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 Post subject: Re: Fun and family in Kruger - May/June 2013
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:16 pm 
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Ok, so by now I am sure you had long written me off and forgotten that we are somewhere up in the Letaba area about to embark on a drive up to Bateleur where we were to be based for only 1 night.
Anyway, huge apologies for the loooong delay but life just somehow gets in the way! :redface:
but I will complete this report as we don't have that long before we depart for our next trip. :thumbs_up:

I must thank all those who have faithfully viewed and commented thus far. :clap:

Not sure if I mentioned that we stayed in bungalow #A5 in Letaba, quite near the back, again not ideally positioned by adequate for our 1 night stay.

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Jock had once again strolled down to the fence overlooking the river and watched the sun slowly making it presence felt.
What a way to start the day! Sigh!

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And the little resident Bushbuck in the early morning light.

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Finally all packed up and on our way northwards!

The Letaba bridge still bearing signs of the awful flood waters some months before!

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It was a stunning morning and we just couldn't resist the view taken from the bridge.

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A little Blackwinged Stilt hoping to be in luck with some breakfast!

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Carrying on we find a little Steenbok

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Checking for danger!

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We decided to take the S48 Tsendze Loop instead of the tar road and we hadn't gone very far we met a breeding herd of Ellies

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They weren't all that pleased to see us at first and the one trumpeted its displeasure but soon wandered off to join the rest of its herd, thank goodness!!

one of the youngsters in the herd.

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One of our best birds to photograph and how do you resist them?

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Next up a threesome of Swainson's Francolins posing nicely!

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and an old "dagga boy" glaring our way!

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Brown-hooded Kingfisher

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We then decided a stop off in Mopani for a spot of breakfast was in order.

Sat out on the deck overlooking the lovely Pioneer Dam

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and plenty to entertain us while we waited for our breakfast order to arrive.

African Darter drying its wings.

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What I think is a Purple Heron?

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Some far off Hippos

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and the never too far off where food is concerned Starling

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Our breakfast wrap Mopani style!

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A beautiful Impala Lily in the grounds of Mopani.

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Tummies full we carry on and before we had gone too came across some ellies slaking their thirst at one of the reservoirs.

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and we have to stop off at the Red Rocks lookout!

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Nothing to much moving but love the beautiful and scenic outlook.

Arriving at Batelur camp which was a first visit for all of us and we are impressed by the neat and peaceful little camp.
We are allocated #4 and if anyone wants to see pics of the bungalow I have posted them Here

We soon settled in and were highly entertained by the this Starling decided a little pool was a good place for a drink!

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Also this Red-billed Hornbill who seemed to be waiting for the braai!

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and the little tree Squirrels who were all over the place begging like crazy!

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Towards dusk we took a stroll to the hide in the camps ground and sat hoping for something exciting to wander by.

but unfortunately all that we saw was flocks of Doves flying in and out continuously

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Just as the light was starting to die we discovered a Verreaux's Eagle Owl in the big tree opposite the hide but before we could get a pic it flew off into the night. :(

Then the wind suddenly picked up and it blew an absolute gale all night which was quite noisy with all the tree around the camp.

The next day proved to be quite an exciting day so please don't go too far away and I promise to get the next episode underway without delay! :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Fun and family in Kruger - May/June 2013
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 4:08 pm 
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Thanks so much for your continued support to this extended and seemingly never ending TR.

Let me continue as quick as I can.

As we unfortunately only had 1 night booked at Bateleur we had to pack up and head on out towards our next destination which was Shimuwini another camp that Klystron and I had only been to once before and for Jock her first time.

The day dawned much as the night had been, overcast cold and windy!
We left quite early as we wanted to take a drive to the famous Rooibosrand & Silverwis dams.
both new places for us to explore.

Rooibosrand Dam

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At the dam were a little family of Egyptian Geese, Spurwings, Jacana, and numerous other bird species plus a Grey Heron

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and on the road back from the dam, a Male Double-banded Sandgrouse

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a what I think could be a Little Sparrowhawk but do correct me if you think otherwise!

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and a very well used windmill tower

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Some Impala busy sorting out any differences!

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and one of the beautiful Baobabs in the area. :D

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To get right down to Silverwis Dam is quite an interesting drive and takes one from sparse bushveld vegetation into thick forested trees and very narrow little roads.
We were holding our breath that we didn't come across an ellie who wanted right of way as reversing in there could have been a little challenging to say the least! :shock:
but once one gets right down to the dam itself its really a very pretty, scenic and restful spot to spend some time and enjoy a mug of hot coffee and a few biscuits which is exactly what we did. :D

We watched as some Kudu and Steenbokkies wandered along munching happily on the dense vegetation and Vervet monkeys leapt from tree to tree.

