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 Post subject: Crested Barbet Time to fly south again November 2011
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 11:27 pm 
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The days are dark again. Nearly winter in Europe. And I am counting the days … not long and I will see the sun again.

So many months I have waited, nearly a year, but on Saturday I will fly south again! :D

The discussions with SO where to spend our annual holiday had been shorter than usual. At first he was a bit shocked when I told him: “South Africa, that’s fine, but this year not Kruger.” “Not Kruger!?!?” :big_eyes:

There were these old memories in my mind. These wonderful days, nearly ten years ago.

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_________________
My TR's
- It's time for Africa! (KNP Nov./Dec. 2010) - Video page 7: Wild dogs watching lions!
- Memories from the backseat (KNP Dec. 2009)
- If I could fly (KNP March/April 2010)
- Time to fly south again (MZNP, Addo, and more Nov/Dec. 2011)


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 Post subject: Re: Time to fly south again
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 10:13 pm 
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:think: And finally I knew how to convince SO:
First, I mentioned that there are other very interesting parks in South Africa. He agreed, but only this fact was not enough!
Second, I drew his attention to wine and dine (he is a gourmet) and now he was smiling like a child on Xmas eve! Yes, it was many years ago, but what he still remembered were the good restaurants in Western Cape and not to forget the wine tastings!
Third, I promised him that this holiday he will not have to sleep with bats (I hope I can keep my promise).
:D Now I had won the battle.

I only had to make the itinerary. And here is the short version: We will stay a few nights in the following National Parks:
- Mountain Zebra
- Addo
- Karoo
- Garden Route (Tsitsikamma).

And, I am really looking forward to it, we will stay in Bloemfontein (the first nights) and so idyllic places like Prince Albert and Wilderness. And the last week of our holiday we will be in Simon’s Town and explore the beautiful surroundings (including wine and dine!).

Only a few days …

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_________________
My TR's
- It's time for Africa! (KNP Nov./Dec. 2010) - Video page 7: Wild dogs watching lions!
- Memories from the backseat (KNP Dec. 2009)
- If I could fly (KNP March/April 2010)
- Time to fly south again (MZNP, Addo, and more Nov/Dec. 2011)


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 Post subject: Re: Time to fly south again
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2011 9:17 pm 
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:) Thank you so much, Karin, Duke, Pumbaa, MM, for your kind wishes.

:D :D Only one sleep and we will be on the way – south to paradise. I have just done the online check-in.

Wish you all a merry Xmas!

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_________________
My TR's
- It's time for Africa! (KNP Nov./Dec. 2010) - Video page 7: Wild dogs watching lions!
- Memories from the backseat (KNP Dec. 2009)
- If I could fly (KNP March/April 2010)
- Time to fly south again (MZNP, Addo, and more Nov/Dec. 2011)


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 Post subject: Re: Time to fly south again
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 12:57 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 5:34 pm
Posts: 488
Nov. 27 – Nov. 29, 2011 : The first days

After a really pleasant flight (good seats, good service, no delay) we landed on Nov. 27 at 10:45 h in Johannesburg. As usual on Sundays, the staff was reduced to a minimum. So all took a lot of time. Two hours later we left the airport in a rented Nissan Tiida. The best days of this car where already over, but nevertheless, we had (nearly) no reason to complain.

As we had slept well in the plane we had no problems to drive the 440 km to the city of roses. When we left Johannesburg the weather was fine, before we reached Bloemfontein it rained. And rain seemed to follow us during the whole holiday! We had the feeling that we should offer our services as rain makers!

We stayed three nights in a comfortable guest house in Bloemfontein. There is a lot to see around, the most interesting Freestate National Museum, the beautiful Botanical Garden and much more. And it is a good base for buying all you need for a stay in the National Parks.

However, before I tell you about the parks, I will show you a few bird pics taken at Loch Logan, Bloemfontein.

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A cute chick …

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…with mum
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Red-knobbed Coot

_________________
My TR's
- It's time for Africa! (KNP Nov./Dec. 2010) - Video page 7: Wild dogs watching lions!
- Memories from the backseat (KNP Dec. 2009)
- If I could fly (KNP March/April 2010)
- Time to fly south again (MZNP, Addo, and more Nov/Dec. 2011)


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 Post subject: Re: Time to fly south again
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 12:07 am 
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Posts: 488
Nov. 30, 2011 Mountain Zebra National Park (1)

After a hearty breakfast we left Bloemfontein.

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On the national roads to the MZNP there were lots of road works but we were lucky, we never had to wait long. It took 5 hours till we drove through the gate of the Mountain Zebra National Park. On our drive to the camp I took the first pictures.

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Cape Mountain Zebra

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Red Hartebeest
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Springbok

Not long and we reached the camp.

