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Anne's Sightings : KNP and Addo Oct 2005

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anne
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Anne's Sightings : KNP and Addo Oct 2005

Unread postby anne » Sun Oct 23, 2005 2:56 pm

Firstly thanks to all those who replied to my first post and gave me suggestions. Much appreciated.

I have just spent 3 weeks travelling in South Africa with my daughter who is volunteering in PE. I have travelled to 15 countries around the world and have never been to one that I've fallen for as much as South Africa.

During our time there we visited Addo and Kruger, too short to do either of them justice but enough for a facination to start growing. The guides we had at both parks were terrific and taught us a lot.

Saw lots of large herds at Addo with babies of all different sizes.

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A recent Eland kill 1-2 days old - glad I wasn't there when that stomach exploded!!!

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We travelled to Kruger with with Bundu Safari's and stayed in the unfenced camping site outside of Orpen. Because it's unfenced we had to have a ranger with us at all times. The camp site has a number of permanent 2 man tents, a corral for camp fires and the evening meal, and a camp toilet for emergencies only!! During the day we used the facilities at Orpen. Most of the time we were at Kruger it was freezing, most unusual and not what I expected, and we spent the long drives in the Safari truck wrapped up in blankets.

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My daughter and I had hysterics over the thought of having to use the camp toilet on the first night, however on the second night and after a few drinks, and especially at my age...well it was necessary. Let me tell you, your life is not complete until you've had a pee in the bush in the dark with a ranger standing shotgun over you (out of sight of course), in case an animal comes along. It was the funniest experience of my trip.

Once inside your tent at night your not allowed out unless you call for the ranger. We were up at 4AM to go on the 2 hour morning walks after a light breakfast. The walks - or was that looking for the Safari truck for 2 hours :wink: were informative and fun.

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We saw a leopard on three different occassions and I have the infamous LIT photo's!! We watched a large leopard in a tree with a Impala he had draped over a branch for quite a while. He was bothered by tourists, some of whom were going off road to get closer shots, and he went up and down the tree once or twice. The next day we saw him dragging his Impala away through the bush.

In the evenings in our camp site we heard a leopard making its strange calling sound as it patrolled its teritory. It was very close during the night and woke me up - it was strange and eerie but lovely to hear.

On one of our long evening drives, which turned into a night of spotlighting we saw many animals, including another leopard, two honey badgers, a genet, and a young lion slowly padding along the road. We followed along beside it for some time, hoping not to bother it too much and at one point it stopped right beside the truck and turned to stare at us. It was beautiful and quiet and just looking, as were we. I was so engrossed that I couldn't take a photo, I just soaked up the experience. Then it just turned and kept slowly walking along the road. - Majic.

We saw, in two days - Duiker, Impala (how could you not see them??) Waterbuck, Kudu, Blue Wilderbeast, Steenbok, Tree Suirrels (at Orpen gate), Dwarf mongoose, Honey badgers - 2 together, Lesser Bushbabies, Ellies - lots, Hippos, Giraffes Buffalo, Lions and cubs, African wild cat (how our ranger spotted this one I'll never know!), Leopard (3 times), Large spotted genet, Baboons, Burchells Zebra, Blackbacked jackal, Warthog, Vervet monkeys, Spotted hyaena's.
We also recorded lots of birds including a Southern Ground Hornbill more than once.

This little Duiker was sitting very calmly at the roadside and didn't move, even when the Safari truck pulled up next to it.



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We were sad to leave and although our time there was so short, Kruger has had a profound effect on me and I hope to be able to return within 18 months to have a much longer look. I'm so glad the Forum is here and the Webcam.
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Last edited by anne on Tue Oct 25, 2005 9:01 am, edited 3 times in total.
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anne
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Re the unfenced camping site

Unread postby anne » Mon Oct 24, 2005 3:33 am

Hi Gwendoline,
We were aware that the camp site is managed by Bundu and that it may be one of the last times that it is used. The tents need upgrading and I think there have been some discussion with SANParks and Bundu. However the Ranger is provided from SANParks to be with the campers for the 3 days.

