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 Post subject: Re: THE ALL-MITEY KRUGER-PARK TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:03 pm 
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Location: Unfortunately not in KNP so I had to settle with Jo'burg
Apart from the regular sightings and lots of buffalo and ele's during our last 2 drives on that road we've been lucky enough to see cheetah each time. This one was a very nice birthday present for my mom!
Image

In Dec we just went for a quick drive befor gate closing and we saw a total of 15 rhino in 30minutes (and we didn't count them again on the way back)!
Image

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 Post subject: Re: THE ALL-MITEY KRUGER-PARK TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:20 am 
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PLEASE NOTE:

I've had a request from a fellow mite to post some pics and/or stories from previous roads that we have covered on this thread.

Please note that I decided to keep all sightings to particular roads - as a sort of summary of sightings on a road or in an area, hence the format that I am using here.
However, I know that some mites will lose out by finding pics after the road has been passed. I have taken cognisance of this, and decided that, as soon as we reach a camp or picnic site on our combined journey, I will open up the thread once again for any pics or tales to be posted from all previous roads we have covered.

The next roads I am going to cover will be the S130 and S137 (this week), and then the H4-2 tar road into Lower Sabie (next week). Because we will then be in Lower Sabie, I will open the postings up for all previous roads, whereupon you can then post your pics from these roads - I'll summarise all the roads we have passed at that time - the first week of May

Thanks, once again, to all you wonderful mites that have contributed pics and stories to this thread, to all of you who have commented on other people's posts, and to those who read this thread!

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TR: A NEW DAY IS S-OWN
TR: NECTAREAN NICETIES OF THE NORTH
TR: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE

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 Post subject: Re: THE ALL-MITEY KRUGER-PARK TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:13 am 
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Before I open up the next roads on our journey for posting, I found, last minute, a sighting I had in Crocodile Bridge camp itself in December of last year.

My daughter and I were lazying around in our pre-erected tented accommodation, enjoying the busy birdlife flitting around from tree to tree, our binocs shifting excitedly on and off our eyes as we sought yet another beautiful bird to add to our collection. It was a beautiful sunny, summer day, and so we decided to walk the short distance to the shop and top up our refreshment drinks.

As we stepped off our verandah, we noticed a family of campers clustered around the fence about 30m from us. Cameras were at the ready and they were talking and pointing excitedly. Without delay, we sauntered over to the spot, to find a pair of Southern Vine Snakes (also known as the Bird or Twig snake) slithering horizontally in and out of the interlocking wire fence that bordered the camp. One was near the top of the fence and one near the bottom, each about a metre in length. A pair of LBJ's (I'm a fledgling birder, so no idea which ones they were) were trying to peck at the snakes, presumably to scare them away from a nest somewhere close by.

The snakes were none too impressed with the agitated birds and were defensively inflating their throats and flicking the brilliant orange tongue in and out of their mouths. However, the snakes moved steadily along the fence, and their cryptic bark-coloured skin was shown to be highly effective when the lower snake slipped into some greenery. We had a hectic challenge to find it after that and its twig-like camouflage (as suggested by its alternative name) was so effective that we only saw it again when it moved!

We didn't know it at the time, but I later read up on the snake and realised that they are venomous and dangerous, a bite causing internal and external bleeding. However, we all mindful and smart enough to be cautious in not getting too close with this unknown quantity.

My first sighting of a Southern Vine Snake:



Image


Image

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TR: A NEW DAY IS S-OWN
TR: NECTAREAN NICETIES OF THE NORTH
TR: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE

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 Post subject: Re: THE ALL-MITEY KRUGER-PARK TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:45 am 
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Thank you for a great response and superb postings on the S28 from
TIMEPILOT, SHARIFA & DUKE, EAGLE OWL, ELSA, DONNY, PUMBAA, BUSHBABY30 (and, of course, onewithnature :redface: )

:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

On to chapter 5 of this momentum-gathering TR:

From the S28, we now turn onto the dirt road that passes the well-known Duke's watering hole, the S137. Following in similar territory to the S28, the big 5 is still prevalent and often seen on the S137 (a large, resident pride of lions is sometimes spotted here), as well as cheetah and wild dog. Side-striped jackal make a rare showing every now and again. Many grazers are found here too, including buffalo and zebra, while giraffe and impala are plentiful.

