Skip to content

SANParks.org Forums

View unanswered posts | View active topics






Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  Page 1 of 2
 [ 16 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Manovo-Gounda-Punda to Berg en Dal - March 2011
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 12:33 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:26 pm
Posts: 73
Location: Europe or Africa
Hi there,

After a long flight a good friend of mine and I got our car rental and left Johannesburg International Ariport at 10 am. Followed by a long trip via Giyani we arrived in Punda Maria at 5 pm. How nice was it to be back in the North of KNP after about five years of thinking of it! The area was beautifully green. The next three nights we spent at Punda Tented Camp! What a nice accomodation - our tent was located very close to the camp fence. Already during the first night we heard a leopard growling just from the other side of the fence! A large-spotted genet visited us every evening and a bat hawk was seen flying above the camp at dusk.

Image

Image

Birding was good in and around Punda. For example we found a fulvous duck at a pond outside camp. Finding mammals was not the easiest as the bush was lush and thick. However, during the evening drive we found a group of three lions on the western part of the Mahonie Loop (S99).

Image

On the following two mornings we headed north to Pafuri as early as possible. On the way there we found in the tall Mopani stands along the road a first ornithological highlight - Arnot's chat! Not a good picture but a proof.

Image

At Klopperfontein Dam we found an immature purple heron and closeby was a pearl-spotted owlet.

Image

At Pafuri we found together with bird guide Frank Mabasa plenty of interesting birds. Just to name some of the highlights: Böhm's spinetail, lesser honeyguide, African yellow white-eye, ashy flycatcher, brubru, tropical boubou, willow warbler, Meve's starling, spectacled weaver, trumpeter hornbill. At Pafuri Bridge we got a dwarf bittern and at crook's corner we found a tambourine dove and potentially the rare lemonbreasted canary (though the bird flew off very quickly and we are not counting this sighting). Rollers and bee-eaters were abundant in the area.

Image
southern carmine bee-eater

Image
European bee-eaters just before flying back to Europe

Image
Crook's Corner in March

In the three days in the far north we obviously focused on birds and the stunning Punda Maria Tented Camp. Mammals were not abundant but some nice sightings were there too - for example some beautiful Nyala and Kudu. On the way back to Punda we found once on the main tar road an adult Caracal! Unfortunatly it quickly moved off into thick Mopani before we could position our photographic guns :cry: .

More to follow.....

_________________
Latest Lifers Europe: greater short-toed lark, western capercaillie, ashy-headed wagtail
Latest Lifer Africa: Taita fiscal, rosy-patched bush-shrike, slaty egret

Next trip to Kruger: 25.7-3.8 2014, Bird list KNP: 257 species


Last edited by Manovo-Gounda on Mon Jun 06, 2011 11:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: From Punda to Berg en Dal - a 17 days trip in March 2011
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 11:04 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:26 pm
Posts: 73
Location: Europe or Africa
Hi again,

After some great bird and mammal activity we left the beautyfully green far North in direction Shingwedzi. On the H13-1 towards Dzundzwini Hill there was plenty of roller and tree squirrel action in the surrounding Mopani.

Image

Image

When reaching the H1-7 main road we tried to be particularly alert as the area around Babalala is well-known for being a hotspot for cheetah and rare antelopes. At Boyela waterhole we scanned the area, saw some wildebeest and zebra and then..... there it was, my first roan antelope in KNP - oddly shaped horns included:shock:!

Image

After this quite special sighting we turned back a few km to have a break at Babalala. We found the fairly "tame" local bush duiker and some interesting birds. While having a cold drink there on this hot and humid day a particular birdsong caught our attention. From one of the huge sycamore figs an icterine warbler was singing! I know this song from the breeding season in Europe but hadn't expected it to sing in early March in South Africa - it was practising before the great journey back to Europe.

Image

On our way south from Babalala we took the S56 which leads through some magnificent stands of old riverine forest. Having in mind that I saw leopard with two cubs here on my last trip I was very alert again. However, to my disappointment we could not find any predator this time. But there was a large herd of Buffalo coming down to the Mphongolo river in the now quite dry area.

