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 Post subject: granjan-A WINTER'S TALE-Jan to Mar 2011
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 7:53 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 12:20 am
Posts: 518
Location: cornwall uk
We are lucky enough to be able to spend three months every [English] winter in Cape Town and this time we had such wonderful trips to Sanparks that I've decided after much humming and ha'ing to try and write a report.
It's a bit daunting, so if its a miserable failure, I apologise in advance.
We arrived on the 2nd of January and left on the 27th of March. As always, we didn't want to leave but family and the promise of an English spring called us home. It's been foggy every day since we got back and the kids are too busy to notice we're here!
Still there's always next year, God willing.

We have many favorite places we return to time and again in Cape Town and this year we also revisited Bontebok ,WCNP, TMNP, Augrabies and KTP together and for the first time ever in my 60+ years I went on holiday alone and spent 10 wonderful days in Kruger.
What a revelation! I was a bit dubious about holidaying alone but it was fabulous! For ten glorious days, I ate when I wanted, slept when I wanted and if I wanted to watch a bird for 45 minutes, there was no worrying about others being bored.

Part 1

Cape Town

A few pics of my favorite places in Cape Town. |The first I took Iast year but I love this view from the top of the mountain
ImageUntitled by jansp, on Flickr
One of our regular days out is a braii at Buffels bay, though we're a bit neurotic about keeping the car doors shut as a few years back two big baboons jumped into the back seat and took a lot of persuading to leave!
ImageIMG_4774 by jansp, on Flickr
There are always sea birds to watch and the scenery is beautiful
ImageIMG_4684 by jansp,
on Flickr
ImageIMG_4733 by jansp, on Flickr
ImageIMG_4827 by jansp, on Flickr
Imagecape town 0110 042 by jansp, on Flickr

Kirstenbosch is another of our regular haunts. The birding is good, and being just a teeny!? bit plump, the bribe of a good cup of coffee and a toasted cinnamon bun is needed to get me up all those steps to the contour path and back. The gardens are beautiful and the views of the mountain are stunning!
ImageIMG_5390 by jansp, on Flickr
ImageUntitled by jansp, on Flickr

Another place I visited a few times was Rondevlei nature reserve[thanks Tuareg].Not Sanparks but great for an hour's birding, especially if the SO's watching rugby on the tv!
ImageIMG_4884 by jansp, on Flickr
Imagerondevlei jan 8 045 by jansp, on Flickr
ImageIMG_5464 by jansp, on Flickr
ImageIMG_5603 by jansp, on Flickr
ImageIMG_6593 by janspon Flickr
ImageIMG_6586 by jansp, on Flickr
ImageIMG_1658 by jansp, on Flickr

Next ten wonderful days in KNP


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 Post subject: Re: A WINTER'S TALE
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 4:19 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 12:20 am
Posts: 518
Location: cornwall uk
Thankyou all so much for your kind comments.
Pumbaa, I've so enjoyed your trip reports and wonderful photos and hope our paths will cross again.

Part 2

Flying solo - sink or swim!

I’d been watching the weather forecasts with some apprehension as there’d been very heavy rain and flooding in the north . I flew up to Nelspruit on the 18th of January , picked up a little black Citroen C1 and headed to Melalane to do some shopping and on into the park .
The first animals I saw were of course impala. I’ve tried time and again to capture the fragile beauty yet innate toughness of these lovely animals.
I hope I’ll be able to try many more times but I doubt I’ll ever succeed.
ImageIMG_2202 by jansp, on Flickr
It was great to see these in a river bed.
ImageIMG_2209 by jansp, on Flickr
and
ImageIMG_2226 by jansp, on Flickr
I was heading for Pretoriuskop and intended to go up the Voortrekker road but I wasn’t far along when a kind jeep jockey stopped me and told me the road was flooded so I headed to the H1-1.
Near Transport Dam I came up to this Thompson’s safari vehicle following two beautiful male lions. It was pouring with rain and the pics were taken through the windscreen. The Thompson’s driver waved me through to get a better view but unfortunately the driver of but the combi was driving so close that the lions became agitated and went into the bush..There’s been so many negative comments about jeep jockeys so a big thank you to the driver of the Thompson’s vehicle.
ImageIMG_2233 by jansp, on Flickr
ImageIMG_2234 by jansp, on Flickr
ImageIMG_2235 by jansp, on Flickr

