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 Post subject: Anja&Mark in KNP 2010
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 8:15 pm 
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I was in doubt for a long time whether I should write a trip report or not. From earlier years I know that it will take a lot of time, especially a TR about 4 weeks KNP. Due to an education, I do not always have the time for it. After weeks of thinking it over and reading some other TR’s, I have decided to write one. But I will spread it out over a longer period than I was used to, after the example of Pumbaa. :whistle:


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 Post subject: Re: Anja&Mark in KNP 2010
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 8:18 pm 
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Thursday, 05-08-2010 A’dam → Jo’burg

After a 10,5 hours flight we arrived at OR Tambo airport at 21:30. All (flight, landing, customs) went smoothly, except for our luggage. It appeared that they were left behind in Amsterdam. :? We were guaranteed that we would receive them on Saturday. After filling in a form, we left the airport with only our hand luggage.


Last edited by Anja on Mon Sep 19, 2011 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Anja&Mark in KNP 2010
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 8:22 pm 
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Friday, 06-08-2010 Jo’burg → Letaba

In the morning we went early to the airport for buying some clothes and toilet things. After checking in, we had to wait for a while before we left for Phaloborwa. This was the first time we went to KNP with a domestic flight. Never thought this plane would be so small. Fortunately the weather was good and we had no problems during the flight. I’m absolutely not at ease in the sky with turbulence, especially when sitting in a plane, which is hardly bigger than a bus.
Just before landing we could see KNP and it felt great being back again.
With only our hand luggage we didn’t have to wait for the plane to be unloaded en we went straight to the car rental. We got a 4x4 Mishubishi and we quickly left. After a short stop at the Spar for the necessary shopping, we arrived at about 13:20 at Phalaborwa gate. After the formalities we were on our way. :D :dance:

The first mammal we spotted was an impala.
This was the first bird, which was willing to stand still for a moment, so I could take a photo.
Crowned lapwing
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We paid a visit to Sable dam. It has been a few years ago when we were there the last time. And again it was nice. There were impala’s, a warthog and some giraffe’s coming for a drink.

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We discovered a (for us) new road, the Masorini loop, only for high ride vehicles. As we were curious, we turned into this road. It was a nice drive but, except for the birds, it was very quiet over there.

Magpie shrike
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?-dove
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In this area there are a lot of termite hills. These almost look like little houses in a sort of small village. A very nice sight, but no pictures (forgotten). :slap:
The Masorini loop joins onto the H9. Opposite of it is another new road, the Machangani road, which we also took. Unfortunately this was a very quiet road too. We came out on the s131 and then we took the s96 towards the H9. On these roads were only some impala’s, birds and 2 vervet monkeys far away in a tree. Maybe it was too warm for the others to show their faces.

Back on the H9 we stopped at the Nhlanhanini dam, where 2 big crocodiles were taking a sunbath.
Somewhat further was a big herd of buffalo’s down the road in the river. While we were watching, a jeep jockey stopped next to us and told us that there were wild dogs 2 km’s ahead. He wasn’t sure whether we would find them as they were hidden in the bushes. Of course we gave it a try. After more than 2 km’s we saw a car. Maybe the dogs were over there? And yes indeed, when we arrived one of the dogs just rose his head for a moment. What a great surprise for the first day.

Image

It wasn’t clear how many dogs there were. They were all well hidden. Here and there we saw some ears or a tail. I think we had counted just 4 of them.
After some time all dogs suddenly stood up and walked to the road. It appeared there were 8 of them. :big_eyes:

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By turns they were walking on the road and in the bushes. Every time we thought they would not return, they appeared again.

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Image

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We followed them for about 1 km. Just before the first loop we lost them. There was no sight of them. We chose to turn into the loop in the hope we would meet them over there. Just a few cars followed. It didn’t take long before we saw them. And again the convoy (fortunately, not that many cars) followed them. But now it wasn’t for too long. Probably the dogs would rather be alone and they left the road and went down to the riverbed. The last dog we saw was this one.

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In total we had watched them for about 40 minutes without being in a real traffic jam. It was great.
We arrived at Letaba at 17:30. After checking in (bungalow E67) we went to the restaurant for a yummy chicken burger and then to the shop. As we were both tired, we went to sleep early.

Sightings:
Impala, giraffe, warthog, vervet monkey, hippo, buffalo, wild dog.
Route:
Phalaborwa, H9, s51, Masorini loop, Machangani road, s131, s96, H9 s69, Letaba.


Last edited by Anja on Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Anja&Mark in KNP 2010
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 1:18 pm 
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Saturday, 07-08-2010 Letaba

Just before midnight we both woke up with a start. :big_eyes: We heard several loud bangs and in reaction to it (I guess), some kind of animal was screaming. The bangs could have been from a rifle or fireworks or we don’t know. As we were both very sleepy, we didn’t feel up to get out of bed and have a look. So it’s still a mystery. After a couple of minutes all went quiet again and we were back in the land of Nod in no time.

