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 Post subject: Re: The spell of the Diderick
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 5:03 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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If you want to go from Skukuza to Croc Bridge you have many options where to drive and it was not an easy decision what to do. Finally I decided to go to Trans port first, then go down the S114 and look after my leopard tree and head back to Croc Bridge along the S25. Many promising roads and places :dance: At Transport there were no cheetahs this time and so some other animals enjoyed a peaceful rest!

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While sitting at Transport it began to rain and the sky was all grey. And after leaving the dam soon another problem occured. Whenever I made a turn to the right with the car a terrible sound came from the back of the car and I wasn't sure if it came from a wheel or the back axis :doh: Whatever..after a while the noise was gone and the problem soon forgotten. I took some pics of animals who didn't mind to be out in the rain:

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I saw a Wattled Lapwing, couldn't resist to take another pic of a cute Impala babies and also saw a Bushbuck who unfortunetely was not willing to pose for my camera:

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But I couldn't find the dead tree where I had my incredible leopard sighting which confused me a bit because I always thought that trees don't walk :shock: I decided that I have to look for it again the next days! What I found again however was my couple of Klipspringers and that was not my last sighting of them. If you like Klipspringers you should have a look here the following days :whistle:

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I don't know when I noticed it exactly but somewhere I made a shocking discovery. The terrible sound that came from my car was back! Now it weas even worse and occured whenever I was reversing :wall: What should I do? Go to a garage or try to drive the last few days without much reversing? It was no problem to get a pic of these Impies...

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Then I saw some cars standing together and of course there were cats again. First I couldn't see anything but when I nearly had passed the cars I spotted them...Lions :shock: And now I had a problem: to bring me into a good position to take pics I had to reverse. But I was to scared that the noise from my car would chase the Lions away and destroy the sighting for the other people. I could have turned around but it was already late and with several cars at a sighting you often have to reverse a bit to get a good view. Very frustrated I decided to drive on. At least it stopped to rain and I could enjoy another beautiful sunset :dance:

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Back at camp I was a bit annoyed because of the car problem. Why did this have to happen during the last days :wall: Then I realized that I had more than enough luck during this trip and if you ae in Kruger for one month you cannot expect that you have luck all the time. Before I went to bed I asked the Diderick if he could also do something against car problems?? The bird promised that he was going to find a solution and that my last few days would be suitable to this wonderful trip :whistle:

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


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 Post subject: Re: The spell of the Diderick
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:21 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Burghausen, Germany
Saturday, 3. December

And again I started the day on the S28. As soon as no other car was in sight I tried to reverse again and the noise even seemed to be worse. I was braking a few times, did some sharp turnes to the left and t othe right but nothing helped. So I tried to do my drive without reversing and hoped that no Elephant would chase me backwards. Then I saw a Secretary bird. He walked parallel to the road looking for his breakfast and I folowed him for a while. For me it's always special if I can watch one of these birds :dance:

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It seemed to be mating season for the Steenbucks and this handsome couple were taking a rest together. For the first time I noticed that the females seem to be a bit bigger than the males:

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Then my car showed an alarm sign. One of the tyres seemed to have less pressure than the others. This didn't frighten me too much as the same sign already came near Punda Maria and after increasing the pressure I could drive on without further problems. I decided to go to Sunset Dam first and then visit the petrol station at Lower Sabie were I had to get petrol anyway. At Sunset other birds had learned from the Grey Herons (is that a Little Bittern :hmz: ) and also a resident Saddle-billed and Fish Eagle made their appereance. For me it was a bit surprising how close the Stork walked towards the Eagle:

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When I got out of the car at Lower Sabie I saw that I had a nail in my left back tyre and the pressure was noe seriously low. When I asked the staff if they could fix it I also told them about the the noise coming from the car. I was asked to reverse slowly a few times and then the man said that it's probably a stone behind the braking disc and he would try to get it out. In the meantime adw appeared on the scene and we had a nice chat while the car was fixed. Again I noticed how lucky I was. I drove into the nail near a camp and not somewhere in the bush and the time to fix the problems was not waisted at all as I had a interesting conversation in the meantime :dance: Then the man of the petrol station showed me the culprit. A little stone that he pulled out behind the disc with a screwdriver. From that moment on the noise was gone and I had no more car problems until I gave the car back. I must say fairplay and thank you to the staff at lower Sabie for their quick and efficient help. Very well done :clap: :clap: :clap:

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I heard that 5 cheetahs have been seen regularly on the Muntshe loop and decided to look out for them. But first I visited Sunset again where my two Hippo travellers started a friendship :)

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It was not easy to leave them because I was absolutely delighted to watch this nice scene :dance:

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


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 Post subject: Re: The spell of the Diderick
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:46 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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As planned I was driving the S29 and S122 and with the fixed car I was in a very good mood and very optimistic that I could find the cheetahs. The first half of the Mlondozi loop was quiet then I saw some vultures sitting on a tree around 80 meters in on the right side. I didn't want to loose to much time and drove on when a very strong smell came from the right side. I saw that more Vultures were sitting on a big carcass and of course got curious what animal it was. My guess was Elephant or Rhino. Happy that I could easily reverse now I took the chance and drove to another car whose driver told me that it's a Hippo.

