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 Post subject: Re: Kruger live! DB & Hawk report'in
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 8:02 pm 
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Thanks guys for your kind messages, really so appreciated!

We are now in Letaba, and have a better internet connection (for the record, the best on the trip so far). And we have electricity again :D Not that we were bothered to spend a week without electricity at Balule; in fact we loved it and are pleased our fridge and freezer lasted the course.

This morning we packed up and said good bye to Balule and to Titus.
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And this is where we are now set up and sitting posting on the forums - except right now it is dark. We have a lovely site on the fence at Letaba. The camp is full, so we are lucky.
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As soon as we had set up camp, the first thing we did was to go to a favourite place of mine, the verandah and to take in the view from there that I love so much.
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 Post subject: Re: Kruger live! DB & Hawk report'in
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 8:23 pm 
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Now, I must jump 'back in time' to THE lion sighting.

We were driving over the high water bridge over the Olifants when a SANParks bakkie stopped us and told us that just a little on were lion close to the road. The gave more directions, we thanked them and drove on.

In our 'team of two' we have a little division. I will 'elbow' my way through any crush of cars as a sighting to get a good view and not mind it a bit. Hawk would rather drive off in the opposite direction and avoid the crowds.

As we got to where these lion were, we saw two other cars there. One of the occupants indicated 5 lions sleeping in the bush, one female, four males. Just then, the female rose up and started walking, right next to us and up the road, just alongside the road. We drove on slowly, keeping pace with her. Each of the males followed her, and they all eventually crossed the road and disappeared into the bush. There was no rush, each followed at a good interval, and a unhurried pace, yet they did seem to have a sense of purpose in where they were going.

It was a thrilling experience. One can get a little blasé about lion sightings ... but this particular one reminded both of us why these sightings are what most people drive hours and hours around the park for. To get this close to these magnificent creatures; they command such a presence, one can totally understand why they are referred to as the king of the beasts.

My photos cannot do the sighting justice - I get so excited I do not use my camera properly and forget to frame pics nicely and so on. I am just relieved in the end if some pics are in focus :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Kruger live! DB & Hawk report'in
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 8:38 pm 
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I have referred to the amount of water in the park. It is lovely to see the rivers and little spruits all running. The Olifants River is flowing strongly - I took pics each day we crossed the bridge and will post them all when home. The past two days the level of the river dropped a bit.

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Ngotso Weir - full as you can see and home to many hippos
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We loved to drive the S39 to Timbavati Picnic spot. It was like driving in the Garden of Eden. Game everywhere.
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And as a good night pic, the full moon taken by Hawk from our site at Balule:
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 Post subject: Re: Kruger live! DB & Hawk report'in
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:27 am 
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Happy Monday All! And where could it be happier than at our little 'office' on the fence at Letaba. Admin time again :wink:

I need to just rub it in a little more to ensure you are all very :mrgreen:

We have two little dwarf mongoose being very inquisitive around us here and coming close - too cute! A bushbuck longingly hoping for a little morsel of food, 'chickens' scratching around in the ground, birds calling all over, squirrels going about their Monday chores ... life is wonderful!

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 Post subject: Re: Kruger live! DB & Hawk report'in
Unread postPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 6:56 pm 
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Is it not amazing how time flies when you are having fun? Or in Kruger?

We passed our 'half way' yesterday :shock: Three and a half weeks down, three and a half weeks left to go.

And life is busy here in the bush. By sundown, one is tired and ready for bed!

Tuesday we spend catching up with wonderful forumites - at lunch time and others for evening drinks. And we were told there is a Woolies in Phalaborwa! We decided it would then be worth the drive down to the gate to pop out the park briefly and stock up on some fresh groceries.

So, that was what we did yesterday. Half an hour in the town gave us both headaches, so it was back to the park asap!

