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 Post subject: Here we come.......Biyamiti!!
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 3:19 pm 
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9 Days, 9 Days!!!
Next weekend we are off and on our way to our second bushveld camp!! We are so excited! Finally after 9 months of waiting we are almost on our way again! Next Saturday we're planning on leaving at the crack of dawn so that we can go in at any of the 5 southern gates.

What I've heard of Biyamiti is only the best and that it is an amazing experience. Once in Biyamiti I'll try to post small comments on my phone for example the animals we saw. But unfortunately I won't be able to start posting when I'm back from Kruger because almost immediately after that we are going to a family wedding. So will start with the trip report after Easter weekend.

Biyamiti 27-30 March


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 Post subject: Re: Here we come.......Biyamiti!!
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 7:24 pm 
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I will start writing the trip report tomorrow had some unbelieveable sightings! Biyamiti and Summer Kruger gets my vote!
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 Post subject: Re: Here we come.......Biyamiti!!
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:31 am 
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Day 1
We entered the park with huge excitement. Malelane gate is friendly and service was quicker than at Punda last year. The first ten minutes of our park trip was not the most exciting, but this was to be expected you never see great sightings to close to the gates. Our first animal was impala unfortunately don't have pics of them but we had our first animal!! At a bridge we stopped and saw elephants! One of them was a fair bit behind and limping quite badly possibly a broken foot? I really hopes he/she recovers or is put out of his or her misery.
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At the sighting a friendly man in a bakkie tells us that about 1 kilometre on there is..... LIONS next to the road! :D :D
As normally happens in Southern Kruger you see the traffic jam long time before you see the actual animals. Next to the road there were 3 male lions, the closest one the only one that wasn't lying completely down was in quite a sorry state. His best years were clearly past him and TB had possibly set in :( :(
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It was now about 13:00 and in the sweltering 40 degree heat we were suffering!! The animals also seemed quite shy with only Impala and zebra sightings before Afsaal.
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This spiderweb was elaborate and also extremely beautiful!
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The steady stream of impala sightings didn't stop (this was after all southern kruger) but the rest of the animals were lying low. These two provided an intresting photo
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Close to Biyamiti we had our first Kudu sighting! And what a bull it was! Not really photogenic though!
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Biyamiti view point is quite beautiful!
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At Biyamiti we got cottage number 3! Would this be like Sirheni cottage number 7?? No not really but the first day at camp got our hopes up!


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 Post subject: Re: Here we come.......Biyamiti!!
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:20 am 
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Day 1 (at camp)
As we arrived at camp we were relieved to finally be at a cooler place! Luckily the cottage had a fan that was immediately called into action. Luckily the other days were cooler! :D The animal that awaited us in the riverbed was one of the big 5! Elephant really are one of my favourite animals! :D They're so gentle and powerful at the same time. They really do command their respect!
The elephant we saw was a mother and a young calf.
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They were later joined by an other elephant
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View from the cottage
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After spotting a vervet monkey just outside the cottage I decided to see what else I can see in the camp. Luckily the monkeys are still pretty scared of humans. The other animals we saw in the camp were 2 bushbucks. Luckily they are not tame and a camp resident told us that no other animals come through the camp gates only the bushbuck.
Some baboons came down one of them a bit to close to the fence
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The ever present impala followed suite, I once saw a nature documentary about some place in Zimbabwe or Botswana I think. These animals work together, the baboons alarm call when they see something out of a tree which helps the impala. But it goes both ways, the baboons sometimes get a craving for meat and sometimes catch the little impi's. So it on a documentary about the Serengeti. The big baboons are pretty strong!
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The little baboons in the riverbed really gave us some humour!
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Our first night in Kruger was nice. Didn't hear the night animals although I am not a light sleeper! Saw a hyena walking down the fence but luckily it was the only night that we saw him. Our first day in Kruger had ended.


