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 Post subject: Wildchild's Dream KNP trip : April 2006
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 9:49 pm 
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Read all about it! Read all about it! Wildchild and family are about to hit a lightning trip to KNP. We have already packed the vehicle and are all set to go. Hope to leave at 3 am so that we can be early in the park. Wish us well on the trip.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 12:29 am 
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Stop press! Just returned from Mpumalanga and the KNP not five minutes ago. A tremendously enjoyable trip even though it was fairly short, but hey, even a single day in Kruger is not something to be scorned. Report to follow soon, I hope.


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Unread postPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 6:15 pm 
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After a short nap, I was up at 2.30 am got everyone up. By the time we got ready, packed the cooler bag, binoculars and other paraphenalia and drove out the driveway it was about 3.30 am. Drove in the quite darkness till we reached the highway where the first signs of traffic to come were seen. As we moved progreesively east, the traffic kept on building up. There were a lot of people heading in the same direction we were headed. We made good time to Middleburg and as we neared Belfas, we drove smack into the early morning fog which caused us to slow down somewhat. The fog held up as far as Machadadorp as did the traffic. We, as usual, decided to take the Schoomanskloof road to Nelspruit as a result of which we avoided the rush that progressed on the Waterval Bowan road.

We reached Malelane gate at about 8 15 am and were fourth in line as we waited for our turn to be let in through the outer gate. after waiting about half an hour we were finally allowed in. they were letting in twenty cars at a time to facilitate easy processing of thiose entering the park. Will continue soon.


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Unread postPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 11:50 pm 
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DinkyBird wrote:
Looking forward to the next instalment wildchild. It sounds like the Park must have been extremely busy.


Well, Dinkybird, here we go...

The morning was warming up nicely as we drove across the bridge spanning the Crocodile river which was flowing forcefully beneath us. Got to the parking area and proceeded to the office to secure our permit for the day visit. While standing in the que we spot a family of warthogs through the other door. they were foraging close to the toilets. My son quickly fetched the camcorder and proceeded to capture some footage.

Image

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Crossing the boom, we drove past the tree separating the road and got to see just how much the bush had grown and crept up on the road. We decided to take the first left turn which led us towards Berg & Dal. meandering along the road we saw our firsr impi which had but a single horn:

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Not to clear, since it was taken from the video recording.
Apart from this impi we saw nothing else on the raod till we reached B&D. In the camp we spotted a host of beautiful little birds like this one playing in the bushes and darting about:

Image

From the camp we proceeded right onto the Matjulu loop. We drove to the waterhole and and on our way back saw a lone elephant but were unable to take a pic because of the denseness of the bush.

So long for now...


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Unread postPosted: Fri May 12, 2006 5:25 pm 
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We drove along the S110 we saw a beautiful lilac breasted roller followed by a small herd of zebra.

Image

Soon thereafter this little fellow was spotted in some water on the side of a low water bridge.

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Not far from this bird we saw some footprints of a cat, but the furry one was not to be seen.

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Driving along we came to a patch where the water seemed fairly deep and instead of taking a chance, we turned around and drove all the way back to the intersection and began driving up the H3 towards Skukuza.

will continue...


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Unread postPosted: Sun May 14, 2006 12:40 am 
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Jose wrote:
Lovely! More! More! :D


Here comes more:
It proved to be a productive drive for us. On reaching the S 25 we decided to turn right and a short distance thereafter, in a clearing where the grass was fairly low, we saw a pair of impala
rams having a go at each other.

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Watched them for a while and then decided to turn back and drive up the H3. As we cruised along we came across these elephants.

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Further on, we met a family of giraffes.

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On the dirt road to Rhenosterpan, we spotted our first rhino but could not get a clear enough view for a good pic. At the watering hole, there was a tortoise basking in the morning sun.

Image


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Unread postPosted: Sun May 14, 2006 12:56 am 
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We continued our leisurely drive and soon saw some more zebras. These two were posing beautifully for us.

Image

Just a short while later we reached the Biyamiti bridge and in the thick growth in the riverbed we saw a herd of buffs grazing in the distance.

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Not five hundred metres away we came across a pair of mating lions and only caught the tail end of one disappearing into the bush.

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Another giraffe which gave us the eye, before carrying on its browsing.

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This was followed by a lone buff relaxing in a riverbed.,

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more ellies, a lilac breasted roller,

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a francolin sitting on a tree, more giraffes. That basically brought us to the end of our first day.
Not a bad start, hey.


