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 Post subject: Elsa sneaks out for more Bush Wacking!-May 2010
Unread postPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 5:37 pm 
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Well, its that time again, when Klystron, Martial, Tawny, family and myself sneak off for some more quality family time and breathing space. 8)

We will be spending 2 weeks at our time share on the banks of the Crocodile River and lots of time in the the park.

I will try and do "live" reports when I have a moment and at other times rely on my faithful forum mites to relay sms's for me to keep you all updated as to what we are spotting.
Lets hope we can make it another exciting trip but can we get as lucky as last time? :hmz:

Take care and watch this space for my first report. :D

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Where ever you go, go with all your Heart.

Kruger - 12th Feb - 20th Feb.


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 Post subject: Re: Elsa sneaks out for more Bush Wacking!
Unread postPosted: Wed May 26, 2010 12:26 am 
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The moment JEG told me Duke was by the Croc Bridge, I knew he would show himself to the bushwackers. How did I know I hear yourself asking? Because I was not with them. I think Duke has made a personal promise to himself not to show himself to one forumites known as Jock :wall:

But fantastic for the bushwakers and I can't wait to see the pictures. :dance:

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 Post subject: Re: Elsa sneaks out for more Bush Wacking!
Unread postPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 4:35 pm 
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Hi everyone,
pretty cold today, after a very warm week, but hopefully the rest of the week will be warmer again.

We are all having a great time as per usual, but very few animals coming down to the rivers because of all the standing water in the bush.
It is amazing how green and thick the grass is with water everywhere and Sunset dam is far fuller than even in Feb.

Had a wonderful Leopard sighting on Thursday last week, she walked down the road towards us, gave us a big yawn and then disappeared into the bush.
We have some great pics to show you once back home.

Went on a full days game drive with a friend yesterday, saw 4 of the Big 5, missed on the Leopard but the highlight being another wonderful sighting of Duke on the S28 where he crossed the road right in front of the truck.
He is looking so good and still very relaxed.

Having a quiet day today but will be in again tomorrow.

Till then.....

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Where ever you go, go with all your Heart.

Kruger - 12th Feb - 20th Feb.


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 Post subject: Re: Elsa sneaks out for more Bush Wacking!
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:07 pm 
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Now with my Feb/Mar trip report done and dusted think its time to resurrect this one and get started showing you what we saw in May/June. :dance:

Another of our annual pilgrimages up to Kruger this time a Winter trip.

Date- May 21st to June 4th Place - Ngwenya Lodge, South Kruger

As usual by the time we take this trip the grass is brown and dying down rapidly, the Croc river down to a mere trickle of its former self, and the animals are all congregating at the water holes and rivers but not this year.

Due to the late and copious Summer/Autumn rains there wasn't a lot of change in the grass and in fact we found more, much more, standing water in the bush, pans that I didn't even know existed were full and even had Water Lillies growing in them. :roll:
The River had fortunately dropped just enough for us to be able to cross and thankfully for them to start work on the almost non existant temporary bridge.

This time accompanying us was my daughter-in-law Tawny, son Martial along with my eldest daughter, her husband and 2 of the bundles of energy who were very excited and told me that they LOVE the Kruger Park. (What great kids!)

So we came to our first day and after the long, OK longish drive the day before, :roll: for all those who live across the ocean or in Cape Town, we decided to relax in the morning and see what came to us and then take an afternoon drive. :wink:

I must also add that unlike Jock who is a meticulous note taker and anything that moves gets written down in the book, I am not, well I tried and got at least half a page done and then abandoned it as a bad job :doh:
So I try to rely on the old grey matter to remember where and what, so some of this might get a tad vague at times! Please excuse!
Or in times of doubt merely let the pics do the talking.

Immature Martial Eagle sunning itself.