In the morning, still sleepy, we had some difficulty getting out of bed. We had planned to be at the gate at 6, but we just didn’t make it. At 6:10 we left camp. 10 minutes late is not that much, but sometimes…
We first drove to the Letaba bridge. On the tar road along the river was a small traffic jam. We couldn’t see anything and after asking someone it appeared that there had been a leopard. :hmz: If only we had got up earlier :doh:
It was chilly, so we joined the view from the bridge from out of our car.
On our way back to Letaba we saw a troop of baboons down in the riverbed. They had to cross a small water to get up to the road. One by one they jumped over the water, but not without having wet feet. Some of them had a very comical way of jumping or walking. We enjoyed it very much watching them. Unfortunately the light wasn’t good for taking pictures.
Shortly after the first one’s arrived on the road.
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After a short break at Letaba we drove to Olifants. There were not many mammals around, but we had some nice sightings of hippo’s, waterbuck, giraffes, zebra, kudu, impala’s and of course birdies.
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We arrived at Olifants at 11, where we had a short break. We had a look at the new restaurant, we enjoyed the view and I found a model.
Red-winged starling
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As it was too early for having lunch, we decided to visit the low level bridge. It’s always nice to have a look over there. On our way we had some lovely sightings.
2 playfully elephants in the river.
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It was very nice watching these 2 youngsters having fun in the water and mud.
We were so focussed on them that we missed a big tusker some meters behind them in the reed.

Farther on we again saw some elephants, but now close by.
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There are all kinds of whisperers, a horse-whisperer, a dog-whisperer and even a ghost-whisperer. We did find a new one:
The impala-whisperer. :lol:
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These 2 animals together is always a nice subject to photograph.

At the other side of the bridge we saw these white-fronted bee-eaters.
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The one on the left was acting very weird. It had its beak constantly wide open and its head turned upwards, as frozen. Maybe this was a part of a courtship?

On the way back to Olifants we met this beautiful brown-hooded kingfisher.
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After having lunch at Olifants we returned to Letaba via the tar road. In the river we saw this dead hippo. :(
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We wondered what had happened with that animal and why weren’t there any predators around.

Further on it was quiet. Back in Letaba we first went to the reception to see if our luggage had arrived. What a relief it was when we discovered our suitcases behind the desk :dance: We quickly put them in the car and took off for a late afternoon drive. First we took the s69 loop. We met a ground hornbill family, searching for food in the grasses.
Dad
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Then we went again to the Letaba bridge. There was, just like this morning, a traffic jam. I read in the sighting book at the reception about a leopard with kill. This must be the place. We saw a piece of an impala in a tree, but again no sign of a leopard.

As there was some time left we drove into the s62. We didn’t get that far because we were kept busy by several mousebirds. They were feeding in some trees. It was absolutely wonderful watching them. Unfortunately the light was poor for taking decent photos.
Speckled mousebird
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Back to Letaba we did some shopping and had something to eat at the restaurant.
And so our 2nd day in KNP had flown by.

Sightings: buffalo, impala, baboon, waterbuck, bushbuck, elephant, kudu, zebra, giraffe, hippo, steenbok, warthog.
Route: H1-6 bridge, Letaba, s46, s44, Olifants, H8, s92, s91, H1-5, H8, Olifants, H8, H1-5, Letaba, s69, H1-6 Letaba.


Last edited by Anja on Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Anja&Mark in KNP 2010
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2010 9:50 pm 
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Sunday, 08-08-2010 Letaba → Shingwedzi

At 6:00 we left Letaba and we were on our way to Shingwedzi, our 2nd camp. Until the Tsendze loop it was a bit quiet. Some buffalo near the tar road, waterbuck in the riverbed and of course impala’s. The dead impala in the tree, which we saw yesterday, had vanished.
Just 2 km’s in the Tsendze loop we met a huge herd of buffalo. The vanguard was just crossing the road and lots of buffalo’s had to follow yet. We always love to watch such a big herd. It has a sort of tranquilizing effect to us. We pulled the car over and had breakfast while watching the crossing of one big mass with all kind of individuals.

the shy girl
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the comedian
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the foodie
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the thinker
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the sad one
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and the “I’ll be watching you” one
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At one moment we were all surrounded by the buffalo’s, which was wonderful.
When the road was cleared, we moved on again.

At Mopani we had a coffee break. :lotsocoffee:
We decided to take the s50 to Shingwedzi. At Mooiplaas waterhole we were lucky seeing 6 tsessebe’s.
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They were coming for a drink. While watching them, a car stopped next to us and the driver told us there were lions further down. So up we went.
Unfortunately we didn’t find any lion. Maybe they already moved away or we just hadn’t understood the driver. A little bit disappointed we moved on. But soon we forgot about it, when we saw tsessebe’s at Grootvlei dam. Now there were 4 of them. They also had a drink and one tried to have a mud bath, but quickly stopped, probably not at ease. Soon after they left.
Image

There were also some zebra’s around and a lot of yellow-billed storks.

Former years we saw a lot of animals along the Shingwedzi river, so we had high expectations. But besides impala’s, nyala, hippo’s and a very shy sharpe’s grysbok we didn’t see any other animal. All was quiet. It almost looked like most of the mammals were in hibernation. :huh:

Close to Shingwedzi camp we found this rascal.
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At Shingwedzi we checked in (B54) and we had a short break. After that we went to the Red Rocks road. Here we had more luck with our sightings. First we saw a collared elephant. I first thought it had to be Mac. The only big tusker, I knew, with a collar. But later at home when I compared pictures, I found out that it wasn’t Mac.
After having contact with Aat, it appeared that there are more tuskers with a collar. [STE organization (Save The Elephant)]

Image
Aat wrote:
I could ID your collared tusker . His name is NKOMBO , collared in december 2006 in the wider shingwedzi area.


