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 Post subject: Re: Escape from the Rat Race. Another live TT from BT
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:21 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Back home in the ratrace.
Day 7. Balule.

This morning we set off towards Satara down the S90 and about 1 km past the S89 junction we ran into these...

This is my very poor attempt at reproducing the classic Nigel Dennis shot..

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and some more conventional pictures...

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Also along the way, a little Giraffe with a designer double-afro horn-hair-do

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a Kudu that couldn't wait to cross the road

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a Red-Created Korhaan

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a BBj that got up and called for its partner

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a friend of Dick Terrapin who had taken up residence in a roadside puddle

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A Slender Mongoose crossed the road in front of us and instead of vanishing into the undergrowth, stopped and took a look at us

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We didn't get to drive the notorious S100, opting instead for the shorter distance to a loo stop at N'wanetsi Picnic Spot and from there on the H6 to Satara.

These Butterflies were mud-puddling on some elephant dung! Next time one lands on your hand, just think where it's been!

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and this juvenile Bateleur was after a road-kill brunch

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The only thing of note on the way back to Balule was this White-Headed Vulture at Gudzani East waterhole.

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The afternoon drive took us to the Olifants River bridge where a Giant Kingfisher was looking for supper

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Back towards the camp we found a Hyaena den on the H1-4 before the S89 turnoff

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On the S89, this may have been the Lioness we saw this morning

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On the S90 about 1.5 kms from Balule, the Hyaena den we saw on our last trip in April/May was still there with 5 cubs of various sizes

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Back at camp the bug invasion continued with the night of the Cicadas. These sound like helicopters when they arrive and try to fly into your face

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This one won first prize at the Ugly Bug Ball

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15-17 November 2013, day visitor at Croc Bridge gate.
18 November 2013, Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: Escape from the Rat Race. Another live TT from BT
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:01 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 375
Location: Back home in the ratrace.
Heksie wrote:
DO you only use those lenses on the bugs? Or are they left on?
Because all your sightings are great and the kiekies you took of them are amazing :clap: :clap:
Lions in the morning sun :clap:
lions in the road :clap:
hyenas, figting and their close ups :clap:
cicadas :clap:
Dicks' cousin :clap:
baba giraffe that went for a hair fluff up :clap:
What a great day in the park :thumbs_up:


Hi Heksie, thanks again for the comments.

The extension tubes are only for closeups, when they are on the camera (with my 55-200mm lens) I can only focus on things that are less than half a metre away.

I use two camera bodies, my D5100 has my Bigma permamently attached, the D5000 usually has the 55-200 but I also use the 18-55 and the extension tubes on this camera.

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15-17 November 2013, day visitor at Croc Bridge gate.
18 November 2013, Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: Escape from the Rat Race. Another live TT from BT
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:13 pm 
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Location: Back home in the ratrace.
Day 8. Balule.

Today we drove across to Timbavati Picnic Spot then back to the H1 and up to Olifants for breakfast.

There was some early morning action at the Hyaena den just up the road.

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and on the S39 a Hammerkop's nest with its owner flying in with yet more material

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a small troop of Soldier Ants was marching across the road

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and a beautiful flower - I've never seen this plant in flower before, can anyone guess what it is?

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At Timbavati, a butterfly and a strange looking beetle caught my eye - Can't find this in my insect book

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On the S127 this big guy was telling us to get out of his way

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a snake waited long enough for me to snap a couple of pics

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and a dung beetle made his irratic way across the road complete with brood ball and mate

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From the restaurant at Olifants I managed to get this Yellowbilled Kite

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and I managed these two pics when we got back to Balule

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on the way back to the Olifants bridge during the afternoon drive, a Steenbok posed nicely for me

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a Hadeda Ibis was nesting in a tree at the end of the bridge

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a Gyppo did a flypast

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and these two were taking a bath

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15-17 November 2013, day visitor at Croc Bridge gate.
18 November 2013, Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: Escape from the Rat Race. Another live TT from BT
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:17 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 375
Location: Back home in the ratrace.
Day 9. Balule - Lower Sabie.

Another moving day so we got up when it got light and packed up camp. We drove down the dirt roads to N'Wanetsi where had breakfast.

We found this chap on our tent and he barely escaped being breakfast for some birds when we got him off.

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Close to Ngotso Dam we found a mating pair of Lions who were involved as we arrived but didn't do the deed again in the next 30 minutes while we waited.

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This guy must be the Brad Pitt of the Lion world

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and she seems completely bored with the whole proceedings

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From the viewpoint at N'Wanetsi I got some more in flight pics of a Yellowbilled Kite

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We continued on the S37 and S39 to Orpen Dam and from there down the H10 to Lower Sabie

The only things worth photographing were these two Elephants who may or may not be tuskers.

