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 Post subject: spargish Green,Green Grass of Home Oct '12
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:25 am 
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I had been looking froward to this trip for a while as it would take place in one of my favourite parts of KNP(South East) and it was in Spring after the first rains so the bush was bound to be Lively :mrgreen:

I Only had one sighting on my wishlist and that was a leopard sighting as they are the animal that eludes me most when visiting KNP, also my sister hasnt seen one in over 2 years...

We were originally booked 2 nights at Malelane in a Bungalow and 2 nights at Croc Bridge camping. We really wanted to see if we could change it to 1 night at Malelane and 3 nights at Croc Bridge and as Luck could have it 2 days before we departed the 1 night we needed at Croc Bridge became available :dance:

Departure
So at the dinner table the night before departure my dad realised that he hadnt bought any Boerewors to go with the other meat, it wasnt a biggee as we werent camping the first night and could pick up some wors in Malelane and then freeze it once we reached camp. We were departing in 2 cars as my Sisiter would have to leave early because she was offered some extra work to give an accounting workshop at another school and since she is going to visit the US next year any extra cash would be helpful.

We Departed at around 6 and the first part of the journey went really well, we stopped at Milly's and enjoyed a really good breakfast in the new restuarant. I made sue that I had put my lights off when we stopped for breakfast, but when I came to start the car the battery was dead. So lets get the Jumpers and jump start it, only problem was my car had been in for service the week before and I had forgot to put the jumpers in the car. We managed to source some jumpers from a manager at Millies but our other smaller car just couldnt start my car........

Luckilly a Man on route to KNP in a land Cruiser had some really big jumpers and his Land Crusier start my car first time. Luckilly it was early enough to make battery center in Nelspruit to check out my Battery......

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 Post subject: Re: Green,Green Grass of Home
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 11:19 am 
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Departure Day Continued

So we reached Nelspruit and arrived at Battery center which was located at one of the busiest petrol stations I have ever been to, the tests showed it was indeed a dead cell and the battery needed to be replaced, so that was another R950 gone :big_eyes: While we were getting the battery replaced we sent the girls off to pick up the wors.

Once everything was completed we made the short drive to Malelane......Once we crossed the bridge we had our first sighting Buffs in the River bed :dance:
We joined the line to get our permits and possibly check in at Malelane as it was almost 2 already. Check in went smoothly even though some rude people tried to push in :rtm:

We made our way to Malelane camp and our 2snd sighting would surely be Impala, but no it was this guy
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We unloaded the few things we had to for the night, put the wors in the deep freeze and had a little rest before heading out for an afternoon drive. We finally spotted our first Impi's
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We popped in at the new picnic spot near Berg en Dal, and I was really impressed, I love the way it is spread out and it will be a picnic spot where you should be able to enjoy some food in peace and quiet. We stopped at Berg en Dal to pick up some coldrinks and wood. We headed off onto the Matjulu loop to see what was happening at the waterhole. We spotted this lovely lady on the way.
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We encountered our first roadblock

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 Post subject: Re: Green,Green Grass of Home
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 10:56 am 
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Welcome aboard to the new passengers 8)

Departure Day cont

So after clearing our enjoyable roadblock we found another one right round the corner
The roadblock moving off the road
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This time I was taking the mugshots at this roadblock :twisted:
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Now that the road was clear you can see just how green the rolling hills of the Berg en Dal area were.
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As we returned to Malelane camp, we found this guy lying right outside the gate of the camp, constatly looking at the gate. You could see that he would have loved to join the fun going on in the camp but that he would surely get into trouble :rtm:
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As it was right at the gate we sat there right up untill 6pm, when we reluctantly returned to our bungalow.
Nothing like a good woodfire in KNP, otherwise know as Bush TV.Image
That night we enjoyed a really awesome braai and went to bed early with full stomachs ready to head to CB early in the morning.

