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 Post subject: melissal-KNP again after 20 years away
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2010 10:54 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:49 pm
Posts: 61
This is a very, very late trip report (from last November). I was a little concerned about posting before, as there were two little elephant charges and I was worried that people would think I'd been an idiot :redface: , but now that the ellie encounter thread has shown that plenty of people had the same problem I did, I decided to go ahead anyway.

It's my first trip report, so hopefully I get it right!

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Next trip: Berg-en-Dal Dec 21-22; Bateleur Dec 23-26; Mopani Dec 26-30; Skukuza Dec 30 - Jan 1


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 Post subject: Re: KNP again after 20 years away
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2010 11:16 pm 
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Thanks Shi and BushFairy!

Day 1 - Nov 7 2009:
Arrived in O R Tambo at 9am from the London flight, and was through passport check and baggage handling very quickly. Unfortunately I'd booked a 1pm flight to Nelspruit in case something went wrong, so I had 4 hours to hang around the airport. Luckily, it's a very nice, well-equipped airport, so I had a pleasant lunch at Steers, pottered around and did a little light shopping, then boarded the tiniest plane I've ever seen to Nelspruit! I could literally touch both sides of the plane if I stretched my arms out.

It was raining a bit in Nelspruit, but car hire was very easy and I was on my way quickly. Stopped at the Spar in Malelane, and spent a lot more time there than I thought I would - it was just so much fun seeing the food and products I hadn't seen in years (Bar-ones and Tempos featured prominently in my shopping bill!). Still managed to get to the gate by 4pm, where checkin was also very quick and easy. First animal I saw was this large giraffe

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I was staying at Malelane that night, and was allocated Bungalow 5. Great bungalow, with a nice stoep around it which the others didn't seem to have.

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My rondavel was built for this man:

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Malelane:

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I'd promised myself that I would make myself go on a drive that afternoon no matter how tired I was, but in fact I had to force myself to go to the camp first, I was so excited to be back! And the only reason I went to camp was to put away the meat etc in the fridge and get the Bigma (500mm) lens out of the suitcase. Did the s110 loop around Berg-en-dal. Saw a pretty chilled elephant (lulled me into a false sense of security, as every elephant I came across afterwards was not all chilled!), some impala with babies, and another giraffe. Pretty quiet, but just fantastic to be back in the park.

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Had dinner of Spar rolls and tuna mayonnaise (my after-school lunch pretty much the whole time I lived there), and a Bar-one. Crashed out early after all the travelling, and slept really well.

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Next trip: Berg-en-Dal Dec 21-22; Bateleur Dec 23-26; Mopani Dec 26-30; Skukuza Dec 30 - Jan 1


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 Post subject: Re: KNP again after 20 years away
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 13, 2010 11:35 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:49 pm
Posts: 61
Thanks so much to all for the kind comments! :D

Day 2 - 8 Nov 2009:

Up at 4am with the alarm - big day of driving to get to Tamboti today. Didn't quite manage to get out of the gate at 4:30, as I had taken everything inside the bungalow the night before to check whether I actually had packed every I needed (hmm, no shoes other than the ones I wore for the flight was going to be tricky!), so it took a while to pack the car up again. Also, I just love the camps in the early morning, when it's so still and quiet, and the birds have started their early morning call, so I did just sit outside the bungalow for a while with a coffee listening to the bush.

Left at 4:50 though, so not too late. A surprising number of cars were still in the camping area and outside the other bungalows, so I guess a lot of people were having a sleep-in. There was an elephant right outside the camp gate:

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Went back along the s110 to the H3, and saw what looked like two odd dark boulders in the dry river bed: closer inspection showed it was two rhinos sleeping.

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Sunrise from the H3:

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Onto the S114 and then S25, with more impala, elephant, and a desperate looking young giraffe that had wounds on its neck, no tail left, and large wound on it's chest. Didn't look too well at all.

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Stopped at the Old Trade Route overlooking the Crocodile river for breakfast that I'd made the night before (coffee, more tuna rolls, and another Bar-one - I believe in covering all the major food groups for breakfast!), then on to the S108, H5 and onto the H4-2 to Lower Sabie. Saw only one other car until I reached the H4-2, and even then there were just a few other people about. First animal on the H4-2 was an absolutely enormous rhino, right by the side of the road. Panicked for a moment as he swung round to face the car, but he calmly carried on cropping grass and ignored me.


