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 Post subject: Re: On a mission in KNP
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 3:22 pm 
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Day 6 (Friday 24 July ’09)

What a night…. The storm went on for hours. When I woke up at 6:00 and went outside, it was freezing. The weather certainly turned. It was 2˚C. I shivered thinking that we have to stay in a tent tonight. BrrrrImage

I felt a lot better this morning so that was great. I woke everyone up, packed the car and we were off to Tamboti at 7:00. We took the tar road (H14 – H1-6), went for a coffee and ouma rusks at Makhadzi picnic site, and saw buffalos crossing the road.

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We continued diving south when we saw a car standing next to elephants and the guy looked very friendly. I turned down my window and he told me about rhino’s a few kilometres down the road. And then, suddenly he took out his YELLOW RIBBON . What a surprise. It was CEES. If your reading this, very nice meeting you. :clap:

We saw the rhino’s and also some giraffes, zebras, waterbucks, impala’s, Marabou stork , hooded vultures and Egyptian goose's on our way. But one off the nicest sightings was the Giant eagle owl that was sitting on a nest.

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We had a quick stop at Olifants, and the restorations are still going on there. We wanted to have a look at the deck, but it was so windy and cold, (15˚C ) we just visited the restrooms and moved on.

At N’wamanzi viewpoint we stopped and got out for a second. This is just the most beautiful view of the Olifants River. I took a picture of the kids and philip opened the boot to get some chips out for the road.

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And then I heard him yell. He had a bag of suger puffs in his hands, when a monkey appeared from nowhere and grabbed the bag. Philip wasn’t giving up and the monkey held tight, hanging with his whole bodyweight. Neither of them giving in. But then the monkey got aggressive and showed his teeth and Philip lost… :doh:

He took off with the bag and jumped into a tree hanging over a cliff. I ran after it, but there was no way I could get to him. It was a matter of seconds, before the whole group appeared and started fighting for the suger puffs. The bag tore and you saw, not only suger puffs flying all over the place but monkeys running after them.

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We were about to drive off when Roan yelled ' STOP MOM, there’s the empty bag'. The wind blew it back. He got of the car, and picked it up. What a good boy.

The quilty ones
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We stopped in Satara to visit friends for Holland who were staying the night. They stayed in one of the renovated bungalows.

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We had lunch at the restaurant and saw this beautiful hornbill. Also visited the webcam, and saw Zebra’s and impala’s.

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On our way to Tamboti we saw a few cars standing next to the road. They said there were 2 cheetahs lying down, but as the sun was already setting, and they are the same color as the grass, we couldn’t find them.

We checked in at Orpen and got tent number 40. This is the first time for us staying in a luxury tent. It’s really beautiful. The tent was the first tent in the corner of the fence. We had a beautiful view of the dry river bed.

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The bbq
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When it got dark, we lit the fire. The kids were plying inside, and Philip and I stood next to the fire, trying to warm up. It was so dark and the bbq is so close to the fence, that I made a remark…. ‘You never know what kind off predators is watching us right now’…. As I said that, I took my flash light and lit into the bushes next to me.

It felt like my heart stopped for a few seconds when my light picked up orange colour eyes in the bush, only 2 meters next to me. It took us a while figuring out what it was. I took the camera and took a photo. The animal turned around and I saw a big black and white striped tale. Its only when we saw the photo, that we realized it was a Genet.

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We were thrilled. Also a first for us. :clap:

We had some dinner and took out all the blankets we could find and snuggled up in bed. We had a feeling it’s going to be a very cold night.

To be continued….