Shortly after we ran into a herd of buffalo’s. They were near to cross the road.
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This time we couldn’t wait for them to cross, because there was not much time left.

When on the other side of the river we saw this Arrow-marked babbler.
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Back on the tar road we watched an elephant answering nature’s call. :big_eyes: He must have had quite a big meal.
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Somewhat later we found this bateleur, enjoying the last sunray of the day.
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Before returning to camp we drove to the bridge. The sun was just setting, which made the sky coloured orange. In the riverbed were some elephants having a drink. One of them sprayed water. Combined with the orange sky it looked like the elephant was spitting fire. What a marvellous sight.
Image
Image

We had a snack at the restaurant and enjoyed the evening outside the bungalow,
And so another day in paradise came to an end.

Sightings: buffalo, waterbuck, impala, zebra, giraffe, steenbok, elephant, tsessebe, warthog, udu, wildebeast, nyala, hippo, sharpe;s grysbok, baboon, bushbuck.
Route: H1-6, s48, H1-6, Mopani, s49, s50, Shingwedzi, s52, H1-6, Shingwedzi.


Last edited by Anja on Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:45 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Anja&Mark in KNP 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:09 pm 
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Monday, 09-08-2010 Shingwedzi

We left at 6 and we were heading to one of my favourites roads, the s56.
Even though when there are not many animals around it’s a very nice place to be. The vegetation is wonderful and it’s a very attractive route.
But first we went to the Lamont loop. Almost at the end several cars were parked in queue along the river. We did see some vultures, there had to be a predator (or more) around. But how we tried, we couldn’t get a sight of it. We decided to move on and not to stand on line because it didn’t look like one of the cars was soon to move.

We had a nice drive on the s56, but it took quite a long time before we had some nice sightings, besides impalas and nyalas. First we met a hoopoe, which was very busy finding breakfast.
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This one was definitely unsuited for a photographer’s model, as it couldn’t sit still for a moment. But this was probably to blame on an empty stomach.

Later we saw this youngster with his mum.
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And a very thirsty elephant.
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Under the tree were some Egyptian geese constantly yelling. Just as only these birds can do. The elephant carried on drinking regardless, which I found incredible. I expected any moment the elephant would fill up his trunk and shoot the birds. :twisted: At last one goose (the intruder) flew away and all went quiet again.

Shortly after the junction to Sirheni, we found a tusk close to the road. :shock:
Image

First we were very surprised seeing it. And then we were in doubt what to do with it. Should we take it away and hand it over to a ranger? But to whom? The Sirheni ranger might probably not present. Shingwedzi and Punda Maria are probably to far away. And what if we were stopped on the way and they discovered the tusk. :rtm: Would they believe that we wouldn’t keep the tusk for ourselves? Or is this a trap? Maybe there are some guys watching us? We just didn’t know and we drove on, leaving the tusk behind and hoping the Sirheni ranger would find it.

At Babalala we had a short break. We walked a bit round the spot and we watched an elephant at the waterhole. Later a herd of zebra’s showed up with in front of it 3 tsessebe’s.
After watching them we decided to visit Punda Maria. On the way it was very quiet, there were not many animals around. But we got a surprise just a few km’s from Punda Maria. A few cars were parked. We didn’t see anything so we asked for it. They were looking at a cheetah, there was one lying down under a tree. :dance:
Image

That’s Kruger. You can drive for hours without seeing much and then suddenly it can surprise you with a fantastic sighting. This was such a moment. :D
We watched him for a long time. For a moment it looked like he was moving but then he lay down again.
Image
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When we got a big appetite we left for Punda Maria to have lunch. The tables outside were all taken, so we had to sit inside. We both ordered a toasted sandwich with salad. But instead of the salad we got chips. :? For us, Dutch, it’s a weird combination, a sandwich with chips. We like chips though but not to eat it every day and certainly not with lunch.

After lunch we first drove into the Mahoni loop. But just like the whole day it was also there quiet, some impalas, nyalas, kudu’s and a kingfisher.
Image
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When back at the spot where we saw the cheetah, we discovered he had gone. We searched the area but couldn’t find him anymore.

On the way back we met this muddy one.
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At Babalala waterhole were 5 elephants having a drink. One of them had remarkable big tusks. I wanted to take a lot of pictures of him for the Emerging Tusker Project. But he didn’t make a move to leave the waterhole and we hadn’t enough time to wait for it.
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Halfway the H1-7 we took the road to the s56. And again there was not much live over there.
But we find this beautiful Giant eagle owl
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We stopped at the Lamont loop to see what we missed this morning. There were a lot of vultures in the riverbed with a carcass. So probably we have missed lions.
There was just enough time left to take the s 135 to the camp. At the low level bridge we had to wait for some elephant to pass. One of them was a collared big tusker. Maybe it was the same one we saw yesterday.
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Back at Shingwedzi we went to the shop to by some food and we had a nice dinner at our bungalow. The temperature was still nice, so we could sit outside for a long time.

Sightings: impala, elephant, nyala, baboon, kudu, tsessebe, zebra, cheetah, warthog, steenbok, hippo.
Route: H1-7, s56, H1-7, s58, H13-1, H1-3, Punda Maria, s99, H1-3, H13-1, H1-7, s56, s135, Shingwedzi.


