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 Post subject: Anja & Mark in KNP September/October 2008
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 5:24 pm 
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KNP 12-9-2008 / 3-10-2008

In 1995 we first visited Krugerpark for 2 days during a tour round South Africa. We both came to the conclusion that 2 days was much to short and decided to come back there for a longer stay, what we did in 1998. From that moment we were addicted to it. This year we visited Krugerpark for the 9th time. We were curious if Krugerpark could still surprise us, as we had already seen a lot of special things over the years.
On 11 september 2008, 21:15 we arrived at the airport in Johannesburg. One night to go and the adventure can begin.

Image
At Orpendam 2007

Previous reports:
trip report 2007
trip report 2006


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 Post subject: Re: Anja & Mark in KNP September/October 2008
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 5:30 pm 
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Day 1 – Back again! :D
12-9-2008 Johannesburg → Berg en Dal

At 8:15 we picked up our rental car (Toyota HiLux) at the airport and we left immediately for Krugerpark. With twice a stop-over, to stretch our legs and to answer a call of nature :roll: we arrived at Malelane gate at 12:40. After accomplishing the necessary formalities at the gate, we went straight to Berg en Dal as we had an immense appetite.
As far as I can remember it has always been very sunny when we entered the park earlier years. But today it was very clouded. No sign of the sun. It almost looked like the rainy period was going to start (which the park could use as it was very dry).
All the way to Berg en Dal it was very quiet. It took a while before we saw our first mammals: impala’s.
At Berg en Dal we first went to the take-away. All tables were taken, so we took our sandwich with us and sat on a bench with a view over the dam. There was still some water in it, but only a bushbuck and some water birds were present. After that we went to the reception to buy a new wildcard, and to check in. We got a bungalow near the fence (no. 23), which was very nice.
After putting our bags in the bungalow and getting everything ready for a ride, we left. We first went to Matjulu waterhole and from there we took the s110 and s120. We saw impala’s some kudu’s, giraffe and some very nice birds. Such as Melba finch, Crested francolin, Pearl spotted owl, Green pigeon, Grey lourie, Golden breasted bunting, Arrow marked babbler, Long-tailed shrike and some other unidentified birds. Only a few of them were willing to pose for me. :?

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The top of the hills round Matjulu were covered with clouds, which gave a very nice view.

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Near the junction s120 and H3 we saw some cars. There had to be something interesting. We drove to it and asked a man what he saw. He told us that there were wild dogs just a few minutes ago. But they disappeared into the bushes and he was trying to found them again. So we tried to help him, but without any luck. No wild dogs for us. :(
Driving on the s121 it started to drizzle. As the side windows were covered with raindrops, we could only watch for animals through the front window.
At first we planned to return to Berg en Dal via the s110 dirt road. But because of the rain we decided to take the tar road. A good decision, as shortly after it stopped raining we found 3 of the big 5. We saw 5 rhino’s, 5 lions (as far as we could see) and a herd of elephants. But unfortunately they were all too far from the road or behind bushes for a decent photo.

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We passed the sunset drive and saw Laurens entertaining his guests.

Back at Berg en Dal we sat outside for a while, enjoying the bush sounds. A bushbuck came inspecting the fence and an elephant was enjoying, with some noise, his meal close by. It’s good to be back.

Sightings:
Impala, Zebra, Kudu, Giraffe, Elephant, White rhino, Lion, Bushbuck, Vervet monkey
Route:
Malelane, S110, Berg en Dal, s110, s120, s121, s114, H3, S110, Berg en Dal


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 Post subject: Re: Anja & Mark in KNP September/October 2008
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2008 7:58 am 
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Day 2 – Let the game begin - Part 1 -
13-9-2008 Berg en Dal → Skukuza

I woke up early, probably caused by the excitement of being back after 15 months. After getting dressed and packing the bags, I made a short walk along the fence. There were no animals around but I enjoyed the bush sounds.
We left at 6 and although still cloudy, day was breaking.
It was quiet on the tar road. There were some impala’s, kudu’s and a very relaxing elephant. I like elephants very much. They are such beautiful animals. But relaxing elephants I like better. :D We stopped and watched him eating. Suddenly we heard a sound. The elephant reacted immediately and became a bit restless. When we had a look we saw a helicopter of Sanparks. It circled over an area and once in a while it made a sort of an alarm sound. We wondered what was going on. Much later we would find out.
On the H3 to Afsaal were 2 white rhino’s close to the road. Unfortunately the bushes made it impossible to get a nice picture.
At Afsaal we had a coffee break. There were a lot of hornbills around, which gave me the opportunity to take nice pictures of them. Until one of them found food at a table and they all left to join him.

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We walked a bit and tried to find the resident scops owl. Although we tried hard, that mission was not successful.

Yesterday’s weather report Afsaal.
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Before going to Skukuza we wanted to pay Pretoriuskop a visit. Therefore we took the Voortrekker road. Here we had some nice sightings. We saw a big herd of buffalo’s near the first dam of Kruger, too bad that they were just leaving.

A lovely kudu
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And a territorial male rhino who came inspecting a dung midden,
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defecating
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and excavating
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To be continued…..