I was so excited that I managed to set my alarm for 3am instead of 4am so guess who was first out of the gate!
Imagesunrise at Shitlhave by jansp, on Flickr
My next two nights were at Letaba and I decided to go via Lower Sabie and the H10 but had to stick to the tar because the roads were so wet. The veld was so lush and beautiful, it was a joy without animals.
ImageP1050096 by jansp, on Flickr
With sleek and contented game, it was pure magic.
ImageP1050113 by jansp, on Flickr
ImageIMG_2402 by jansp, on Flickr
ImageIMG_2276 by jansp, on Flickr
The birds were cooperative too!
Imagecommon sandpiper in a puddle by jansp, on Flickr
Imageeuropean roller by jansp, on Flickr
Imagepied kinfisher by jansp, on Flickr

Near Tshokwane, three lionesses crossed the road in front of me.
ImageIMG_2341 by jansp, on Flickr
ImageP1050093 by jansp, on Flickr

I'm happy to report that the loos at Tshokwane were lovely and clean and the food was pretty good too!
I checked in at Letaba and went to spend an hour at Matambeni hide. It was very quiet but a lovely place to while away an hour.
My doubts about enjoying travelling alone had vanished and I had seven more wonderful days to look forward to.


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 Post subject: Re: A WINTER'S TALE
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 12:40 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 518
Location: cornwall uk
Thanks everyonre for your comments
@Micetta the beauty's easy but they must be tough to be so successful. Can't capture that though. I promise they were two separate lions :naughty: :naughty:
@ John my first 3 visits were August/ September time but I think I like Jan/Feb better despite the heat and humidity.

The next day was a pretty quiet one but everywhere was so beautiful. I decided to have a look at Sable Dam as I’d never been there before. No animals but WOW what a place to spend the night! Maybe next time……….
Image
IMG_2532 by jansp, on Flickr
On the way there I spotted two new lifers [not difficult difficult for me because I’m fairly new to birding]
a gold breasted bunting and a lovely pair of bronze winged coursers
Image
IMG_2489 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_2506 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_2519 by jansp, on Flickr

The lushness everywhere was wonderful.
Image
P1050120 by jansp, on Flickr
I drove up to Mopane and had lunch on the veranda there, one of my favorite places and slowly back to Letaba, quite content with sightings of zebra, wildebeest and this lovely woolly necked stork.
Image
Image
IMG_2625 by jansp, on Flickr




Another great sighting was ……….a yellow ribbon.
I was getting a bit self-conscious about the rather large yellow and red bow on my wing mirror, so it was really good to have someone stop for a chat. It was Impisi and we met again at Letaba and at Satara. A true aficionado, he spends five weeks a year in Kruger in a very small tent.

The next morning, I was off to Satara. We had never stayed there before so I’d decided to make it my main base rather than Oliphants which I really love. I couldn't miss it out completely though so I had a great breakfast in the restaurant. Sadly it was raining again, so I didn't spend much time on the deck.

The low water bridge was impassable
Image
IMG_2712 by jansp, on Flickr

so I went along the Ngotso Weir road and then down the Old main road.
It was fairly quiet except for the quelea which were there in their millions. I’d never seen them before and it was an incredible sight
Image
IMG_3751 by jansp, on Flickr
Individually they are quite beautiful!
Image
IMG_2906 by jansp, on Flickr
Before Gudzani water hole, an enormous herd of buffalo crossed the road.
Image
P1050131
I waited about 15 minutes for them to cross but this big bull decided I wasn’t going any further. My little black citroen didn’t impress him at all! I drove pretty close but he didn’t budge.
Image
P1050130 by jansp, on Flickr

I looked at him and he looked at me with a wicked look in his eye and we might have stayed there all afternoon but fortunately after about 20 minutes a couple in a Pajero who were much braver than me led the way past.
At Satara I had one of the perimeter bungalows which are beautifully situated. I spent a lazy hour or two on the stoep uploading pics and admiring some visitors.
Image
IMG_2923 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_3650 by jansp, on Flickr

A hyena patrolled up and down the fence but too dark for a good pic.

A storm was brewing and the sky was amazing.
Image
IMG_2949 by jansp, on Flickr


A great end to a great day! And Satara was about to live up to its reputation.......


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 Post subject: Re: A WINTER'S TALE
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 10:04 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 518
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It's amazing how quickly time passes. I had intended to finish this report quickly but there sometimes just don't seem to be enough hours in the day!
Anyway back to Satara.
On my first full day, I headed down the Sweni River road and not far along a young couple stopped me to tell me about a pride of lions. I found them with another family watching them but unfortunately being so low I could only just make out the male through the long grass.
Other sightings were nothing special but I still enjoyed the day.
Image
Untitled by jansp, on Flickr
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Untitled by jansp, on Flickr
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Image
I by jansp, on Flickr

Later in the afternoon, I watched a vultures tea party. They all attended though the meal seemed very small!
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IMG_3154 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_3120 by jansp, on Flickr
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the white headed vulture supervised proceedings
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IMG_3208 by jansp, on Flickr

until this bully boy arrived.
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IMG_3176 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_3194 by jansp, on Flickr

It was quite a gathering!

