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 Post subject: ossendryver 6 Days On The Letaba River Dec 2011
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:47 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: johannesburg (but soon in Kruger)
Hi
I just arrived back from going to Letaba for 6 days.
I stayed at guest cottages 102 right on the river.
It was very exciting!

I will be working on the TR as soon as possible.
I have to still organize all the photos and things like that.

But hopefully it will be worth the wait.

Hope you will enjoy me TR.
Stay tuned for more!!


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 Post subject: Re: 6 Days On The Letaba River
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:15 pm 
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Location: johannesburg (but soon in Kruger)
DAY 1 Part 1
On Tuesday morning I woke up and got the coffee, hot chocolate and tea ready to wake my parents and sister up at 4:00am, which is quite a business, in joburg to leave to Phalaborwa Gate.

On the way we stopped off at a resturaunt to have a toasted cheese before we got to the gate.
Once we were done with the meal we were off to Phalaborwa Gate to see some animals!!

When we finally arrived at Phalaborwa Gate, after quiet a lot of traffic on the way, we tried to use our wildcard to get into the park but the check in worker told us that there is something wrong. :naughty: We were all so upset and scared that we wouldn't be able to get in. :? She told us the we had the wrong person's card!! :slap:
She gave the card to us and it wasn't ours it was our cousin's card who we went to the Kruger with last February. This was a huge bummer because we just wanted to get in already, but we had to wait for them to issue us a paper saying that out card was on the way. :wall:

This is how we got to the park...

To Be Continued...


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 Post subject: Re: 6 Days On The Letaba River
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:50 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:18 pm
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Location: johannesburg (but soon in Kruger)
Day 1 Part 2

So.....
We entered the park FINALLY after that whole wildcard episode.
At the gate the ranger said that on the Sable Hide loop there were a pair of mating lions and a resident leopard that was often seen.
This got us all excited, I mean imagine that on the first day you see mating lions and a leopard.

When we were driving around looking for animals I felt like I was in a paradise and that I had arrived home after a hard days work.

This was our first animal: Obviously :roll: :lol: :lol:
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We had a pretty nice drive towards the turn off to Sable Hide with general game and spectacular scenery.

We drove and next to the road there was a small ditch in the ground where water had collected during the rain.
That day it was very hot so I looked to see if anything was taking a swim there. I looked carefully and I didn't see anything because the bush was quite thick from the angle I was looking from. But I still kept on looking and I suddenly saw water being sprayed, only one word came to mind. STOP!!
There was a lonely elephant busy cooling off in the water on a hot day.

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I thought that it was pretty odd that there was only one, because this elephant looked still to be a young one, so we all looked around and we saw more movement. That movement was the rest of the herd coming.

Once they all disappeared into the bush we drove on towards the hide.

This was just a perfect male Kudu that when ever I look at it it reminds me of the park!

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Then while I was looking in all the trees for that "resident" leopard I saw this beautiful White-backed vulture.

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We continued to Sable Hide...

Hope you enjoyed Part 2

To Be Continued...


Last edited by ossendryver on Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 6 Days On The Letaba River
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 9:16 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:18 pm
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Location: johannesburg (but soon in Kruger)
Day 1 Part 3

When we continued to Sable Hide we went on the side road that takes you to the dam on the opposite side of the hide.
We decided to sit there for a bit.
We didn't see much but we did see a cute nursery of 5 baby impalas sleeping on each other.

So then we drove to the hide itself, we scanned and we saw a hooded vulture drinking but it was too far to take a picture of.

But this beautiful eagle made a great picture.

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Then when I was scanning to the right, where we just were a few minutes ago, I saw movement.
I looked through the binos and there was a herd of dagga boys coming down to drink.
It's amazing how quickly things change, I mean we were just there with impala only and a few minutes later there's is a herd of buffalo.

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We continued to Letaba...

Hope you enjoyed Part 3

To Be Continued...