We road a couple of the low maintenance roads, and when we visited Sable Bird Hide, we decided to try get a booking to spend a night there. The very helpful lady at the gate reception managed to sort this out for us, so we will soon spend a night at the hide :dance:

Today we spent 'birding' - trying to capture pics of birds flying, kingfishers fishing and so on. What a lovely fun day 8)

There is not too much game in the area, more on our late afternoon drive than we have seen the whole week. And believe it or not, we saw a baby impala!!! I have the pics to prove this. Talk about a late lammetjie!!!

My internet connection drops every couple of minutes, so only a few pics tonight.

This is what I call my favourite place in Kruger, where I plan to build my own little cabin. Its on the north side of the Engelhardt Dam. So if you are driving along that road and see a boom, you will know why :P
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It is a time of plenty in Kruger - plenty of water and plenty of food for the animals. In Africa this is a great blessing and we feel privileged to be in the park at this time. I do think Autumn has forgotten Kruger :wink:

Taken near Letaba:
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 Post subject: Re: Kruger live! DB & Hawk report'in
Unread postPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 7:22 pm 
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Tnx Foxy.

I tried to post again from my notebook but just cannot connect. I wanted to share that (for us) an unusual 'fence' sighting is just going by. For the second time since we arrived at Letaba, a Hippo. One can hear him coming down the line - munch munch munch. Last night we had a huge ellie bull come by, and so close to the fence. I held my breath (and was armed with an egg al la Kobie Kruger) should he have decided to come thro the fence to join us for supper.

During the day we have the squirrels and a family of dwarf mongoose who scurry about here.

Good night from Letaba!

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 Post subject: Re: Kruger live! DB & Hawk report'in
Unread postPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 4:48 pm 
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Greetings from the far North!

WendyA - you can take full blame for us going to Sable Hide!! We are so looking forward to our planned night there. :dance:

On Sunday we packed up camp at Letaba, and made the long drive north to Punda, where we have been so lucky to get a lovely site on the fence, near the waterhole.

The last day or so that we were in the Letaba area produced a little more game on our drives than previous days, and also more birds. One morning we decided to join the queue at the gate so we could leave camp as the gate opened, and guess what, we saw a lioness - not far from the camp, lying on the side of the road. Shame, she is old, and her teeth seemed warn down ... and she was alone. Actually we had seen her on the road there a few days earlier. Maybe her time on earth is nearing the end of its cycle.

Letaba camp was busy the entire length of our stay - the camping area full, and same with the bungalows.

The wind came up our last evening and we had a few spots of rain the morning we left.

Since arriving in Punda, it has been much cooler - longs type of weather. And right now it is cloudy, the nippy wind of yesterday has died down though.

I will sort our pics and post the better ones once we are home, but in the meantime a few from my cellphone:

The Letaba from the S93
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The sun kisses Africa good morning - taken from the high water bridge over the Letaba
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SANParks clearing the water weeds from the river just in front of where I am building my cabin. (See they agree to me building there, they are helping out and making sure the river is pristine!) :twisted:
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 Post subject: Re: Kruger live! DB & Hawk report'in
Unread postPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 5:15 pm 
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Carol, you are on the invited guests list :thumbs_up:

All hopes of being able to take a peek at Shingwedzi were dashed ...
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The road just before the Shingwedzi bridge. Much good work has been done to repair the roads that were so badly damaged in the Jan 2013 flood.
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Floods left their mark on the S99 (Mahonie Loop)
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A very green and lush Mahonie Loop - lots of water everywhere, in the spruits and also in the pans and swamp areas
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We saw this fella on our drive up north on Sunday. He ran across the road in front of us on the H1-7.
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The birdhide here in camp is producing lovely sightings - so far: marabou storks every day, zebras today, buffalo last night and again today, and nyala.
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 Post subject: Re: Kruger live! DB & Hawk report'in
Unread postPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 3:52 pm 
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Guys, thanks so much all for reading and commenting, we both really appreciate it. Hawk has decided he is taking up birding ... so lets hope one day (soon!!!) he will post some of the pics he has taken. And that this birding phase lasts longer than it did last time.

@ Carol, we will see you in Satara :dance: Travel safe!

We are still at Punda, and yesterday took a drive up to Parfuri gate. I have posted pics and comments here.