Image

At Shingwedzi camp I unsuccessfully searched for the collared palm-thrush which was sighted here in the past. As our accomodation was not as nice as in Punda we decided to go for dinner at the restaurant. This turned out to be a good decision as there was a spotlight to view the animals close to the fence. While watching animals and eating all of a sudden we heard some lions roaring. Bearing in mind that lion roar can travel up to 7 km or so we tried to figure out the location of the callers. We thought that it might come from the area close to where the main road crosses the Shingwedzi (some 3 km away or so). On the next morning we were one of the first cars leaving camp in direction shingwedzi bridge. After a few minutes, still in complete darkness we found mamma lion carrying her cub - a truly memorable moment 8)!

Image

Image

After a short while the lioness left the road on moved down to the Shingwedzi riverbed. In anticipation that we may see her again we drove the remaining way the Shingwedzi bridge. There we first found a male lion on the other side of the bridge (maybe one of the callers of the evening before). Now it was in full daylight and the male decided to move into the nearby thickets (us without pictures :evil:). Being a bit grumpy that we missed him we had time to look down again into the Shingwedzi riverbed where mama lion was seen again - although this time at quite a distance.

Image

More to follow......

_________________
Latest Lifers Europe: greater short-toed lark, western capercaillie, ashy-headed wagtail
Latest Lifer Africa: Taita fiscal, rosy-patched bush-shrike, slaty egret

Next trip to Kruger: 25.7-3.8 2014, Bird list KNP: 257 species


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: From Punda to Berg en Dal - a 17 days trip in March 2011
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:36 am 
Offline
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2010 9:51 am
Posts: 4776
Location: Johannesburg SA
FAC Member (2013)
No need to search!
Here it is
viewtopic.php?f=21&t=53078
Its called: Roan Herds in Kruger(ID thread) :thumbs_up:
:popcorn:

_________________
Kruger 2014!!!

16-23 August - Lower Sabi!!!!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: From Punda to Berg en Dal - a 17 days trip in March 2011
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:22 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:26 pm
Posts: 73
Location: Europe or Africa
Hi there, Shingwedzi - Mopani

After the male lion and the mother-lion with her cub we left the Shingwedzi-Bridge area and travelled south on the H1-6 towards Red Rocks viewing site. Just after about another 1km we came across another two female lions that were walking along the road - quite likely belonging to the same pride as the ones encountered before. At Red rocks, we stayed for quite a while and took pictures of the different birds encountered at the viewing site. All of a sudden, for the second time after Punda Maria, we heard that rusty saw! A Leopard was vocalizing fairly close. Even though we tried hard, we could not find the dappled cat :evil:. At least some nice birdies were seen...

Image

Image

On the the way down to Mopani we saw quite a few herbivores like African buffalo, giraffe and elephant acompanied by the two different oxpecker species.

Image

Image

Just before Mopani at Bowerkop waterhole we witnessed a severe interaction between two large birds: kori bustard vs. secretary bird - they did not seem to like each other! Note: the bustard's heavily modified left wing.

Image

Image

After watching the two big birds for a while we drove to the S143 (Tropic of Capricorn Loop). The S143 is one of my favorites - the landscape on the eastern half is truly stunning open grassland and Tihongonyeni waterhole is hot - this time we saw several tsessebe, a herd of more than ten eland, zebra, wildebest, buffalo, elephant, ostrich, kori bustard and sectretary bird all close to Tihongonyeni - for me this is one of Kruger's best waterholes :)!

Image

Afterwards we visited Moiplaas Picnic site where we saw golden tailed woodpeckers feeding their chicks, a kurrichane thrush and many more birds.

Image

Image

We then went to closeby Mopani Camp where I stayed for my first time. I thoroughly enjoyed this beautiful camp. Our BD4 Chalet (nr. 49) had a lovely view on the pioneer dam! We enjoyed birding in camp and saw interesting species. Just to name a few: Black-crowned night-heron, little bittern, common moorhen, brownheaded parrot and common greenshank.

Image

More to follow....

_________________
Latest Lifers Europe: greater short-toed lark, western capercaillie, ashy-headed wagtail
Latest Lifer Africa: Taita fiscal, rosy-patched bush-shrike, slaty egret

Next trip to Kruger: 25.7-3.8 2014, Bird list KNP: 257 species


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: From Punda to Berg en Dal - a 17 days trip in March 2011
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 8:58 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:26 pm
Posts: 73
Location: Europe or Africa
Hi,

Many thanks for all the nice comments from Kamadejo, Flutterby, JustNature, John n poppy, Crested Barbet, anne catherine, Melph 68, Meandering Mouse, Magic Guarri, Pumbaa & granjan!!! I will upload the next part around mid-week.

