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 Post subject: Craig & Caroline's Kruger Trip - 27 Apr - 01 May
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2006 3:17 pm 
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Hi All,

We will be arriving in the park on Thursday and will remain for the next four days. A short trip this time but at least it is a visit to Kruger!!!

We'll be staying at (in order) Crocodile Bridge, Skukuza, Lower Sabie and Berg-en-Dal, and we will be reporting daily from the park (via my notebook, cellphone and GPRS for those interested).

If you're interested you can take a look at our last report on the Sanparks site here:

We'll also be proudly wearing our yellow ribbon (well the car not us!) so if you see us say "Hi!" - We'll be driving a white Toyota Condor.

Until Thursday. Cheers.

Craig & Caroline.


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 Post subject: Day 1 - 27 April 2006 - Crocodile Bridge
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 9:11 pm 
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Hi,

Coming to you live from Crocodile Bridge, it's the report for day 1, 27 April 2006!

Well we are stuffed full after dinner, which was toasted sandwiches done on the braai, and a whole lot of cheese griller sausages that the shop here at CB sells. They're amazing if you like cheese sausages! :-) Followed by Red Jerepiko (a type of desert wine) and now we're having coffee on the verandah. When we're finished with this report we'll have the time honoured Amarula before going to bed! (Jealous yet?) ;-)

So we left home at 04:30 this morning, which is Durban. We arrived at the Swaziland border (Golela) at 08:30 and proceded though immigration which took about 15 minutes. Getting through Swazi took just less than 2 hours arriving at the Mananga border gate at 10:41 - immigration at Managa took a whole 8 minutes! Then on to Croc Bridge where we arrived at 11:41. So in total about 7 hours from Durban. (579km)

Our first drive in the park took didn't reveal much until the last hour. We went out at 13:30.

S25: Giraffe, Impala, Tree Squirrels, Vervet Monkey
S26 - S108: Buffalo in riverbed, Tree Squirrel, Chameleon, Hornbills.
S108 - H5: Lilac Breasted Roller
H4-2: Nothing.
S130 - S137 (Duke's Waterhole): Nothing. But plenty of water for a change. (This has always been a very unproductive waterhole for us in general.)
S28 (Sun virtually gone now, more animals starting to come out): Slender mongoose, White Rhino, Kudu, Giraffe, Elephant with quite a few young.
H4-2 (back to camp): Gezintfombi Dam - Hippo and Whitefaced Ducks.
Up and down H4-2 killing time before gate close at 18:00: Buffalo, LOTS of Impala out, Wildebeest, Warthog.

So I suppose we actually did see quite a bit, but no predators, (no cheetah or wild dog :-( ). But the camera is sad because it didn't get to see much. The sky was about 50% cloud so the sun was in and out most of the time. Weather is warm, no rain.

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Tomorrow we're at Skukuza (mmm steak at the Selati Restarant!), so I'll report again from there.

Cheers
Craig & Caroline.


Last edited by Craig on Thu Dec 13, 2007 3:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Day 2 - 28 April 2006 - Skukuza
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 9:22 pm 
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Hi again!

Live from Skukuza, it's the report for day 2, 28 April 2006.

We have just got back from the Selati restaurant at Skukuza. As always the food is great, but we have one issue that we'd like to raise here before we get on with the trip report and that is smoking in restaurants. In general restaurants in South Africa are indoors, and smoking is not allowed in indoor restaurants (except in a fully ventillated and separate smoking area). Selati is primarily open air since it is under the awning of an old train station, so naturally smoking is allowed.

Personally we believe that smoking should not be allowed in any food consumption area, but that's not the law. We do think, however, that Selati should at the very least have a non-smoking section that is far away from the smokers. Perhaps we have been shielded for the last few years, and perhaps we had a particularly bad bunch next to us tonight (1 chain smoker at one table, and a table of 4 all lighting up in turn so that there was never a time when at no-one was smokng), but it was terrible. To give Selati credit, they did offer to re-seat us, but there was no guarantee that the same thing wouldn't happen there too...

Ok, rant finished! On to the trip report.

Firstly we want to ask, where are all the zebra? Has someone relocated them to another park?? :-) Seriously, not one zebra yet, which is freakish! But while on the topic, where are ALL the animals? We've had sporadic sightings of many different animals, but these are one offs, and not particularly good sightings, and there are extremely long periods of time between any sightings, even impala.

