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 Post subject: pantera leo Career in training, Kruger Style August 2010!!!
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:05 am 
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Location: Bloemfontein
Hi all I'm back from a Field Guide Training Course just outside Phalaborwa Gate and I just wish to share a couple of pictures with you all! :thumbs_up:

Also decided to stick to the "Kruger Style" TR Theme.
Others include:

Sweet solitude Kruger style June 2008
a GREEN SENSE of WONDER!!! - Kruger Style, Jan 2010

Please be patient still trying to find my feet being back in the city and there's still editing to be done! :pray:

Hope you all will enjoy this photographic TR as much as I will reliving all the memories. :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:


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 Post subject: Re: Career in training, Kruger Style August 2010!!!
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:48 am 
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Location: Bloemfontein
Part 1

The first week on course we got so stuck in the books that we did not even have time for a quick Kruger getaway. Luckily with all the studying the weekend came quick and as it was my birthday on the 7th August I decided to go on a Sunset Drive from Phalaborwa Gate. My 2 fellow students also joined and we had a couple of amazing sightings.

First we found a beautiful Impala Ram just as we turned onto the no-entry road running next to the fence line. We where heading for the Olifants River to have a nice sundowner. A couple of beautiful birdies later including Brown-hooded Kingfishers and Little Bee-eaters we found this beautiful Leopard soaking up the last afternoon sun rays in a magnificent Marula.

Image
Sorry about the quality of the picture the LIT was very far away! :slap:

Thereafter sightings became slower until we reached the river where we found some Giraffe, Impala and Hippo's. En route to the river we watched a beautiful sunset and it was already fairly dark by the time we got to our sundowners. How wonderful it was standing again in Kruger with a whole chorus of sounds waving farewell to the day and greeting the night.

On our way back we found quite a lot of Springhare as well as Shrub Hare. At one point we stopped down in a drainage line to see what one of the guests stopped us for. At first we could not see anything but then we heard them running up the embankment and as we got to the top we caught a fleeing glimpse of 6 Eland!!!! :dance: This was amazing as this was my first Eland in Kruger. :D

Closer to the gate we came across a Small-spotted Genet, another first for me and all in all the animal sightings on this drive was excellent!

We drove back to the academy with the Pearl-spotted Owlet calling from the trees somewhere close to the gate. Now we where once again recharged for the week that laid ahead.


Last edited by pantera leo on Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Career in training, Kruger Style August 2010!!!
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:30 am 
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Location: Bloemfontein
Part 2

On Sunday morning we got up early to be at the gate as soon as it opened. But when we arrived a horrific sight awaited us, "hundreds" of cars standing in a queue almost into town.

When we eventually got in my chance of seeing a Nightjar on the roads was less than zero but luckily we had a beautiful sunrise! :thumbs_up:

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We decided to get of the H9 as soon as possible due to the high traffic volume due to the long weekend. We headed for Sable Dam, arriving there we had a lovely coffee and rusks while starting our practical training. We where still busy with the pre-briefing when a man came running over to hear if we saw the lions on the other side of the dam!? It was amazing five minutes ago when we arrived there was not even an Impala and now suddenly two Lionesses and their six cubs. :big_eyes:

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We stood watching them until they disappeared to the other side of the dam wall. We then continued with the briefing and slowly headed towards Masorini along the S51. It was amazing to travel this road so slowly stopping at every animal, plant and rock. There is just so much to see on every square meter of Kruger. And to finally understand everything and to gain a full appreciation of what you see is just so amazing.

Close to Masorini we watched two beautiful Tawny Eagles scanning the Mopani and Red Bushwillow Woodlands from dead trees on the rocky outcrops.

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After a quick stop at Masorini we headed for the first low maintenance road on the way to Letaba. I'm not sure about the names of the low maintenance roads but this one joins up with the S131 just to the left of Shivulani hill.

Not much happening on this road mammal wise but as earlier we weren't too worried as the rest of the biodiversity certainly made up for it. Saw some Swainson's Spurfowl, Sabota Lark, Groundscraper Thrush etc.

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From here we returned to the H14 tar road and then again on to Sable to see if the Lions made their appearance once again. Unfortunately not and we only found some Impala where we found the Lions earlier.