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 Post subject: Re: Anja & Mark in KNP September/October 2008
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 7:18 pm 
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Day 2 - Part 2 -

When we reached the end of the H2-2 it was too early for lunch, so we decided to make a detour to Pretoriuskop. Via the Fayi loop and s7/s3.
It was a bit quiet on the Fayi loop, some common game and a water monitor, who kept an eye on us just over the edge.

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We saw our first tortoise this year. Later on it turned out to be our last one too.

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On the H1-1 to the s7 we passed a speed trap. It’s good to see that speeding has still their attention.

The area round the s7 had been burnt, so there was less activity over there. On the s10 and s3 it was quiet too, except for impala’s and kudu’s. We stayed for a while at the Mesteldam, where only the hippo’s were present.

Back on the H1-1 to Pretoriuskop the speed trap was gone. Probably they were on their way for lunch just like us.

While waiting for our sandwich at the take-away, I saw some purple-crested turaco’s in a tree. I had never had the opportunity to take a decent photo of these birds. So I grabbed my camera and went to that tree and then to another and to another. These birds couldn’t sit still for a moment. Every time I almost took a picture, they flew on another branch or tree. :? I managed to take a few pictures but I stopped trying when the restaurant almost got out of sight. :D

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After lunch we took the tar road to Skukuza. Besides common game we did see a few very nice birds. A Black-bellied bustard, a Brown snake eagle , 2 Senegal lapwings, an immature African harrier-hawk, and a Tawny eagle doing some stretch exercises.

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At waterhole De Laporte the impala’s had to make place for the elephants, who were coming for a drink. One of the elephants had a dust shower by lifting the soil with his fore leg and sweeping it over his back with his trunk.

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At 15:00 we checked in at Skukuza, brought our bags to the bungalow (no. 160) and left again to the Marula loop.
Just before the Sabie low level bridge someone told us that there had been a kill about 8 km ahead. They were on their way to it. We forgot to ask what kind of kill, but didn’t mind not knowing, as we would soon find out. We drove at ease to it and after approximately 10 km’s we found a traffic-jam. The kill must be there.
It was hard to see something, as there were all bushes in front. At last, when we got a better position, we saw a leopard. But no kill. I tried to take some pictures, but that didn’t come out well.
When we were thinking of continue our way (it was too crowed with cars), the same people, who told us about the kill, told us now that this was not the one with kill. That was just a few hundred meters ahead with a much better view. So we continued our way togehter with 2 other cars. But after 2 km’s driving we had seen a lot of animals, but no kill. :hmz: We gave up and drove back to Skukuza via the Marula loop.

When we were on the low level bridge a hyena suddenly came out of the reed and jumped on the bridge just in front of our car. That was really nice to see.

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At 18:00 we were back at Skukuza. We went to the shop, had something to eat at the take-away and enjoyed the evening.


Sightings:
Impala, Kudu, Elephant, White rhino, Wildebeest, Giraffe, Zebra, Steenbok, Duiker, Buffalo, Hippo, Vervet monkey, Waterbuck, Leopard, Baboon, Bushbuck, Hyena.
Route:
S110, H3, H2-2, s14, s8, H1-1, s7/s10, s3, H1-1, Pretoriuskop, H1-1, Skukuza, H1-2, S83, H1-2, Skukuza.


Last edited by Anja on Tue Oct 14, 2008 7:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Anja & Mark in KNP September/October 2008
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 2:28 pm 
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Day 3 – The last is best
14-9-2008 Skukuza → Biyamiti

At 6:00 we left Skukuza and 5 minutes later we returned again, as we had find out that the key was still in my hands, instead of in the keybox. I think I was still a bit sleepy this morning. :roll:
We planned to go to Lower Sabie first, to have a coffee break and to do some shopping for our Biyamiti stay.
Up to the bridge we saw a lot of impala’s, some vervet monkeys in a tree enjoying the morning sun, a few steenboks and a duiker.

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After the bridge we took the s30. It’s always nice to have a look on the several loops over there. We saw baboons, impala’s, 5 beautiful male kudu’s and a lot of vultures. The vultures came out of nowhere. First we saw nothing and then from all sides they flew over and landed some 20 meters from the road in the field. Although very nearby we didn’t have a good view at the spot. They were very busy with some leftovers. A few of them came closer to the road, which gave me the opportunity to take some nice pictures. And then one by one they flew away. The leftovers were probably not what they had expected.

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A little bit further we stopped next to an old termite hill with dwarf mongooses on it. First they were hiding, but curious as they are, they soon appeared again. Then we saw on the other side of the road a hyena coming our way. It looked like he was in a bit of a hurry. He crossed the road without having a look at us and disappeared to the river. It was nice to see how the mongooses kept an eye on the hyena and lost interest in us.
Further on the s30 and s128 were giraffes, zebra’s impala’s, elephants and a ground hornbill.

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On the Sabie bridge we noticed a giant kingfisher, who hovered above the water, plunge-dived and then emerged with a big fish. We parked the car next to the water where we had a good look on how this little giant was preparing his meal. We didn’t wait for him to swallow the fish, which would probably take, considering the size, quite a long time.

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At Lower Sabie we first had a look at the sighting board, before having coffee. Next to it there were a lot of horrible pictures shown of the results of poaching, really terrible. I felt sorry for the poor animals, they must have suffered a lot. It is far from nice watching these pictures. But one should not close one’s eyes to this.

