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 Post subject: An "outside" Kruger weekend
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:58 pm 
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On the weekend of 15th January I went with my SO family to a lodge that's situated on the outside of Croc Bridge. I must say it was one of the best sightings weekend I had in a long time in Kruger. Who knew staying outside the park will bring the sightings we had!

We left Nelspruit around midday and entered at Numbi gate (kicking myself once again for forgetting the yellow ribbon) :wall: . We didn't see anything because the grass is taller than our car. We got onto Voortrekker and after 40 minutes we stopped for our first animals

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After the Zebra's it was quite, not even an impala. The SO spotted something in the tree and this feathered friend was giving his call out
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(If I'm correct it's a Little Banded Goshawk)

We stopped at a very quite Afsaal for a leg stretch and bathroom break before heading up on the tar road. We turned off on the S113 and got our first Impala's, Giraffes and more Zebra's. We then turn up on the S26 with no sightings again for a while. At the S102 we stopped for the biggest warthog of the weekend having a mud bath. He was flicking his tail so much that it looked like purpler.
At Mpondo Dam we spotted our first 2 of 8 White Rhino sightings of the day. It was so peaceful and quite with the Fish eagle in the tree looking out for its next meal. We continued on the S102 towards the S26 and spotted our next Rhino
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We watch him graze and watching the Oxpeckers, the wind changed and he smelled us. With a grunt he turned towards car as to which I told the SO to switch on again, the rhino then decided it will be safer on the other side of the road.

Then at the Gayisenga water hole another white rhino laying in the water cooling down in the afternoon heat. We then turned onto the quite H5 with our first and only elephants for the day as well as kudu, impala, zebra and Steenbokkies. On the H4-2 towards CB we saw three Southern Ground Hornbills
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and 4 more white rhino’s. Just before the gate we stopped to look at some warthog piglets and watch them playing chasers with each other, so cute.

We got to the gate and the temporary bridge was almost totally washed away from all the big rains we had in the past few months. Here is a pic of what it looked like on Friday
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We arrived at the lodge not even 10 minutes later. I will post some more of our sightings a bit later on and believe me they were pretty awesome

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 Post subject: Re: An "outside" Kruger weekend
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 2:21 pm 
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Location: My heart is truly in the bush
8)

Saturday the 16th brought rain to our door and we all slept in a bit late. We took the S28 up and came across this little tortoise having a drink
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A little down the road we saw a big herd of Buffalo’s in the distance from across the river but they moving really fast and then 4 White Rhino’s.
We stopped at a herd of Zebra and Giraffe to look at the cute little ones. I saw probably the smallest giraffe I’ve seen ever, he still had a bit of his umbilical cord still.
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Back on the H4-2 we stopped at mom warthog and her two piglets, the two little ones came closer to the car inspecting us, mom grunt once and you just saw the little tails going up in the air as they ran off.
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Closer to LS camp we got a herd of elephants with a tiny baby calf.
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A quick stop at LS and over the water bridge we got a group of cars. “Cheetah under the tree” and as we looked for a parking spot I spotted it. Too many branches in the lens way for a good photo but you could see it is a cheetah. Great sighting indeed now of at least one cat so far. We drove up on the H10 with no sightings and onto the Mlondozi Road. We saw two ostriches and these three big guns under the “biggest” tree they could find. One lady was too terrified to go past there giants but we did and even stopped in front of them for a photo.
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They were way too hot and throwing dust on themselves, in the background there was three more big ellies. The rest of the way until the tar road we had no sightings at all. On the Salitjie Road we came across a water monitor digging a hole in the dry river bank, a Kori bustard, 4 White Rhino’s and Vervet monkeys. Back on Eloff street we had a troop of baboons crossing the high water bridge and the leader of the pack chasing off younger males that either irritated him or was challenging him. I must say I’ve been close to a male lion roaring but sitting in a car next to this massive male baboon barking had the same effect on me. Just proof once again on how dangerous they can be. A quick stop at Nkuhlu we saw a full grown water monitor walking away from the picnic spot and a smaller one slithering into the grass. Too bad my camera was in the car on the opposite of the parking lot.

