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 Post subject: MaryMattMillie- Kruger Oct 2011
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:01 am 
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Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2010 9:40 pm
Posts: 77
Location: the UK
Right this is our first ever trip report, we've never had time before, so lets see how we get on! This trip was for Matt's dad's 70th, so all the family were there, we flew in from the UK, as did Matt's sister and her family.

So coming to the park were:
Matt's parents-Ferg and Lorraine
Matt and myself with our two girls Millie (2+) and Libby (9 months)
Matt's sister Mandy with her husband Mark and son Shay (3)
Matt's brother Chris with his wife Nadine and her mum Dawn

Day 1

We all left Jo'burg at 4am and headed for Kruger as fast as we could! We finally arrived at Numbi gate at 8:30am, which was met with cheers from all 4 cars and Millie couldn't wait to drive Daddy's car as she'd been promised all holiday!
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DSCF1099 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1100 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
About 2km in we see our first animal...Elephant, which based on a bet I made with Shay, he now owed me a bag of sweets! Other than that it was pretty quiet all the way to Pretoriuskop, where we stopped for breakfast. We saw 2 stunning Purple Crested Louries in a tree just above where we were eating, but typical they were right into the sun and the pictures didn't come out at all :(
We left Pretoriuskop at 10:30 and all went different directions. We headed off on the H-2 where we saw plenty of Impala and 5 Rhino. We went to take a look at Shitlhave Dam and saw what we thought were lots of rocks scattered about, but as we got closer we realised it was a MASSIVE herd of Ellies, we lost count at 40! The pictures do it no justice! Also there was a nice group of about 15 Waterbuck.
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DSCF1106 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1107 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1108 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1109 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
We headed for Transport Dam on the H1-1. As we pulled in we saw 2 cars stopping, then reversing, then stopping again, they had obviously seen something. Turns out a Leopard had just crossed the road, and disappeared, we missed it by seconds! This was my 3rd trip to the park, i've never seen Leopard and this was now the 4th time i'd missed Leopard by seconds...very frustrating!
We met Chris, Nadine and Dawn at the Dam and all headed down the H3 together, where we saw more Ellies, Rhino, Kudu, Lilac Breasted Rollers and 3 Ground Hornbills.
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DSCF1110 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1111 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1114 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1115 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1116 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
We arrived at Berg en Dal just before 5pm, and went to take a look at our house. As it was Ferg's birthday, he had booked Rhino house, and it was stunning! 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, utility room, dining area and living area, kitchen, carport, massive patio and 2 braai's! It was fantastic, and of course it's right on the fence so we had some great sightings in the evenings!
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DSCF1161 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1186 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1185 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1184 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
So that was our first day in the park, and we set our alarms for a 5am start :D

_________________
November 2012 trip
3 Nights Olifants
2 Nights Satara
2 Nights Bergendal
3 Nights Pretoriuskop
1 EXTRA night Skukuza

3 nights sabie river bungalows


Last edited by mattmillielibby on Tue Nov 22, 2011 8:25 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Stewart Clan in Kruger October 2011.
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:35 am 
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Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2010 9:40 pm
Posts: 77
Location: the UK
Day 2

