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 Post subject: Return of the Jedi - Yoda back in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:38 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Hi All,

I am waiting for the cab to come pick me up to go to the airport. Can't beleive the moment has finally arrived!

The story so far:

My in-laws and I discussed a trip to Kruger way back in December 2008 (Seems so long ago).

1st of April 2009 when the booking opened I was on the phone to the reservations in Pretoria.
Accomodation for March 2010 as follows:
1st night Skukuza
2nd night Satara
3/4th night Olifants
5th night Skukuza

In the following 11 months have been planning this trip down to the minutest detail.
I think my map book is falling appart I have paged through it so many times.
Not to mention the hours spent on the Forum.

So here's looking forward to a great trip & fantastic sightings. And some good photos too.

And on my return, I will be downloading my photos. Selecting the best thereof, and of course doing my trip report!

Thanks
Yoda


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 Post subject: Re: Return of the Jedi - Yoda back in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 9:33 pm 
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Hi All,

Returned from SA this morning. Had a fantastic time in Kruger, one of my best trips ever and had some great sightings.

I have over 1,000 photos :cam: to sort through, and with family commitments it may take me some time to go through them all, pick the better ones and start the trip report proper. So please be patient.

Before I left I was a bit concerned that sightings would be a bit slow due to the heat and thickness of the bush. But this wasn't the case. I saw more on this trip than on my previous visit in August!

But to give a quick taster:
LIT (I no longer think these are a myth!) :tongue:
2 good lion sightings.
More rhino than I have ever seen
More elephants than I have ever seen.
Plenty of antelope & zebra.

Thanks
Yoda


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 Post subject: Re: Return of the Jedi - Yoda back in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:34 pm 
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Hi All,

Well here we go. Finally. Since I have gotten back, there have been work and family issues to attend to. But at last I will start my trip report.

Day 1 Part 1

We (My in-laws and myself) left Jhb just before 6am, travelling to Witbank via the N12 (thanks for those that advised this. The alternate route via the M1 was a nightmare apparently) up to Witbank, then the N4. Stopping at Milly's just before the tunnel for a stretch and a "pit stop". On to Nelspruit. And then Melalane before reaching the gate at 10:30am. Would have possibly been a bit earlier but we got stuck behind some fuel tankers on the narrow pass just after Nelspruit and there was no way to get past them.

Anyhow, checked in at Melalane. Very fast and efficient. Tied the yellow ribbon to the car door handle and in we went! We had arrived.

First drive was the H3 up to Skukuza, our first night.

First sighting was:

Image

Yup, an Impala. And another small herd a few km later and so on.

Crossed the Mlambane where there were a few Elephants in the river bed.

Went to Renosterpan where there was a small herd of zebra and a lone Wildebeest:

Image

On the way back to the tar road we saw more elephants but these were quite far in the distance.

The plains on the lhs just before Afsaal were quite productive. Zebra, elephant, impala and our first rhino all visible at one spot.

On we drove and saw our first giraffe. Not a great sighting as quite far in the bush.

Then we joined the H1-1. Giraffe drinking at De Laporte.

Saw some interesting birds along the way: Bateleur, Rollers, Yellow Billed Hornbills and Carmine Bee-Eaters

A few km before Skuks we came to a traffic jam. Rolled down my window and made the enquiry......LIT! After ,much pointing and directions, we finally managed to see it. Not a great view, just a bit of its back, but our first (and what would be our only leopard). As I drove off I tried looking for from another angle and did get a better view. It was clearly having a sleep in the tree.
This was my first leopard in the wild....ever.

Very excited for the last few km to Skuks. Didn't see much else but we were still "buzzing" from the leopard. And 3 of the big 5 and it was just the drive in. This boded well for the rest of the trip.

Checked in quite quickly at reception at Skukuza. We were allocated units 142, and 143.

Unloaded our stuff, and then went to takeaway place for a quick meal before the afternoon drive....which will follow shortly.....


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 Post subject: Re: Return of the Jedi - Yoda back in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 9:33 pm 
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Day 1 part 2

After dropping off our stuff at the bungalows we went to the take away place for a quick snack.

