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 Post subject: lion queen-Whoop Whoop in KNP-June 2010
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:24 am 
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DAY 1 – WHOOP WHOOP

I have never believed in planning a holiday too far into the future (except for once or twice). I believe that if something should come your way it will. This holiday was also one of those planed one month ahead and every thing went smooth. Only thing that was different was that this time we would not sleep in Nelspruit the night before entering the park.

Friday afternoon just after school we set off. Thirteen hours on the road was ahead of us. We decided to drive the pothole part of the road in day time and the city part late at night. Just after three the morning we stopped at the outer gate at Malelane. We have arrived for a week in heaven. SO got out to stretch his legs, the next moment the hyenas let out a string of Whoop Whoops. That was the fastest all doors were closed and we were looking at all the bushes. Well the gates were still closed and surely there must be electric fencing. Well later the night as the wind came up the gates were blown open!! It was only the next morning after crossing the bridge that we saw that the hyenas were at the dust bins at the offices and could have easily crossed the bridge and out of the gates!!!

It felt good to be the first car in at the gates. I got out to fill in the forms and SO and Leopard Cub got out the cameras and packed away some of the other stuff. We were staying the first three nights in Berg and Dal and decided to go there first to freshen up and then of to Matjulu Waterhole.

Just after the Berg and Dal turnoff there is a group of eight White Rhinos on the left. We stopped and took some pictures.
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They were not that happy to stay for pictures and quickly left. We freshened up at B & D, had a quick look at the dam were there were only one hippo and some birds.

Off we went to the waterhole. It was very quiet there. We switched the bakkie’s engine off and just sat there in the quiet. SO dosed off and it felt good to be there all alone. Some Swainson’s Spurfowl came along busy doing there morning chores.

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Other cars came along and we turned round and stopped at the other side of the circle. Again SO dosed off and who can blame him after driving those 13 hours and those nasty hyenas not giving him 3 hours rest at the gate! There were fresh foot prints in the sand. It was to small to be lion, maybe leopard or hyena? After about an hour of we went on the S110 and up the H3 to Afsaal.

On the way there was a slender mongoose sleeping on a branch,
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yellow billed hornbill, lilac breasted roller

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and some zebras. This one with out a tail!

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and a very spiteful giraffe

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We stopped at Afsaal for tea and then further with the H3. At the Jock Safari Lodge turn off there was a big herd of buffalo. They were far into the bushes and we did not stop for photos. We turned off onto the S112 to Steven Hamilton Rock. Just before the rock there were a number of cars at a lion sighting. Three big male lions, but it was after 11H30 and all they wanted to do was do what lions do best at midday. The cars were not moving and all we could see was a tail every now and again. So we went back to the H3 and turned south to B & D. Now we were all very tired and decided we would ask if we could book in early.

We saw a herd of elephants with babies crossing the road on the way
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and the buffalo were still in the bushes. At B & D there were no problems to book in at 13H00 and we quickly got the basics at the shop and of we went to our chalet. We ate the last of the padkos and it was not long before we were all asleep.

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 Post subject: Re: Whoop Whoop in KNP
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 10:17 am 
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DAY 2 – HYAENAS AND CHEETAHS (PART 1)

It’s June and freezing cold in Upington, but the weather in KNP is stunning. B & D is cold in the mornings and late in the evenings, but further we are in summer clothes. We got up early and went with the tar S110 to the H3. I must say that except for elephants and rhinos the S110 did not deliver any sightings.

This was the best a Magpie Shrike
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Just before Afsaal on the plain there are big herds of zebras and impalas. Two rhinos are grazing further back

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Warthogs are running in between. Then what are walking through them without one impala or zebra running away? A hyena!!

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I know leopards raise a white flag when they are not hunting, does hyenas do the same?

Then we see this very cute baby giraffe. Ahhhh isn’t he so sweet.
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We stop at a tree with strange things on its stem. Any one knows what that is?

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At Afsaal we have tea and rusks and then it is off to the S113 and S114. On the S114 we stop at an empty hyena den full of white bones. We sit there in the silence and look at the trees and birds. Then after nearly half an hour a baby hyena jumps out of a water pipe under the road. I still don’t know who got the biggest freight, we or the hyena.

At Renosterkoppies Dam there is nothing but Red-billed Hornbills. We stop and they entertain us for a while.

