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 Post subject: Bushcraft-Browns in KNP - August 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 2:26 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:07 pm
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Location: Toti KZN
Hi Guys;

The Browns are back,

Supernova, Melly, The Cow, kids and I are off too KNP on Friday the 20th. This time Punkaloo and her boyfriend Hubbly are coming with us and it will be Hubbly’s first KNP trip, so I intend to make it memorable for him with some stories of hyenas and leopards in the camp, which will make his walk back to their bungalow so much longer :twisted: :twisted:


Punkaloo better watch out that Hubbly doesn’t catch the KNP bug, because she may soon be camping in the bush. :lol: :lol:

We made many changes, but the trip ended up:

20th, 21st and 22nd GC4V Skukuza
23rd, 24th, 25th and 26th Ngwenya
27th Pretoriuskop
28th Lower Sabie

Punkaloo and Hubbly are with us for the first 3 days and then they return to JHB, but the 9 remaining Browns continue on to Ngwenya.

Ngwenya will be a new experience for all of us, kindly sponsored by Supernova and Melly. I was a little concerned about getting into the park in the mornings, so we have booked gate passes for the 4 days, but I believe that one still has to follow the queuing process, etc, so I hope that we can still get into the park at the correct times for those special sightings.

A night in Pretoriuskop will also be a first for all of us. We have never stayed there, because research indicates that it’s not the best for sightings (long grass, etc), but we have to at least give it a try. The pool looks to be the best in the park.

The packing and shopping has already started, but the Cow isn’t getting anywhere fast. Melly has kindly offered to buy our meat, which will save us potential problems at the Swazi border – Thanks Melly. :thumbs_up:

Hoping for a good trip and that the burning in the south hasn’t affected things too much.

To be continued


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 Post subject: Re: Browns in KNP - August 2010
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:52 pm 
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Location: Toti KZN
Thanks Hippo-fan, anne-marie and Gunner;

The Cow is still packing - hope the car is big enough :shock: :D and the kids are so excited, they can't sleep :wall: .


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 Post subject: Re: Browns in KNP - August 2010
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 4:02 pm 
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Alrighty, shopping done :D
I still can't believe how much meat this family eats!!! My freezer is packed to the top!! :shock: :shock:

Now, just have to pack the clothes! Luckily we are taking the trailer so i dont have to take those damn yellow bags again!! Or should i rather say, luckily Bushcraft didn't bet me that i couldn't get everything in the car this time!! :lol: :lol:

So not fair though, Bushcraft and the Cow have already left and we still have one more sleep :( :(


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 Post subject: Re: Browns in KNP - August 2010
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 2:05 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:07 pm
Posts: 798
Location: Toti KZN
Thanks Jen, Gunner, yoda, Cody, fenwickh and Nkumbe.

We are halfway through our KNP holiday. :( only 4 days left :wall:

Our lion luck has continued, but only 2 leopard sightings :wink:

We found our first yellow ribbon yesterday - H. Kristal :dance:

Cheers
Bushcraft


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 Post subject: Re: Browns in KNP - August 2010
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 10:11 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:07 pm
Posts: 798
Location: Toti KZN
Thanks Maddie88, Gunner, Kamadejo, Micetta, Lowveldboy, michel367 & Magic Guarri

We got back yesterday after a long 8 hour drive from Lower Sabie. :cry: :cry:

It sucks to be back at work today when you have KNP withdrawal symptoms, but one needs to earn a salary to pay for the next trip. :wink:

I have some catching up to do at work and pics to sort out, so the TR will follow shortly. :thumbs_up:


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 Post subject: Re: Browns in KNP - August 2010
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 9:48 am 
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Location: Toti KZN
August 19th Home to Jozini Dam

Chantal and I decided to pull the kids out of school for Friday the 20th and leave after lunch on Thursday the 19th for a halfway stop over at Nkonkoni camp at Jozini Dam.

We still worked half day, so we had the usual panic to pack the car and get to the camp before dark. Supernova, Melly, Punkaloo, Hubbly, Luckycharm and Tortoise were going to meet us at Paul Kruger gate late the next evening.

Nkonkoni is always an awesome stop over for us and gets that bush feel started, but my damn cell phone kept ringing with work issues all the way there, so that first beer went down before I even unpacked the car.

The safari tents have a toilet and boma attached, but no fences, so it’s a great experience for the first night out of the city.

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The family settled in and even the Cow’s zebra/tiger dress stopped upsetting me.

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We did a short 1km drive down to the dam and found warthog, ostrich and nyala. The dam triggered the fishing response in me, so it was time to go and start the braai before I made a rod out of the bush and sat there all night. (Next year the fishing rod is going to sneak into the luggage).