On the way to the gate we found a beautiful herd of Kudu but they disappeared quite quickly.
Image


Last edited by pantera leo on Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Career in training, Kruger Style August 2010!!!
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 6:59 pm 
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Part 3

The second week was hectic with all of the major subjects such as Reptiles, Birds, Mammals, Arthropods etc. and by the time Friday came we were exhausted. Luckily class ended quite early and we got permission to go and study at Sable Dam! :big_eyes: How awesome was this probably one of the most scenic places to go and study in the vicinity! :D (If only the kids in Phalaborwa knew) Only drawback is to stay focussed and concentrated with the work at hand. :wall:

We quickly bought ourselves some snacks and then set off. First stopping at the other side of the Dam where we watched some Ellies our first Ellies!!!

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Other species visiting was a Grey Heron, Blacksmith Lapwings, several species of Doves including the only Namaqua Dove of the trip. Some Serrated-hinged Terrapins lay baking in the sun while the Marabou Storks where also sunning themselves. It's sad to say but even at Sable the Hornbill's and a single Burchell's Starling are now converted beggars. :evil:
As we left along with the Ellies some Impala made their appearance and came down for a drink.

:doh: Almost forgot about this beautiful male Giraffe which had a drink and then wandered off while browsing.

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Eventually we reached the hide to start studying. Quite a couple of birds made their appearance including some more Marabou Storks, African Pipits, Golden-breasted Buntings, White-faced Duck, Three-banded Plover, Common Sandpiper, Lilac-breasted Rollers, Martial Eagle etc. etc. Mammals included the Ellies from earlier, Impala and Warthog. So as you can see there was plenty to keep us out of the books! :twisted:

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At around 3PM a loo break started to become an essential and we had to move on to Masorini. There we saw some beautiful Mocking Cliff-Chat's and at the Erfplaas Waterhole a few kilometers down the road an African Hawk-Eagle. On the way back we passed some Rock Hyraxes my first in KNP.

Eventually the gates winked at us again and we had to start moving to be in time for the late afternoon/early evening braai back at the academy.


Last edited by pantera leo on Wed Sep 29, 2010 7:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Career in training, Kruger Style August 2010!!!
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:21 pm 
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Part 4

Sunday morning and at the turning point of the course we where all up bright and early doing a bit of studying before writing our next test. For this test though we needed to have a whole lot more perseverance to get the knowledge in as our thoughts constantly drifted towards the afternoon activity . . . :dance: :dance: :dance:

Finally the test was done and we did the last bit of packing as we would not be spending the night at the academy!

After a very sufficient check-in and a nice chat with the staff at the gate we headed straight for Mopani. The first stretch of the day up to the Ngwenyeni was quite slow animal wise but this was great as now we had plenty of time to talk about the botany and the abiotic components (non-living).

At one of the little loops leading down to the Ngwenyeni we found some Elephant lower down in the river busy playing in the water while some Giraffe where standing feeding on the opposite bank. The Gabbro intrusion on this road was also a beautiful sight.

Not too long after this we reached the Letaba river with it's resident Hippo's laying right next to the bridge and it was great to see them this close-up in relative safety. A Giant Kingfisher sat eying the fish from the bridge while some Waterbuck stood lazing about in the reeds.

After leaving this dream-world I realized that I still had not taken any pictures for the day due to the fact that I was locked up in the amazing trace of Kruger. I readied the camera and just around the next bend the first models showed up next to the road.

4 Hyena lay scattered under the Mopani's taking a siesta in the afternoon heat before their hunting expedition of the night. All except for this restless little cub which tried to get as much attention from the rest as possible. After a while he gave up hope and flopped down staring at the blue sky above, but still very intrigued by the vehicles.

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After watching the Hyenas for a while we had to start moving again as time was getting short. At Tsale waterhole a couple of Daggaboys seeked shade under a small tree and not too far down the road we found some more Buffalo.

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They where not too happy to see us and was quite jumpy so we pushed on.
The rest of the way to Mopani delivered another Ellie, some Waterbuck and a Black-crowned Tchagra.

While waiting for our take-aways from the restaurant we stood admiring the lovely view from the deck and once again I was moved by this beautiful camp with which I fell in love 2 years ago. An incredible and indescribable sense overwhelmed me.
I felt like the luckiest guy in the world, a feeling better than I can imagine winning all the money the world has to offer. . . :D :dance: :D

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Eventually my trance was broken and I had to tear myself away from the view to go and check-in for the night at Shipandane Hide!!!!! :dance: :dance: :dance: This was a first for all three of us students and what an incredible experience it was.

