Skip to content

SANParks.org Forums

View unanswered posts | View active topics






Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  Page 1 of 3
 [ 40 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Avoiding the Crowds: Northern Kruger August 2011
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 2:03 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:41 pm
Posts: 623
Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
So I have been playing catch-up BIG TIME with my backlog of Trip Reports...and the best 3 are yet to come!!

This is one of them...and it will be followed by 2 AWESOME Kgalagadi reports which you don't want to miss out on! :mrgreen: :dance: :rtm:

As has become tradition for us, we shirked the temptation to go to the "circus" (South of Skukuza) and the "zoo" (Skukuza to Letaba) and instead opted to head towards what I consider to be the real Kruger, the last vestiges of what once was...the NORTH (ie north of Letaba)...where you can still feel "on your own" and enjoy the odd special sighting without traffic jams and some folks who don't respect the gift that Kruger is :big_eyes: :whistle:

(ducking to avoid debris being flung in my direction by faithful circus attendants and zoo fans :lol: :roll: )

Well, we avoided the Central/South region for the most part at least :wink:

:popcorn:

The itinerary was as follows:

3 nights in Punda Maria
3 nights in Shingwedzi
1 night in Olifants
1 night in Satara
then straight back home

:thumbs_up:

All aboard???

I've got the following lined up for you:
* great scenery
* great birdlife and wildlife
* some sad sights
* the most awesome leopard sighting I've ever had in Kruger

So get the :popcorn: and sit back...

_________________
Planning the next trip already...


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Avoiding the Crowds: Northern Kruger August 2011
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:47 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:41 pm
Posts: 623
Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
Thanks for joining me Anne-Marie, Chirinda, SurfCindy and Crested Val! :dance:

On this trip we took along our 6-month old daughter (start them young, I say!) so we had our fair share of challenges... :D


Day 1: Punda Maria

We had slept over the previous night at friends in Polokwane (Pietersburg), so on this morning it was onto the N1 and towards Louis Trichardt and eventually we entered the Punda Maria gate at about noon. We were in the Kruger! It had been almost 2 years since our first proper visit (I don't count day visits when we might be in the area of White River or Graskop - I mean proper staying in the Kruger for more than 2 nights).

We were greeted by these guys before we reached Punda Maria camp:

Image

Image

Image

We checked in and unpacked into our chalet...and after a short afternoon nap we got back into the SUV and I was ready for some proper Kruger photography! :mrgreen:

We had decided to only drive the Mahonie loop - a favourite! :whistle:

What's a visit to Kruger without the Hornbills?

Image

Can anyone help me with this LBJ? Looks like some kind of Lark?

Image

We came across quite a large herd of buffalo...in thick bush...

Image

Image

Image

And our first kudu...

Image

Around a bend I was surprised by a herd of elephants who were about to cross the road!! :big_eyes:
I went past them quickly and stopped for a photo. This female was quite agitated with me... :roll: :shock:
(Luckily I know a mock-charge by now)

Image

Image

It was clear why - she was protecting this little one.

Image

Shortly before turning back on the main road to Punda, we came across our first Sharpe's Grysbok!! :mrgreen:
It was already getting dark so light was poor in the dense bush where this guy was lurking...plus I had the wrong shutter speed dialed in an underexposed the shot totally :wall:

Image

We got back to camp, hopeful of the week ahead... :popcorn: :popcorn:

_________________
Planning the next trip already...


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Avoiding the Crowds: Northern Kruger August 2011
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:15 am 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 12:20 am
Posts: 551
Location: cornwall uk
Fantastic pics as always, Morkel. :thumbs_up:
Your lbj is a cisticola - Johan's bird ID challenge has taught me that much [I hope], but after that ???
My best guess is a neddicky but I'm sure one of the experts will soon put me right.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Avoiding the Crowds: Northern Kruger August 2011
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:55 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:41 pm
Posts: 623
Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
Thanks so much folks!!! :dance: :whistle: :popcorn:

Glad to have you all on board...
:lol:


Day 2: Punda Maria

This morning we woke before sunrise (not that hard if you have a 6-month old "living alarm clock")...
We drove the Mahonie loop again, this time the other way round.

Nothing beats first and last light in Africa! I will photograph ANYTHING in this kind of light... :mrgreen: :cam:

It started with a giraffe...

Image

Image

Image

Image

And then some impalas...

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

I was happy to find this Burchell's Coucal as well!

