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 Post subject: PNF in KNP
Unread postPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 3:32 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: In the heart of the Waterberg; Deep in Limpopo
I am going to try to submit a report on a regular basis whilst we are in KNP - internet connection permitting. This is the first time that I have tried putting a report in and am still not certain whether I can attach the photographs in the right place but am going to give it a go. Pictures are by P and words by F.
We left home on Friday 30 April and had a surprisingly smooth run through Johannesburg and Pretoria on our way to our overnight stop in Nylstroom/Modimolle. Early the next morning, hitched-up the caravan and headed north to Polokwane. From there, took the R71 to Tzaneen turning off at Haenertsburg onto the George's Valley road - road was in very good condition with few potholes just a bit narrow and winding. This was new territory as our normal route is via Belfast/Lydenburg but we heard that the road is not good for caravans as it is very potholed. On arrival in Phalaborwa, we parked the van and did the final shopping before taking Sprocky up on his offer to watch the Bulls v Sharks match at his place. Although the result was not to our liking, the excellent food and company made up for it - Thanks Sprocky!
6am, 2 May 2010 - Phalaborwa Gate - Entry formalities were very efficiently handled. Within a couple of kms we had our first sighting - an only too rare Traffic Cop lying in wait for speedsters. We turned onto the H14 and just before the S131 junction saw a tree festooned with spider webs. These were identified by Matthew, a guide at Shingwedzi, as Sociable Web Spiders. The females lay their eggs at the end of summer in a nest and surround it with a web to protect the young through winter. The tree is probably a Lowveld Clusterleaf but it was not close enough for a firm identification.
Image

There were very few animals to be seen - Giraffe; Zebra; Impala and Waterbuck. However, around a corner, we came across a Swainson's Spurfowl perched on a branch warming his back in the early morning sun and posing for a photograph.
Image
Just after turning onto the H1-6, we had our first sighting of an elephant and apart from some more Impala, that was all that we saw before we got to Shingwedzi. However, there was a lot of evidence on the road that both Buffalo and Elephant had been in the vicinity earlier on. KNP is currently very green and the grass is long so spotting is going to be a bit more difficult.
We reached Shingwedzi at 10h30 and were quickly through reception and had set up our campsite for the next 2 weeks (maybe 3??) before 12 midday. We found a perfect spot - on the fence with plenty of shade. We had lunch; got horizontal for a bit and then went out for a late afternoon drive which yielded nothing but the scenery made up for the lack of activity. On our return to camp, we enjoyed a chicken curry (pre-prepared at home) accompanied with some of the Cape's finest in the warm glow of our Dietz's lamp (please note Ndloti!). Bed followed soon afterwards.

_________________
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
Benjamin Franklin

KNP 3 May - 8 June 2014


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 Post subject: Re: PNF in KNP
Unread postPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 5:58 pm 
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Location: In the heart of the Waterberg; Deep in Limpopo
3 May. We awoke thinking that it was still early but were soon corrected when we opened the curtains. Thick mist enveloped the camp and it was already 7 a.m. Slowly the sun started burning it away so we leisurely drank our coffee, munched a couple of rusks and then set off for Kanniedood Dam. The thick vegetation meant that very little could be seen. We got as far as the Bird Hide where we settled down to see if anything would emerge - it didn't. On our way back to camp we took a detour over the Causeway which was under water. This is the first time that we have seen water coming over the roadway.Back at the camp we noticed a very strange Red-billed Hornbill
Image
Is there an expert out there who can explain this?
That afternoon, we took the Confluence road and were rewarded with a Lioness lying "sunbathing" on the opposite bank - out of camera range, of course! Then a slight movement in a tree in front of us betrayed the position of a Verreaux's Eagle-Owl. Again, no photos could be taken because of its position.......

4 May. We did not go out today due to business matters which kept us busy on the cell phones most of the day but still enjoyed the bird sounds and scenery. Also caught up on some reading and chatting to neighbours.

