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 Post subject: Gregor-Quest for the elusive Leopard... Kruger Tales 2011
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 10:34 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:27 am
Posts: 181
Location: Netherlands
Hello everyone,

This is the first part of another traveltale.
My English has not improved much, so you will have to deal with some strange combination of words, sentences and errors.
However I think you will be able to look behind this and hopefully it will give you a bit of pleasure too.

Regards,

Gregor

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Traveltale june 2011 (Botswana & SA)
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=54937


Regards Gregor

"if you look, you see more"


Last edited by Gregor on Tue Aug 09, 2011 10:35 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Botswana, Mapungubwe and Kruger tales.....(June 2011), part
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 2:31 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:27 am
Posts: 181
Location: Netherlands
We were happy to agree on this guy joining us doing a game drive on the Mapungubwe eastern area.
After high tea we went off to Mapungubwe. At the gate it took us ages to buy a wildcard and get in, although there was just one guy waiting at the counter as we arrived. I felt sorry for the people behind us, because it started to get busier. We saw not much wildlife, although we had sightings of Gemsbok , baboon, jackal and hyrax . The cameraman however didn’t seem to mind a lot since he was able to shoot beautiful footage. The park itself is beautiful and has magnificent views. Besides Andrew proved himself as a great guide and told many interesting stories. After a few beers we could enjoy a wonderful dinner again!

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_________________
Traveltale june 2011 (Botswana & SA)
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=54937


Regards Gregor

"if you look, you see more"


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 Post subject: Botswana, Mapungubwe and Kruger tales.....(June 2011) part
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 7:54 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:27 am
Posts: 181
Location: Netherlands
7-6 XXXXX bush lodge
We were expected for tea and coffee at 06:15 to leave at 6:30 for a birding tour on a private owned concession within the Mapungubwe area called Den Staat. It was a 30 min. Drive to get there. Before we got there we encountered a herd of ellie’s who had obviously escaped from Mapungubwe. This didn’t seem to bother Andrew too much since this happens all the time. Elephants attend to demolish fences when they smell food. Farmers from Den Staat grow oranges and they absolutely love them! We also saw a jackal and a duiker. The land was basically nothing more than a number of ponds containing a lot of reed surrounded by meander. The ponds are also used by the community for fishing activities, mainly for Tilapia catch. Especially in the beginning the number of birds were astonishing, among a big variety of birds we saw giant Kingfisher, little and white fronted bee eater, a juvenile Marshall eagle, fish eagle, malachite and Pied kingfisher, spur-winged goose, African Jacana, black crake, African darter, white breasted and reed cormorant, meyers parrot, chinspot batis, mocking cliff chat, grey headed bush shrike, Emerald spotted dove, Red eyed dove, Pied Crow, Great and Little egret, Little Grebe, Hamerkop, Green backed heron, Sacred and Hadeda Ibis, Sabota Lark, Brown throated Martin, African pipit, Tawny flanked Prinia, Green winged Pytilia, Red-billed Quelea , and lots of others. We also saw crocs and a hippo.
After a few hours we went back to our lodge and were of course very happy with what we had seen.
We rested in our lodge for a while and after a high tea we left for our last excursion at Mopane bush lodge.
We went to a bird hide in the western part of the Mapungubwe national park, we didn’t expect too much of it since the weather had completely changed. It was cloudy and there was a strong wind! We went nevertheless and of course we saw very few activity on the way and at the hide. On the way back however we saw a snow white Impala!!!!! Andrew had told us about this Impala, but I never dreamed that we would find it since the area where it was seen last is huge and besides it hadn’t been spotted for a very long time. We were very excited to see this weird twist of nature of course, and I still cannot believe my eyes, the impala has normal eyes, so it is not an albino, and has the same black patches on the legs and behind as a normal Impala, but other than that it is completely white! During dinner we had nice conversations with Sue and Andrew (from the lodge) and with Andre, a local guide. Since it was our last night at Mopani bush lodge we stayed up longer and drunk a little more than usual and eventually hit the sack at 23:00

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_________________
Traveltale june 2011 (Botswana & SA)
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=54937


Regards Gregor

"if you look, you see more"