The next day, I went to have a look for the lion pride but had no luck finding them. However I did find a big breeding herd of ellies.
Image
IMG_3284 by jansp, on Flickr
Image
IMG_3275 by jansp, on Flickr

I had the remains of the previous night's borewors and a sandwich and decided to head down to Orpen dam.
I didn't see much on the way down but at the dam I met a really nice English couplewho were keen birders, particularly raptors. He was a falconer at Warwick Castle where there is one of the world's best collections of eagles - a very interesting man.
There was no game to see but I did see this brown headed parrot - another first for me.
Image
IMG_3312 by jansp, on Flickr

On the way back, I stopped to have a look at Kumana dam. Not a great deal there but suddenly out of the grass on the other side of the road this little animal popped out. He only stayed on the road for a few seconds and this terrible pic was snapped through the windscreen but I was still delighted.
Image
IMG_3331 by jansp, on Flickr
Further on at a small waterhole on the right, ?Marheya this young male leopard was doing a rather poor job of stalking some impala on the far side of the waterhole.
Image
IMG_3381 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_3395 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_3398 by jansp, on Flickr

It was quite obvious he'd been sussed so eventually he sat up looking rather sheepish, stretched and strolled away.
Image
Untitled by jansp, on Flickr
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Untitled by jansp, on Flickr

It was still intermittently rainy with the occasional spectacular flash of lightning and stormy sky
Image
Untitled by jansp, on Flickr
but I still had a little time left so I went a short way down the H6, one of my favorite roads.
While I never have much luck on the S100, I've had some great sightings on this road.
Image
Untitled by jansp, on Flickr
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Untitled by jansp, on Flickr
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Untitled by jansp, on Flickr

These two lionesses were easy to see but the third, very close to the side or the road was far more difficult to spot
Image
Untitled by jansp, on Flickr

Another good reason not to get ot of your car!

Another great day over but still more to come.


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 Post subject: Re: A WINTER'S TALE
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:32 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 12:20 am
Posts: 518
Location: cornwall uk
Rayk indeed we are very lucky to be able to enjoy South Africa so regularly and for such long periods.
Katya, lion queen, Micetta, Norms, Flutterby, Pumbaa, WAC and Melrockson thankyou for reading and for your kind comments.
BB being a computer speak dumbo not sure what HB means! Hope it's something nice...................

My first big sighting next morning was these two beauties?! Won't say where tho after three months I don't think it matters.
Image
IMG_3468 by jansp, on Flickr
Image
IMG_3475 by jansp, on Flickr

And then these two beaties - part of a big breeding herd.
Image
IMG_3503 by jansp, on Flickr

Probably the same herd as the previous day. It's very silly but being on my own, I found I was even more keen to keep a respectable distance between the ellies and myself than usual.

The rest of the morning was fairly quiet although I had some nice bird sightings including male and female double banded sandgrouse
Image
IMG_3571 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_3576 by jansp, on Flickr

and a lovely purple roller.
Image
IMG_3595 by jansp, on Flickr

I also managed a couple of pics of a magpie shrike. Stupid when they're so common but these were the first half decent pictures I've managed to get.
Image
IMG_3540 by jansp, on Flickr
Image
IMG_3530 by jansp, on Flickr

The sky was very overcast with intermittent rain so decided to go back to Satara but couldn't resist a short drive down the H6 first.
I'd had a lot of waterbuck sightings but I can't resist including this one.
Image
IMG_3620 by jansp, on Flickr

A little further along a few cars were pulled in and this chap was lying in the long grass. A female was with him but they went further into the grass and disappeared.
Image
IMG_3629 by jansp, on Flickr

I sat and waited for a while but no luck so went back to Satara for a late lunch.
Later that afternoon, I went up the H1-4 and along to Ratelpan. Didn't see anything there but on the way back down the S40 I came across what looked like a very recent road kill - a yooung bushbuck.
As I drove slowly up a beautiful bataleur landed and started to feed.
Image
IMG_3694 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_3678 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_3704 by jansp, on Flickr

As I crept closer, it flew into a nearby tree and made its displeasure at being interrupted quite clear.
Image
IMG_3721 by jansp, on Flickr
Image
IMG_3732 by jansp, on Flickr

The next morning, I went back along the H6 to see if could see the mating pair again.
The first sighting was this lovely young kudu. He looked so full of himself - a magnificent bull in the making!
Image
Untitled by jansp, on Flickr

This bull elephant controlled the road for a while
Image
Untitled by jansp, on Flickr
and while I waited for him to move into the bush, I watched the wattled starlings as well, There were hundreds of them!
Image
Untitled by jansp, on Flickr

A little further along I stopped to watch this chap. He looks as though he'd had a nasty shock!
Image
Untitled by jansp, on Flickr

In view of what was not far along the road, I'm not surprised.