Image

Image


...to be continued... :whistle:

_________________
Planning the next trip already...


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Avoiding the Crowds: Northern Kruger August 2011
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 11:56 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:41 pm
Posts: 623
Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
Thanks a bunch, folks...glad to have you on board and giddy with excitement... :k :mrgreen: :clap:


Day 2: Punda Maria

Carrying on around the Mahonie loop...we were looking for the Punda leopard, and even found some fresh tracks... :big_eyes: :hmz:

Image

Image

Bushbuck:

Image

Brown-hooded Kingfisher:

Image

An impala ram with too much energy...

Image

This squirrel was making an awful racket...and we hoped the leopard was perhaps nearby...but nothing showed itself... :doh:

Image

We got back to the main tar road (H13-1) and went towards the junction with the road to Shingwedzi.

This kudu came out of nowhere in the cutline, and got a MASSIVE fright when it saw us...

Image

If you've never believed the stories that a kudu can scale a game-fence in a single bound...think again - this was the pinnacle of its jump!! (focus was off though)

Image

These squirrels on a branch next to the road provided some poses:

Image

Image

And then we came across this cute little guy...I do have some luck with the Grysboks it would seem!

Image

Image

...to be continued...
:D

_________________
Planning the next trip already...


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Avoiding the Crowds: Northern Kruger August 2011
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:31 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:41 pm
Posts: 623
Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
Thanks so much for the kind compliments, and welcome to all the new travellers on board! :dance: :thumbs_up:


Day 2: Punda Maria

We pushed on to the waterhole before you join up with the main Shingwedzi-Babalala-Pafuri road. (Can't find my Kruger map so excuse the omission of some road names and waterhole names :redface: )

An emerald spotted dove checked things out:

Image

A herd of Nyala were drinking in the muddy waters, and they were nervous. Being the photographer that I am, I couldn't help but hope that something was lurking in the bushes or the mud :wink: :hmz: :cam: :sniper:

Image

Image

Wading in deep...

Image

Image

Image

Image

I saw something move in the mud!!! Crocodile??? :big_eyes:

No...just some barbels (catfish)... :doh: :lol:

Image

Mom and daughter braving the mud together...

Image

They are such beautiful antelopes. Their drinking session ended without incident, and they sauntered back into the Mopani forest.

We turned back. It was time for breakfast and my daughter was getting tired of the car seat :whistle: :wall:

These 2 snake eagles soared overhead...

Image

As we passed the Mahonie turnoff close to Punda, I saw something in the road...

LIONS! CUBS!
:mrgreen: :tongue:

(misfired focus on this one! :redface: )
Image

Image

We thought we might have stumbled onto the resident pride...but it seems this was only a trio of solo cubs! And they were looking quite think and sickly :cry: :big_eyes:

Image

Image

Image

They ventured off into the thick bush. We found out later that they were growing up alone and their mom had died before she could re-introduce them to the pride. The Park Ranger was actually on the lookout for them.
:cry:

Anyway, we pushed on back to camp, had a nice brunch and took some siesta time before our afternoon drive...
:whistle:

...TBC... :popcorn:

_________________
Planning the next trip already...


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Avoiding the Crowds: Northern Kruger August 2011
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:26 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:41 pm
Posts: 623
Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
Thanks folks. I hope they made it somehow, too! :pray: :hmz:



Day 2: Punda Maria

On our afternoon drive we went out to Klopperfontein Dam via the dirt road from Punda and looped around on the tar road back to camp.

Straight out of camp - Duiker

Image

This Yellow Hornbill provided some entertainment...

Image

Image

A herd of zebras came down to drink at Klopperfontein...

Image

And this big boy was browsing close by...

Image

Image

Image

Stopped by the roadside for this Fork-tailed Drongo...

Image

Image

And a couple of Fish Eagles were perched over the dam with the catfish where the nyala were...you could see that they had eaten...those catfish (barbels) were very exposed in the shallow mud. We listened to the eagles calling that most beautiful of calls for a few minutes before the clock prompted us to get moving to make gate-closing time...

Image

Shortly before camp we stopped for some young impalas:

Image

Image

...and the day would not end well if we did not see another Sharpe's Grysbok!! :dance: :clap:

Image

Image

(for those that know their photography terms, these last antelope images were all taken after sunset using ISO-6400! :dance: love my D3s! :cam: )

We had an amazing braai that night, ready for the next day...
:whistle:

...TBC...

