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 Post subject: Re: Truly Blessed: Bushbuddies go to KTP and KNP
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:17 pm 
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Location: Centurion
So about the amazing sighting...

We were driving South from KTC and just before the turnoff to the loop around Dalkeith WH, we noticed, already from a distance, something walking in front of us in the road. "Hyena" I yelled. No... We got closer. "No, it looks like a leopard!" SO yelled... But we were both wrong :slap: - as we got closer we realised it was a cheetah!

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The cheetah was walking quite fast and looked like she/he was on a mission. Maybe it was hungry and looking for breakfast... We looked towards our right - another cheetah!

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And another one to our left! Three cheetahs, walking in front and alongside our car, seemingly looking for something to eat. WOW! Maybe we'll see cheetahs hunting! :big_eyes:

The one cheetah stopped, and looked intensely in one direction...

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The other also slowed down and looked in the same direction...

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The one walking in front turned around and came to join the ones toward the back

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They started moving into the bush, and away from the open space of the road. They did not want to be seen!

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At all times they kept their eyes on one spot...

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One sat down, some moved deeper in. Would a stalking cheetah go and sit down while hunting??? :huh:

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We looked and looked and tried to see throughout this time - what were they looking at? I saw one lonesome BWB standing in that direction. And some cars that stopped in that area. Surely a BWB is a bit ambitious for a cheetah?!?! And what were those cars looking at - they should come back here - we've got some cheetahs over here!

We were right about a few things. The cheetah were not looking at the BWB. And, yes, the cars in front did innitially miss the cheetah sighting - but they would soon catch up. They did have a good sighting of their own though...

And the cheetahs weren't sitting or lying down during a hunting session. They were going further into the bush and lying down because they were hiding! :shock:

From the front, with the cars, came two beautiful lionesses!

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They were walking our (and the cheetahs') way...

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They seemed very interested in our car (I think it was their reflections in the metalic paint). At some point I had to roll up the windows and we had to drive forward and away from them, they became scarily interested in the car! :big_eyes: Heard too many stories of lions biting tyres...

Anyway after driving forward - we had some nice photo opportunities of the two together, behind our car.

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After a while they decided to move on. Luckily they headed toward the side of the road that the cheetahs were not on!

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They walked off into the bushes, and never noticed the cheetahs!

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By this time the cheetahs were all deeper into the bush, lying down and well hidden. We stayed with them for a short while, but it seemed the lions put them off the idea of breakfast all together!

Cheetah and lion in one sighting! To me this was a once in a lifetime sighting. I was literally over the moon, stars and milkyway! :dance:


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 Post subject: Re: Truly Blessed: Bushbuddies go to KTP and KNP
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:41 pm 
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After this wonderful sighting, we had to be off to continue our road to Nossob. On our way down we spotted some of the bigger birds -

Another photogenic Secretary Bird (Sekretarisvoel)

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And a group of Ostriches drinking at Kamqua (Volstruise)

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We decided to turn onto the greater dune road. From most reports it seemed that the dune roads were not very abundant in wildlife. So we were surprised to find quite a variety of sightings on this road.

A pair of Greater Kestrels (Grootrooivalke)

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Some Red Hartebeest

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Of course the ever present Gemsbok

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And the very common PCG (Bleeksingvalk)

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We had breakfast at Dikbaardskolk, after which we drove North to Nossob. We found the Nossob side very dry, and very quiet. After so many reports - we of course just had to take Marie se draai before checking in. There were numerous lionspoor on the road, but no lions! And not much else!

After checking in at Nossob I just had to spend some time taking pictures of the "Nossob-locals"... :cam:

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They seem to have a bit of a flee problem - always scratching... :lol:

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We got settled into our nice and warm chalet - just in front of the entrance to the hide!

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For our afternoon drive, we drove down to Marie se gat, and just sat their watching some birds and these jackal coming for a drink

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It was just so peacefull...

We returned to camp before the gates closed and spent our last few daylight minutes in the hide...

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...watching this lovely Black-headed Heron (Swartkopreier) sitting in the dead tree at the waterhole.

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That evening, we had a lovely braai (as we did every evening in the Kalahari) and with it... Well here is a picture to make those of you who have been to Nossob before, wish you could be back there...

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 Post subject: Re: Truly Blessed: Bushbuddies go to KTP and KNP
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 6:55 pm 
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Location: Centurion
Day 7 - 30 July 2010

After a lovely night's rest, we woke up for the first morning on the Nossob side to a lovely KTP sunrise.