MIL (Mother In Law) was not all that happy when she looked up and saw all those bats dangling there above her head!

Anyway, we were soon on the road again for our late afternoon / evening drive.

From what I have read on other trip reports and having never done it before, I decided to do at least part of the S30 (Salitje Road)

So we headed out of Skukuza and turned right at the junction onto the
H4-1.

Our first sighting was a troop of Vervets. This poor guy looks like he needs some relief :redface:

Image

A few herds of impala.

And then a small family group of elephants drinking and bathing in the Sabie. After a while, they turned around and headed towards us.

Image

"Why did the (insert appropriate animal) cross the road? Because it was the chicken's day off" This became the standard joke of the trip!

At the intersection of the H12, high level bridge over the Sabie there was a traffic jam. Rolled down the window and asked. A leopard had just been seen on the bank of the river. We had missed it by seconds. Waited for a short while but it never reappeared :doh:

Anyhow, we drove over the bridge and onto the S30.

A few herds of impala. And then this bushbuck ram which was very shy and quickly headed into the bush. But first he had a scratch.

Image

A bit further along there was quite a large herd of elephants. Some in the Sabie, and some on our side of the bank. And a troop of baboons were in the trees and foraging on the ground.

We turned around at the junction of the S128 and headed back the way we had come.

2 of the eles had come quite close to the road

Image

I must say that a lot of poeple have said that the S30 is in poor condition and very corrugated. But I didn't find it more so than any of the other sand roads that we travelled on during the trip.

Turned right back onto the H12 and then on to the H1-2 back towards Skukuza.

We stopped at some Impala next to the road, when all of a sudden there was pandemonium! They were running in all directions, snorting and looking very alarmed. Surely there must be a predator! After a while they calmed down and we waited for a while. But nothing appeared.

A little bit further on, this Kudu by the side of the road:

Image

A bit further on, and I was looking straight into the sun, but managed to see an elephant not far from the road. Stopped to watch him, and closer to the road than the elephant was a giraffe that was even nearer, on the other side of the same tree. Ok, the sun wasn't helpful but it does show how easy it is to miss spotting animals!

On we drove to Skukuza, the low level bridge over the Sand didn't yield anything and then on to the Sabie low level bridge.

This pair of Nyala were slowly making their way through the reeds:

Image

And in the open bit of water at the far end of the bridge were a few hippo.

And sooner than we would have liked, we were back in camp. Our first day and we had some fantastic sightings.

I decided to go and have a look at the river as it started getting darker, and FIL (Father In Law) says to me, not to worry, he will start the braai. Not much to see in the gathering gloom, so I headed back to our bungalows. The braai was......well puny. I said to FIL it is too small, and he told me that the Charka brickettes burn hot and that we didn't need more. I didn't want to start an argument, so kept quiet. But needless to say, it took a loooong time to cook those steaks!

But it was fantastic having a meal under the African stars, with the sound of the bush in the backround. Great end to the day.


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 Post subject: Re: Return of the Jedi - Yoda back in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:56 pm 
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Day 2 Part 1

Previous night, FIL wanted to know if it was "really neccessary to wake up at the crack of dawn"......Uh. Yes!

Gates were at 5:30am but I thought that leaving at 5:45 for our drive up to Satara would be early enough. Didn't really see the point of being out in the dark.
So at 5:45 we left camp.

Turned onto the H1-2 and saw a herd of Impala staring at something in the gloom. A hyena slunk off into the bush, and a km or so later we saw another one.
At the low level bridge over the Sabie, a 3rd lone hyena was climbing the bank

Image
This one skulked off quite quickly too.

Drove another km or so, a traffic jam. A pride of lions in the road!