5 May. It was surprising how many people were up and about (some were even awake!) at 5 a.m Our plan was to get to Pafuri today as it is some time since we were last there. A lion could be heard roaring in the distance and the resident Impala on the other side of the fence were somewhat nervous and continually snorting. We were at the gate at 5.55 a.m. and were no.8 in the queue.

Heading North we spotted Waterbuck and an Elephant before reaching Babalala. Stopping for a quick bite, we were highly amused to watch the antics of an Arrow-marked Babbler and a Tree Squirrel. Every time the squirrel tried to climb down the tree trunk, the Babbler would chase it up again! This went on for at least 5 minutes while we watched.

About 4kms later, we stopped to photograph some trees that were starting to turn into their Autumn colours when we noticed something ahead on the brow of the rise. Imagine our surprise when we got there to discover a pride of at least 9 lionesses some of whom were lying in the road. Only 1 other car was there so there was no problem in watching them as some started walking down the road in our direction. However, within 10 minutes, we had a "traffic jam" Northern KNP style - there were now 4 vehicles! In the distance a male lion could be heard calling which seemed to make these ladies a bit nervous and they started disappearing into the bush. We left them and carried on North highly contented with an excellent sighting.
Shortly after this we came across a nice herd of Zebra who seemed to be totally unconcerned that their nemisis was in the vicinity.
Further North we went until we got the turn-off to Punda Maria where to our total astonishment there were not 1, not 2, but 3 sub-adult Cheetah cubs playing around the signage "post"!
Image
Again we were fortunate in that there was only 1 other vehicle there but these 3 were totally oblivious to strangers and were happily jumping on and off the sign! Suddenly, all 3 pricked up their ears, listened and vanished into the bush - I think that Mummy had hit the dinner gong!
Right, so now we were over the moon - Elephant; Lion; Cheetah - what else has the park in store for us today?

_________________
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
Benjamin Franklin

KNP 3 May - 8 June 2014


Last edited by PNF on Wed May 05, 2010 6:24 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: PNF in KNP
Unread postPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 7:29 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: In the heart of the Waterberg; Deep in Limpopo
I have just realised that I forgot to add something in yesterday's trip report - the pic of one of the lionesses..... :redface:

So here it is:

Image


Although we are flying the yellow ribbon - haven't seen any others yet.

The continuation of the trip report will be posted later today - I hope!

F

_________________
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
Benjamin Franklin

KNP 3 May - 8 June 2014


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 Post subject: Re: PNF in KNP
Unread postPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 9:53 am 
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Location: In the heart of the Waterberg; Deep in Limpopo
5 May contd.

Our next pause was at Elandskuil, an area where we have in previous years seen a lot of animals. What had once been a flat dusty plain was now thick grass with bushes just high enough to tickle an Elephant's stomach but - no animals. We then noticed something strange on the top of the cement dam: 2 black and white blobs. Using the binoculars, these emerged as a pair of Woolly-necked Storks who were casually walking around the top. We carried on and noticed that a large herd of Buffalo had passed over the road in the last day - for over a kilometre it was like doing the Slalom at the Winter Olympics as the still wet pats were avoided! Then we popped in at Klopperfontein Dam to see if there was any activity - apart from a herd of zebra at the turn off from the main road only birds and a solitary Terrapin were to be seen. However, one of the birds, a Red-billed Teal is listed as an uncommon visitor to the KNP.
We were getting close to our goal - we passed Baobab Hill and started descending towards the Luvuvhu River and Pafuri Picnic Site. Just after the turn-off to the Pafuri Border, there were pools of water on both sides of the road. At one of these we had our first sighting of Warthog - a family of 5 who were somewhat agitated and vanished quickly into the bush. Turning off towards the Picnic area, we saw Nyala and plenty of Impala. The Picnic site was full with very little parking available but we managed to find an opening and squeezed in. We eventually found an empty table and sat down to relax; eat; drink coffee and observe what was happening.
The vegetation is so lush and green that it is like mid-summer except that the temperature is cooler. The Luvuvhu River is flowing strongly and seems to have more water in it than is usual for this time of year.
Image
We decided to head back and did not expect such an exciting return journey as the one up. However, before we had hit the main road, we had our first sighting of Kudu - all females with a couple of young. At Mashikiri waterhole, there were 3 Elephants drinking at the cement dam - up to now we had only seen solitary bulls. Further South near Mawawi waterhole we came across a small herd of Buffalo. One of them caught P's attention - it had that beady-eyed look that seems to say "I'm watching you."
Image
Continuing on, we saw a Secretary Bird and then, close to Lamont waterhole there were 2 adult Giraffe - so dark that they were almost black - with a very pale juvenile Giraffe. We then turned off onto the S135 to return to camp over the Causeway. About half-way we had to stop very suddenly as a Steenbok dashed across the road in front of us! On the Causeway itself, we stopped to see what, if anything, was to be seen. This time we were not disappointed. There was a Grey Heron lazily fishing next to the roadway, totally oblivious to the crocodiles in its vicinity.
Image
A Saddle-billed Stork emerged from the reeds and wandered over the sand bank to the water's edge. An Elephant could be seen ambling down to get a drink - just opposite the Restaurant.
Tired, but satisfied, we got back to the camp - edited pics. and started writing this.