I found the mating pair in the middle of the road.
Image
Untitled by jansp, on Flickr
Image
Untitled by jansp, on Flickr

There are a couple of good Anglo-Saxon words to describe how this pair looked but being a respectable grandmother :whistle: :whistle: , I'll just say they looked worn out.
Image
Untitled by jansp, on Flickr
Image
Untitled by jansp, on Flickr
Nevertheless, within ten minutes, they were back into the long grass again.............
Image
Untitled by jansp, on Flickr

Less than 500 metres along, there were two more male lions, one on each side of the road!
There's the saying about letting sleeping dogs lie. Well I think it applies to lions too.
Image
Untitled by jansp, on Flickr

Because when this chap woke. smiled ,licked his lips and walked towards the open window of my little car, I decided it was time to wind up the window and move on!

Image
Untitled by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_3856 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_3850 by jansp, on Flickr
Image
Untitled by jansp, on Flickr

The day wasn't over but I think I'll save the rest for the next episode!


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 Post subject: Re: A WINTER'S TALE
Unread postPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 1:20 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 12:20 am
Posts: 518
Location: cornwall uk
I can't believe it's been three weeks since I last posted and I thought I'd get this report finished quickly :redface: but Easter brought children and grandchildren home for a holiday and then we went away too for a few days. It's a sad fact but the older we get, the quicker time flies..........

Katya, Flutterby, Melrockson, Micetta, Pumbaa, and Lionqueen thankyou for all your comments.

BB, HB :doh: :doh: :redface:

Tuareg your comment is truly valued. Your pics are always so stunning.
I use a canon 550d with sigma 18-250mm and 150-500mm lenses.
I've also got a canon 100mm macro but not used it much yet.

So, on with the tale.

I drove on to the Sweni hide but the only sighting was this green backed heron.

Image
IMG_3896 by jansp, on Flickr.
Up the Gudzani road and back down the S90 there was nothing special but still lovely sightings and beautiful lush country.
Image
Untitled by jansp, on Flickr
Image
Untitled by jansp, on Flickr

This youngster was pretty sure this wasn't his mum..........
Image
Untitled by jansp, on Flickr
But these two looked very content with theirs
Image
Untitled by jansp, on Flickr

A bit later I watched this weaver putting the final touches to his nests but the female didn't seem too impressed.
Image
Untitled by jansp, on Flickr
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Untitled by jansp, on Flickr
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Untitled by jansp, on Flickr

Back at Satara, I had my car washed as I was leaving the next day for my last night at Skukuza.
I decided to take a short evening drive down to Kumana dam so as not to dirty my lovely clean car!
I hadn't reached the dam but time was running out and just as I thought it was time to turn round these came into sight. A pride of ? thirteen, two big males, females and teenagers and all to myself!

Image
Untitled by jansp, on Flickr
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P1050187 by jansp, on Flickr
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Untitled by jansp, on Flickr
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Untitled by jansp, on Flickr
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Untitled by jansp, on Flickr
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Untitled by jansp, on Flickr

this youngster had obviously had enough of walking!
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IMG_4082 by jansp, on Flickr

Back at Satara, I packed up ready for an early start the next morning. Satara had certainly lived up to its reputation for cats!!

The next morning the vervets were having a huddle just outside my bungalow
Image
Untitled by jansp, on Flickr
and a black crake scuttled by on the exit road
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Untitled by jansp, on Flickr
It was overcast with intermittent rain and there was not a great deal down to Tshokwane except this Wahlberg's eagle who seemed to have his head on back to front!
Image
IMG_4134 by jansp, on Flickr
more conventional views
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IMG_4136 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_4149 by jansp, on Flickr
but a good breakfast is always cheering and a stop at Nkumbe always lifts the spirits whatever the weather.
On the way down to Lower Sabie I had a lovely sighting of this black bellied bustard.Image
Untitled by jansp, on Flickr
and a Burchell's coucal.
Image
Untitled by jansp, on Flickr
Also Beauty [in the background] and the Beast!
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Untitled by jansp, on Flickr
After lunch at LS I headed to Skukuza.
I can't remember where I saw these Hamerkops but I watched them for quite a while. Not sure if this was mating or false mounting. Wouldn't know the difference!
Image
Untitled by jansp, on Flickr
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Untitled by jansp, on Flickr
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Untitled by jansp, on Flickr