Last edited by roaneric on Mon Aug 17, 2009 7:30 pm, edited 10 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: On a mission in KNP
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:05 pm 
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Day 7 ( Saterday 25 July ’09)

5:30…..
Mom!!!! Roan got more blankets than me… :x
MOM!!! That’s not true, Eric took them all... :evil:


It’s freezing. The meter on the watch says its 1˚C. We're all awake now and no one wants to get out of bed! But Eric is the first who desperately needed the bathroom, so we all listened how he complained that the toilet seat was ice cold. Roan was smart, as soon as Eric got up; he ran and sat on a ‘bit’ warmer seat. :wink:

I got up, kept my PJ’s on and putted on another layer of clothes…. Covered myself with a blanket and went outside to sit and watch the sun rise.

The rest joined me around 7:00 and as we sat there eating breakfast (coffee and ouma rusks) we realized we haven’t seen any large predators yet. Not even hyena. So we were on another mission…FINDING a predator.

Roan enjoying the ouma rusks.
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We left at 8:00 and saw a lot of antelopes, elephants, warthog’s, baboons, crocodiles and fish eagle’s at the nsemani dam. We spend about 30 minutes there, just watching.

It was very busy there, with a lot off cars, and as I was watching the traffic, I suddenly saw a YR coming towards us. I waived friendly and turned down my window. The lady saw me and gave me a smile, but drove passed me. :huh:

I have no idea who she was… What a pity, I would have loved meeting another forum member.

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We also came across this baby elephant trying to get up after a little play in the dust. (I hope this video works, as it’s the first time posting one on the forum.)



Just before Satara we saw 2 cars standing next to each other. And then…. out of the bushes came a big male lion… YES….our first lion in 7 days. We were so exited.

We saw him just for about 2 minutes. He passed our car thru the bushes, and then crossed the road before he disappeared into the bushes again. So in a way, if we stayed longer at the dam, we wouldn’t have seen a lion today.

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We had a quick stop at Satara to get some fuel and continued to lower sabie. We stopped for lunch at Tshokwane picnic site and had very tasty kudu worsrolls. There were a few bad behaving monkeys and birds as usual.

Some people got up from their tables, leaving half full plates behind, and before we knew it about 20 or 30 birds wiped their plates clean in a matter of seconds. :x

We sat there for a while, when the next family got up, leaving a feast on the table. I stood up, cleaned it up and guarded the table…

This upset me a bit, even if people don’t feed the animals/birds, they still get fed this way. :(

Luckily a waiter saw me guarding the table and quickly came to clean it up. :) We had lunch but I have to say, I was not eating at peace. The people next to me got up, and they were not even gone for a second when a big baboon ran passed us and on to their table. :evil:

This time Philip got up and chased the baboon away. He wanted to leave, but I felt like going inside the cafeteria and asking them for a work application form. I will work for FREE, armed with a catapult, cleaning up after people, if it will keep the birds/monkeys and baboons away. :wink:

We cleaned up after ourselves, leaving nothing for them to eat on our plates and took the H10 road. Last year we had 2 lion sightings on this road. But this year we weren’t so lucky. :cry:

We saw some impala’s, zebra’s and the leftovers of a leopard in a tree, but even that was so far, we had to use the binocular to see it. We got out at the Nkumbe lookout to stretch our legs. The only thing we saw with our binoculars was 1 giraffe. SO could not believe it. Never In the past years, have we seen so little wildlife. Philip was convinced there were more out there…He kept on looking and searching

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We got back into the car and headed to Lower Sabie. We also saw this beautiful giant kingfisher on the bridge outside Lower Sabie

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Checking in went smoothly. We asked to book a sunset drive at biyamiti, but that was not possible any more. So we booked a sunset drive for tomorrow night at Lower Sabie. We heard that Martie will probably be our guide, so we’re very excited about that. :dance:

As we drove to our hut, I saw a car coming towards us with a man inside, looking just like the friend of my sister. He had a big smile on his face, but alone in the car.

