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 Post subject: o-dog's Roadtrip to the KNP and other SANParks. Nov. '09
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2009 11:02 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:29 pm
Posts: 544
Location: Okavango
Hi fellow forumites!

I am very excited to be off to the KNP once again :D
However I am treating myself to a couple of other SANParks on the way up (and down) and am also very excited about seeing and discovering these other great parks!

So hopefully I will be able to get some pics :cam: together from my adventures and write a decent trip report!

So here is the itinerary...

19 Nov: WCNP
20 Nov: WCNP
21 Nov: Clanwilliam area
22 Nov: Cape Town
23 Nov: GRNP
24 Nov: GRNP
25 Nov: MZNP (or Graaf Rienet)
26 Nov: MZNP (or Graaf Rienet)
27 Nov: Golden Gate
28 Nov: KNP Lower Sabi
29 Nov: KNP Lower Sabi
30 Nov: KNP Lower Sabi
01 Dec: KNP Satara
02 Dec: KNP Satara
03 Dec: KNP Shingwedzi
04 Dec: KNP Shingwedzi
05 Dec: Joburg
06 Dec: Karoo NP
07 Dec....home sweet home!

I travel around SA roads quite a bit but some of the roads will be new to me esp in the MZNP area so if anyone has any suggestions or warnings they will be appreciated...by the way any recomendations regarding MZNP especially will be appreciated as I have never been there before or even in that general area! :thumbs_up:

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Mana Pools: 11th - 20th Oct
KNP: 27th Nov - 5 Dec


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 Post subject: Re: Roadtrip to the KNP and other SANParks
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2009 11:32 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:29 pm
Posts: 544
Location: Okavango
Anyway just to add my Mom is in the KNP as I write and I am not happy with her at all...
this is because she has to be stealing every bit of luck our family was due this year in the Park!!!!! :sniper:

She got in on Friday to Lower Sabi and I will give a brief report of why I am expecting to see nothing but antelopes (although I love them, especially those of the Hippotragus genus :wink: ):

(I cant give exact locations) but here it goes:

After driving up with the friends from South Korea (their first trip to KNP) they enter the Park via Croc bridge for an introduction to the Park!!!
And what an introduction it was to be...
They had 2 hours to get to Lower Sabi so they took the H4-2 north.

The Highlights include
2 female lions + 2 cubs feeding on a Fresh Buffalo Kill right next to the road
4 Rhinos
Elephants and good general game...
and to top it off a leopard in a tree close to the Junction with the S28 :mrgreen:

Sat 14 of November was just as impressive:
Her Korean friends were tired so she went to look at the lions feeding on the Buff but was irritated at the people blocking the sighting so continued southward where she saw some cars close to the H4-2 junction with the H5...well she wasnt dissapointed when she saw 4 cheetahs ripping at a kill they had just made...apparently they were behaving just like dogs!

Later that day she calmly texts me to report a leopard female and cub in a tree with a kill somewhere near Lower Sabi :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

If you think shes seen some good things how about today:
They drive north along the H10 close to Muntshe see 2 lionesses and 9 cubs playing close to the road!!!!
After the Muntshe area 2 cheetahs in the road hunting....then chasing...then catching??? :big_eyes: a Steenbok in the long grass...apparently it was a crazy chase with both the cheetahs and a Steenbok running into some bush with neither of the animals emerging...she saw nothing more but sounds like it was a sad day for the poor steenbok!
Anyway after Tshokwane leopards4 and 5 (in under 48 hours) feeding on something (dont know anymore details.
...then a 1.5-2 m African Rock Python in the road and then somewhere near Satara 2 male lions feeding on a buffalo!


Anyway she has 3 nights in Satara then 2 more in Pretoriuskop...can she get any luckier?? I havn't mentioned the countless Birds, Giraffe, hippos, Buffalo, Rhino elephant etc that she has seen but I will keep those interested posted on her updates!


Anyway after all the mammals I was hoping for I know one thing is for sure is that I can count on the Impis, the Southern Most Baobab, the Glossy Starlings, the river crossings, the bush between the river crossings, the picnic sites, camps, lookouts and everything else that makes KNP so great!

BRING IT ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Mana Pools: 11th - 20th Oct
KNP: 27th Nov - 5 Dec


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 Post subject: Re: Roadtrip to the KNP and other SANParks
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 11:25 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:29 pm
Posts: 544
Location: Okavango
Hey!

Well my moms luck is clearly not running out!
If you are in the park close to Satara take the tarred road to Nwanetsi!
Apparently 6 male lions feeding on 2 buffalo...not only that but apparently there are/were also 11 hyenas and 10 BBJ's trying to get their share of the carcasses. The hyenas were being chased off but as I write apparently the lions are just about sleeping on top of the dead buffs to stop the scavengers from stealing! Sounds all very exciting!

Otherwise Nsemani Dam is very empty and there are Saddle Billed Storks and a Fish Eagle gorging themselves on the fish caught up in the Shallow Water!

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Mana Pools: 11th - 20th Oct
KNP: 27th Nov - 5 Dec


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 Post subject: Re: Roadtrip to the KNP and other SANParks
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:20 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:29 pm
Posts: 544
Location: Okavango
Hey Micetta...yip I was losing trust in my own mom :lol: until I saw the Lower Sabi sightings and they confirmed her sightings!

Anyway I got the latest update from her and that was of Tuesday afternoon providing her best sighting (most action) of 6 lions (3 male, 3 female) feeding on an adult Zebra just south of the road to Nwanetsi. Then 10 hyenas came along and apparently there was a lot of fighting especially between the hyenas. Apparently looks like the zebra slipped on the road!
Anyway yesterday she said it was cold and windy and the viewing wasn't that great! Well with the standards she set herself I am not surprised!
Anyway as I speak she is driving down to Pretoriuskop for her last 2 nights!



Anyway! The first of the many SANParks, I went to was an obvious start for a Capetonian....TMNP!
Infact I run on the mountain or walk my dogs there almost daily. On Monday however I walked up Lion's Head to show my friend from overseas a bit of a view-she will be road tripping with me. For now her first SANPark destination was a good start!

Lion's Head is looking beautiful and every time I walk up these days there is a security guard posted half way up or on top so :thumbs_up: to whoever organizes this and it makes one feel extra happy about bringing up a camera in an already safe area!

