Skip to content

SANParks.org Forums

View unanswered posts | View active topics






Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  Page 2 of 2
 [ 29 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: Critical Care for the Soul - KNP Nov-Dec 2012
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 9:54 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2006 11:12 am
Posts: 260
Location: HAMPSHIRE UK
Award: Sighting of the Year - Small creatures and/or insects (2012)
1st December 2012

The weather today was cloudy, windy and the temperature just 21 degrees – a bit cool for me although I am a Brit! We were in no rush to try specific roads and just pottered on down from the camp, coming across some lovely flowers

Image

then took the sand road alongside the river although we knew the crossing was still closed and tracked down to the high water bridge. Even with the cooler conditions we found tortoise,

Image

Impala, a large breeding herd of Ellies down by the river,

Image

Blue Waxbills (so much for me saying we had only ever seen them around Shing), Hooded Vulture,

Image

Marabou Stork,

Image

Giraffe,

Image

Image

Image

Image

Black Kite, Tawny Eagle, Zebra and a Red-crested Korhaan.

Image

We got out on the bridge to stretch our legs and check who was about in the river bed – Yellow-billed Storks, Greater and Lesser Egrets,

Image

Grey Heron, Egyptian Geese,

Image

Open-billed Stork.

Image

Whilst enjoying the view, we were joined by 2 more YRs – Onewithnature and Siobain. It was great to be able to put more faces to names and we spent a while discussing sightings and life in general. I saw from another thread that you are in the Park very soon but sadly not at any of the camps at the same time as us. We’ll look out for you though.

The time was passing quickly and we had a lunch date arranged with Crested Val and her family. As it turned out, we were driving up the hill towards camp and realised the car in front of us also had a YR – yes, it was indeed our ‘next date’.
We spent a very enjoyable hour or two together at the restaurant catching up on news and views and we have arranged our next lunch together at the end of this month. We are really looking forward to it!

Later in the afternoon we tried our luck on the sand road alongside the Letaba river finding lots of Elephant,

Image

Zebra,

Image

Giraffe and Kudu.

Image

_________________
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=58977Our 2012 Trip Report
... and how I miss being back in the KNP.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Critical Care for the Soul - KNP Nov-Dec 2012
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:38 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2006 11:12 am
Posts: 260
Location: HAMPSHIRE UK
Award: Sighting of the Year - Small creatures and/or insects (2012)
2nd December 2012

Having had a fairly easy day yesterday, we made an effort to get up and about somewhat earlier. Despite light rain and feeling definitely on the cool side, we managed to get on the road by 6am. We kept to the tar roads and headed south. Grey Lourie sat close to the road, a large Bull Elephant on his way up from the river, Giraffe, Yellow-billed Stork, several White-backed Vultures perched in the trees, Red-crested Korhaan and a Spotted Hyena on his way back home.

Image


We paused on the bridge but did not get out as it was still cold and wet outside. We continued on to Ngotso Dam and stopped for a coffee break. Although it was fairly quiet, it was nice to just sit and soak up our surroundings but a few Zebra

Image

and Wildebeest came down for a drink as we waited.
Over the years we have had some amazing sightings along the main road between Olifants and Satara but today all the wildlife must have been hunkering down trying to keep warm. We decided to take the sand road towards Timbavati where we spotted 2 Bull Elephant, Baboons, a small raptor (possibly a Honey Buzzard),

Image

Namaqua Doves

Image

and Giraffe. Heading north again we drove up to Piet Grobler Dam with a few Giraffe,

Image

Zebra, Hippos in the water and a Dung Beetle manoeuvring a ball across the road.

Image

We turned south again and called in at Ratelpan Hide – plenty of Hippos

Image

but some lovely birds as well – Goliath Heron,

Image

Image

Green-backed Heron, Pied Kingfisher, Marsh Sandpiper and Red Bishops.

Image

We were beginning to feel a bit peckish by now so back in the car we headed south along the S39 and S40 pausing to watch Zebra, Wildebeest,

Image

a very engaging group of 14 Giraffes, Warthogs, European Roller,

Image

and more Ellies as well as some lovely flowers (lilies?).

Image

A quick stop to check out Girivana where Blacksmith Plovers and Egyptian Geese were resting before heading off to Nsemani Dam. Lots of hippos in the water together with Elephants

Image

Image

and a large group of Wattled Starlings. Just a short journey now into Satara and ordered brunch. This is such a busy restaurant and I am sure it will improve greatly when the new franchisee takes over...I will leave it at that.

Back in the car we passed a small group of Buffalo and turned onto the S100 which we often find is ‘all or nothing’. Today it was closer to the latter but a small troop of baboons, a Bull Elephant, Waterbuck and 2 Saddle-billed Storks

Image

kept our attention. At the end of the road we turned south towards N’wanetsi passing Waterbuck and more Ellies

Image

before reaching the picnic site for a comfort break. Just to illustrate the ‘right place, right time’ saying, driving back along exactly the same route but northwards, we saw lots more – Elephants, Crocodile,

Image

Grey Heron, Black Crake, Terrapins, Hadeda Ibis, Giraffe, Waterbuck, Buffalo

Image

and Rhino.

Image

At Gudzani some White-faced Whistling Ducks joined the party. We kept to the S41 heading north and began to see more and more Vultures in the sky. Eventually they began to land in a group of trees.