We woke up just before 5am, but it wasn't the alarm, it was the girls! They were both awake, wide eyed and jumping all over the room! Previously, Millie's always been to small to understand where we are, or care about the animals, and Libby has been to the park once but she couldn't see much...she was still a bump :D so to see them both so excited was just amazing!
We got to the gate just before 05:30, and headed out on the S114, where we saw plently of Ellies. On to the S25 and then the S119 to Gardinia Hide, the road was so quiet and the hide was totally dry, which was a massive shock after our trip last year when it was full and had a resident Hippo, and we watched 3 Lioness stalking a herd of 50 buffalo!
Back onto the S114 where we saw Buffalo and 4 more Ground Hornbills.
Then the H22 to Afsall where we had a lovely breafast stop and saw a Cardinal Woodpecker, Red Headed Weaver, a lovely little Bushbuck and a tortoise.
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DSCF1122 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1126 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1127 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1136 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1138 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
We headed back to camp on the H3, then down the S120, which again was very quiet!
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DSCF1151 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1148 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
Back at camp we all went for our first swim, and we had our first visitor at the fence.
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DSCF1171 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
Then off for a short drive to Matjulu Waterhole, where we would stay until just before 6pm. We had a lovely sighting of Rhino, White Fronted Bee Eater and another Tortoise.
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DSCF1158 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1160 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1203 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
Once we got back to the house we lit the Braai, bathed the kids and settled down for another amazing night in the park. Sitting at dinner we could all hear a VERY strange noise at the fence, but when we shone the torch we couldn't see anything?! Now, we'd all had a few to drink and Chris decided it was just impala (this noise was certainly NOT from an impala!) Soon everyone made their way to bed, but myself, Matt, Chris, Nades and Dawn decided to take a walk along the fence and investigate the noise. We soon discovered 3 Rhino, Mum, Dad and tiny baby. Mummy seemed to be getting very cross with Daddy and grunting at him to leave them alone...there was our strange noise! 2 people from a hut close to us had also heard the noise and came out to see too. We then heard a noise in the tree above us, i hate walking in the camps at night, i'm scared of my own shadow really, so instantly i resign myself to the fact i'm about to be eaten...by a Genet :redface:
She clearly had babies somewhere, and she came right down the tree so we were literally nose-to-nose with her, she was stunning! Matt didn't have his camera and as soon as he decided to run to get it, she jumped across to another tree, down onto the ground, looked at us for a while and she was gone :(
We headed off to bed and decided tomorrow night we were going Genet hunting...after our Sunset Drive!

_________________
November 2012 trip
3 Nights Olifants
2 Nights Satara
2 Nights Bergendal
3 Nights Pretoriuskop
1 EXTRA night Skukuza

3 nights sabie river bungalows


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 Post subject: Re: The Stewart Clan in Kruger October 2011.
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:24 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2010 9:40 pm
Posts: 77
Location: the UK
Day 3-RUGBY DAY

We woke up at 5am again, and headed off on the same loop as yesterday, just a quick drive before the game. This brought us 11 Rhino with a mating pair, emerald spotted dove, blue waxbills, ellies, buffalo.
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DSCF1173 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1174 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1181 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1175 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1176 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1190 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1198 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1191 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1178 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
We got back to the house to be greeted by some vervets who had decided our roof was the best place in the park to spend the morning! I can assure you, after the noise coming from the house during that match, they were long gone! We also saw a Bearded Scrub Robin.
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DSCF1233 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1167 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1169 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1231 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1232 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
When the match finished we decided to take a quick drive to Matjulu waterhole to chill out and we saw Rhino, Bufallo, an Ellie, Duiker and Zebra's, which was a lovely sight after a VERY stressfull day!
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DSCF1212 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1218 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1219 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1220 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1239 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
Back at the house we bathed the girls and headed off on our Sunset Drive with Nades and Dawn. Our guide was Rasta and he was fabulous, told us everything we needed to know and more! The drive was fully booked so we were kind of dreading it in a way, however only 3 other people turned up, so it was perfect!
We headed out on the S110 tar road and saw Rhino's, Giraffe and Ellie's.
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DSCF1250 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1251 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
As we pulled onto the S121 Timfenheni Loop it was about 6.20pm, so 20 minutes past gate closing, in the distance we could see TWO cars screaming towards us :? one carried on straight past but the second stopped and told us that there was a Leopard 500m up the road, now yes they were very late, and technically they should get into trouble at the gates etc...but on the other hand its a LEOPARD!! Everyone in the truck got super excited, cameras at the ready, I'm finally about to see my first leopard!? Another car shoots past and we carry on up the road...300m...400m...500m...600m...700m...and so on...nothing :( it seemed that it was waiting for the cars to leave to make its move and disappear into the bush. So now, my 5th time of missing leopard :(
We carried on and saw scrubhare and an adult Hyena. Then onto the H3 and back towards camp we saw 4 young hyena's lying on the road, then further on 3 adults. Also a lovely Ellie, Spotted Eagle Owl and Matt spotted a Genet.
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DSCF1254 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1257 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
Arriving back at camp myself and Nades started discussing Leopard sightings. She told me that she had also taken a long time to see her first Leopard, and that either when i finally do see one it will be a frustrating sight as i'll just see a tail as it blends into the bush after crossing the road and not being able to get a picture (like her first spot was) or it will be totally breathtaking and i'll realise what all my missed opportunities have led to.
Little did i know just how special my first sighting would be...