The walk was easy and took just under an hour going up (we didn't rush) but made it in time for sunset. Below is a pic of some Watsonias (I think) that I just had to photograph - they were so beautiful with this backlight!

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Just before the top I turned around to take a quick pic of the Cable Station -- not a great pic but nevertheless such an important icon in Cape Town!

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At the top I just snapped a couple of pics including this view over Sea Point and Bantry Bay....

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...and then of a typical scene of people enjoying the sunset at the top!

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In terms of wild life I saw the usual Red Wing starlings, Swifts and a raptor of sorts but it was very dark so I couldn't make out what it was. On a sadder note I thought I would mention that although there may very well be more Caracals around there were unconfirmed reports of one being knocked over about a month ago at the base of Lions Head - I hope it isn't the one that has been providing us with the occasional glimpse!


Anyway I will only be continuing with the trip report on my return on the 7th of December - around that time!

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Mana Pools: 11th - 20th Oct
KNP: 27th Nov - 5 Dec


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 Post subject: Re: Roadtrip to the KNP and other SANParks
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 4:03 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:29 pm
Posts: 544
Location: Okavango
Pjw, Micetta, Kamadejo, Gunner, Petra J, Lorrainepring, Pumbaa thankyou!
micetta - I am referring to a caracal that was found dead a few weeks ago on the 'Neck' of Lion's Head and Table Mountain, obviosuly having been knocked over!

I love counting things (to an extent) so over 7700km including 3 breakdowns, more than 50 larger mammals, well over 200 birds, many repltiles and frogs etc and 100's of photos, I have arrived back in Cape Town in one piece! What an experience and apart from the odd negative incident which will also be highlighted I want to firstly say a big thanx to all those SANParks staff (from receptionists to gardeners to cleaners to whoever I met) for unbelievable friendliness and helpfullness - all of you are going to do us proud come 2010!

So those of you hoping for the main cat sightings and action.......you have a while to go as KNP comes at the end (I think it will be worth the wait) but there is a lot before that!

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Mana Pools: 11th - 20th Oct
KNP: 27th Nov - 5 Dec


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 Post subject: Re: Roadtrip to the KNP and other SANParks
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 10:33 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:29 pm
Posts: 544
Location: Okavango
19th - 21st November: WCNP

My first stop was the West Coast National. After a bit of packing we left Cape Town in the late afternoon and found ourselves at the entrance of this park in less than one hour! It is so great to be able to get to such beautiful spot so close to the city yet at the same time you feel so far away from everything.

I have night access to this Park and so the slow drive in was basically a night drive although there is not really much to see in terms of large mammals at this time unless you are extremely lucky! We had a private destination near to SANPArks' Joanne's Beach House so the night drive only took 30 minutes or so. We were very lucky to see a porcupine in the road as well as a fleeting glimpse of a caracal, both very close to our destination. The weather was warm and windless so this probably accounted for good viewing and I was thinking WOW, hopefully this will set the tone for the rest of the holiday!

Both the caracal and the porcupine were hard to photograph so here is a pic from one of my previous trips to WCNP this year! Just to make you all envious, it is my 17th caracal for the year! I have mentioned it a few times but the WCNP is the best place for seeing them in my opinion!

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Anyway we relaxed for the rest of the evening and woke up relatively early for one of those very hot days you very rarely experience on the langebaan lagoon. It was over 30 degrees and barely a breath of wind and not only was the tide high most of the day, but we also had the entire beach to ourselves...where else on earth can you find a beach free of people so close to a big City on such a perfect day??

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This was ideal for swimming and as we knew we had lots of game viewing to come we decided to relax on the beach the whole day and go for an evening drive to Tsarbaink, one of my favourite spots, yet hardly ever anyone there! Here is the sunset from that perfect day!!

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The animals were out as well and we had a great view over Postberg where we could see countless numbers of Springbok, Wildebeest, Bontebok and a few other indigenous species including a distant view of at least one Bat-Eared Fox! The Bontebok are one of my favourites and a this time of year like so many other antelope throughout South Africa, they have youngsters. These 4 were close to Tsarbank...

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Although this is an old photo from earlier this year, we also saw a puff adder in the road at dusk.

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...and if you want to see green stop signs :) , you will find them at key points throughout the park! These 2 were spotted close to Kraalbaai (old photo although they were still present on the 20th November!)

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The next morning we headed toward Clanwilliam and it was another warm day with everything out and about and outside the park and sadly there were dead animals all over the roads. We saw 2 Mole Snakes, one in the park and one outside which I almost hit at 120km/h but fortunately just managed to avoid it!

The next day was spent in the Clanwilliam region and the day after that back in Cape Town preparing for the long part of the road trip. It had been a while since I had camped and camping in Clanwilliam made me realise how much stuff I had forgotten :redface: :wall: -- luckily though I could save myself by the fact that we were heading back home first!!

Anyway stay in touch for the Wilderness part of my trip, the first of my two destinations in Garden Route National Park! 8)

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Mana Pools: 11th - 20th Oct
KNP: 27th Nov - 5 Dec


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 Post subject: Re: Roadtrip to the KNP and other SANParks
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2009 11:41 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:29 pm
Posts: 544
Location: Okavango
22nd -25th November 2009: GRNP (Wilderness & Nature's Valley)

The drive back from Clanwilliam to Cape Town went well and was followed by a mad rush in packing. I must say I always seem to allocate time incorrectly and the aim of leaving at 12pm quickly changed to a post 3pm departure.

My little car was about to embark on its biggest journey ever and definately be tested to a maximum...! The 3pm departure lwft us with 4 hours of good driving time in the light and so I headed in the direction of Nature's Valley. After general traffic, an accident infront of us and various roadworks, I quickly realised that getting upto Nature's Valley was going to be an unnescessary rush so at 7pm I phoned the Wilderness camp and made a booking. It was great just to be able to phone while driving because really where we slept during this trip was determined by how well the car went and various delays and also depending on what we wanted to see.

We arrived at Wilderness Camp and stayed in one of the small rondavels which had all the nescessary utensils and was such good value for money. R230 (if my memory serves me correctly).

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This is not my car, so the only thing is that the rondavels were basically on top of one another but that wasnt a problem for us.