I almost had a heart attack and asked Philip to turn the car around and follow him….What was he doing here?...ALONE... We saw he parked next to the fuel station, and as we pulled up next to him, my sister jumped up in the seat next to him, and my other sister jumped up at the back seat. All of them laughing with red faces. :lol:

They wanted to surprise us tonight when we sat around the fire, but I caught them… I was so surprised as I knew the whole kruger is fully booked this weekend. They had luck when they called a week earlier, and got 2 nights in Lower Sabie. After hugging and greeting each other, they decided to go for drive, and I had to do the necessary washing.

We got hut number 49. It’s a nice big hut with 5 beds and a lot of space, but with no bathroom. It was a big adventure for the kids to walk to the ablutions.

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While I was in the washing room, I saw the lady from the reception walking passed me. I talked to her a bit and asked her if there is some children in camp this weekend. I told her about the gift bags, and as she told me about the 6 or so children in camp this weekend, a 12 year old boy walked towards us.

I told her I will have a bags and soccer balls ready for the children at our hut at about 18:00. She gave the boy a task to tell all the kids to be there at 18:00. I finished my washing, and went back and helped Philip pumping up a lot of balls.

17:45 all the kids came, accompanied by the receptionist and I gave them the things. Although some of them were older and would probably not enjoy the colouring books and puzzle so much, the rest of the stuff they can use at school. The boys were so happy with the balls. You could see their faces. :clap: .. Sorry, this is the only pic we have.

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My sisters (who is also forum members) and friend came by. We were sitting next to the fire, chatting and telling stories off all we experienced during the day in the park. They’ve seen lions, leopard twice, came across an angry elephant and saw many beautiful birds.
What can I say; we had a very nice evening. :dance:

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Last edited by roaneric on Mon Aug 17, 2009 7:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: On a mission in KNP
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 10:48 am 
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Day 8, part 1 ( Sunday 26July ’09)

I woke up at 5:30 and went for a quick shower before waking up the rest. Philip was not feeling so well this morning, so he decided to stay home with Eric. It was just me and Roan on the morning drive. We waited for my family at the gate, and left at 6:00 towards Mlondozi dam. We took the gravel road (s29) and saw impala’s, black rhino with baby, burchell’s coucal, giant eagle owl, and a black-shouldered kite

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Arrived at Mlondozi dam for some breakfast. The last time we were here, the dam was dry, so it was a nice surprise to see so much water in it. We had a great time with an outstanding view. We saw some Hippos, monkeys, zebra’s and lots of birds.

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This is a nice way to keep the baboons OUT, and the humans from getting IN
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I decided to go back to camp, while the rest drove a bit further. On our way we saw very little. Just a few zebra’s, wildebeests and impala’s. Also saw these guys. They stopped in front of us, apparently picking up a signal of some kind of animal, and then went into the bushes to find it…

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Philip was still in bed, but feeling a bit better. I took the kids for some ice cream on the deck of the restaurant and we saw a few crocodiles and hippos. Roan pointed to the cars on the bridge and said… mom, maybe they see something interesting.

I'm sure you all know that feeling. Seeing a few cars standing somewhere, and wondering… what do they see…. :hmz:

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This afternoon went by quiet. The kids enjoyed playing in the sand with their toy insects and animals. They also tested one of the soccer balls by playing a match against mom and dad on the lawn.... and I'm sad to say... the kids won :redface:

Sunset drive…. To be continued


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 Post subject: Re: On a mission in KNP
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 3:08 pm 
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Day 8, part 2 (sunset drive)

As I said earlier, we were pleased to know Martie is doing the drive. We heard so much about her. As we arrived at the pickup point, Martie came driving towards us with the truck. We introduced ourselves and told her al 3 of us are forum members

Martie
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We left camp and saw elephants, hippos, crocodiles and a lot of yellow- billed storks at the sunset dam.

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Martie was very informative. As she was talking about elephant behaviour, a big martial eagle landed in the tree next to us. Just beautiful.

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We continued and saw njala’s, busbucks, a giraffe, buffaloes and rhino’s across the river.