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At this point I must also tell you a story.
We were tootling along when we were passed by a bakkie, (small truck) with the back door of the canopy fully up and open and at least 3 children in the back.
Needless to say we were quite flabbergasted that people can be so irresponsible.
Then a SANParks truck passed us going in the opposite direction and he must have seen the bakkie in his mirrors, next thing he did a smart U- turn and chased after them, pulled them up just about at the S28 turning, got out and was giving them a stern lecture, the driver got out and closed the door sheepishly. Not sure if they were given a fine, but they sure deserved it. :evil:

So onwards up the H4-2 and at the Gemondwane W.Hole which we later called our Elephant WH. this huge Ellie in full musth came marching towards the road with a mission clearly in mind.

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At first we were parked directly across the path on the opposite side to which he was heading so we backed up a bit, not wanted to argue or make him cross.

And he crossed right in front of us.

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A quick smell on the road and then off.

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A bit further up more Ellies and judging by the amount of cars that came passed us from the opposite direction I would say they had been "roadblocked" for some time. :wink:

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Something a bit more gentle and opposite in size.

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We decide to take the S130 and almost immediately came across another of the Big 5

Rhino in fact by the dozen!

Who goes there?

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Keeping a wary eye on us!

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Mother and child accompanied by Oxpeckers

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Think we could see at least 6 or 7 in this scene!

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Please excuse the number of pics, we couldn't decide which to leave and which to include, first day as well so very trigger happy!

By the time we had completed the loop we had counted the grand total of 18 Rhinos and that in just one afternoon.

Will continue with more tomorrow. Not Rhinos but others!

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Where ever you go, go with all your Heart.

Kruger - 12th Feb - 20th Feb.


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 Post subject: Re: Elsa sneaks out for more Bush Wacking!
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 5:31 pm 
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Thanks so much for all the encouraging comments and joining us on our trip. :dance:

Today my report is made up of sightings from the lodge looking into Kruger and consists of Birds and Ellies. :wink:
I hope you will enjoy.

As we sit on the balcony enjoying our breakfast a
Crested Barbet decides to pay us a visit.

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and then not to be outdone a Arrow-marked Babbler also appears and he brings an offering.

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A bit later I hear a very familiar call, excitedly we scan the trees and find a beautiful Grey-Headed Bush-Shrike

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A bit later some Ellies appear and entertain for a good few hours watching them slowly wend their way down river munching on the reeds.

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As you can see not a bad tusker!

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Then one of them decides its thirsty work and takes to the water.

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Then if you are not yet tired of Ellies I include some more!

This chap appeared to have some sort of Hernia or growth under his tum.

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"I'm sure the Reeds look juicier on the other side, think I'll chance it"

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"This bank is steeper than I anticipated"

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"Made it"

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"I'm quite exhausted after that"

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In the middle of the Croc River.

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Waiting for us back at our unit was this sociable fellow.

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This is the view we have to put up with, looking across the Croc River into the park.

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and as it gets darker with some pretty clouds above.

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The reeds in the golden light of dusk. :D

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Sundowner Time!

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And that folks is all for this episode, tomorrow brings us our first encounter with the great old man of Kruger and a Kitty.

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Where ever you go, go with all your Heart.

Kruger - 12th Feb - 20th Feb.


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 Post subject: Re: Elsa sneaks out for more Bush Wacking!
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 11:37 am 
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Thanks a ton for such great support and encouragement.

This morning we head into the park on a cool and very misty morning.

The previous evening I received a text message from JEG who is a friend of ours, to say she had seen Duke close to CB the previous evening.

So our eyes are peeled and literally 500 meters or so from the gate we see 3 Ellies feeding quite close to the road, Can it be?
Frantic scanning with our binos reveal the grand old man himself, ambling along with his 2 askaris.
Then to our delight he starts walking closer to the road and we are able to say an official "Hello"
Sorry Jock, I know how badly you want to see him and miss out every time, :(
maybe next year now that I have given him specific instructions! 8)

Duke

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As you can see Duke is now collared and is looking in very good condition for his age.
We sat with him for around 20 minutes, many cars stopped and I was heartened to hear that most folk knew it was him and if they didn't, once we told them who it was, were most interested.
Many of them had seen the 50/50 insert on him being collared.

I have been fortunate enough to see Duke with both tusks, far off, 1 tusk and now none, or almost none!