Here is a picture of a very tame guineafowl, one of many bird species found in the area. Actually it is a birders paradise to some extent.

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The area is very beautiful and as we were planning to head upto Nature's Valley for the next night we thought we should wake up relatively early and explore the surroundings. We went to the very well organised and friendly reception staff and enquired about various walks and were suggested by more than one personel that we should take the Half-Coloured Kingfisher trail which is about 3 hours to the end and back. It took us about 2 hours including the swim in the lovely waterfall at the top.

Here are 2 egyptian geese enjoying the warm water.

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And this is the bridge you walk over to get to the trail. We were warned about people stealing from us at the beginning of the trail but it felt very safe and we parked the car at reception to make sure.

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And here is a view of the camping facilities along the river. All very charming.

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The walk was hot but as we were in the forest it wasnt a problem. There were many birds calling and I saw Forest Buzzards and heard many interesting species such as Cinnamon Dove, Knysna Lourie and the ever present Red-Chested Cuckoos (day and night). Although there are mammals such as the Cape Clawless Otter, Bushbuck and Blue Duiker they are very hard to spot. We were very well treated with reptile sightings, if that is you thing and saw many lizzards and I was fortunate enough to get up close and personal with a Puff Adder along the forest path as well as a young Boomslang along the extensive walking deck which is impressive and must be over 2km long!
The river is canooable (if such a word exists) about half the way up to the waterfall whre canooists can continue the rest on foot and where walkers have the option of a pontoon which although requires some strength is a lot of fun! By the time we got to the top, the swim was all we wanted and although you have to watch out for some biggish drops it was well worth the climb down into the pool!

Sadly all my SLR pictures got deleted for the first few days of this roadtrip so what you see are pics from the cannon powershot which served its purpose but I have lost the waterfall pics.

Anyway after the walk we made our way to Knysna where we had a look around and then an hour later found ourselves in Nature's Valley. This is another beautiful little place and is situated basically North East of the Keurboom lagoon near Plettenberg Bay. The lagoon is rich in birdlife and I also took the opportunity for a nice canoo session at a very respectable R25 for as long as you want to go.

Although it was warm it did rain a bit and we didnt get to enjoy the place as much as we would have liked as we left relatively early the next morning. This was however one of our first camping spots and we loved the camp site and found the facilities incredibly clean! There were some monkeys around which didn't cause to many problems but this is definately a spot I need to revisit as I didn't even get to go for a walk in the area although the canooing was fun although the wind made it more challenging. It also seems to be the spot where they Otter Trail starts.

There are no pics of this place as some were deleted but the next installment will have more interesting pictures I promise!

Anyway stay in touch for the drive to Graaf Reinet (my first breakdown) and surrounds, a visit to Camdeboo which has the incredible valley of desolation and a night in Mountain Zebra National Park, a great new find for myself 8)

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Mana Pools: 11th - 20th Oct
KNP: 27th Nov - 5 Dec


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 Post subject: Re: Roadtrip to the KNP and other SANParks
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 3:36 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:29 pm
Posts: 544
Location: Okavango
25th - 27th November 2009: (Graaff Reinet (Camdeboo) & MZNP)

After a relatively relaxing morning we packed up, walked around the Campsite one last time and headed South toward Plettenberg Bay. From there we cut inland in the direction of Graaf Rienet.
The obvious route was to take the somewhat beautiful but perhaps infamous Prince Alfred's Pass which goes over a large mountain range. This was because firstly I had never done it before and secondly because a few book I read recommended it as a must!

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The Rock formations and natural beauty were something to behold! I wish I could have done the road in a more relaxed fashion!

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The first 30 or so km went fine but as we got higher, things got steeper and the roads became very deteriorated in parts. This is all very well if you have a 4x4 but I was in my little Chico and he was doing well...well just about!
The road carried up and down going through some incredibly hair-raising terrain, then we came down to a little river where we passed just about the only car we saw and would believe it, the one passenger was someone I had studied with a Stellenbosch University!
From there I had about 40km of pass to go and it was such a beautiful section and interestingly seems to have been constructed by Thomas Bain, who is renowned for opening up routes through various area in South Africa, such as Bains Kloof!
Soon the beauty was turned into nerves as the car was sick of all the bumps and started playing up and literally on the last climb it cut out. I was thinking oh my gosh what next, we are in the middle of nowhere with no cellphone reception...
the next minute a bakkie (pickup) came around the corner and said we were near the end so I knew if we could get going we may have hope. 15 mins later after a little fiddling, the car got going and we stumbled down to the relative safety of the first tar road. :whistle:
From there it was about 300-400km to Graaf Reinet through interesting little towns like Willowmore and Uniondale. It was a bit of a nightmare as the car gave us many scares on the route and on top of that the temp was pushing 40 degrees, maybe more (with no air conditioner) and the wind made the SE of Cape Town seem like a breeze.
We got to Graaf Reinet and found a place to spend the night and organised a place to get the car fixed. Only then could I reflect on some of the beautiful areas I had seen that day.
Just before Graaff Reinet we had driven past the Camdeboo which forms part of the SANParks and which the Valley of Desolation falls under. I was excited about visiting this place the next day and so explored Graaff Reinet in the late afternoon and evening. This town was everything and more than I had heard. It was lovely and the setting stunning! Also the Cape Dutch houses gave one a sense of old romantic South Africa!

The next day we woke up and took the car to get checked out. Fortunately the guy checking out the car knew a lot about Golfs and quickly found that some sealing near the Carborator had ripped. He was helpful and by 11am we were back on the road.

Our first stop was the Valley of Desolation and this comprises a pass that takes you up to the top of the mountain that overlooks Graaff Reinet and maybe a 100km in all directions. It was so worth it! We didn't see many animals as it was heating up, but we heard baboons, saw some nice birds and also saw some Meerkats which was great as it had been a while!

This is the road upto the top...

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The views were spectacular but sadly as for the last day or to and next day these are all taken with my powershot as the SLR pics were deleted!

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From there we drove on to New Bethesda to visit the Owl House. The area continued to be lovely and we saw some Ground Squirrels at the turn off as well as a lovely Martial Eagle on a pole, possibly eying them out!! Its always a pleasure to see these graceful eagles outside SANParks as its nice to know they are able to survive in these areas still!

