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 Post subject: Wildchild's KNP visit : December 2004
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 9:59 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2005 9:10 pm
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hi everyone! the name is wildchild-am new to this forum. just joined in fact. read about acekam's question regarding the scarcity of lion and leopard sightings on night drives. would like to share our families amazing experience last December while on the night drive from Malelane gate. after having seen a fair variety of the more commomly seen game, whith rhino shortly after the drive began, followed by kudu, girrafe and impala which was followed by a herd of buffalo at rhenosterpan with the fading light. By the time we got back to the main road it was already dark. we soon spotted three hyenas on the road. they walked to the side of the road and one of them caught a mouse which it began eating. they suddenly got up and started moving at a fair pace down the road. in the distance we saw eyes reflectively glittering and the driver of the truck exitedly shouted lion! as we drew nearer, to our pleasant surprise and great joy, we these hyenas chase the leopard up a tree. for a while they circled the tree and snarled at it. losing interst in the leopard, they backed off and disappeared into the bush. the leopard warily survryed the surroundings for a while and once comfortable that they would not return, it descended from the tree and began walking in the opposite direction from which the truck was facing. the driver started the truck and began reversing along with the leopard. to our utter amazement, it crouched atop its partner and began mating. this process was repeated about thrice-and yes we do have the video to back this up. WILDCHILD


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Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 11:13 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Hi Nico! thank you for the warm welcome to this forum. Believe it or not, only four more days before our trip to the KNP. I hope and pray that this trip will be as productive as the last. In my first post, I discussed only the night drive. Apart from this, we had many other wonderful sightings. As far as lion sightings go, we had the ggod opportunity to spend four nights at Talamati bush camp. our trip began with a day trip into the park and while drivinf between Skukuza and LowerSabie we were behind a car which suddenly braked and stopped a short distance ahead of where we were forced to stop as a result and on our right hand side, very close to the road was a lovely leopard.

The next day was good in terms of sighting general game while on our way to Talamati. after unpacking our things we decided to go for a late afternoon drive to Orpen and back. on our return from Orpen we spotted another leopard which was somewhat in the bush. that night we sat at the hide for a while but nothing eventful occurred and we decided to tuck in for the night.

at about three a.m. we awoke to the sound of lions roaring very loudly. I then, very excitedly got dressed in warm clothes, for this was in July when it gets very cold at nights, even in the Kruger. I then proceeded to walk along the perimiter fence in an attempt to locate those mighty roaring lions, for it was very clear from the sounds being hear, that this was a pair roaring at each other. these roars were heard at intervals of about fifteen minutes. the sounds were getting louder as the morning drew closer, but I was unable to spot them. I went back to the chalet and went back outside when the gate was opened and a few cars left in search of these lions. the family was still not ready beacuse of which I continued to walk along the perimiter. now, when they roared again, it was as if they were actually in the camp itself, but on the eastern end on the camp. I quickly ran in that direction raching the other end of the camp and climbed onto the viewing deck there, but all I could see were people running to and fro atthe end of the camp I had just run from. realising that something was happening thre, I proceeded in that direction and on reaching them, was told to my uuer dismay and dissapointment that two male lions had just crossed the road outside the camp and were crossing the dry river bed to the opposite bank. walking along the perimiter fence along the dry river, I could not spot them and realised that they had already crossed the river bed and had disaapeared into the thick bush on the other side. this was when the gentleman who had left as the gates had opened, returned and showed me an image of a magnificent male on the LCD screen of his digital camera.

well so much for that, I thought. I just wasn't in the right place at the right time. the rest of the day was spent driving to Satata and doing the roads in that area. on our return to Talamati that evening we were driving along the S36 and when we reached Muzandzeni, we saw a vehicle parked lookout point. I stopped the car and wondered aloud, "What are they looking at?" I was met by the reply by my wife, "Never mind what they are looking at, look at what is looking at us up ahead?" As I turneed my head, I saw this beautiful leopard sitting on the side of the road just next to where the foliage began. It was sitting just like our cats back home do, with its haunches on the ground, its front legs erect in that regal position that only cats can assume. Now as is my habit, I like to share our good fortune in sightings with others wherever possible, I was wondering how to attract the attention of the people in the other car without obviously, disturbing what we were fasting our eyes upon. I was waving my hands inside the car we were travelling in but by the time they saw me and realised that had spotted something and by the time they eeached us it peered into the long grass and skillfully jumped into the thickness of that grass and disappeared.

Just like the previous night, we were once again awoken by the sound the roaring pair of males. I once more went outdise to see if I could spot them but to no avail. This time I made sure that thae family was ready an as the gates opened, we were the first car out of camp. On reqachingn the fork in the road up ahead, we decided to turn, left onto the S145 and approximately a kilometre ahead we were rewarded by the sight of a magnificent male right in the middle of the road, which on seeing the car slinked into the undegrowth. We then dorve on and a short distance ahead was the second male also in the middle of the road which fortunately for us, did not dissapear as the other one did. Rather, this one decided to sit on the shoulder of the road on the grass for about half an hour before it to got up and walked into the bush.


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