Image

We stopped and waited, the number of birds increasing all the time. We were certain they could see something we couldn’t and we sat for quite a while almost expecting a predator to emerge from the bush. We were joined by another vehicle who had been travelling south and noticed the Vultures accumulating also. Eventually we decided we would have to make a move as we needed to get back to Olifants.

As usual we found large herds of Zebra along this road, often with Wildebeest close by, Giraffe, Waterbuck and Steenbok also. From the bridge we found more Waterbuck and Hippo, Grey Heron

Image

and Egyptian Geese feeding

Image

and a Fish Eagle overhead. Our final spot for the day was a Sharpes Grysbok.

For certain we had earned a generous sundowner and tasty braai – what a full day it had been.

_________________
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=58977Our 2012 Trip Report
... and how I miss being back in the KNP.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Critical Care for the Soul - KNP Nov-Dec 2012
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:25 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2006 11:12 am
Posts: 260
Location: HAMPSHIRE UK
Award: Sighting of the Year - Small creatures and/or insects (2012)
3rd December 2012

The sun was shining and we were ready to go. We took the sand road again which leads up to Letaba where we planned to stop for some breakfast, passing several impala groups on the way and 2 Goliath Heron in the river bed. Looking out across the river bed we could see several Elephant herds together with Crocodiles and Egrets.

Image

At a neighbouring table a couple sat down and were very interested in SO’s ‘bazooka’ lens. Then they saw our YR and we found they were also forumites but had not ribbons with them. I hope I have the name right though ExSwazi and SO. As we were all waiting for our food, we had a chance to have a long chat about sightings and Photo gear. They had seen some other people in the Park the previous day who seemed to have copious a mounts of camera and bodies but not necessarily the knowledge to use them and they quoted a phrase which we had not heard before but has come to mind on many occasions since “All the gear but no idea”. If you should get to read my TR and look at our photos, do hope we have not fallen under that umbrella!

On the road again we headed towards Phalaborwa, pausing to watch 3 Klipspringer in the river bed near Nhlanganini, Fish Eagle and Hippos at the Dam and another Klippie on high rock at Shilawuri.

Image

Not long after a big tusker was making his way slowly down the road and with no apparent intention to move off to either side. We kept a safe distance behind him but an Eskom truck coming from the other direction was forced to back up for a very long distance before the Ellie decided to move away from the road. I was glad I was not the one having to reverse for so long – I have been in that position and it is OK until other vehicles start arriving behind you. Driving slowly in a crocodile is alright when you are going forward, doing it all in reverse makes me much more nervous!

After a group of Buffalo at Rhidonda Pan, it was quiet until we reached Sable Hide. This is another place we love to spend time at, especially during the heat of the day and you never know what wildlife will make an entrance here. This morning when we entered the hide, we were greeted by Renate (a YR from Phala). We would not be disappointed here today – lions were sleeping and prowling on the far bank,

Image

herds of Elephant and Impala

Image

Image

were constantly coming down to drink and play. Marabou,

Image

Image

Fish Eagle were flying overhead, Egrets in a tree

Image

and several Impala were keeping a nervous watch on everyone else. I would so love to do a sleepover at this hide but, at present, it would be a big problem for SO. One day perhaps!

It was hard to make the decision to get on the road again but we had to get back to camp to eat and then get ready for a night drive. Lots more Ellie groups

Image

and Marabou in the trees

Image

on the way back to the wonderful sundown view at Olifants

Image

but otherwise fairly quiet.

The night drive rewarded us with Scrub Hares, Impala, Spring Hares, Porcupine, Small-spotted Genets,

Image

Ellies, Hippos and a Rock Python

Image

Image

– quite an eclectic mix!

_________________
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=58977Our 2012 Trip Report
... and how I miss being back in the KNP.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Critical Care for the Soul - KNP Nov-Dec 2012
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 6:53 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2006 11:12 am
Posts: 260
Location: HAMPSHIRE UK
Award: Sighting of the Year - Small creatures and/or insects (2012)
4th December 2012

After a long but rewarding day yesterday, we opted for an easy drive north towards Letaba.

Image

Again we found lots of Ellies close to the river together with Buffalo,

Image

Marabou, Bateleur and an African Hawk Eagle (a first for us).

Image

A tusker using the road was quite content to get out of the way.

Image

Looking out from the Letaba bridge Hippos were playing in the water, a small elephant herd feeding in the river bed,

Image

alongside Waterbuck

Image

and 2 baby Crocodile.

Image

Image

Back in the car we headed for Manthambeni Hide – always a peaceful place to sit for a while. This morning we were joined by Fish Eagle,

Image

Little Bee-eaters,

Image

Jacana, Hippos, Bulbul,

Image

Greater and Lesser Egrets, and a Squacco Heron flew past.

Image

The time seemed to pass quickly and by now we were feeling somewhat peckish. Time to head back for Letaba and treat ourselves to a lunch on the deck. As usual the river bed was a hive of activity with more Ellies, Wildebeest, Zebras, Waterbuck, Bushbuck, Impala and Crocodile.

Image

Fed and watered, we took the sand road southwards along the river Letaba – yet more Ellies around, a Tawny Eagle,

Image

Yellow-billed Stork, Greater Egrets and Open-billed Stork.

Image

Just before returning to camp we tried the sand road down to the Balule crossing where Giraffe

Image

and Kudu stopped to wish us well. Now back to camp to pack and sort ourselves out before moving camp in the morning.