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From New Bethesda it was about 150km to Cradock and as the road was empty, the trip went quickly. A late lunch at 4ish and then the excitement really started as we were heading to Mountain Zebra National Park for the first time!!!

We got into the gate and immediately started seeing a variety of animals. Wildebeest, Mountain Zebra, Springbok, Vervet Monkeys, Eland, Kudu and more. There wasn't really more than a few hundred metres driven without some animal being seen. The Vervet Monkey's were in large troops and were very relaxed providing some really entertaining viewing. We then carried on and heard monkey's chattering, a clear sign that there was a predator in the area. Patiently we waited but as nothing was visible we drove the next 200m into camp and checked in and as the Night Drive vehicle was departing and there was space, we got straight on and continued the drive. We went past the chattering monkeys and the guides were also convinced that there must be a predator in the area.

The first Mountain Zebra of the Trip!

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A solitary Eland...

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And then some Cape Buffalo which was a nice surprise!! Notice the ears are tagged.

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The drive was educational and it was a bonus going on some roads that were private. We came across a herd of about 20 buffalo or more, Black Backed Jackal, more Eland and a good number of Steenbok and other antelopes. It started getting cold and was dark at this time and as we started losing hope of seeing anything more the call came out 'CHEETAH'!!!! Yes sure enough it was a cheetah...couldn't believe it and we figured it was probably the one that the monkeys were chattering at earlier, as we were in the same area. The Cheetah was in hunting mode and about 50m in front of it were 3 Red Hartebeest but stupidly the guide started shinning on the cheetah and giving away its position. More than likely the cheetah wouldn't have had a chance but I was angry that the guide could make such an elementary error and give away its position.

Arguably the worlds worst pic of a cheetah :redface: but I didnt realise the pic captured this much info as it looked completely black until i zoomed in - guess it can be used as proof :D

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Interestingly the sighting proves yet again that cheetah will hunt at night and as I have seen 2 male cheetah just after they had killed a +/- 7 year old male kudu a few years back (proving they also take on large prey occasionally) I knew that we had ruined any opportunity for the hunt to take place.
Anyway enough sour grapes from my side...we headed back to the camp and did thank the guides for a very interesting drive and we went about the process of finding a camp site in the dark, something I would have to get used to on all the days I camped on this trip :wall:
Some very nice neighbours helped us out with their light and then we got going quickly with preparing dinner etc I have to say that it was an absolute pleasure using the virgin facilities of the campsite. The kitchen was cleaner than any I have ever seen and ! would imagine it had just been installed?? We kind of messed up the sauce for the rice and my braaing took ages so we got a great dose of camping at MZNP but it was all worth it and it just meant we had more time to enjoy the place instead of going to bed early. All in all we got such great value out of camping there that I will go back as soon as I can. We also loved the various Jackals calling into the night and we fell asleep to this sound, excited about our drive the next morning!

Next installment will be the rest of MZNP and then Golden Gate National Park...all a build up to the week in KNP! Stay tuned 8)

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Mana Pools: 11th - 20th Oct
KNP: 27th Nov - 5 Dec


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 Post subject: Re: Roadtrip to the KNP and other SANParks
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 2:26 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:29 pm
Posts: 544
Location: Okavango
27th - 28th November: end MZNP & Golden Gate

After a relaxing evening and a great sleep we woke up and got going at about 7am knowing that we had a couple of hours to enjoy the reserve before the very long drive to Golden Gate National Park.

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We first headed South along the mountainous 28km Kranskop loop and I wanted to focus on finding the less encountered antelope species such as Cape Grysbok and Mountain Reedbuck as I knew this would be the best chance of seeing them on this holiday especially for Mountain Reedbuck as in the Kruger I have only seen them a lot in the Pretoriuskop region and I wasn't going into that area.
We drove along appreciating the lovely scenery and the beauty of a new national park as well as the excitement of seeing new areas. After about 15 minutes we struck it lucky as right next to the road was a small herd of Grysbok. At first glance I wasn't sure if they were those or the reedbuck but the difference in horns for one is quite obvious and I soon realised what they were.

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We carried on driving and had few more glimpses of these interesting antelope but most of the time they were too far for any decent pics. Going North along the pass you start going high up and have a lovely view of section of road you have just driven on. We could hear a Jackal calling down in the valley somewhere but couldn't locate it.

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We then came across this lovely Jackal Buzzard that didn't mind our presence...

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and from there started descending to large open plains where all types of animals were found in large numbers. Springbok, Blesbok, Red Hartebeest, Wildebeest, baboon and then a single Mountain Reedbuck. :P

This is a lovely herd of Blesbok...

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Then another local...

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...and then the Mountain Reedbuck, compare horns with Cape Grysbok (although not the best pics)

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The Mountain Zebra were also abundant and it was pleasing to see the next generation like this real cutie; especially after this interesting looking animal was reduced to only a handful and now survive in good numbers in the MZNP.

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...dont you just love the ears :D

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We kept our eyes peeled all the way to the exit gate hoping to spot some cheetah but with all the birds and animals around combined with the great facilities we felt we had had a great 16 hours in the park!!

A last look at the entrance/exit gate...a site I am sure I will be seeing in the near future!

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We then started the long journey to the N1 along the N10 and came across a Yellow Mongoose which was a nice surprise as well as a large monitor lizzard. The area was hot but not too dry and we passed strange towns like Noupoort and had a refreshing stop in Colesburg. We then headed up to Bloemfontein and then Winburg where we went East from there all the way to Bethlehem. The bird life was nothing short of spectacular and we literally saw thousands of Red Bishops, Longtailed Whydahs, Golden Bishops and many more with the males in breeding plumage. After a good 11 hours of driving we arrived in the late afternoon at the quaint town of Clarens and only had time to drive through quickly as we were desperate to get into the Park and pass out with tiredness. The setting sun provided distant views of the Golden faces of rock for which the National Park is renowned.

The next morning we were up at 730am and enjoyed the surrounding scenery for a short while.

