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 Post subject: Re: Hot Summer nights and all things Wild & Wonderful.
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:38 pm 
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I must really apologise about the long delay in continuing on with my report. :redface:
Thanks for all the really great wishes and remarks, I do appreciate them all and your patience.

Anyway, lets get another couple of days in before I get side tracked again!
but think it must have either been the 20th Feb but I am going to include a couple of days and roll them into one.

Today we had to go to Malelane to buy some groceries and replenish the stocks as we have travelled up with just enough to get us through the weekend.
So it was down the H3 out the Malelane gate and then we decided to drive up past B & D and do the dirt loops around camp and back up the H3.

Ostrich, Waterbuck, Kudu, Impala, Tortoise, Warthog, Buffalo, Giraffe, Croc, Red billed Hornbill, Bateleur were some of the things seen.

Also Chameleon, Terrapin, Elephant, European Bee Eater, Yellowbilled Hornbill, Water Thick Knee, Lilac Breasted Roller

On the road back we did come across a nice big breeding herd of Ellies crossing the road.

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and to give you another idea of how long the grass was!

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Then the next day we decided on a S114, S21, H4-1, H11 loop with a pop in at Lake Panic.

We came across this Puffadder which was acting quite strangely, and we not sure if it has just been hit by a car as it seemed to be writhing around and turning its head to look at its tail section, with its mouth open as well.

The first pic does show a bit of a damp spot on the road which could have indicated it had been run over.

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Just as we drove off we did see it roll over onto its back and then over the right way again.

The next sighting is one of those special ones and it had me completely fooled, plus I learnt something new.

I hadn't realised that Black Rhino graze and not only browse!

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I find the S21 a very scenic road and I love the way the vegetation changes along the route.

2 Lions were lying not far off the road but due to the thick bush not easily seen or photographed.

so this is pretty much all we got! but as they were our first Lions of the trip I include them.

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Impala lost in the long grass!

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N'watimhiri Dam looking a LOT fuller than it was in June last year!

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A Green-backed Heron after some breakfast.

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and a Woodland Kingfisher having his daily bath.

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We stopped off at Nkuhlu Picnic site for some brunch of our own and sat there in the peace and quiet enjoying the tranquillity of the beautiful spot.

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Some Black Storks on a sand bank in the river.

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and a final pic in this part of an African Jacana at Lake Panic.

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I promise to try and not be so tardy with the next instalment. :thumbs_up:

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Last edited by Elsa on Tue Apr 10, 2012 6:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Hot Summer nights and all things Wild & Wonderful.
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 2:46 pm 
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Again I must thank you all very much for your continued patience and great wishes. :clap:

I am not really sure of quite the exact route we drove these couple of days, (Note to Deb, please send more notes!) otherwise I am going to be guessing and a bit :think:

Anyway, we will continue while I have a few moments to spare.

Some of the ever present White-faced Whistling Ducks having a bit of a grooming session.

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Ellie crossing!

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I know most of you have seen the flood damage by now but I will include some of our pics of it if as well as it honestly was quite a shock and mind blowing to see it.

Sabie River High level Bridge with hardly a single bit of railing not twisted and broken.

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This is a view of the H4-1 from the lower road that runs along the Sabie River and also show some of the flood levels and debris left behind on the sand road itself.

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The sad sight of the closed S30 Saltjie Road but by the time we left it had been reopened and I think I have some pics of the repairs and damage there for a later episode.

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Thirsty Ellie

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And a very pale Raptor, of which I am not 100% sure at this stage, hope to get some help from the experts.
My guess is a pale morph Whalberg's Eagle?

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I hope to be able to get some more done soon! :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Hot Summer nights and all things Wild & Wonderful.
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:35 pm 
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Sorry for the long delay guys, but this moving is really getting in the way of a flowing trip report so I do apologise.

but while I have a few moments lets continue on with another few Kruger Summer days.

On the 24th we left the park and did a weekend at Blydepoort where we had a great time, went to a Cheetah and other animals rehabilitation centre, and just enjoyed the beautiful scenery something we haven't done for some time.

So it was back into the park at Phalaborwa Gate on the 26th after a bit of shopping and stocking up and we headed straight up the H14 to Mopani Camp which was to be our home for the next 3 days.

Owing to the intense heat and travelling in the middle of the day very little was seen but as we neared Mopani we did come across a big breeding herd of Ellies.

One of them had a very odd looking tusk which stuck out sideways and must have not been very easy navigating through thick bush and trees.

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Also this raptor of which I am again not entirely sure what it is plus most of my bird guides are now packed so of little use to me.
Maybe someone else can shed some light on it.