@ Magic Guarri: I used different Canon cameras und different lenses up to 400mm.

@ Pumbaa: I totally agree - I am always looking forward to Tihongonyeni. I have not been lucky with predators there but lots of different herbivores and grassland birds.

@ Crested Barbet: I would suggest you give the duty manager of Mopani a phone call or write an email about two weeks prior to your stay and ask for your favourite bungalow - in doing that, I got my prefered accomodation in Punda, Mopani, Tamboti, Lower Sabie and Biyamiti.

Three more pictures of the Bird interaction at Bowerkop waterhole:

Image

Image

Image

_________________
Latest Lifers Europe: greater short-toed lark, western capercaillie, ashy-headed wagtail
Latest Lifer Africa: Taita fiscal, rosy-patched bush-shrike, slaty egret

Next trip to Kruger: 25.7-3.8 2014, Bird list KNP: 257 species


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: From Punda to Berg en Dal - a 17 days trip in March 2011
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:47 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:26 pm
Posts: 73
Location: Europe or Africa
Hi there,

After a good night with light rain we left the beautiful Mopani camp. The whole surounding area I find truly stunning with Moiplaas picnic site, Moiplaas waterhole, Tropic of Capricorn Loop the Nsawu vleis and more. We once again we went to Moiplaas picnic site just to find a cheeky tree squirrel that had stolen a bit of our neighbour's bread. Also around was a female bearded woodpecker that posed nicely in the good morning light.

Image

Image


On our way south to Letaba we came across plenty of big tuskers that often blocked the road.

Image

Image


We also came across a Temminck's courser. I have not seen this species often before and thus I thoroughly enjoyed watching this beauty. Down at Letaba bridge we saw a flock of eighteen darkish storks far away. When checking with the telescope we found out that they were actually not the gregarious Abdim's Storks. Instead, there were that many black storks together - I've never seen so many of them at the same spot :shock: ! The picture does not show all of them and is of bad quality as they were far away - it's just a proof.

Image

Image

We afterwards spent a nice eve in a bungalow close to the Letaba restaurant that had a lovely view on the nearby sweeping bend of the Letaba river. I was very nice to have a braai there and watch all the animals that came down in the riverbed. On the next morning we went towards Matambeni bird hide in search of predators. They unfortunately remained hidden :evil:. But at least we had some nice birds with for example an immature male Gabar goshawk and some nice herbivores.

Image

Image

Close to Letaba there were a lot of vultures and eagles soaring. They came down to the riverbed and eventually placed themselfs in a very overgrown and thus not visible area close to the water. Whether a kill or even the predators were there we never found out :( .

Image

Image

Even though particularly Mopani but also Letaba were beautiful we missed out on predators since Shingwedzi. This was a bit disappointing as during my last trip I had for example four cheetah at Mopani. So, at lunch time it was time to move on to a usually very good predator hunting ground - Olifants. More to follow.....

_________________
Latest Lifers Europe: greater short-toed lark, western capercaillie, ashy-headed wagtail
Latest Lifer Africa: Taita fiscal, rosy-patched bush-shrike, slaty egret

Next trip to Kruger: 25.7-3.8 2014, Bird list KNP: 257 species


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: From Punda to Berg en Dal - a 17 days trip in March 2011
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 8:54 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:26 pm
Posts: 73
Location: Europe or Africa
Hi there,

After a beautiful but in terms of predators unsuccessful morning drive we left the Letaba area by taking the Letaba River Road which leads South to Olifants camp. On this road there are many small river loops one can take to look for mammals and birds. We scanned for predators and looked for the collared pratincole for which this area is a hotspot in KNP - no success with these but at least many different birds and some herbivores.

Image

Image

Closer to Olfiants Camp there is a scenic viewing site that offers breathtaking views over the Letaba river. This stop I found always worthwhile even though I've never had any particular mammal sighting there.

Image

Soon after, we arrived at Olifants camp and got our little hut close to the camp perimeter. It had a lovely river view. After a short rest still we decided to do an afternoon drive and booked the night drive.
Heading south towards Balule we encountered a lot of birds of prey. For example immature Martial eagles in flight and perched. There were also some red-backed shrikes. We found this stunning bird frequently later on further South. They must have picked up some good meals in KNP prior their big journey back to Eurasia.