She stopped next to a big pile of rhino dung. She explained rhino behaviour and why they make a ‘toilet’.

I asked Martie for permission to put this video of her on my TR, so here goes…

she started her explanation by saying... "what happened here was the rhino bull got here and thought, beautiful sunset, beautiful sunrise"....... see the rest on the video


We continued with our drive, got a few minutes to step out of the truck and stretch our legs before sunset. There was some impala’s standing around, but they quickly started running away. Martie was very cautious looking around and keeping an eye on the bushes. :?

We went on driving, spotlights on and seeing a few bush babies, small antelope’s, hares etc. Then Martie heard on the radio that the other sunset drive vehicle saw the 3 gentlemen’s. (3 male lions) So Martie said ‘Hang on guys’ turned the truck around like wonder woman and headed the direction of the other truck. :clap: And it was not long before we spotted the first gentlemen, walking towards us. :dance:

We spent a few minutes with him, and then went looking for the other 2.

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We found them lying next to the road. They were very relaxed and very impressive. We sat there for about 30 minutes when 1 lion got up, and the other one started roaring. THIS WAS AMAZING… It was dead quiet on the truck… (Accept for Eric, who had the hardest time to stop giggling. :lol: I think it was nerves…)

lion walking away


lion roar


We continued our drive when we saw a little duiker. While watching it, we suddenly heard a loud snoring noise on the other side of the truck. Martie got VERY excited and made some snoring noises back. And before we knew it, a black rhino appeared for a few seconds and then disappeared into the bushes again. :dance:

Every time Martie made that noise, he answered. It was an amazing experience. We were as quiet as mouses, waiting in anticipation to see if the rhino will come out again. :clap:

We headed back to camp when Martie spotted a Civet…This was once again the first for us and a perfect way to end our sunset drive… We had an awesome time and I have to say, Martie was excellent.

We had some dinner at the restaurant and ended the day very satisfied.

To be continued….


Last edited by roaneric on Tue Aug 11, 2009 4:03 pm, edited 11 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: On a mission in KNP
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 3:50 pm 
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Day 9 ( Monday 27 July ’09)


We packed up our luggage and left Lower Sabie this morning at 8:00 after saying goodbye to my family. Our next destination… Biyamiti.

We took the H4-2 and decided to exit the park at Crocodile Bridge and buy some meat at Komatipoort. On our way there we saw a fish eagle flying, and as we watched him, we saw some kudu’s running away in a distance. We drove towards them when we saw a few cars. It was a cheetah, chasing the kudu’s away apparently. Too bad, we missed him.

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We continued and saw yet another fish eagle (never seen so many fish eagles in one visit before), some impalas, bateleurs, White-breasted cormorant and a vulture

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We returned to kruger after doing shopping and had lunch at crocodile bridge. We took the S25 and on that road didn’t see much. I love the Biyamiti road. Full of dips and exiting to drive.

We checked in and Afrikaans speaking people checked in before us, also for 2 nights. They had 2 boys, almost the same age than our boys, and the kids found each other immediately. The were inseparable for the duration of our stay in Biyamiti.

Biyamiti
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I desperately needed to go to the bathroom, so when we got cottage number 3,
I immediately walked to the toilet, already unzipping my pants.
But then I got the fright of my life….
:big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes:

There was a ‘rat’ in the toilet, and being terrified of rats, I ran outside to get some help. The neighbour was the closest by and ran inside to see what the fuss is all about.

He came out with a squirrel. The poor thing. It looked dead, not moving at all. So he putted it outside on the pavement.

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As the kids and I looked at her for a while, I noticed she started breathing. I quickly got a towel to warm her up and the neighbour got a hair dryer. She was as cold as Ice so we had to warm her up.

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But still she didn’t move much. I thought that if she survives, she might have brain damage. And then suddenly she started screaming… poor thing, so much water in your lungs must hurt. I covert her in a dry towel and putted her in the sun

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After about an hour she began curling herself up and slept like a baby. I checked on her every now and then.