Before heading to Crocodile Bridge we went to the Sunset dam. There was not much activity, besides the hippo’s, a black-eyed bulbul, a drinking starling and 2 helmeted guineafowls.

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On the H4-2 a few cars were parked. The people were looking in the direction of the river. We had a look too, but we saw nothing. We took our binocs, had a good look and again nothing. At that kind of moments we always feel a bit frustrated. First: we don’t know what and where to look for. Second: it’s far from nice, knowing (or thinking) that everyone is seeing it, except for us. One car left and stopped next to us. Probably they saw a lot of question marks in our eyes. They had seen a male lion walking on the other side of the river and then he lay down. For them it was also difficult to see him, as the lion wasn’t always visible. They told us where about to look for, wished us luck and then they left. But it was still not easy and too far away. We drove a little bit further, hoping to have a better view. Then suddenly I saw the head of a lion, or was it a rock? After I explained Mark where I saw this lion-rock, it was disappeared. It was definitely a lion, but again invisible. As we didn’t feel much for playing hide and seek, we left.

On the s28 we saw elephants, zebra’s, a lot of impala’s, wildebeests, an ostrich, 3 rhino’s and our first warthogs. Most of them were far from the road. At Crocodile Bridge we had lunch.

We didn’t see much on our way to Biyamiti., but we again noticed that the park is very, very dry. At 14:30 we arrived, checked in and got cottage 13. We asked for a morning walk, but unfortunately this was for both days not possible. :( We were very disappointed. We like to do a morning walk in a bushveld camp because there is a good change that we will be the only participants, a sort of private walk. Besides that the best morning walks we had over the last years were twice at Biyamiti.

We were both a bit tired and decided to stay at the camp to relax. While Mark was reading a book, I took my camera and sat down in front of the cottage, waiting for some animals to show up.
First a few vervet monkeys showed up. One had a good look in the neighbour’s cottage.

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And then the birds:

Kurrichane Trush,
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Arrow-marked babblers,
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A funny Crested Barbet, first posing and then running off at the moment I took the picture (but not fast enough :D ).
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At 17:00 we left camp for a short drive. It was still a bit quiet. But then we saw a car parked and :dance: :dance: a leopard in a tree. That was great. He slept a bit and also kept an eye on the surroundings.
Shortly after three other cars and the nightdrive arrived. We could have watched this beautiful animal for hours, but there was not much time left. We “only” had 30 minutes and had to leave again. The nightdrive stayed. :mrgreen:

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Sightings:
Impala, Baboon, Steenbok, Kudu, Duiker, Bushbuck, Vervet monkey, Hyena, Warthog, Zebra, Elephant, Giraffe, Buffalo, Wildebeest, White rhino, Lion, Leopard.
Route:
H4-1, s30, s128, Lower Sabie, H4-2, s28, Crocodile Bridge, s25, s139, Biyamiti.


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 Post subject: Re: Anja & Mark in KNP September/October 2008
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 4:23 pm 
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@rusky
I used 2 camera's so I didn't have to switch lenses.
Canon 40D + 300mm + 1,4 converter and 30D + 70-200

@lp
Thanks again, much appreciated.

@BGS
I had to laugh when I saw the result of the Crested Barbet photo. :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Anja & Mark in KNP September/October 2008
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 4:31 pm 
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Day 4 – Search for lions
15-9-2008 Biyamiti

This morning we left camp at 6:00 and we hoped to find the leopard again. Maybe he had caught something and would use the same tree to store his food. We found the tree, but it was vacant and no leopard around. But we did see 3 white rhinos, which was very nice. Other animals we saw on the Biyamiti road were: impala’s, kudu’s, duiker, a vulture and a sleepy Yellow-billed hornbill.

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At the lookout point we had a nice chat with 2 men in a van. They told us about lions in the neighbourhood near the s23, seen yesterday. We had planned to go to Skukuza via the s23, maybe we were lucky.
On the Biyamiti weir were a lot of Water dikkops. I have never seen so many together.

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When looking at these birds a car stopped next to us. A man asked us if we had seen lions. The day before 14 lions were seen near or on the Biyamiti road. :shock: Probably the same lions where we were told about at the lookout. The man was driving up and down to find them. We only could confirm that there were lions around yesterday, but for today, not one lion. It sure looked like we missed a lot of lions yesterday. We hoped to find them this day.
On the s23 it was all a bit quiet, some impala, a duiker and waterbok, but no lion. We had our breakfast at the waterhole Muhlambamadvube. A big herd of impala arrived at the same time as we did. They all had a drink and left again in the same direction where they came from. We counted 60 impala’s.

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At Skukuza we had a coffee break and after that we left for the birdhide.

At the bridge we found these nyala’s. Funny how they all are looking to different directions.

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At the birdhide were a lot of cars parked. We were lucky that one car left on our arrival. But it was still very busy in the hide and later some more people arrived. I was very surprised seeing so much water. As the park is so dry, I expected to see a muddy pool. We stayed there for one hour and we saw a lot, among which: Darters, Grey heron, Jacana, Kingfishers, Black-crowned night heron, Hippo’s, Impala’s, Bushbucks, Nyala’s.