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We chatted for a while before I drove on. Less than 1km later I had to learn that I made a big mistake. Several people told me that the 5 cheetahs were just beside the road for more than half an hour and they left just before I arrived. The Diderick had everything arranged perfectly but I spent too much time at the smelling Hippo :wall: :wall: I stayed near the cheetah sighting for more than an hour and hoped they would show themselves again but that never happened. Then I decided that it wouldn't make much sense to drive the Muntshe loop as well and headed towards Lower Sabie for lunch. When I was nearly at camp I saw some cars standing close together in the S82 and wanted to find out what caugth their attention. It was a Rock Python who obviously just finished dinner. From other people I heard that the poor victim was an Impala baby. Here are some pics of the powerful snake who was accompanied by two Spurfowls (I have no idea why :hmz: ):

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After lunch I made my last visit to Mpondo and drove the S82. Where I saw the Python an hour ago a lonely female Impala stood motionless and starred to the place where the snake had been. A sad sight...

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Still on the same road I saw a Woodie who allowed me to get some pics of him. Usually it's much easier to hear than to see this colourful bird so I was delighted to meet this fellow :dance:

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I was fighting hard to get a pic of this Squirrel that didn't want to sit still and if it sat still there were leaves or branches in the way. That's the best pic I got:

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At Mpondo there were no Elephants this time and also no other animals came to dam for a drink. The only animal that acme towards me was this Sandpiper:

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When I left Mpondo I still had a few hours before gate closing time and I thought I could look after my leopard tree in the S114 again. And this time I found him but the stump didn't look as it did 4 weeks ago. The stump was broken. Somehow I felt sad that this tree who became so special to me was falling apart...

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As you can already see it became very dark and soon it started to rain. The rain became so heavy that I put the windscreen wiper at full speed but still couldn't see much. Looking for animals became impossible and so I only tried to get back to Croc Bridge without getting stuck. Because of the rain I also had to cancel my last braai at Croc B and I only hoped that the rain would stop over night and that my last days would bring some exciting moments...

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


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 Post subject: Re: The spell of the Diderick
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 8:50 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Burghausen, Germany
Sunday, 4. December

It had stopped to rain but was still cloudy. Not the worst circumstances to find some cats I thought and for a change I started my day with the S130 but without success. Also Dukes waterhole brought nothing special and the excitement only started when I was going towards Nhlanganzwani. On the way to the dam a herd of Ellies crossed the road and I only managed to get a quick pic before I had to get out of their way:

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And for the very first time I saw something special at the dam. A Lion couple were lying on the far end of the dam but somehow they didn't seem to be too happy with each other. Maybe they didn't have the same thoughts about how to spend a Sunday morning :roll:

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Back in camp I packed my bags and with a sad feeling I left Croc B because now the feeling that the trip was coming to it's end got very strong. I also noticed that I totally forgot to visit Daniel at Hippo pools and Sunday is his day off :slap: I will definetely not do this mistake again when I'm back in Kruger!!
I was going to my last destnation (BnD) on the S25 and again enjoyed the show that some Oxpeckers offered to me :lol:

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2 Warthogs got the advantage of the heavy rains the day before and took their Sunday bath in one of the new built mud pools in the middle of the road. I waited until they were finished with this procedure and then drove on..

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I had a short stop at Gardenia but there was not much water in it and I didn't see any animals. But back on the road I saw this beautiful Wahlberg's Eagle:

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When I did the check in at BnD I couldn't believe how quick the 4 weeks after my first check in here had passed :shock: On the other side it was amazing how many fantastic sightings I had during this time and now I was curious to know how this trip would end. I was sure that the Diderick still had something in store for me :wink:

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


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 Post subject: Re: The spell of the Diderick
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:55 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Burghausen, Germany
Thank you Sharifa, Linda, anne-marie and Daffy for all your wonderful support :dance: :clap: :dance:

@Sharifa: the Warthogs were very relaxed and I gave them all the time they needed for bathing :D
@Linda: I saw the whole herd but nearly didn't realize that two of them already were so close :shock:
@anne-marie: if the host animals don't move the oxpeckers have to use these seconds for relaxing :wink:
@Daffy: That again proofs that Warthogs have a lot of style and are often underestimated :P