_________________
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=58977Our 2012 Trip Report
... and how I miss being back in the KNP.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Edit Critical Care for the Soul - KNP Nov-Dec 2012
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 8:04 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2006 11:12 am
Posts: 260
Location: HAMPSHIRE UK
Award: Sighting of the Year - Small creatures and/or insects (2012)
5th December 2012

The sun was up, the temperature was 21 degrees and we managed to get on the road for 6 am. Sad to be leaving Olifants with its amazing views but we hoped we would be back again in the not too distant future. As we had a fair distance to travel today, we kept to the tar but stopped for a good look across the river bed on the Olifants bridge. No mammals around but plenty of birds – Egyptian Geese, Yellow-billed Stork, Greater Egrets, Green-backed Heron

Image

and Fish Eagle.

Image

A Red-crested Korhaan was loitering by the roadside making quite a noise

Image

as we drove further south, then Wildebeest. A small snake which we could not identify, Zebra, a Giraffe (lying down so they must have felt fairly safe in the area)

Image

and a small herd of Elephant.

Image

At Ngotso Dam we drove down the small side road and stopped for our coffee break. It was fairly quiet but 2 bull Elephant came to keep us company.

Back on the road, we continued south. Soon we found a large group of Giraffe, Zebras, Steenbok, Kori Bustard (the first we had seen on this trip and one of the birds I always feel somewhat cheated if I have not seen one – he was well away from the road and the photo is pretty awful so may not appear),

Image

2 Bull Elephant wandering along the road, Ostrich,

Image

more Zebra and Wildebeest. As I think I may have already mention in this TR we seemed to find Ostrich everywhere and now came across a group of 14, followed by warthogs and slender Mongoose. As we pulled into Satara for a breakfast stop we really did feel this stretch of tar had not let us down. OK it may not have been a cat bonanza but a real wildlife treat in a fairly short space of time. A Grey Hornbill watched out to see if we would leave him any crumbs

Image

and Wildebeest were drinking at the crib.

Heading south again, yet more Ostrich, Zebra, Rhino, 2 Saddle-billed Stork,

Image

Knob-billed Duck,

Image

White-faced Duck, Egyptian Geese and Black Kite. Turning off at Leeupan we found a male Lion but not easy to get a great picture.

As we had made quite good time so far, we decided that we could definitely make a pit stop at Lake Panic. I have to say, this hide is like a magnet to us – from the time we first discovered its joys, it is almost impossible to pass the turn off to this Kruger gem. Today we found Grey heron,

Image

Goliath Heron,

Image

Thick Billed Weaver,

Image

Image

African Darter, Hadeda Ibis,

Image

White-Breasted Cormorant,

Image

Jacana, Woodland Kingfishers, Dragonflies

Image

Image

and Fish Eagle.

Time to get on the road again and we were delighted to find Klipspringer at the Koppies on the tar road to P/kop. A quick call in to Transport Dam was rewarded with a big herd of Elephant,

Image

Image

Image

Image

Waterbuck and Zebra. Kudu and more Ellies were on the road westwards and finally Egyptian Geese, Water Dikkop,

Image

Kudu

Image

Rhino

Image

and Waterbuck at Shitlhave. All in all a wonderful selection of wildlife as we drove down to book into Pretoriouskop and found ourselves booked into one of the newly refurbished bungalows.

_________________
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=58977Our 2012 Trip Report
... and how I miss being back in the KNP.


Last edited by carolv on Mon Nov 11, 2013 7:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Critical Care for the Soul - KNP Nov-Dec 2012
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:02 am 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2006 11:12 am
Posts: 260
Location: HAMPSHIRE UK
Award: Sighting of the Year - Small creatures and/or insects (2012)
6th December 2012

It had rained overnight and the sky was very cloudy. Our plan was to try the Voortrekker road and make a breakfast stop at Afsaal. The very early risers were long gone and we appeared to have the road to ourselves. There are lots of big trees at the western end of the road and SO kept his eyes peeled for any sign of movement. Suddenly he called out ‘stop’...’go back a bit’, with binoculars in hand, he scanned a tree way back from the road. Our first sighting of the day? LIT.

Image

Brilliant! It was a long way back from the road and we waited for a long time in the hope that he may decide to climb down from the branch and come closer to the road. He was well and truly settled, however, and eventually we decided to move on. Not one single vehicle had passed us so we had the spot entirely to ourselves.

Moving on past Zebras

Image

and Impala, we could see a large herd of Ellies a few hundred metres back from the road. Sometimes these big groups move at quite a pace and at other times they just stop to feed and do not progress much further. We waited to see what they would do. I certainly did not want to be caught in the middle somewhere especially when they may several youngsters and the matriarch will be very watchful for their safety.

Image

We had made the right decision. As the Ellies reached the road, none were crossing but decided to walk the line of least resistance and continue along the sand track. We were lucky insofar as they were walking ahead of us but in the same direction as us. Having seen no other cars that morning, suddenly several were coming from the other direction. They certainly had to reverse for a considerable distance as once the herd took to the road, they appeared very reluctant to walk off into the bush again. They are such an impressive sight but I like to keep my distance!

Image

The road continued to deliver for us with more Zebra, Warthogs several Rhinos and a Chameleon.

Image

We were well ready for our food when we reached Afsaal. After an enjoyable meal we returned to the car and opted to head to Biyamiti Weir and then continue north to Skukuza. After spending time with a group of 4 Rhinos (2 adult and 2 youngsters)

Image

Image

(The youngest took a liking to a car which had stopped on the road. It seemed to ‘kiss’ the bumper)

Image

it was giraffe all the way but little else, one displaying an Oxpecker headdress.