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We had lunch at Skukuza and we left shortly after for Lower Sabie. There was not much activity on the way, probably because it was too warm. We did find a klipspringer on their well-known spot.

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At Lower Sabie we had a drink at the restaurant and enjoyed the view over the river. According to the sighting board a lot of lions had been seen. Some were even on the roads where we were on. Waterhole Gomondwane had a lion mark too. As this was on our way to Biyamiti we would have a look over there. And yes, although it took a while, we found them. But they were lying too far away.

On the s25 we saw 1 Ground hornbill in a tree and 2 on the ground. The one in the tree was knocking on it. We watched them for a while. Later they all 3 flew away.

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Back at Biyamiti we had dinner and enjoyed the evening.

Sightings:
Buskbuck, Impala, Kudu, White rhino, Duiker, Steenbok, Giraffe, Waterbuck, Zebra, Elephant, Warthog, Nyala, Buffalo, Vervet monkey, Hippo, Klipspringer, Baboon, Lion.
Route:
S139, s114, s23, s114, H1-1, Skukuza, Birdhide, H4-1, Lower Sabie, s82, H4-2, H5, s108, s25, s139, Biyamiti.


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 Post subject: Re: Anja & Mark in KNP September/October 2008
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 10:55 pm 
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Day 5 – Found them! :D
16-9-2008 Biyamiti → Satara

This day we had to say goodbye to Biyamiti. As it was still too early to leave camp we walked to the fence, where we saw a white-rhino at the river. A great start of the day. While watching the rhino leaving into the bushes, we were discussing which way to go to Satara. Mark preferred the long part of the Biyamiti road, so we could enjoy the road much longer, and I the short part to arrive in time at Satara. When we walked back to the cottage we suddenly heard lions roaring, coming from the longer part. The decision, which way to go, was taken. At 6:00 we left Biyamiti and turned to the right.
After 15 minutes driving we found the lions, first a male and then the others. :dance:

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They were lying, but when we stopped the car they walked away. Fortunately not out of our sight. We only had to drive a little bit backwards. We counted 8 lions: 2 male, 4 female and 2 cubs.

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One of the males climbed into a tree and took something out to eat. Probably the remains of a leopards catch. Now they had something to gnaw.

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It was really nice watching these lions, because they were very active. The cubs played a bit, the elder ate and walked up and down. Much entertaining.

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The advantage of being on the Biyamiti road is that there is less chance of a traffic jam. We were the first at this sighting and some what later 3 other cars arrived, but they didn’t stay for too long.
After some time we saw an impala walking through the reeds in the river, unaware of the lions. The lions noticed her at once. They stalked the impala, but didn’t take much trouble to hide them-selves. Probably it took no longer than a few minutes, but to my mind, it took a long time before the impala noticed the lions, It was very exciting, watching them. When the impala saw the lions, she gave the alarm and run of. At that moment we saw rest of the herd at a distance of 10 meters from the impala, they followed her immediately. The lions continued doing their thing.

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At last most of the lions left the place one by one and disappeared behind the bushes. After watching them for 2 hours we had to leave. We now took the short part of the Biyamiti road, or else we wouldn’t make it in time to Satara.

We drove to Crocodile Bridge to have a pitstop. On the s25 we saw a lot of impala’s, kudu’s, some vervet monkeys and a giant eagle owl.

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A few kilometers before the s27 I saw a big grey rock in the distance. That reminded me of the several times when we mistook a rock for a rhino and vice versa. This time it couldn’t be a rhino, it was too big. But something told me that this was not a normal rock. I asked Mark to stop and reverse.
We had a closer look and the rock appeared to be an elephant, lying. Very weird. For a moment we thought he was dead, but once in a while he moved his tail or trunk a bit. Thank goodness, he was alive. But would he be ill? After staying for about 15 minutes we reversed some meters, hoping to have a better view and then he suddenly rose and walked away. He probably had his beauty sleep and we had disturbed him.
We were glad that he was ok.

A closer look.
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After visiting Crocodile Bridge we went to Lower Sabie via the H4-2. Just a few kilometers after the s28 was a little traffic jam. We first saw a dead buffalo, and then a little bit further some lions. We stopped, but as we had a much better look at the Biayamiti lions that morning we didn’t stay very long.

At Lower Sabie we had lunch and at 13:00 we left. On the H10 we saw 1 rhino and 2 couples reedbucks, all hiding under a tree or bushes.
It was very quiet at Tshokwane. We were, together with another couple, the only visitors. We walked a bit and I of course took some photos.

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At Mazithi dam we saw a Saddlebilled stork (male) with a young, who was continuously calling. He probably was hungry.

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All the way to Satara we didn’t see much animals. We arrived at 17:00 at Satara and got bungalow G161, just like last year. Close to the fence. :dance:
As it was too hot we stayed at Satara.

Sightings:
White rhino, Bushbuck, Impala, Lion, Kudu, Giraffe, Buffalo, Elephant, Zebra, Vervet monkey, Baboon, Hippo, Wildebeest, Waterbuck, Steenbok, Warthog, Reedbuck.
Route:
S139, s25, Crocodile Bridge, H4-2, Lower Sabie, H10, Tshokwane, H1-3, Satara.


