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 Post subject: Re: Cry (for) The Beloved Country
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 9:07 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:50 pm
Posts: 189
Location: Anaheim, California USA
Day 9 Part 1B - Leopards and more:

So we left off with the Leopard (singular) in a tree. We had not seen the 2nd Leopard higher in the branches and were completely focused on the one that was in clear view. Suddenly the branches shook and the 2nd Leopard appeared out of nowhere. At first it looked like she had fallen out of the higher branches, but I'm sure she jumped. It was such a shock that I actually pulled away from the viewfinder momentarily.

There was a considerable size difference between the two and for a brief second I thought it was a mom and cub. Until this......

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We could not believe what we were witnessing. I know the quality of then photos is not great, but I don't think anyone would argue with the fact that this was beyond any shadow of a doubt a once in a lifetime sighting.

It was pretty quick, but seemed like an eternity while we were actually watching it. As soon as they were done, they both climbed down the tree and were gone out of view. Mike, Dave, Veronica, and Garrett arrived literally about three minutes later. We were bummed that they had now missed both the Lions and the Leopards, but we still had a full day ahead of us today.

We had been told of another Leopard sighting near the St James waterhole and that was kind of on our way back to camp so we headed south on the S114 to the S118.

We didn't find Leopard proper, but we did find a Leopard Tortoise

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And a large Tawney Eagle

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We also had Buffalo and Elephant and these big guys somewhere during our morning travels

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We arrived back at camp and had breakfast before heading out for another drive.

Stay tuned for more......

Daron

_________________
Marakele May 2-4, 2014 (First time)
Tlopi Tented Camp

Kruger May 6-15, 2014
Satara May 6-10
Skukuza May 10-12
Crocodile Bridge May 12-15


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 Post subject: Re: Cry (for) The Beloved Country
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 12:57 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:50 pm
Posts: 189
Location: Anaheim, California USA
adw wrote:
Hi Daron, just caught up with your report once again. What can I say but WOW! you certainly had some magical sightings with photos to match. I have been going to Kruger for over 50 years now and have never seen Leopards mating. Love your Leopard shots, Lion photos and the Hyeanas. Brilliant. Your bird photos are superb especially the Brown Snake Eagle. You have had a brilliant trip. Well done! :clap: :clap: :clap:

I will be back at Kruger next week so If you dont hear from me soon you know why, but I will catch up on your report when I get back.

All the best. Tony


Hi Tony,

Thanks for sticking with me here. I hope you have a marvelous time with the best sightings ever on your upcoming trip. I will be watching for our TR on your return.

Daron

_________________
Marakele May 2-4, 2014 (First time)
Tlopi Tented Camp

Kruger May 6-15, 2014
Satara May 6-10
Skukuza May 10-12
Crocodile Bridge May 12-15


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 Post subject: Re: Cry (for) The Beloved Country
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 7:56 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:50 pm
Posts: 189
Location: Anaheim, California USA
Meandering Mouse wrote:
Daron I hope that your youngster is feeling a lot better today.

as for your Leopards... again I am amazed at how Kruger delivers to those who "stand and wait". I am always in awe of the unexpected gifts and sightings.

Thank you for sharing. :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

:popcorn:


Hi MM,

Thanks for the well wishes. Hopefully it is a short lived bug. Poor little guy was miserable today.

Daron

_________________
Marakele May 2-4, 2014 (First time)
Tlopi Tented Camp

Kruger May 6-15, 2014
Satara May 6-10
Skukuza May 10-12
Crocodile Bridge May 12-15


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 Post subject: Re: Cry (for) The Beloved Country
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 8:21 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:50 pm
Posts: 189
Location: Anaheim, California USA
Day 9 Part 2:

After breakfast we drove over to Berg en Dal to find out when and where we would be picked up for our bush braai with Flying Cheetah later in the evening. We were told we would be picked up at Malelane at 1700 hours. We spent a little bit of time around Berg en Dal and the took a drive up towards Afsaal and then out the Voortrekker Road.

We had some good general game sightings, but then the weather turned really nasty. It rained and rained and rained some more. We were starting to grow concerned that our bush braai would be cancelled. The rain seemed to send all of the animals into hiding and we turned around and headed back. Eventually the rain stopped again and when we arrived at the H2-2 intersection there were a few cars stopped on the side of the road.