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Then this dwarf mongoose
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Then further with H1-1 to Skukuza.

To be continued………….

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 Post subject: Re: Whoop Whoop in KNP
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 4:21 pm 
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Hi LQ, great TR so far. :thumbs_up:

Those are a kind of Fungus that grow on trees.

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 Post subject: Re: Whoop Whoop in KNP
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:58 am 
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DAY 2 – HYAENAS AND CHEETAHS (PART 2)

After fruit and cool drinks we go to the Krugergate, then a short way on the Doispanne road before we turn south on the S65. Here we saw our first yellow ribbon, but we just pass each other. Must say it was the smallest YR I've ever seen.

A small breading herd of elephants cross the road and the babies are just beautiful. They try to steal a quick drink of milk before mommy walks off.

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There are bushes full of beautiful red flowers

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and the usual Klipspringers on the rocks
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At Kwaggas Pan there are a few cars. We slow down to see there is something lying in the sun. First we thought it was lions, only to see it is two cheetahs. We have seen a lot less cheetahs than leopards in KNP. So this sighting was straight from heaven.

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They rolled around and at a stage it looked like the one gave the other a friendly pat on the head.

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Then there is some more rolling

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Cars come and go and it is interesting that there is no pile up as with lions. One got up and walked to the waterhole.

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To be continued………….

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 Post subject: Re: Whoop Whoop in KNP
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 8:01 am 
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DAY 2 – HYAENAS AND CHEETAHS (PART 3)

He or she made sure that all other cheetahs know that this was his/her space.
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Then a quick drink of water it is after all warm and half past two in the afternoon.
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After a while the other one followed.
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Both got down for a drink of water and from behind they look like two hearts. Could it be that love is in the air?
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They then went and lay down at the side of the waterhole. On this picture it looks like the on have teats. Or is that just the black spots and my imagination?
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Now that really made our day. What more could you want? So quite content we went on our way back to B & D.

In one of the rivers we see what looks like a baby crocodile or is it only a small water monitor?

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At B & D we get pies and gravy for supper and back at the chalet the lions start a symphony that would carry on through the night. From time to time it sounds as if they are right next to the fence. There are quite dense bushes in front of our chalet and we can not see if they actually are next to the fence. Not that I really wanted to know if they might be next to the fence. We go to sleep with them still roaring in harmony. We dream of what tomorrow might bring.

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 Post subject: Re: Whoop Whoop in KNP
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 8:11 am 
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Location: South Africa, Mpumalanga, Middelburg....289km from KNP!!!
Again beautiful pics :clap:
Where again may i ask is that little drinking pan? :hmz:

lion queen wrote:
He or she

Looks like a she :whistle:

lion queen wrote:
baby crocodile or is it only a small water monitor?

Water monitor maybe, check the tail, gives it away.

Awesome LQ :thumbs_up:
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 Post subject: Re: Whoop Whoop in KNP
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:51 am 
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DAY 3 – NOMADS (PART 1)

We are up early and are the first car at the gate. The lions are still busy calling each other. It sounds as if one is outside the gate! When the guard opens the gate we are out and turn right on the gravel road. Suddenly SO switches of the bakkie engine and come to a stand still. It is still quite dark and I can’t see why he stopped. Then out of the grasses to our right come a big male lion. He walks up to the bakkie and then disappears in to the grass behind us. It’s still to dark for my camera to take any pictures. We can still hear the other lions roaring further on the gravel road.

Down the road we crawl. When we come round one of the bends there is a huge pile up of cars and next to the road a LION. What a surprise. :tongue:

We drive by (we were sure people thought we were crazy driving by a lion sighting), made a u-turn and came back. Now we were the only car on the lion side of the road. The lion is now on my side and I can take pictures with out poking out SO eyes with my lens.

There is a lion further back in the grass. You can only see his mane. Then after a while another lion shows up. He goes and lay next to the first one. They are full of scars.

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The T marks are clearly seen.
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They must have had a big fight the previous night. This one have a puncture mark in his face and his nose is bloody.
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It looks like this one still has a lot of fight left in him. Those eyes are enough to scare me.
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A nice stretch after a long night is just what those stiff muscles needed.
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Ok and now he is heading for the bakkie! O dear me just a quick last picture before the window goes up.
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All we do is watch him in the mirror. What if he decides to start chewing on the tyres? He rubs against the bakkie and goes round the back and in to the grass on the other side of the road. At that stage I wondered on how many photos we were and what the other people were thinking. We could not move, we were boxed in and there must have been nearly 20 cars at that the sighting.

