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Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 8:19 pm 
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One of Letaba's resident bushbuck.

W@H sent this to my cellphone late this afternoon - with a special greeting from the little fellow - "Hello" :D

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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 7:44 am 
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Location: In a very busy place
Day 1
Date: 16 March 2006
Location: Johannesburg to Punda Maria via Louis Trichardt
Time Left: 03h00 am
Time Arrived: 10h15 am
Notes About Road: Roads are excellent. However, the last 130km's is a killer. Average speed is about 60km/h with lots of traffic cops. The gravel roads in the Park around Punda is in a excellent condition. No roads were closed.
NB: There are 5 Tollgates on you way to Punda Maria via Louis Trichardt, 6 if you enter at Pafuri Gate. Total Costs for tollgates to PM was R101,60.
Vegetation: Bush is very thick (even for the north) and visibilty is average.
Temperature: 33,5 degrees celcius at 17h00
Staff: Very friendly and understanding after we missed gate close by 1 minute
Restaurant: No Game Pies!
Shop: Basics, Ice and Wood available, Shop is expensive. It’s also more expensive then any ot the other shops in Kruger. Example: 1x Bottle of Amarula costs R72 in Punda Maria. In Shingwedzi same bottle costs R51,00.
Sightings: Kudu, Impala, lots of birds and tortoise. (Did not drive much that day, rested for the big day tomorrow.
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Accomodation Stayed in Safari Tent 3. Excellent, could do with some air conditioning, but hey! No. 2 looks a bit better.
Our View:
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Tent 3
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Other: Received a voicemail from SANParks with the call of a fish eagle and hyaena, welcoming us to the park and wishing us a safe trip. This was a first for me and thought it was very nice. The roads are very quiet and peacefull in the north. Really a nice place to be if you wanna feel like the only vehicle.
Other Pics:
Punda Gate
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Our 1st Visitor
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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 8:22 am 
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Location: In a very busy place
Day 2
Date: 17 March 2006
Location: Punda Maria to Pafuri and back (H13-1, H1-8, Pafuri Loop and S60)
Time Left: 05h30 am
Time Arrived: 15h00 am
Notes About Road: Excellent, except for the S60 which is a bit corrugated. I’ve also found Krugers Waste Land … The road from the Police to the main road at Pafuri is a dead zone. Really looks ugly and even the animals are so jumpy there that you cannot even get closer than 100 meters before they run off.
Vegetation: H1-8 was nice to view .. Grass is still high for low vehicles, but a bit easier to spot something.
Temperature: 29,5 degrees celcius at 13h00 … It rained the morning and cleared up as the day progressed.
Staff: Met Frank at Pafuri as we were about to leave. Left him so that he could attend to the other people. Could not believe that someone can be so much customer service orientated. He ran after every visitor to show them the birds. Told me we missed the Narina Trogon with 2 days. They saw it at Pafuri on the Wednesday.
Sightings: Giraffe, Zebra, Elephant, Squirrel, Chameleon, Nyala, Tortoise, Baboon, Verver Monkeys, Buffalo, Lion, Springhare, Scrub Hare, Large Spotted Genet, Bateleur, Fish Eagle, Martial Eagle, Tawny Eagle, White Backed Vulture, Saddle Billed Storks, Scops Owl, Fiery-necked Nightjar, Moz Nightjar ? and European Nightjar as well as Bronze-winged courser and giant eagle owl. Two funny sightings on night drive which had us ROTFLMAO!! 1st one was a Water Thicknee that took off and flew straight into the antenna of the vehicle. Second one was when a scrub hare was running in front of the vehicle refusing to go in the bush. We then saw the Giant Eagle Owl sitting in the road and thought the hare is tickets, next thing the owl gets the fright of his life and starts running .. followed by the hare … followed by us :lol: Also saw our first kill when a European Roller took out one of the Park Town Prawns. Some interesting info about the lion. He is the leader of a pride of 19 lions that have control of the whole Punda Maria area.