_________________
November 2012 trip
3 Nights Olifants
2 Nights Satara
2 Nights Bergendal
3 Nights Pretoriuskop
1 EXTRA night Skukuza

3 nights sabie river bungalows


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 Post subject: Re: The Stewart Clan in Kruger Oct 2011-Mary Earns her SPOTS
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2011 12:33 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2010 9:40 pm
Posts: 77
Location: the UK
Day 4

We woke up at 5am again, as the night before we had decided we were going to have a loooong day! We were heading to the Lower Sabie area, as Berg en Dal had been very quiet for us over the last few days! Mandy, Mark and Shay decided they were going to head that way with us aswell. We headed down to Malelane gate and shot down to Crocodile Bridge.
We arrived at Crocodile Bridge just before 06:30 and headed out on the H4-2, turning into the Dam we saw Warthog and 4 more Groundhornbill.
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DSCF1260 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1262 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
Mandy, Mark and Shay decided they were going to head straight down the tar, but Matt wanted to go on the dirt. We got back onto the H4-2 for a short while then turned off onto the S130 Gomondwane Loop. We had some lovely sightings of Wildebeest, Tawny Eagle, Kudu, Brown Snake Eagle and Giraffe.
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DSCF1266 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1271 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1325 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1327 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
It was now about 8am and Libby was getting very restless wanting breakfast and milk. Matt stopped the car and i climbed into the back, telling Matt he's was going to have to watch both sides for a while until i'd finished feeding Libby. Just as we were about to move off Matt gave me the shock of my life..."LEOPARD RIGHT HERE!!!" We had stopped right next to a sleeping Leopard...and there was no one else around! I could no believe my eyes, i'd been waiting for this for 3 years now, so many missed opportunities, and there he was! Nades was totally right, when i finally did see one, it was going to be amazing!
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DSCF1273 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1274 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1279 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1280 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
We sat with him for about 10 minutes, just watching him sleep, roll over, sleep again. Then he got up, had a look around, and came and lay down again...even closer! I still couldn't believe there were no other cars around! I was expecting my first Leopard to be a traffic jam!
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DSCF1282 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1283 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1285 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1286 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1293 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1294 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1295 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1298 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
By this time i had tried to contact Mandy and Mark, but i just couldn't hold signal for long enough to tell them what we had seen or where we were! About 40 minutes into our sighting, we heard another car coming, as we saw them we waved them to slow down and they did. We could see the excitement in their car as they saw what we were watching. So, it was just us two for about 10 minutes, then another car began to approach, we waved them to slow down...but they didn't...Matt started flashing his lights but they still didn't slow down. By now, our Leopard was sitting up, looking quite nervous, he really wasn't happy about the approaching car. As they reached us they slammed on the brakes but by this time Mr Leopard was having none of it, and he was up, making a run for it, into the bush and within about a minute he was completely gone.
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DSCF1299 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1302 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1304 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
The offending car drove off, clearly angry that they didn't see what they wanted to, although it was totally their own fault, but the other car stopped and thanked us for showing them the Leopard and even apologised for the other cars behaviour!
The mood in our car was totally electric as we drove on down the S130. We saw another yellow ribbon and stopped for a chat. We were very pleased to meet Penny who told us about a wild dog den on the S114, which we decided to look for later.
We pulled into the Ntandamyathi Hide which was just thick mud, but it did contain a MASSIVE python!
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DSCF1308 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
We carried on down the S28 where we saw hundreds of warthog, they were everywhere! Then onto the H4-2 to Lower Sabie for breakfast, where we met up with Mandy, Mark and Shay, who's drive on the tar had been very uneventful!
We took a quick look at the sightings board and saw Cheetah had been spotted on the H10, Mark has never seen Cheetah in the park so we decided to head that way and see if they were still there. About 5km down the H10 we came across a massive traffic jam. 5 cheetah, 1 mummy with 4 teenagers. They were a very long way off, to be honest nearly impossible to see, but we managed to get a few pictures before we decided to turn back and head down the H4-1.
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DSCF1319 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1317 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
We hadn't been on the H4-1 long when we discovered possibly the most stupid thing i have ever seen.
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DSCF1324 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
When they finally moved on, the traffic jam they had caused all had to file past a very angry elephant, which i can assure you i was NOT happy with, i love Ellie's...but at a decent distance! We got to Nkuhlu, but it was closed due to power failure, so we got back onto the H4-1, had a look at the Sabie river, then headed off on the H1-1.
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DSCF1315 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1320 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
We decided to go down the S114 to look for the wild dog den as Penny had said it was about 2km in, but we couldn't find it so we turned back and got onto the H3, where we saw a Water Monitor and some dwarf mongoose.
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DSCF1332 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1335 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1339 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
Matt went up to Mathekenyane to have a quick look, then we headed down to Afsaal for a quick drink. The road from Afsaal to Berg en Dal was pretty quiet, which i was thankful of, as it had been an 11 hour day by the time we got back!
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DSCF1207 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1204 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1210 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
We all jumped in the pool for a refreshing swim, then went back to Braai and discuss what we'd seen that day, I couldn't wait to tell Nades how right she was about my Leopard!
We decided that we were going to head to Lower Sabie again tomorrow, and it was a good idea...

