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 Post subject: Back on the track....Kruger NP May 2009
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:02 pm 
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Location: Back "home"?!...........
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It has already been much too long since we hav been to the bush.... :|
Tomorrow evening we will be " finally " on the plane to Johannesburg.
On Saturday we are entering KNP via Phalaborwa gate.
We had counted the days till the departure and I simply can not believe that tomorrow will be the day.
Lorrainepring and C.O'Dee offered to post the sms sightings here on the forum (thanx for that :thumbs_up: )

We will be entering Phalaborwa gate on Saturday,driving north to Shing, before commencing our way to the southern direction.
I have to say bye for now, see you again in two weeks.

Katydownunder & Francolin

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 Post subject: Re: Back on the track....Kruger NP May 2009
Unread postPosted: Sun May 10, 2009 3:15 pm 
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Location: Back "home"?!...........
Thank you all 8)
Yes we are indeed still having a wonderful time in KNP :dance:
Just a quick hello from Skukz!
Had a lovely Lion sighting today. All through the time far too many road kills.
Saw lots and lots of birds,Ellis etc.
Missed a Leopard near Skukuza just by seconds..

That's it for now.

Katy and Francolin

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 Post subject: Re: Back on the track....Kruger NP May 2009
Unread postPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 9:49 am 
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Hi all :yaya:

Yes we are back since last Sunday.
The last week had been pretty hectic, with a car breakdown and lods of work.
But I think now it's time to start our trip report.

At first I have to thank lorrainepring and C'O.Dee for posting all our sms's :clap:

We had a great time once again. Kruger was not too packed and eveybody was pretty relaxed. Unfortunately we saw lots of roadkills this time. Which always makes us really sad and very :evil: very :evil: angry.
This year we started with 3 nights in Shingwedzi, followed by Satara, Talamati, Skukuza, Croc Bridge, Biyamiti and Berg-en-Dal.

We had wonderful sightings. Hundreds of Birds, Mongooses, lovely herds of Ellis, finally Hyenas again ( they were hiding from us for a couple of years :lol: ),Lions even a Leopard.
We found our beloved Owls in the trees near Shingwedzi and Biyamiti.
It was unbelievable how green Kruger was. Landscapes like you were driving through Tanzania.
Outside Satara we saw huge herds of Zebras and Wildebeest and are pretty sure we never ever saw such huge herds in Kruger before. We watched it all with gaping mouth. 8)

You see we had an awesome time and while still in the park we were already making plans for the next year :wink:

Well I have to start with the day before we were entering the park.
Once again we arrived at Joburg coming from Munich with only one piece luggage (instead of two) on the carousel. :|
Ok, we knew that from previous trips, so off to the lost luggage counter. Here they told us, what we were already thinking, that someone might already took it of the luggage belt and checked it through to Phalaborwa…
So we left our itinerary with them and with the phone number of customer care in our hands we left Joburg on our onward flight to Phalaborwa.
Indeed on our arrival there the “ lost” suitcase was the first to leave the aircraft.
So very relaxed we made our way towards the car rental desks, hopefully there was a Nissan x-trail waiting for us.

Well there was not. :evil:
In fact there was no car at all. :big_eyes:
The car rental company had closed their office at Phalaborwa airport already on the 1. of March and nobody had told us.
We found out that usually they give a car key to one of the other rental car companies for the incoming passengers and they then hand it out to the customers. But not this time, no one had driven a car up from Nelspruit. :doh:

So a lot of activity started. Phone calls were made with Nelspruit and Polokwane the nearest offices. And we were assured some time later that day someone will drive up from Nelspruit with a car for us.
Corina picked us up at the airport and was so very nice to accompany us doing our shopping for the next day :thumbs_up: . And finally around 4.30 pm (we arrived at the airport at noon) we received our car.

Now we were ready to start our Kruger trip the next morning. :dance:

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Our KTP Adventures November 2010


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 Post subject: Re: Back on the track....Kruger NP May 2009
Unread postPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 8:14 pm 
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03.05.

After rearranging our stuff and some more last minute shopping.
We were finally on our way. It was Sunday and the office at Phalaborwa gate was packed with people. Two rows and they were even standing outside the office awaiting their turn.
So it took us nearly 45 minutes to check in at the gate and finally we were on our way towards Shing. :dance:

Just as we entered the park it started to rain. But as sudden as it started it stopped again.
The roads were wet and we passed through areas that had just had a downpour.
We took the H14 for the first time and it was a good decision.
The landscape is beautiful. The road was not as busy as the main road towards the north.
We passed through Mopani forests. They were already showing their lovely brown autumn colours.
Our first sighting there were a couple of Zebras. Still quite wet .

