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 1 of 1
 [ 9 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: a GREEN SENSE of WONDER!!! - Kruger Style, Jan 2010
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 5:30 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 12:53 pm
Posts: 1073
Location: Bloemfontein
Welcome to a GREEN SENSE of WONDER!!! - Kruger Style, Jan 2010 and I'll be your guide!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: a GREEN SENSE of WONDER!!! - Kruger Style, Jan 2010
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:48 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 12:53 pm
Posts: 1073
Location: Bloemfontein
Well lets begin at the beginning.

I went to visit some family in Pretoria and it was then that my Grandfather mention, totally out of the blue, Kruger is actually closer that Bloem. Then he also added that it would be great going there. I thought he joked and laughingly said yes, it would be great. The next moment he starts searching for SANParks Reservation number! :big_eyes: At first I could not comprehend what was happening, but eventually it became clear.

Unfortunately he could not find it, but later on that evening I started checking availability on my nieces computer. Had a choice between Pretoriuskop, Skukuza and Lower Sabie. Eventually the next day after much consideration we decided that Lower Sabie would be the better choice.

Now this was one of my biggest dreams the last couple of years. To visit Kruger with my Grandfather no parents involved, and now it was finally happening. Later on that day he asked whether I would mind if my two cousins from Pretoria could join us. No, was the immediate answer and now I was twice as happy as they had never been to Kruger before in their life and I will finally get to show them the magic.

A phone call later with their parents, and we where on our way to the Pretoria East Reservation office. We had the most wonderful assistance and finally we walked out with a 3 night booking at Lower Sabie from the 11 to the 13th January!!!!! :dance:

I quickly jumped on the phone to tell my cousin that she would be joining me in a "hunt" for Kruger's giraffes. . . She was a bit confused at first but after a bit of explaining she was ecstatic.

My niece (aka Kika also a 'mite) and I then organised that we can use her Terios instead of grandfathers small Clio for the space and height we needed in the park. So I would like to once again say a HUGE, GREAT THANK YOU TO HER FOR THIS. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

The days went extremely slow but eventually the time arrived. A whole lot of planning and packing later, we were in the car en-route to my grandfather's place!
________________________________________________________________________________________________

And now you'll have to have patience as I have to start studying, and still have to edit the photo's.

Hope you will all enjoy reading/living this as much as I will enjoy writing/re-living it!

And a great thanks to all the comments thus far Boorgatspook, anne-marie, Micetta, Meandering Mouse and Mom (Nkumbe)!!! :thumbs_up:


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: a GREEN SENSE of WONDER!!! - Kruger Style, Jan 2010
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:43 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 12:53 pm
Posts: 1073
Location: Bloemfontein
Day 1 (11/01/10)

Route: S1, H11, H4-1

So finally the wonderful gates of Phabeni greeted us and we checked in so quickly with the new drive-thru system there wasn't even time to take a pic for you guys. :doh:

The first thing that struck me was the amazing sense of wonderful greens in every shape, form and colour. It was truly amazing!!!

As we drove through the blistering mid-day heat animal sightings were rather slow but we still managed to tick Impala as our first animals of the trip. What an amazing sight to see all the little babies, or rather toddlers, with their mothers. This was something I have never experienced, seeing as this was my first trip to Kruger during the summer months! :dance:

The wheels just starting turning when I called them to a halt again as in the dead tree a few metres of the road a beautiful Dark-chanting Goshawk was scanning the veld for his lunch. What a beautiful bird to see, and he was standing only on one foot the other gripped closed against it's chest.

Rollers were everywhere you looked and this was the first time that I actually saw Purple- and European Rollers such beautiful birds all fat and shinning from all the good meals Kruger had on offer.

At Nyamundwa waterhole some hippo's were lazing about, while a lone slender mongoose chased over the road after a little snack. By now we were in love with the calls of all the Woodlands Kingfishers and we finally got to see one in the tree we stood under. Unfortunately just a bit too far for a descent photo.

We left the waterhole to some other tourists which made such a racket even the hippo's got irritated and started honking and snorting about. :evil:

We hit the road to Skukuza again and apart from the odd little herd of Impala we only saw a single Kudu crossing the road in front of us.

ImageLarge View

At Skukuza it was time for a quick stop before we carried on towards Nkulu and Lower Sabie.

As we left Skukuza and joined up with the Sabie River road also known as Eloff Street we noticed all the different bee-eaters and it was a wonderful sight. There were European-, Blue-cheeked, Southern Carmine and Little Bee-eaters having their lunch break over, and on top of the road not exactly sure what they were munching down but they surely enjoyed it.

