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 Post subject: steamtrainfan -11 day ride through Kruger Aug 2010
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 10:50 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Sun May 31, 2009 10:30 pm
Posts: 418
Hi there all forumites. This will be a daily trip report with more photos than writing of our trip through Kruger from 21 to 31 August 2010. We call it a roller coaster ride as we had some highs and some lows during these 11 days. Our photos are not as good as some we see on TR's but feel that a picture paints a thousand words and my wife and I hope that you will enjoy this roller coaster ride as much as we did. We will start with day 1 tomorrow as we are still downloading photos onto Flickr. Hope I do not run out of the free 100MB that one is entitled to before the end of the ride. We could end up stuck at the highest point of the ride. Heres holding thumbs. Till tomorrow.

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 Post subject: Re: OUR 11 DAY ROLLER COASTER RIDE THROUGH KRUGER AUGUST 2010
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 3:36 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Sun May 31, 2009 10:30 pm
Posts: 418
Lets see if this works now using the BB code.

Image
CSC_0771 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

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 Post subject: Re: OUR 11 DAY ROLLER COASTER RIDE THROUGH KRUGER AUGUST 2010
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 4:49 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun May 31, 2009 10:30 pm
Posts: 418
Thanks very much Guys and Gals for your patience while I tried to get this roller coaster started. It is now starting to move so lets hop on board and get going.

DAY 1 - Saturday 21 August 2010.

Left home here in Pretoria at 05:15 and made our usual stop at Millys for breakfast and their most welcome fire.
Arrived at Phabeni Gate at 10:30. Took the S3 to Paul Kruger Gate and then on to Lake Panic. What a most pleasant surprise. We only heard about Lake Panic on this forum a few weeks before leaving and then swopped Orpen for Skukuza so that we could go and see this lake for ourselves. We managed to do the swop and the lake was exactly, no even better, than we had read on the forum. We were early to check so what better excuse to pop in at L.P. After an hour we left to go check in at Skukuza and returned at 15:30. Eventually left at 16:45 and took a slow ride down the H4-1 until we had to turn around to get back to Skukuza in time.Here are a few of the things we saw:

Image
CSC_0777 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

Image
CSC_0771 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

This guy or girl kept us entertained for a long time as he scratched and pulled away at bark on dead trees in the lake. Can anyone identify it for us?

Image
CSC_0775 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

Image
CSC_0773 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

Image
CSC_0776 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

Image
DSC_0072 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

This croc came out silently from under the viewing platform.

Image
DSC_0075 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

With another lying in the sun.

Image
DSC_0083 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

We counted about 20 hippo that we could see. How many more were unseen.

We also saw a bush buck come down to drink. A very successful visit to Lake Panic. This will definitely be on my future visits to Kruger.

After a quick braai collapsed into bed totally exhausted after the long drive.

We will chat again tomorrow.

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Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark. Author unknown.


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 Post subject: Re: OUR 11 DAY ROLLER COASTER RIDE THROUGH KRUGER AUGUST 2010
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:42 pm 
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Hi Steamtrainfan,
the big bird in the tree is a "immature Gymnogene" so my bird cd tells me. fascinating birds to watch as they climb around trees looking for food. :cam:

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 Post subject: Re: OUR 11 DAY ROLLER COASTER RIDE THROUGH KRUGER AUGUST 2010
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 9:39 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Sun May 31, 2009 10:30 pm
Posts: 418
AKadwa - Thanks very much for your comments.

Elsa - Lake Panic is a true gem - just take a look at the morning pic on Day 2 below. Thanks for naming the Jacana and juvenile.

Mauxie - Thanks also for your kind comments. Hope that you will enjoy what is still to come.

Micetta, PAPA SMURF, Kamadejo - thanks for you comments.

PetraJ - Glad you are enjoying the ride. The best is yet to come.

Bushcraft - thanks very much for the comments.

karibaeve - Thanks for id'ing the bird in the tree. Very entertaining to watch.

DAY 2 - Sunday August 22

Up early so that we could catch the sunrise at Lake Panic.
The silence was deafening - not even the hippo made a sound. :D
SUNRISE AT LAKE PANIC.

Image
DSC_0102 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

After about 45 minutes we had to literally drag ourselves away from Lake panic :cry: as we had to get to Satara. Hit the road north via H1-2 and Maroela Loop. This loop has usually been kind to us but today there was nothing to be seen. On the H1-2 again we saw 2 lovely grey hornbills but as luck would have it my wifes brand new 150-500mm lens decided to join the civil servants and not work anymore. :evil: The autofocus would not get itself into gear. You could only use manual and we are both not yet educated enough on this lens to take photos this way. Fortunately we still had the 75-300 mm lens to use but we missed the shot. Just before the turnoff to Mantimahle Dam we saw a lot of cars stopped. Once we could wend our way into a seeable position we saw that it was lion honeymoon couple :D trying to do what honeymoon couples do best :redface: partly hidden from the watching crowd by a some bushes. This is the best shot I could get. Note the look on her face.
THE HONEYMOON COUPLE.