After about 3 hours, Philip went to have a look. He lifted the towel and then she got up, looked around and sprinted into the bushes.

She didn’t waggle at all and I was so grateful to know she'll be OK. The kids called her Sandy (from the tv series Spongebob)

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We all relaxed for a while on the veranda and decided to go for a walk along the fence. We sat on the bench near the bird hide when we suddenly saw 2 rhinos coming for a drink in the ‘almost’ dry river bed. This was amazing.

birdhide
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We watched them for a while and decided to continue with our walk. We got to the corner of the fence when we got yet another fright.

:big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes:

A herd of elephants came running down the hill, a few meters right in front of us… We went back to the bird hide and watched the rhino’s and elephants interacting.

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Roan and I decided to go for a quick drive before gate closing time. We headed towards the biyamity weir lookout point.

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We got out, sat on the bench and admired the view, when suddenly we heard something in the bushes next to us. I saw some francolins and thought nothing of it.

But as we got up from the bench to walked back to the car, we saw 2 elephants grazing right next to us and looked at us as if we were aliens... :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes:

I almost froze, but told Roan to slowly walk back to the car and get in. Luckily the elephants was peaceful and nothing happened. But after this last fright I wanted to go back to our cottage, and lock myself inside…. One's heart can only take so much…

We had quite a day I must say, I had a bit trouble going to the toilet the rest of our stay, and falling asleep that evening was a bit of a struggle… but hey, It was very exiting

To be continued …


Last edited by roaneric on Mon Aug 17, 2009 7:58 pm, edited 18 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: On a mission in KNP
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 15, 2009 7:13 pm 
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Day 10 (Tuesday 28 July ’09)


We slept a bit late this morning. It was as if life in Biyamiti is slower. No need to rush. We had some coffee and rusks and the monkeys were already present, watching our every move. We also got a surprise visit from a little squirrel. The kids were certain it was Sandy.

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We left camp at 9:00 and decided to have brunch at Afsaal. On our way there we saw a tawny eagle, 8 ground hornbills and the road was fantastic to drive.

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We arrived at Afsaal and saw our neighbours with their children. We all enjoyed brunch together. The kids loved it. After about an hour we went back to camp to enjoy a nice afternoon in camp.

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On the main road we saw a few cars standing next to rhino’s. When we got closer a woman got out of the car, went to the back to get something from the boot and then got back in again, while the Rhino's was only 10 meters away from her.
Unbelievable. Image

We continued and saw buffalo, impalas, kudu’s and arrived at a waterhole where we saw yet another rhino. We had our windows open, looking to the right, when suddenly I heard something next to me on the left. I froze when I saw a big elephant coming towards us. He was walking so fast, almost running and shaking his head. There was only a few meters still between us. :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes:

He was walking in a small path and we were definitely in his way. I couldn’t speak and just started clapping Philip next to me. He didn’t get the message and continued making photos of the rhino. Image

My next punch was so hard that he turned his head to me and by that time the ellie was so close, Philip could only see the bottom part of his body and he almost got a heart attack. Luckily the car was still running so he quickly drove a few meters forward. :pray:

This was too much for me. I got such a fright I almost started crying. I love elephants, but I’m terrified of them. I always keep my distance.

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When we got back in camp, we had a relaxing afternoon. Roan and I went for a walk, following the fence all the way around. We saw 2 rhino’s right in front of our cottage and a few bush bucks in camp. We looked inside the information centre and It was very interesting. They have quite a collection of bones and dung. Roan found it very impressive. :clap:

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We heard a few kids singing ‘happy birthday’ and as we walked past the reception I thought I’ll ask how many children there are in camp :wink:

Reception
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The manager told me they have 4 children living in Biyamiti, but only 2 is home. I told him about the gift bags and luckily I had 4 of each left so they were welcome to collect them at our cottage later on.

