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 Post subject: MichaelWildtuin My best sighting ever staying @Mopani Aug11
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 5:49 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 9:38 pm
Posts: 137
Hello!
Me, my parents and my grandfather were in Mopani for 4 nights (from Monday to Friday last week). I saw my most special sighting here ever, but I'll talk about that later on. In this TR I'll just post a few pictures of the best sightings we had that day and maybe tell something about them. B

But first I want to know if anyone else was in the north last week as well?


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 Post subject: Re: My best sighting ever....while staying in Mopani!
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:30 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 9:38 pm
Posts: 137
Okay so let's start :D
We came from Lydenburg and entered at Phalaborwa gate.
The first animal we saw was not impala, but this Southern White-Crowned Shrike
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First we went to Sable hide to have some lunch. On our way we say imapla, kudu and warthogs.
At the dam this young man had a little itch..
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Bateleurs and Fish Eagles were circling overhead:
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After lunch it was time to head for Mopani.
This Bateleur was displaying its great wings:
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We saw MANY big elephant bulls on our way and of course the usual game, including this Little Bee Eater and Brown Hooded Kingfisher:
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Just before Mopani a huge herd of Buffalo was crossing the road. We just sat there and watched all the buffalo crossing the road and moving around us :)

Of course the first thing we did at Mopani was to check the beautful dam:
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Because there was still some time left we decided to go for a short evening drive to Mooiplaas and back.

A Pearl SPotted Owlet greeted us there
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And this is the picnic area. It would be great to just sit there the whole day waiting for animals to come and drink.
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On our way back to camp we did a few of the small loops. One of the loops had a loop within a loop. You go steeply down, to almost the same level as the water, and then steeply up again.
When we had gone down, there was a big elephant bull drinking water just a few metres from the car! We left him as fast as possible, and luckily our car made the steep way up again, because the next moment the elephant was in the road! And flapping his ears!
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But luckily we got to camp safely and enjoyed the braai and the thousands of stars in the sky :)

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I have a question: Because I post a lot of pictures, I wonder if I should post them at a smaller size? I know not everyone has unlimited internet, so maybe that would be better?


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 Post subject: Re: My best sighting ever....while staying in Mopani!
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 10:09 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 9:38 pm
Posts: 137
Cheetah2111: Yes that place really is beautiful
Ruthp: In my opinion there isn't a more beautiful spot in Kruger than Mopani :)
Moshin: Thanks, you will have to wait a few days more though for that sighting :)

Day 2:
We started the day slowly. It was our first morning in the park and we didn't want to rush. So first we went on a morning walk through the camp. There were lots of birds in the bushes and at the dam.

Tawny-flanked prinia:
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Marico sunbird:
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Today we were heading for Letaba. We passed lots of big bulls again:
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At one of the waterholes this tsessebe was grazing among some zebra and wildebeest. (It has a strange white spot beneath its eye, on both sides of his face)
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Just after Malopenyana waterhole there were ostriches! :dance: Four or five in total.
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There was lots of game around.
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Eventually we reached Matambeni Birdhide. You can click here: http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=ce6b533a-20cf-447c-96f5-d0f18c881f22 to see a panorama I made of the view (WARNING: If you don't have unlimited internet, this may take up a lot of megabytes)

Even though I don't really like hippo's, I hade to take a photo of these three :lol:
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It is quite a nice hide because you can see very far and every time we've been there, there was some animal life. This time there also were lots of impala and waterbuck.

We left the hide and headed for Letaba, crossing the Letaba river:
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We had gotten out of the car on the bridge and were looking at the kudu and waterbuck at the river, when suddenly:
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Not long after the herd had crossed the road, the came down the bank for a drink
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It was really amazing to be standing there out of the car, so close to a whole herd of elephants :)

At letaba we had lunch and a drink, while this one was reflecting on life:
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Heading back to Mopani we saw all the normal game
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This small herd of wildebeest really wanted a drink, but they were too afraid of the big herd of buffalo occupying the Malopenyana waterhole.
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Just before Mopani these two bulls were having an evening drink.
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Back at Mopani we again had a braai
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With this little mouse begging for a cheese curl, and a hare running down the road.
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So even though we hadn't seen any big sightings this day, we had still seen a lot. It was really a special thing to see a whole elephant herd come down to drink. But we didn't really expect to see lots of cats, because we were staying in the north...

But tomorrow the fun starts :D


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 Post subject: Re: My best sighting ever....while staying in Mopani!
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 12:58 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 9:38 pm
Posts: 137
Day 3

Today me and my dad went on an early morning drive:
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We had decided to go past all the Nshawu waterholes and along the Nshawu river. Unfortunately there wasn't any water to be seen :(
But despite that we saw a beautiful sunrise and lots of steenbok, and a duiker:
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And then, a few kilometers before the turn of to Mopani camp:
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:dance: :dance: :dance: My first ever grysbok!! :D

I also saw my first ever Openbill:
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And that was all we saw on the morning drive :)

Today we had planned to go to Shingwedzi, via the Red Rocks lookout point

This giant, identified by Aat as Nshawani was just outside of Mopani:
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As expected, we saw lots of elephants on our way
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I still have to ID this stork like bird
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On the road to the Olifantsbad waterhole we saw some bones and this ?elephant? skull
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We got out at Red Rocks and had some lunch, but there were hardly any animals. All we saw was this fish eagle eating a lizard:
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So we got back in the car. But two kilometres later: ‘Reverse, reverse a little!’

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WOW!!! :D:D:D

We had him all to ourselves! When he heard another car coming he quickly got out of the tree and completely disappeared into the grass..