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Unread postPosted: Sun May 14, 2006 11:18 am 
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Nico wrote:
You had a great time as we can see Wildchild. A pity that the lion disappeared to quick. What's next? :wink:


Hi Nico, good to hear from you again.
The next day we got to Malelane gate at about six and there was a long que of cars waiting before us, I reckon the que must have been about 150 metres long. It took us a while before
they even let us cross the bridge over the Crocodile river. We finally did get in and dook the S25 to Crocodile Bridge. Our sightings on this road began with guinea fowl.

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This was followed by a giraffe in the distance.

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Further on we spotted buffaloes, buffs and more buffs and elephant. Apart from this, it was a quiet day.

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Since we managed to book the late night drive from Croc Bridge which begins at 8.00 and ends at about 11.00, we decided to relax that afternoon at Selati 103 where we were staying.

We got to Komatipoort a little early and bought a few things from the local Spar after which we proceeded to the gate and waited for the truck to come and fetch us.

Our driver, Abdul Moosa, decided to take the S25 along which we saw a herd of wildebeest, many genets, bush babies, scrub hares and a thick knee. Apart from this there was nothing else to be seen. We turned right onto the S108 and then H5 where we met the other truck which was going in the direction we had come from. They were not to excited about their sightings so far. Looks like a quite night....until we reached the H4 -2 when the action began...


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Unread postPosted: Mon May 15, 2006 6:04 pm 
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Toddelelfe wrote:
wildchild wrote:
....until we reached the H4 -2 when the action began...

:wall: :pray: :imsmilin: MORE! Please.


MORE! Well, here it comes, very shortly after turning onto the tar road going back to Croc Bridge, we heard a lady that was sitting just behind the driver shout out loudly, Leopard! "There, I see it said the driver." Yes, there it is," said my wife. By the time I got my bearing and looked where they were pointing, the dappled one had disappeared into the bush. So it was, three of the ten people on the drive were fortunate enough to see it. Well, one can't see them all, can one? drove on we did, and the next best thing, five big hyenas loping down the road with definite intent. we followed them for a while before they too, took a detour into the bush. As we drove on, three rhinos, in the bush close to the road working gtheir way deeper into the bush. Not too bad a night I thought, when suddenly the driver hits the brakes, and we see right in front of us, smaxk in the middle of the road, a herd of ellis. Revving the motor caused them to go to the side of the road. We stopped for a while and admired them before proceeding back to the gate, alighting from the truck, saying goodbye to the others who had been on the drive with us. Oh, well, we still have to drive back to Malelane. by the time we got back to Selati and into bed, it was well past midnight.

I wonder what tomorrow, our last day holds in sotre for us?


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Unread postPosted: Mon May 15, 2006 6:59 pm 
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Hyenas running on the road:

Image

Image


Rhinos rushing into the bush:

Image

Owl:

Image

ellies

Image


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Unread postPosted: Mon May 15, 2006 7:49 pm 
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Elsa wrote:
Thanks for the reports Wildchild,
So, please confirm that there are 2 night drives from Croc Bridge, one early and the later one that you went on? :?


Hi Elsa, it was a great night drive and yes, there are two drives, the sunset drive which leaves at 5.00 pm and returns by about 8.00 then picking up for the next drive which returns at about 11.00 pm. Therefore, you can book a double drive if you choose, go out at 5.00 pm and return at 11.00 pm.


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Unread postPosted: Thu May 18, 2006 12:44 am 
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Jose wrote:
Great report and pics, wildchild! And I'm not jealous... N :mrgreen: T at all. 8)



How true! A true forumite can never be jealous of anyone's sightings. all they can feel is joy, knowing what they love so much is being enjoyed and loved by others.



Having had a late night, my eyes opened at 5.50 am while the rest of the family were still fast asleep. I quickly got ready, realising that gates open in ten minutes time and that we were in the middle of a long weekend. My wife got up and I told her to get the others up while I go and secure the entry permit for the day. As I came closer, I saw a long line of cars ahead of me and ended up parking behind the 200 m board. Met an old friend while waiting there and exchanged stories about our experiences in the park.

By the time I got to reception, secured the permit, went back to fetch the others and left Selati 103, it was already 8.00 am. As we were leaving the driveway, I received a call from the friend I had met who prompted us to hurry, for there had been a sighting of some significance not far into the park.

This time, the que on the outside of the park was even longer, all the way to Crockerfella restaurant. Since we already had our permit, we drove straight to the gate and were allowed in.