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 Post subject: Mapungubwe and Kruger tales.....(June 2011) part 3
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:51 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:27 am
Posts: 181
Location: Netherlands
8-6 Mopane Bush lodge – Punda Maria (Kruger) 350 km
We left early and took breakfast provided by the lodge with us. Around 06:30, we went off (R521 in western direction). We soon reached Musina where we did some groceries at the local Spar, since it was the only supermarket who opens at 07:00. We succeeded in all our needs except beer, for a reason they sell wine, but no beer. We forgot to fill our tank in Musina however and this gave us some problems later on. As we drove past tshipize and we got closer to the Parfuri gate we got more worried we would need petrol before we entered KNP. We hit two small petrol stations in one of these settlements but both of them had only leaded fuel or diesel! At last we ended up with a girl in the backseat showing us a petrol station at a coalmine, but it took us all in all a 35 km detour. Thankful as we were we gave the girl a good tip.
We entered KNP Parfuri gate at 11:00. The first kilometres (H1-9) didn’t provide a lot of game but as we turned on the Parfuri loop along the Luduvu river ( S63) that changed rapidly and Nyala, Impala and Bushbuck were plentiful, while we also spotted lot’s of zebbie’s and some elephant’s as well. Crook’s corner was infested with croc’s of which some were sized magnificent . After this great drive we took the H1-8 south and the number of game decreased dramatically again. We took the S62 and the S60, but more and more clouds formed and it got darker. It kept quiet for the rest of our drive. Among the few highlights were: A huge amount of Buffalo, Kori Bustard, Grysbok, a very beautiful sighting of a bateleur and Dark chanting goshawk.

Around 16:30 we reached Punda Maria, and the minute we were at the reception heavy rain came out of the sky. This was only for a very short while so we reached our tent dry. The tent was beautiful and for SanParks standards quite luxurious . The only thing to complain about was that the tent was not a real tent, it was on the inside fully covered with wood , so it was more like a hut dressed up with a canvas outside. We had dinner at the cosy little restaurant. After dinner hell broke loose and a huge thunderstorm hit the area. Later we found out that all in all around 20 mm rain fell that evening. I fell asleep ridiculously early (around 20:00) and we slept until 06:00 the other morning!

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_________________
Traveltale june 2011 (Botswana & SA)
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=54937


Regards Gregor

"if you look, you see more"


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 Post subject: Botswana, Mapungubwe and Kruger tales.....(June 2011) part 4
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 2:07 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:27 am
Posts: 181
Location: Netherlands
9-6 Punda Maria – Mopani (200 km)

We packed everything to leave from Punda , but not without making hot tea and some rolls with cheese we bought the other day in the camp shop. We started off with the H13-1 with short useless turnoff at the S58 followed by the H1-7 south towards Shingwedzi. We did not see a lot of spectacular things on this road, but it went better as we hit the S-56 Mphongolo loop. Among the sightings we had there was a male lion, lying in the dry river bed shading under a tree. The closer we came to Shingwedzi, the more animals we saw, and we decided to drive to the kanniedood dam (S135-S50) before getting a cappuccino in Shingwedzi camp. This turned out to be a good decision since we had a very spectacular sighting. We saw a beautiful fully grown male WHITE Impala !!!!! Amazing since this was the second white impala we had seen this holiday! The white impala was in a herd feeding close to the riverbank on the opposite of the Shingwedzi river seen from the bird hide near kanniedood dam. After this we were very pleased, surprised and excited at the same time! After lunch in Shingwedzi , we had not much time left, so we took the tar road to Mopani H1-6.
We arrived late and decided to take it easy for a few hours. Late afternoon we did a very short drive to mooiplaats. (s146-S50). After that we checked the hideout near the lodge. Both did not bring us good luck, but all in all we had a very satisfying day. Besides the highlights mentioned we also saw an open billed stork which I find strange since it’s a migrating bird. There was also Nyala around Mopani and this was a surprise to me, I thought they were restricted to the far north of the park. Saddle billed stork, Kudu, Ellie, Bushbuck , and Croc were present as well.
We had dinner in the restaurant where the service was slow and I got the wrong plate although we were the only ones left. We decided to cook our own dinner for a few days because the menu is a bit boring and the same in every camp nowadays and besides almost all ....... contains a lot of fat!
I had a little trouble catching sleep since I knew the next day we would drive my favourite KNP route, the tropic of Capricorn loop (S 143)

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_________________
Traveltale june 2011 (Botswana & SA)
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=54937


Regards Gregor

"if you look, you see more"


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 Post subject: Re: Botswana, Mapungubwe and Kruger tales.....(June 2011)
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 1:29 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:27 am
Posts: 181
Location: Netherlands
10-6 Mopani – Letaba (153 km)