Image
DSC_0113 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

We then realised that honeymoon lions normally seperate themselves from the pride so we decided to take the little sand road that takes one to the other side of the dam. Maybe we could find the pride there. We scoured the bush with our binoculars in the hope of seeing the pride. No such luck. :cry: We then decided to take the dirt road that bypasses Olifant Drinkgat. Just as we left the dam this lady came out from the bush and walked beside our car. :D She walked beside our car for about 20 minutes before veering off into the bush.
THE LONELY LADY.

Image
DSC_0121 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

Image
DSC_0127 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

Joined the H1-2 again and popped in at Leeupan. We have yet to see a lion at Leeupan. Continued north when about 2kms from Tshokwane we watched a small herd of Elephant cross the road. :D One of the teenagers gave us the "look" but the went on about his business.
ELEPHANT HERD CROSSING H1-2.

Image
DSC_0131 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

Image
DSC_0135 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

Image
DSC_0136 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

The above female seemed to have an unusually long trunk. "All the better to spank you with"

After a much needed breakfast we decided to take the S35/ S36 up to the H7. We found this road to be in shocking condition. :cry: The corrugations almost managed to dismantle my poor little Corolla into a million pieces, never mind what it did to the breakfast in our stomachs. To add to this we saw no game until we reached Lugmag Dam where we saw a nice variety of Waterbuck,Zebra,Impala,Wildebeest. We thought this was a rather nice shot of a very relaxed male waterbuck. :D

Image
DSC_0146 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

Another long bumpy dusty ride without any game :cry: until we reached Muzandzeni where we stopped for lunch. Would we be wrong if we said the elephant had very long tusks?
Please excuse the bum view but he/she was not moving in the heat of the midday sun.

Image
DSC_0150 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

At Rockvale we came across a herd of about 50 elephant drinking, mudbathing, eating and all the other good things that good elephant do.
ROCKVALE ELEPHANTS.


Image
CSC_0780 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

Image
CSC_0781 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

Looks like I have come to the end of my characters total. To be continued.

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 Post subject: Re: OUR 11 DAY ROLLER COASTER RIDE THROUGH KRUGER AUGUST 2010
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 10:01 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Sun May 31, 2009 10:30 pm
Posts: 418
DAY 2 CONTINUED.

Sorry about that break but maybe I am waffling too much. I did say in the beginning that this TR would be more pictures than words. :redface:

Anyway, after watching those lovely ele's doing their thing for about an hour we moved on and checked in at Satara. Got this shot of a Scops Owl??? ( is it) in a tree between the parking area for reception and the buildings. :D

Image
2010_0830KrugerParkAug20100003 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

In the afternoon we did the famous S100. Unfortunately no real good sightings for us this time around except for some ele's in the distance and this rather inquisitive Waterbuck.


Image
DSC_0228 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

On our way back to Satara we just could not resist this shot of the sunset.
SUNSET ON THE S100

Image
DSC_0235 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

Back to Satara and our hut which was the very last one on the perimetre.

Oh yes - :D means high point of the roller coaster and :( or :evil: means at the low point. Hope you get what I mean.

Until tomorrow - sleep tight.

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 Post subject: Re: OUR 11 DAY ROLLER COASTER RIDE THROUGH KRUGER AUGUST 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 9:47 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 418
Pumbaa, Shi, M.M., W.B.N., vvsg, Jen, Micetta and AKadwa - Thank you so much for your positive feedback.

DAY 3 - Monday August 23 2010.

Woke up this morning and immediately thought of our son in London who will be celebrating his 32nd birthday today. We so wish he was here with us to enjoy the bush and open air instead of smoggy old London town. Anyway back onto the roller coaster. Headed out on the H7 Satara Road and turned right onto the Timbavati Road. Our first sighting was this Kudu bull with a fine set of horns. :D

Image
CSC_0782 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

After only a few kilometres of smooth riding we again hit the corrugations. :cry: The rough ride lasted all the way to Timbavati picnic spot and to add to our woes we hardly saw anything except for 1 rhino.
However, on arrival at Timbavati we noticed 2 bushbuck fairly closeby. We set up our breakfast table when we noticed a few Blue Waxbills drinking from un upturned dustbin lid that the caretakers of the picnic spot had put out. Note the droplet of water in midair. :D

Image
CSC_0784 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

A few minutes later some Cape Glossy Starlings joined them. :D

Image
CSC_0783 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

Then, much to our amazement one of the Bushbuck came and started drinking to be joined by a Quail/Francolin. :D :D (Double Delight). This was so nice to watch. We had just managed to get our picture when some kids came hurtling down from nowhere to chase them all away. Maybe it was a good thing for now we could get down and have a lovely breakfast.