Image

With a quick comfort break at Skuks we left camp and joined the queue at the main crossroads where the police were checking all cars. We pulled into the side as requested and waited our turn to be checked. As we looked up, the car right in front us was also flying a YR. Out we all got and were very pleased to make the acquaintance of Flying Cheetah. So engrossed were we with discussing our trips and sightings, we did not realise the policemen were watching us somewhat bemused. Having explained the significance of the YRs to them, we had to move on as we were holding up their line of traffic. In fact we were stopped at least once per day for the remainder of our trip. Not a bad thing if it will help the fight against Rhino Poaching and any other crime in the Park.

Time to call into Lake Panic again where the birds were busy nesting and feeding- Grey and Goliath Herons, Pied- Malachite- and Woodland-Kingfishers,

Image

Broad-billed Weavers (2 years on the trot we have been able to watch these weavers build a nest very close to the hide),

Image

Black Crakes, Little Bittern plus the resident Cormorant

Image

and Darter.

Image

All spied by the ever watchful eye of a crocodile. It doesn’t matter how many times we come to Lake Panic, it gets harder and harder to leave – there is always something special to see here.

Back on the tar, we turned off onto the S65 Waterhole Road which was very quiet this afternoon – just a solitary Steenbok appeared before we joined the tar again

Image

and popped along to Transport Dam. The Waterbuck had come down to drink and Blacksmith Plovers, Jacana, and White-faced Ducks fed along the water’s edge. With a solitary Rhino away off in the distance we returned to camp where we had been invited to join Francois and Suzanne (our Canadian neighbours from Shingwedzi) for dinner. We spent a very enjoyable evening catching up on our trip since our stay in the north and their experiences outside the Park. A super end to a most enjoyable day and tomorrow they would be coming to us for dinner.

_________________
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=58977Our 2012 Trip Report
... and how I miss being back in the KNP.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Critical Care for the Soul - KNP Nov-Dec 2012
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:01 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2006 11:12 am
Posts: 260
Location: HAMPSHIRE UK
Award: Sighting of the Year - Small creatures and/or insects (2012)
Thanks again to everyone. We only have a few more days to add to this TR but time is flying by and I suspect we may have to do the last few days when we return home.

Hilda - Many thanks for your help with the spamming - we did replace the first spammed picture (actually it was an ostrich and not Ellies) and SO will look at it this evening when he returns from work. It will be our very last chance to deal with the problem as he is working most of the day tomorrow and then we must dash up to London Heathrow for our flight tomorrow evening. I should hate anyone to be offended by something which has been maliciously altered on our TR and would be most grateful if you could keep an eye on it for me. I think you may be seeing Crested Val soon and we will meet up at the end of the month so if there is anything dire perhaps you could pass it on to her. I cannot access my e-mail when we are away.

With regards to the Rhino calf. This had been fascinating. We had spotted the family of 4 back in the bush and stopped to see if they would come closer. For quite a while we were the only car there - some people have little patience just to wait and see how a scenario pans out. However, they eventually came up to the road and slowly crossed over. By this time we had the car you could see in the photo and a JJ alongside us. The adults and one youngster continued into the bush but the second youngster seemed to be intrigued with the vehicles. All the vehicles had been stopped for a while with engines switched off so it was very quiet. This calf then decided to turn away from his family and tentatively walked up to the car and touch it with his little horn. It was an amazing moment and we are certain he was not worried by us and, luckily, none of the people seemed to be too concerned either. It was almost as if we could not believe what we were seeing. We were hoping the car owner would hear or see this picture (fairly certain it wasn't a hire car) so that we could send them a copy of the photo as a reminder.

_________________
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=58977Our 2012 Trip Report
... and how I miss being back in the KNP.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Critical Care for the Soul - KNP Nov-Dec 2012
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:33 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2006 11:12 am
Posts: 260
Location: HAMPSHIRE UK
Award: Sighting of the Year - Small creatures and/or insects (2012)
7th December 2012

It had been a late night and we did not rush up. We planned a fairly quiet day as we needed to pop out to Hazyview to get the food and wine for this evening. Taking the S3 past Mestel Dam we saw more here than usual. It is one of those places where we here how much other people have seen by the Dam but we have never been particularly lucky here with sightings. This morning, though, a Buffalo herd,

Image
Buffalo Herd by WildImageSANP, on Flickr

Hippos, Waterbuck and a Fish Eagle were out and about. The remained of the road was quieter but a few Zebras and Wildebeest grazing. As we crossed the river to get to Phabeni gate a Green-backed Heron and Three-banded Plovers were out and about in the reeds.

It did not take long to get our supplies at the Mall and we were soon back in the Park and heading for camp. More wildlife about as we headed along the sand road with a Bull Elephant,

Image
Bull Elephant by WildImageSANP, on Flickr

Martial Eagle,

Image
Martial Eagle by WildImageSANP, on Flickr

a Juvenile Bataleur,

Image
Juvenile Bataleur by WildImageSANP, on Flickr

Klipspringer,

Image
Klipspringer by WildImageSANP, on Flickr

Rhino

Image
Rhino by WildImageSANP, on Flickr

and a herd of Ellies with a very young baby feeding.