Image

Image

Image

The area around Balule is usually good for waterbirds and animal activity. This time we found some nice waterbuck here.

Image

We then headed south and took the S89. This road is famous for cheetah and lion sightings and I always give it a go when I am in the area. After about 3-4 km on the S89 we found a standing car. People inside seemed to search something. We asked them what they found and got the answer to a whole pride of lions was closeby. We had to drive forward and backward and scan the area properly. But eventually we found some lions hidden in long grass underneath some bushes. We were not able to count them but it appeared that quite a few of them were having a siesta out there. Hoping for some action we waited there beside the sleepy lions. They were about 20m away from the road and some bits and parts of different individuals were visible. All of a sudden, an immature lion got up and approached us slowly.

Image

In the now brilliant evening light it slowly but steadily came closer :wink: ! It seemed to be equally interested in us as we in it! The juvenile lion, maybe about 1 to 1 1/2 years old, focussed on us all the time and finally sat down about 2m right beside the car - we had to change lenses to get the whole face on a picture :)

Image

Image

We starred at each other for quite a while (not to mention that we took quite a few pictures). The immature lion went eventually back to its pride again. We had to leave the area too in order to be back in Camp on time. After a quick dinner at the Olfiants restaurant we went on the late night drive. I told the driver that we saw lions on the S89. We drove there with the Sanparks vehicle again. Around 9pm we arrived there. The pride was still at the same location but less sleepy. We could count a total of ten lions. The Sanparks guide told us that there were three different prides on the S89 and the one with ten individuals was frequently spotted in the area. After watching the lions for a while we continued on the S89 and finally reached the H1-4 junction. Between the junction an the Olifants high water bride we had a male lion on the road. He moved in on the road in the dark. So the pictures did not turn out well. Further up we found more lions, this time there were a few females but they disappeard quickly into the dark. At Olifant high water bridge we saw a Verreaux's (giant) eagle-owl.

Image

About 2o minutes later we were back at Olifants Camp and got to bed quickly as we were very tired but very happy - Olifants has been kind to me once again :D .

More to follow....

_________________
Latest Lifers Europe: greater short-toed lark, western capercaillie, ashy-headed wagtail
Latest Lifer Africa: Taita fiscal, rosy-patched bush-shrike, slaty egret

Next trip to Kruger: 25.7-3.8 2014, Bird list KNP: 257 species


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: From Punda to Berg en Dal - a 17 days trip in March 2011
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2011 9:00 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:26 pm
Posts: 73
Location: Europe or Africa
Olifants - Tamboti - Satara

Hi there,

After day with good lion-action on a second day where we had some rest as well we left the Olifants area in direction Tamboti. On the s39 (Timbavati River Road) we came across a large herd of buffalo. They blocked the road and it took quite a while until the whole herd had moved down to the Timbavati river. Beside the beasts such buffalo encounters are always a good opportunity to look for oxpeckers and other birds that accompany them.

Image

Towards Orpen/Tamboti we found some lovely birds (here Eastern paradise-whydah) and at the turnoff to Tamboti camp on the H7 we found a black-backed jackal - compared to other jackals it was very well habituated. I think that some other members of the forum here describe this almost tame specimen as well.

Image

Image

We afterwards spent the night a the lovely Tamboti tented camp. After finishing our braai thunder and lightning entertained us and some rain fell eventually. On the next morning we took the H7 where we found a not-so-well-habituated spotted hyena that run away immediately. As I had plenty of lion sightings in past on the s39 we took again the Timbavati River road - which unfortunatly remained calm and quiet on this particular morning :cry: . We continued on the S127 where we found a fast running black-backed jackal and soon later 4 lesser kestrels on a dead tree - these were my first lesser kestrels - not only in KNP but also in South Africa. We used the telescope to look a all the important features and at the end falco naumanni ticked in SA :thumbs_up: ! We then took the H1-4 and drove towards Satara. When approaching Satara we saw from quite a distance already the "traffic jam" that often annouces a predator sighting. Whilst I find it still worthwile to look at the animals beside people in the other 10-15 cars it is far less thrilling than finding predators on your own. Still we had a look and found a group of lions moving in the long dry grass just at the s90 turnoff.