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I started the braai with an audience watching on the left and the top right of the photo.

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Suddenly a warthog arrived, looked at us and snuck around the back of the tent, then more and more started arriving. The next thing Chantal came out the tent and said “We have a warthog family living under the geyser”

Maybe it was the beers that were starting to have an effect, but I thought that it would be a good idea to sneak up on them and take a photo, but the situation ended up with me running one direction and the warthogs the other, much to the delight of the kids. Chantal decided that it would be a safer option to photograph them through the bathroom window, and now, more awake, I agreed.

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Out of the blue, a giant south westerly started blowing and the tent straps starting squeaking like crazy, which turned my cheesy face into a pelican one. After 20 minutes on top of a chair and nearly landing in the dustbin, I decided to give up, but 2 minutes later I had a brain wave and decided “what do you do if something squeaks, you oil it”, so I snuck off to the food box and stole the olive oil and started to grease all the straps, which worked, although it made a massive mess, but at least the tranquility returned, that’s until we went to bed and the squeaking returned, which resulted in a sleepless night even after 6 beers and cotton wool stuffed ears.

August 20th Jozini Dam to Skukuza

After 4 hours of Swazi chaos and the technically challenged we entered Crocodile Bridge just before 11am.

It was time to get the cameras out, check the sighting board, take a deep breath and realize that we were here, because next week we will wish that we were still there, so every minute needs to be appreciated, which is something that I never did in the past and only regretted it a week after I returned home.

The first sighting, besides the usual MacDonald’s clan (impala), was giraffe, which is not unusual for the Crocodile Bridge area.

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The drive up the H4-2 was quiet until we reached the top end of the Gomondwane loop, which has a small unnamed dam on it just off the H4-2, so we took a small detour to the dam and found our first elephant for the trip and 2 rhino that took off into the bush before I had time to take a photo.

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Just before Lower Sabie we found the first male kudu for the trip.

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Then the bird hour started and the H10 Bridge over the Sabie produced the unusual kingfisher clan, who seem to live there, because we have seen them every time we cross the bridge, but the Cow insists on photographing them each time. A Heron of some sort (may be a Goliath Heron) was also cruising the area.

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We did a u-turn and headed for Sunset dam, which produced the normal crocodile clan, hippos and birds, including the old undertaker lookalike.

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To be continued...


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 Post subject: Re: Browns in KNP - August 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 11:50 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:07 pm
Posts: 798
Location: Toti KZN
Thanks Kamadejo, Nkumbe, Pumbaa, wildtuinmal, Elsa, Kath U.K, Shi, Elzet, Meandering Mouse and PetraJ

Glad that I could give you a laugh and a bedtime story :lol:

The KNP curse has come 2 weeks later this time and thankfully not in the park - Our middle one woke up with chicken pox this morning and those of you that have read our previous TR's will know that bushpig isn't the easiest at the best of times, so it's going to be a long week. :tongue:


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 Post subject: Re: Browns in KNP - August 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 12:25 pm 
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Location: Toti KZN
Day 1 continued

The drive up to the N’watimhiri Causeway was quiet, so we decided to do a small detour to another unnamed dam just 3km down the S21. 2km into the S21 we found a lone car parked on the side of the road and on a slow approach we saw what had got their attention.

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The other vehicle pulled off and left us alone with the leopard for about 10 minutes. Then a white BMW came over the hill and the lone male driver pulled up next to us and friendly asked “what’s happening”. Chantal suggested that he reversed a little way up the hill as he would have a view of the leopard from over there. She was half way through the sentence and the BMW was already in reverse. 2 minutes later the kids started having a fight in the back seat, so I was halfway through turning around to grease them and something coming towards us caught my eye.

It was the BMW. The driver had spotted the leopard and was frantically photographing it, but had taken his foot off the brake and was now coming down the hill straight at us.

The only thing that I could do was push the hooter, which prompted an initial glare from the BMW, that’s until the occupant realized that he had about 1 second to act before he crashed into our car. He managed to stop about 5mm from our front bumper, suddenly turned very pale, and apologized profusely.

Fortunately the leopard was still very relaxed and only managed a quick glance at us before going back to sleep.

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Half an hour later the leopard was still asleep and the kids were starting to test our patience, so we decided to continue on to Skukuza and leave the BMW alone with the leopard. The near crash experience had resulted in us and the BMW driver becoming mates and all waved goodbye.

Back on the H4-1 we found another 2 cars parked on the side of the road and the first lions made an appearance, but a long way off, so we took a few pictures and continued on to Skukuza.

