Skip to content

SANParks.org Forums

View unanswered posts | View active topics






Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  Page 1 of 1
 [ 7 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Wild about Cats-Metsi-Metsi Trail, December 2008
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 6:03 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 4:10 pm
Posts: 2416
Location: SA
Day 1

My mother and I left bright and early on the 6th, ready to spend one night in Lower Sabie before beginning the trail. We had planned it all - drive through Croc Bridge, would be at LS by lunch time, we could even have a peaceful afternoon drive. However, nature's elements had come into play before we had even entered the park.

Image

The park had spent so much money on the beginnings of this new bridge, which had now washed away. We had to drive the way around into Malelane to Lower Sabie via Skukuza (sand roads were apparently closed due to the rain).

We were completely blown away by the change in the vegetation all the way to Skukuza. We has recently been at Malelane for a weekend and had travelled the road so many times. It had transformed completely, the vegetation was thick and green, you could barely see 10 meters in.

Along the H3, a beautiful and big herd of sable, at least 10 of them in the thick bush.
Image

There were puddles all over the road from the heavy rain, and birds along with them.
Image
Image
Image

We saw some beautiful birds at Lake Panic, including weavers, who were on the island, building and active around their nests. The Green-backed Heron and female, Purple Heron, Kingfishers and more, including a new tick - the Thick-billed Weaver, building a really complicated nest.
Image

When very near to LS, we came across a family of Verreaux's Eagle-Owls in the trees, a young one calling for food, the way an annoying little child will. One of the parents even flew across the raod, presumably to get away from the noise. :roll:
Image

We made it after gate closing time. Our hut, number 11, was close to the bathrooms, but also to the staff, which meant we heard music AGAIN :evil:

_________________
Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Metsi - Metsi Trail, December 6 - 11
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 7:49 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 4:10 pm
Posts: 2416
Location: SA
Day 2

We woke up bright and early, ready to make our way to Skukuza by 3. We drove the H4-1, noticing all the cute impala babies along the way.
Image

From the S1, we took the S65 on the way to N'waswitshaka waterhole, and about 1km down the road we met up with some wild dogs, who vanished in a minute or two, no photos, they were in one hell of a rush :D
However, along the S1 back to Skukuza we came across another wild dog, alone and injured, calling and limping down the road.
Image
He disappeared into the bush soon after we saw him.

We arrived at Skukuza around 2, had lunch, checked the river and parked the car at the designated parking lot. At 3 a driver arrived, asking where everyone was, as only one person had arrived. At 3.20 we began to load the trailer with our bags, cooler boxes, and lots of beer from the S African guys :roll:

The people on the trail were:
Dan - Alone. American. Studied in Cape Town, in KNP for the first time before going to do some work in India. Very kind and sweet.
Shirley - A blonde Australian, here with her friend, Anne. Quiet, kind.
Ann - With Shirley. A brunette Australian. Spunky, loud, fun. Always ready to try something new, wanting to experience the 'kind of wildlife you have out here in Africa' :)
Travis - Very loud, loved beer. Great spotter, photographer.
Ryan - Kind. Our official fly-swatter. :) Loved crocodiles. Scared if we left the gate open :lol: :lol: :roll:
Dave - Father of Ryan and Travis. Charming and talkative, happy to give his two cents worth. Very Friendly.

All in all we had an amazing group, a pleasure to be with. (except that none of them would bird, and look at me funny when I did :lol: )

We drove towards Tshokwane, and saw ellies, buff, rhino, giraffe, warthog, birds :D , and more. We drove onto a no entry road on the S35, seeing a hyaena, who disappeared in a flash.
Image

We arrived at our neatly nestled camp, ready to face the days ahead, excited and cautious.
Image
Dave and Shirley

The camp was beautiful.

Image
Huts

Image
Showers

Image
Hut

Image
Social Area

Image
Info Board

Image
Dinner Table

Image
Lapa

Image
Kitchen

Image
Hut

Image
Bathrooms

_________________
Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


Last edited by Wild about cats on Thu Dec 11, 2008 8:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Metsi - Metsi Trail, December 6 - 11
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 2:31 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 4:10 pm
Posts: 2416
Location: SA
@CC - Glad you're enjoying it :D

Day 2 continued

Afer arrival, we had about an hour or so to settle in and find our way around. The fridges wre packed, some advice for anyone going on the trail - do not take things that need to be frozen in the summer months. The freezer simply cannot compete with the soaring temperatures. Something I found interesting was Dan, who was telling me about the bathrooms having flush toilets, saying "This is not roughing it." I found it interesting that an American who had never come to Kruger thought so too :D .

The drum for dinner echoed as the sun had set before us. Dinner was delicious, unfortunately there were many bugs around this night, and we found some had landed in our food. :x

We got to know each other better at dinner, after which we sat around the camp fire. Steven told us the expected procedure, what to do in an emergency etc. Most of retired early, eager for the next morning. The huts have 2 beds each, a mozzie net and not much more :lol: Most of us left our doors open, protected by the net, except for Ryan who worried about the gate :lol: :lol: Lions and hyaena were close by and serenaded us to sleep...

_________________
Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Metsi - Metsi Trail, December 6 - 11
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 9:10 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 4:10 pm
Posts: 2416
Location: SA
Thanks for all the comments everyone :D
Was my mothers birthday present for my 16th.

Day 3

We were woken by Abel, who was bringing warm water to every hut, as there is no time to shower in the mornings, we use this water to wash faces etc. The sun was already begining to brighten the horizon with its array of bright and wonderful colours. The birds were going crazy, being more isolated gives one a better experience of their calls, which Abel entertained us by mimicing.