Leaving camp at 6:20 as it just got light, we started our way via S50 straight to the S143, especially from the connection point with the S50 until the waterhole halfway the S143 we always drive very slowly in search for roan antelope. We have been able to spot them there two years in a row in the past. As we entered the S143 I stopped the car because I thought I had seen an animal in a distance on my right side. As I looked forward I spotted a leopard standing on the road! The distance was still very far so I needed my binnacles. As my wife saw the leopard as well I drove forward, but the leopard was suddenly vanished! We searched all over the place where we spotted it, but it seemed fainted like a ghost! After a little while we gave up and continued our way. As we got nearer to the waterhole we saw first kudu, than a big old buffalo, elephant, numerous Kori Bustard and just before the waterhole we spotted two Secretary birds! We were delighted to see them, because we don’t see them very often in KNP. At the waterhole itself it was quiet, it seemed too cold , it was still only 10 degrees Celsius. We ate out bread and continued north. After 2 km or so we spotted a group of Tsessebee. These animals seem to like this area, because we see them every time in this area. But when we discovered a Liechtenstein’s Hartebeest among this group we were pleasantly surprised. This was only the second time we have seen them in KNP ever! Remarkable is that in both cases we saw a bull who seemed to have joined a different species of antelopes, last time Impala, this time Tsessebee. Later we found the Hartebeest again and this time we could make very good pictures of it. When we went back to the waterhole the sun was warming the place and now it was very busy! A lot of zebra’s were around, Wildebeest were drinking, another group of Tsessebee coming in, tawny and bateleur eagle were roaming the surface. We made both pictures and video’s from this event and stayed at least for an hour. We went south back to the tar road again and the rest of the game drive didn’t have many surprises although we had 3 (!) more encounters with Tsessebee! Good to know is that the Tzende loop S48 provided fairly good game compared to that part of the tar road to Letaba. Other animals we saw: steenbok, long tailed shrike, fish eagle, Hadeda Ibis, black winged stilt ,Waterbuck, croc , and of course bushbuck , Guinea fowl and velvet monkey on camp looking for presented food by humans. From the deck at the restaurant we overlooked the Letaba river and saw: waterbuck ,buffalo, elephant , Marabou stork , Hadeda Ibis , Egyptian Goose , Impala , Hamerkop , Bateleur , and during lunch we were bothered by glossy starling, red-winged starling, dark capped bulbul , and the cheeky red-headed weaver.
When we arrived to our bungalow we were happy to see that we finally got a modern and spacious one, with internal kitchen, 3 beds and more than enough space around to store all of our luggage! At late afternoon we did a short drive (S69, and to Matembeni Hide) , but no spectacular sightings. Yvonne cooked our meal and together we started looking pictures from our trip.


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_________________
Traveltale june 2011 (Botswana & SA)
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=54937


Regards Gregor

"if you look, you see more"


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 Post subject: Re: Botswana, Mapungubwe and Kruger tales.....(June 2011)
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 1:39 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:27 am
Posts: 181
Location: Netherlands
11-06-2011 Letaba
We took the river road along the Letaba river towards olifants rest camp S46 – S44). The road was very quiet en we saw almost no animals for 2,5 hours. It turned a little better as we entered the tar road H1-5 south and the H8 to Olifants. Surprisingly it was still very green on these last two roads whilst the area around the Letaba river road was very dry. We saw lots of ellie’s around the last part and many raptors in the sky. After a short break and a coffee in Olifants we decided to drive the S91 and S92 around Balule camp., but no luck there. After we were back on the tar road (H1 -5) north again it got better and we had some beautiful eagles, ellie’s , korhaan , spur-winged goose, kori bustard , and bushbuck. We returned at camp at around noon to relax, have lunch and do some shopping. We applied to an afternoon drive from camp, departure time 16:00.
The sunset drive was disappointing, especially because of the guide/driver. He told us before departure he didn’t want to teach us, but just wanted to give some information. However he stopped for every animal an bombed information out for like 10 minutes per animal. Because all the usual suspects (Impala, Giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, guinea-fowl , hippo, elephant ) hang around Letaba camp, this guide drove no more than 5 km in the first 90 minutes! On top of that his English was lousy and so we arrived back in camp a little irritated. We made dinner ourselves ( soup and Vienna's )and we did some gaming on the laptop until 21:00.

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_________________
Traveltale june 2011 (Botswana & SA)
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=54937


Regards Gregor

"if you look, you see more"


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 Post subject: Re: Meeting the white Impala's from Kruger & Mapungubwe
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 10:08 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:27 am
Posts: 181
Location: Netherlands
12-06 Letaba – Satara 143 km