_________________
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
Benjamin Franklin

KNP 3 May - 8 June 2014


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 Post subject: Re: PNF in KNP
Unread postPosted: Fri May 07, 2010 3:06 am 
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Location: Pacific Northwest, USA
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I don't know if the Red-Billed Hornbil is suffering from the same issue, but there is an affliction called Bad Bill Disease that has effected songbirds and some Raptors on the West coast of Canada and the UNited States. with your permission I will forward the photo to an expert on the disease to see what he thinks.

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 Post subject: Re: PNF in KNP
Unread postPosted: Fri May 07, 2010 4:08 pm 
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Location: In the heart of the Waterberg; Deep in Limpopo
7 May. 6 am - and we're still discussing where to go! Finally we decide to explore a couple of places where we have, in the past, been lucky enough to see Leopard; Tsesebe and Roan. The road leading from Shingwedzi to the H1-7 has yielded Leopard in the river bed below but the bushes are now so thick that there is little to be seen below. We take the S52 as far as the causeway across the Nkayini and find a solitary Hamerkop standing in the water waiting for breakfast to come by. Back to the main road and another detour down the S101 loop and are greeted by 2 male Southern Ground Hornbills casually ambling down the road towards us. We watched them pick and choose their meal for a while and then continued onto the main road. Our next sighting was of a Giraffe family about 10kms further on. This one being the "baby" and somewhat curious.
Image
We then turned onto the S144 where, within a kilometre, we found ourselves in the middle of a large herd of Buffalo - roughly counted about 200 that were visible. Next stop was the Dzombo West waterhole but there was no activity there (last time we were there we came across a mating pair of Leopards!). On the way to the junction with the S143, came across a very nice Kudu bull - just out of camera range naturally.

_________________
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
Benjamin Franklin

KNP 3 May - 8 June 2014


Last edited by PNF on Fri May 07, 2010 4:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: PNF in KNP
Unread postPosted: Fri May 07, 2010 5:29 pm 
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Location: In the heart of the Waterberg; Deep in Limpopo
Onto the S143 and headed towards the Tihongonyeni waterhole, we stopped to watch 2 Kori Bustards making their stately way through the bush towards the waterhole. Then we saw a large bull Elephant cross the road in front of us also making his way there. We carried on - knowing that we would see him shortly. This waterhole has never failed us with animals - both in quantity and variety and today was no exception. At the concrete dam there were 6 Elephants drinking; 2 more Kori Bustards were moving away from the waterhole proper where a pair of Egyptian Geese were noisly serenading each other. On the plain surrounding this was a large herd of Zebra with some Wildebeest together with a flock of Marabou Storks foraging for food in the long grass and 2 Ostriches looking totally bewildered. The ubiquitous Impala was, of course, also present. We stopped to photograph the Elephants (2 had now moved away)
Image
There was only 1 other vehicle there - a very new, R1million+ vehicle. One Elephant, when it had finished drinking, started walking towards us to get to the mud hole, so we decided to give him some space and moved away. The other vehicle stayed a fraction too long and got the benefit of a mock charge - which inspired the driver to find reverse and 270Kw of power simultaneously!
The "offended" one :
Image