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After we saw so many lionspoor the previous day at Marie se draai, we decided to go and see if there were any early morning lions awaiting us there. Unfortunately - no such luck. A short distance after we passed the waterhole, we saw a car or two standing still. Next to them were 3 or 4 PCG's in the trees, and we thought - okay, bird watching. Then Mike (an old acquaintance we met again in the park and had supper with the previous evening), who was also at the sighting, pointed out to us that there was a honey badger underneath the trees! :shock: Thanks, Mike! :thumbs_up:

I had to get this one on photo... Got the :cam: out as quikly as I could. But those little rascals are fast! I got MANY blurrs, here a tail, there a black smudge :slap: , but at least one shot proved that we did, indeed, see a honey badger!

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The rest of Marie se draai was relatively quiet. We then decided to turn North. Just after the closed Rooikop WH, we saw another car standing still. 2 PCG's in a tree. We were not going to be caught out again! And we were right. Another Honey Badger! This one was really too fast for a pic, so I decided to rather post the pic of the PCG's. :whistle:

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The car that was at the sighting first, moved on quickly. At a next sighting, they were also there. After chatting - they said they were actually just looking at the PCG's, and never noticed the HB... :o

The road to the North of Nossob was relatively quiet.

We did however see a few birds. This Lappet-faced Vulture (Swartaasvoel) in the distance.

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At Qubitje Kuap we saw this lonely BWB

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At Kwang we saw a very big herd of BWB coming to drink

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It was quite something to watch them drink. Such a big herd around such a small waterhole. Some were quite selfish at times...!

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The Cape Crows (Swartkraaie) were a common sighting everywhere

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I've always had my doubts as to whether I wanted to see a kill. It's nature in action, and a great way to see the predators, but the poor victim... Well, our next sighting was a kill :shock: ! But nature seemed to have decided to break it to me in a slow and not so grusome fashion... So it gave me a bird-kill! I have no pictures of the whole ordeal - as it would have been a technically difficult one to get! We saw 2 Lanner falcons being attacked by two PCG's. They were fighting in air all the time. Suddenly they all went down behind some bushes... Only 1 Lanner falcon came up... And the 2 PCG's feasted on the other one! :big_eyes: Okay, okay, not a bad "Kill" I know. But I still classify it as one, okay! :wink:

For our afternoon drive, we again went to Marie se gat. While sitting there we noticed this little reptile

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And this lovely ?Gabbar Goshawk (Kleinsingvalk)

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While we were sitting there we heard the Lapwings (Kiewiete) making quite a noise, and there in the distance was a AWC runnig off. Too far for a :cam: though...

Next up - another kill. This time a bird who caught a mouse! This Rock Kestrel (Kransvalk) was sitting in a tree munching away...

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...when a cape crow approached from the back. Luckily the Kestrel saw it, grabbed his meal in his claws...

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...and flew off!

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It was a day I surely realised that watching birds in the parks entails much more than just watching birds! Look how the presence of a few PCG's pointed out the honey badgers, and the Lapwing's call indicated a cat in the area! I think it was Bush Baptist who once commented on a question on how to spot leopards: "Get a bird book, and start looking at birds. Before you know it, you'll spot a leopard in a tree!" So watch those birds... :big_eyes:


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 Post subject: Re: Truly Blessed: Bushbuddies go to KTP and KNP
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:56 pm 
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Location: Centurion
Day 8 - 31 July 2010

It was the last day of our trip in KTP... :( Today we would leave from Nossob and drive down to TR, where we leave early the next morning to catch our plane back to Gauteng.

So we had to make the most of this day!

Got up earlier and went to watch the sunrise from the hide. And I just couldn't resist taking a picture of you guys watching the sunrise with me...

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No animals came to drink in that time. So we got into the car and headed out for the last time to the famous Marie se Gat. On our way - we saw the elusive bat-eared foxes again! :dance:

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And at Marie se gat - the regular BBJ coming for a drink.

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And another ?Gabar Goshawk (Kleinsingvalk) in Marie se draai

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The rest of the road South was typical to how we experienced the Nossob side - quiet. We stopped at Dikbaardskolk picnic site, but there was a cool breeze. We decided to rather continue and have a later breakfast at the next picnic spot.