At 5km we saw a hyena in the road, I was very happy to see one!
and not even a Km from there we found cars parked and another idiot out her car sun roof. There was a hippo carcass and loads of vultures (I counted 5 different vulture including the Cape Vulture). It wasn’t smelling but we bet the hyena was on his way there, don’t know what happened to the hippo but it was interesting seeing how the birds fought over the meat.
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About 15 km from CB there was loads of cars parked in the road, first bet was lion and then leopard. A lady said there is an impala in a tree and yes there it was but no leopard. We looked at all possible angles in the tree and scanning the bushes below. Someone was there for 4 hours and he hasn’t seen any movement. We had to move on and three km from the gate yet another group of cars, a lone lioness laying on a small hill scanning the bush. There was a guy sitting on his car window ledge and another tourist told him to get in his car, the guy looked very embarrassed when we drove past him. We also founded a Nyala bull underneath a tree grazing.

Yet another day well spent with sightings!

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"People who have nothing to say, speak the loudest." - John Rzeznik


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 Post subject: Re: An "outside" Kruger weekend
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 2:39 pm 
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Sunday the 17th we went at CB and set off. It was cloudy but humid. We only entered the park after 9 but I must say I’m glad we didn’t go in earlier. The SO sister (who use to be a guide in the Park) was our “leader of the pack” and we took the S25 and approx 2 km’s there was cars parked. We first thought it was for the 2 white rhinos but a little future on there was a pride of 10 lions. They were all laying right next to the road, looking at us, the younger ones playing a bit.
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The full grown male got up from his bush to go lay a bit away from the grazing rhino’s. I’m not sure if the rhino’s didn’t smell them but they walked past the pride cool, calm and collected. The younger lions looked their way probably thinking if they should try it or not
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But they didn’t and only after the rhino’s has passed the pride they got their smell and run across the road and into the bush.
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We left the lions and continued on the S25. At a little river view turn off close to Biyamiti turn off we saw 4 full grown male lions having a snooze in the river bed. It was just our two cars and there it was wonderful, Bird hide we got three big ellies that was eating and blocking the road. Then when we turned around to go onto S118 rather than on the S114 a small herd of kudu’s crossed the road. There was a great need of a bathroom break for the kids and we stopped at Afsaal. The little Scops Owl was sitting nice and low in it’s usual tree but my camera decided not to take photos of it (everything was blurry of it). :whistle:

After Afsaal we drove up the H3 with no sightings and then onto the S112 to go to Renosterkoppies Dam, we came across a family group of ellies
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and the younger ones chasing the herd of impalas around. Most cars was a bit afraid of the mommy standing to close to the road but she was relaxed. We took the S21 with giraffe, impala and lone elephant bulls being spotted. On the way down to LS on the Eloff street we got our first buffalo’s and kudu.

At Sunset dam some hippos and crocs and an idiot getting out of his car and taking a picture of a massive hippo in the water just a few meters from him. When we told him to get back in he actually laughed at us :rtm: :sniper: and when he looked back the hippo was standing almost out of the water. I’ve never seen anybody moved so fast and closed a car door. We laughed at him and as if on que a Sanparks marked car stopped next to the driver side and had talk with them. :thumbs_up:

We stopped again at the hippo carcass again and this time the same hyena of yesterday was having a munch on some of the bones.
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We switched off the car to hear those power jaws cracking and breaking off bone. Every time when the vultures was getting too much for him, he chased them off to return to his bones. Also saw the impala in the tree but higher up and the leopard has eaten of it but still no leopard. :pray:

That’s for Sunday, on Monday we had my favourites in the mix!
:)

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"People who have nothing to say, speak the loudest." - John Rzeznik


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 Post subject: Re: An "outside" Kruger weekend
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 11:40 am 
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Location: My heart is truly in the bush
I really suck at this...Here is the last installment of our trip...if your a wild dog fan this is for you!!!

