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 Post subject: Vlakvarkvrou To Write or Not to Write .....Dec '12
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:41 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Erasmuskloof, Pretoria
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Again this was one of those spur of the moment decisions. Mads and I decided last year – on the spur of the moment - (Oct 2011) that we will go away every year in October to celebrate her birthday. We did not really plan this year where we wanted to go because Mads was suppose to be away with work and I also had a very busy and upside down year at work (the reason for my absenteeism on the forum so far).

Where to go???? Last year we decided on n r 99.99 that we will go to the far North of KNP. This year we decided again in the beginning of October that we would like to go to Mapungupwe. I could not get leave and then decided to be a good public servant ….. and took a day’s leave with a very good “unmentionable” reason :twisted:

We left Pretoria and were on the N1 at 1.00am. The road was still and we had an uneventful drive. We fill up the Suzuki at Vivo as the pumps at Alldays are not open 24/7.

We arrive at the Mapungupwe gate on the Den Staat Road at 5.40 as the main gate does not open until much later. The gate was open and nobody in sight to welcome us except a few animals.

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There was a beautiful Bushbuck as well, but she was very shy and we could not get a proper photo.

Maloutswa Bird hide and sightings
We drove to the Maloutswa Bird Hide where we spent a fruitful few hours. (Naomi – I hope when you go later in the year that there will be more green grass to cover the “open planes”.)

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Cute toilet building
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Dam in front of the hide
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In front of the hide was this deceased Blue Wildebeest with a Egyptian Goose (Kolgans) and a Sacred Ibis (Skoorsteenveër) nibbling on the carcass.
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BTW - The title of this TR – we could not decide if we want to write a TR. We did not write one of our 2nd trip earlier this year to the far North of KNP, or me and my family’s trip to the South in September. Another title could be “on the spur of the moment!

I have uploaded a few interesting water birds such as the Ruff (Kemphaan) and will post them later. For now over to Mads :D

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15-24/08/2014
7-14/11 2014
17/12/2014-01/01/2015


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 Post subject: Re: To Write or Not to Write .....
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 4:08 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Thanks you to Anne-marie, MM, Billyf, Phllip 1, Magriet, Naomie c, Rooies, Sky, Trrp-trrrrrrrr, Grantmissy, Cheetah2111, Hilda and Barryels for all the comments... Okay we shall write this TR :big_eyes:

Meandering Mouse: Do you mean Mads go TOO Mad(s) again :hmz: I love it when a plan comes together!! :wink:

Hallo all forumites,

yes it was a fast decision… and as with most of these fast decision trips, it turned out to be very enjoyable with most amazing sightings.

It was VlakVarkVrou’s first trip to Mapungubwe.. and my second trip. So I will show you pics from how it looked in 2010 at Mapungubwe, to compare how it looks now…

This Park has definity got under my skin... and I will be back!

In 2010 we went at the same time as this year.… In 2010 we were in the tented camp (22 – 24 October 2012), this year (26 - 28 October 2012) we were in Leokwe Camp.

I cannot believe how different it looks!! It seems that there are many more elephants this year around. In 2010 it was definitely drier at the same time, none of the trees had leaves… but if you compare the pics it seems the other way around. Only because there were more grass in 2010

In 2012 the the western side ( where the hide and tented camp are situated) was definitely drier than the eastern side (where Mapungubwe hill and Leokwe are situated)

… but the proof is in the pudding…

This pic I took to the right of the hide… Note how little grass there was this year. It also seems that more ellies came to visit the area for the whole western side had no grass and every where you would find Elephant dung! Elephants do not appreciate Political Borders…

October 2010
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October 2012
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In 2010 we saw more game at the hide but never ellies.. . This year there were more waterbirds… & ellies.. I will post some pics of game we saw in 2010… I presume game needs grass… and if there are none they will go somewhere else…

Over to VVV

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"Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree." Martin Luther


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 Post subject: Re: To Write or Not to Write .....
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 8:46 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Award: Best/Funniest Forumite Name of the Year (2012)
Thanks Mads – I will now post a few photos of mostly water birds that we saw before we took a drive through the rest of this part of the Park.
We also had a bit of fun when the guy at the little cabin near the gate saw us. I think he was still sleeping peacefully in his bed when we entered the Park. He looked at us very nervously and it seems as if he did not know how to approach us …. We were in the Park and he has no idea of where we come from :D . When he asked our permit all we could show was the reservation letter and he did not have a choice but to accept it. And then we also want to know about the Ellies. He told us that they visit the water hole at the hide everyday at 12.00 and 16.00. So back we turn to wait for the Ellies. I will talk about them in a later episode.
Mads will again talk about the “before and after” when I am done with this part. Then we will show you what else we saw before we returned to the Hide.

