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 Post subject: Re: Fun, Friendship and Kruger - Feb 2013.
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:43 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:31 pm
Posts: 7822
Location: Ballito, KZN North Coast, South Africa
Once again my sincere thanks to all those for reading and commenting. :D

Monday, 18th Feb

Today we had Val & Dungie coming to stay with us for the rest of the week and while we waited for them as they made their way down the park from Phalaborwa we decided to take a drive to Lake Panic and wile away some of the time there.

A very familiar sight but one that you never get tired of seeing, well I don't anyway!

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In the tree opposite the hide was a Greenbacked Heron busy with a bit of housekeeping on its nest.
If you look carefully you can see the blue eggs.

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Then we were alerted to a little nest in the reeds right in front of the front of the hide on the left hand side.

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We could hear some faint twittering coming from inside and a lot of movement as mommy bird fed the little ones!

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and then once she came out we could determine it was a little Tawnyflanked Prinia

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Back again with another tasty morsel!

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and off again!

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what a busy little bird that was!

By then Mama Greenbacked Heron had settled down to some serious incubating!

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A Malachite Kingfisher lurked right at the back making getting a pic rather difficult!

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There were lots of brightly coloured Dragonflies flitting around, keeping Klystron happily amused.
Red-veined Dropwing.

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and some not so brightly coloured but with very interesting patterns.
Could be a Common Tigertail.

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and another variety!
Not sure of this ones name?

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The Hippos were very inactive and all we heard and saw was the occasional blast of spray and snort as they lay more or less submerged and in slumber under the branches nearby.

We knew we would be back once Val was with us and so we left to go back to the chalet to get dinner prepared and then it would be time to go and meet them on the bridge.

_________________
Where ever you go, go with all your Heart.

Kruger - May 24th - June 6th 2014.


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 Post subject: Re: Fun, Friendship and Kruger - Feb 2013.
Unread postPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 11:40 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:31 pm
Posts: 7822
Location: Ballito, KZN North Coast, South Africa
Thanks so much Trrp, Pumbaa, Hilda, Barry, Carol & Philip :thumbs_up:

Tues - Feb 19th

After a lovely evening the night before, sitting outside, catching up with Val & Dungie and deciding where we would drive the next day we had a little Genet visit us.

This is a terrible pic of the Genet but the only one we have as it was very camera shy and didn't hang around to give us a second try!

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If I remember correctly it was along the S3 river road, then the S3 Albasini Road, H1-1, S65, back to Kruger gate

As per usual we crept quietly along the S3 as I always feel the road has so much potential with all the lush bush, grass and little stream crossings of which there were plenty this year.

I was quite fascinated by the sight of this Euphorbia growing out of the fork of this tree.

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Then a stately Giraffe crossed the road.

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to join its mate on the other side.

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Some more of the abundant and beautiful Pride-of-de-Kaap that was evident all along the roadside.

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In some of the little river or stream crossing there was a swirling sort of green algae flourishing.

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and this tree never fails to fascinate me with its strange gall which seems to be growing bigger with every passing year.
I must really go back and try and see if I can find one of my earlier pics of it to compare.

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Galls are abnormal growths that form on leaves, twigs or branches.
There are 1500 species of gall producers the majority of which are insects and mites, some galls form where the insects feed or lay their eggs.
They may also develop as a response to infections, such as fungi, bacteria and viruses.
In most cases galls are unsightly but not damaging to the tree.

We stopped off at the new Pretoriuskop Picnic site and was pleasantly surprised to see how neat it all was.
Where the cars park is a bit sunny but the seating and actual picnic area was in a fenced off section under lovely shady trees.
The day we were there, there wasn't another soul about, including staff and it was just us, the birds and the gently swaying leaves above.
Extremely peaceful.

Klystron and Dungie & Val as we were packing up after our cheese and biscuits lunch.

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Some of the other picnic areas and kitchen.

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Back in the car and onwards

Now this is where the memory is a bit dim as I can't quite remember where this is but I hazard a guess at a very full Shitlhave Dam :?

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Some Dragonflies sitting in the mud on the S65

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The N'waswitshaka causeway on the S65 with a fair amount of water overflowing.

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Then it was back to the lodge for a nice braai.

I am going to include the next day in quickly as well, as anyone who read that part in Val's report will know it was a very strange day, a day of disasters and a day of joy for other reasons. :wink:

Wed. - Feb 20th

Just to recap, this was the day we took Val & D back up to Phalaborwa to try and obtain their extended visa paperwork, this time hopefully with the correct date on it.

So the plan was that we leave bright and early, travel outside the park, get there, retrieve the papers and head in via the Phalaborwa gate and drive back down the park to Kruger Gate, a long day by all means but one we had calculated could be done according to that time schedule.
but as we all know the best laid plans of mice and men often don't run smoothly! :wall:

We arrived at the Home Affair offices at 8.30am, but as is now general knowledge there were no officials on duty, they had left for other pastures a few minutes before us and would only be back after 1pm some time! :slap:
Poor Val was devastated, so plan A was out the window!

Never mind, plan B was hatched, so we decided to go into the park anyway and do a drive around and get back at 1.30 to meet with the officials who hopefully would have arrived back by this time..
which is what we did, the chosen route being along the S131, had a look at the Ngwenyeni waterhole, a first for me, across the H14 and carried on along the S131 with a stop off in Letaba to sit overlooking the river and have something cool to drink.
I do recall it was very hot day indeed and the road rather rough and corrugated in places, sightings were scarce which didn't help lift the mood of despondency in the car, but hey we were in the park. :D
Anyway by the time we arrived in Letaba, we decided it was a bit late to go to the restaurant area so we nipped into the shop for ice creams all round.