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 Post subject: Re: 6 Days On The Letaba River
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:08 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:18 pm
Posts: 1541
Location: johannesburg (but soon in Kruger)
Day 1 Part 4

After Sable Hide we headed straight towards Letaba to unpack and relax.

We didn't see much for the rest of the drive besides for a tsessebe sprinting across the road in a hurry with no predator following it sadly. :evil:
Another weird thing that happened was when we were driving and we hadn't seen anything for a while and my mom asked "with these short trees are there a lot of gir"
Me " STOP Giraffe"

Turns out that there are still giraffes in that area. :lol: :lol:
Put it this way that conversation was repeated about lions and leopards but it didn't work again. :(

The sun was setting and I wanted to experiment with the beautiful scenery.

Here are some sunset pictures:
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After the gates closed on our first day in the park we had a first Kruger Braai of the trip which of course tasted theeee best!!
Chops chops chops chops!
oh my mouth is watering just writing about it.

Lets change the subject...

All types of animals seen on day 1:
1. Banded Mongoose
2. Buffalo
3. Burchell's Zebra
4. Bushbuck
5. Chacma Baboon
6. Crocodile
7. Elephant
8. Giraffe
9. Hippo
10. Impala
11. Kudu
12. Steenbok
13. Tree Squirell
14. Tsessebe
15. Waterbuck

Hope you enjoyed Day 1

Stay tuned for Day 2...


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 Post subject: Re: 6 Days On The Letaba River
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:19 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:18 pm
Posts: 1541
Location: johannesburg (but soon in Kruger)
Day 2 Part 1

In this TR I will be uploading videos to show our sightings as well, because they really tell the story of the sightings better.
--
I finally heard the alarm of my phone to wake me up to get ready before the gates open.

I've learned that being the first ones out the gate is the best because there is more of a chance of seeing animals in the road because no one has disturbed them yet.

We were at the gates 20 minutes before they opened because we didn't want to wait inline.
There were no cars near the gate...
If that was skukuza or satara 20 minutes early is too late.

Anyway our theory worked for us.
As we took the turn off to towards Olifants we all saw those famous yellow blobs in the road.
LIONS!!

But these lions ran away which is unusual because lions are always calm around cars.
So we didn't take any photos because they were quick but I did manage to take a horrible video, but at least it proves we saw lions.



We then carried on and saw this beautiful bateleur sitting in the tree.

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After the bateleur flew off we met a close family of baboons.

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Isn't he just cute
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We then cam across another close family, of ostriches.



Then this ellie was hungry for some roots.



After a wonderful drive from Letaba to Olifants we decided to go and have breakfast in the camp.
While we were eating we were watching the spectacular horizon.

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Then a herd of "Olifants" came to have a swim.
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Hope you enjoyed day 2 part 1

To Be Continued...


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 Post subject: Re: 6 Days On The Letaba River
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2011 3:59 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:18 pm
Posts: 1541
Location: johannesburg (but soon in Kruger)
Day 2 Part 2

Once we were done with the delicious breakfast we set back towards Letaba to have an afternoon rest.

Now for you that remember my last trip I filmed this video on the S44 just outside Olifants:

Battle at Kruger- Crocodile vs Tortoises

Which now has over 300,000 views :dance: :dance:

I promised my self I will film a sequel to this video and show the same place a year later.
Here it is:
Battle at Kruger- Crocodile vs Tortoises - Continuation!


Sadly the crocodile has left and isn't there. He was probably bullied out :lol: :lol:

Anyway, after that "episode" we continued on the S44 along the river to get back to the camp.

We saw this Natal Francolin posing perfectly for us.
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This is a beautiful road scenery picture of my favorite tree, the Baobab.
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We drove on those dips in the road that cuts through a dry river bed. We had never really seen anything in those dips, this was finally a nice sighting in one.

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When we drove off our luck continued with this giraffe sitting down chewing the cud.