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Once we had set up the campsite I went for a walk around the camp to see what I could find.

Heuglin's Robin-Chat.

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Blackcollared Barbet.

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Arrowmarked Babblers

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Green Pigeon

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15-17 November 2013, day visitor at Croc Bridge gate.
18 November 2013, Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: Escape from the Rat Race. Another live TT from BT
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:02 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Back home in the ratrace.
Day 10. Lower Sabie.

Up at the usual oh-dark-thirty and out of the gates just after they opened. Our intention was to head down to the south end of the Gomondwane loop, head up to the S137, across to the S28 and down to breakfast at Croc Bridge.

We had to make a slight change to our plans when, about 5kms down the main road we came upon a traffic jam that was caused by these. The huge game drive truck had parked in the middle of the road making it difficult for anyone else to see anything but we did manage to see through a small gap and by moving back and forth were able to see some of what was going on.

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Nobody was moving and it looked like the lions were staying put as well so we turned around and headed back towards Lower Sabie taking the S82 Mativuhlungu Loop to get around the traffic jam. We do not like sitting around watching Lions lying about along with uncle Tom Cobley and all.

Back on the H4, a small clan of Hyaenas loped past and disappeared into the bush.
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and a little further, a lone Lioness on the side of the road.

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A dung beetle was rolling a ball across the road and having problems staying upright.

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Near Duke waterhole two Zebras were doing some mutual grooming

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and I couldn't resist taking this portrait in wonderful light.

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We had previously arranged to meet Aat the Tusker Man and his SO Elly for breakfast at Crocodile Bridge. I was relieved to find that Elly didn't have large flappy ears and a trunk!!!!

After a fantastic CB breakfast - the best in the park - and a great chat with A&E which ranged from Tuskers (Naturally) to the downfall of Lance Armstrong, we finally bid them farewell and headed into Komatipoort for some much needed (and much less expensive) provisions.

The afternoon drive took us up to Nkuhlu past Sunset Dam where a Hippo was showing his gape.

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Nkuhlu had closed by the time we got there but there were several Nile Monitors in evidence, basking in the afternoon sun. This was the biggest of them.

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On the way back there was a traffic jam on the Lubyelubye bridge, caused by the famous Lubyelubye Leopard.

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Sunset Dam was looking wonderful in the late afternoon light.

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A Grey Heron on a nearby tree presented we with this photo opportunity.

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A small herd of Waterbuck came over the embankment between the road and the camp.

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and we had a stunning sunset across the Sabie river.

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_________________
15-17 November 2013, day visitor at Croc Bridge gate.
18 November 2013, Lower Sabie


Last edited by BluTuna on Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Escape from the Rat Race. Another live TT from BT
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 4:54 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 375
Location: Back home in the ratrace.
kallis1786 wrote:
Lions are amazing if you spend time with them. I do agree there are times when Lions just sleep around, but when they are active, it makes a great sighting.

Now coming to todays episode, another fab episode with more Lions :dance: :dance: :dance: Some superb pics you got there. A Hyena and WOW a HIPPO YAWN :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes: , a Hippo Yawn is still in my wishlist.

Great episode. Loved it.


Don't get me wrong - I'll sit and watch Lions if they are doing something and if there aren't too many other cars (like the mating pair we watched a couple of days before this). What I don't get is people sitting for hours watching Lions sleep.

Hippo yawns are easy! Just find some hippos and be patient, the alpha bull will show off his teeth eventually. If you're really luck, you might get to see a fight, that's really worth watching!!!

Here's a link to one of my previous travel tales http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=57094 - Hippo fight about half way down the page!

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15-17 November 2013, day visitor at Croc Bridge gate.
18 November 2013, Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: Escape from the Rat Race. Another live TT from BT
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:55 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Back home in the ratrace.
Day 11. Lower Sabie.

Up early again and off to Afsaal via the Biyamiti Wier; one of our first sightings is of these two chaps giving us the bum view.

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followed shortly after by a lone Hyaena galloping down the road.

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The weather was mostly cloudy and the Berg-en-Dal area looked sombre from the S25.

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At one of the many river crossings was a Little Egret and a Reed Cormorant

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Biyamiti Wier is a great place for getting close to birds

Common Sandpiper
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Hammerkop
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Black Crake pretending to be Naomi Campbell
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Threebanded Plover - or is it a Lapwing these days?
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and an eye level view of an Impala.
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At Afsaal, a hairy caterpillar

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and on the way back to Lower Sabie (via the N4 as it was getting late and I needed my midday snooze), a Flapnecked Chameleon.

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On the H4 from Crocodile Bridge, we stopped next to a minibus to see what they were looking at - "you just missed a Leopard in that dead tree" :( So we hung around and watched for a while which was a good thing as we would have missed this sighting otherwise.

About 100 metres further up the road - Mom had just got up and moved into the bush.