And then just before the High-water Bridge over the Sabie we found a January Traffic Jam which amounts to about +/- 7 cars unlike the June/July one's of 30+. At first we could not see what everyone was looking at. Then the most wonderful words came rolling from the car next to us. . .

WILDDOGS!!!!!! :big_eyes: My day, month and year was made, finally I got to see more than just their tails in the long grass!!!!!! :dance: :dance:

Due to the harsh extremely hot sun they were lying underneath the thickest acacia canopy around which made the photo's an absolute no go. But I'll put one up and maybe if your eyesight is good enough you can see a round ear and a white spot on one of the 6 or 7 dogs. :redface:

ImageLarge View
This sighting truly made up for the whole trip so even if we only saw Impala's for the remainder I would go home with a smile on my face. :D

We continued on after a while with the dogs and drove over the bridge to see what we can spot in the river. We found this big male Baboon siting on the rail and admiring the view over the Sabie while his troop was foraging down below!

ImageLarge View

And this was his view!

ImageLarge View

After admiring this wonderful view with Kees we continued with our drive. Some Elephants were quenching their thirst in the riverbed while the young one's were happily playing in the water to cool down a bit. Unfortunately it was just too far for a great photo.

At Nkulu we had a quick stop just to see what's around and then we raced back to the car just for the air-con. My cousins were making fun of me as I'm really not a person for heat saying I look like a Vulture having heatstroke.

The drive continued to be quiet and we were still amazed that no Giraffe pitched as there are always plenty of them around on this road. Then as we rounded the next corner I could finally show my Giraffe-crazy cousin a beautiful Kruger male specimen!

ImageLarge View

At Sunset Dam the usual crowd of Hippo's, Crocodiles and Impala where around and on the opposite side under the trees we found our only four Blue-Wildebeest of the trip. The Open-billed- and Yellow-billed Storks were happily patrolling the waterline wile the Buffalo-Weavers were busy nest building and feeding their chicks in the dead trees within the dam.

Arriving at Lower-Sabie we quickly checked in and then it was the major task of unpacking in the deadly heat. Now I was not the only Vulture around as my two cousins also joined in! :lol:

The rest of the afternoon Grandpa had an afternoon snooze and I enjoyed the time showing my two cousins all the beauty Lower Sabie had to offer. The evening we enjoyed a lovely braai contemplating that no other braai is ever as good as a Kruger braai! And then it was off to bed with the wonderful Kruger melody to sing us to sleep.


Last edited by pantera leo on Tue Mar 30, 2010 4:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: a GREEN SENSE of WONDER!!! - Kruger Style, Jan 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 8:04 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 12:53 pm
Posts: 1073
Location: Bloemfontein
Day 2 (12/01/10)

Route: H4-1, H10, H4-1, S79, H4-1, H12, H1-2, H4-1

This morning after having the best night in months I awoke just after 4am but decided that it was still too dark outside and only the Robin-Chats were up so I lay in a bit longer waiting for "the early morning Kruger Chorus" to begin! Not 20 minutes later and it suddenly kicked off with a bang! The Hippo's started snorting, the Bulbul's went crazy and the Woodlands Kingfishers were calling from all over the place along with the Diedericks Cuckoo's! I decided to get up ASAP and get to the river were the songs of the Burchell's Coucals and Black Cuckoo's greeted me! I was on cloud nine and with the chorus in full swing the sun started to paint the Sabie a golden colour as it arose over Mozambique!!!
I was in the place I loved best, I was in Kruger!!! ImageImageImage

After soaking up a bit of the magic I went back to wake up the rest which did not want to get up earlier!! :big_eyes: Well they definitely missed out!
Got the kettle ready to make some coffee and tea with some of Gran's rusks mmm. . .

When we eventually hit the road the sun already started burning hot and some clouds rolled in! We decided to first go and show the cousins the view from the bridge. On the way there the beautiful Impala's and at the river in between the reeds a Buffalo Bull our first for the trip! Also a Goliath Heron silhouette fishing in the bright morning rays.

Lower Sabie Restaurant and Deck area
ImageLarge View

We continued on in the direction of Tshokwane but after a while we turned around because we would be going there the next day to meet Martie from the Blog.

At Sunset Dam the usual Hippo's, Crocodiles and Impala's were around as well as some Marabou and Openbilled Storks. The Pied Kingfisher was hovering above the water and darted down every now and again catching a fish. The Red-billed Buffalo-weavers were as busy as ever and a grey Heron was perched on the outlet of the dam.

ImageLarge View

The next moment a Yellow-billed Stork came walking out of the bushes towards us.