Last edited by Anja on Mon May 23, 2011 9:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Anja&Mark in KNP 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 7:36 pm 
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Tuesday, 10-08-2010 Shingwedzi → Mopani
Today we already had to leave Shingwedzi. For us this 2 nights stay in Shingwedzi was a little bit too short. We had the feeling that we hadn’t seen it all. There were so many more roads to drive (again).
We were in doubt about which way we had to take to Mopani, the tar road via the Red Rocks or the s50. At last we decided to go for the Red Rocks. Looking back I would say that we weren’t lucky with this choice. :? Although this road is very scenic, it was now very, very quiet. But maybe this was because it was cloudy, windy and chilly. The first part, until the Tshanga lookout, we had only seen impala’s and some waterbuck. At the lookout we had breakfast and there was no single bird to keep us company. The second part was quiet too, but here we had some more sightings, buffalo, impala, nyala and waterbuck. The sightings on the tar road weren’t very promising too. At 11 we arrived, a little bit disappointed, at Mopani.
We first had some coffee and after that we walked the trail. Here we noticed, by the waves, how windy it was. One Egyptian goose flew by following wind, but when he returned, he had great difficulties flying against wind.
After our walk we had lunch in the restaurant, did some shopping and we checked in (bungalow nr. 3).
At 13:00 we left Mopani for the afternoon drive. By then the sun had broken through.
We first went to waterhole Mooiplaas. There were some zebra’s, wildebeests and this small birdie, which is, I believe, a Kittlitz’s plover.
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When driving on the s50 we saw something walking between the mopani trees. It was an ostrich male. It looked like he was in a bit of a hurry. We turned the car and followed him.
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He walked to Mooiplaas,
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sat down in the open field (against wind)
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and had a sandbath with now and then a sandblast by the wind.
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It was very funny watching this guy doing his thing. We stayed with him for a long time.

At Nshawu waterhole was a small herd of zebra’s. They wanted to have a drink, but they didn’t come closer. Probably our presence was not appreciated. Only after we left, they returned to the water. Image

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On our drive to the Pioneer hide we saw 3 tsessebe’s, giraffe and this black crake.
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As there was some time left, we drove to Mooiplaas waterhole before returning to Mopani. Just when we arrived 3 elephants came by for a drink. The sun was just setting, which gave a fantastic view.
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Image

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Back at Mopani we had dinner at our bungalow. The wind had gone down and it was, although a bit cold, a nice evening.

Sightings: impala, waterbuck, buffalo, nyala, elephant, warthog, steenbok, zebra, tsessebe, wildebeest, hippo, giraffe, OSTRICH. :D
Route: s52, H1-6 Mopani, s49, s50, s49, Pioneer dam, H1-6, s50, s49, Mopani.


Last edited by Anja on Mon May 23, 2011 9:55 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Anja&Mark in KNP 2010
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:42 pm 
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Wednesday, 11-08-2010 Mopani → Talamati

At 6 we left Mopani and headed for the central part of Kruger. The sun was breaking through and it looked like it would become a sunny day. But unfortunately after 2 hours the wind was rising and the sky clouded over again. :(
It took 1 hour before we saw our first mammal, a very special one: a reedbuck couple. But before I could even get my camera they ran off. :?
On the Tsendze loop we got to see more animals, an elephant, giraffes, impala’s and zebra’s. The giraffes were all looking at a spot in the distance. Probably there was a predator around. But we couldn’t see anything. Having a long neck surely has its advantages. :D
When we had a breakfast stop at Malopenyana waterhole a single female ostrich dropped by, having a drink.
Image

Before we left, we told her that she ((if interested of course) could find a very handsome male near Mooiplaas waterhole.

Getting closer to Letaba, we got to see more and more animals. A lot of hippo’s on the sandbank, impala’s,
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Image

a shivery Lilac-breasted roller
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and our third collared elephant.
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At Letaba we had a break with :lotsocoffee:
We then drove to Satara via the tar road, which gave some nice sightings, such as:

Impala’s.
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They all had only eye for one thing and that was not us.


A beautiful elephant.
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This one will be a very famous big tusker in a couple of years.

And this 2 lovely giraffes.
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They were so cute.

At 13:00 we arrived at Satara. That was just too late for having our lunch quickly, as a big party of tourists had just arrived at the restaurant. So we had to wait for a while. This was not a nice moment to wait. Besides we got a big appetite, the temperature wasn’t warm enough to enjoy sitting outside. Image :lol:

After shopping and filling up the car we left Satara at 14:30.
Close to Satara we saw this elephant with remarkable tusks.
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And then we met this waterbuck. Did he try to hypnotize us?
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Keep looking into my eyes, focus on my eyes, take a deep breath and relax…… :big_eyes:

On the s36 we saw:
our 4th collared elephant. This one only showed his back. :naughty:
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and this elephant.
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When we arrived at Mondzweni waterhole, we saw a herd of zebra’s and wildebeests running in the distance. We were just wondering why they were doing that, until Mark saw a lioness drinking. Wow, how could we have missed her. :doh: She had a full tummy, blood all over her head and was very, very thirsty. We watched her drinking for at least 10 minutes. After that she calmly walked away.
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The sun was trying to get trough the dark sky.
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At Fairfield waterhole we saw our 1st rhino, marking his territory.
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After checking in at Talamati (bungalow 4 Nkorho) we went quickly to the birdhide because a herd of elephant just arrived for a drink party. That was just fantastic. At full speed they walked to the water. It was so nice to see the tiny ones running between the older. Really great.
We had a nice dinner and I enjoyed the evening outside in a warm sweater with a cup of tea.

