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 Post subject: Heksie's Camping... a pocket full of special - KNP, July '13
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:54 pm 
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Prologue…

So I work in a bar and I hate every single moment of it, I’m busy with my teaching prac and basically everyday I wake up at 6 to teach kids till 14:00 and then afterwards I would go home to catch a 2 hour nap because my shift at the bar starts at 17:00, which involves me rolling my eyes everytime a group of drunkards come to the bar to buy ‘one more’ and then at the end have to chase them away as they don’t know what their limit are… at least its cold and not as busy as it is in the middle of winter, I would sit with these inebriated imbeciles till 2 in the morning and then only jump in bed by 3, this was my daily ritual for 6 months. The only thing that keeps me level-headed is the thought of Kruger, so I go online and check out for availability-which then ends in me booking all that is not already booked by the other schoolgoers’ parents. I get to book 2 nights Tsendze and 3 nights LS camping, which is just great as it means that I would be meeting Vinkie who is coming all the way from another country. Now all I can do is count down the days till 9 July and hope that nothing jumps up which will mean that I have to change or worse cancel. So a few months pass and instead of me going on my lonesome I get a ‘plus one’ which means that it is another heksie and mommy dearest trip which can only be a lot of fun and for a bonus WendyA will be crashing our party at LS. I also had an itch which needed to be scratched so stalking the SANParks website we got to book 2 extra nights, 1 at Tamboti and 1 night camping at Satara. We also got 2 nights at Sabie Park which meant that it would be a 9 day stay, I was just elated.
Time was standing still for no one and we had to start getting all our camping gear ready and ensure that we had everything needed by those everyday camper. We had to buy a gazebo and borrow a few things but in the end we were sorted and ready to show people how to camp in style. It was school holidays and lekker for me, FREE TIME. Mum still had to work so I did all the packing, you won’t believe what can fit in an i10… She arrived at 13:00 and we planned on leaving at 14:00. We checked that the most important things were packed i.e. cameras and reservations. We leave as organized and quickly fill up the now dubbed ‘little ellie’ with petrol. As we are on our way to Witbank, about 10km from Bronks I realize that the newly bought gazebo is not packed… ok, swearing at myself profusely I take the next turnoff and we are on our way back to Bronks. So if we thought our car was packed, it wasn’t, we actually get the gazebo in the car and at 15:00 we try leaving again, well if we forgot anything now I would not drive back in anyway. We drove straight to Whiteriver and then get a lekker coffee, at Hazyview we fill up and we arrive at Sabie Park at 19:30. We quickly unpack and then start up dinner, which consists of bake potato filled with curry mince. It was just yummy after such a long drive and I enjoy it with the obligatory KPA. We sit and talk and enjoy being back in the park and just can’t wait to see what she unfolds for us the following days.
We get to bed with high hopes and no expectations but knowing that our hunger would be satisfied by the bush.

To be continued…

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CAMPING

12 Jul Tambotie
13 Jul Sable Hide
14+15 Jul Punda
16-19 Jul Tsendze


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 Post subject: Re: Camping... a pocket full of special
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 8:42 pm 
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Day 1… Sabie Park

Woke up my first morning without the alarm and quickly jumped in a warm shower, it is surprisingly not as cold as what I thought it would be. After freshening up I wake mum and we start packing our lunch and drinkables for the day trip. We make some MMC as a ritual and then drive up to the Kruger Gate to wait in line with the other cars. We decided to take the S65 and then visit Resnosterkoppies, then do the S21 so we can then trail back to the Gate. We enter and breathe in Kruger, we haven’t even settled into the whole surroundings when mum shouts: ‘Hyena’ she was right next to the road but had almost a bigger fright than us and moved to lie in safer surroundings, we took a few kiekies and very happy with our first sighting we moved on.

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Here is some of the special grey sightings that needs to be appreciated in the Park.

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And then I believe that the Marekele infestation has moved to Kruger… We believe that there is some inbreeding between warties and rhino in the North Park, so we dubbed them Warnos but after this trip I think they migrated to Krugs or maybe texted the species that it is safe to mate, because the warties that we saw during this trip was absolutely massive. These are the normal sized ones…

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And unfortunately for those that only want to see cats-na-hah, this is not that kind of trip. I have a keen interest in birds and have got a hand full of lifers during this trip. YEAH for the birdsquad I say. Here is some of those loud birdies… Green wood hoopoe

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We had great sightings on the dirt roads which ranged from Mr Magnificent

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To a brown headed parrot (sorry the lighting was bad)

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Red crested Korhaan

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And we had a unmentionable sighting, he was dozing off a few metres in so if you didn’t pay attention you would drive straight pass him. We stood there waiting as there was a car approaching and we wanted to inform them about him. Mum was on the outside and she waved them closer and as she pointed towards him, the owner of the car also pointed with a droewors in his hand (mum was so hungry as we didn’t pack in a lot of snacks so she said thank you and then took it from his hand) I was totally shocked and the owners wife just started laughing at what just played in front of her eyes. My mum is a tsotsi… (nah, he offered the one piece and I joked with mum the whole trip that she stole it from him)
The impala lilies where everywhere and lit up the park with colour in the dry winter.

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At that dam on the H4-1 we had some hippsters and my favorite birdie-the hamerkop entertaining us

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Also on our way out of the Park we had vervets, offcourse,

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And some more kudu, we also had nyala but the pics are really bad.

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We got home and started a braai, we wanted have dinner early as we were supposed to meet friends on Skuks deck for a sundowner. We made chicken sosaties with braaibroodjies and no clothing accessory of mine caught fire this time. We had a great meal and offcourse the obligatory KPA’s when we were phoned that they were on their way to Skuks so off we went back to the Park. On our way we had more vervets and our first steenbokkie.

