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 Post subject: Bushcraft-Browns in KNP - April 2011
Unread postPosted: Sun May 15, 2011 6:31 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:07 pm
Posts: 798
Location: Toti KZN
Hi Guys;

I tried to duck this one, but due to some persistent nagging mites, I have to start, so...
The Browns are back.

Bushcraft, The Cow, Supernova, Melly, Luckycharm, Hawkeyes, Bushpiggy, Albert and Tortoise had never spent Easter in KNP, so this was a first for all of us. The adults had major crowd concerns and the rats had major lion eating the Easter Bunny concerns, but with so many public holidays, we had to take the plunge and book.

We found the Balule thread too late, but this may have been a blessing to all mites present, as my malaria/whiskey concoction and our clans 5 terrors, may have cleared Balule on the first day.

After many changes the trip ended up as below:

22nd, 23rd and 24th Lower Sabie
25th Biyamiti
26th, 27th and 28th Satara
29th, 30th and 1st Skukuza

I’m a neurotic planner, so the lists, routes, etc started many months in advance for me, but The Cow prefers crisis management, so things still only came together at the last minute.

The Swaziland border rules are a stuff up, so Supernova and Melly had to bring all our meat, milk and eggs down from JHB and much to my horror, I was only allowed to take 1 litre of Whiskey across the border.

Malaria tablets!!! We will never take them again. Easter crowds!! Not as bad as we expected, but more people then we have ever experienced. Long grass and thick bush, definitely, but a trip that contained a few first time sightings and a completely different experience.

After the first 3 days we were wondering why people ever visit KNP during the April Easter holidays, but things improved exponentially as the trip continued.

April 21st Jozini Dam

As soon as the kids finished school we were on our way to our halfway stop over at Nkonkoni camp next to Jozini Dam.

We still worked half day, so we had the usual panic to pack the car and get to the camp before dark. Supernova, Melly, Luckycharm and Tortoise were going to meet us in Kruger late the next day.

Nkonkoni camp only has 3 of the big 5, but lots of general game, so it’s always an awesome stop over for us and gets that bush feel started, but my damn cell phone kept ringing with work issues all the way there, so that first beer went down before I even unpacked the car.

We usually stay in the safari tents, but they were fully booked this time, so I was forced to book a 1 room 5 bed chalet for the first time. The Cow took a look at the unit and started thanking me for spoiling the family, so I decided to omit the details of how we happened to be in the chalet. The first night of our holiday was not the time to risk a Pelican face.

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I thought that the outside open air shower was an awesome addition, but Hawkeyes and Albert decided it was a crazy idea, so it was left to Bushpiggy to test it. My impressions also changed at 5am the next morning.

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By 6pm the office was locked up, and except for the odd squawk from one of my terrors or the odd warthog running by, peace at last.

The dam triggered the usual fishing response in me, so it was time to go and start the braai before I snuck off down to the water.

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To be continued


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 Post subject: Re: Browns in KNP - April 2011
Unread postPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 11:52 am 
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My Dear BC, I just hope you realize that in future, to keep my pelican face at bay, I will not be staying in the tent, the chalet was just to awesome :twisted: :twisted:

I hope you've booked for August already , just a reminder :tongue: :tongue:

_________________
No hotels in KNP!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Browns in KNP - April 2011
Unread postPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 1:18 pm 
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Location: Toti KZN
April 22th Jozini Dam to Lower Sabie

After a cold 6am shower we were off to the Swazi border, which is only 30km away.

About 2km from the border we noticed a strange sight, a long line of stopped cars ahead, so I asked the SO “Has there been an accident or something?” The border only opens a 7am and it was now 6:45am, so you can imagine our surprise when we realized that this was the queue to the border. My Garmin said 1.5km to the border when we joined the line!!!

By 8am my blood pressure was through the roof, the kids all needed the loo and we still couldn’t see the border post.

We eventually entered Swaziland after 10am and it took the 2 hours through Swaziland for the road rage to fade, but then the exit border post arrived.

After a few border public holiday lessons learnt and 7 hours later, we arrived at Crocodile Bridge. It has to be the longest 265km trip that I have ever done. Those of you that have or had kids under the age of 10 will realize what happens when you cage 3 in the back of a car for 7 hours, so I had to take a long walk at Crocodile Bridge before entering the park.

