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 Post subject: KNP-Junkee-Easter getaway with a snake bite-Apr 2011
Unread postPosted: Tue May 10, 2011 1:57 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2008 11:16 am
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I have been away from the forums for a while, wish I had been in Kruger all the time, but don't we all!!

Thought I would do a trip report of our trip to Hazyview and Pretoriuskop over Easter. A bizarre and fearfull weekend, nevertheless very satisfied with long-awaited sightings with pics.

Please be patient as I am still sorting the pics, it might take a while.

I also have a snake-bite report which I want to share. At the moment I am not getting any feedback from Sanparks complaints department for over a week. This is a matter that could have been fatal

I am looking forward to a long-awaited TR.

Enjoy!


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 Post subject: Re: Easter getaway with a snake bite
Unread postPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 2:00 pm 
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Hi everyone, thanks for all the interest. Yes it is very nice to be back on the forums. It feels like entering Kruger after a long absence and then finding a leopard in the road at the first turn-off.......Ok not quite that special, but it feels good 8)

I apologise for the delay, I have limited internet access at work but the pics are sorted and I will be posting as frequent as possible, I'll try not to keep you waiting for too long.

Here we go :

Our trip was planned as follow: We had accommodation at Hazyview Cabannas from the 22nd to 25th of April. I couldn't find any camping spots in Kruger from the 25th onwards but I did pack my tent and camping gear believing to find a spot. As backup I know someone outside the park who could arrange me a spot as well. I wasn't keen on heading back home on the 25th, neither was SO, mom and my sisters' youngest daughter. Us 4 were the bush lovers.

We had an awesome stay at the Cabannas and I would recommend this to anyone. The city slickers were my sister and her SO, and their other three kids. Not to keen on slow driving in the Park and searching for animals when they can see them at the zoo!!! Huh?? The weather was great except when we decided to do God's window, the potholes and a few waterfalls. The mist was too thick and we only managed to do Mac-Mac Falls. I had to make a promise not to visit the park everyday as we as a family had not gathered for a while. I accepted that, but this was not easy!!!

The 24th we had to go to the Park to try and get a spot to camp for the rest of our stay and we entered at Phabeni, we were at the gate at 05h45 where we joined the back of the qeue. Me and Mecyla got out and started walking to the car with her counting the cars in front of us. We were 88th in line :?
We only went through the gates at 07h10. I was told that by 11 o'clock they did not allow any day visitors to enter. Not far from the gates we got wilddogs in the road - my first ever nice sighting of the doggies after starting to believe that they do not exist in Kruger :D

Got to Pretoriuskop and we found a spot immediately, this has happened before so just goes to show that you might get lucky.
The bush was really thick and we did not see much and decided to spent the afternoon at the restaurant at P'kop having a bite.

We were very excited and could not wait to set up camp.We enjoyed our last night at the cabannas
and got to P'kop at 09h30 to set up camp and go for a swim.

Report with pics to follow in next post.......


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 Post subject: Re: Easter getaway with a snake bite
Unread postPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 1:17 pm 
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Hi all

At last I will start with pics, these ellies on the S3 were just awesome - a Landy had a close call in this dip as the ellies were approaching from the dry riverbed on the left to cross the road and next to the river to have a drink.

The driver was blocking the way for about 10 minutes until he had to move !!! His front left wheel was halfway over the edge of the road while he was looking at the ellies - if he had made his turn a bit wider he and his family would have been in the river :shock:

I had my camera ready :lol: but no pics of the " almost drowning Landy"

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The light was just perfect for this big boy

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The ellies pretty much dominated for our halfday from Numbi to Pretoriuskop, up the S3 and out at Kruger Gate.

It was good to be back in the bush and we were extremely exited to what laid ahead......


More to come soon


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 Post subject: Re: Easter getaway with a snake bite
Unread postPosted: Sun May 15, 2011 1:22 pm 
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Location: Pretoria
Thanks Elsa, Pumbaa, Micetta, Vgstephens and Twigga

The S3 has always produced great sightings for us, I don't recall of a drive down there without seeing anything. Our best thus far was a leopard with her cub on a rock no more than 5 metrers from us, lions with cubs as well - one of my most favourite roads in the south of Kruger.

25 April - Numbi Gate, heading to P'kop

Very chuffed with ourselves for getting up early and ready to be at the gate on opening time we got to the back of this qeue at 05h45. Me and Mecyla started walking towards the gate with her counting the cars in front of us. We were 88th in line :shock: A safari guide was first at the gate and I had a chat with him. He arrived there at 04h10 to make sure they enter first. SO, mom and Jeanne stayed in the car until we got back.

