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 Post subject: kesheshe-Just Could Not Stay Away!July 2010
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2010 9:54 am 
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Hi

For those who have followed my trip report of my trips to KNP in march / april and May as well as Mkuze / Hluhluwe you would think that i have had enough.

Guess not as i woke up this morning and decided another visit to KNP was in order so have just booked Lower 26 / 27 / 28 and Satara 29 / 30 / 31 (July) returning home on the 1st August.

Should fix the addiction (i hope) till i go on trip to Augrabies, KTP, Richtersveld and Mokala at the end of September for 3 weeks.

12 days and counting. :dance: :dance:

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2011 September KTP - 17 days

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 Post subject: Re: Just Could Not Stay Away!
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:43 am 
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Nearly time to satisfy addiction!

i now know i have a problem as i awoke this morning and could not wait till monday so have booked extra night on Sunday. Going to leave very early in the early hours Sunday.

Just got back from shopping so wish i could just pack and turn the engine on and drive - life is tuff guess i have to wait!

Like a child - 1.5 sleeps to go :huh:

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 Post subject: Re: Just Could Not Stay Away!
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 6:10 pm 
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Hi everyone

Sitting here on the deck of safari tent number 22 at Lower Sabie with a glass of red wine and the fire already on. The last of the sun has disappeared and the night time games are about to begin (noises everywhere).

Arrived safely mid morning Sunday and have had a fantastic time so far. Need to download from SD cards tonight as we have gone through 55GB in 2 days (2047 photo's - madness).

Weather has been great and very mild.

Till later

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2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP


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 Post subject: Re: Just Could Not Stay Away!
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 6:22 pm 
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Yet another tuff day comes to an end in Kruger. Met john n poppy also flying yellow ribbon today all the way from the UK.

It was a quick chat but nice - appears that they were having a good trip.

For some reason (only nature knows) it was a bit of a quieter day than yesterday - glad in away as we were exhausted from hectic day on Tuesday.

As you know from previous reports i prefer the North but as everyone says the South delivers if you can get your mind around the traffic (trying my best).

Thanks guys for the comments.

Hippo's , hyena's have already started the noise so once again tonight is not going to be a quiet one :dance:

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2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP


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 Post subject: Re: Just Could Not Stay Away!
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 11:57 am 
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hi

Sorry the delay on the update. Yesterday was a very long moving day.

After loogin off with my last post from Lower Sabie we say the bush fires roaring away on the other side of the river - it was quite a sight with the red glow all over the landscape. We had not seen to much evidence of the burning in the Lower Sabie area during the 2.5 days we had been here.

As we got up and left camp in the morning the fire had almost stopped but the smoke was everywhere and thick. It was a difficult and long driving day to Satara due to the 2pm check in. We got settled in at 2.45pm and then went for afternoon drive.

Can anyone give me an update on the condition of the Hyena caught in the snare between Croc Bridge and Lower Sabie. SO was very upset seeing what was going on.

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2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP


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 Post subject: Re: Just Could Not Stay Away!
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2010 6:55 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Hi Everyone from Satara

Another really nice day in Kruger with good weather and sightings.

Got back into camp 2 minutes prior to gate closing due to chaos on the S100 - yes i know for some of you that will be hard to believe as i WAS also in the camp that did not really rate this road.

Lite the braai as normal and were just sitting relaxing taking in the atmosphere when 2 honey badgers appeared and passed no more than a metre from us. See do not need be on drives to see amazing things in KNP.

It is our last night as return home tomorrow. Will more than likely drive through the park and exit at Croc Bridge.

Cheers for now!

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2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP


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 Post subject: Re: Just Could Not Stay Away!
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:25 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Hi

I got back safely late afternoon yesterday. The traffic was really heavy all the way back from KNP which turned it into a slow drive.

i will start the trip report ASAP - so you guys will just have to hang in there.

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2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP


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 Post subject: Re: Just Could Not Stay Away!
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 5:52 pm 
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25th July Sunday – Day 1

We got up at 2.30am and boy was it cold. This was the third trip in 3 months so we were fairly well organised (so we thought). The plan was to get up and pack the last few items in the van and be on the road by 3.15am. For reasons i cannot explain (blaming it on the cold would not be true) we took longer than planned to both our frustration and only left our driveway at 4.30pm. As we were staying at Skukuza for the first night we decided that we would enter at Malelane gate. After a nice easy drive (ye right) with a stop for breakfast and refuel at Belfast we entered KNP at 10am.

We had some work done on the van prior to departure and only picked it up the afternoon before we left. When we got in the van in the morning the steering wheel was not aligned to the direction of the tyres. After testing it in the complex i realised that they had not replaced it correctly but nothing that i could not adjust my driving style to accommodate.