Image

Image

After the lions disappeared we decided to take the s90. Maybe about 3-4 km after the lions we saw a LIT! Yes the Dappled :) ! I've seen quite a few leopards in KNP but strangely this was the first specimen I saw in a tree. We watched the leopard for a long time. It was sleepy and quite a few cars came and went again. As there was still no further action we went down to Satara to check in and have lunch. Around 3 pm we drove again up to the LIT. There were still maybe 8 cars and the light was too bright for good photos. We hoped that the leopard may come down and we anticipated that it might move to the east. Thus, we drove to the eastern end of the parked cars and waited. I can't remember exactely how long we were there but after half an hour or so the leopard started climbing down the tree and moved.... and moved to the east :D! While driving slowly but steadily we managed to be always in the right position to take pictures of the moving leopard. It walked for a while parallel to the road but eventually moved away into the long grass - we had it for a while quite close to us - this was certainly one of the better leopard sightings I've ever had.

Image

Image

Image

After lion and leopard on the s90 we came across some nice birds (for example this bateleur whose's plumage showed an intermediate form between immature and adult) and enjoyed the young zebras that were all over the place in the Satara area.

Image

Image

Image

More to follow....

_________________
Latest Lifers Europe: greater short-toed lark, western capercaillie, ashy-headed wagtail
Latest Lifer Africa: Taita fiscal, rosy-patched bush-shrike, slaty egret

Next trip to Kruger: 25.7-3.8 2014, Bird list KNP: 257 species


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: From Punda to Berg en Dal - a 17 days trip in March 2011
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 12:09 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:26 pm
Posts: 73
Location: Europe or Africa
Hi there,

After having spent some lovely days in the Olifants-Tamboti-Satara area we were ready for the Circus and thus we drove down south towards Skukuza. On our way we came across some herbivores and plenty of nice birds. Just to give a few examples:

Burchell's coucal

Image

dark chanting goshawk

Image

crested barbet

Image

white helmet-shrike

Image

Image

We enjoyed the day in the beautiful South and checked out many get-out points and picnic sites for birds and mammals. The South can be busy but it certainly has a lot to offer as well - in places like Orpen Dam, Nkumbe, Tshokwane or Nkulhu it's always worth to stop for a break.

Image

In the evening, about an hour before the Skukuza gate closed we got an interesting hint. A lovely South African lady told us that near Jones se Dam on the s36 a male lion had killed a buffalo! As it was too late to drive the 3o km to Jones se Dam we decided to do this as early as possible on the next morning. So we went to Skukuza, had a lovely dinner at the Selati Restaurant (I've never been there before but I can truly recommend it after this eve). After that we had a pleasant night in one of the Skukuza tents.

Image

On the next morning we headed for the s36 as early as possible. And just a few km before Jones se Dam - there he was - the male lion with the buffalo :clap:! The lion was found right beside the road. Two or three other cars were already there. We watched this lion for quite a while. He seemed to struggle to open the carcass. No other lion was there. And neither were hyenas nor vultures. We wondered whether he had to defend his prey during the night against other carnivores. We also wondered whether other lions were involved in the killing of this fairly large buffalo.

Image

Image

Image

Image

As it approached 9 am the light got brighter the lion managed to open the carcass from the rear. He could eat a bit. However, he seemed exhausted from all the work (and maybe from defending the carcass during the previous night) and got up without having eaten much. He laid down in shade close to the carcass. Before he disappeared we saw one particular feature: Like a Rasta, he had some dreadlocked hair on his mane on the neck :big_eyes:

Image

Now, it was time for us to move on. Went drove towards Tshokwane but we were very sure that we would check out this lion again later in the day.

More to follow very soon......

_________________
Latest Lifers Europe: greater short-toed lark, western capercaillie, ashy-headed wagtail
Latest Lifer Africa: Taita fiscal, rosy-patched bush-shrike, slaty egret

Next trip to Kruger: 25.7-3.8 2014, Bird list KNP: 257 species


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: From Punda to Berg en Dal - a 17 days trip in March 2011
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:40 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:26 pm
Posts: 73
Location: Europe or Africa
Morning: s36 - Orpen Dam - Lake Panic - Skukuza
Afternoon: Skukuza - s36 - Skukuza

After watching the male lion near Jones se Dam (s36) for some hours we drove up to Tshokwane picnic spot. After some refreshments we drove to Orpen Dam where we saw a mocking cliff-chat. Orpen Dam is a magnificent place. Before walking down to the view point you always wonder how much water there will be. This time there was plenty of water. However, the surrounding area was already quite dry even though mid-March is still rainy season.