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I had booked a Guest cottage and requested # 43 which we were duly allocated.
Very nice and spacious but definitely needing a little TLC in places.

I include some pics and will also post them in the Accommodation Topic of Roaneric's

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One of the other 2 bedrooms

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Main bedroom

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Lounge area.

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Stunning view over the dam from the veranda

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A little visitor the first night in the forum of a large spotted Genet, I do apologise for the quality of the pic but it was very dark and I didn't want to disturb it too much.

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Mopani Moth and where else would one find such a moth!

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The next day we decided to head straight for the Tropic of Capricorn Loop one of my favourite drives in the area and this Ellie did give us a few anxious moments but he was eventually very obliging and moved off the road to allow us to pass him by. 8)

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There were literally hundreds upon hundreds of White Storks in the area around the Tihongenyeni Waterhole as well as Wildebeest, Ostriches, Zebras. and even some Tsessebe.
We must have sat there just enjoying the scene for well over and hour.

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The ever present Southern Carmine Bee-eater.

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This big guy was seen while we were enjoying the view at the Shipandani Hide

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I will be back but not before I will be writing this from our new location and as soon as we have the computers all hooked up and running again, so until then.............

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 Post subject: Re: Hot Summer nights and all things Wild & Wonderful.
Unread postPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 5:11 pm 
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So sorry I have taken even longer to post another episode, :slap:
but the life of moving and unpacking hasn't been easy, so lets quickly get on with this one and not dilly dally any longer, think I have kept you all waiting far too long in any case!
Thanks for the ID re the DCG juvie BB! :thumbs_up:

Mopani Camp

Today we decided to take a drive up to Shingwedzi Camp for lunch but via the S50 a road I cannot ever remember driving before.
So we set off bright and early and as we had heard reports that the Cheetah brothers had been seen in the vicinity of Mooiplaas stopped off there first of all.

First up this Female Comb Duck

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Then as we pulled up we saw a big herd of Buffalo that had been drinking there but were very unsettled and appeared nervy, with some of the herd moving off and away from the waterhole? :hmz:
Something funny going on here we thought, so we started scanning around and suddenly first 1 head and then another popped up in the grass a little way beyond the WH, 2 young Lions!

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and now that I remember these must have been the same 2 we saw the day before as our first animals after leaving camp at the T junction (sorry, as we weren't able to get any pics of them I completely forgot about them) :doh:

anyway, we sat watching them for a while and then noticed they seemed to be staring in a particular direction, then suddenly, what is that! another 2 heads about 100 meters at the most away,
2 Cheetahs! who were keeping a very close watch on the 2 Lions keeping a close watch on them!! :lol:

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the second Cheetah is lying down in the grass slightly to the left and below the sitting up one.

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then the cat and mouse game started, the Lions would creep forwards and the Cheetah would watch them intently and when they reached a certain distance the Cheetah would retreat and then sit and watch them again.
It was quite fascinating and the first time I have ever seen this happen.

2 Lions

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2 Cheetah

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and if you look closely you can also see the ears of a Black-backed Jackal sticking up, to the left of the Cheetah and slightly up!

Getting closer...

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And while this was all taking place and we were all busy snapping and videoing away I had to contend with watching as first one Ellie and then another came in for a drink at the reservoir that we weren't parked all that far away from! otherwise we might have been the ones having to make a run for it.

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Then without warning the Lions must have crossed an invisible line or else the Cheetah had just had enough of being stalked and they loped away and into the thicker bush.

The Lions then wandered off casually in the direction the Cheetah had gone.
then the one Ellie who had by now finished his drink decided he had also had enough of these pesky Lions and charged after them, trumpeting and ears flapping which got the Lions moving I can tell you!

We could hardly believe what we had seen, but decided we had been lucky enough and moved on up the road, we hadn't gone very far when Deb suddenly shouted out, "there's a Cheetah again" and sure enough one of them had reappeared and crossed the road heading back towards where they had been.

So we did a U turn and did the same!

Then it climbed up on the road marker and started calling for his mate!

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and after about 5 minutes of calling we spied the other one coming down the road, passed us and joined his brother but on the other marker at the junction of the S49 & S50

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Klystron is getting me a video clip ready for posting which I will do asap as its very special.

Moving on up the S50 which we so enjoyed, not so much in terms of animals sightings but just the scenery and the peace and so little traffic on the entire road, I think we maybe saw 3 cars until we got right up close to Shingwedzi.

I liked this scene with the unusual tree in it. :D

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At Grootvlei Dam we drove up and onto the wall of the dam all the way to the other side.

