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 Post subject: Cape of Storms-Animals on the hunt -Best KNP ever-Sep 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2010 4:13 pm 
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We had just finished the Olifants River Back Trail

www.sanparks.org//forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=47184

and still had the wonderful prospect of another 8 days in the Park. Plus my brother-in-law and his wife (also my best friend) we joining us from the UK! Life couldn't get better. My girls were so excited to see them and it was a very happy family reunion at Letaba.

5 September 2010
Early morning wake up as we head to Phalaborwa for a few supplies but not before some monkeys came investigating around our accommodation.
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These little guys are just way to cute! On our way to Phalaborwa we saw a pair of Saddle-bill Stork at Masorini.
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There was also a Fish Eagle overlooking the dam.
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 Post subject: Re: Animals on the hunt : one of our best Kruger trips ever!
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 11:38 am 
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After a quick visit to Woolies and Pick ‘n Pay we were on our way back down towards Satara. As we got back into the park we saw this adorable pair of Klipspringer’s relaxing in the warm sun.
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At Erfplaas this Elli chased a hippo back into the water and we were reminded how powerful and intimidating Elephants can be! If a hippo moves you must know!

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Listening to the beats of Johnny Clegg and singing along with our “Great Hearts” we made our way down to Satara.

Of course the drive along the river is always magnificent!
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And near Olifants we see a Kudu in very good condition. If he makes it to full maturity he will be quite the leader!
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At Nyamarhi Waterhole some Bull Elephants were enjoying the water.
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Near Satara we found a Zebra with an unusual scar. Comes with the territory of living in Lion country I suppose!
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A Waterbuck also stood waiting right near the entrance at Satara for us!
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Although it was not a day that we saw any predators we still had a great time just being out there as “Bush Babies!”

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 Post subject: Re: Animals on the hunt : one of our best Kruger trips ever!
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 3:13 pm 
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6 September

The start to this day was very different to the end. As usual I am up first (usually as the sun rises)
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Also that is when a 4 and a 6 year old are dying to get up out of bed and explore!

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So I decided to let the tired travelers and the aching hikers just take an easy morning. After breakfast was packed we hit the road without any specific directional plan. This is the great thing of staying in the same place for two nights - no rush!

First was a coffee and Ouma rusk stop at one of my favorites Girivana Dam. A vulture was taking a drink.

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Romance was in the air that morning with these two cuties! Gotta love Pumbas.
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Usually the S100 is very good to us so that is where we head next. Of course Lilac Breasted-rollers are in abundance but they are still a personal favorite.
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No visit to Kruger is complete without a visit to N'wanetsi Picnic Site. The kids love the little walk up to the look out point - and I just love them!!

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I am determined the the next generation from my family will love and appreciate Kruger like we do. To realize that we are part of a bigger picture but at the same time that we are there to have fun. So for us breakfast is usually a pretty long break giving them the chance to play and rid their energies for more time in the car.

We drove back along the H6 and saw another Ellie eating!
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A buck that I couldn't identify.
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We head to Nsemani for a last sunset drink. We were not the only ones enjoying the sunset!!
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What he seemed to be enjoying was the sunset!
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and the occasional hippo fight!!
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As we drive in the gate everyone although having a fabulous day is a little disappointed that we didn't see any predators AGAIN! Why is this TR's title "Animals on the hunt" must be your question. What happens tonight will be the answer!!

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 Post subject: Re: Animals on the hunt : one of our best Kruger trips ever!
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 3:25 pm 
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Great photos Cape of Storms :clap: :clap: :dance: :dance: :thumbs_up:
The buck you couldn't identify is a Grey Rhebok

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 Post subject: Re: Animals on the hunt : one of our best Kruger trips ever!
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 3:46 pm 
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After our braai we sit on the stoep listening to the usual sounds. :D A Honey Badger runs across the circle of bungalows looking for a snack. The kids are already fast asleep and due to the “slow” day we decide to go for a walk to see if we can find him again. Ray stays with the girls and we are off.