After a chat with Raymond and unpacking my bags I started for the afternoon drive. On the S110 I saw a man who was looking into a tree and seemed to be quite excited. Of course I first thought that there would be a leopard but it was a bird..a bird that made me as happy as a Leopard would do it: a White-faced Scops-Owl :dance: :dance: :dance: That was by far the best Owl sighting during this trip (I only had 3) and finally I even managed to get a pic of this bird who normaly prefers to hide from cameras :D

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I was going to the Biyamiti Weir but the animals were not on the move. So it was good that my Leopard tree was still there and a took a pic from another angle. Somehow this tree attracted me nearly as much as many animals and I'm already wondering how this tree may look when I come back:

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I promise that this was the last pic of this tree that I posted :) On the way back to camp I saw some more lions in the grass but couldn't get a good view of them. I thought that they could already be the last lions of my trip but of cours this was not the case..

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In BnD I had one of the bungalows that were very close to the fence and for a long time I was sitting outside and was listening to the night sounds of the bush.

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


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 Post subject: Re: The spell of the Diderick
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:29 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Burghausen, Germany
Monday, 5. December

It was my last full day in Kruger and once again it should become a very good one. In the morning I started to drive towards Skukuza where I wanted to do some shopping and get presents for friends back home. I decided to go on the S114 again but also the tar road would have been a good decision as several other people told me of a nice wild dog sighting there. Soon after entering the S114 I had my first highlight of the day. I saw two Green Pigeons and because I never saw one of them before it was a fantastic sighting for me. And I have to admit that they are real beauties :dance: :dance:

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At the Biyamiti Weir I saw one of the resident Thick-knees who was posing nicely and gave me the opportunity to get a pic with reflection :)

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Then I came to the rocks where I saw the Klipspringers several times and again both of the couple were there. But today it was even better to watch them. The male clearly was in mating mood and did everything possible to comfort her. This was going on for 15 minutes or so and just when I thought that things look very good for him and he made an effort to mate....the female decided to jump down the rock :doh: Poor Klipspringer boy, I hope he had more luck when I was out of side :wink: Here are some pics of the Klipspringer romance :k

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In Skukuza I also got a very nice present for myself. The book 'ROBERTS Nests & Eggs of southern African birds' which I can highly reccommend for all birders :wink: On the way back to BnD I took the tar road. Of course the dogs were gone but some more cats made their appereance :dance:

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


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 Post subject: Re: The spell of the Diderick
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:08 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Burghausen, Germany
Thank you Linda and Sharifa for always commenting here:dance: :clap: :dance:
Lets go on with the story as I have the feeling that some people are waiting for cats :wink:


I left Skukuza for the last time and was in a very sensitive mood because time was flying in the meanwhile and the moment when I had to leave the park was coming closer with every moment. The next place I had to say farewell to was Transport. But I was delighted that for the first time since several visits I saw a Fish Eagle there :dance:

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With sad feelings I finally left and took the tar road back to BnD. Again I saw the Klipspringers at the T-junction and then the Diderick started to change my mood again. At Kwaggaspan there was a single cheetah lying in the sand. It was my 4th cheetah sighting and I think that's more you can ask for. As I knew this would probably be the last one I stayed for a long time although the cat was far away:

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When I left it didn't take long and I ended in a small traffic jam. A male lion was lying in the grass but only a part of the mane could be seen. I drove on without even trying to take a pic. On the way southwards I saw more Buffs and Ellies until I came to Renosterpan. The trip before I had a great sighting of Reedbucks there and that was the animal I still missed to find. What I found today were....these gentlemen :o

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Three male lions were lying under a bush as lazy as only cats can be. If you see them like that you would never believe how powerful they get get when they are in action :shock:

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And of course this drive didn't pass by without another nice bird sighting. This Brown Snake-Eagle was posing for me and of course I couldn't resist to take more pics :D

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When I aarrived back in BnD it was early afternoon and I took a rest and enjoyed the quiet atmosphere in camp at this time. Raymond came and told me he is on the sunset drive and I decided to come with him. I didn't take the camera with me beacuse I only wanted to lean back and relax and feel the magic of a Kruger sunset one last time. On the drive we saw 2 Wahlberg Eagles, Hyena, Ellies, Buffs and lots off general game. But we also had a very special sighting: 2 Black Rhinos were crossing the road in front of us and everybody in the car was delighted. I had the luck to be in a good group who didn't only look for lions :wink: What a nice last evening :dance:
I wanted to leave the park the following day at 12 and in the meantime I knew my Diderick good enough to believe that the last hours wouldn't go by without nice sightings. Would I see more cats, or the wild dogs, or would I even see the Diderick again? In a few hours I would open the farewell present of the Diderick :roll:

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


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 Post subject: Re: The spell of the Diderick
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 8:38 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Thank you Rookie and vinkie for your nice comments :dance: :clap: :dance:

@Rookie: Raymond told me that the dominant male of the nomades took over the BnD pride and the others have moved towards Biyamiti. I also think that these Renoster lions (at least 2 of them) are too young to be the BnD nomades :wink:
@vinkie: It was a pleasure to have you on bord but the trip is still not over yet :wink:



Tuesday, 6. December

The last few hours in the park :( I wanted to look after the wild dogs and thought they might stroll around the H3 again. I saw Ellies, Buffalos and Rhinos but the dogs seemed to have other plans for this day. Maybe they were looking for me on the S114 :hmz: So I arrived at Afaal earlyand decided to go a bit into the Vortrekker Road before I had to go back to BnD. It didn't take long until I saw a car whose passengers seemed to be very excited. I asked them what they had found and they told me that there were 2 Leopards but it seemed they were moving away :big_eyes: I had to be patient before I could spot one of the leopards on a tree nearby but he only stayed on the tree for moments before he came down again. I got a typical leopard shot but at least I had seen 4 of the Big 5 on my last day :dance:

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On the way back to camp I saw a Jacobin Cuckoo but whenever one of these gorgeous birds sits still for me the light makes things a bit difficult. This is what I got:

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In camp I followed the routine of former visits. Last shower, last breakfast and 10 minutes on a bench at the dam. Again Raymond turned up to say good-bye and then it was time to leave. Slowly I drove towards Malelane gate until....until I saw some lions lying in the grass :dance: Now I had seen the Big 5 on the last day and this only the second day of the trip I managed to get this :dance: One lioness was collared and I think it might have been Mrs. Matjulu!

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This Diderick really had style :k Near the turn-off to the Malelane camp I saw my last raptors. 2 Bateleurs - maybe mother and juvenile - gave me a short show and photo opportunities:

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I drove slower and slower but it didn't help ... the door to the outside world was already very close and now there was only one question left! What would be the last animal I saw before I left the park :hmz: Would it be an Impala, a Yellow-billed Hornbill or something less usual?? I guess you already feel that it was no Impala :lol:

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


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 Post subject: Re: The spell of the Diderick
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:47 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Burghausen, Germany
Thank you anne-marie, Daffy, mel and Lionspoon for all your marvellous support :clap: :dance: :clap: :D :thumbs_up:

@anne-marie: Sorry, no more doggies :|
@Daffy: You are totally right, it has feathers :dance:
@mel: Thank you, the last day was indeed a very special one :D
@Lionspoon: The whole trip was very special and antelopes (including these Klipspringers) were an important part of it :wink:



The gate was already in sight when I saw ..... a Saddle-billed Stork :dance: I remembered that another mite once called him the 'German Stork' because the colours of the bill are the same as the ones you find on the German flag. I also thought that maybe the Diderick was mascarading as a Saddle-billed, I'm sure he had the power to manage this :lol: :lol:

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Whatever..although I have seen several of these beautiful Storks during my trip it still was a very special sighting and as I have never seen one down here it was not such a normal sighting as an Impala or a Warthog!!



But this trip was not normal!!

This trip was under a spell!!!


The spell of the Diderick :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance:


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.................................................THE END.....................................................

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


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 Post subject: Re: The spell of the Diderick
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:37 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Burghausen, Germany
Thank you anne-marie, Sharifa, Dup, Rookie, anne-marie, CB, vinkie, Daffy, Linda, mel, ils, cheetah, ossendryver, Shi, Duke Ellieton and hilda for all your fantastic support through the whole trip report and your always friendly, funny and sometimes helpful comments :gflower: :clap: :dance: :gflower: :clap: :dance: :thumbs_up:

When I started this thread I never expected it would become such a long story with so many pages and replies. Posting here became part of my daily routine and to finish the TR nearly is like finishing the trip itself. But all the good things have come to an end and other (hopefully good) things can start :P I havn't planed my next trip to Kruger yet but if I go again this year it will definetely once more be in November. I will probably decide this in July/August and will let you know as soon as I have made any bookings :thumbs_up:

@Rookie: It must be wonderful to go to Kruger in your honeymoon and I wish you both all the best for your trip and all the years to come :dance: :thumbs_up:

Once again thank you all for your sensationell feedback here :dance: :clap: :k :thumbs_up:

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


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