Then came the next big decision. Upper or lower dune road? :huh:

We drove the upper dune road already on the way to Nossob from KTC, and haven't been any South of Dikbaardskolk on the Nossob side yet - so maybe we should continue to the lower dune road... But then again, the Nossob side has been quiet - maybe we should just rather go across to the Auob side sooner and take the upper dune road... :hmz:

....The upper dune road won the argument. And we were happy it did!

About 4km into the dunes I shouted - "STOP - LIONS!" SO stopped - "No, you must be joking...?" "Would I joke about something like THAT - now reverse - there are LIONS!" And there they were - a family of 4 or 5 lions lying under a tree in the distance.

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Don't ever believe you don't see much on the dune roads... :naughty:

Unfortunately they were quite far, and the most action we got out of them, was one of them getting up and moving to go and lie closer to the others

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How nice - lions on our last day! The Kalahari was being kind to us! :dance:

Also saw these 2 Female Southern Black Korhaan (Swartvlerkkorhane)

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We had brunch at Kamqua, and then headed South to TR. The Kalahari's friendliness on our last day was not yet over. She also decided to show us some cheetah again for a last time! This collared mom and her 2 cubs were lying on the other side of the riverbed. Again quite a distance from us. They were difficult to identify - but because we saw Lisette and her girls in the area before - we thought it might have been them again.

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Just before we reached TR, our attention was caught by some birds making a terrible noise in a tree right next to the road. Oh, only if we could see leopard too on this last day - the famous Twee Rivieren one maybe...!

But no, it was not a leopard. It was this little slender mongoose who helped himself to some delicacies in the sociable weaver nest!

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We reached TR. Our mood was starting to go down. The end was in sight. Decided to go and do one more drive and hope to see the leopard. But unfortunately we only heard the leopard's call that night while having our last braai in KTP, we never saw her.

We spent the last hour of our drive at Samevloeing WH, with these two lovely Namaqua Sandrouse (Kelkiewynne)

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And then the cutest thing... On our way back to TR, a steenbok couple - displaying typical Steenbok behaviour. Both defaecated in the same spot and then covered the spot with sand afterwards. The female walked in front and the male kept nudging her forward. She would stop, and look at us - and he would nudge at times with his nose - but mostly with his front leg. It looked so cute! The light was bad - and the pic not great - but here it is nevertheless. Look at his front leg - nudging her on...

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It was our first trip to KTP - first but most definitely NOT last! The Kalahari opened her heart to us and showed us some of her most magnificent creatures. The black-maned Kalahari lions, cheetahs, leopards. The little African Wild Cat, Honey Badger and Bat Eared Foxes. The many birds, and buck, and critters. The majestic sunrises and sunsets.

We left the next morning early, leaving a little of our hearts behind!

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 Post subject: Re: Truly Blessed: Bushbuddies go to KTP and KNP
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 9:03 pm 
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Location: Centurion
PART 2: KNP in Style 8)

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As already mentioned - SO turned 30 on the first day of our KTP trip. And his gift from me was a trip to KNP - going to one of the private lodges in KNP - over the long weekend. The plan was as follows:

Sunday 1 August - fly back from KTP to Pretoria :(
Monday 2 August - Friday 6 August - Back to work :|
Friday afternoon/evening - drive through to Nelspruit and sleep over in a B&B :)
Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th August - 2 nights in a private lodge in the Muluwati Concession in KNP :D
Monday 9 August - Leave the lodge and spend 1 night in Lower Sabie :D
Tuesday 10 August - Return home. SO already working that evening :doh:

It was a great trip with more sightings than we have even seen on previous visits of 8 nights in KNP!!! And it was thoroughly ENJOYED :thumbs_up: !

All the details soon to follow...


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 Post subject: Re: Truly Blessed: Bushbuddies go to KTP and KNP
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2010 10:20 am 
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Location: Centurion
Day 1 - 7 August 2010

We slept over in Nelspruit the previous evening, and decided to get up bright and early the next morning. We would enter at the Phabeni gate, and take a slow drive up to the Muluwati concession (hopefully seeing lots of animals on the way) :thumbs_up: .