Image
Ellie Mother and Calf by WildImageSANP, on Flickr

As SO went for a rest, I prepared dinner for the evening. When our guests arrived, we were soon busy chatting again. Over the years we have met some truly wonderful people in the Kruger Park and by the time we had all eaten and drunk our fill, it felt as if we had known them forever. As the raindrops began, they decided to make a run for it as their bungalow was across the other side of the camp. I quickly washed up and then realised they had left something behind. By now the rain was quite heavy but, in my ignorance, I thought this would not be a problem and I would run across to return their belongings. If nothing else, I well and truly learned my lesson this evening. By the time I was making my way back to our accommodation, the rain was so torrential that I could not see where I was, where I should go and the water on the ground was almost flash-flooding through the camp and in parts it was nearly up to my knees. I looked like I had walked through a river and I had absolutely no idea how to get back. Looking back I can (sort of) see a funny side to my situation but on the night I well and truly frightened myself and it took quite some time before I stumbled back onto our stoep. SO was really worried what had happened to me – he assumed I would have taken the car and drove across camp – stupidly it had never crossed my mind to do the sensible thing.
It was definitely a lesson learned that night and I won’t make the same mistake again.

_________________
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=58977Our 2012 Trip Report
... and how I miss being back in the KNP.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Critical Care for the Soul - KNP Nov-Dec 2012
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 12:23 am 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2006 11:12 am
Posts: 260
Location: HAMPSHIRE UK
Award: Sighting of the Year - Small creatures and/or insects (2012)
8th December 2012

It had finally stopped raining but the sky was still cloudy keeping the temperature at a warm 26 degrees. Plenty of debris in the road washed onto the tar by last night’s torrential downpours. We could hear Woodland Kingfishers in the trees and Kudu were close to the road. We paused at Shitlhave but this morning it was very quiet but our binoculars spied 2 Rhinos way off in the distance.

Driving on, 2 Bull Elephant were striding through the bush and then a pair of Ground Hornbills held court by the roadside.

At Transport Dam the Waterbuck had arrived and joined White-faced Ducks, Grey Heron,

Image
White-faced Duck and Grey Heron by WildImageSANP, on Flickr

Buffalo Weavers, Jacana, Crocodile, Giraffe and Zebras.

We paused at the big kopjes just before the H3 junction but for once we could see no sign of the Klipspringer. Heading north we passed Giraffe and Buffalo and drove on to Lake Panic.

Image
Lake Panic by WildImageSANP, on Flickr

Plenty of action again this morning with the Grey and Goliath Herons struggling to control their growing offspring. A Tawny-flanked Prinia was busy nest building close to the hide as was the Thick-billed Weaver. Hippos were busy in the water with an African Darter

Image
Darter 1 by WildImageSANP, on Flickr

Image
Darter 2 by WildImageSANP, on Flickr

and White-fronted Cormorant posing on the dead tree right in front of the hide. Lots of Kingfishers here again – Pied, Malachite, and Woodlands.

Image
Woodie by WildImageSANP, on Flickr

Black Crake and Egyptian Geese scuttled amongst the reeds and overseen, as always, by a big Crocodile. Also flitting around were some dragonflies.

Image
Dragonfly by WildImageSANP, on Flickr

Time to move on and we headed south down the S114 to find a gentle Steenbok,

Image
Steenbok by WildImageSANP, on Flickr

3 Lions and a Plated Lizard. Being in the South it did not take long for a huge traffic jam to build up by the lions and as soon as I could extricate our car from the melee, we took the S112 to rejoin the tar. Our treats along this short road were a male and female Klipspringer actually in the middle of the road (an unusual location for them we thought)

Image
Two Klipspringer by WildImageSANP, on Flickr

then 2 Dwarf Mongoose, another favourite of mine.

At Transport we were joined by a herd of Kudu and a very large herd of Ellies (we counted at least 40).

Image
Ellie Herd by WildImageSANP, on Flickr

Image
Ellies Drinking by WildImageSANP, on Flickr

Image
Ellie Spray by WildImageSANP, on Flickr

So special to watch the Elephant interact but we were very mindful of which direction they planned to move as I certainly did not want to be caught in the middle of a herd this size.

Heading back to camp we were swamped with amazing sightings – 2 female Ground Hornbills,

Image
Ground Hornbill by WildImageSANP, on Flickr

another herd of Ellies and several individual Bulls, Rhino groups,

Image
Rhino and Oxpecker by WildImageSANP, on Flickr

Warthogs, Dark Chanting Goshawk (don’t see them very often so a real treat),

Image
Dark Chanting Goshawk by WildImageSANP, on Flickr

herds of Waterbuck and Water Dikkop at Shitlhave.

Image
Three Dikkops by WildImageSANP, on Flickr

Another unforgettable day in the Park and for those who think the area around Pretoriouskop is not very productive, I have to say I must disagree.

_________________
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=58977Our 2012 Trip Report
... and how I miss being back in the KNP.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Critical Care for the Soul - KNP Nov-Dec 2012
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 3:59 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2006 11:12 am
Posts: 260
Location: HAMPSHIRE UK
Award: Sighting of the Year - Small creatures and/or insects (2012)
9th December 2012

This would be last full day based in the Park and we made a special effort to get on the road early. The sun was shining and we turned onto the Voortrekker road. Not long before we sighted an Owl and a Red-crested Korhaan but both flew off before we could take any pictures. Spotting a group of antelope back from the road, I crept along so as not to startle them. The closer we got the less familiar they looked – another first for us, we had found Red Hartebeest.