Sightings: reedbuck, zebra, elephant, giraffe, impala, OSTRICH, buffalo, baboon, hippo, waterbuck, steenbok, kudu, vervet monkey, wildebeest, warthog, lion, white rhino.
Route: s49, s50, H1-6, s48, H1-6, Letaba, H1-5, H1-4, Satara, H7, s36, s145, Talamati.


Last edited by Anja on Mon May 23, 2011 11:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Anja&Mark in KNP 2010
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:27 pm 
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Thursday, 12-08-2010 Talamati

Before we left camp we first went to the hide in the hope that there were some animals around. But it was all very quiet on the Talamati field. So at 6:30 we stepped into the car and drove off.

It was a bit rainy with some sun, which results in:
Image

Later on the sun disappeared and it got cloudy for the rest of the day.

Our first sighting, I thought, was a reedbuck. I enthusiastically took photos of this animal, until Mark told me that this was not really a reedbuck. :hmz: It is not?
After having a better look, I had to admit that he was right. :wall: It was a young impala male. Ok, it was early in the morning and maybe I was still a bit sleepy. :doh: Nevertheless, the impala deserves to have his photo in this TR. :thumbs_up:

Image

Besides this impala in disguise we saw a lot more impala’s and a duiker on the s145.

When driving to Muzandzeni we saw a few cars parked at the side of the road. We had to ask what they were looking for, as we couldn’t find anything. We were told that there was a leopard, which was hiding. After some minutes the leopard showed up but unfortunately soon disappeared again. I was just in time for taking a picture.

Image

We were in doubt whether we should stay and hoping the leopard would show up again or go further. A tough decision, but we choose to continue our way. After a short break at Mudzandzeni we took the sweni road. There we saw a great variety of animals, like: zebra’s, impala’s giraffes, steenbok, waterbuck, kudu and wildebeests.

On the H1-3, just a few 100 meters from the junction with the s126 I suddenly noticed something wonderful. Something what has been on my wish list for years, a cheetah overlooking the area. :dance: I was so enthusiastic that I shouted STOP. But that was too early. Mark, still unaware of the sighting, didn’t understand at all why he, after he stopped the car, suddenly had to move on again. Go, go, quick was all I could say. When I saw that the cheetah was in no hurry, I relaxed and could show the cheetah to Mark.
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The cheetah then jumped out of the tree and walked to the road. When he came closer, we noticed that there was another one. There were 2 cheetahs.
It was really fantastic watching these 2 and we were all by ourselves.

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When the cheetahs had crossed the road only then the first car appeared.

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The cheetahs walked about 50 meters from the road. We followed them as far as possible. When we finally lost them, we left.
At Satara we had a nice cup of hot chocolate and then we returned to Talamati.

Just on the H7 was a small traffic jam. A jeep jockey told us there was a leopard hiding in the grasses. He tried to show us, but how we tried, we just couldn’t find it. How frustrating that is. When more and more cars arrived we left the scene, unsatisfied. :(

At Nsemani dam an elephant was just visiting some lazy hippo’s and
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an active one.
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Close to the s36 we met 3 elephants. I think these 3 elephants will be big tuskers in a couple of years.

Elephant one
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Elephant two
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Elephant three was too far away for a decent photo.

Close to waterhole Rockvale were some cars parked. With still the unseen leopard in our mind, we now hoped for a nice visible sighting, but no way. Again we couldn’t find what they were looking for and again we had to ask for it.
It appeared that there was a cheetah lying in the grass. A cheetah, :big_eyes: we could hardly believe it. We never had so many cheetah sightings during one stay in Kruger. More than that, most of our visits were without a cheetah sighting.
The cheetah was not visible at that moment but once a while we could see his tail. He suddenly stood up, sat down and began to roll in the grass. It was just like we were watching our domestic cat.
The cheetah then noticed a few impala’s behind the bushes and kept an eye on them. The impalas were totally unaware of the cheetah’s presence. We expected the cheetah to take a run-up and go for the impala’s. But the cheetah kept calm and moved to the other side of the bushes. There the ritual, sitting, lying and rolling started over again.
After having another look at the impala’s, the cheetah vanished in the grass. We drove up and down to find him and then suddenly we saw him running towards the impala’s. Unfortunately though we couldn’t see if he or the impala’s were lucky, because the bushes were blocking our view.

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We had planned to have lunch at Talamati. But as watching the cheetah took almost an hour, we couldn’t make it in time. Fortunately we still had some crackers left, which we had for lunch at Muzandzeni.

At Shimangwaneni dam we saw this hippo:
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At Mondzeni we got into conversation with a man and woman. The showed us 3 rhino, which were lying down.
Back at Talamati we had our second part of lunch in the company of:
Natala francolins, Arrow-marked babblers, a Red-billed hornbill, squirrel and a Vervet monkey.
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In the late afternoon we had a short drive on the s 140. We saw a small herd of elephants, buffalo’s, giraffes, a white rhino with calf and this beautiful kudu, which tried to hide behind some blades of grass.
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When we arrived at Talamati, an elephant herd was just coming for a drink. We quickly parked the car near the hide and watched them enjoying the water. We had the feeling of déjà vu, as it almost looked like a copy of the herd we saw the day before at the waterhole. It was a beautiful end of the day.

Sightings:
impala, duiker, leopard, baboon, kudu, steenbok, waterbuck, zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, cheetah, elephant, warthog, buffalo, white rhino, vervet monkey, hippo.
Route: s145, s36, s126, H1-3, Satara, H7, s36, s145, Talamati, s140, Talamati.