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 Post subject: Re: Green,Green Grass of Home
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 1:01 pm 
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Day 2
So the plan for today was to get up as soon as the gates open and head to Croc bridge along to newly re-opened s25, have a coffee stop along the way and have breakfast at Croc Bridge once we have pitched the tent :mrgreen:
I was up at around 4:30, I got up to take in the dawn sounds, I didnt need to rush the rest of the family to much as it was the last day of September and gates opened at 6:00 when it was almost already full daylight :?
I watched the Sun rise over the Malelane mountains
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We were out the gate a few minutes after 6am and seemed to be the only ones up in camp
Our first sighting was this Tawny eagle cathing some morning sun on the s114
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We crossed the first low level crossing on the s25 and found this little guy(the pic makes him look much bigger) He was about 70cm in length
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Even though it was a small pool there was plenty of food for himImage
Next up was this little girrafe giving us the evil eye, I bet he was wondering what we thought of his new hairstyle
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Then one of my favorite small creatures of the bush crossed our pathImage
When we stopped for coffee this little guy was also enjoying his morning snack of termites

Image
Untitled by Spargish87, on Flickr

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 Post subject: Re: Green,Green Grass of Home
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 1:15 pm 
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This should turn my page :pray:

Day 1 cont.
After enjoying our coffee and ouma's we pushed on towards crocodile bridge, we finally reached the bridge over the biyamiti, the temporary fix involves just creating a giant sand bridge that links up with the concrete bridge(I wonder how it stood up to the recent heavy rains)
We noticed one car stopped on the other side enjoying some coffee and watching something in the distance, what was that in the shade there?.... :hmz:
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We enjoyed watching her through some bino's but we were certain she wasnt going to move so we decided not to stay to long as we wanted to get to CB as early as possible.
This Daga boy was enjoying his breakfast
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As the enviroment started to change and the trees and shrubs started to give way to the grass we encountered our first stripy creatures of the trip.Image
Pumba was enjoying some of the new green grass
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As we arrived at CB we dropped my mom and sister off at reception to check in and then headed straight to the campsites to see what was available, we found a really nice site along the fence the 2nd last site before the safari tents. It had lots of shad and was nice and level and our neighbours told us the Hyeanas were at the fence every night :thumbs_up:
We set up the basics and then sat down for some corn flakes and yoghurt. After makibng the tent homely we settled down for a little nap before heading off to Lower Sabie.....

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 Post subject: Re: Green,Green Grass of Home
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:50 pm 
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Location: Johannesburg
Day 1 cont
After freshing up we set off for an early afternoon drive up to Lower Sabie to have a light snack and then back to Croc for our late afternoon drive.
It was really heating up and these guys had found some mud to cool off
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The Cause of an African traffic jam, well that was what my dad said when he sent it to his overseas coleagues
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The next two pictures are what inspired the title of my TR
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I just couldnt believe how green it was, it was like I was taking pictures of the Zebbies in a landscaped suburban garden :big_eyes:
We carried on toward LS and came accross a HUGE traffic jam, apparently there were lions on the bank of the Sabie, but with a traffic jam that long, you couldnt be sure where they were so we just headed on towards LS. We took a drive accross the low level H10 bridge and found this guy on the rock, I have tried to ID him with my birdbook but with no success, anybody know what he is ? :doh:
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When then popped in at lower sabie and enjoyed a buffalo pie with a draft beer, and even though it wasnt my favourite make of beer, because of the setting it was one of the best drafts I have ever had :tongue: It was kind of special taking my sister to Lower Sabie because it is vastly different to the one she remembers from her last trip there. She still remembers the old small shop and restuarant complex. we Picked up some iceys,some ice and colddrinks for the trip back to camp....

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 Post subject: Re: Green,Green Grass of Home
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:48 pm 
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Day 1 cont.
We set off for a slow drive back to crocodile, all enjoying our icies, getting used to the humidity in the air. We notice a car stopped, and then its starts going backwards and forwards, we ask what they have seen and they arent sure....Just then a lioness pops up and begins to walk into the bush :big_eyes: every one scrambles for cameras but alas she has dissapeared now....wewaited to see if she would reappear but we eventually moved off with out and luck...

Oh I forgot to mention these beauties we saw on the N17
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We got a bum shot of the feathery kind
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We realise that because we spent so long looking for the Lioness, we had to drive at the speed limit to get back to camp on time :wall: so no leasurely drive back to camp to maximise game viewing. As this is how Murphy operates, my dad Suddenly shouts STOP!!! I stop on the sand but as we all know its not very quiet :slap: What my dad saw was lying dow, what did he see :big_eyes:
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It was a Spottie, a Lazy horse a good old Rosseta, the one animal on my wishlist :dance: :dance: :dance:
please excuse the dark roof shadow in my pic :slap: ImageImage
We gazed through our binocs and snapped pictures, pointed her out to the car that had been behind us for most of the way, but as Murphy works this way we could sit there and see if she moved we had to carry on towards camp so we wouldnt be late, but we had seen a spottie and we were all on cloud 9 after that :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
Here is a cropped picture for a better view
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Untitled by Spargish87, on Flickr
We made it back to camp with 1 minute to spare, when we got back to the tent every one opened a cold version of their favourite beverage and the fire was started.While i was braainging we could hear the tell tale sounds of ellies feeding in the thickets eventually we got a view and there was a breeding heard feeding about 25meters away from the fence, it was just awesome to watch the little ones feed and play about. That night everybody went to bed wih full stomachs and full souls.....