Image

What a great start to the day!

Further on we passed Giraffes, Zebras, a Hyena on a mission,

Image

lots of Ground Hornbill,

Image

Kudu Bulls and several Ellies, one of whom had definitely got out of the wrong side of the bed that morning. Even a really tiny tortoise

Image

(a Speke’s Hinged Tortoise) paused in the road – probably not a great idea as it was so small, he could easily be missed by other vehicles.

After a quick comfort break at Afsaal, we headed out to Biyamiti Weir where we found our friend from Sable Hide, Renate. Lots to talk about as we had seen so much since we had last met.

Hamerkop,

Image

Three-banded Plover and Egyptian Geese were feeding close to the weir. Keeping to the sand roads we found 3 Rhinos

Image

and a Steenbok before arriving at Skukuza for a well-earned brunch. As we waited for our food to arrive, we followed a Water Monitor making his way along the path.

Image

Eager to be out spotting again, Buffalo were ambling along the H11 before we took the turning to Lake Panic. As I know I have said before, we just cannot pass by this hide without stopping to look. There had been so much activity with the birds each day, it was almost like a soap opera. The Goliath Heron

Image

and Grey Heron

Image
Grey Heron Juveniles by WildImageSANP, on Flickr

chicks continued to create havoc for their parents,

Image

the Prinia was still busy constructing his nest, the Thick-billed Weaver had finished his nest and was desperately trying to attract a female to join him in it (and by the time we left this afternoon he had succeeded – how brilliant was that),

Image

a Broad-billed Roller was around

Image

and a Giant Kingfisher had come to join all his other Kingfisher pals:

Image

Woodland

Image

and Malachite.

Image

As usual, there were Hippo

Image

Cormorant

Image

and Dragonflies.

Image

You could write a book just on one days sightings at Lake Panic.

However, we knew we must get back on the road and decided to try the S65 again. For sure this was the right decision as on reaching N’waswitshaka, we found two lionesses and one cub. They were well in the shade under a group of bushes, very close to the road but the thickness of the bush made photography very difficult. We stopped and waited in the hope that they would get up and move on. A few other vehicles had now joined us, including a JJ, the driver of which told us that he had seen very recently in the area a male lion, 3 females and 5 cubs. I know some of these guys have not always had a good press but this was definitely not the case today. Actually we had seen this driver at another sighting recently and had moved on in order for him to give his guests a better position for viewing. He had remembered us and wanted to know what else we had seen since then. As we all sat waiting a much different scenario enfolded. Whilst the lions were still happily asleep in the shade, a breeding herd of Elephant had come down to the water tank to drink.

Image

Image

Suddenly the matriarch must have smelled the lions or something had spooked her. We could not see any other lions but perhaps they were further back in the bush out of our view. By now there was a pretty big traffic jam and little chance to move, the Elephants wanted to force the lions out and away from the herd and there was uproar. The lions flew out in all directions with the Ellies, initially, in pursuit.

Image

Image

Image

We had never seen anything like it in our life and as we were closest to their shady bush, we had to stay put as we were encircled by other vehicles. In such a short time it had turned from a peaceful spot to something bordering on chaos. There was certainly a deep sense of relief when both lions and Ellies had all gone and we were able to move away again but it was one of the most fascinating altercations we had ever witnessed.

We drove slowly on and our heart rate gradually began to calm down. Just time for a quick check at Transport and just before we reached the Dam, we see a couple of cars stopped. At first we could see nothing and we pulled alongside to ask what they could see. Hidden well along the branch of a big tree a fair way back from the road and what awaits us...a LIT (Leopard In Tree).

Image

Our first day with a Big 5 and what a way to do it! Some days just get better and better. On our previous trip we had been really lucky with leopard sightings around the Transport Dam area but never thought this beauty would still be around. It was not so easy to get a position to watch him and as more cars stopped behind us, we moved on to let someone have our spot.

Down at the Dam a Bull Elephant had come down to drink

Image

along with the usual Waterbuck.

Image

Time was passing quickly and we needed to head back to camp or we would not be there in time for gate closing. Yet more Ellies and Kudu

Image

along the way and a detour along the Napi Boulder road found a lovely group of 6 Giraffe.

Image

Finally back in camp it was time to light up for our last braai in the Park and pack up in readiness to leave in the morning.

_________________
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=58977Our 2012 Trip Report
... and how I miss being back in the KNP.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Critical Care for the Soul - KNP Nov-Dec 2012
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 6:16 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2006 11:12 am
Posts: 260
Location: HAMPSHIRE UK
Award: Sighting of the Year - Small creatures and/or insects (2012)
10th December 2012

Although we would not be staying in the Park any more this trip, we would only based at our favourite Inn in Hazyview. With our usual reluctance to leave we plan a fairly long drive before exiting. Lots of birds at Shitlhave – Water Dikkop, Egyptian Geese, Grey Heron, Egrets – and a Dwarf Mongoose peering cheekily in the grass by the roadside. Along the tar a Hyena vanished into the long grass and by the time we reached Transport we had seen a Red-crested Korhaan,

Image

6 Rhinos,

Image

Warthogs, a Dark Chanting Goshawk

Image

and Kudu. We wondered if our leopard friend might be around but, for once, Transport was extremely quiet as was the H3 southwards but a few Impies, Zebra and Warthogs were in the bush as we headed to Afsaal for breakfast.