At Nshawu Marsh we turned North onto the S50 and shortly afterwards saw a Lilac-breasted Roller posing - this reminded us of one of the Forum members.
Image
This area has always been good for antelope but this time only Kudu appeared amongst the Impala,Zebras and Wildebeest. We stopped for a while at Grootvlei Dam to watch another 5 Elephants drinking as well as Egyptian Geese; Black-winged Stilt; Blacksmith Lapwings and 2 Woolly-necked Storks (could they be same 2 that we saw at Elandskuil near Punda on Wednesday?)
Shortly afterwards, we came to a place that two years ago had inspired a spirited discussion between us and our friends. P saw what he believed was a Rhino lying down - the rest of us reckoned that it was a big, black rock. After much discussion consensus was reached that the sighting would be listed as a Rhino-rock-erus. Today - no black rock - much to P's gleeful delight because, as he says, black rocks don't walk!
The last sighting for today was at Nyawutsi Bird Hide where an African Darter was sitting on the rocks drying itself in the sun.


......and that concludes today's episode!

_________________
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
Benjamin Franklin

KNP 3 May - 8 June 2014


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 Post subject: Re: PNF in KNP
Unread postPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 4:29 pm 
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Location: In the heart of the Waterberg; Deep in Limpopo
9 May - another brilliant morning, slightly misty with a promise of warming up later on. We left camp at about 7 am taking the river road up to the H1-6; crossed the Shingwedzi River and turned off onto the S135 to take us back towards Shingwedzi via the Causeway. This time the road was quiet - no Elephants; no Steenbok; no birds; no nothing! The water over the Causeway has dropped since we arrived a week ago and the edges of the roadway are now visible.
Image
Whilst taking this photo, a Hamerkop suddenly flew in and sat on the edge checking to see if there was any breakfast available.
Image
We then headed off down the S50 to the Bird Hide and the Lookout point at Kanniedood Dam. Unfortunately, the view from the lookout is extremely restricted because of the thick grass and bushes so we couldn't tell whether there was anything there! We retraced our steps and came across a small troop of baboons heading across the road from the river towards their foraging grounds in the bush. Shortly afterwards, a Bushbuck darted across the road in front of us but stopped in deep shadow under a large bush. (Do these animals do this deliberately,I wonder?) We continued onwards intending to take the S134 back to camp ( with a detour to Mashagadzi waterhole on the way) but, to quote Rabbie Burns - "the best laid plans of mice and men gan aft agly".(apologies to the Scots for spelling errors....) Within a kilometre we stopped to watch a Steenbok close to the road. P managed to get a couple of pics before it shot off into the undergrowth.
Image
Shortly after that, our progress was halted by two young Elephants who were having an " argument" - actually it was more like handbags at dawn than anything serious.
Image
However, not being able to see around the corner we decided that discretion was the better part of valour, did a u-turn and headed back the way that we had come. Micetta is right - cars and ellies don't mix!
We returned to our caravan, ate some food and watched as several vultures and Marabou Storks circled lazily above. They did not settle but moved away slowly in the direction of the river.
Word is circulating around the camp that there is a pair of mating lions about 5kms south of Shigwedzi on the H1-6. We are going to investigate.........