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We sat on the deck, they drinking coke and I, offcourse, my KPA, had a few laughs and discussed a few roads which they should take as they are not really big Krugerians. When it became time to leave, we quickly went to buy some frozen yoghurt (the Park has the best frozen yoghurt in SA) and back on the H11 to drive the 12km to the Gate. Our friends passed us as we tried to stay as long as possible in the Park, I went down a hill and then something caught my eye on my side, as I braked profusely I just saw the roadblock about 50m in front of us and the one oke flashing towards me. But no! I saw a pearl spotted owlet (a lifer) and as I reversed he flew away-no kiekies… WE moved towards the jam as it was our only way out of the Park and that is when mum said ‘LION’ we just missed a lioness crossing the road. All I saw was her back showing above the grass and then she was gone. So I say this was just a lionfart as no kiekies were taken as proof. You know what I mean, ne? It was like POP and then gone... At least something we could take pictures of was our first sunset in the bush.

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And just before the Gate another hyena hiding in the grass

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Our first day was very successful in other ways than seeing the Big 5 or cats or dogs. We had interesting bird sightings as well as other animals and a few laughs. We got home and packed most of our things in the car as tomorrow we were off to Tamboti. Mum took some sleeping tablets and I read a bit of Tony Park again as well as planning my route for the following day. After an hour or so I started feeling drowsy and decided to maybe hit the sack as well.

To be continued…

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CAMPING

12 Jul Tambotie
13 Jul Sable Hide
14+15 Jul Punda
16-19 Jul Tsendze


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 Post subject: Re: Camping... a pocket full of special
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 04, 2013 6:30 pm 
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Day 2… Driving to Tamboti

I was really excited to stay at Tamboti tonight as I’ve heard a few horror stories that would make hair stand on your back, badgers, leopards, bobbies and genets. This camp is definitely not for the faint hearted and I wanted mum to experience this as well. We already packed last night so this morning I had a shower, made the obligatory MMC and we drove to the gate with a car so full that we couldn’t see out the back. We decided on a straight route, H11->H1-2->H1-3->H7. First on our sightings list was this Egyptian goose bathing in the Sabie River

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And then a special surprise was 3 nyala bulls on the H1-2

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I also spotted my first brown hooded Kingy for 2013. He was right next to the road so I was very happy.

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And a bushbuck in the riverbed when we reached on of the bridges,

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We turned to go look at the causeway on the S83 as it had a kitty family in Easter but no luck with the whiskers that day. We did have 2 more Nyala sightings on this road though.

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I got very excited as small birdies flew into a bush next to the road, and I got to take a kiekie of one of them. I got to tick a lifer this morning… Golden-breasted bunting

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We had a great Martial Eagle sighting just before the Kruger Tablets

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Also just past the tablets we got a whole herd of kudu’s who decided to cross the road.

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As always I turned into Leeupan-my favorite spots in the Park just a pity that it doesn’t have a birdhide. I would sit here everyday. We had a moorhen running on water and a jacana entertaining us for a while.

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Just before Tshokwane we saw a herd of buffs in the riverbed , they were a bit far off but it was in the open so it was great to see the numbers in which they travel.

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Between Tshokwane and Satara (the part my mum apparently hates-don’t know why…) we had some of the general sightings…
Elephants

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Slender mongoose

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Then a ‘special sighting’ there were about 6 or 7 g-raffs eating from this bush, it was great seeing how some would come from afar and join the rest. It was like a family dining on the same table.

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Another general was this verve sucking his thumb

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We got to Satara and quickly refreshed, we bought some shortbread for the loooooooong road to Tamboti and cold drinks. The thing that everybody have to do when driving the H7 is to stop at Nsemani and check out the locals. We had a lot of ellies and the regular hippsters.

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We were munching on our cookies whilst this ellie was having a mudbath.

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And then after a while he decided that he was in a bullying mood, he walked straight up to this mountain of hippies having no care in the world.

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And then he started trumpeting and increase his speed towards them when they decided that it would be safer in the water.

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He lounged a bit in the water then walked off to another hippo grazing who he chased to the back as well. This ellie definitely had the little man syndrome as he just wanted to show the residents at Nsemani who is boss…

We moved on as the time was ticking on and we still want to unpack, chill and do an afternoon drive. We had a big surprise when we found out that the bridge still wasn’t fixed on the H7 and we had to take the Rabelais loop instead. All I can say is gagga!!!! We were hopping and bouncing around on this road with cars speeding past us and dust absolutely everywhere, we stopped for nothing as we wanted this torture to finish as soon as possible. We turned back on the H7 again and then got some willies next to the road.

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We got to Orpen reception and quickly booked in, got tent #4 which is now our new favorite one to ask for everytime and we got there and unpacked. We had this thought, thanks to WendyA, that it would be a big hassle to pitch up a camp for only one night so we quickly went on the SanParks website and hoped that there would be any bungalows or tents available between Tamboti and Letaba. We saw a bungalow available at Olifants and quickly phoned, they changed our booking and informed us that we can pay in the difference at any camp just before midnight. So after having a KPA or twice we decided to pay at Orpen and do an afternoon drive…

To be continued...

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12 Jul Tambotie
13 Jul Sable Hide
14+15 Jul Punda
16-19 Jul Tsendze


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 Post subject: Re: Camping... a pocket full of special
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 7:20 pm 
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Day 2… Tamboti fever sets in

So KPA’s were chugged and our booking changed to Olifants, now we only had to do the payment at Orpen and then we are sorted. We also decided that an afternoon drive is in order, you can drive the H7 from our side till you find the broken bridge which is about 20km which is great and we didn’t want to go near Rabelais loop until necessary so this was our plan. We had to meet 11ie today as a sundowner was in order with mites, I sms’d her about six and off we went to find anything… well before that we quickly went to Orpen to do the payment and everything was sorted for tomorrow night. So here goes H7 and first on our list of sightings was a warno-brigade, biggest group I’ve ever seen

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Then we had some ellies having an early dinner, there was a JJ already parked so we just stopped next to them and started taking a few kiekies. One of the occupants, a blonde poppie, leaned our way and asked: ‘Paaardon me, haff you seen any leons?’ On which I just shook my head and said ‘no’ and then she brushed her blonde hair back then un-amusedly asked: ‘Weeeell, haff you seen any taigers then?’ I had to bit my tongue just there and whilst giggling just said ‘no’ again. I took it better than the JJ as he threw his head back and laughed his head off. We left the poor women who was definitely misinformed about the animals in the Park and moved on. Some other sightings on our afternoon drive was a duiker,