Image

They were all lying about and some seemed quite interested in the elephant droppings on the road.
At this point a taxi decided that he had enough of waiting, drove through the bush to pass a car or two, and then almost ran over one of the cubs in the road ! :sniper:
With this, all of them got up and started walking down the road. Thanks for ruining our sighting pal. The lions carried on walking down the road for 1/2 hour or so and we managed to follow them until they came to a management road and went down that. All of the cubs were really thin looking, with very mangy fur. They were struggling to walk and the pride male kept stopping to let them catch up. The adults looked in better condition, so it's difficult to imagine why the cubs were in such poor condition. Perhaps their mother had tb, and couldn't take care of them and no other lionesses had milk? Or maybe just not enough food to go round.
Image

Image

On we drove after the lions dissappeared. It looked like today would be picking up were we left off the day before....Hmmmm

Drove the Marula Loop, and beside one lone Steenbok, not much was about. Very quiet up to Mantimbahle, a few glossy starlings, but not much about there. A few ground hornbills in the far distance shortly thereafter, but could barely see their heads above the grass. Very quiet up to Olifant water hole, then not much up to Leeupan. Not even an Impala to be seen.

Silolweni was quite peaceful. A few Hippo in the water and some Waterbuck on the far bank.

Things picked up again with a few Impala

Image

And a female Kudu that was very skittish and was impossible to get a good photo of.

And then just before the H10 a herd of Elephants crossed the road in front of us.

Image

We decided to go to the Orpen Dam, so turned down the H10 and then the S32. A few hundred meters down the S32, in the shade of a tree. Wild Dog! Well one, and it was lying there staring into the distance. I was manuvering for a better view and a car came from the other side. The driver looked in the direction we were, and then sat there tapping on the steering wheel, waiting for a chance to pass me. Hmm. Why wasn't he interested in the sighting? Doubt was starting to creep in. Another worrying thing, was that in 5 mins, the Doggie hadn't even flicked an ear.......I let the car drive past me and then moved to where he had stopped for another angle......of.... a Wild Log :wall: &^%£$% A bit dissappointed needless to say. But that's how things go.

So we proceeded on to Orpan Dam, where a large ele had been moments before. I got MIL to pose next to the pat but I don't think she would be impressed if I posted the photo.

It was really peacefull at the lookout. Fish Eagles in the distance and some ground hornbills flew by. I was surpised at how agile they were in the air, after seeing them plodding along in the veld.

Image

We then proceded to Tshokwane for "pit stop" and some breakfast.

To be continued.............


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 Post subject: Re: Return of the Jedi - Yoda back in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 8:42 pm 
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Hi All,

I am pleased you are enjoying the trip report so far. Thanks for your comments.

FIL has also been following the trip report. He feels that a photo he took with his phone of the Elephants on the S30 was better than mine. So here it is:

Image

Day 2 Part 2 to follow later..............


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 Post subject: Re: Return of the Jedi - Yoda back in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2010 9:20 pm 
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Day 2 Part 2

We left Tshokwane and headed up to Satara where would spend our second night.

I have never had a drive up the H1-3 this quiet!

Nothing as we headed north, not even the odd Impala. A few Black Storks at Mazithi Dam, and a small herd of Waterbuck at Kumana.
We went to go and have a look at the Baobab.

Lots of evidence of recent Elephant activity along the sand road to Nkaya Pan, but besides a small family of Spurwing Geese, not much happening there either.

I am usually quite patient when it comes to sightings, but was begining to wonder where all the game was. Just before the H6, MIL "Satelite Eyes" (as she became known after this sighting) spotted a small herd of Zebra so far in the distance they were barely visible.

When we got to the junction of the H7, we were still a bit early for the 12pm check in, so I decided to do a short detour to Nsemani Dam, probably my favorite Dam in Kruger.

Good decision.

Moments after turning left we saw a group of giraffe. This one looks like it is trying to reach for something over the fence.

Image

But actually it's a good few meters away from the fence.

A short while later, this Elephant

Image

And then this Warthog in the shade of a tree.

Image

There were quite a few Hippo in Nsemani Dam, and a few Egyptian Geese and some Woolly-Necked Storks in the shallows.

We headed back to Satara and passed the same herd of Giraffe near the camp.

We checked in and were allocated a family unit in Circle D (I forget the unit number).
Dropped our stuff off and walked to the reception building for a quick lunch. As we sat there eating our food, watching the hornbills and glossy starlings, a big Elephant bull came to the water hole to drink. I didn't have my camera with me, but he was probably caught on the webcam!

After lunch, we headed back to our bungalow. MIL and FIL were quite tired from our early start so they had a short nap while a sat on the stoep reading and watching the starlings.

