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 Post subject: Back to Nature-11 days of relaxation and learning-May 2011
Unread postPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 1:54 pm 
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Hi All

I must be honest have never done a travel tail before but i guess now is as good a time as any. My S.O and I went to Kruger for 11 days. Four of which i left him to go and do a course at Sandriver in Kruger. We both did our FGASA level 1 last year and both have a great passion for nature.I would like to share our experiences and knowledge with you. So here it goes. :dance:

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 Post subject: Re: 11 days of relaxation and learning
Unread postPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 2:01 pm 
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My mom Begged me to do this Travel tale and seen as its mothers day it seems like good timing. (love u mom).
Mother nature was so good to us in all that we saw and experienced. We arrived at Paul Kruger gate on Thursday the 22 April at about lunch time. My S.O has recently bought a 4x4 so we decided to take the caravan. I thought it was so funny cause most of the time when you see people with a caravan they are an elderly couple or a family. Yet here we were a 25 year old couple driving at silly slow speeds towing a caravan. :wall:

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Last edited by Back to Nature on Sun May 08, 2011 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 11 days of relaxation and learning
Unread postPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 5:08 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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:clap: :clap: About time too and thank you for the mothers day wish love u too x BTN had typed out quite a bit and then asked me to help post her pic :redface: I hit the wrong button and oh no :wall: :wall: all gone hopefully I can get her back onto it real soon. Trying to fathom out what happened to the code for uploading on flickr. :hmz:


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 Post subject: Re: 11 days of relaxation and learning
Unread postPosted: Tue May 10, 2011 5:45 pm 
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Hi All thanx for the comments thus far. :D

If you don’t mind I would like to not only share our experience with you but also what we have learnt. One could never know everything so if you would like to add something or even correct me if I’m wrong that would be great. My S.O and I both got new cameras at the beginning of the year so we are still learning but I can’t wait to share my pictures with you. :cam:

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 Post subject: Re: 11 days of relaxation and learning
Unread postPosted: Tue May 10, 2011 6:15 pm 
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Even though we both know better we didn’t take the cameras out from the back of the car. :wall: Not even 5km after the gate and there is a 3 car traffic jam (in KNP this can count as a traffic jam). We were told that there was a leopard in a tree but that she went down and they can’t see her anymore. Never have I hang over a car set so fast bum in the air trying desparately to reach the camera bags in the back of the car. We waited for a bit and as we got doubtful that we would see her we started to pull off. Just then this magnificent creature decided to show herself and cross the round in front of us.

Image
IMG_5164 by Sunrae's, on Flickr

Unfortunately this is the only picture I could get before she disappeared into the grass. I refer to her as a her due to the fact that she looked small and petite for a leopard (Females tend to be smaller than the males). Later on when I share one of my S.O’ s photo’s with you, you will see what I mean.

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 Post subject: Re: 11 days of relaxation and learning
Unread postPosted: Tue May 10, 2011 6:29 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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At least I have redeemed myself and got you up and running again :naughty: what do I always say.... make sure when you arrive at the gate to move equipment within reach.(Sorry could not resist to say told you so)but at least you got her, and from the sneak preview I have had we are in for a treat keep it coming :popcorn: :popcorn:


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 Post subject: Re: 11 days of relaxation and learning
Unread postPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 7:19 pm 
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We made our way to Skukuza, caravan still in tow. I was worried that with it being a long weekend it would be busy and good campsites would be scarce. A number of the campsites were cornered off with red tape which a fellow camper informed us was the man camping next to him who was saving campsites for his friends (50 of them arriving the next day) So not allowed! But to avoid any confrontation (as I like to do) we found our own little corner.
It was our first attempt at setting up the caravan and we eventually managed to level it pulling the caravan onto bricks on one side and all. To be totally honest I didn’t even know one had to level a caravan, I guess I had never thought about it. Eventually camp was setup but it was too late for a drive never mind that we were exhausted to. I felt sorry for my S.O as he had to drive the whole way (I have never towed before).

Image
IMG_5170 by Fluffy120, on Flickr
Our camp.

We had such a nice dinner that night I love fresh veg and we had bought a cooked chicken so we had that “yummy yummy yummy” is all I can say.



Image
IMG_5173 by Fluffy120, on Flickr

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Last edited by Back to Nature on Mon May 16, 2011 6:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 11 days of relaxation and learning
Unread postPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 7:22 pm 
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There are always visitors when you are in nature and this adult Antlion decided to come and say hello. Insects are fascinating; Take this little guy for example. They start out as these eyeless funny looking things. Their life cycle takes place and out comes these beautiful creatures’ wings, eyes and all. When they are still larva they are the little dudes that make the holes in the sand that we see all over the place. They feed on ants that drop down into the hole and have no orifices. So they shed and every time they do they move to a new hole in order to make sure that the ants can’t smell them.

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IMG_5178 by Fluffy120, on Flickr

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 Post subject: Re: 11 days of relaxation and learning
Unread postPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 7:02 pm 
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The next day we came across to young female ellies close to the road. They seemed rather calm so we drove close to them. As we moved closer we noticed a calf lying motionless in the grass.

Image
IMG_5200 by Fluffy120, on Flickr

I looked long and hard to see if it was breathing but to my dismay there was no movement from this little one. :cry:

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 Post subject: Re: 11 days of relaxation and learning
Unread postPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 7:18 pm 
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I understand the circle of life and am accepting of it, yet I was still upset that this little ellies life had ended before it had even began.