On our way there we had to move as the sun was already dangling by a thread and we still had to sort everything out while we still had light left. At the ditch just before you reach the hide we watched as the Black Crake parents rushed their youngsters to safety before night fell and listened to the welcoming calls of the Hippo's.

At the Hide we quickly sorted everything out and enjoyed the last few minutes of light while having a sundowner. We had our take-away chicken burgers which was absolutely delicious and soaked up the sounds of the Kruger-night.

Later on during the night we watched a couple of eyes with our torches coming to drink and also listened to one helluva comotion on the other side. Our theory was that it might have been a Leopard catching a Duiker or something similiar. We watched those yellow eyes for quite some time until they where no longer visible.

Later on during the night some very strong winds started howling which caused a bit of a disturbance to our nightly escapade but in the end we still thoroughly enjoyed it.


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 Post subject: Re: Career in training, Kruger Style August 2010!!!
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:59 pm 
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Part 5

Morning broke over the Lowveld and KNP with a spectacular show of light due to all the dust kicked up by the winds which where still blowing strong.

We sat watching the Hippo's bobbing their heads up and down in the water followed by the occasional snort and honk, far off in the distance we could hear some Lions roaring, what a glorious start to the day.

It was a wonderful night and I will definitely be back doing a sleep-out in the hides as soon as the next opportunity presents itself.

After packing up and waving our final goodbye to the Hippo's and the Natal Francolin's we headed for Mopani to return the keys etc. On the way to Letaba only about 2km outside Mopani we found a very sad sight.

:cry: *Not for sensitive readers*
A Hyena lay just off the side of the road mostly out of sight of everyone driving faster than 10km/h. It had a snare around its neck which was so tight and badly infected the poor animals' head was swollen to near bursting point. Clearly not much blood could pass through as the ears already started rotting away. It must have been in this sad state for weeks and was still alive, just staring at us and twitching every now and again. We quickly phoned the Mopani manager to report the sighting and the exact location so he could inform the section ranger. (Later on after getting the number of the ranger we established that they could not find the poor animal but would do their best to try and find it as soon as possible.) To me it was quite shocking to come across snares so deed within the park. :cry:

We continued on with the drive as there was nothing else we could do for the poor animal. We turned down the S49 to see if we could not find the Lions that killed a Buffalo at Mooplaas waterhole the previous day. As we got to the waterhole we where greeted by two beautiful Secretarybird's looking for a meal on the open ground. We looked for the Lions intently through the binoculars as we found very fresh tracks not even disturbed by the blowing wind. :shock: But all we could find was the carcass of the Buffalo and a Kori Bustard.
Woooa repeat that again. . .? Yes, indeed it was a beautiful Kori Bustard, this definitely made up for the lack of Lions! :dance: Unfortunately we still could not take any pictures as it was heavily overcast. :?

After watching this handsome bird for a while we continued only to be met by an Airbus A380 coming in for a landing at an airstrip in Kruger!!! :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes:
Well not quite literally but definitely figuratively. :tongue: It was another Kori Bustard, and the first I've seen flying. It truly is massive and as it came down for the landing very low over the car we where astonished that it was actually capable of flight!!!!!! It is the heaviest flying bird and can clock-in at up to 19kg!

Shortly thereafter we reached the S50 which was mostly quiet up to Nshawu 1. Here we met up with 3 large Elephant bulls. Luckily a few rays of light started to penetrate the clouds which enabled us to take a few photo's.

Image

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Continuing to Letaba we came across some Zebra and Blue Wildebeest at Malopenyana waterhole and with them a family herd of Tsessebe!!! :dance: It was wonderful to see these beautiful animals again. Thereafter everything died down a bit until just before we reached the Letaba river. A breeding herd of Ellies made their presence known and at the bridge a nice couple of birds awaited us. These included a Great Egret, Pied Kingfishers, Wire-tailed Swallow, Egyptian Geese, Three-banded Plover etc. The highlight from the bridge was a Burchell's Coucal flying into the reeds only showing himself occasionally, he later on started calling the, air filled with the wonderful duh-duh-duh-duh!

As always the Impala became more abundant close to the water they in turn was joined by some Vervet Monkeys enjoying brunch. This made us aware of our own hunger as there was no time for breakfast earlier.