Day 2 Part 3 to follow..........


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 Post subject: Re: Return of the Jedi - Yoda back in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 8:56 pm 
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Day 2 Part 3

For the afternoon drive I was in 2 minds. I was keen to do the H6 and take FIL & MIL to N'wanetsi, but I have done this previously in the evening and the last hour or so with the sun in your eyes, isn't fun. So we decided to do the H7.

Turned right from Satara and the same group of Giraffe as before were lurking in the same spot. Not far from Nsemani a large group of Waterbuck. And then the Hippo at the dam itself. A bit further on, a group of female Kudu.
And then not far from the S39 Junction this Elephant having a scratch against a tree.

Image

A few Impala here and there, but otherwise it was fairly quiet. I was surprised not to see the herds of Zebra and Wildebeest that one sees regularly along this road.

We decided to stop at Bobbejaankrans, have a snack and then go back to Satara for gates.

It really is a most peaceful spot. Some Waterbuck in the river bed below and Elephants in the distance.

Image

It was fairly quiet on the way back to camp. The Elephant had crossed the road.

Image

A Saddle Bill Stork was patrolling a marshy area not much further on (probably the same place the Ele had his mud bath).

A few km before the S12.....traffic jam. Stopped and asked. There was a pride of lions but they were quite far away. Under some bushes which were obscured by long grass. We waited a few mins, but nothing appeared, so we decided to press on.

In the trees just before Nsemani were quite a few Marabou Storks.
We were still a bit early for gates at this point, so we decided to stop at the dam and watch the Hippos and just enjoy the tranquility of the sunset.
After a few mins a very nice man drove up from the opposite direction and told us that only a km or so up the next sand road (the S40) was a lioness with cubs, right by the road. So off we went. Quite a few cars, but everyone was well behaved. Stopped for a minute or two to have a look before moving on to let the car behind have a view.

Image

It was getting a bit late now, so we moved on, and headed back to camp.

This young Giraffe with the group that was still in the area.

Image

Just before the junction of the H1-3......another traffic jam. A leopard had been seen disappearing into the bush. Missed it by seconds apparently :doh:

So on we went. And at the actual junction of the H7, H1-3 and S100, a hyena came strolling down the S100 with a procession of cars behind it.

And we made it back to camp, probably a minute or two late, but then half the camp must have been behind us!

And so another successful day. I was a bit disappointed with the sightings of general game. It had been a slow day in that department. But we had seen lots of Hyena, 2 Lion sightings and plenty of Elephants, so I couldn't complain.

Back at the bungalow I was left to make the braai :dance:
While FIL decided to go to the pool and have an evening swim.

Now a bit of backround.....
FIL is a very friendly person. If we go out to a restaurant for dinner, he will chat to the waiter and get their whole life story. Drives me and the SO mad sometimes. I had told FIL that the KNP is the one place he can actually chat to strangers, find out what they had seen etc. It's the done thing.

So FIL comes back from the pool and we have the following conversation:
FIL: "As I was drying off, I was chatting to a man. Told me there was a dead giraffe, but there was only one very sick lion there".
YODA: "OK, we will go have a look tomorrow. Where was it?"
FIL:"I didn't ask".
YODA: "What do you mean you didn't ask!!!!!" :big_eyes:
FIL: " Man said there was only 1 sick lion. We saw healthy ones today"
YODA: "But the rest of the pride could come, or hyenas, or jackals or vultures. Please tell me you asked where it was "
FIL: "Nope"
YODA: "Please tell me you asked"
FIL:" Nope"
YODA : :wall: :wall: :wall: :wall:

Anyhow, moving on. I don't like to harp on these things....but .... :doh:

We had our second fantastic dinner (cooked a bit quicker this time) under the African Stars.

Day 3 shortly.........


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 Post subject: Re: Return of the Jedi - Yoda back in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:45 pm 
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Day 3 Part 1

Well we eventually made it out of camp.....I kept getting lost in all those circles. Every time we left camp or tried to find our bungalow again I kept going round the wrong circle. Got a bit confusing..... :hmz:

Tonight was at Olifants, but since we had a lot of time, I decided that since we could do the H6, and go to N'wanetsi before heading north.