They arrived and were very happy with the toys and balls. It was 2 girls and their mother (the mangers wife) and one of the girls just turned 3 years old.

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Girl waving Philip goodbye
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We lit the fire early and enjoyed the camp atmosphere very much. We sat next to the fire for hours, watching the sun go down. It was magnificent. Just after sunset we heard a bush buck barking, and our neighbour told us they just seen a leopard next to the fence. We were green of jealousy… We were once again TOO LATE.

This year we saw leopards/lions/cheetahs almost everyday
Monday…ALMOST, Tuesday…ALMOST, Wednesday…ALMOST...

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To be continued….


Last edited by roaneric on Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: On a mission in KNP
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 2:44 pm 
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Day 11 (Wednesday 29 July ’09)


With pain in my heart we left Biyamiti at 6:15 this morning. This turned out the be our favourite bushcamp this holiday. We thought by leaving as the sun come up, we might see some incredible things like cheetahs or leopards walking down the road.

We did see some very fresh feces (maybe cheetah?) on a road sigh but other than
that we only saw impalas, lilac-breasted roller, lappet-faced vulture and a steenbok.

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We took the H3 road towards Skukuza and saw a traffic jam. We all got excited when we heard it was a leopard mom and cub. They were in the bushes and with all the traffic we couldn’t see them.

But then, suddenly a saw something that looked like the head of a leopard, took this photo and saw her crossing the road between the cars a few seconds later. Luckily we all got a quick glimpse of her before she disappeared into the bushes again. YES, we finally saw the big 5.

Maybe you can see the leopard in the middle?Image

We arrived at skukuza and it was so busy we had a hard time finding a parking spot. Philip doesn’t like the crowds and wanted to leave, but the kids were hungry and everyone needed to use the bathroom. So we got out, bought some sandwiches and the kids bought a few souvenirs at the shop before we continued towards Pretoriuskop.

Skukuza
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We took the H1-1 road and ‘almost’ saw lions. They were there a few minutes before we arrived but disappeared into the bushes. We stopped at Granokop viewpoint which is always worth seeing. We saw kudu, impala’s, zebra’s and elephants.

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We arrived at Pretoriuskop at 14:00 and were friendly welcomed by monkeys, impala’s and guineafowls inside the camp. We checked in and got hut number 47. It was right next to the ablutions and we just loved it. It was a bit separate from the rest and the kids immediately got out their toys to play in the sand in front of our hut.

Gate
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At about 15:00 it was 26˚C and the kids wanted to swim. So we grabbed everything together and the kids were so exited, they ran ahead to the pool. But when we got there, the pool was empty. This was probably because it is winter. They were very disappointed so we took them to the restaurant for a nice ice cream instead.

Restaurant
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At 16:00 we decided to take our very last ‘late afternoon’ drive. We headed towards Shitlhavadam and saw giraffes and hippos. I took this photo of the sun setting. Look how dry it is. The dust from the road looked almost like mist.

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We were the only ppl there and with our windows open, it was very quiet and peaceful. We all got a fright when we heard a very loud noise. It sounded like screaming so we took the gravel road back towards the tar road and in the direction of the sound. We saw a big herd of elephants and I think one of them made that noise. We watched them moving into the sunset….

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We arrived back at camp just a few minutes before gate closing time. We lit the fire and enjoyed our very last night in Kruger together. The thought of leaving at 6:00 the next morning was very sad. We sat next to the fire and started planning our next trip. This lightened up the mood again.

The kids wanted to come back again when the temperatures is better for swimming.... Philip made a list of things we forgot this time, but need next time.... and I talked about the camps we should stay in next year. We never stayed in a bungalow at Berg and Dal before, so that will be one of the camps we’ll be booking.

So thank you all for reading my Trip Report 2009. I enjoyed writing it and reading all your comments. :clap:

We’ll be back soon…..


Last edited by roaneric on Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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