I checked in at Skuks and headed straight to Lake Panic.
It was raining again quite hard.
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Untitled by jansp, on Flickr

but still a good place to spend a rainy afternoon.
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Untitled by jansp, on Flickr
Image
Untitled by jansp, on Flickr
and best of all a very quick sighting of a male little bittern.
Image
male little bittern by jansp, on Flickr

Next day, I had to be at the airport by midday so decided on an early start and a late breakfast at BnD before leaving the park.
my first sighting was an adult woodland kingfisher feeding a frog to another but sadly the light was too poor for pics.
Not far down the H3 I saw something walking towards me and stopped the car and turned off the engine, heart in mouth. Not another car in sight. He kept coming and walked right past the car so close I could have reached out and touched him.
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IMG_4368 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_4372 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_4375 by jansp, on Flickr

WOW! He went past the car and back into the bushes. Gone in two minutes but what a gift on my last morning. and more still to come!

Further towards BnD there were three cars and a sanparks vehicle stopped and there at the side of the road were four wild dogs!
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IMG_4462 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_4436 by jansp, on Flickr

A fabulous end to a wonderful trip. After a leisurely breakfast at BnD, it was back to the airport for my flight back to Capetown. It was lovely to be back home with John but I made up my mind that this was not going to be my last solo trip!

Next, from Bontebok to KTP via WCNP, Namaqualand NP and Augrabies.


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 Post subject: Re: A WINTER'S TALE
Unread postPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 1:08 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Thanks everyone for reading and for your lovely comments.
John, my window was up and down like a yo-yo!
It was indeed unnerving when the lionesses came and had a look at me and the young male with the big feet came very close indeed and the went round the back of the car. I think he thought my little black car was a fat and very stupid buffalo!

The second part of my tale begins in Bontebok and ends in KTP.

In the middle of Feb it was John's birthday and we decided to spend a couple of nights in Bontebok.
The chalet was lovely. We had no. 4 and it was very peaceful and the views were beautiful.
We spent a lovely few hours exploring Swellendam, particularly the museum and had an excellent birthday lunch.
Image
IMG_5173 by jansp, on Flickr

I can't recommend the game route because the road was diabolical but the walks by the river were lovely and although we didn't see anything unusual the birdlife was prolific.

Image
IMG_4933 by jansp, on Flickr

Of course there were plenty of bontebok.
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IMG_5226 by jansp, on Flickr

IMG_5206 by jansp, on FlickrImage
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IMG_5219 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_5206 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_5045 by jansp, on Flickr

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IMG_5100 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_5216 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_5078 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_4963 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_5187 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_5035 by jansp, on Flickr

All in all, a lovely short break and thoroughly recommended.

Towards the end of February we began a meander up the west coast.
First stop was the WCNP. We'd visited several times for the day but this time we stayed two nights at Abrahamskraal. The cottage is lovely and the peace absolute. The bird hide there is fantastic and it was lovely to have it to ourselves in the early morning and evening.
A visit to Geelbeck saw this strange fight between two grey plovers. One took hold of the other's foot and wouldn't let go. It went on for several minutes.
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IMG_6272 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_6275 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_6280 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_6282 by jansp, on Flickr

It stopped as suddenly as it had started and they went back to feeding quietly side by side.
Other sightings included whimbrels, flamingoes and this Levaillant's cisticola which was another first for me.
Image
IMG_6263 by jansp, on Flickr

Back at Abrahamskraal, I had some lovely sightings.
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IMG_6108 by jansp, on Flickr
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[uImage
IMG_6500 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_6412 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_6371 by jansp, on Flickr

The most special pics for me were this African rail who cautiously popped his head up before showing himself and then took fright and dived back into the bush.
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IMG_6510 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_6517 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_6529 by jansp, on Flickr

The worst pic I took was this pair of black harriers but I was delighted to see them.Image
IMG_6229 by jansp, on Flickr

I loved this tough old bird, too!!
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IMG_5869 by jansp, on Flickr

The sunsets were amazing, never to be forgotten.
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IMG_6446 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_6123 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_6443 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_6466 by jansp, on Flickr

and of course, the eland.
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IMG_6482 by jansp, on Flickr

When we left to amble on up the coast, we promised we'd stay there again.