We eventually move off and carry on up the road.

A tree full of White-backed Vultures

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and then the famous Sabie River African Fish Eagle

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and the Weir where I am sure he does a lot of fishing!

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Now a tree containing "Double" Lilac-breasted Rollers

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Then as far as I can recall on the S28 up near the Ntandanyathi Hide, this nice Tusker who I must still ask our Ellie expert Aat about.
Will edit if necessary.

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And that seems to be about it for this day, sorry about the Kitty alert, must be another day, but it is coming. :D
Did warn you that I might be a bit vague at times! :roll:

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Where ever you go, go with all your Heart.

Kruger - 12th Feb - 20th Feb.


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 Post subject: Re: Elsa sneaks out for more Bush Wacking!
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 4:24 pm 
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Thanks to Salva, Pleo, Micetta, & Cherries :clap:

Time: One of the days? 8)

I do remember we drove the loop comprising the H5, S108, S26, S25

Just turning onto the S108 we came across a mixed herd of Zebra and Giraffe with this tiny little one having something to drink.

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And the proud Mum.

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Then the lil one decided to go walkabout, must say Mum seemed very relaxed and happy to let her youngster stroll about on its own.

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You can see its size relative to the Zebra.

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Mum crossing. "Now where did that baby go?"

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"Here I am Mum"

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A little further on we came to a breeding herd of Ellies which we stopped to watch along with quite a cavalcade of cars, decided to leave and around the next corner were confronted by :shock:

walking down the road towards us! :roll:

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despite putting the reverse lights on on, no-one would back up, which meant we soon got to the point of no return, so we closed the windows and started :pray:

as he got a bit closer.

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and then passed right next to us

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A quick smell...

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and then he thankfully veered off into the bush. :clap:
What relief!

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This pic is one my daughter took from their car a few back, ours is the front one next to the Ellie.

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Maybe he was impressed by the Yellow ribbon! :tongue:

There were a lot of adrenalin in the car I can tell you!

Thank goodness the rest of the loop was a bit more calm.

Back at the lodge we enjoy some more of the Bird life

Southern Black Flycatcher

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Feral Pigeon

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Some pretty flowers

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and another glorious Sunset.

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So ends another day, more soon.... :D

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Where ever you go, go with all your Heart.

Kruger - 12th Feb - 20th Feb.


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 Post subject: Re: Elsa sneaks out for more Bush Wacking!
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:08 pm 
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salamanda wrote:
Quote:
The white flower if I'm not mistaken is called a Plumbago don't know about the red one though sorry!


The red one is called Pentas.


Thanks Salamanda :thumbs_up:


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 Post subject: Re: Elsa sneaks out for more Bush Wacking!
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 6:41 pm 
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Thanks again for the wonderful comments and enthusiasm everyone and also for the flower ID's :D
And as for the Ellie, in the end it was maybe safety in numbers and he felt a bit outnumbered that caused him to veer off, anyway, all well that ends well, thank goodness. :D

Sorry about the delay, obviously I didn't crack the whip hard enough! :tongue:

Just before the S130 Gemondwane Loop we see something walking down the road followed by a few cars?

What is that? No description needed!

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A quick stop off for a yawn and a bit of scent marking/abluting.

Sorry, not the greatest pic but it does show her impressive teeth.

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Last look

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and she disappears down a bank and gone.

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and one is left with the breathless feeling of "Did that really happen?" 8)


So we continue on up the H4-2 and a stop off at the Gemondwane WH which we had renamed our Ellie WH, as we almost never failed to see Ellies there this trip.
and sure enough another one quenching his thirst but in a very relaxed manner.

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And you can easily see how Kruger Ellies get those notches underneath their tusks.

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and here he comes along the path way towards the road, seems to be a very favoured through route for them.

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After a quick pit stop at Lower Sabie, onwards and as always a stop off at Sunset Dam is a necessity.

A pic of how full the dam was in May, hugely more than in Feb/Mar when we were there last.

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and the familiar White-crowned Lapwings who seem to have found a permanent home there.

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"Who goes there?"

