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The one that got away.....nearly.

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The one that got away.....nearly.

Unread postby Bush Baptist » Fri May 28, 2010 1:06 pm

Has anyone got similar Kruger stories. If so, please share.

3 years ago my dad (Jerry Hattrick) and I were driving from Tamboti on the tar road to exit at Kruger gate. We had had a successful trip seeing most of what was on our wishlist, but had dipped on cheetah.

He expressed his desire to see one before we exited the park. "Don't worry, we will see one. I feel it in my bones", I lied.

South of Leeupan, we came across a minor traffic jam breaking up. My enquiry brought forth 'Three cheetahs just crossed the road FLTR'. "&**&#$ - we missed them by seconds" Jerry wailed as we drove on. But wait - here comes a turn off to the right. An exchange of glances needed no words, I rurned right and drove the 150 metres ot so to the next intersection and stopped.

Almost immediately FOUR cheetahs burst from the undergrowth, got bearings and were off before cameras could be aimed.

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Re: The one that got away.....nearly.

Unread postby ruthp » Fri May 28, 2010 1:26 pm

Does this one count? Several years ago with my Dad and daughter - left LS late en route to home so I as the driver decreed "straight down the tar road to CB and out - no side roads". However after travelling a while Dad persuaded me that turning right on one of the gravel roads would still take us towards CB and not delay us by much. So this we did. Just a little way down the road we saw a car parked near a big tree - when we pulled up they pointed out the hyenas scavanging at the foot of the tree - we'd seen heaps of hyena that trip so weren't over excited BUT then we saw the LIT - our very first one!! (this was our 4th visit). It was a lovely sighting - we were so close we did not need the binocs but using them we could see the detail of the whiskers and the eyelashes. To top it all it was right in the middle of the day! Even today 20 years later I can still feel that breathless excitement and awe at seeing a leopard in its natural environment - Unfortunately as we still had a long way to travel home we could not stay more than 15mins at the sighting but it is a memory that I will always treasure

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Re: The one that got away.....nearly.

Unread postby Nungu » Fri May 28, 2010 2:23 pm

Bush Baptist wrote:If your bones don't feel it, don't trust them.

Oh I live by the bones!!!

I will have a general route planned every day - say we leave Satara I might plan to go north, but that's it... the rest is up to instinct. When I get to a crossing I'll sit there for 2-3 minutes and let my gut tell me which road to take... and I've been right so many times it's scary!!!

The lastest one I can remember was when my brother and I were in the Phalaborwa area - we go into the park in the afternoons and just have a drive around.... no plans, just gut feel. Every year on this (golf) trip, we get to see leopard. Last year it was the last hour of our last day and no leopard.

...oh the pressure...

We were coming past Masorini - about 5kms from the gate, get to the H14 split, and on a hunch we decided to take a 20km detour to the gate... up towards Shimuwini and left on the S131... on the H14, no luck, but we turned onto the S131 and not 200m on we get to see the most beautiful female leopard at Ngwenyeni windmill.... MAGIC!!!

All on gut feel - trust them bones I tell you!!!
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Re: The one that got away.....nearly.

Unread postby besembek » Sat May 29, 2010 7:29 am

This time is was not my bones, but my son’s bones.

A little bit of useless info first: Somebody mentioned on the forum that they take R380.00 with on trips to the Kruger – Each note from R10.00 to R200.00 having one member of the Big 5 on them, whoever spots the appropriate animal first gets that note. We did the same thing.

Camped at Satara and packed tent and all our equipment in soaking rain one morning. We drove down to Skukuza, stopping at Tsokwane first for a quick breakfast.. Pushing on in order to get to Skukuza as early as possible so we can pitch tents and get them dry before the next rain (which did come that evening). I was not keen to go down EVERY small turn-off to a pan or a dam, and only did one every now-and-then.

Saw a sign to a pan about 3 km down but did not pay much attention and did not even bother to ask anybody if they would like to go down this one, thinking about the wet camping gear we had in the car. Next moment my 14 –year old son shouts from the back: “Pa moet hier afgaan, ek soek die R200.00!” (“Dad, you must turn at this one, I want the R200.00-note.”). Stopped, turned around, and down we went. We kept the Big 5 money in the ashtray and by this time the elephant money was claimed, the lion money was claimed, the buffalo money was claimed, with only the rhino and leopard money remaining.

And there the leopard was, in the tree, on the other side of the small pan! My first leopard sighting in the wild after countless visits to Kruger! And the R200.00 note now belonged to my son! (the rhino money also got a new owner three days later!)

A few days later we came across another leopard in the road going down to Hippo Pools close to Croc Bridge – but this one was sort of planned.