_________________
November 2012 trip
3 Nights Olifants
2 Nights Satara
2 Nights Bergendal
3 Nights Pretoriuskop
1 EXTRA night Skukuza

3 nights sabie river bungalows


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 Post subject: Re: The Stewart Clan in Kruger Oct 2011-Updated 31/10 DAY 5
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 4:37 pm 
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Posts: 77
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Day 5...Our Last Day?!

It was another 5:30am start for us, as Mandy, Mark and Shay wanted us to take them to the place we had seen the Leopard the day before. We headed down to Malelane gate and out to Crocodile Bridge. On the bridge before entering the gate we saw a stunning African Harrier Hawk. At the gate we met up with the ladies who arrived at out Leopard sighting yesterday, who we know no is Wanderlust on the forum :)
We headed along the H4-2 where there was tons of general game, then down the Gomondwane loop, where again, plenty of general game but no Leopard for us today :(
Down the S137 to Ntandanyathi hide Mandy and Mark spotted a Blackback Jackal. It was eating something, but with the long grass we just couldn't make out what it was. We also saw Dwarf and Slender Tailed Mongoose, 1 large lone Baboon, Crested Barbet and Fish Eagle. When we got into the hide the python from the day before was long gone but we could now see that all the Catfish (Barbel) were stuck in the mud, and we hoped that it would rain for them soon :(
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DSCF1364 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1365 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1368 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1369 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1370 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1373 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
On the S28 & H4-2 to Lower Sabie we saw Rhino and Kudu.
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DSCF1375 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1377 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
We stopped at Lower Sabie for Breakfast and Millie made friends with a beautiful looking Lizard.
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DSCF1380 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1381 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
Leaving Lower Sabie we decided to head down the H10 again on the off chance that the Cheetah's were still there. We soon saw a traffic jam far ahead and realised that they were indeed still there. There was no rush as they were still in the same place as yesterday so we knew they were quite far in and hard to see. A safari tour truck had other ideas and sat up our backside, before speeding past, far too close, zooming off to the sighting, and blocking the road for everyone else! I have a picture of the truck and if someone could report them it would be much appreiciated.
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DSCF1385 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
When we eventually got a view of the Cheetah's they were still in the same place as before, and were quite close to a family of Warthog. Everyone in the car was thinking we could see a kill but what we saw was quite different! One of the larger warthogs ran towards the Cheetah's and they all scattered! 3 went one way and 2 the other. It now seemed that we had managed to get ourselfs into the best position, and we watched the 3 walk for 1/2km before sitting down under a bush, where they were soon joined by the other 2.
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DSCF1387 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1389 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1392 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1393 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1395 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1396 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1397 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1398 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
We watched them for a while but they soon all settled down to sleep, so we moved on. We carried on down the H10 and saw a stunning Reedbuck and 2 Fish Eagles.
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DSCF1402 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1403 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
We headed up to Mlondozi Picnic spot to take a look at the view and were greeted by 400+ buffalo, which was amazing to look at.
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DSCF1400 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1401 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
Back onto H10 and down the Muntshe Loop where we spotted another Blackback Jackal. We tried to get a picture of him but as soon as we moved into the right spot, he moved the other way! Then he promptly plonked himself right behind a mass of tree roots and bushes and we had no chance of getting a shot! We also saw 3 large sets of remains which we are sure were Rhino?!
