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 Post subject: Stoffel in the 2 K's May 2012
Unread postPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 2:06 pm 
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We are back home after a fantastic visit to the 2 K's (Karoo & Kruger). I thought of doing a live day by day report, but because of poor "signals" (especially for loading photos) it was not possible. Nevertheless, I will try to give a report of most of our great times in the two parks.

We arrived at Karoo during a sunny afternoon on 3 May and were greeted by one of the friendliest gate guards in South Africa - Daniël Hollander. We've been coming on with Daniël for many, many years.

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It took us the best part of the rest of the afternoon to set up our camp site.

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A few cold nights awaited us. But we enjoyed great sunny days that lend itself for fantastic game viewing.

We travelled the Potlekkertjie Loop everyday with the hope to find the lions. We were told at Reception that they are keeping in the vicinity of the 4x4 routes. Not having a 4x4, but a high clearance 4x2 vehicle, we decided on the first day to do the shorter Afsaal 4x4 route as part of the Potlekkertjie Loop (it can be easily done with a high clearance vehicle - not even needing to use the diff lock). On the first day we did the Loop clockwise.

Our first sighting was some Cape mountain zebra grazing in the green Karoo veld.

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We have seen Ludwig's Bustard in Kgalagadi before, but to see a pair of them in Karoo (after many, many visits) was a first for us. Unfortunately they were really shy of the camera and the best pic I got was this one.

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Although we had no luck with the big cats on the Afsaal route, the Klipspringer Pass once again lived up to its name when we saw a total of 10 klipspringers on our first day.

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Back in camp I had another "first" (for me) in the park when this Cardinal Woodpecker amused us for quite a few minutes in the thorn tree above our tent.

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Our second night was a cold one again. We were so thankful that we remembered to pack our little fan heater - a real life-saver.

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Chris Boucher


Last edited by Stoffel on Mon May 28, 2012 12:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Stoffel in the 2 K's
Unread postPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 5:08 pm 
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I need to apologize for lying in my first post. We did not do the full Potlekkertjie Loop everyday. On the second day we had to go to Beaufort West and decided to do the Lammertjieleegte Loop instead. The drive was slightly disappointing regarding game, but we saw some beautiful Red Hartebeest and an ostrich family.

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Back in camp we revelled in the wonderful birdlife and the other smaller things like Striped Mouse chasing each other and climbing trees. Sometimes people only find amusement in the bigger things and thereby missing such a lot like this young mouse posing on a branch.

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Later in the afternoon we took a drive to Rooivalle (up the Klipspringer Pass where we once again saw 8 Klipspringers). On our way up we saw this Kudu family.

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My wife (who grew up in the Karoo - Prince Albert) showed me this wonderful plant at Rooivalle. It is a parasite growing in other plants.

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They called it "vuurhoutjie-voëlent" - directly translated it means "match mistletoe". When you have a close-up one can see why it is given that name as it reminds you of a match with the dark point.

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When you give the black point a twist, it "jumps" open revealing the pollen carriers and pistle as can be seen on this photo.

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Last edited by Stoffel on Mon May 28, 2012 12:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Stoffel in the 2 K's
Unread postPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 11:31 am 
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After another cold night (we really drew the short straw regarding night temperatures during our stay in the park as the nights became quite warmer again after we left) we took our last game drive on Potlekkertjie Loop - obviously with the hope to see the lions. By the way - we were lucky to see the females and cubs on our first visit after they have been released.

We did the Loop anti-clockwise this time. And on top of the Klipspringer Pass we saw this small family.

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After brunch at the very neat Doornhoek picnic site we decided to do the short Afsaal 4x4 route again. Afsaal is a beautiful place with a very rustic appearance, but not open for the public to use.

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The tortoises, normally roaming the camp site during the warmer months, already "disappeared" for their winter sleep, but this old fellow was enjoying the last sunny days of autumn near Afsaal.

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The lions once again eluded us. Except for the general game like red hartebeest, kudu, both species of zebra, eland and springbok, we also saw this beautiful little steenbok ram.

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Steenbok in the Karoo is darker and certainly larger than those in Kruger - and in my opinion more beautiful.

Our visit to Karoo (sadly) came to an end - but we are already looking forward to our 10 night stay in September. We left early the next morning en route to Shingwedzi where we only arrived 4 days later after I had to attend a congress in Pretoria. But I'll report about this exciting part of our trip in the next posting.