One day, after mistakenly missing a turn on the network of gravel roads in the south, and realizing we were going the wrong direction for the past 7 km’s, we stopped at a crossing, studied the map, figured out where we were. Made a left turn and about 100 m down the road we came across a caracal sprinting across the road. I did not identify it at first because it was so quick. Drove up to the point where I though it crossed the road and stopped. Could not see anything in the grass but stood still for about a minute. Next moment it got up from the grass right in front of us, a few jumps through the grass and disappeared.
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Re: The one that got away.....nearly.

Unread postby RUMURUTI » Sat May 29, 2010 12:15 pm

August 2009, three weeks covering the whole of KNP from Pafuri to Lower Sabie and interested in seeing the spotted one.
19 cloudless days with lots of lions, rhino serval, snakes, big tuskers, birds and yellow ribbons but still no spotted one.
Got close to seeing it on three occasions but luck looked the other way every time! Last night at Lower Sabie and had decided I wouldn't search for it any longer and would get into bird watching full time..... was actually pretty fed of looking up and under trees!!! :(
17:30 and was walking close to the LS fence and stopped to speak to my son and there she was, sitting just across the fence looking at me :big_eyes: beautiful leopard 6 feet away and not hiding from the rest of the world! It made my day but had no cameras with me so have it in my heart and mind and promised to come looking for it next year!!!
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Re: The one that got away.....nearly.

Unread postby okie » Sat May 29, 2010 2:00 pm

We were driving on the Salitje road when we saw a few hundred meters away , a car approaching , and what appeared to be doggies running in front of them . There was another car in front of it , and this one suddenly stopped . When we approached , the peeps inside pointed up into a tree next to the road , and there was this cerval sitting in it .

We could take a couple pictures , and in the meantime the doggies further on , dissappeared into the brush .
The cerval also decided to leave , slid down the tree , and was gone .
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Re: The one that got away.....nearly.

Unread postby Nyoni » Sat May 29, 2010 6:50 pm

Sitting on the big Sabie bridge one evening, debating the identity of a vulture that was sitting in the the river bed.
It was getting quite heated, so we decided to turn around and head down the Saltjie road to get a definite answer. Pulled up next to a vehicle that was where the vultures were, and we asked if they were looking at the vultures and the replay was, No, there are 9 Wild dogs lying in the riverbed.
They have just finished eating an impala :dance:
Great surprise. We quickly forgot about the vultures, and spent a few minutes watching the dogs.
Great way to end the day :thumbs_up:

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Re: The one that got away.....nearly.

Unread postby barcelona » Mon May 31, 2010 8:34 pm

I've got one.....

We decided to do a morning drive at Skukuza.
As we get into the truck, I feel excitement in the air....something special will happen this morning, I am sure of it.
Our driver goes through his ritual speeches, and asks the eternal question...."what do you want to see?"
There was my father and I and SO, and a man and 2 women travelling together, obviously their first day in the park, I am thinking, as the man answers with excitement "Elephant!" and the 2 women answer "Giraffe!".
I try not to burst out laughing, wondering to myself why they would pay the extra money for the morning drive to see the usual.
I was there to my leopard! So, the drive starts. 30 minutes into it, and not an animal to be seen (even the impala seemed scarce!).
Then I see 3 giraffe on my left.
The group seem to be busy talking instead of looking, and I consider letting them slide. But then I remember my joy at seeing all of the animals of Kruger, and I yell "STOP".
They look at the giraffes, and take tons of photos. They are so excited.
As the driver starts to pull away, I notice a giraffe on the right, very close to the road, eating a tree at the roadside.
I think "This one is closer, they can get better photos".
So I again say "STOP", and point to the giraffe on the right.
They are so excited that this one is close, and they are snapping photos like mad. I sit back and contemplate the giraffe, when SUDDENLY, at the giraffe's feet right in front of it, I catch movement of the flick of a tail.
The gods of Kruger must have smiled upon me for my "good deed", for there, at the giraffe's feet, was a leopard resting!!!! Who would have known!
We never would have seen it if I hadn't decided to call out the giraffe.
The funniest part is when, in total excitement, I say "there's a feline tail twitching in the grass...Oh MY GOD, its a leopard!"
The driver goes wild. My dad goes wild. MY SO goes wild, but the giraffe ladies instantly run to the back of the truck to take photos of the giraffe, as in all the commotion, it started to cross the road. :wall:
Only once the giraffe was out of view did they ask about the leopard,which was in the brush by then.
I wonder if they ever figured out they should have been interested in the leopard??????
Maybe after their 25th giraffe sighting :twisted:

The funniest part was, about 8 cars passed by while we watched the leopard, and all sped by when they thought we were looking at the giraffe!
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Re: The one that got away.....nearly.