We left a little bit later since I didn’t feel like driving traffic jam the first 15 minutes. We took the tar road to Olifants ( H1-5) followed by the H1-4 until the turnoff for the S-90. The road to olifants was quiet until we came near Olifants river, where we saw lots of raptors and antelopes. After we left Olifants river surroundings it got quiet again. However the more Mopani trees gave way and the landscaped turned into Savannah animals got more abundant. We saw surprisingly lots of ostriches in this area , and many eagles and smaller raptors were spotting for easy meals. We finally spotted some Rhino’s as well and after that we decided to take the S-90/S-41/ and the S-100 for a big loop to end at Satara camp. Especially the S41 (Lion, lot’s of waterbuck, ellie’s etc....) and the S-100 were very good, at the S-100 there was a leopard walking the road. A lot of cars of course, but the cars all needed to reverse since they stood in the wrong direction. We were the only ones heading for the same direction as the leopard. As the leopard wanted to cross this road I put my car in a strategic position so Yvonne could take nice pics. However, the leopard decided to cross almost against our car and Yvonne wasn’t able to take one descent photo! Of course she blamed me for this animal’s misbehaviour ;-). All of the cars lost sighting within 20 seconds. We tried to relocate her but no luck. After we continued we had a beautiful sighting from 2 saddle billed storks with a chick, who at first glance looked more like a wooly necked stork. Game kept abundant with raptors all over the place and we decided to visit Nsameni dam (H7) before we would end our game drive. We saw buffalo to complete our big 5 in one drive (!) and at the dam was giraffe, waterbuck, hippo, and saddle billed stork again.
We pre-booked an sunset drive again, but first we did some shopping in the camp shop and we had lunch in the restaurant/cafeteria . It took 45 min. Before we got our ordered plates, although only a few tables were occupied. Around 16:15 we gathered at the reception for our drive. This time we had a good guide and very nice companions, we had an ok drive, but not a great one either to be honest. African wild cat was the highlight, and we had genet, elephant, duiker, steenbok, buffalo and of course the usual animals.

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_________________
Traveltale june 2011 (Botswana & SA)
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=54937


Regards Gregor

"if you look, you see more"


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 Post subject: Re: Meeting the white Impala's from Kruger & Mapungubwe
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 10:30 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:27 am
Posts: 181
Location: Netherlands
13-6 Satara

We agreed to take the tar road H6 followed by S41 and the S100 again. The weather had turned again and it was very cloudy, and mild compared to other mornings. Usually temperature drops to 7 degrees or so, but now it was 16 degrees at 06:30! This seemed to have effect on the animals since they really were scarce until the sun finally burned its way through the thick clouds. We saw 2 male bateleur eagles showing off , which was a very nice sighting, we also had 2 giant eagle owls, hooded and lapped faced vulture, black shouldered kite, saddle billed stork and marabou stork.
As we came back we took a small loop H7, S12, S40 and via the tar road H7 back to camp, at the dam it was busy, with lots of elephant, waterbuck, hippo and also saddle billed stork, wooly necked stork and fish eagle were present, and a Brown-headed parrot flew off right in front of us.. At the turn off from this dam a lot of birds were present such as red -billed wood hoopoe, blue waxbill, arrow- marked babbler, long-billed crombec, all in a single bush! Later at a small waterhole called Girivana (S12) there was a fight going on between several white backed vultures. It seemed there was a dead animal in the waterhole, but we hadn’t a clear vision to confirm this. The vultures were eager to try to reach something, but clearly none of them wanted wet feet!. At 12:00 we returned to camp to have lunch where we saw cardinal woodpecker and had a beautiful sighting of a scops owl who was in a tree and so used with people that people took pictures from it within 2 meter! , Since we were not really satisfied this morning, we would leave an hour earlier for our afternoon (self)drive.
So after lunch and a shower we left at 15:00. We took the tar road south (H1-3). Soon we spotted a white rhino with a young calve. This was the first time ever we were able to make descend pictures of a tiny rhino calve! Later we saw lot’s of ellie, buffalo and the usual. The sweni road (S126) started of very well, but after 5 km or so, the bush got thicker, the road worse and the game decreased to almost nothing( S36). At the tar road (H7) it got better again. The last sighting was a breeding herd of buffalo drinking and wading at the Nsameni dam, a very nice one! Yvonne cooked a very tasty steak of black Wildebeest with onions and mushrooms and with a nice cold black label and a dry white wine we ended this day, tomorrow we would leave for Lower Sabie , our favourite area!

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_________________
Traveltale june 2011 (Botswana & SA)
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=54937


Regards Gregor

"if you look, you see more"


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 Post subject: Quest for the elusive Leopard....... Kruger Tales 2011 (14-
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:44 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:27 am
Posts: 181
Location: Netherlands
14-06 Satara – Lower Sabie 206 (!) km

We left around 6:15 and followed the tar road H1-3 south and started off with two sightings of pearl spotted owlet. There was also wildebeest, duiker, burchell’s couchal and kudu.