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Dwarf mongoose

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Steenbokkie

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And another magnificent sunset to oooh and aaaah over…

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Just before we entered Tamboti, the car in front of us stopped abruptly and he rushed past in front of us, this was the only kiekie I managed to snap…

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We got to our tent and I immediately started a fire, I wasn’t playing games or burning skirts today. We wanted to make boiled potato and corn but didn’t want to use the stove so with a lekker hot fire we put the pot on the braai. I enjoyed my ‘first’ KPA for the night when a huge troop of baboons walked past our tent in the riverbed, and just when it started to get dark 11ie, SO and LO pitched. The OBS (old bush sherry) was soon popped open for mummy and 11ie whilst we started sharing bush stories, it was laughter from start to finish as SO can tell elaborate tales about dried fruit, flat tyres and carcasses. We had a great kuier with them and were sorry that it was short, but definitely something to do in the future again. Just after mum and me ate (sorry to say that the pot didn’t survive the ordeal) we sat with a glass of OBS each when we heard the badger, we missed him a few times, he is lighting fast trotting past us to the other unfortunate campers. Not very happy with the kiekies that we did get…

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Mum heks apparently didn’t hear all the badger horror stories, as she wanted to go down the steps to look for him with a torch underneath our tent. After a good scolding from my side she decided it would be better to stay on the stoep. So we missed out on the badger, oh well, pour me some more OBS, sipping intently and listening for any movement in the bushes I got the fright of the night when I stared straight into a cats eyes…



Mum was going bonkers now, she just wanted the bloody thing to come and sit on her lap so she could pet it…

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It was almost 22:00 when I decided that it was time to sleep and off I went into the tent, mum soon followed, it was really cold and another blanket was taken out of the closet. I passed out so quickly that I was told the following day that I was rude… Well we were woken at midnight by badgerilla who wanted to eat us and the bit of food that we had in the dustbin, too cold and scared to take kiekies and after some horrorfilled minutes passed out again.

To be continued…

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CAMPING

12 Jul Tambotie
13 Jul Sable Hide
14+15 Jul Punda
16-19 Jul Tsendze


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 Post subject: Re: Camping... a pocket full of special
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 7:47 pm 
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Day 3… Olifants (this one is for you Noel)

We wake up this morning and are glad that our door wasn’t broken in half during the night by the badgerillas, I cautiously look outside and everything is still fine, just our dustbin has been moved so that they could eat the contents of the bins. We quickly start packing the i10 again for the road to one of the most beautiful camps. After successfully stuffing my car till there is no space, we quickly drive to the bathrooms-believe me it is safer than walking-and do the frilly things. We left the camp before 6 which was lekker even though it was very dark, but our plan was to do the S100 as well today so we needed an early start. This is how dark it is at 6:00 in the morning, if you squint your eyes you can maybe surely definitely see an ellie,

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We had the normal antelope like kudu,

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And zeb on the H7, someone asked us about lions which I never saw and Nsemani only had hippsters this morning. Just past the H7/S100/H1-3 junction we had a highlight for mum in the road, just sorry he was a bit far and running away from us.

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We got to Satara to have a wee break and fill the car with petrol, whilst the petrol was pumping I just heard a cackling and the aloes were full of the green wood hoopoes,

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We then moved to the S100, as mum never before had the privilege to have a drive on this ‘lion-free’ road. We drove straight into a roadblock-of which no one was the true Krugerian to inform us what they were looking at, so after stretching the neck a few times and having the oh so famous ? look we moved on. A highlight for us came afterwards when I spotted my second pearlie for the trip.

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We also had buff, and the normal S100 antelope

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Another rush sighting was this hyena, it happened so quickly that I took only half a kiekie…

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We spend some time with a troop of verves, behind them there were warties, gnus and zebs

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We enjoyed this drive as there were animals everywhere but one thing we didn’t expect was when we went around a bend saw 3 cars parked on the right side of the road… We slacked of even more and so the S100 showed us today who is boss…

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We spend about an hour with them and I believe that at most there were 15 cars, but they were spread all over so nobody were blocked in and no hooting or bad behavior. We turned left on the S41 and then turned on the S90 to go back to Satara for another break, we had a few good sightings on these roads: kori bustard (mums fave bird, she invented her own degrees of comparison for the non-flying bird: korhaan-kori bustard-ostrich) so seeing them makes her heart flutter with joy…

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willies,

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More waterbuck, giraffe and steenbok,

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Having a quick break and showing the Satara scopsies for mum, we ordered coffee at the restaurant and I bought a mini Amarula to have a delishioush MMC on our way to Olifants. Listen here, no matter what they say the power of MMC works as we didn’t even drive 10km then we had another kitty sighting on the H1-4…

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This was a quick sighting and then they decided to make like flat kitties and disappear in the grass for no one to see until they want to show themselves again. This is our second time going to Olifants and this road has delivered great bird sightings everytime. Here are some of our winged friends: LBR with kill

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Ground hornbill

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Secretary bird

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Ostrich

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We had two more kori bustard sightings which got mum very excited

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We turned on the S91 to take the river road to Olifants instead of the tar which was a curse and a blessing for me that day…
Some sightings that we had on that road was squirrel, squirrel and squirrel… oh how I hate squirrels…

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And dwarf mongoose

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This is why I have written off SQUIR-REL for the time being…

Ok so we are driving on the Balule dirt road (S91/S92) towards Olifants and ooooo I see a squirrel on a branch posing beautifully for me mum. I stop and shout and reverse and as we get ready to take a kiekie, squirrel he runs- I swear and on we go... Then mum screams leopard and points-I see no leopard but a caracal bum trotting away exactly in line where I stopped before I reversed for the squirrel. So the damn thing got such a fright about us stopping for the squirrel he turned and ran away! If I didn't look at the squirrel I would've seen a caracal and taken kiekies!!!!! So here we are and we have no pics of the caracal or squirrel...