On the way to Biyamiti Weir we passed a small breeding herd of Ellies with a very young baby. We kept well back from them as they being so protective of their new addition.

Image

Image

At the Weir we shared the day with Storks, Egrets, Hippos, Geese, Wagtails, Wattled Starling,

Image

Hamerkop,. Lilac-breasted Roller,

Image

Black Stork

Image

and Three-banded Plovers.

Heading northwards again the bush was quiet but a Chameleon ventured onto the road in front of us.

Image

At Skukuza we popped in for a cooling ice cream before driving to our un-missable Lake Panic. The Darter and Cormorant were sitting on their usual tree, Pied- and Malachite Kingfishers

Image

busy fishing, Black Crake in the reeds, the Tawny-flanked Prinia still nest building, the Goliath and Grey Heron youngsters still up to mischief,

Image

Image

Burchell’s Coucal, Hippo in the water and our trusty Thick-billed Weaver settled happily in his new nest complete with his mate.

Image

How we wished we could stay until their eggs hatched and we could watch another generation grow. So many birds breed and raise their families around the hide – always another story line to follow.

A pair of Steenbok paid a short nervous visit.

Image

And we grabbed the images of a couple of colourful Dragonflies.

Image

Image

At last we dragged our cameras back to the car and we set off for Phabeni Gate. Always someone to share time with along the way – Bull Elephant

Image

Zebra and Wildebeest, Impala, at Nyamundwa 3 Dagga boys,

Image

Hippo and Spur-winged Geese,

Image

then another Chameleon before we reached the Gate.

Just 15 minutes into Hazyview and when we reached our ‘second home’ it was time to unload, unpack and walk up to the Bar for a sundowner.


11th December 2012

A day to rest and do nothing, apart from eat, drink and watch the birdlife in the extensive gardens.

_________________
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=58977Our 2012 Trip Report
... and how I miss being back in the KNP.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Critical Care for the Soul - KNP Nov-Dec 2012
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 1:56 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2006 11:12 am
Posts: 260
Location: HAMPSHIRE UK
Award: Sighting of the Year - Small creatures and/or insects (2012)
12th December 2012

When we are so close to the Park and have no other plans for the day, we inevitably head up to Phabeni Gate as Day Visitors. Mid morning there are no queues and in minutes we are ready to spot. Pausing on the bridge we found Hamerkop and an Egret, then Kudu and baboons.

At Nyamundwa Dam the Hippos were in the water and feeding along the edge Saddle-bill Storks, Woolly-necked Stork, White-fronted Cormorant and Greater Egret.

Heading east again lots of Impala with their lambs and Oxpeckers,

Image

Image

several Ellies, Giraffe and Wildebeest, then a group of Zebras.

As you will all no doubt have gathered, we find it completely impossible to drive past Lake Panic where we found all the usual suspects.

Grey Heron

Image

Malachite Kingfisher

Image

Woodland and Pied Kingfishers

Image

Image

Image

Tawny-flanked Prinia

Image

Image

Hadeda Ibis

Image

African Darter

Image

Some Water Lilies were in bloom.

Image

Image

A Lizard caught our attention back on the main road and then a pit stop at Skukuza for lunch.

Image

Back to the car we headed out of camp and kept going south, taking the S114 which had already proved lucky for us. We spotted a Fish Eagle in a Fig Tree,

Image

then stopped to let a Chameleon cross the road

Image

and then a Steenbok, it was quiet until we reached the crossroads near Renosterkoppies. Several cars were stopped and we approached slowly looking everywhere for the reason. Then we saw him, stretched out on top of a rock, a beautiful Leopard.

Image

He seemed to relish his rapidly growing audience and because he was in such an unusual location (we’ve done LITs and LOGs but never a LOR) there was space to everyone to see him and take pictures. Some years we come to Kruger and may only see a single leppie, I think we have had a trip where we saw none, but this year we have been incredibly lucky.

Heading back to the tar we passed a group of 3 Rhinos,

Image

Ellies and Kudu, then Giraffe along the H1-1.

At Transport the Crocodile was on the lookout together with White-faced Ducks,

Image

Cormorant and Blacksmith Plovers. Before reaching Numbi Gate more Giraffe and Ellies were close to the road.

Image

And so ends another day in Paradise!

_________________
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=58977Our 2012 Trip Report
... and how I miss being back in the KNP.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Critical Care for the Soul - KNP Nov-Dec 2012
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2013 3:56 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2006 11:12 am
Posts: 260
Location: HAMPSHIRE UK
Award: Sighting of the Year - Small creatures and/or insects (2012)
13th December 2012

Only 2 more days left for this holiday so we were up early and decided to go into the Park via Kruger Gate. It must be years since we took this entrance – probably not since they opened Phabeni Gate which is so quick and easy to reach from Hazyview. Partly it was due to curiosity, talking to people who have properties in Sabie Park. We live in hope that we might somehow come into enough money to have a second home in South Africa and often mull on the options as to where it should be. Goodness knows where we think this unimaginable windfall might come from but we can always dream.

Apart from a few Waterbuck along the S1, the wildlife had vanished until we reached Transport Dam where there was plenty of activity. Elephants, juvenile Fish Eagle, Diederick’s Cuckoo, Red-billed Buffalo Weavers, Masked Weavers, White-faced Ducks and Hippo.