We heard another elephant call in the distance. The two females that we could see stayed close to the little one. One of them came up to it and started nudging it with its leg I still remember saying “aaaawww shame she is mourning”. Before that thought had been fully processed in my mind this happened........................................


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IMG_5201 by Fluffy120, on Flickr

Silly Billy, he was just sleeping. :huh:

Image
IMG_5203 by Fluffy120, on Flickr

He was up on his feet and off he went with mom. :D

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Last edited by Back to Nature on Sat May 21, 2011 4:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 11 days of relaxation and learning
Unread postPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 5:19 pm 
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On our first morning we made our way to Afsaal for a cook up breakfast. We were meeting up with my S.O’s mom and her friend as it was their last day in Kruger. I really love this spot and there always seems to be something to see. There was a female bushbuck that seemed all too happy to browse around near everyone. She was so pretty that I couldn’t resist taking photos of her.

Image
IMG_5224 by Fluffy120, on Flickr

Image
IMG_5223 by Fluffy120, on Flickr

A herd of elephants decided to pass by and it always amazes me that people will crowed around them and try get closer without thinking. I mean don’t they realize that there is not even a fence between them and these giants. The ellies were not happy and I wasn’t prepared to be one of the people to aggravate them by trying to take photos.

There are always a lot of birds around these areas and even though people don’t see a problem with feeding them it is a huge problem. The things that these birds land up eating like toast and chips are the worst things they can eat. There is no way for them to digest it properly and it doesn’t have the nutrients that they need. I’m speaking from experience as I have worked at a vet for 6 years now and I know what happens to a baby bird that someone has given bread to. The birds that choose this life style don’t live very long and they stop looking for food as this is a quick and easy meal. One of the most common birds one sees around these spots is the yellow-billed hornbill. Maybe it was just us but something we noticed during our stay is that there are not that many yellow-billed hornbills around anymore? ….. Something to think about. :doh:

There were some Arrow marked babblers around, they are such busy birds but I eventually managed to get this photo.

Image
IMG_5234 by Fluffy120, on Flickr

These birds are Co-orporative breeders meaning that they are found in small family groups, all individuals will assist in the care of the chicks. I will never forget the sound that this little group of birds makes. They sound like ladies cackling and last year our lecturer named a small group of us girls the babblers. Need I say more. :mrgreen:

After a lovely breakfast we said our goodbyes and were off again.

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 Post subject: Re: 11 days of relaxation and learning
Unread postPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 5:41 pm 
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At the beginning of 2010 I didn’t know much about birds or tress, in actual fact I knew very little about anything. It is so exciting to drive around and just know more about what you see. To not just look at it but to actually “SEE” it. It is as though you are seeing the world through different eyes.

It is at this point that I must tell you that I am a very huge fan of the colour Pink. We have a joke amongst us that if I had to work in the bush one day I would have a pink cameo rifle. Therefore on this trip I set out to prove that pink belongs in nature so throughout my T.R you will see bits of “pink in nature” pop up.


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 Post subject: Re: 11 days of relaxation and learning
Unread postPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 12:44 pm 
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Hi all thank you for the comments and for reading my T.R.

Image
IMG_5208 by Fluffy120, on Flickr

You always see these pretty nests all over the park. They are the homes of the interesting little community nest spiders. These little black spiders all live together on this web working together to protect it. When there are new arrivals (babies) they will often "fly" away! Well they let a small piece of silk out and then let the wind carry them away (known as ballooning). This always makes me think of charlotte’s web.
The other interesting thing is that often a Goshawk will take some of these spiders and put them in its nest. In doing so the spiders clean the nest for the Goshawk.

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Last edited by Back to Nature on Sat May 21, 2011 4:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 11 days of relaxation and learning
Unread postPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 9:53 am 
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Hi All
Thank you for all your great comments. I am so glad that you are enjoying it so far and that I can be of help. :lol:


When you find water you find life and there always seems to be something to see.

Image
IMG_5262 by Fluffy120, on Flickr
This is a HammerKops nest its size is just so impressive you would think that it belongs to a larger bird. It can take up to 6 months for a pair to build this nest.

Image
IMG_5273 by Fluffy120, on Flickr
This Grey Heron reminded me of a ballet dancer as it had a stretch.


Image
IMG_5276 by Fluffy120, on Flickr
A Green-backed heron. You can’t really see it in this photo but when they are in the sun they have a shiny green back.

My mom always tries to get photos of birds in flight so I think she will appreciate this one.
Plovers in flight
Image
IMG_5286 by Fluffy120, on Flickr


This White-breasted Cormorant was very relaxed and didn’t mind us pulling right up close to him.

Image
IMG_5291 by Fluffy120, on Flickr

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 Post subject: Re: 11 days of relaxation and learning
Unread postPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 9:42 am 
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I would like to thank you all once again for your comments :D

The above pics were the highlights of our first day and one might say …”we saw nothing” as we hear all too often. I was so excited because I thought we were so lucky to have seen so much. :dance:
The next day we were up early as we decided to do the coffee and rusks thing at Lake panic bird hide.
At the “main” intersection outside camp a certain fluffy creature was causing a traffic jam.

Image
IMG_5313 by Fluffy120, on Flickr

A youngster just wondering around aimlessly. I couldn’t get a clear shot from my side so had to take the pic through the windscreen.


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