As soon as we arrived at Letaba we headed for the restaurant here we had a nice chicken burger and as always it was absolutely amazing mmmm!!!! :D And with this wonderful meal we admired the sandy riverbed of the Letaba while some Waterbuck grazed close to the fence. :dance:

Unfortunately we had to leave soon afterwards as we had to get back to Phalaborwa to do a bit of studying as the next morning would be the biggest test subject of the whole course, Mammals. :)

About halfway between Letaba and Nhlanganini Dam we came across a small herd of Buffalo enjoying a drink to the right of the road and on the koppie to the left we saw 2 precious little Klipspringers. Very precious indeed since the last time I saw Klipspringer was probably five years ago. :dance:

At Nhlanganini the usual Hippo's where present doing a bit of sunning on the opposite bank with an African Fish-Eagle perched in a tree close to them.

The rest of the road was extremely slow as the wind picked up some speed again. After reaching the academy we dove into the books straight away to get prepared.


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 Post subject: Re: Career in training, Kruger Style August 2010!!!
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:04 pm 
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Part 6

Another hectic week flew by and we finally decided on Sunday afternoon that we had to at least do a short drive with Kruger on our doorstep.

We decided on one of the closest low-maintenance roads to the gate to escape the masses but also be back in time for gate closure.

It was just a lovely relaxing afternoon drive, just drowning our senses in the magic Kruger had on offer. It's amazing how if you allow Kruger to work it's magic how quickly one can recharge your batteries.

We did not see much in the line of animals though but with acknowledging so much more now it was still an amazing drive. This also helped us prepare for our assessment drive in case we saw no animals. We did find a Steenbokkie, some lovely Impala and a charming old Daggaboy on that afternoon though. :lol:

Most of the time one just simply charge through the park too scared to slow down, or stop because you're afraid you might miss a sighting further on along the road. Or you find yourself chasing after sightings someone else came across and told you about on the way. For some people it's the alpha and omega to see a Lion or another special sighting on their trip, and return utterly disappointed when they could not find it.
Well on this short post today I want to beg of you to please slow down, stop, enjoy and appreciate every single piece that's on offer in Kruger and all of our other SANParks. And as one of my fellow study-partners and now wonderful new friend would say "take a deep breath, stop and smell the Potato-Bush" (this single little phrase just encompasses so much meaning to the person that appreciates it!)


Thanks to everyone for reading, I really appreciate it immensely!!! :clap: :clap: :clap:

I'm sharing a pic with you all from further on in the trip. It's a little bit modified but I think it helps bring home the essence of the above. . .
(It works its magic better if you enlarge it, (just click on the image) and stare at it for a while noting every bit of detail.)

Image

:twisted: I hope your smelling the Potato-Bush while watching, otherwise go back and watch it again with a big sniff of imagination. :tongue:


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 Post subject: Re: Career in training, Kruger Style August 2010!!!
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 9:34 am 
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Part 7

On Monday we had to do our First Aid which consumed most of the day and thereafter it was back to the books to study for the last test on the next day and to do some more research to be able to talk about mammals, birds etc. on the practical days while we where in the Park.

Tuesdays mornings test could not go by any slower and then after grabbing the last couple of necessities we where off once more!

Yet another swift and friendly check-in at the gate and we decided to do a bit of a detour on some of the low-maintenance roads in the area. Weather wasn't very great and it was quite windy which meant we only saw some Waterbuck, Impala and Hippo all the way to Letaba.

After arriving at camp we quickly sorted out who would stay in which safari tent and then made ourselves at home.
Staying in the safari tents was another first for me on this trip and I really enjoyed it. The new tents are really lovely and have some excellent new ablution & cooking facilities. Me and the other guy on the course slept in the tent next to the pool right on the fence, while the lady got one of the tents deeper into the camp to have her privacy as the tent at the fence was also base camp/tent! :D

After a short stroll down the fence line to see what we could see we met up with our instructor back at base. It was time for our pre-assessment briefing in which we would discuss everything we needed to know, expect and criteria we had to pass to be successful!

After this long and gruelling session we finally had "off-time" meaning we should go and walk around camp and get to know and ID all the birds and trees in camp! :big_eyes: :lol: :tongue: But this was fun!!!

After returning we had a lovely braai and on par the Hyenas showed up, eyeing our meat!

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But we made it clear that we love their presence and if they want to they can lay in the grass all night as long as they don't expect any take-aways.
So the two of them made themselves nice and comfortable for about twenty minutes before moving off again only to pop in to say hi about every half-and-hour. It was great spending some time with them! :dance:

Image

After our lovely braai, a bit more studying and our Hyena encounters we went to bed and slept so peacefully with the calls of the Scops-Owl ringing in our ears. . .