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We planned to keep following the tar road at least until Tshokwane, and we only wanted to do the small N’waswitsontso loop (S86). We ended up however on the S125 N’waswitsontso road! This delayed us very much, but this S125 was not a bad road to choose from the game viewing aspect. We saw a Hyena ( finally on daylight!) and it behaved strange. It ran and stopped, sniffed a little around and ran again. This repeated for a while and luckily this was an area with a lot of open space so we could drive along . When the hyena finally stopped after at least 2 km it had found something to chew on, it was too far off by than to id what it was eating. But we were amazed that this hyena had clearly smelled this obvious very small carcass from such a distance! On this road we also spotted steenbok, kudu, elephant and white backed vulture. We were told that there was a sighting from a lion further up the road (15 min.) by other guests and decided to give it a try. But after 5 min. we ended up at a T- junction S36-S125 and had no idea if the lion was seen north or south of this T-junction (S36). We gambled for north, and the only experience we had there was a very bad road. After a while we turned around and went the same way back losing even more time of course. Soon after we entered the tar road again we had a magnificent sighting of a secretary bird, very close to our car and even crossing the road, for us this is a bonus, since we do not see them very often and this is such a beautiful bird! We had saddle billed stork (again), wooly necked stork, waterbuck (a lot) before we had a quick brunch at Tshokwane.

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Of course the birds (starlings especially) were very annoying again and we saw people feeding them, some people never learn! After Tshokwane we did the orpen dam loop (S-35) , the only thing worth mention is the breath taking view we had from the view point near orpen dam.

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We continued via the H1-2 towards Skukuza and had a remarkable sighting at Leeupan. 3 Ground hornbills were trying by turns to kill and open up a turtle to feed on. They managed to kill the turtle after a while and smacked it around. But they didn’t find a way to eat, at least not for the time we saw it, I never knew that they would feed on turtles!.

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A little later we stopped at a small bridge (near olifants drinkgat) where cars were waiting. It turned out that there was a leopard feeding on a kill (impala). The carcass was still there, but the elusive one was gone! We waited to see if it would come back since the kill was fully intact and hardly eaten. We waited for half an hour but no leopard. However, we did see a goshawk..... killing a francolin and feeding on it! It’s not a leopard, but not a bad sighting either.

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Now we were really in a hurry and rushed back to camp (without speeding or behaving dangerously ) H12 and H4-1. About 3 km north of lower sabie camp, we saw a lot of cars looking at a giraffe, at least that was our first thought. Suddenly we saw a leopard walking passing the giraffe within 5 meters, while the giraffe hardly paid any attention on the leopard! We could follow it for a little while before we all lost visual. But what a nice sighting to end with. We arrived at Lower Sabie at around 14:45 and knew we had little time to eat, do groceries and unpack and install our stuff before we would leave for a pre-booked sunset drive.

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We saw Martie ( the best guide from Kruger Park!) who we have met several times and she warmly welcomed us back again! We talked for a short while because both had little time. We would see her again at our morning walk in two days. Martin was our guide at the afternoon drive as only one car went out because there were not enough bookings for both cars. It turned out to be fine since at the back seat we had a great spotter! This guy really knew how to handle the spotlight and he instantly id’d the animal right almost every time! We had two male lions (on the opposite of the river) while it was still light, 2 sightings of white rhino, kudu, bushbuck, and elephant. In the spots we had 8 (!) white rhino’s together , Civet, Genet, Buffalo, Hippo, Black Backed- jackal, steenbok, duiker, Fish eagle, scrub hare, and the Sighting of the day (of the whole holiday maybe) a black rhino!. The black rhino was spotted and stood in an open patch close to our car. It got aggressive and the Guide immediately ordered us to put out our spotlights. The Rhino was clearly confused but it decided to cross the road back into the dense bush just in front of our car, the full moon and the dimmed headlights of the truck made sure we had a very good view, I could even see detect some minor wounds on its body! We were so thrilled to finally get a clear and close by view on a black rhino! After the drive we had dinner in the restaurant (a simple pizza) and went to bed with a big smile on our faces.

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_________________
Traveltale june 2011 (Botswana & SA)
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=54937


Regards Gregor

"if you look, you see more"


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 Post subject: Re: Quest for the elusive Leopard....... Kruger Tales 2011 (
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:29 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:27 am
Posts: 181
Location: Netherlands
15-06 Lower Sabie

We decided to go out at 6:30 and first took the tar road down H4-2 in direction to Crocodile bridge. We took the S28 down which had been a very good drive for us in the past. The area is generally plain savannah with few trees and bushes so quite easy to find your wildlife (if present ) . the first half of the s28 slightly disappointed us, but the second half made it all up. Besides the general game we found Ostriches again, we have seen clearly more of those creatures than at all previous trips at KNP combined. Two black backed jackals walked on the road in front of our car for a while and there was also a lot of white rhino as most of the time in this area. We saw a very strange combination of a lapped faced vulture and an immature fish eagle on the same branch within a meter from each other high up a dead tree. I have no idea what the reason for that combination could be other than that the vulture is a surrogate mother for the young eagle.