The mating pair of Lions were there again. They were fairly close to the road in some very thick grass so not much opportunity for good photos so I started getting creative and trying to focus on whatever part I could actually see. We could only see the female from our position and this is what I came up with

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Every once in a while she would snap at a fly

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We also saw Zebra

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Ostrich

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Woodland Kingfisher

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And throughout the day some great Rhino sightings as well as Elephant, Kudu, Waterbuck, and Buffalo

This one of Rhino with Giraffe as well

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And then it was time to head back to camp to meet Raymond and Flying Cheetah for the bush braai

There was one more moment of excitement on the way back, but that will have to wait for the next episode.

Till then....

Daron

_________________
Marakele May 2-4, 2014 (First time)
Tlopi Tented Camp

Kruger May 6-15, 2014
Satara May 6-10
Skukuza May 10-12
Crocodile Bridge May 12-15


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 Post subject: Re: Cry (for) The Beloved Country
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:16 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:50 pm
Posts: 189
Location: Anaheim, California USA
Thanks everyone for your care and concern for my son. He was back to normal today. He still stayed home from school just to be safe, but he was fine.

Time for another episode????

Day 9 Part 3 - STOP, STOP, STOP:

On our way back to Malelane we became separated from deamole and the other car. What a blessing that became. We turned from the H3 onto the S110. We were literally a few hundred meters from the turn off to Malelane when we came across two cars that were stopped on the side of the road. We couldn't see anything so we asked one of the couples what they were looking at. Fortunately, they were kind enough to tell us the truth....

They said they had seen a Leopard on the road by Malelane gate and that he was last seen walking diagonally in this direction. They were searching in hopes of seeing him again. We started looking, but received a call from deamole telling us to hurry up because they needed a key from us. What to do?????

Dave had the brilliant idea of heading back to the intersection of the H3 and slowly drive back to camp. Shortly after we turned around Veronica suddenly yelled STOP, STOP, STOP! Like any smart man being told to stop by a woman, I stopped immediately. Veronica told me to back up and then she and Dave both shouted, RIGHT THERE! I couldn't see anything, but after a little direction from them, there she was literally meters from the car.

The first camera I grabbed had the 300mm lens on it. I snapped a few pictures, but saw we were so close that the Leopard's face wouldn't even fit into the frame

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I switched to another camera with the 100-400mm lens and now I could get most of her in the frame, but still not the whole body

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She was on the left side of the car and was slowly moving towards the rear of the car. A quick switch to the 24-105mm lens....

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And now she disappeared behind the car. I turned around in my seat just as she was popping out directly behind our car and into the road

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You can see the side of our car and the front of a car behind us in the frame.

There was a herd of Impala on the other side of the road and she began stalking them

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Sorry, but I have reached my photo limit for this episode so we will have to wait to see what happened.

We had watched a Leopard stalk a herd of Impala in the same general area during our visit in 2011 and I couldn't help but wonder if this was the same pretty lady....

Stay tuned....

Daron

_________________
Marakele May 2-4, 2014 (First time)
Tlopi Tented Camp

Kruger May 6-15, 2014
Satara May 6-10
Skukuza May 10-12
Crocodile Bridge May 12-15


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 Post subject: Re: Cry (for) The Beloved Country
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 8:44 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:50 pm
Posts: 189
Location: Anaheim, California USA
How about the rest of the Leopard sighting?

Day 9 Part 3 - The Stalker:

So this beautiful young lady is very focused on the Impala across the road. She slowly made her way into the road and then crouched behind the car that was slightly behind us and to our right. Her head was blocked by the car and I didn't want to reverse and risk interfering or scaring her off so we just sat and waited, hoping for the best

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She crouched behind the car for about two or three minutes before becoming startled by something and quickly turned and made a hasty retreat. Can you imagine the view the cars would have had from behind? I hope somebody got some good pictures!!!!!

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And then she was gone as quickly as she had arrived. I'm sorry that some of the pictures are slightly blurred. I'm amazed that any turned out decent, because I was literally shaking from the adrenaline rush. What magic Kruger can share when she wants to!!!!!

So we headed back to camp to meet the rest of the group, Raymond, and Flying Cheetah for our bush braai.

Stay tuned I will cover the bush braai in the next episode.....

Thanks for following!

Daron

_________________
Marakele May 2-4, 2014 (First time)
Tlopi Tented Camp

Kruger May 6-15, 2014
Satara May 6-10
Skukuza May 10-12
Crocodile Bridge May 12-15


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 Post subject: Re: Cry (for) The Beloved Country
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:30 pm 
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Posts: 3325
Location: Pretoria, SA
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Award: Newcomer of the Year (2012)
Had to catch up a lot :redface: . Was a little bit busy the past few days :tongue: .