Last edited by Anja on Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Anja&Mark in KNP 2010
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 5:06 pm 
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Anja,
In the mean time the working together with STE (Save The Elephant) org.. is "paying-off" I could ID your collared tusker . His name is NKOMBO , collared in december 2006 in the wider shingwedzi area.
So another named tusker on your list ! :thumbs_up:


Anja wrote:
Sunday, 08-08-2010 Letaba → Shingwedzi

At Shingwedzi we checked in (B54) and we had a short break. After that we went to the Red Rocks road. Here we had more luck with our sightings. First we saw a collared elephant. I first thought it had to be Mac. The only big tusker, I knew, with a collar. But later at home when I compared pictures, I found out that it wasn’t Mac.
After having contact with Aat, it appeared that there are more tuskers with a collar. [STE organization (Save The Elephant)]

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 Post subject: Re: Anja&Mark in KNP 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 6:50 pm 
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Friday 13-10-2010 Talamati → Satara

For me this day started not well. :cry: I woke up with a headache and had to stay in bed longer to recover a bit. At 7:00 I felt somewhat better and we left Talamati.
We planned to drive the s36 and have lunch at Tshokwane. The first part of the s36 was far from pleasant to drive, it was full of bumps. :(
Until the picnic spot Nhlanguleni, where we had a short break, we mainly saw general game. :)
When we arrived at Lugmag dam we got a big surprise, again we saw 2 cheetahs. :big_eyes: There were only a few cars, so we had a good view on them. We have watched them for 1 hour. They first lay down under a tree, then walked to the water and returned to the tree. Later they did it again. On the other side of the water were some impala’s, but they didn’t have to fear the cheetahs. When we left, they were lying under the tree and it didn’t look like they were soon to move. All other animals kept a safe distance.
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We didn’t drive to the end of the s36 because then we wouldn’t be in time at Tshokwane for lunch. So we took the s34, where we met this lovely Sharpe’s grysbok.
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At Tshokwane it was very pleasant. There were a lot of birds, with several beggars among them, 2 bushbucks and a few vervet monkeys. While waiting for our toasted sandwich, I took some pictures of the birdies.

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After lunch we returned to Lugmag dam, via the s33, to see if the cheetahs were still there.
At Mazithi dam we saw these impala’s drinking in V-formation. :D
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A very relaxed giraffe at the s33.
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The Vutomi dam was, just as the Lugmag dam, full of water. Under a tree near the water we spotted this Gymnogene aka African Harrier-hawk.
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Back at Lumag dam we first couldn’t find the cheetahs. That was because they had moved to the other side of the road. We were so focussed on the left side that we almost forgot to look at the right. It was great they were still there. Unfortunately we could only stay for a quarter owing to lack of time. :?
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On the s125 we met a few small herds of elephants, giraffes, a lot of impala’s and 2 Giant eagle owls. The first one was enjoying the sun.
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The 2nd one we noticed somewhat later, when it made some noise.
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We paid a short visit to Nkaya pan. Most of our visits it was dry, but now there was enough water to keep 1 hippo.
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The hippo was visited by many doves which were coming for a drink just before time to go to sleep.

At 17:45 we checked in at Satara (bungalow A8), did some shopping and had something to eat (with a nice cup of hot chocolate) at the take away.

Sightings: baboon, impala, duiker, steenbok, zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, warthog, kudu, cheetah, hippo, sharpe’s grysbok, bushbuck, elephant, buffalo, vervet monkey, waterbuck, white rhino.
Route: s145, s36, s34 Tshokwane, H1-3, s33, s36, s125, H1-3, Satara.


Last edited by Anja on Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Anja&Mark in KNP 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 8:50 pm 
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Saturday, 14-08-2010 Satara

This morning I went on my own. Mark, not feeling well, stayed behind in Satara. I took the s100, just like many others. But most of the cars were far in front of me.
The first sighting was 2 jackals on the road, a promising start of the day. It was too dark for taking a decent photo. I therefore relaxed and enjoyed watching them. They walked towards the car and passed by. I first wanted to follow them, but it was not easy to turn back because there already were some cars behind me. So I moved on.
A bit further on was a small herd of buffalo’s lying in grasses. None of them intended to get up, they were all lazy.
The next few kilometres was quiet, but then I saw a traffic jam. That must be something big. When I came closer, I saw lions walking at the side of the river. They were coming from the opposite direction. The cars in front of me were already turned to follow them. But I didn’t feel like following the crowd. When the lions got out of sight I continued my way. Some few hundred meters further, again a traffic jam, but this time smaller. There were 4 lions, 1 elder with 3 youngsters. :dance:

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The fur of one of the youngsters didn’t look that pretty. I have never saw this, but on the other hand, I haven’t also seen that much young lions before.
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After a short break they left, probably following the other lions.
Most of the cars turned back, but I again moved on. But then I started thinking. Some kilometres back was a small herd of unsuspecting buffalo’s. :hmz: The lions were going that way, :hmz: Maybe the lions were hungry. :hmz: Was moving on the right decision? At waterhole Shibotwana I knew I had to go back and I turned. But then after a few kilometres I was in doubt again. A lot of cars were coming my way, so probably the lions had disappeared. But I was lucky, I saw the 4 lions shortly after. They now were walking in the high grass at the riverside Not good visible, but an enjoyable moment. When they got out of sight I continued my way to the buffalo’s and spotted this Burchell’s coucal.
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And then……. just 50 meters in front of me, a lion appeared on the road, stood still and looked at me. What a wonderful sight. I grabbed my camera, aimed, pressed the button and nothing happened. Aaaaaaaah. What’s wrong with my camera. I looked and looked and suddenly I noticed that my battery grip was loose. :doh: When I tightened it and aimed again, the lion just walked away and disappeared. :wall: When I reached the spot where the lion vanished I saw other lions crossing the road. There were 8 of them. I could follow them for a while. But then they also got out of sight.
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A duiker noticed the lions and kept an eye on them.
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I waited for some time, in the hope they would return. But besides some roaring in the distance nothing happened. When I passed by the buffalo’s, they were still very relaxed and it didn’t look like, they were impressed by the lions. And yet it looked like something was going to happen as I also heard hyena’s.

I went back to Satara to pick up Mark and then back to the s100. I wanted to show the lions to Mark. But when we arrived it was quiet. There were no lions and even the few cars, which where on the lookout, when I was returning to Satara, were gone.
Instead of the lions we saw these warthogs.
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The buffalo’s were still on the same spot.
We visited Gudzani dam, there was plenty of water and after that we took the s41, s90, H1-4, back to Satara for lunch. We saw general game, a rhino disguised as a dead trunk and a lovely Slender mongoose.
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A zebra, laughing about neighbour’s tail. :D
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After a delicious pizza we left Satara and headed for the Sweni hide via the H1-3 and H6. But first we drove a few kilometres into the s100.
At the point where the lions were seen for the last time I now saw impala’s, which I thought was weird. I asked Mark to reverse and after having a better look it appeared that there were 2 lions.
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We could only enjoy them for a moment but is was great that at last Mark had seen the lions too.

On the way to Sweni we saw a lot of wildebeests, zebra’s, impala’s and giraffes.
At Sweni hide we parked the car along the water, sat back, watched the animals and enjoyed the peace. There were a lot of Yellow-billed storks, impala’s,
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waterbuck
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and many other birds, among which this Grey heron.
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The storks were first on the other side of the water and one by one they flew by to have a bath close to our car.
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After that they did a little stretching,
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Which proved infectious as the neighbour Saddle-billed stork took over the exercises
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In the meantime the heron had caught a delicious fish.
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We stayed at Sweni as long as possible.
Back in Satara we had, after having done the laundry, dinner at our bungalow.
It was another fantastic day. :D


Sightings: jackal, buffalo, lion, duiker, baboon, waterbuck, steenbok, zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, elephant, hippo, kudu, impala, ostrich, white rhino, warthog, waterbuck.
Route: s100, s41, s90, H1-4, Satara, part of s100, H1-3, H6, Sweni, H6 H1-3, Satara.


Last edited by Anja on Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Anja&Mark in KNP 2010
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:49 pm 
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Sunday, 15-08-2010 Satara

For today we planned to drive the Mananga trail. But first, as we had to wait for the reception to open, we went to the s100 until the Shibotwana waterhole.
Our first sighting was 3 hyenas, crossing the road. :D
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Further on it was a bit quiet. At 7:15 we were back at Satara and after the formalities at the reception we left at 7:30.
The first part of the Managa trail was bare and dry. We spotted our first (this stay) Secretary bird. Most of the time these birds are walking away, never come closer. So did this guy. It was not possible to take a decent photo, as he only showed his back and walked too far away. Somewhat further we saw a wildebeest at the left side of the road
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and 3 white-rhino’s at the right side.
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At the waterhole we had breakfast in the company of many wildebeests and zebra’s. Some wildebeests were running after each other, which was nice watching at.
Here I spotted another whisperer. :)
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On the way between the waterhole and the s100 it was quiet. Just like on the s100 until Gudzani dam. There were in the distance a lot of zebra’s, wildebeests and some waterbucks coming for a drink.
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A very nice sight, too bad it was far away.

Just 1 kilometre into the second part of the trail we saw a lot of vultures in several trees. Fortunately the road leaded us to these trees. There was a huge Lappet-faced vulture.
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At first we didn’t understand why there were some many vultures at this spot. But then we noticed something in the bushes, a sleeping lion and next to him another. They both looked up, somewhat annoyed. How on earth could we disturbed them during their after lunch nap.
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Sorry guys. :redface:

When we moved a bit backwards we spotted another lion. Wow 3 male lions. :shock:
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We drove up and down looking for more lions. Sometimes we thought we saw a 4th one, but we weren’t sure. We found the leftovers and some vultures were fighting for it. There were hooded- , white-headed- and lappet-faced vultures. The hooded vultures were in majority but a lappet-faced managed to take the piece.
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That is the law of the jungle. :rtm:

After a while a second car, with 2 women arrived. We showed them the lions and they told us that there were some lionesses on the s41 close to the s100. Probably they were of the same pride. We left shortly after.
We saw a lot of regular game, among which this waterbuck.
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Instead of driving to the s90 we turned at the waterhole, back to the lions. They would be probably still around. And indeed they were on the same spot. Now they were more visible and it appeared that there was another one, 4 male lions. :shock:
At the beginning they were very, very lazy.
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And then one by one they stood up and walked for some meters. Only then we discovered that there were 5 male lions. :big_eyes: We have never seen so many male lions together. Unfortunately I couldn’t manage to get them all 5 on one photo.
After their short walk, they sat down (among the flies),
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yawned,
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moved on again for some meters
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and lay down again.
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At last they all moved to the reed and weren’t good visible for us anymore. Time flies when having very nice sightings and after staying with them for some time, we had to go back to Satara.
We finished the trail and spotted on the way this very beautiful Kori bustard.
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On this site of the trail were a lot of animals, such as kudu’s, waterbucks, steenboks, impala’s zebra’s and wildebeests.

