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 Post subject: Where are the Lions?
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:06 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 31, 2008 10:25 pm
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Location: Centurion
We had a stunning long weekend at Lower Sabie from 24 to 27 April 2010.

Contrary to what I have read - someone had 7 Lion sightings while others did not see much around Pretoriuskop – it seems like we were very blessed with sightings albeit that we struggled to find Lions.

It was a pleasure driving on the N4 to Nelspruit as all the road works are now a thing of the past. We got heavy fog at around 17h00 near Machadadorp with visibility at about 10 meters! :shock: There’s lots of road works just before Nelspruit as well as out to the R40 with no road markings. The main road through Witrivier was closed due to some police action and we had to drive through suburbs to get through town.

We got to Paul Kruger gate at 19h30 on Friday evening 23 April and were escorted to Skukuza camp for the night. The first animal was a lone Hyena jogging down the road. I paid the late arrival fee up front so there was no need to book in the next morning as we were leaving at gate opening time. It’s only now that I realise that the night in Skukuza was not credited on my Wild card :wall: - will contact their office to see if they can assist.

All the vehicles in front of us either took the Afsaal route or turned left at the T-junction towards Tshokwane - we were the only car going down to Lower Sabie. Before reaching the green bridge (H12 turnoff) something was running down the road. I stopped, grabbed the camera, pointed and as I was about to take the photo the flash fell off the bracket :redface: – forgot to tighten it! :rtm: They ran into the bush and luckily the flash was not damaged. Therefore there are no pics out in the open – only a couple of vague ones. I am sure you can ID our 2nd animals in the park.

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 Post subject: Re: Where are the Lions?
Unread postPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 3:13 pm 
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Location: Centurion
Perhaps I should just clarify the heading I have chosen:
We visit Kruger to see as much as possible, enjoy all sightings and are not Lion chasers. :wink: In all previous visits, bar one, we have seen Lion so expect to see them while in the park; if not, there's always fabulous Leopard sightings to look forward to. :whistle:

Thanks Foxy, DinkyBird, Crested Barbet, Sharifa and Duke, Ray, salamanda, Pumbaa, Aat and Petra for your feedback. :thumbs_up:

Pumbaa, as you know the photo's take some time to process :)

salamanda, just check on the doggies location before you go - it should give you a very good idea where to find them :lol:

Ray, glad the flash was still ok - dropping it could have been an expensive mistake :shock:

DinkyBird, what a bummer not to have seen those animals :o


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 Post subject: Re: Where are the Lions?
Unread postPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 3:51 pm 
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Location: Centurion
In total there were 5 Wild dogs – 2 in the road while 3 were lying in the bush. They were also spotted there on Sunday morning and at the Nwatimhiri causeway on Monday morning.

It was an overcast weekend with some drizzle every now and then. The day temperature was a mild 19 °C – glad we were not in Gangsters Paradise as the temperature there was around 14 °C with lots of rain. :shock: Almost all my photo’s were taken with flash (fortunately it was still working) and the bird pics have a dull grey background. Luckily it did not rain very hard during the sunset drive – just a couple of drops on my glasses. :lol:

CHEETAH’S

We saw 3 Cheetah’s at 2 sightings. The first was on the S128 where 2 were lazing around while the second was a wet cat on a mission just North of the Nkumbe lookout - never expected to find them there.

We spend quite some time with the first 2 until they went Zebra hunting. :tongue: It was quite far in but as the Zebra’s approached they paused to look at the Cheetah’s. The cats were not visible anymore and the Zebra’s did not flee the scene either. I think the Cheetah’s were far too optimistic with this hunt.

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The Cheetah at Nkumbe was restless and kept on looking into the bush while jogging down the road. It wasn’t long before it disappeared into the thick bush up the rocky hill. We went to the lookout hoping to see it but to no avail – the wet cat was gone.

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Nkumbe lookout - notice the rain in the background
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Raindrops
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Outside Nkumbe lookout
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 Post subject: Re: Where are the Lions?
Unread postPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 9:23 pm 
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Location: Centurion
BIRDS

This was the first trip where I spend some time taking photo's of birds inside camp and found 4 beauties. The Chinspot Batis was one of them, very small but did not allow me a photo opportunity out in the open. :naughty:

We also found a group of 7 Southern Ground Hornbill's of which 2 were juvenile's - again the odd number. :hmz: The resident Fish-eagle South of Lower Sabie was frequently spotted. Swainson's Francolin's and European Roller's were in abundance but we only spotted 1 Lilac-breasted Roller.