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Next up: it all goes pear-shaped on the way to Lower Sabie, with an inadvertent encounter with a rather cross mother elephant :redface:

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Next trip: Berg-en-Dal Dec 21-22; Bateleur Dec 23-26; Mopani Dec 26-30; Skukuza Dec 30 - Jan 1


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 Post subject: Re: KNP again after 20 years away
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 13, 2010 3:34 pm 
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Posts: 61
Thanks Meandering Mouse, Kamadejo and Curious Canadian!

Day 2 cont.

Carried on up to Lower Sabie, seeing buffalo, and a bit more traffic as I got closer.

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Then just before Lower Sabie, there were 4 cars stopped coming the other direction. I slowed right down and then stopped about 50m back as I saw some elephant crossing front of them. Ironically, I was just thinking, Wow, they are a bit close to those elephant, I'd be nervous about that, when I heard a noise and looked sideways.

I'd stopped next to a clearing without realising it, and there was an elephant a way back up the clearing. I remember thinking it must be part of the same herd, and that they were walking up to where the other cars were to cross. Took a few photos (note, these are at 83mm zoom, so the elephant was a lot farther away than it appears):

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Nope, I hadn't noticed that little one hiding up the back....

It suddenly occurred to me that there was probably a reason for this clearing/path, and just as I thinking it might be an idea to move back in case it decided to cross the road where I was, the little one appeared behind the first elephant, saw the car, squealed, ran back, and everything went a bit mad.

Threw the car into reverse, praying that the car right behind me would also reverse (thankfully they did!), and we both went backwards pretty quickly. Then a large elephant came charging out onto the road right where my car had been and started down the road at me (she clearly didn't think we'd gone far enough away!). For that moment, I was just frozen thinking ok, well this is where it all ends for me. Then she veered off and carried on across the road, where I swear it looked like she actually turned and shook her head at me :naughty:

Then some babies were herded very quickly across the road, with the adults all shaking their heads and looking irritated, and I still didn't dare move. When it was finally all over, I realised the car behind me had sensibly gone even further back while I was frozen, and they now pulled up next to me and said "That was close, hey??". We all drove onto Lower Sabie where I was going to order a very strong coffee (thinking 9:30am was too early for the beer I wanted to calm my nerves), but some other guys were asking for beer, so I joined in and sat on the beautiful deck with a therapeutic lager watching the hippos thinking over and over what I could have done differently, and hoping never to be in that position again. Of course, it all happened again the very next day :huh:

Having recovered a little, I drove on to Tshokwane up the H10, where the day held even more excitement (but thankfully without any terror this time!).


The H10 was pretty quiet, as it was getting very hot even for 10am.

A few elephant finding shade under a tree - thankfully a long way off!


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Then I came across 6 cars all stopped in the road. Thinking it had to be cats, I joined them, and there it was: cheetah with cub! She crossed the road in front of the cars and disappeared into the bush, and I didn't have much view, with all the cars in front of me. One of the other cars at the back then drove through the car pack, and I followed, thinking that was it. The car then turned right on the Muntshe Loop, and when I saw why so did I! The cheetah had gone sideways and was just crossing the road in front of us. We both then got the most incredible views as she and cub wandered down the side of the road right next to us. Just amazing! Never seen cheetah in the park before, so I was hyperventilating so much I almost couldn't take any photos.

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Carried on to Tshokwane after the cheetah disappeared again, and had a cheese and tomato toastie (wonderful!).

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Then onto the H1-3 to Satara, where I saw not even an impala. It was incredibly hot by now, so all the animals had disappeared to find shade I guess. It was much drier up in this part of the park, as there had been no rain yet that season (the rain came about two weeks after I left)

Turned onto the H7 to Orpen, and saw these two ellies and waterbuck at Nsemani, and after that pretty quiet again all the way to Orpen.

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Checked in at Orpen for Tamboti, got some firewood and supplies, and headed out, very excited to see Tamboti for the first time.