Morning drive (06:00 - 11:15)

H4-2: Black-backed Jackal (Misty), Vulture sunning wings, lots of Grey Louries and Burchell's Coucals around, Goliath Heron, Guineafowl with big groups of babies, Egyptian Geese, Hamerkop building nest at Sunset Dam, Hippo

H4-1: Terrapin crossing road, Buffalo (far, far away), female Bushbuck, lots of Impala, Bateleur, Vultures and Eagles around. Single Elephant

Afternoon drive (14:45 - 18:00)

H1-1 / H3: Impala, single Ellie, Dwarf Mongoose.
S113: single Ground Hornbill
S114: Waterbuck (in the distance), single Giraffe, LOTS of Impala.
H1-1 / H4-1 / H1-2 and back: Were told that there was Wild Dog but we didn't see any. Waterbuck with young. Lots of Guineafowl. Finally by the Skukuza intersection, we found the one Wild Dog, and about a hundred cars (bad sighting, saw it for about 2 minutes.)
S42: found another traffic jam which marked the spot of a Spotted Hyena den, but was far too dark for any photos.

It sounds like a good day, but we don't think it qualifies over all. Perhaps tomorrow will be better.

Very hot in the afternoon after a cold and misty morning start.

We saw another yellow ribbon but we were parked at Sunset Dam, and they were driving past. We don't think they saw us there. We were also 'beeped' by a red VW Kombi, not sure why, perhaps they saw the yellow ribbon. Let us know if this was you. :-)

In general people are behaving well in the park this time. We only saw one person get out, very few people sticking out of their cars, and one litterer (a tissue). People were pretty responsive to waves in the morning, but very few waved back in the afternoon. Perhaps they were having bad sightings too! ;-)

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The picture of the tent is an example of where we are staying tonight. There seems to be very little on the Sanparks site about these tents.

Tomorrow we heading towards Lower Sabie where we will be staying.

Cheers
Craig & Caroline


Last edited by Craig on Thu Dec 13, 2007 3:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2006 8:46 pm 
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kathy sa wrote:
I am enjoying your sightings!
Just a question .. we were staying in a guest cottage in Skukuza last week and every evening we were bothered by a whistle blowing every two minutes. We presumed it was from the Selati restaurant maybe Craig can enlighten us..it was a real pain!


Thanks!

Yes that's it. Every now and again a whistle blows, and one of the staff walks over to the train, presses a button and smoke comes out. I suppose it is to try and add some ambiance.

But yes we could hear it from the tented camp. Not too loud. It didn't distract us. But it could be louder depending on where you were.

Cheers
Craig


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 Post subject: Day 3 - 29 April 2006 - Lower Sabie
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2006 9:36 pm 
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Hi!

Live from Lower Sabie, it's the report for day 3, 29 April 2006.

Today was a much better day than yesterday with some real rarities. Unfortunately as is often the case with these, all you get is a fleeting glimpse and there is not always enough time to capture it on camera.

We found three traffic jams today, the first the site of a supposed leopard, although it was impossible to see. The second was supposedly lion but again if they were there, they were far from the road, and the amount of cars made it frustratingly difficult to see anything. The third was a confirmed sighting of a small pride of lions that were about 10m from the road, until a bunch of morons decided to get out of their vehicles to get a closer look and the lions quickly disappeared into the thick bush. We have photos and these people will be reported.

So for our morning drive (06:05 - 12:05):

H4-1: Two spotted hyena.
H1-2: Lots of baboons, impala, guineafowl. Giraffe, common duiker, two more hyena. Just before Kruger Memorial Tablets, we had our first rarity for the day when two honey badgers ran across the road in front of us. Two ellies and six white whino, golden web orb spider (we think that's what it is called).
H1-3 / S35 / S32: Fish Eagle drinking from river. Warthog, steenbok, giraffe (including baby), impala, wildebeest, lilac breaster roller.
H10: Impala, warthogs, giraffe, waterbuck.
S128: Just before S129, second rarity when another honey badger ran across the road. After the S29/S30 intersections, we found a serval trotting down the road. When we approached in ran off into the bush. We have actually seen serval on this same road before, on a morning drive from LS on a previous trip. Giraffe almost stepped on top of us! ;-) So close, but we didn't even see it until the last minute. It literally stepped out into the road from behind a large tree.
H10: nothing further.

