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 Post subject: Rhinos and Roadblocks
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 7:16 pm 
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As we were preparing for another trip to KNP last week the truck drivers strike was in full swing and we were wondering if we will get petrol to get there.

Getting there was the simple part but what about getting back. After some deliberation we were on our way, praying :pray: that we will make it OK. We thought that if you going to be stranded anywhere, why not Kruger :wink:

We got to Phabeni Gate at 5.15am on Friday 10 April. There were already 6 cars ahead of us. By 5.50am there must have been about 30 cars in the queue. One guy decided this was too much for him and pulled up alongside car number 3, who was one of his party :evil: :naughty:

When the gate opened the gate attendent turned him back :clap: and as we drove past we could here the choice words.

It was good to be in KNP again :D :D :D and we were soon checking in. Our queue jumper soon turned up and joined his buddy in this queue :evil:

We have been to Kruger on long weekends many times and knew it was going to be busy but one can still have quality sightings. We therefore avoided the busy S1, usually a very productive road and made for the equally productive S3.

We soon came across our first roadblock................

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 Post subject: Re: Rhinos and Roadblocks
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 6:22 pm 
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Thank you all for the comments.

A few kilometers into the S3, we came across these 3 white rhinos blocking the road and very reluctant to move.

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Next up this young ellie held us up for a good 20 minutes showing us who is boss

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and when he eventually moved he still had to have a peep at us

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Then we got a giraffe feeding away

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followed by this wildebeest that seems to have serious problem with its ear. He stood in the road and very unlike a wildebeest would not move away. We must have been less of a threat than something else but we could not see anything

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another rhino roadblock further on

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We saw 41 rhinos on this trip, and no, I will not be posting all the rhino photos. The point is that white rhinos are a great success story. The last rhino was seen in KNP in 1896. They were reintroduced to KNP in 1961 and today the population is about 7500 :clap: :clap: :clap:

Downside, will they have to be culled sometime in the future???

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 Post subject: Re: Rhinos and Roadblocks
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 9:11 am 
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Hello All, once again thank you for all the encouraging comments.

A mini road block. We waited patiently as this chameleon crossed the road ever so slowly.

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Then a bateleur landed in front of us, picked up a morsel from the road and we could see it was going to take off at any moment. I put the camera into sport mode and clicked away, had to take the shots through windscreen which spoiled them somewhat but a great sighting.

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 Post subject: Re: Rhinos and Roadblocks
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 6:33 pm 
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Hello again All,

After a break a Skukuza we headed for LS. We had a police roadblock on the way where they checked drivers licence abd car registration. There are still speedsters in the park so this was good. Also, cannot understand how some people can drive with a child on their lap :evil:

It is the impala rutting season and the dominant males were very vocal snarling and snorting. Here is one who was scent marking

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Between LS and CB we had another roadblock, but this was major. There was a helicopter parked on the H4-2 and there was a lot of activity. We found out later that an impala was killed on this road by a speedster but I don't know if this was related to that. After about 20 minutes the helicopter took off but there was still pleanty of officials around on the ground.

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It was sad to see that Sunset Dam was having the problem with the blue-green algae again

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As we were driving since midnight the night before we had a welcome rest at CB. Duke was a man with a mission and at 4.00pm we headed for the S28 seeking the 5 cheetah that have been seen in the area :( :( :(

It was not to be but we got some good rhino sightings again.

Mayme tomorrow morning we will find the cheetah....................

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 Post subject: Re: Rhinos and Roadblocks
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 6:39 pm 
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Oops :redface: ..... it was a major roadblock but not worth 2 of the same photos :D

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Rhinos and Roadblocks
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 8:34 am 
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Hello Mgoddard,

It is good to know that something is being done. Anyway, the next morning we were first at the gate and another car pulled up shortly thereafter. The driver was on the same mission as Duke, seeking the 5 cheetah on the S28.

Surprisingly, only 2 other cars were at the gate by 6.00am and these did not take the S28. We searched carefully and drove very slowly, even taking the S137 upto Duke waterhole and then returning to the S28 but it was not to be.

In the area around the hide we did see 5 animals.........

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You guessed right, 5 rhinos. We then had a good buff sighting, a huge herd

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It was already 7.30am and we were disappointed but the beauty of Kruger is that you never know what is round the next corner.....................

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 Post subject: Re: Rhinos and Roadblocks
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 8:14 am 
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Thank You Pjw and p@m. So, we now get onto the H4-2 from the S28 and turned towards LS. There was a car parked on the right side of the bridge across the Mativuhlungu River and it had a single occupant.

He had this look of amazement on his face and seemed to be registering what had just happened. He told us that a leopard was sitting on the signpost on the bridge and then it had got up and disappeared under the bridge and he was hoping it would come out again :pray:

We decide to wait here for a while and pulled off to the left on the bridge and were :big_eyes: and very happy :D to see a LOR (leopard on rock - do I see a LOR club being formed)

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Last edited by Duke Ellieton on Sat Apr 25, 2009 10:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Rhinos and Roadblocks
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2009 11:05 am 
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Hello All,

Thank you for all the comments.

BB "COC" ???

After the LOR we got to LS at about 8.30am, much too early to get our accommodation. We went to the garage to fill up petrol and got talking to another couple, who turned out to be Yolande Oelsens's parents - sorry we missed you Yolande.

We decided to do the S29 Mlondozi loop and then the S122 and if time allowed a little of the S30 Salitje road.

A little into the S29 we found a cheetah on log (COL). It was some distance from the road (so apologies for the quality of photos) but we had a clear view of her and Duke was besides himself with joy.