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 Post subject: Re: Anja & Mark in KNP September/October 2008
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 8:37 pm 
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Day 6 – An overcast day
17-9-2008 Satara

Contrary to yesterday it was this morning cloudy, windy and cold. I had to change my shorts and shirt for trousers and a warm sweater. :?
We left at 6:00 and decided to take the H1-4, s90 and s41 first. Just outside the camp was a small herd of buffalo. A good start, that was promising for the rest of the road. But unfortunately up to the s41 we didn’t see much except for some steenboks, impala’s, a white rhino and kudu, but all too far away.
There was more activity on the s41. Especially at waterhole Gudzani east, where we watched several herds of zebra and wildebeest come and go. Here we had our breakfast. It’s always nice to have breakfast with all kind off animals around to look at.

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Further on the road a lovely giraffe

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We continued our way to N’wanetsi. On the second part of the s41 wasn’t much activity, except for a traffic jam with lions. It wasn’t easy to find them, as they were lying in high grasses and the other cars were blocking our view. We saw 2 lions, but maybe there were more. We soon left.
At N’wanetsi we had a very nice talk with an Afikaanse woman. We spoke a little bit in Afrikaans/Dutch and English. When we left a man who just arrived told us about a lion with a kudu kill on the tar road near a dam. We didn’t understand which dam he was talking about. We thought it must be Nsemani dam, the only dam near a tar road we knew. We thanked him and left.
We first went to Sweni birdhide, the lion would probably be the whole day around.

There was less water at the birdhide than previous years we visited it.

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A bushbuck, hippo’s, crocodiles and a lot of Yellow-billed storks were present. A kudu came for a drink, but after seeing the crocodiles she decided to leave and try it somewhere else.

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We didn’t stay for long and drove back to Satara for lunch. Just before the turn-off to Sonop waterhole were a few cars parked. We saw a lion under a bush and someone told us that he had caught a kudu. This was the spot the man at N’wanetsi was talking about. The lion was just lying and nothing happened until a vulture came too close. He made a sprint and the vulture flew with fear away. The lion then walked back to his bush and lay down again, guarding his caught. Somewhat later the vulture returned with his pals, but now at a safe distance.

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After lunch I took my camera and made some photo’s of a hoopoe, which I had seen in front of the restaurant during lunch.

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In the afternoon we took the H7, s36 and s126. Again there was less activity on the first part. On the s126 we had some nice sightings of impala’s, 3 white rhino’s, buffalo’s, elephants and a Little bee-eater.

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The impala’s were walking on the road, approaching us.

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Some 10 meters in front of our car they left the road, speeded up along our car

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and at the back they relaxed and returned on the road to continue their way.

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We went back to H6 to look for the lion. Nothing had changed, except there were more vultures around. The lion was still lying next to his kill.
We went back to Satara on the s41 and s100. One of the lions of this morning still lay in the grass on the s41.
The s100 was very productive with wildebeest, impala’s, zebra, waterbuck and kudu’s. At the end of the road were some lions, but not good visible.

Sightings:
Buffalo, Wildebeest, Kudu, Giraffe, Steenbok, Zebra, White rhino, Impala, Baboon, Waterbuck, Hippo, Lion, Elephant, Warthog, Duiker, Bushbuck.
Route:
H1-4, s90, s41, N’wanetsi, Sweni birdhide, H6, H1-3 Satara, H7, s36, s126, H1-3, H6, s41, s100, Satara.


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 Post subject: Re: Anja & Mark in KNP September/October 2008
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 11:50 pm 
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Day 7 – Mananga trail
18-9-2008 Satara

During our stays at Satara in previous years we noticed the signs Mananga trail on the s100, s41 and s90. No un-authorized vehicles allowed, reservation at Satara . We were always very curious what to expect on this road. So this year we would give it a try.
Because the reception wasn’t open until 7:00 we first went for a short drive.
At the beginning of the H7 we saw a herd of waterbucks along the road and we stopped. Soon some other cars joined us and a tiny traffic jam arose. It’s was funny to see how a car on the H1-3 reversed to see what was going on and then left at once after seeing the waterbucks. :D

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On the s100 a Wahlberg’s eagle was collecting twigs and then flew in a tree near the river. Unfortunately it was too dark/clouded for a decent photo.
At 7:00 we were at the reception. We got a map and a form, which we had to fill in after our return. On the first part it was very quiet, probably because of the drought. We saw some steenboks, 3 white-rhino’s far away and 2 Kori bustards (our first this stay). These birds are always walking. It looks like they never stand still.

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Beyond the first intersection there were a lot more animals: a big herd of waterbucks, wildebeests, zebra’s, some more steenboks and a hyena. On the road was a Bateleur eating something. Although we steadily approached, the bird flew away, leaving this skull behind.

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We reached the s100 and had to drive to the s41 for the second part of the trail, but first we made a stop at Gudzani dam. There was still water, but just like at the Sweni birdhide not that much.

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On the second part of the trail we drove all the way along a river. Here we saw a lot more animals than on the first part. Again 2 Kori bustards, Giant eagle owl, elephants, kudu’s, a Hamerkop, zebra’s, waterbucks and a lot of steenboks. I have never seen so many of them on one road.

