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 Post subject: Buglette Introducing a Rookie to the KNP February 2012
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:20 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:09 pm
Posts: 88
Location: Cape Town, sometimes Jo'burg
Welcome! :D

Rookie and I have been friends and colleagues for over twenty years. During this time I would disappear from the office a couple of times a year to visit various parks and come back with a clutch of animal photographs. Rookie would ‘ooh and aah’ over these, but never did she express any interest in visiting any of the parks.

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She and her husband had apparently stopped over in Addo years before, for one day only, and had seen virtually nothing. That experience had been enough to put her off game parks for life it seemed.

Then I was invited to a school reunion in the Lowveld. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go; you know how reunions can bring out all sorts of old teenage insecurities. But then I struck on the idea of a long overdue visit to Kruger either before or after the reunion.

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My partner couldn’t make it and none of my assortment of travel buddies was available. So, in semi-desperation one Monday morning at the office I said to Rookie, “Don’t you by any chance want to come with me to Kruger?”
It took her about half a minute to make up her mind, and that’s damn fast for an indecisive Libra, I tell you.
“Sure, I’d love to come,” she replied, beaming from ear to ear.

Bookings were made at Pretoriuskop (1 night), Croc Bridge (1 night), Lower Sabie (2 nights), Skukuza (1 night) and Tamboti (1 night), a car was hired and our bags were packed with our ‘muk-en-druk’ cameras.

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Please join us on our adventure and find out how Rookie got addicted.

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_________________
Buglette's Trip Reports:
Introducing a Rookie to the KNP
Red Dust and Diamonds (Mokala)
Tinkering in the Tankwa
Loerie Stalking in the Wilderness
Scratching the Bottom of Africa
Golden Gate to Happiness
Rambling Round the Richtersveld


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 Post subject: Re: Introducing a Rookie to the KNP
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:16 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:09 pm
Posts: 88
Location: Cape Town, sometimes Jo'burg
It took Rookie a while to tune in her spotting eyes. At first, I’d be pointing out game and she’d be swiveling her head around shouting, “Where, where, where?” Sometimes it was right in front of us but she’d be staring way past it.

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Then she improved and started seeing things but would pass comments like, “There’s a buck, a big one with curly horns,” or “Look, a buffalo, no sorry, maybe it’s a wildebeest,” or “There’s a small grey thing under a bush.” Her excitement at seeing even the smallest creature was contagious and I felt like a virgin all over again.

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Turned out Rookie was a lucky charm because we had great sightings. One of the highlights was a buffalo kill fairly close to the road. It had happened the day before we got there and a couple of lionesses were guarding the carcass protectively.

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We came across the same crowd on our night drive - sleeping, with their bellies bulging, in the middle of the road.

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The following morning the carcass was covered in a frenzy of vultures.

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Literally round the corner from the kill we came across a female cheetah seeking shade under a bush right next to the road. We discovered her before anyone else and spent a delicious fifteen minutes watching her up close before getting boxed in by cars.

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Early one morning, near Sabi Sabi, we joined the back of a queue of vehicles trying to catch a glimpse of an elusive leopard. There is nothing more frustrating that not being able to see what everyone else is pointing at. Our petite hired car was dwarfed by all the giant 4 x 4s and we could see nothing!

The leopard vanished into the bush and eventually the giants moved off. We decided to hang around in hope and were rewarded. Not only did the leopard drag her impala kill out into the open for a fraction of a second but a smallish cub appeared and bounced up onto a log. Even though our glimpses were fleeting and our pics a bit blurred, it was enough to put us on a high for the rest of the morning.

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Hope you’re enjoying the trip so far. More to follow when time permits . . .

_________________
Buglette's Trip Reports:
Introducing a Rookie to the KNP
Red Dust and Diamonds (Mokala)
Tinkering in the Tankwa
Loerie Stalking in the Wilderness
Scratching the Bottom of Africa
Golden Gate to Happiness
Rambling Round the Richtersveld


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 Post subject: Re: Introducing a Rookie to the KNP
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 1:22 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:09 pm
Posts: 88
Location: Cape Town, sometimes Jo'burg
Sunset Dam became a favourite place for sundowners even though the crocodiles were creepy. :evil:

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We had many encounters with ellies, some a bit too close for comfort for Rookie.

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And rhinos were plentiful, especially in the general area around Pretoriuskop.

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We were also fortunate to see a black rhino, a rare sighting for me indeed. :D :D The poor creature had been in the wars though as it had an ugly gash in its side. A shot of powerful antibiotics would have sorted it out in no time, I thought.

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Being spring there were plenty of little ones around, the most comical being fragile baby monkeys and the playful young baboons. Concerned moms were never far away from their young, ready to do a bit of grooming.

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Zebra popped up everywhere and at least Rookie knew the name of those and couldn’t confuse them with anything else.

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Giraffe were also a dead cert with her – no mistaking them.

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The smaller antelope, like duiker, steenbokkies and suni continued to present a challenge though.

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A herd of buffalo almost gave Rookie a heart attack when they crossed the road in front of us - first the big boys then the cows and little ones. Group after group, they just kept streaming by.

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A family of southern ground hornbills, Mom, Dad and Junior, entertained us at the waterhole outside Skukuza with their ‘oomph, oomph-oomph’ music. We heard them before we saw them and thought someone had arranged a marching band to greet us.

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Other bird life, and other hornbills, were abundant and had us flipping through the bird book frantically looking for IDs.

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Leaving the Skukuza waterhole, we came across a pregnant looking hyena slinking back to its den after a night of gorging on a kill somewhere.