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Last edited by Stoffel on Mon May 28, 2012 12:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Stoffel in the 2 K's
Unread postPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 12:39 pm 
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Friday 11 May

After my congress in Pretoria, we travelled to Tzaneen where we slept at friends. After lots of frustrating road works on the N12, we experienced about the most exasperating of all "waits" between Moria and Haenertsburg on the R71. So be warned everybody who plans to travel this road in near future.

We left Tzaneen at about 06:30 and travelled to Punda Maria Gate via the R529, Giyani and R81. This was quite a pleasant drive. Just make sure to stick to the speed limits in the little villages. We saw two speed traps on the R529.

At about 9:30 we arrived here:

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Punda Maria Gate

After the normal very friendly and efficient check-in procedures, we opted for a cup of coffee and a sandwich at the day visitors' area, just a few hundred metres pass the gate.

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Seeing the usual impala, a few giraffe, zebra and a slender mongoose, we also saw our first LBR (of many) before we reached the north/south main road (H1-7/H1-8).

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Before reaching Babalala picnic site our tally for elephant was standing on 38 already - including these guys at Shisha West.

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We also saw a huge herd of buffalo (which I guessed 300 - 400 individuals) just before we reached Shisha West. And our first sighting of (quite a few) saddle billed stork.

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Before the turn-off to Shingwedzi we saw another few elephant, the odd impala and 2 of very few wildebeest during our whole visit. But it is just natural not expect herds of wildebeest in the north. But suddenly the 2.3km entrance road to Shingwedzi (along the very dry river) delivered lots of impala and zebra.

We arrived in Shingwedzi on a nice sunny day shortly after 12:30 started putting up camp under a nice big mopani tree.

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A few minutes after 16:00 we went on a short game drive on the S50 in the direction of the Kanniedood Dam - which presently has shockingly little water. I really don't know what the consequences will be during the later part of winter. We nevertheless saw our first ever pelicans in Kruger.

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The drive delivered the usual impalas, lots of baboons on their way to their resting place for the night, our first 4 nyalas (of many still to come) as well as 4 bush buck.

It was so nice to sit around the camp fire that night - not dressed like eskimo's as was the case in Karoo. But the highlight was still to come that night with lions waking us more than once that night. How beautiful it is to lie in your tent listening to the roar of the king of the jungle - which they did for 6 out of the 7 nights we stayed in Shingwedzi.

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Last edited by Stoffel on Mon May 28, 2012 1:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Stoffel in the 2 K's
Unread postPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 2:40 pm 
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Saturday 12 May

Waking up with a proverbial gambol after listening to the fantastic roars of our lion friend through the night(very, very near to the fence), we left camp at about 7:20 at the back gate in the direction of Kanniedood Dam again. Our first stop was Nyawutsi Hide where we enjoyed some coffee and sandwiches. On our way there we saw many impala, vervet monkeys, 6 bushbuck, baboons, 3 nyalas, squirrels galore, more than 100 buffalo, ellies, hippo's and many waterbuck, including this beauty.

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However, from Dipene onwards we saw little. And Nyawutsi did not deliver anything. But it was so nice to have the few moments in the hide to yourself - just sitting and listening to the bush. The mopani veld in that vicinity is very dry. Our next destination was Grootvlei Dam. The 7 km between Nyawutsi and the S105 to Grootvlei once again delivered very little. But Grootvlei Dam (being there only once in the past) was spectacular. Just the mere beauty of the dam was enough to cuddle your soul.

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But the highlight of visit to the dam was the thousands of redbilled queleas with their continuous piercing chatter. They were covering the trees next to the dam completely.

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With the slightest strange sound they would take off in a cloud for a few seconds and come back to their previous position again. It was amazing to watch them drinking while hovering in the air. As we drove over the dam wall, some took off like a swarm of bees (maybe not so clearly to be seen on this photo).

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We decided to travel further south before we turn north again on the Tropic of Capricorn Loop. On the way to the S143 turn-off, we drove up Shibavantsengele to enjoy this vista to the west. The autumn colours of the mopani veld can be seen clearly.