Afternoon drive (14:40 - 17:45)

H10: Bushbuck, still traffic chaos at the lions so just drove on, warthogs, after S29 intersection was the third traffic jam after they had managed to scare off the lions, one of those vehicles proceeded to race off in excess of 60kph.
S122: Kori Bustard (like we didn't see enough of these in the Kgalagadi TFP!), more warties and an ellie.
S29-H10-S29: Two bateleurs in a far tree.
S128: Impala, and finally ZEBRA!!! (The do exist after all! Well the 4 that we saw anyway).
H10: Cars gone from lion sighting, so were the lions.
Sunset Dam: Hippo, crocs, hamerkop, grey heron, maribou stork, pied kingfisher.

It was then quite dark already so we headed back to camp.

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The photo of the squirrel and the robin was actually from yesterday in the tented camp at Skukuza.

Tomorrow we're heading towards Berg-en-Dal for our last full day in the park. :-(

Cheers
C&C


Last edited by Craig on Thu Dec 13, 2007 3:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Day 4 - 30 April 2006 - Berg-en-Dal
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 9:39 pm 
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Hi,

Live from Berg-en-Dal, it's the report for day 4, 30 April 2006.

Before we get going, let us ask you one thing. What happened to the good old fashioned night drive? You know, the kind where you went out after dark, and stayed out for at least three hours. These days (except for a few camps) all you get are sunset drives, leaving two hours before gate closing, and lasting three hours. Personally we don't find these interesting at all. We can drive around ourselves for the last two hours of daylight. I want to go out and see the nocturnal animals...

On a more positive note, we overheard an official on the phone telling someone that unless they already have a booking they won't get into the park today. Apparently the park is 100% full, and they were not even letting in day visitors because it was so full. No surprises that there are the trademark Kruger traffic jams! :-)

Ok, on to the report:

Morning drive: (06:00 - 12:50)

H10: phantom cat, possibly caracal or serval, but could not be identified due to the brief view, bushes and distance.
S29: Black-backed Jackal, 1 Ellie, Waterbuck, Giraffe, Impala.
H10/H4-1: 1 Ellie, Sunset Dam: Hippo with young playing (Baby hippies are sooo cute! :lol: ), Hamerkops, Blacksmith Plover, Glossy Starlings, Grey Heron, Crocs, Imala
S82: Impala, lots of vultures in trees and circling, but no sign of a kill.
H4-1/H5: Three Zebra, nice large herd of Impala.
S108: Nothing.
S26: Impala, 2 x Bateleur flying over. Banded mongoose roadkill :-( :x
S113: Impala
H3: Impala
Renosterpan: Nothing
H3: 2 more Bateleur, Giraffe. Cops were out speed trapping :lol: Let's hope they caught some of the idiots!
S110: Giraffe, unidentified snake crossing road.

Afternoon drive: (14:45 - 17:50)

Matjulu loop: Three banded plover, Impala, Slender mongoose, nothing at the waterhole.
S110: Herd of ellies crossing in front of us. Youngish one at the end trumpeted a bit (quite pathetically) and we had a small stare-off before he ran off into the bush! (Very cute...), More Impala.
S114: Slender Mongoose, 3 x White Rhino close to road, lots of Impala.
S118: Dwarf Mongoose, vultures in riverbed and trees but no visible kill, 2 x White Rhino at Ampie Waterhole.
H3-Renosterpan: 1 White Rhino along Renosterpan road (who would have thought...) Nothing at the actual waterhole.
H3/S120: Nothing
S110: Camp site of Matjulu waterhold, site of supposed lions, but we didn't see any. Lots of Maribou storks roosting in trees around the river.

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Tomorrow we're heading over to Crocodile Bridge to stock up on cheese griller sausages and marula juice before we go home back to Durban. Sorry if you get to CB and can't get any sausages, we're likely to buy them all! :-) The marula juice is a new discovery from this trip. Just make sure you mix it correctly before drinking!!! It is concentrated. We've already loaded the car up with a good supply of Eswatini jams. Kruger... Our local supermarket! :lol:

We will report again tomorrow evening once we are home.

Until then,
Craig & Caroline.


Last edited by Craig on Thu Dec 13, 2007 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2006 10:00 pm 
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Location: Durban, South Africa
macho mouse wrote:
You disappointed, Craig?