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Next trip: Berg-en-Dal Dec 21-22; Bateleur Dec 23-26; Mopani Dec 26-30; Skukuza Dec 30 - Jan 1


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 Post subject: Re: KNP again after 20 years away
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 1:50 pm 
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Thanks Billyf! Another cheetah shot if I can squeeze it onto this page:


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Next trip: Berg-en-Dal Dec 21-22; Bateleur Dec 23-26; Mopani Dec 26-30; Skukuza Dec 30 - Jan 1


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 Post subject: Re: KNP again after 20 years away
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 8:17 pm 
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Day 2 cont. (is it really still Day 2? I need to get a move on :lol: )

I'd been allocated Tent 32, which I see now doesn't get great reviews on here because of the lack of view, but they must have been chopping down shrubs before I was there, because I had a pretty clear view down to and across the river (dry while I was there).

The tents are fabulous - more like a very well-designed little house that just happens to have canvas walls and roof. The deck out the front was superb, and after a long day of driving I decided to spend the afternoon and evening hanging out in camp. A big part of the enjoyment I get at the Kruger is actually being in camp, so I explored the tent, unpacked the car, and cracked open the wine to just sit, listen and relax....

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I had a few visitors that afternoon - a couple of hornbills that were really persistent, a trio of francolins that wandered around the deck, and some squirrels that also decided I should feed them - I didn't!

A little while later I went inside to get some more wine, and found that the squirrels had given up on me feeding them, and had decided to help themselves to half a loaf of bread. :naughty:

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I then attempted my first braai. Had plenty of braais in my life, but my parents always built it and did the cooking (we were either lazy kids, or our parents didn't trust us near fire....probably a bit of both :) ). Luckily I'd read the instructions on this forum on how to build it, and it worked perfectly (thanks to the cooking thread contributors!). Cooked boerewors on it, and had boerewors and onion rolls for dinner. Felt very self-sufficient - as in I made fire!, with wood not coal! I cooked!, I fed myself! It takes so little to impress me :D

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While waiting for the braai to be ready to cook on, I went for a walk through the camp to get these sunset shots:

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The bugs drove me in off the deck just after dusk (had 7 christmas beetles in my hair at one stage - should have thought to turn the lights off, but didn't - must have looked like a madwoman beating at my head to get rid of them). Went to bed early, and then the night noises started freaking me out: hyena, baboon, and when the lion started roaring with just me on my own with canvas walls and no one staying in the tents around me, I got more freaked out. Could not sleep at all, and at one stage was going to give up and sleep in the car, but that would have involved going out into the darkness to get to the car, and I was too freaked out to do that either. In the end, fell asleep anyway, and had a calm night's sleep and woke at 4 again. Yeah, I know I'm a wimp! Clearly would never have made it as a pioneering explorer. :tongue:

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Next trip: Berg-en-Dal Dec 21-22; Bateleur Dec 23-26; Mopani Dec 26-30; Skukuza Dec 30 - Jan 1


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 Post subject: Re: KNP again after 20 years away
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 2:55 pm 
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Posts: 61
Thanks Bushfairy, Kamadejo, Crested Barbet, Shi,, Meandering Mouse, billyf and Micetta!

I knew one day I would look back on the evening in Tamboti and laugh at myself! :lol:

Day 3 - 9th November

Up at 4am after an amazingly good rest, still dark, but the birds had started their morning chorus. Got washed and dressed quickly, but hadn't done enough prep the night before for breakfast stuff and snacks for the day, so late out of the gate again (4:45). Not helped by the fact I got lost getting out of Tamboti. Look, it was early, I hadn't had coffee, and it was dark. Those are my excuses and I'm sticking to them!

Still, I got to drive round pretty much the whole camp til I figured my way out of the maze, and I got to see this magnificent sunrise on the way to the H7.

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It was quiet on the H7 this morning, so I turned onto the S39 Timbavati road. Saw impala, kudu and warthog, and then a very chilled out herd of Elephant (I was very nervous after yesterday's incident at Lower Sabie, so I stayed a long way back and used the full reach of the Bigma to get some photos).

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Then this one got a little cross with me, and it all kicked off again!