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 Post subject: Re: Career in training, Kruger Style August 2010!!!
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 20, 2010 3:04 pm 
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Part 8

. . . went to bed and slept so peacefully with the calls of the Scops-Owl ringing in our ears. . .

The sleep was so peaceful that the next morning I did not even hear my alarm go off. Luckily it did wake my roomie (although a lot earlier than he had planned :twisted: ) and he eventual woke me up. I had a quick dash to the showers, still half asleep I couldn't understand why it was still so dark. After a nice shower and wide awake now I stepped out into an early morning drizzle, finally it was clear why there was no hope of a sunrise.

Everyone quickly got ready and then headed for the gate.
First in line with no hope of leaving even a minute before 6am. :wink:
We headed South and decided to start the official drive practise etc. once we've reached the Olifants Bridge.

After arriving at the bridge we had a lovely cup of coffee and some rusks while doing a bit of birding from the bridge.
And then we heard a wonderful sound some Lions started roaring upstream from the bridge! :big_eyes: We quickly ran to the other side of the bridge binoculars at the ready and started scanning unfortunately we could not find anything. It also started pouring down again and we headed back for the vehicle.

As we drove off we found some beautiful Kudu to the right of the bridge browsing and enjoying the moisture on the leaves even licking it off some of the leaves and branches.

We made a left to head down the S89 Ngotso Weir Road. Just as we turned down this road the drizzle stopped. We only went down about a kilometer or two when we found some fresh Lion tracks! :dance: So fresh that there was not even signs of raindrops within the spoor! :big_eyes: We scanned the area where they went back into the veld up and down but unfortunately could not find them. Amazing how animals can disappear so quickly.

After this experience our senses where heightened and we where ready for the rest of the day. We came across a mother Tawny Eagle in a tree about twenty meters from the nest. On the nest the Juvenile was busy stretching it's wings and practising "flying". O dear we hardly left them when we saw a large yellow figure running on the opposite side of a river about 150 meters in. There was a dispute going on and we where just in time to watch a huge male Lion chase a younger male off his turf while roaring!!! :shock:

Eventually they came to a standstill and flopped down on the ground starring at one another across a drainage line. We sat there for about an hour just watching them, an amazing experience indeed.

After spending an amazing time with these two we moved on towards Olifants via Balule. As soon as we joined the S90 animals started showing themselves again. Large herds of Impala & Giraffe where all over the place. At the bridge over the Olifants we watched a beautiful pod/raft of Hippos lazing on a sandbank. What was also great was watching a Wood Sandpiper having brunch next to one the pools in the river.

We where so overjoyed about the beautiful scenery, (another first for me the area between Olifants Camp and Satara apart from the tar road connecting these) we completely forgot to search for the Pel's Fishing Owls! :slap:

On the way to Olifants we had a brief sighting of a breeding herd of Ellies, an huge group of Guineafowl, some Impala and a lone Blue Wildebeest. Unfortunately the light was terrible all day long.

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At Olifants we had a wonderful lunch while admiring the spectacular view from the deck. It was cold and raining again as we left camp and we did not have high hopes for returning to Letaba. This was quite the opposite though as we found some Waterbuck just outside Olifants followed by a Red-crested Korhaan. Back on the H1-5 we had numerous sightings of Hippo and another two Tawny Eagles looking miserably in the wet weather. We turned down the S46 followed by the S94, and what a good decision. We found three bull Elephants and they where followed by another highlight for the day, a Shelley's Francolin! :dance:

Back at camp it stopped raining and we went for a nice afternoon stroll before returning to the books to sharpen up on some more knowledge.

That evening after having a wonderful pasta we sat studying on the stoep when we got the fright of our lives!!! :big_eyes: There was suddenly movement just in sight of our light up the big Marula tree next to the tent, obviously the first thing to come to mind at night is Leopard, the problem was it was in a tree within camp. Luckily the little critter then came down lower and I saw my first ever Greater Galago also known as the Thick-tailed Bushbaby!!! :dance:
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It was lovely watching him move around in the trees above our tent!

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Yet another magnificent day had finished and it was time to go to bed!