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We were on the way to Kruger Park and the excitement was huge and although we were still tired we were as determined as a dung beetle rolling its ball of dung up a slope, to get to the KNP and nothing was going to stop us!
I say this as it was probably the most trying drive I have ever done as the roads north of Ladysmith were absolutely terrible and the roadworks were badly managed and went on for almost 100km in total maybe more and are filled with huge trucks transporting gravel - six in a row was the number I passed on one occassion. On two occasions we had cars coming towards us at a hell of a speed down the single narrow track although it was green for us to go. And also 120km/h tar suddenly became one large pothole. I have never seen such a bad road as this in South Africa. The car cut out twice on the same hill outside Ermelo and each time we stumbled back into town we couldn't find anything wrong.

We eventually got to Malelane at 5pm did some shopping and made our way towards Malelane gate. We phoned in at Bergendal and asked if there was camping available. The answer was YES and so began our 7 days from South to North and then South again in the Kruger Park :dance:

Just to recap on the mammals seen so far!
Before the trip I was thinking maybe 50 larger mammals could be achieved, I honestly still havn't added it up but the list is as follows so far:

Chacma Baboon (GRNP; Camdeboo; MZNP)
Vervet Monkey (GRNP; MZNP)
Ground Squirrel (Camdeboo area)
Grey Squirrel (Cape Town)
Porcupine (WCNP)
Small Grey Mongoose (WCNP)
Yellow Mongoose (near MZNP)
Suricate (Camdeboo; MZNP)
Bat Eared Fox (WCNP)
Black Backed Jackal (MZNP)
Caracal (WCNP)
Cheetah (MZNP)
Buffalo (MZNP)
Blesbok (MZNP)
Bontebok (WCNP)
Springbok (WCNP; MZNP)
Kudu (WCNP; MZNP)
Eland (MZNP; WCNP)
Mountain Reedbuck (MZNP)
Red Hartebeest (MZNP)
Grey Rhebok (MZNP)
Grey Duiker (MZNP)
Steenbok (MZNP)
Black Wildebeest (WCNP)
Blue Wildebeest (MZNP)
Cape Mountain Zebra (MZNP)
Cape Fur Seal (WCNP)

See you soon for the KNP section of the report :D 8)

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Mana Pools: 11th - 20th Oct
KNP: 27th Nov - 5 Dec


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 Post subject: Re: Roadtrip to the KNP and other SANParks
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 1:20 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:29 pm
Posts: 544
Location: Okavango
28th (Malelane Gate to Bergendal) - 29th (Bnd to Lower Sabi)

We arrived at Malelane gate really excited and happy to be in the park. We had 40 minutes or so before closing time so basically had to check in to the park quickly. But first we got out on the bridge and took in the whole view. We were not disapointed as there was a large herd of over 200 hundred buffalo relaxing next to the waters edge on the Eastern side of the bridge. Close by was also a lone male Waterbuck as well as two large crocodiles and an unhappy hippo not looking to comfortable in the strong flowing Crocodile River. We were sick of driving but when you arrive in the park it all becomes a pleasure as most of you know!

We headed along the S110 to camp taking in our first impalas of the trip followed by a lovely herd of elephants in the road. This was all within half an hour. The last 10 minutes were quiet but arriving at the reception I couldn't believe the noise. Being some of the first warm days after the cold patch that killed some animals everything was calling, jumping, climbing or flying. Notably there were Jacobin Cuckoos performing close to the reception entrance but the real treat was the audio of the frogs from the dam in front of the camp. It was deafening. It was also hot and humid and I bought my usual icecream and sat down on the benches taking it all in. Even when I glanced up there were tree frogs silhoueted against the moon light jumping from branch to branch.

We then went to the camp site and although it was quite full, we found a nice spot against the fence right on the other side. We setup and watched as 4 hyenas patrolled the fence including a young one which would put its face 20 cm from yours if you bent down. During the excitement I made a phone call and flashed some other nocturnal creatures eyes, but the multitasking got too much for me and I stupidly put my arm against the live wire and got a nice grounding shock for the record :D ...funny in hind site. The funniest thing is that my mom was on the line and had just been told about the 4 hyenas so the scream combined with the sighting left her wondering! I had a bit of explaining to do!

Anyway the next morning we thought about waking up at 6 or so but being a firm believer of being at the gate at opening time we were up at 330am packing the tent, having coffee/milo and showering. Note how this changes through the days where by the end we were up at 410am and although not needing to pack a tent still packing a bungalow but leaving the coffee for during the drive and shower for post drive. anything for those extra minutes sleep!

It was dark, not badly cool but slightly drizzly so I didn't expect much from the predators. Anyway we made our way east along the tar then along the S25 hoping for any luck with the pack of wild dogs that had been frequenting the area. Sadly it was one morning there seemed to be a lot of traffic but we still saw some general game including many baby impalas...my first photo in the park:

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...then this Hamerkop on a causeway...

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...then 3 large well fed hyenas milling about and a flock of 50 or so Eastern Redfooted Kestrels. We went along to Mpondo Dam and had a nice giraffe sighting with this teenager feeding close to the road...

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...as well as the behind of what could only have been a White Rhino. From the Dam which was close on 100% full, we drove along the Bume road toward the H4-2 and although things were initially quiet we saw what seem to be the usual vultures at the junction with the S108 as well as a herd of kudu and then this new born baby impala literally taking its first steps and suckle close to the H4-2. What a sighting that was.

finding its feet...

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looking for the nipple...

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the first suckle while mom gives an encouraging nudge and lick
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We headed down to Crocodile Bridge for some refreshments and speaking to a tour guide were told about lions on the S25 just west of the H4-2. Firstly we had a very relaxed troop of Vervet monkeys not far out of camp...

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We followed up on the lions but could find nothing but also popped in at the Hippo Pools and saw this Big Bull rhino actively following another rhinos scent and scent marking himself, heavily.

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There was also a large warthog on the way, very close to the road...

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...but then on the way out I saw something I hadn't seen in the Park before; this woman bringing up her kids very well by driving offroad to supposedly 'get a better picture of the warthog'!

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She was shocked at my anger towards her but without being disrespectful I let her know all about the rules. We then continued along the S28 north and as the sun came out late the game was in real abundance. I had some of the best general game viewing in ages with literally a hundred or so giraffe, many impala, maybe 20 or more warthog, Bull Elephants, wildebeest, zebra and more.

Warthogs having a nice late morning wallow session...

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...and this one of many giraffe having a sit down...