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Just after Nkuhlu we found zebra, giraffe, warthogs and these 2 fish eagles

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2 minutes later the first Nyala of the trip showed up.

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The book in at Skukuza took some time, because we were trying to book everyone in to save Supernova and clan the hassle later. I admit that it must have been confusing for the Skukuza staff, but they were more than willing to help, so after slightly longer than usual we were off to our unit 222 and Supernova had 221, which was cool for us, because we could sit around the fire later after the kids had gone to sleep without worrying about “will we hear them if there’s a problem”

Chantal did her yellow ribbon duties, but I have since found out that the ribbon is meant to be tied to the driver’s mirror

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Just after 4pm we decided to drive out to Paul Kruger gate and wait for Supernova and clan, but when we arrived Melly phoned and said that they had been delayed, so we decided to head back to Skukuza and do our leopard loop. We later found out that Hubbly had been stopped for crossing an imaginary white line and was fined R700, which wasn’t a nice way to start his first Kruger trip.

The leopard loop didn’t produce a leopard today, but we did find a few buffalo next to the road which completed the big 5 for the day.

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Supernova also saw nothing from Kruger gate to Skukuza and had to assure Hubbly that there were animals in Kruger.

The first braai of every KNP trip is special

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Later that evening the odd hyena came past the fence and Hubbly got to see his first KNP predator. Whilst busy chatting on the phone, he happened to spot the hyena, got so excited, and shouted “jackal”. We all had a good laugh.


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 Post subject: Re: Browns in KNP - August 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 9:04 pm 
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Location: Toti KZN
August 21st Skukuza

Morning Drive: H4-1/H10/S29/Mlondozi/S30 and back

I have to admit that I was surprised to see Hubbly and Punkaloo cruising around at 5:30am all wrapped up in blankets, as I expected that they would join us at about 9am.

After an early start, we had our first KNP sunrise, which is always special.

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It was only 4 degrees that morning, so everyone was bundled up in their blankets and warm clothes, which was a massive change from the Durban weather, but Supernova and family didn’t seem to mind as JHB had been pretty cold and they were used to it. I insisted on driving with the car window open, that’s until my right ear began to freeze, but I stubbornly refused to close the window, so to save the ear I had to wrap a scarf around it, much to the shock of others and the delight of the kids.

Our first animal of the morning was this smiling buffalo captured by Luckycharm. I wish I knew who the dentist was.

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After a quick toilet stop at Nkuhlu, we were off again. On the N’watimhiri Causeway we found this juvenile Marabou Stork, please advise if this is the correct id.

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Supernova and Melly then spotted this strange hippo, which gave them a lovely yawn to say good morning. I will definitely stay away from his dentist.

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Sunset Dam is always great and today was no exception. We found a Giant Kingfisher and a Yellow-Billed Stork.

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On the other side of the road, the Cow found this Impala hiding. If I was part of the MacDonald’s clan I would spend most of the day hiding behind a bank just like her.

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The Lower Sabie sight boarding was still a bit quiet, so we all went on to the deck. Luckycharm managed to get this picture of an elephant having an early morning drink. Aat is taking a look at this elephant for us and is trying for an ID.

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On the bridge we found this Swallow.

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On the H10, we found a family of Giraffe, a Kori Bustard and a Rhino, the third of the Big 5 for the morning. This one was stubborn, refused to turn around for a photo and started to look like a rock to me, so we moved on.

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We also found this little Steenbok hiding on the side of the road.

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As the decibel level in the car was rising with calls for food, these boys decided to make an appearance. It had been a fairly quiet drive until now and Hubbly was still undecided as to whether KNP had any predators. Supernova’s car sounded like a fish market suddenly.

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To be continued …


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 Post subject: Re: Browns in KNP - August 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 10:52 pm 
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Location: Northcliff
Hey Bushcraft,

That protective EAR gear was something to behold :thumbs_up: :cam:


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I’m being very careful as there were some classic photos during this trip (I’m sure that there are a few coming soon :redface: :slap: )

Supernova

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Kruger - 19th to 24th August 2012


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 Post subject: Re: Browns in KNP - August 2010
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 6:50 pm 
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21st continued …

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The 2 brothers then decided it was time for a nap, found a nice shady spot and disappeared. They just popped their heads up every now and then to survey the chaos around them.

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Mlondozi Picnic spot was quiet, until our gang arrived. We were greeted by the usual view and these hippos out the water.

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While Supernova and I made breakfast, Hubbly was the tourist with the camera.

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On the drive back to Skukuza, we decided to check on the cheetah, but there were so many cars, we turned around and went on our way.

The S30 was very quiet and the morning doldrums returned.