2 Ellies came down for a drink.

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They then decided a bath would be a good idea and proceeded to have such good fun at the same time romping and frolicking in the water for ages.

Another video clip underway!

We drove up to Shibavantsengele Lookout and sat and enjoyed the stunning view while having a cooling drink.
View on the way down.

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Finally made Shingwedzi and enjoyed a nice meal at the restaurant, took a drive over the low level causeway which was so very dry compared to the same time 2 years ago.
The area had clearly not had much rain to speak of at all.

Leaving the camp we made our way back down towards Mopani on the tar road H1-6
not too far from camp I spied this tusker taking shelter from the hot sun under a tree.

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The drive back down was very hot, and almost devoid of anything living so we were very pleased to get back to camp and be able to sit on the veranda with something very cold to drink and just enjoy the wonderful view and sunset.

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Last edited by Elsa on Tue May 15, 2012 5:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Hot Summer nights and all things Wild & Wonderful.
Unread postPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 11:44 am 
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Here is the video clip of the Cheetahs, just be warned it is rather long so could take a while to load!

Faster loading lower Quality version if required!



Ellie one to follow! :thumbs_up:

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Last edited by Elsa on Thu May 17, 2012 1:30 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Hot Summer nights and all things Wild & Wonderful.
Unread postPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 10:58 am 
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Here at last are the video clips of the 2 ellies we watched having a blast in the dam at Grootvlei.




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 Post subject: Re: Hot Summer nights and all things Wild & Wonderful.
Unread postPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 4:20 pm 
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A big thanks to Mama Fariu, Meerkitty, Sparrow, Hilda, Wendy, MM, Jock, Foxy, saraf, vlakvarkvrou, vinkie, Cheetah, Aat, Sharifa, Val, & Pumbaa Again sorry for the long delays between episodes, :redface:
I am not sure what happens to the time and here it is almost time for our next trip and I still am dithering on but I will definitely complete this one sooner or later! :thumbs_up:

After leaving Mopani our next port of call for 2 nights was another of my favourite camps in the north Punda Maria
So we packed up and with a sort of sad heart took our leave of Mopani and our wonderful view and sightings, but still excited knowing that more adventures awaited us.

It was a fairly quiet drive up the H1-6 to Shingwedzi as we had found the day before as well but we enjoyed the lovely scenery of the area and some of the trees which to my mind are all part of the big picture.

I think these are the Lowveld Cluster Leaf but if anyone else has a positive ID then more than happy.

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After a short break at Shingwedzi we carried on ever further north and I had hardly got the words out when Debs said, "Look" Huh, I see a herd of Zebra?
but sure enough mingled in with the Zebra were 3 of the species we were hoping to see again Roan Antelope
but these ones were for some reason extremely nervous and as soon as we slowed down they bolted, trying to cross the road until another car thwarted them so they dashed off in the opposite direction.
Very different to the ones we saw a few years back with Jock who were very relaxed and happy to stand for pics.

Sorry the pics aren't great at all but I post them for proof!

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After arriving and settling into our bungalow in Punda Maria, we decided we just had to do a drive on the S99 Mahonie Loop a road we just love, for very good reason and many of you will remember where we had our very special sighting of 2 Caracal kittens a couple of years ago. :D

We hadn't gone very far around when the sunset drive vehicle caught up with us.
A short distance on and driving at snails pace, we suddenly noticed a very strange sight, :hmz:
first a dog running at full tilt through the bush and which appeared to be chasing a small animal/antelope and followed by first one then another person dressed in orange overalls I think it was.
We were still puzzling at this strange sight when we noticed the guide on the SANparks vehicle has also seen them and had got out and was scanning through binoculars.

We then realised that these were poachers, most likely poaching for the pot type poachers but poachers all the same and I am not going to comment much further on the subject as I think we all have our own feelings and thoughts on the subject. :|
I was going to post a link to the topic that was posted on the forum at the time but can't seem to find it any more?

Anyway, we carried on and lo and behold a few kms further on more of them! :slap:
These ones were dressed in white, so fairly easy to spot but once they realised they had been seen, ducked behind a tree and stayed well hidden.

This was not the Mahonie loop we knew, and we continued the drive with mixed emotions.

We did find some Lions right near the end of the drive but well back and only just visible through binocs so no pics of them.

Klystron did go and chat to the guide afterwards and he told him that he was going to shoot the dogs but they had pulled them down and out of sight.
and also confirmed that it was a regular occurrence in that area due to the fence being only a few kilometres away.
He also said that he would report it but only in the morning which we found a little odd! :?