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 Post subject: Re: A WINTER'S TALE
Unread postPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 8:15 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 518
Location: cornwall uk
|t's amazing and frightening how quickly time goes by! Another week gone and no time for this TR which does seem to be dragging on.
Just a short episode today in praise of Skilpad.
We spent a few days on the west coast before an overnight stop at Namaqualand National Park.
Of course this park comes into its own during flower season when it is a stunning place to stay
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namaqua n p sept 2009 019 by jansp, on Flickr
but it makes a great stop on the way to the KTP at any time.
We stopped there both on the way and on the way back.
The cottages are the best Sanparks accommodation we've stayed in except perhaps the rondavels in Mapungubwe and there are delightful little touches.
There are four cottages, far enough apart to feel private and all with a lovely view.
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IMG_6797 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_6841 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_6836 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_6840 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_6838 by jansp, on Flickr

The sunsets have always been breathtaking when we've been there
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IMG_6811 by jansp, on Flickr

and the early mornings almost as beautiful.
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IMG_6837 by jansp, on Flickr

This one reminded me of the edge of the world in The gods Must Be Crazy!
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IMG_9504 by jansp, on Flickr

We stopped briefly at Augrabies. Many of the viewing platforms were damaged and there was still quite a lot of water in the falls but nothing like during the floods.
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IMG_6869 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_6876 by jansp, on Flickr

And so after overnighting in Upington we arrived at Twee Rivieren to spend eight wonderful days in KTP.


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 Post subject: Re: A WINTER'S TALE
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:36 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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My computer's been very sick with a virus which cost £42 to cure so I've been suffering withdrawal symptoms and major worries about my pics which aren't backed up............
However all's better now and after a lovely but exhausting few days babysitting my two favourite little animals
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IMG_9718 by jansp, on Flickr
while my daughter and her SO had a break away, I can return to this very delayed TR - tomorrow.
I've been looking at some fabulous TRs and just lost track of time!


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 Post subject: Re: A WINTER'S TALE
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 1:33 am 
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The only downside of our stay in KTP was the chalet we were allocated in Twee Rivieren. THE A/C was leaking all over the floor and down the curtains and the room smelled very damp and unpleasant . We reported it straight away and were told someone would come and sort it out but no-one did.
We went back again but still nothing happened and looking in the book at reception there had been complaints for more than 2 weeks and nothing had been done! Not a great start and this took up most of the afternoon. Soon forgotten though!
The next morning, we set out for 2 nights in Nossob and the start of an amazing cat filled week.
I was up very early and waiting for our permit at dawn and what a dawn it was! No tinkering with the colours, honest!
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IMG_6942 by jansp, on Flickr

Our entire trip was punctuated with rain and storm. The lushness of the veld was amazing and at times the skies were breathtaking.
A lovely gemsbok in the long grass.
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IMG_6908 by jansp, on Flickr

And then many more.
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IMG_7008 by jansp, on Flickr

Our first cat sighting was four male lions but too far away for a good pic.
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IMG_7013 by jansp, on Flickr
A little later between the lower and upper dune roads we came across a monumental traffic jam and some very bad behaviour.
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P1050221 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_7010 by jansp, on Flickr
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P1050223 by jansp, on Flickr

The cause of this snarlup was a cheetah who had dropped its kill in the road and was sitting under a tree hoping to retrieve it. The 4x4 on the left blocked the road for more than an hour trying to let the cheetah retrieve its kill resulting in some very angry drivers!
Eventually we got past, taking a couple of quick snaps of a beautiful cheetah - still without its kill!

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IMG_7025 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_7023 by jansp, on FlicKR

Our two night stay in Nossob produced some lovely bird sightings and a great lion sighting , as well as two forumites, tho they spotted my yellow ribbon cos they weren't showing theirs! :naughty: :naughty:
Hi Nina and Jacliz, I didn't get a decent pic of Nossob's white faced Scop's owl. Hope you did better. It was lovely to meet you both.
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IMG_7511 by jansp, on Flickr

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IMG_7044 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_7085 by jansp, on Flickr

There were many Lanner falcons around and I was really pleased to get this series of pics.

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IMG_7137 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_7139 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_7140 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_7158 by jansp, on Flickr

No trip to nossob would be complete without a big brunch at one or the northern picnic sites.
This time it was Lijersdraii.
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P1050295 by jansp, on Flickr
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P1050281 by jansp, on Flickr
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P1050296 by jansp, on Flickr

Disgusting but delicious!