One of the many steenboks
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and a spiderweb.
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We liked the trail very much. It’s nice to discover new roads and as there was no other car around it felt as if we were the only ones in the park. That was really wonderful. The route description was very clear. Without having a GPS we had to rely on it. Only at one point we had little doubts which way to go. The roads were in good condition.

At lunchtime we were back at Satara. When enjoying our lunch we had company of a lovely Lesser masked weaver.

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At the table behind us people were feeding the birds, despite the sign “do not feed the birds”. :sniper: We saw that a waitress noticed it. A few minutes later someone of the staff had a serious word with these people. We have often seen people feeding birds at the park restaurant. It was good to see that the staff now took action.

After lunch we had to make time for the laundry. In the meantime we walked a bit, sat in front of our bungalow together with our tree neighbour and I searched for some nice birds to take a picture of.

Our tree neighbour

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and some very nice birds.

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I also took a picture of one of the scopsowl at the parking area near the reception. During one of our walks a man told me where to find another pair scopsowl near the C-circle. That was really kind of the man.

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The reception owl and the circle-C owl


When the laundry finally was done, we left at 15:00 for a drive to the Sweni birdhide via the s100. There was a lot of activity on the s100. It was nice to see how 2 herds of elephants bumped into each other, very peacefully.
When we arrived at the birdhide we just saw how a small rhino came for a drink. It first looked like one of the hippo’s would chase him away. But about 2 meters from the rhino the hippo submerged.

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There were also waterbucks coming for a drink, but they didn’t take the risk coming too close to the hippo’s

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We left Sweni in time, but because we did see some very nice things on the H6 we arrived almost too late at Satara.
There was no sign of yesterday’s lion with kill. There were even no vultures around. Half way the H6 we saw a beautiful Martial eagle and some kilometers further 6 hyenas lying lazy in the field. After we had a look at a snake (unidentified) we found out that there was less time to return. We had to drive back to Satara without stopping at nice sightings, such as the 2 lionesses we saw walking along the H1-3.
At 17.58 we arrived at Satara.

Sightings:
Zebra, Giraffe, Impala, Waterbuck, Kudu, Vervet monkey, Baboon, White rhino, Steenbok, Buffalo, Elephant, Duiker, Warthog, Lion, Wildebeest, Hyena, Hippo.
Route:
Mananga trail, s100, s41, H6, H1-3, Satara


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 Post subject: Re: Anja & Mark in KNP September/October 2008
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 8:50 pm 
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Continuation of day 7 – Oops

Thanks to fish-eagle I find out that the rhino at Sweni birdhide was a black rhino. I still do not know why I didn’t notice it before. :wall: :redface:
Fish-eagle saw the same rhino on 19 September in front of the birdhide. He didn’t look well then, probably wounded or ill. :(
It’s very strange to have seen a black rhino in retroaction. I’m glad we did, but I’m still :wall: :redface:

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 Post subject: Re: Anja & Mark in KNP September/October 2008
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 12:19 am 
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Day 8 – Big V
19-9-2008 Satara

I woke up early and went outside to sit in front of our bungalow and enjoy. Besides an impala on the other side of the fence it was quiet, but very nice. It promised to be a beautiful day.
We left at 6:00 and had a great start by seeing 4 lion cubs in the riverbed at the N’wanetsi bridge on the H1-3. That was so nice. They were playing, running after each other, laying down and that all over again. The mums weren’t visible, but I’m sure they kept an eye on their offspring. When a traffic jam started, we left.
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A few kilometers further on the road we found a serval. It was not easy to see him, because he was walking in high grasses. Sometimes we lost him and then he appeared again. But we could follow him for quite a while. At last he didn’t show up anymore. So we continued our way.

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On the s126 we saw several animals. Among which elephants
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and a buffalo with an air of who-can-get-me. What a magnificent animal.

III
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We arrived just too late at Shimangwaneni dam for watching a herd of buffalo’s drinking. Only a few members of the rear were at the waterside. The rest was already walking away. At waterhole Mondzweni were a lot of cars around. That was all about a lion, lying down.
We stayed a while at Lugmag dam. As there was still water, it was visited by a lot of impala’s, zebra’s and waterbucks.

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When we arrived at Tshokwane for lunch a Yellow billed kite glided over the picnic spot searching for food. The small birds were hiding in trees. When the raptor flew off, the birds showed up relieved.

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There were some more animals searching for food: the vervet monkeys. We made sure that our toasted sandwiches wouldn’t fall into their hands. A woman however was distracted and one of the monkeys took something from her plate. She didn’t notice it at all. Her husband had to tell her where her food had disappeared.
We paid a short visit to Orpen dam. Nice to see the difference between the photo of my first post and this one.

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From the look-out we saw elephants, waterbucks, a hippo, crocodiles and 2 bushbucks coming for a drink (very carefully).
A few kilometers from Orpen dam on the s35 (north) 2 cars were parked. It didn’t take long for us to find out what they were looking at. It was a leopard in a tree.
IV
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Unfortunately our sighting got a bit spoilt by the car behind us, as his noisy engine wasn’t switched off. How can one enjoy such a nice sighting in such a lot of noise?

