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 Post subject: Biyamiti Bush Camp Sightings - May & June 2006
Unread postPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 11:58 am 
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:D Greetings from a cool sunny Biyamiti

Overnight there has been a little bit of drizzle, just enough to bind the dust o the roads.

On our evening drive last night we had a problem with the battery not being able to keep the spotlights on. Benjamin called back to camp for help and we quickly took a new battery out to the vehicle. 15 min later the vehicle was looking like a Christmas tree again – a good drive they had after that, seeing lion, spotted and giant eagle owls, genet and more of the small things.

This morning’s trip to school was good with the impalas running all over the show. One has to be very careful and watch out for the rams chasing each other around.

We saw two lion males next to the road about 12km from camp, just dozing off – typical lazy kings. It was the Bume males that have moved a couple of km east from my last spot a week ago.


We had an elephant bull using a tree to get rid of a nasty itch, quite calm for a guy in musth. He watched us with one eye while he was busy pushing a marula tree around as if it was a twig.
Image

Some more elephant – females with young were also in attendance on the road and we also saw a rather funny looking one with tusks pointing in opposite directions.
Image "notwork problems"

Image

Closer to Crocodile Bridge we had herds of wildebeest and zebra, vultures waiting for thermals to start their day. On the damp road one could see spoor of all kinds of animals, rhino, elephant, hyena, lion, and buffalo (besides the dung).
Image

On the way back the road was alive with mongooses, banded, dwarf and slender. The dwarf mongooses have been extremely plentiful. Always good fun to sit and watch them. The lion was still at the same spot, just more into the bush. I also encountered a duiker ram on the road, but it was not in the mood for a photo – so off he went.

By the time I got back to camp I also had Bateleur, Fish Eagle, Egyptian Geese and a truckload full of smaller birds as well. Just another splendid trip to school.

Warm regards from the bush :D

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Unread postPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 3:54 pm 
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Thanks Steven,

Makes me feel great sitting back here in the office!!!! :evil:

After speaking to you on Sunday afternoon (23rd April) at reception I decided to take a drive down the 18km stretch of road in search for a Leopard. I couldn't believe it when one of the people with me spotted one lying on a rock by the Biyamiti Weir. It was very far off and unfortunately to far away for a decent photo. :(




But what was even more unreal was what we were about to see on our way back to camp.

We turned for home (not to be late for the night drive) after the Leopard climbed off the rock and disappeared into the thick bush. Now slightly behind schedule for the night drive someone in the car said, "we not stopping for any more animals unless we see another leopard." He had hardly finished his sentence when we came around the corner there he was walking down the road.

Image

Image

Image

Image this gives you an idea of how hard they are to spot in the grass at the moment



Initially he crouched down low on the ground, (so typical of leopards) we cut our engine immediately and stopped the car to give him some space. After a short time he decided we were harmless and continued to walk down the road. After a while he walked off the road and lay down right next to the car.

Image


Unfortunately the bushes obstructed a perfect picture. Then he got up and slowly ambled off into the bush.

Image

Steven is this perhaps the same leopard that sniffed your night drive vehicle? We saw him about half a km from the t-junction on the 18km side.

He is the 4th leopard I have seen on the S139. That road has been a bit of a gem for me!

I didn't get the chance to see you before I left and also didn't put the two sightings on the sighting board as we got straight on the night drive truck and were out first thing in the morning the next day!

Anyway enjoy the bush, I’ll have to make a plan to get back soon!!!


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Unread postPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 1:22 pm 
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:D Greetings from a sunny Biyamiti

Kathy, unfortunately I am late for school too often. My daughter keeps on reminding me of the days I dropped her off late :redface: . So I am trying to make it, but some days it is really difficult – how can one just drive by without stopping? :?