ImageLarge View

After a view minutes admiring the scenery at Sunset we were on our way to Skukuza again. We found all of our Roller friends again but none of the Bee-eaters, it was probably still to early for them as they wait for the heat of the day.

Then we came across this beautiful European Roller posing so nicely. He just knew Micetta wanted a pic of him! :wink:

ImageLarge View

Close to the N'watimhiri Causeway we found 3 male Kudu's but they were completely entangled in the bush and barely visible as with most animals this time of year. As we got to the causeway we found some Warthogs just before the bend and decided to take the little bypass. Suddenly we heard some Impala snort and both the Impala and Warthog came dashing over the road! Then they stopped and turned the other way again, highly confused as to where they should go. We decided to go and investigate, but after a few seconds they were totally relaxed as if nothing ever happened.

The Warthogs
ImageLarge View

Some of the Impala
ImageLarge View

The rest of the causeway was dead quiet with only one White-fronted Bee-eater. Soon thereafter we reached Nkulu and then carried on further towards Skukuza. We came across a tower of Giraffe next and it was wonderful to watch them while listening to some baboons barking.

ImageLarge View

Then the last stare and we were off
ImageLarge View

The scenery along the Sabie is as always a picture perfect scene even more so during the summer months. It also becomes very dense and by getting this idea in our heads we had to slam on the brakes. . .
We found ourselves in the middle of an Elephant breeding herd. The one mommy thought we came a little too close for comfort and quickly showed us who's boss! She appeared lightning fast from between the bushes and then rushed over to disappear again with her calf.

ImageLarge View

We eventually edged our way out of the herd and not too far along the road yet another Elephant Roadblock. This time in the form of a bull strolling so casually along the road enjoying the fact that he's the master of Eloff Street! :tongue:

ImageLarge View


Last edited by pantera leo on Tue Mar 30, 2010 4:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: a GREEN SENSE of WONDER!!! - Kruger Style, Jan 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:00 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 12:53 pm
Posts: 1073
Location: Bloemfontein
As we moved ever closer towards Skukuza the Impala sightings became more and more, up to the point that I'm not going to bore you with all the times we saw them. Just know there were LOTS and LOTS!!!

The Sabie highwater bridge came again and as always we had to have a look around to see what we could find. After only some nice scenery and nothing else we decided to continue towards Skukuza via the H1-2, what a great decision!

Just as we turned right unto the H1-2 I spotted something a little further on at the side of the road but could not make out what it was . . . Then it suddenly dawned upon me LEOPARD!!! It was a large female sniffing at a bush and then as she turned towards us she pulled her face in what is known as the Flehmen Grimace exposing her large canine teeth! :shock:

Within a few seconds she was gone and only one other car saw her. But we had time for a pic though!

ImageLarge View

ImageLarge View

Now these weren't so good but I'm very proud of my cousin for snapping the next one!

ImageLarge View

As we drove on everyone was clearly ecstatic, sounding like a bunch of hens clucking about. Then some more Giraffe's and there was this one with a bit of an itch. No problem though just find a bush of the right height and make sure there are no thorns,

ImageLarge View

problem solved!

We soon crossed the Sand- and later on the Sabie Rivers and found some more buffalo in the reeds of the latter. Also some Marabou Storks.

ImageLarge View

Just before entering Skukuza some Vervet Monkeys were jumping around in the Acacia's and we also found a little Speckled Padloper, I think? :hmz:

ImageLarge View

ImageLarge View

ImageLarge View

As you would have noticed from the pictures it was still quite overcast, which was a blessing as it wasn't too hot but off course a nightmare for photography!

At Skukuza we did a bit of curio shopping and then had a wonderful lunch. During the lunch break the sun came out a bit more and the temperature and humidity started rising quite high again. I decided to show the cousins the Stevenson Hamilton Library/Museum which they both enjoyed thoroughly and then it was back to Lower Sabie!

The road back was again exceptionally slow sightings worth except for the Impala's.

Some time after we passed Nkulu we saw a strange cloud of dust ahead of us and as we came closer we found two Warthogs locked in battle! It was a first for all in the car and we sat back watching the fight.

ImageLarge View

Soon the one to the left won the first round and as they paused and moved further off the road the rest of the spectators joined!

ImageLarge View

They soon battled to a point out of sight and we continued.

Just before we reached camp we found a White-backed Vulture and White-headed Vulture sharing a dead tree. Not interested in one another each staring into another direction.

The White-headed Vulture
ImageLarge View

When we arrived back at camp my cousin and I decided to go on a Sunset Drive and quickly went to book. Thereafter it was time for a loooong swim and then we had to get ready for the Drive.