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Next trip: Berg-en-Dal Dec 21-22; Bateleur Dec 23-26; Mopani Dec 26-30; Skukuza Dec 30 - Jan 1


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 Post subject: Re: KNP again after 20 years away
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:33 pm 
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Posts: 61
Thanks again everyone for the comments, I'm really enjoying putting this TR together! And billyf, I will definitely try to remember to turn the car headlights on in future (I still blame lack of coffee...) :lol: Also very pleased to hear I'm not the only who got lost in Tamboti :)

On with Day 3 and more ellie's messing with my head:


After sitting watching the elephant herd for a while, I decided to move on (cautiously - there were some pretty small ones in this herd). Once I was past the herd, the road dipped down and crossed a dry river bed, and there, right in the middle of the road, was a large elephant. So I stopped, wondering what to do, when she saw me, let out a loud trumpet, and started coming up the road pretty fast. There really must be something about the car that they just can't stand! :huh:

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She was still quite some distance away, so I did the fastest 3-point turn of my life (really, really did not want to try reversing away from her on a dirt road up a hill), with a slightly (ok, very) panicked moment when the front tyre went onto the soft sand verge and decided to spin a little. I believe I may have been whimpering a little during the spin :redface:


Having managed to turn the car round, I took off back up the road (had to go past the rest of the herd, who were now agitated as well!), watching in the rear-view mirror with a fair amount of fear as she kept coming (possibly still some whimpering happening at this point), trying to stay under the speed limit and also trying to remember how fast elephants can move and for how long (no idea then, no idea now to be honest).

She didn't follow me very far, but I kept going 2kms back up the road just in case, and then stopped next to a herd of impala to calm down and have breakfast (glancing in the rearview mirror every few seconds, and hoping the impala would react as an early warning system in case she hadn't given up!).

So now I'm sitting there thinking I really don't want to go all the way back along the S39 as I was nearly at Timbavati and want to go on to Satara, so after sitting for 30 minutes with the impala, having a relaxing breakfast, I turned round again, hoping the elephant would have moved on.

Very cautiously, crawling along at such a slow speed, I headed back. Nope, they were all still there. Only now the big one had joined the rest of the herd (I'm guessing she was the matriarch and got cross when it looked like I was between her and the herd - although maybe she might want to stay closer to them herself if she's going to get so cross about things like that! :? ).

To mess with my head further, the entire herd was now on one side of the road, but there was one young ellie, and another small-ish one, alone on the other side. So she's now basically taunting me, saying "go on, I dare you, make my day". So now I cannot drive on.

She's back with the herd:
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And here's the little one, alone on the other side of the road:

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For an hour, they stayed like that, and I stayed well back just watching them (once again grateful for the zoom lens!). No other cars turned up, and it was actually pretty relaxing now that the matriarch seemed to have calmed down. Had a bar-one and coffee (still on that health kick :) ), turned the car off (but left the key in the ignition, just in case :) ) and just sat and enjoyed. Then finally, the little one scuttled across the road to join the rest,

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the herd moved off (although she seemed to keep turning round to check where I was),

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and, after waiting another 5 minutes just in case she wasn't through toying with me for the day, I headed on to Timbavati.

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Next trip: Berg-en-Dal Dec 21-22; Bateleur Dec 23-26; Mopani Dec 26-30; Skukuza Dec 30 - Jan 1


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 Post subject: Re: KNP again after 20 years away
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 11:08 am 
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Thanks Kamadejo, Pumbaa, Micetta, and Billyf :)

Day 3 cont.

From Timbavati I took the S127 to the Satara road: what a road! I didn't think the car was going to make it, the corrugation was so bad - I guess it was far too dry to grade the roads yet that season. Was waiting for a "ping" and to see some probably vital part of the engine go bouncing off into the bush. But my trusty rental Nissan made it. I'd taken to calling the car Betty by this stage, and congratulated her on making it back to the tar.

Saw a few Wildebeest, and some rhino, then finally some zebra near Satara. It was very odd that in two days I had not seen any zebra anywhere, so I was relieved to see some finally.


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Stopped in Satara for coffee and water (I've never stayed at Satara, but it looks like a really lovely camp), then onto the S100.