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We only entered through the gates at 07h10, but I must say the large volumes of cars were handled very professionally. I was just glad I was not he first visitor after the daily limit to be told that no day visitors to be allowed after such a long wait. :roll:

Well, the wait was all worth it - our first sighting were the long-awaited wilddogs. For me and SO this was very special as it was her first time seeing them and my second time

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There was about seven of them and they looked like they had a restless night. An awesome sighting so soon on our trip

Not far from there we had these hyenas with a pup entertaining everybody around. he was running around like crazy as if chased by his worst enemy :dance:

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After setting up camp we headed towards Skukuza. This croc we found at the low water bridge

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Just over the low water bridge there were a few cars parked. They saw a male leopard crossing the road. We waited for a few minutes and just before we took off he crossed the road behind us, but too quick for any photos.

This was our first of three leopards for the day :shock: but only got one blurry pic. For the rest we saw ellies, buffalo , giraffe - it was a great day in the park

We found ourselves in the center of a herd of buffalo, there must have been over a thousand - I took al ot of pics but liked the look of this cow the most

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This was the only evidence of one of the leopards we saw - it was almost dark and he moved off to lie not far away from the road, we had to get going to make the gate at the camp.

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An awesome day with special sightings....

More to come


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 Post subject: Re: Easter getaway with a snake bite
Unread postPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 1:54 pm 
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Thanks CB, yes we were blessed with amazing sightings - especially this time of year.

KTF - Its a shame you missed them. I took a number of photos of them stretching, changing positions and they were really close. We have actually seen 4 leopards in one day on a previous trip, so that is our record, but seeing one close to the road makes it that more special

Janeli - Thank you, luckily our snake victim is fine now and out of danger. We thought at first she got bitten by a puffadder but luckily it was not, well the snake could only be identified 6 hours after the bite. The rest of that story is on the way, I am very glad you avoided that bite......especially at Shingwedzi - far from any hospitals..... :shock:

Pumbaa, thanks. Yes it was very special - I just love to see the doggies, must be because I haven't seen them in Kruger for the first 25 years of my life...


Next Day

Firstly I would like to post this compilation of a very healthy cheetah male - he was certainly our highlight of the day...enjoy!!

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He was in great shape - my best sighting of a cheetah thus far.

More to come....


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 Post subject: Re: Easter getaway with a snake bite
Unread postPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 1:17 pm 
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I enjoy cheetah sightings a lot, maybe because we had very few sightings in the past.
He was definitely our highlight of the day. Here is some pics of the rest of our day :


I was told that this lioness had some cubs around but not on show today

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Imagine Kruger without these guys around....

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I need some help on this, is this a leopard tortoise ? Haven't seen one as small as this, I think he could have fitted in the palm of my hand....was lucky not to drive over it.....

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Transport Dam, this guy made a run for it after he/she saw a frightened human

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Who cares about lions and leopards when it is that time of the year? Definitely not these two.....
To their defence there was a third one of them just to the right who had to keep an eye out for any uninvited visitors...haha

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And on our way back to camp

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That was another blessed day in Kruger - despite the tall grass and thick bush we had a lovely day.
The atmosphere in the camp was great that evening, a packed camp with fires everywhere but not noisy at all, I assume everybody went to bed early to fall asleep before the real snoring started.....
I miss the lions' roar at night at P'kop - maybe they left because of the snoring......haha
More to come soon


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 Post subject: Re: Easter getaway with a snake bite
Unread postPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 7:06 am 
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Ditto to all the comments above! :clap: :clap: :clap:

_________________
"Happiness, I have discovered, is nearly always a rebound from hard work." - David Grayson


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 Post subject: Re: Easter getaway with a snake bite
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:40 pm 
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Thanks Flutterby, Higgsie, Kamadejo, Pumbaa, Hilda and Tawny

Can someone ID the tortoise for me please I don't think I have seen a leopard tortoise or maybe I have....

Yes it was also my first time seeing the klipspringers mate, maybe a once in a lifetime sighting, who knows. :huh:

When we look back on the trip and photos it is always the smaller things that make Kruger so special, if you come to think about those small tortoises surviving everydays challenges to adulthood. Makes you appreciate the next sighting of an adult tortoise.

Moving on I want to post our next days pics before our snake bite incident.

We did see this puffadder in the road just after sunrise

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He was big but did not move an inch - we then talked about the danger of a puffadders bite and how much damage they can cause.

We arrived at Berg 'n Dal at about 09h00 and decided to walk the Rhino trail from the restaurant next to the fence towards the bungalows. We did not go too far down and turned around heading back to the shop.

I will try to keep this as short as possible. Me and SO were having a laugh as we discussed an incident a few years back at the same fence we were walking next to at that moment. We were taking photos of a dead impala in the waterhole with a hippo nearby. Now picture this : Both of us were looking into our cameras through our lenses and talking to each other. I warned her about the fence being electrified, after which she commented : " It is not working, I can rest my lens on it" This was not the case and a second later she uttered some words in another language......priceless moment, for the record I did manage to stop laughing the next day. But she had a dead arm for a few days

After our moment we headed towards the restaurant. Now there was a gap between Mecyla and Grandma, and SO and me, when out of the blue Mecyla screamed like crazy and grandma shouted it was a snake bite. This happened right in front of the restaurant, packed with guests. I ran like crazy to get to her and couldn't see the snake so I told SO to try and find the snake and take a picture.