Image
CSC_0785 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

Having enjoyed a fantastic hour at Timbavati we moved on up the road to Ratelpan. Not much seen I am afraid so we turned back and took the Ntomeni Road S127 across to the H1-4. I am sure I could hear my old Corolla singing as we travelled on tar road again. That Timbavati road really needs a good going over. We headed south on the H1-4 back to Satara when we came across 4 old Buffalo bachelors covered in fresh mud about to cross the road. We got a few shots incuding this one.

Image
DSC_0285 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

After letting them cross tha road we continued on toward Satara. About 3km's from Satara we came across one major traffic jam. Upon asking someone what they had seen they said that someone else had told them who had been told by someone else that there was leopard somewhere. We looked around and asked some more people but were unable to see any sign of a leopard. The traffic was now really getting bad so we decided to move on as we had a sunset drive to catch.

We set off for our sunset drive. We were hoping that our guide would take us to where the leopard had been seen but we turned off onto a no entry road. :cry: After a while we stopped to watch about 20 buffalo cross the road. During this time a private car, not sure what they were doing on a no entry road, told our guide about the possible leopard sighting on the tar road. We did a u turn and headed off to look for the possible leopard sighting. :D We could not miss it due to the large number of cars around and by now some vultures had settled in nearby trees. From the height of the truck we saw a partly eaten warthog hidden in a bush right next to the road. No sign of the leopard. :cry: Further up the road we came across a herd of about 17 ele's. There was a tiny one chasing starlings. :D They are so funny when playing like this. Their trunk seems to sway all over the place, their ears wave around and not too steady on those young legs. After chasing the starlings away he would strut off like he had just won the World Cup. No pics I am afraid. We the continued up the tar and then "Horror of horrors" we turned onto the Ntomeni Road where we saw 3 Rhino in the darkness. We then turned onto the S40. This was a nightmare of a ride. The corrugations were even worse than the Timbavati Road or was it that the trucks suspension was not so hot. :cry: For all this we did not see any further game. I was hoping upon hope that we would do the 3km's north of Satara just to see if the leopard had maybe made an appearance at the kill now that there was no traffic and it was dark. No ways. We turned into camp. When I asked the guide why we couldn't have a look he said that they were very strict about the times of drives. :cry:
Went to bed with pleasant thoughts of the bushbuck and quail/francolin sharing a drink. Until tomorrow - sleep tight.

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 Post subject: Re: OUR 11 DAY ROLLER COASTER RIDE THROUGH KRUGER AUGUST 2010
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 9:32 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Sun May 31, 2009 10:30 pm
Posts: 418
Kamadejo - Thanks very much for your comments. Watch this space for Leopard and OTHER sightings.

Meandering Mouse - Were you at Timbavati the same day as us? Thanks for your positive comments.

Lowveldboy - I will also try and find that thread. Thanks also for your kind comments.

Stu - I felt the same way about the guide. Thanks for your kind comments.

Elsa - So pleased to see that you staying on the ride.

AKadwa - Thanks very much for your positive comments . Wish you luck photting Blue Waxbills. Watch for leopard coming up soon.

Flutterby - Welcome on the ride. Thanks very much for your positive comments.

Bush Brat - Thanks so much for your kind comments. Glad to hear you are enjoying the ride.

Pumbaa - Thanks very much for your kind comments.

DAY 3 - AUGUST 24 2010.

Woke up extra early to be first at the gate so that we could go and look for the leopard. Got to the gate only to find 5 other cars there. Do folk park their cars there the previous evening, go back to the hut to sleep and then stroll to their cars the next morning just before gate opening time? :hmz:
The wind was blowing pretty hard and I had once heard from a drive guide that animals do not like wind and lie down to stay out of it. Therefore game viewing is not so good on a windy day. Headed north on the H1-4. Had a good look around at the 3km mark but there was no sign of a leopard. The kill had also gone. :cry: Maybe the leopard had moved it further from the road or an hyena had helped itself to a free meal? We were very excited about today as we were going to Letaba where we were last there about 15 years ago. We can remember seeing some major big ele's around Letaba.
At the Ntomeni waterhole we saw this Secretary Bird strutting his stuff. :D

Image
2010_0830KrugerParkAug20100010 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

We branched off the tar road H1-4 onto the S89 as we had not seen any game from Satara except for the Secretary Bird. :cry: Took the S91 past Balule and re-joined the H1-5. Stopped at Nwamanzani lookout point for breakfast. I always try to picture what the view must have been like from here during the 2000 floods. Saw some Hippo and Waterbuck. Popped in at Olifants for a comfort break. The wind was still blowing a gale. We then took the S44/S46 to Letaba. Just after joining the S44 we came across a "tower" of about 20 giraffe on both sides of the road. :D We like to think of this photo as the 3 generations of a giraffe.