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Taking the S52 back towards the tar road and suddenly Jock shouts out the magic words everyone wants to hear! Leopard!

We first saw it in the long grass and then another spied another one once we had reversed a little way back!
So 2 Leopards, super exciting!

I can't really recall which one was which in our pics but will just put some of the best ones on and hope there is one of either but I'm not sure!
Jock, you will have to help me out here!

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I think this is the second one lying on a termite mound?

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and you see how she noticed/heard the second one and turns to look at it.

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and then realizing what it was, relaxes a bit more.

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They didn't hang around long and both disappeared deeper into the grass and bush leaving us very happy at our special sighting.

Our next special sighting was of a pair of Sharpes Grysbok who were very obliging.

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Little Tree Squirrel who was the Grysboks companion.

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Next up was this Baboon looking the picture of innocence,
I think?? just love it!!

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Baby and Mom with a far away look in her eye!

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Still some evidence of the floods of a few months before.

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Reaching the H1-6 we start heading south again and before long Klystron asks very casually if anyone is interested in seeing another Leopard :tongue:
and there in the middle of the road stands # 3 of the day!! :D

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but soon decides discretion is the better part of valour and moves off and disappears into the bush leaving us hardly believing what luck we were having that day!

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The iconic Giraffe

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As we still had time to spare we decided to take the S144 & S143 Capricorn loop one of our favourite roads in the area.

but before we do we make sure a Chameleon gets safely over the road.

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As per usual the loop doesn't let us down and we see a wide variety of wildlife and birds, enough to keep us there for as long as time will allow.
including Kori Bustards, Ostrich, Warthogs, Plovers, Secretary Birds and Coucals to name a few.

Some Tsessebe

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Some Wildebeest and if you look closely a little Black-backed Jackal in front of them.

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The bones of the unfortunate ellie who was struck by lighting some months earlier.

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and a flock of Redbilled Queleas You have to look closely again as they seem to be lost in the background vegetation!

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and then an interesting sighting for us with Chestnut-backed & Grey-backed Sparrowlarks together.
My bird guide doesn't list the GB ones as being found in the area.

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Female Chestnut-backed
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Grey-backed

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Female

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And on the S50 a large herd of Buffalo

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and for Jock who no doubt took the pic

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another Sandgrouse, female this time.

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The lovely Saddlebilled Stork

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and then after traversing the little dirt roads we find ourselves at the entrance to Shimuwini to be our home for the next 2 nights.

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We were allocated bungalow # 10 with lovely views of the dam in front.

I have posted some pics of the bungalow if anyone would like to see them Here

For some reason our braai charcoal was making some spectacular sparks that night! :hmz:

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 Post subject: Re: Fun and family in Kruger - May/June 2013
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 6:06 pm 
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Thanks again for all the wonderful replies and comments!

Now its hurry hurry hurry as I try and get another episode finished before our next trip starts in 2 days time! :wink:

Some pics of our time spent in Shimuwini such a lovely bushcamp.

As it was from the chalet looking out over the river.

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A little Brownhooded Kingfisher who spent a lot of time in the tree right opposite our bungalow.

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And some Brownheaded Parrots who were flitting around the grounds.

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The next morning we had to drive back up to Mopani as I wanted to exchange some sunglasses we had bought at the shop which were defective.
but first a slow drive along the private lower dirt road leading to the H14 with some great river views.

The pretty and photogenic Lilac-breasted Roller

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A huge Baobab Tree showing lots of ellie attention! :wink:

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The tree was full of the fruit at this time.

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One of the fruit that had dropped/knocked off the tree and literally covering the ground all around the tree.

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Another view of the river as we progressed along.

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A family of Hippo sunbathing on a little island in the river.

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Just after we took this last pic the mother accidentally knocked the one little fella right into the water where he floundered around! :wink:

Juv Giant Kingfisher hoping to catch a bit of breakfast.

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The official Zebbie pic for Jock!

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and a little family of Natal Francolins

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The ever present Fork-tailed Drongo

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After a nice lunch at Mopani and a new pair of sunglasses we depart on the homeward leg.
but hadn't gone very far when we encountered a "roadblock" of the ellie kind!

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as he was in musth we weren't taking any chances and after making us reverse for a couple of hundred meters got tired of the game and went back to eating.

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only to be replaced by a curious Giraffe

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We had just been lamenting the fact that we had not seen many Hyenas this trip when close to the side of the road lay one busy feeding her little cubs so we were delighted to get the sighting.

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Seen along the way was a Redcrested Korhaan

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Arriving back at camp we quickly got ourselves ready for a sunset drive we had booked.