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 Post subject: Re: Here we come.......Biyamiti!!
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:28 pm 
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Day 2 Morning drive
We awoke at the crack of dawn. The complete silence except the birds welcoming the new day was wonderful! :D Only Kruger can give that experience! Today was a cooler day, being almost completely overcast. Even though it was full moon the night was so cold and beautiful to hear the nightjars and owls! For a morning drive we went out on the shorter part of the private road. We went up with the S25 until it crossed with the bume road. It was dark and at 05:50 we left the camp! The first couple of kilometers were quiet with not to many animals but it was nice to be in Kruger at this time of the morning.
Our first animal of the morning was the......... impala!. Our first intresting bird sighting was 2 double banded sandgrouses, male and female. We saw them last time at Sirheni too and they really are quite beautiful little birds.
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The morning we had some weird impala sightings, a couple of herds but the herds were only male or only female. The herds were probably about 30 strong. Can someone maybe explain?
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After that we had another new sighting! We have seen the species hundreds of time, but it was displaying new behaviour for us. The lilac breasted roller was on the ground!
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We decided to watch him for a while and he gave us a show! He caught a little worm and then ate it.
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However we decided to move on from the roller and continue to the dry river bed.
What's that going over the road is that a snake??!!! Could it be my first snake in Kruger? Yes it was!! A quick moving Boomslang? possibly? Sorry about image quality :redface: Engine was on :doh:
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The dry riverbed was beautiful although there were no animals. There still was a little water but not a lot. We decided to park just after the bridge and enjoy a coffee! Coffee was great but unfortunately the animals didn't come.
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From the bridge
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After we set off again we saw uhm how do you name it?? A perfect leopard tree with no leopard. A dry tree with rocks underneath. On the S25.
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Later on while still on the S25 we had our first big 5 member of the morning...a buffalo. This buffalo wasn't very photogenic and not to keen to turn around either!
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2 Dwarf mongooses also entertained us, it's a pity they're so afraid of cars so you can only watch them from a distance. But hey, at least they're wild!
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A green Kruger is a beautiful Kruger!
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That concluded our morning drive, not the best wildlife sightings but to see the park at that time of the day is just beautiful. At about midday we went to Lower Sabie for a drive. Will write about that later


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 Post subject: Re: Here we come.......Biyamiti!!
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 4:28 pm 
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Day 2 trip to Lower Sabie
That morning we decided to go to Lower Sabie because it can get slightly boring at camp! Lower Sabie is a beautiful camp peaceful and nice scenery! The first animals we saw was a waterbuck or kringgat (waterbok) in Afrikaans.
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We later saw some impala, this time the more normal groups were back you know male and female together.
Along with the waterbuck we had a new first on the road to Lower Sabie! Warthog! In Afrikaans vlakvark if it's directly translated it means shallow hole. English to Afrikaans doesn't always make sense :lol:
The warthogs had some little ones with them! I really love these animals! So ugly and so beautiful at the same time!!
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Still on the H5 we saw more of the ubiquitous impala (rooibok) but just after that we saw some donkeys with striped pyjamas on! These are such peaceful and beautiful animals and they're quite big for donkeys! :lol: Good to see that they're fat and are eating well!
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Herd was probably about 15 strong.
The first couple of kilometers of the tarmac road were quiet and not to good sightings although it was wonderful not having to drive on that punishing gravel road anymore! When getting closer to Lower Sabie the game got a little more frequent. We had a nice sighting further on,these peaceful and majestic giants give lovely sightings as long as they aren't to close to the road!! :lol:
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Later we had an animal crossing the road. It was a primate one of the few animals in the park that has like the human being got opposable thumbs. Along with the Vervet they are the only primates in Kruger (please correct me if I'm wrong).This baboon was eating peacefully in the animal path. There was about 5 or 6 of them.
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We had a vulture sitting in a tree after that looking deep in to the bush for further vulture activity, we found no vulture activity. They are normally seen as filthy animals but I quite like them!
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Just about 2 kilometers away from Lower Sabie we had a pretty nice elephant herd, using the road as a crossing. The elephants must have been pretty chuffed with themselves when they got a traffic jam of about 10 cars. Normally this is the territory of lions and leopards traffic jams.
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Unfortunately at this traffic jam we had our first (unfortunately not last) sighting of visitors sticking parts of their bodies out of their car.
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At Lower Sabie camp which is one of the most beautiful camps,we decided to drink a coffee and cooldrinks and get a paper. The first disappointment was when these two couldn't be purchased at the same place and they didn't have change at the cooldrink shop :( So we bought 2 cooldrinks at the shop who also asked if we had smaller money but at least they could give us change! :) We enjoyed our drinks on the deck with the view over the river. This is Lower Sabie's appeal!! :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:
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 Post subject: Re: Here we come.......Biyamiti!!
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 1:07 pm 
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According to me you do.While in Satara in December a ranger warned us that there is a boomslang found in the tree at our neighbors.