Turned onto the H1-3, heading south, and saw some Warthogs just outside the camp gates.

A little further on, a small bachelor herd of Waterbuck

Image

One or two cars had stopped at the bridge over the N'wanetsi River. And here is why

Image
A small herd of elephants were feeding on the banks. This one seemed to have sensed we were there.

As we sat there watching the eles, something caught my eye in the rear view mirror

Image

Three Dagga Boys crossed the road behind us.
So we had now seen the Big 5!

As we were about to move on, a bit of movement in the bushes on the other side of the road revealed a female Bushbuck. Quite a productive 10 minutes or so sitting at the one spot.

We turned onto the H6, and fortunately the sun was quite high already and not right in out eyes.

We spotted a lone Wildebeest, a bit further on a family of Giraffe, on we went and saw a small group of female Kudu with some babies. And then, another small herd of Giraffe

Image
Mother and child.

And a bit further on some Ostriches
Image

And from the largest bird, a few km on, one of the smallest antelope, a pair of Steenbok. But they disappeared before I could even lift my camera.

This was proving to be quite a productive drive. :dance:

Sonop waterhole didn't reveal much.

And we finally got to N'wanetsi Lookout where a lone Baboon was lurking in the parking lot. He seemed more scared of us than the other way round.

MIL, FIL and myself sat there for quite a while, just enjoying the view.

Image

I was debating with myself to do the S41/S100 route back, but since we had seen so much on the H6, I decided to do that as the return journey too.

This Swainsons Francolin by the side of the road

Image

Then another group of Giraffe with this lone Zebra

Image

A bit further on, a small herd of Zebra, followed by some Wildebeest, and then another herd of Zebra

Image

This was the Satara area I had come to know. Not sure what the day before was about :huh:
But you do have quiet days.

A few more Impala and Zebra on the way back up to Satara.

Stopped at Satara for a quick stretch, and then pressed on to Olifants.....


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 Post subject: Re: Return of the Jedi - Yoda back in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:01 pm 
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WD - :dance:

Pumbaa, that quiet day(Day 2) around Satara was most strange. But the next morning more than made up for it.

I am enjoying doing the trip report. In a way it's sort of re-living the experience. FIL & MIL have been following the trip report too, and are surprised at the detail that I am giving. But all I am doing is looking through my photos to remember what we saw and the roads bit is easy.

Thanks
Yoda


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 Post subject: Re: Return of the Jedi - Yoda back in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:40 pm 
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Day 3 Part2

We left Satara, heading north on the H1-4 towards Olifants.

Not far from the camp we saw this lone Wildebeest bull

Image

As we drove on, we saw loads of game. A lot more Wildebeest, Zebras, Impala, Giraffe and a few lone Elephants.

Image

Image

Just before the S90 junction, a lone rhino in a sort of gully filled with mud. And then another pair of rhino just afer the S90. The photos aren't great, and I would get better ones later in the trip.

Nothing at Ntomeni, but this lone Zebra and Impala rams at Ngotoso South

Image

We stopped at Ngotso which was completely dry. I thought there had been a lot of rain in the area. :huh:

One of my aims of the trip was to get a big 3+ spiral Kudu bull portrait photo.

This youngster posed nicely

Image

And a few km further we saw a trio of nice candidates that refused to co-operate. They were too intent on browsing. They did not want to pose for a photo :cam: and eventually moved off into the bush.

Image

We eventually got to the Olifants River bridge and got out of our car. On the one side of the bridge was a huge herd of Impala. And on the other a small family group of Elephants.
EDIT: The cow with longish tusks has been identified by Aat as Ma Trix

Image

A few Hippo could be heard snorting in the distance. It really was a peaceful scene.

After about 1/2 an hour, we decided to move on. I couldn't wait to do my favorite roads of the KNP, the S91/S92 loop that goes along the Olifants River. I have always seen loads of game along this route and no reason why we shouldn't do so this time.....or so I thought. Was I in for a disappointment......