We are entering Olifants and I’m sulking and hitting myself against the head and swearing the day I decide to take kiekies of squirrels, and I quickly book in as I just want to get an ice cold KPA to numb my ordeal. Mum use the toilet facilities and as she flushes the water goes absolutely everywhere, the bathroom floor is full of water etc. Totally not happy with this we decide to report this after I finish my KPA and then go for an afternoon drive whilst they fix it. This was about 15:30 and after being very helpful we leave the front desk to check out a road that we have never driven before, the S44.

It follows the Olifants and Letaba river which is both magnificent rivers, definitely a sight to see. The sightings wasn’t that good but it was still a beautiful road. We had a red crested korhaan strutting her stuff

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The olifants river at the look-out point (just check the view)
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Warnos

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And to end the day another sunset

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Now to end a wonderful day we wanted to get home, pop open another KPA and start braaing B-U-T unknowingly as we got in our bungalow we get a surprise of toiletwater still everywhere on the bathroom floor and no sign of any one who came to fix our problem!!!!!! Now I’m de-moer-in and tired and its dark and we have to drive back to reception to ask them if it is too hard for them to fix something like a clogged drain and clean… I don’t even get out of the car as I would’ve scorched the living daylights out of anyone I spoke to. I just sat in my car, lit a cigarette and swore in our eleven official languages. Mum came back and said that we had got a key to another bungalow, so that meant that we had to repack the car to drive about 500m to unpack again???? I was seeing red!!!!!!! We didn’t get any help as we moved in the dark, now why couldn’t they just come up with this solution when we were there the first time? After blowing off some steam and downing a few KPA’s I got the fire ready for lamb chops and corn in foil. We shared a glass of OBS and mum was feeling sorry for me about the caracal sighting that I couldn’t get past (this is the second time I got to see one but have no proof of). We stayed up till 22:00 and then hit our pillows hard. The car was already packed as the bungalows are fully equipped which is one bonus. I couldn’t even think of the day and then I was gone into dreamland.

To be continued…

_________________
CAMPING

12 Jul Tambotie
13 Jul Sable Hide
14+15 Jul Punda
16-19 Jul Tsendze


Last edited by Heksie on Thu Sep 05, 2013 5:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Camping... a pocket full of special
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:22 pm 
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Day 4… Tsendze

The alarm goes off and I quickly jump in the shower, after packing the last things into the car I wake up mum so she can finish up and we can leave, we get to the gate 5:45 and are surprised that there are already two cars waiting. I lit a cigarette and check the watch whilst mum tries to catch a few more minutes of sleep. As the gate opens we follow the other cars and breathe a sigh of relief that we are the only ones turning into S93. We don’t even drive a kilometer when we see a hare in the road and it was funny creeping towards him with the car and seeing him dashing with bum in the air further down the road. After a while he moved into the grass never to be photographed, we did get to take a kiekie of these imps next to the road,

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This road next to the Letaba river is absolutely stunning and we turn into each loop and enjoy the view, we even follow fresh lion spoor in the soft sand but no kitties… We heard a lions’ roar and it sounded far off in the opposite direction than we were going, we decided to move on. How glad we were about our decision, well we didn’t see them cats buuuut we were entertained for a long time by these dogs. They were very playful and a few times I had to start my car to prevent them getting to acquainted with my tires and numberplate. Here is some kiekies…

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I just love this Asymmetrical pic which happened by accident...

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We also had a close encounter with a Mr Magnificent

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And in one of the dips over a small stream we saw a pied kingfisher

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From the start when we were only to go to Tsendze and not have added the other nights I wanted us to enter at Phala as when I did the H14 in December, and it was the most beautiful and spectacular and special road. I wanted to show mum heks what this road can offer but because we stayed in the Park beforehand it meant that we would have to go straight via the H1-6 otherwise we would arrive late. But when we got to Letaba and I saw that it was only 9:00 I decided against the straight road and off we went towards the H14 via the H9. This isn’t my best roads and the sightings were bare minimum…

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We wanted to go check out Masorini ruins and luckily saw that it has loos as well which spared us am extra 14km to Phala gate. So we turned into the H14 and I’m stoked that we are driving this lekker road when mum points to her side and yell ‘CAAAAT’ I stop, say absolutely nothing, point and shoot… This is the 97 pics and 2 minutes later…

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Yesssssss! I didn’t make the same mistake to freeze and let this sighting go to waste! Only after she disappeared into the bushes I could breathe and jump up and down and let this all sink in! ‘We were the only car with a caracal sighting! I can’t believe it! 2 sightings in 2 days! Unbelievable!!’ Mamma Heks informed me that she felt so sorry for me the previous day that she prayed and asked favor for a sighting that I could at least take pics of this caracal-gedierte. Ag mum you are the best! We were sommer recharged and full of exhilaration for the rest of the day! See I told you that this H14 is a special road…

We had some other sightings as well, fish eagle

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What I believe to be a foaming grasshopper-please specialists help me…

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Herd of ellies keeping us occupied

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And then when we came around a bend we saw this peeping out of the grass.

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We reduced our speed to less than 10km/h as we didn’t want to scare them away. They were the cutest things we ever saw and we were oooohing and aaaahing as we were taking kiekies of them.

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Who can say that they are ugly?

We drove over the Letaba bridge and saw only croc and white fronted bee eater. There were offcourse a lot of giraffes and kudu and zebs on this road but absolutely no buffs of which we saw a million in December… We turned onto the H1-6 and were glad that we are almost at our camp, we just had to book in at Mopani, we sommer used their washing facilities and after reading that it takes an hour for a large load we set of to pitch up camp.