Then we turn onto the S130 (heading south), a road that I always find exciting. While the S137 travels through open savannah grassland, the S130 is a lovely change of ecozone, meandering through thick wooded savannah. Although I have always found this road dense with greenery in parts, it opens up from time to time with surprising flat, uncluttered areas. I always expect to see that rare sighting here - although I still have to realise that dream - like a black rhino or serval! To me, the S130 epitomises real wild Africa!

Wunderbar ... I now open these two roads for postings on any memorable sightings or stories here: the S130 and S137.

Viva la posts ... :dance: :dance:

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TR: A NEW DAY IS S-OWN
TR: NECTAREAN NICETIES OF THE NORTH
TR: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE

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 Post subject: Re: THE ALL-MITEY KRUGER-PARK TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 1:06 pm 
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Apart from the S28, the S137 and S130 has always kept me on my toes and VERY interested to see all the elusive beasts I always seem to miss out on. I always get a bit 'charged up' and 'nervous' so to speak, as we expect so much from these roads. You can always feel the quiet electric atmosphere in the car, and at the same time your heart pumps just that one or two beats faster..... :big_eyes:

A bit of background... my SO bought me the "Nigel Dennis - Where to watch game in KNP" book one Christmas. I read that the author has always had many success in this area, especially cheetah, lion, rhino and wild dogs. I always tend to look at the sightings board at each camp as well, and it also states the same success more or less. These roads have plenty to see and are talked about sooooo much! :whistle:

So off we went one afternoon from LS, driving south on the S28, then right into S137... My eyes were scanning everywhere! :big_eyes: :big_eyes:

On our way to Duke waterhole!! 8) Not a good photo, the branch was in the way and there was quite a few cars on this narrow road, so we had nowhere to go really.

Image
Don't miss the small one on the right.. :wink:

I also read in my new gift that Rhino were found on the S130 everytime in the afternoon he visited a natural pan. It was 1 hour before the camp gates close when we reached this pan after turning right from the S137 onto the S130.


The book (and SO) scored a lot of 'browny points' here! :lol: :lol:
Image


Image

I must also say that 9 out of 10 times I get rhino at this pan late afternoon. :thumbs_up:

From now on, each time we are in the area, we always make sure to take some time and drive these roads. :thumbs_up:

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1 Dec: Lower Sabie
2 Dec: Lower Sabie
3 Dec: Malelane
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 Post subject: Re: THE ALL-MITEY KRUGER-PARK TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 6:00 pm 
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Yasou fellow non-furry friends :lol:
(some of these words I use is Greek to me :wink: )

December last year, travelling along the Gomondwane road on an early-morning drive from Crocodile Bridge. Heading up the tar, it was a lovely summer's morning, with the usual game abounding (some bounding) in the area - warthog on bended knees, perhaps praying for an equally green summer the following year; zebra herds doing their best not to camouflage; impala curiously gawking at us spewing petrol fumes into the pristine air; wildebeest tossing their graceful heads with apparent annoyance at our presence; and lots of twittering birds and humming insects.

With great expectations, we continued: I always find this area exciting beyond measure and, like waiting to win the lottery, the anticipation of seeing that once-in-a-lifetime sighting is palpable (what a cacophonous pairing of images :roll: ). This morning, no exceptional sightings had occurred for the first hour or so (although one can argue that every sighting is exceptional; depends how you look at it, I suppose). My daughter and I were in high spirits, chirping lyrically and giggling at the craziest comments. "Ooh, there's a zebra crossing," my daughter noted; "better wait for the crossing to cross." To some a silly statement, but for a 12-year-old and her mentally athletic 15-year-old father, it was worth a guffaw. How else to pass the time while waiting for the gentle scream of excitement that would herald a canid or feline? Surely not, "So-and-so found little evidence to support the claim of a number of authors that the mating frequency of a pair of lions increases with humidity and ambient temperature ( :huh: , does it?? :roll: ) ..." on this barely containable Kruger morn! Not a conversation in keeping with our ebullient mood. :D

10 km and 1 hour into the trip (people who know me know I'm a crawler in speed in a national park, enjoying everything around me to the full, from black rhino to mushrooms :lol: ), we reached the S130 turnoff. I sailed past, staring at the open veld and scrutinising every space in-between the greenery. "Do you think we should take this road," I had asked my daughter, gesticulating at the S130 as we passed it. She wasn't sure, but, suddenly, 200m past the turnoff, I had a strange tweak in my gut. Something seemed to be telling me to take the S130. Weird, I thought; but, at least I have the wisdom to listen when it does happen!