Once back on the H4-1, we found our first big KNP traffic jam. Immediately all the cries in our car were ‘lion’. After patiently waiting our turn, we saw these 4 lying under a tree.

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After about 10 minutes, 1 lioness got up and started walking our direction. Her 1 eye looked a little pale and we assumed that she must have been blind in that eye.

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The males were the next to follow and came out the bush right next to our cars, which caused the car windows to go up/down/up.

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The stomachs and legs of both males were covered in blood, so they must have just been on a kill and it almost looked as if they had been lying on the kill. The adrenalin was charging in our car and I can only imagine how hectic Supernova’s car must have been, especially since it was Hubbly’s first KNP lion and 1 large male was right next to his window.

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They then walked along the road in front of us, intently watching the impala and warthog. At one stage there was even a giraffe walking towards them.

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We all sat with baited breathe wandering it they would charge, when all of a sudden, the big male took off after a warthog. I started shrieking at Chantal to film and looked in my rear view mirror to see if Supernova and clan were watching; but the waving arms and lip reading told me that they were watching and fairly keen to chase the action. Luckily for the warthog, it got away, not that the male lion stood much chance anyway.

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The lions then decided they’d had enough of all the gawking and being bumped by an idiot in a reversing car, so they took off into the bush again. We followed them, just catching glimpses of them in the bush. A quick check on the Garmin showed an inlet down the road, so we left the crowd and moved off to the secluded inlet.

I find that on the Skukuza/Lower Sabie road all one has to do is stop and look intently into the bush and in 5 minutes you will have an audience. After 2 minutes the crowds started coming down the dead end inlet and most had no idea why they were even there, just following the crowd.

The cars started stopping next to us “What happening, what are you looking at, where is it”. I took great joy in saying “Nothing right now, we are waiting for lions to walk past”. The shocked expressions and looks of “These are crazy folks” made me bite my lip to stop from laughing, but a few minutes later the lions arrived. Timing really is a major part of any sighting.
This was the best we could see.

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Once they had moved on again, we found another inlet, they didn’t come past, but did frighten a buffalo enjoying a rest in the river bed though.

What a first morning drive for Hubbly

To be continued…


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 Post subject: Re: Browns in KNP - August 2010
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 6:32 pm 
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Afternoon Drive: H4-1 to S21 and back

We left for our afternoon drive at 3pm and found some warthog, nyala, kudu, buffalo and a herd of ellies going for a drink.

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We decided to try our little unnamed dam a few km down the S21, but halfway to the dam we spotted our BMW mate on the side of the road and he was frantically waving his hands at us. I jumped on the walkie talkie to Supernova “Leopard, leopard in the tree”. The reason for the excitement was not just the leopard, but also that fact that a herd of impala were approaching the tree.

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While we were sitting watching him, the impala decided to graze under his tree. He watched them so intently and they didn’t even have a clue that he was there. In the below sequence you can see how he stalked them from the safety of the tree.

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My teeth were chattering with excitement, but the lazy leopard decided it wasn’t worth the risk and lay down to have a snooze.

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In the photo below one can see the leopard in the tree and the impala grazing totally oblivious to the fact that they were so close to potential death.

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We spent more than 30 minutes with the leopard and eventually the Garmin was shouting for us to return, so we waited until the last minute and left for camp.

The drive back to camp was a quite one, with just the usual suspects along the way, but it had been another awesome big 5 day.


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 Post subject: Re: Browns in KNP - August 2010
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:37 pm 
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Hehehe :) i love the scarf around ur head too Bushcraft! :lol: :lol:

Hubbly's next to me, reading the TR aswel! He's going to join the forum too :D :D we really enjoying this hehe :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:

xx



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 Post subject: Re: Browns in KNP - August 2010
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:39 am 
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August 22nd Skukuza

Morning Drive: H1-1, S114, S21 to the H4-1 back to Skukuza

We decided on a different route this morning. What a disaster, burning had taken place and we only found a scattering of impala. We were going to do the S112 and go past Transport Dam, but decided against it and rather took the S21. This was also burnt and we only saw a giraffe an hour and a half into the drive.

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There wasn’t much at the dam, so we thought we’d try our luck at our leopard tree again. When we got there, there was a tour operator and one other car. The tour guide told us that we had just missed a pack of wild dogs by 2 minutes. They were hunting and found a hyena and then proceeded to chase him all over the place.

We stayed around for a while, but all we saw were their footprints on the dirt road. That’s KNP for you. My lip was hanging on the steering wheel by now, so we moved on.

Just before we reached the tar, we found this rhino and Chantal’s favourite bird, which if not photographed, results in picture, but no sound in the car for at least half an hour.