On the way back to the gate we stayed on the H9 seeing ellies, and a few other odds and ends.

As we approached Rhidonda Dam I asked if anyone wanted to stop, a few indecision's so I pulled over anyway and we scanned the water, nothing looked promising, then just as I was about to pull off again, Val called out, wait, what is that under that bush?
we looked, someone said a Lion, another was Leopard and when we finally put the binos on it, of course it was none other than Val's elusive Cheetah of the north! seen under the most unusual of circumstances! :dance:
To say there was excitement and jubilation in the car was rather an understatement.

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Unfortunately it didn't hang around too long and soon made its way down towards the water and out of sight but we were all so thrilled and the despondency evaporated! 8)

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Anyway, onwards as we had matters to attend to!

Arrived back at the HA offices and the officers were indeed back but unfortunately not the paperwork Val required! :evil:
Klystron and I had waited outside in the car while Val was inside and to try and make Val feel a little better as it was still earlish I suggested all was not lost and we could travel down outside the park and time allowing, enter at Phabeni Gate and drive from there back to Kruger gate.
BUT as we all now know, our car had other ideas! :roll:
and decided this would be an excellent time to lock its hand brake on not allowing the car to move an inch despite our best efforts to persuade it otherwise! :whistle:

Finally after what felt like an eternity and which had us sitting out on the grass in temps that were close to 40C with our belongings scattered about us and getting very strange looks from the various staff members who by this stage were heading on home.
we got going, only by some drastic actions of cutting the brake cables as directed by the on call technician from Polokwane, who clearly did not feel like a drive to Phalaborwa in the late afternoon. :shock:
Thank goodness for motor plan! :wink:

So we eventually arrived home late, in the dark, with a storm raging around our heads, only to have the power fail as I was trying to make some sort of supper on the stove for us!
Talk about a day of 2 halves! :tongue:
One best forgotten other than our beautiful Cheetah sighting!

More soon!

_________________
Where ever you go, go with all your Heart.

Kruger - May 24th - June 6th 2014.


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 Post subject: Re: Fun, Friendship and Kruger - Feb 2013.
Unread postPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 2:50 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:31 pm
Posts: 7822
Location: Ballito, KZN North Coast, South Africa
Once again many thanks for all the kind and appreciative comments.

Thursday - 21st Feb

As this is our last full day in the park we have to make the most of it and enjoy every moment.

So it was out the gate and as I recall it was along the S3, S4, S65, H1-1, H11, Lake Panic,

I think it must have been somewhere on the S65 that we saw this little Wire-tailed Swallow sitting on the road.
Think it must have been a juvenile.

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Then we decided to take a trip to a very full Transport Dam so we sat there having something to drink.

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and in the other direction, can you spot the Fish Eagle?

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Then it was onto Lake Panic and how nice it was to sit with Val & D watching all the goings on.

Whitefaced Whistling Ducks with family

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Hippo Mom and baby

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Golden Orb Spider web and one can easily see where the golden part comes from in this light!

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A pair of Greenbacked Herons were busily gathering branches and twigs for a nest they were making a little distance away in another tree, much to the consternation of the resident GBH who was sitting on eggs a little way away.
and she made it known that they were not welcome and should not be in "her" tree!

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A Foam Frog nest above the water.

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After a pleasant few hours there we decided to make our way slowly back to the gate and to the lodge.

As we approached the area around the junction with the S1 Val remarked that they had seen a Leopard there once before, I answered that we had as well, we laughed and wondered if we had not perhaps seen the same one.
In fact we both said it was more or less in a certain tree, we looked, rubbed our eyes, looked again and there it was, a LIT more or less where we had both seen one before! 8)
and he didn't seem to be all that comfortable in his chosen spot either.

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Talk about Deja vu!

We were very happy to have finally found a Leopard after 2 weeks in the park! :D

That night we all went down to the hotel and had a drink on the deck overlooking the Sabie river and into the park and clinked our friendship and wonderful times we had spent together.

Then it was back to the lodge for a yummy lamb roast dinner and as we sat outside enjoying our Amarulas the little Genet visited us again, leapt up onto the braai, sat there for a while and then vanished.

The next day, our farewell day saw us packing up and loading the cars for the last time.
Hugs all round, but we knew Val & D would be spending a few more days with us once their time in the park was up and they were en route down the south coast, so it made it a bit easier.

As we had a long drive ahead all the way back down to KZN, we left Val, who was in no rush as they had plenty of time and only had to drive down as far as Malelane camp, to make their way slowly to Skukuza for some shopping etc and we headed off down towards the Malelane gate.

Crossing the bridge over the N'waswitshaka river I spied this lovely Female Giant Kingfisher

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We had just passed the Delaport waterhole when we had a wonderful and special Kruger parting present in the form of a young female Leopard walking up the road in front of us, talk about famine and feast!

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Sorry they are all "bumshots" but she just wouldn't turn around and show us her pretty face.

A car pulled up next to us, took a quick glance and shot off!
Huh! what more do they want to see?
and with that rebuff she decided to take to the long grass and disappear.

Somewhere along the route we also saw this most treasured sighting.

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We also had a Hyena hotfoot it across the road in front of us, he obviously had things to do and places to go so didn't hang around.

and suddenly as it always does, the gate loomed large and it was time to pack all the cameras/binocs away, buckle up the seat belts and with one last backward glance we were out and on our way home.

but as always with our Feb trips, I know our May one is not that far behind and as I write this its looming large and only about 17 days away!
and this time Jock with be with us.

I will get Klystron to get some video clips ready for me to post as a last bit so don't go too far away. :wink:

Hope you have enjoyed sharing in our Fun and friendship in Kruger. :gflower:

_________________
Where ever you go, go with all your Heart.

Kruger - May 24th - June 6th 2014.


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