To be continued…

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CAMPING

12 Jul Tambotie
13 Jul Sable Hide
14+15 Jul Punda
16-19 Jul Tsendze


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 Post subject: Re: Camping... a pocket full of special
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:03 pm 
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Day 4… continued

It was time to go and fetch our washing so we sommer packed our car for an afternoon drive. I wanted to show mum the Tropic of Capricorn as she hasn’t been that North in the Park. We quickly went to the Laundromat to be a bit shamed, apparently the information on the walls isn’t correct; it’s not an hour but only 30 minutes and other people took out washing to put in theirs… We quickly took our panties with the rest of our dignity and threw it in a plastic bag to hang in camp. At Bowerskop we had our first animals, mums first tsessebi…

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It was really a quiet road, and I’m not the biggest fan of Mopani trees , we did see a large croc in the riverbed

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As most of you have seen, the Capricorn sign, we decided that it was safer to not get out of the vehicle and get an injury or die…

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There was also a truck that broke down and absolute no cellphone signal in the Mopani area so we informed the okes that we will go back to the camp and get the rangers to come and help. Mum was dosing in the car as I drove back and our highlight of the afternoon drive was more hyenas…

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After informing the camp we drove very slowly to camp, hoping that a lion or cheetah would jump out of the bush but all we found was a car parked next to the road and when asking what they are seeing, the woman replied: ‘oh, only the African sun’ so we took a pic of this as well, it isn’t something we see everyday, as we see more of the European and Australian suns…

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We got to camp and I made a clothes line out of our extra tent ropes, after hanging everything we made a fire. Here is some kiekies of our camp-this is how you can identify a ladies camp (men don’t do washing on holidays) Mum was so horrified about our underwear it had to hidden in the gazebo so no passerby’s could see it.

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That night we mad gemsquash on the fire with sweetcorn and toast. We also had lambchops which was finger licking good. Rodger and Elena came to visit us and we had a wonderful time discussing a few interesting things from official languages to the animals in the Park. They can definitely keep you occupied for a while. We kuiered a bit after they left, having a MMC and listening to the owls singing us a lullaby.

To be continued...

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CAMPING

12 Jul Tambotie
13 Jul Sable Hide
14+15 Jul Punda
16-19 Jul Tsendze


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 Post subject: Re: Camping... a pocket full of special
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 12:07 pm 
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Day 5… Tsendze and surrounds

The alarm goes off and I get out of the tent, there is no electricity in the camp as it was very cloudy and the battery didn’t charge fully. So I go shower with a battery operated lantern, it is very helpful in this camp as there are no plugs for lights either. After showering I use the gas stove and boil us a kettle for some MMC’s. I come back and whilst making our coffee I wake mum. Our plan was to drive Capricorn loop and then go get some signal as it’s my sister birthday and we need to wish her Happy and all the rest. As well as we had to meet up with another mite today, Lion Queen and the who, what and where had to be arranged. When we got on the road all you could see was mist… It was like this till after 10:00 in the morning. Here is some of my misty pics of most beautiful loop in the Park…

Bateleurs

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The sun through all the fog

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Capricorn loop

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Zebra

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Tihongonyeni

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Ostrich

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Kittlittz plover

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Willies

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Black backed Jackal

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Kori bustards

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And ellies

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And another BBJ that allowed for better close up kiekies,

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We then decided that the closest place to get reception was Letaba so we moved in that general direction. This was not what we wanted to do as we wanted to explore the area around Mopani but if life hands you no cellphone reception then you have to make signal… The road was very quiet and we only saw more willies, zebs and waterbuck. Here is a pic of the Letaba river.

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Then we arrived at Letaba, did the necessary phone calls and bought some banana chips and cold drinks. We didn’t want to drive the same road back and our return trip was H9->S132->S133->H14. WE got to see our mongooses again in their permanent housing.

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We didn’t have any animals on the dirt roads so these are banned for the future. We did have a few sightings on the H14.

Loving zebs

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Rockjumpertjies (there were three in total)

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We also had giraffes and croc sightings on this road, we got home and I wanted to have a snooze and mum had to study for her biblical test. As I made my tent cozy I heard this bird squabbling and complaining about something, I was having this conversation with him from my tent saying its ok no need to gooi ‘n vloermoer (transl: he mustn’t complain about life as we all love him) and after a few minutes it didn’t stop. I went to investigate this matter and just outside the bathrooms he was making eyes for her…

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Here is a video, sorry about my shaking hand… this sound went on for about 20 minutes.


We met lion queen, picnic and LO at Mooiplaas and had a lekker chat, lot of laughs and made great new friends with whom we hopefully will go to KTP in the near future. It was just before 5 and we had to make haste as they stayed at Mopani. So we waved farewell and went into our separate ways. That night we made a fire but didn’t braai, we had biscuits and mussles with cheese whilst litening to the crackling of wood and fire. Rodger and Elena came to visit again tonight and we had a great talk. We were really sad that this was our last night in this wonderful camp and spoke about booking again for next year.

To be continued…

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12 Jul Tambotie
13 Jul Sable Hide
14+15 Jul Punda
16-19 Jul Tsendze


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 Post subject: Re: Camping... a pocket full of special
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:29 pm 
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Day 6… going to Lower Sabie

I wake up 30 minutes earlier because I have to pack up camp and then hit the shower, again so glad that we had a lantern as it was pitch black. Packing up didn’t take up much time and then I hit the showers and afterwards boiled a kettle for my morning MMC. I made coffee and woke up mum so she can freshen up. During her absence I quickly packed her things in the car as well and when she arrived I was ready to hit the road.

We wave good bye to Tsendze knowing that next year July we would come visit again and take the highway down to Lower Sabie. It was misty this morning as well and we didn’t see anything till about 8:00, we did have a trumpeting ellie sighting a bit far in the Mopani trees but no kiekies were taken. Here are willies that we saw on the H1-6, there were also tsessebi, zebs and warties

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Then another special sighting ran across the road… Mum was ecstatic, our first side striped jackal.

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He moved into the grass and was gone after a few more kiekies. It started raining on our drive and we thought it rather weird for the middle of winter. Mum also found out this morning why she was so sleepy the past few days, she mixed her blood pressure pills with allergex. What a blonde moment…
Just before Letaba we had hippsters, waterbuck, giraffes and then this tortie having a drink.

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We quickly had a bathroom break at Letaba and bought some roasted corn and banana chips. Me and BC had a deal to whatsapp eachother when we have sightings as he was a Talamati, which I thought was in the North as well-oops-and I informed him about a lion sighting that my friend Japie told me about also about these cute hyenas on the H1-5 (which confused him as he thought why would he drive to Letaba if he was on his way to LS as well)

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As we crawled towards them they jumped of the road and we stopped behind the other car, they had a 9 year old child that swore at us and gooied her hands in the air as to show her irritation about us chasing away the hyenas (well, if I could read lips I swear she did) we waited like 10 minutes and the decided to move on as we went pass them I saw them on the left side of the road and we were parked on the right side, the girl shook her head at us. I just motioned with my hands that they should move to the other side of the road and left them with their hyenas. We had this ellie eating next to the road with a hornbill watching out for him.