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A little further on a Bateleur was drying it’s feathers after the rain. And does not really looked too happy. :lol:

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We stopped at a beautiful lookout and enjoyed the perfect scenery.
Just after we had crossed the Letaba we spotted a car that was parked at the roadside. We slowly approached the scene and the driver in the other car showed us what they had spotted.
A well hidden Hyena. :D

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She only raised her head once and looked very sleepy.

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Hyena

And was soon back to sleep again. We waited for a while but when she comfortably rolled over to the side it was time for us to leave.

We stopped at Mopani for a quick toilet break.
On the car park there were lots and lots of my favourite “flower” in the park.
The Impala Lily. And as always I could not resist to take a photo. :wink:

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As it was already quite late we decided that we are moving on. At least there are still a couple of kilometres that we had to drive and you never know what your sightings are along the way.

At first we saw our first Chameleon on this trip.
Well the first one alive. So far we saw 4-5 dead Chameleons that were obviously killed by cars :sniper: .
Such a shame!
So this time we stopped and made sure that he/she was able to cross the road safely.

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Francolin just said” Last year we had seen a lot of Ellis along this route” and right on cue a lovely breeding herd of Ellis started to cross the road.
All the little ones safely walking in the middle of the group, you could only see the legs.

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Ellis crossing

This little fellow was busy to cope with the poo of some Ellis that had passed through earlier.
Well it is a dirty work but someone has got to do it….. :P

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We arrived at Shing around 4.30 pm, we thought too late for an afternoon drive and decided to stay in camp and rather made ourselves comfortable in our bungalow.

Later we enjoyed a lovely dinner at the restaurant.
It such a great place. Sitting near the floodlight fence and listening to the sounds of the bush.
This evening we observed Bats and Nightjars hunting for food. 8)
Happy and very tired we went to bed quite early. Tomorrow we wanted to drive the Mphongolo loop.

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The Trip of a lifetime....
Our KTP Adventures November 2010


Last edited by katydownunder on Sat May 23, 2009 8:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Back on the track....Kruger NP May 2009
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:49 am 
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04.05.

We woke up by a sound on our rooftop.
Vervets…
They roamed the camp and had a look through the outside kitchens if someone was unwarily enough left something edible outside.

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What I love about Shing is the back exit/entrance and the Low Water Bridge. We never miss to stop there for the birds and Crocs. 8)
This time we were rewarded again with sightings of :

A Saddle-billed Stork.

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Giant Kingfisher.

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Malachite Kingfisher.

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A Croc.

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A Three-banded Plover.

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And a Juvenile Green-backed Heron on the hunt for food.

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Our destination for today was the Mophongolo loop, having breakfast at Babalala and return back to Shing.
While having a coffee at camp it was all clear skies, but as soon as we had left Shing it started to get very overcast and some drizzle hit the windscreen.

If I can recall it correctly, we turned :redface: into the S134 for a short stretch and discovered Vultures on an Elli carcass. Unfortunately quite hard to see from the road (others had difficulties as well, you could tell that by the tire marks that were leading off-road towards the carcass… :evil: ).

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Vulture

Then we returned back to the road, as the gravel road was leading towards the south and we were heading north this time.
Yesterday after the rain we saw hundreds of Armoured Ground Crickets.
Today there were still some of them around.

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As usual the Mphongolo Loop was beautiful to drive.
We could hear birds everywhere, but the dense vegetation made it really hard to spot them.

Here a Wood Hoopoe was resting, long enough for a pic.

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Nearly as many Squirrels as birds.
We observed this mum with two youngsters.

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A little further on a Slender Mongoose crossed the road and was obviously on the hunt for some food, as she did not disappear right after crossing the road. :lol:

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We drove on and suddenly found ourselves in the middle of a herd of Ellis.
One of the mothers was a little upset and so we slowly drove backwards.
Well I have to admit we are a bit Loxodontaphobic :redface: and felt not too comfortable in this situation. Facing a huge herd of Ellis on one of the narrowest stretches of the loop. So we decided to return to the main road and then heading towards Babalala.