After a nice braai down at the communal area with nice chats to the others visitors and a visit by the local Genet it was time for bed.

The next day 1st March we planned on driving up to Crooks Corner, an area we just love and never fail to visit when there.
but we awoke to a grey and rainy day!
So it was off onto a very wet S66 and then onto the Klopperfontein Loop with the rain coming down intermittently resulting the windows having to be and down constantly.

A little way along and just before the Klopperfontein waterhole we had stopped to watch as a herd of Giraffe slowly made their way along browsing from tree to tree when we spied some ears twitching in the long wet grass and there lay a small pride of Lions we think around eight all together who were also watching the Giraffe coming closer and closer with a lot of interest!

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After sitting there for ages hoping for some action the giraffe seemed to change course and meander a bit further away so we decided to move on as well as by now the rain seemed to becoming a bit heavier.

A stop off at the Klopperfontein Dam is always on the agenda but this time all was quiet and nothing moved, not even a bird!

Altho we did see a bird a bit later, I think this is a Juv Red-backed Shrike!

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We finally made it to the S63 Pafuri Border Gate road and as we hadn't somehow ever done the little 1.8km piece that cuts across to the Nyala Drive side we thought we would give it a go then drive to Crooks after that.

We squelched slowly along and as we had to have the windows all firmly closed at this point, spotting was pretty difficult, I was peering though the rain speckled glass when I thought I saw some dark things and it was only when we had gone on about 50 meters or so I decided I wanted to go back, you know that funny feeling, (if we hadn't it would have worried me for ages type of feeling,) so we squelched backwards and there under the trees was a small group of our first ever in Kruger Crested Guineafowl :clap:

I could hardly believe it and I have the rain smeared pic through the glass pic to prove it! :tongue:

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Unfortunately they also wouldn't hang around and dashed off at speed as soon as they knew they had been spotted.

As we drove along the little narrow road leading to Crook's Corner the trees were dripping large drops onto the roof of the car and everything looked totally soaked.

At Crook's corner the rain had eased off a bit so out I jumped, right into a large mud puddle which nearly came up to my ankles making it very difficult to extricate my foot and almost leaving my sandal behind. :lol:

but I persevered on and even got you a few pics!

A bit gloomy I'm afraid!

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I'm not sure but I think this was a Fish Eagle flying down the Limpopo River.

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and a White-fronted Bee-eater sitting on the railing. altho I seem to have focussed more on the grass than on the bird! :tongue: :redface:

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and a very bedraggled looking Cuckoo

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The S63 was by now really very wet and muddy and there were times when I honestly was not sure a "normal" car would have made it through parts of the road. :?

We love doing all the little detours and twists and turns as the road winds along the Luvuvhu River as its so picturesque and there were pods of Hippos in many parts of the river something we had not seen before

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Some of the roads namesakes!

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Some White-backed Vultures at the junction of the S63 and the little cross road.
not sure what they up to, seemed something was there to eat but we couldn't make it out.

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and then a Hooded Vulture joined them.

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We made our way along to Pafuri Picnic Spot planning on having some Boerie Rolls but honestly by the time we got there it was teeming down again and we would have had to be huddled underneath the shelter and got thoroughly wet just getting there so we settled for a quick toilet stop and decided instead to go and sit on the bridge over the Luvuvhu River and have some cheese and biscuits that we had fortunately thought to bring as a back up.

A little Wire-tailed Swallow also enjoying the view.

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We then decided to take a drive along the S643 in the direction of Thulamela, very scenic road indeed and when you get to the end you can turn around and do it all the way again! :wink:

A new tick for me in the form of a Tambourine Dove :dance:

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Some of the scenery.

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Then it was the long road back to camp.

Chameleon crossing the wet road.

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and by the time we got back it was clearing up again and becoming very warm and muggy.

We always enjoy a visit to the hide in the camp and today was no different.

We were please to see they have enlarged the water hole as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Hot Summer nights and all things Wild & Wonderful.
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:51 am 
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Salva wrote:
Keep it coming please
Coming right up Salva!
After a wonderful 2 weeks back in the park it is high time I got some more down in this report, so without any further delays let me get right down to it.
Many thanks to everyone for the kind comments and for your patience.

March 2nd
Today we leave Punda Maria en route to Shingwedzi which was to be our base for the next 2 nights.
but before we left I had to take a pic of the famous lanterns that used to be hand lit by a member of staff each evening but have now succumbed to modern times and have been electrified!
A wonderful tradition that is no more.