And what an amazing drive it was with Godfrey our guide.
We were the only ones doing the drive that night which made it even more special and altho it was freezing cold on the back of the truck once the sun disappeared it was so worth while.
Among all the other usual sightings we had 2 sightings of African wild cat, 2x Spotted Genet, African Civet x2, Spring hares x 3 and lots of Scrub hares and a Spotted Eagle Owl plus numerous Water Thick-knees, A Spotted Thick-knee and a Fiery-necked Nightjar so a most worthwhile drive.

Back at the chalet it was a warm drink and into bed happy campers.

The next morning, the first thing we heard was the loud roaring of a Lion, we never did see him but he kept up the roaring as he made his way along the opposite bank of the river just inside the line of trees.

we sat on the veranda having our breakfast and enjoying the lovely view before having to check out and move on.

A large herd of ellies on the opposite bank.

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Kurrichane Thrush

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The Brownhooded Kingfisher again

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and a Crested Barbet that came visiting.

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We were so thrilled to also get a visit from Shine the resident Duiker.

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More of the lovely views before we dragged ourselves away and set off down towards Phalaborwa gate to do a little bit of grocery shopping.

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Certainly a camp we would love to pay another visit in the near future.

Hoping to continue with more but somehow doubt I am going to be able to get this completed until after we get back!
So until then!

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 Post subject: Re: Fun and family in Kruger - May/June 2013
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 12:50 pm 
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Thanks so much for all the kind comments and very sorry to leave an uncompleted TR.
but I promise to get back to it as soon as we get back home again.

Think the ellie looked a lot closer than we allowed him to actually get as we were using the big lens.
but he was striding purposefully towards us at one point. :tongue:

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 Post subject: Re: Fun and family in Kruger - May/June 2013
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 1:33 pm 
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Right, back again from another wonderful trip, but before I get into that one I really would like to carry on and complete this before starting the next one! :thumbs_up:

Thanks so much for all the previous comments and for your patience! :gflower:

Just a few more pics of Shimuwini camp before we move on.
This is the flood damaged hide in the grounds which I believe is now repaired and able to be used again.

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In the grounds of the camp.

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and what had us quite amused is the bench that one has to sit on to be able to get cell signal! 8)

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on the private road on the way out we found a Crested Francolin with chicks on the side of the road.

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A little Three-banded Plover

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I must add that just before the Phalaborwa gate en route to our shopping trip we saw a lone Wild dog which appeared to have an injury to its foot and was clearly trying to catch up with the rest of the pack.
It was really just a fleeting sighting!

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Shopping done, we made our way along the H9to our next camp which was Olifants

This Marabou Stork getting itself spruced up.

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Also a couple of Mocking Cliff Chats

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And a nice breeding herd of Ellies!

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Such long eyelashes!!

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Travelling down the H1-5 and seeing the Olifants river one sees more evidence of the damage from the floods!

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Another view of the stunning river.

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By a stroke of luck we had managed to secure the most sought after bungalow # 14. 8)
Once settled in we sat soaking up the amazing view from this lovely cottage.

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As it was getting dark.

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Then we noticed as a huge fire raged in the distance lighting up the sky!

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Unfortunately we only had 1 night here and we reluctantly had to move on the next day but Satara is always a great place to spend more time in.

Will try to continue asap. :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Fun and family in Kruger - May/June 2013
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2014 2:01 pm 
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Thanks so much everyone for your kind comments and for your patience! :gflower:

Right where were we when the bus stalled again!! :doh:

We reluctantly left Olifants camp, sorry that we only had 1 night in such an amazing bungalow, but before we left, one last pic of the views in soft light.

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and a close up of the effect of the rising sun on the rocks below!

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and the Baobab tree on the other side of the river.

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By the time we dragged ourselves away it was 9.30 and the Temp was 15.5 with clear skies above!

A little down the road on the H8 we saw a little pond with an amazing sight of Black, Saddlebilled & Woolynecked Storks all having a tete a tete or morning meeting.
Plus a Hamerkop and a Pied Kingfisher.
Fishing must have been good in there but could not have been much left after they had finished!

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We turned onto the S92 and hadn't gone very far before we saw a little group of curious Dwarf Mongooses

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and a very speedy Sharpes Grysbok but it vanished before we could snap a pic!

Some pics of the damaged Balule Bridge.

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Back on the H1-5 a Steenbok runs across the road in front of us in a panic!
We scan around to see if we can spot the source of its fright but see nothing. :?
But once again its brought home to us how easily one could hit an animal if speeding!

A stop off on the high level Olifants bridge reveals some basking Hippo

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and a majestic African Fish Eagle

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Seeing as we only had to go as far as Satara we decided to take a slow drive down the S39 Timbavati Road a road we love to "do."

We couldn't resist this cute little newly born Giraffe!