Regarding the cat & owl:

The magic of nature and its predators are the fact that they are opportunist making sure that they survive. Generally a Spotted Eagle Owl will go for the easiest prey that it can find. Should your cat present that “easy prey” to the owl – yes it will take it. I am not too sure how much of the warning instinct is left in domestic cats. The size of the cat would probably not present too much of a problem for the owl, but the fact that it is a predator against predator might swing it back in favour of the cat – depending on the alertness of your cats.

Webb – great to hear you had such good luck with the leopards. That 18k’s is one of the most amazing roads in the Park. Sightings on that side just tend to be so special. The fun part is also that you have to find it as there are almost no other cars to do it for you. I can not comment on the pics at the moment – “notwork” is giving me problems again :evil: . I can however say that I am of the opinion that it is the two sub-adult cubs that tend to be so “relaxed” and curios around the vehicles. They operate between 11 and 17 km from camp on the 18k’s.

Warm regards
:D

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Berg & Dal Rest Camp: KNP


Last edited by Stephen on Wed May 03, 2006 1:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Biyamiti Sightings
Unread postPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 1:45 pm 
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:D Greetings from Biyamiti

I am just a tad green this morning. We headed to school this morning, starting earlier than yesterday (don’t want to be late again). We were taking a nice casual drive, saw zebra, impala, wildebeest and slender mongoose, but not much else. At the S25 – S139 junction I passed one of our guests. Coming back to camp a couple hours later I had to learn that they had a leopard at the Bume walking down the road for two km. :mrgreen: Must have missed him by a cat’s whisker (pun intended).

Anyway – I drove up to Lower Sabie (to go and help a friend with his car) and saw rhino dung of probably all the white rhino in the Park. :yaya: There must have been a big party going on on the tar road between Croc Bridge & Lower Sabie last night. A big buffalo herd also crossed the road closer to Lower Sabie. I tried dodging all the dung – but it was really difficult – just too much. I saw a couple herds of elephant and some Bateleur, but generally fairly quiet. (No trace of all the rhino and buffalo!!)

Going back to Biyamiti I had two giraffe practicing some necking on the H5. They were at it for a while, but it did not look too serious. On the S25 between the Bume River and Blazer Creek I found four rhino – crossing horns on the road. I watched them for a while and could hear vehicles around the corner reversing away when some of the action got too close. They were fairly calm though and eventually wandered off into the bush when they felt a bit boxed in with vehicles on both sides. Did not see too much else but it was good fun for one morning – anyway it was time to get to work.

I will try and do some pics when “notwork” is networking again.

Warm regards from the bush.
:D

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Berg & Dal Rest Camp: KNP


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 10:02 am 
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Stephen wrote:
:D I can however say that I am of the opinion that it is the two sub-adult cubs that tend to be so “relaxed” and curios around the vehicles. They operate between 11 and 17 km from camp on the 18k’s.

:D


Hi Stephen

We spotted this sub-adult at Biyamiti weir, must be one of them. This leopard had fresh bite marks on the back legs, don't now if you will be able to see on photos.

Image

Image

See You on Saturday :thumbs_up:

Jacques

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 8:52 pm 
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Hi Stephen

Really great and interesting reports you pass onto us, really wish I could live that way.
I was at Biaymiti for the first time in December, really great stuff and enjoyed.
Just a quick question, which months (summer/winter) would you say game viewing is at its best?

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 4:50 pm 
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:D Hi Craig

It depends what you are looking for. Birds – summer is always better. Photos that look nice probably summer as well, but your game viewing is generally better in winter. One can sort of predict where what is going to be at what time (not quite that easy). Water is the magic word for winter. Coming here in high summer one also need to bring the temperature tolerance with. Yes - cars come with air-cons these days, but you miss out on bush sounds. Sorry I can not give you a direct answer – I have split personalities over this issue.