After leaving and getting on the highway we reached the first hill and with it being diesel i had to put my foot hard on the accelerator to keep momentum which worked fine but when i tried to ease off the accelerator remained where it was. Now what - i had a quick look down (now in a panic) and quickly realised the panel next to the pedal was lose and had jammed the pedal so i preceded to bang it back in place as hard as i could which did the trick. We pulled over and i fixed this and with some relief we could now continue.

After filling fuel and having breakfast we got back to the van and the alarm would not go off – battery on remote had gone dead thank goodness SO had brought the spare keys so after getting strange looks from everyone we eventually found the spares in her handbag at left quite embarrassed. We both started to think what was going on and what would be next.

The entry into the park went smoothly as normal with basically no queue. We took some time to sort out the camera equipment and all the reference books at the same time we rearranged the back so that everything was easily accessible. We spotted the first animal SO asked me to get her in a better position so i had to make a hard right turn and we both heard a very strange noise. We return to the gate to have a look to discover that they had not bolted the wheel arch cover. It was now in a sorry state so out with the duck tape which lasted the whole trip (not pretty but functional).

After all of the above we somehow managed to relax as the sightings took away the majority of the stress and frustration. Had a very quick stop at Afsaal to check sightings board, stretch our legs and have a quick drink. Lesson learnt was to make sure get van serviced, repaired at least a week prior to departure on any trip to avoid these issues.

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2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP


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 Post subject: Re: Just Could Not Stay Away!
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:20 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Kamadejo, Shi, Micetta, JustNature - ye you are right about the garage. The strange thing is the problem that it went in for was fixed perfectly they just did not put anything back together with any care (service not what it was)

25th July Sunday – Day 1 (Continued)

Yellow Billed Hornbill

The hornbills are a very distinctive and curious group of birds, with their enormous bills, often decorated by a casque. On the ground, they look as though they should have great difficulty in holding up their heads and when flying the large nose is quite witch-like. But, of course, the bill is a lot lighter than it looks. As hornbills go, the yellow-billed hornbill variety is medium in size, its length being about 45 cm. The massive, deep yellow bill gives the bird its rather expressive Afrikaans name of “Geelbekneushoringvoël” which can be translated at “Yellow-mouthed, horn-nosed bird”. Its eyes are yellow, surrounded by a patch of bare pink skin, and it has a white belly, grey neck, and black back decorated with numerous white spots and stripes, the sexes are alike in plumage, although the male is slightly bigger than the female and has a bigger bill.

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Elephant

Elephant trunks can get very heavy. It is not uncommon to see elephants resting them over a tusk! Elephants cry, play, have incredible memories, and laugh! Elephants are sensitive fellow animals where if a baby complains, the entire family will rumble and go over to touch and caress it. Elephants have greeting ceremonies when a friend that has been away for some time returns to the group. Elephants grieve at a loss of a stillborn baby, a family member, and in many cases other elephants. Elephants don't drink with their trunks, but use them as "tools" to drink with. This is accomplished by filling the trunk with water and then using it as a hose to pour it into the elephant's mouth.

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To be continued

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2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP


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 Post subject: Re: Just Could Not Stay Away!
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 07, 2010 8:53 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Kamadejo - thanks for comments - no i have not read the "The elephant whisperer" but i will go and look for it.

Elsa - thanks and you are correct the issues with the van did not get us off to a good start but somehow when you enter the park these kind of things take a back seat.

Shi, Pumbaa, Gunner, Flutterby, Micetta - thanks for reading and nice comments.

fenwickh - thanks and i hope you have a great trip in 8 weeks.

Wild about cats - thanks and ye quite a bit more to come just takes time going through the photo's and writing.


25th July Sunday – Day 1 (Continued)

We reached Skukuza at 1.25pm and went to see if we could check in as it had been a long day. The person who dealt with us was so rude that it took all our patience not to lose the plot. We got the key and went to the chalet to unpack and just chill hoping all the niggling problems would now be behind us.

We had a very light lunch after unpacking and headed out for our afternoon drive at 4pm. We encountered our first traffic jam on Elloff Street with a pride of lions. Let’s just say they were about 5 metres from the road and there were cars in all directions and people just generally behaving stupidly. Me and SO took one quick look at this and just drove by. It was very quiet from a sightings point of view and we arrived back in camp at 5.20pm.

Vervet Monkey

Members of this species are not monogamous, as the males mate with several females at a time and have no part in the rearing of young. When a female becomes pregnant she will remain this way for about 160 days and will usually give birth to one baby. Most births take place during the most plentiful time of the year, which is during the rainy season in the region. The young will be fed by their mother until they are six months old and then they will be weaned. These monkeys are mature in about four to five years and they will live 10-12 years in the wild and up to 25 years when in captivity.