Latin Name : Dispholidus Typus
Length_F : 1 260 mm
Length_M : 1 290 mm
Order : Squamata
Family : Colubridae
Description : A large snake with a distinct head, and very large eyes with round pupils. Colouration is very variable. They may be leaf-green, bright green or black with dark grey, black-edged belly scales, or brick-red to rust-red, with an orange-pink belly.
Class : Reptilia
Subspecies : 2 races are recognized: D.t. typus and D.t. punctatus.
Distribution : Found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, occurring in the northern parts of the region and extending along the east and south coast to Cape Town.
Breeding : Mating occurs in spring, and 10 - 14 eggs are laid in tree hollows or leaf litter in summer. Incubation takes 2 - 3 months.
Venom : Venom is a potent haemotoxin that prevents blood clotting, causing death from haemorrhage.
Diet : Small vertebrates, particularly chameleons and birds.

No green mambas but boomslang.Check Here

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 Post subject: Re: Here we come.......Biyamiti!!
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 12:13 pm 
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The Boomslang occur in KNP and that looks like a male to me. the head and eye shape is a give-away on that. The color in the Boomslang differs dramatically. They are 1.2-1.5 (Max. 2m) long and the females are usually a dull color. males can be bright green (or a variety of other colors/variations)

They occur on the ground and a person was bitten by a boomslang in Talamati last year, walking through the grass.

I am not knowledgeable on snakes, but I would ID it as a male boomslang due to the color, size, head shape and the eye shape.

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 Post subject: Re: Here we come.......Biyamiti!!
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 17, 2010 1:23 pm 
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Thank you very much for the snake identification and I apologise for the wait, the first school week was just really busy! :D
Day 2 Back from Lower Sabie
This will be a short report because we didn't see an awful lot back from Lower Sabie. At the deck on Lower Sabie we spotted an intresting bird!
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A little further on we saw the elephant herd and the nearby impala again. The elephants luckily not crossing the road this time just standing a little deeper and browsing peacefully.
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A little further on already on the gravel road again, the tar road producing dissapointingly little. Could this be because one drives faster on tar? I don't know but the vegetation definitely was thicker. Crossing a dry riverbed we saw quite a nice bit of species interaction. Vervet monkey, impala and Zebra all together.
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Just after that we had our first wildebeest sighting! Unfortunately he was in the thick bush and didn't make a good photo :( About 1 kilometer on we stopped because here are a couple of vultures in a tree there could be something on the ground! Here comes a hyena!! He walks straight pastthe open ground and into thicker bush. Didn't have the camera ready :redface: :redface: Sorry. Lets wind down the windows. Do we hear anything?? No, unfortunately not. Here is a photo of the tree
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We planned on going there tomorrow again.
On the S25 we had another European Roller sighting. At this time of the year they are almost more common than their lilac breasted cousins.
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Now on the Biyamiti private road we could tick off the 4th member of the big 5! The White rhino also gave us our first sighting of them! Although deep in the bushes we had seen them! There were 2 of them.
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Just as we were turning into camp we spotted some guineafowl.
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Day 2 the weather had been more enjoyable and we still saw a lot although no cats.
Day 3's morning drive had a lot in store for us!! :popcorn: :D