Just unbelievable sightings of mating leppies in a tree to mating lions next to the road and then a leppie hunting :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: .
Thanks so much for sharing your unbelievable trip with us :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up: .

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 Post subject: Re: Cry (for) The Beloved Country
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:52 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:50 pm
Posts: 189
Location: Anaheim, California USA
Day 9 - The Bush Braai:

So after our beautiful lady disappeared into the bush we headed on to Malelane. We passed the couple who had originally told us about the Leopard as they were still searching farther up the road. We stopped and told them about our sighting, thanked them profusely, and apologized that they had not been in a position to see it. We told them where we last saw her and then carried on to camp.

Raymond, the Head Guide from Berg en Dal and Flying Cheetah (Wolfgang) were arriving at the same time we arrived.

This Bush Braai had been arranged a few months prior after Flying Cheetah read the beginnings of the TR and saw that our group was doing one at Olifants. He has always wanted to do a braai, but goes to Kruger alone and has not found a group to do one with. I put it out to our group and they all enthusiastically agreed to do another one. Wolfgang knows Raymond from several prior trips and helped put me in contact with Raymond so that we could put the entire thing together.

We thoroughly enjoyed the bush braai from Olifants, but this was more intimate and personal. It was just our group and Wolfgang and we were in a smaller game drive vehicle. It was great getting to know Wolfgang and is amazing how people from different cultures, backgrounds, and countries can share a common love for the bush and be instant friends. Really, really cool!

Wew quickly loaded onto the vehicle and we told Raymond about the Leopard sighting. He was in no hurry and drove slowly along the roads stopping for various animals and birds, helping with identification and giving great details about behaviors, etc. He was extremely knowledgeable and informative and you could tell that he enjoyed imparting his knowledge.

We eventually made it to the intersection with trhe main road again and found a traffic jam not far from Malelane gate. Our Leopard friend was now stretching out in a tree. Fortunately the couple who told us about her had found her and had a prime position. I was so happy they had found her, because if it wasn't for them, we never would have stopped

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We then drove around several different areas as we had plenty of time before the sun would set and it would be time to head to the braai site. I won't identify the areas because of these great sightings

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Absolutely beautiful. I hope they can stay safe!!!

We also saw Zebra and Giraffe as well as this wattled something or other

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And the end to another magnificent day in Africa......

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As the sun set we arrived at the Berg en Dal Day Visitors' picnic site, which is a few kms from the camp. It was not quite as rustic as the open bush braai at Olifants, but you still had the feel of the bush. Same sights, sounds, and smells. The benefit was that it was fenced and gated so Raymond wasn't on constant alert and was actually able to sit and eat and interact with us throughout the meal. That made it a very memorable experience listening to his stories. The food was very good although the menu was almost identical to that at Olifants. I was surprised that there was no offering of any kind of game and it was just chicken and beef. All the same, it was well prepared.

Another benefit to the picnic site is that the tables are permanent. At Olifants they were portable and we felt like we were eating on a slope.

It was a tremendous experience and I would recommend that you do it at least once.

After dinner we visited for a while before we had to go back to camp. We didn't see much game on the way back, but it was a beautiful night and the experience itself was amazing.

Raymond and Wolfgang dropped us off and headed back to Berg en Dal while we headed off to bed. It was a bitter sweet ending knowing that we had an absolutely amazing day, but with the knowledge that tomorrow would also be our last full day in the Park......

Stay tuned for Day 10, and as always, thanks for following!

Daron

_________________
Marakele May 2-4, 2014 (First time)
Tlopi Tented Camp

Kruger May 6-15, 2014
Satara May 6-10
Skukuza May 10-12
Crocodile Bridge May 12-15


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 Post subject: Re: Cry (for) The Beloved Country
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:41 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:50 pm
Posts: 189
Location: Anaheim, California USA
Day 10 Part 1 - Malelane to Skukuza:

Day 10 started with a quick bowl of cereal and then heading off for a drive. We had read quite a bit about Lake Panic and had never been so we decided to give it a try. Shortly after we left camp the rain started falling. It was a steady heavy drizzle and was enough to limit visibility and drive everything to shelter.