Image
DSC_0304 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

After this we only saw one lone ele just outside Letaba. As we were early we toddled along the Phalaborwa Road until we got to the Nhlaganini Dam. Nothing to see. :cry: Back to Letaba to check in. In the afternoon we did the circular Letaba River Road S47. As there was no other game to be seen alond this road :cry: we took these pics of a L.B.R. :D and some idiots flouting the law. :sniper:

Image
CSC_0786 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

Image
DSC_0317 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

It seems as if what the guide had said about no animals in the wind was true as we did not see much else the rest of the afternoon. By the way, I thought that Letaba was the elephant capital of Kruger and yet we had only see the one all day. :hmz: Where are all those ele's that Letaba is so famous for? :hmz:
Heres hoping for some better sightings tomorrow.

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 Post subject: Re: Our 11 day roller coaster ride through Kruger august 2010
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:36 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Sun May 31, 2009 10:30 pm
Posts: 418
Hi all. Just noticed that I have 2 Day 3's. Yesterday should have been Day 4. You wouldn't think that I had worked in a bank for 47 years :redface:

Flutterby - Really like your comment.

Lowveldboy - We did but all we got was that :huh: look.

Kamadejo - Agree with you totally. My guess is no one reads rules anymore.

Sparrow - Glad you are enjoying it. The best is yet to come. :dance:

lion queen - welcome on the ride. Hope you enjoy the rest.

Bush Brat - It was quite a sight to see so many giraffe.

DAY 5 - Wednesday 25 August 2010.

Woke up to a cloudy, cold and drissly day at Letaba. :( Took the tar road up to Letaba River Road. Yesterday Joan and I said to each other that this road holds such promise. The whole ambiance of the road lends itself to seeing some very good sightings. However, all the way to Mingerhout Dam and return produced some quite heavy rain and 2 Waterbuck. :cry: Went back to Letaba for a nice hot breakfast overlooking the river. :D Some tourists said they could see a Sable in the river bed but look as we might we could not see it. Maybe we should have asked them to point it out to us. Decided that as it was overcast we would stay out all day and ride the tar road north as far as time would allow. Branched off onto the Tsendsze Loop. Usual Impala, Wildebeest etc, WHERE ARE THESE FAMOUS HUMUNGUS LETABA ELEPHANTS????? Stopped off at Mooiplaas and saw this Waterbuck lady giving us the once over and proceeded to trot through the river. :)

Image
DSC_0341 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

Image
DSC_0342 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

Saw this ele munching away contentidly just before Mopani Camp. :D
She was standing right next to the road.

Image
DSC_0363 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

As we had never been to Mopani Camp we popped in to give it a once over for future trips. We were very impressed. Beautifully situated on a hill overlooking Pioneer Dam. Great viewing platforms as well. Must put this camp in to our memory banks. This impressive Impala Lily was just asking for a photo to be taken.

Image
DSC_0359 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

We decided it was time to head back to Letaba. We always believe in leaving time for "just in case" situations. Going down the tar road we saw our ele pictured above had moved to the other side of the road. So on both occasions she was standing right next to the road. Recognised her by ear ring hole. Branched off onto the S49. Saw some nice zebra, ostrich, wildebeest and giraffe at Mooiplaas dam. Moving on we saw a number of areas marked off in the veld as Fire Plots. We wondered if they still used these?
Just before reaching the tar road we saw a black line across the road. Too long to be a snake. It was a line of big ants making their way across the road. Never seen this before so got the camera out and took some pics.

Image
DSC_0374 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

Carried on down the tar and came across this forlorn looking youngster sitting on the railings of the bridge.

Image
DSC_0380 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

He looked so darn cute sitting there we felt like putting him in the car with us until we saw Daddy come rushing along the railings. Time for us to leave.

Image
DSC_0384 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

Popped in at Matambeni Hide. Saw some hippo and crocs.

A slow ride back to Letaba saw us back in camp just before 18:00. By now we were pretty disappointed in the lack of game around Letaba. Two days and no REAL BIG ele's. But little did we know what we were still to see further south. :twisted: Hint - Not an ele. Stay tuned. Cheers for now.

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 Post subject: Re: Our 11 day roller coaster ride through Kruger august 2010
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:34 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

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Posts: 418
Kamadejo - Thanks so much for your comments.

