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 Post subject: Mungos Mungo Malelane to Crooks Corner in 9 nights Sep 11
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 8:49 am 
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It’s a bit late (the trip was in Sep 2011) and this is my first TR, so please bear with me! We are huge Kruger fans and it was time for the wife and me to make our annual pilgrimage. Normally we spend most of our time in the central Kruger, around Orpen. This is because the game is fantastic here, but you can still get away from the crowds if you hit the dirt. The south sometimes doesn’t leave me with the same feeling of peace that comes from the wide open spaces found in other areas of the park. The real North (North of Letaba) I hadn’t done for close on 20 years and I had fond memories of Shingwedzi as a kid, I don’t think I had ever stayed in Punda Maria, so it was about time we saw the whole park!!
Itinerary:
Berg-en-dal 2nd and 3rd
Tamboti 4th and 5th
Mopani 6th
Shingwedzi 7th
Punda Maria 8th, 9th and 10th

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 Post subject: Re: Malelane to Crooks Corner in 9 nights!
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:40 am 
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Day 1
We left Durbs at crackers and headed off to Malelane, after a number of Ry/Gos we finally arrived at around 3pm. I called my dad from the gate and we exchanged excited words. At times like these I am thankful to the man who introduced me to nature and raised me to love the bush. With joyful hearts we removed our sim cards and headed off on our journey, we looked back at Malelane and I told my wife we won’t be seeing anything outside of Kruger for 10 days (it turns out I was wrong!!).
We saw a few ellies and buffs on the short drive to the camp, unpacked in our unit and decided to walk around the camp and enjoy the view of the dam – we were tired of driving.
Rhino family relaxing at the end of a long day – seen from the fence
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I’m sure visitors to BnD have seen this sad plaque?
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The perimeter walk is lovely...
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This marabou enjoyed the setting sun with us and then it was back to the bungalow for a well earned beer, braai and bed!
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I hope I am posting correctly :hmz:

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 Post subject: Re: Malelane to Crooks Corner in 9 nights!
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:42 am 
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Thanks Rooies and Roaneric!

Day 2 - Morning drive
We headed out the gate as it opened without too much traffic (for BnD) and enjoyed a pleasant drive without too much happening out of the ordinary (or so we thought!)
Rhinos enjoying a dust bath (BnD really is the rhino meca of the Kruger!)
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This guy was seen from on the left side of the road (important to note for later!)
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Chowing...
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Poking their heafds out to say hello...
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Some nice birds (juvenile Fish eagle and Blue waxbill)...
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Some nice views close to camp in the hills that give BnD its name.....
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After our drive it was time for breakfast, abbit of relaxing and a bit of exploring in the camp, before heading out on our afternoon drive.

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 Post subject: Re: Malelane to Crooks Corner in 9 nights!
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:48 am 
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Day 2 – PM drive
The sighting of the day so far had definitely been a Suni, which my wife had seen, but I had missed :wall: I wasn’t in tune with the bush yet and this would become more apparent as the day wore on. The afternoon drive started on a bad note. We went to fill up with diesel in camp before our drive and were told there was a problem we, would have to back to Malelane town to fill up. This was a disaster as it would mean leaving the sacred gates and entering normal civilisation again :evil: There was no time to waste and I headed off in a poor mood. But not 2 kms from the gate we saw the tell tale sign of a traffic jam. We looked around and were able to see a couple of lionesses sitting in the long grass! Our 1st cats of our trip and we would have missed them if it weren’t for the diesel issue! They were apparently on a buffalo kill, but the view wasn’t great and we couldn’t get a good photo. We filled up in town and returned to view the secretive lions again before heading off on our reduced PM drive. We didn't see much else on our shortened drive, but were told of wild dog and leopards that we had narrowly missed!
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And then came the embarrassing news that we had driven passed a female leopard with her two adolescent cubs!! Remember the Hyena we saw on the left hand side of the road in the early morning? Well it turned out that the leopard had made a kill and had been storing the kill in a small tree right next to the road on the right! We had been concentrating on the hyena and missed the 3 leopards :wall: A friendly passerby even pointed out the kill remains to us in the bush and my wife pointed out that it had been on my side :redface: Well at least it looked like there was a fair amount of meat left on the kill, we would return this way early in the morning on route to Tamboti.....