My grandfather and cousin which did not want to go along enjoyed their braai while me and my cousin where enjoying some amazing sightings . . .
ImageLarge View

To be Continued . . .


Last edited by pantera leo on Tue Mar 30, 2010 5:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: a GREEN SENSE of WONDER!!! - Kruger Style, Jan 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 7:50 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 12:53 pm
Posts: 1073
Location: Bloemfontein
Sunset Drive (12/01/10)

Route: H4-1, H10, S29, S122, H10, S29, H10, H4-1

Finally it was time for the Sunset Drive! We gave our indemnity forms to the guide and took our seats on the truck. We had hoped to meet MJ and that she would be our guide but it was her off night. Our guide's name was Robert and was a great guy and very funny. :lol:

As we left camp we quickly took the first no entry road to the right to do the pre-briefing. Robert gave the briefing and then it was time to hear from where everybody came. We were 4 South African and the rest were from Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. The drive finally got underway with some Impala and as we stopped on the bridge over the Sabie we found the Buffalo bull of earlier this morning in roughly the same place happily grazing. Further downstream a small herd of Buffalo came down to quench their thirst while the hippo's started to get ready for their nightly escapades in search of food. And then the most beautiful African Fish Eagle came swooping down low over the river and as it sat down in one of the majestic trees on the bank it's call echoed over Kruger. . .

We left the golden river behind in search of some more beauty, and soon the long necks of Giraffe made their presence known in the distance. It looked quite strange to see them trying to feed on the "knee-high" bushes on the flats towards Mlondozi. After admiring them for quite some time and hearing that depending on the time of day and other factors Giraffe can actually spot animals etc. up to four kilometres away :big_eyes: Something tells me they saw us long before we saw them. :hmz:

Leaving the Giraffes to tend to their dinner we soon found some Zebra's the first and last for our trip. This was actually quite strange as one normally see large herds on these plains not just the six or seven we saw. :shock: According to Robert they migrate to the pastures surrounding Satara during summer and when winter comes they move down south again.

To the opposite side of the road some Red-billed Queleas made a deafening racket and we had to move on as some people started to complain. Luckily for those who enjoyed the sight we came across numerous more flocks of these beautiful birds! :twisted:

After a few kilometres we saw some Buffalo grazing to the other side of a stream and we took the no-entry road to see whether we could get closer to them. Unfortunately we did not come as close as we would have liked but getting to see some more Buffalo was still a nice sight. Something that caught our eye was how long and lush the grass were it made it look like the Buffs were lying down but then they could not move around like they did, obviously. A few Elephant bulls grazed a bit closer to the stream and then the most beautiful Fever Tree caught my eye.

ImageLarge View

It was bathed in the setting sunlight and adorned with Red-billed Buffalo-Weaver nests. Unfortunately the only pic taken the whole drive.

At the stream were we turned around we found an African Open-billed Stork and then headed back to the S29. Before we got to the turnoff of the S122 we got a glimpse of some Kudu's running into the bush, looking around to see what had spooked them but eventually carried on after finding nothing.

Now on the S122 we had quite a few sightings of Black Cuckoo's and just past Saalbek Waterhole we had three majestic Elephant Bulls crossing the road. By the time we reached them two were already some distance from the road with one still to cross. It was amazing seeing this giant only a meter of the road standing on a elevated part of ground making it seem even bigger. Now to give you an indication of how close he was, you could smell what he had for lunch while breathing! :shock: He then gave us one look and a good head shake covering the truck in dust and crossed the road as we moved on. Great experience :thumbs_up:

We eventually got behind Muntse hill well enough that it was dark enough for us to only make out a large dark shape in the road. As we got closer we found it to be a White Rhino bull marking it's territory. While approaching he finished off his business and started dissapearing into the bush on the slope of the hill. Raymond got out after making sure the Rhino would not return to explain the whole marking procedure and what is done and why.

We barely got underway when we were greeted by a pair of Black-bellied Bustards right next to the road. Approaching the end of the S122 we came across three more White-Rhino and some Ellies.

