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 Post subject: Dijo's Three Aussie Girls go to Kruger. Jan. '13
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 10:32 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 7:19 am
Posts: 111
Location: New Zealand/Australia
It is many MANY months since our adventures, only now am I ready to type !

We caught the train from Cape Town to JoBurg, picked up a little hire car and drove east. Unfortunately it was east into the setting sun and we arrived at Orpen Gate after dark - not a good start. With much difficulty we found Talamati camp and our tent - all in the dark.

Here is our our cozy tent already for us.

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And this is the view that greated us in the morning. It is a strange feeling arriving in the dark and not knowing what you will wake up to.

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Up and ready for some early morning exploring.

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And our tent from the back.
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A restoring coffee and breakfast and off for our first day exploring.

(I have not inserted pictures into text before, so I hope it all works. I am using photobucket and am not sure if the pictures will come out at the right size. Also they appear very washed out, hope they look beter on your computers !!)


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 Post subject: Re: Three Aussie Girls go to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2013 6:24 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 7:19 am
Posts: 111
Location: New Zealand/Australia
This morning we drove a loop, down the S140, east on the S145, then north on the S36 and back to camp on the H7. We would have liked to have driven further but we had a 'hire car problem' The boot of the car would not open, luckily the smallest and most agile Aussie Chick could could reach in through the gap between the back seats and check that there were no treasures left.

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We were heading along this rather deserted road when suddenly a young Hyena darted out in front of us. We stopped and there in the bushes, right next to the window was this slighlty nervouse but still curious youngster. Interrresting, looking at a teenage hyena does not make me quake like a full grown one does.
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We sat there for a little while then moved on to let them get back to doing what ever they were about.

These young hyenas were a lovely sight, and so nice to see onthe first day.

Next - more animals (of course) and more adventures with hire cars.


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 Post subject: Re: Three Aussie Girls go to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2013 5:21 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 7:19 am
Posts: 111
Location: New Zealand/Australia
We left our hyenas and continued along the quiet road, our next encounter, not quite as exciting but still special - a tortoise. I think it is one of the Little Five - so added to the brag book.

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A bit of background :
Before I go to an interresting place I write a list for myself to remind myself of what I want to achieve. This will have important things like
'do not take pictures of people with a lampost coming out their heads'
'do not cut off the animals tail'
Also I try to list what I would like to photograph. For this trip I wanted a GOOD picture of a Lilac Breasted Roller and a Glossy Starling. Both of these proved to have their individual difficulties. The roller flies away a microsecond before it is in focus and the starling, well it just is unco-operative. I will write a little more of my list later on. I write the list on the front page of my journal before I leave ! (OCD)

This Roller perched for long enough, but was a bit far away for a handheld photograph - but still so pretty !

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Further on - have to be quick with the shutter.

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I processed these pictures for a presentation. I wrote on the actualy slide so those who were hard of hearing could get the storey and found it was a useful way of keeping a record rather than captioning.

To be continued down the road - buffalo road block coming up.


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 Post subject: Re: Three Aussie Girls go to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2013 1:44 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 7:19 am
Posts: 111
Location: New Zealand/Australia
We continued our gentle wandering and came across a herd of buffalo on the road and in the long grass. Aha, big cow, move along, did not like the eye contact, wind up the window, move along.

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This was officially not the best time of day for animal viewing, the issues with the hire car forcing a plan change. But we were pleased with what we saw.

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'Hippo eye brows' ? well, when you look into a pond and all you see is a pair lumps sticking out the water - and assume it is a hippo, or is it something else ?

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Next a stop for a late lunch and some more quality time on the phone to the hirecar company.


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 Post subject: Re: Three Aussie Girls go to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2013 2:43 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 7:19 am
Posts: 111
Location: New Zealand/Australia
Stopped at Muzandzeni Picnic Area, there in the picture you can see the offending little car with the boot permanently locked. Other than that the car was fine.
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We managed to sort out with the hire company a replacement car which they wanted me to drive to Nelspruit to collect - I don't think so. Now we arranged that a rep would meet us at Orpen Gate, a much beter idea.
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So back to Talamati then off to Orpen Gate to meet the replacement car.
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The new car was a slight upgrade to a Nissan Tiida. Interresting that the hire car company rep wanted the old car returned to him full of fuel, but I effectively had to pay for his fuel from Nelspruit to Orpen. He had no intension of filling up the replacement car before I took over the hire.

And by the way, I was told when I collected the first car from Pretoria that the boot lock was not working well, I just had to thump it to open it !


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 Post subject: Re: Three Aussie Girls go to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2013 8:40 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 7:19 am
Posts: 111
Location: New Zealand/Australia
We set off again in our new and improved car - this time a zazzy shiney blue.

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A hot afternoon and most animals where resting sensibly in the shade.

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By now we were tired, hungry and a bit flustered with all the car dramas. Chair, wine and food called.

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This visitor was attracted to the light - not everything in the park is large or loud.

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And now a test for our skills - to make a fire and cook on it. This we acheved with reasonable sucess. And the wine was great.