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We then reached another one of those dips in the road and we saw this awesome elephant skull.
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After the elephant skull we drove on to a miracle, coincidence that I don't think I will ever see again.
This probably has never been seen before...
:big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes:
It was very special.

Hope you enjoyed day 2 part 2

To Be Continued... 8)


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 Post subject: Re: 6 Days On The Letaba River
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:13 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:18 pm
Posts: 1541
Location: johannesburg (but soon in Kruger)
Day 2 Part 3

So as I said I came across a miracle or coincidence, what ever you want to call it, that I have never seen before.

So what happened was, we were driving and we saw a tortoise crossing the road so we stopped and watched it. Suddenly we look forward and what do we see?
Another but different tortoise crossing the road but to the other direction.
Everyone in the car was thinking, this incredible place is bigger than Israel and this small meeting with two tortoises happened to happen on the road at the same time that we were there.
It's not a huge incredible sighting like a kill but it was very special to us.

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We then carried on driving towards the Olifants lookout and we saw this footprint.
As a picture it looks like a cat footprint but in real life it was huge so I thought it could be another animal. Just in case I'm not mentioning anymore.

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We finally arrived in the camp and the rest of my family were tired and went to have a snooz.
Me, no I was still going so I went to the river an just looked out for animals hoping a leopard would come down.
This isn't a leopard but it was a great sighting none the less, right at the fence. hey that rhymes. :lol: :lol:

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When all the sleepy heads woke up we decided to go north to the "get out bridge" and spend the rest of the day there.
So we did.
We saw this on the way.
A mother and a scared Impala lamb
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The best bird pic so far I think.
Woodland Kingfisher
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The get out bridge was very beautiful and relaxing.
These are the photos taken on the bridge:
Scenic photo
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Meet my family
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Saddle-Billed Stork
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Crocodile swimming under us.
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Then hippos came wondering around grazing for food. Or sand.
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That was the rest of the day for us.

We had booked a night drive for that night so stay tuned for more!

Hope you enjoyed day 2 part 3

To Be Continued...


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 Post subject: Re: 6 Days On The Letaba River
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:57 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: johannesburg (but soon in Kruger)
Day 2 Part 4

After a great afternoon on the Letaba River we went back to the camp to get ready for our night drive.

It was finally time to leave the camp and start the drive.

We made a right turn to the H1-6 to go towards Mopani. This road was along the river so it could be great for animals.

We saw lots of night jars but this one finally let us photograph it.
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Same thing with this Spring Hare.
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The drive which was pretty uneventful, but it was still awesome being out there at night.
We saw some hippos walking around, lots of scrub hares, Genets, and impalas sleeping

But at the end the ranger took us on the road towards Phalaborwa and about 1km down the road we saw a clan of hyenas.
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Hope you enjoyed Day 2
To Be Continued...


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 Post subject: Re: 6 Days On The Letaba River
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:51 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 1541
Location: johannesburg (but soon in Kruger)
Day 3 Part 1

Day 3 was to be our best day so far on this trip!
It was my parent's anniversary! :dance: :dance:

In the morning we woke up, had coffee and were at the gates waiting for them to open.
The day before we woke up early and went south towards Olifants so today we decided to go north.

Finally the gates opened and we started the drive.

For the first time in the dark early morning we didn't see much.
We got to the waterhole on the H15 and decided to take some sunrise pics! :dance: :dance:
Again I experimented with all angles!
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Then we got to middelvlei and we saw a couple of jackals running off. We finally saw something interesting. but when we tuned back to go to Letaba our luck changed.

As we drove off from middelvlei we saw ears walking next to the road.
it was another hyena!
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After the hyena disappeared into the long bush we drove onto a plain feild and there I spotted our first ever secretary bird in the Kruger Park!
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Here is a picture of the long grass with the sun shining on it.
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When we drove off we saw another raptor in the tree.
This time it was a Martial Eagle
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Here are more birds on the drive:
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White-Fronted Bee-eater
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Then we crossed the river again and this just reminded me of a desert pathway.
with nothing around
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This beautiful fish eagle was also from the river.
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That concluded the morning drive.
We then went back to the camp to relax.