What happens next is best read as I wrote it that night on my iphone..... this is copied directly.

Ok so my heart is in my throat.  This will go down as our best night in Kruger to date. As we walk we hear Hyena laughing and the sounds of a buffalo in distress. We follow the source of the noise to the Stanley Guest house which overlooks the waterhole. Kindly the occupants allow us in and what I see is my very first kill! 10 to 15 hyena have cornered a buffalo who is now fighting for his life. In trying to escape he has become trapped in the waterhole but the hyena are unrelenting in biting and attacking him. His throaty moans are drowned out by their frenzied whoops and laughing. My problem is that I desperately want Ray to see but I am nervous to leave the kids, it is quite far away. I call him from my phone to come with the video camera and I run back to be with the girls. He drives the car down to where we are. Eventually we put a call from one Cel to the other and leave one with the girls and the other with us. Baby monitor Satara style :)

In the mean time the hyena have managed to kill or exhaust the buff who has now collapsed in the waterhole with at least 7 hyena beginning to feed and more arriving. I cannot tell you the noises that were filling the night sky. After about 20 minutes a huge male lion and female arrive. So far they are no match for the laughing and ferocious hyena. The male Lion makes an attempt at the carcass but is chased by some of the biggest looking hyena I have ever seen. They are a band of sisters that are determined to feast on their kill.

I notice now that although there are at least 10 plus hyena, never more than 5 feed at a time. Allowing the rest to look out for the lions. They work in a very organized rotation. When the lion makes ago at the carcass they back off until he puts his mouth on it. Then they swarm him like bees! He doesn’t stand a chance and is reduced to roaring in the distance. The lions lie about 80 meters away watching as the hyenas cackle and eat.
Now they attempt to drag the carcass out of the waterhole but it seems like this could take a while. More and more hyena arrive to the scene. Another lion attempt with a huge amount of roaring but once again the laughers are victorious. Chasing the King about 100m before returning. The feeding continued for a long time with various hyenas running off with different body parts. Getting back to our unit, kids still fast asleep, we were in total awe. Seeing that was unbelievable and because we have made so many trips to the park we all know how privileged we are to actually have seen it!

As we drove into Satara earlier that evening we saw a small herd of buffalo grazing and little did we know that it would be one of them’s last meal!

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 Post subject: Re: Animals on the hunt : one of our best Kruger trips ever!
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:39 pm 
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7 September 2010

As you can imagine we were all in a very spirited mood when we woke up. The kids couldn't get enough our stories from the night before (secretly I am glad that they were sleeping - I know it is all part of nature but I think they would have 1. Been scared witless by the sounds and 2. hated seeing the buffalo die) So we cut the gory details and just told them the basics.

We were very sad to be packing up but we were excited about returning to Talamati. So car packed, we head back out there. So far we have seen more at camp than out on the road!!!

As we left Satara we looked back to the waterhole and there was not a trace of the buffalo or the hyena. The call is to go to Timbavati for breakfast. Our first sightings are as follows:

Timbavati River Road

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Sometimes a friend needs a nudge in the right direction.
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A herd of "the eaten" was all around us.
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Then there was a cute baby jerry too.
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Something definitely took a little "nibble" of this guy.
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Finally we reached the picnic spot where the resident bushbuck was taking a drink.
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 Post subject: Re: Animals on the hunt : one of our best Kruger trips ever!
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 6:28 am 
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Thank you for all the encouragement and appreciation. It is so much fun to write a report once you get back because you get to relive it all over again!!!!

After breakfast or lunch which ever you prefer we headed dow toward Talamati. We checked in early and decided to just relax and rest at camp. Last night was such a late night that we all took a kip. The girls were playing the entire afternoon with their animal sets and we just relaxed reading a book and listening to the sounds of the bush.