On the s37 we found our today’s 5th member of the big five, the rhino.
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We also saw a giraffe carcass, but no predators. Because there were a lot of vultures in the trees, the predators had to be around.

We again visited Sweni bird hide. A mother baboon with her small baby arrived all alone. There were no other baboons in the neighbourhood. She ate very greedily from the water plants and sat down on a rock.
When we had parked the car at Gudzani dam the wind was suddenly getting up. It has been very warm the whole day, but now it cooled down.
The s100 turned out to be a productive road. We first saw 4 lionesses lying in the grass then a lot of elephants, a lot more waterbucks, impala’s, wildebeests, giraffes and zebra’s.

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As there was time left we drove to Nsemani dam. Here we saw 2 Pied Avocets. We have never seen this bird in Kruger before.

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When driving back to Satara, there was still a lot of wind. The marabou’s found a tree to spend the night. We wondered how they are able not to fall out of a tree in stormy weather.

Sightings:
Impala, Lion, Baboon, Elephant, Giraffe, Zebra, Wildebeest, Serval, Kudu, Duiker, Steenbok, Buffalo, Waterbuck, Warhog, Bushbuck, Leopard, Vervet monkey, White-rhino, Hippo.
Route:
H1-3, s126, s36, s34, Tsokwane, Orpen dam, s35, s37, Sweni birdhide, s41, s100, H7 (Nsemani dam), Satara


Last edited by Anja on Wed Nov 12, 2008 4:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Anja & Mark in KNP September/October 2008
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 3:33 pm 
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Day 9 – The day of Ngala
20-9-2008 Satara → Mopani

This day we had to leave Satara. But before moving up to the north we first had a drive on the s100. After 3 kilometers we saw a male lion on the other side of the river peering to our side. It looked like he planned to cross the river. We stopped the car and waited. He stood still for some time and then he moved behind some bushes and we lost him. Together with 3 people in another car we drove a bit further to find him. Then we saw him together with another male lion. They again disappeared. We drove up and down and searched, but to no avail. The other people were sure that the lions would cross the river and waited. We decided to move on. After about 1 kilometer we saw them walking, still on the other side of the river. They kept up a good brisk pace. From time to time one stopped for marking their territory.
lion 1
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lion 2
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While following the lions we bumped into this little Red-breasted swallow.

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We could follow the lions for some kilometers but finally they moved away from the river.
After driving a few kilometers we again saw 2 male lions but now on the left side. :shock:
These two were also on the move. Further down was a small herd of impala’s. They noticed the lions immediately and were on their guard. But when the lions plopped down at about 50 meters from the herd, the impala’s calmed down and continued grazing. :?

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Then almost at the end of the s100 we found the same lionesses, which we saw yesterday. :D

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Our drive on the s100 took us 2,5 hours.
On the s41 we mainly saw impala’s, waterbucks and kudu’s. But close to the junction s41 and s90 we again found lions, a mating couple at rest. We watched them for 45 minutes but nothing really happened, except they moved a bit further away. For us it was time to move on.

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On the s90 we saw 2 black-backed jackals, one far away, the other close to the road.

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And also a reedbuck.

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Close to Bangu we saw a lot of impala’s, zebra’s and two elephants with fairly big tusks. One was far away and the other stood with his back to us. So there is no decent photo of these 2 coming big tuskers.
After our lunch at Olifants we went to the look out. There were a lot of people. I heard someone telling about a lion down at the river, after some help I found him.
I don’t remember having seen so many lions on one day. :hmz:

The second part of our trip to Mopani wasn’t abundant with sightings like the first part. It was all a bit quiet.
Along the river between Olifants and Letaba we saw this hippo having a bit of shut-eye.

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At 17:00 we checked in (bungalow no.2) at Mopai. After that we went for a walk in the camp and the trail and found again some nice birds.

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Sightings:
Zebra, Elephant, Waterbuck, Impala, Giraffe, Lion, Wildebeest, Buffalo, Vervet monkey, Kudu, Steenbok, Black-backed jackal, Reedbuck, Baboon, Warthog and Hippo.
Route:
S100, s41, s90, Olifants, H8, H1-5, H1-6, s48, H1-6, Mopani.


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 Post subject: Re: Anja & Mark in KNP September/October 2008
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 10:57 pm 
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Day 10 – Coming Big Tuskers
21-9-2008 Mopani → Letaba

When we left Mopani at 6:00, it was clouded and there was a fresh breeze. Not really nice, it felt like this would go on the whole day.
When we just turned on the H1-6 a hyena showed up, walked along the road to the den a few meters further. It was great to see how he/she was welcomed by the others, an enjoyable moment. There were 2 small, 2 tiny ones and 2 adults. When more cars arrived we left to make way for them.

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We drove to Mooiplaas picnic by a roundabout route, via s50 and H1-6. It was very quiet, probably because of the weather. Near Nshawu3 we saw a few elephants in the distance. As they were coming our way we waited. When we had a closer look, we saw that one of them had one big tusk and the other was broken. That reminded me of the elephant, which Pumbaa saw this year. I would have loved to take a picture of him, but he refused to come from behind the bushes.
At Mooiplaas we walked and watched the birds, but not for long because we felt cold. We then drove to Letaba. Between the turning for Confluence lookout and the H14, we saw another “coming” big tusker. This one didn’t make difficulties about being taken on a photo (31x :lol: ). It was very special watching such a big elephant, so relaxed.