SANParks also probvided the cleaner who came daily and our camp beds were made up each evening. I was also under the impression that it was up to SANParks to do the upgrade on the tents - however don't quote me on this. There must be more politics behind the scenes!!

Do you think that there is much interest in this sort of experience? IE outside the fenced area's.

I guess I'm wondering whether it would be to the benefit of SANParks to manage this sort of facility for the adventurous types who want a close up experience. ( :) I had no idea I'd booked this camping site when I made the booking but I'm very easy going and it didn't phase me at all.)

I would be very interested in what other people thought of this camping style.
Last edited by anne on Mon Oct 24, 2005 7:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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arks
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Re: Re the unfenced camping site

Unread postby arks » Mon Oct 24, 2005 4:46 am

anne wrote:I guess I'm wondering whether it would be to the benefit of SANParks to manage this sort of facility for the adventurous types who want a close up experience. ( :) I had no idea I'd booked this camping site when I made the booking but I'm very easy going and it didn't phase me at all.)

I would be very interested in what other people thought of this camping style.


It's interesting that you had a SANParks ranger at an privately run camp. However, I think that the experience you described sounds quite appealing and that it might well be an attractive addition to the other camps offered in KNP. I would be very interested to know whether that might be a possibility as with some upgrades (making the camp perhaps a bit more like the small unfenced camps in Kgalagadi?), it would be quite different from anything else presently offered in KNP.
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Unread postby Salva » Tue Oct 25, 2005 8:59 pm

Hello Anne,

I recognise your story! My first visit to South Africa was in october 1999. I immediatly fell in love with the country and continent (and I have to tell the sightings on that first trip were way less impressive than whet you saw, allthough we did see a serval). In a few weeks I'll be visiting SA for the 4th time and Africa for the 6th time and I can say now allready, without any doubt, it won't be the last visit.

Besides, I was in Australia last year (Port Douglas to Sydney, not enough time to visit Melbourne) and I adored the place but I couldn't help missing the African game.

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Unread postby Bushmad » Sun Oct 30, 2005 12:35 pm

Hi Anne!

A belated welcome from me! Thank you for sharing your experiece with us, the spell that has been cast will stay with you for the rest of your life! That is a bold statement to make but those of us who know how it feels KNOW that it can never be broken. I also feel so lucky to be living a few hours drive away. I know that you will make a plan to get back and se more, not only of kruger but of what SA has to offer.

Your camping experience sems to have been, well, an experience :lol: . Kruger already has walkiing trails that last for 3 nights and are so popular you have to book almost a year in advance to get places! These take place deep in the heart of the bush, in pictureseque surroundings and with more comfortable accomodation, you REALLY got back to basics, if you could enjoy Kruger like that,(even the weather was strange, Kruger usually has the most wonderful weather) then words cannot describe how much you'll love it when more planning goes into it, especially with the tons of advice you'll get from the forumites!!!

I suggest you start scrutinising the entire SanParks website, look at the Photo gallery of the different camps, read about the different trails, types of accomodation and look at past discussions on basically every aspect of Kruger you could imagine. You will learn so much that will allow you to make the most out of future visits(!)
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anne
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Unread postby anne » Mon Oct 31, 2005 11:56 pm

Hi Bushmad,
Thank you so much for your detailed reply. I've done a lot of what you've suggested and have explored the sanparks sight quite a lot. I'm also looking at quite a bit of the discussion that the Forum has generated.

I haven't come across the 3 day walks that you mentioned. I will look a little harder.

You are lucky to live so close to Kruger - very enviable! :mrgreen:

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I'm coming back with a better camera toward the second half of next year. Haven't worked out how long I will stay as I'm trying to couple it with a 25 day volunteer program with the Aids sufferers in remote regions - however it starts and finishes in Phalaborwa :wink:
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Unread postby anne » Tue Nov 01, 2005 8:20 am

Hi Nico
I think he's got mud spashed all over him. Does look odd though!

have a closer look - what do you think??

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Unread postby Nico » Wed Nov 02, 2005 12:34 am

Hi anne, it's look like a kind off a skin disease. These are spots without hair.
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