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And here's Super-Mom, raising FIVE cubs to this age us an awesome achievement!

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Our afternoon drive took us down a road we haven't driven before (unless it was a very long time ago), the S122 with a stop at Mlondozi Dam.

On the LS bridge, a Giant Kingfisher

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and after seeing a lot of nothing on the S122, finally an Ele who must be on Aat's web site but I can't find him.

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along the way were some male Ostriches who were trying to impress a female

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and when we got to the S29 junction and drove towards Mlondozi, there were suddenly lots of Eles striding at high speed through the bush. This was one of the smaller groups.

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Aside from a very bloated, upside-down, dead hippo, the dam had nothing to offer but from the bridge at LS, a not-dead hippo was standing in the rapids.

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15-17 November 2013, day visitor at Croc Bridge gate.
18 November 2013, Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: Escape from the Rat Race. Another live TT from BT
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:00 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 375
Location: Back home in the ratrace.
Day 12. Lower Sabie.

Today we drove the Gomondwane Loop - S137 - S28 again, one of my favourite morning drives, ending up at Croc for a super breakfast.

But first, in the loo, an Owl Moth

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Not far from the camp, a Fish Eagle having breakfast with the sunrise

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A Sabota Lark?

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an Ele taking a mud bath on the Gomondwane Loop

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At first I thought I had a leaf on my door but it turned out to be this cute little grasshopper who was only about 1cm long.

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Just after we turned onto the S137 we ran into a herd of Buffs.

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and much further along down the S28, a pair of Giraffes necking

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In typical female fashion, she was leading him on and as soon as he got serious she turned away

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and then came back to lead him on a little bit more.
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He gave up and walked off shortly after.

At Croc Bridge, this Tree Agama was....well....in a tree
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As we were walking back to the car, Mommy Wartie strolled into camp with 4 piglets.

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Back to LS via the H4 and S82 where we spotted this young Whitebacked Vulture practicing takeoffs and landings

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The afternoon drive took up back down the Gomandwane Loop but first a quick look at Sunset Dam where we found a Blackwinged Stilt

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and an Openbilled Stork.

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At Nthahdanyathi Hide a Greenbacked Heron caught a snack

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and when we were almost back to the H4, a young Lion in the grass

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By this time we were running really late and had to do 26 kms in about 45 minutes so we cut 5kms off that by going up the S82.

As always, when you are late there's something interesting to see.

I think these were the Lions we saw yesterday morning.

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15-17 November 2013, day visitor at Croc Bridge gate.
18 November 2013, Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: Escape from the Rat Race. Another live TT from BT
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:27 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 375
Location: Back home in the ratrace.
Day 13. Lower Sabie -> Skukuza.

Time to pack up the tent for the last time this trip but before we started I took an hour or so to visit Sunset Dam as I hadn't managed to get there in the early morning this trip.

The light was wonderful and I managed to snap a few of the locals

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Back at camp, Masked Weavers were busy building nests right above our tent.

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On the way up the H4 to Nkuhlu it was already scorching hot at 9:30 and this Ele was taking advantage of the shade.

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At Nkuhlu I wanted to try out the infamous Buffalo Pie but they had sold out :-( So we had to opt for the breakfast which was excellent and great value for money - unlike Wooden Banana.

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Then I went on the hunt for some little things. At first I thought this was a dead leaf.

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Some kind of wasp or wild bee that was digging a hole

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and a beetle on the wall.

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Carrying on towards Skukuza we turned into a river loop and I saw our first Woodie this trip.

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When we got to Skukuza we had a little while to wait before we could check in and the SO found this unusual moth for me to shoot.

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And along the river walk one of the resident Skinks

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After we found our hut and I'd unloaded my single bag and the SO's multitude of stuff, I couldn't wait any longer and headed off for a magical afternoon at Lake Panic.

Which will be covered in the next episode.

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15-17 November 2013, day visitor at Croc Bridge gate.
18 November 2013, Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: Escape from the Rat Race. Another live TT from BT
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:17 am 
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Location: Back home in the ratrace.
naomi c wrote:
Beautiful birds! And the white moth is really something! :clap: :clap:

:popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn:


Thanks Naomi, I believe it's a Fig Tree Moth.

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15-17 November 2013, day visitor at Croc Bridge gate.
18 November 2013, Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: Escape from the Rat Race. Another live TT from BT
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 3:25 pm 
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Location: Back home in the ratrace.
Day 13. Lower Sabie -> Skukuza. Continued......

Lake Panic, one of the most beautiful places in the park.

I got there early in order to get the best seat in the hide before the bazooka-boys arrived. I needn't have worried as it clouded over and none of them bothered.

First up was a crimson Dragonfly

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and plenty of noise from one of the Grey Heron chicks

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A pied Kingfisher decided to have a bath and of course I didn't have the camera on quite the right settings so the pics are a bit blurred. I still like them though.