On the way wesaw a beautiful Male lion wirh two females resting at the side of the road.
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P1050275 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_7116 by jansp, on Flickr
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P1050255 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_7105 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_7114 by jansp, on Flickr

On the way back we had some surprising bird sightings that emphasised how much rain there had been.
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IMG_7283 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_7272 by jansp, on Flickr

there were lots of red headed finches and shaft tailed whydahs.
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IMG_7216 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_7221 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_7228 by jansp, on Flickr

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IMG_7237 by jansp, on Flickr

Back at Nossob there were no lions at the water hole :cry: but another first for me was this young [I think] and rather tatty Augur buzzard, way out of its range?
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IMG_7292 by jansp, on Flickr

A lovely re necked falcon
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IMG_7130 by jansp, on Flickr

and to end the day beautiful stormy skies and a short but cracking thunderstorm.
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P1050232 by jansp, on Flickr


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 Post subject: Re: A WINTER'S TALE
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 11:46 pm 
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Katya, Pumbaa, Micetta, MM and Gavin thanks for reading and for your kind comments.
Doing a TR is more time consuming than you think and I'm more impressed with others' trip reports than ever!

Our next stop was three nights in Mata Mata and I'm almost ashamed to say that we had splashed out to stay in the new bungalows. Such luxury! and what's more 6 nations rugby was on the tv so my SO had absolutely no cause to feel hard done by.
On the way down to MM we saw this young lion with his mother who watched him indulgently. Like all teenagers he went through boredom, thoughtfulness and comedy within the space of a few minutes!
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IMG_7549 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_7542 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_7538 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_7540 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_7548 by jansp, on Flickr

We saw a lot of kori bustards and this was one of my favorites.
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IMG_7526 by jansp, on Flickr
An ostrich nursery on the upper dune road.
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IMG_7571 by jansp, on Flickr


and more lions after we came down onto the Mata Mata road.
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IMG_7614 by jansp, on Flickr

The Auob river valley is beautiful at any time but lush and green, it was glorious wirh abundant game.
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IMG_7575 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_7592 by jansp, on Flickr

And I finally caught a pronking springbok. Pretty poor pics but still,,,,
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IMG_8058 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_8060 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_8061 by jansp, on Flickr

I always love watching giraffe and they are extra special in KTP.
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IMG_7604 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_7607 by jansp, on Flickr

Next two very wet days at Mata Mata but with beatiful skies and more lovely sightings.


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 Post subject: Re: A WINTER'S TALE
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 11:07 pm 
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I really must finish this report - I'll tell you why later!
I can't believe it's August already and 6 weeks have past since I last posted anything.
Folk who live in tourist areas will know how popular we suddenly become with distant friends and family in the summer! Lovely to see them but it certainly makes for a busy time.

MM, Micetta, Cheetah111, Katya, Lintaylor and Pumbaa thankyou so much for reading and for your lovely comments.

Val, aren't we just so lucky. We live in beautiful places in the UK AND get to stay in one of the most [if not THE most] beautiful countries in the world.

Leanewel, the new bungalows at MM are really lovely. I think the ones with the best view are no.s 1-4 but I still spent time in the hide in the campsite.
The new bungalows from the hide.

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IMG_7953 by jansp, on Flickr

During our 2 days in Mata Mata the rain fell in sheets at times but we still managed some good sightings.


On previous visits we've wished that we could see cheetah surveying the scene from the top of the dunes and thistime there they were!
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IMG_7864 by jansp, on Flickr

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IMG_7867 by jansp, on Flickr

They were a long way away but lovely to watch.
My yellow ribbon was spotted by Peter Piper, nice to chat to another 'mite!

We had some good bird sightings , including that lonely maribou stork and more giraffes.
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IMG_7638 by jansp, on Flickr

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IMG_7673 by jansp, on Flickr

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IMG_7776 by jansp, on Flickr

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IMG_7921 by jansp, on Flickr

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IMG_7712 by jansp, on Flickr

The skies that afternoon and evening foretold the deluge to come!
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IMG_8157 by jansp, on Flickr

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IMG_8177 by jansp, on Flickr

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IMG_7849 by jansp, on Flickr

During the night there was a tremendous storm and downpour. the thatch of our beautiful bungalow leaked but only slightly and not over the beds, thank goodness.

In the morning, the roads definitely didn't look like desert roads!

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IMG_8185 by jansp, on Flickr

Craig Lockhart was awash and the animals were looking very sorry for themselves!

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IMG_8216 by jansp, on Flickr

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IMG_8189 by jansp, on Flickr

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IMG_8256 by jansp, on Flickr


Later that day we had sightings of cats we were to see several times over the next couple of days.
The first was this beautiful collared cheetah.

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IMG_8457 by jansp, on Flickr

The light was very poor and the pics worse but we watched her set off to hunt.

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IMG_8484 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_8489 by jansp, on Flickr

Sadly the hunt failed and chatting to the researcher who was tracking her, she had five cubs to feed.
It was devastating to hear that later all five were killed.