It was time to get the cameras out, check the sighting board, take a deep breath and realize that we were here, because next month we will wish that we were still there, so every minute needs to be appreciated.

Supernova, Melly and clan had taken their first Malaria tablets yesterday and they all had a reaction, so they left JHB later than planned and were now stuck in their own Nelspruit traffic jam, so eventually entered at Malelane about half an hour after we entered at Crocodile Bridge, so we decided to travel in each other’s direction until we met up.

Before I continue, I believe that SANParks has requested that the location of Rhino sightings be omitted from trip reports, so I will only post 1 sighting, which is where we met Supernova and clan, as it’s not an obvious location.

We did however find Rhino every day that we were in the park, which is brilliant to see.

On route to our meeting location we both found rhino, elephants and buffalo, but met at this rather large road block

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A little later a rather upset junior elephant and then a giraffe road block.

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Just before the H4-1 we found our first waterbuck. The rats still insist that these guys sit on painted toilet seats.

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A few km into the H4-1 one drives over a bridge in the S79 area and to our shock a leopard was walking in the over grown river bed adjacent the bridge. I’m embarrassed to post these pics, but spots in the grass are still proof of presence.

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Supernova ungraded to a Canon 550 a week prior to this trip, so at this stage was still learning the camera and I’m still operating a standard SLR, so please excuse some of our pics, but a blurred leopard is still a leopard. I hate to admit that the SO got awesome video though.

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After a smoke and loo break at Nkuhlu we started on our route back down to Lower Sabie. We needed lion to complete the big 5 in a few hours, so the search was on, but things were very quiet down to Sunset Dam and only a few buffalo made an appearance

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Sunset Dam produced a strange sighting which had us all laughing. A junior hippo was having fun irritating a rather large crocodile who wasn’t impressed by the attention. All the other Sunset dam locals were hanging around as always.

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Supernova and I aren’t the most sociable characters when it comes to noise, strangers, etc and we were both in EH5 units tonight and were dreading the evening Lower Sabie hut accommodation interaction, so as we arrived I grabbed the biggest table, best braai and barricaded the area, with the hope that it would deter the crowds, but to my embarrassment our kids took over the area, but they had been caged in the car the entire day, so I ignored the neighbours and gave very little indication that the kids were ours, but found myself wondering about those designated quiet camps that I voted for. Owe well, those will have to wait a few years.

Supernova moved to a FU5 in the morning, so at least we had a wooden picket fence to hide behind.

To be continued


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 Post subject: Re: Browns in KNP - April 2011
Unread postPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 10:45 pm 
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Location: Toti KZN
April 23rd Lower Sabie

Morning Drive: H4-2/S28/S137/H4-2/Nkuhlu/H4-1/Skukuza/H1-2/S30/S128

The Lower Sabie sighting boards had very few magnets available, so we winged a roundabout route for the morning, which was a fairly long drive, but Supernova could only book into his FU5 unit after 2pm, so we had some time to kill.

Just after 6am and about 3km down the H4-2, Supernova braked and the walkie talkie went “leopard”. A mother and cub were cruising through the bush next to the road.

Now Supernova and I are the self appointed photographers and the SO’s take the videos, but I realized this trip that driving, overcast days, moving animals, etc, aren’t the best for pics and can’t speak for Supernova, but each time I stopped and lined the leopards up, they moved again and I ended up with half a blurred leopard or grass. (I have to make excuses for the pics below)

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Between us we only managed the 2 above pics worth keeping as evidence. Both SO’s got reasonable video though, so there will be no more discussion on this sighting!

The rest of the tar down to the S28 produced a crossing giraffe and most of the usual suspects.

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A few km into the S28 a car was stopped on the side of the road, so we pulled up next to them and asked “What’s up” I initially didn’t understand the Afrikaans and thought they said AWC, but Supernova translated “Serval Kittens”. 3 had just crossed the road and we missed them by seconds.

Supernova has seen Serval in the wild, but nobody in my car has ever seen one, so the search was on, but soon realized that it was a waste of time in grass this long, so reluctantly moved on.

The S137 produced our first elephants of the day and just before the dirt joins the H4-2 again, we found buffalo and a giraffe that loved pulling faces at us.