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SO on his way the reception.

The staff at the reception was very friendly, however a bit forgetful. When we entered our comfortable cottage No. 8 my first step led to the bathroom. No water! Whilst SO was unloading the car I returned to the reception and was told: “Oh, sorry, I should have told you, there is no water in the camp. But the repair works should be completed in appr. an hour.” And they were right. As it was still sunny, I decided to cool down in the swimming pool first and when I came back SO was already making coffee.

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Cottage No. 8
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_________________
My TR's
- It's time for Africa! (KNP Nov./Dec. 2010) - Video page 7: Wild dogs watching lions!
- Memories from the backseat (KNP Dec. 2009)
- If I could fly (KNP March/April 2010)
- Time to fly south again (MZNP, Addo, and more Nov/Dec. 2011)


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 Post subject: Re: Time to fly south again
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 11:15 pm 
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Posts: 488
Nov. 30, 2011 Mountain Zebra National Park (2)

After our coffee break we started for a drive to Ubejane Loop. As usual, SO was driving and I was sitting on the back seat to have the best opportunities to take pics.

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Red Hartebeest

When I was watching a herd of springboks on the left, SO murmured: “Fascinating”. “Yes, the bokkies in this light are beautiful!” “Bokkies? No, I mean the rhinos!“ “Rhinos? Where?“ :wall: :wall: And only now the best husband of all told me: “On the right side.“ My head turned around and I barely got a glimpse of two black rhinos running into a thicket. Bad luck! We unsuccessfully waited some time as we hoped that they would come out again. Sitting on the back seat has one disadvantage, you don’t see in which direction the driver is looking to!

We continued our drive. As you will see on the next pics, the rain had followed us to this beautiful park.

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Black Wildebeest (think, it’s more attractive than the Blue Wildebeest)

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Cape Mountain Zebra

This time it was a short but heavy downpour.

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(Southern) Ant-eating Chat, fem.

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Ground Squirrel

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Gemsbok

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Kudus

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This Spotted Dikkop was sitting on a nest not far from the tarmac.

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Springboks in the evening night.

Back in the camp I decided to go for a little walk whilst SO was preparing dinner. When I returned to our cottage SO was showing a strange behaviour. He was crouching outside near the entrance door, waging with a newspaper. What was he doing? Creating a new dance, hopefully a sun dance? No, he just tried to convince Mr. Scorpion to stay outside!

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_________________
My TR's
- It's time for Africa! (KNP Nov./Dec. 2010) - Video page 7: Wild dogs watching lions!
- Memories from the backseat (KNP Dec. 2009)
- If I could fly (KNP March/April 2010)
- Time to fly south again (MZNP, Addo, and more Nov/Dec. 2011)


Last edited by Crested Barbet on Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Time to fly south again
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 2:41 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 5:34 pm
Posts: 488
Dec. 1, 2011 Mountain Zebra National Park (1)

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Morning has broken
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I like early mornings in the camp. SO was still sleeping whilst I enjoyed my breakfast and greeted our friendly neighbour. Usually you see dassies living in big colonies but this guy seemed to love the solitude.

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Rock Dassie

Then I started for a morning walk. The camp was still quiet, the birds started singing. It was wonderful. I did not meet other people. This camp has such a relaxing atmosphere.

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When I returned SO was in the kitchen drinking his morning tea. He will never be an early bird. But he was nearly ready to start.

There are not many roads in MZNP. We had planned to drive the Kranskop and Rooiplat Loops today. If you consider to visit the MZNP, be warned, this beautiful park is definitely nothing for people with back problems.

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Typical male!

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My first sighting of a Rock Kestrel

_________________
My TR's
- It's time for Africa! (KNP Nov./Dec. 2010) - Video page 7: Wild dogs watching lions!
- Memories from the backseat (KNP Dec. 2009)
- If I could fly (KNP March/April 2010)
- Time to fly south again (MZNP, Addo, and more Nov/Dec. 2011)


Last edited by Crested Barbet on Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Time to fly south again
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 3:31 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 5:34 pm
Posts: 488
Dec. 1, 2011 Mountain Zebra National Park (2)

We passed Doornhoek Dam.

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Egyptian Geese

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I love these peaceful scenes.

The sky was still blue, only a few clouds.

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Black Wildebeest after a dirt bath, just drying.

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Black-backed Jackal

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Cape Mountain Zebras
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And here very beautiful antelopes (you don’t find them in Kruger).

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Blesbok
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Male Ostrich

The weather was getting worse. We were on the Rooiplaat Loop when it was suddenly getting darker, the clouds seemed to touch the earth. Dense fog and strong wind. To continue the drive would not make sense. So we decided to return to the camp. We just had closed the door of our cottage when a terrible hail storm broke out. Hail in December in South Africa! Accompanied by thunder and lightning. After a while the hail stopped, not long and it began to rain. It rained almost continuously the whole afternoon.

