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melissal's Summer in Kruger - updated! Feb. '13

Tell us about your breathtaking experiences in the parks

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melissal
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:49 pm

melissal's Summer in Kruger - updated! Feb. '13

Unread postby melissal » Sun Jul 28, 2013 11:42 am

Was going to do a trip report but cannot get flickr links to work....and can't delete this entry. Sorry!
Last edited by melissal on Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

melissal
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:49 pm

Re: Summer in Kruger

Unread postby melissal » Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:08 pm

Ok, I'm just going to draw a line under the fact that I'm too dumb to read saraf's excellent flickr instructions properly the first time, and start from scratch. Apologies to all who clicked in to this report already already for wasting your time, so here's a kingfisher and sunrise as an attempt at apology! And thanks to Heksie for your kind offer of help as well!


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Malachite Kingfisher


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Dawn on the last day

melissal
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:49 pm

Re: Summer in Kruger - updated!

Unread postby melissal » Mon Jul 29, 2013 1:00 pm

Sunday 24th February

I find it so depressing when I get back from a trip to Kruger that I generally can’t bring myself to do a trip report until I can guarantee I have another trip in my future, so having now booked a trip for Christmas, I am looking back over the trip in Feb/March, and re-living it in preparation for the next adventure.

After a few days catching up with friends in Johannesburg, and doing some preparatory shopping for the Kruger, I picked my mother up at the airport and we headed out towards Milly’s at Machadadorp (it’s possible someone in the car was a little cranky :evil: after running into the infamous airport 8 international flights arrive within 20 minutes and we have only 2 passport control officers….fortunately a tempo and a cup of tea soothed tempers a little).

Millys offered up the usual fabulous food (and coffee milkshake which was so good I had to have 3). We drove on to Nelspruit, and stopped at Crossings, to go to Woolworths for meat and veg, then Spar for water and bread rolls. Finally, all tasks complete, we headed for Malelane Gate, for our first night in Malelane Camp.

Our first sighting was a couple of elephant on an island in the Crocodile River just before Malelane Gate (terrible photo but I always take a photo of the first animal no matter how distant / out of focus).

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[url=http://www.flickr.com/photos/20674800@N04/9377662788/]

Checkin was quick and efficient (our wild card hadn’t turned up again, but the printout of the receipt was accepted with no problems). Saw nothing between the gate and camp, but it was now 3pm and very hot, so everything was sensibly snoozing I guess. We had booked the BG3, so were in Unit 5 (the only BG3 in camp).
Unpacked, and went for a walk around camp to stretch our legs after the drive. We discovered a communal kitchen with a chest freezer, so put the meat in there so it would last the long drive to Satara tomorrow in the coolbag.

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Malelane Camp, Kruger

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Malelane Camp, Kruger


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Malelane Camp, Kruger

Really love Malalane – quiet, no noise other than animals (at least when we were there), with beautiful trees and birdlife. We went out for a drive on the S110 towards Berg-en-Dal. We saw elephant and impala, and then tried the Matjulu loop: road was very bad after the rains, and bush very overgrown, so we turned back. Back in camp we sat outside with a glass of wine, snacking on crackers and trout dip from Millys, just enjoying the sunset and being back in Kruger.
Next trip: Berg-en-Dal Dec 21-22; Bateleur Dec 23-26; Mopani Dec 26-30; Skukuza Dec 30 - Jan 1

melissal
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:49 pm

Re: Summer in Kruger - updated!

Unread postby melissal » Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:02 pm

Monday 25th February

The next morning we were up at 5am, in an attempt to get out the gate at 5:30. Missed it by 15 minutes, not a bad effort given some of us may have been suffering from jetlag! Had planned to go S110 – H3 – S114 – S25 towards the Crocodile Bridge – Lower Sabie road (H4-2), on our way to Satara.

It was a grey, drizzly morning, with very little in the way of sightings. We were onto the S25, when we rounded a bend and saw elephant next to the road. Backed up a bit to give them room (which for me means at least 50m away, preferably a LOT more). More and more came out of the bush and started walking down the road towards us.
Decision time – keep reversing, or turn around?


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We turned around.

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They followed us down the road for about a kilometre before splitting up and moving onto the verges on either side of the road. They looked in no hurry to move any further.

We had to get to Satara that day, so decided to loop around on the S114 – S119, and back onto the S25 that way.


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Stopped off at Gardenia hide for a break, and had breakfast there (tuna rolls, tempo and coffee). The hide was very quiet, with a lot of water after that rains earlier that year.

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Continuing on towards the S25 – the bush was high, thick and very green, so proceeded cautiously in case we disturbed any more elephant without warning (this was to become a bit of a theme on this trip!).

The sun started to burn through the cloud, and we saw these impala being very thorough in their grooming.

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And then finally a Lilac Breasted roller as we headed towards Lower Sabie for a break.

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Next trip: Berg-en-Dal Dec 21-22; Bateleur Dec 23-26; Mopani Dec 26-30; Skukuza Dec 30 - Jan 1

melissal
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:49 pm

Re: Summer in Kruger - updated!