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A few km later The Cow found her first Kingfisher (Grey-headed, I think). She’s bird crazy, but it’s taking awhile for me to get there.

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Just before Lower Sabie a Kombi stopped in front of us and after a few seconds indicated to us to look into the bush and drove off. I got the fright of my life when we pulled into their position and found a leopard sitting there. After about a minute she got up and disappeared into the bush.

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Who leaves a leopard and carries on? But I thanked them anyway when we bumped into each other at Lower Sabie later. We now had 4 leopards and no lion, what was going on?

To be continued


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 Post subject: Re: Browns in KNP - April 2011
Unread postPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 8:57 am 
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Posts: 52
Location: Northcliff
Hey Bushcraft;

Great stuff :clap: :clap: , amazing how fast one forgets the trip.

That leopard Mom and cub moved fast.... don't think it was our camera abilities coming into question :mrgreen: ??

Been playing with the Video and got these captures off it of the Leopard mom, none worth while of the cub :(

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Spraying the tree

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Flutterby – No joint TR, I’m going to sit back and comment from the “ Peanut Gallery “, Bushcraft is a professional :tongue:

PS: Anyone who is in the market for a new Video Camera, check out the Panasonic HDC-TM700, we got some awesome HD video of this trip on it.

_________________
Kruger - 19th to 24th August 2012


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 Post subject: Re: Browns in KNP - April 2011
Unread postPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 1:03 pm 
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Location: Toti KZN
Morning Drive Continued

The next 10km up past Lower Sabie were unusually quiet until a few km before Nkuhlu where an elephant decided to scare an impala and the SO.

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The usual baboon troop was hanging around the Nkuhlu area and they are always good at giving the kids a laugh.

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We stopped at Nkuhlu for a smoke, coffee and the loo. It was clean and tidy, which was good to see.

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Next hour produced birds, birds and more birds, which lasted all the way to Skukuza. In all the years that we have driven this stretch of road we have never found it to be so quiet with almost no general game, but the SO insisted on stopping for every bird, which ranged from Lapwings with bad colds to undertakers in trees.

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Our little dirt road loop, which is only 2km long, just a few km from Skukuza has produced a leopard for us at some stage on every KNP trip in the last 5 years, so it’s become routine to drive it each day when in the area. No leopards today, but a Brown Snake Eagle gave us a chance to take a close up. (This was the first trip that our loop failed in the leopard department and we drove it many times over different days)

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The plan was to buy breakfast at Skukuza Deli, but to our amazement the breakfast menu had been canned (We now know that this is the case at all Deli’s in KNP), so it was an early lunch and Skukuza breakfasts were cancelled for the rest of the trip.

We ended up sitting around at Skukuza for more than 2 hours, because Supernova’s order got lost in the Deli crowd chaos, so eventually got back on the road in the heat of the day.

The game sightings were very quiet all the way back to the H12 bridge, but what had changed was the volume of traffic and the rows a cars looked like a long snake winding through the bush and this is something that we aren’t used to in KNP, so we ducked onto the S30 thinking that we would find peace on the dirt, but it was also chaos and our midday drive was turning into a Dakar rally, but I suppose that’s Easter in the south.

We did however find our only Klipspringer of the trip and a potential tusker on the S128.

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Afternoon Drive to Follow


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 Post subject: Re: Browns in KNP - April 2011
Unread postPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 11:30 am 
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Location: Toti KZN
Afternoon Drive: H4-2/S130/H4-2/Croc Bridge/H4-2

The tar and the S130 produced all the usual suspects, but we did find our first Bateleur and what I think may be a Martial Eagle, but I’m not sure of the model.

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The usual territorial guys were hanging around the Croc Bridge area and many elephants including this junior that crossed the road.

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About 12km from Lower Sabie we found our first lion of the trip and she was lying right next to the road and didn’t seem bothered by the traffic jam that was starting to build.

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The day visitor traffic was rapidly building up with people heading back to exit at Croc Bridge and tempers, including mine, were starting to flare. It was about then that the lioness seemed to look up at the sky and say “And they call us animals, look at this behaviour”.

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We decided to move on and leave her at the mercy of the frantic crowd that had developed. As we moved slowly past her my SO could have touched her, but she didn’t seem at all concerned by the closeness or the commotion.