I did a U-turn on the tar (much to my daughter's surprise, accompanied by lifted eyebrows as if to say, "What are you doing, Dad?") and slid the car onto the gravel S130. Immediately I dropped my speed from 30 to 15 km/h as the bush and grass was particularly thick. We settled down to the narrow, winding road, hoping to see something special. My gut still pulsed its insistent feeling of 'something's going to happen'!

Not half a kilometre up the S130, and just as we had rounded a bend, I slowed excitedly, pointing at a lioness lounging nonchalantly on the road. This was the initial scene that greeted us:

Image


Story to be continued in the morning ... 8)

(My 11000th post)

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EVERYBODY'S TR!
TR: A NEW DAY IS S-OWN
TR: NECTAREAN NICETIES OF THE NORTH
TR: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." (Groucho Marx)


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 Post subject: Re: THE ALL-MITEY KRUGER-PARK TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:07 pm 
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nice family picture on the s130 Image

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 Post subject: Re: THE ALL-MITEY KRUGER-PARK TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 11:19 am 
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Since 1992 the S130 and S137 have a mysterious adventure about them, because on a rainy, misty morning we saw a cheetah walking next to the road. The feelings were mixed - happy and spooky, when it went into the veld. Unfortunately there were no digital cameras in those days. :shock:

I have to agree with Sundowner - Rhino is almost a guarantee on these roads. We saw this one scratching her belly on the rock.

Image

During our stay at Lower Sabie in December 2009, we saw 7 lions scattered around Duke waterhole. The male was not very impressed, a little lazy-sleepy, when the females and younger males took off without him.


Image

Image

At Duke waterhole - 2007, we saw this leopard in the Maroela tree, about 80m from the road. This photo was taken on a slide, which I scanned.

Image

We have seen the "Big 5" on these roads on many an occasion.

Image


:popcorn: Enjoy

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 Post subject: Re: THE ALL-MITEY KRUGER-PARK TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 10:32 am 
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(story continued from April 22nd ...)

To recap, this is the initial scene we see as we meet the lioness on the S130:

Image


We are the only car there, and she seems entirely unperturbed at our presence. Lazing around like lions tend to do, she nonchalantly looks at the frenetically cackling francolins 50m into the thick grass


then swivels her head curiously to the other side



However, despite her apparently indifferent attitude, something seems incongruent. We can't explain it at this time, but a sixth sense suggests a mild tension pervading the crisp morning air. Although relaxed, she is patently more alert than a resting lion usually is.

We have been watching our lovely pantera leo specimen for about ten minutes when I notice her eyes gawking upwards at a strange angle - it is almost comical and reminds me of the button-like eyes perched precariously on the upper forehead of those hastily-thrown-together puppets that bespangle children's television programs! I have seen a hyaena once doing a similar thing when watching vultures flying overhead. In both cases, the head is essentially horizontal, but the eyes strain upwards as if they are readying themselves to launch into earth orbit. :lol:

"Aimee," I say softly, while staring through my binoculars at the lioness's swivelling eyes; "have a squizz in the direction she's looking, and tell me if you see anything there." Not expecting to actually be surprised by anything unusual, I continue to absorb the feline's magnificent pale-golden ocular exhibits.

My daughter - who usually can get importunately excited around a special sighting - did not do much. However, uncharacteristically, she lowers her voice to an almost overwhelmed and slightly shocked purr, accompanied by a drawn-out aaahhhhhhhhh: "Dad; you won't believe what's there!"

"What?" I ask slowly, my heart suddenly accelerating in my chest, as I pull my binoculars from the lioness's face and look in Aimee's direction. When she tells me what it is she is seeing, I nearly slip off my leather seat onto the floor under the steering wheel.

Now, fellow mitey friends, before I show you what Aimee and I are so taken-aback with, go back and look at the first seemingly-regular picture above. See if you can see what we see!

(To be concluded tomorrow ...)

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EVERYBODY'S TR!
TR: A NEW DAY IS S-OWN
TR: NECTAREAN NICETIES OF THE NORTH
TR: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." (Groucho Marx)


Last edited by saraf on Mon Nov 28, 2011 8:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: THE ALL-MITEY KRUGER-PARK TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 12:47 am 
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Saw 5 cheetah at Duke's being harassed by a warthog. The sighting I remember most during my trip last September.

Image

Image

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 Post subject: Re: THE ALL-MITEY KRUGER-PARK TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 10:26 pm 
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(continued from April 24th - the conclusion of the three-part story)

Përshëndetje everybody!