Monday 18th we woke up to our last day of a long weekend. After a quick breakfast, all packed up and greeted the family we entered CB again. At the shop I overheard a conversation about a wild dog sighting not far from CB. After I rushed buying ice and cold drinks I was in the car, I told the SO who in returned told me that this fellow tourist told him where it is and how far in km they were.

So off we went onto the S25 in search of my favourites, wild dogs. Two cars were chasing there but we took it slow. And hold and behold there was only three cars and right next to road my 4 dogs was laying down having a snooze. One car was right to next to them but enough space left to see them without cramming your neck. I was extremely excited!

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With the cars switched off (and getting hotter by the minute) we heard the deep yet far roar of a lion. Two of the four dogs got up, checking the road up ahead, sniffing. One car left and left us another two cars there. The dogs got up, sniffed our car (which in exchange caused an "up-woof" at our house) and one rubbed her head on our bumper. They kept on watching the hill of the road (towards Malelane). One dog kept on laying down in the shade.
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Watching what the other three are doing. Eventually after some markings left on the road and against some grass the three dogs decided to walk down the road away from us. The forth got up and followed them. We decided that we have a half full memory card full of doggie photos we can now move on.
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Not even 500 m further we found the last of the wild dog that the pack was probably waiting for. She was clearly lost not knowing where to go or what to do. Pulling back her ears scanning for any sound, due to the hill they didn’t see each other.
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We were the only car there, after she walked into the bush a bit again another car came by. The guy didn’t even see the dog until his wife spotted it while he asked us what we looking at. They took a couple of photos before leaving to the other sighing we told them about.
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After the wild dog we stopped at some warthogs where the adults was chasing each other and the piglets thinking it’s the greatest game joining in chasing each around. It wasn’t far from where we saw our last Wild dog. On the rest of the way sightings of zebra, impala, blue wildebeest and at the same spot where we found two elephant bulls on the Friday we spotted just one of them on his way to the water hole.

We got to the tar road and drove down to the leopard kill and there were no cars. We turned around and spotted the impala which had even less meat on and started looking for the leopard. Still nothing guessing that the cat either laid on the ground or in the riverbed behind the tree or on the other side of the tree where we couldn’t see it. Two cars stopped and asked us but they didn’t see anything. Somewhere close by a troop of Vervet monkeys started calling a warning call and we waited, scanning the bush and the tree with the bino’s looking for some movement but still nothing.

We really needed the bathroom at this stage so we had to leave for Lower Sabie, I did check the sightings board at LS but it wasn’t marked for leopard more or less at that spot.

A quick stop at Sunset dam we made our way up on Eloff Street munching on our toasted sandwiches. Just past Nkuhlu I spotted what I first thought was a red duiker turned out to be semi adult bush buck. We didn’t see any others around her which was strange or we were just blind. Further on we had just impala sightings; batleur’s circling in the sky.

Then I spotted a big bird on a branch, we reversed and it turned out to be a juvenile Martial eagle, which caught some launch for him in form of a francolin. It was a great sighting to see it pulling out the feathers and start eating on it’s meal.
(Too bad the pictures were all blurry...again)

Just before Nkuhlu we saw a Ground horn bill in the road and it had something in it's beak. First thoughts were snake, then mouse, then back to snake, the a baby monitor. Turned out to be either a "Bloukop koggelmander" or a "koggelmander" - have no idea what the English is for it.
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We continue up and past the high water bridge we stopped of a herd of ellies further up there was two rows of car. A lioness was sitting straight up in the grass; she got up a walked up to some small trees into the shade checking the bush around her.
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We were really tired and didn’t want to get stuck in Nelspruit traffic we left her be. Further up we didn’t see much besides two brown snake eagles and a fish eagle. Out of Kruger gate we didn’t spot anything else.

It was a great weekend I must say, spending it outside of the Park but be in the Park during the day.

Sorry to have kept you all :popcorn: ... :D

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