end of the rail on the bridge, howling and barking, he searched up and down the bank for his buddy, we got out of the car when it was safe and looked over the side and found his buddy scoffing down an orange!! he managed to stay hidden until he had the orange eaten and then scampered back up the tree, hilarious to watch, like two kids fighting over sweets and hiding alone so he wouldnt have to share
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we headed down towards satara taking the timbavati road and we came accross this big guy
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about 10 kms further on we were driving along and a toyota hilux overtook us and gave us a wave to say hello they drove in front of us for a few moments when we suddenly saw their brake lights come on followed quickly by their reverse lights.
the following happened very very fast and i can only thank god it wasnt our car that was being charged because i think our car would have cut out, it was always cutting out!
this elephant was really not happy and didnt want to let us pass on his road!
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we reversed and reversed until the elephant seemed to relax a bit with us out of his way and eventually he made his way back into the bush and we slowly inched forward until we had passed him out, when we had put safe distance between our cars and the elephant we pulled up alongside the toyota hilux and compared stories of panic, it might not look like it in the photos but the elephant got so close to the hilux, the driver was laughing in shock when we spoke to him, ive just emailed these photos to him but im sure its not something he will forget quickly!
a little further we came accross a huge herd of more elephants

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we followed the road and just about 4kms before we reached the bird hide at ratelpan we came accross a camper van pulled in and the two passengers out of their van standing a little bit down on the river bank at least 30 meters away from their vechicle, they had a large video camera like a professional tv camera so we pulled up to watch, thinking they were a film crew but it turned out they were just tourists trying to capture the image of the croc moving around on the other side of the bank, i took my camera out to take a photo of them for the wall of shame and they got a bit irate towards us, shouted a few things and hurried back to their van, silly couple, they put themselves in so much danger walking down the bank.
we then spent about an hour in the bird hide, thankfully the camera couple didnt follow us in, its so peacefull in there watching all the crocs drift by and the amazing amount and variety of birds
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and then we met this little cutie just after we left the bird hide
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Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 2:48 am 
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here are a few pictures of the activities that were going on around the Nsemani dam around 1pm, lots of thirsty animals. and lots of sunbathers!

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we took this snap after the diners at the table beside us in satara had finished their meal, feeding frenzy!

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all these great sightings and its still only lunchtime! we still have a whole afternoon to go and a night drive tonight in satara, will post those pics up as soon as the page turns...

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Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 9:39 pm 
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well thank you to everyone who helped turn the page, its nice to know you are all enjoying our trip report, its great to share the experience.
i will continue now with the rest of our afternoon and our night drive in satara.
after lunch we left satara and popped down to see the lion pack at the giraffe kill, still a huge number of cars watching the action but somehow as we passed two cars pulled out and a jeep kindly let us pop into their space, as our car was so small we wouldnt be blocking anyone else's veiw, we watched for about half an hour, there was not much meat left and the smell of the carcass was almost unbearable. some vultures hung around in the backround but the lions were even sleeping on the dead giraffe, they were not ready to hand over the carcass just yet.
we had a good veiwing spot right at the front, some time after we had arrived a woman with her daughter pulled in in front of us on the grass verge almost blocking us but she was way way way too close to the kill and she unsettled the lions who moved their kill further into the grass, not content with the fool she was making of herself she moved even closer to the lions, she was now about three meters away from any other car, some of the other veiwers were trying to gesture to her to move back onto the road as what she was doing was not only against the rules but she was endangering herself and her daughter. have i mentioned yet that she was driving a bmw z3 convertible(soft top)!!!!! i thought i read before we hired a car that convertibles were not allowed in the park but somehow she was driving one, anyway to cut a long story short she couldnt reverse the car, she rolled the window down and shouted out to all us now irate people that she couldnt drive the car as it was a rental, she decided to do a full circle on the grass so that she could pull out of the spot but she came within 3 feet of the lions, it was unbelieveable to witness, she got a lot of unfriendly comments when she eventually pulled out and we later met her at satara where she was staying in the hut behind us, we even went over to check if the car was a soft top, it definatly was. what a stupid thing to do at a sighting, how i wish i had taken a photo of it. here are a few snaps of the lions with their kill, i think it weird the way the giraffes skin looks now, like when you roll the sleeves of your jumper up

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so we decided we had had enough of the crowds at the lions and headed off towards the nwanetsi river road, as we crassed a river on the s100 we seen this tiny little croc sunning himself
he looked just like a toy
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we stopped at the gudzani dam where we had the place to ourselves for about an hour, bliss. there was so much going on, huge amount of hippos, crocs, baboons and so many birds.
heres a few pics to enjoy
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 Post subject: Re: Sallyanna & Daves first trip to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 10:18 pm 
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we left gudzani dam and travelled up the gudzani road where we met lots of baboons crossing the road with their young

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we stopped to watch a male lion on the satara road but he was too deep in the grass to get a good photo but we had loads of other great sightings on this road
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a giraffe with an itchy knee.....

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a very pregnant hyena walking alone.....

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a huge buffalo being groomed by the birds.....

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we made our way back to the nsemani dam for a half an hour before we headed back to satara for our night drive.
we were very lucky to catch a glimpse of this leopard cub on his own in the bushes, we couldnt see his mother but we could hear her barking for her cub, the sound was spine chilling amazing, the cub was playing hide and seek i think!

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wonderful sunset at nsemani dam.....