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Leaving Shibavantsengele I said to my wife that one of my main aims of the specific drive is the hope to find roan antelope. And about 2 km before the S143 turn-off we saw our first (and only) roan since the early 80's. To me personally it was much more worth than seeing lions everyday. Unfortunately he did not pose very well for a photo, but nevertheless, I got my proof that I saw roan in Kruger after nearly 30 years since I last saw them in Kruger.

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And then at Tihongonyeni (on the Tropic of Capricorn Loop) we found another rarity, namely 10 eland (5 very near to the road and the other 5 quite far away).

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My total tally for eland (over nearly 50 years of visiting the park) was 5. And suddenly I saw double my previous total count in one sighting. We also saw 28 wildebeest, 81 zebra, 10 ellies and 15 tsessebe at Tihongonyeni. Indeed a productive water hole.

We then took the S144 (Old Main Road) back to Shingwedzi, but it was very boring with only 3 impala to be seen on the 29.5 km back to the tar road. From the tar junction back to camp we also saw very little. But all in all I regard it as a very fruitfull drive.

After 16:30 we went for a short drive on the S134 and towards the confluence of the Shingwedzi- and Mphongolo Rivers and saw the usual like impala, baboon, kudu, giraffe, waterbuck, vervet monkey, ellies and our first of only 3 steenbok during our visit.

And once again we were entertained that night with lions roaring from two different directions - although not as near as the previous night. Shingwedzi succeeded in creeping deeper under our skins.

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Last edited by Stoffel on Wed May 23, 2012 2:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Stoffel in the 2 K's
Unread postPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 5:23 pm 
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Yes - I reckon myself indeed lucky to have seen eland, roan and pelicans. Thanks for everybody's commnts.

Sunday, 13 May

We left camp just before 08:00 through the main gate on our way to Tshanga. We decided to take the southern S52. We saw very little until we got to a short straight part of the H1-6 just before it makes a turn before you cross the Nkokodzi creek. A badger quickly crossed the road a few hundred metres ahead of us. I marked the place with my eyes where it disappeared on the right hand side of the road (± 700 metres before you cross the Nkokodzi) and stopped next to it. The badger disappeared completely, but this young lady was lying next to the road (at that exact spot where the badger vanished) with her very small little cub (eyes still closed).

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We stopped there every time we passed that spot and saw her time and again (and even two of her mates on the other side of the road) but she hid the cub in the culvert so that we never saw the little one again (but mommy was always lying there).

As soon as we turned off onto the S52 we saw the first of what is one of our very special little creatures in the park. We love watching the dwarf mongoose by switching off the vehicle, unwinding the windows and listen how they communicate with each other. This was one of a group of 8.

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We did not turn off to Red Rocks view site, but went straight on towards Red Rocks water hole. I am so glad that this great spot still supplies water to the game.

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There was a lot of impala and zebra around the drinking trough and also a solitary giraffe who wanted to drink, but never got so far.

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Further towards Tshanga we saw some ellies, 5 nyala and our first warthogs of our trip. It was clearly noticeable that the Tshanga area is very dry. Compared to other areas where the mopani's are still lush and green, they have lost about all their leaves in the Tshanga area.

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For some or other reason Tshanga is one of my favourite spots to enjoy a cup of coffee in the park. Maybe it is the mere rusticity of the two rock tables and leadwood trunks serving as benches to sit on, and the silence surrounding the lookout, that has fired a love for this place in my heart.

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I am so pleased that Tshanga offers very basic (primitive??) toilet facilities and wondered many times why does SANParks not supply more such basic facilities at lookout points. If you look at the mess of toilet paper lying around at a place like Red Rocks lookout, I cannot understand why more such basic facilities are not erected. Not that I like going in there as I am always thinking that it is nice hiding places for snakes and spiders (and I am not that brave kind).

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Tshanga toilets

On our way back we dropped in at Red Rocks lookout and saw this big lizard lying in the water.

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Back to camp we saw quite a lot of general game, including many ellies and nyalas once again - and mother hyena, where we saw her earlier.

We took a short late afternoon game drive again in the direction of Kanniedood Dam and saw amazingly many game. Notwithstanding many impala, we saw 16 nyala, 8 bushbuck, our first of many Sharpe's Grysbok to follow, ellies galore (including this old man right in front of the Kanniedood Hide):

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and also waterbuck, monkeys, baboons, buffalo and zebra. In my opinion this is one of the best routes to drive in Kruger. Unfortunately most Shingwedzi visitors think so too - causing it to be very dusty.