Just before entering camp a hyena crossed the road in front of us.
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This day started and ended with the sighting of a hyena. And in between we had a lot of other special sightings.

Sightings: hyena, baboon, bushbuck, waterbuck, wildebeest, impala, zebra, kudu, steenbok, white-rhino, giraffe, elephant, lion, vervet monkey, buffalo, hippo.
Route: s100, Managa trail, s90, H1-4


Last edited by Anja on Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Anja&Mark in KNP 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 2:49 pm 
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Monday, 16-08-2010 Satara

Today it was time to pay a visit to Olifants again. We took the s100, in the hope that the 5 lions had moved to this road. We would love to see them again. But we soon discovered that this was not going to happen, because there was a lot of game around. Besides wildebeest, impala, baboons, waterbuck and zebra, we also got to see 3 hyenas in the field. But they were just too far away for a photo. :?
Then at almost the end of the s100 we saw a small cat walking on the road. We first thought it was an African wild cat but when we came closer, it turned out to be a lion cub. The back of the cub looked very poor. There was no fur and the skin was dark, (but maybe the dark skin is normal). :cry:
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It looked like the cub was abandoned, as there were no other lions in the neighbourhood, of course as far as we could see. The cub moved on firmly and searched the area for, we thought, his family. Then he moved from the road into the field and slowly disappeared in the grasses. We wondered how such a young animal got lost from his family. With the 3 hyenas, we saw earlier, we got a bit concerned about this little one. We kept our fingers crossed for it.

At Gudzani dam was a herd of zebra’s coming for a drink on the same spot as yesterday. Again it was lovely to watch. At Gudzani waterhole we had a breakfast stop. When we arrived it was quiet, but later a herd of elephants came by for a drink. At that moment a car stopped next to us and we were told that there were 4 lionesses about 5 kilometres away. We stayed for a moment with the elephants and then we left.
We haven’t found the lionesses on the s41. But when we turned onto the s90 a few cars were parked. There were 4 lionesses, lying in the field. Probably these were the same as we were told about. Unfortunately they were too far away for a decent photo.

The first part of the s90 was quiet with 2 jackals, a kori bustard and zebra’s. The second part we found this very funny giraffe. :lol:
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She probably had eaten something nasty, because she constantly put out her tongue.

Then we met one of the most comical birds of Kruger, the Helmeted Guineafowls
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We stopped for a while at the low-level bridge to watch this beautiful Brown-hooded Kingfisher
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and these two lovely White-fronted Bee-eaters.
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They first had something to eat for getting in the mood for….. :D
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Then a car stopped next to us and again we were told about lions. This time they were on the H1-5 along the river with a kudu kill. It was not really on our way, but we would give it a try. On our way we met some lovely animals such as an ostrich, a fish eagle and a hyena.
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We couldn’t have missed the spot where the lions were as there were a lot of cars. Finding the lions was more difficult. At first we only saw vervet monkeys and vultures. Then we found a lioness, lying under a tree, but nothing more. No kill, no other lion only a lot of cars around us. As it was almost lunchtime we decided to go to Olifants and leave the bustle.

At Olifants we were in doubt whether we would have lunch at the restaurant or have something from the take-away and sit outside. As it was a bit chilly (wind) and there were only a few guests at the restaurant we choose for the restaurant. Bad choice. This lunch (toasted sandwiches only) took for about 1 hour. :evil: We also had to search for somebody for paying the bill. There was no staff in the restaurant. :?

As there was not enough time to visit the low-level bridge again, we directly drove to the s39 via the H8 and the H1-4.

I think this is for the most of us a familiar place on the s39 where to find klipspringers.
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And there they are.
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We had several lovely sightings on the s39. Such as kudu’s, zebra’s,
wildebeests,
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elephants,
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and an impala which had to run for joining the herd.
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Close to Ratelpan hide we found this vervet monkey.
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We stayed for some time in the hide, watching the birds and a crocodile. We were a bit surprised by the water volume in the river. We have never seen that much water over there.
At Timbavati we had a short stop to stretch our legs again and after that we went to Girvana waterhole. There were a lot of cars parked. I believe this place is getting more and more popular to spend the last hours before gate closing time. Just when we had parked the car, we saw 4 white-rhino approaching. They were coming for a drink.
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Besides the rhino’s there also were a lot of doves.
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A grey heron, which was very lucky catching a frog. :thumbs_up:
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And a crocodile.
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After 45 minutes we had to leave to be in time at Satara. The rhino’s were still around.
On the H7 we made a quick stop for a sunset photo.
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Sightings: wildebeest, impala, baboon, hyena, waterbuck, zebra, lion, steenbok, elephant, hippo, giraffe, kudu, white-rhino, jackal, ostrich, vervet monkey, klipspringer, warthog.
Route: s100, s41, s90,s92, H8, H1-5, Olifants, H8, H1-4, s39 s40, s12, H7, Satara


Last edited by Anja on Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Anja&Mark in KNP 2010
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2010 11:31 am 
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