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 Post subject: Wild about cats-What a Weekend
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 7:03 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 4:10 pm
Posts: 2416
Location: SA
:yaya:

I just spent the two most magical nights in the park. I stayed both in Skukuza and was very blessed with sightings. CC could I put my other TR on hold just for a bit so I can tell this one? :pray:

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Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


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 Post subject: Re: What a Weekend
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 5:34 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: SA
CC please feel free to remove if not suitable

No worries Wac..CC
Day 1

As some of you know, Im in matric this year, and my mother offered to take me to KNP for a weekend to let me cool off after July exams. Obviously I obliged :D So we organised to stay in Skukuza for two nights; the 30 and 31 of July.

On the Friday I had my last exam, Maths P3, and we planed to leave straight from there. However, after my exam I called my mom, who informed me that the packing wasnt finished yet. So I waited for half an hour and then hopped into the car, ready for the weekend. Sigh, we left the bird books at home, so we had to make a quick detour. Then we were on the road. :dance:

We left JHB around 10h45 and planned to be at the park gate about 14h45. We stopped by at Milly's, which was packed.

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Along the road I noticed how dry everything was. It was barren.

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Finally we arrived a Malelane Gate!!!! :dance: It was around 15h10, so timing was good. I have my learner's, so I got to drive :dance: :dance: :dance:

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The first animal we saw, as always, was impala.

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Some other sightings

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We stopped at Renoster Pan, but nothing exciting was happeneing. About 1 km from the H2-2 we came across a delightfully busy hyaena den.

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This one got all uptight when the other car made a noise

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We were really running out of time to get to camp, and trust it to happen, ellies blocking the road.

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The SANParks guy in front of us escorted us to Skukuza at a bit of a speed.

It was so great to be in KNP.

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The next day presented the most amazing sighting since the lion hunt & kill.

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Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


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 Post subject: Re: What a Weekend
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 7:45 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 4:10 pm
Posts: 2416
Location: SA
Day 2

Our plan for the day was simple: Head down to Transport Dam for tea and rusks and then to Nkhulu for brunch.

It was really hard to get up early. We took our time getting ready, so it was already light as we left camp. We qiuckly visited my favourite, DE Laporte, on our way. There was nothing there, but we decided our last morning we woukd have tea and rusks here.

Just after turning onto the H1-1 we found a beautiful couple of klipspringer near some rocks.

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Just a little further in the road, an enormous truck had stopped. Being higher than an Audi A6 they could probably see something we couldnt. So I asked the really cute :redface: :wink: driver what they had seen. Serval, he said, quite a couple of meters in. No communication was necessary, we were going to wait. More an more cars arrived, their engines loud and disruptive. I was getting annoyed because they were blocking my view and no doubt scaring the little guy away. Eventually they grew impatient and it was only one car and us. I quickly wanted just a glimpse and popped my head ever so slightly out the sunroof :whistle: I scanned but found no movement or odd shape. Suddenly a shape caught my eye.

He was crossing the road!!!!!!!!!! Behind the car :x

I enjoyed the sighting as much as I could before pulling out my camera. What a beauty.

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My first serval!!!! Oh I was so excited!!

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Okay so I was pretty much satisfied for the whole trip and the rest of the day seemed like it would be quite a blur in comparison.

But later that day we witnessed a kill!

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Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


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 Post subject: Re: What a Weekend
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 7:37 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 4:10 pm
Posts: 2416
Location: SA
So we continued towrds Transport Dam. Not even 10 meters from the serval sighting (after which we sat alone in the road with our tea and rusks, we were hungry THEN :tongue: ) right next to the road

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Transport was beautiful as always, although we were a bit late for the rush hour animal morning drink

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We had a snack there. From there we were meant to go straight to Nkhulu, but we couldnt resist a drive down N'waswitshaka, which is where we saw a lion kill taking place about a year ago. The road was quiet, and so was the waterhole.