A word and a blow and we were back on the main road.
Only to discover a huge Elli bull walking along, using the very same road….. :roll: :lol:

We were able to drive a little detour and reached the road again before he reached the turnoff.
Now we had the time and were relaxed enough to admire his beauty.
We could see him slowly approaching us without any haste and without making any sound.
What amazing animals!! :D

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Elli

We had a relaxed brekki at Babalala.
Unfortunately not as many birds around as last year. Moreover it was quite cool and overcast.
So soon after we finished the breakfast we were on our way back to Shing again.

We discovered a Secretary in one of the trees along the road.

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And a little further on two Southern Ground Hornbills.

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At Boyela Waterhole this Ellis was having a little nap.

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After passing the Shingwedzi Bridge we took the confluence road and discovered this very curious Bushbuck. Aren't they pretty ?!

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On the road back towards Shing Gate we were surprised to hear the call of a Giant Eagle Owl in the middle of the day.
Last year we had not been lucky enough to see one of these magnificent birds and now we sighted one in the trees along the main road.

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Giant Eagle Owl

Of course the Baboons were there and roaming the area.
This one looks absorbed in thoughts. :wink:

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Just before we reached the main gate we saw this lovely Eagle.

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Impies


Now it was time for a small coffee and something to eat before heading towards Kanniedood.

Of course we could not resist to stop at the Low Water Bridge.
The Saddle-billed Storks were still there.

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Well the next sighting was a herd of Ellis in the riverbed.

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And then we had a wonderful peaceful and very relaxed Elli sighting close to Kannidood.
I try to think about the right word to describe it....
Well, magical seems appropriate. 8)

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Ellis

Ellis

This is the kind of Elli sightings we love. A lot of water between us and these Giants and everybody pretty relaxed…. :wink:

Now it was time to return to the camp.
We met a huge herd of Buffs on their way to the water.

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Buffs

A last stop at the Low Water Bridge.
Sunset with Saddle-billed Storks.

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Of course we could not resist having dinner at the beautiful restaurant.
The location close to the fence is simply awesome.
We love Shing. :dance:
Our plan for the next day….Driving Red Rocks Loop.

_________________
The Trip of a lifetime....
Our KTP Adventures November 2010


Last edited by katydownunder on Mon Jun 01, 2009 12:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Back on the track....Kruger NP May 2009
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:06 pm 
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05.05.08

Well as said before today we are driving the Red Rocks Loop.
Of course we could not resist stopping at the Low Water Bridge on the way out.
And yet again "our " Pied Kingfisher and Saddle Billed Storks were there.

Bad hair day ?! :lol:

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The Juvenile Green-backed Heron was hunting.

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Only until an adult Bird came and chased him away.

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What a beautiful spot I could stay there for hours. 8)

Birds at Shing

But it was time to drive on.
The Red Rocks Loop was quite dry and dressed in autumn colours.
Really very picturesque.

We saw many Squirrels and stopped as they are always fun to watch.

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Well and I guess the next year we are going to see even more :whistle:

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We stopped at Red Rocks Lookout.
What a great view, I think we never had this view in sunshine before. It was a perfect day.

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Next to our car I found this Dragonfly. Sorry, but I have not a clue of the ID… :redface:

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Now we were on our way to Tshanga Lookout. A little before we reached the lookout we sighted this Dagga Boy and prayed that he was not having the idea to come closer to the lookout while we were there.

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The lookout was beautiful as always. We had a relaxed breakfast there. We went up to the lookout.
This View makes you feel very small and at the same time very privileged to be able to be there. 8) :D

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We shared this view with quite some Lizards…

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I was fascinated by the awesome autumn colours everywhere. :D

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But yet again it was time to leave, so we started our way back to Shing.

We stopped at the Shingwedzi Low Water Bridge near the lookout.
Only sightings, a Terapin and a small Croc.

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A little further on we met one of these beautiful Crested Francolins.

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And just before we reached the main road again, a lovely group of Nyalas.

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The little one was extremely shy.

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Nyalas

Of course we were back in camp not too early. :roll:
So we stopped at the fuel station and at the shop. Here one of the staff members stopped us. He saw our bird watcher sign at the petrol station in the back of our car and now wanted to show us a Scops Owl he found earlier that day.

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Thanx for that …. :thumbs_up:

We just had time for a snack and a coffee before leaving the camp again.
Our favourite destination for the afternoon.....Low Water Bridge and Kaniedood.
At the bridge the Juvenile Green-backed Heron was still hunting.

Or was he surprised to see his reflection in the water ?!

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The adult bird now ignored him completely. :lol:

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We turned around shortly after crossing the bridge to finally make our way towards Kaniedood, when we sighted this Monitor.
We stayed not for too long as it seemed that he wanted to hide underneath our car which would have been a problem.