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DSCF1404 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
Onto the S29 and then the S82, where Matt spotted something in the road...
As we got closer we realised it was a Bateleur!? It was just laying in the road, with 2 Eagles that we could not identify, circling above it. After about 10 minutes, it got up and started displaying and screeching so loudly. It did this for another 10 minutes before standing in the road and rocking. We tried to move a bit closer, to check for any injuries it may have, or why it might be doing this, but it flew off into a nearby tree and soon the other eagles lost interest and left too. It was all very strange!?
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DSCF1407 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1408 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1411 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
We got back onto the H4-2 and then onto the H5 where we came across 3 Ground Hornbills. But these 3 were different to any others we had seen. They came right upto the car with their beaks wide open, surrounding the car. We think they had possibly been fed before and although it was amazing to see them so close it was also quite sad to see them begging for food :(
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DSCF1413 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1414 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
We headed to Mpondo Dam and we saw Sadlebill Stork, Ellies, Warthog, Giraffe, Zebra, Waterbuck, Kudu, Impala, Lapwigs and Water Thick-Knee's. Millie also started listing what she could see but her list consisted of Poo, Stones, Sand, Sticks, Tree's and Ant's :D
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DSCF1419 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1421 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
We got back onto the H5, but a few km's in, Matt asked if we should turn around and go another route, as the road was very quiet. We decided we might as well carry on as you never know whats around the corner, lucky we thought like this, as about 7km in, Matt saw the flick of a tail, right by the road. It was a Cheetah, under a bush, right next to the road! I grabbed the camera and started to try and take pictures..."MEMORY CARD FULL!" Matt started to video while i sat in the back panic deleting! Eventually i managed to delete enough, just as the Cheetah decided we had been too close for too long and started to get up. It walked across the road, and soon disappeared into the bush. The sighting only lasted about 11 minutes but it was so beautiful, we were the only car, and I had never seen a Cheetah that close before in the park.
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DSCF1422 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1423 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1424 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1425 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1426 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1427 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
We went on the S114-S113-H3 and into Afsaal, where we saw the Scops-owl, and then headed back to camp.
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DSCF1428 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
Back at Berg en Dal, Mandy and Mark showed us a traffic jam they came across on their way back, for 3 Lions, one walking in the road. This was our 5th day and we had still seen no Lion?!
We decided to head to Matjulu, where we saw 2 Rhino and also met up with Chris, Nades and Dawn.
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DSCF1430 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
Chris, Nades and Dawn had an extra 4 nights in the park, 1 at Satara and 3 at Olifants. Chris asked Matt if we fancied the long drive up to Satara with them the next morning, which we didn't as it seemed pointless to drive all that way, then leave. Chris then suggested asking at reception if Satara had accomodation for us and we could have another night.
We headed back to camp and popped into reception. Sadly they didn't have any room at Satara for us, so we went for 2 extra nights at Olifants instead :dance:
They also told us we could pop into Satara tomorrow and ask if they had any cancelations, then just swap one of our nights, which sounded like a great plan. So we headed back to the house and while everyone was packing for the trip back to Jo'burg we were loading the car ready for another 2 nights :)

_________________
November 2012 trip
3 Nights Olifants
2 Nights Satara
2 Nights Bergendal
3 Nights Pretoriuskop
1 EXTRA night Skukuza

3 nights sabie river bungalows


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 Post subject: Re: The Stewart Clan in Kruger Oct 2011-Updated 31/10-DAY 5
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:44 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2010 9:40 pm
Posts: 77
Location: the UK
Firstly, SORRY it has taken so long to update, it has been a manic 2 weeks of Malaria tests for our oldest, suspected chicken pox and all sorts of drama, but we are back!