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Other: Went on a night drive. It was great, only 6 people (3 young couples … if you can call us young :lol: ) .. Matt was excellent, except when 4 of us spotted a LOG and he floored it, the poor thing got such a fright, he became a LOF (Leopard off flying) … Lots of Park Town Prawns, on the H1-8 we saw more than 20 Tawny’s having a “Eat as much as you can buffet".
The river at Crooks corner is also still flowing very strong.
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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 8:53 am 
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Day 3
Date: 18 March 2006
Location: Punda Maria to Shingwedzi (H1-7)
Time Left: 06h00 am
Time Arrived: 11h15 am
Notes About Road: Excellent
Vegetation: Lots of Savannah, Grass is still high for low vehicles, but a bit easier to spot something .. if they stand or show their heads or tails
Temperature: 31,5 degrees celcius
Sightings: 2 Cheetahs on the way to Shingwedzi, about 1 km after you turn right out of the H13-1 onto the H1-7.
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3x Ground Hornbills busy with some grocery shopping.
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Giraffe, Zebra, Elephant, Wildebeest, more than 20 ostriches in group,
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Impala, Baboon,
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Rock Monitor,
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Buffalo, Open Billed Stork (WTM? I thought they were scarce :twisted: , late afternoon Pearl Spotted Owl.
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Some other bird sightings:
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Then a very special sighting (this one is for you José :lol: … A nice big tusker on the S55 Lamont loop.
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I have to also say that the ellies around Shingwedzi have a very nasty sense of humour. We had to reverse for more than 2 km’s after a young Ellie Bull decided he likes this road and that we were going the wrong way. Fortunately I cannot show you the video as you might have become very profficient in the Afrikaans language :lol:
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Other: It’s sad when you see how the park is littered by tourists. How much effort is it to put your rubbish in the rubbish bag provided and just clean it out every night? Then you get to scenese like this which is just so unacceptable and sad .. and it was only one of plenty we saw. This poor snake was probably warming up on the tar road when a vehicle drove over him. He might seem alive, but he was quite dead.
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We ended the day with a beautifull Shingwedzi Sunset
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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 9:25 am 
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Super reports, W@H. :D


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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 9:39 am 
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Location: mind in SA, body in The Netherlands
Great, detailed reports
Love the cheetah pics
Come to think about it, the big tusker is great

Will read again a few times today, till i am very :(

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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 11:42 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2005 12:41 pm
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Very entertaining report, W@H :thumbs_up:
Like the Scops Owl and the Ground Hornbill is marvelous!

If juvwhat6ax.jpg means that you are not sure what it is, my guess is Whalbergs Eagle...


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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 12:13 pm 
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And your big tusker might beMahlati II.
Don't forget to enter your pictures into the Emerging Tusker Project Photographic Competition. :wink:


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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 12:16 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2005 10:58 pm
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Location: NOT in KRUGER!!!
Thanks for great reports and pics of your first three days, W@H! :D

Love your Ground Hornbill pic. :thumbs_up:

Sad about the snake. :cry:

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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 12:46 pm 
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Thanks Arie .. I've asked them as well to see if they can Id him for me ... I've already entered him for the competition :thumbs_up: And thanks for the Juvie Id .. Did not know, and haven't looked yet .. so you saved me some time and headaches there :wink:

Anyway .. let's continue

Day 4
Date: 19 March 2006
Location: Shingwedzi to Redrocks lookout, Loop S52 and back to Camp on H1-6.
Time Left: 08h30 am
Time Arrived: 12h30 am
Notes About Road: S52 Corrugated between Bateleur and Red Rocks
Staff: They are very friendly. Came every night to see if things were fine and if we were enjoying our stay.
Vegetation: Lots of Savannah, Grass is still high. Very thick bush and lots of trees.
Temperature: 33 degrees celcius at 17h00
Restaurant: No Game Pies!
Sightings: Giraffe, Zebra, Warthog, Baboon, Marabou Stork, Nyala, Sharpe’s Grysbok, White Backed Vultures, Breeding Elephant Herd, Waterbuck, 5 Hamerkop, 3 Green-backed Heron’s, 2 Malachite Kingfishers.
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Other: Also saw dead fish as the Bananarama ladies did :lol: at a low bridge sighting.
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Had the most peacefull scene for the day on our way back
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As well as another beautifull Shingwedzi Sunset
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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 12:47 pm 
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Location: In a very busy place
Day 5
Date: 20 March 2006
Location: Shingwedzi to Nyawutsi Hide to Shibavatsengele to Mopani and Back. (S50, S106 & H1-6
Time Left: 05h30 am
Time Arrived: 12h15 am
Notes About Road: From Nyawutsi Hide (S106) down to Mooiplaas waterhole, Road Very corrugated. As bad as the S36 but just continuesly. Do not attempt this road with False teeth :lol:
Vegetation: Ranging from Savannah to Bush
Temperature: 39 degrees celcius while driving (I believe this is the same day when propolis recorder the 50 degrees!!!
Sightings: Hippo, Sharpe’s Grysbok x2, Buffalo, Fish Eagle x2, Waterbuck and baby, Bateleur eating snake, Elephant, Giraffe, and again Saddlebilled Stork.
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Other: Watch out for hippo’s when exiting the gate at departing time. We also had a beautifull Shingwedzi Sunrise.
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The swimming pool was a blessing and probably the best pool I’ve ever swam in … Might have to do with the heat that day :lol: … Ellie spotted on night hunt when we went searching for Hyeana’s at the picnic spot and restaurant. Had a close encounter with the “Arachnia” kind after walking into a web with a spider as big as my eyeball … after I’ve seen it. Note: Stay in camp when temps are this high. You don’t see too much … as you might have noticed from the sightings. We drove about 140km’s that day. Mopani Camp also had no game pies, but I’ll assist the KNP Marketing :lol: side and recommend that people should use that camp as well. I really think it’s one of the nicest camps in the park … lot’s of atmosphere …

Oh .. and watch out for unpaid guests in your house … but I welcomed this one … but told him to get a wild card next time :lol:
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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 12:47 pm 
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Location: In a very busy place
Day 6
Date: 21 March 2006
Location: Shingwedzi to Letaba. (H1-6 & H1-5)
Time Left: 06h30 am
Time Arrived: 11h30 am
Notes About Road:Excellent (most gravel roads were however closed due to heavy thunderstorm the previous night and the morning.
Vegetation: Savannah to river bush
Temperature: 29 degrees celcius
Sightings: Steenbuck, Grey Heron, Lichtenstein Hartebeest, Kori Bustard, Ground Hornbill, Pied Kingfisher, Waterbuck, Hippo, Giraffe, Zebra, Elephant, Warthog, Crocodile, Bushbuck, Marabou Stork, Terrapin.
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And crossed the Tropic of Capricorn again.
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And then a very unsuall sighting for us. We came to one of the bridges and with all the rain that fell this stream/river? Was coming down. You could actaully see how the water was flowing through the dry riverbed.
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Restaurant: No Game Pies! And thus far could still not find fresh bread.
Staff: Some were friendly, most were not …
Other: Curio shops are very expensive. Had a heavy thunderstorm the previous night wich continued untill about 10h00 the morning. Had to fight the currents of the Shingwedzi to pack our stuff in the car :lol: .. Had a Skottelbrekkie at Mooiplaas (yum yum yum) … Arrived at Letaba and Elephant Museum was still closed :cry: … Only the day visitors swimming pool was available as they were working on the camp’s one. There is a lot of construction work happening at Letaba. Found another peacefull scene at Letaba.
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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 12:48 pm 
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Location: In a very busy place
Day 7
Date: 22 March 2006
Location: Letaba to Masorini (Phalaborwa Road) to Mooiplaas and Back. (H9, H14 and H1-6)
Time Left: 05h40 am
Time Arrived: 12h15 am
Notes About Road:Excellent. What was curious was that they were chucking sand on the Phalaborwa Road .. at later investigations it was revealed to compact the road that would preserve it and also reduce speeds.
Vegetation: Savannah to river bush
Temperature: 32 degrees celcius at 12h00
Sightings: Giraffe, Zebra, Elephant, Vultures, Mongoose, Buffalo, Tortoise, Saddlebilled stork (again), Fish Eagle, Hippo, Pied Kingfisher, Heron, Rock Monitor (underneath our tent) and Mating ….. dwarf mongoose.
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Other:
Had a nice sunrise
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Letaba River still flowing nicely
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Sable Hide looks like the thing to do. Started raining heavily at 17h45 … We were going to eat at Restaurant, but decided against it as we only had an hour before our nightdrive. So had a quick pie and gravy. Then the rain started and we rescheduled our nightdrive to Satara. Went back to tent only to find that Tent 20 is leaking. Our suitecases were almost wet (hate to think what would have happened if we went on nightdrive). Had to unpack everything into cupboard, hoping that fan would dry the suitcases. Then funny thing happened … there was a spider (big and flat) in the cupboard. Someone mentioned it sounded like a Rain Spider. Environmentalist that I am .. decided to catch it and send it packing out of the tent … Easier said than done. Had the glass over him and we were at eye level with each other. Arm hairs were standing as straight and strong as a porucpine. Then something happened .. he got out of the glass and was running straight for me … True man that I am … I fell backwards accompanied in true form with a yell like only an angel could do with a gogga … After I regained my composure, told the spider in my best “animal” language what I thought of that and giving Hyaena the “eye” after she finished ROTFLHAO, I managed to capture and release it in the wild. Had a nice glass of Amarula after that.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 12:49 pm 
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Location: In a very busy place
Day 8
Date: 23 March 2006
Location: Letaba to Olifants to Satara. Afternoon drive Bobbejaanskrans and 8km’s on the S100 (H1-5, H1-4, H7 & ,S100)
Time Left: 06h15 am
Time Arrived: 11h30 am
Notes About Road:Excellent.
Vegetation: Savannah, open grass lands and bush
Temperature: 27 degrees celcius. Last nights rained really cooled things down.
Restaurant:. No Game Pies at Satara … BUT we did find at Olifants :dance:
Shop: Wide variety of things. Curious also very expensive. And who would pay to buy Elephant Dung? When you can get it on the road?
Sightings: Very Big Bug!! Buffalo, Elephant, Hippo, Totoise, Terrapin, Crocodile, Mating Lions (also see the “Gallery of Shame” topic, Blue Wildebeest, Zebra, Impala, Waterbuck, Helmeted Guineafowl, Chameleon, 3x Lions sleeping under tree, pride of young lions (about 11), The one female was collared, and by the looks of it I would guess she has TB
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, baboon, vultures, warthog.
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Thought this road should get a special sightings area:
Sightings on S100 especially for WTM: Swainson’s spurfowl, Impala, Waterbuck, Wildebeest, Baboon,Huge herd of Zebra, Lilac Breasted Roller, Cape Glossy Starling, Burchell’s Starling, Burchells Cougal, Carmine Bee-eater, Little Bee-eater, Yellowbilled Hornbill, Woodlands Kingfisher, Squirrel, White-backed Vultures and a Warthog I want to enter for the big Tuskers competition!!!
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Later we went on nightdrive and continued with an excellent day of sightings: African Wild Cat, Hyaena’s, Hippo, Waterbuck, Impala, Small Spotted Genet, Giraffe.