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One of the more notable sightings was 2 Slender Mongoose attempting to mate, or at least it looked like that. But for me the absolute highlight was the sound of frogs calling at a pan on the S137. If you can view or at least hear the video, these are Ornate Frogs calling the most with the odd Banded Rubber Frog (almost sounding like a racing driver in an old school computer game) calling every now and then. The other frogs I am not sure as to identity but you can also see the displaying Woodlands Kingfishers towards the end. A true summer scene!
(The video download isnt working unfortunately)

We checked in and were glad to have 2 consecutive nights in Lower Sabi. We also booked a night drive for that evening and were fortunate to be driven around by Martjie (I think that's her name), who was really enthusiastic, knowledgeable and one of the rare guides that can probably hand all types of tourists. It was a very productive drive in some ways and we enjoyed the reptiles that were out and about. Firstly there was a Rhombic Egg then we had a Boomslang that was spotted in the tree as well as some Flap-necked Chameleons. Mix these reptiles up with a pair of Fish Eagles, some bushbabies, a large herd of elephants including one not more than a couple of days old, one lone hyena and then a relaxed serval a little way off and you can say you had a good night drive especially since a storm was threatening the whole time!

So the new mammals for the trip were:

Dwarf Mongoose
Slender Mongoose
Serval
Spotted Hyena
Elephant
White Rhino
Warthog
Impala
Burchell's Zebra
Lesser Bushbaby
The snake list so far is as follows:
2x Mole Snakes
1x Rhombic Egg Eater?
2x Puff Adder
2x Boomslang
1 x Unidentified snake (must look it up)

Stay in touch for the morning drive. That's the H10 north to Tshokwane, then the H1-2 to Skukuza, a rewarding visit to Lake Panic & then H4-1 to Lower Sabi. And then the afternoon drive with one crazy sighting in specific!

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Mana Pools: 11th - 20th Oct
KNP: 27th Nov - 5 Dec


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 Post subject: Re: Roadtrip to the KNP and other SANParks
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2010 4:44 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:29 pm
Posts: 544
Location: Okavango
Morning of 30 November 2009

We woke up early and got to the gate as it was opening. I wanted to be the first vehicle to Muntshe to follow up on a pride of lions that had 10 cubs in the area. We made our way up north along the H10 and and came across a hippo out of the water at the bridge. I always love seeing them out of water and this one was slightly nervous probably feeling out of its comfort zone so ran into some thick bush.

It was still dark but as it lightened up it took a while before we started seeing good elephant herds as well as some buffalo boys and even 3 rhinos. I didn't take photos as the light wasn't great. We passed the Muntshe koppie and although there was this presence of something around we saw nothing.

After that there wasn't much until Nkumbe and from the lookout we saw a distant Ostrich. The game real became abundant thereafter with 4 or 5 species all feeding alongside one another as well as 2 fat hyenas milling about the edge of the road.

After a quick stop in at Orpen Dam which was looking good we headed South along the H1-2 stopping at all key places and checking carefully. Siloweni Dam was looking good as well and I saw the furthest south Mourning Dove I had ever seen as well as a huge array of other waterbirds, such as yellow-billed storks, spoonbills, fish eagles and crocs etc.

We carried on to Leeupan and had a fantastic sighting of a female Steenbok teaching her daughter all the ins and outs of Female steenbok life. I try and stop for these animals often but it is so rarely that they treat me to such a sighting. You can clearly see how the female is marking her territory with the daughter interacting in the same area.

Notice how the female is scratching/covering her scent...

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The birds were good at Leeupan and there were some nice Saddle Billed Storks as well as a Wollynecked Stork in the Background.


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and these calling Egyptian Geese...


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We then came across this male impala...

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...as well as these youngsters further on.

First relaxing...

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...then up...

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And then a nice stretch!

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There were also the remains of this young elephant that my mom had seen in a more complete state a week back. Don't know how it died though?

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We continued south and a friendly group of people informed us that there were 2 male lions on the entrance of Maroela rd so we tried to pick up the pace but also realized as it was getting hot they would probably not move far. We took our time getting there as we saw 3 troops of baboons on the road, really putting on a display of what baboon society is all about from this dominant male strutting his stuff (you kind of had to be there to see how he was walking along like the main ou)...

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....to this youngster hitching a ride...


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to these females grooming each other while the youngsters stared out at the fascinating world around them....

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There was then a bit of a Traffick Jam in the area of lions and they were flat out but lifted their heads when we went past - quite lucky!

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These two big guys spend a lot of their time in the Sabi Sands and it was nice seeing them as my friends had told me a lot about them. These being 2 of the 3 seemingly dominant males in the area. I was happy to drive Maroela road as it was the closest road to the area in which I had spent close on 2 years. After leaving these 2 big guys we headed to Skukuza for the traditional snacks - it used to be nearest big town to me so it was nice to get back to the view as well as the post office and shop etc. The Post Office continued its excellent service and as the ATM wasn't working they also were excellent in providing an alternative source of drawing money.

I enjoyed relaxing around open thatch huts and looking at the resident colony of Peter's Epauletted Fruit Bats? There was also the familiar site of a baboon on the old Selati Railway Bridge and the river was flowing strongly.

We then headed off to Lake Panic and after all my previous trips to the KNP it was one place I have somehow always missed probably due to the fact that we usually avoid spending nights in Skukuza although I love the camp.
It was looking absolutely beautiful and I had the real highlight of seeing a Goliath Heron catching food and feeding its 2 persistent chicks! I wonder if this is the Heron that has been involved romantically with the Grey Heron as seen in the latest issue of Africa Birds and Birding :hmz:

The arrival...

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...then the displaying and begging started.!

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...and eventually the persistence paid off!

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It was getting quite hot so we started heading back along the H4-1 and just before the high water bridge were informed of a leopard in the area but getting to the bridge it was as most leopard sightings go...'it was here two minutes ago' :evil:
Anyway I headed off to Nkuhlu and thanx to Bush Baptist starting the thread on Wacktazz's Buff Pies I thought why not go and get one. It was good but personally I was dissapointed with the fact that there was no chutney, but it was only a small dissapointment :wink: but will definately get one again next time!