Reaching the tarred road the H10 some people started whining about not finding Lion yet and Robert had his hands full trying to explain that this is a National Park and not a Zoo. :wall:

We soon found them some Predators although not the big hairy kind it was some beautiful Owls. First up was a pair of Spotted Eagle-Owls followed by a White-Faced Scops-Owl and not long after this another pair of Verreaux's Eagle-Owls. What made it so spectacular was that they were all within a kilometer from one another. :dance:

As we rounded the next bend we were greeted by four huge yellow eyes staring back at us. We found the Lions!!!! The older female quickly moved off the road but her younger companion remained curious of the vehicle. Robert had some troubles getting one of the guys to keep quiet which decided that now would be the time to try and impress his friends with some stupid jokes and comments regarding lions. :evil: The other vehicle made it just in time to see the second Lioness move after her friend and probably the rest of the pride as there was some commotion deeper into the bush nearer the river. Needless to say everyone was furious at this guy not being able to keep quiet and chasing the Lions away!Image
We tried to remain calm and decided that this would probably be the last nonsense, what wishful thinking this was . . .

The rest of the road to the turn-off to Mlondozi Dam remained quite silent apart from the hundreds of Water Thick-Knee's in the road. But sightings picked up again after reaching the S29. First up was a little Marsh Owl soon followed by another, and another, and another and so it continued, we saw more than 30 of them! Must have been Owl Heaven! :D

The eye-shine from the spotlights started delivering quite a few Impala and at one point Robert said he thought he saw two Common Reedbuck but he was not sure and we could not find them again. Our attention was quickly drawn to the road soon after this as a Black-backed Jackal crossed the road in one of it's well known "Jakkals-draffies" (Jackal Trots). This had quite a few people amused and it was good to see that the mood lightened again.

We also found a Steenbok, which was pointed as being a Springbok by our talkative gent at the back and no matter how much Robert and some others on the drive tried to explain to him he would not budge. After the third Steenbok I could not keep it in any longer and shouted that he should shut-up as there is no Springbok in Kruger and that he's making a complete fool of himself. With everyone backing me he quieted down for the rest of the drive, thank goodness.

Literally a few meters from the picnic spot in that last turn for those who know where I'm talking you have to give some more gas to get the truck up the hill, and it was just then that a large Waterbuck Bull decided to cross the road. Robert slammed on the brakes and luckily we missed him, he was soon followed by his females. We watched them for a few minutes and then went for a leg stretch at the picnic site.

The truck had not even came to a proper standstill and one of the ladies were already on her way to the loo. Robert had to act quick to stop her as he first had to load the rifle, secure the area and check that nothing was lurking in the bathrooms. He barely finished his checks and she made sure she was first in line.

While waiting for the people on loo-break the others admired the beauty of the stars from a hill in Kruger! :dance: It was marvelous!!! After this quick stop we headed back towards Lower Sabie.

On the way back we found some Kudu, Waterbuck and our Giraffes of earlier. We also saw another pair of yellow eyes glaring at us and with a fleeing glimpse we saw an African Wildcat jump from a tree and disappeared into the long grass!!! :big_eyes: Amazing or what!

Now if you thought this would be the last predator sighting you would be so wrong. Soon we where greeted by a spotted coat walking casually down the road. Unfortunately for the Big 5 seekers on the drive it was no Leopard but a Cheetah!!! :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes: In the darkness of the night! We drove behind it for a couple of meters and then it went off the road, just to look back at us for a few magical seconds and then disappearing again, as all the other feline friends on this drive.

We started getting close to the Sabie again and this meant Hippo's. I was quite excited as I've never really seen Hippo on land except those lying on the sand banks of the rivers. Tonight I would see enough of them we must have had close to twenty sightings. At one sighting there was a mother and her very small calf following her, how precious.

And to end our evening off on a high mister/misses Serval decided to pitch for a quick hi and bye. :big_eyes: How much more lucky can one have on a Sunset Drive!!!!! We headed over the bridge and was greeted by the smells of wood burning on the braais. We had made it back to camp safe and very happy customers.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SUCH AN AWESOME DRIVE ROBERT, IT WAS GREAT HAVING YOU AS OUR GUIDE!!!!! :clap: :thumbs_up: :clap:


Last edited by pantera leo on Tue Mar 30, 2010 5:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: a GREEN SENSE of WONDER!!! - Kruger Style, Jan 2010
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:25 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 12:53 pm
Posts: 1073
Location: Bloemfontein
Day 3 (13/01/2010) Part 1

Route: H4-1, H12, H1-2, S36, H1-2

As the chorus of night activity melted away in the light of dawn my cousin and I peeped out of our hut to be greeted by a Woodland Kingfisher siting right above us! It's sweet melody echoing in our ears. This was all we needed to get us dressed and ready to go within a few seconds.

As we stepped outside the hut the cool, clean morning air filled our lungs and I knew why I was hooked. My cousin also realised this and up to today Kruger is all we talk when it comes to holidays!