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At the end of the turnoff just before entering the tar road we met two familiar guys again. Harry and Willy were the stars of a traffic jam show again as between 10 and 15 cars were around trying to get the best spot for taking pictures of these moviestars! We have seen these cheetah’s last year near mlondozi dam, but the boys have moved south and now they were only 4k from the crocodile bridge entrance gate. We got a fine view and stayed with them for a while hoping they would start moving. Despite the fact that they did not seemed to be very relaxed they stayed were they were so no action this time, not even when impala’s passed by within 100 meters. They were not hungry obviously.

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After this great moment we went to the crocodile bridge camp for a sanitary stop. We took the tar road up H4-2 back to Lower Sabie again, first we spotted white rhino again and a few kilometres later a mating pair of Lions! They lied in the sun trying to heat up a little since temperature had been as low as 5 degrees. We had a beautiful view over these lions hoping to see them mating of course. For some reason the female was not interested at the moment despite two or three attempts from her lover. The lions took off after a while, maybe to find a private place ???. And after taking a few close-ups the visual became difficult and we decided to leave.

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Not long after this there was a lion sighting again and this time they were 4, feeding on a carcass. The visual was very poor however and we left almost immediately. Wed decide to take the (shortest) way back over the S82 , where we soon spotted a leopard ahead on the road! We both could see it through our binoculars and my wife made a picture through the front window from the car (which wasn’t of course a good one) . We saw the leopard leaving the road and we drove to the spot where we had left. Like the one on the tropic of Capricorn this leopard also was vanished! This really became frustrating; 6 leopard sightings this holiday and on not one of them we were able to make really nice pictures! On the other hand we were grateful of course to have so many leopard sightings at all. At the end of the road 4 white rhino’s were blocking our way. We waited for 20 minutes, but the Bull rhino was very aggressive, busy threatening the Calve and the mother of course was really protective. The Calve was very stressed and screamed now and then. Eventually we tried to drive slowly and pass it, but as we came closer the bull threatened us in our vehicle! I drove past a big bull elephant on the road a few days ago, but this situation was much more dangerous! This bull was massive and he really meant business so at the end we turned and drove the same road back!

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We arrived at LS around 12:30 because of this delay and after taking pictures at camp from a speckled mousebird we had a cappuccino at the deck from the restaurant. We had a beautiful lookout over the river were there hippos lay at sandbanks, and storks and Egyptian geese were wading the shallow water. There were impala, waterbuck and giraffe walking on the other side and a croc was heating in the sun.

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For lunch we made ourselves tuna sandwiches and at 15:00 we left for a afternoon (self) drive. This time we went to Mlondozi dam and drove back via the tar road H10. There was little game to be seen, large breeding herd of elephant was the main attraction. Yvonne put a meal together, vegetables soup and spaghetti experimental style, it was delicious. We both felt glad not having to eat the fast-food from the restaurants in Kruger too often!

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_________________
Traveltale june 2011 (Botswana & SA)
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=54937


Regards Gregor

"if you look, you see more"


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 Post subject: Re: Quest for the elusive Leopard....... Kruger Tales 2011
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:20 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:27 am
Posts: 181
Location: Netherlands
16-06 Lower Sabie

4:45 wake up time! As the alarm went off I thought for a moment that I was out of my mind, to get out of bed this early on your holiday! But this soon changed as I got excited to have this walk with the guides Irvin and Martie. As we got in the vehicle we soon realized we were only with 3 guests for this walk. The first part we used this car to get us to the place from where we would start. We were freezing since it was only 5 degrees and the cold wind blew right into our faces an we pulled the blankets as high up as possible. The walk started with a few instructions and when it was light enough we started (just after 06:00) Not long after we started we sort of bumped into 3 white rhino’s. We were instructed to stay low and kneeled down behind a fallen tree which not provided any coverage but might form a little obstacle for the rhino’s. The curious cow approached us , slowly followed by her calve. There was still nothing to worry about but the cow kept closing in and the situation got to a point where the rhino was within 15 meters and Irvin started shouting and throwing sticks at her. That didn’t had the proper effect as again she stepped forward a little. Distance must have been around 10 meters now. We all were dead quiet (except Irvin of course) and we could feel our hearts beating in our throats. Irvin still was throwing anything he could find and screaming at the rhino, but the Rhino even moved closer again! In the end Irvin could do nothing more than reloading his rifle and aimed. Luckily this metal click-click sound was the sign for the rhino to ran away and the situation was cleared now, pfeeewwwww.


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Martie slowly lead us away from the rhino’s and we continued our walk. We saw impala and Kudu and an hour later we bumped into rhino’s again! This time they were sleeping. As one of them awoke and stood up we backed off because they were in dense bush and if panicked they had probably no other option than run in our direction. We had a little bush breakfast a little later and for the 3rd time we saw rhino’s. The same 3 we encountered earlier this morning sort of ran past us from a safe distance not long after followed by a bull rhino. We walked back to our car and were back at camp at around 10:30 (!) . I would recommend everyone to have this experience in lower sabie. We have done a few walks in other parks, but we never experienced anything like this. We got a lot of good information both from Irvin and Martie and we enjoyed being out there so close to the animals so much! You really feel connecting with nature on foot , it even looks like your senses are much better and your awareness is a lot stronger.