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Ground Hornbill

It is a large bird, at 90 to 129 cm long and a weight of 2.2 to 6.2 kg, with the male considerably larger than the female. It is characterized by black coloration and vivid red patches of bare skin on the face and throat (yellow in juvenile birds). The beak is black and straight and presents a casque, more developed in males.

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Lion (not on Elloff Street)

Litters consist of two or three cubs that weigh about 3 pounds each. Some mothers carefully nurture the young; others may neglect or abandon them, especially when food is scarce. Usually two or more females in a pride give birth about the same time, and the cubs are raised together. A lioness will permit cubs other than her own to suckle, sometimes enabling a neglected infant to survive. Capable hunters by 2 years of age, lions become fully grown between 5 and 6 years and normally live about 13 years. Most lions drink water daily if available, but can go four or five days without it. Lions in arid areas seem to obtain needed moisture from the stomach contents of their prey. When males take over a pride, they usually kill the cubs. The females come into estrus and the new males sire other cubs.

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Elephant

The elephant, Loxodonta Africana, have a straight back, enormous ears, and two trunk 'fingers'. They are named for the peculiar shaped ridges of their molar teeth; the ridges of an African elephant's teeth are coarser and fewer than those of the Asian elephant. The African elephant has only four toes on the front feet and three on the back. Interestingly, it has one more vertebra in the lumbar section of the spine.

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Guess the bird?

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I want to donate something to a conservation cause after the trip and want suggestions on what cause to support - ALL SUGGESTIONS WELCOME.

Here goes the rules - i will include things i want identified. Each one starts at R250 and each wrong guess i will deduct R5. Also clues can be requested at R10 each. The photo above is the first in the sequence. I will keep a running total and update as the trip report progresses.

We decided to braai tonight with ribs, baked potato and onion. SO could not drink tonight as it was her last day of her course of antibiotics so it was up to me to keep the side up. The red wine was nice and we finished the braai at 8.20pm.

It was not cold just pleasant and reflecting on the day we realised how much the bush had changed since our last visit 2 months ago. The water levels have dropped drastically and the lush green vegetation is now looking exactly like it should at the time of year.

The park seems very busy but did not spot any yellow ribbons today. Sitting after dinner myself and SO could not decide which roads to drive in the morning so decided that we would decide which ever road the majority of the traffic takes we will go in the opposite direction – in other words if the majority turn right we will go left.

Roads (Morning Drive)
H3, S114, S23, S113, H1-1

Driving distance of 93km at an average speed of 26kph

Roads (Afternoon Drive)
H4-1, H12, S83, H1-2

Driving distance 35km at an average speed of 26kph

Animal Sightings
Baboon, Banded Mongoose, Buffalo, Crocodile, Elephant, Giraffe, Impala, Klipspringer, Kudu, Lions (2 prides), Squirrel, Terrapin, Vervet Monkey, Warthog, Zebra

Bird Sightings
African Pied Wagtail, Black Eyed bulbul, Blacksmith Plover, Brown Snake Eagle, Burchells Courcal, Crowned Plover, Dove, Egyptian Geese, Forked Tailed Dronga, Grey Heron, Grey Lourie, Ground Hornbill, Hammerkop, Helmeted Guineafowl, Lilac Breasted Roller, Little Egret, Long Tailed Shrike, Marabou Stork, Pied Kingfisher, Reed Cormorant, Starling, Swainsons Francolin, Three Banded Plover, Yellow Billed Hornbill

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2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP


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 Post subject: Re: Just Could Not Stay Away!
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 07, 2010 12:24 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Good try but i removed the bird from the sighting list before i posted. :dance:

I am going to give you guys 100% as Kamadejo was spot on - Brown Hooded Kingfisher. R250 in the bank - you guys are off to a good start.

Do not forget i need suggestions for where and what to donate to.

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2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP


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 Post subject: Re: Just Could Not Stay Away!
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 07, 2010 7:00 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Anti poaching it is.

Does anyone out there have a contact or a process for donating?

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2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP


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 Post subject: Re: Just Could Not Stay Away!
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 07, 2010 7:03 pm 
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Senior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Germany, busy planning next trip
Hey kesheshe have a look here:


Anti poaching action

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Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former. Einstein

Kamadejo returns to KNP after 7 years
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 Post subject: Re: Just Could Not Stay Away!
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 11:18 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Kamadejo, Wild about cats, Pumbaa, Lowveldboy, Flutterby - thanks for comments and suggestions on the donation.

26th July Monday – Day 2 (first full day)

Got up nice and early as per normal at 4.30pm to sit with coffee and rusks and just enjoy the best part of the day as the birds to start to wake. We departed for the gate at 5.50pm after boiling the water for the flask and packing the picnic basket with breakfast / lunch as it was a moving day to Lower Sabie.

Not much of a queue at the gate so we drove out and watched the traffic as we said and turned left then left at the bottom of the road as all the traffic went right we assume to go to the lions from yesterday. We were now basically on our own for awhile at least.