Bushcraft - How did we manage that????

Rookie2009 - Thanks for your kind comments and so pleased to read that you following the routes on your map.

Flutterby - I thought that itwas the weather - but I have heard lots of reports about there being more game in the southern area. Could it be to do migration maybe???

lion queen - Thanks very much for your positive comments. Just wish we could grow Impala Lilies on the Highveld.

stu - You are so right about " it could all change" Stay tuned.

Bush Brat - Thanks agin for your positive comments. I get so much enjoyment in writing these TR's.

DAY 6 - Thursday 26 August 2010.

Woke up to a very misty morning at Letaba. :( Decided to do only the shortned S46 to rejoin the tar road about 12km's from Letaba. Not much game to be seen but we found that the spiderwebs made for good photos with dew still on them.

Image
DSC_0391 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

The mist added to the eerieness and mystery of what was around the next bend. At some places the mist was so thick we could hardly see 5 metres in front us. Now is the time that I do not need one of the HUMUNGUS LETABA ELE's to suddenly make an appearance. :pray: Our speed was limited to about 15 kph.

Just before the tar road, the mist had lifted a bit, we came across a white rhino walking down the road towards us. One could see from the swagger in his walk that he was suffering from a serious hangover and was in no mood for a car to be in his way. But hey, White Rhino are not agressive. Discretion being being the better part of valour I immediately stopped and hoped he would take his hangover and wander off into the bush. He still came on so we reversed a bit. Still he came on, head down and his beady eyes planted firmly on my little old car. So we reversed even further back. Ah, he started to walk into the bush. When we thought he had walked far enough into the bush and with his back to the road we slowly inched forward. As we were next him he turned on a tickey and stormed at us like a Centurion Tank at full speed. He was clever enough to take the shorter leg of a triangle to try and cut us off. So I put foot to the pedal, wheelspun a bit on the sand road, with my wife shouting from the back seat " He's getting closer - move - move." Thats exactly what I was trying to do - to move. Eventually the tyres bit into the dirt and the car took off with some haste and a very disappoined rhino slowing down and stopping in the middle of the road. By the time we reached the tar road our pulses were back to normal and we both had that nervous laughter that one has after what had just happened. No photos I am afraid as the ones we did take while reversing are out of focus due to the movement of the car. Well, thats what my wife tells me. You see she does all the photos and I do video. By the time we reached Nwamanzi we decided to have breakfast. Continued down the tar road H1-4 only seeing a herd of about 300 buffalo near the S90 junction.

Image
DSC_0410 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

This guy had an itch in a rather sensitive spot???

Image
CSC_0788 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

As we were early to check in at Satara we decided to take the S90 and S41 down to Nwanetzi. Not much on the S90 except for 3 big ele's way out on the horizon. Got a silouhette shot but not so good. Turned right onto the S41. We saw more game on this section of road in an hour than we had seen in the past 3 days around Olifants and Letaba. At one spot we had Giraffe, Waterbuck, Wildebeest, Impala, Zebra and Kudu in a radius of 360 degrees.
Could not resist this pic of two Zebra resting their heads on each others back.

Image
DSC_0433 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

Crossing through a river bed we saw this young crocodile taking his midday siesta.

Image
DSC_0438 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr


We decided to have lunch at Nwanetzi and went up to the lookout spot. Here we saw a croc lying on the bank with a bushbuck wanting to come down and drink.

Image
DSC_0440 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

We must have watched this scene for about 45 minutes but as the croc looked like he had a full tummy we went to the car to move on. When I got back from the toilets my wife said "We had better get back there as a lady
just came running down and fetched her HUGE camera and ran back up." So, with the speed that 2 60 year olds can muster we reached the view point. The big crocodile had dissappeared. Looking around we saw that everyones cameras was pointed at a spot where one of the bushbuck was quite near the water with the croc eyeing her from under some water lilies. Can you spot the croc in this photo?

Image
DSC_0441 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

Follow the direction in which the buck is looking. On the bottom of the photo between the the left corner and centre. Hope you can see it. The silence in that lookout point was deafening. All cameras were ready, no one moved as the croc inched forward ever so slowly ( or does one now say "centimetred forward"). The tension was as taught as a piano wire. Half an hour must have gone by, I had lost track of time. To be continued.

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 Post subject: Re: Our 11 day roller coaster ride through Kruger august 2010
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:15 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun May 31, 2009 10:30 pm
Posts: 418
My apologies for that break but it looked as if I had reached my maximum characters - not sure how mant characters in a picture.

DAY 6 - Continued.