Image

On our way back to Skukuza we enjoyed frequent sightings of herbivores and plenty of birds such this golden-breasted bunting.

Image

Before going back to Skukuza camp we visited Lake Panic bird hide. This is surely one of the best bird hides in KNP. I've seen plenty of interesting birds here over the years including an immature African goshawk. However, apart from this juvenile green-backed heron there were only few animals near the bird hide this time.

Image

After camp birding in Skukuza and some good rest we went back to the place of the kill on the s36. While driving there we wondered whether, apart from the male lion, some other lions or hyenas were to be found at the buffalo kill. When we arrived at the kill there were three other cars there but no lion. Instead, a lot of vultures were feasting on the dead buffalo.

Image

Image

While waiting for the lion or some other predators to turn up we calculated the latest possible time to leave. The time to travel the 30km back to Skukuza in time without speeding plus an additional two minutes in case a leopard or another predator would turn up on the road (as they always do when you have no time left :whistle: ) was set. We waited and nothing happend apart from the vultures fighting over the carcass. We waited and the time was running out. The people in the other cars had already left and we had just five minutes left before we had to leave. But then......... all of a sudden something was moving towards the kill from our backside! There he was 8) ! He approached the kill quickly and chased away all the vultures. He stopped for a moment near the kill - looked around, looked at us while nicely posing and moved again into the thickets behind the car from where he came from. He probably was resting there for whole time but it was not possible to see him in the thick vegetation there.

Image

Image

We left the scene and drove back to Skuks with the maximum allowed speed. We wondered what would happen during the following night - would further lions turn up? Hyenas? Would they fight each other for the carcass? We decided to drive back to observe the scene once again on the following morning as early as possible.

On our way back to Skuks there was nothing particular on the road. Thus we had time for a sunset shot near the Sand river.

Image

More to follow....

_________________
Latest Lifers Europe: greater short-toed lark, western capercaillie, ashy-headed wagtail
Latest Lifer Africa: Taita fiscal, rosy-patched bush-shrike, slaty egret

Next trip to Kruger: 25.7-3.8 2014, Bird list KNP: 257 species


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: From Punda to Berg en Dal - a 17 days trip in March 2011
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:06 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:26 pm
Posts: 73
Location: Europe or Africa
Hi there,

Skukuza - s36 - Nkumbe - Lower Sabie - s28 - Lower Sabie

Once more we left Camp as early as possible. On this day we were one of the first cars that left Skukuza. At the main junction just outside Skuks one has a lot of possible options to take and it is always interesting to see where people choose to drive. On this morning most cars headed either south or west towards Paul Kruger gate. With only a handful other cars we headed east towards Tshokwane. We still wanted to see what happed over night at the buffalo kill and whether further lions or scavangers were to be found at the kill. Luckily we were the first car branching off to the s36 in direction of jones se dam. After some uneventful driving through the lush area we approached the kill with no other car in sight. All of a sudden my friend shouted "lion". This time not only one but two male lions were marching on the road :dance: ! Our friend the male lion with the dreadlocked hair on the neck was accompanied by another slightly taller but leaner lion (his left eye did not look particularly good). We approached them carefully and overtook them without disturbing them. As the two males were moving quite quickly we drove some 200m or so and stopped at the edge of the road in an angle that both of us could take pictures if the lions approached. And they did :clap: ! They passed our parked car by just 2 meters or so and continued moving towards the kill. We overtook them several times and positioned us at the edge of the road. No other cars were there so nobody was spoiling the experience. However, the light was not particularly good so the picutures turned out okay but not amazing.

Image

Image

Image

Finally we arrived at the kill together with the two males. The lions were not interested in feeding. Instead they chased away the vultures and started marking (urine) the area. Even though it was only 6 am, there were already plenty of vultures in the area. Many more vultures were to land beside the kill. The kill was almost always "covered" by vultures but it looked as if much less meat was on it. We could not find other carnivores in the area. The two males were busy with marking and chasing the vultures for some minutes. Eventually they moved off without having eaten at all.