As we crossed one of the bridges we saw a Rhino in the riverbed. It was quite far away and did not appear to be moving. Upon closer examination through the binoculars we could see a huge chunk that appeared to have been hacked away from the left side of the skull. We watched for several minutes and still saw no sign of life. It was a terrible sinking feeling and we were curious if it was an attempted/interrupted poaching as the horns were still intact. I took a couple of pictures and we headed straight to Afsaal to report what we had seen. Upon arrival we were informed that everyone knew about the Rhino and he had been injured in a fight several days before. We still didn't feel good about it, but it was a lot better knowing it was nature taking its course as opposed to human intervention.

Along the H3 near the H2-2 I saw something small scurry across the road up ahead. It ended up being 4 jackals and even with the rain this was my best jackal sighting of all of the trips

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After Afsaal we backtracked to the H2-2 and traveled down to the S114 and on to the Biyamiti Weir.. Inyosi raves about this place and it was bone dry during our last trip. This time it was full of water and there were a few birds and Hippos about and the views were very nice. Wolfgang was coming across from the opposite direction so we sat and chatted with him for a while as well

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We continued on up the S114 towards the Stevenson Hamilton memorial and in spots the rain was very heavy and the roads were very slippery. There was not a lot of game and everything was hiding from the rain. We did find a couple of drenched Tawneys

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Another Comb Billed Duck with an Egyptian Goose

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And a Hyena

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Other than that the drive was fairly uneventful. We got out at the Hamilton memorial, but the rain was coming down and we didn't have the appropriate gear so it really was a quick in and out. There was a Klipspringer up on the rocks, but it disappeared quickly and no photos.

We carried on to Skukuza for a quick break and then continued to Lake Panic......

Till then.....

Daron

_________________
Marakele May 2-4, 2014 (First time)
Tlopi Tented Camp

Kruger May 6-15, 2014
Satara May 6-10
Skukuza May 10-12
Crocodile Bridge May 12-15


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 Post subject: Re: Cry (for) The Beloved Country
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 10:36 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 189
Location: Anaheim, California USA
Day 10 Part 2 - Lake Panic and beyond:

After a quick stop at Skukuza we drove on to Lake Panic. We had never been there before, but had read wonderful things about it here on the forum. Unfortunately the weather was rainy and gloomy, but we could tell that it was a great place.

There wasn't much going on with the rain, but still snapped a couple of pictures....

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After leaving Lake Panic we headed west on the H11. The weather was still crummy and the sightings were very slow. We did see Zebra and Giraffe, but not much of anything else

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We then went south on the Albasini Road past Numbi gate and down to Pretoriuskop. We stopped at the shop so Veronica could shop some more. By now the sun had started to come out and it was starting to warm up. A Magnum Bar (Death by Chocolate) was in order.

A creative shot looking through the binos backwards on the dash

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And what I believe is a Goshawk

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We continued along the H1-1 and just past Shitave we were told of a Leopard in a tree a few kilometers further along the road.

We found the Leopard fairly close to the road, but it was difficult to find a good angle as he was facing away from us

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We couldn't believe that we were seeing Leopard AGAIN!!!!

I've reached my photo limit again so I will have to continue in another episode. Till then....

Daron

_________________
Marakele May 2-4, 2014 (First time)
Tlopi Tented Camp

Kruger May 6-15, 2014
Satara May 6-10
Skukuza May 10-12
Crocodile Bridge May 12-15


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 Post subject: Re: Cry (for) The Beloved Country
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 3:43 pm 
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Happy birthday tedredrum! (Don't forget to go to the "January Birthday Wishes" thread as well!) :D

Beautiful Lake Panic pictures! That certainly is a very special place in Kruger! :clap: :clap:

I LOVE your creative shot .... very special indeed! :dance: :dance:

And another Leopard! I cannot believe your Leopard luck! Beautiful pictures too! :clap: :clap:

Enjoy your Public Holiday tomorrow! :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Cry (for) The Beloved Country
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 4:02 pm 
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Posts: 73
Location: Centurion, South Africa
A very happy birthday to you Daron.
Wishing you many happy returns.

Thanks for spoiling us with such a gripping TR.


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 Post subject: Re: Cry (for) The Beloved Country
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:54 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:50 pm
Posts: 189
Location: Anaheim, California USA
Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes. Worked all night on the birthday night, but today was a National Holiday so SO was off of work and the kids were out of school. They let me sleep for a little while and when I woke up gave me my presents. I was so happy I got a battery grip for the 7D. Can't wait to try it out!