Then the one at the back got up and started to walk over to the one still next to the road. Is it just dew in his manes or is that blood?
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Just then the roaring starts again. But it sounds like there is more than one on the other side. Could there be so many? We have seen four up to now. How many nomads are there?

This one is definitely interested in the lions on the other side.
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To be continued…..

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 Post subject: Re: Whoop Whoop in KNP
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 7:59 am 
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DAY 3 – NOMADS (PART 2)

Now we see what he is interested in. This one comes out from behind the bush on the other side of the road. Those teeth are more than enough to scare me. This is actually the end of a yawn, but it looks more like “Mess with me and I’ll mess with you”

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The one still next to the road now also gets up and starts to move further down the road. The guy in the bakkie next to us says there is a lioness as well. They all move now further back into the bushes and down the hill.

Just before we arrived the morning walk vehicle stopped at the other side of the ditch. Surely they must have heard the lions roar? :huh: :big_eyes: Where did the walkers walked to? All the cars start to drive off. We make a U-turn and go up the hill. We stop next to the Sanparks vehicle and after a while this guy comes walking up the road.
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He turns into the grass and join the others were they lay behind some bushes not 200 meters from the Sanparks vehicle.
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I know not the best picture, but they just disappear into the grass.

We waited for a while (nearly half an hour) to try and warn the walkers, but they don’t pitch and we drive off. They must have either seen the lions or the lions fell a sleep and did not worry about the walkers. We did not hear about any incident.

We go with the S110 back to the H3 and of to Afsaal for a very nice breakfast. Go up with the tar road to Skukuza and back. After the morning sighting there is not anything interesting.

We need to do some shopping and leave the park at Malelane gate. Shopping done in half an hour’s time and back we are in our own heaven. I must say after all the talk of not being allowed to exit and re-entering the park we had no problems.

At the B & D turn off we saw these two. The one had a impressive horn.
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We went round Steilberg which was stunning as usual. We saw only this lonely giraffe.

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Back on the S110 we only saw a big herd of impala. The chief in charge made sure that not even one of his underlings strayed away. We watched them for a very long time and it was stunning how the ram maneuvered the ewes together.
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Maybe if the women in my harem had eye lashes like that I would also keep an eye on them.
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The oxpeckers gave the impala a nice hair groom.
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We went back to B & D for a nice braai and saw our very first bushbaby in the tree by the braai. :dance:

The lions are still on the other side of the fence, but not as load as the previous night. Maybe they are tired as well or don’t feel up to another fight.

Tomorrow we are of to Skukuza. I know a lot of people don’t like Skukuza, but I love the camp. This time we are staying in one of the chalets that use the communal kitchens. Won’t that be fun?????

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 Post subject: Re: Whoop Whoop in KNP
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:23 am 
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Lowveldboy,

Ja all the usual things you know leopards, wild dog o yes and impala!! :lol: :lol:

But lions rule :dance: :dance:

It seems I need a fix, but there don't seem to be time for a quick visit to Kgalagadi.

One pic from a previous visit to Kgalagadi :roll:
Image

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 Post subject: Re: Whoop Whoop in KNP
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 7:51 am 
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DAY 4 – LIONS AND BUFFALO (PART 1)

Early morning we are packed up and ready to leave the beloved B & D. We go up the H3. Can’t believe it but at Rhino Pan we get Rhinos in the bushes. Can’t say we have to wonder why the pan was named like that.

We decide to go down Voortrekker Road. We have never before drove it all the way to Pretoriuskop. So this will be a first.

We turned in at Mtomeni, the first concrete dam in KNP. In December we saw a promising tusker on the S114 which Aat named Mtomeni. I still need to find out what Mtomeni mean. Today there’s nothing at the dam. Only this Sterling was busy looking for a breakfast bite.
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After a while we are down Voortrekker Road once again. We saw this bone along the road (Salamanda I think it must be the same one you saw.) To me it looks like something’s head. Don’t really know why?
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Then we see our first Secretary Bird in KNP. He stays with his back to us.
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The rest of the road is very quiet. About ten kilometers before Pretoriuskop we spot something far away in the grass and bushes. A lion!!!! Then after a while we see more. There must be 5 or 6 can’t really see how many, they stay low in the grass.
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We sit with them for nearly half an hour. One other car came along at a stage. The lions are watching something further down the road. We can’t see what because the road makes a bent. Then after a while we saw the biggest herd of buffalos grazing our way.
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The closer the buffalo get the more alert the lions are. We start to wonder whether the lions are going to try and catch a buffalo. The buffalo are later next to the bakkie and still the lions are behind the bushes. Then the lions get up one after the other and move off. Oh well, then there won’t be a catch and we don’t have to worry about our safety in the middle of the buffalo herd.