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Coming closer to Letaba we saw some more animals among which, 3 Tsessebe’s, 1 reedbuck, zebra’s and impala’s.

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Before going to Letaba to check in, we first went to Mingerhout dam lookout. We didn’t see many animals on the way, mainly impala’s and giraffe’s. At the dam were a lot waterbucks, crocodiles and terrapins. We took the same road back, along the river.

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At Letaba we had lunch with a nice view over the river. In the meantime the sun had shown up and it was lovely to sit over there. We checked in (bungalow E65) and did some shopping.
In the afternoon on the H1-5 we again encountered a “coming” big tusker. This one was in a bit of a hurry. He didn’t find time to stay and eat. But it was very nice to have met him.

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After this we went to the Engelhard dam, taking every loop. The sightings were a bit disappointed, besides this buffalo.

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All in all it was quiet this day. But seeing the two tuskers made up a lot.

Sightings:
Hyena, Giraffe, Steenbok, Elephant, Bushbuck, Tsessebe, Zebra, Reedbuck, Impala, Waterbuck, Hippo, Warthog, Vervet monkey, Buffalo and Baboon.
Route:
H1-6, s50, H1-6 (Mooiplaas), s47, H1-6, Letaba, s46, H1-5, H1-6, s62, Letaba.


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 Post subject: Re: Anja & Mark in KNP September/October 2008
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 8:19 pm 
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Day 11 – A family tragedy :cry:
22-9-2008 Letaba → Shingwedzi

We woke up early and after packing our bags, we went to the restaurant to have a look over the river. A male waterbuck lay in front and soon 2 females accompanied him. The bushbucks in camp were already active, while most of the guests were still in dreamland. The sky was clear and although still a bit fresh it promised to be a nice warm day.
All the way to Mopani there was less activity. Close to Mooiplaas we saw 2 saddle-billed storks and 2 fish-eagles in a tree next to each other.
At Mopani we had breakfast. I took breakfast “Health” (yoghurt + fruit + muesli) and a coffee. :lotsocoffee: The coffee was served in a coffeepot with content of 2 cups. It all was yummy.
An Arrowmarked babbler kept us company.

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At 9:30 we left Mopani and took the s50 to Shingwedzi. When we passed the s143 I looked at the signboard and saw that we still had to drive about 60 kilometers. Ouch, I had a problem, I shouldn’t had taken the second cup of coffee. :roll: Now I urgently had to go to the toilet, and 60 kilometers …….. :slap:
We turned back and drove to Mooiplaas. When we arrived there, we first had to wait for an elephant to leave the road. But fortunately all ended well. :D
We now decided to go to Shingwedzi via the tar road. At Bowkerkop we saw an ostrich family, a couple with 7 young. It was very nice watching them. After some minutes 3 people, who were already at the waterhole when we arrived, stopped next to us and told us that a quarter ago a young was fallen into the water and could not get out.
We hadn’t noticed this young. We felt very sorry for the little one but we didn’t know what to do. A safari vehicle with a group of tourists arrived shortly after and we told the ranger about the young. He replied that the rangers at Mopani should be warned. As this was a man-made waterhole the little ostrich must be helped out. He immediately left and about 10 minutes later a vehicle of the park arrived. Unfortunately they were too late, the bird was dead and with him 4 other little ostriches were taken out of the water, all dead. :cry:
In the meantime the ostrich family had left the place and we, deeply touched, drove further.

The ostrich family, notice the young at the left in the water.
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On the H1-6 we passed a hyena den with 4 cubs

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and a steenbok

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At waterhole Joao we saw our first and last Secretary bird this year. He walked and then suddenly he was taken up, together with leaves, by a gust of wind and flew so high in the sky that we couldn’t see him anymore. :shock:

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We arrived at 15:00 at Shingwedzi, checked in (bungalow A3) and had something to eat at the take away. In the meantime I took some photo’s of this Grey hornbill.

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After that we went out for a drive. In the river we saw a muddy elephant, with big tusks, walking. He stopped at one point and began to dig a hole and then he found water.

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Near the low level bridge was a Grey heron. Now and then he acted a bit weird, as if he had difficulties swallowing. I took a photo when he had opened his bill. It looks like something is stuck in his throat. I wonder what this might be. :?:

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In the last hour we made a short drive along the river to Kanniedooddam. In a loop a car was parked. The people told us that there were lions behind the bushes, close to the river. But how we tried we couldn’t find them. So we continued our way. We saw a lot of birds, nyala’s and impala’s.

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On our way back we again had a look on the “lion” loop. And now we saw 3 lions through the branches. We stayed there until it was almost gate closing time.
That evening the temperature was nice and we sat outside enjoying. It felt good to be back in Shingwedzi.

Sightings:
Bushbuck, Waterbuck, Impala, Steenbok, Warthog, Elephant, Zebra, Buffalo, Hyena, Kudu, Giraffe, Wildebeest, Baboon, Nyala, Lion, Hippo.
Route:
H1-6, Mopani, s50, H1-6, Shingwedzi, s135, s50, Shingwedzi.


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