Hope you enjoyed Day 3 Part 1

To Be Continued...


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 Post subject: Re: 6 Days On The Letaba River
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 9:10 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 1541
Location: johannesburg (but soon in Kruger)
Thanks everyone for your kind comments
Day 3 Part 2

I just thought I'll post a short entry before everyone starts celebrating.
:dance: :dance: Merry Christmas Everyone :dance: :dance:


We went on a midday drive not expecting much in the heat of the day so we decided to visit Sable Dam Hide again.

We arrived and we were the only ones there.
We were just relaxing and waiting when we saw a elephant coming down to cool off.

He was scratching its self on the tree in the middle.
He was scratching all over.
And then put its trunk over its tusk which I have never seen an elephant do before.

ImageImageImageImageImage

Afterwards Ground Hornbills came and started digging for food.
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At around 1:30pm we headed back to the camp to get an afternoon rest.
We took a low maintenance road on the way:
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This was the closest we got to a lion. Try and find it...
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We saw this elephant having fun in the water.
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Then it was like his friend had come to call him, then they both got out and walked of together like best friends.ImageImageImage

Once we got back to the camp my parents organized a walk for themselves for their anniversary at 3:pm

While they were off me and my sister went for a drive that we would never forget.

Hope you enjoyed Day 3 Part 2
To Be Continued...


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 Post subject: Re: 6 Days On The Letaba River
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2011 2:48 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: johannesburg (but soon in Kruger)
I trust everyone is having a great holiday!

Day 3 Part 3

The time was now 3:00pm and my parents went off to do their walk for their anniversary, which my sister and I were very jealous about. Who knew that by the end we weren't the ones jealous anymore.

So my sister and I decided to go on a drive and hope for the best.

We went north that morning to Middelvlei dam so we decided to go there and spend the rest of the afternoon waiting for action to come to the waterhole.

We were out the gate and just before the "get out" bridge where it goes down we looked and there stood the most majestic, beautiful male waterbuck. The sunlight on it in real life was just spectacular.
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After the bridge, we came across a troop of baboons.
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Then before Middlelvei when the bush was starting to get less thick in the field we saw this tsessebe
having an afternoon snooze.
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After a great start to the afternoon drive we finally arrived at Middelvlei. We were welcomed by this big herd of about 300 Buffaloes. (This picture was from my video camera)
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And a Jackal right next to the herd
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We were watching this herd for a few minutes while we realized that there were 2 cars stopped further along. They weren't looking at the herd at all.
I told my sister that we should drive over to where they were to see what they were looking at.
My sister wasn't to happy with me because she was happy just watching these buffaloes, but I kinda forced her in the end :)

We drove to where the cars were and asked what they were looking at.

The young American couple answered "I,I,I think it's a ch cheetah?"
They said it as if they were so scared.

Never mind the way they said it.
My sister and I NEARLY screamed so loud chasing any cheetah nearby away but we did say "CHEETAH, YAY FINALLY"

We looked where they pointed and there it was... The CHEETAH!!
It had lost his brother so it was calling for him the whole time!

It was incredible!
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Then it suddenly got up and walked straight towards our car.
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(Video Camera)
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(Video Camera)


After it had crossed the road we followed it for a bit more and then it disappeared way into the bush.
The rest of the cars turned back to see if it went back to the waterhole, but me and my sister have learned from experience that usually it wouldn't go back to where it just was. Especially with a herd of over 300 buffs there.
So we decided that we should take a slow drive back towards the camp.

But little did we know that on they way back...
-----
I have a great video of it calling for it's brother in the road. Just tell me if you want me to upload it.
-----
Hope you enjoyed Day 3 Part 3

To Be Continued...