Other:
Animals think the road is their toilet .. like these buffalo’s thought!
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Olifants river is also flowing very strong:
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Got some good mugshots of idiots at lion sighting. Ran into KNP Spokesman who was on his way to … yes … go on … guess … the opening of the Letaba Elephant Museum :evil: … Also they launched the Big Tuskers Competition today … I’ve got my entry … Note to self: Remind Dr. Ian Whyte to book my seat on chopper.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 12:49 pm 
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Location: In a very busy place
Day 9
Date: 24 March 2006
Location: Satara to Tshokwane to Skukuza (H1-3 & H1-2)
Time Left: 08h45 am
Time Arrived: 14h30 am
Notes About Road:Excellent. The lower bridge between Tshokwane and Skukuza was flooded so had to do a detour. (Sabie River changed a lot since I last saw it)
Vegetation: Savannah & bush
Temperature: 27,5 degrees celcius.
Restaurant:. Buffalo Pies (mince meat I’m sure) .. very filling. Restaurant looks very neat, clean and tidy. Internet Café also available at the restaurant.
Shop: Wide variety of things. Curious also very expensive.
Sightings: Carmine Bee-eaters, Baboon, European swallows, kudu, and again Saddlebilled stork, white stork, warthog, vervet monkeys, pied wagtail, duiker, impala, white tailed mongoose, hippo and Hyeana.
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Other:
Had a nice braai at KNP Spokesman and SO … Starlings are a problem at Tshokwane
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Very funny … have a look at Tshokwane when the monkeys are around. The staff just shows a “Kettie” and they run like the devil is behind them :twisted:

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