So we did get up early and planned to be at the gate at 6:00 as it opens. And all went well up to the gate - we arrived at the gate at 5:50 - but we were already standing in a qeue, about 600m from the gate! :huh:

It was the beginning of a long weekend - so MANY people coming to the park for the weekend or the day. But it was also the Skukuza Half Marathon! Eventually we got to the front, and entered KNP at 6:45

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We've never seen KNP as busy as this weekend! Even though we were in the park after that - we were still driving in "traffic"! So the first time we could - we took the dirt road(S3)! And we were back into the peaceful KNP we knew.

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We got greeted by some of the KNP regulars. This elephant had a perfect round hole in his left ear - I started imagining how he would look with a nice colourful earing in it... :lol:

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Next up - a close up sighting of a giraffe

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We turned back to the main road at the S4 and continued passed Skukuza (could only imagine the traffic over there with the race and all), and decided to have a quick loo-break at the Skukuza Day-visitor area (which was nice and quiet). From there we left, and drove up to Tshokwane for breakfast.

First sighting on this road - BABOONS! Look how the little one holds on for dear life! :big_eyes:

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And this monkey's expression just said it all. She looked like an old tannie sitting in the morning sun.

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We usually spot them on the H12, and this visit - no exception. A Southern Ground Hornbill (Bromvoel)

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After turning right onto the H1-2, we saw a bridge on which 2-3 cars were parked and looking down. The first thing I spotted was a Burchel's Coucal (Gewone vleiloerie) in the distance. But that was not what they were looking at. Closer to us in close proximity to each other - was a water monitor and a Fish Eagle (Visarend) - two very good photo opportunities!

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We stopped over at Tshokwane (also very busy at this stage) for some breakfast - Kuduwors-roll for SO and boerewors, pap en sous for me! The local bushbuck did not seemed to be put off by all the visitors.

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Back onto the road after a delicious breakfast - and a stop over at Mazithidam to capture this Saddle-billed Stork (Saalbekooievaar)

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After a visit to the Southern-most Boabab tree - we turned off again to the quieter dirt roads - the S125 to go to our lodge. First up on the road - a big herd of resting buffalo.

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The ever-present Liliac-breasted Roller (Gewone Troupant)

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And this photogenic Natal Francolin (Natalase Fisant)

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We arrived at our destination at 13:00. It was all we expected it to be and more! We got a welcome drink, and after informing us that our afternoon drive would start at 15:30, we were taken to our rooms to relax. This afternoon - the bush awaited on us once again!

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 Post subject: Re: Truly Blessed: Bushbuddies go to KTP and KNP
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2010 5:57 pm 
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15:30 - our first game drive arrived! "Suitboy" was our guide. Really a sweet boy (as you pronounce it) - but he was really not into the little things... I guess he is used to overseas tourists coming to see the big 5 - and he had to make sure they saw it! So in terms of the game drives - nothing to be too :mrgreen: about! I think a sunset or sunrise drive with one of the SANParks guides at the KNP camps is much more interesting. :whistle:

Suitboy got word that there was some or other "big" sighting - and he was off. But it seemed we missed it (and a few small sightings in between)...

We then slowed down a bit. Saw this Kudu

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And a giraffe

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It was about 17:00 now, and we turned onto the H1-3, the main road between Satara and Tshokwane. Suitboy told us that they've seen leopard here the previous 2 days and he was coming to see if we could see her again. He drove up and down, and up again - inspecting the bush carefully at all times. It started becoming dark. No sight of her. He parked the vehicle next to Kumana dam for us to appreciate the night settling on the bush.

Then she arrived! :dance:

She came out of the bushes (at the turn-off to the Southern Most Boabab), and stood there in the road...

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MAJESTIC!

We were all excited! She walked across the road and into the bushes, we followed her...

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For short periods she would settle down...

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It was becomming dark now, and photo-opportunities became poor. We parked the vehicle next to the dam again, and had sundowners and snacks while watching how she came to drink. It was a true African Safari moment! 8)

After she left, Suitboy started the truck again - we had to be back on our concession's territory before 6pm! :big_eyes: So the drive back was a bit above average speed!

On the way back we spotted a lioness - starting to hunt! Unfortunately she moved into the bushes quite quikly, but luckily got one shot to prove we saw her...

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Back on our concession's grounds, Suitboy pointed out to us some cameleon's and bushbabies. Cute!