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Then a few km later we found another lion sleeping right in the middle of the road. She obviously waited for all the day visitors to move on past and then decided to warm up on the road. We had a car in front of us and it was difficult to get any pics with them there, so we decided to wait for them to move off, but unfortunately they seemed a little panicked by the time and pushed their way past her, which gave her a fright and she started to move off.

A few seconds later a large Male started roaring to our left. We could vaguely make out his shape under a bush, but in the current light it was a waste to even attempt a pic at that distance. Supernova managed a pic of the lioness as she cruised to meet her boyfriend.

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The Garmin now showed 1 minute to gate closing, so we had to move on.

At the braai, later that evening, Melly decided to play with Supernova’s new camera and managed to capture some strange pics like this one of Supernova to the right and me with my Whiskey filled coffee cup to the left. Check it out Theuns, we use lightening to start the braai in KNP :lol:

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Supernova, Melly and clan had chowed their Malaria tablets 2 days before and were still feeling the side effects, but we decided to take ours that morning and were feeling as strong as the old mother Russia, but after a few 2 many Whiskeys I was feeling a little funny, but had no idea what the next day would bring. BTW, don’t take the cheapest Malaria tablets on the market and dop to much.

An embarrassing episode to come later today, but I have to post it before others give their version of events.


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 Post subject: Re: Browns in KNP - April 2011
Unread postPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 9:21 pm 
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April 24th Lower Sabie

Morning Drive: H4-2/S82/H10/S122/Mlondozi/H10

I woke up feeling like I had a massive “Barbie”, so immediately blamed that Malaria tablet, but The Cow and “rats” seemed fine?

The Easter Bunny arrived during the night and all the rats had a bundle of eggs on the end of their beds, which resulted in a loud morning and did wonders for my headache.

We packed the cooler box and were off to Mlondozi, which seems to have become a tradition over the years.

The H4-2/S82 produced a yellow ribbon, kesheshe and SO. What a cool couple!! I wish that we had met in camp where we could have spent more time chatting.

The H10 produced a few of the usual suspects, but generally fairly quiet, although we found this model below, which I think is a Harrier Hawk.

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The S122 had grass so long it was almost level with the windows of the bakkie, so immediately I felt that this was similar to looking for a needle in a haystack.

The next half an hour has to classify as my worst KNP experience in history!!! :redface:

About 5km from Mlondozi I was starting to feel green again and the familiar beads of sweat were starting on the forehead, 6km to the loo!!! A few minutes later I realized that 25km/h wasn’t going to cut it, so I was on the walkie talkie to Supernova, who was in front. “Best pull over, I need to pass now!!” Supernova pulled over and I was up to 40km/h.

With 2km to Mlondozi I said to the SO “I’m not going to make it”, she replied “Go in the bush”, which had Bushpiggy howling with laughter, but I didn’t share a joke. All I could think about was my butt on the gallery of shame, or even worse, getting chased through the grass naked by a lion, so I said “Dig your nails into my arm and distract me”

The SO then came up with another plan “Climb in the back of the bakkie and sit on the cooler box”, which had all the rats howling with laughter. Neither option appealed to me.

The next 1.5km were the longest of my life!!

I hit the ground at Mlondozi car park running, but to my horror no toilet paper!!! Sprint back to the car and steal the kid’s tissues, back to the loo.

5 minutes later and with a more stable blood pressure, I wondered who else was at Mlondozi and what they thought about me running backwards and forwards through the car park. Eventually I decided to slowly sneak out the loo and casually waddle down to the thatched boma, but I felt my head glowing the entire way down. Fortunately nobody seemed to have noticed, so my confidence returned and the skottel breakfast was under way, but the “green feeling” was still there.

A large herd of elephant decided to come down for a drink while we were cooking.

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These elephants gave the kids a chance to practise their photography. Hawkeyes, on the left and Bushpiggy, on the bench, got a lesson from Luckycharm, who’s in the middle

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They found it far easier to take close ups of the rather tame lizards that cruise around when breakfast is on the go.

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The drive back to Lower Sabie was also rather quiet and only a water monitor and a lone buffalo showed themselves.

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 Post subject: Re: Browns in KNP - April 2011
Unread postPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 9:49 pm 
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Afternoon Drive: H4-2/Croc Bridge/H4-2

After a quiet morning drive we hoped that things would pick up for us this afternoon and the tar road to Croc Bridge was the chosen option.