Squacco Heron (Ralreier)
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Grey Heron (Blou Reier)
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Little Egret (Kleinwitreier)
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Red-billed Buffalo Weaver (Buffelwewer)
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And doves in what we thought was an exclusive Buffalo Weaver nest
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Sacred Ibis (Skoorsteenveër)
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The ever present Egyptian Goose (Kolgans). There were chicks that we took photos of when we returned to the Hide.
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Black-winged Stilt (Rooipoot Elsie)
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And lastly the Ruff (Kemphaan) on his own and 2nd pic together with a Wood Sandpiper (Bosruiter)
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This is all for now. Mads will continue. Please add if I forgot some of the birds!!!

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KNP
15-24/08/2014
7-14/11 2014
17/12/2014-01/01/2015


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 Post subject: Re: To Write or Not to Write .....
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:25 am 
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Thanks to Anne-marie, Trrp-trrrrrr, Meandering Mouse, Phillip1, Magriet, Hilda, Barryels, Cheetah2111, Kyknetta, Pumbaa, Sharifa and Lionspoon. Enjoy the ride. :thumbs_up:

When we were this year at the hide we had very little animals that came to drink… There were impala, baboons and later ellies. No woodland kingfishers in site…

In 2010 these were my sightings at the hide… Quite a few animals came to drink… Wildebeest, waterbuck, tree squirrel, impala, baboon, warthog (especially for VVV), zebra and eland. The warthies came to bath as well and the kill of the day was the woodland kingfisher catching a frog… but no ellies at the waterhole…


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[IMG]http://i1072.photobucket.com/albums/w374/Mads2310/mpungubwe/DSCF6469a.jpg[/IMG

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VVV may now continue! :whistle:

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"Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree." Martin Luther


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 Post subject: Re: To Write or Not to Write .....
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:31 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Award: Best/Funniest Forumite Name of the Year (2012)
Sightings “away” from the hide before we go back for more 2012 sightings at the Hide

We decided to leave the hide and drive around in the rest of this part of the Park and found it very dry and a bit demolished by Ellies. We however saw quite a number of birds again, Bush Buck, and beautiful Kudu. The antelopes were between the trees and bushes and we could not get proper photos. There were also some warthogs running around as well.

Here are a few photos of this round
A White-fronted Bee-eater (Rooikeelbyvreter) with his brunch. Image
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A monkey (one of many in this part).
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Remnant of the Vhembe military Camp and a Bush Buck on the “other side” of the RSA. Do not know if he is a SA Citizen? A few warties could also not decide on which side of the fence they wanted to be (more water on the river side)
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Beautiful Meves’s Starling (Langstertspreeu) (we struggled to get proper photos earlier in the year at Pafuri – they rarely sit still long enough for a photo)
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Crested Barbet (Kuifkophoutkapper)
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And a male
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And female Bennett’s Wood peckers (Bennettse Speg)
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We then drove in the direction of the Gate where we met the guard who was absent this morning (discussed earlier in the TR). When he told us about the visiting times of the Ellies, we decided to go back to the hide and take a few more photos and to just relax in the empty hide to see if the Ellies will turn up

A Curious terrapin and a loving couple and a “sexy” one
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One of the Sacred Ibisis (Skoorsteenveër) decided to investigate the Buffalo Weaver and Dove nest and another Common Sandpiper in the water
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A water monitor came out of the water, walked around the hide and swam back to the other side again
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There were Monkeys, Impis and Baboons visiting to drink water and a beautiful LBR landed next to the hide
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And then …… Mads will take over from here and after this I will take you back on the road to the main gate and the road to our Bungalow at Leokwe where we stayed for 2 nights.

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KNP
15-24/08/2014
7-14/11 2014
17/12/2014-01/01/2015


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 Post subject: Re: To Write or Not to Write .....
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 1:41 pm 
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Thanks to Naomic, Adw, Heksie, Trrp-trrrrrr, hilda, barryels, tedredrum, MM, anne-marie, Pumbaa Phillip1 for enjoying our journey with us! Nature is so awesome.. big or small.... you never know what to expect next...


