At last, my report on my latest trip to KNP 8 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 10 Oct 05. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s very long so IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve split it into 3 sections, day by day. I like too much detail, will have to learn not to share everything with you guys
Sat 8 Oct
Left very early from home on Saturday morning. Reached Croc Bridge just after 7. Crossing the bridge just before entering the gate we see Impies, Waterbuck and Grey Heron in the riverbed. Three Kudu feeding on the riverbank. Check in at the gate and while getting my camera ready checking out the birdlike in camp. Marico Sunbird, new tick on my list.
Take the H4-2 to Lower Sabie. Starts of well, Impies, Ellie, White-backed Vulture, Long-tailed Shrike, Grey Hornbill, Giraffe, BurchellÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s and Glossy Starling, Marabou Stork, Red-billed Hornbill and Brown Snake Eagle before Gezantfombi Dam. As I drive across the bridge an immature Fish Eagle comes out of the water with something unidentifiable in its claws and sits in a tree up ahead. On the other side of the road there are some Brown-headed Parrots, another new tick (Missed it last time being in the toilet
) Lots more birds on the way further on, 2 Pearlspotted Owls, Gabar Goshawk and some Brown-hooded Kingfisher worth mentioning. Melba Finch is a new tick. At more or less the same place I saw the mating lions three weeks ago there is major traffic jam. This time it is 3 lionesses having a snooze about 20m away from the road
Other sightings include Giraffe, Impies, Kudu, Ellies and some Vervets.
Have breakfast while sitting at Sunset Dam watching all the activity. Warthogs, Impies, the usual big Crocs, loads of Hippos. Yellow-billed and Marabou Stork, Hadeda, Egyptian Geese, Grey Heron, Lesser masked Weaver, Helmet Guineafowl, Pied Wagtail, Three-banded Plover, Blacksmith Lapwing, BurchellÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Starling, Chinspot Batis and Common Greenshank (I think, still have to confirm).
Hit the H10 toTshokwane. On the bridge I stop to shoot some Wire-tailed Swallow feeding their young ones. Also present some hippos, African Darter, Jacana, Pied Kingfisher and one Baboon. A very friendly guy tells me to reverse 10m with him and heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll show us something exciting. There he is, a huge male Lion. Never even saw him, never even looked his way
Rest of the way the usual Kudu, Giraffe, Impies, Steenbok and Waterbuck. Huge herds of Wildebeest and Zebra on more than one occasion. One of them, 100+ Wildebeest and 250+ Zebra. Fantastic. Saddle-billed Stork pair in Hillside wh area. 3 White Rhino at Muntshe wh. Other sightings: Ostrich, Baboon and Klipspringer. At Nkumbe lookout 2 new ticks: Southern Boubou and Scarlet-chested Sunbird. Further on and what I believe to be a juvenile Gymnogene/African Harrier-Hawk (will post pic for confirmation) and bit later Yellow-billed Kite. Turn on toH1-3, stop for quick look at Impies when I see just a tail disappearing into the grass at the bridge over the Munywini. Move quickly forward and there she stands in the shade. Female leopard. She looks at us for a second or two and then she suddenly realise what sheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s looking at and off she goes, disappearing into the bush, not to be seen again. Seems like WTMÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s theory about leopards could be true, this was at 13h44. Quick pitstop at Tshokwane.
Back onto the H1-3 to Satara. 2km from Tshokwane some 15 Buffalo and thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the Big Five done (Ja, I know it should be Black Rhino). Rest of the way all the usual sightings. Visited the Southern most Baobab again, still havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t seen GPÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s leopard in the trees there. Booked in at Satara.
Quick afternoon drive down the S100 just before 17h00, ignoring WTMÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s No-entry sign. Usual antelope and Ellies on the road. At 10km, our turn-around point, we some cars ahead. Reaching them we see the male lion having a sleep under a little bush about 50m in. Get back to camp and have great sleep. Would have liked to walk around in camp looking for some nightlife but forgot flashlight at home
To be continued