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Seems the 'it' place was somewhere else now! :?

So later down the road we found some zebra, using the road as a path.

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I parked to the right of the road, hoping they would pass the car for a nice close-up shot. But, the headed into the bush next to us instead.

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The cheek!!

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They made a detour around the car! Hmmmf! :lol:

Anyway so later on we found a huge herd of ellie. Being a new driver I was pretty freaked out. The herd was too big for my comfort, and there were young ones everywhere, playing in the road nogal!! I was quite nervous :wink:

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Thankfully, I got past okay. We saw lots and lots of these

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Upon parking the car next to them and grabbing a fruit as a quick snack, I was charged by both a monkey and a baboon and had to promply close my window :evil: :evil: Just in time too! :x And the people in front of us were feeding them!! I should have hooted! The primates are becoming very aggressive and Im really not happy about it.

There was a huge amount of vultures sunning themselves juuuust behind these reeds

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Giraffe

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So we eventually arrived at Nkhulu

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So it turned out to be a very enjoyable lunch instead of breakfast :lol:

_________________
Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


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 Post subject: Re: What a Weekend
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 6:28 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 4:10 pm
Posts: 2416
Location: SA
The starlings were really out in full force!

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But no monkeys or baboons...? Wierd.

On the way there we had travelled the tar road, but on the way back we took all the sand loops, they were full of game!!

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A mating pair of Fish Eagles
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Had to rush to Lake Panic for a bit of time to have a good view. It really helped us relax (so much that we lost track of the time :redface: )

This guy was a real star the next day
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On the way back we saw hyaena on the one side of the N'waswitshaka bridge and ellie on the other side :D

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_________________
Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


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 Post subject: Re: What a Weekend
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 7:37 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 4:10 pm
Posts: 2416
Location: SA
lion queen - You should meet my mom... tell her that... :wink:

The next morning we woke up early and wanted to go back to sleep. But I stubbornly got up and ready for the day. Good thing too, because it seems the day was perfectly timed.

Before leaving Skukuza, I took a walk to the shop and fence. There I saw something interesting: someone had disposed of bread close to the fence and there was a bunch of birds fighting over it.

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Very entertaining.

The river

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We travelled, as planned, to De Laporte waterhole along the main road.

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There we sat, drinking tea and eating rusks. There was nothing in front of us. Suddenly a shape caught the edge of my eye. I saw a dark shape moving across the road just before it opens for cars. HONEY BADGER!!! We rushed over and watched him dig around for a while. This is all I got of him.

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Suddenly he was gone. There must be a burrow close by.

We were so happy :) :) What a great weekend!! We decided to leave the park via the Doispane Road. We, obviously, had to visit Lake Panic.

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There we witnessed a kill. Out of the water popped this thin neck, and a darter swam rather ungracefully to the log.

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He would dip the fish in the water, then rub the top fin against the log.

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Before our very eyes, he swallowed the fish whole. :shock: The hide was packed full, and we applauded the bird's magnificent feat :clap: :clap:

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Just a little further down the main road:

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I'll tell you the best part.... later... :wink:

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Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


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 Post subject: Re: What a Weekend
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 5:07 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 4:10 pm
Posts: 2416
Location: SA
Thanks for all the comments :D

So the leopard, panting in the early afternoon heat, crossed the road in a blur amoung all the cars in front of us. He disappeared into the bush. But we hung around. And didnt see him again. But we heard something profound.

A distraught squeal erupted from the still, brown thicket next to us. We listened as another echoed through the hot air. A distress call, like that of a struggling baby.

As we listened further, the cry sounded one more time, much further than before. A kill.

We waited for the leopard to climb the tree with his prize. Longer and longer, we scanned all the trees, but he was gone. :(

So we headed for the gate. Due to lack of time, we had to cut down the beautiful S4 to Kruger Gate.

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Bye bye KNP

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Two night; a honey badger, serval, darter kill and leopard later, the best weekend ever :D

_________________
Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


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