Disappointed in what?

If you mean our trip, then yes and no. We have seen some great stuff and have enjoyed being here. But in terms of quality sightings, they have been severely lacking. (Except for the hippos, that was amazing!)

We're Cheetah and Wild Dog people, and if we don't get to see them we get grumpy! :lol:

Also being very photographically inclined, if there camera doesn't see it, we don't really consider it a sighting.

Cheers
Craig


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 9:44 am 
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Location: Durban, KZN, South Africa
Hi,

No live report yesterday, sorry ... we only got home after 20:00 and were exhausted, and then discovered our internet connection is down when we tried to post a quick message to let you all know there'd be no report. :-(

But, just to keep you all in suspense ... we can let you know that Kruger delivered a wonderful sighting for us as a parting gift, about half an hour before leaving the park! We'll fill you in later today. :-)

Cheers,
Caroline & Craig


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 9:41 pm 
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kathy sa wrote:
Super photos..I never click in time to get the Hippos mouth open !!


Isn't that what motor drive/burst mode is for? :lol:

Quote:
Do you think the zebras have moved over to the Mozambique side of the park? We did see a herd when we went to the new picnic sight on the border..it was lovely by the way.. well worth a visit.


I have no idea. They must have migrated somewhere because there was a distinct lack of them. Especially for people whose "home" park is Hluhluwe where there are billions of them!!!

Unfortunately we didn't get to go to the new picnic site. Oh well, next time...

- Craig


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 Post subject: Day 5 - 1 May 2006 - Exit park
Unread postPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 10:16 pm 
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Hi again!

Congratulations to Elsa who guessed correctly. The mystery animal was indeed Wild Dog. You win a 2 week stay in Kruger for 2 (I wish I could offer that, but sadly if I could get another 2 weeks in Kruger I'd still be there!!!)

So the day started off poorly, as we have learnt is often the case when the grass is so long. The majority of the day we saw absolutely nothing bar the ever present impala, although even they were in short supply until we hit the S25. There was also quite a cold gusty wind and it was mostly to completely overcast.

So here is the report:

First and only drive: (06:05 - 11:25)

S110: Marabou storks roosting, impala.
Matjulu waterhole: Nothing.
S110: Spotted hyena in road but it ran off.
H3: Nothing except two dead snakes in the road. One a puffadder, the other unidentified.
S118: Impala, male kudu hiding in bush, 2 white rhino (probably the same ones at Ampie WH the day before.), crested barbet.
S114: Pied kingfishers at Biyamiti weir. VERY corrugated road. :evil:
S23 partly and back to the weir: Nothing.
S114: Bateleur flying over.
S119: Impala.
S25: Vervet monkeys playing at river crossing, BILLIONS of impala, quite a few more groups of vervets, waterbuck and more bateleurs, giraffe, dead francolin in the road, and then our very special wild puppies. (Well there were no puppies, but that's what we call them regardless of age.), zebra, more impala.

The wild dog were a tip off from a friendly passing tourist, he said that they were about 2km up the road. We high-tailed it to approximately 2km from our current location and found tyre marks in the road where there had been a lot of activity. We figured that that was were they had been and that we had missed them, but just around the next corner we found them lying at the side of the road looking very sleepy! We were the only car there at that stage and stayed with them for about half an hour. A few vehicles came and went in that time, but there wasn't any bad behaviour and the dogs weren't bothered at all. It's a pity that the light wasn't right for great photos, but it was an exceptional sighting nonetheless.

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With heavy hearts we had to eventually leave the park and make our way home. The trip home wasn't too different from the one up, except it was a bit busier at the Swazi border post coming back in to KZN and the whole KZN stretch home was a bit busier as all the long weekenders made their way home.

We arrived home around 20:00 and were so tired that we didn't bother to unpack the car until this evening. :-)

Hope you enjoyed reading our reports. It was fun and our pleasure to share them while we were experiencing them.

Big news that arrived while we were in the park was that our pending reservation for two weeks in Kenya came through, so we will be going there at the end of September. We'll be spending time at Masai Mara, Samburu, Lake Nakuru, Tsavo West, Aberdares & Amboseli. With any luck the migration will be on as well! :lol: And we'll find some of those elusive big cats. :roll:

That's all for now.

Cheers
Craig & Caroline.


Last edited by Craig on Thu Dec 13, 2007 3:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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