Back at the camp, dinner under the starlit sky was awaiting us. The dining area overlooks a waterhole on the other side of the riverbed which has a spotlight on it at night. While we were dishing up, we saw a Civet Cat coming to drink. My first sighting of Civet Cat ever! :dance:

The other guests told us that they saw 8 different sightings of lions the previous morning... We went to bed that night hoping the same awaited us the next morning... :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Truly Blessed: Bushbuddies go to KTP and KNP
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 9:05 pm 
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Day 2 - 8 August 2010

Wake up call at 6:00. Tea and rusks at 6:15 and game drive started at 6:30! Suitboy was awaiting us and decided to drive around on the dirt roads surrounding the concession. It was a good choice.

At first it was quite misty. But could make out this Martial Eagle (Breekoparend) in a tree

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It seemed lady (cat)luck was on our side. On the S36 heading North (just Norht of Muzandzeni Picnic Spot) - she came, walking out of the bushes - a leopard!

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For a while she walked right in front of us in the road, and at times across the road...

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After a minute or two of gracing us with her presence, she decided to head back into the bushes and disappeared into the distance.

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WHOOYAAH! On our first visits to KNP a few years ago, we were not too lucky with leopard sightings. Then we started seeing them every now and again in the last few trips. But already two AMAZING sightings in 1 trip - we felt blessed! :thumbs_up:

Suitboy was happy - he made his clients happy! He headed back to Muzadzeni picnic spot for us to have a morning drink. We had barely turned South again and right at the turn off to the picnic spot - LIONS!

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Unfortunately, they did not feel like sharing this morning with us, and moved into the bushes quikly, and disappeared.

Lovely muffins and juice at the picnic spot - shared with some of the local Yellow-billed Hornbills

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On the rest of the morning out - we saw some buffalo

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"What are you looking at?"

And some elephant

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"If I say I want to cross the road - I mean it!"

And then to complete Suitboy's checklist - Rhino!

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The Big 5 in one morning drive! And relatively good sightings of all! (Would have liked the lionesses spending a bit more time with us, but hey... let's not get picky! :naughty: ) :lol:

We had a good morning - filled with the best of sightings. After brunch back at camp, we sat watching some Blue Waxbills enjoying the clean pool-water!

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And then off for a midday siesta - pure bliss... 8)


Last edited by Bushbuddies on Mon Sep 13, 2010 9:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Truly Blessed: Bushbuddies go to KTP and KNP
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:05 pm 
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After a lovely midday siesta - with elephants coming to drink at the camp's waterhole :big_eyes: we were off on a game drive again at 15:30. Suitboy decided to head South this time - on the S36. Never been on this road before... What a beauty! Saw Lugmagdam for the first time - it is so beautiful!

Anyway - back to the road and the sightings. Saw this lovely waterbuck posing for a portrait

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As the sun was starting to set - two zebras crossing the road

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The stalion seemed to have a fresh wound on his belly - not too deep though, hope it will heal well...

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Then a giraffe posing in golden light at ?Tinhongana WH

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Also saw a few rhinos on this road. It was time to turn back - the sun had almost set, and the cool night air was moving in.

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A quick stop for sundowners and snacks at Nhlanguleni Picnic Spot, and then North - back to camp. Just as we were back on the road (and of course - just as the light became terrible for :cam: ), the hunting started - and they came out of the bush into the road in front of us...

WILD DOGS!

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We were very excited! :dance:

I did, however, thought it strange - there were only 3 dogs! Looked around and thought the others were still on their way - but no, only 3 dogs.

They stopped for a moment, and sniffed the air

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The next thing they did was just so dog-like to me! Whenever a Hadeda has visited my garden, my dog just LOVES rolling in the big spots they left... :naughty: Almost as if it is a lovely perfume! Now these doggies did the same. Got sniff of some hyena dung, and went to go and "bath" in it!

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Apparently to camouflage their own smell - so that their prey won't smell them out. I just did not know how clever it was to go and roll in another predator's dung... :huh:

In no time they were off again, and soon ran off into the bushes

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Big 5 in the morning and wild dog in the afternoon - sounds GOOD!!! We were truly blessed!

But the drive was not over yet. We still had one sighting that was a first for us...

And although the light was terrible, I just had to take a :cam: - it was the first time we've ever seen Sable antelope in KNP!

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Another wonderful day in KNP - ending it off with a candle-lit dinner under the stars - and a cake and champagne for SO - in celebration of his b-day!