And then the ELLIES came… We did not see 1 ellie in 2010 at the hide …It seems when there are no ellies, you see a lot of other game…

It was about 11:45 when we saw movement on the right hand side of the hide. All in a row… There was one tiny baby with the herd and sometimes the mother had to stop and wait for baby…The baby was soooo sweet… So I could not help myself … I took a lot of pics of the baby and here is quite a few pics to make you jealous. She never brought the baby very close to the hide.. Some of the other ellies were sometimes less than 5 metres from the hide… that included tricks and a bum scratch and We had them in front of the hide for more than an hour.. Here is a few pics…

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The next day we returned to the hide… Round about 16:00… and just as the guard told us… they arrived again. It was the same herd. My camera’s battery were flat!! :redface: :twisted: :wall: :wall: So I m posting some of VVV’s pics… :gflower:

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On our way out we saw this bushbuck female..
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I will add a little bit later a few other birdies we saw at the hide as well as our accommodation in 2010...

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"Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree." Martin Luther


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 Post subject: Re: To Write or Not to Write .....
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 3:34 pm 
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Thanks CarolG and Hilda for your comments.. These were some of the birds we saw at the hide the second day in 2012

Spur-wing geese,
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Little stint, Ruff and baby Egyptian geese
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And the biggest surprise – A Male Saddle billed stork
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"Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree." Martin Luther


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 Post subject: Re: To Write or Not to Write .....
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:40 pm 
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On the road along the Limpopo river, we saw in 2010 A lot of animals such as banded mongoose, waterbuck, eland, bushbuck, impala, kudu. Also white fronted bee eater and ellie that do not understand borders… We also saw a white impala. THe white-fronted bee-eater we saw in the same area as this year.....

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Our accommodation was different to this year We stayed in the tented camp. It has a nice little swimmimg pool, the tents are built under huge Nyala trees. There is a single strand electrical wire around the camp as a fence… So animals do move in and out of the camp area. We saw ellies out of camp while we were there… This year we saw out of camp……wait and see…

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"Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree." Martin Luther


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 Post subject: Re: To Write or Not to Write .....
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:14 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 395
Location: Erasmuskloof, Pretoria
Award: Best/Funniest Forumite Name of the Year (2012)
Sightings on the way to the main Gate

As promised earlier, the sightings along the way to the main Gate (+- 13.00) where we will book in for our stay at Leokwe Camp for the next 2 days.

Just before we left this part of the Park we saw Bush Buck again.
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As those visitors to Mapungupwe will know, the Den Staat dirt road is a horrible nightmare and it was with relief that we turned onto the tar road. Next day we took the long way around with the tar road and only a short distance of the dirt road.
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We drove along the Mapungupwe fence on our way to the gate and saw a variety of animals in the Park before we even entered. There were another dead Wildebeest lying in the veldt (apart from the one at the hide) although we thought at that time that he was lying down and resting as there were others walking around in the area. We did not stop to take photos because we know we will see them inside again. But – with this one we decided NOT to take a chance and stop next to the fence just before the gate to take photos. Although we saw them again in the Park, they were too far or too busy running away for us to take more photos.
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More general game
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Tree top walk
We started the next morning with a ‘good luck” rainbow taken from our stoep at our Bungalow. I will refer to this good luck later in the TR. We were now on our way to the Tree Top Walk. Again we saw quite a number of animals on the way, and the ever present baboons starting to come awake in the early morning sun.
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One of the advantages to have a Game Ranger and an experienced field guide as a friend, is that I can starting to ID one tree from the another., such as this Large-leaved Rock Fig (Ficus abutilifolia or a Rotsvy in Afrikaaans)
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Distant family watching over us/or trying to wake up
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tbc

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15-24/08/2014
7-14/11 2014
17/12/2014-01/01/2015


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 Post subject: Re: To Write or Not to Write .....
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:06 am 
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Dear all thanks for enjoying the Mapungubwe journey with us… here is another few comparisons…

Mapungubwe is best known as an archeological site as well as its golden rhino. The rhino is now displayed in the interpretive centre… unfortunately you may not take any pictures inside… This I took of a replica that was in reception in 2010…You will see that the eastern is definitely greener in 2012 .