... to be continued...

_________________
Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


Last edited by Wild about cats on Sun Dec 14, 2008 6:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Metsi - Metsi Trail, December 6 - 11
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 8:52 am 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 4:10 pm
Posts: 2416
Location: SA
gmlsmit: I promise, it's worth the wait :mrgreen:

Day 3 coninued

After washing up and dressing in our 'blend-in' clothes, we made our way to the dining area, where tea and coffee was served. We gathered around the smokey fire to chat about how we slept and what we heard during the night. Apparently there was lion and hyaena :? The sun was rising increadibly fast, so we jumped onto the truck and headed off down our own no-entry road. Before anything, we were stopped by an annoyed bull ellie, who didn't want us on his road. I'm guessing it's the same ellie as in the picture on our board:

Image
Image

Sorry its hard to see their faces, it really makes the picture. :lol: :lol:

We eventually managed to intimidate him and sped away before he changed his mind. :wink: Further down, we came across three young male lions. Steven told us that the noise the lions were making last night was the event of eradicating these three from the Metsi pride as they were becoming competition for the pride male/s. It was clear that it was true: the lions were very nervous and quiet, looking around shyly and sauntering into the thick bush silently.

Image

Not far from there, the truck was stopped and we hopped out. Jackets off, waterbottles and cameras on. Ernesto jumped into the front deat and drove off. "By the way, that was your last chance of getting out of this walk." Steven teased. :lol:

We set off in single file. The dew was thick and paths muddy, soon our pants were dirty. The bird calls were amazing, all around us a variety of calls and shrieks. The cicadas were out and in full force.

After a while we were stopped. The rangers had a conversation in signs before informing us. "Rhino," they whispered.

Image

We could hear them stomping through bush and vocalising. We too refuge behind a big shrub, listening. We decided it was best to go around instead of through the thicket. The two SA brothers, Travis and Ryan, kept muttering how amazing this was :roll: We soon spotted three white rhinos in a clearing.

Image

There was a mother and her calf and a bull. The female wasn't happy with this bull and was vocalising at him. Everytime he approached her, she would turn her back on him and snort. But when the calf approached, she was warm and friendly, rubbing it with her head tenderly. It was so nice to watch them. 8)

...to be continued...

_________________
Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Metsi - Metsi Trail, December 6 - 11
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 10:26 am 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 4:10 pm
Posts: 2416
Location: SA
Nyamandlovu wrote:
Awesome again WAC :thumbs_up:
Must be a thrill to come accross rhino on foot. Always been a dream of mine.


On Metsi Metsi at this time of year the chances are high. We saw them on every walk. :thumbs_up:
In the winter months they are scarce there, we were told.

_________________
Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Metsi - Metsi Trail, December 6 - 11
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 11:25 am 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 4:10 pm
Posts: 2416
Location: SA
Day 3 continued

It was nearing 10am when we came within sight of the camp, to many of the walkers' relief. A moment that we all remembered was when we stopped to let the others catch up and Dan glances at the hide of the camp (within a visible fence) and asks Steve, "What is that?"
The SA guys would not stop cracking jokes about it being a secret Mozambican base. :roll:

We had time to shower and change, bird and socialise before the drum was heard and lunch was served. The food there was contradicory to all the comments we had heard. It was healthy, delicious and none of us could resist seconds.

We then had 'siesta time' where most of the trailists would have a nap in the heat of the day, trying to recover from the walk. I, however, went birding around the camp and found myself socialising and not sleeping at all. What I found really amusing was Ryan, who walzed into the dining area, asking whether any of us had slept. Upon being asked, he muttered something about the gate being open and he not being able to sleep. :lol: :lol: :lol: What a tough guy :lol:

Dan and I spent most of this time in the hide, where a miniscule trickle of water was just visible a couple of meters away. The birds were going crazy. Impala came to drink, and I could swear I saw a rhino, although it could just have been the sleepiness talking.

At 3:30 the drums were sounded and we assembled for departure. First we made our way down a bumpy road, stopping near some thickets, which we promply began to hike through. Eventually, we found ourselves in a dry riverbed, where we listened to the Woodland kingfishers and observed a hippo path.

Towards Orpen Dam, we came across a small pool of water. Image

Then the rock hike began.

Image

Before long we were dazzled with a once-in-a-lifetime shot. A big male hippo was trotting away from us, and made his way up a big rock to observe us in turn.

Image

He looked stunning in the late afternoon light. This, however amazing, was not the best thing we'd see. So we didn't see a leopard or lion, but what we did see you can't from your car. We found an extreamely foul-smelling pool of water full of 27 hippos. The smell was overwhelming. They were literally swimming in their own.... deposit.

Image

We sat there for no less that half an hour, watching the babies climb and slip from their mothers backs, hippo yawns and birds all around us (including a new tick: Red-chested Cuckoo).

Soon we were back in the truck. We saw a female hyaena on the way, you would not belive the stench she mustered.

Image

We stopped at Nkumbe lookout point for our sundowner.

Image

It was beautiful. We saw a herd of 60+ ellies in the distance, watching the sun disapear and the stars form slowly in the sky.

On the way back we saw a civet in the road, not any nightjars though :(

Dinner was served as we arrived back, and we all devoured in near silence, afterwards sitting like fat lions in the hot sun, too lazy to really do anything.

_________________
Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 7 posts ] 



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group

Webcams Highlights

Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Submitted by melboth at 12:17:27 Submitted by Kiepersol at 16:57:26 Submitted by brendont at 13:26:39 Submitted by avidspotter at 15:34:36