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 Post subject: Re: Green,Green Grass of Home
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:47 pm 
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Midnight Action Update
So this update doesnt contain any photos because well they really wont possible. As I said earlier there was a breeding herd feeding about 25 meters from the fence while we were braaing. We had all gone to bed and at about 1am in the morning I was woken by the huge crack and then woooosh noise of a tree being pushed over.

It sounded really close, in actual fact it was about 50m away but as I exited the tent I noticed a huge bull elephant feeding on the busy about a meter away from the fence, I slowly moved and got my chair and just sat there 2 meters away from this huge beast, who I could tell knew I was there but obviously decided that I was no threat.

I one stage I did try take a picture(obviously with no flash) but he could even sense the tiny little red light on the camera which anoyyed him slighlty so i put that away quickly. This was a feeling I will never forget being so close to a giant of the bush that I could hear him breathe :roll: :clap: :pray:

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 Post subject: Re: Green,Green Grass of Home
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:27 pm 
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Location: Johannesburg
Day 2

After eventually going back to sleep after spending time admiring the giant, it was time to get up and prepare everything for the early morning drive. Today was sadly the day my Mom and Sis had to go back to jhb so we were going on an early morning drive which a certain person was skipping, still smug about the leopard sighting I think, and then we would head off for a fry up breakfast at Afsaal and then the two girls would leave from Malelane.

So after getting every one up we were 2nd at the gate :wall: It wasnt really a big issue as the person in front of us carried on straight on the h4-2 and we turned onto the s28. THe first creature we saw was on the Hunt :big_eyes:
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We watched him pick up titbits to eat while walking through the grass and then moved, Suddenly 2 creatures crossed the road in front of us, There were SPOTS, but what spots :big_eyes: These guys were also on the hunt :big_eyes:
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We had now seen both types of spotties on the same road :mrgreen: :dance: We were alone with them for 20minutes before another car joined us, they were definitely on the hunt as they kept moving deeper into the bush but kept using different points as vantage points, this was one of the last views we got of them before the headed deeper into the bush out of viewImage
We carried on towards dukes to enjoy some coffee with that satisfied feeling, we came accross the Road Runner on the Move MEEP MEEP
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There wasnt much happening at Duke's sadly no WendyA leopard action but we still enjoyed our coffee :thumbs_up:
On the way we encountered this big guy, who stared us down almost saying 'are you looking at me"
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When we got back to camp we freshened up and then hopped into the 2 different cars and headed towards Afsaal.....

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 Post subject: Re: Green,Green Grass of Home
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:00 am 
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Location: Johannesburg
Day 2 Cont
So we decided we would make our way to afsaal via the H5, S26, S113, H3 as we had driven the s25 the morning before, but not long after we turned onto the H5 I was kind of regretting my route. Dont get me wrong there is nothing wrong with vibrations as Long as they are good ones like the Beach boys said, but sadly these were not vibrations of the good Kind.

After completing the s26 we hadnt seen much other than a few other cars, I have noprmally had decent times on the h5 and s26 but I can see why some people dislike it. Personally I will give it more chances in the future :wink:

As we turned onto the s113 we were stopped by an elderly couple in a bakkie who stopped us and told us there was a leopard in a tree about 2 kms on :big_eyes: What could it be a 2nd leopard in 2 days and this one a LIT. Naturally our hopes where high but I reminded myself that I have been told things before and have missed out, so we slowly made our way to where the leopard was....
there were a few cars there and this is what we saw
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Eventually the beauty sat up :cam:
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After that she jumped out of the tree and headed off deeper into the bush and we didnt see here again, but we got to spend 45 minutes with this beauty so we happily headed off to Afsaal for breakfast :thumbs_up: So at the end of the day the road choice wasnt to bad...