Another fantastic braai with glass of red wine, life can not get better. Talamati is so quiet and peaceful and we love coming to the bushcamps. They really bring you to the heart of Kruger.

8 September 2010

Up and at again in the early morning. Lower Sabie is the destination.
Determined not to let another day go by without a "cat" sighting we are all alert as we tackle the corrugated road that is in this area. :(

2 Bull Ellies were marching down the road very unwilling to let us pass!

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Bull Elephant having a scratch

When we saw the road dividing at the top of the hill we though we will get our chance...... Ellies had that covered too!
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They were telling us that the roads were for them too!!! Finally we did get to go past and saw a few birds. Here we go in order of size.

Big....
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Ostrich near Nhlanguleni

Medium......
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S39 Twany Eagle near Nhlanguleni

Tiny...
This little guy was about 20 cm high and sleeping in the tree. Actually we saw the lioness behind him first and only noticed him after awhile.
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Scops Owl ?

Finally a lion!!! Well we were very excited but then we saw the owl and it stole the show. The kids thought it was adorable and I had never seen one before so it turned out to be real highlight.
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Funny how after many trips to the park it is the unusual things (often small) that really make the trip.

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 Post subject: Re: Animals on the hunt : one of our best Kruger trips ever!
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 10:10 am 
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With quite a few Kruger Trips under my belt it was the first time I went to the Nhlanguleni Picnic Site. Loved it. Beautiful waterhole with plenty of Zebra and Jerry's to watch as we ate lunch. Also thanks to some fellow Kruger travelers we were told of 2 young male lions on the S33 Vutomi Rd near Tinhongana Waterhole. Searching for the lions we head out that way.

We were told that they were definitely before the waterhole but alas when we get to the waterhole all we see are some more buffalos taking a drink.
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Our friends from the picnic sight were so convincing that we took the trip back along the road determined to find them. Then a flick of a tail revealed the two beauties lying pretty close by. Still can’t believe that we initially drove right by them!
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 Post subject: Re: Animals on the hunt : one of our best Kruger trips ever!
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 1:22 pm 
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The best part of the lion sighting was that we were the only car there so we could really spend some time watching them. We leave them feeling overjoyed to have found our second lion sighting of the day. Now it is time to make our way to Lower Sabie.

H12 is our road of choice. First up is a rather angry looking vulture!
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Just before we get to the H12 we spot a rhino.
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Since we have returned from Kruger I have been shocked to hear how many rhino have been poached recently. It sickens me that it still continues and that educated people are quite happy to make profit from the killing of these prehistoric creatures.

Must be our day for birds because we see another one of my favourites.
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Bateleur Eagle!

As most regulars to Kruger will testify the next patch of road has often got wonderful sightings. Today was definitely our lucky day!

As we near the bridge we can see that it is practically a traffic jam to get across. We negotiate the car about a quarter way over the bridge when we see that in the river bed there is a pride of lions. A large pride! Yipee! As we look to the right Ray says to Byron check those females are crossing the river and might even cross near us. So we take a chance and decide to reverse and wait at the begin of the bridge hoping they would cross in our vicinity .... And with our luck they did!!! Right behind our car. Two female lionesses made their way across!
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They were beautiful.

As we were about to make our way further a car pulls up next to us and tells us that we will see lions nearly everyday but if we take the small dirt road that runs along the river we will see a herd of Roan Antelope! Something that most people never get to see. :pray:

So off we go to find the Roans! Sorry that the photo is so bad but we did find them in the distance!! Thank you Thank you kind Kruger Visitor
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After spotting these rarities we head on back to the bridge. As you can see many were out of their vehicles looking at the lions below. I am not sure if this is a bridge you may get out on but I wasn't taking a chance with lions all around!
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As we get closer to the middle of the bridge we see that the pride is a big one with a few cubs too! Photo quality is really poor for the next few pictures but keeping still and having to bend yourself in a hundred different positions to even get a picture would do that!!!