There are still buffalo coming down the road.
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We drive to Pretoriuskop where we get something cool to drink and then we go down the Napi Road to Skukuza.

To be continued…………….

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 Post subject: Re: Whoop Whoop in KNP
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 14, 2010 9:51 am 
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DAY 4 – LIONS AND BUFFALO (PART 2)

We turn in at Shilthave Dam. On the other side there is a hippo and baby! In the water there is a Saddle-billed Stork.

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On the bank there is a few Waterbuck. They are not at ease.
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There are now a lot of cars and we drive of. Maybe we will have peace and quite at Transport Dam.

We park in the shade and get the tea and biscuits out. There is nothing at the dam, in the water or on the banks. We sit there and drink in all the silence. Then you can understand were Silence is Golden comes from.

Then something flies up on the bakkie’s hood. This Natal Spurfowl is very interested in our tea and biscuits. You can clearly see why it is a spur fowl! Those spurs on his legs are impressive. I’m such a new Stiffneck my paint is still wet. Need to find out what they use those spurs for?
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It is not at least afraid of us. I can put out my hand and touch it. Don’t want to go so far and let it get on my hand. Maybe he has a problem and thinks he is a parrot!
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He thinks it is very funny to fly to the ground and chase his wife back into the grass and then fly back onto the bakkie’s hood. This keeps on happening for nearly a hour.
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We decide to spoil his fun and drive further towards Skukuza.

Maybe we should not have spoiled his fun, because at Skukuza our fun is spoiled.

To be continued………………

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 Post subject: Re: Whoop Whoop in KNP
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 10:58 am 
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DAY 4 – LIONS AND BUFFALO (PART 3)

We arrive at half past one and thinking back as we had no problems at B & D we go to reception to book in. We are helped very friendly and no mentioning is made about the two o’clock check in time. Until………

“Sorry mam the cleaners have not returned with your chalet’s key. Can you come back at two?”

We don’t have a problem with that and go down to the shop to get wors for a nice midday braai. Ok it’s two o’clock. So back we go to reception.

This time there is now problem and chalet 163’s key is handed to us. Down the road we go all happy and excited. Wow they have those white and red tape around our chalet. Maybe they planted grass is SO’s explanation. Well that was it until we saw there are no curtains. SO goes to the chalet only to tell us to stop unpacking. There is no furniture inside and there are paint bins every where.

Now I wonder what the guy at reception ment when he said the cleaners haven’t returned the key. Could it be the painters? Surely we needed furniture. I know we had to use the communal kitchens, but the booking said 3 beds? Where were they? So back to reception we go.

“Hi, we have a small problem at chalet 163. There are no furniture inside and they are busy painting it.”

I get a bland stare. Now I start to wonder whether I spoke English? I start to explain that we can’t stay there and that one of the cleaners told us to ask for chalet 161.

Once again just a bland stare. Ok I know it is WCS time but surely they must have an idea which chalets are available and which not. Mr Sam is called and they move into the back office. From where I stand I can see they are looking at the computer and then it looks like they are having an argument. Ok don’t tell me there is no chalet available, I’m going to raise all sorts of hell.

Ok here she comes. Hand me chalet 161’s key and says “next”.

What……………

No “Sorry we made a mistake” no “Thank you for your patience with our chaos”

Just ……..”Next”

Well better run before they take the key back. Of we go to our new chalet. It has 3 beds. 3 Stools and a table. Pots and pans and plates. Everything we need!!!

Leopard Cub and I pack off and SO starts the fire for nice hot dogs. We settle in and unpack the gear.