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People were coming and going and after a short period of solitude I was joined by two ladies. I almost choked when one said "That bird's got webbed feet. I wonder what kind of duck that is".

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A gyppo flyby - these are great, you can hear them coming long before you see them :-)

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The jewel of LP stopped by for a few seconds

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and by sheer luck (it's impossible to anticipate when these are going to fly) I managed this shot. A bit blurred but I don't care

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Then I spotted a Golly on approach......

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landing gear coming down......

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flaps and slats deployed.....

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prepare for touch down......

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reverse thrust and Brrrrrrrrrrrrraaaaakes. Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing.

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A Grey Heron flypast showing the top of its wings

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and a Greenbacked Heron

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a female Thickbilled Weaver

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and a Grey Heron launch.

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These two Goliath Herons were on their way to a punk-music revival

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By 16:00 the light was fading fast and I decided to head back to camp, pick up the SO and go for a drive.

This beetle was on the wall of the hut

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and a Flapnecked Chameleon was crossing the road near the busy crossroads.
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We stopped at the day visitor's centre to take a look around and found it was very nicely done. As we left I spotted this Greenbacked Pytilia - but I still call it a Melba finch.
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We also saw our first Impala Lambs but they were too deep in thick bush to get any pictures.

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15-17 November 2013, day visitor at Croc Bridge gate.
18 November 2013, Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: Escape from the Rat Race. Another live TT from BT
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:34 am 
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Location: Back home in the ratrace.
Day 14. Skukuza -> Home.

I was up early and off to LP again leaving the SO in bed.

The sun was coming up as I approached the LP parking area.

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Two proud parents of....

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this really insane looking chick

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A greenbacked Heron with an early breakfast

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Mayhem as a parent arrives with food for two hungry chicks

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and beats a hasty retreat once they have been fed.

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A Jacana just as it lands

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Another Grey Heron arriving with food. It's amazing how the chicks recognise their own parents from a great distance and only that bird's chicks start making a noise!

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A crocodile was cruising around and not even creating a ripple on the water.

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A last couple of pictures....

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and it's time to pick up the SO and head towards the gate with a stop for coffee at Afsaal.

Where we saw a Red Headed Weaver

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and some more crimson Dragonflies

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I think this one has just hatched.

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Finally, we can't delay our departure any more so We head towards Malelane.

And to see us off, some brand new Impies.

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THE END

That was the Kruger through my eyes and my camera lens.

Again I have tried to give a slightly different view of the park than the usual mammals and birds reports - which I read with great enjoyment even if I don't comment very often.

I think the macro photography made quite a difference to this report and I'm really pleased with the positive feedback!

Yet another trip done and dusted - I seem to spend lots of time anticipating the trip and then suddenly it's all over bar the photos!

I'm still going back through all of the pictures I took (about 6,500 of them) to select out some of the ones I missed out of this TT. I'll post them as additions and I'll also post a countdown of my personal favourites for the trip. So keep the comments coming (even if it's just a thumbs-up) so I can avoid getting nasty comments from the mods about posting too many pictures :wink:

A big THANK YOU to everybody for taking the time to read this report and a special thank you to those of you who took the time to comment.

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15-17 November 2013, day visitor at Croc Bridge gate.
18 November 2013, Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: Escape from the Rat Race. Another live TT from BT
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:02 am 
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Location: Back home in the ratrace.
And for Hilda, who seems to like Dragonflies, here are some pics I got at home. These were far more difficult to get than birds in flight as they rarely stay still for long enough to focus and zoom in.

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15-17 November 2013, day visitor at Croc Bridge gate.
18 November 2013, Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: Escape from the Rat Race. Another live TT from BT
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:36 pm 
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Posts: 166
Location: Calitzdorp, Little Karoo
Hi BT
Yes i am also one of those readers who don't often comment. Thanks for a most interesting trip report and yes the macro photography brought a new and interesting dimension to the report

The crimson Dragonflies in your last day report look very much like Kirby's Dropwing which are found more often on a stone than on a leaf.
Those 2 fantastic photos of a flying dragonfly (i am very :mrgreen: about those photos) looks like a female but I cannot Id the actual species.

Looking forward to your next TR and thanks again for sharing your experiences with us

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MY get up and go has just got up and gone
Be Positive and Keep Smiling
Terry


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 Post subject: Re: Escape from the Rat Race. Another live TT from BT
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:30 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Back home in the ratrace.
As promised here are some more pictures from our trip. I didn't post these at the time for obvious reasons.

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There were nine Rhinos at this wallow which was in the middle of the N4.
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TBC.......

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15-17 November 2013, day visitor at Croc Bridge gate.
18 November 2013, Lower Sabie


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