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Carrying on towards Skukuza we came across an African Fish Eagle having breakfast.

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Then this Impala who had something to say!
Ears down...

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Ears up again, how expressive!

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Then a stop off for lunch at the Skukuza day visitors picnic site which we always enjoy. :D

"This is awkward, Why does this tasty bush have to be so low?"

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"This is more like it"

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A trio of Giraffe

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Driving down the S28 we get almost to the bottom of it and just have to stop as the sky turns a pretty shades of pink, oranges and yellow.

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then we notice behind us the moon is rising over the hills.

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And that is another day well spent.

More to come!

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Where ever you go, go with all your Heart.

Kruger - 12th Feb - 20th Feb.


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 Post subject: Re: Elsa sneaks out for more Bush Wacking!
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 4:14 pm 
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Many thanks for all the positive and encouraging comments.

So lets move it up a bit here.

This episode I can say for sure was Saturday May the 29th as we went into the park for a trip with a friend of ours, Forumite JEG who does tours in Kruger from Croc Bridge. :D
Unfortunately the weather did not play along and the day dawned cold and windy, with the threat of a cold front due which made sitting in the back of an open vehicle a tad cool to say the least but we came prepared, well sort of, as much as Durbanites can be prepared for the cold! :roll:

We were very happy when she turned up the S28 our favourite road in the South.

First up this raptor sitting in the top of a tree that had us scratching our heads somewhat, ? Fish Eagle.
*Edit We now think its a very pale Tawny Eagle.

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Then we saw another OSV stopped in the road and from behind a bush, to our utter amazement, out stepped Duke and walked between us and the front vehicle. :shock:
What a gentleman he is, not sure one is going to get closer to him than this and if one would like to be this close to a Bull Ellie other than the placid gentle giant. 8)

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Close up of his tusks!

With our big lens on this is about all we could get as he passed in front of us!

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What an incredible sighting.

Carrying on up the road a Giraffe family with another very young one.

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who was very curious too!

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Then some White Rhino

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and for Jock, a Zebra Family

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and a Warthog crossing

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The beautiful Lilac-breasted Roller

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Some Buffalo

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a Large Crocodile basking along the river.

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Ground Hornbill

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and the cute little Steenbok

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And that's about it for today's lot.
But more to come. :wink:

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Kruger - 12th Feb - 20th Feb.


Last edited by Elsa on Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Elsa sneaks out for more Bush Wacking!
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:47 am 
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:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

Great report Mom and Dad. Talk about lucky. I sure do hope Duke listens to you and shows himself next year when I am in Kruger again.

The leopard is to die for along with all the other animals. You have to love the wonders of Kruger.

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 Post subject: Re: Elsa sneaks out for more Bush Wacking!
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 12:56 pm 
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I really appreciate all the great comments and encouragement you all give.
Thanks so much.

31st May.

Today we decided to drive down the Malelane Gate for a change of scenery and a visit to EJ.

Before leaving, Martial and myself were standing on the verandah of the chalet overlooking the river and saw something scampering around on the rocks, "What is that" we wonder, peering down at it, binos and camera inside still.
Eventually we rush inside to get them and by the time we realise its a Cape Clawless Otter it has disappeared into the water and we somehow mess up the pic as well. :slap:

I will post the pic but apologise for the quality, its the best we got.

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But will try to make it up with a pic of the pretty sunrise looking into the park.

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Quickly in at the gate and after a phone call to establish where EJ was exactly, we set off for Malelane camp.

As luck would have it not only was EJ there but also AnneD and Warthogb, so a little mini meet and 2 new faces to names. :clap:
After a little chat and catch up, not nearly long enough but everyone had things to do and places to go.
So we headed off on up to B & D for a spot of breakfast.

EJ had reported Lions all over the place and had us searching so hard it seems we missed a YR meeting with Salamanda who passed us going in the opposite direction. :slap:

We took the S110 and S120, Matjulu and Steilberg loops back to the H3.

A quick detour to Renosterpan but apart from a Rhino and Buffalo en route nothing more to report.