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We did a mini game drive by ourselves again for 90 min. or so. Temperature had topped 32 degrees starting at 5 degrees at 06:00! Despite the heat we saw a lot of game on the S28-S137-S130 and via the tar road back. We saw in that short time: Wildebeest, elephant, impala, bushbuck, white headed vulture, zebra, hippo, rhino, malachite kingfisher, bateleur, and a jackal almost directly next to the road, in the shade, not feeling bothered by us at all!

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After lunch we decided to postpone the night-drive we earlier booked and did a short afternoon drive ourselves. It was a quiet drive but we did see elephant, baboon, buffalo, saddle –billed stork and at the sunset dam: African Jacana, White-crowned Lapwing, Croc, Yellow billed stork, pied kingfisher, and a fish eagle.

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At around 19:00 Martie surprised us with a visit and she introduced her mother . We had a lovely time and drank a beer together. Martie told us very exciting stories about her experiences in the bush. Martie and her mom are really nice and warm people and I felt a little sad when we said goodbye since it can take a while before we are able to visit Kruger again.

_________________
Traveltale june 2011 (Botswana & SA)
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=54937


Regards Gregor

"if you look, you see more"


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 Post subject: Re: Quest for the elusive Leopard....... Kruger Tales 2011
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:55 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:27 am
Posts: 181
Location: Netherlands
17-06-2011 Lower Sabie – Berg en Dal ( 164 km)

We left the gate at 06:15 and decided to go via crocodile bridge and the crocodile river road to Berg en Dal. The whole drive this proved a wrong choice, the road to crocodile bridge ( H4-2)offered less game than usual, although we saw most of the general game , elephant, a male bateleur on a branch and a very nicely posted Tawny in the sun.

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The main attraction was a Gymnogene who flew over the road, this was the first one in KNP we have seen since a long time.

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At the long crocodile river road ( S-25)we saw mainly Impala. As we approached Berg en Dal we took the S119 and the S118 to enter the H3. At the Gardenia hide there was a watersnake (?) who had confiscated a swallows nest in the ceiling of the hide on the inside , probably looking for eggs. It was relaxed although it looked kind of dangerous with all the tourists walking underneath.

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At Afsaal picnic spot we ordered a sandwich and coffee but the bees made us finish it in our car with closed windows. This was no fun, since temperature had climbed to 27 degrees. So we continued and since it was not check-in time yet we took the dirt road S 110 to the camp. As we entered an opposing car stopped and the man in the car told us he just had a brief encounter with two leopards who were crossing the road! We decided to look for them although we knew the chance was very little to find them again, especially since it was 13:00 and 27 degrees! After a short while we actually found them and we decided to keep more distance than usual since we were the only car at that point at the sighting.

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It was a female and her daughter. The youngster was a bit nervous because of the car, but the mother was very relaxed and walked the road on easy mode. We followed her from a comfort distance and the youngster had no option than following her mother so both cats were walking ahead of us as if they would show us the direction!

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This took at least 3 Km (!) and no other car showed up in this time ( about 20 minutes). Eventually the leopard took an existing game pad and we soon lost visual. But we were so excited to finally have a really GOOD leopard sighting after all these brief encounters.

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A little later we saw a few buffalo’s at the waterhole near the camp.

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As we arrived camp we first had lunch. We saw a strange thing. Right in front of our faces a Velvet monkey suddenly grabbed a little bird out of the air and killed and ate it! We were really surprised but of course did nothing and let nature take its course. We went to our bungalow and found out that Berg en Dal has by far the best bungalows in KNP. A Bar, a spacious kitchen with lots of cupboards, a separate toilet a spacious shower and sink, and a big room where our luggage could easily be stored. We relaxed until the night drive, departure time 18:15.
Our guide at the night drive was Obie, a guide who is rather active at the forum. There were two cars going out for the night drive and both were full. There were rather young children on both vehicles which surprised us. We left at 18:30 and the drive would last for 2,5 hours. We saw A rhino with a tiny calve about 3 or 4 months. The calve was very afraid, and tried to run away, but the mother blocked it’s way. It was a very funny sighting since the calve was just too big to run underneath the mother’s belly , so she bumped back repeatedly , it looked like a cartoon! We also spotted Nightjar, giant eagle owl, duiker, steenbok and elephant. We didn’t see a hell of a lot, but we enjoyed the facts Obie told us about this animals, since he is one of the few guides who told alternates things which we did not know. Obie is certainly one of the better guides in the park.