It was so nice to bump into Frank today, he showed us some video he has of the floods too.

It is really strange, melancholy in fact, to go to an area one knows reasonably well and loves so much, and somehow it is not totally familiar anymore, as it used to be ... its not that different, but still just not the same. But that is the cycle of life and how nature works. Its us humans who battle with the changes, Nature works within a grand and perfect plan.

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 Post subject: Re: Kruger live! DB & Hawk report'in
Unread postPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 12:40 pm 
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A quick hello from us :yaya:

We are staying at Tsendze - loving the camp and of course the great hospitality of Rodger and Eleena :clap: :clap:

We came up to Mopani to read emails etc as there is no data connection, or very little, at Tsendze.

Will share sightings and stories once we have moved camps on the weekend :D

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 Post subject: Re: Kruger live! DB & Hawk report'in
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 4:55 pm 
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Oops ... and then we went AWOL from the reporting in :redface:

No internet at Tsendze - how Rodger manages to get onto the forums I do not understand, he must have the patience of Job.

We moved next to Satara for 6 nights, where Hawk came down with a really bad bug, so it was a trip to Skukuza for a malaria test (thankfully negative) and him feeling miz for some days. We tried to book into a bungalow at either Satara or Skukuza, but both camps were fully booked, so my man had to tough it out camping and being ill.

We left Satara for Berg en Dal and the SANParks HR Indaba - three nights later, we were homeward bound.

9203km and 8 weeks later, we arrived back home safely after stopping off in the Free State and at beautiful Karoo National Park.

So, no longer is it 'live' reporting in ... but we will be filling in lots of gaps of our wonderful trip to Kruger.

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 Post subject: Re: Kruger live! DB & Hawk report'in
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 4:55 pm 
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Image

The above pic of the little Blue Wax bill is not posted here as an example of my photographic skill, but as an illustration of something that never fails to amaze me. Perhaps this has been thoroughly discussed on this forum before, but even if it has, it's still worth another mention.

Little birds like this don't move slowly and carefully. They move quickly, changing direction in an instant, they don't hesitate, rarely sitting still for more than a second or two, they flit in and out of trees and bushes at lightning speed, as everyone who tries to get a quick shot knows.

Ok, so that's all very well, but here's the big mystery; how do they manage to do all of this amongst all those viciously sharp thorns. And they're not just little bullet shaped missiles that can dart through a gap, no, they've got wings that are wide spread as they approach those thorny branches. Approaching at speed, they must pick an entry point, slow to a stop, close their wings and land on a perch in the blink of an eye. There's no hit and miss here, overshooting and crashing into the next branch could be fatal. Sure I've seen birds flounder on landing in a dense leafy bush, but it's the big guys, the Storks, Ground Hornbills etc, not the little LBJ's.

And then once they're deep in that thorny jungle, they'll hop from twig to twig, twisting and turning, and if something startles them, suddenly they're gone, there's no hesitation, no looking around for an exit gap with some space to spread their wings for a measured launch. Before you can press the shoot button, that little guy has found a gap and is heading at speed for the next bush.

This was all brought home to me quite dramatically during this trip. We had parked our caravan up close to an umbrella thorn tree with the result that some of the branches were brushing up against the back of the caravan. No problem I thought, they are small green branches, I'll just bend them back slightly and hook them behind one further back. Ha Ha, that's easier said than done. I'd carefully put my hand in between the branches, but within seconds a few mean little cat thorns had sunk their claws into my flesh. Now firmly trapped I had no option but to use my other hand to try to free myself by bending a bigger branch back.

Well, just as I freed my trapped arm the branch sprung loose and whipped across my face. I felt a sting, but I was free and so rubbing my nose to relieve the sting I went off to the the ablutions to wash my hands. Strolling back enjoying the warm sunshine I wondered why I had so many people staring at me and smiling. I happily smiled back and greeted everyone, thinking "My, what friendly campers". Getting back to the caravan DB greeted me in astonishment: "Have you been in a fight, you whole face is smeared with blood". That little Wax Bill would have had a good laugh.

