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 Post subject: A quick-pic TR
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 8:16 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2008 5:57 am
Posts: 269
Location: Mpumalanga Escarpment
Just got back from a week at Skukuza and the reality of being back has not sunk in yet. So I'll try doing a sort of TR while my mind is still there.

Last Saturday we set off from a still dark Pilgrim's Rest Valley and slowly made our way with the caravan up the Pilgrim's Pass. On reaching the top of the pass one could see over Graskop to the sun rising over a misty Lowveld. Fom here on it was another hour of stunning scenery until we reached Phabeni.

We got to Skukuza at about 09:15 and started to look for a nice stand. Being a Saturday the camp was quite full but we were lucky to get a site with some shade. Soon everything was up - but I, alas, forgot to pack pillows! The SO got that look on his face until he found that he forgot the blue "jobby" the connects the extension to the power box. R117 later we got a blue "jobby" at the shop but had to go all the way back to Hazyview to get pillows. That was Saturday .... saved only by a delish sparerib braai.

Sunday we were out at the gate opening time - first sighting ..... lions of course

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A little way further a cheeky young bull elephant. Trumpeting, tossing his head and ripping out pieces of river reed.

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Then he came closer ... and closer ... and closer ! I took this pic just before I landed on the back seat as SO took off with the trumpeting young bull in pursuit.

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The rest of the day was uneventful but filled with great Kruger sightings. That evening I met Martie Goddard, Engel (the caravan) and Slug. Had a great chat.

Need to down load more pics - so I will post some more tomorrow.

_________________
"Nature never did betray the heart that loved her." - Wordsworth


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 Post subject: Re: A quick-pic TR
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 7:28 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2008 5:57 am
Posts: 269
Location: Mpumalanga Escarpment
Managed to get more pics sorted out - so here goes.

The camp at Skukuza was very full, people comming in or going out all the time. Must say that I prefer the other camps for bush atmosphere. The only night sounds I heard were bushbabies screaming and the odd hyaena call ...and snoring from all around us. Mind you, the SO didn't do too badly himself.

Kruger sunrises are always special:

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The next two days we had great sightings, but good photo opportunities were rare. Lions on the way to Afsaal and a leopard deep in the bush. Many rhino, buffalo and other herbivores. They all seemed to duck behind something when the camera was ready.

This little guy was very curious (umbilical cord had not fallen off yet)
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By Wednesday it was starting to warm up again after some cold and rainy weather.

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Near Lower Sabie two lion males had taken a buffalo during the night on the other side of the river. We watched them pull and tug at the carcass for over an hour. I was once again amazed at the strength of a lion as one pulled the massive carcass over to get to the meat on the other side. When we saw them again the next day they had been joined by the rest of the pride (about 6 other females and half-grown cubs). But then there was little left of the kill and the vultures, who had gathered in numbers, were not going to have much to eat.

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(pic not so good as the lions were quite far on the other side of the river)

Thursday was a magic day. We decided to do a trip to the Croc Bridge area. Early morning we were greated by a breeding herd of elephants in the Sabie River.

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Then we spent some more time with the lions feeding on the buffalo at Lower Sabie. Then it happened! Not even a km from the Lower Sabie bridge on the Croc Bridge road we came round a bend and saw two cars parked near some Impala. We stopped to look at what they were looking at when suddenly in a flash we saw a leopard take an Impala. The rest of the herd scattered in panic, making alarm calls. It was a young leopard and not fully grown yet. He struggled with the Impala and it seemed at one time as if the Impala would escape. I don't know how, as I was in a state of shock, but I managed to get a few pics.

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We did not stay long as the leopard was clearly very agitated with the cars and a major traffic jam was developing. I later heard from Martie that the Leopard was seen the next day with the kill in a tree and mom leopard sitting under the tree. Very little was left of the Impala so they both had a good meal.The rest of the trip did not disappoint .

On Friday, our last day, we did the route to Tshokwane via Lower Sabie and the back to Skukuza travelling several dirt roads. Near Nkumbe we saw two cheetahs but they were a bit far for a good pic. ( I don't have fancy lenses, only a Canon S5IS with a 12 x zoom). Any way some pics from this trip.

Just amazing how elephants can eat those thorns
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Saturday morning we packed up early and reluctantly left for Pilgrim's Rest. One old fellow came to say goodbye

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_________________
"Nature never did betray the heart that loved her." - Wordsworth


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