We headed back to Lower Sabi and as it was midday it was hot and everything was hiding and anyway the bush was so thick. We passed out for a couple of hours, and had a relaxing swim before I departed for a real treat of an afternoon drive...every sighting was to myself and had I not taken some pictures I would have had a hard time convincing my so and aunt and uncle of what I had seen :wink:

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Mana Pools: 11th - 20th Oct
KNP: 27th Nov - 5 Dec


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 Post subject: Re: Roadtrip to the KNP and other SANParks
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 10:26 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:29 pm
Posts: 544
Location: Okavango
I left at about 4pm, slightly later than I wanted to and a kind guy in a bakkie informed me at the gate that there were 3 lions lying off the S128, 5kms up. It was that or go and attempt to see mating lions close to Muntshe that my aunt and uncle had messaged me about. I decided to go and see what these 3 were up to first and on the way there was a storm brewing in the distance. It was hot and I saw the cars up ahead but there were also about 30 giraffe in the area 2 of which were really close to where the cars were watching the lions. I got to the lions and was told there were 8. I could see 5 of which all seemed fast asleep. But every now and then they would stir slightly and lift their heads.

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After about 15 minutes 4 of the 5 other cars at the sighting made their way away from the sighting with the one couple saying they had been there for 6 hours. I thought 6 hours with sleeping lions in 35 degree weather, that's brave and perhaps silly??
Well I love the Law of Murphy because as soon as they departed a strong wind blew from the giraffe towards the lions. The lions all got into action within seconds it was crazy crazy seeing the sudden change. The temperature also dropped and the lions, 3 of which had now circled around the giraffe started running in towards the giraffe...
Meanwhile the only other vehicle in the area had drive 100m down the road to look at a map or something so I was the only one at the sighting.
...then all hell broke loose with lions running everywhere, there could have been as many as 10 adult females as they came from all directions hot on the heels of an adult bull giraffe, chasing him across the road some 20 metres from my vehicle.
I was trying to grab my camera and get some video but messed up the video function but got this lioness running across the road to join the others at the kill?

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Now I wanted to break every rule I had obeyed in the park in the previous 27 years but I kept my head and stayed on the road and in my vehicle. By this time the lions had caught the giraffe but I couldn't see if they killed it because although there was growling and audio of a kill it all took place about 40 metres from the road behind some very thick acacia.
I left the sighting shaking with excitement but hardly believing what I had just seen. I told the other car what had happened and the guy was like 'really now, aren't the lions sleeping over there, under that bush??' The beauty of it was that that all took place in 5 minutes; just shows how you can miss things so easily!!!!
I was happy to return to camp to tell the others or just someone, anyone what I had just seen!! Anyway I carried on along the S29 to Mlondozi Dam and the threat of the storm was really getting the animals moving!
I saw some general game and then a large Male Reedbuck next to the road...damn missed the shot...know one was going to believe me! Then a mere hundred metres on a female right in the open! So exciting as my last viewing in the Park was on the Metsi Metsi trail in 2005!

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Things were going so well and about 5 km before the S122 when i was thinking I have had enough luck for a couple of days, would you believe it but 2 beautiful male cheetah walked across the road into the open and posed on a termite mound before I had to leave them some way off out on patrol!

These seem to be the dominant males that are often seen around Mlondozi Dam itself.

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I was now running late and managed to get a shot of this Coqui Francolin at the junction with the H10.

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I headed back to camp for a braai with my aunt and uncle, a bit of a boast session and then fell asleep, well tried to, with a huge thunderstorm brewing overhead!

New Mammals for trip:
Tree Squirrel (forgot but also yesterday)
Banded Mongoose
Lion
Reedbuck
Hippo (forgot but also yesterday)
Waterbuck (forgot but also yesterday)
Peter's Epauletd Fruit Bat (not officially on list as not large enough for my list)

The next morning we were off to Satara to see if they had any accomodation...stay posted for a cat or two and birds feasting on termites! :thumbs_up:

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Mana Pools: 11th - 20th Oct
KNP: 27th Nov - 5 Dec


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 Post subject: Re: Roadtrip to the KNP and other SANParks
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 4:35 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:29 pm
Posts: 544
Location: Okavango
1st December 2010 ...the happy Storks!

We woke early and left at gate opening time. The thunder during the night kept me awake but I didn't really mind because coming from the Cape, thunderstorms are more of a treat than anything else.
We headed up north toward Satara taking the H10 past Muntshe Koppie again hoping to find the lion cubs that frequented the area. We didn't have luck with them again although there was audio of lions roaring in the area. The drizzly weather did provide for good viewing of the larger mammals up to that point including many elephants, rhino & buffalo. The smaller animals were hiding and it was a pleasure being just about the only car on the road. We got to the Tshokwane area and then I took the Vutomi Road (S33) west and then the S34 back east to stop over at Tshokwane for a late breakfast. There wasn't much game around due to the drizzle but the road will be remembered for its thousands of frogs that had for some reason come out to enjoy the moisture.

After breakfast I took the S37 toward N'wanetsi. It was very muddy and I thought that I may get stuck in my little car. The weather was still making it difficult to see animals until I came to a couple of Jackals next to the road. The first BBJ of Kruger!

There was some general game but it was mostly taking cover. Just before the junction with the H6 I saw the first car on the road and it was stopped. I knew they must be looking at something. They told us there were mating lions in the distance. They were very friendly people that we would see throughout the rest of the trip. Anyway as luck would have it they got up and headed straight for my vehicle...female first with the male in tow.
The female looks a bit bedraggled but its probably mostly due to the weather!

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We didn't see them mate but carried on North along the Nwanetsi Road to Gudzani Dam. The little hippo pools at one of the drifts was almost empty with about 20 hippos packed into a small area. We got to Gudzani Dam and I was pleased to see that it was almost full compared to April when it was completely empty.

We then made our way to Satara via the S100 and with the day heating up a bit, the animals started to move about. Termites started erupting and the large birds were there to take advantage. I had a lovely time photographing this Saddle Billed Stork feeding...

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...as well as these ridiculous Marabou Storks, with the one on the right adding a behavioral strategy of making life difficult for itself, that would only suit a bird that looks like this: it would dart its head up and about to catch the termites instead of simply catching them from the source like the Saddle-Billed Stork did!