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 Post subject: Re: Green,Green Grass of Home
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:38 pm 
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Day 2 cont
So we enjoyed a really good breakfast at Afsaal, nothing beats a good fry up breakfast in KNP. After we had packed up it was time to say goodbye to the fairer members of our family as they were heading for the exit at Malelane and we were heading back to CB via gardenia and the S25. Not much was happening at Gardenia so we moved on. We found our little reptilian friend again( maybe his size will be better captured)
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Ready for his close up
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We didnt see much else on the way back to camp as it was a rather warm day and we were driving in the heat of the day. When we arrived back at camp we decided it was a time for some relaxation and I enjoyed a good nap. Since we had driven quite far that day we decided not to have a big afternoon drive but to just go sit at Gezfantombi dam and see what happens there while enjoying and ice cream.
These guys were moving their babies house for the evening
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These daga boys were enjoying their late afternoon grass

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We returned to camp and settled down next to the fire whiskey in hand and enjoyed a dinner of Boerewors and chicken thighs. Early to bed ready for the next morning...

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 Post subject: Re: Green,Green Grass of Home
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:28 pm 
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Day 3
Up early again tomake some coffee to get the slumbering father of mine out of bed and into the car so we can be first at the gate and we were :dance:
We turned directly onto the N17 and found some unmentionalbles
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Mr Zeebra was sunning his stripes, perhaps in the hope to make his darks darker and his whites whiter :hmz:
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After that I spotted my Nemisis :twisted: .....The Burchells Coucall, I have never been able to get a photo of one of these beautiful birds......Set up the shot and as I was about the take the shot, it flew away :evil: Not to worry there was another one on the other side of the Road.....This time the naughty little bird jumped into the grass and hid in the clumps of grass :doh: I have come to the conclusion that I will never get a picture of one of those Beauties :rtm:

Gerry was getting his morning fibre, he was definitely getting it all that morning
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We stopped at Dukes for some coffee, not much was happening but there are not many other better places to enjoy a cup of coffee and an Ouma. My dad just casually said, what are those cockatoo like birds in the tree......could it be one of the birds on my wishlist :shock: I looked into the tree and what did I see
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:dance: :dance: Finally The Brown Headed Parrot is on my KNP list, now the missed Coucal is the last thing on my mind, the moved off and after we finished our coffee so did we
On the way back to camp we found Mr Snake eagle looking for his breakfast

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We arrived back at camp after enjoying a very feathery morning :thumbs_up: Now it was time to pack the breakfast stuff and Head off for Mlondozi.......

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 Post subject: Re: Green,Green Grass of Home
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:17 am 
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Location: Johannesburg
Day 3 cont
We were on the road to Mlondozi now to enjoy a good breakfast, it was warming up very quickly and we could tell that it was going to be the Hottest day of the trip. This guy was filling up on some organic fuel before it was the heat of the day.
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Then on the low lever bridge of the H10 it was time for some stern words and eveidence gathering :rtm: The people reluctanty got back into their Kombi how could one be so ignorant to get out on that bridge, its a favourite hang out of one of the LS leppies
This secretary was in search of some slithery morsels, even though it was now very hot
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This big chap was leaving after having his cooling spa treatment
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These guys were getting in their daily work out in the waterImage
These biys decided it was best to have a drink far away from the guys doing the heavy liftingImage
This herd on the other side was moving off after cooling downImage
A little bit of creativity with a tilt and shift shot of the Ellies

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The straglers had to be pulled out of the mud

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After being treated to all this ellie action in one place we enjoyed a very relaxed brunch, and once done it was time to head off to LS to get a cooling ice cream.....

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 Post subject: Re: Green,Green Grass of Home
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 12:35 pm 
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Location: Johannesburg
Day 3 Cont
Here is the next update, a bit delayed but I underestimated the size of my workload at work :slap:
So after enjoying a relazing brunch, we made a pit stop at the loo and it was a scorcher of a day, as we looked from the top of Mlondozi you could see different ellies all making a b line for the dam.

Our first bull couldnt wait to get to the water he wasnt stopping for anything
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The 2nd bull was a little bit more photogenic and he posed for the Camera
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As we turned of the Mlondozi road and headed towards the H10 via the Mlondozi loop we saw a huge dustbowl heading towards Mlondozi, grabbed the Binos and it was a huge heard of Buffs heading for the water, they must have been 1000 strong, I couldnt get a good shot of the group :wall: Image
On the h10 we came across Jack the Jackal, he had just finished a drink at a little puddle

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After stopping off at Lower Sabie and stocking up on a couple ice creams and cold drinks we made a stop at Sunset dam, Hippy was so happy to see us he couldnt help but scream it out
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We made our way back to Croc via the H4-2 but it was the heat of the day and it was really quiet and we had no decent sightings, back at camp it was time for a cold shower to refresh ourselves for the afternoon drive....

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