_________________
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
Benjamin Franklin

KNP 3 May - 8 June 2014


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 Post subject: Re: PNF in KNP
Unread postPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 6:24 pm 
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Location: In the heart of the Waterberg; Deep in Limpopo
10 May.
We started out to investigate the lion rumour yesterday, but were stopped when our neighbours returned. They had also gone out to see what and where but to no avail....... the lions had vanished. During the night, we all realised that the male hadn't gone very far as his roars could be heard periodically. Once more we were up before dawn and had coffee listening to this occasional serenade.
As the gates opened at 6, we were there and out hunting not only for this elusive beast but for Leopard as well. A quick detour down to the S52 and along it for a couple of kilometres yielded very little - a possible Whitebacked Night Heron at the causeway but it disappeared into the vegetation along the river banks so fast that neither of us were certain.
We returned to the main road and decided to head North.
The road was very quiet - a couple of distant Elephants - so we turned off onto the S53 Loop. As we crossed the dry Nkulumbeni River, a movement caught my eye and I braked somewhat sharply. In the bushes at the side, sat a Burchell's Coucal in full view. Unusually for this species, it remained there and posed for us for about 10 minutes before descending into the undergrowth and vanishing.
Image
We re-joined the H1-7 and headed towards Babalala. From just North of the N'warihlangari waterhole up to the Boyela waterhole - a distance of about 7kms - took us over an hour! First of all, a good size herd of Buffalo coming from the East, crossed the road in front of us - probably about 150 of them. Shortly after that, we caught sight of a breeding herd of Elephants that had just crossed the road and were disappearing into the bush. 23 Adults and juveniles plus 5 calves were visible before they vanished - unfortunately, as always ( :( ),too far away for good pics! Imagine our surprise when, 500 metres later - another herd of Buffaloes. This herd, also coming from the same direction as the first, had only just started crossing the road and was much bigger than the previous herd. We sat and watched them for some time. There was only 1 other vehicle observing this with us - overseas tourists on their way down South - who, when we stopped them to tell them about the Elephants, enquired whether it was now safe to proceed. As there had only been a couple of stragglers left when we moved, we assured them that they could continue their journey safely.
Image
Boyela waterhole produced a lone Elephant drinking at the cement dam with his trunk over the wall and a pair of Woolly-necked Storks, one of which was standing on the dam wall silhouetted against the sky. We turned off onto the S57 to join the Mphongolo Loop en route to Babalala. This part of the Mphongolo Loop is a particularly pretty road at this time with all the green grass; bushes and trees. Previous trips along it were done in times of drought or at the end of winter so we had never seen it looking so good. A slight movement on the side of the road ahead alerted us to another, somewhat elusive bird, a Double-banded Sandgrouse.
Image
We watched it for about 5 minutes and then it scuttled away into hiding. Just before we reached Babalala, a Little Bee-eater caught our attention - it was sitting on a dead tree but just out of range for a good pic. We enjoyed a leisurely brunch at Babalala under that magnificent tree lapa. As usual there were plenty of birds around -Hornbills; Starlings; Babblers etc.etc.
Reluctantly we left and took the main road back to camp. All the Elephants and Buffalo had left but there was a nice group of Giraffe; Zebra and Wildebeest near the
Nkulumbeni River.
It was hot again today (over 30C) so we did no more "exploring" until about 4 this afternoon. We quickly went out along the river road - a big troop of baboons was entertaining a couple of vehicles but we pushed on and turned down the Confluence road. This road had yielded a lion and a Verreaux's Eagle-Owl last week. Sure enough, the Eagle-Owl was still there but in an even more impossible place to get a pic of any kind! On our way back to camp, we spotted a lone, old Buffalo bull at one of the small mud holes. The river road had become quite populated - 5 Elephants on the river bank near the camp gate and a solitary Waterbuck.
Time for a Sundowner and supper!

_________________
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
Benjamin Franklin

KNP 3 May - 8 June 2014


Last edited by PNF on Mon May 10, 2010 6:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: PNF in KNP
Unread postPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 5:04 am 
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Location: Pacific Northwest, USA
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PNF wrote:
Back at the camp we noticed a very strange Red-billed Hornbill
Image
Is there an expert out there who can explain this?