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 Post subject: Re: Malelane to Crooks Corner in 9 nights!
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:23 pm 
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Day 3 - Part 1
So we packed up early and were ready and waiting at the gate before it opened. Unfortunately so was most of the camp as the kill was nearby and everybody was keen to see if the leopards were back. We waited in line and when everybody tore off we hung back a bit and let them go, I wasn’t about to get involved in a traffic jam in the Kruger! It wasn’t long till we got to a major blockage, it was near the kill site and everybody had stopped. Luckily for us the cars obviously hadn’t seen the kill and were parked beyond it. I stopped the car right next to where I had seen the carcass the evening before and I saw movement!! It looked incredibly small, but it was one of the cubs, on the kill, in the small bush right next to our car. The light wasn’t good and the tree was more of a bush (not your typical LIT at all), but we took a few photos and enjoyed the sighting, before moving off to let others enjoy. What a start to the morning!
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We drove on towards Skukuza seeing the usuals and a few nice birds (Pearl-spotted owlet and double-banded sandgrouse)
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By the time we reached the metropolis of Skukuza we were over the South. Sure the animals had been great (we had seen the Big 5 in under 48 hrs and before even seeing a zeb or wildie!), but really being surrounded by people and cars is not my idea of a bush experience and my blood pressure was rising. As soon as we crossed over the Sabi we hit the S36 and immediately the cars disappeared and I began to feel at peace!
The real Kruger, scenes enjoyed without hardly another soul!
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This little guy kept trying to seek shelter under our tyre!
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 Post subject: Re: Malelane to Crooks Corner in 9 nights!
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:37 pm 
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Day 3 - Part 2
We stopped at Nhlanguleni picnic spot for lunch. There wasn't another visitor there, but the hornbills were over-habituated and quite irritating. I wish people wouldn't feed them :rtm: We certainly didn't but that didn't seem to deter them.
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We headed off in the heat of the day and enjoyed a very peaceful drive past Talamati, hardly encountering another vehicle. Just past Talamati as my wife was complaining about the lack of big game this crossed the road!
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And later on the tar road to Orpen we enjoyed this sighting to ourselves too! By this time my bush eyes were in!
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Finally we arrived at our favourite place in the whole park (if you haven't been here, don't its over-rated, if you have then you'll know what I'm on about). The KNP honeymoon suite!!
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After a long day in the car it was time to relax. We also enjoyed sightings like badger and hyena from this very balcony!
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 Post subject: Re: Malelane to Crooks Corner in 9 nights!
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 2:11 pm 
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Thanks Norms, by the way how do you get those quotes and stuff under each of your posts?

Day 4 - Part 1
Another early morning, we decided to head towards Satara along the tar. It proved to be a good choice because as we neared Nsemani dam, we could see a huge amount of cars. Wow, it was like being near Skukuza again, but pretty soon it became apparent why, there was a large pride of Lions feasting on a buffalo kill. Luckily they were in a clearing near the dam, so we found a good spot and watched a marvelous piece of animal interaction unfold.
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This herd of elephants crossed the dam and hadn't seemed to notice the big pride.
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The lions retreated, with the cubs moving off first.
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The carcass was dragged off and then the elephants passed right by them. The young ellies moved to the middle of the herd. As the ellies passed, one of the females mocked charged the Lions, unfortunately we didn't get a good photo as I had to move my bakkie out of the way of the passing herd!
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Soon enough after much growling and trumpeting the herd was away and the Lions regained their crown!ImageImage

This drive wasn't over though and the central Kruger would deliver big time today...

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 Post subject: Re: Malelane to Crooks Corner in 9 nights!
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 3:45 pm 
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Thanks everybody for all the positive comments! Really a great forum! Anyway to carry on with the drive....

Day 4 - Part 2

So we carried on to Satara where we saw this little guy who is a local at Satara reception!
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Some awesome scenery around Satara.
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And red-crested korhaan.
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And then, would you believe it another kill!!!
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Here's the beast.
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:whistle:
Seriously though, the drive was awesome, you won't believe what we saw on our way back to Tamboti.......