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Interesting to see Burchell's Coucal and LBR together:

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These 3 were spotted inside camp:

Image ... White-browed Robin-Chat :whistle:

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Spotted on our way out - notice the blue sky :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Where are the Lions?
Unread postPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 8:53 pm 
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LEOPARDS

We spotted 4 Leopards this weekend. The first sighting was on the Northern side of the Sabie river - no photo opportunity but we saw it through the bino's. We spoke to a lady in a Sanparks vehicle with her 2 kids and she said that this Leopard was their third since they left Skukuza - how lucky can you get. :wink:

The second was a mother and cub which are frequently seen. We were driving behind someone when they suddenly stopped. I moved over to the right and saw 3 Hyena's walking towards us. The next moment SO said Leopard and only then did I see her sitting next to the car that stopped in front of us - so they were not looking at the Hyena's. :doh: As the Hyena's got closer I realized that 1 was in fact the Leopard cub followed by 2 Hyena's. :shock: The cub was totally at ease with the Hyena's and wondered into the bush on the other side of the road as mommy was calling it - what a fantastic sound. I focused on the cub as it was on my side of the car but could not get a decent photo due to the thick vegetation. The cub crossed the road and when it got to mommy she disappeared. For a moment I thought that the Hyena's would attack the cub but they also vanished. The cub stayed a while to pose for some photos. :whistle:

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The third sighting was that of a male. We stopped behind a parked car and saw the back side of a Leopard as it walked into the bush. I thought we missed this one by seconds but decided to stay a while to see if he would re-appear. We were ecstatic moments later when mr. Leopard appeared up ahead in the road. He crossed the road down to the Sabie river but then walked in the bush parallel to the road for a while before finally disappearing. :dance:

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 Post subject: Re: Where are the Lions?
Unread postPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 10:57 pm 
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We found this leucistic Giraffe on the S128 where he was the aggressor in head butting his mate :

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A clan of 6 Hyena's just North of Lower Sabie :

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Image ... possibly the matriarch

the Buffalo :

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the Ellie :

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the Rhino :

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This bull was agitated with us watching him from about 50 meters while his 2 mates above at about 20 meters could not care less :

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These portrait shots were not of the grumpy bull : :lol:

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We came across a very relaxed group of Impalas and managed to stop right next to them with only a few getting up : :dance:

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This BBJ was sitting next to a vehicle when we stopped a distance away not to scare it. I grabbed the camera and started taking foto's when this youngster came trotting towards us. Its then that I realised he was used to vehicles and in fact was a beggar. :shock: He came right next to my door and when I didn't want to share my billies with him, he trotted off to the vehicle behind us.

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Small Giraffe's are always a highlight and here are 2 youngsters :

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A group of Kudu's - always suspicious :

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Image ... youngster

with mom and dad following at the back :

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Vutomidam :

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Gracious Zebra :

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just look at my dirty teeth : :tongue:

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 Post subject: Re: Where are the Lions?
Unread postPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 5:14 pm 
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Location: Centurion
SUNSET DRIVE

The rain stopped shortly before we departed, the truck was somewhat wet and only 2 spotlights were working :shock: - not the ingredients for a successful trip. Our guide was Robert (he called us regulars) and he was going to go down to the S28 as there we some Lion activity; it was great news to us as we though at last we'll see Lion. En route, about 3 more vehicles stopped Robert to inform him of these Lions. As you know, these trucks move slowly and by the time we got to 'the' spot it was dark and there were no Lions to be found! :x

Notwithstanding this loss and the slight drizzle from time to time, it was a very productive trip and we found Buffalo, Rhino, Ellie, Leopard, Hippos, Gnu, Zebra, Scrub hare, large spotted Genet, Lesser bushbaby, Impala, Serval, Pearl-spotted Owl and Nightjar.

the Leopard cub :dance:

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The Pearl-spotted owl is so small that I battled to see it with the naked eye let alone finding it through the lens. :redface: In the end I managed this shot:

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The highlight of the evening was a playful young Serval that literally played hide-and-seek with us. :lol:

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the LION

On the 3rd afternoon we spotted a few cars on the high water bridge and upon inspection found 1 Lioness on the river bank. As usual the cars were not moving and as more and more cars arrived from both ends it was time to leave before getting stuck in a massive traffic jam.

We could tick off the big 5 for this trip :dance: and with Wild dog, Cheetah and Serval we were more than satisfied. :whistle:

Our camp site at Lower Sabie was level and big enough - definitely our favourite camp in Kruger. :wink:

The end.


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