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Jay's Kruger sightings : 4-7 April 2006

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Jay
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Location: Golden Mile,West Coast, CFG

Jay's Kruger sightings : 4-7 April 2006

Unread postby Jay » Mon Apr 10, 2006 8:08 pm

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We entered via Phabeni Gate, a little late in the afternoon after flights, collecting the rental car and some food shopping. Neither my dad not sister nor her hubby had seen this entrance before as they had last visited Kruger some 10years ago. They were very impressed! My dad jokingly asked the friendly attendant where to find the lions, to which was politely, but firmly replied: “This is not a zoo, sir.”

A European Roller greeted us just inside the gate and for once perched obligingly for a photo. I have many photos of rollers: lovely abstract blurs.

I will repeat what other recent visitors have said; the park is green, veeeeery green, like Knysna in the bushveld. Awesome! It makes for challenging game viewing, but by the same token, the scenery is beautiful in itself. The road to Pretoriuskop yielded a few impala sighting, yup, pretty amazing, huh? And of course many birds. I have listed the birds spotted at the end of the report as I can’t remember exactly where each was seen.
At Shitlhave dam there were two waterbuck with a young one each.

We checked in at Pretoriuskop, and went for a quick sunset drive. The sunset was spectacular.


The alarm was set for 5am and we arrived at the gate just as it opened. The first part of the drive was quiet viewing wise, other than birds and mushrooms growing in elephant dung!
Then we rounded a corner and there was a pride of lions ambling down the road. This was probably one of the best lion sightings I have had in a while. The lions were incredibly relaxed as were the five cars viewing them. The pride sauntered around the cars, lay down in the road and one even sniffed the boot of our car. The cars all kept their distance and allowed the cats their space, which made for very pleasurable viewing.

We did finally manage to spot a lone kudu peering shyly through the bush and just outside of Skukuza two splendidly groomed, freshly washed piggies strutted their stuff.
There were hundreds, and I mean hundreds of butterflies everywhere: canary yellow ones, orange ones, brown and purple, white and orange……and plenty of flowers. We were too early to check into Skukuza and so set off to view a house outside of Kruger.

part 2 tomorrow.....

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Jay
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Unread postby Jay » Tue Apr 11, 2006 7:34 pm

Elsa wrote:Thanks Jay, your pics are really lovely, looking forward to the next instalment.
Whereabouts did you see the Goshawk, the pair that we saw was on the S3 Albasini roads in Feb.


Snap! same road Elsa :D

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Jay
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Unread postby Jay » Tue Apr 11, 2006 7:49 pm

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The following day we set off for Lower Sabie. At Nkuhlu we stopped for tea and sandwiches and the prerequisite harassment by monkeys. A mother with 2 little ones tried there best to get us to feed them by batting eyelashes and generally being cute. The male was very cheeky and even hissed at my sister when she chased it! Of course when one of the staff approached they quickly gave way.

A buffalo with a magnificent set of horns lay cooling in the shallows of the river, happily chewing and a little further down an elephant had a lovely mud bath; it even lay down in the mud for a while. We also saw bushbuck at least 3 times; one male slowly crossed the road and stopped just in front of the car.

I must mention that we did spot elephant fairly regularly, but generally from a safe distance as my sister feels the same way I do: petrified. Lunch was at Lower Sabie where I asked for a glass for the tin of coke I had purchased, my sister said “just take a polystyrene cup”, to which the man serving us answered “no, I will fetch her a glass”, he returned with a tall glass with ice in it! He got a nice tip.
We returned to Skukuza on the Salitje road and just over the bridge on the Sabie River 3 fish eagles sat right next to the road and put on a magnificent display of their iconic calls. Pure magic to watch them throw their heads back as their calls rang through the air.

We also spotted a white rhino, or should I say a white rhino’s ears and hump. The grass being as long as it was.
A sunset drive had been booked so we headed back to camp. My brother-in-law had said he wanted to see a “wild” chameleon, I told him to ask the guide as I knew they know how to spot them at night. So when asked what everyone would like to see, I requested chameleon on his behalf and bushbabies for myself. The guide found the chameleon, fetched it off the tree and gave it to my brother-in-law to hold. He also found the bushbabies! We also came across a hyaena with two tiny little ones. I never realised they were so affectionate with their young, it was wonderful to see.

last instalment tomorrow...

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Jay
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Unread postby Jay » Wed Apr 12, 2006 7:59 pm

Thank you all for your lovely compliments :D

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Alarms were set for 5am again and we were on the road as the gates opened. Once again there were birds aplenty, impala and butterflies….and a curious turtle. It was our last day and finally we saw zebra, so odd when usually they are easily spotted, but apparently the herds have split up due to abundance of food and water. We also saw a lone wildebeest, shame he did look awfully lonely too. And a whole family of little mongoose got really curious when we stopped for another bird sighting.

And then the Phabeni gate approached and we departed the park very, very unwillingly. Although short, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, the service was good, the staff very friendly, the weather great and the sightings not at all bad considering the 6-7ft high grass.

Other Birds spotted:
Burchell’s Coucal, Fish Eagle, Klaas’s Cuckoo, LBR, Purplecrested Lourie, Hamerkop,
Threebanded Plover, Goliath Heron, Grey Heron, African Jacana, African Green pigeon, Jacobin Cuckoo, Giant Kingfisher, Grey hooded and Brown hooded kingfishers, Pied Kingfisher, White fronted Bee-eater, Grey, Red and Yellowbilled hornbills, Green Woohoopoe, African Hoopoe, Black collared Barbet, Crested Barbet, Cardinal Woodpecker, Blackheaded Oriole, Lesser Grey Shrike, Longtailed Shrike, Scarlet chested sunbird, Redbilled Buffalo Weaver.
Last edited by Jay on Sun Apr 16, 2006 12:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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