Last edited by pantera leo on Sat Nov 20, 2010 4:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Career in training, Kruger Style August 2010!!!
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 9:40 pm 
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Part 9

Up bright and early the next morning getting everything ready and heading for the gate. It was still quite overcast but this morning without rain, which helped to bring the birds out.

While sitting in front of the gates we where greeted by a beautiful pair of African Fish-eagles flying overhead on their way to the river, and after a few seconds they greeted the African dawn with their magnificent chorus, one of those riveting calls associated with the African bush.
They where soon followed by the calls of the White-browed Robin-Chat, Orange-breasted Bush-Shrike and Burchell's Coucal.

While waiting for the gates to open we decided to head down south again towards Satara via Timbavati. I was ecstatic with this decision as I've never driven the S39 before!!! :dance:

Soon after we left Letaba we drove into some very thick mist, and with this came silence in the bush. Only one family of Crested Francolin made themselves known all the way to the Olifants Bridge.
Here we had our cup of coffee and some rusks again. A car passed us and only once they where further on did I notice the YR. Luckily they just wanted to reposition the vehicle so came back. It was great meeting Spaniel and her family, we had a lovely chat and they had some wonderful sightings they few days they've been in the park already. Eventually we went our separate ways.

Not too far from the bridge we found a dazzle of Zebra which was soon followed by some Impala and Giraffe. Interpretations on these subjects was by now as fluent as reading them from a book so after admiring their beauty for a while moved on. Shortly thereafter we turned right unto the S39 Timbavati Road.

At Goegegun Waterhole we had some more Zebra and Giraffe drinking water with some Helmeted Guineafowl calling in the background.

Image

Not too long after Goedgegun we came across some beautiful hills with exposed Syenite (the pink rocks).

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The rest of the way to Timbavati the heat increased almost with every kilometre we travelled and not too much mammals where around. We did however find some Brown-headed Parrots and plenty of Hornbills & Starlings. At Piet Grobler Dam some Hippo where sleeping in the water only occasionally coming to the surface to breath. I was quite amazed by the amount of Crocodiles this dam had and the almost every square meter of the banks was covered by them.

Arriving at Timbavati we just made a quick stop as it was extremely busy and people where queueing for tables etc. so we decided to rather have our picnic at Satara. The road from Timbavati to Girivana dam was terrible and we shook everything on the bakkie out of proportion passing Impala, Blue Wildebeest, Zebra, Giraffe and Kudu.

Girivana was dead quite in the mid-day heat and we continued towards Nsemani Dam. Here we saw some more Hippo and also a beautiful Saddle-billed Stork! :dance:

Arriving at Satara we had a nice picnic and I quickly went to show Mfubu where the Webcam is situated. There we met up with Spaniel & SO again, they travelled down the tar road and saw all of the Big 5.
On our way back to Letaba we also travelled this road and found 4 out of the 5 only missing out on the Leopard. Apart from these and some more Impala, Giraffe, Blue Wildebeest and Zebra the road was quiet. O yes apart from some two separate sightings of Southern Ground Hornbill’s. :dance:

We just enjoyed a quite afternoon in camp sharpening up on some more birding and tree watching.

The following morning we got up a little later as it was our last day in Letaba. We quickly packed up and then decided to take a last little stroll through the camp. We saw some Ellies, Crocs and Hippo in the river while in camp we had plenty of these beautiful Bushbuck and Vervet Monkeys. :thumbs-up:

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On the way back to Phalaborwa we concentrated more on landscape and vegetation than anything else as we had to still get that sorted for our assessment drives that lay ahead in three days time.


Last edited by pantera leo on Fri Nov 26, 2010 2:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Career in training, Kruger Style August 2010!!!
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 8:05 pm 
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Location: Bloemfontein
Part 10

After getting back from the Park we had to study/ do revision for the rest of the Friday and Saturday as we had the Big Exams on the Sunday.
Saturday afternoon Mfubu and I decided that we needed a bit of a break again to book a Sunset Drive from Phalaborwa Gate. What an excellent idea this was! :D

Later on our lift dropped us off at the gate and we quickly made our payment and filled out our indemnity forms.
We where wondering who our guide would be? :hmz:

What a nice surprise to see Lourens returning from town with the rest of the guest. A family of 4 Italians. It was wonderful to meet Lourens and had a wonderful time with him on Drive.

Our first animals we came across was a sounder of Warthogs which where followed by some Impala. After we turned down the S131 we found a tower of Giraffe in the lovely afternoon light.