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 Post subject: Re: Malelane to Crooks Corner in 9 nights!
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:38 pm 
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Thanks all, for the feedback. Cheetah, Tamboti is a special place and the grasslands around that area are spectacular. Anyway where was I, oh yes driving back to camp....
Day 4 - Part 3
My wife and I were enjoying the drive, but had been out for quite a while and it was getting hot, so we decided to return to camp for lunch. We counted ourselves lucky as we had already had wonderful sightings this morning, including a honey badger (a 1st for my wife) viewed from our deck at around 5am running along the dry Timbavati after having raided the neighbours kitchen (clattering cutlery next door had alerted us to its presence)!! As we drove over a rivine we notticed 2 cars pulled up on the right, we looked out that way and then asked what it was. The driver informed us that a leopard had just walked across the road and disappeared into the thick rivine. We stayed there for a while, but the Leopard was gone. :wall: Feeling a bit less happy with ourselves we pushed on and then a while later noted to cars stopped directly infront of the Tamboti turn off. We inquired as to what they were looking at and they replied wild dog! Well we quickly scanned the horizon, but couldn't see anything and we feared they had run into the bush like the leopard. We asked again and the people pointed straight down, we hadn't been able to see them because they were so close to the road that the car was obscuring our view!! The dogs were just lying there in the heat of the day and it turned out there were 5 under a tree on the left and 5 under the tree on our right. It wasn’t long until we had the sighting all to ourselves!!


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One of the dogs was a bit restless....
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But the others were having none of it :naughty:
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And so went back to sleep
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We watched them for about 40 minutes and then, because they were so close to camp we decided to go for lunch and return when it was cooler.

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Speed prosecution by distance – A solution to speeding in the Kruger?


Last edited by Mungos mungo on Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Malelane to Crooks Corner in 9 nights!
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:00 pm 
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I'm just going to keep posting, cause I have a lot of photo's!
Day 4 - Afternoon dog watch - Part 1
So we enjoyed our lunch in bliss, discussing the days sightings and checking out our photos and returned to the wild dogs at about 3. There was only 1 other car there, but the dogs were still sleepy.
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They were a bit more mobile, but we decided to go to Orpen to restock with food and drinks to enjoy the 'movie'.
When we returned there was a LOT more traffic, all the private game reserve vehichles from the Timbavati region had pulled in and there was a serious trafficjam. The dogs hadn't moved though, so we settled down to wait for the inevitable evening hunt.

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 Post subject: Re: Malelane to Crooks Corner in 9 nights!
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 3:29 pm 
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Day 4 - Afternoon dog watching - Part 2
So we got back from a pitstop at Orpen to a huge traffic jam. I took up position watching the group of dogs on the left hand side. I was lucky I did, because a little while later the dogs from the right just got up and sprinted over to the dogs on the left. There was yelping and licking and the dogs were acting like they hadn't seen each other in years and not although they had been seperated by 2m of tar. We managed to capture some :big_eyes: interesting interaction!
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Everybody thought it was go time, all the cars were now on the left handside facing east, but the dogs settled back down to make us wait a bit longer.
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Having had previous sightings of wild dogs, before and during hunts I was fortunate to realise that they would hunt into the wind which was blowing from behind everybody. I left room for a quick U-y!! I new it wouldn't be long now until they rose again and started to hunt. With luck I'd be in the front of jam! :pray:

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 Post subject: Re: Malelane to Crooks Corner in 9 nights!
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 3:51 pm 
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Day 4 - Afternoon dog watching - Part 3
We didn't have to wait long before they got up again and it was clear they were getting ready to hunt.
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When they started scenting each other and gearing themselves for the hunt I decided to take the risk and pop a U-y, as there was 1 more ritual I had witnessed before.....
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After bonding they started rubbing themselves on the now running exhaust fumes (to mask their scent). We were now the only car facing the correct position! :thumbs_up:
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There was now suddenly a huge amount of activity from the cars, at one stage I was worried a dog might get hit as they were in amongst the vehicles rubbing themselves on exhausts as people were franticly trying to turn around! Anyway we were in prime position and I reckon this photo should be in an advert for Tamboti and Maroela.
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The dogs spread out in their V on the right and we drove with the lead dogs for a while (no photos as it was on my/drivers side). It was awesome watching them hunt, but unfortunately they dissapeared into heavy bush. I thought they might make a kill on the webcam using the fence as a trap, so I drove to the waterhole. They never emerged and we returned to camp just before closing, very excited by our day.
What a day it had been!! :dance:

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 Post subject: Re: Malelane to Crooks Corner in 9 nights!
Unread postPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 1:35 pm 
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Day 5 - Part 1
Been a while, but here goes. So the day started at around 4am. I lay in bed listening to a leopard doing its patrols across the Timbavati river bed. Its call seemed to be right next to us and it crossed the river bed twice! I didn't get up to try and spot it as I was very content just to listen to its call. The baboons were very noisy! We left our favourite camp before sunrise and headed up to our next stop, Mopani.
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We took the timbavati road for sceneray like this.....
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Although we did see two seperate lion sightings, a big male right by the road walked into thick forest and a pride some way off, neither were suitable for photos, but we did get one of this guy!
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The scenerary at the picnic site and ratelpan is awesome!
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Kori Bustard...
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View from Oliphants bridge...
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A lifer...
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Awesome spot for lunch....
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The tusks seem to get bigger the further north you go!!
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After a long drive we arrived at Mopani......

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 Post subject: Re: Malelane to Crooks Corner in 9 nights!
Unread postPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 8:28 am 
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Day 5 – Part 2
So we arrived at Mopani, excited as it was our first stay, and checked in! Unfortunately we had a disappointing unit close to the staff area. There were no bat boxes, something that would become apparent later, and little bush feel so we decided that after so much driving we would go to the restaurant, enjoy the view and the alcoholic beverages!! The view of the pioneer dam is just spectacular.
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Watching the ellies coming to drink and all the distant water birds was awesome, but after dinner it was time to go to bed. Luckily we were a little tipsy, so we weren’t to concerned about the bat guano that had accumulated on our bed spread!!

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 Post subject: Re: Malelane to Crooks Corner in 9 nights!
Unread postPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 1:26 pm 
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Day 6 – Mopani to Shingwedzi
After many early mornings I gave my wife the opportunity for a bit of a lie in and we only departed Mopani sometime after 8.
We left Mopani in bright sunshine!
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We decided to detour to the bottom of the S50 and enjoy all the grasslands, but all the waterholes were dry. We did see this beautiful Giant (Vereaux) Eagle Owl with what seemed like a francolin (brilliant spot by SO).
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We decided to travel the length of the S50 for the views and isolation and we didn’t see another car (except a grader) until we reached Nyawutsi bird hide.
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The scenery and space had been amazing, but it had been a quiet day. As we approached Kanniedood dam hide I suggested we stop and have a look, my SO wasn’t that keen as it was now after 12 and she was bored and hungry. As we approached she asked what we were likely to see!! As normal I responded with “could be anything”. She directed me to pull in to the hide. There was only one other person there, a friendly foreign women :whistle: . She called me over to her side of the hide to see some animal, I can’t really remember and as I politely moved over to show interest she suddenly started exclaiming, “Leopard! Leopard!”! My SO rushed over to our side to get a better view and sure enough across the dam, at 12:30 in the middle of the day, out sauntered a male leopard :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes:
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It was a great sighting, a slight distance, but an extended period of about 10 to 15 minutes right in the open and moving across the entirety of our vision! At one stage he seemed like he wanted a drink, but maybe the presence of a large croc put him off!!! :naughty:
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After this wonderful sighting we checked in to Shingwedzi and had lunch in high spirits. I hadn’t visited the camp since I was a young boy, but it was just as magical as I remembered it! We decided to return to the hide in the afternoon :pray: , but except for some big elephants we didn’t see much and we returned to the high level bridge to try our luck with some bat hawk! Alas we seemed to have used up all our luck for 1 day!!
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We returned to camp in high spirits and enjoyed listening to the roar of distant lions. What a camp, I will definitely return soon! :dance:

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Speed prosecution by distance – A solution to speeding in the Kruger?


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