As we crossed the first bridge the morning light was starting to appear – what a wonderful thing to be in the bush. It was a fairly quite drive from a sighting point of view for the first 1.5hours.

As we knew we could only check in at 2pm we drove even slower than normal and decided that we would have a break at Mlondozi dam and a second break at Nkuhlu for buffalo pastry and in SO’s case steak roll.

As the morning drive progressed the traffic started to build and it got me and SO thinking about the traffic jam yesterday with the lions (was actually confused to who the animals actually were – hope you get my meaning). We think the acronym for lion on the ground should be LOG as not only for the fact that in the vast majority of cases they will lie there for hours giving the appearance of a log and the fact that in the south at least a lion sighting creates a log jam of vehicles guaranteed.

Tawny Eagle?

The Tawny Eagle (Aquila rapax) is a large bird of prey. Birds of prey are birds that hunt for food primarily on the wing, using their keen senses, especially vision. They are defined as any bird that kills its prey with its talons. Their talons and beaks tend to be relatively large, powerful and adapted for tearing and/or piercing flesh. It is about 62—72 cm in length and has a wingspan of 165-185 cm and it weighs 1.6–-2.4 kg. It is a resident breeder which lays 1–-3 eggs in a stick nest in a tree, crag or on the ground.

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Terrapin

A terrapin turtle needs to go onto land to breed and just like sea turtles, the female goes ashore to lay her eggs. When the ground is hard, she will urinate repeatedly to soften the ground and then ‘bulldoze’ the mud into a nest with the front of her under-shell. Terrapins eat small frogs, fish, aquatic and other insects. Actually, almost anything which earned them the nickname “vultures of the waterways”? They will also capture live prey like ducklings or other small water bird, holding it in their mouth and rip it apart with their sharp little claws. If they do find something to eat on land, they will take it underwater to eat it. Their main enemy is the crocodile. They have an interesting and effective defence mechanism: when threatened, they can secrete a foul-smelling fluid from glands situated on the flanks at the base of each leg. The stench will usually keep predators away. It can retract itself completely into its shell.

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Crested Franklin

The nest is made on the ground and the female will incubate for about 19 days. The crested francolin lives in family coveys of 2-5 birds. The basis of their social organization is a male/female monogamous family system which appears to be the general pattern for a number of francolin species. The presence of a moderate degree of sexual dimorphism in plumage probably acts as a visual stimulus during courtship, with the male being attracted to the characteristic back plumage of the female. It is not clear from the survey whether pairs form permanent monogamous bonds. Courtship displays, male/male interactions, care of young and dynamics of covey structures are described. The mean winter territory during the non-breeding season was 155.3 ha. It was replaced by smaller breeding territories during the breeding season from October to March, which falls in the summer rainfall season. Incubation is by the female only, and she develops incubation patches. The periods for egg-laying, incubation, hatching and the period between hatching and when the nest was vacated was timed in a single case.

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White Backed Vulture

White-backed vultures are scavengers, feeding on the soft muscle and organ tissue and bone fragments of large carcasses. With their large, broad wings they can soar and circle for hours as they search for carrion, sometimes following ungulates as they undertake their regular migrations. Their excellent eyesight enables them to spot food from high in the air, and they also keep an eye on other vultures, quickly following if they see another making a sudden descent. Up to 200 white-backed vultures can gather at a carcass; an enormous elephant carcass may even attract a thousand. With so many birds trying to feed, fights are inevitable. Accompanied with grunts and goose-like hisses and cackles, the scrum of vultures can be seen inserting their long, bare necks under the skin of the carcass or crawling into the ribcage as they feed on the dead remains. After gorging themselves, the vultures may bathe together with other species at a favourite site, or rest with their wings spread and backs to the sun.

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White Rhino

White rhinos have two horns, the foremost more prominent than the other. Rhino horns grow as much as three inches (eight centimeters) a year, and have been known to grow up to 5 feet (1.5 meters) long. Females use their horns to protect their young, while males use them to battle attackers. The prominent horn for which rhinos are so well known has been their downfall. Many animals have been killed for this hard, hair-like growth, which is revered for medicinal use in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. The horn is also valued in North Africa and the Middle East as an ornamental dagger handle.

Image

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2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP


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 Post subject: Re: Just Could Not Stay Away!
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 1:12 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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What a great TR :clap: :clap:

We all know who the real animals are, just a shame the real animals (at least there is some good ones too, just look at the forums) run the world :roll:

Nice pics, keep them and the info coming.

No trip complete without a stop at Mlondozi.

MORE, MORE, MORE!!!!!

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TRIPS PLANNED 2011
April
11-12 - Tamboti
13 - Letaba
14-16 - Punda Maria
17-19 - Shingwedzi
20-23 - Balule
24-25 - Pretoriuskop


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