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Another morning, we found three sleepy hyena lying in a culvert but had to hold our noses as the stench was overwhelming. Either there was a kill nearby or the three had been neglecting their personal hygiene.

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That's all I have time for now. Last posting to follow later in the week. Stay tuned to see how Rookie narrowly escapes becoming lunch for a pack of hyenas . . . :lol:

_________________
Buglette's Trip Reports:
Introducing a Rookie to the KNP
Red Dust and Diamonds (Mokala)
Tinkering in the Tankwa
Loerie Stalking in the Wilderness
Scratching the Bottom of Africa
Golden Gate to Happiness
Rambling Round the Richtersveld


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 Post subject: Re: Introducing a Rookie to the KNP
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:18 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:09 pm
Posts: 88
Location: Cape Town, sometimes Jo'burg
No trip ever goes off without a hitch and we did have one incident of bad luck when our little midget developed a slow puncture. Parked at Renosterpan watching a rhino wallowing in the mud, we were oblivious to the fact that our back wheel was decidedly pap. When another vehicle drove up and pointed it out to us, the first thing Rookie did was jump out of the car to take a look. Can you believe it! Through her open passenger door I saw three hungry-looking hyena eyeing her from under a tree barely twenty metres away. We’d totally missed them earlier. Either that or they weren’t there when we pulled up at the waterhole. Luckily, they took fright and scattered when I hissed at Rookie to get her butt back in the car.

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Several 4x4s formed a protective laager around us and a kind gentleman with a compressor came to our rescue, pumping up our flat tyre so that we could get back to the picnic spot at Afsaal to change it.

Then the fun began when we couldn’t find a jack in our boot. Damn, we never thought to check that, I exclaimed. Rookie stormed off to enlist the help of the manager who promptly told her not to panic because the jack would be located under the passenger seat. “Jy jok, Meneer,” said Rookie indignantly. But true to his word, it was there. With rivulets of sweat pouring down our backs, we changed the tyre and were back on the road again in no time, eager to continue our game searching.

By now, Rookie was getting to know her bokkies.

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We passed a young French couple on the road and asked if they’d seen anything interesting. No, they replied with downcast faces, only a group of seven sable antelope about five kilometres back. They must have wondered why we screeched into a u-turn and sped away leaving them in a cloud of dust. After driving up and down a bit we finally caught glimpses of patches of black and tan moving steadily through the scrub. Only when I was able to make out the magnificent horns of the lead male was I satisfied that they were indeed sable. Oh, if only they were closer!

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When we came across a tawny eagle and a couple of vultures (a white-faced and a Cape, I think) I was relieved that Rookie hadn’t ended up as lunch for the bone-crunching hyenas because these guys would’ve polished off any remains.

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On the last morning there was a short downpour which provided pleasant relief from the heat and the dust. The animals appeared to be friskier, birds looked bedraggled and a tortoise crawled onto the road to drink from a mud puddle.

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I was fascinated to come across a pair of saddle-billed storks, never having seen birds with such odd-looking bills before. Like a kid had gone crazy with a couple of bright red and yellow crayons.

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On the other end of the scale, Rookie found the lilac-breasted rollers to be pure works of art. Trying to capture that luminous flash of blue as the birds flitted from branch to branch proved impossible though, and only left us feeling frustrated. We need far better cameras than these, quipped Rookie. Time to start saving!

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We did discover another buffalo kill near a waterhole and desperately tried to take pics of the rain-bedraggled lions but all we got were fuzzy blurs. This pic is from the first buffalo kill we saw.

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Despite our misfortune with the pap wiel, Rookie was hooked. A passionate love had affair began right under my nose. Back at the office she showed our hundreds of photographs to anyone who walked past and stories were told and retold until staff started rolling their eyes at the mere mention of the word Kruger.

A few months later Rookie packed up her family and took them to the park. Her favourite camp was Lower Sabie and she was first out the gate each morning and last back in the evenings. She’s been back several times since then.

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Then in December 2011 she temporarily ditched Kruger for a new lover – the KTP! We all know what an irresistible Don Juan the KTP is and Rookie lost her heart. Last I heard, the shameless hussy was two-timing them both AND planning a secret fling with Addo on the side. Look out ellies, here she comes!

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As for me, I am no less shameless with a string of liaisons planned for the coming months – Marakele, Mapungubwe and Northern Kruger in April/May plus Agulhas and Ebb and Flow in March.

So, fasten your seat belts. Lots more TRs and happy snaps to come!

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_________________
Buglette's Trip Reports:
Introducing a Rookie to the KNP
Red Dust and Diamonds (Mokala)
Tinkering in the Tankwa
Loerie Stalking in the Wilderness
Scratching the Bottom of Africa
Golden Gate to Happiness
Rambling Round the Richtersveld


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 Post subject: Re: Introducing a Rookie to the KNP
Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:45 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:09 pm
Posts: 88
Location: Cape Town, sometimes Jo'burg
Hi,

Talking about protecting our rhino, I thought this pic that someone sent me by email was rather cute. It was titled 'Rhino in witness protection programme'.

Enjoy the pic. Our rhinos need all the help they can get!


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_________________
Buglette's Trip Reports:
Introducing a Rookie to the KNP
Red Dust and Diamonds (Mokala)
Tinkering in the Tankwa
Loerie Stalking in the Wilderness
Scratching the Bottom of Africa
Golden Gate to Happiness
Rambling Round the Richtersveld


Top
 Profile  
 
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