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Then we had white backed vultures, more hippos and ellies on the olifants bridge and then on our way to Satara we had an ostrich.

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And my special sighting for the day, mum was asleep and I woke her when I saw a secretary bird next to the road, we got our cameras ready and to our surprise we saw a steenbokkie as well, now for the special part… the secretary bird was not happy about the bokkie getting all the attention and chased him for about 200m. Wish I had a better zoom and quicker fingers but these are a few kiekies to show what was going on…

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We got to Satara very happy with what they morning brought us already and wanted to do the S100 but thought better of it as time was against us. We bought some prezzies for the sisters and went to look at the scopsies then it was time to drive to LS.

To be continued…

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12 Jul Tambotie
13 Jul Sable Hide
14+15 Jul Punda
16-19 Jul Tsendze


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 Post subject: Re: Camping... a pocket full of special
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2013 11:31 am 
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Day 6… on our way to Lower Sabie

We are finished shopping and ready to take the road on towards our final destination of our trip. But before we drive straight we decide to visit Nyika pan where we found a grey heron and crocs basking on their own little island.

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Kumana dam had their resident animals; some waterbuck and willies

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We also had some kudu on our way to Tshokwane

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Mum was sleeping again when I saw brown headed parrots and very excitedly I woke her and started reversing. As I looked back I saw them fly away but saw another bird in the bush next to the road. Both of us were looking to the right as I was reversing when all of a sudden we got the our biggest fright for the trip. We reverse and are in our own little sighting world when we just hear from my mums side…

‘LEOPARD!’
Both of us jump in our seat and I utter a few words that we do not share on a family forum. I look out mums window and this oke in his DDS truck look at us with pride about spotting the leopard.
Heks: ‘No owl!’
DDS oke: ‘oh, didn’t you see the birds flying out of the acacia? The leopard scared them’
Heks: ‘O----K…’
So we keep on reversing to take a kiekie of this pearlie

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Happy with our pics we look in front of us and the oke is still there, he has no binocs but intently stares into the distance. We drive up to him and he informs us that he is sure there is a leopard in a tree about 300m from the road, I take out my binocs and nothing, nada, niks. He start telling us that leopards prefers staying in acacias and the thorns don’t bother them blah blah blah. All we thought was that this guy has sniffed too much gas in his truck as the birds (parrots) flew from the bush next to the road and there was no leopard… We decide to move on and leave him with his imaginary leopard. We quickly stopped at Tshokwane and then took the H10 (I wanted to drive H1-2 but mum wanted to this road) I found out too late that there were wild dogs from BC. Ok not to dwell on the things we didn’t see, here is our first H10 sighting.

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Then we had some warties

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And ellies far in the distance

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We stopped at Numbe and with the help of my binocs I saw rhino, ostrich, zebra, giraffe and warties. The last stretch produced some great sightings and special antelope…
Willies
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Rhino
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Reedbuck (we had 2 sightings, one at the Muntshe t-junction and then one about 10km from LS) People just drove past us not bothering about these 3 reedbuck…

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On the low water bridge we saw a reed comorant

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Wendy already pitched up her tent when we arrived at camp and when we parked this birdy was perched just above us, an Amur Falcon

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We quickly unpacked and set our camp then we sms’d Vinkie so that we could have a drink on the LS deck, he and Apex Predator was sitting and taking pics whilst waiting for the sunset drive. We left mum to study and drove to the Restaurant. Vinkie it was great meeting you and SO, and I’m so sorry that it was such a short kuier as well as your trip which was between Krugs and KZN a 2 week trip. We said our goodbyes and went to pick up mum for an afternoon drive. We quickly stopped at sunset dam where we had yellow billed storks, crocs, white faced ducks and hippsters. We also had a bit of a roadblock…

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We turned around here and decided to take some kiekies of the sunset. The most amazing one I’ve seen yet on this trip.

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We got home just after Wendy and had to get ready for our braai at the Browns. I opened a KPA and Wendy boiled her magical concoction. It took a while and I just informed them that we are well on our way. We took some wors with us and Wendy made an amazing quacamole, we almost lost our way to their humble abode but got there safely when we were friendly welcomed by BC, cow and all the girls. All I can say is: ‘ons het lekker gekuier’ through the rain and poor cow with her being not lekker, I’m telling you that they would’ve kuiered till way in the morning hours if it wasn’t for mum saying it is time to go. We left just past ten and Wendy and mum went for a shower whilst I sat and had a smoke in the dark.

To be continued…

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CAMPING

12 Jul Tambotie
13 Jul Sable Hide
14+15 Jul Punda
16-19 Jul Tsendze


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 Post subject: Re: Camping... a pocket full of special
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 8:00 pm 
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Day 7… Lower Sabie

As usual I wake when my alarm goes off, I quickly have a shower and then get sommer already boiled water from the communal kitchen. I drink my MMC whilst mum and WendyA gets ready and have by obligatory cigarette. I informed my mum and Wendy that I went into deep conversation last night with God and asked for some lions for Wendy as she has seen just spots but no golden cats, a cheetah for mum as she has never seen them in the wild and a leopard for me, how obvious. He always has His hands full when we are in Kruger. We wanted to go visit CB today so we moved into a Southerly direction. Of course I had to take pics of the sunrise.

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We had two pearlie sightings and only got to take a kiekie of this one

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Stopping at Nthandanyati brought us only a hamerkop and a scratch on my car as I didn’t see one of those moerse rocks in the parking area…

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It was very cloudy and some of our sightings for this morning were rhino

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Ellies, kori bustard, zebs, willies

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Giraffes and Warties

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Fisheagle, more willies and then just a few kilometers before CB we got what I believe is the Gudzani pride lazing around in the distance. (YAY for Wendy’s golden kitties!!!)