Image

Image

Image

We vastely enjoyed our visits (two mornings, one evening) at this lion kill near jones se dam. I have seen pictures taken by other people of this dreadlocked male on our forum here. He seems to hang around the southern s36. Maybe sombody else can comment on him?

We left the s36 area and drove via Tshokwane to Lower Sabie. On the way we stopped at the Nkumbe viewpoint. In January 2010 I followed a pride of lions up to Nkumbe coming from the South with no other cars around. At that time the pride passed the Nkumbe parking area with me luckily being in the car! Thus, this time I was looking around particularly careful when getting off the car. But no lions in the vicinity this time :roll: . The area near the s36 was fairly green whereas the plains below Nkumbe looked totally dry - like in dry season! It is always amazing to see how quickly conditions can change in KNP within a few kms!

Image

Later on we arrived in Lower Sabie Camp. For the first time I did not camp there. Instead we had a lovely tent in the tented camp area. I generally quite like the public campsites in KNP. Howerver, the campsite in LS I find the least attractive in the whole of KNP. Therefore, I was delighted to stay in the much nicer tented camp.

In the afternoon we left Lower Sabîe an drove south. On the s28 we found another 3 lions! This time no action though. The lions (one male, two females) rested in the long grass underneath a bush - So it was difficult to take good shoots. Finally, without much action, we left these lîons and enjoyed a lovely sundowern at Sunset dam :) .

Image

Image

Image


More to follow.....

_________________
Latest Lifers Europe: greater short-toed lark, western capercaillie, ashy-headed wagtail
Latest Lifer Africa: Taita fiscal, rosy-patched bush-shrike, slaty egret

Next trip to Kruger: 25.7-3.8 2014, Bird list KNP: 257 species


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: From Punda to Berg en Dal - a 17 days trip in March 2011
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 7:57 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:26 pm
Posts: 73
Location: Europe or Africa
Hi there,

Sorry, I was not active on this forum for several month now. I was very busy in the last few month. But now, while not being snowed under with work anymore, I would like to finish my trip report.

Lower Sabie - Crocodile Bridge - Berg en Dal

We left the stunning lower sabie area passing via Mlondozi Dam. While having a break there we saw this stunning, male mocking cliff chat - what a beauty :roll:.

Image

After the pause we drove southwards towards Crocodile Bridge. On our way south we had plenty of plains game but no predators appeared in this normally very productive south-eastern area :evil: However, it is not only about predators all the time and we enjoyed some further bird beauties inside Crocodile Bridge camp. These included: black-collared barbet, Southern white-crowned shrike and yellow-rumped tinkerbird (no picture unfortunately of the tinkerbird)

Image

Image

I have never camped at Crocodile Birdge as the adjoning farmland is a bit distracting. However, I might stay there in future once as birds inside camp are stunning and normally the predators are not far away.

After our stop a Crocodile Bride we took to Crocodile River Road towards Berg en Dal. When approaching Berg en Dal camp we thought that it would be one of those days where you have not seen any predator at all and ask yourself which alternative route would have been more fruitful to find a carnivore. But then, just about 5 km outside Berg en Dal camp a tiny lion cub and a lactating female (quite likely the mother) turned up on the road. They came from nowhere and we had to slow down quickly not to bother them. Female and cub stayed on the road for half a minute or so and then left into the thickets just as other cars turned up :lol: .

Image

Image

Image

More to follow.
Cheers, Manovo-Gounda

_________________
Latest Lifers Europe: greater short-toed lark, western capercaillie, ashy-headed wagtail
Latest Lifer Africa: Taita fiscal, rosy-patched bush-shrike, slaty egret

Next trip to Kruger: 25.7-3.8 2014, Bird list KNP: 257 species


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Manovo-Gounda-Punda to Berg en Dal - March 2011
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 8:48 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:26 pm
Posts: 73
Location: Europe or Africa
Hi there,

Berg en Dal - Biyamiti Camp

The beautiful, rugged south-western part of Kruger NP has always been a highlight for me on previous trips. Hills, Crocodile river, interesting plant species on the Malelane mountain veld and the game-rich area around Afsaal make this area very special. This time we left Berg en Dal camp to stay for the first time in Biyamiti Camp which is accessed by a private road. While spotting general plains game and birds we near Afsaal we got from a friendly car driver the hint that a pack of wild dogs was sighted close to Jock's Safari lodge :big_eyes: . We drove there and found near the private road that leads to Jock's Safari Logde a lot of tyre marks going in all directions on the main road. As loose sand was blown on the road one could see that a short while ago some cars must have stopped and changed directions here. Another car driver told us that the pack was moving along the road about ten minutes earlier :slap: .