On days like this it is a great advantage to have such a comfortable cottage. :) If you have a good book in your luggage, even such an afternoon is a pleasure.

_________________
My TR's
- It's time for Africa! (KNP Nov./Dec. 2010) - Video page 7: Wild dogs watching lions!
- Memories from the backseat (KNP Dec. 2009)
- If I could fly (KNP March/April 2010)
- Time to fly south again (MZNP, Addo, and more Nov/Dec. 2011)


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 Post subject: Re: Time to fly south again
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:54 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 5:34 pm
Posts: 488
Dec. 2, 2011 Addo Elephant National Park (1 a)

The first I noticed when I woke up in the morning was that the rain had stopped. :D Great! The second I noticed was that there was again no water in the cottage. :( That’s what I call sustainability: No water on the day of arrival and no water on the day of departure! So we left the beautiful Mountain Zebra National Park already at 7:15 h.

We reached the Addo National Park at 11:15 h what would normally be too early for the check-in. But Addo is not Kruger; it was no problem to check-in so early when I explained to the friendly lady at the reception that after a morning without water in MZNP I now was longing for a shower!

The chalet we had booked, the No. 15, is the only 2-bed-chalet (CH2) in the main camp. I can highly recommend it.

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Chalet No. 15
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After unloading the car and a decent shower we walked to the restaurant for lunch. The Addo restaurant was a pleasant surprise. The menu offered plenty of selection, service and food were good.

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Restaurant

_________________
My TR's
- It's time for Africa! (KNP Nov./Dec. 2010) - Video page 7: Wild dogs watching lions!
- Memories from the backseat (KNP Dec. 2009)
- If I could fly (KNP March/April 2010)
- Time to fly south again (MZNP, Addo, and more Nov/Dec. 2011)


Last edited by Crested Barbet on Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Time to fly south again
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:06 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 5:34 pm
Posts: 488
Dec. 2, 2011 Addo Elephant National Park (1b)

We walked back to our chalet, spent some time on the veranda, drinking coffee, watching the birds.

Year after year top on my wish list was to see a mousebird. I nearly had given up hope, but this holiday provided wonderful sightings of these birds.

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Speckled Mousebird

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Cape Bulbul

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Cape Weaver (male)

And here is a pic of the wonderful green Addo.
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At 15:00 h we entered the game-viewing area. The first animal we saw was this beautiful tortoise.

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Angulate Tortoise

And the second animal was this wonderful elephant bull having a mud bath.
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Addo summer colours
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What you will see quite often in Addo - and hear in the evening - are black-backed jackals.

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Black-backed Jackal

_________________
My TR's
- It's time for Africa! (KNP Nov./Dec. 2010) - Video page 7: Wild dogs watching lions!
- Memories from the backseat (KNP Dec. 2009)
- If I could fly (KNP March/April 2010)
- Time to fly south again (MZNP, Addo, and more Nov/Dec. 2011)


Last edited by Crested Barbet on Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:24 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Time to fly south again
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:13 pm 
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Posts: 488
Dec. 2, 2011 Addo Elephant National Park (2)

Here is a bird that seems to be very common in Addo, the black-headed heron. We watched these herons foraging every day.

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Black-headed Heron

We saw many magnificent kudu bulls - on this first drive more kudu bulls than elephants!. We had the feeling the park should change its name to Addo Kudu National Park. :wink:

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We stopped to watch this ibis searching for food.

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Hadeda Ibis

Elephants and buffalos are producing a lot of dung. So one could think it would be enough for all the small flightless dung beetles. But there is a hard competition.

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Flightless Dung Beetle

This dung beetle had been knocked over during the fight for dung. Poor beetle was struggling to turn around again.
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I like snakes. They are beautiful reptiles. So I was fascinated by our next sighting, the rhombic skaapsteker, a snake that is harmless, its bite being less dangerous than a bee sting.

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Rhombic Skaapsteker

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And here a big leopard tortoise (presumably male) that was following a smaller one that was not amused and took flight.

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Leopard Tortoise

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Egyptian Geese
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_________________
My TR's
- It's time for Africa! (KNP Nov./Dec. 2010) - Video page 7: Wild dogs watching lions!
- Memories from the backseat (KNP Dec. 2009)
- If I could fly (KNP March/April 2010)
- Time to fly south again (MZNP, Addo, and more Nov/Dec. 2011)


Last edited by Crested Barbet on Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Time to fly south again
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:05 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 5:34 pm
Posts: 488
Dec. 2, 2011 Addo Elephant National Park (3)

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Time for a drink!
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This young black-shouldered kite was in the right posing mood.