We turned on to the S91, and the first few km were quite quiet. Hmm, just as I was starting to wonder where all the animals were, we came round a corner and there the answer was. The wier construction near Balule. What an eyesore. The aweful noise of the construction had obviously scared the animals away :sniper:
Anyway, now that I knew why sightings on this road were so scarce, we pressed on for Olifants, no point in hanging around. A few km further, and around another bend, and there was a big quarry and there were big metal crates lying about. What has been done to my favorite road in the KNP? :cry:
I decided to drive over the low level bridge to Balule just in case something might be hiding in the reeds.
This lone Hippo seemed oblivious to the digging a few km down river.

Image

Either that, or he was as p*ssed off as I was :evil:

Image

This fantastic sighting was brought to an ubrupt halt when a construction lorry almost pushed us off the bridge in its hurry to get past.

We saw nothing else for the rest of the S92 until it joined the H8
I had prepared FIL and MIL for a potentially fantastic road and it had proved to be a disaster.

Anyhow, we pressed on to Olifants. After a quick check in, we were given the keys for unit 14, and off we went to unload our stuff. What a fantastic view. Soon we were on the balcony looking for animals and the disappointment of the past 1/2 hour was all but forgotten.

We went to the restaurant for a quick lunch, and then back to the bungalow for a rest before the afternoon drive........


Last edited by yoda on Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Return of the Jedi - Yoda back in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:29 pm 
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Day 3 Part 3

There I sat on the stoep of our bungalow having a restful afternoon, reading a book and admiring the view:

Image

And of course, keeping a look out for animals.
Over the course of the 2 days, we saw:
Elephant
Giraffe
Hippo
Kudu
Waterbuck
Impala

And all this without even leaving camp.

For the afternoon I had decided to do the H1-5 & H1-4 back towards the Satara area.

Not much along the H8, just a few Impala.

Where the H1-5 ran next to the Olifants River, quite a few Hippo, a herd or two of Impala, and some Giraffe.

Image

We stopped at the high level bridge over the Olifants and got out again. There was a small herd of Elephants to the one side. Lots of Swifts flying around. And some Red Bishops in the reed beds.

Shortly after the bridge, more Giraffe

Image

And quite a few Zebra as we proceded south.

I didn't go down to Ngotso as I didn't think much would be turning up at the dried out dam anyway.

But a family of Warthogs were drinking at Ngotso South

Image

This Impala ram was approaching with caution.

A lone Wildebeest came to quench his thirst

Image

And shortly thereafter some Zebra arrived

Image

Pity I couldn't get all these animals in one shot. But they weren't co-operative :naughty:

Sooner than we would have liked, it was time to head back to camp. So after having spent a pleasant afternoon at the waterhole, I reluctantly turned the car around, and we headed north again.

Lots of more Zebra, Impala and Giraffe on the back.

Not much happening at the bridge and the Elephants had moved off.

I took MIL & FIL to another one of my favorite spots in Kruger....here is the sunset from N'wamanzi Lookout.

Image

All too soon we were heading back along the H8. A few Impala and Zebra, but otherwise not much else, and we made it to the gates with only a few minutes to spare.

We sat on the stoep again, in the gathering gloom watching the Hippo wandering about on the islands in the river. They had come out now that it was a bit cooler.

Once again I assumed braai duties :tongue:

And so another fantastic day in the KNP came to an end.


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 Post subject: Re: Return of the Jedi - Yoda back in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:13 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Elsa - Aat has confirmed that this elephant is indeed Ma Trix and has posted some of my photos on his website :dance: :dance: :dance:


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 Post subject: Re: Return of the Jedi - Yoda back in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:24 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Day 4 Part 1

Day 4 dawned with the usual sounds of the bush, and the Olifants River down below. Couldn't get a better wake up call than this.

Decided to take MIL & FIL up north, to Letaba and possibly beyond.

First sighting on the H8 once we had left camp was this young bull Elephant. He looked like he was up to mischief, but he let us pass soon enough

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Just before the junction of the H1-5 we came across a small herd of Elephants

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Turned right onto the H1-5 and the first few km along the river is fantastic. Amazing trees lining the banks. And plenty of Hippo in the water.