So we missed them and thus drove to Biyamiti weir where I 've had good lion sightings in the past. When we arrived there we found no predators but instead some nice birds including water thickknee, green backed heron and malachite Kingfisher.

Image

Image

Image

On our way back to Afsaal while still searching for wild dogs we came across spotted hyenas. We did not encounter them that ofthen on this trip and thus we watched them for a while.

Image

Image

Image

Afterwards we headed for Biyamiti Camp. A private road leads to this small camp which I had read plenty about it. Before arriving there we visited Gardenia bird hide and saw these lovely white-backed ducks.

Image

And then we arrived on the private road to Biyamiti....... More to folow

_________________
Latest Lifers Europe: greater short-toed lark, western capercaillie, ashy-headed wagtail
Latest Lifer Africa: Taita fiscal, rosy-patched bush-shrike, slaty egret

Next trip to Kruger: 25.7-3.8 2014, Bird list KNP: 257 species


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Manovo-Gounda-Punda to Berg en Dal - March 2011
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:14 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:26 pm
Posts: 73
Location: Europe or Africa
Hi there,

Biyamiti bush camp

Our second last night of our 17 days trip from North to South we spent at the beautiful Biyamiti bush camp. On this trip I stayed for the first time in this little heaven - two nights of tranquility with very few people around. The camp itself is stunning with nice accomodation and great views over the nearby Biyamiti river. The riverine bush is kept in is natural state which makes this camp also very good for birding (for example an African barred owlet was calling in the evening inside camp). One can sit on a chair near the camp fence and enjoy the nature's beauty, tick off quite a few bird species or watch impalas that frequently come down to the river to drink.

The private access road to Biyamiti bush camp (s139) is probably one of the most quiet roads in the whole of KNP. During the two days I drove it serveral times and hardly ever came across another vehicle. One also needs to mention that this road has some very steep, rocky parts where, depending on the weather conditions, one can struggle quite much driving a sedan car.

On our drives in the southwestern part of KNP we came across various interesting species. For example we saw a group of southern ground hornbills walking along a road carrying prey. We followed them a little while and eventually saw them feeding a begging chick in a treehole.


Image


Image


Image


Along the Crocodile river road (s25) we came across these impressive bateleurs. The pictures was taken in bright sunshine around midday. Thus, it lacks contrast.

Image

This little small snake was pictured on the H3 - I do not know South African snake species and thus if anybody knows the species please inform me.

Image


Image

Whilst other carnivores remained hidden, spotted hyena were seen more than once on this day.

Image

One more night of peaceful tranquility only interupted by the African barred owlet followed.
More to follow...

_________________
Latest Lifers Europe: greater short-toed lark, western capercaillie, ashy-headed wagtail
Latest Lifer Africa: Taita fiscal, rosy-patched bush-shrike, slaty egret

Next trip to Kruger: 25.7-3.8 2014, Bird list KNP: 257 species


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Manovo-Gounda-Punda to Berg en Dal - March 2011
Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:18 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:26 pm
Posts: 73
Location: Europe or Africa
Hi there,

Many thanks for your lovely comments go to Etienne Hinrichsen, Panekoek, threedogs :thumbs_up: !!!

More to follow soon...

Image

_________________
Latest Lifers Europe: greater short-toed lark, western capercaillie, ashy-headed wagtail
Latest Lifer Africa: Taita fiscal, rosy-patched bush-shrike, slaty egret

Next trip to Kruger: 25.7-3.8 2014, Bird list KNP: 257 species


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 16 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: ndloti, Trrp-trrrrrrrr and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group

Webcams Highlights

Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Submitted by Trrp-trrrrrrrr at 13:37:54 Submitted by avidspotter at 20:54:11 Submitted by bushwackedblonde at 12:44:49 Submitted by Leanawel at 10:12:27