_________________
Planning the next trip already...


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Avoiding the Crowds: Northern Kruger August 2011
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:25 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:41 pm
Posts: 623
Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
I'm glad you are all enjoying it so far...it only gets better... :mrgreen: :dance:


Day 3: Punda Maria

This morning it was an early rise and an easy drive to Pafuri...one of my favourite places in the park!

On the way to Klopperfontein...

Image

Image

Gotta love those autumn colours in the mopani leaves!

Image

Image

A herd of impala were on their way down to the Klopperfontein waterhole for a drink...

Image

This ewe fell behind and tried to catch up to the rest...

Image

And this young buck was straggling way behind...and had to dash to make up the distance!

Image

I LOVE this one...

Is it a bird?
Is it a plane?
No - it's SUPER IMPALA!!!

Image

I left them, and got to spend some time with a Fiscal Shrike that was hunting...

Image

Image

Image

I came across a family of Ground Hornbills next, but they were already sauntering deeper into the bush...

Image

A Lappet-Faced Vulture sat motionless on a dead leadwood tree...

Image

A first for me - help me twitchers (I know the Afrikaans name) - some kind of Helmet-Shrike right? ("Kremetart-laksman") :redface: :wink:

Image

We got onto the main tar road and headed north to Pafuri...
:popcorn: :thumbs_up:

_________________
Planning the next trip already...


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Avoiding the Crowds: Northern Kruger August 2011
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:58 am 
Offline
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Forumite of the Year & Travel Tale of the Year, Other Parks (2013)
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 10:36 pm
Posts: 8291
Location: Lausanne (Switzerland)
the last one is a White-crested Helmet-Shrike :thumbs_up:
and your Fiscal Shrike is a Magpie (African Longtailed) Shrike :wink:
both beautil photos :clap:
I like the flying Impala... :lol: :clap:
and Pafuri :dance:
did you meet Franck ?

_________________
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye
Le Petit Prince


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Avoiding the Crowds: Northern Kruger August 2011
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 11:13 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:41 pm
Posts: 623
Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
Thank you all so much for tagging along and for the kind compliments :D :dance:


Day 3: Punda Maria

On the way to Pafuri...I took the first turnoff to the left that would lead me to the Nyala Drive...

Image

Suspicious look!

Image

Image


A Yellow Hornbill scrounging around...

Image

Image

This is truly such a beautiful drive...

More baboons!

Image

Image

Image

Image

Pumbaa! I almost missed you because you had no yellow ribbon...tsk tsk :mrgreen: :lol: :thumbs_up:

Image

This is the youngest Nyala I have ever seen...

Image

Image

A slightly older one...

Image

We crossed the main tar road again and were finally on the dirt road leading to Pafuri and eventually Crook's Corner...

More encounters with Pumbaa!
:big_eyes:

Image

Image

This nyala was feeding quietly all alone...

Image

...to be continued...

PS: I might not carry on RIGHT AWAY - since we are going in early on Friday morning for the BIRTH of our SON !!! :big_eyes: :thumbs_up: :cam:

_________________
Planning the next trip already...


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Avoiding the Crowds: Northern Kruger August 2011
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:32 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:41 pm
Posts: 623
Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
Thank you so much for the kind wishes, everyone. My son was born healthy and weighed 3.23kg at birth...
We brought him home today, an amazing experience and our 18-month old daughter doesn't seem too fazed for now... :lol: :whistle:



Day 3: Punda Maria

More on the road to Pafuri...

Image

Image

Image

Image

These 2 boys came towards the river for a drink.

Image

Image

There were many vultures soaring about and perching in a tree, but some ways into the bush...

Image

Image

Image

Image

Another monkey...

Image

Image

Some crocs along the Levhuvhu river...

Image

Some help needed on this ID - I have it as an African Hawk Eagle...twitchers?? (my bird book is missing :hmz: )

Image

Image

:thumbs_up:

...TBC...

_________________
Planning the next trip already...


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Avoiding the Crowds: Northern Kruger August 2011
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 7:01 am 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:41 pm
Posts: 623
Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
Thanks so much for the kind wishes everyone.

My son's name is Daniël Morkel Erasmus 8)

Here's a photo of him when he was 1 day old...

Image


Day 3: Punda Maria

We found a birding delight on one of the Fever Tree loops!
Red-Billed Firefinch!!

Image

Image

Image

The usual hippos in the river...

Image

Some crocs at Crooks Corner...

Image

We drove back to the picnic spot and had a quick bite to eat...