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 Post subject: Re: 6 Days On The Letaba River
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 10:05 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:18 pm
Posts: 1541
Location: johannesburg (but soon in Kruger)
Day 3 Part 4
As I mentioned before that I took a video of the cheetah calling and a lot wanted me to upload it.
Here it is:

Kruger Sightings - Cheetah Calling For Partner - 7 December 2011

As you can hear we were all very excited to see it!
Enjoy

So after that beautiful cheetah disappeared way into the bush we continued back to the camp.

While we were driving back we were taking in what we had just seen.
We were already 10km from where we saw the cheetah.
We were still driving slowly and
Can you believe it.... is that what I think it is? ANOTHER CHEETAH!!!!!
We could believe our eyes!!

There he was ANOTHER ONE!!
It was INCREDIBLEEEEE!
all to ourselves!

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This picture just got to me, I don't know why.
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That took over the rest of the day!!

When we got back to the camp, the look on my parents' face were PRICELESS!!
:lol: :lol:

Hope you enjoyed Day 3 Part 4

To Be Continued...


Last edited by ossendryver on Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 6 Days On The Letaba River
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 11:08 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:18 pm
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Location: johannesburg (but soon in Kruger)
Day 4 Part 1

We had now heard our alarm waking us up 4 times.
Today was Day 4.

I love that feeling at the beginning of the day thinking of, but not knowing what we might see in the next hour or day.

We all decided to go up north again because I think you all know why.
2 cheetahs the previous afternoon.

I didn't think we would get to see the cheetahs again since they probably moved off during the night.
Boy was I wrong!!

We were the first ones out the gate, again...


Here was our first animal!
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We got to Melopenyana Dam.
We again took sunrise pics.
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After staying at the dam for a few minutes we decided to continue on our way.

Just as we turned off the H15 I heard something.
I heard a WAA, WAA, WAA, GRRR!!

The second I heard that sound I shouted "STOP!! CHEETAH!!"
They all screamed at me "WHERE WHERE??"

Me "No I can hear it"

Them "Oh :("

what a let down they all thought.

But I said to them. "I can hear it, we must try find it and listen to where the call is coming from."
They then agreed.

A car drove past and asked us what we were looking at.
We said that we could hear a cheetah.
They stopped for a second, listened and then looked at us like we were mad.
Then drove off.

We decided to go back to the waterhole and see if we could see it from the field.
WE COULD!! it was hard to find because everything there was so yellow.

It started moving towards us and then disappeared.

Immediately after it disappeared into the bush a car came and said. "You just missed a cheetah crossing the road"

We were all so upset , the other car drove off, we also drove off to continue toward Mopani.
But just wait a second. What do we see sitting waiting for us? (With no other cars)
Well let the photos tell the story!
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We were with this cheetah for a half an hour ALL ALONE!
It was very special!

When we left it, it was still next to the road, but we had to go to Mopani.
We thought to ourselves, maybe we will see it on the way back.
(Boy were we right!)

Then the only animals we saw after that were a family of cute Jackals at Middelvlei but it was to far to take pics.

Then this herd (probably the same as the one the day before) of over 300 Buffs crossing the road.
This took up another 30min.
One even started sleeping in the road.
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We had a nice breakfast at Mopani.

Hope you enjoyed Day 4 Part 1

To Be Continued...


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 Post subject: Re: 6 Days On The Letaba River
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2011 2:17 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: johannesburg (but soon in Kruger)
Elsa wrote:
What an amazing and wonderful Cheetah sightings you had, love hearing them calling as well.
How lucky to see them on both days but then you were patient and observant and it paid off. :thumbs_up:

We also had a huge Buffalo herd about the same area you did but in May this year, wonder if it could be the same herd?

Thanks for the nice report, pics and video. :clap:


Thanks!

Probably the same herd! since it's in the same area and sooo many of them!


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