As promised, I forwarded this photo to the experts, who replied that they think it is the same malady affecting Raptors and Passerines on the Pacific Coast of North America, and other locations worldwide.

I have been asked to have any forum members forward photos to me of mis-shaped or malformed beaks on birds seen in Southern Africa, with date, species and location.These will be forwarded to Wildlife Biologists who are studying this problem.

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 Post subject: Re: PNF in KNP
Unread postPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 9:21 pm 
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Location: In the heart of the Waterberg; Deep in Limpopo
11 May.
We went out briefly this morning to see if we could find either a Leopard or the Verreaux's Eagle-Owl. Both were conspicuous by their absence! Disheartened, we returned to the camp and decided to stay here for the rest of the day. With the temperature over 30C - it was, perhaps, the right choice.
Shingwedzi and Punda Maria are totally different from the other camps in KNP - they still retain the original "old time" atmosphere. Shingwedzi is not a large camp but is big enough to offer all the facilities, such as various game drives and walks, that are offered by larger camps down South.
The camping area is fairly large and spacious with both electrical and non-electrical sites - and, bonus ( :hmz: ) the swimming pool is located on one side of this area. It is in this camping area that one can observe the antics of one of KNP's main attractions - sub-species of Homo Sapiens. It must be said that these are not exclusively found in the KNP but can been seen throughout South Africa and many other countries in the world.
Top of the "food chain" is Smartie Panticus - the latest model in everything, be it caravan or vehicle as well as all the newest gadgets which are on full display for all to see. Their camp sites are so crowded with bits 'n pieces that housekeeping is a problem and takes up most of the day. Fortunately, there are normally only one or two of this sub-species in residence at any one time.
Then there is Tentus Minimus - a small tent, table and chair(s). Perhaps a small gas bottle with cooker top or light but, more often than not, there is no gas appliance and cooking is done solely on a wood braai with a oil lamp for light. Their campsite is characterised by neatness and cleanliness.
In between there are the majority of campers - Campicus Normalis. The trend is towards Tentus Minimus but with a few luxuries thrown in. They will use gas appliances when they need them and have been known to utilise such things as micro-wave ovens if they are available. This particular sub-species can be found in tents, caravans, off-road trailers and motorhomes. Most of these campsites are kept clean and neat although there are are the odd exceptions which have not yet been recorded in KNP.
All of these types of Homo Sapiens thrown together for a few days/weeks makes for time spent in camp to be as interesting as time spent looking for elusive animals that are determined not to be found!
What is tomorrow going to bring?.....................

_________________
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
Benjamin Franklin

KNP 3 May - 8 June 2014


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 Post subject: Re: PNF in KNP
Unread postPosted: Wed May 12, 2010 4:11 pm 
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Location: In the heart of the Waterberg; Deep in Limpopo
12 May
Dawn broke cool and overcast - what a pleasant change from the heat of yesterday. We finished packing a couple of snacks and finally left camp at 6.40am on our usual quest for an invisible Eagle-owl and an elusive Leopard.
The Shingwedzi bridge yielded a distant, solitary Elephant in the river bed who was leisurely having a morning drink;The Confluence road - a lonely Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove - so on to the S52 where, this time, we were going to go right up to the Tshange Lookout.
At the causeway there was evidence that Leopard is around - in the damp sand next to the roadway were some prints that resembled those of a Leopard as well as Elephant foot "holes" (can't call them prints!) and the spoor of another, smaller cat. But there was nothing to be seen. We drove on, spotting only the inevitable Impala, until we got to the Redrocks loop - which we took. At this causeway it was very evident that the water level in the river was dropping rapidly, where there had been pools of water last week were now mud holes. We turned right and continued up this fork of the S52 towards Tshange. Apart from 1 Giraffe, nothing was sighted before we reached the lookout point not even when crossing the Tshange River! We ate our snacks and drank coffee and started back.
Turned left at the T-junction and started down to cross the Shingwedzi River when we were halted by a Pied Kingfisher and a Giant Kingfisher having a battle with each other. The Pied Kingfisher must have won as it settled onto a plant next to the water and watched as the Giant Kingfisher flew off back upstream.
Image

On a rock in the distance, observing all this commotion, sat a Malachite Kingfisher. A Pied Wagtail hopped onto the roadway and sat at the edge sipping the running water as it flowed over the edge. We left the scene and carried on down on the opposite bank to that which we had previously travelled. Within about 6kms, we came across Waterbuck
Image
and Zebra
Image
at the side of the road.