Warm regards :D

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Berg & Dal Rest Camp: KNP


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 Post subject: Biyamiti Sightings
Unread postPosted: Sat May 06, 2006 4:49 pm 
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:D Greetings from Biyamiti

I have just spoken to ARKS in person at Biyamiti, after she had a rendezvous with Jumbo and Freda this morning and I also have Deville as guest in the camp – lots of forumites close to Biyamiti!! Well this is for you that can not be here now:

ARKS managed a good sighting of Impala today and when she was asked about the rhino close by she could not remember seeing any. She went back to the place and realised why – the grass is so tall only the rhino’s ears was visible above the grass. What a lovely lady she is and one can see she is enjoying every minute of her trip to Kruger.

I have been struggling a little with our “notwork” over the last while, but will hopefully have more luck from now on. I will hopefully have some visuals working again from next week on.

We have seen some interesting sightings in the last couple of days – one of the highlights to me was four massive hyenas coming down the road Thursday morning. They were grunting coming up to the vehicles – stomachs round, filled to the limit. Their torn ears, saliva dripping from their mouths, scruffy coats and black eyes made for interesting subjects :? . Giraffe watched their progress for a while – almost intimidating the hyena – before they all went their own direction.

Lion sightings in the area have also been good yesterday and today with two groups on the H2-2 to Afsaal and four female at the Biyamiti windmill on the 18k’s. We heard some lion close the camp at 4 this morning, but could only find vultures and Bateleur bathing later this morning – must have finished what was left of a midnight feast.

Rhino has been good in the last couple of days, with sightings in all directions ranging from lone bulls to groups of six at a time. Their presence and the nr of middens tell the story of a population doing very well at the moment.

As usual our elephants have played their part as well and one could almost pick off the menu – bull with five legs, bull with a smile, little ones with rubbery trunks and big mamas protecting the youngsters. Most were pretty relaxed though.

Also on the Thursday trip we saw quite a number of common duiker. What was very special on the return trip was when I got a female with young one (sub-adult) and a male in attendance as well 8) . They were fairly relaxed although the male kept hiding behind the bushes. Lovely to see these shy antelope going about their business.

Friday we had a rather quiet walk with warthog, impala and waterbuck the bigger ones to look at. One highlight of the walk though was a Burchell’s Coucal nesting in a buffalo thorn tree. We could just make out the fluffy white chicks inside the roughly constructed nest.

Warm regards from the bush
:D

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Manager: Hospitality Services
Berg & Dal Rest Camp: KNP


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 Post subject: Biyamiti Sightings
Unread postPosted: Wed May 10, 2006 12:57 pm 
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:D
Greetings from the bush

The last couple of days we have had good luck with a wide variety of game excluding the leopard. Lion sightings towards Croc Bridge, ellies and rhino all over, buffalo on the 18k’s yesterday again and hyena in a number of spots.

Going to school this morning has been a very interesting trip. The 4k’s has been very quiet and even the Biyamiti Bridge did not reveal the normal waterbuck on the beach. I must say it was a rather cold morning at just 6.5ºC just after six. Between the Biyamiti and Bume Rivers we had a hyena sniffing around on a marking spot. It was in the same area as last week's sighting and this time I include a photo of one of the clan members.
Image

Passing over the Bume I had to fall in line with another car following two lionesses down the road. One was in milk, not sure whether it is mom to be or a mom has been. The other lioness is the same one I photographed a while ago coming down the S26 from Mpondo dam. She should be pregnant – was with her hubby at the time. They went off the road and we could continue to school – now running a little late. We did not do too much spotting for the rest of the trip to Croc Bridge.

Coming back from school I had a troop of vervet monkeys sunning themselves trying to warm up – temp was only 11ºC at that stage. This one was particularly pleasant to watch.
Image

One of the guests from Biyamiti told me about some more lionesses that they saw after the first two of the morning. Three of them were stalking some impala – splitting up and moving in for the kill … and missed. They went into the bush and were gone. I drove up to the spot and there they were – well two of them anyway - walking down the road, smelling all the lovely flowers :wink: . A third lion roared off into the bush and the two picked up their pace and headed that direction as well.
Image

Not too bad for the morning – I would say. But no ellies, rhino and buff yet. I was not even worried about leopard – too many lion around.