And guess what? For the third consecutive night the lions woke us a few times during the night.

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 Post subject: Re: Stoffel in the 2 K's
Unread postPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 4:31 pm 
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Monday 14 May

We left Shingwedzi at about 7:30 via the main gate towards Babalala. This three very inquisitive little fellows (part of a group of 14 we counted) watched us for a long time near Lamont (on the S55) before they eventually started running off on their morning hunt for food. As mentioned before, we love this little creatures and will always stop when we see them. If you see one, you can be assured there's a whole group in the vicinity. One by one they will come out of their hiding places.

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Along the S56 (Mphongolo Loop) we had our second (but first good) sighting of a Sharpe's Grysbok. All in all we saw a total of 14 of them during our visit.

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And then we saw this "exceptional" impala with the black legs. I just had to get a photo of this strange specimen with the dark legs. I was even excited to draw other visitors' attention to this unique ram - until I realized (about 50 metres further on) that it is black mud on the legs when I saw the place where they sink into the mud of the only nearby drinking place. It was a bit of a disappointment to realize that I did not see a very unique impala indeed.

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Just a few kilometres further we have seen the biggest herd of buffalo we have ever seen in the park. Quite a few people (including my wife) reckoned it was a herd of 1000+ animals. I tend to be more conservative, but nevertheless, it was hundreds of buffalo. I would say between 500 and 1000. It was a fantastic sighting.

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Near Babalala we saw this brownhooded kingfisher.

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It is amazing how the same road can differ if you travel it a few minutes later. We travelled with the S56 back to Shingwedzi again after we enjoyed a brunch at Babalala. But this time we saw very few animals, but it stays a wonderfully scenic route.

Near Shingwedzi we found one of my wife's favourites, namely monkeys. She will watch them (and baboons) for hours. This group was really enjoying the grooming session.

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After washing some clothes back at camp, we headed off for a short drive in the direction of Kanniedood Dam in the late afternoon. We saw the usual impala and quite a lot of ellies. But when we returned back to camp I suddenly saw a glimpse of a lioness with something in her mouth which looked to me like a cub. She quicly disappeared into the reeds, lifted her head again with nothing in the mouth - and a few seconds later crossed the road in front of us with a young impala in the mouth (not a cub) before she vanished amongst the mopanis.

Just a kilometre or two further we saw the proof of what's been keeping us awake at night for the previous three nights (not that we cared been kept awake like that).

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When we saw him for the first time he was drinking water in the Shingwedzi River, but unfortunately I had to zoom him in against the sun and could not succeed in getting a good close-up. But shortly after this photo was taken he went to lie down and posed for this one.

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That night the lions really gave us the best sound show we have ever listened to in all our visits to Kruger. I presume this fellow was the one roaring from the river side (must have been about right in front of the restaurant) and his mate replied from the opposite side of the camp (very near to the camping area). It was like a roaring contest - beautiful!!!!! :clap: :dance:

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 Post subject: Re: Stoffel in the 2 K's
Unread postPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 6:17 pm 
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I have mentioned it in other posts on this forum before - that I have been keeping record of all my visits to Kruger since 1987. Before that, I visited the park many, many times - especially when we lived in Tzaneen for 3½ years. Letaba used to be about the most northernly camp we used to stay in. Since keeping record we still have spent most of our visits in the south (46% south of the Sabi River, 22% between the Sabi- & Olifants Rivers, 18% between the Olifants- and Letaba Rivers and only 14% north of the Letaba River - until before the last visit). I only got to know the northern area of the park in 2006. But did Punda, Shingwedzi and Mopani creep under my skin!!!

Especially since this last visit Shingwedzi is one of my all time favourite camps. You surely do not see the same big herds of general game like wildebeest and zebra in the north. Your chances for rhino, leopard, cheetah and wild dog is much better in the south. And the mopani veld can be very monotonous sometimes to travel through. But the atmosphere in the north is so completely different from that of the south - probably not everybody's "cup of tea".

Hope to place my next day's report tonight. Thanks for all the comments.