The first sighting was a rather shy kudu, but we eventually managed a pic

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Then just before the S130 turnoff there was a movement of spots in the grass, cheetah!!

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There seems to be a discrepancy now as to how many there were. I only saw 2 adults and 1 junior, but others in my clan insist that there were 2 juniors. (Maybe Supernova could shed some light on how many there were)

The junior was happy to sit still for a pic

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The adults moved off, but kept stopping and waiting for junior to catch up.

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The rest of the drive produced some of the usual guys, otherwise very quiet, however the Gasanftombi Dam local was still hanging around.

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The SO made a chicken dish for supper, so that freed Supernova and I up to do some exploring around camp, so we took the 2 older kids, Luckycharm and Hawkeyes to the Lower Sabie deck to look for hyena, which we hadn’t seen yet.

I was amazed to find very few people on the deck and an empty restaurant, but nevertheless it allowed us more freedom and peace. There were a few other kids on the deck and they stated that we had just missed a hyena, so we decided to sit and wait for him to return and after 15 minutes he cruised past.

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 Post subject: Re: Browns in KNP - April 2011
Unread postPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 2:13 pm 
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April 25th Lower Sabie to Biyamiti

Morning Drive: H4-1/Skukuza/H1-1/S114/S23/S11/H3/Afsaal/H2-2/S114/S139

We could only book in at Biyamiti at 2pm, so we had many hours to kill, therefore a long roundabout drive was chosen. Sadly the pic below sums up our day.

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When you find yourself stopping to take pics of Guinea fowl then you know that you are having a bad day

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The Skukuza sighting board couldn’t help us out, because there were so few magnets available it was impossible to interpret any form of pattern, so after a smoke, a shopping exercise and loo break, we were back on the road.

Renosterkoppies produced a lone elephant that seemed to smell something that we couldn’t see.

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The rest of the drive to Afsaal produced many horned tanks and a few of the usual suspects, but our 3 rats in the back seat were hot and irritated, which resulted in a cat fight, tears, shouting and ended with many pelican faces, so I was relieved to finally see Afsaal, even if it was crowded.

As we crossed the car park we noticed a commotion going on in the corner of the picnic section and Supernova investigated. He found out that a Rhinkals had just cruised through the area and that someone had caught a Skaapsteker and was trying to safely release it.

We tried to figure out what a Skaapsteker was, but the translation cracked us up. All I could think about was a certain Rugby team.

We still had hours to kill, but one can only sit at Afsaal for so long, so if was off to Biyamiti, even if we were going to be early. This 2pm thing is a real stuff up when you have small kids to entertain.

All the usual guys were waiting at the Biyamiti weir

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The SO always insists that Supernova or Melly drive in front on the S139 private Biyamiti road after previous encounters with mad elephants on this stretch, but a few km later Supernova had disappeared ahead of us, so I chugged slowly along hoping that no crazy SO killing elephants had crossed between us.

The next thing the SO screamed “Snake”, the large puffie was crossing the road, but the resultant camera panic that followed left us with a picture of grass and no video. I thought that these guys were meant to be slow.

When we arrived at camp we found out that Melly had organized us permission to sit on the verandas of our units until 2pm, which at least gave the kids a chance to stretch their legs.

Melly also found out that a lioness and cubs had been seen twice about 1km from camp, so we decided to relax in camp and go on a short afternoon drive down the S139, stopping at the view point just before sunset.

Our evening drive followed the pattern of the day and I have to admit we were all a little despondent when we reached camp. The SO managed to get a close up of her favourite bird though.

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The rats enjoyed the braai as always and fortunately decided to embrace the Biyamiti peace.

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We were off to Satara tomorrow and hoped that our luck would change.


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 Post subject: Re: Browns in KNP - April 2011
Unread postPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 9:42 pm 
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I am afraid that you have got yourself a new name, Butchcraft :whistle: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Mr. Butchcraft and Mrs. Witchcraft go to Kruger 8)


Last edited by Micetta on Fri May 20, 2011 9:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Browns in KNP - April 2011
Unread postPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 8:38 am 
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Location: Toti KZN
April 26th Biyamiti to Satara

Morning Drive: S25/H4-2/H4-1/H1-2/H1-3

We had a long drive ahead of us today, so the car packing mission started early.