Later that day we had our first sighting of a pride consisting of a female, two magnificent males and three well grown cubs. During that sighting, the adults stayed in the long grass but the cubs came to play on the road.
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IMG_8615 by jansp, on Flickr

The light was again very poor, but I rather liked the effect.
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IMG_8597 by jansp, on Flickr

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IMG_8568 by jansp, on Flickr

Our last two nights were in Urikaruus. What a beautiful place that gave us more lovely sightings.


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 Post subject: Re: A WINTER'S TALE
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 9:35 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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MM, thankou for all your comments.
I was so sorry that you had to cancel your trip to KTP.
I'm sure when you do get there, it will have been worth the wait!

Pumbaa, I've so enjoyed your reports and your feathered friends pics. Thanks for reading.

Micetta, its great to see the results of the rain but not quite so good to be out in it but it didn't really matter. It was so lovely just to be there.

Leanawel, I hope you have a great trip!
The luxury of the new MM bungalows seemed a bit decadent
compared with most Sanparks accommodation but nevertheless greatly enjoyed!

Now, to finish this report.

We had never stayed at Urikruus before but we really loved it and its so fantastic to take a drive early in the morning or in the evening near gate closing when there is hardly anyone about.
We spent quite a lot of time with the lion pride which stayed near the road for two days. The light was never good, at times very grey and overcast but it didn't really matter.

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IMG_8699 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_9208 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_9199 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_9189 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_8726 by jansp, on Flickr


The next morning we decided to go to TR because the diesel pump at MM had been broken.
We set out early thinking we'd have breakfast in the restaurant but although we got there before 10'o' clock, it was closed and deserted. Never mind. We had lovely sightings both on the way and on the way back.
First was the collared cheetah hunting again.
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IMG_8785 by jansp, on Flickr

some nice bird sightings.
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IMG_8693 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_9163 by jansp, on Flickr

Not far from the dune road, we came upto a small trafficjam. Yet another cheetah separated from its kill!
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IMG_9395 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_9398 by jansp, on Flickr
She eventually crept round the carsto be reunited with her breakfast!
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IMG_9408 by jansp, on Flickr
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P1050422 by jansp, on Flickr

After filling the tank at TR and eating a hot pie from the shop for breakfast, :( we stopped at Samovloiing before heading back.
This young male lion must have had an enormous meal! He was so stuffed. he could hardly move.
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IMG_8871 by jansp, on Flickr

The next sighting was a long awaited first for me and the sun even shone for a while!
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pigmy falcon by jansp, on Flickr

This was one of my favourites of the whole trip!
These two little ground squirrels were playing near their hole.
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IMG_8925 by jansp, on Flickr

when they spotted a strange and rather frightening interloper!
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IMG_8914 by jansp, on Flickr

They would warily approach and then jump back
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IMG_8928 by jansp, on Flickr

until the braver of the two finally decided it was harmless
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Untitled by jansp, on Flickr

and went back to more important matters!
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IMG_8941 by jansp, on Flickr

[Can anyone ID the lizard please?]

We saw the lion pride again but as there was quite a traffic jam, only stopped for a couple of quick snaps.
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IMG_9093 by jansp, on Flickr
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kalahari lion cubs by jansp, on Flickr

It was almost as though they were posing for a family portrait!

Far off under a tree, the collared cheetahfinally had made a kill.
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IMG_8953 by jansp, on Flickr

and she wasn't going to share it with anyone.
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IMG_8983 by jansp, on Flickr

We sat and watched for nearly an hour. The poor jackal circled round and round but didn'tget a morsel!
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IMG_9023 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_9054 by jansp, on Flickr


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 Post subject: Re: A WINTER'S TALE
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 9:56 pm 
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Back at Urikaruus, we relaxed watched the darkening sky andhad a great braii.
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IMG_9128 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_8665 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_8668 by jansp, on Flickr

Early next morning, two well fed hyenas wandered past the waterhole
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IMG_9255 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_9269 by jansp, on Flickr

We set out for Twee Rivieren,sad to be leaving but grateful for such a fabulous trip.
Just before we left the Auob, I suddenly shouted to John to stop!


Last edited by granjan on Wed Aug 17, 2011 12:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: A WINTER'S TALE
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 10:09 pm 
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IMG_9295 by jansp, on Flickr

We slowly reversed and switched off the engine and he slowly wandered by without acare in the world.
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honey badger by jansp, on Flickr

Our final sighting was our first martial eagle of the trip.
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IMG_9439 by jansp, on Flickr
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IMG_9447 by jansp, on Flickr

A week later we were back on the plane to England after a wonderful 3 months but my story's not quite over.
I have to have an operation in October - nothing life threatening but it wil keep me grounded for quite a while so John said I should have another trip beforehand! So.... on the 28th I'm off to Kruger solo again for a wonderful 15 nights.
Watch this space.


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