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We enjoyed this for about 15 minutes before she sat up

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then stood up

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had a look at us

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did a cat stretch

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and was gone

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Could not see her at all once she was in the grass.

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 Post subject: Re: Rhinos and Roadblocks
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:04 am 
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Once again thank you for all the comments.

We moved on to the S122 Muntshe Road and were fortunate to see a Common Reedbuck - don't know why they call it common as it is seldomly seen, by us at any rate. We hung around for 20 minutes trying to get a good shot but he was not going to leave the cover of his tree

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Went back to LS to book in and catch up on some sleep. In the evening Duke was back on his mission to look for the 5 cheetah and we headed for the S28. At the weir just past the low level bridge there was one major traffic jam - there was no way anybody was going to get through that.

We stopped a distant away waiting for the traffic to ease and could not see what all the fuss was about.

Out of the bushes emerged the couple, crossed the road and disappeared again.

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We had an early night as we were going to do the morning walk from LS and had to meet the guides at 5.15am.

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 Post subject: Re: Rhinos and Roadblocks
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:36 am 
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Hello Again,

We were excited this morning as we were doing the morning walk from LS. We met at 5.15am and left camp at 5.30am. The area for the walk was between LS and CB, off the S28.

It is a real pleasure walking in the bush and if you get close to something it is a bonus as most animals take flight when they see/smell humans.

Our guides were Irving and Patrick. As we started the walk we could hear the roar of a lion. Irving informed us that it was a female and she probably had cubs as it sounded like an alarm call. We were on one side of a riverbed and the lions were in the riverbed and across on the other side in the distance we could see a rhino. We slowly moved towards the riverbed and took cover behind some trees as Patrick scanned the riverbed with binoculars. He found the lioness and we got a glimpse :big_eyes: of her and one of the young lions as they disappeared up the riverbank.

Irving told us that we will cross the riverbed and try to get close to the rhino and as we got to the other side we also could see a herd of ellies.

The adrenaline was pumping and we got quite close to the rhino

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It soon detected our presence and bolted away.

We now were going to walk behind the herd of ellies as we were downwind from them

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and followed them for quite a distance - very exciting

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and got close to these two

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An action packed walk. We wre suppose to be back at LS at 9.00am but only got back at 10.30am.

We not big 5 chasers like we were 30 years ago but I must admit that getting close to 3 of them on foot is a completely different and most enjoyable experience.

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 Post subject: Re: Rhinos and Roadblocks
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 5:57 pm 
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Thank you CC, Cherries, Anne-Marie, Mgoddard and Elsa.

Our last night was going to be in B&D. We had brunch at LS after our action packed walk and decided to get to B&D via the H4-1, S21, S112 and H3.

Hardly two kilometers on to the H4-1 was one massive road block like you can only get in KNP on a long weekend.

Again we stopped some distance behind the cars and waited as you could not get past.

We got lucky again as it was a male lion doing a lot of sniffing, and was not happy with the scent, and did his own territorial marking.

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He then headed right towards us

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I was too busy clicking away and did not realise how close he was and Duke had to pull me back and close the window

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 Post subject: Re: Rhinos and Roadblocks
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2009 5:48 pm 
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Thank you all for the comments.

It was quiet on the S21 but on the H3 we saw this bateleur

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The scops was not in its normal tree at Afsaal but there was something just as well camouflaged

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When we got to the intersection of the H3 and S110 there were a few cars and seems they were looking at lions but they were deep in the bush.

We got safely to B&D and took it easy for a few hours. In the evening we went to the Matjulu waterhole and it was very busy. There was an ellie family at the waterhole.

Saw some synchronized drinking

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Is'nt he cute?

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 Post subject: Re: Rhinos and Roadblocks
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 4:19 pm 
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Hello All and thank you for all your comments :thumbs_up:

After the Matjulu waterhole we made our way back to B&D via the H3. At the intersection with the S110 there was a traffic jam although the lions could not really be seen

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The next morning we had to be up very early again as we were doing the walk from B&D. Our guides were Obi and Peter, both very good and Obi has a wealth of knowledge of the trees and plants and their uses.

Our group consisted of a couple from the island of Reunion and Duke and I.

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From left to right: Reunion couple, Duke, Peter, Sharifa and Obi.

The walk was not action packed like the one from LS but Obi and Peter made it very interesting with information on trees and the little things.

The wooly bear caterpillar which will become a moth

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Looking for dead ticks on a rhino rubbing post - a post used by rhinos to rub on after they have had their mud bath. They get rid of ticks and parasites in this way.

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The walk is through some beautiful scenery with rocky outcrops

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and we did get to see a common reedbuck couple

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 Post subject: Re: Rhinos and Roadblocks
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 6:08 pm 
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p@m, LP, Micetta, Theuns - thank you.

Sadly :( ths is the last installment for this TR. We got back from our walk at 9.00am and decided we would do the S118 and S119 and then get to Malelane gate and out, to miss the traffic returning to Gauteng.

On the S119 we had a great sighting of an ellie family having a mud bath and enjoyed them for 20 minutes.

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the little one on the left tried to get out but kept slipping back in.

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Thank you to all of you that followed this TR and for your encouraging comments. Until next time, keep well and God bless.

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 Post subject: Re: Rhinos and Roadblocks
Unread postPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 6:26 pm 
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The bush was still dense and the grass long so visibilty was not too good and there seemed to be plenty of water all over the place so the the game was scattered.

Our first sighting was a kudu family

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At the Biyamiti weir this monitor lizard was sunning himself

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and lifted his head to have a look at us.

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