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We take a slow drive down the H1-7 as we don't have that far to travel and can't check in till 2pm, so we admire the beautiful scenery and stop often.

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I think this is the Natal or Forest Mahogany - Trichilia emetica or t dregena.

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Wild Hibiscus, such a beautiful flower and widely seen in Summer.

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Green Monkey Orange - Strychnos spinosa

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and we did see the odd animal as well!

Nyala
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and even a bird silhouetted against the sky which I think might be a Brown Snake Eagle but not 100% on that one.

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We stopped off at Babalala Picninc Spot for a welcome boerie Roll.
and were the only customers there the entire time we were there, even the attendant only pitched up briefly to give up a skottel and then disappeared again.
It is a little nerve wrecking I must say and suddenly the little fence didn't look all that secure and the grass around the picnic area very long! :shock:
One's vivid imagination certainly keeps one alert! :tongue:

I did manage a few pics tho all in the name of duty mind you! :wink:

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A very droopy looking Bateleur Eagle

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Then, tummies full we carried on down the road further and believe it or not came across the same small herd of
Roan Antelope that we had seen 3 days previously on the up trip and still with, I presume the same herd of Zebra and just as skittish.
We know they were the same ones as one of them has a very deformed horn that hangs down over its eye, cannot be very comfortable for the poor thing.

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and away they went!

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Somewhere en route, sorry, can't remember exactly, we came across a Saddlebilled Stork and Lappet-faced Vulture sharing the same little piece of sand.
Sorry its a bit dark and gloomy looking, not sure why! :?

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Then we arrived at Shingwedzi and we checked into our family cottage.

I have posted pics of the unit Here if any one would like to have a look at them.

As it was by this time extremely hot so we decided to just relax and have a quiet afternoon.

More soon! :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Hot Summer nights and all things Wild & Wonderful.
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:02 pm 
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Thanks so much everyone for the comments and support, sorry I have once again delayed posting the next episode, my life just refuses to slow down lately. :roll:

Anyway, before something else happens lets move along!

Shingwedzi 3rd March

Today we decided to take a drive to Red Rocks taking the S52 to Tshanga Lookout and back along the H1-6

I also forgot to mention at the end of the last episode that we had received a call from the family the night before telling us of another big hurricane coming down the Mozambique channel and possibly going to impact Kruger once again!
Of course we were very concerned, as having seen all the damage down south from the one barely 6 weeks previously, knew another one would be total disaster! :?

So we set off early, hoping against hope that this would not be the case and it would change course and veer out to sea. :pray:

The first thing we saw on the road just outside the gates was a little Pygmy Kingfisher one I have not seen for many years. :D
Unfortunately it was sitting deep in the tree and the light was still not that great so its the best we could do under the circumstances.

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Then a tree full of Marabou Storks.

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Today the S52 was very quiet and we trundled along seeing the odd Buff, Giraffe and more or less general game.

A stop of at Tshanga Lookout is always a must with its spectacular views but I am not as brave as Ndloti, who loves to go and sit on the rocks round the corner and out of sight, so don't venture much past the actual demarcated area.
I am so fascinated by the very innovative table and chairs found there where we had something to drink and a snack.

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On the way back we were keeping an anxious eye on the strange cloud formations and realised it must be the very edge of the hurricane.

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Something we never do is switch on the radio while in the park but today we found an area where we got a very scratchy signal and tuned in to one of the local news bulletins to hear if there was any updates.
Sure enough, we heard how Dr Mabunda had issued a warning and the park was on full alert with helicopters on stand by should it become necessary to air lift people out. :shock:
So with worried minds we continued on!

I'm not sure why I took this pic other than I liked the scene and I guess the old wind mills will be a thing of the past one of these days, so a nice memory of days gone by. :D

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and another scene, in lieu of animals! 8)

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Think it was actually the same place, just a little way away from the windmill.

We finally made it to Red Rocks, such a pretty area of the park!

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Back on the tar road we came across a rather bedraggled looking Secretary Bird

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Back at camp we had a bit of a rest and then took a late drive down to Kanniedood Hide but unfortunately not much to be seen and very little water in the river.

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The unusual cloud formations made for a nice last sunset at Shingwedzi camp.

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4th March - Shingwedzi to Satara

Today we had quite a long drive all the way down to Satara for our next stop, so it was an early pack up and hit the road.

First bird was this rather washed out looking Green Wood-hoopoe

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A little way before Mopani we came across a huge herd of Ellies which we estimated to be around 100!
They crossed the road in front of us for ages!

This one making sure we were no threat!

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and these guys just having fun!