Onwards and just as one gets to the plains before Afsaal we see a car stopped with a guy standing right out of the sun roof! :doh:
Slowly crept forward and he is all the while calling us forward until we get next to them where he informs us in a loud voice and very pleased with himself, that there is a Leopard down in a gully next to the road.
Ok. :roll:
So we crane our necks trying to see and he continues to point and gesticulate, hands and arms flying in all directions.

Eventually I see a flick of an ear and then suddenly the Leopard comes up on the road, stalked across in front of our car and disappears into the bush on the opposite side of the road.
But, I have never seen such an angry Leopard before, his tail swishing from side to side, giving us all such a filthy and disgusted look.

Yes, so sorry, poor Leopard, I apologise, I know you had your cover blown and breakfast ruined by a thoughtless and inconsiderate visitor who had no idea of the rules. :rtm:

Always such a great sighting but not really how one likes or should want to see them.

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The herd of animals on the plains a little further on where the Leopard was no doubt hoping his next meal was coming from.

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If one has good eye sight and looks very carefully right in the middle, there is a Black-backed Jackal there as well. :wink:

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Love the way the Warthogs get down to some serious eating on bended knee. 8)

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The rest of the day was one of those frustratingly quiet days, but not complaining, just not many pics to show you. :roll:

Just before gate closing we came across a tree with a family of Bateleur Eagles in it.

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and that was pretty much it for that day. :D

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Where ever you go, go with all your Heart.

Kruger - 12th Feb - 20th Feb.


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 Post subject: Re: Elsa sneaks out for more Bush Wacking!
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:18 pm 
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Not sure why this report is taking so long to complete, :?
other than I am constantly being distracted by all these other entertaining reports currently on the go here! :wink:
My excuse anyway! :whistle:

Anyway, lets continue with a few more reminiscents.

Once again big thanks to all for reading and commenting. :clap:

1st June

We drive up the H4-2 and once again at our Elephant water hole, what do we find.......

Lots of Ellies of all sizes slaking their thirsts.

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Ntandanyathi Hide looking lovely and full, again much more so than in Feb.
Lots of happy Hippos too!

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A scenery shot which we particularly liked.

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and a close up of the tree, bet you all thought I had forgotten about my "tree" pics. :wink:
Altho this one is definitely not dead!

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Then as we drove slowly down the S28
I think we nearly wore this road out on this trip! :whistle:

Some Wildebeest enjoying a lovely dust bath

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and all clean, contented and looking rather golden.

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And a Golden Giraffe

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and then the light made for some more pretty scenery pics.

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Optical Illusion or that Giraffe really about to take a bite out of that far away tree? :tongue:

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And that's about it for today, another relatively quiet, relaxing but always enjoyable day.

More to come...

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Where ever you go, go with all your Heart.

Kruger - 12th Feb - 20th Feb.


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 Post subject: Re: Elsa sneaks out for more Bush Wacking!
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 4:10 pm 
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While I have your attention lets get another day in quickly! :wink:

Thanks to Shi, Kamadejo, anne-marie, JustNature, Pumbaa, Lion queen & Dankbaar for comments.

Determined to wear the S28 out we once again trundle up and come across

Wildebeest munching close to the road.

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and then we meet JEG on her drive and she points out an Ellie to us who she says is
Nhlowa

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Unfortunately the pic does not really show his ear all that well but I have had a close look at my other pics and I am pretty sure it is him, but I will get Aat to confirm.

Then a small group of Ostrich' s
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Female

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and another Male

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Then another Ellie marching across the savannah.

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Getting nearer.

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and crosses the road in front of us.

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Very gentle giant he was as well.

We were hoping to get another sighting of Duke but I think he decided we had had our fair share! :tongue:

A quick stop in at Lower Sabie and then on up the H10 where I think this is where we saw these big guys!

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Think he saw his reflection in the car door and got a bit of a :shock: :lol:

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Not having been there for many years I was determined to make a stop off at
Orpen Dam and as I am sure you have all seen on other pics it was covered edge to edge in Water Lettuce.

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and the sign telling us all about it.
Not sure those weevils are doing as good a job as they could be!