And then the drive went downhill from there. Not a single animal between a km or so after the H8 all the way up to just before Letaba. :wall:
I have seen lots of Elephants on previous trips, as well as plenty of Giraffe, but this time nothing.

There was some sort of grading going on. The verges of the tar were being plowed. Anyone know why?
But no machinery was to be seen (unlike the S91/S92) so this couldn't have been frightening the wildlife away.
What there were plenty of, was Swainson's Francolin every few hundred meters. There must have been lots of freshly dug up seeds and insects.

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A herd of Impala just before Letaba

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I have always found the stretch from Letaba up the first few km of the H1-6 to the high-level bridge quite productive. So I decided to go on for a bit. A few Impala, and some Vervets was all we saw up to the bridge. As we crossed the bridge, a Waterbuck bull was wading across the shallows below.

We decided that since we were having a slow morning, we would go back to Letaba and have breakfast there. For the return jorney, we did the S95 loop which also proved fruitless.

Parked at Letaba - away from the Sausage Trees. Didn't want one of those fruits falling on the car!

And sat on the restaurant veranda eating breakfast and watching the Vervets in the trees.

A few Dagga Boys were in the far distance. And this one was not that far away. It was still quite early in the morning, but he was wallowing to get cool already.

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After breakfast, we went to have a look around the Elephant Hall. After that we headed back to Olifants. Since the game viewing in this area was a bit slow, we thought it would be nice to sit on the stoep of our bungalow and see what we could spot from there.

An even quieter drive back to Olifants - even the Francolins had vamoosed.

At the junction of the H8, the same herd of Ele's we had seen earlier in the day.

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And nothing along the H8 except this disgraceful sight :sniper:

Image

Looks like a Mozambique Spitting Cobra to me.
A bit a sad sight to finish off a rather quiet drive.

To be continued..................


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 Post subject: Re: Return of the Jedi - Yoda back in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:26 pm 
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Day 4 Part 2

Well after the slow morning going north, MIL, FIL and myself thought it would be more productive to head back towards Satara again. Especially since we had a good drive along the H1-4 the day before.

Not much happening along the H8. The dead snake was still there. :evil: I was surprised that no scavenger had picked it up.

Turned left on to the H1-5 and not much besides a few Impala.

The bridge over the Olifants was also quiet except for the resident Hippo.

A bit further on....why did the Giraffe cross the road?

Image

With some Wildebeest.

A bit further on, past the S89 junction a lot of Zebra

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We saw quite a few herds as we proceeded south.

Not long after, this family of Warthogs

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Not much happening at Ngotso South, a bit quieter than the day before,so we continued driving towards Satara.

A few km before Ntomeni, there is a watercourse that runs parallel to the road. A few vultures were perched on a dead tree and as we stopped to look, more and more flew in and landed on the tree. They were all facing away from us, looking deeper into the bush.

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We waited for a while to see if any predators would appear, but none did, so on we drove.

At Ntomeni, this lone Dagga Boy was standing in the water, "staring into space"
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We watched him for a while, and as we still had a bit of time we carried on. A bit later, a Rhino sleeping in the shade of a bush. And a pair of Kori Bustards just before the S90 junction where we turned around and headed back towards Olifants again.

At Ntomeni, the Dagga Boy had moved off. The Zebra were still where had left them. And just before the high level bridge over the Olifants River, a young Kudu bull.

We got out again at the bridge to enjoy a snack, and take in the atmosphere.

For the final bit of the drive I decided to give the S90/S91 another try. Who knows, by now the construction might have come to a halt for the day and there would be some animals around. :pray:

The first few km were very quiet as expected, but we did see some sort of Rabbit, and a few lone Impala rams.

A herd of Elephants were feeding on the far bank of the river and some were in the water.
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A very peaceful scene.

As the S92 winds back towards the H8, we spotted a Bateleur in a dead tree, but it flew off before I could get my camera ready.

And the final sighting of the day was this Impala ram

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So I suppose my faith in this road was partially restored.

Once again we sat on our stoep, in the fading light and watched the Hippos emerge from the water and begin feeding on the banks and the islands of the river.

And of course Yours Truly was on braai duty again :tongue:


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