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We noted that the view of the Letaba River just before camp has been opened up considerably due to the flood and made seeing this big guy that much easier.

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We stopped off in Letaba for a spot of breakfast and the view as per usual just wonderful!

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Then on ever downwards towards Olifants and the damage from the floods of Jan very evident in the scoured out and widened Olifants river.

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This one from the N'wamanzi Lookout! (Sorry it a bit dark but it gives you an idea of the different look of the river now).

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As you will know, due to a large piece of the H1-5 missing, the road is closed and and we had to drive up towards Olifants and then detour along the S92 & 91

Feeding time!

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One can only sit and stare open mouthed at the damage of the low level bridge at Balule!

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The clouds from the threatened hurricane were now all concentrated down south in a solid bank and after seeing the damage up close and personal it didn't make us feel any easier and we sent up a silent prayer that no further damage would befall our beloved park.

The drive down to Satara produced most of the general game and as always very enjoyable.

To be continued in the hopefully not too distant future!! :tongue:

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 Post subject: Re: Hot Summer nights and all things Wild & Wonderful.
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2012 5:41 pm 
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I am sure by now you must all be wondering if I am ever going to complete this report, well I promise I will, sooner or later and hopefully it will be sooner than later. :slap:
So without further ado, let me quickly get to another episode.

Just to refresh your memories, we are currently in Satara Camp - 4th to 7th March :tongue:

We arrived at reception to check in only to be told that the luxury bungalow I had booked was no longer available as they do not have those any longer! :hmz:

I had booked it as I thought it might be a bit more spacious for the 3 of us.
Anyway, what can one do, so we got the key of the replacement and off we went to find a 2 bedroomed unit!
So back again to remind them that we were in fact 3 adults, so another key was issued and off we went again, much better bungalow this time, but a fridge/freezer that was hopelessly too small to take all our frozen meat etc
so once again in temps that were in the upper 30's poor Klystron trudged back to reception to ask if we could perhaps have the one next door that was exactly the same but with a much bigger fridge/freezer.
Finally we were able to unpack, and relax in the cool air-conditioned comfort.

By this time we were all way too tired to attempt another drive so just relaxed which was just as well as suddenly the electricity went off and it seemed there was a fault with the little 2 plate stove that had tripped the earth leakage.

The next day tho we were up, refreshed and ready for whatever the day was going to show us.

We decided to drive the H7, S39 Timbavati Road, S127, then back down the H 1-4

Somewhere along the road this little bird was sitting in a tree quite a way off the road and had me scratching my head for quite a while wondering what it could possibly be until we decided it had to be a Red-backed Shrike :doh: and I post its pic just because it really had us going for a while, not a great pic at all! :redface:

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Next up is what I think is a Juv African Hawk Eagle Please do correct me if you think its wrong!

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Then really after a very quiet drive we finally arrived at the Timbavati Picnic Site for some munchies and something to drink and managed to find the little Scops Owl who seems to have taken up residence in the tree in the middle of the picnic area.

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I am sure you are familiar with the Baobab tree in the road leading to the picnic site, this time a couple of giraffe were also admiring it and taking shelter under it.

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A little Sabota Lark

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and a busy African Hoopoe searching for some lunch.

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Then some of the beautiful Carmine bee-eaters which are so plentiful at this time of year.

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A pretty sky just before sunset.

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and we happened to notice some Bats hanging from a branch of a tree directly in front of our bungalow and it was quite amazing to see them return to the exact same tree and branch every morning, such navigational skills these little creatures possess.

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The next day we decided to drive up the H1-4, S90, S41, H6 and back to Satara.

First up was a Black-backed Jackal couple who seemed to be playing hide and seek with each other.

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and a little further on, some more, who looked like youngsters and were finding some little berries very appetising indeed.

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Then where the road crosses a little stream we watched as a Brown-hooded Kingfisher had a wonderful time diving repeatedly into the water for a bath.

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The trees on both sides of the road were covered in Marabou Storks the most we have ever seen together in 1 place before.

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Flying demonstration!

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Then we finally made it to Gudzani Dam which had plenty of water in it.

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and onto N'wanetsi Picnic site for much enjoyed boerie rolls brunch.

the view site

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This guy was basking on a rock next to the pathway leading down from the view area.

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Onto Sweni Dam & Hide

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Who is looking at who? Keeping a wary eye on us!

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Busily feeding on the rocks at the end of the dam was this Wood Sandpiper I think! :tongue:

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and a Male Namaqua Dove

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Carrying on along the H6 this pair of White-backed Vultures contemplating life!