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so we headed back to satara for our night drive where we got a chance to visit the lions at the giraffe kill by night, ill put the posting up as soon as the page is turned again............

hope you are enjoying our trip report. :cam:

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Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 3:49 pm 
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thanks guys for turning the page again!
we set off for our night drive snuggeled up under the blankets, it was a freezing cold night. we seen hundreds of impala eyes twinkling in the distance but there would be no stopping until we reached the lion kill outside satara.
it was so different to see the lions at night. a lot of the lions were sleeping by the side of the road but the cubs seemed active enough

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this male lion rolled over like my puppy at home does when he wants his belly scrached, i wonder how long i would survive if i tried to rub his tummy

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it looked like dried blood all around his mouth, dont think ill try that belly rub!
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moving away from the lion kill we saw elephants, giraffe, hyena, civet, genet and rhino, unfortunatly we couldnt find the right setting on our camera for great night photos but i think this one of the rhino is nice

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back to the lion kill and we could hear them call to each other as we drove towards them, hairs standing on the back of our necks we parked up beside them. the two males were calling out then a few seconds silence then we would hear more lions answer in the distance sounded like four or five in different directions, this calling went on the whole time we were watching the lions and then we could still hear them while lying in bed that night, amazing.
our driver explained that this pride of lions consisted of four males or more, eight females and eight cubs and that this area around the bridge at satara was their territory and that they would call out to each other as if to check in with the group when they were seperated.
he also told us that there was two reports on how the giraffe had been taken down and killed.
one report said the giraffe had been killed when it had been chased by the lions over the tarmac road at which point the giraffe could not grip the road, slipped and was suffocated by the female lion
the other report said that the giraffe had been hit by a delivery truck who had reported his accident, and that the lions had came accross this lucky meal later on during the day,
our driver said he believed the theory that the giraffe had been hit by a truck as the kill was reported and photographed untouched for several hours and he thought if the lions had hunted and killed the giraffe the would not have left their kill untouched or unguarded, does anyone happen to know the real story? i would be really interested to know the full story.
anyway we spent the remainder of the night drive watching the sleeping lions on the left side of the road and the feeding male lion on the right hand side of the road, the night drive was such an amazing experience, i will never forget the sound of the lions calling to each other or the sound of the male lion crunching the ribs of the giraffe kill to get the last scraps of meat from it, unreal.


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so we eventually pulled ourselves away from the kill and were driven back to satara where we lay in bed unable to sleep because we didnt want to stop listening to the sound of the lions calling to each other, such an amazing sound.
two more days to go in the park, hope you are all enjoying the trip report so far.........thanks for all the wonderful comments, keep them coming :thumbs_up:

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Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 2:28 am 
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thank you all for the lovely comments, there is lots more to come.....next up is sunrise with the lions at satara and the rebellious cubs being cheeky

quick sneak peak

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hopefully ill get them posted up tomorow :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Sallyanna & Daves first trip to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 3:44 pm 
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ooops, so sorry, i had some internet problems over the weekend and couldnt upload photos but seems to be sorted now, thanks for being patient with me :redface:

so ill begin with thursday 7th august, we left satara camp at around 6.15am and headed for the lion kill just outside satara to see if there was still activity around the area, all was quiet, no sign of the lions just a few dozen vultures picking at the giraffes now completly bare ribs.
we were happy enough to stay and watch the vultures and had the place to ourselves as any cars that came through the spot were only looking for the lions and didnt hang around long when they realised there was only a couple of vultures left.

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but as the sun slowely began to rise higher in the sky a large shape emerged from the shadows right in front of our car, we sat in silence as the huge male lion walked into the road and then right up beside dave on the drivers side of the car, he was literally a meter away from dave and the car window was only rolled up a couple of inches, the lion could easily have fitted his head into the car if he had wanted to attack, but he didnt seem to be bothered by us at all, slowely dave rolled up the window trying not to make a sound and alert the lion to our presence, when the window was almost fully up it made a squeaking sound, the lion turned and looked straight to dave, for a few long seconds they held each others gaze and then the lion lifted his head high and walked a couple more meters away from us, dave then remembered to breathe and the two of us fell into a fit of nervous laughter, we had been so close to this huge lion dave could have reached out the window and touched him

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when we finally regained our composure dave took this lovely shot ( from a safe distance!!! )

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we still had the lion all to ourselves and watched him as he wondered around the bushes and trees smelling and then lifting his tail to spray and mark his spot.
as he approached an old fallen tree a cub bound out from behind it and the cub was given a stern talking to from his dad, the lion let a roar at the cub which shook our car, if you look closely you can see the shadow of our car beside the lions. we came to the conclusion that the lion had not finished marking and spraying his territory and this must have been the reason he didnt wish to let the cubs out from their den yet

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but the little cub wanted out and so stood up to his father letting a little roar of his own

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but he didnt win the battle and so scampered back over the fallen tree
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the adult lion lets another big roar to make sure the cub was listening, shaking our car again!!!

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cheeky little cub peeks out, then is joined by his siblings....

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but their father keeps a close eye on them...

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marking his territory...

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by now two other cars had stopped to watch but the lion payed none of us attention, walking right through our cars to show who was boss in the area

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he had a final stretch and sharpened his big claws on the tree trunk and then they all dissappeared down the river bank...

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what a morning, we felt privilaged to have the time with the lions almost all to ourselves. we knew we wouldnt be returning to the satara area again as we were to stay at letaba tonight and then exit through phalaborwa gate the next evening so it was a nice farewell to the lions at satara that we had spent so much time with during our visit to kruger.
but still it was only now 7.30am so we have plenty more to see today, do you want to hear more????

_________________
sallyanna.
see my trip report -
viewtopic.php?f=27&t=24594


Last edited by sallyanna on Tue Sep 16, 2008 3:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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