Image

On the way back to Punda Maria we found some Tsessebe!

Image

Image

Here are some of the monkeys in the camp...

Image

Image

It was almost time for our afternoon drive...

:popcorn: :hmz:

_________________
Planning the next trip already...


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Avoiding the Crowds: Northern Kruger August 2011
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2012 4:24 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:41 pm
Posts: 623
Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
Thanks for your kind words everyone...
:mrgreen: :clap:


Day 3: Punda Maria

So, our afternoon drive took us around Mahonie loop again...in search of that leopard... :hmz:

Some buffs...

Image

Image

Ever-present impala...

Image

Nyala ewe...

Image

Elephant breeding herd crossing (again!) :big_eyes:

Image

Image

Brown-Hooded Kingfisher (light from the wrong side though :evil: :wall: :slap: )

Image

Image

Image

Image

Purple Roller!

Image

Image

This Nyala Bull was busy marking a bush as part of his territory... :mrgreen:

Image

Image

Beautiful Impala buck...I love how the light kissed his horns... :k

Image

And to end off, some lovely light hitting the trees...

Image

We got back to camp and I started up the braai...

Tomorrow we would be leaving for Shingwedzi...but not before I made a quick morning trip back up to Pafuri...
:tongue: :thumbs_up:

_________________
Planning the next trip already...


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Avoiding the Crowds: Northern Kruger August 2011
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:03 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:41 pm
Posts: 623
Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
Thank you so much everybody!! :dance: :mrgreen: :thumbs_up:


Day 4: Punda Maria

We were scheduled to book in at Shingwedzi today, but I told my wife she can sleep late with the little one, and I shot off for a quick trip up to Pafuri. I wanted to get there in good light and look for leopards (having spoken with one of the private lodge guides in Punda the previous afternoon about the amount of leopards now active there). So I would only stop for 'special' sightings along the way, and drive at the speed limits to ensure I get there in good light...and I also needed to get back in order to check out in time. :wink:

First off, on the S60 gravel road linking Punda with the H1-8 up to Pafuri...hyenas! And a giraffe carcass some way into the bush that STANK! :big_eyes: :roll:

It was still before sunrise...

Image

Image

Next up - a buffalo dagga boy close to the road...with a passenger!

Image

Image

I was about to push on from the buffalo when I spotted movement in the bush a little further on...

ELAND!!!! :mrgreen: :clap: :dance: :big_eyes: :thumbs_up: :cam:

My first proper Eland sighting in over 20 years in Kruger. And they were being typically Eland...moving/trotting away... :evil: :wall:

Here are the only half-decent shots I got...light was sweet!

Image

Image

Image

I pushed on...

Love these Baobabs as you move north!

Image

I took the S64 Nyala loop again...what a tranquil place!

Image

This ellie was feeding...

Image

Image

And a duiker...

Image

I couldn't go further! An elephant had pushed over a tree, blocking the road...I turned around to head to the Pafuri side... :hmz:

Image

I found another lovely Nyala bull...

Image

Image

And a cute little Vervet Monkey...

Image

Image

Image

That's the snack I want!

Image

...to be continued... :popcorn:

_________________
Planning the next trip already...


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Avoiding the Crowds: Northern Kruger August 2011
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2012 11:13 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:41 pm
Posts: 623
Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
Thanks folks. Photobucket is back online, so let's GO!! :mrgreen: :sniper: :popcorn:

Day 4: Punda Maria

Some more from my early-morning foray to Pafuri...

A young elephant bull coming to the river in haste...

Image

Image

Image

Image

Another cute Vervet Monkey!

Image

Image

Image

A Bateleur that seemed to be feasting on a snake or hare...

Image

Image

Them Vultures again!
I knew there had to be a kill nearby...but it was obviously too far into the bush... :cry:

Image

And lo and behold, Pumbaa made an appearance again! :whistle: :mrgreen:

Image

I just love the Fever Tree Forest!! :lol: :thumbs_up:

Image

Image

These oxpeckers hitched a ride on an impala...

Image

Image

Just before Crooks Corner I turned south towards the tar road - I had no time to visit it again, needed to get back to Punda, check out in time and head to Shingwedzi...


...to be continued...

_________________
Planning the next trip already...


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 40 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: NetEk and 6 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group

Webcams Highlights

Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Submitted by alpha centauri at 12:58:14 Submitted by Kokkewiet at 14:15:34 Submitted by Mavis65 at 13:36:09 Submitted by Anonymous at 12:53:51