Just as the croc was ever so close to the buck she suddenly turned around and walked off. The silence was broken by people laughing and chattering. Some with disappointment that they had not got the shot of a lifetime others with relief that a lady bush buck had survived to live another day. Not sure on which side of the fence we sit on this one. :? Are there any readers that can tell what happend after this as we left to go check in at Satara. On the tar road from Nwanetzi to the H1-3 we saw this giraffe with avery dark skin.
Is this a sign of age or just the pigment of the skin?

Image
DSC_0443 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

Checked in at Satara and in the afternoon did the S100 to Gudzoni Dam. Just outside camp on the tar road before the S100 we saw this bird, not sure what it was, but the light was right and it seemed like a good photo.

Image
CSC_0644 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

On way to Gudzoni Dam we saw this rather cute looking lady Waterbuck. We just love the heart shaped nostril.

Image
DSC_0448 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

Nothing at the dam :( so we headed back to Satara on the S100. We came across this young elephant that had somehow got onto a rocky ledge to get at some very tasty leaves. Not sure if you can see it on the photo but this was a very narrow ledge. We watched a while as we wondered how she was going to get off that ledge. At first she backed up to the right of the picture but then came forward again. Looking at the video she at first tries to bring her right back leg forward but cannot lift over a a rock on the ledge. She then brings her left back leg forward and very slowly gets it over the rock. Now do not forget that an elephant cannot look backwards to see where they are placing their back feet or can they???? After this, getting the right back leg over the rock was easy. :D I hope you can picture her endeavours from my description. Another very interesting sighting to sit and watch.

Image
DSC_0451 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

Things have for sure looked up since we got south of Letaba.

An even more interesting sighting tomorrow morning. Until then - keep well.

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Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark. Author unknown.


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 Post subject: Re: Our 11 day roller coaster ride through Kruger august 2010
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:54 pm 
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Gunner - Thanks so much for your positive comments.

Sparrow - She did not look too distressed as she was nibbling off the trees all the time. Unfortunately we did not see the final outcome as we had to get back to camp.

Leopardlover1 - I ran off about 20 minutes of video waiting for something to happen. Thanks for for your kind words.

Flutterby - Love your expression - so true.

Pumbaa - Thanks very much for your comments.

DAY 7 - Friday 27 August 2010

Woke up to find these four buffalo sleeping right at the fence outside our door. :D Of course as soon as we moved around to get the camera they started to rise and shine and move on. Apologies for the FH in the way but there was no way we could get it to move out the way.

Image
DSC_0455 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

Took the tar road H1-3 south to Tshokwane. About half way down we turned right onto a little sand road that led to Nkaya Pan. I cannot see this road or pan mention on my road map. :hmz: If I remember correctly the road sign gave the distance to the pan as 1km. About half way to the pan we came across 2 cars stopped in the road. About 5 metres in we saw a cheetah lying in short grass, :D :D fortunatley the grass and bush was pretty sparse and burnt. But about 5 metres to his left was this guy with a kill. :dance: The folk who had been there for a while said it would appear that the 2 cheetah, we could only see one at this time, had made the kill but the hyena has stolen it from them. He looks pretty pleased with himself.

Image
DSC_0470 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

The one cheetah, still had not seen the second yet, stood and looked away from the hyena. Then the second one stood up and they both walked away from the kill with a look of total disappointment on their faces. :cry:

Image
2010_0830KrugerParkAug20100032 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

Image
DSC_0472 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

In all we had watched these 3 for about an hour before the 2 cheetah walked away. Now, sorry for the quality of the photos but yours truly had said to his wife that this is a quiet road down to Tshokwane so why don't you try your 500mm lens again on some practice shots on the way down. The reason I tell you this is that the two cheetah walked across the road right in front of our car and my wife could not get a photo. Needless to say I could feel the hair on the back of my neck standing on end for a while after this. I wonder why. :doh:

We did the Baobab Tree roundabout as we believe that there is resident leopard that hangs out there. He was not in today. :cry:

At the Kumana waterhole we saw +++eles in the mud. They were just starting to move on and crossed the road behind us. :D

Image
DSC_0480 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

Image
DSC_0482 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

At the Nwatinungu dam we saw a lone lioness patrolling on the far side with some wildebeest not taking their eyes off her. :D No photos as she was too far. You see, by now, the 500mm lens had promptly been replaced by the 300mm lens.