Anyway about 11km from Biyamiti I came around a corner and saw a lioness standing up in the middle of the road – a couple hundred meters on. She was heavily built, full or pregnant or :? … leopard. This was in fact a huge male leopard – spots and all. Slightly shorter in the legs, but any day as powerfully built as any lioness I have seen. His neck was exceptionally heavily built. He proceeded to walk down the road, marking territory, crossed the road, lied down and rolled in some buffalo dung, got up marked some more rolled again. WHOW!! 8) I could not believe my luck. I was in shambles. What camera to use – video, digital or film still. I took video, I took digital and I took film – zwirr went the camera – film finished :redface: . That was a quickest change of film I made. I sat with the leopard for about 10 minutes before a safari vehicle approached from the other side with a noisy diesel enjin. The leopard got up crossed the road walked right past my car and off into the bush. What a sighting – what a leopard. This guy knows he is boss.
Image

I completed the trip adding waterbuck to the total with the day warming up to a better 17ºC at 08:45.

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Berg & Dal Rest Camp: KNP


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 Post subject: Biyamiti Sightings
Unread postPosted: Thu May 11, 2006 1:25 pm 
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:D
Greetings from Biyamiti

We concluded yesterday with sightings of a pair rhino on S25 to Croc Bridge and a group of six at the Biyamiti windmill on the 18k’s.

The ellies came to the party as well in all directions. A group of dagga boys were lying in the Bume River on the S25, resting in the coolness of the river sand.

Going to school this morning was a different story all together – sorry I am lying – it was 6.5ºC again just after six. We saw a white headed vulture on a tree and duiker twice on the 4k’s, impala on the S25, white backed vulture on S25, impala on S25, duiker twice on S25 and so the story continued. Eventually, just before going over the bridge at Croc Bridge we saw two old buff. At least we were on time for school.

Coming back I saw impala, vervet monkey and slender and dwarf mongooses on the S25.
Image

Turing in on the 4k’s kicked off with elephant herd – cows and youngsters. One baby was suckling, but always protected from the car – I could not even get a pic. One can see the diet of the ellies is changing to raisin bushes as the grass is starting to dry out.
Image

A couple of hundred meters further down the road was a rhino walking the road. Probably the big boy putting markings in place last night.
Image

The family of duiker was close to the road again and still is very relaxed. I greeted them and a whole bunch of our guests leaving the camp for home.
Image

Continuing to the camp I had another two sightings of dagga boys – none of them smiling though. This one was particularly scruffy looking – and total oblivious to the onlookers – just eating away at a green spot of grass.
Image


The temp went up to 14ºC at 08:00 on my return to camp.

Penny – thanks for keeping the guests in the camp informed of the sightings.

Warm regards from the bush
:D

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Berg & Dal Rest Camp: KNP


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 Post subject: Biyamiti Sightings
Unread postPosted: Mon May 15, 2006 4:46 pm 
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:D Greetings from Biyamiti

We have had some interesting sightings around Biyamiti in the last couple of days. Our new Duty Manager – Jerry Magale – was on his way to Skukuza the other day and about 12km out on the 18k’she had two leopard walking in the road. The most interesting thing about this was that it was 14:30 in the afternoon. The mother and grown cub was just taking their time walking the road and after a couple of minutes disappeared very gracefully off into the bush.

On Saturday Jerry came to realise why Biyamiti area is so loved by many. He was out on an evening drive and had his lucky packet with him. I can not give you all the stories behind the stories, but let me suffice by giving you a name-list of the mammals on the drive:
Elephant
Scores of white rhino
Buffalo
Porcupine
Civet
And just to top it – leopard (no lion though)

On Saturday we had news that the two nomads decided to come back east again. They were seen just in from the S139 – S25 T-junction, officially making them Biyamiti’s nomads again. :wink: The lion sounds of the last couple of nights have been tremendous – maybe there is something in the air (and it is not just winter). We also heard some lion from the 18k’s side and are keeping our eyes open for Tom, Dick and Harry.