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Close to Kaniedood I stooped for the beautiful view.

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This did not at all amuse this Blacksmith Plover who loudly complained about our presence. :lol:

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On our way back we sighted a Sharpe’s Grysbock close to the camp.

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We passed through the camp and drove all the way to the bridge to have one last view.
At least this was our last evening in Shing and although we already know that we will be back next year again. It is always so sad as this is one our favourite camps. :(

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OK it is a photo taken facing the setting sun :P . But I loved the lone Elli in the riverbed.

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We stopped for some Baboons on the way back. They already made themselves comfortable in the trees for the night, enjoying a light snack.

Baboon Dinner

Our last sighting for the day was a Hammerkop only a few metres before we reached the camp gates.

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We ended another prefect Kruger day with another perfect dinner at the restaurant. 8)
But we were more than just a bit melancholic thinking about moving to another camp and already moving back down south. :cry:

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 Post subject: Re: Back on the track....Kruger NP May 2009
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 9:46 pm 
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Location: Back "home"?!...........
Thank you anne-marie,p@m,droopy,Milie,Sharifa and Duke,jagcheetah,Pumbaa,anne catherine,SC,lorraine and jonty :D

Sorry a bit hectic over here at the moment, so not much time to read trip reports, to comment on them or to post the next part of mine..... :roll:

@ Milie
Thanx for the compliment.
For most of the bird pix I used the Nikon D 300 in combination with the 80-400 VR Nikon lens.

@ Pumbaa
Yes the thought about meeting Ellis on the drive to Kanniedood always makes me a bit nervous.

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The Trip of a lifetime....
Our KTP Adventures November 2010


Last edited by katydownunder on Sun Jun 14, 2009 9:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Back on the track....Kruger NP May 2009
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2009 9:54 pm 
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06.05.08

Well finally it was time to leave Shing. :(
And we did not liked the thought at all. So it was not as early as planned as the birds and Squirrels did their best to "entertain" us a little more.
Two Red-billed Hornbills searched our car very successfully for some insects.

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A Woodpecker, a Starling and a Crested Barbet searched our braai less successfully as we had been to the restaurant…. :P

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I kept following the Woodpecker all around.
They are so pretty.

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The Squirrels were everywhere.

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To top it all we witnessed a kill while still in the Camp. :lol:

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But as hard as we tried, we had to leave.
Today we were travelling to Satara and by now we should have already been on the road. :redface:
So heavy hearted we packed everything into the car and visited the Low Water Bridge for the last time (this year....).
The Saddle-billed Stork were not there this morning but a couple of Pied Kingfishers.
4 of them to be precise, they were sitting together on the side of the concrete walls. Unfortunately a car passed through before us and they flew up.
We waited for a little while and indeed they came back (but only three of them).

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We passed the bridge and stopped on top of the hill to turn around.
Here I spotted this little fellow in one of the trees.
I am sure it is a Batis, not sure which one though :hmz: as he did not sit still long enough or even turned around……

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We passed through the camp for one last time.
Throwing the key into the key box and said goodbye till next year.

The drive was really quiet.
We stopped at Mopani for a little toilet break.
And at the mortal remains of Alexander to pay tribute to him.

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As we stopped there another Elli came to cross the road and passing Alexander’s bones he grabbed a rib, put it into his mouth and chewed on it while he commenced his way.
We were touched and speechless at the same time.
Have a look at the photo, you can see the bone in the Ellis mouth right above his tusk.

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After that we had our breakfast at Mooiplas.
Of course we could not pass Shipandani Bird Hide without a stop.
But there was nothing around.
Only a Green-backed Heron was wondering why we had to drive through "his" water.

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Shortly before we reached Letaba Bridge we sighted two beautiful Ground Hornbills.
One adult and one juvenile.
I am always impressed by these birds.
Don’t they have such awesome eyes??? :wink:

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Ground Hornbills

What I love about Letaba and Olifants are the bridges where you can get out off your vehicle to search the area.
From Letaba bridge I saw dozens of Common Waxbill in the reed but they are restless little birds (like most little birds… :roll: ).

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Another toilet break and some shopping was planned for Letaba.
Just shortly before we reached the camp gate we came upon a traffic jam.
No, there were no Lions, but another wonderful Chameleon.
Everybody stopped to admire it and to take some pics.

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Unfortunately we did not have much time to spend in the camp and soon we were on the rod again.