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We also saw this crocodile sunning itself just before Skukuza.

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In desperation we decided to do our leopard loop again, but today this 2km of dirt had turned into a lion loop.

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It was a strange combination of the older sick looking male, a young male and 1 female.

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The rumour along the dirt road was that they may be TB lions, but only the older male looked sick to me.

The crowd started to grow and this little road wasn’t made for so many cars, so tensions were increasing rapidly, but eventually we got into position for a few photos. Suddenly the walkie talkie rang out, it was Supernova, who was 2 cars behind us; “the lady behind you is opening her door”. When I checked in my rear view mirror the “husband” was waving his hands at me, so I assumed that they wanted to get out of the traffic jam, therefore I decided to move out of our prime spot and give them a gap to get out.

The next thing they moved into our spot and started taking photos. This caused me to completely blow a head gasket and share some choice works with them, which caused them to come on past us and the “conversion” continued on.

This had ruined the sighting, so we decided to head back to Skukuza. It took me about an hour to return to normal colour.

We had some visitors in front of our units over lunch, which was pretty cool.

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To be continued


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 Post subject: Re: Browns in KNP - August 2010
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:29 pm 
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Location: Toti KZN
Afternoon Drive: H4-1 to Nkuhlu and back

We left camp at 3pm again and decided to do our leopard loop. All we found was this male lion having a sleep. He was the same sick guy from the morning, but his companions had moved on.

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Kruger isn’t Kruger without some elephant up close. Even though The Cow is terrified of them, Melly and Hubbly were desperate for some up close and personnel. Just after the H12 Bridge, a herd decided they needed to cross the road. The gent in the car in front of us was just as terrified as The Cow and he kept reversing, which kept us reversing, so I eventually had to go round him and he reversed a 100m further down the road.

The last elephant was one with 5 legs and he was in a bad mood, which caused Supernova’s car to also reverse a little. He proceeded across the road and started chasing the rest of the herd up and down through the bush. I will spare everyone a picture of the fifth leg, but it did cause some hand signals from Hubbly after it was all over, which looked similar to the way us fishermen indicate the size of a fish. I’m glad that we men don’t get to see the same visual displays from female elephants.

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Just before Nkuhlu, we found these baboons. The mother was pulling the same faces that I do after a long day with the kids.

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This little guy was so cool; I think the wife and kids all fell in love with him.

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We still had some time, so continued on a little. Even though the N’watimhiri waterhole was almost completely dry, we found these kudu drinking/grazing. They were there every day.

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Time was running out, so we did a quick u-turn and headed back towards Skukuza.

Just past Nkuhlu this chap came walking down the road.

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A few minutes later Supernova suddenly braked and started reversing, so I jumped on the walkie talkie and asked “what’s up”, Melly answered and said “Hubbly has seen something that looked like a hairy sheep”.

The sheep turned into a hyena

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About a minute later 2 more arrived, but it was getting dark, so taking photos was proving to be a problem. We watched them interact for a few minutes and then moved on to Skukuza.

Just after 6pm a few visitors arrived at the fence. Supernova managed to get a few pictures of this little guy

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Tonight was Hubbly and Punkaloo’s last night with us and our last night at Skukuza, so we all agreed to use extra points on our wild cards and head up to the Selati restaurant for supper. This was meant to be a last night treat, but once again I’m not sure if it was one.

Everything went wrong, from no fillet in stock, raw meat (I like my steak almost raw, but Melly’s was still mooing), some kids getting food and finishing eating before others even got their food, etc, etc.

All the kids, except 1, had received their food, finished eating and were starting to fall asleep on the table, before the rest of the food arrived. The one bonus is that we had more time to drink beer and maybe that’s why my steak tasted great to me.

The final shock was that Selati doesn’t take wild cards!!!!

When we got back to the units Supernova and the Cow took the kids to bed (Supernova never returned), while the rest of us continued with the “war stories” outside.

Suddenly I got excited about a movement in the tree and after a few beers, I even surprised myself. It was a Bushbaby, but I spent more time photographing the tree or branch where he was a second before and ended up with only 1 photo.

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I was frustrated at only getting 1 picture, so when everyone went to bed I took a blanket out of the cupboard, switched all the lights off and waited in ambush outside.

After 11pm the Cow wondered where I was and came outside to find me. I’m sure that she wasn’t surprised to find me curled up and sleeping, as I have done it many times before, but I crapped myself when she woke me up, but probably not as badly as the time that I fell asleep down by the fence at Biyamiti. The situation ended with me getting scolded all the way to the bedroom.


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