Just before Tshokwane we came across a herd of about 250 buffalo. No photos again. A lovely breakfast - toasted egg and bacon sandwich and fruit juice. What more can one ask for. Bought the DVD FLOOD 2000 here. Just past Tshokwane we turned onto the H10 - the tar that runs straight to Lower Sabie. Nothing much to be seen along this road. Stopped at Mlondozi Dam for lunch. From this vantage point we could see elephant, hippo,zebra,waterbuck,warthogs and monkeys. :D As I was sitting enjoying a cheese sandwich with a clementine at my side for dessert one of these monkeys, as quick as greased lightning I tell you, jumped up on my lap, grabbed my clementime and was up a tree before I could swear at him. Guess I was very lucky that it was only the clementine he grabbed. :redface:

Image
DSC_0505 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

Anyways, after eating I went to the loo to wash my hands. When I got back my wife said that that same monkey had jumped up while she was packing the picnic goodies away and grabbed the rest of our cheese and and shot up a tree immediately removing the plastic wrapper and wolfing down the cheese. I know of one monkey that was not going feel too good that night. A guy and his girlfriend were walking down from their car and he had a bun in his hands. This *&^*(() little monkey ran up to him, jumped up against his chest and tried to grab the bun out of his hands. This guy was just too fast for the monkey. Carried on with the Mlondozi Road S29 only seeing some giraffe and impala. Too early to check in so we did a circular route to try and find Duke. We did the
H4-2, S28, S137, S138 and H4-2 back to Lower Sabie. Could not find Duke :( but found this romantic couple. :D

Image
DSC_0520 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

Nothing much else to be seen so we sat at Sunset Dam watching the sunset and some hippo frolicking around in the late afternoon sun. A fantastic finish to a fantastic day. The best is still to come. Until tomorrow take care.

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Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark. Author unknown.


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 Post subject: Re: Our 11 day roller coaster ride through Kruger august 2010
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:05 am 
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Elsa wrote:
Your raptor is a Juv Martial Eagle and as far as I know, in general old Bull Giraffe do get darker with age.


Yes, I am by no means an expert, but I was always told that the darker the marking the older the giraffe, and that the older they get, the smellier they also get, and the lone male ones are often referred to as "stink bulls".

Lovely TR. Caught up with it this morning. :thumbs_up:

it has been the story of our life not getting photos because the batteries have gone or some such thing, so identify with your episode not to get the photos you would like to have got of the cheetahs!! having said that they look ok to me!! :thumbs_up:

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Last edited by Crested Val on Fri Sep 10, 2010 3:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Our 11 day roller coaster ride through Kruger august 2010
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2010 8:30 pm 
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Elsa - thanks you very much for your comments and id'ing the eagle in the tree and confirming my thoughts on the giraffe.

PAPA SMURF - So pleased to hear that you are enjoying the ride.

Kamadejo - Thanks so much for your positive comments.

Flutterby - We could really see that those cheetah were very upset and Joan and I really felt sorry for them.

Gunner - Thanks again for your postive comments.

Leopardlover1 - Thanks very much for your kind comments.

stu - You are right - there is just something about a cheetah. The best is yet to come.

vgstephens - Interesting that old bulls get smelly. Thanks for your comments. When will I learn to check the camera batteries every night.

Sparrow - Thanks for your comments. So glad that you are enjoying the ride.

Bushcraft - Glad to have you back and thanks for your comments.

Bush Brat - Thanks very much for your comments.

Pumbaa - I agree with you about cheetah but the nest is yet to come. Thanks for your positive comments.

DAY 8 - Saturday 28 August 2010.

Did the circular route going up the Skukuza/Lower Sabie Road, across the bridge to the Salitjie Road and back to Lower Sabie. First sighting on the Skukuza/L.S. road were 4 bachelor buffalo near Sunset Dam. Then we came across this lady Nyala. First we had seen on this trip :) - no male in sight. :(

Image
DSC_0543 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

It was very strange that this early in the morning we were the only car on this road. Where was everybody? :hmz: Carried on driving slowly north when further up the road we saw two male lion walking down the road. :dance: I tried to move closer and then stopped about 50 metres away as they had also stopped walking. Got my video camera out, squeezes the trigger, flat battery. :wall: By the time I got a new battery out and fitted in record time the lions had disappeared into the bush. :cry: Fortunately Joan got two shots of them but unfortunately only through the front window of the car. Note to self - always clean the cars windows before going out.

Image
CSC_0643 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

We waited for a while searching the bushes where they had gone into the bush but there was no sign of them. :cry:

At one of the lookout points on the Salitjie Road Joan got this shot of a Brownhooded Kingfisher. :)


Image
CSC_0639 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

Nothing much more was seen except for some kudu, impala and baboon. We spent the afternoon in camp as we were going on the sunset drive. Walking on the lawns between our hut and the river we saw this Woodpecker busliy hammering away at a dead branch. Looking at Newmans Birds of Southern Africa we are unable to positively identify which of the woodpeckers this one is. Is it the Goldentailed or Bearded? :hmz:

Image
CSC_0641 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

We must tell you guys that both of us found it very difficult to sleep at Lower Sabie and it was only this afternoon that we found out why. Would you sleep well with this tree with a huge eye watching you all the time???