_________________
Traveltale june 2011 (Botswana & SA)
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=54937


Regards Gregor

"if you look, you see more"


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 Post subject: Re: Quest for the elusive Leopard.... Kruger Tales 2011 (Fin
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 5:50 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:27 am
Posts: 181
Location: Netherlands
18-06 Berg & Dal – Skukuza 191 km

We left only at 07:00 since it was very cold today. We started with a circle around camp S110 Matjulu loop, followed by the H3 north towards Afsaal. The first few hours we saw very little game, it kept very cold until around 09:00. The sun very slowly warmed up the surface, The only sighting that is worth mentioning was a dark chanting goshawk.

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Later we spotted brown snake eagle. As we drove the tar road north H3 we stopped for a short coffee break at the Afsaal picnic spot. Afterwards we took the voortrekkersroad H2-2 to Pretoriuskop . There was very little game on this road , we saw elephant, Brown snake eagle and giraffe. From pretoriuskop we drove the Napi Road H1-1 followed by the S65 towards Skukuza. We saw waterbuck, croc, hippo, impala and wildebeest at the legendary Transport Dam ( Battle at Krugerpark) and at the S65 a ranger from Sanparks was relaxing in his car at a waterhole.

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He told us there were 4 lions far behind the impala’s we saw, and soon we saw a lioness standing up. She almost immediately lay down however and from there vision was lost. We saw red crested korhaan and buffalo among the general game which was a lot more present than earlier this morning. We checked in Skukuza at 14:00 and did some groceries. After a short rest we went out for a short afternoon drive at 16:00. We decided to take the tar roads around the Sabie river H4-1/H12/H1-2. We saw an incredible amount of elephants, Kudu, hippo, croc, bushbuck, warthog, buffalo, velvet monkey , white Rhino, and very close at camp very briefly a leopard! However there were a lot of cars and only 5 minutes left before gate closing. Besides, it was a bit dark already so we decided to head to camp swiftly.

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We had dinner at the Selati Restaurant and although it took long before we got our dishes, it was well worth waiting, the food was brilliant, we both agreed!
We had some drinks before we went to sleep and Yvonne packed our suitcases., since tomorrow we would leave this beautiful country again.

[b]19-06 Skukuza - Johannesburg (via Malelane) (500 km)[/b

]This was our last day and we had a long drive ahead and since we would like to travel south through Kruger, we left at 06:00. We took the H1-1 down towards Malelane Gate. It was really cold, temperature dropped to 2 ° and it took a while before it warmed up. There was not much game around , elephant, rhino and the other more common game was present, but no spectacular sightings .

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We had a cup of coffee at Berg & Dal before we left Kruger Park. We also checked in our return flight via the internet. Later I decided to donate my lucky hat to a guy at the Malelane gate. There was a nice sighting when we looked over crocodile bridge, with crocs and a lot of herons and egrets.
About 11:00 We took the N4 directly to Johannesburg and we were very comfort on arriving at the airport in time. However at the N4 there was a road block, probably due to an accident. We had to drive back and take a detour. It took a while and we lost some time, but in the end we drove through Nelspruit and took the road along Kaapse Hoop and came back onto the N4 after an hour or so.
The rest of the trip was easy although the last part to the airport is tricky because of the road-works and detours. We delivered our car at 16:00 so we had more than enough spare time.
Our plane departed on schedule and soon our thoughts were on the wonderful time we have had in South Africa.

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_________________
Traveltale june 2011 (Botswana & SA)
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=54937


Regards Gregor

"if you look, you see more"


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 Post subject: Re: Quest for the elusive Leopard....... Kruger Tales 2011
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:04 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:27 am
Posts: 181
Location: Netherlands
cheetah2111 wrote:
Thank you very much for your time and effort into a superb trip report :clap: :clap: :clap:
I enjoyed it very much :D :D
Where are you booked in for your next trip??
Looking forward to another trip report :dance:



We will do :

3-feb Skukuza camp
4-feb Skukuza camp
5-feb Elephant Plains (Sabi Sands)
6-feb Elephant Plains (Sabi Sands)
7-feb Satara Camp
8-feb Satara Camp
9-feb Lower sabie Camp
10-feb Lower sabie Camp
11-feb Lower sabie Camp
12-feb Lower sabie Camp
13-feb Lower sabie Camp
14-feb Lower sabie Camp
15-feb Berg en Dal camp
16-feb Berg en Dal camp
17-feb Forever Resort SM (Sheba Mountains)
18-feb Forever Resort SM (Sheba Mountains)
19-feb Forever Resort SM (Sheba Mountains)

We are really looking forward to it again!

_________________
Traveltale june 2011 (Botswana & SA)
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=54937


Regards Gregor

"if you look, you see more"


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