I've always marveled at the skill displayed by the pilots who land their jets on the pitching and rolling deck of an aircraft carrier, but hey that's something a little Wax bill could do in his sleep I'm sure.

Nature is truly amazing isn't it.

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 Post subject: Re: Kruger live! DB & Hawk report'in
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2013 5:54 pm 
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We are fast heading to having been home a month already :shock: Both of us are slowly sorting through the pics we took on our trip and, of course, the video footage Hawk took.

To recap; our trip 'officially' started at Skukuza for four nights. Speaking with other visitors in the camp, many seemed to feel the area was producing amazing sightings for them. I felt it was 'sort of ok' ... we had nice sightings, but seemed to miss the wilddogs others saw for eg.

Despite Skukuza being labelled as a 'city' and 'busy camp', we loved our stay there, and found the camp to be quiet. A water pipe burst just outside the fence at our site, in no time the tech team were there to sort the problem - this on a Friday afternoon. It was rather a challenge as the area was not accessible for the digger to get to so the chaps had to dig down to the pipe by hand. Anyway, when we returned home from our afternoon drive, all was dry and the repair done, and final touches were obviously going to be completed on the Monday.

DinkyBird wrote:
A quick pop in via my phone.

We started the day with coffee at renosterkoppies, and it was a magical early morn in the park with mist in the distance amongst the trees, not a breath of wind and the air so fresh and filled with anticipation of a new day. We had a super hyena sighting along the S114, with a clan of about 10. Spent a while there watching them, and then enjoyed a lovely cheetah sighting at kwaggapan.

We are now packed up, and leaving Skukuza for our next camp. It is cloudless and hot.


I recommend anyone in the Skukuza area take a drive to the Renosterkoppies waterhole - going down the S114 to get there and then return on the H3.

The hyena sighting we had was the biggest clan we had ever seen. We were fascinated by the way the mother (?) and aunts and siblings 'bit' on the smallest in the clan - see the video. We could only assume this was a demonstration of affection?

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Hyena pup by dinkybird, on Flickr

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Hyena pup by dinkybird, on Flickr


Best watched in HD

I always envy pics people manage to take of cheetah sitting upright on the concrete sign blocks alongside the roads, and dream of getting such a pic myself. Well, as we were driving up the H3, I spotted what looked like a cat on a block but far in the distance - and he did not wait and pose for me, but I got some sort of a pic, which I am going to share (bad as it is) as this is a Kruger dream come true for me :lol:

Once he jumped off the block and then moved across the road, the cheetah did become more co-operative and posed a little for us, and before he disappeared into the bush, he did pose again on a concrete block for me!!!

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Cheetah excitement by dinkybird, on Flickr

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Cheetah on road by dinkybird, on Flickr

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cheetah by dinkybird, on Flickr

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Cheetah drinking by dinkybird, on Flickr

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Cheetah sitting by dinkybird, on Flickr

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 Post subject: Re: Kruger live! DB & Hawk report'in
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 12:11 pm 
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JeannieR, indeed you should ponder the state of this trip report!

We were 'back', have done two trips to other SANParks since, and ..... now are heading off again. Perhaps I need to stick to 'live' reports. *blush

As I write this post, we are wending our along the N1. We are in Pretoria for the weekend, to attend the SANParks Kudu Awards, and on Sunday plan to head along the N4 back to Kruger.

We'd love you all to share this, our next visit with us here :)

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 Post subject: Re: Kruger live! DB & Hawk report'in
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 7:53 pm 
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We are here!!! And it is wonderful, perfect and such a blessing to be here.

I tried to connect via my notebook, but no go ... grrrr so this is a quick check in via my phone.

We arrived at Croc Bridge at about 3pm after a weekend of high excitement in Pretoria. So much to share.

The park, the little we have seen, is looking stunning. And to be greeted at the gate by SANParks security so smart in uniform, somehow just seems 'right'.

Frogs are singing away, and its off to catchup some sleep in order to be at the gate at 5.30am. What will we see ...

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