Unread postby melissal » Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:11 pm

Trrp-trrrrrrrr wrote:melissal,

Gardenia hide *sigh* :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Gorgeous pic of the Impies :clap: :clap: ..can never get enough of them. :dance:

:popcorn:


Thanks Trrp-trrrrrrr! I find that since I learned to appreciate impalas I never have a slow day in the Kruger :) They are so beautiful, and always moving around and interacting - find them really interesting.

Here's an interior of Gardenia hide for you :D We were very fortunate to have it to ourselves - very peaceful.

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Gardenia Hide
Next trip: Berg-en-Dal Dec 21-22; Bateleur Dec 23-26; Mopani Dec 26-30; Skukuza Dec 30 - Jan 1

melissal
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:49 pm

Re: Summer in Kruger - updated!

Unread postby melissal » Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:23 pm

Monday 25th February continued…

After a break at Lower Sabie for coffee and a trip to the shop to buy a new map book, we continued on towards the H10, passing this elephant just before the bridge, amongst the reeds.

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The day became hotter and hotter, and there was little in the way of sightings until we came across this herd of ellies. Luckily they were passing behind us, so we weren’t in their way, and I could relax a bit more and watch them.

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Further along we came across this old buffalo who passed close to a small herd of buffalo, and the male took exception to him and a battle ensued.

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Although it looked like he held his own, at least a little, watching him walk slowly away with a limp was incredibly sad. Drove on rather than stay and watch him hobble away in defeat.

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And then, just before Satara, I saw something I’d wanted to see for years – a Carmine Bee Eater! Filled a memory card with photos while my mother waited patiently.

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Finally it flew off, and I moved forward a bit. Then saw a European Bee Eater, and the camera sang again.

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Eventually I had my fill, and we headed off to Satara. Checkin was great, really helpful reception staff. We unpacked and elected to spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing, with a braai and glass (or 2 :D ) of wine.
Next trip: Berg-en-Dal Dec 21-22; Bateleur Dec 23-26; Mopani Dec 26-30; Skukuza Dec 30 - Jan 1

melissal
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:49 pm

Re: Summer in Kruger - updated!

Unread postby melissal » Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:03 pm

Tuesday 26th Feb

After an excellent night’s sleep, we were up at 4am, and thought we would be first in line at the gate when we left at 5:20 to head towards it. No chance – we were number 12! Lots of early risers in Satara – by the time the gates opened the queue was winding all around the camp …

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Since most people turned right (towards the S100 I guess), we went left on the H1-4 instead. It was a quiet morning, but then there was a very large male elephant next to the road so we stopped a good distance away. A few cars passed us, and he didn’t seem too happy about them – lots of head tossing and trunk waving. Waiting paid off for us though – an African wildcat ran across the road right in front of us. Too fast for a photo, but great to see.


Eventually the elephant crossed the road, and we carried on. He joined up with two other males, and then crossed the road behind us when we turned onto the S90.

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We carried on seeing jackal, zebra, and wildebeest. At Gudzani #2 we stopped for breakfast (egg may rolls, tempo bars and coffee). Moving on from here we saw lots of bee-eaters, and a civet that was too quick for a photo again.


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Next trip: Berg-en-Dal Dec 21-22; Bateleur Dec 23-26; Mopani Dec 26-30; Skukuza Dec 30 - Jan 1

melissal
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:49 pm

Re: Summer in Kruger - updated!

Unread postby melissal » Wed Aug 07, 2013 12:29 pm

We stopped at Gudzani Dam - hadn't been there before. What a lovely spot, and much bigger than I expected. A load of zebra and wildebees came down for a drink on the opposite bank, then suddenly all spun around and bolted.

At the time we couldn't figure out what had spooked them - it was only when I got home and zoomed right in I saw the croc coming up out the water at them (he's on the left, just between the bank and the first log in from the left)

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Next trip: Berg-en-Dal Dec 21-22; Bateleur Dec 23-26; Mopani Dec 26-30; Skukuza Dec 30 - Jan 1

melissal
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:49 pm

Re: Summer in Kruger - updated!

Unread postby melissal » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:15 pm

Continuing on, we decided to take the fabled S100 back towards camp (I have never seen any kind of cat on this road...).

These hornbills looked like they were courting - one caught an insect then offered it to the other one

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Getting hot by now, these wildebees found some shade

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Couldn't ID this bird? Looked a bit like white-winged widowbird, but I couldn't get a clear view of the wings, just the gold spot.

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Turning a blind corner, this little scamp came racing out of the bushes towards us.

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His much bigger female relatives could just about be seen through the bushes. He stood in the middle of the road for over 30 minutes, so we waited. And waited. At least the wait gave us a chance to tidy up the car after the emergency braking scattered everything everywhere 8)

Eventually the others crossed the road, and he followed them off into the bush.
Next trip: Berg-en-Dal Dec 21-22; Bateleur Dec 23-26; Mopani Dec 26-30; Skukuza Dec 30 - Jan 1


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