_________________
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
Benjamin Franklin

KNP 3 May - 8 June 2014


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 Post subject: Re: PNF in KNP
Unread postPosted: Wed May 12, 2010 5:10 pm 
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Location: In the heart of the Waterberg; Deep in Limpopo
We watched the two small herds for a few minutes then continued. Suddenly P shouted: "STOP! Reverse, reverse" and there in the long grass were 4 Cheetahs - Mother and 3 Juveniles!
They were moving rapidly towards us, then ran across the road - we were lucky enough to catch 2 of them before they disappeared from view.
Image
What a lovely sighting and what a reward for km's of little interest!
We reached the Redrocks Loop again and crossed over but this time turned left at the other side. There is a small loop road which gives a view of part of the Redrocks formation - and it was here that we found one of the largest crocodiles that we have ever seen, sunbathing on the rocks next to the river.
Image
At the Redrocks Lookout, we noticed that the water that last week had still flowed down the rocks, had now stopped.
Image
I manouevred our vehicle around the rather tight bends there and we headed back to camp.
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Note the Yellow Ribbon around the drivers mirror! It has only been in the last couple of days that we have seen another Yellow Ribbon - attached to the aerial of a small white car. Can only presume that this was Forumite Xenia who was supposed to have been staying in Shingwedzi and Bateleur during the last few days.

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"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
Benjamin Franklin

KNP 3 May - 8 June 2014


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 Post subject: Re: PNF in KNP
Unread postPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 2:27 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2009 4:09 pm
Posts: 2331
Location: In the heart of the Waterberg; Deep in Limpopo
13 May
Once more, awoke to a grey overcast morning. On the spur of the moment we decided to go out and, within 50mins of waking - we were on the road again! Still no Elusive Leopard on the S52 so we doubled back and headed North. This time we took the first Mphongolo Loop turnoff and ambled along slowly, savouring the beautiful scenery. Lots of Impala and some Baboons - nothing else stirred. About haf way to Babalala, the first vehicle that we had seen on this route approached from the front. They stopped and told us that there was a Lion kill close to Babalala and that the male Lion was visible but the kill was hidden. We continued on our way at a slightly higher speed - 25kph instead of 20kph! On the way we came across some Go-Away birds conveniently posing on the top of a Mopane Bush when a slight breeze came up and, literally, ruffled some feathers:
Image
We came to Babalala only to find no sign of a Lion Kill and an attendant who was totally bemused when we asked him. He knew nothing about it but he had heard Lion on the Main Road during the previous night. We thanked him and returned to our car - just then another vehicle entered the Picnic area. We recognised it from it's very distinctive registration number as belonging to a couple who were camped 2 caravans away from us in Shingwedzi. Then we noticed that it was flying a yellow ribbon from its roof-rack. Turned out that it was WarthogB and S.O. - they had also not noticed our yellow ribbon - and were on their way to Pafuri for the day. After a short conversation, we parted - they headed North and we headed back to Shingwedzi. On the return journey we saw some Zebra and one of the Buffalo herds that we had seen earlier this week. Feeling very lazy, we did as little as possible with the maximum amount of effort for the rest of the day. Evening found us braai-ing a chop and a wors or three!
Image
May 14
Again cool and cloudy but suits us fine as we have to start packing up today. Tomorrow we move down to Tsendze - no electricity there, so this TR will come to a temporary halt until we can get internet signal plus electricity in one place at the same time!
To all of you who have followed our progress so far - thanks and watch this space..... :)