There were these two cars that joined me on the S100 now that were just plain weird. One of them was a guy on his own, who would drive at about 5km/h, so I then would go past him, then he would suddenly accelerate and go flying past, kicking up clouds of dust and stones, then about 10 minutes later I'd be behind him again, once again going at 5km/h. Weird.

Then another car with 4 people in it, who would also fly past, kicking up dust and stones, then stop altogether and when I asked what they saw, they just wanted to stop for a while. So on I would go, and 5 minutes later they would fly past again.

Both cars stayed with me doing the same thing over and over all along the road - very, very strange driving patterns!

Saw elephant (no charge this time - yay! :dance: :dance: ), baboons and warthog, and impala and zebra together. Along the S41 to the H6, where my two friends with the odd driving thankfully turned a different way, and I headed back towards Orpen. Saw two ellies at Shishangani - the zebra were trying to get to waterhole, and every time the elephant would chase them away. In the end the poor zebra gave up! Ellies seem to have got a lot meaner since I was last here :shock: Saw steenbok, what I think is a young reedbuck ( :hmz: ), waterbuck, and my favourite impala again.

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Headed back to Orpen on the H7, quiet as it was now 1pm and really hot, but there were a few animals down at Nsemani getting a drink.

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Filled the car at Orpen (note: I didn't realise the filling station is actually outside Orpen Gate, so you go out of the park into the gate area to get petrol). Headed back to Tamboti for an afternoon of vegging on the deck with some wine, and another braai (toasties on the braai - another hint picked up from these forums, and wow are they good!! Cheese, Mrs Ball's chutney, and onion).

During the afternoon, I went into the tent to get some wine from fridge and heard these enormous thumps on the canvas roof, then barking out on the deck. The baboons had arrived. I figured I'd wait inside til they left (nothing of interest for them on the deck), but then heard some things being moved around and realised I'd left the camera outside on the table. Well, I may be afraid of baboons but I'm way more afraid of something happening to my camera, so I grabbed a hairbrush (why? I have no idea, it just seemed a good idea at the time :) ) and went charging outside yelling. Luckily the baboons were so surprised at the sight of a bellowing madwoman with a hairbrush they all bolted off the deck leaving the camera behind.

Then they went on to the next tent, where some new arrivals had left a cool box on the deck. I watched as they opened it (clearly wasn't their first time with a coolbox) and ran off with loads of food. Well, my trusty hairbrush and I will run at baboons to get my camera back, but not food. Had a much more relaxed evening at Tamboti than the previous night - the noises no longer freaked me out, and having people in the next tent probably helped too.


Now, for those that are persevering with this, I promise tomorrow is about to get good, with excellent cat sightings, and some other interesting bits.

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Next trip: Berg-en-Dal Dec 21-22; Bateleur Dec 23-26; Mopani Dec 26-30; Skukuza Dec 30 - Jan 1


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 Post subject: Re: KNP again after 20 years away
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 8:47 pm 
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I think the baboons had the fright of their lives, used to being chased with braai tongs, but never a hairbrush before :lol: :lol:

Well done, melissa, a true frontier woman you have become :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: KNP again after 20 years away
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 7:57 pm 
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Thanks again to all for the great comments, and I'm so glad I've imparted the value of a hairbrush to deal with baboon incursions!! :lol:


Day 4:

Had packed the car and done all the prep for the day, so for the first time this trip was actually waiting for the gate to be opened :dance: Was heading for a night at Skukuza now, so not too long a drive to get there, and could relax and take my time. And I didn't get lost leaving Tamboti this time :D

I headed up the H7 (which so far had been a slow road for animal sightings for me - but it was about to redeem itself!), no other cars around, and decided to head off on a tiny sideroad to a dam (which I can't see marked on a map, so I'm not sure which road or dam it was but think it was Nwamatsatsa ). No animals to be seen, but these very odd markings all along the length of the dirt road - anyone know what made these?? :huh:

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Rejoined the H7, and immediately saw something cat-shaped in the road up ahead. I was really nervous - I wanted to get there before it left, but didn't want to go too fast and scare it off. As I crept closer and closer, I saw it was a caracal! Another first for me! It was just sitting right in the middle of the road, then got up and wandered up the road for a while, then disappeared off into the bush. Photos are pretty bad as it was still so dark, but still, a caracal! I was beyond thrilled, and didn't realise the day was only going to get better.