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 Post subject: Re: Here we come.......Biyamiti!!
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 2:24 pm 
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Thanks for the information about the impala salamanda! :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:
Day 3 Morning drive
We decided for our morning drive to go to the Biyamiti Weir, a real nice spot which we planned on drinking a cup of coffee. About 6 Kilometers away from the camp a Land Rover stops in front of us. Showing us to approach slowly we know this isn't just an impala. Where is it?? Wait there it is!! Leopard!!! :D :D :D What a start to this morning!! Not a good sighting because the person in front of us didn't give us a good sighting while he had one. Although he did see the sighting we only really saw the beautiful female leopard when she stood up and walked further into the bushes. A great sighting, no photo's but luckily the wheel turns... Just off from the private road we saw a rhino and a couple of impala. At the weir we had a nice coffee and luckily we also saw a nice little bird. A three banded plover.
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On our way back on the private road we saw a couple of impala. Looks like they have some world cup fever with that big brown soccer ball on the ground! :D
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On this trip we had barely seen giraffe and this was southern Kruger? Where are they? Just a little further on it seems!! We saw this one crossing the road in front of us and then going to the other side.
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STOP!!! Remember what I said about the wheel turns.... Well, turns out the wheel turns very quickly as a big male leopard walked into the road behind us!!!! :D :D :D :D :D :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :dance: :dance: As you probably realise I'm quite excited!! :D
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What a morning it had been!! 2 Leopards within 2 hours!! All this on a empty stomach!!
Just about a kilometer further we saw another giraffe, this morning was getting better and better!!
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About half way through the private road we saw our first gentle giant of the morning!! We couldn't believe our luck! 3 of the big 5 when on the previous day we hadn't seen a great deal on our morning drive.
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A delightful little herd of about 10 crossed a good way in front of us. We would have been closer on level terrain but you can't always easily get out of their way in a hilly section.
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3 Rhino awaited us now closer to the camp. About 4 kilo's away from the camp. This time closer to the road but still not close enough for good photo's. :(
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Our morning drive ended with this little bird sighting.
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I.D. please?
Rather comically we saw a car coming up ahead about a kilometer after the leopard sighting and when we stopped them he asked:"Where's the leopard?"
When looking at the sighting board I saw both leopard sightings had been pinned down and rhinos all over. For our afternoon drive we headed to Croc Bridge.


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 Post subject: Re: Here we come.......Biyamiti!!
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 9:23 am 
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Day 3 Afternoon drive
We decided to head to Croc Bridge for an afternoon drive. We had a very nice brunch the morning and about half past 12 we headed off to Croc Bridge. We would go with the private road until it crossed with the S25 we then went right into that road and to Croc Bridge. Our first animal was a nice big elephant male. He was very close to the road and we were nervy of this old loner. Luckily he was calm and we just passed him.
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We saw him while we were already on the S25. Just a couple of kilometers on we had another elephant sighting close to the road. He had his back to us and was much calmer. Was this because we couldn't really see his front? We didn't care, you should always watch out for elephants. They're the only animals in the park that could realisticly cause damage to your car! :big_eyes:
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The roads were quiet, with cars and animals! This was because the sun had come out again! So had the heat. The weather was again in the thirties but hey we were still in the Kruger!! A couple of impala broke the silence when they crossed the road and went to a seasonal water hole. Possibly a mud bathing place for the bigger animals.
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These young males provided a clattering of horns. They weren't the only ones gearing up for a bit of a fight. The older males also went against each other but not as frequently.
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These animals really are very pretty and sometimes I don't understand why people when they see these majestic animals just drive past without even giving them a second glance. This female was drinking water very peacefully. This group took turns to drink water and played in between water drinks.
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A couple of hundred meters on we saw another impala herd. They're so easily spooked on gravel roads were cars are less frequent but luckily they didn't mind our presence. This young male was really quite nice an animal. All these impala are well fed this time of year and are actually quite fat! :D
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This bush of pink flowers gave a weird colour to the area. Everything so green and suddenly on the ground this pink plant. It really stood out from the crowd!
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Closer to Croc Bridge the plains game started to occur more frequently and at this waterhole the zebras and the ever present impala were there.
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If you look closely at the rock in the water you'll notice 3 or 4 terrapins.
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Now we were really closing in on Croc Bridge and we saw another wildebeest herd. Unfortunately they were quite deep in the thickets and didn't provide good photo's. Just a little further on we saw more zebras! The game really had started to come more frequently the closer we got to the main camp. The same had happened the previous day on our way to Lower Sabie.
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Our only sighting was a Kudu herd. Another animal that had become less frequently seen in the last couple of days. This was still a very nice sighting because the animals, especially the full grown males, amazes me those big horns!!
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Croc bridge really is a beautiful camp. Will write about the road back in the next installment.