At shingwedzi this giant was standing in the dry river:
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On our way back we saw lots of game

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African Hawk-Eagle:
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Back at Pioneer Dam I saw my first ever spoonbills! :dance:
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That was it for day 3…but tomorrow my best sighting ever! :D:D
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 Post subject: Re: My best sighting ever....while staying in Mopani!
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:30 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2009 2:49 pm
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Location: Burghausen, Germany
Great pics and what a wonderful sighting of the Leopard cub :dance: :clap:
I think your stork is a juvenile Saddle-billed, I also saw two in May and first had problems to id them :wink:
But now I'm ready for the highlight :popcorn:

_________________
Akukho nyon' endiz' ingahlali phansi. (Zulu)
There is not a bird that flies and never sits down.


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 Post subject: Re: My best sighting ever....while staying in Mopani!
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2011 2:38 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 5:53 pm
Posts: 1335
Location: Netherlands
MichaelWildtuin

The tusker near Shingwedzi is MPENZA
Collared but not by STE (Save the Elephants) org. I still have no answer by who this tuskers is colalred... not by Sanparks/Kruger , neither by STE. The collar/transmitter does not work anymore so a bit of a mistery :hmz:

If you find some spare minutes , please can you send me the pictures you have of MPENZA ? Like to update his page.
tuskers@zeelandnet.nl

Should be great :)

Curious about your best sighting ever... with the Cheetah , have had my best cheetah sighting too in the Mopani area , will make of story of that later on.


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 Post subject: Re: My best sighting ever....while staying in Mopani!
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 12:22 pm 
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Day 4
Our last full day in Kruger so we wanted to make the most of it!
The plan was to go to Olifants for the day and take the gravel road from Letaba, so we could drive along the Letaba river.
But first of course we had to go to the dam.
And I saw my first Goliath Heron :dance:
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We saw most of the usual game on the way to Letaba:
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This baboon was there all alone in the middle of the Letaba river :hmz:
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Pied Kingfisher:
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My first ever Collared Sunbird, at Letaba:
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So on we went to Olifants, on the gravel along the river
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These two elephants kept guard while the two little ones were sleeping at their feet. It was quite strange to see. The two adults just stood there on the lookout. They didn't feed on the trees, but just stood there.
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We had driven quite a long way on the hobbly gravel road, past an elephant herd close to the road...When the road came to a dead end!! :shock: :doh:
So we had to turn around and drive the whole way back, past all the elephants! I still don't understand what road we were on, because it isn't on the map :hmz:

Well finally we got on the right road...and then!!
Our first lions!
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Those eyes :shock:
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They were just relaxing there in the shade, while we were having lunch, with the camera ready for any unexpected action
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But then she got up...
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And the male followed. We saw them stalking of into the bushes and suddenly there were impala everywhere!!
I don't think they really made an effort to catch anything because they were very fat already :lol: We had a glimpse of them walking of into the bushes, looking for a quieter place, and the disapeared.

We went on along the Letaba river. But what a special road that is. I've never seen anything like it with the beautiful views and the mountains on the other side.
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But then the Olifants Lookout :shock: :shock: What a view!
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White breasted Cormorant:
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But the peace and quiet was soon disturbed by a 'bakkie' full of people parking and heading down to the river for work.
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I wonder what they needed all those people for, because an hour and a half later they were back at Olifants camp :hmz: :lol:

What we didn't know when we left the lookout point, was the view we would get at Olifants!!
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After enjoying another view, it was time to head back to Mopani.
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We didn't see much for a long time. Except the beautiful scenery, great kudu bulls a group of ostriches and a group of Ground Hornbills..well actually we did see quite a lot :hmz:

And now I'll just post this first, while I upload some video's... :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: My best sighting ever....while staying in Mopani!
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 1:48 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 9:38 pm
Posts: 137
Okay the video's have loaded :tongue:
We were driving back to Mopani after a succesful day and still thinking about the excitement with the lions, when we drove past one of the many waterholes next to the road...and my dad said 'Leopard!' Haha but it was no leopard, it was a cheetah. And not one but two!!
They were coming out of the bushes, walking towards the waterhole. If we had been a minute earlier we would have missed them!
My first picture ever of a cheetah:
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They immediately saw (or smellt) the zebra on the other side of the dam (the place where all the water is 'stored' before it gets pumped into the drinking place, if you know what I mean :tongue: )

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But before turning their attention to the zebra, they relaxed just at the water for about 15 minutes
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But the brother in front alway kept glancing at the zebra, while his lazy brother was enjoying the last bit of sun for the day
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A kori bustard had also planned to come for a drink, but when he spotted the cheetah's he slowly and very quietly moved away from them, step by step :lol:
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If you look closely, you can see the cheetah's lying on the right, next to that cube-like thing. The zebra are on the left behind the windmill.
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Eventually the more active brother got up and moved towards the zebra
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(I added the music to take out the voices) Don't forget to watch in High Quality!


But, after noticing that his brother wasn't following him, he sat down again, seemingly giving up the hunt.
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Suddenly he started walking in our direction, keeping his eyes on the zebra!

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Then WOW :D Don't forget to watch in High Quality!


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Back home I noticed that there was poo on top of the sign, so it wasn't the first time he had been on top of there!

He made a soft sound to his brother and his brother quickly came trotting to him. They both quickly crossed the road and almost disappeared into the bushes. That was it we thought :) We had almost left the place when they came back, with a mission in their eyes :shock:
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They now approached the zebra from a different angle, and suddenly they were OF!
They had their eyes on a young zebra! Even though you can hardly see anything in this video I made, it's still proof that I saw CHEETAH HUNTING :dance: :dance: :D :D :dance:
WOW Don't forget to watch in High Quality!


And I think I'll end my TR here.
Thank you all for reading, I hope you enjoyed it and I hope you also enjoyed 'my best sighting ever' :)


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