_________________
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
Benjamin Franklin

KNP 3 May - 8 June 2014


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 Post subject: Re: PNF in KNP
Unread postPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 12:26 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2009 4:09 pm
Posts: 2331
Location: In the heart of the Waterberg; Deep in Limpopo
15 May
Very slowly and lazily, we finished packing up and,finally,hit the road for Tsendze at 9.30. There were 2 large bull Elephants in the Shingwedzi river bed but otherwise very quiet all the way down to Bowkerskop Waterhole. We had made good time - towing a large caravan at a steady 35 - 40kph - and were estimating that we would complete putting camp up by 1.00pm. Our plans were about to be altered by circumstances beyond our control! As we came over the brow of the hill and started downwards towards the waterhole, 2 Elephants could be seen on our left making steady progress towards the concrete dam. Then, suddenly, in front of us appeared another Elephant bull - walking quickly down the road towards us but about 200m away. We stopped and then, to our amazement, there appeared a white car right behind the Elephant and following it. The Elephant did not appear to be too amused by this as he was flapping his ears fairly quickly. We managed to manouevre the caravan half way across the road away from the waterhole - closed the car's windows and switched off the engine - held our breaths and waited. All this time the white car was following only metres from the Elephant's tail. The Elephant stopped about 5m away and stared at us for a couple of minutes, then turned into the grass on the left and slowly headed towards the waterhole. As the white car came past us, P opened the window and had a few words with the driver which included a question on the driver's level of intelligence. This was the first incident of "idiotism" that we have come across in the park during this visit.
We checked in at Mopani and headed for Tsendze, where, within minutes of our reaching our site, Rodgers appeared and welcomed us. He then told us that Sprocky was due in that afternoon and would camp for the night. Having set up camp, we set off for Shipandani and Pioneer Dam Hides. At the low level bridge near to Shipandani, we came across a Black Crake
Image
and a Little Egret
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both hunting for food at the edge of the roadway.
On returning to camp, we found Sprocky and family setting up their tent - when they had finished, we got together for a braai. He introduced us to the "Braai-Boks" (obtainable at the Park Shops), a very good package in case you've forgotten or don't have wood and/or charcoal and which impressed us immensely.

16 May
Up early - cool and overcast. We headed south on the H1-6 . The Mopane bushes/trees are still green with no sign of changing colour yet. Just before the H14 turn off- we found one of our elusive ones - Verraux's Eagle Owl!
Image
Unfortunately this pic is not very good as the bird was some distance away.
We turned off onto the S50 and soon came across Southern Reedbuck at a waterhole, we watched for some moments then headed on up towards the S143. Some light rain and drizzle was falling intermittently and was the probable reason for a distinct lack of animals. However, when we turned onto the S143, the bird life improved! A flock of Namqua Doves; a Eurasian Hobby (who should have migrated a month ago!) Wattled Starlings and a flock of about 40 Guineafowl who were intent on playing "Chicken" in front of the car! Tihongonyeni Waterhole produced plenty of Zebra and Egyptian Geese but nothing else. We headed back to camp, had lunch and did nothing for the rest of the day!

17 May
Out at 6am and on the road to Phalaborwa - grocery shopping and a new battery for the caravan. On the way to the gate we came across a solitary Hyaena who was on a mission to get somewhere in a hurry and 1 Elephant. On the way back - 1 Elephant and some Zebra on the H14 and a herd of Buffalo on the H1-6.
Tsendze is a small camp of 34 non-electric camping sites that has been carved out of the bush. The Ablutions are spotless and consist of showers and toilets. Hot water is supplied by gas geysers while the lighting is solar powered. The kitchen area is very well appointed with sinks (also gas heated water); gas coooking rings and a very efficient freezer for those who do not have such a facility.
I would like to thank Mopani management for allowing me the use of an electrical point so that I can continue with the TR. As always, Mopani/Tsendze management and staff go out of their way to make sure that their visitors feel welcome!

_________________
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
Benjamin Franklin

KNP 3 May - 8 June 2014


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