Zebra,

Image

Kudu and Ellies

Image

Image

were spotted as we headed down to Afsaal, European and Lilac Breasted Rollers

Image

along the H2-2.

S114 – Giraffe, Hippo,

Image

Egrets, Hamerkop, Rhino,

Image

and Green-backed Heron.

Continuing north we found more Rhino,

Image

Fish Eagle and an industrious Dung Beetle.

Image

By now we had reached the Sabie River Bridge to find Elephant,

Image

Fish Eagle

Image

and Hamerkop.

At Sunset Dam – Crocodile,

Image

Black-winged Stilt, Blacksmith Plovers, Yellow-billed Stork,

Image

White-faced Ducks, White-crowned Plovers

Image

and, of course, the ever growing pods of Hippo.

Fish Eagle

Image

and Giraffe close to the river and, taking the N’watimhiri Causeway, Little Egrets,

Image

and Hamerkop

Image

At the Sabie Highwater bridge – 2 Buffalo

At Lake Panic – all the usual suspects:

Green-backed Heron

Image

Goliath Heron

Image

Pied Kingfisher with successful catches

Image


Image

Image

White-fronted Cormorant

Image

Heading back to Phabeni Gate with a wonderful vista

Image

– several Bull Elephant, Wildebeest with calves,

Image

Zebra, Woolly Necked Stork, Buffalo, Hippos, White-backed Vultures,

Image

Black-bellied Korhaan

Image

and Baboons.

_________________
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=58977Our 2012 Trip Report
... and how I miss being back in the KNP.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Critical Care for the Soul - KNP Nov-Dec 2012
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:02 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2006 11:12 am
Posts: 260
Location: HAMPSHIRE UK
Award: Sighting of the Year - Small creatures and/or insects (2012)
14th December 2012

This really would be our last day in the Park for this trip and despite the fact that we should be packing up, we just had to spend a few more hours in the Park! We dashed up to Phabeni, a quick flash of our Wild Card and on we went.

In the river bed 2 Egrets and 2 Cormorants. A Dwarf Mongoose family were hiding at the side of the road but all were too shy for photos this morning. Next came Hoopoe,

Image

Wildebeest, Kudu and Grey Hornbill. Turning onto the H11 we could see a few cars stopped at the side of the road. What would we see here this morning? Oh joy of joys it was a pack of Wild Dogs.

They are so special and we felt so privileged to be able to sit with them on our last day. They looked well fed and were happy sleeping very close to the road. Because they were down in the grass, it was only easy to see them if you were parked right next to them so we did not stay too long as the traffic jam was building rapidly and we did not want to hog the best spot. As I am sure I have mentioned before, we were visiting Kruger for 11 years before we ever saw Wild Dogs and the thrill each time we have seen them since has never diminished. What a privilege!

We were so hyped up, we actually drove past the turning to Lake Panic and decided to call in at Skukuza for breakfast with a short stop for some baboons antics.

Image

Eager to see who else would be about to wish us farewell, we drove to the low water bridge and the Sand River crossing. Lots of birds searching for their own breakfast – Pied

Image

and Giant Kingfisher,

Image

Hamerkop, Egrets, Herons and a fine crocodile.

Image

Heading northwards on the tar, we pulled into Leeupan where Jacana, Woolly Storks and White Faced Ducks were waiting for us.

Image

We popped into Tshokwane for a quick comfort break and then headed south along the H10 to find more Rhinos

Image

and Ground Hornbills.

Turning onto the S29 we caught up with a big group of Ostrich (male, female and all their youngsters) who were happily striding out along the road in front of us.

Image

Image

They seemed totally unconcerned that we were just behind them and with no other cars at all, we were able to spend quite a while with them.

A solitary Bull Elephant was on a mission close to the next junction

Image

but we continued onto the S30, a road we have not driven along for a long time but we were rewarded with sightings of a Wahlberg’s Eagle,

Image

Kudu,

Image

Ground Hornbills and a charming Warthog family.

Image

Image

A quick call into Lake Panic to wish all our ‘friends’ goodbye until next time and back onto the tar heading west.

Image

Just a few kms down the road, we were amazed to find the pack of Wild Dogs were still sleeping by the road.

Image

They must have been exceedingly well fed and replete to spend so long in the one spot. As we pulled over to get a few last pictures of them, a vehicle pulled up alongside us bearing a YR. Our final YR for our trip – Kaapsedraai and his family. It was a pleasure to meet you all and we wish you a fantastic trip when you return this year – I think we will miss each other by a few days this time but have a wonderful time.

The afternoon was passing all too quickly and, however reluctantly, we knew we really had to get back and get our packing done. I’m sure we cannot be the only people who put this off for as long as possible in the hope that we won’t really have to leave.

Our final sightings as we crossed the river just before Phabeni Gate were a Malachite Kingfisher, Cormorant, Little Egret,

Image

Hamerkop and Green-backed Heron.

Image

So that, my friends is the end of our TR. We had a truly amazing time, fabulous sightings, lots of new friends and both body and soul well cherished. Thank you to everyone who has shared our journey and I promise I will write our next TR as soon as possible when we return home in December 2013.

_________________
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=58977Our 2012 Trip Report
... and how I miss being back in the KNP.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 29 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Pumbaa and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group

Webcams Highlights

Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Submitted by Stampajane at 18:36:53 Submitted by Philip1 at 18:50:56 Submitted by haileyidaho at 21:17:22 Submitted by Ton&Herma at 13:37:01