Day 6

We left Berg en Dal just after the gates opened as we knew it was going to be a very long day heading up to Satara, and even longer if we had to carry on to Olifants. We headed out of Malelane gate and down to Crocodile Bridge, stopping at the camp for a toilet break and waititng for Chris, Nades and Dawn, then we headed off.
We headed straight up the H4-2 to Lower Sabie, where we saw lots of general game including a beautiful little family of Ellies.
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DSCF1431 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1432 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
We stopped at Lower Sabie for breakfast, and I have to say of all the places we stopped all trip, Lower Sabie do the best breakfasts, with fantastic service! Waiting for our food to arrive Matt is glued to his bino's, looking out onto the river, then to his phone on his Bird App, and back to the river with his bino's. Then suddenly he announces that he's seen a Flamingo?! Now, Matt and Chris are keen birders and Chris was having none of it, none of us have ever seen a Flamingo in the park before, and as Matt and Chris have been going since they were kids, this would be a great sighting! Chris got his bino's, and after a quick look "F*** me a Flamingo" echoed around the deck!
Myself and Nades, who didn't totally understand the fuss, were too busy looking at the massive male Ellie standing on his back legs, trying to push over a tree on the other side of the river.
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DSCF1436 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1437 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1438 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
We headed out of Lower Sabie and popped to Sunset Dam to have a quick look, lots of birdlife and plenty of Hippo's but we were shocked at how low it was compared with our trip last year!
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DSCF1440 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
We turned around and headed up the H10 to try and show Chris, Nades and Dawn the Cheetah's, who were still there! Slightly further back and we didn't manage any pictures, but it was their first Cheetah's of the trip, so they stayed for a while and we continued on, where we saw 4 Ostrich, a first for our trip.
We headed up to Mlondozi picnic spot, where we were joined by Chris, Nades and Dawn, and hoped to see the 400+ herd of buffalo from the day before, but they had obviously moved on. Matt and Chris returned to the cars in fits of laughter, after meeting a man they had named "GI Joe" who had gone a bit over the top on the camo, and was wearing camo hat, shirt, shorts, boots and even camo bino's!!
We left and just at the turning to N'wagovila Hill, we were greeted by the stunning sight of our 400+ buffalo about to cross the road :D
We sat and they began to cross, then about half way through the herd (which we were not going to mess with) someone in a 4x4 coming from the other direction, decided it was a good idea to push there way through the herd, leaving everyone waiting in a very dangerous situation! Chris told them exactly what he thought, as did many other people in the que!
We sat and waited for the rest of them to cross, and if anyone can answer our question it would be a great help...we noticed alot of them were collared, and also branded, why is this?!
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DSCF1441 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1442 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1443 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
After about 45 minutes, the last Buffalo crossed and we left, heading on up the H10, and headed for Satara. Just before Nkumbe view sight we saw a beautiful Secretarybird, who was hunting. It then began to make a low grumbling sound and flew off a short distance to join another one!
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DSCF1446 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1447 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
We stopped at the view sight and took a look at the stunning view, one of Matt's favourites in the park!
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DSCF1448 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
After leaving the view sight, we came across a lone Hyena, who crossed the road and then disappeared into the bush, heading towards a small herd of impala. We carried on to Orpen dam, which was just far to busy, so the boys popped in, and straight back out again! Then to Tshokwane picnic spot where we had Boerewars and Pap and saw some stunning bird life, and had the usual baboon drama's!
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DSCF1452 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1453 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1454 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1451 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
We carried on up the H1-3 where it was pretty quiet, with just the general game and plenty of birds. Then about 1km before Kumana Dam, just by the southern most Baobab turning, we spotted our second Leopard of the trip! We didn't stay for long as we still had quite a way to go, especially if Satara was still full. He was laying with his back to us on a rock, and hardly moved, but a Leopard is a Leopard and we were super happy to see him!
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DSCF1455 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1458 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1457 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
After a very quiet drive to Satara, we arrived at reception only to be told that they were still full, and we would have to crack on up to Olifants.We said goodbye to Chris, Nades and Dawn and pushed on.
The whole drive to Olifants was very quiet and we didn't stop for much really as the girls had finally had enough of the car, after an 11 hour day! We got to the mighty Olifants river where we got out and stretched our legs, ha a look at the crocs and headed on.
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DSCF1459 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
Down the S91, Balule Loop, which has been a great road to us in the past (with our most amazing sighting of lion ever!) which again we were shocked as it was so quiet!
We got to camp just before 6pm and checked in. Headed to our hut, and although it was a tight squeeze compared to the guesthouse, it was just perfect for the 4 of us for the next 2 nights.
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DSCF1463 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1462 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1464 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
We unpacked, headed to the shop, and then onto the resturant for a lovely meal! We headed to bed with full stomachs and a great feeling about the next day!