This bite was really painful and I could see the bite mark on her little toe where the blood started to flow from. I picked her up and started running towards the reception area to find someone with first-aid or a doctor. I got told the nearest doctor was in Malelane, there is no doctors in the camp - SO did manage to get a clear picture to show to the staff member that was on duty. He couldn't id the snake accurately and said it was a puff adder. This did not help at all and I couldn't believe the standard of service we just had( then I was unaware that the nearest help is a hospital, I was under the impression they could assist with first-aid at all camps) We took off to get to Malelane as soon as possible and I can promise you - it was no fun speeding in the Park with the most beautiful little kid ever, screaming like crazy in the back and us not knowing the consequences of the bite, whether it will be fatal or not.

We got to Malelane and only found the fourth doctors' office open - I got a real workout running with her in my arms from door to door as the offices were pretty close to one another. Berg 'n Dal did inform them we were on our way so we went straight to the consulting room.
The doctor stabilised her on a drip and tried to id the snake in one of her snake books, but without any luck.

By now you could see the effect of the bite as the poison started to spread towards her ankle and the swelling became worse. Her breathing and conscious was normal so we figured that it was not a neurotoxic venom, but it was terribly frustrating not to know what the outcome will be. SO had the best job of firstly informing Mecylas' mom about the incident (staying calm in situations like this does not come naturally for my sister) while our little patient did not allow me to leave her side.

Next step we had to contact the ambulance from Nelspruit to come and collect her and take her to their hospital. Netcare 911 arrived an hour later as they were busy with another incident. I must give them compliments for their excellent service and calmness throughout. If I remember correctly the one medics' name was Kate, she takes care of the snake bites on the team and did a great job. I drove with Mecyla inside the ambulance to Nelspruit as Kate kept a watchful eye over her. Mom and SO in hot pursuit behind us. Straight to the ICU where she got treated for her symptoms (as the technology of snake bites evolve) That afternoon at four o'clock a snake specialist from Mpumalanga Parks arrived to id the snake as a night adder.

After investigating the bite he told us she was very lucky as only one of its teeth struck her and did not deliver a full dose of poison - he also said that the night adder is a less toxic snake but must not be under-estimated or taken lightly, a full dose would have caused more damage to an 8 year old. Interestingly, these snakes would rather avoid humans, even when stepped on, rather to attack and strike, so in a way to get bitten is very rare.

The swelling did spread a bit more but when the pain was under control she had a royal time in ICU, most of her family came from Gauteng to visit and she kept the nurses on their toes. There was another patient lying opposite her that had a meeting with a puff adder - one I think he would like to forget very quickly. We are very greatfull - it could have been fatal.


We did phone P'kop to inform them that we were not going to make it back in time and they should escort us back to camp which was handled very smoothly - the escort even stopped at a Genet sighting for us to enjoy!


After the trip I did followed this up with a few members of Sanparks concerning the awareness of dangerous snakes at all camps and picnic spots, as well as training the staff members to a level where they can positively identify any snake with providing the visitors/guests with re-assurance and to have an emergency procedure in place which would differ from camp to camp(depending on distance and availability of closest hospitals) I did get positive feedback and they are in the process of handling this matter


I was thinking, where is the nearest hospital to Shingwedzi? What would happen if you get bitten at a picnic spot without identifying the snake and without cellphone signal? Just a thought - but don't think about it when you go there........

Nevertheless, Mecyla is out of trouble and has no damage to her foot or toes. Man, did she have a story to tell at school with printed pictures, don't know how, but her story got announced over the school's intercom system by the principal ?????

I would like to know what you guys think about the structures that are in place at the moment when a snake bite occurs and what would be the ideal way of approaching this in future.
Maybe we should open a new thread if not in place yet?

I suggested a Snake display at every reception area and maybe picnic spots with the relevant information and directions to the nearest hospitals. Most of us are aware of the danger, but surely the majority are uninformed. We don't want to read about a snake bite fatality in Kruger where the snake was identified incorrectly by a staff member or that death could have been prevented.

Has anyone had a similar experience?

Here is a few pics of the whole incident....

Firstly the pic of the snake
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This was the state of her foot four days after the bite

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Happy to say, she did not develop a fear for snakes


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 Post subject: Re: Easter getaway with a snake bite
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2011 4:01 pm 
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Hi KTF Hooked

They are boerboel puppies, sorry for the delay but they have been a handfull the last 5 weeks. There were 8 of them born on the 9th of July, but only four made it. As it was mom's first time giving birth, she was inexperienced and nervous. Because of her size and weight the puppies tend to end up underneath her and they don't make it.

Learned a lesson not to interfere and let nature have its way.

They are big and strong and are looking for new homes, if I had a bigger property I would have kept them all.

There is one male and three males, here they are :

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