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We arrive at CB and I decide to do some bird watching and take my cam to the grass patch behind the day visitors’ picnic area. I’m telling you guys it’s a paradise so don’t give it a miss next time when you go to CB…
Purple crested Turaco

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Lifer… Black-backed Puffback

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If my ID is correct then: Lifer 2… Female Scarlet-chested Sunbird

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This was only in 10 minutes as mum and Wendy isn’t keen into birdies like me and wanted to move on.

This might bore people but this drive was definitely a birdie highlight for me, here is more that I found on the S25…
Green winged Pytilia

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Southern grey-headed Sparrow

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Then for the animal lovers, a warno

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Jumping back to the birders, a kori bustard on the S130

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And a black headed oriole sharing a branch with a fork tailed drongo

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Then we spent some time with a tusker in the making

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And a steenbokkie came by to say ‘Howzit’

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Just before we got to camp we came across this ellie that didn’ t look all Nellie, he was like a miniature, with weird tusks and he had a problem with his skin…

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And to nto forget our buff sighting

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And to just end of a great morning drive I got a white-bellied sunbird at the LS entrance gate.

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We got to camp and had a KPA or two whilst mum did a bit of studying, I had some crackers with guacamole and we had a lekker chat, we also planned our afternoon drive.

To be continued…

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CAMPING

12 Jul Tambotie
13 Jul Sable Hide
14+15 Jul Punda
16-19 Jul Tsendze


Last edited by Heksie on Tue Aug 13, 2013 8:16 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Camping... a pocket full of special
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 8:10 pm 
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Day7… continued

We sit and relax for not long as my bum is always itching-you can miss a lot when in camp and I want to discover and experience everything that the park has to offer. We heard that there was a mating pair of leopards at the little river just before the S28. We took a turn into that direction then we wanted to drive the H4-1 to Nkuhlu and back. I got mum to put down her work and on the road we were again, unfortunately we got no spots there but we did have some kudu’s quenching their thirst.

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We also had a juvenile brown snake eagle

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On our way back we saw a huge roadblock on the low water bridge and a few cars were on the H4-2 we asked the one oke what he is seeing as we were totally lost and he said there were 2 leopards at the bridge and one was walking this way, well after a few minutes there were still no spots so we moved on. The H4-1 was much more to our liking as we had 2 golden boytjies , one in the riverbed and one on the opposite side(I hope you see him, he is sitting upright). What made me excited was that a breeding herd of ellies were on their way towards the King in the riverbed, we had a great spot and I wanted to see what would pan out. Well. It didn’t work out my way as the ellies ignored the golden oldie flat and just kept on munching on the reeds.

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After an hour we moved on towards Nkuhlu, we got a Mr Magnificent peering at us behind some branches.

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And a graff having an early meal

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We were entertained by two monkeys playing in the road, and just a few meters on we watched some bobbies grooming…

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It was time to turn around, earlier on this road we past BC and co and he informed us about his mating imaginary mating leopards that he saw on the S79, and as we turned around we were informed via bbm about a brilliant sighting somewhere of something that must not be named. We missed that sighting by 5 minutes, aai tog! We did see this martial at least…

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And as the day before, Wendy stopped and stayed a bit at Sunset dam and we moved towards the H10 Bridge as it gives you the best sunsets in the Park. We sat there till it was time to go to camp, it is really how I would like to end every single day of my life, except maybe with a sundowner in hand…

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We got to camp just in time, happy that we had two kitty sightings for the day and a lot of birdies to boot. We had lamb chops and sweet potatoes on our fire, we were semi-invited to crash a prestigious party of another mite by BC but we thought better of it, as us ladies do not go bos in the bush. We had a few MMC’s and chatted till my yawns were bigger than the moon and it was time to catch dreams. Everything was perfect in the camp except that our next door neighbours were listening bobby van Jaarsveld…BUT WHY!!!! Well I got lullabied that night by an Afrikaanse hunk and not by owls and bush sounds.

To be continued…

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12 Jul Tambotie
13 Jul Sable Hide
14+15 Jul Punda
16-19 Jul Tsendze


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 Post subject: Re: Camping... a pocket full of special
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:23 pm 
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Day 8… Lower Sabie (our last full day)

This morning I snooze my alarm clock a bit and after an extra 15 minutes of sleep I have to go to the shower otherwise we won’t leave the camp on time, well well what I didn’t know was that the few minutes of sleep caused me to wait for an open cubicle. So unfortunately we only left the camp at 6:15 this morning, our plan was to go to Skuks via the H4-1 and then take the S21 back hoping to see some doggies. But as you know people deviate and when we reached the high water bridge we decided to rather take Maroela loop and then the H1-2 to Skuks. Now you guys can think I’m spinning a bunch of stories but no lies… I told my mum we were blessed yesterday with the golden cats so I went back and asked again for my mums cheetah but being a bit more specific, in a road so she can see him clearly and be able to take pics and also my leopard. So with high expectations we went on the road, our first sighting of the day was some ground hornbills, we actually had 2 sightings of them on the H4-1 and because we took the S79, in search of BC’s mating leopards, whilst WendyA drove tar she had a third hornbill sighting.

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We also had some brown hooded kingfisher sightings

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Just after the S79 we BC and co caught up to us and were a bit worried as they drove past Wendy ‘making coffee’ in her car in didn’t want to greet as they didn’t want to catch her with pants down. We reassured them that she was really making coffee and we were waiting for her. They moved on and we saw them again at Nkuhlu where we were informed about the lekker kuier that went on the previous night, he wasn’t feeling 4x4, and to top it up he wanted to break a curse as he took ice from Mr. Manbags’ icebucket… apparently if you dare take ice from there then you won’t see any cats the following day? Maybe they just drank so much every time that they didn’t leave the camp? BC and co was to go back to LS to pack up so we wished them luck in their kitty hunting and bid them farewell.
On the H12 Bridge we got to see our first Giant Kingfisher for the trip

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The animals were scarce but we did have a few birdies again; white hooded vulture

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A Gymnogene

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And a wartie trotted up to us on S83

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We got to Skuks and bought some droewors and also filled up our cars with petrol, Wendy of course had to fill up her flask as she drank almost 2L of MMC between LS and Skuks. Everybody was happy and the padkos was ready for our way back. On the S114 we got some life again, the Southern white-crowned Shrike

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Mr Magnificent

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Hooded Vulture

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Somewhere during the day we saw this rhino as well

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Then it was time to turn unto the S21. This road brought me a lot of luck in December, I don’t know why but it was my first time ever driving that road and I prefer to drive this road ever since. Got to see my first little bee-eater for the year on this road. (a bit far I know)

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And mum-heks spotted her first lifer, the green pigeon

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The day was very slow and we got a few kudus and squirrels on the road but not even ellies, when we got back on the H4-1 we took a quick turn towards the dam just a few kms from us, there we had hippos chilling outside and being them lazy selves.