The first sighting of the day was this Fish Eagle just before the H4-2

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The first few km of the H4-2 produced an elephant crossing

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The next 50km produced an endless train of day visitors and we all lost interest due to the crowds and the continuous stop, start, overtaking, etc , but fortunately things thinned out at the H12 Bridge and we stopped to take a pic of fatty.

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I was relieved when we finally reached Tshokwane as it had been a long drive for the rats and mine were pretty close to having a major boxing match in the back, but what I didn’t realize at the time was that this was going to be our strangest Tshokwane stop ever.

We ordered bacon and eggs, toasted sarmies, etc and settled under the boma to eat, but as I took my first bite of bacon, Hawkeyes shouted “Snake!!!” which caused me to nearly choke on the bacon and I gave up trying to say “Where?”

The snake was on the thatched roof of the shop opposite us, so everyone ran over to get a closer look. It didn’t look like a Boomslang, so what was it? I didn’t like the shape of his head, but it couldn’t be a green mamba, so it must be a green grass snake???

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My stomach was calling me back to the table, so I decided to reverse back in that direction, but as I arrived I saw Melly and another gentleman having what looked like a rather nervous conversation a few meters from our table and Melly whispered “There’s a snake on Hawkeyes chair”

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This really put the cat amongst the pigeons as Hawkeyes was a few seconds away from sitting down and if she hadn’t see the first snake, which was still on the roof, this one would have ended up on her lap. The SO was giving me the hairy eyeball and I guessed what she was thinking, but decided it would be safer to keep quiet.

What to do now, but I remember thinking “That snake is too close to my breakfast and it’s getting cold!!” I think that if I had said that at the time the SO would have slapped me, but I found myself trying to steal bacon without getting bitten.

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A staff member arrived with a rake and successfully captured both snakes and released them into the thicker bush.

A few minutes later and halfway through our breakfast The Cow shouted “Snake!!!” which caused me to choke on my toast now. Another 2 snakes had come out of the thatch, but this time 1 looked more like a Boomslang.

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The staff member repeated his rake capture technique and safe release. It may have been the heat, but we had now seen 4 snakes in 20 minutes.

We all returned to the table, but found that while everyone was distracted, this scallywag had raided the table and stolen what he could, including Supernova’s toast.

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After an interesting breakfast it was loo time, but the SO and all the rats were too nervous to go and Melly was already halfway to the car, but after some convincing The Cow and all the rats were on their way to the ladies.

I was about to “relax” in the men’s when I heard “Snake!!” and screeching kids, which resulted in another near accident on my part and a 50m sprint to the ladies.

This time The Cow was giving me 2 hairy eyeballs and all the kids were talking at once, but all I could hear was Bushpiggy shouting “Snake attack”.

They had walked around the corner and found 2 cleaning ladies with mops ushering a larger green snake into the bush. I found the snake in a tree a few meters away and it looked the same as the others, but bigger, so I had to stand guard while all rushed their pit stop.

Finally I could visit the men’s, but I found myself checking out the thatch first.

I can’t remember what was said to me when I returned to the car, but my ear was still sore 10 minutes later. All I can remember is watching the road and nodding my head every 10 seconds, which seemed to produce the required result.

To be continued


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 Post subject: Re: Browns in KNP - April 2011
Unread postPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 9:01 am 
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Morning Drive Continued

Next up was 2 Saddle-billed Storks checking out their surroundings.

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Mazithi and Kumana dams had most of the usual suspects hanging around, but we didn’t stay long as it was getting very hot.

We stopped at the Baobab next to the S125 turnoff as its produced leopard for us before, but just a few Steenbok today. I was amazed how different it all looked when compared to August last year.

A few km later, the SO shouted “Stop”, so I stopped and looked around “What, where?” She was now getting agitated “Reverse”, so I reversed, “Stop!!”, so I stopped and then clicked as to what was causing the commotion. She loves chameleons and one was entering the road.

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After a 10 minute chameleon photo shoot we were off again.

The little bridge just before Satara produced a buffalo having a mud bath and all the usual guys showed up just outside the camp.