Daddy!
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Lion at H12 2 by Nicole Meiring, on Flickr
Baby!
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Lions at H12 River crossing2 by Nicole Meiring, on Flickr

As we near the other side we some people looking into a large tree in the riverbed. Amazingly high up in the giant tree was a leopard!!
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The picture is really bad and doesn't show how high he really was. Lion and leopard within 100m of each other!!

A much needed toilet break at Nkuhlu Picnic Site with some observers....
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A stop at Sunset dam is always a must. An the girls loved seeing a croc a bit closer up that usual!
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Check in at Lower Sabie and it is the amazing Keartland Guest House. It is really the best spot to be. You are the last house on the river with the most amazing view towards the bridge. Your braai area overlooks the entire area along the river and a small open patch where we had some Hyena beggars!
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No luck with us though - but they did manage to catch a rat!

Like the title says - animals on the hunt AGAIN!!!
:D

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Last edited by Cape of Storms on Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Animals on the hunt : one of our best Kruger trips ever!
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 9:53 am 
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9 September 2010
Sunrise is one of my favorite times of the day. Waking up with this view from your bedroom is undoubtedly one of the best feelings.
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Steak and cheese toasted sandwiches for lunch at Mlondozi Picnic Site. As much as I love this spot with it’s view over the water, it was my mission to stop the monkeys from grabbing our food as we ate!
The culprit:
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Zeebee Deeeee.

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H1-4 can be like Adderley Street in peak hour traffic but it wasn’t to bad today. There is a pride of lion on what I call “Pride Rock”
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Down towards Biyamiti we see the usuals and enjoy the denser vegetation. 5 mins from camp we find a small herd of Ellies. This female definitely needing dental work!!!
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Ellie needing dental work!!! Biyamiti by Nicole Meiring, on Flickr
We are in unit 7 and it is one of the best spots. You are right near the hide and can see into the dry riverbed. Just after sunset we begin hearing the roars of lions. It is really exciting, especially when we spot them with our BIG DADDY torch. They are there the entire night roaring away.

Not everything is about what you see, in fact all the other sense play their individual roles. Smell, lets you know you are in the bush. Touch, to me it is while I make dinner that I feel part of my surrounds. I love doing all the kitchen work here in the park. Tonight was particularly inventive since we were making a coleslaw without a grater - believe me it tastes even better rustically done with a peeler. Taste - eating is all part of the experience of being a bush ranger! Hearing is what made this night even more special. Hearing the pride call ing to each other let me know I was in paradise:)

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Last edited by Cape of Storms on Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Animals on the hunt : one of our best Kruger trips ever!
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 10:55 am 
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10 September 2010
An early morning wake up where we can hit the road has the gate opens. So thrilled to have got 2 nights at this stunning Camp. What a stunning sunrise we enjoyed.
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Our early morning pays huge dividends as we are only out of the gate for about 45mins when we find a pride of young lions just “lioning” around :) on the S139. Probably part of the pride we heard the night before :big_eyes: :big_eyes: they were enjoying the morning sun. There were 3 young males and 1 female.
Sorry about so many photos but because of the fact we had the time and they were so close I went a bit camera nuts and then couldn’t choose my favorite......
These guys seemed to like the camera!
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Lions on S139 near Biyamiti3 by Nicole Meiring, on Flickr

Another male next to him:
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Lions on S139 near Biyamiti8 by Nicole Meiring, on Flickr
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and a 3rd one:

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The female was far more agitated with our presence than the boys! :sniper:
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Lions on S139 near Biyamiti1 by Nicole Meiring, on Flickr
She even tried a nibble on the car in front of us. :thumbs_up:
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The S39 produces a possible Black Rhino sighting but we are not to sure because of the the thick and dense bush. I manage a blurred photo and everyone can judge for themselves. I hope it is one because it would be my first (not my last though.......:) )
What do you think? :huh:
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 Post subject: Re: Animals on the hunt : one of our best Kruger trips ever!
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 3:53 pm 
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The S25 Crocodile River Road is one of my favorites when it comes to scenery. Also many have said it is a good place to go to spot Wild Dog! :hmz: Alas I have yet to see one and this trip turned out no different in that regard. Oh well it makes the hunt for them every time even more exciting. What we do see is a lovely little Zebra with his mommy!
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I love the little Ox-pecker peaking its head out from the Zebra’s back :)
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There was also a Tawny Eagle taking flight on this road.
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By now the morning had turned into early afternoon. In quick change of plan we decided to take a trip to Skukuza for lunch and a visit to the Stevenson-Hamilton Memorial Museum. The girls loved both, especially when they got some ice lollies to cool off the day.
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They particularly enjoyed the story of Harry Wolhuter who killed a lion with a knife. The original skin is very impressive - hole and all! The road from Skukuza to Lower Sabie is the way we decide to go back and once again it is VERY fruitful! First we spot a couple of lions.
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Next we see a few cars stopped. The word is that there is a leopard but it disappeared down the hill. So we drive on. After a couple of minutes we don’t see any cars following us and decide to see if the leopard returned. Well as we get back towards the car we see it right next to the road! Even more amazingly it crosses the road RIGHT in front of us!

View My Video

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As you can see She (ok an assumption) is missing an eye. According to one of the game vehicles she is a regular in the Nkulu area.
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As we try spot her in thick bush next to the river we suddenly see some impala literally leaping across the entire width of the road.
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(sorry bad picture but so quick :( )

For the next 30 minutes or so we wait while she creeps up towards the impala. The male impala look in her direction but we have lost sight of her. Their calls and snorts let us know she is still there. Unfortunately with so many cars around a hunt was never going to be successful and we didn’t get to see a kill but as the title says “animals on the hunt!!” So far one successful kill is more than we can ask for and the hyena’s at Satara saw to that!!

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 Post subject: Re: Animals on the hunt : one of our best Kruger trips ever!
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:34 pm 
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What happens next is something that has never happened to me before. After a quick stop at Nkulu we head back towards Lower Sabie. Within 2 minutes a car flags us down to stop. In the distance is another leopard. This time in a tree! :big_eyes:
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We can’t believe our luck. UNBELIEVABLY not even 5 minutes later we see a ton cars.... we arrive as ANOTHER leopard (can you believe it) darts down a tree. WHAT THE HECK???? :dance: :dance: I have never seen 2 leopards in a day let alone 3 in the space of 10km!! Admittedly the last 2 were very quick and in the distance but a Leopard is a leopard!

To top off the day as we near Biyamiti we find a hyena having a snooze on the side of the road.
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What a day. Totally unplanned and absolutely successful. After dinner we sit around the fire with a whiskey in hand elated but very disappointed that tomorrow night will be our last.

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 Post subject: Re: Animals on the hunt : one of our best Kruger trips ever!
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:36 pm 
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Hi Cape of Storms,

Thanks for your great and very entertaining trip report. Very jealous about all the leopard sightings :mrgreen:

With regard to your Roan sighting, Im sorry to be the bearer of "bad" news, but I think it is a young Sable. I say "bad" cause that is also a very rare sighting and something to be proud of :clap: :dance:

To answer your Rhino question, Im not really sure, but Im leaning towards a White Rhino. Reason being is if you look behind its head at its shoulder, you will see a "lump". This is normally more defined on White Rhino. I may be totally wrong though...

Anyway thanks once again for a lovely report, cant wait to read more!!!

Kind regards,
Pat :D

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 Post subject: Re: Animals on the hunt : one of our best Kruger trips ever!
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 7:14 am 
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11 September 2010
The weather on our final full day in the park is indicative of our mood. Overcast and chilly! After packing the car we decide to head up towards Lower Sabie (our last night) for an early check-in. Desperate to see Cheetah we take the S28 which is supposed to be a good road to see them. We see all the usual suspects like Giraffe and Zebra, couple of bucks. A lovely gentle morning. After a coffee stop (with some Ouma rusks and a couple of Lemon Creamers!) we start up again.