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Black-shouldered Kite, juv.
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After seeing a lot of male kudus, it was just before we reached the camp when we saw the first kudu cow, beautiful in the evening light.

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Back in the camp there was still time enough to walk around and look for the feathered friends.

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Bar-throated Apalis

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Red Bishop

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Cattle Egret

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Cape Bulbul

We thought it would be a good idea to go to the underground hide to look for animals coming to the waterhole in the evening. But from this hide you don’t see the waterhole, you only look at an earth wall. :wall: :hmz: Possibly this underground hide had been constructed for counting ants. :roll:

It was a wonderful day in Addo. And now the sundowner was waiting!

_________________
My TR's
- It's time for Africa! (KNP Nov./Dec. 2010) - Video page 7: Wild dogs watching lions!
- Memories from the backseat (KNP Dec. 2009)
- If I could fly (KNP March/April 2010)
- Time to fly south again (MZNP, Addo, and more Nov/Dec. 2011)


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 Post subject: Re: Time to fly south again
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 8:50 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 5:34 pm
Posts: 488
Dec. 3, 2011 Addo Elephant National Park (1)

Yesterday we had a look at the sighting board, lions had been seen, and today we tried to find them. We were not successful but the park provided wonderful sightings, even a kill!

Our drive started with these birds …

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Fiscal Shrike

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African Marsh Harrier (juv.) – Hope the ID is right!

… and a young kudu bull.
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Suddenly we saw - far away - a black-headed heron (juv.) focussing motionlessly a point in the high grass. Then a quick movement and he had a snake in his bill! Now the bird struggled six minutes with this snake. I took lots of photos. Here a few of them:

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Have it!

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It strikes back!
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Nearly lost it!

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Have it again!

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That’s the end!

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What a good breakfast!

_________________
My TR's
- It's time for Africa! (KNP Nov./Dec. 2010) - Video page 7: Wild dogs watching lions!
- Memories from the backseat (KNP Dec. 2009)
- If I could fly (KNP March/April 2010)
- Time to fly south again (MZNP, Addo, and more Nov/Dec. 2011)


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 Post subject: Re: Time to fly south again
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:31 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 5:34 pm
Posts: 488
Dec. 3, 2011 Addo Elephant National Park (2)

After this early morning kill more peaceful scenes followed. I like black-backed jackals. They have such a friendly nearly smiling expression. It’s amazing, that a male and a female pair for life and share the duties of defending a territory.

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Black-backed Jackals
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And here my second mousebird:

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Speckled Mousebird

I always have an eye for the small things on the road like this beautiful snail.
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Our next stop was Hapoor Dam where we met a family of Egyptian Geese. It’s a hard work to rise goslings at a place like Hapoor. Later more.

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Egyptian Geese
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In the direct neighbourhood of the geese this pleasant guy was living. The yellow mongoose was very busy looking for tasty snacks like insects and other invertebrates. Goslings are usually not on the menu, so the geese were not bothered about the little guy.

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Yellow Mongoose
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Summer beauty

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Kudu bull

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Black-headed Heron

_________________
My TR's
- It's time for Africa! (KNP Nov./Dec. 2010) - Video page 7: Wild dogs watching lions!
- Memories from the backseat (KNP Dec. 2009)
- If I could fly (KNP March/April 2010)
- Time to fly south again (MZNP, Addo, and more Nov/Dec. 2011)


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 Post subject: Re: Time to fly south again
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:58 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 5:34 pm
Posts: 488
Dec. 3, 2011 Addo Elephant National Park (3)

Meanwhile we had passed the Southern Gate to the Colchester Section of the Addo where lions had been seen yesterday (emphasis is on yesterday).

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Helmeted Guineafowl

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Black-headed Heron

These young warthogs were munching eagerly. They were paying no attention to us. Did you know that the pronounced cheek whiskers are particularly present in juveniles? The white hair imitates the adults fearsome tusks. During my holiday I found time to read and learn a bit. :wink:

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Warthogs
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For black-backed jackals Addo seems to be paradise. During my last Kruger holidays sightings of BBJ were rare. So I really enjoyed watching BBJ’s here.

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Black-backed Jackal
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Whilst the jackal was searching for food, big brother (black crow) was watching him hoping for a chance to share the meal.

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Black Crow

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Kudu cow

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Opuntia
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Male ostrich having the hens under control.
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_________________
My TR's
- It's time for Africa! (KNP Nov./Dec. 2010) - Video page 7: Wild dogs watching lions!
- Memories from the backseat (KNP Dec. 2009)
- If I could fly (KNP March/April 2010)
- Time to fly south again (MZNP, Addo, and more Nov/Dec. 2011)


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