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 Post subject: Re: Stoffel in the 2 K's
Unread postPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 1:27 pm 
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Tuesday 15 May

We left 07:30 on our way to Mopani. On the road between the main gate and the main tar road we saw the usual impala, ever-present baboons and zebra. I found the numbers of zebra we saw in the dry riverbed on this piece of road quite strange this year. Except for a big herd of buffalo (200 - 300) crossing the road and mother hyena together with two of her clan at the same place, we saw very little game en route to Mopani. I am not sure which one of the hills in the vicinity of the Mooiplaas ranger's home is Bowkerkop, but this baobab on the side of the hill is quite a well-known landmark in the area.

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Mopani camp has one of the most impressive entrance gates in the park.

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This relatively new camp is certainly not situated in the best game viewing area of the park. But the camp itself is one of the most impressive one in Kruger. The main building with the restaurant and shop is unique and offers a fantastic view over the Pioneer Dam right in front of it.

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About every bungalow enjoys privacy and gives you the feeling of being in the bush. We have stayed in Mopani once before and really enjoyed the camp (although I enjoy every camp in Kruger). We opted to enjoy our own coffee and sandwiches in the very neat day visitors area.

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We took the S49 to Mooiplaas water hole where we saw ellies, wildebeest, zebra and 6 tsessebe. At the waterhole we turned left on the road that joins the S50, which we took back to Shingwedzi. We did not see much on the S50 up to Dipene, but the Grootvlei dam is a beautiful spot in this dry area.

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Further north we nearly missed this lady amongst the mopani trees - in spite of her height.

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We stopped at Nyawudzi hide for a cup of coffee and watched the crocs (which we have never seen there before). It was also nice to see how a pied kingfisher was quite succesful in catching small fishes and feeding it to her youngster, who kept on begging for more. Unfortunately the kingfishers was just to far to get a decent photo with my basic photographic equipment.

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On our way back to camp we saw lots of impala, waterbuck, hippo, nyala and the biggest herd elephant I have ever seen together, namely 42.

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This is just part of the big elephant herd.

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We also saw this unfortunate fellow who probably lost the front part of his trunk in a wire snare. We watch him foraging for quite a while. I must say he overcame his handicap very well. He would take a branch with leaves, bend it down, grab it in his mouth and strip it by moving his mouth over the branch.

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One of our highlights was to see a side-striped jackal near Kanniedood Dam. We saw one the previous night next to the fence when our neighbours shone a spotlight on a civet patrolling the fence.

That night was the only one of the seven in Shingwedzi that the lions did not perform for us.

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 Post subject: Re: Stoffel in the 2 K's
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:22 pm 
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kids@camping wrote:
Hi Stoffel, just caught up again. Just love your Sharpe's Grysbok! :clap:


I have seen quite a number of Sharpe's Grysbok in the park. My first one was between Olifants and Balule on the S92 - way back in 1989. I could hardly believe my eys as I always thought that you only find them in the northern part of the park. Till I learned they are associated with mopani veld. But the one on the photo is the best that I have ever seen a Sharpe's. It appeared to be very used to vehicles and kept on grazing about 3 - 4 metres from our vehicle.

Wednesday, 16 May

Once again we left camp at about 7:30. Seems we just cannot get away earlier. Well, my days of setting an alarm clock in order to be up and about at gate opening time, is something of the past. It was so nice to lie in bed (in our tent) and listen to the early morning bird sounds, get up - make a cup of coffee and enjoy it peacefully with a rusk or two and watch (and smile) at all the people who frantically wants to make it to the front of the queue to lead the procession out of camp. By the time they have left I have the whole ablution just for myself. By the way - even if I am right in front of the queue at the gate, the other vehicles will pass me during the first few seconds as we drive at ± 20 kph. And I hardly ever hear of people (sometimes -yes) who saw something spectacular that time of the morning. Enough said of my laziness to get up early in the morning.

We decided to drive to Tshanga again. Before crossing the Nkokodzi we saw mommy hyena again (but not the little one), and on the opposite side of the road two other members of her clan.

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On our way to Tshanga we rather saw very little game that day compared to our previous trip on Sunday. Well, I saw another Sharpe's at least just before we turned of to go uphill for the last part of the road to the lookout.

