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Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 8:36 pm 
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Location: Somerset West, Cape Town
Thanks for the pics wildchild! Where are you going to this time?

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Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 11:34 am 
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Hi all! Do'nt have much time-Got back late last night after a very exciting and succesful trip. Sightings:

11 x rhino
10 x hyena
lots of ellies-impis-giraffes-warthogs-some zebra-wildebeest-kudu-
a few buffs
Five different lion sightings = 12 lions
two sightings of leopard-first, mother and cub-the next daY LIT
Details of both trips still pending-will furnish soon-hopefully and with some good pics too. :D :lol: :wink:


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Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 1:41 pm 
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The journey begins!!! After getting everything ready and packed into our vehicle on Thursday night everyone retired for what was left of the night. The sheer anticipation of
being in the park led to a sleepless night for me. Left home at about 6.30 am and proceeded to the air port to pick up one more passenger who was flying in from Cape Town. By the time
we left the airport it was about 9.00 am. We drove in cool and overcast weather making a pit stop in Belfast.

From there the next stop was Malelane where we had lunch, checked in to our accommodation, got unpacked and proceeded to Malelane gate. By the time we renewed our
wildcards and entered the boom, it was late afternoon.

The very first sighting of the trip were impis:


Image

The second sighting was a speed trap followed by cute hyena cubs sitting on the side of the road. After spending some time with them we proceeded further.

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This was followed by a herd of impala rams in which some rams were chasing others and snorting loudly. Further along, we spotted a lone rhino close to which was a herd of zebras
and more impis. In the herd of zebras was a very handsome and some what shy, baby.

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Further on we spotted another rhino and by then it was time to turn back in order to make it for the gate closing time. Got to our accommodation where some time was spent in the pool after which supper was served. After a little table tennis we retired for the night. It was already about 11.30 pm. That night, there was rain-rain-rain.

THE SECOND DAY-SATURDAY 7TH JANUARY 2006

To follow:


Last edited by wildchild on Sat Jan 21, 2006 7:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 4:23 pm 
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Awakening to the pattering sound of incessant rain in the wee hours of the morning we began preparing for day two in the park. To be exact, my eyes opened at about three thirty am. Has a bite to eat, got everything we needed packed and loaded after which we left for Malelane gate in the rain which showed no sign of letting up. The first sighting to greet us was a female hyena suckling her pups.


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Driving on we caught sight of a beautiful rainbow in the distant background. This was followed by a herd of impis crossing the road.

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Thereafter we spotted three rhinos grazing contentedly along the roadside. Two of the three decided to move away from the third and we followed them up the road for a while after
which we carried on towards Skukuza on the main tar road.

[img][img]http://img457.imageshack.us/img457/8839/rhinos1bf.png[/img][/img]
Further up the road we were saw yet another rhino on its own.

The next sighting was amazingly beautiful, a herd of elephants huddled together in the rain. In the herd were some babies of which one was rolling in the mud and extending its trunk
around. We spent some time here realising that we were fairly fortunate to have seen even this much considering the amount of rain that was pouring down. We watched their different antics for a while and then carried on.

By the time we reached Skukuza I was tired and parked off for a little while and caught a short nap. After about half an hour I felt rather refreshed. Looked at the sightings board and
proceeded towards LS on the tar road. Due to the continuous rain, we thought it prudent to stick to the tar roads rather than get bogged down somewhere.

After the first bend in the road we came across a one tusked warthog happily eating its life away. This was followed by a pair of barking baboons walking on the tar road ahead of us
towards a herd of impis among which was, believe it or not, a one horned ram. Further down the road was an owl sitting in a tree followed by a troop of vervet monkeys jumping from
branch to brach and having the time of their life.


Finally we reached sunset dam where we saw a host of hippos happily submerged in the water and surfacing from time to time. Every now and then, one or the other would yawn with its mouth gaping wide. Also visible was also a solitary croc lazily gliding around just below the surface. What a difference in the level of the dam compared to a month before. Many of the trees were submerged in the water up to part where the foliage begins to grow. The weaver birds at the dam were very busy as well. It appeared as if they were in the midst of some conference with birds darting in and out of nests. It was absolutely relaxing such sitting there and listening to the varied sounds of the prolific bird life around the dam.

From there we naturally proceeded to LS where we went straight to the sightings board. Here we met an honorary ranger by the name of Abdul Moosa who informed us about a leopard with her cub which he had seen playing on the road early that morning while on his way up to LS from Crocodile Bridge. He also mentioned that someone had just reported seeing them not half an hour earlier.

Now, as we filled up and left LS, we were deciding which route to take. Our initial plan had been to drive up to Tshokwane and drive down to Skukuza from there back to Malalane. As
we reached the bridge that spans the Sabie river we deliberated and decided to rather drive in the direction of Crocodile bridge. The drive down was fairly quite with nothing other than a family of warthogs and a pair of buffaloes that presented themselves as sightings of note.