_________________
November 2012 trip
3 Nights Olifants
2 Nights Satara
2 Nights Bergendal
3 Nights Pretoriuskop
1 EXTRA night Skukuza

3 nights sabie river bungalows


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 Post subject: Re: The Stewart Clan in Kruger Oct 2011-Updated 17/11-DAY 6!
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 4:15 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2010 9:40 pm
Posts: 77
Location: the UK
Pumbaa wrote:
The leopard is indeed very well camouflaged but as you said a leopard is a leopard :thumbs_up:

Love the crested barbet shot and for sure the flamingo is as well a stunning sighting :clap: :clap: :clap:


Considering i had never seen one in the park until this trip, and so far in the TR we have seen 2, I was pretty happy to just see the spots, plus there's a funny story about seeing Leopard that i will include in the next entry :)
I LOVE crested barbets i think they are just beautiful, and yes the flamingo was very special to the birder's in the group :D

john n poppy wrote:
Hope your eldest is ok...

Another great treck with some nice sightings. The leopard looked like a big one..

john :thumbs_up:


Hi John, she is doing just fine, she underwent blood tests and films which came back negative which was a massive relief for us all. Didn't realise how hard it is to get a Malaria test over here though, one woman said she had never heard of one and another said they didn't test until a child was over 3 :naughty:
Yes it did look like a pretty big kitty :D

_________________
November 2012 trip
3 Nights Olifants
2 Nights Satara
2 Nights Bergendal
3 Nights Pretoriuskop
1 EXTRA night Skukuza

3 nights sabie river bungalows


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 Post subject: Re: The Stewart Clan in Kruger Oct 2011-Updated 22/11-DAY 7!
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 6:33 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2010 9:40 pm
Posts: 77
Location: the UK
Day 7