Amazingly our Leopard luck continues! Even though it is far in the distance it still goes down as a LIT! :)
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Not much further we come across an investigative Ellie! Ellies are not to happy with us on this trip. Maybe it is the time of year?
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We loop around Lower Sabie and come back on the H1-4 once again. Sorry about the photos but the light was bad and the eagle was far but you can see he was eating some kind of lizard or monitor!
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Snake Eagle eating Lizard near Lower Sabie 2 by Nicole Meiring, on Flickr
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Snake Eagle eating Lizard near Lower Sabie 1 by Nicole Meiring, on Flickr

As we are driving toward Lower Sabie we see a few cars drive past a Rhino. I always stop and double check to see if I might be seeing an illusive “Blackie” Especially since I am not convinced that the one we saw a few days ago was indeed one. OUR LUCK HAS CONTINUED! This time I know it is a Blackie!!!
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Unbelievably some people drove right by this rare sighting. Sadly he had a couple wounds on his side. They were on both sides and on almost the same spot. As if he tried to squeeze himself through a small space! But I am sure he will recover just fine.
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We check in at Lower Sabie (Keartland Again!) Unpack all our goodies. Deciding to relax and sort out all our bags for tomorrow we spend a very relaxing afternoon around camp.The girls play around the house and we are totally chilled. Sad to be leaving but already planning next years trip. At about 4pm I dosed off on the couch when Ray wakes me up for our last “sunset” drive. At first I am not to keen(since I had hit that deep sleep patch) but realize I cannot waste this chance. Snacks packed we head up N'wari Rd. Afew cars ahead and decide we might be in for our last lion sighting of the trip....... NOPE CHEETAH BABY!!!!!!

Whooooooooop!! 4 Cheetah (3 probably still with their mom)

The light was really bad and I was very shaky so excuse the photo quality!
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They were definitely hungry guys and were looking to stalk some impala. They were moving up and down a 200m space very quickly, Once again our animals were on the hunt!! You always read how they look for mounds to look out on .....
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Cheetah N'wari Rd 2 by Nicole Meiring, on Flickr
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Cheetah N'wari Rd 1 by Nicole Meiring, on Flickrrl]
With so many cars there it was never going to happen but it was amazing to watch and listen. They call to each other with very barking/hissing sounds. Very Cool indeed! We managed to get a pretty close photo of the mother/leader. Her eyes are amazing!
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What a buzz! Heading back to Lower Sabie we knew we couldn’t have asked for a better ending to an amazing trip. As we crossed the bridge we saw a lovely King Fisher.
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At the chalet we made our fire and enjoyed the ALWAYS stunning African Sunset.
Our time at Kruger was drawing to an end. It was an amazing 2 weeks. It is so difficult to put into words the beauty and amazement of Kruger but to all those who have been they will understand at a glance, to those who haven’t..... get your butts down to the most stunning place on earth.
The next morning the house was quietly sad. We were all very upset to be going home. One final sunrise over the river to remind me to book when I get home!
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We head out at towards Paul Kruger gate. Since this had to be the trip of the LEOPARD! we see one last sighting just before Skukuza.
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It had a kill up in the tree!! Unbelievable. I have never seen so many in one trip. Our final sighting of the day/trip was pretty humorous although it could have ended badly. A pretty charged up Ellie was not to happy with the cars coming down “his road”
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After the Merc, in a risky maneuver zoomed past him he was not going to let the little Yaris do the same.
Note the reverse lights as he mad a quick getaway! As for us...... we were happy to watch from a safe distance!

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Trip Report 2014 April: Kruger Park Family Adventure


Last edited by Cape of Storms on Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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