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and at the Sonop Waterhole we watched as quite a large herd of Buffalo came plodding down in a single file for a drink.

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and with that we thought it high time we headed on back for a drink of our own.

and so our last night at Satara had come without us seeing so much as a single cat in all the days, quite disappointing and unusual but then that's the way of the park. :wink:

To be continued!

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 Post subject: Re: Hot Summer nights and all things Wild & Wonderful.
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:28 pm 
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Big thanks to Meerkitty, Sparrow, hilda, Sara, Crested Val, & Pumbaa for your comments and sticking with me while I dilly dally with this report! :clap:

So lets move right on again! :thumbs_up:

Today we were moving from Satara to Pretoriuskop Camp for the next 2 nights.

Quite a long drive so we packed up and left reasonably early, sticking to the tar roads all the way.

Wasn't long before we spied the familiar shape of a Bateleur Eagle finishing off its meal in a tree next to the road.

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Then stopping at all the dams and waterholes on the way down the H1-3 marvelling at the amount of water in each one.

Not 100% sure but I think this is Marheya if anyone thinks otherwise please do shout out!

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Then either Kumana or Mazithi :hmz: but it had a lot of water in it!

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and even with a little family of Ducks swimming happily around.

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On the H1-2 we came across a Bateleur Eagle just finishing off what we think was a little Tree Squirrel.

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If you look carefully you can see he has one talon missing!

We always stop off at Leeupan as I love the diversity of birds, plants and animals one can usually see there.

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and a young Woodland Kingfisher

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White-faced Ducks present in quite large numbers.

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Crossing the High level bridge on can still wonder at how high the water levels were.

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until you see the debris left behind!

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and on the H4-1 we found this lovely Dark maned Lion
actually it was a mating pair but at this stage the female was lying flat out!

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A quick pit stop in at Skukuza and the fences in front of the restaurant have all been upgraded and freshly painted plus an accompaning warning sign in place.

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Arriving in Pretoriuskop we are checked into our FU4D bungalow, a very nice one with a view of the perimeter fence.

Later we take a stroll down to the beautiful swimming pool there.

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and admire some of the flowering trees in camp.

Karomia speciosa forma speciosa or simply Chinese-hat plant!

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A little drive around and the sad sight of the firmly closed Voortrekker road due to the floods and which I had been hoping to drive the following day!

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and on the H1-1 this old Dagga boy plodding wearily along!

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At the Shitlhave Dam a few Hippos were mainly all to be seen.

On the S11 Napi Rocks Loop we spotted a pair of Klipspringers

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Getting back to our bungalow and sitting outside on the little patio we have a visitor in the form of a Natal Francolin

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and then watch as the moon plays hide and seek with the clouds before retiring for the night.

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I will be back! Don't go too far. 8)

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Last edited by Elsa on Mon Jul 30, 2012 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Hot Summer nights and all things Wild & Wonderful.
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:24 pm 
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We also love Leeupan Pumbaa, it seems to take on a different face each and every year and then of course in the rain and in the sunshine! :D

Many thanks to you all for following my trip as we wend out way from camp to camp. :clap:

Hope I don't shock you all too much by posting another episode so quickly this time! :wink:

Today we will be going to Skukuza for the start of the Cricket weekend, but first we decide to take a drive down to Afsaal and then make our way back up slowly.

So due to the closure of Voortrekker it was a drive along the H1-1 & H3

and we came across a Dwarf Mongoose den, most of them scurried inside but this one brave little chap decided to see what we were up to.

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then it was the turn of this ellie who could be a promising tusker one day.

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but would not win any beauty parades for the most perfect ear! :wink:

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But we did find a lovely creeper which I was thinking was the Canary Creeper but I am not 100% sure.

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A visit to Afsaal is not complete without a peep at the resident Scops Owl altho I do believe some have not seen it lately so maybe he is currently on holiday. 8)

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After a nice brekkie there we noticed this cheeky little Squirrel at the next table tucking into the leftovers.

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We always find it best to take one's plates over to the kitchen when finished with the meal to discourage the birds etc from tucking in.

Had a nice chance meeting with Vlakvarkvrou and her family just as we were arriving and also another forumite as well whose name I just cannot recall but I remember their faces well. :redface:

Then a little way up the H3 a "Sparrow" meeting, plenty of yellow ribbons about all excited about the coming weekend! :dance:

We decided to detour onto the S113, and S23 as I was keen to see what damage had befallen the Biyamiti Weir and just before we reached it we had a very lucky sighting of a Lioness making her way across the road and over the dry river bed, no doubt with a definite purpose in mind.