So, we have our lioness squizzing around in an alert, but relaxed manner, on the S130.

Image


Having nonchalantly, but intensely, watching Queen Lioness through my binos, I turn to my daughter, to hear her breathe excitedly that there is something in the tree about 20 metres in front of us and to our left.

"Dad," she notes with unbridled suspense, "There's a leopard in the tree!" I can't believe my ears: here we are watching a lioness lounge in the road - a delightful sighting in itself - but, being human, we never think of looking upwards! Maybe it is a remnant of our days when we were always in the position of being potential prey, and so used to scanning the ground (although leopard often killed hominids from above, we are told by the scientists), or maybe - and much more the likely theory - it is because we have become encapsulated in figurative bubbles, seldom remembering that we need to scan our environments as we once did to ensure we reached a decent age!

"That's unbelieveable!" I manage to cry, once my brain has switched out of its ancestrally analytical mode. Immediately I focus on the tree and - yes, vigilant fellow non-furry mites (well done A-J, Bushbaby, Normana, and Harpoor! :clap: :clap: ) - there he was, in all his spotted glory!

I have never seen a leopard looking nervous before, so it is a strange sight to behold:

Image


He is a fine specimen of his kind and we gaze in awe at this powerful, uncontainable feline. We are humbled knowing that we are in the presence of a cat that, in all probability, is the most adaptable and successful predator in Kruger. He is an unmatched amalgamation of raw power, supreme suppleness, phenomenal speed in attack, and guile and grace that leaves one's mind in a whirl. Compared to him, we - despite all our technology and superior self-awareness - are like a dust-devil trying to overpower a thunderstorm!

Today he is on high alert: every sinew is flexed at the ready and his eyes are wide and unwavering in its focus. Though it is expected that he is intensely watchful of the lioness - no predator likes another in its territory - we also notice that his head, from time to time, swivels to the position that the photograph above shows. Remember that the lioness is slightly to our right, so that Sir Pantera Pardus, is entirely engrossed in something that we are not seeing. We look around frenetically to establish what else he is watching, but we cannot see a thing.

My daughter and I agree that it must be more lions. I slowly begin to reverse, staring excitedly into the bush, and at the same time being able to keep an eye on the lioness-leopard saga ahead. Suddenly, my daughter yells "Stop!" 10 metres into the thick vegetation on our left, just visible in a darkened clearing, she has spotted another lioness with two cubs! Despite driving very slowly and looking into every gap along the S130 when we arrived, we had still missed them; a patent consequence of their superb camouflage and ability to keep still.

Now it all becomes clear: the leopard must have come across the pride, perhaps with the intention of stealing one of the cubs. One, or both, lionesses probably surprised him and, finding himself at a disadvantage, he was chased up the tree. How long he has been there no-one knows, but no-one else will report seeing him here. With the lionesses around - and maybe the pride male(s) due back at some stage - it is obvious that our spotted friend is taking no chances.

We have the incredible pleasure and privilege of watching this triumvirate - the lioness on the road keeping a vigil over the leopard in the tree, the other lioness keeping the cubs secure, and the leopard himself seeking an opportunity to get down from the tree - for a wonderful 40 minutes! Not another car comes past in this entire time period and we are able to enjoy the sighting to the full.

Then things happen quickly: Sir Pantera Pardus sees his chance as Queen Lioness strolls back to where the cubs are (about a 30m walk for her), where she turns and gazes casually - firstly at us, and then at the spotted feline. The Sir makes his move, immediately turning on his perch and beginning to ease his way down the steep tree trunk. The lioness seems content to let him continue and, within a minute, he has touched his paws back on Mother Earth. As he reaches the ground, he gallops away quickly, and in a few seconds has disappeared through the thick grass up the road.

Immediately, I drive off after him, but we have no hope of seeing him again as his speed has taken him deep into the veld. We drive back to the two lionesses and two cubs and watch them a few more minutes, whereupon a light drizzle sets in. Notwithstanding the rain, our windows are fully lowered so that we can maximise visibility.

5 minutes after the leopard leaves, a morning-drive vehicle arrives; the guide tells us that these lions are seen regularly within a few kilometres square of this sighting. My daughter and I feel extremely privileged to have seen something that neither of us have ever had occasion to see before: a lion and a leopard within a few metres of each other! I whistle cheerfully as we drive off, hope high in our breasts that this is going to be one awesome trip!! And, that is how it turned out in the end!