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 Post subject: Re: Here we come.......Biyamiti!!
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 9:20 am 
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Day 3 back from croc bridge
For the road back we decided to go on with the H4-s till it crossed with the H5. We would then take that road onto the S108 and then onto the S25 and then the private road. As we left Croc Bridge after getting some beverages we soon picked up were we left off. Our first herd of wildebeest crossing the road in front of us and then heading into the open. Considering there are about 15 000 of these animals in Kruger they're still not as easy to find as you might think.
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Just a little further on we came across another antelope. This time a herd of Kudu. There were probably about 5 of them of which 2 of them were good sized males and the other male was still growing.
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Just after we crossed the Vurhami river we saw a big male elephant! This animal was walking from the front directly towards us and was well aware of our presence. As he glanced up a couple of times to look at us and just started walking a little bit quicker we decided to rather head back and have a look at the dam from a small gravel road just off the road.
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This was a quite beautiful place and after spotting a Burchell's Coucal we also had a lookout and saw a lone old buffalo and a couple of hippos in the water.
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After waiting about 10 minutes we decided that the elephant should surely have moved on already and we were back on the H4-2. The elephant had moved on to the right side of the road.
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But our big 5 experiences weren't yet over as on precisely the same spot a white rhino mother and calf appeared. They didn't seem to be in a rush as they just stood for about 5 minutes in the middle of the road!
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While always keeping a steady watch on the elephant we started to wonder if these rhinos will ever move!!
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Eventually the 2 made their way into the bush and we could continue back to camp! :dance:
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Now on the gravel road we saw some more impala. A nice herd of about 20 animals. Just a couple of kilometers on, I think we were on the S25, we had a giraffe sighting. We had not seen a lot of these animals because they are more difficult to spot when the vegetation is dense, but these animals really are graceful giants.
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Still on the S25 we saw a group of wildebeest, yes more animals in the road. They displayed some weird behaviour. There were 2 calves and they lay on the sides of the road and refused to stand up.
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The bigger animals nudged them up and urged them to stand and luckily
they did eventually stand up.
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We had some more impala sightings further on and also a Zebra sighting to finish the day off.
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This had been an eventful day and if I knew what animal we would see tomorrow just before we exited Paul Kruger I wouldn't have closed my eyes through the hole night! :D :D


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 Post subject: Re: Here we come.......Biyamiti!!
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 5:08 pm 
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Day 4 our exit from paradise :(
Later in the day on day 3.View from our bungalow.
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I went for a stroll along the fence. I bumped into a woman there. She is a resident of the camp and told me of a tree on the longer side of the private road where a female leopard and cub is. Immediately I decided we must go out at Paul Kruger not at Croc Bridge! :lol: At the turn of the fence I saw out of the corner of my eye an elephant! 3 Youngish ones had came down to drink the little amount of water that was still remaining.
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Early morning we decided to head off. Unhappy that we would have to leave but satisfied with a very nice Kruger holiday. We stopped at the tree which has a small turn off on the right side of the road. Unfortunately after waiting about 5 minutes and no activity we decided if we want to reach the city lights before sunset we better get cracking! Here is a picture of the tree anyway.
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Our first animals of the morning were fine feathered ones. A couple of guineafowl in front of us.
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In the dry riverbed we had our second sighting of the morning! This time cold blooded and of the reptilian kind!
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Where were the mammals??
Ah there they were further on close to the riverbed was a mother rhino and calf.
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Although we hadn't seen much it still was perfect being in Kruger. We also saw a giraffe, they are a lot tougher to spot this time of year. Is it because the vegetation is so much thicker?
As we joined the tar road we had a first for this trip! A little duiker not to far from the road!!
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Hang on there is a big bird in the road! It's a bateleur! These are some majestic birds and I really like them. It was quite a treat to have them in the road and get a good view of this incredible bird's size!
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A little further on about 4 kilometers away from Skukuza we saw an elephant deep in the bushes. Unfortunately these people decided to get a better look! :rtm: :rtm: :naughty:
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3 Kilometers away from Skukuza we had a Kruger first and a sighting that took over the whole morning!! A reasonably sized traffic jam and what was it? WILD DOGS :cam: :cam: :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: A first for me in Kruger!
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As they crossed the road we thought our wild dog sighting was over but no!! Here they came out of the bushes right next to our car!!! :clap: :clap: :dance: :dance: Probably about 5 of them! In the whole pack there were about 10 or 12. As you could imagine the cameras went crazy with these doggies within 2 or 3 meters of us! These animals really are majestic and beautiful. They are quite a good size with unbelievable teeth! :big_eyes:
Here are some of the about 30 photos I took of them! :cam: :cam: :cam:
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After about 2 or 3 minutes it was the doggies not us who decided they'd had enough. They sat off down the road and we were out of our skins with this sighting so close to Skukuza! At Skukuza we had a look round at the museum and bought some beverages. The road to the gate was quiet but at least our trip finished the way it started, with impala!
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Adios Kruger, till next time! :clap: :clap:


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