Image
DSC_0578 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

Image
DSC_0580 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

The sunset drive had so many folk booked that they had to get a smaller truck. All the old folk sat in the big truck and the four youngsters went off in the smaller truck. We saw the following on the drive - waterbuck, impala, wildebeest, giraffe, quite a few hippo that were inland, rhino, elephant, civet, serval, leopard and buffallo. A very succesful drive :dance: but no photos as we do not take the camera with because of all the dust and bumping.
I am afraid that there will be no reports for tomorrow as I will be at the Gauteng Meet at Rietvlei. Until Sunday - say safe.

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Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark. Author unknown.


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 Post subject: Re: Our 11 day roller coaster ride through Kruger august 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2010 9:19 pm 
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Posts: 418
Kamadejo - Thanks so much for your positive comments. I did not see Lord of the Rings but maybe I must now - just to see the eye tree.

Lowveldboy - Thanks very much for comments. Cheetah - still better to come.

vgstephens - Thanks so much for your positive comments and pleased you are enjoying the trip.

Gunner - Thanks so much for your kind comments.

karibaeve - Seems that Bearded Woodpecker it is. Thanks for the ID.

Pumbaa - Thanks so much for your comments. Great to have you on the trip.

Mellory - So pleased to have you along for the ride. It was so nice to meet you and all the others last night. Thanks for your comments.

SusieB - Thanks very much for your comments.

Bush Brat - Thanks so much for your comments and hope you enjoy our last few days in Kruger.

DAY 9 - Sunday 29 August 2010.

Started off today for Crocodile Bridge on the main tar road H4-2. Could not resist taking this pic of sunrise over the Sabie River.

Image
DSC_0587 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

A little further down the road we were quietly watching an ele on our right hand side :) calmly eating out of a tree. We suddenly heard a "whoooshing" sound on our left :shock: and here was a teenage ele shaking his head with dust flying everywhere and showing is disgust at having a car in his way while trying to cross the road. :pray: Thank goodness I had stopped but had not switched off the engine. I showed my due respect for the ele and moved on out of his way with him now standing in the road still shaking his head at us. It all happened so quickly there was no time for pics. We had breakfast at Gezantfombi Dam watching a croc trying to sneak up on a warthog and then later on some zebra. :)

Image
DSC_0606 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

On the video we can actually see the eyes of the croc pop up every now and again to check out the menu. But unfortunately my wifes 300mm lens could not pick it up. At one stage my wife and I prayed very hard as a tiny zebra was right in the crocs firing line. :pray: Again we were not sure on what side of the line we stood. Would we have liked to see the croc make a kill or would we be relieved that there was no kill. :hmz:

Image
DSC_0617 (Medium) by Richard Gillatt, on Flickr

We watched the comings and goings of warthog, zebra and giraffe coming down to drink and sat in total suspense wondering when the croc would strike. Its amazing. Cars would come and go totally unaware of what we were watching. Every now and again the game would suddenly spring away from the waters edge and then slowly make their way down to the water again. It must be so terrible to have this raging thirst that you are prepared to take a drink while a croc is eyeing you from below the water. We both felt that the animals knew there was croc in the water. We watched this scenario for about two hours when as suddenly as they had arrived the zebra and giraffe walked back into the bush. We could not believe it that in all our years of coming to Kruger we had never witnessed a croc trying to ambush game and yet we now see two instances in one trip. The Kruger never ceases to amaze us. As it was still too early to check in at Croc Bridge we did a circular route of S25, S108, S26, S102, H5 and H4-2. Very disappointed. :cry: It seemed as if 80% of this area had been burnt. Only saw a few Waterbuck at Mpondo Dam. On the Randspruit Road I took an interest in looking at the old railway alignment which would normally be hidden by bush. My mind wandered back to the old days and I could clearly see a steam train chuffing its way along this alignment. On a number of occasions my wife had to shout " watch where your'e going!!!!". I was so busy watching the railway alignment that I would slowly veer off the road. :redface: This started a bit of a heated debate as to whether we had come to Kruger to look for animals or old railway lines. I would like to find out more about this train line - any suggestions. Had lunch at Croc Bridge while waiting to check in - not a second before 14:00 mind you. I suppose rules are rules and you cannot set a precedent and we respect that. In the afternoon we did H4-2 to S82 and back again. Sat at Gezantfombi Dam but it was all quiet with the croc now sleeping on the bank on the far side. Was it my imagination or did he look like he had a full tummy? Did we miss something? :hmz: We will never know. Tomorrow we have only 1 and half days left and these were to prove to be 1 and half of the best. Until tomorrow - stay healthy.

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Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark. Author unknown.


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