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Carried on, and saw one car parked on the side of the road, so I drove slowly up behind them. At first I had no idea what they could be looking at, as I was scanning the bush a few metres back off the road. I didn't notice the breeding pair of lion until the male rolled over, right next to the road! Wow. They were just there, hanging out, looking pretty exhausted. They were so close to the road I could have leant out the window and touched them. Turned the car off, moved into the passenger seat, and just sat with them for about an hour.

Just hanging out....
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Tired...
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Waiting patiently....
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Hang on, she's awake
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Please?
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Not a chance!
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Ok, fine whatever, was just getting up to stretch my legs anyway
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More and more cars turned up from both directions (satara and Orpen), and then the strangest thing happened....


Bees. Suddenly there were about 10 bees in the car, including one that landed on my arm so I squealed (the lions both looked up then, and I got a lot of very dirty looks from the other cars, but what can you do when a bee is on your arm??). The car parked next to me was also getting bees, and then the car behind looked like they had some too as they started waving their Kruger map book around madly. As more bees joined their buddies in my car, I decided to move on (much to the joy of the person next to me who moved back so they could take my space right next to the lions).

Bees? Just plain weird.

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Next trip: Berg-en-Dal Dec 21-22; Bateleur Dec 23-26; Mopani Dec 26-30; Skukuza Dec 30 - Jan 1


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 Post subject: Re: KNP again after 20 years away
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2010 6:31 pm 
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So, leaving the lions and the bees, on I went on the H7, and was just getting towards Nsemani again, when I see another cat in the road. What a morning this is turning into! :dance: :dance: :dance: This time it's a cheetah again - an older one I think, quite pale and battle scarred. Once again, I was completely on my own at first, and it wandered along the road in front of me, then off onto the grass (in this area, it looked like fire had gone through recently). A car approached from the Satara direction, didn't see the cheetah until it had gone past me and the cheetah, then suddenly screeched to a halt with a squeal of brakes, which unfortunately sent the cheetah flying off into the bush. Ah well.

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After the cheetah had disappeared I carried on and watched this pretty big herd of buffalo walking quite purposefully and crossing the road behind me


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And then ostrich:

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And a zebra:
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I carried on and turned onto the H1-3 down to Tshokwane, and came across a load of cars stopped and one up ahead that was moving on slowly. The stopped cars were looking at a male lion that was a long way off in the grass, and only occasionally put his head up so you could see it. The driver of the car ahead waved me forward to come up next to her, and she was following a lioness down the road - the lioness was walking down the tar. We followed her slowly for a while, then she moved off into the grass again, and I headed to Tshokwane for breakfast. Didn't get any photos of the lioness, as I was filming instead at this point.

It was still only 10:30, and already the day had yielded so much. Had a superb, full cooked breakfast at Tshokwane of eggs, sausage, fried bread, fried tomato and bacon. Halfway through eating the bees turned up again. Well, I assume it wasn't the same bees, but they certainly seemed to like me that day. I started eating quicker, using one hand to swat bees with my map book.

While I was there, eating with one hand, and swatting bees with the other, an elephant came right down to the picnic tables and just stood there. At this stage I decided discretion was definitely the better part of valour, gulped down the last of my coffee and bolted into the car, as did most of the rest of the people, but a few decided now was the time to fulfill their dream of having a photo taken with elephant. Braver (or more foolhardy) souls than I :shock:

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Next trip: Berg-en-Dal Dec 21-22; Bateleur Dec 23-26; Mopani Dec 26-30; Skukuza Dec 30 - Jan 1


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 Post subject: Re: KNP again after 20 years away
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 5:28 pm 
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Posts: 61
Hi Magic Guarri - thanks for the comment! I was so lucky to see the caracal :dance: , particularly as it was only there for a few moments and then vanished completely into the bush.