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We went on the cultural tour in 2010.. Here are a few pics… Notice the rock fig… the rock crevice next to it, is the only way to get to the top.. So it is natural fort… In the 1990’s (before it was a National Park) I was fortunate to also visit Mapungubwe hill… In the 90’s you had to use a rope ladder to get to the top. Nowadays there is a stair case…

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This time (2012) we did not go on the tour… but because I knew where the hill is situated I took a few pics from a distance of it… You can see the pathways on top if you look closely.
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K2 was also excavated..Here are 2 pics…

In 2010
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In 2012
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To be continued …

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"Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree." Martin Luther


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 Post subject: Re: To Write or Not to Write .....
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:41 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Tree top walk continuing and confluence and picnic area and beyond

I will try and minimize all the talking and concentrate on photos from now on

Still at the Tree top Walk
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This Goliath Heron was “kicked” and back home we saw the Croc behind him
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And is the grass really greener on the “other side
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At picnic area – a deck (“room”) with a view and other photos
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Funny animal?
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“Fossilized” ant heaps (towers?)
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Sabota Lark and Klipspringers
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“Something Old” and something else!
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And also at the picnic area – the Confluence
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Baobabs at every picnic site
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KNP
15-24/08/2014
7-14/11 2014
17/12/2014-01/01/2015


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 Post subject: Re: To Write or Not to Write .....
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:49 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Erasmuskloof, Pretoria
Award: Best/Funniest Forumite Name of the Year (2012)
And then beyond the picnic area – the strictly 4x4 route, etc and sightings

In this section we saw +- 12 Bush Pics and when we realizes what we are seeing, they were gone and no photos – where was Obelix now???
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Great Spotted Cuckoo – very busy fellow
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Wood Sandpiper and Emerald-spotted Wood dove
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And again back along the way to Leokwe
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As you will see on the next photos these photos were taken when it was already quite dark
Ready for bed
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And probably our best sighting of the trip – although dark, I think you will be able to “picture” this knight on his way to his Lady (Kori Bustard)
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KNP
15-24/08/2014
7-14/11 2014
17/12/2014-01/01/2015


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 Post subject: Re: To Write or Not to Write .....
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:59 pm 
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Dear all, :thanx: for enjoying the last strech of our journey with us… :clap:
Here is another few comparisons…

Gerhard Moerdyk used this koppie as inspiration to design the Voortrekkermonument. Also known as Voortrekker koppie. See the difference between 2010 and 2012.

In 2010
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And in 2012
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We saw also very nice flowers. The Vhembe nature reserve has been declared in the 1950’s as a botanical reserve. It has a variety of unique plants and protected species in the Park. I could not believe my eyes! :big_eyes: 2 of the plants I photographed were red data (endangered) species.

The sickle bush (Dichrostachus cinerea) is very common in the bushveld… also known as the flat tyre tree or Chinese lantern tree because of the beautiful flowers it produces…
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The sesame bush (Sesamothamnus lugardii)We saw in 2010 without any leaves… this year it had leaves and flowers. The Sesame bush looks like a small version of the Baobab..
In 2010:
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In 2012:
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We also saw this 2 red data species:
The trumpet Thorn (Catophractus alexandri) It grows specifically on lime stone.
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We saw this flower near the confluence It is called the evening flower (aand blommetjie) (Pancreatum tenuifolium) It only flowers at night and is also a red data species.
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We found 2 Pomegranates flowering in abundance in the park.
Short thorn pomegranate (Rhigozum brevispinosum)
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And Mopane Pomegranate (Rhigozum zambesiacum)
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And lastly a comparison on the Baobabs of the park You will see a difference in the form of the tree and again no leaves on the Baobab in 2010 and lush and green in 2012…
In 2010
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And in 2012:
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Please enjoy your last sundowner with me at this tree… :cocktail: :cocktail:
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I am handing over ( to my partner in madness :littleangel: ).... for the last time on this trip report!! It was so nice to have you all on board! Untill next time… :think: :thumbs_up: :yaya: :angel:

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"Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree." Martin Luther


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 Post subject: Re: To Write or Not to Write .....
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 5:21 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Award: Best/Funniest Forumite Name of the Year (2012)
Bungalow nr 9 - inside:
Bathroom and shower
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Bedroom and Kitchen
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KNP
15-24/08/2014
7-14/11 2014
17/12/2014-01/01/2015


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 Post subject: Re: To Write or Not to Write .....
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 5:41 pm 
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Award: Best/Funniest Forumite Name of the Year (2012)
And the swimming pool and sightings from there

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View of the Bungalows from the swimming pool deck
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:D

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7-14/11 2014
17/12/2014-01/01/2015


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