Of course there was still enough time to stop on the Olifants bridge.
Here we saw a lovely little Elli herd and admired the magnificent landscape.

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The rest of the drive was pretty quiet again. It was a hot and a bit humid day.
The last 15 km before we reached Satara we were amazed to see huge herds of Zebras and Wildebeest. We can’t remember to see so many of them in one place in Kruger before, it was breathtaking.
It did not make sense to take pictures or videos.
We watched with open mouth a herd that does not seem to end. We drove for several minutes and could still see Zebras from the road up to the horizon.
Francolin thinks there must have been several hundred of animals.
It was a majestic sight. 8)

We reached Satara late afternoon and decided to stay in the camp.
Bungalow # G168 was allocated to us and we were happy as this was our special request.
We prepared the braai and made ourselves at home.

Dark clouds appeared and disappeared and the sun came out again.
Suddenly we discovered some commotion in one of the trees.
So we had a closer look and saw that a Crested Barbet had found a Chameleon and chased it up the tree.
Higher and higher till it fell to the ground, so we started to follow this poor thing.
Francolin, the Barbet and me. When it was in danger to fall in a drain I simply had to "safe" it.
Such a cutie.
I convinced Francolin to hold it as well and then we released it in another tree.

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Chameleon

After all this excitement it was time for a glass wine and a braai.
While braaing the Satara Hyena passed the camp fence which was only a few metres away. 8)
As soon as dinner was ready, an unbelievable wind came up and so we did not have only the meat on our plates but a lot of dirt, twigs and leaves as well. :lol:
Who cares…
We had once again a great day and a lovely evening. :D

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The Trip of a lifetime....
Our KTP Adventures November 2010


Last edited by katydownunder on Sun Jun 14, 2009 10:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Back on the track....Kruger NP May 2009
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2009 8:26 pm 
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07.05.09

The day started quite overcast and we were convinced that it would start to rain soon.
We went to the Take Away to buy some toasted sandwiches for the breakfast later at N'wanetsi Picnic Spot.
Just after we had left the camp we sighted a Slender Mongoose that just crossed the road. Only time for one pic and quickly she was gone again.

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Now we were heading towards the S100.
First sighting a LBJ… :hmz:

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And later on a quite strange sighting. A young Impala that obviously has some kind of "colour problem".

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I always love to see Oxpeckers and these guys here had a meeting on a comfortable Zebra back. :wink:

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We were very pleased to see yet another Slender Mongoose.
Most of the times it is nearly not possible to take any decent pics and they disappear as quickly as they appear. This time the Mongoose was very cooperative. 8)

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Mongoose

Someone stopped us and told us about a Lion sighting close to Gudzani Dam.
Ok we gave it a try, but not without stopping for a Snake sighting.
So far we had not been too lucky seeing them in Kruger.

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En route to the sightings we spotted several other beautiful animals.

A Swainson's Spurfowl.

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A troop of Baboons.

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And several Waterbuck youngsters.

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But no Lions…. :P
So we decide to stop at Gudzani Dam for breakfast.
We turned around the bend, and good grief, the dam was dry. :big_eyes:

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What a difference to last years sight.
So we just had a small coffee there and soon headed towards N’wanetsi.

In one pond we discovered a family of Terapins.

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N’wanetsi was quite busy, but we found a seat close to the braais.
As soon as we sat down we saw the birds arriving. So it was a " breakfast-birding-break" .

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While taking pics of the birds I detected a movement in the bushes.
A very curious Dwarf Mongoose.

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By then the dark clouds had returned, so we decided to leave the Picnic Spot.
Our next stop would be Sweni Bird Hide. One of our favourite Hides in Kruger.
Unfortunately there were not that many birds around.

But we saw very well camouflaged Crocs.

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And not less well camouflaged Hippos. :D

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After we had left the hide we drove to the little Low Water Bridge and discovered a Egyptian Goose family.

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Egyptian Goose Family

On the way back to Satara we stopped of course as well at the smaller waterholes, only to discover, that we had just missed a Lion sighting at Sonop waterhole. :doh:
A pride with cubs and we just were able to see the tips of their ears while disappearing in the distance……

Just shortly before we turned on the main road towards Satara again we sighted a Hyena a bit further from the road.
Something behind a bush obviously upsets her, but we could not see what it was. Maybe a Snake disturbed her sleep, but we are absolutely not sure.

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She soon left that place and choose another tree for a rest.

Hyena

The weather had improved a bit and we used the time in the camp to search for birds.
I just love strolling around the ground and to discover everything that lives in the camp.