The sight that greeted us as we reached the Berg&Dal turnoff looked like this:
Image

Lions had brought down a giraffe on the main road and ragged the carcass into ditch on the side of the road. It must have taken us the better part of half an hour if not more, to get to the point where the carcass could be see. Since the que behind us was just as long, we stopped for a few seconds and carried on up the H3 to the S 118.

On the way up we a kudu bull and a massive rhino:
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Just after the S118 turn off, we saw these two rhinos:
Image

As we drove along the S 118 we saw hordes of vultures soaring in circles high above in the distance. We initially thought of the possibility of a kill that attracted them but later realised that they were just looking for that lift to carry them higher :
Image

While watching these vultures we a lady who told us that while she was sitting at the lion kill spot,, she had seen a leopard behind them drinking water on the side of the road.

We carried on down the S 114 and then turned onto the S 25 and finally got back to the lions. En route, we saw a pair of owls preening themselves in the daylight which was surprising. Apart from this we saw a herd of buffs on the S 25. By now, the traffic had thinned out and we were able to see a male lion sitting in the grass with just part of its head visible. While parked here, the friend who had phoned us, arrived and asked where we had been all this time, for he had been trying to get hold of us once more. They, after leaving the lions had turned onto the Matjulu Loop and had come across a leopard sitting on an outcrop of rocks and had spent twenty five minutes with it after which it got up and walked into the bush. That one was definitely not meant for us.

will continue...


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Unread postPosted: Thu May 18, 2006 1:30 am 
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wildchild wrote:
Soon thereafter this little fellow was spotted in some water on the side of a low water bridge.

Image


Hamerkop (Hammerhead) in typical shallow water pose

_________________
Whatever (according to BB): "You are correct but I don't want to admit it".


Last edited by Bush Baptist on Fri May 19, 2006 8:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Thu May 18, 2006 1:32 pm 
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We then carried on to Skukuza and met someone who had come from Lowe Sabie. He informed us of a leopard kill about nine kms out of LS coming towards Skukuza. He had managed to see the impala carcass in the bushes but saw no sign of the leopard. Wondering what to do, we drove a short stretch in the direction of LS but then decided to turn back and head for Malelane, for we were returning home after leaving the park. We drove down leisurely and saw nice ellies along the way another rhino and these cute young hyenas:

Image

By 5.00 pm we hit rush hour traffic and had to wait a while before being able to move at all.
Image

As we drove down the road, I saw an honourary ranger by the name of Bruce whom we had met that morning at the lion sighting, in up ahead. He was out of his vehiccle and directing traffic which had become a necessity at this stage because there were cars parked on either side of the road and those who wanted to move in either direction had to drive between them in the middle of
the road. As we were getting closer to him, we heard from a car crawling past us...TWO LEOPARDS IN A TREE. When we came up to Bruce I asked him what had been spotted. He
replied, “The same lions from this morning.” I then asked him about the leopards I had heard of, to which he replied, “Yes, I too have heard mention being made of them but have not seen
them myself.” As he finished saying this, my gaze settled on a distant tree and lo and behold, LIT. “There it is Bruce,” I said to him. “O! I see it now,” he says and thanks me. “Look,” he says to me, “Don’t even mention the word leopard to anyone who asks you, otherwise we will never get this mess of a traffic jam sorted out.” “The second leopard,” we heard someone whispering, “had gone down the tree.” The pictures we got from our video footage are rather fuzzy as you
can see:
Image
Image

Not fifty metres down the road, was the kill. One male was standing next to the carcass and making his displeasure at being disturbed during his meal known to one and all by his constant roaring.
Image
He then started eating:
Image
A few metres further down were another two males waiting for the gates to close and all these
cars to disappear before approaching their meal.
Image
Image

Parked off on the side of the road was the truck on the sunset drive fro Malelane and the driver, as I recognised, was none other than John with whom we had been on our own sunset drive two years ago and which is posted on recent sightings as well. Well, what a sunset drive they must
have had once the gates had closed, Lions feeding on a giraffe kill and just up the road, a leopard in repose on a distant tree. What a way to begin!!!

Well, as for us, we can’t complain, for ours was a wonderful trip. So much for now...till our next visit to the park. Wonder when that will be?


As we reached the turnoff to Malelane this is what we saw:

Image


On leaving Nelspruit I phoned the friend who had phoned and told us about the lions and asked him how his day had gone. He told me that after luch at Skukuza where they were staying, they drove to LS and saw the leopard busy eating the impala it had killed. On their way back, just shortly before Skukuza, they had seen another leopard walking on the road. Can you believe this, three leopards in one day. Really fortunate were they not!!!


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