Meandering along the road we came upon some cars parked off with people holding binoculars through which they were intently staring into the bush. We were informed that
there was leopard sleeping about thirty metres in the undergrowth, and when I say undergrowth, it was more like overgrowth with nothing besides thick thorn, grotesque
branches and thick leaves to be seen. Slowly plying our way up, stopping and moving in order to see if even mere glimpse of the elusive one could be gleaned, I finally managed to see, a
LTFDITB- a leopard’s tail flicking deep in the bush.

To be continued......!!!!!!


Last edited by wildchild on Sat Jan 21, 2006 8:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 8:41 pm 
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Special preview of our leopard sighting-sorry about the quality, bad light in the dark bush!

Image


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Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 8:46 pm 
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Salva wrote:
Great report Wildchild! Nice feeling isn't it, when after long looking and knowing something is there you finally manage to spot it, even though it's only a tail? :D



It was a sheer thrill knowing that something as exciting as a leopard is somewhere close enough to be seen and then being rewarded by not just one but two leopards, that too, mother and cub.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 12:11 am 
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Now satisfied that there definitely was something of substance to be seen I manoeuvred around to find that strategic spot from where the perfect view could be accessed. Finally, lo
and behold, we saw not one but two leopards fast asleep with just part of their bodies visible.

With a sighting like does, does one just look a little and lave, or does one wait patiently for something to happen? We opted for patience having arrived at the spot at one thirty. We sat and watched then sleep, roll over, change positions, flick tails and twitch ears for the better part of two and a half to three hours.

Finally, finally the cub rouses itself from its slumber, washes its paws and face. Grooms itself and starts to play on its own with twigs and things it found around itself. After some time indulging in self play, the cub got bored and strolled over to its mother who was a few metres away.

On reaching her, it began waking her up and she too, began grooming and washing herself . Once done with her preening and primping. She devoted her full attention towards her cub. This was when the actual fun began. Games of tag
were then in progress, mother chasing cub, cub darting behind trees, hiding from its mother. Cub giving chase while mother disappeared into the thick foliage only to reappear and
ambush the cub. The cub jumping onto low branches and jumping to the ground. Pawing each other, jumping into the air together and meeting in midair. Playfully biting each other and
prancing around. It just went on and on until it reached its climax for us just as we about to leave in order to make it to the gate in time for its closing. The cub scurried up a tall tree and sat on a branch for a few moments before scooting even higher up where clear for one and all to see, it sat contentedly after its arduous hour or more of play. In fact, all told we spent something like four and a half hours with this beautiful pair. Good fortune truly favoured us that day. We reached the Crocodile Bridge gate just in time before its closing and returned to Malelane truly happy at the day’s sightings. Four of the big five in one day. Only lions left to complete the five...


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Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 5:52 am 
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Salva wrote:
wildchild wrote:
Good fortune truly favoured us that day.


Maybe but when I read your report I conclude you got the super sighting mainly thanks to your patience. And that's what it's all about. I am often amazed of how quick people leave "good" sightings that have the potential of becoming "super" sightings. have you counted the number of cars that arrived at the scene after you but left before the lovely pair started to give you some action?

So instead of saying you had a lot of luck I say: well done!


Hello Salva! that is truly what it is all about, waiting and anticipating what could happen next. No Salva, I did not count the number of cars because of being preoccupied with the moment at hand which turned out to be rather a long....,,, moment. All I can say is that many cars came and went from both directions without enjoying what was at hand to its fullest.

This should answer your question as well Arks and yes, we do have pictures.


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Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 3:02 am 
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Back to imageshack:
Enjoy!

Image

Image


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Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2006 12:39 am 
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We left the park from Croc Bridge and drove back to Malelane tired but extremely happy. had a brai, downloaded the days sightings onto the laptop and re-viewed them, especially the leopards. Finally got to bed and was up by three thirty again.


SUNDAY 8TH JANUARY 2006

Got sorted out, packed and ready to leave, for we planned to enter through Croc Bridge and work our way to Malalane Gate. In pouring rain we set out and drove slowly through the rain. As we reached Hectorspruit, the engine cut out.I managed to start it but it was as if she was gasping for life. Start, stop, start stop-we managed to reach a garage and got out to determine what the problem was.

Filled fuel, topped up the oil-tinkered around and managed to get her started and running. with another hitch, we reached Croc Bridge. After sorting out our entry permit, I returned to the vehicle and turned the ignition only to find that she would not start once more. Got out once more and tried to see what the problem was when nature called. Returning from the loo, the engine started once more but we decided rather to return to Komatipoort and try to sort matters out properly rather than enter the park and find ourselves stranded in the lions lair or some such situation. All this time the rain kept pouring down.

to be continued


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Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 11:52 am 
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Here are pics of lions we saw on our last day in the park. Enjoy!
Image

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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2006 7:31 pm 
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Nico wrote:
Nice pics Wildchild and as far as I can see, you were the only ones. Beautiful male lion. :thumbs_up:


Hi Nico, actually we were not alone but were in the company of a real culprit for the gallery of shame. Get a load of this:

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Unread postPosted: Mon May 15, 2006 7:58 pm 
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Remember the leopard mother and cub pics posted earlier. Now view a video clip of them playing together and enjoy.


http://video.tinypic.com/player.php?v=ztta4p


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