But, that is a tale for another day. :D :D

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EVERYBODY'S TR!
TR: A NEW DAY IS S-OWN
TR: NECTAREAN NICETIES OF THE NORTH
TR: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." (Groucho Marx)


Last edited by onewithnature on Thu Oct 14, 2010 9:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: THE ALL-MITEY KRUGER-PARK TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:42 pm 
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Fantastic. :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up: Let's move onto Chapter Six of our combined trip report:

We now rev our engines (slowly and silently so as to respect the animals' environment, of course :wink: ) and drive the frequently-travelled tar road between Crocodile Bridge and Lower Sabie, the H4-2.

3.6 km from Croc Bridge, we pass the lovely Gezantfombi Dam on the left. I have seen several things here over the years, including Rhino and Leopard! Continuing northwards, we pass Zambhala and Mpemane waterholes (also on the left) and, just past the turn-off to the S130, on the left, is where Francois de Cuiper, leading an armed exploratory mission through Kruger in 1725, was attacked by local people and forced to withdraw back to Mozambique. We then drive past two more watering holes on the left - De Kuiper (of course!) and Gomondwane, the latter also the romantic name for the H4-2. Between the two waterholes is the site of Sardelli's trading store. Close to Lower Sabie, there is a vast view to the right over the Sabie River and its expansive banks, and one can park by a large sausage tree, adjacent to where one of the first traders of the area, Joao Albasini, had a trading store in the 18th century, and gaze out at the herds of browsers, grazers, elephants, hippos, and large amounts of water birds and raptors. The magnificent fish eagle - for many, one of the most impressive and unforgettable symbols of pristine Africa - is often seen around here.

The entire trip along the H4-2 is 40km, and one which passes through mixed thornveld and grasslands which grow on fertile soils on basalt. The big 5 is always a potential sighting along this road, and cheetah and wild dog are regulars too. Zebra, wildebeest, impala, and giraffe are often seen.

The Gomondwane Road is built along what was once an historical footpath that linked Chief Magashula's kraal at Phabeni to Delagoa Bay (now Maputo in Mozambique).

Great, now that you know a little bit about the Gomondwane Road (H4-2) between Crocodile Bridge and Lower Sabie rest camps, let's share all our great memories and sightings of this excellent road!!

Let's post ...

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TR: A NEW DAY IS S-OWN
TR: NECTAREAN NICETIES OF THE NORTH
TR: PRIMEVAL PLEASURE

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." (Groucho Marx)


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 Post subject: Re: THE ALL-MITEY KRUGER-PARK TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 10:39 am 
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Hi,
I have not been very lucky on this road but on the last 2 visits, the days I was leaving Lower Sabie to go home I had special sightings.

1 of 3 males, Feb 2010,

Image

2 of 3,

Image

Oct 2009, this was so tranquil,

Image

Image

Image

This is a wonderful thread, thanks everyone for sharing.

Bornfree.

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Last edited by bornfree on Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: THE ALL-MITEY KRUGER-PARK TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 11:44 am 
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OK here we go :popcorn:

As I said this road is my lucky road for leopard.

My first sighting was in 1995 about 7km from Croc Bridge. We stayed at this leopard for about 90min and when we left it, it was still in a relaxed mood. This leopard was in "love" with a camera - different poses and very curious about the click of the camera. Enjoy :popcorn: (photo scanned from slide)


Image

Image

We were realy lucky during our stay at Lower Sabie during December 2009. The morning at 6 we saw this mother and cub at the 3km sign from LS.


Image

Then the mother alone:

Image

and then the cub in the tree on the opposite side of the road as the mother:

Image

To be continued :popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: THE ALL-MITEY KRUGER-PARK TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:30 pm 
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Lets continue :popcorn:

A day after we saw the mother and cub, we were early morning on our way to Malelane via Croc Bridge, because of a leaking radiator, when we were the only people to spot this leopard, about 15km from CB.

Image

The next day, with a repaired radiator, I saw this one in my rear view mirror and nearly turned the vehicle on its roof in my haste to turn around. The "show" this one gave us, cannot be described....it was just amazing to be so close to one of the most beautiful animals on our planet....

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Urine-spraying is practised by male and female leopards. The urine is sprayed upwards to facilitate marking at head height. (p97 Beat about the bush by Trevor Carnaby)

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and then Ingwe had a last look at us before disappearing into the riverbed at the big sausage tree where Albasini had his trading post.

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The last one we saw was at the turn-off of the S28:

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Other sightings will follow later = other than Ingwe's
:popcorn:

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