Like this little Vervet Monkey that was very curious about the sprinkler. :lol:

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Only until mum came and ended the game…..

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A Blue Waxbill.

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After that we saw a Hoopoe.

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A Red-billed Buffalo Weaver.

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And a Groundscraper Thrush.

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On our drive along the S100 in the afternoon we saw this pretty Black-backed Puffback.

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And a Black-crowned Tchagra.

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After that we had to return back to the camp.
It was time to prepare dinner and to rearrange everything as we are leaving for Talamati the next morning.

Shortly after midnight a huge thunderstorm woke us up. Thunder and lightning for about two hours.
We could hear the Hyena whooping and later giggling while passing the fence close to our bungalow. 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Back on the track....Kruger NP May 2009
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2009 7:52 pm 
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Location: Back "home"?!...........
08.05.09

Well today it was time to move again.
Our destination Talamati.
As the distance was not too far we decided to drive the S100 again in the morning before heading towards Orpen.
After the thunderstorm in the night the day started cool and overcast.
There was not much too see on eth first few kilometres of the S100.So maybe this was going to be a quiet day.
But then we discovered something right tin the middle of the road and where delighted.
A Rock Python.
She was very high on our wish list as we had never sighted one before. And we had her all to ourselves. No other car around. :dance:

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After a few minutes we left her.
The next sighting were some Oxpecker having a good time on some Impie backs.
Although I think this one looked rather grumpy. :?

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One juvenile was free climbing.

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Maybe this Oxpecker whispers a secret into the ear of this Impala. :P

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We met a couple of Zebras shortly before we reached our turning point.

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Our last sighting on the S100 was a Black-shouldered Kite.

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The S100 has once again been good to us.
We stopped at the petrol station at Satara before heading towards Orpen.

The drive was really quiet, not many sightings.
We drove past huge burned areas to the left hand side of the road. And it looked really dry and dreadful.
Shortly before reaching the turnoff to Talamati we sighted two Tawny Eagles .They had obviously killed another bird and were now sitting in the middle of the burned bushes enjoying their lunch.

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Tawny Eagle

Of course we had a look at the cam and the waterhole at Orpen and were pretty surprised to see all the changes in the camp.
The shop looked different, the petrol station and the benches of the day visitors area were gone.
It was just a short stop as we could not wait to get to Talamati.

We passed Rabelais hut and soon turned onto the road that leads to the Talamati direction.
While driving we remembered that we always had nice Mongoose sightings around Talamati and therefore called it “mongoose-country” and soon we were able to detect a certain movement on the side of the road.
I stopped the engine of the car an soon we were encircled by about 20-25 Dwarf Mongooses. 8)

I really could watch them for hours.

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They were in playing/fighting mood.

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Although don’t you think they looked as if they were dancing ?! :hmz:

" No, no, no, you had to start with the other foot."

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" I told you ,we have lost the beat and now we have to start all over again."

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Dwarf Mongoose

I just love these little guys. :lol:

The road was getting narrower and I crossed my fingers that we were not going to meet any Ellis along the way that were either going to or coming from the waterhole.

We reached the camp around 3 pm and checked in now time.
Patson Makhubele greeted us with a big smile and a warm welcome. :thumbs_up:
Unfortunately "our" Cottage Waterbuck was already gone and so we moved into #12, Ingwe. And liked it even more.

We did not go out for another drive.
Talamati is just too beautiful. And as we only stayed for two nights we wanted to make the most of our time there.

We did light the braai and enjoyed the sounds of the night on this perfect evening. Image

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 Post subject: Re: Back on the track....Kruger NP May 2009
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2009 5:53 pm 
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Location: Back "home"?!...........
09.05.09

Well today we wanted to spend a relaxed day. So we planed to only drive to Muzandzeni Picnic Spot having a small breakfast there and after that returning back to Talamati to spend the afternoon wandering around the camp, visiting the hide and have a look what we might discover.

Our first sighting was a couple of Duikers.
Usually they are quite shy, this time I was able take a couple of pics before it was gone in high speed.

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A little further on we crossed the path of a Swainson’s Spurfowl with her chicks.

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She was very suspicious and after she granted us to take some pics of her and the "kids" she disappeared into the high grass beside the road.

While we stopped at Shimangwaneni a group of Waterbucks came to the water to have a drink.