At half past four we go for a short drive with the S83. Just after crossing the Sand River we see a huge pile up off cars. We stop at an old Landie and they tell us there are two ellies up the road causing the pile up. Every time one of the cars tries to pass they step into the road. We stay far away from all the cars and the ellies. If we need to make a run for it we want to be first inline!!!!
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We stay there for half an hour and then we needed to make a run for the gates. All the cars on the other side of the elephants have made a U-turn and the SOV and cars on our side made a run for it pass the elephants. Where they are going I don’t have the faintest idea. It is now nearly half past five. They guy in the SOV revved his engine and blasted his tooter making the elephant “dance”. Which I did not think was very funny. Poor ellie. He was just having some fun. Hahahaha.
It is getting dark now!!!
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Just look at those reverse lights!!!!!!
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We made it back to camp in the nick of time!

SO starts his pap pot and tomato and onion sauce. I get the meat ready for a nice braai. What a nice day this was. Tomorrow we are going to drive up to Orpen. SO and leopard cub have a bet of some sorts and we need to go there to see who is the winner.

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 Post subject: Re: Whoop Whoop in KNP
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 7:31 am 
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DAY 5 – A BET AND THE ROAD TO SATARA (PART 1)

Long before we started to plan this trip SO and Leopard Cub had a disagreement on where there is a river full of palms. SO said it was near Orpen (????) and Leopard Cub before Satara. They made a bet of a few thousand Rand (which LC could always use and definitely did not have to pay her dad). It was decided that we would leave for Orpen on the first day we stayed at Skukuza.

At Elephant waterhole we saw old One Eye and his lady friend. They were there December as well. But this time we were way to late to take a good picture of him. Only bums as they disappeared into the grass.

The rest of the road was unbelievably quiet. At least I saw a baby giraffe. They are so cute.
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This Brown snake eagle ( I hope) in this dead tree. The other photo was one of those that only afterwards you see it was where he went for a quick visit to the loo.
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Ahhhhh and the winner is Leopard cub!!!!!!!!!! SO did not even want to stop. I had to take the photo while driving at max speed past the palms.
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The veld was burned at patches to Orpen. The service at Orpen’s shop was the best ever. I had to buy more books for my collection and two T-shirts ( I did not expect it to be this warm in KNP)

Bobbejaankrans
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Nsemani dam
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There were a lot of cars parked there, but not really something to see
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Just outside of Satara we saw these waterbuck next to the road. They did not have a problem to pose for a few pictures.
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At one of the dams these terrapins got a little bit of sun. Could not see if it was a hippo they got a ride from?
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At Kumana dam there was huge herds of zebras and waterbuck.
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We stopped again at Leeupan. I still can’t believe how it dried up in the 6 months since December. We sit there for a long time just enjoying the atmosphere. We did not see much today, but there are still a few hours left and who knows maybe lions?

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 Post subject: Re: Whoop Whoop in KNP
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 12:11 pm 
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DAY 5 – A BET AND THE ROAD TO SATARA (PART 2)

We drove back to Skukuza with the H1-2 and then out on the H4-1. Not ten kilometers out of Skukuza we come across the biggest pile up ever. Now this could only mean one thing.

LIONS

The most cars are on the other side. We get a good view. There are a male next to the road. Minding his own business and not even looking up at all the cars. Maybe he was praying for them to go away and leave him be.
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Next to him the there are a lioness and then one in the middle of the road! The cars drive past her, but she stays put. Just looking up every now and again. It is interesting how the most of the cars give each other a chance to have a look and take pictures. Only one car that comes from behind stops right next to the lions and blocks every ones view.

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When the guy in front of us moves off, we see there is another one on the left side. She looks as if she has a few years behind her.

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Like last night we have to rush back to camp, but luckily not in such a rush that we could not stop for this owl in the tree.

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And to appreciate the sun set.

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Tomorrow we are going down to Croc Bridge. Can't wait to visit all last years places!

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 Post subject: Re: Whoop Whoop in KNP
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 3:19 pm 
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Elsa,

Yes and this was late the afternoon. Don't know for how long they have been in the road. And this was a huge pile up and there was a big truck/bus aswell. Not even that disturbed them.

Maybe it had something to do with that all of them were fully grown lions. No young ones to protect.

In the Kgalagadi lions usually sleep during day time, it is seldom that you would get lions walking about exept early morning or late afternoon on their way to water. In Kruger we got lions moving about any time of the day.

When they lay there in the middle of the road and you have to drive round them, they give that royal impression to me. You as underling have to go out of your way, he/she is enjoying a nap. :slap:

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