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And the weir did indeed look a bit the worse for wear! :shock:

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but its all fixed up and looking good again now! :clap:

A small herd of Ellies was busy in the water just north of the weir.

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and this lovely Lilac-breasted Roller had a lot to say!

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Strange tree-fellows sharing the shade! Tawny & Bateleur Eagles

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After a wonderful Forum braai, meeting lots of other mites, new faces and some familiar ones we prepared for the next day's exciting Cricket matches. :dance:

As we were leaving for the ground we met Scipio and Petra, who told us about the "sighting of the day" so we carried on and before long came across, apart from dozens of cars all bearing yellow ribbons, these gorgeous and special animals, what a start to the day! :dance:
but I'm sure they must be the most photographed and famous wild dogs of all times!

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Finally managed to get to the cricket ground and we find one of the locals doing a ground and pitch inspection.

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To be continued!

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 Post subject: Re: Hot Summer nights and all things Wild & Wonderful.
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 5:42 pm 
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Vlakvarkvrou wrote:
The other mite at Afsaal was Daffy and his wife Monique from the Netherlands.
Thanks for that VVV, :k
of course NOW I remember, :slap: I was thinking his name ended with a y but that was it!
Hope his trip went well. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Hot Summer nights and all things Wild & Wonderful.
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:02 pm 
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Nungu wrote:
Sorry, where's the "delete post" button gone?
Nungu, Here are some answers!
but it seems the techies are looking into possibly putting them back.

Right, let's try and get this report "put to bed" so I can get on with our May/June one. :wink:

I am not going to post any more pics of the Cricket weekend, if anyone hasn't already seen the Topic on the weekend and would like to, please do have a look Cricket 2012 Album

After a wonderful funfilled weekend of Cricket activities and a fantastic dinner at the Golf club where incidently on our way home at around 10.30pm that night and while driving through the staff village we saw a huge and I mean enormous Croc that crossed the road in front of our car and honestly it very nearly was the width of the road we were on.
then a Hippo grazing contentedly on the verge next to the road and in between the houses, guess if you live here you don't go strolling about too much at night! :whistle:

Then as they say, all good things must come to an end and so had our trip, well almost!
and we only had 1 more night in the park, so today it was a drive from Skukuza to Lower Sabie for that last night.
but first we took a last drive around the Skukuza area, the S65, and then just after the junction of the H11 & S1 we saw a few cars parked and through our binocs we could see a LIT.
Not really good pic opportunity so none available.

We went to see if the S30 Saltjie Road had been reopened and it had so we decided to take it.
Lots of debris around evidence of the terrible flood waters of a few weeks back and why the road had been so badly damaged.

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The road was in good condition now that is had been repaired.

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if anyone can recall the causeway that one went over, usually a dry Nwatindlopfu river bed, I think it was, well it certainly was not dry during the flood, in fact the damage was so bad that they have had to construct a whole new piece of road to bypass it. :shock:

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Somewhere along the route we came across a Common Sandpiper

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Sorry the quality of the pic is not that great! :redface:

After checking into our bungalow and settling in we decided to go out for an afternoon drive.
so our chosen route was the S29, H10

Beautiful Kudu Bull

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Then as we just about had time a quick trip up to Mlondozi Dam and as always the view is wonderful and we had the entire place to ourselves which in some ways is quite eerie!

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Then it was back to camp to enjoy our last braai and night in the park.

Our final day dawned and it is always with heavy hearts we packed the car for the last time and set off for Croc Bridge Gate
Just past the S28 junction a car flashed his lights at us and gave us a thumbs up sign?
We hoped that it meant good news and a little way further on had this sighting in ironically the same tree we saw Leopards in May last year. 8)

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Trying to hide!

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and a short distance further on, right next to the road but with quite a traffic jam,
Lions had brought down a Giraffe!
Not sure how many Lions there were as some were still eating, some guarding and others passed out in the long grass!

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So Kruger was definitely slowing down our departure and ensuring that we left with at least some happier feelings and knowing we would be back, and why wouldn't we, our hearts are there after all! 8)

This trip, altho not the most productive we have ever had, due to the extremely long grass and thick bush and high temps did give us some very special moments.

I do apologise for taking sooo long to complete this report but my life seems to have become a lot more involved lately.
:wink:

Thanks once again to Klystron for doing the driving and a lot of the pics, for helping me get them ready for posting and of course to DebM for accompanying us on this trip, it was great to be in the park with her. :k

Still waiting for some of her great pics tho! Hint Hint! :whistle:

and of course a big thanks to all of you for following my trip and being so enthusiastic and encouraging! :clap:

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