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and an impressive looking Waterbuck who seemed to be happy to pose for us.
Don't you love their heart shaped noses?

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These Ellies were on a mission and walking very fast, so we moved on and let them cross.

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Moving on down the road I scan a rocky area carefully and we find a little pair of Klipspringers on guard, but quite well camouflaged!

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More sunbathing Hippos next to the river's edge.
And I see Jock has counted them and written 42 down in my notes! :shock:

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Love this pretty Natal Francolins

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A stately male Kudu also carrying an impressive array of horns.

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And a tree that caught our eyes covered in some sort of creeper.

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We arrived at Timbavati Picnic site for a spot of lunch and as I have already embarrassed myself with my comical blunder in another forum I may as well fit it in here, where it actually happened! :redface:

Here

I was very relaxed by this stage which might help my lapse!! :wink:

Carrying on towards our destination we find some more Giraffe plus a lot of other usual game.

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Then it was about time for check in at Satara
We were allocated a B39 bungalow, one of the renovated 3 sleepers.

You can have a look B39 Satara for pics of the actual bungalow.

We unpacked, poured something cool to drink and relaxed after a nice drive.

I am going to leave it here for now as I think I have done enough pics but have the rest all ready to continue for the next day and to the end of our trip which was fast approaching!
So I promise I will not leave you hanging! :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Fun and family in Kruger - May/June 2013
Unread postPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 12:13 pm 
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My sincere thanks to Pikkie, Pumbaa, Kaapsedraai, Carol g, Barryels, Hilda, Jock, JeanniR

Lets get moving again!

The next morning Klystron wanted to have a bit of a lie in so Jock & I went off at gate opening on our own.
There were quite a few cars waiting in line and once the gates opened, a few turned left but most turned right and headed for the S100.
We then decided to rather drive to the H6 instead to avoid driving in convoy and dust!
As I recall there were only us and 1 other car who had made the same decision so we virtually had the road to ourselves.
We hadn't gone too far when we saw first one then another little creature running in the road and then dash into the grass but as the light was still not good we at first couldn't make out what it was but as we neared we could see it was 2 Honey Badgers which we were thrilled about as they were quite high on our wishlist.
After watching them make their way through the grass and disappear we carried on.

Another km or so further on we could hardly believe our eyes when a second pair of Honey badgers appeared and ran up the road in front of us!
This time we managed to snap off a quick pic before they too disappeared but due to the bad light and through the windscreen it hasn't turned out well but proof if you can make our what they are but I can assure you they are indeed 2 little HB's! 8)

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As you can imagine we were more than happy with our decision of road choice. :D

A little further on we came across a well used Hyena den with some youngsters playing tag around the bush and the adults lying around after a night of hunting.

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We then turned onto the S41 and was greeted by a flock of Helmeted Guineafowls running down the road towards us.

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then a very handsome Waterbuck

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Back at camp we packed up and left for the drive down to Berg & Dal which was to be our last night in the park.

Driving down the H1-3 we found a pretty Purple Roller

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and then at Mazithi Dam next to the road a nice little group of Ellies, one of them a potential emerging tusker.

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and a pod of Hippos

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This adult Bateleur Eagle caught our eyes sitting in the tree.

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The a Starling showing off its pretty colours.

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We stopped off at Tshokwane for a bite to eat and then carried on with full tummies.

Along the H1-2 we found a sleeping Lion but as such Lions not conducive to good pics.

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After a shopping trip in Skukuza we seemed to have picked up an extra passenger! :wink:

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We decided to take the S114 instead of the tar road and then turned onto the S112 where a little group of Klipspringers was standing guard.

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Then while we were stopped Klystron caught a glimpse of something walking right next to the car and there was a Lioness virtually in touching distance!
Where she had come from we had no idea but she was on a mission!

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She then veered off into the bush and headed for the rocky outcrops and as she looked as if she was lactating had to assume she had cubs hidden up high in among the rocks.

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We then checked into our bungalow at B & D which was a perimeter one but not the greatest view.

I have added the pics into the accommodation Here

We settled in for our last braai of the trip sitting chatting about the things we had seen and experienced.
I do recall hearing a Hyena calling loudly sometime during the night who must have walked along the fence line.

We left quite early the next morning as we still had a long drive back down home.

Our last pic is this Green Wood-Hoopoe

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We then reached the gate and left with that horrible empty feeling one gets when a wonderful trip has ended.

I must thank Klystron for being the chief driver and cameraman and Jock for all her wonderful pics, many of which are contained in this report and also her awesome spotting abilities. :k

Thanks also to all those who have joined us on this trip and for all your amazing support and wonderful comments and apologise again for the time I have taken to complete it. :tongue:

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