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We took the little loop road S35 back to the tar above Tshokwane, which believe it or not, is a road I have never before been on, not that I remember anyway! :hmz:
but I like it and its diverse range of scenery.

Stop off for lunch at Tshokwane and with our tummies filled we can start the journey South again.

At the turn off to either Leeupan or Silowini we saw these
Water Thick-knees taking shelter and having a rest.

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and more or less in the same place this cute little Tree Squirrel having his lunch.

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A little further on down the H4-1 we stop to allow this quite battered looking Tortoise make his way to safety.

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At the rocks just after the Kruger Tablets one of our eagle eyed party spied a
Klipspringer surveying his world.

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Not too far before the turn to the H12 we see what looks like a stick in the road but it turned out to be a
Vine Snake or Southern Bird Snake I think?

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It refused to move and lay there with its body raised ready for action and it very nearly got more than it bargained for as well. :roll:

A car stopped behind us with an old couple in it who were keen to know what we had seen,
so we tried to show them the snake on the road but do you think they could comprehend what or where we were pointing, kept looking up and into the bush and all the while driving forward until they were almost on top of the snake. :shock:
We had to literally scream at them and indicating to them to stop and when they did, it must have been literally been a few millimetres away from running over the snake. :doh:
I think they were both hard of hearing to add to the confusion. :?
They eventually drove off, still with absolutely no idea of what we were looking at. :huh:

Eventually the snake decided it had had enough of pesky tourists and slithered off into the grass.

Crossing the bridge we had to laugh at this Baboon who looked like he was having one of those bad hair days.

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And that seems to be about it for another day.

Last day to come.....

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Kruger - 12th Feb - 20th Feb.


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 Post subject: Re: Elsa sneaks out for more Bush Wacking!
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:32 am 
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Location: Ballito, KZN North Coast, South Africa
Ok, sorry for the long delay in bringing this TR to its end. :doh:

Last day, :(
3rd June which also happens to be our wedding anniversary which we have spent in the park every year for the past 11 years now. :D

Tawny wasn't feeling too well so opted to stay behind and Martial stayed with her for company so it was just myself and Klystron today.

Before we left we had to take a pic of this Egyptain Goose and Purple Heron who shared the same log in the morning sun most mornings.

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Then I cannot remember where we saw this hungry Natal Spurfowl family, so will slot it in here! :wink:

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We decided to just do a shortish and slow drive and then drive into Komatipoort to meet JEG for tea and cake.

First stop Gezantfombi Dam and as can be seen plenty of water there for this time of year.

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S130 Gemondwane Loop

Slowly ambling up the road we soon came across quite a large breeding herd of Ellies crossing the road in front of us.

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One of the teenagers was the most curious and also perhaps the protector of the herd!

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Feeding time for baby!

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The little protector coming in for a closer inspection!

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All the time we had the engine switched off and sat quietly watching them, so nice to be able to sit with a relaxed herd, then we suddenly saw, bringing up the rear, and aiming to cross a lot closer to us then the rest, was the Bull Ellie, so we decided discretion to be the better part of valour and moved back a bit with the engine running this time :wink:
but he was also very calm and relaxed.

We are pretty sure he is the same tusker we saw on the H4-2 on our first day.

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And that as they say is that, I'm afraid, so no great Lion or Cheetah sightings worth posting this time.
I think the amount of standing water and the thickness of the bush had a lot to do with it, but no complaints, we did have plenty of other amazing sightings including Duke and the Leopards, meeting a few other forumites, spent good quality time with family and we had enjoyed our stay as usual.
We will be back! :dance:

One last pic of what the bridge at Croc Bridge looked like on that day..

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and what it looks like currently, as at 8th August, pic taken by Imberbe.

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Thanks to everyone who has shared our trip with us, for all the support and nice comments and of course to Martial for taking some of the pics, for Tawny for her input and for the delicious anniversary dinner she prepared for us. :D

Thanks also to Klystron for taking most of the pics and getting them all up and ready for me to post here. :clap:

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Kruger - 12th Feb - 20th Feb.


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