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After spending some time there we turned back towards camp and after a few kilometers further we got a buffblock, there were a lot of cars so we took a few kiekies and just dug through the crowd…

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…and what do we find on Lubye-Lubye bridge? Another roadblock, someone informed us that a leopard was eating an imp just in such a weird spot that only a few cars could view it at a time, it was on the bridge so we waited and there was this car in front of us that didn’t want to move, we were getting unhappy but waited patiently. Well the other cars didn’t feel the same and after 20 minutes people started hooting and behaving horribly, we only had to move two cars then we could’ve seen the leopard but the bloody people scared him away with their behavior. One reason why I hate the South-the traffic! We went straight home to freshen up and just have a KPA and relax, well after my drink we hit the road again, we left Wendy in the camp as mum wanted to do the S29 which have brought great sightings in the past. We entered in the S entrance and just past Mlondozi mum complained that we didn’t have good sightings… NO! I exclaimed as we saw verves,

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Kori bustard

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Ostrich

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And a secretary bird, I also for a split second didn’t look where I was driving and picked up some leaves along the way. Now we were talking away the time and as we turned around a bend I see spots… I immediately scream ‘Leopard’ but driving closer we see a second body in the middle of the road and it dawns upon us that this is tow cheetahs!!!!! YAY!!!! Mum was so flabbergasted that she took changed the setting of her cam and by accident took a video which got her more excited as she didn’t know what was happening with her cam. At last she got it right and was able to take a few kiekies. We were there first and the cheetahs weren’t happy with us so as soon as they saw us they moved on.

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Mum was elated and I was jumping up and down for her part. Her first cheetah sighting and sommer in the road, another special moment for us. The last bit of road we saw a purple roller,

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We went back to Lubye-Lubye as all the day visitors had to be gone by now and we hoped that the leppie would return. We were sitting and waiting hoping and every now and then a passing car would slack down and ask us what we are seeing, ‘uhm, ne, there was a leopard with a kill but he left, so we hope and wait’ We did however a great badger sighting, just not so great kiekies

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And also something that you don’t see in the park very often,

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We got home very happy with the sightings of the day, I set up a braai and it was Babelas wors with butternut and sweet potato, we ate like kings dreading the following day but still inviting a good night’s rest.

To be continued…

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CAMPING

12 Jul Tambotie
13 Jul Sable Hide
14+15 Jul Punda
16-19 Jul Tsendze


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 Post subject: Re: Camping... a pocket full of special
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 7:27 pm 
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Day 9… Leaving the Park

This morning I really didn’t want to get up as it meant that we need to pack up and then leave the Park, but I couldn’t delay the inevitable so out of my tent I climbed. After packing up all my belongings I went for a shower and then made a steaming cup of MMC, I then woke mum and then we packed the rest of our things, we were finished in record time and after making a second cup for the road we exited the camp, we were the first to leave which was great and mum and I decided to drive over the LS-Bridge on last time whilst Wendy went to sunset dam. Nothing were there for us and we received a BBM from Wendy that she is slowly moving on so we were on her tail, we were driving to Lubye-lubye when I saw her car parked on the bridge and I saw a flash go off and I knew what was waiting for us… We had her for 20 minutes on our own and sat for another 20 minutes before we moved on leaving her to laze about for the rest of the spectators.

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I was so glad, my prayers came true, all three things I asked for got ticked in three days and we didn’t have to sit in any traffic jam for this sighting. We then took the S79 and had a great close encounter with a duiker, they normally are so hard to take pics of as they are so skittish.

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And I’ve never had so many bushbucks on this road, we had 6 sightings of this beautiful antelope on the H4-1.

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Oh and how excited I got about this sighting, he just flew across the road and I got horrible kiekies but oh well, my first Grey-headed Bush-shrike

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And we got to see a Juvenile Martial Eagle

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We also saw some warties having a brekkie

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Now we stopped at Skuks to put in some petrol and freshen up when I saw some fluttering about at the aloe garden and I just grabbed my cam and started taking a gazillion kiekies, my sighting of the day definitely, another lifer; the Collared Sunbird (sorry but I’ve never taken such nice birdy shots so have to share) and a White-bellied Sunbird. They had to drag me away…

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So we were on our last stretch, the S1 and dreading every kilometer we got closer to the Gate. We did see a slender mongoose on the road at least,

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Also a kudu ewe near the S3,

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We got some verves as well that entertained us for the last time on our trip,

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Our last animals in the Park was these ellies munching in the riverbed

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And our last birdy was this Dark Chanting Goshawk

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This in the end a bag full of specials and not just a pocket as I thought in the first place, with sightings like genet, badger, caracal, hyenas, SSJ, cheetah and leppie and not to forget all my lifers that I ticked off. Tsendze also stole our hearts and it was mums' first camping trip, definitely a trip with stories that won't be forgotten soon.
We left the Park with heavy hearts but knew that it would be a few more days (+-140) until we would return for a very long camping trip. So now I’m counting down the days till we would return to my beloved Park…

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CAMPING

12 Jul Tambotie
13 Jul Sable Hide
14+15 Jul Punda
16-19 Jul Tsendze


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Submitted by teddy_rsa at 15:28:38 Submitted by MxM at 13:37:34 Submitted by teddy_rsa at 15:25:08 Submitted by Mrs. S.K.L.Gauntlett at 15:08:02