So, this was definately our last full day, so our plan was to go for a short drive, come back to camp and wait for Chris, Nades and Dawn to arrive then go back out for our drive all together, and I have to say we were really hoping to see some Lions today! We headed out at 05:30 and drove straight down to the N'wamanzi lookout, where two years ago i was attacked by a vervet monkey who attempted to sink his teeth into my leg...needless to say I didn't get out this time! There was not much to see, so we took the H1-4 to the high level bridge where we watched the crocs for a while then drove back to camp for breakfast via the Balule Loop, which again was very quiet?!
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DSCF1467 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1468 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
Back at camp we went to reception to find out what hut Chris was going to be staying in when they arrived, but power was down in the camp! We headed to breakfast and luckily they were able to do a full cooked breakfast on gas for us, which was great!
Then we headed out towards Letaba as we wanted to show Millie the Elephant Museum. We left camp and went down the S44 along the Letaba river. About 3km in we saw a man out of his car, stupid enough in itself, but then the back door of the car opened and his young son began to jump out too! :big_eyes:
Then just a few metres away we found a large Croc, in a small puddle by the side of the road, it really doesn't bare thinking about what could of happened!
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DSCF1469 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1470 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1471 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1472 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
We pulled into the Olifants lookout, and met a couple from KZN, we started discussing people getting out of their cars and he rightly said "there is one born every minute!". We also discussed cat sightings, or lack of them in the area, again, he had seen no Lions on his trip!?
We left the lookout and about 1km down the road we came across 4 beautiful female Nyala and of course the Baobab!
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DSCF1473 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1475 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
Then it was a very quiet drive to Letaba.
At Letaba we popped into the shop and then straight to the museum. Millie loved walking around with her pram, and seemed to be attracting quite alot of attention, as did the woman working in the museum that day...! Quite a pretty South African girl was in the office of the museum and while myself and the girls were looking around, Matt had taken it upon himself to go and have a chat with her about Duke, who had sadly passed away just a day before we left for the park. Now, i don't want to sound like the jealous type, but i know Matt, and he was flirting, but I also know that while in the park it is SUPER hot, and Matt wears his shorts with no boxers. This is when the best moment of our whole trip came about...Millie, for a reason still unknown, walked over to Matt, and while he was deep in conversation with the young girl, unzips his flies! Now the girl is sitting down, and is at eye level! I have never seen Matt move so fast or go so red in all my life! That'll teach him :lol:
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DSCF1476 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1478 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
Still laughing, we headed to the restaurant but after sitting for 15 minutes with not even a "Hello" we decided to just buy something from the shop and left!
We drove up the H1-6 to the Letaba high level bridge, and then travelled along to the Matambeni Hide, which was jam packed with people and after a quick look we left. We decided to take a slow drive back to camp as it was getting far too hot and we wanted to see if Chris had arrived yet. Everyone in the car tucked into some billtong, and although we didn't see much on the way back, just before camp we stopped to watch an Eliie eating. We watched for about 20 minutes and actually it was an amazing thing to watch, their trunk is just out of this world, such skill!
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DSCF1479 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1480 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
Back at camp we found out Chris, Nades and Dawn had moved in just a few huts up from us, so we popped over and discussed the plan for the evening. We decided to have a look at the birdlife in camp and then go for a drive for a few hours, then back to out hut for our last Braai.
Matt and Dawn took a walk down towards the fence and soon called us to come and have a look at this guy.
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DSCF1481 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
We left camp at around 4:30 and headed along the S92, we stopped on the low level bridge and then we decided to take the Ngotso Weir road, as we hadn't ever been on this road yet. Shortly after taking this road we came across a Red Crested Korhaan, beautiful in itself but even more spectacular as it was displaying its crest for us!
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DSCF1484 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1486 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1487 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1488 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
Onto the H1-4 we drove towards the high level bridge and saw the Blackbellied Korhaan. We got out on the bridge and Dawn found a stunning Dragonfly, sadly it was dead but still perfectly intact and very beautiful!
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DSCF1490 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1491 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1493 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1492 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
It was now 20 to 6 and we had to get back to camp. Chris wanted to take the tar as it was much quicker, but as it was our last night we wanted to make the most of it and try the Balule Loop one last time. After quite a stress with Chris, we made the decision that we were doing the loop and it was up to them if they followed or not...and it was lucky that they did.
At the turning to the low level bridge we spotted the Sunset Drive which would have left at 5, meaning they hadn't got very far and Matt guessed they must have seen something. We hoped it was Lion as it would just make our last night!
About 3km down from the turning we didn't come across any Lions, we came across this..
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DSCF1497 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
We were now so excited, our 3rd Leopard of the trip! We were very aware of the time though and now had about 8 minutes to get back to camp! I was so happy to see another Leopard and it looked like another big one...or did it?! Just as we were about to make a move, Mummy appeared!
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DSCF1498 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1499 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
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DSCF1500 by MattYar1974, on Flickr
We really had to leave now, as we knew we were going to be late back to camp. Heading round the loop we came face to face with a VERY large Ellie at the side of the road, Matt moved over, only to see more Ellies the other side and a baby about to cross the road! It was a very scary situation as there seemed to be Ellies everywhere we looked! Panic set in for me as Ellies scare me quite alot, but the excitement of the Leopards over powered this!
We finally made it back to camp at 6:08! :naughty:
The whole mood at the Braai that evening was buzzing. I then told Chris, Nades and Dawn my Leopard story. Before we left the UK i said i was determined to see a Leopard in the park, Matt also wanted to see one as he hadn't for about 6 or 7 years. He said if we saw a Leopard this trip he would propose...I've been nagging for over a year now and the thought of marriage terrifies Matt so he was obviously convinced it wasn't going to happen!
So after our first sighting this trip I said "Right wheres my proposal?!" Matt avoided it and said "two Leopards not one" then we had seen the Leopard on the rock! "Right, now surely i can have my proposal!?" Matt said he wanted "4 Leopards"...then as if by fate today we had seen not 1 but 2 Leopards! And I have to say even now we are home there has still been no proposal...! :evil:

_________________
November 2012 trip
3 Nights Olifants
2 Nights Satara
2 Nights Bergendal
3 Nights Pretoriuskop
1 EXTRA night Skukuza

3 nights sabie river bungalows


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