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We had a nice little brekkie at the Picnic Spot and decided to drive up to the main road before turning around and returning back to Talamati.
Here we saw this Purple Roller. Obviously having a bad hair day. :lol:

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All along the way we were passing through huge areas of burned bushveld.
Some of the larger tree trunks were still smoking.
We did not see any mammals around. But we sighted this Long-billed Crombec.

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A bird which I still not managed to ID.

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And this really tiny Tortoise.

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Back at camp we prepared everything for the dinner tonight and left again for a walk along the fence to the bird hide.

He we found (beside tons Baboon poo, as we had to pass beneath their sleeping trees :roll: ) this beautiful Flower.

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When we reached the hide we were a bit disappointed.
During previous stays we had great Elli sightings at the Waterhole.
Now the bushes and the reeds were so high that you were not able to see the waterhole at all.
If an Elli was coming for a drink you could actually only see him approaching the waterhole. But as soon as he reached the water, he would have disappeared behind the high vegetation.

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So we did not stay too long at the hide.
I used the time to take some detail pics of the Buffalo skull that lies at the foot of the bird hide stairs.

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And of the lovely flowers .

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While walking back to our cottage we saw this Orange-breasted Bush-Shrike. :dance:

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And a Golden-Tailed Woodpecker.

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But being in Talamati you don’t have to go far for bird sightings.
While sitting outside the cottage we were suddenly surrounded by birds.

A Crested Barbet examining the braai.

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A Black-backed Puffback. He was all puffed up when I saw him in the tree. But I messed up the pic completely. :slap:
Here are the pics that I took a little later.

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By then the Barbet had moved over to the trees close by.

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A Bennett’s Woodpecker was searching the lawn for some food.

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And a pair of Chinspot Batis was rushing through the trees. They are so hard to capture….

Female
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Male
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What a very successful afternoon.
We enjoyed another braai and lovely evening at Talamati.
Already a bit sad that it was once again time to move on to the next camp,Skukuza, the next morning. :(

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 Post subject: Re: Back on the track....Kruger NP May 2009
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 2:08 am 
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Just catching up with your most enjoyable adventures, KDU, and I think that your "mystery bird" is a Sabota lark?

I agree with anne-marie, your bird pix — and your flowers — are gorgeous!


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 Post subject: Re: Back on the track....Kruger NP May 2009
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:17 pm 
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Location: Back "home"?!...........
10.05.2009

As I said before it was once again time to leave Talamati. :(
Of course not without enjoying a last cup of coffee on the terrace.

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Even the Barbet came for a last visit.

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We took the S36 down south turning onto the Vutomi Road later to reach Tshokwane for a late breakfast.

Our first sighting was a group of Southern Ground Hornbills searching for food.
What a peaceful sighting they look always so stern walking around.

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Ground Hornbill

A little further on we discovered something in the middle of the road, still a bit far away for an ID we wondered what is was.
Coming closer we discovered that it was a Juvenile Bateleur. He was feeding on something, but he already gulped it down before we could see what it was.

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We had not left Dwarf Mongoose country yet and as if they did not want to disappoint us we soon discovered a bunch of them on a termite mount.

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We made our way towards Nhlanguleni Picnic Spot, when a Game Vehicle of one of the Privat Concessions approached us. He did not stop but indicated that there might be a sighting waiting for us in the direction where we were heading.
Not sure where and what it was we keep our slow pace.
But indeed after a couple of kilometres we discovered what it was.
Lions.
Just a few other cars where already there and everybody was behaving, so it was one of the very rare relaxed Lion sightings you can have in Kruger.
We stayed for quite a while we could see one Male and one Female. But we wondered if there were any other Lions around as they kept calling from time to time.

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It must have been a hard night….

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Then she suddenly stood up and went over to some bushes to lie down in the shade. Well actually there was already a third Lion there but he was very hard to spot as he/she lied flat in the side. :lol:

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Soon the Male followed her as well.

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Lions

We had a wonderful Lion sighting, but by now it was time to move on. 8)

We stopped at Vutomi Dam and sighted a family of White-faced Ducks.
But only the Ducklings were curious and looked over to our direction.

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Just shortly before we reached the main road a Hammerkop was hunting in a small waterhole beside the road.

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Tshokwane was not too busy and we enjoyed a Borewoers straight from the fire and a Toasted Sandwich.

We drove along the riverbed when we suddenly sighted dozens of Vultures drying their feathers in the sun.
We did our best to have a closer look into the riverbed , but could not see whether there was a kill or not.
To us it only looked as if they had taken a bath in one of the small puddles down there and were now drying in the sun.