After leaving Tshokwane pretty quickly, hoping the elephant and foolish/brave tourists didn't have a meeting of minds, I carried on towards Skukuza on the H1-2. Not far along the road saw this poor little one completely on his own, didn't look very well at all, and I heard that a few days later a little elephant carcass was seen in the same area, so I guess it might have been this one. Seemed so odd to see such a young one completely alone. I didn't think elephants left their young even if they were ill and couldn't keep up with the herd. Quite a few of us had stopped and were having a chat about how strange it was - one couple said they were heading back to Lower Sabie and would report it to the ranger there (although I don't think anything could be done). Very sad to see.

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A giraffe drinking at either Leeupan or Siloweni (can't remember which!) while some tick birds go to work on his ear and neck

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Headed on and went across the Sabie river on the H12, then went to Nkuhlu for a Buff pastry - really, really good. Although I could only manage half of it - it was huge! Of course, I did eat my last Bar-one just before, so that didn't help.... :lol:

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The vervets were there, but were only bugging some people setting up a picnic lunch on the far side. Didn't see any baboons (hairbrush at the ready in my bag just in case :D )


Pretty quiet on the H4-1 as it was nearing noon now, but did see another herd of elephant (kept well, well back in case it was the same ones I upset at Lower Sabie and they remembered me! :) ).


Next, on to Skukuza to check in and re-stock on Bar-ones at the shop.

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Next trip: Berg-en-Dal Dec 21-22; Bateleur Dec 23-26; Mopani Dec 26-30; Skukuza Dec 30 - Jan 1


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 Post subject: Re: KNP again after 20 years away
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 8:57 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:49 pm
Posts: 61
Thanks Kamadejo, Micetta, and Pumbaa. Rather than leave you with the sad elephant image, I will move on!

I'll wrap this all up quickly now.

Checked into Skukuza. I gather Skukuza is an unpopular camp on the forums, but I must admit I love it. Love the shop, and the boardwalk, and the deli and restaurant, and the whole camp, frankly. Reminds me of my childhood spent there, I guess.

Went out for an evening drive, and I love the varied options - the amount of different drives, loops and roads from Skukuza.

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That night we had a massive thunderstorm, which turned night to day and the sounds and rain were just magnificent.

The next morning I headed out for my last day. Turned off to the H1-2 across the low-level bridge. Was heading along, and you know when you think you saw something but aren't sure? Well that happened. I reversed for another look.

A pride of lion. With at least 8 cubs, and 6 females that I counted. After all I'd read on the forums to be honest I was nervous of returning to the Kruger, especially around Skukuza, which appeared from reading to be a constant traffic jam with speeding and general bad behaviour. Well, thankfully (for my days at least) not only was there no speeding, there was no bad behaviour, and for this morning, no other cars, just me. I was completely alone with the lions for an hour. Not another car turned up, which seemed amazing given I was less than 4 kms from Skukuza. In the end, I was ready to go, but felt I couldn't until I'd told someone what was hidden off to the side of the road. A car finally arrived, rolled past, and carried on. Then another car appeared, went past, but reversed back to ask what I was looking at. They were thrilled when I pointed out the lions.

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I carried on and came across these two rhino:

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Then went to head back across the river, and came across these hyena. The hyena were interesting in themselves, but the most fascinating was the wailing and screaming sounds coming from under the road. A jeep from Rhino Safari turned up, and when he went back to look (he was much higher off the road than me) there was a hyena giving birth. Didn't get to see it, but heard the whole thing, and she really didn't sound like she was enjoying it! Once again, no other cars but me and the jeep.

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Went on towards Afsaal, onto the Voortrekker road, Fayi loop (ran into another herd of elephant, thankfully a completely relaxed herd that were completely uninterested in me) and then all too soon out through Numbi.


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And that was it for a return visit. Can't wait to go back in November this year!

_________________
Next trip: Berg-en-Dal Dec 21-22; Bateleur Dec 23-26; Mopani Dec 26-30; Skukuza Dec 30 - Jan 1


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 Post subject: Re: KNP again after 20 years away
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 9:25 pm 
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Location: Toti KZN
Hi Melissa;

I have just found your TR - Brilliant :clap: :clap: Wonderful sightings and pictures :thumbs_up:

I agree with you about Skukuza, we also love it.

We also found those strange markings on the road last year on the N'watimhiri causeway and thought that a massive python had gone down the road not a ellie. :redface: :redface: :lol: :lol:

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