Unread postby barcelona » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:51 pm

No photos of the serval, as it was a night drive and disappeared too fast! It was on theS106.
The Pangolin was on H7 on the way to Tamboti on May 19.

sorry about the crap photo, but the little guy curled up, and every time he uncurled and started to move, someone with a loud diesel engine would inevitably pull up beside us and ask what we were looking at. It was frustrating!!
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Re: The one that got away.....nearly.

Unread postby barcelona » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:07 pm

It pays to ask people what they are looking at....

We pulled up beside this couple and asked, as there was clearly nothing in the field, and they were using binoculars to look at something close to them. Figured it was small.... When they said "Pangolin" I nearly fell out of the car! They were excited, as they said they have been going to the park 30 years, and this is only the second one they've seen. Luck was with me!
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Re: The one that got away.....nearly.

Unread postby Elsa » Sat Jun 05, 2010 10:50 am

Often at the cross roads and its "OK, which road should we take" so when we spied a lovely little metal coin in one of the shops with an Ellies head on one side and tail on the other we grabbed it and the first time we used it, flipped it, tails it was and the S29 and we found a LIT and within 1 km 3 Lions lying right next to the road. :D
Just helps the feeling in the bones a bit! :wink:
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Re: The one that got away.....nearly.

Unread postby Elsa » Mon Jun 07, 2010 6:29 pm

pathfinder wrote:So how much to hire the coin :whistle:
:lol: That little coin stays firmly and permanently in the car, but can be bought readily in the park shops.
But, lets see, I will post a pic of it and maybe the magic will come through. :wink:
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Re: The one that got away.....nearly.

Unread postby saraf » Tue Jul 06, 2010 2:42 pm

I'd completely forgotten about this incident. Well tried to anyway.

Last Oct we were driving from south Shingwedzi to Satara, along the main tar road.
It's a long way so we set off as soon as the gates opened and I can't remember if we'd had our coffee and rusks stop or not. Excuses, excuses.

We were driving along the stretch of road where the river runs parallel with the road, just before the Jaoa waterhole.
For some reason both of us were looking in the direction of the river.
We got to one of the small loops and went down to see what was in the river bed.
There obviously wasn't much as we exited the loop soon after, going out the way we had come in.
As we stopped to check nothing was coming before rejoining the main road we saw a car stopped on on the side of the road, a little way back in the direction we'd just come from.
We decided to investigate and found 4 lionesses perched on top of a sand bank, awake and alert.
We'd driven straight passed them without even noticing.
If the car hadn't been stopped we wouldn't have gone back and would have missed one of our best lion sightings ever. And as it was my side of the road I was deeply :redface:
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Re: The one that got away.....nearly.

Unread postby macktheknife » Thu Jul 08, 2010 12:24 am

I've always wanted to witness a stand-off between lion and hyena fighting over a kill but never got the chance until last November when returning to Lower Sabie along the H4-2.
We passed a lion kill on the way to Croc bridge with only two lions at the kill, and on our return spent around five minutes watching them eat their kill.
We were cutting it fine to make the gate before closing and decided to head back to Lower Sabie.
About only 50 metres on we noticed four hyena's exactly en route to where the kill was, but just didn't have time to see the outcome.
I was very upset and kept talking about it all night long and saying "if only!" :wall:
about two days later on the H1-3 around the Nkaya pan area before Satara we were driving along when we heard a huge commotion and stopped.
We saw a little distance into the bush a lone lion and three hyena's fighting over a wildebeest.
At times they ate together and at times the lion chased off the hyena's and vice versa.
Eventually the lion walked away dissapearing into the bush! :whistle:

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Re: The one that got away.....nearly.

Unread postby Inyati » Thu Jul 08, 2010 6:35 am

Howdy peeps...

Me likes this thread!!! :thumbs_up:

About three years ago, on our annual January trip, we were on our last day.
Finishing brekkies at Satara, we were heading out of Orpen. We had seen so many lion and also great sightings of cheetah, we were pretty happy with the trip.
But the doggies and the spotted one were not to be on that trip- or so we thought.

About 10km's out of Orpen we suddenly saw a movement in the road, aaah a Hyena we thought.
But we were so wrong.
Here in the middle of the road was an awesome Leopard, just patrolling along, an we were the only vehicle there.

We were ecstatic after that, having seen our "favourite".
Having given up on the doggies, we carried on to Orpen.
Would you believe, with Orpen camp in sight, a pack of seven doggies were spotted by SO...!!!!
It ended with us booking a further three nights in Orpen.
We spotted three more Leopards- One each day, and a pair that were mating, and another pack of doggies....
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