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Only a few couple of kilometres were still lying ahead of us before reaching Skukuza and we were caught in a traffic jam. A Leopard had been sighted while trying to cross the road.
Now everybody was looking for the poor animal.
One couple in a small sedan was so desperate that it dove into a no entry road straight into the direction were the Leopard had been seen for the last time.
Well I do not have to mention that the sighting was now ruined. :evil:
The driver of another car had a serious conversation with them. :rtm:

After that frustrating experience we decided to move on.

We quickly checked in at Skukuza and moved into our bungalow.
We had been quite late booking our accommodation for this trip and so we ended in a Luxury Riverside Bungalow.
And I can tell you, WOW what a view. :dance:

Seeing this we decided to rather stay in the camp in the afternoon. Enjoying the amenities of our new home.

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The lawn was full of small flowers and I could not believe my eyes, dozens of Butterflies were flying around. It nearly looked as if the lawn was alive.
I did my best to follow them and take some photos.

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Hadedas were roaming the lawn as well or food.
It was so wonderful to find such a quiet place in a huge camp like Skukuza.

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We took a walk along the boardwalk and watched the evening colours of the clouds.

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Sorry, but I can not make up my mind which one is my fave… :redface:

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On the boardwalk I discovered these bugs.
Aren’t they looking pretty with the orange stripes and dots ?! :wink:

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We had a G&T with the sight onto the Sabe River.
Now that was pure luxury…. 8)

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Doesn’t our bedroom looks just too good and inviting ?!

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There was even a painting of a White-faced Duck (one of my favourite Ducks) hanging on the wall over the bed.
We enjoyed our braai and listened to the laughing of the Hippos in the river. Image

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 Post subject: Re: Back on the track....Kruger NP May 2009
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2009 9:48 pm 
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Image Well I never did that before...
I need a page turner, unless....... you do not want to read the next installment.... :P

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 Post subject: Re: Back on the track....Kruger NP May 2009
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 9:11 am 
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11.05.09

The day started with one of those breathtaking sunrises.
And again a hard decision which pic to choose :lol:,but I think this is the best of th whole series .

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The plans for today…
Visiting Lake Panic Bird Hide and Skukuza Nursery. A little bit of driving o the southern direction and spending the afternoon in the camp.

First sighting in the morning were Red-faced Mousebirds.

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As soon as we had left the camp the weather started to be very overcast.
The hide was quiet. Such a peaceful place….

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Lake Panic

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Not only the Ducks arrived, but more visitors as well and so w decided it was time to leave.

We could not stop at Lake Panic without stopping at the Nursery as well.
We just love the Boardwalk. There is always so much to discover. And we always feel so sorry that we are not able to buy some of the great plants that are on sale at the Nursery.

So we started the boardwalk first thing before entering the Nursery itself.

We discovered this little fellow in one of the poles.

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More Dragonflies.

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A Golden Orb Spider.
I think they are interesting and beautiful, but I am glad that I own a huge tele-zoom lens… :P

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More Butterflies.

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Praying Mantis

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A piece of art…

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More visitors to the Nursery.

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This Black-collared Barbet was not very cooperative.:rolleyes:

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Then a kewl sighting.:cool:
A Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird.

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Could this be a Collared Sunbird?
The beak looks short in this shot, but I got another one (not at all brilliant shot) which shows that the beak is indeed much longer.

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Further on we saw more Butterflies and Dragonflies.

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Just as we were about to leave the Nursery we discovered that dozens of African Green Pigeons were foraging the trees close to the enrance/exit.

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What gorgeous looking birds….

Well we drove the southern direction toward Nkulu Picnic Spot.
By now the sun was out again and it was really hot.

This little shy Vervet was sitting in one of the trees along the river and doing his best to ignore our presence.

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Soon we decided to turn around. It was far too hot for any nice sighting.
All of the animals were hidden in the shades of the trees.
Just as we said so we sighted this little bird.
White-browed Scrub Robin.

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Back at the camp we grabbed something to eat before roaming the camp again.
And yes you guessed right.

More Butterflies.
I was amazed I think last year we did not see that many of them.

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Not only the people were wondering what I was doing…. :lol:

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Of course we just had to check the Bats at the Take Away.

Bat-Mum with little one.

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I am watching you….

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Our last stop was the little pond close to the clock tower.
Here dozens of Cape White-Eyes were rushing around, very hard to capture.

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It was already late afternoon when we arrived back to the bungalow.
We ended the day with a great meal at Selati’s . :D
Tomorrow we are moving to Croc Bridge.

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