In February 2010 we spent 8 nights in the KNP. Entering at Malelane we had a long slow trip to Satara where we spent the first evening. On our way there we had time for a nice lunch at Skukuza. Enroute we obviously stopped whenever we saw anything move and we then realised that we would have to keep our eyes wide open as the veld and bush was dense and green.
We sighted Impalas, Zebras , A few Elephant, White Rhino, Kudu, Warthogs, and became aware that birds were not in abundance as we had hoped. But at Satara we found the Scops where we expected him to be ie near the Reception area.
Next morning we left at gate open time for Shingwedzi. It was overcast and we enjoyed the slow trip up North. We noticed lots of Grey Hornbill in flocks of up to 12 as far as we travelled and this was the same right up to Pafuri, all the time we were in the park.
By now, we have made peace with the fact that it was obvious going to be difficult to spot the elusive game and birds so we just enjoyed whatever we did see. Just the air you breathe is enough to open the cholestrol clogged veins.
My yellow ribbon was tied to the antenna on the top of the car in a bowtie fashion but all the time we were there never saw anyone else or did someone approach us to say Hi. We arrived at Shingwedzi just before 1400 and received our keys and moved in to our bungalow.
We visit the Park every three months but on this trip we realy even enjoyed seeing Impalas. Game was scarce. This was definately because of the dense bush but the absence of the Bee-eaters remain a puzzle to me. That night we were tired and moved into bed after a nice braai but sleep was very slow to come as just after 2100 the "amplified" roaring of a lion right next to us (swimming pool area) nearly made me fall out of bed. This kept on all night and next morning as the gate opened we left in search of the culprit. Low and behold first turn to the left as you leave the Main Gate at Swedzi, as you get to the No Entrance workers turnoff, there we found this beautifull Male and his girlfriend. They were in the dense bush and only showed there heads and with the sunrise photos was difficult as I had to shoot right into the sun. As an amateur photographer, not easy.
This condensed report will become very boring if I keep on saying how little we saw but on the other hand how much we enjoyed what we saw, that I wld rather say this was the pattern for the whole period up there. We drove to Pafuri everyday, and even at the picnic spot very few birds were seen. In fact at Babalala we managed more bird photography then at Punda or Pafuri areas.
The Wednesday (12 May) early morning , we seemed to be the only car on the road, just abt 20 kms from Swedzi on our way to Punda. 5 young Lion males in pristine condition. They appeared very nervous but did not leave the road. One moved of into the long grass next to the road and I rested my lens on the beanbag to take my time and photograph him with just the eyes and ears visible through the golden grass. The next minute he charged me and stopped abt 3 meters from the car.
My wife was not very happy with my language and the male realised that the car was not edible so moved off to join the others in the road. I did not measure my heartbeat but it must have been quite close to 150.
I am still wondering what was the cause for this type of behaviour? Anyway the sight of the Zambesi flowing at speed , lions in the North, the few elephants we found, all this made us realise that this was why we enjoyed the KNP so much, nothing was always the same.
We left on Friday via Phalaborwa and found three white rhino's near the gate. This stretch of road was no different to the other areas. Some of the photos I managed to take can be seen here....... http://www.flickr.com/photos/35113830@N ... 040993407/
" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
It is the set for May 2010.
Sorry I just cant place all these photos in the posting.. If you have a problem pm me please.