We headed straight for the river in search of the beautiful sunrise! Unfortunately not to be for today as it was quite heavily overcast, but nothing could deter us and we headed for the Restaurant Deck. Upon our arrival we where greeted by several Woodies calling back and forth towards one another. We managed a few pics but none very good in the poor light.

ImageLarge View

ImageLarge View

After admiring them for a while we turned our attention to some Yellow-billed Storks which landed in the riverbed. Among them a little Sandpiper was enjoying it's breakfast.

ImageLarge View

The Hippo's also started returning after a green banquet during the night. It was time to switch to the diurnal grazers and browsers and it wasn't long before a male Bushbuck came nibbling past!

ImageLarge View

After watching this delightful fellow for a while we decided to head back to go and wake the rest, we had to get moving as we had to meet Martie today at Tshokwane! :dance: So nice of her to come and meet us all the way from Satara!!!! :thumbs_up:

This is the path that leads from the Restaurant area towards the huts! During our stay the gardens of Lower Sabie provided numerous beautiful birdies including Blue Waxbill, Violet-backed Starling, Red-capped Robin-Chat and Gorgeous Bush-Shrike (unfortunately only heard, could not find it! :wall: )

ImageLarge View

Back at the hut we got everyone up and ready. Within no time we were sipping our coffee and enjoying some rusks in the presence of a Greater Blue-eared Starling running around to get food for its babies in the hollow tree opposite our hut! :)

ImageLarge View

Finally we where on the road towards Tshokwane and had a quick pit stop at Sunset, the usual Hippo and Impala around with plenty of birds and then we left again. Not too far from Sunset and we found a beautiful troop of Baboons lazing about in and along the road. We asked some for a bit of a smile but they were too preoccupied sleeping or eating! :roll:

ImageLarge View

In quite some contrast to the Baboons we came across a herd of very joyful juvenile Impala's and they just loved stopping for pics every now and again! So here are some just to make sure you don't forget how beautiful these numerous antelope of Kruger are! :thumbs_up:

ImageLarge View

ImageLarge View

We had a quick stop at Nkulu to get some of Wacktazz's famous Buff Pasties but only of the frozen variety to take home so everyone can get a bite of them! Image Image Image And I can definitely confirm they where worth every cent, absolutely delicious!!!

We had barely left Nkulu and there was a bit of a traffic jam, we had finally found some Lions for my Grandfather and cousin which did not go on the Sunset Drive! They where beautiful but far and on the opposite bank of the river so we continued!

Just before we left Eloff Street a Bushbuck Ewe and her lamb crossed the road in front of us and after them a Southern Ground-Hornbill. What was strange was that it was a lone female but after doing some research I saw that it is usually the females that leave the groups in search of mating opportunities! She was a real beauty and I'm sure she found a mate quite soon! :D

ImageLarge View

The next birdies we took photo's of where of some Crested Francolin returning to the H1-2 tar road after visiting the Mantimahle Dam. The area is so overgrown that one cannot see much of the dam!

ImageLarge View

As this was the cousins first visit we had to stop at the Orpen Klippe and Kruger Tablets. While they were reading the plaque at the last I admired some of the beautiful scenery! It had some of the most beautiful greens that I had ever experienced!

ImageLarge View

ImageLarge View

And just as we where about to leave the beautiful rocks behind we stopped at a small puddle that formed. There had been a visitor not too long before us . . .

ImageLarge View

Probably a leopard, luckily it wasn't in the mood for people! :wink:

Just before the Leeupan turnoff we found some more Lions! :dance: They were youngsters and we thought the parents might be out hunting in the cool of the overcast morning! Maybe they where eyeing the 3 Buffalo at Leeupan!

ImageLarge View

ImageLarge View

Up to here guys again too much photo's so will continue when the page has turned thanks! :redface: :thumbs_up:


Last edited by pantera leo on Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: a GREEN SENSE of WONDER!!! - Kruger Style, Jan 2010
Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2010 10:26 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 12:53 pm
Posts: 1073
Location: Bloemfontein
Day 3 (13/01/2010) Part 2

Route: H1-2, H10, S32, H10, H129, H10, S29, H10, H4-1

While watching the Buffalo peacefully graze within the dam we noticed a beautiful bird not too far from them, it was a Saddle-billed Stork! It was beautiful to see the area around Leeupan so wet and green as it's usually dry and dusty when we visited it in the winter!

We left the pan after a while as we had to start moving if we want to be in time at Tshokwane! At Silolweni Dam we only found some Hippo's in the dam and Crocs on the bank trying to warm up. On the way back to the tar road we noticed some beautifully imprinted White Rhino tracks but no Rhino!