After enjoying our traditional cup of coffee and a sandwich at Tshanga (it was a bit coolish that morning) we took the road back to camp, but this time following the Shingwedzi river on the northern side. Another thing that we hardly ever do anymore in the park is to prepare breakfast/brunch at picnic spots or day visitors' areas. We loved to do it. Is it age creeping onto to us that we prefer to prepare our sandwiches, cereals and yoghurt, fruit etc before we leave camp? Sometimes we will just stop in the shade of a nice tree and enjoy our meal in the vehicle while listening to and smelling the bush.

Travelling back on the northern side of the river we saw much more than going to Tshanga on the south side. We saw hundreds of impala, lots of buffalo, waterbuck, giraffe, ellies, zebra, kudu, a few warthog (of which we did not see many around Shingwedzi) and another 2 Sharpe's.

Are they not beautiful (of ugliness) especially the younger ones with their white moustaches?

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On the entrance to Shingwedzi we saw the usual clowns of the bush too. It is so seldom that you will travel this road without seeing either baboons or monkeys (sometimes both). I tried to get a picture of "say no evil, hear no evil & see no evil", but my models were not playing their part.

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They were rather interested in improving their shares with daddy.

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It looks as if the little one on the left is looking whether he'll be a worthy successor to daddy one day.

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After our rather successful return trip to camp, we decided to do the northern side of the river again up to Red Rocks in the afternoon. But we did not see nearly as many game as we saw earlier the day. But returning on the main tar road (seeing our hyena friends again) we saw our first python in the park. And it was a huge one. I have seen one python in nature before. That was many years ago when I was still living in Tzaneen. But this one was a big (and thick) mommy. Yes, I reckon it was a female because they tend to grow much bigger than the males. We saw some vehicles next to the road (at one of the lookouts next to the river) and was informed that it was a very big python in a tree. Apparently some squirrels "gave it away" with their alarming noises. Unfortunately it was late afternoon, the light was not good, she was curled around the stem of the tree in a very shady area and it was too far for my basic photographic equipment to take a photo. Nevertheless, I am placing my best (of a lot of lousy shots) here. Hope you can see it.

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My day was made with my first ever python in Kruger. I don't know what the English tiltle of David Paynter's book is. I have the Afrikaans version (Die Krugerwildtuin in Woord en Beeld). Before we left home I read that the author has seen his one and only python in nature very near to where we saw this one. David Paynter saw a python on the road to the confluence of the Shingwedzi and Mphongolo rivers.

That night our lion friends (although further away) made us know that they were still around. Oh, I love Shingwedzi.

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 Post subject: Re: Stoffel in the 2 K's
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 4:34 pm 
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Thursday, 17 May

Sadly our last full day in Shingwedzi arrived. Except for one cloudy and very slightly windy morning, we experienced the most wonderful weather during our stay. And once again we only got away at about 7:30. Babalala was on our menu again. But we saw very few game that morning along the S56 (Mphongolo Loop). Just the general type of game - and rather little of them.

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There is actually very little to attract the game if availability of water is a main attraction. We saw these ellies at one of the last mud pools in the river.

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Less than 1 km from Babalala we were amazed to come upon two vehicles standing in the road with people all around the vehicles. My first reaction was that they are surely having some or other mechanical problems. But no, they were merely enjoying a picnic in the road. I was forced to stop so that the people can move out of the road for me to pass. One gentleman asked me if we saw any lions and than offered me a samoosa. I wanted to take a picture, but decided against it. They have passed Babalala less than 1 km away, but rather opted to have their picnic in the road. Stupid fools!!!

This was our third visit to Babalala this week. It is a neat picnic spot and you nearly always see game at the nearby water hole. But somehow it lacks a bit of typical "Kruger picnic spot" atmosphere (in my mind).

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Our drive back to Shingwedzi (via the main road - H1-7) also delivered very little. The Shingwedzi river was very dry. This photo was taken from the main road bridge in the direction of the camp.

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We took a late afternoon drive in the direction of Kanniedood dam again (our last one) and except for a giant eagle owl, we just saw the general type of game.

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Sitting around the camp fire that night, one could not help to feel sorry for yourself that a week passes so quickly. But luckily we had another night left in one of Punda's safari tents. And that was quite a special experience with the visitors we had.