How about some more of the trip????

Day 10 Part 3 - Transport Dam and surrounds:

After our Leopard sighting we continued on to Transport Dam. This was another first for us. It was a beautiful place and as with many of the places we visited, I could have spent hours just sitting and watching.

There was a good looking male Waterbuck near the dam

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And some Weaver birds with their nests

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And then some Dwarf Mongeese playing by the road

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After turning south on the H3 we ran into a roadblock of the most amazing kind. It was a HUGE herd of elephant, both in numbers and in size of some of them. The most interesting thing was that they were just getting ready to cross the road, but before the main group started to cross they posted road guards at both ends.

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The guards stepped out and faced oncoming cars and stood there blocking traffic while the remainder of the herd crossed the road. It was a very awesome thing to witness

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Gotta love the little ones

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And some people just have to break the rules

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And a short time later a road block of a smaller kind

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Well I think that is all for tonight, but stay tuned for another trip highlight in the next episode.

Thanks again for the birthday wishes and for faithfully following and commenting on my Trip Report

Daron

_________________
Marakele May 2-4, 2014 (First time)
Tlopi Tented Camp

Kruger May 6-15, 2014
Satara May 6-10
Skukuza May 10-12
Crocodile Bridge May 12-15


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 Post subject: Re: Cry (for) The Beloved Country
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:45 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:50 pm
Posts: 189
Location: Anaheim, California USA
Hi all,

I am sorry I haven't been posting as frequently. I blame it on the melancholy that comes with knowing that the trip is almost over. Just three more episodes and we will be leaving the Park. It is almost as if I am reliving the disappointment all over again.

Enough of the depression, let's get on with the good stuff.

Day 10 Part 4 - I Can't Believe My Eyes:

By now it was late in the afternoon. The sun had come out nicely and was a stark contrast to the weather we experienced earlier in the day. We were traveling south on the H3 knowing that this would be our last time on this wonderful road for at least a year. The H3 had yielded some fabulous sightings for us over the past few days.

I must say that we also saw most of our speeders on this stretch of road as well. Unfortunately the consistent culprit was a man driving a vehicle with the markings from the Jock Safari Lodge. As far as I know these people are not exempt from the Park rules, but it seemed as if nobody has ever passed that along to them. Several times during the time at Malelane we were passed by this same guy who paid no attention whatsoever to the speed limit on the tar road.

As we continued south we stopped for something and spoke with a fellow going the opposite direction. We told him about the Elephant roadblock and he told us that there was a mating pair of Lions close to the road near Afsaal. We were sure it was the same pair we had seen a few times already and thought we would know where to find them. I was completely shocked as I reached the Afsaal picnic spot and found the road completely blocked by these two beauties who were stretched across the entire road. There were only a few cars when we arrived, but they quickly began piling up from both directions.

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I couldn't believe this was happening right where we had stopped so many times for a break. You can see the entrance to the Afsaal parking lot in the above photo

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I love the way he is looking at her in the one above

At one point another car came alongside me and slowly pulled in front of me completely blocking our view. I couldn't believe it. I politely told them what they were doing was wrong and after an unpleasant gesture from the male they drove off, driving right past the Lions. Unbelievable.....

We ultimately made our way around to the other side and had an even better view looking in the opposite direction

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I think I have reached my photo limit for this episode so I will have to post the rest in the next episode.

Till then.........

Daron

_________________
Marakele May 2-4, 2014 (First time)
Tlopi Tented Camp

Kruger May 6-15, 2014
Satara May 6-10
Skukuza May 10-12
Crocodile Bridge May 12-15


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 Post subject: Re: Cry (for) The Beloved Country
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:32 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:50 pm
Posts: 189
Location: Anaheim, California USA
barryels wrote:
Woow!!! What an stunning lion sighting and so close to the Afsaal entrance :clap: :clap: . Great series of stunning pic's :dance: :dance: .

Yes it is a shame to have so many crasy people visiting the park :evil: .
Thanks for sharing your last days of an excellent trip with us :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:


Hi Barry,

Could you imaging walking out of the shop at Afsaal just as those two were plunking themselves down in the road???? I would have ben diving for my camera while the SO would have been locking every door she could.

Thanks,

Daron

_________________
Marakele May 2-4, 2014 (First time)
Tlopi Tented Camp

Kruger May 6-15, 2014
Satara May 6-10
Skukuza May 10-12
Crocodile Bridge May 12-15


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