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We arrived at Satara an hour too early and we had driven all the way from Biyamiti and it was boiling hot. Everyone was tired and irritated, so Melly tried her luck at reception, but no joy, so we had to wonder around awhile, which ended up, the sighting board, web cam, back to the sighting board, shop and then some photos of the local Satara residents.

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The SO spotted a Hoopoe, which much to my embarrassment and then laughter, started a lengthy leopard crawl along the grass for a pic.

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We eventually got booked in and unpacked.

To be continued


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 Post subject: Re: Browns in KNP - April 2011
Unread postPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 12:26 pm 
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Posts: 798
Location: Toti KZN
Afternoon Drive: H7/5km up the S39/H7

It was a long drive up to Satara for the rats, so a shorter afternoon drive was the plan.

The H7 and the 1st couple of km of the S39 produced a few of the usual locals, but about 4km up the S39 we found a couple of cars stopped on the side of the road. There was meant to be lions lying in the long grass, so we decided to wait it out for awhile. After a few minutes a couple of heads popped up.

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We hoped that as it got later and cooled down that the lions would get up and walk towards us or cross the road, but unfortunately they chose to walk deeper into the bush and out of sight.

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Our time was running out, so we did a u-turn and headed back towards camp.

Just before the tar Supernova managed to get a pic of this pair having supper.

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A few km down the H7, on the way back to Satara, we found this hyena next to the road. He didn’t look well, had 1 eye missing and the other 1 was bulging. He was very nervous and didn’t hang around long.

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A couple hundred meters further some more hyena showed up. They were in the long grass just off the road and all seemed to be after something in the grass. We could vaguely see what looked like a horn sticking up out of the grass, but the stink indicated that this was an old kill. The ones in the grass were difficult to photograph, but eventually one crossed the road in front of us.

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We hoped that our badger friend that visited us in camp last year would return during the night, but no such luck. I did however sit up late on the veranda in the dark and spotted something running through the open circle in front of our unit, but at that stage it could have been a badger, hyena or a pink elephant.


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 Post subject: Re: Browns in KNP - April 2011
Unread postPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 11:34 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:07 pm
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Location: Toti KZN
April 27th Satara

Morning Drive: S100/S41/S90/S127/Timbavati/H1-4

The famous S100 was the route for the morning and the fairly roundabout drive was planned to end at Timbavati for a skottel breakfast, so cooler boxes, etc made their way into the cars just after 6am.

There’s a small bridge just outside camp on the way to the S100 turnoff and without warning a small female leopard walked out of the bush and lay down on the edge of the riverbed. It was overcast and still fairly dark, but Supernova managed these 2 pics before she got up and walked under the bridge.

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Our first sighting on the S100 was a herd of buffalo relaxing.

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Next up we found plenty of general game

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The resident waterbuck, that we always find on the S100 appeared and then a lone elephant having his breakfast.

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Now, everyone was warned that this was going to be a long drive with no bogs along the way and the plan was to go up the S41 to the S90, but The Cow seemed rather uncomfortable next to me and the rats were unnaturally quiet, so I asked “Who needs the loo?” There was a unanimous show of hands, so I jumped on the walkie talkie and told Supernova that we were heading down to N’wanetsi for a pit stop. He indicated that they would follow.

About 3km before one turns off the S41 to head towards N’wanetsi there’s a bridge over a dry riverbed and as we came over the hill and headed down to the bridge the SO shouted “Leopard!!” A large male was lying in the river bed about 10 meters from the road.

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The loo break was now going to have to wait, because I wasn’t going anywhere.

The leopard was breathing heavily and fast, which made us wonder what had happened just before he chose to relax in the riverbed. Every few minutes he would groom himself and look around, but never seemed stressed by the crowd that was gathering.

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After about half an hour the leopard was still snoozing in the riverbed and Supernova indicated that they were going to N’wanetsi. A few minutes later I saw that my clan were all sitting with crossed legs, so I took one last pic and moved on.

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Supernova made a mate at N’wanetsi and he indicated that there was a Male lion at Sonop, so it was off down the H6 to see if he was still around. Upon arrival there was no lion around, but it ended up perfect timing as he came out the bush for a drink a few seconds later.

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After his drink and some territory marking he was off back to the shade of the bush, so we headed back to the S41 and continued with the planned route.

To be continued


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