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After watching them for a while we moved on, we found Sprocky and his daughter doing a lovely afternoon drive and then we proceeded to the next sighting. Some lovely Kudu crossed the road and after letting them pass and admiring their beauty as well we moved to our sundowner spot for the afternoon.

We turned down a little side road heading towards Nwenyeni waterhole. We saw an Elephant very quickly which was followed by a Daggaboy having a nice scratch. Lourens decided they where far enough and after checking for any other danger and getting his rifle ready we got off the vehicle to enjoy some refreshments! This was the sunset we admired to the west while some more Daggaboys made their way to the water. :dance:

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We finished our drinks and a good chat and proceeded towards the H14. We turned left to try and find the Wild Dogs at the Ngwenyeni bridge but the other guides returned with news that they've already moved off. We did however find a new Hyena den and just saw a few seconds of the mother and her pups. In the meantime the wind started howling again as we turned south towards Shikumbu Hill. When we arrived there Lourens once again redid all the necessary checks before we got off the vehicle for a very interesting talk on astronomy. We barely sat off again when the Lion research team caught up with us to discuss where the prides of the area was last seen.

Before we returned to the gate we quickly went to see what we could find at Sable Dam. On the way there we found this beautiful little White-faced Scops-Owl clinging for its life in the wind.

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Over at the dam two Impala males was standing around while a Shrub Hare scurried of into the brush. Then Lourens saw a Flap-necked Chameleon in one of the Mopani's. Yet another first for me on this trip!!! :dance:

Returning to the tar road the wind died down a lot and we came cross a Spotted Eagle-Owl in the road. Lourens had a wonderful chat with the Owl although I don't think he knew what he was saying. This was magical and by now the drive was already being extended a bit.

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After these wonderful couple of minutes with the Owl we came across a fleeing glimpse of a Side-striped Jackal, although not another first (second) of my life it was still an amazing sighting.

At the end of the wonderful drive we quickly went to drop off the Italian guests and then Lourens took us home. After dropping us off we found out they where only staying two houses down the street taking care of his boss' house while he was on holiday. It would have been great to chat some more but unfortunately we had to return to the books, batteries recharged!!! :D

Thanks Lourens it was an amazing drive!!!! :clap: :clap: :clap:


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 Post subject: Re: Career in training, Kruger Style August 2010!!!
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 6:55 pm 
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Location: Bloemfontein
Part 11

Sunday morning finally arrived and I spent the early morning hours trying to get a little more in before the exam started. Off course this makes time fly and before I knew it, it was time. . .

Exams all over and done eventually and then we did the last bit of preparing, rules and regulations for the assessment drives the next day.

Monday arrived and I was going on the last shift of the day which was good and bad at the same time. Good in the sense that I had a bit more time to get everything in order, but bad because my nerves where killing me by now.

The drive went past without much of a hiccup and we had more than enough to speak about. The only photo I managed to take was of these Giant Plated Lizards on the rocks close to Sable Dam.

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Time in Phalaborwa was now over after a long but exciting month. Here are some of the friends we made in the garden while studying, taking a break or just having a nice braai.

Brown-hooded Kingfisher

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Black-headed Oriole

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Yellow-billed Hornbill

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Tawny-flanked Prinia

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African Green-Pigeon

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Brown-hooded Kingfisher

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 Post subject: Re: Career in training, Kruger Style August 2010!!!
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:59 am 
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Part 12

The day of return to the big city drew near and the Monday morning just after 7 we reached the Phalaborwa Gate to get our last fix in the park. We decided to exit at Kruger Gate so the day was a bit rushed driving 40 - 45km/h to be home not too late.

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 Post subject: Re: Career in training, Kruger Style August 2010!!!
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:02 pm 
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Just a little hint of the bonus to come!!! :thumbs_up:


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 Post subject: Re: Career in training, Kruger Style August 2010!!!
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:05 pm 
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The following photo's where all taken at different days and times which I can't remember too well any more.

We usually went into the Park at Phabeni gate after work at 5 and then exit at the same gate just before gate closing time. Twice we went in at opening time and made sure to be back at work before 8!

On some of the Sundays we had off and then we would make longer trips to Skukuza and Tshokwane.

The cause of why we where almost late for work one day. :roll:

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Beautifull Kudu we came across after one of the trips to Skukuza.

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Our favorite Hippos over at Nyamundwa Dam where we sat relaxing after a long days work.

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More to come later . . .


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