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We got into camp and managed to get a G-Circle spot close to the fence. We booked another night drive and after a little relax I went on a drive up north to see what I could see. After about 200 metres outside the gate I noticed things flying off the roof and realised although I brought stuff to the car, I hadn't packed it. :redface:
Fortunately my binos hadn't fallen off but I had a nice trail of stuff 100m down the H1-4 to G-Circle. Funny in hindsight!
Anyway that incident probably set the tone for a most miserable drive, as somehwere north of the S127, there was this little chap lying on the side of the road.

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At first I was like awesome, Porcupine, but sadly his back had been broken by a passing motorist :evil: :evil: :evil: :sniper:
Ironically a mere 5km on was a traffic officer speed trapping. That makes 1 broken back impala & 1 broken back porcupine in my last 5 days of knp - not the types of kill one hopes to see! It left a very bitter taste for the rest of the drive which included seeing this female and youngster Reedbuck. Making up for the loss of life to some extent...

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... as well as 4 species of Vulture feeding on some dead animal just west of the junction of the H1-4 and the S127. Looked like a Wildebeest or Buffalo but really couldn't tell.

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I got back had a quick dinner and then headed out on a night drive. The drive didn't produce the big cats that the others on the vehicle were hoping for, but my gosh in terms of the night creatures we saw, it was one of the best I have ever had including the days when I used to work as guide.
We saw at least 20 different Small Spotted Genets on a drive that went along the S126. We saw two different Honey Badgers, White Tailed Mongoose, Civet, some curious hyenas as well as some general game and fortunately a very alive and large Porcupine! I must say that the Satara area teams with porcupines!

Stay in touch for a full day at Satara including my first ingwe of the trip :D

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Mana Pools: 11th - 20th Oct
KNP: 27th Nov - 5 Dec


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 Post subject: Re: Roadtrip to the KNP and other SANParks
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 12:04 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:29 pm
Posts: 544
Location: Okavango
2nd December 2010 - ...the Timbavati and just about all rivers come down in flood!

It was another early start and having driven the Sweni road the night before and seen so much, combined with reports of Wild Dogs along the road the previous day (maybe hyenas if the yellow pin on the sightings board isn't to be trusted) it seemed like a good road to drive.
It had been raining the night before and so the mud road didn't make driving easy...and only after I drove the road, had someone come to close it off. Hopefully I didn't cause any damage! Anyway there wasn't much animal activity due to the weather conditions but it wasn't raining and started warming up. I took the S126 to Muzandzeni then South to Shimangwaneni. It was very quiet and I was feeling bad for my SO who wasn't as enthusiastic as I was so the pressure was on. I went back North toward the H7 and there was no sign of any dogs in the area and still the drive was quiet until I made one of my better spots ever in the KNP! Just north of Rockvale on th S36, there he was, a big Male leopard lying about 50m off the road in some previously burnt area.

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He lay down for about 2 minutes and then walked off with a very full stomach! It was a slightly distant sighting but nevertheless great to see my first leopard of the trip!
We continued towards Orpen and it was great to see the Timbavati River coming down in flood. The first time I can remember seeing it flow!

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I took in the view at Bobbejaan Krans and then took the right hand turn to the little view point further on where I kept an eye out for the Nyala that you often see in the area. Luck was on my side with this little group of 3 being found close to the entrance of the track.

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We continued to Orpen Camp but not before stopping at N'wamatsatsa, a road I had always found quiet until seeing 12 wild dogs killing an impala in April! We saw this little guy however, a Lesser Black-Winged Plover. They love the short grass open areas and are common in summer but I never really see them in winter....

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... and then we stopped for refreshments at Orpen. We then made our way back to Nsemani Dam which was still quite empty. From there we went to the Timbavati picnic spot and noticed the water hadn't reached that section yet. I drove up the S39 to Ratelpan hide and the area was looking absolutely beautiful! We made our way back to camp along the S127.

After a nice relax we decided to take the H6 to N'wanetsi and make our way north from there. There was some general game and the odd Jackal and we continued along the S41. It was great to see all the little river crossings flowing nicely and the Hippos were happy with their pool getting some clean water flowing into it. We did see a Male Lion lying to the West of the road and continued past the S100 toward the S90. ABout 7 or 8km before that junction we saw some cars stopped and had a great sighting of 2 very large Male Lions feeding on a zebra they had most likely caught the night before.

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We spent a while watching them and made our way back to camp along the S90 and Braaid with the hyenas walking up and down the fence and all sorts of interesting sounds coming from just beyond!

Stay tuned for the drive to Shingwedzi via the S39 in search of the river coming down in flood 8)

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Mana Pools: 11th - 20th Oct
KNP: 27th Nov - 5 Dec


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 Post subject: Re: Roadtrip to the KNP and other SANParks
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:08 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:29 pm
Posts: 544
Location: Okavango
3rd December

So we left first thing and headed to the S39 to see the dry Timbavati hopefully in flood.

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Well at the Ratepan Hide we were certainly not disspointed...the river was flowing strongly. On the opposite side of the river many lions were roaring but we couldn't see them. It certainly made things exciting.

We carried on driving and just enjoyed all the general game. This 1-year old male was looking after these youngsters. They were very proud to be 'hanging out' with him!

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We carried on along the S91 towards Bangu and also stopped at the low water bridge of the Olifants River. They were cleaning up after the river had come down in flood.

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All the mud and bumps had caught up with my car and the wheels had lost so much alignment that the steering wheel was shaking badly on the tarred roads. I went into Letaba and they suggested i go to Phalaborwa (big drive in the heat after spending the morning on the road already) to get them sorted out. We were running late and had it taken 15 mins longer, we wouldnt have been able to make it to Shingwedzi, but we did. 350km + at +/- 30km/h is too much driving in the Park for one day.

My car hit 100000 km so I stopped and decided to take a pic....

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Then I looked up only to see a hyena running away when I had stopped...nice to get a sighting at this moment. We were just a few km outside Shingwedzi at this stage and were by chance at one of the Culverts the hyenas like to use.

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We settled in nicely to our Bungalows at Shingwedzi...great to be back. I contemplated a swim in the pool but there were so many insects it was more like a thick soup so I decided against it. It was such a huge mission of a day but to be back at one of my best camps made it all worth it.

The next day off to Punda Maria and Pafuri then back to Shingwedzi....

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KNP: 27th Nov - 5 Dec


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