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 Post subject: Re: Truly Blessed: Bushbuddies go to KTP and KNP
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2010 5:59 pm 
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Location: Centurion
Day 3 - 9 August 2010

It was our last morning and our last game drive at the private lodge. :( But luckily it was not our last day in KNP - tonight we would stay at Lower Sabie! :dance:

We got up early and were all ready for our drive by 6:30. As we headed out of camp, we came across the bus that brought the workers at the camp into the concession every morning. Suitboy had a chat with him every morning on our way out - to find out if they've seen anything on their way in. Yesterday it was an obvious no. But this morning the bus driver seemed quite eager to tell Suitboy all about a certain sighting.

We drove on. SO enquired: "Did they see something?" "Yes" said Suitboy, "Wild dog - but quite a distance from here." We weren't sure that we would still see them by the time we get to the area. :hmz: Suitboy suggested that he could drive there fast and we could try and find them - but we told him - we were happy with last night's sighting, and that he shouldn't haste.

First sighting of the morning - 3 Rhino's coming for a drink. Only managed to get a good shot of one of them

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Also some buffalo in the area where we saw them before

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Our second Ellie giving us the message that HE is king of the road...

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Then a group of dwarf mongooses in an old termite nest

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And we couldn't believe our luck - on the S145, heading towards Orpen - we saw Sable antelope again! Now I got the chance to take a nice daylight shot! :cam:

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In the area around the Mahlabyanini dam, on the S145, Suitboy slowed down. He was looking around intently - this was where they had spotted the wild dogs. Other game viewing vehicles were also in the area - asking us if we'd seen the wild dogs. Word was spreading fast, but no-one had seen them. We drove North, and then turned South again. Suitboy saw some tracks, and started tracking them. It paid off - we got them! A big pack of probably at least 15!

One for one they ran into the road, and across - they were on the hunt...

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They were moving fast, and only spent a moment in time with us.

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As I said - blessed indeed - to see Sable and wild dogs - at two completely different locations in 24 hours!

Suitboy waited some time, moving backward and forward to see if the wild dogs would come out of the bush again. They never did.

On our way back to camp - another Rhino

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And a warthog - very protective over his little family!

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The end of our stay at our lodge arrived. Back at camp we were served with breakfast and then greeted as we had to move on.

It was a wonderful experience. We were treated like royalty. We were served at all times and we were bathed in absolute luxury! 8)

In terms of this luxury - KNP's camps has no equal! But then again - one really doesn't NEED this kind of luxury. In terms of sightings - self-drive has it all! Except for the leopard on our first nightdrive, and the wild dogs on our last morning drive - ALL the rest we stumbled upon by chance! One can also enjoy the smaller things and the bush more if one drives by oneself. And if you want to learn more about the bush - go on a drive at one of the KNP camps - they are great!

We were off to Lower Sabie... :D


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 Post subject: Re: Truly Blessed: Bushbuddies go to KTP and KNP
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 8:47 pm 
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Location: Centurion
Pumbaa: Our luck did continue - but we were not THAT lucky - the rhino is, in fact a white rhino. I checked my pic I posted again and saw that lip looked sharp... :hmz: I would kick myself if I missed a blackie! Went to go and look of other photos I took of the same rhino - square lip indeed! It's a whity! :lol:

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Kamadejo: Thanks for your kind comments! :thumbs_up:

anne-marie: :thumbs_up:

Micetta: Which woman has ever not enjoyed a bit of luxury... 8) It is wonderful to be spoiled every now and then! :wink:

Papa Smurf: :thumbs_up:

Gunner: We were blessed indeed!

Elzet: Sorry... :redface: But then again - what's that you said about your December holiday... a spa at the sea or something... :mrgreen: !
The Saddle-billed Stork has been entered into the census and she is now accounted for! :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Truly Blessed: Bushbuddies go to KTP and KNP
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 9:16 pm 
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So it was back in our own car and on the road again. Now we could stop and look at the birds. Stop and admire a lovely tree, and drink in the true Kruger atmosphere... :dance:

As I said - first stop was to admire a lovely tree - in the middle of the road - with the most interesting trunk.

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We were driving in midday heat - so not a lot of sightings innitially. On the H1-3 - saw this lovely waterbuck

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And then a true KNP-long-weekend-traffic-jam! Stopped to ask what they were looking at. It was one of THOSE lions. You know those... "there if you look on the other side of the river, under the 3rd tree, left to the shady spot, behind the brown bush - you'll see a tail move every now and then - it's a lion!" So we actually got a good spot and could see 2 lionesses - lazing around. No pictures worth showing - of course... and we moved on.