Just before you cross the stream heading towards Tshokwane we came across a breeding herd of Elephants very peacefully grazing and browsing alongside the road! It was a beautiful sight to sit and watch them for a while!

One of the mothers and her calf.

ImageLarge View

A lone bull we found a little further on!

ImageLarge View

ImageLarge View

As we were turning into the parking area of the picnic site I immediately recognised the Silver Slug and then it was time to meet the wonderful Martie, what a pleasure!

We had a lovely time chatting while enjoying some refreshments and the time flew by! Sadly we had to say our goodbye's eventually as Martie still had to go pack up as she would be leaving the next day for Maroela! But before she left it was first time for a quick photo!

ImageLarge View

Thank you very much for meeting us Martie it was a real pleasure, and definitely one of the highlights of this trip! :clap:

We left Tshokwane on a high and it was not long before the breeding herd of Ellies we saw earlier made themselves know again. This time marching a bit quicker as they neared the stream!

ImageLarge View

We decided it would be good to quickly go and have a look at Orpen Dam and was this a good decision! On our way there we saw a beautiful Steenbokkie and at the dam the Hippo's where playing in the water. I remember telling my cousins that all we needed to make the scene absolutely perfect was the call of a Fish Eagle. . .
It was not long and it came flying by siting in a tree not too far from us and calling its heart out! We where in ecstasy. The Red-chested Cuckoo which was also calling the whole time also showed itself and it was the first time I could see this bird properly!

A view of Orpen Dam

ImageLarge View

I also took a quick video with my cellphone to show everyone at home how beautiful it was. Unfortunately I had to make it a quick one to keep memory down otherwise it would not send. I decided to upload it so if you want to view it be my guest! Warning Amateur Video Footage! :redface:



Also at Orpen was this beautiful Reptile which I believe to be a Rainbow Skink Male!

ImageLarge View

As we headed back to the tar road we were met by the Master of Orpen Road an enormous Elephant Bull in musth! Luckily he was heading away from us all along the road. In my honest opinion I think we quite enjoyed it as the weather wasn't too hot and we were just cruising slowly a way behind the giant. The smell was quite intense but we soon got accustomed to it. Another great thing was to watch were he had left his spoor along with the constant dribble of testosterone filled urine! He kept going for quite some time slowly swaying from side to side up to a few meters from where the gravel and tar roads meet. He then quickly turned to the left and started charging towards the tar road almost as if to make sure he would be there in time to stop everyone from continuing down south! We made sure to pass him before he reached the road and continued.

ImageLarge View

A bit of a mishap happened while we where behind this Bull as the cousins camera lens somehow got dirty and no one noticed this so all of their pics have some sort of blurry smudge from here on! :cry:

From here on we only got a few more Impala as well as some African Openbilled Storks! We finally reached Mom and Grandpa's favourite place in all Kruger Nkumbe Hill from where one could sit and stare right into the future! It was amazing to see everything in such splendid greens from up here and we were all just staring in silence! :D . . .

ImageLarge View

Down on the plains below us we saw some Ostriches, Giraffe, Impala and possibly a lone Buffalo or Blue Wildebeest! We stayed as long as was possible but eventually we had to leave with heavy hearts. The way back was rather slow with game. Luckily we found a very far White Rhino but at least now everyone can say they saw one!

We soon took the S129 gravel road to see what we could find! Some Openbill's, plenty of Warthog and thousands of Red-billed Quelea's swarming in and out of the grass! What a wonderful sight this was with their wonderful call, just wish the guy from the Sunset Drive could come and appreciate it with us!!! :lol: After a while we turned back towards the H10.

While stopping for some Kudu browsing on the slope of Muntshe Hill I decided to take some pics of this lovely Hill, wonder how beautiful it would be from the top. :hmz:

ImageLarge View

On route to Mlondozi Dam we found the Waterbuck of the previous evening not too far from their previous location but in some thick bush. At the picnic site it was lovely and quiet with only some staff around. The dam was filled to the brim which was great to see although it was quite evident that they had great rains just looking at the foliage all over Kruger! :thumbs_up:

Some more Waterbuck were grazing alongside the dam while a Mocking Cliff-Chat tried to outperform the Black Cuckoo's song. We eventually changed places with some more tourists arriving.

On the way to camp it started to drizzle slightly and the only animals we found where the tower of Giraffe from the previous night. Unfortunately no Serval, AWC or Cheetah for Grandpa and cousin.