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 Post subject: Re: Stoffel in the 2 K's
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 10:20 pm 
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Friday, 18 May

Our last morning in Shingwedzi arrived. :( We had a lot to pack up, so breaking up camp took quite a while. We left Shingwedzi only at 10:30 via Babalala to Punda Maria. We saw a nice herd of buffalo and quite a lot of ellies at Shisha West, 2 Sharpe's and some nyalas. On the H13-2 we passed a smallish dam filled with water. As it was quite warm (nearly felt like a summer's day), these two giants enjoyed playing in the water.

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Safari tent No 7 were given to us. The tents are comfortable and quit well equipped.

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But we could not help getting the feeling that it (at least No 7) needed some attention. Fortunately I took my small Weber barbeque kettle with, otherwise we would have been stranded with the barbeque facility that No 7 offered. Actually I believe it is a shame that it was in such poor condition.

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The outside kitchen (and especially the rubbish bin) appeared a bit shabby.

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Why on earth would they decide to paint the kitchen cupboards black? It shows dirt so much easier.

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At least we slept comfortable but the tops of the bedside cupboards probably never has some furniture polish or varnish since the tents were completed a few years ago.

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But in spite of the few negatives we enjoyed our stay. We went for a game drive on the S99 (Mahogany Loop) in the afternoon and saw a lot of game including many impala, many kudu, nyalas, our first duiker of our trip (3 of them), a herd of buffalo and 3 Sharpe's again.

But that night was one of our highlights. While having dinner outside we heard some movement in the trees and realized it must be a bushbaby. When we started looking for it we saw this little fella watching us enjoying dinner.

Image A few years ago one would have identified it as a Large-spotted Genet (as the tip of the tail ends in black). But the people who knows divided it into two species now, namely the Large-spotted Genet (Genetta tigrina) and the Rusty-spotted Genet (Genetta maculata). And according to the distribution map, it shows that the latter is the one appearing in Kruger (together with the Small-spotted Genet). Nevertheless, eventually we had 4 of them around our tent.

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And then the bushbaby made its appearance. I know this one as the Thick-tailed Bushbaby, but literature also refers to it as the Greater Galago. This one was so used to humans that it came onto our stoep and looked for scraps in the broken rubbish bin.

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We even had a little Sharpe's Grysbok in front of our tent that night. Thus, all in all (in spite of the moaning about the maintenance of our tent), we had a most enjoyable night in Punda Maria.

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 Post subject: Re: Stoffel in the 2 K's
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 3:01 pm 
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Saturday, 19 May

Our last morning waking up in Kruger has arrived. I first throught of driving the S99 Loop again before we depart. But a long road lied ahead of us back home. So after enjoying our last coffee and rusks (not tea Cheetah2111) on the stoep of our tent, we packed everything and left for Punda Maria Gate. We enjoyed our last few kudu, impala, zebra, a steenbok, another Sharpe's grysbok, a dagha boy, our favourite dwarf mongooses, warthog and a huge cobra crossing the road. Unfortunately I could not identify it positively, but a cobra indeed - nearly 2 metres long I would guess. My wife said I must have a look next to the road where it disappeared in the grass. But I was too scared that it may be some or other spitting cobra.

Well, that was the end of a most enjoyable short holiday in Kruger. The success of my previous visit (2009) to the north of the park was hampered by a sick grandson who had to be rushed to Tzaneen hospital. But the north has proven to me this time (and in 2006) that it is a unique part of the park that should receive much more attention from the sworn Kruger lovers.

We are looking forward to our 10 nights in Karoo during September.

Thanks to everybody for the comments on my TR. I relived the holiday with this report.

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 Post subject: Re: Stoffel in the 2 K's
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:51 pm 
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Your visitors at Punda are lovely. Your genet pic shows him with black rings down his tail and my Burger Cillie book gives that one as the Large-spotted Genet. His pic of the Rusty-spotted genet definitely has brown rings on the tail. :hmz: :hmz:

Whatever. You had a glorious sighting of them. :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Thank you so much for sharing.


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 Post subject: Re: Stoffel in the 2 K's
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 8:47 pm 
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chirinda

I use the same book. And I agree with you. What confuses me is the distribution map where they show that "b" (the Rusty-spotted Genet) is found in the northern areas (including KNP) and the Large-spotted Genet along the coast up to the southern parts of KwaZulu-Natal. But looking at the photos in the mentioned book, it surely looks more like the Large-spotted Genet we saw in Punda. I wish an expert (maybe some or other ranger) can give clarity on that. I should maybe ask that question on another thread.

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