A few metres on - a densely grown area with lots of trees, and in every tree a vulture or 5! There had to be a kill there - but impossible to see (and luckily we couldn't smell it either... :whistle: ). Got a shot of this Lappet-faced vulture (Swartaasvoel) at the scene.

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Stopped over at Tshokwane for a cooldrink, and then headed South on the H10. On this road we finally saw an old friend we haven't seen in a while! But only in the distance...A Klipspringertjie!

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And also a lovely close-up with this Black-shouldered Kite (Blouvalk)

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We arrived at LS just after 15:00. We'd driven from 11:00 untill 15:00. We were tired. But it was our last night in the park! We couldn't just go to our chalet and rest now... But we also didn't have the strength to get back in the car and drive. So we decided to end of our weekend with a final treat... let's just rather go on a sunset drive!

Leisurely unpacked, walked around camp a bit, and felt much better when 17:30 arrived. Got onto the vehicle and just as we sat down - a breeze started picking up...

It became a wind...

Stopped over for a sunset pic at sunset dam

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Looked at another group of THOSE kind of lions - lying in the Sabie riverbed between the reeds. BIG trafficjam there! Moved on and saw some zebra, elephant and a hippo. One quick gennet... But it was just too windy! Really did not have good game-viewing conditions. Still - the guide was very friendly, told us a lot of interesting facts, stopped whenever someone thought they saw something, and really looked to find more animals! So all in all - no wow sightings, but still a wonderful drive.

At one point he stopped the vehicle, turned off the ignition, the lights and asked everyone to be quiet. He did this for about two full minutes. All you could see was pitch darkness. All you could smell was the bush. All you could hear was the wind howling. THAT is what this is all about...


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 Post subject: Re: Truly Blessed: Bushbuddies go to KTP and KNP
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 2:31 pm 
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Day 4 - 10 August

It was our last day in the park... :( We had already seen so many wonderful things - two magnificent leopard sightings, two wild dog sightings, sable - which we've never seen before in KNP - and we've only been here for 3 days!!! :D

We still had time for a morning drive before we left the park. I took leave from work for today and SO only had to be back at work for the night shift.

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The wind howled through the night, and continued this morning. We decided to start off heading North on the "Ben Schoeman" - the H4-1 toward Skukuza. Looked for "THOSE" lions we saw in the Sabie river the previous evening - but no sight of them.

I've always been a fan of the "Ben Schoeman" - had many wonderful sightings here before - but today was not one of those days. The road was very quiet.

At the junction with the H12, we turned right, and over the bridge. Some lovely hippos and birds as always. Saw an otter here once - what a lovely creature... But he wasn't around today.

We try to visit KNP at least once a year, and we've been doing this for a couple of years now. But, we are yet to see a cheetah in KNP! We've heard from many people that the S30, the Salitje Road, was cheetah country - and that was where we went next.

A short distance down the road - vulture congregation:

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Some White-backed vultures (Witrugaasvoels) were waiting patiently in a tree while two Lappet-faced vultures (Swartaasvoels) where feasting off some or other meal. As we started to move on - we saw the animal that was most likely feasting there before the vultures:

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A Hyena!

Interesting drive so far, and much more lively than the "Ben Schoeman".

The best part of this road, however, was that it delivered us with a good shot of another great sighting in KNP. It was only our second sighting of Honey Badger in KNP :dance: ! But the first to be captured :cam: .

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Back at the tar road (unfortunately didn't get those cheetah we were looking for), we turned back, and crossed the Sabie river again. Here a Goliath heron (Reusereier) posed for a pic or two

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To give you an idea how the wind was blowing - look at how it "messed up" the poor guy's hairdo! :lol:

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Then it was South towards Crocodile Bridge. Our last animal, just before the camp, was this lonely rhino

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We had our packed breakfast of rusks and tea at Croc Bridge, and then, with a thankful but sad heart, left our beloved KNP - to hopefully return again soon!

Our winter 2010 holiday was truly a magical experience. We visited two of our country's most wonderful national parks. We saw some magnificent sightings; some "first ever's", some "never thought we'd see that" ones and we made some precious memories once again. Thank you for taking the time to share it with us - it has been great to go through the whole trip with you again. And we hope there will be another occasion to do so... SOON! :thumbs_up:


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