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Note for clever Forumites : Clever people will notice that the shadows are not actually correct for the time of day I am claiming to have taken the photograph. Pretend you did not notice, I set up the slide show for people who would not know the difference between a bushpig and a bontebok.

Note for photographers : Make sure you change the time in your camera when you change time zones. Very confusing to sort out later when trying to meld togeher the pictures form more than one camera !


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 Post subject: Re: Three Aussie Girls go to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 12:02 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 7:19 am
Posts: 111
Location: New Zealand/Australia
Bright and early, well sometime in the morning, up, packed and eager to Go North.

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Our fellow primates were going north too.

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Next - more northward travelling.

Waterbuck, so easy to focus on.

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One of the Aussie Chicks is a Zoologist/ecologist who was interrested in the changes in vegetation as we travelled northward. Makes for a more entertaining time other than frantically trying to find animals.
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Zebre may be commen, but they can be relied upon to stand still for a picture. even though they think that their rear end is their best end.
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 Post subject: Re: Three Aussie Girls go to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 1:44 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 7:19 am
Posts: 111
Location: New Zealand/Australia
Still heading northwards ....

I love places like this where we are allowed to get out at our own risk. I am allowed to choose 'my destiny' Brings a bit of excitement to life, particulary when one is used to other people telling you what you should choose.

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Stopped at Letaba for a picnic lunch. Enjoyed the squirrels more than the view over the fence. They must have been feeling the heat.

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Continuing northwards, that blob in the middle of the picture is an elephant - let us pretend I was taking a picture of the grassland evironment. (It was the first elephant)
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Crossed the Tropic, last time this Aussie Chick crossed the Tropic it was near Rockhampton in Queensland. This is much more exciting !
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Shingwedzi, our overnight spot and very importantly our laundry-catch-up spot.

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An hour later a string had been hung between the pillars and laundry was quickly drying. I do have a picture of the laundry covered deck/stoep but .....

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Now to go and hunt Glossy Starling - one of the entries on my 'Kruger To Do list'.


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 Post subject: Re: Three Aussie Girls go to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 2:20 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 7:19 am
Posts: 111
Location: New Zealand/Australia
We were at Shingwedzi before the floods and only for one night. It was a good place to try and get a glossy starling picture. Not as good as I would like it. So, OH NO, will have to go back to Kruger again.

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Ah. Mopani leaf, this will not move, easier to photograph.
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Photographing Glossy Starlings is a little difficult. The auto type camera settings do not work well, the shine confuses the camera. And even the auto focus has some trouble. I found this only a problem when close up. And the starlings don't co-operate.

Tormorrow we continue further north.


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 Post subject: Re: Three Aussie Girls go to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 3:33 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 7:19 am
Posts: 111
Location: New Zealand/Australia
Up and off in the morning. First stop the shop, then on the road. I have read about people who smell the Kruger thatch, I hope I am not the only one who likes to photograph it as well!

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A sign from above, things are happening ahead.

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A beter elephant than yesterdays one. We are on the way to the Kanniedoo Bird Hide.

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I am not sure about this bab. He looks like he may have taken up residence.

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We did not stay long, and may not have seen much birdlife but this lizard/skink was enjoying the warm morning.
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Next - still travelling northward.


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 Post subject: Re: Three Aussie Girls go to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 6:24 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 7:19 am
Posts: 111
Location: New Zealand/Australia
After a quick squiz at the Kanniedood Hide we skirted around Shingwedzi.

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Then we turned and travelled north again, aiming for Punda Maria.

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We felt lucky to see another tortoise at the side of the road.

Next - we get to see an elephant, closer enough to focus on this time.


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 Post subject: Re: Three Aussie Girls go to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 6:45 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 7:19 am
Posts: 111
Location: New Zealand/Australia
Here is our first decent elephant, he had even recently had a bath, making him extra photogenic. Now he is having a good rub against a tree.

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Lucky to see this female Nyala through a gap in the foliage.
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To be continued at we go further north.


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 Post subject: Re: Three Aussie Girls go to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 7:21 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 7:19 am
Posts: 111
Location: New Zealand/Australia
Keeping north.

Another get-out-bridge - I have concerns that this picture may be out of order, I do not know which river it is.

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Interresting tracks in the sand
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I do like this one with the footprints and the drag-mark between them ....
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A busy dungbeetle with an important task.
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 Post subject: Re: Three Aussie Girls go to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 7:30 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 7:19 am
Posts: 111
Location: New Zealand/Australia
Are there elephants ahead ?

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As we travelled north the roadside vegetation changed.
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The strange boabab -
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We saw a few of these trees with yellow/orange foliage.
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And here is a fine elephant.
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 Post subject: Re: Three Aussie Girls go to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 8:52 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 7:19 am
Posts: 111
Location: New Zealand/Australia
We arrived in Punda Maria in the mid-afternoon. As a camp it is so different from all the other, a remnant of a past era. Our little unit had everything we could need, and a somewhat unique decor. Here is the kitchen just before we made a mess.

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A lovely swimming pool, although a little cold to swim in. Enjoyed the rocks and natural setting.

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Next - our night drive - nothing scary at all happened.


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