At camp the drizzle subsided and we went to enjoy our last swim before we leave the next day. It was pure bliss just drifting around for a few hours! :dance:

Will conclude the rest of the trip in the final episode! Hope you guys enjoyed it thus far as we certainly did!!! :D


Last edited by pantera leo on Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:57 am, edited 2 times in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: a GREEN SENSE of WONDER!!! - Kruger Style, Jan 2010
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:17 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 12:53 pm
Posts: 1073
Location: Bloemfontein
Day 3 (13/01/2010) Part 3

Route: H4-1 to Sunset Dam and back

Day 4 (14/01/2010)

Route: H4-1, H11

As we were floating around in the lovely warm water of the swimming pool my Grandfather came by with the car to ask who's joining him for a sunset at Sunset Dam. Obviously we were all out immediately and sprinting for the huts to get some dry clothes on! We finished in record time and were in the car, my cousin decided she would rather stay in camp and go and enjoy a lovely warm bath. So we sat off without her of course leaving her with the thought that she might miss the sighting of a lifetime or a clear Rhino! :twisted:

We arrived at Sunset to find the Hippo's honking messages to and thro over the dam while some Impala came for a sundowner. The Red-billed Buffalo-weaver were just explaining to one another what an awesome day the had an Marabou Storks came flying in from every direction, each choosing a branch in a separate dead tree to overnight in!

Sitting around the Dam was absolutely wonderful with windows down just soaking up each and every last drop of nature . . . :dance:

The bird life was wonderful, in the bush next to us a Tawny-flanked Prinia was busy with it's last chores of the day while some Yellow-billed Storks were catching their last meal of the day alongside about two or three hovering Pied Kingfishers. A pair of Egyptian Geese took a bath with a few starlings admiring the view. Two loners also showed up walking up and down the water's edge close to the car the one being a Common Sandpiper and the other this White-crowned Lapwing!

ImageLarge View

The light was fading fast and a huge storm was approaching from the West. Unfortunately the cloud cover blocked the sun so I can't bring you a setting ball of red-hot fire, but I can give you the "every cloud has a silver lining" version! :thumbs_up:

ImageLarge View

Suddenly one helluva commotion broke loose on the far opposite bank! There was a Baboon being mobbed by the rest of the troop he did not no where to duck-or-dive as hits and slaps were coming out of every possible direction. Each one trying to scream louder that the other. But just as soon as it started all was over and we watched as the dust storm they kicked up returned to Earth.

Just as we were about to leave a family group of Rhino's came strolling out of the bushes. First the big daddy then mom followed by her baby. What a wonderful sight to go to bed with now. :D

ImageLarge View

These clouds had us a bit worried as we were planning on exiting through Croc Bridge the next morning if the bridge was not flooded. So upon returning to camp we quickly got the number at Croc Bridge from reception so as to call them the next morning.

Sadly this was the last evening of this wonderful short Kruger Trip which was so memorable and I will never be able to forget a second. The fire was quickly burning and not too long afterwards we enjoyed a lovely braaivleisie with some wonderful pap and sheba!

After Dinner we quickly cleaned up and everyone started packing their belongings.

The next morning I was up bright and early again trying to make the most of every second ticking past. Strange how time is not much of a factor when you're in Kruger except for the last few hours. I decided to head straight for the Restaurant Deck. Arriving there I was greeted by two beautiful male and female Waterbuck all happily grazing close by.

Then the sunrise started.

ImageLarge View

ImageLarge View

And after soaking up the last bit of River View while listening to the Woodland Kingfisher's calling I headed back to wake the others and get the coffee brewing.

After filling up the car we quickly made a phone call to Croc Bridge but there was no answer and Grandpa decided we should rather head for Kruger Gate then.

At Sunset Dam a huge group of Baboons were strewn over the whole of the road and it took some skilled driving and patience to weave through them. the rest of the way to Skukuza was the slowest with animals I have ever experience in my life with only a few Impala, Baboons and a Kudu.

Arriving at Skukuza we soon stocked up on everything we needed for the road back home and to buy some gifts for the family. A few last minute photo's as memoirs at the Kudu statue and we we were off.

Kruger Gate came way to quick and with a last smile from the late President's statue we waved a sad goodbye to my beloved home where I, once again left my heart in Paradise. . .

ImageLarge View

Thanks to all who read and commented on this TR it is highly appreciated and hopefully I can bring you another Kruger Style adventure not to far in the future! :pray: :clap:


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 9 posts ] 



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Carol g, Graeme & Nicky, Stampajane and 4 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 Foxy at 13:56:48 Submitted by RonelMentz at 19:42:06 Submitted by BevAnn at 14:56:01 Submitted by Lindyvee at 13:30:45