Elephant, buffalo and rhino sightings have been very good – especially to Croc Bridge and on the 18’ks. This one was playing in a pool close to the Selati railway line crossing the S25.
Image

On Sunday, mothers day, we had breakfast out in our garden (Prepared by Tarina - my daughter - and myself). We were blessed with a brilliant morning and a whole host of birds: Arrow marked babblers, red-billed woodhoopoe, orange-breasted bush shrike, three types of Zazu’s, glossy and burchell’s starlings, paradise flycatcher and many more 8) .

Today has been an elephant day, herds and lone bulls in all directions. We also saw a couple of buff down in the Biyamiti. There were three kills on the way to Croc Bridge. Saw the stomachs of two impala on our out trip this morning with some hyaena prints in the area and a whole party of vultures closer to Croc Bridge. They were about to leave so I presumed the meal to be finished.

Warm regards from the bush
:D

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Manager: Hospitality Services
Berg & Dal Rest Camp: KNP


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 Post subject: Ellies
Unread postPosted: Mon May 15, 2006 5:34 pm 
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:D
Hi Salva

The porcupines are actually quite cute - magic to see them on the road.

Our ellies up late has been generally good, but like Penny had a while ago – one can run into one of the difficult ones as well. Due to our fairly dense vegetation it is easy to surprise or be surprised by elephant so slow driving is essential.

Katja just arrived and says hi to you all.
Thanks Bert and DuQues - I will try and limit my shakes with my blue pod. :wink:

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Manager: Hospitality Services
Berg & Dal Rest Camp: KNP


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 Post subject: Biyamiti Stories
Unread postPosted: Tue May 16, 2006 2:27 pm 
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:D

Nico

Can you picture this for an illustration?

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8602
:D

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 Post subject: Biyamiti Sightings
Unread postPosted: Wed May 17, 2006 11:06 am 
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:D Greetings from Biyamiti

Today I am sitting here with mixed feelings typing this trip report. The trip I am referring to was a nightly rush to Malelane gate with a guest in severe pain and hardly able to breath. I got alerted to the problem at around 20:00 and quickly made the calls for an ambulance to come in for the pick-up and ranger to escort the ambulance. As the ambulance got dispatched form Nelspruit we decided to start our journey from this side and meet the ambulance on the way to Malelane Gate. At 20:30 we were on our way and I was trying to miss as much as possible of the bad patches on the road. It was difficult and I could not help but feel guilty every time I went through a dip and heard the lady gasping in pain.

Luckily :? , under the circumstances, we did not encounter too many animals on the road. We did see three big male lions walking the road at the S25 – S114 junction 8) . As it was the first lion in a week for the guests the lady did muster a brief look at the magnificent guys walking pass the vehicle. We met up with the ambulance a little further on and transferred the lady across. As the rangers were busy monitoring a bush fire the escort left us and I assumed that duty up to the gate. I am relieved to say that all looks fine and the report from the hospital was fairly good this morning.

I turned around at Malelane gate at about 22:00 and started the return journey. The road was quiet again and the lion moved on up the S114 so we did not see them again. We did see a lot of scrub hare and came upon an elephant cow that did not particularly like the vehicle's lights. She was good enough to let us pass without too much trouble – but she did speak her mind in a very load trumpet. :wink:

About three km from the 4k’s turnoff on the S25 we got a small female leopard in the road. She was a little skittish at first and went off the road. After a while she continued her journey down the road and we followed her for a couple of hundred meters before she disappeared into a dense creek. We got back home safely and on the stroke of midnight made it to bed – with the whooping of hyaena and the roaring of lion in the distance.

Yesterday had been a good day in most directions.

Lion on the S25 – two females (probably the same ones Katja saw). There were also numerous rhino and elephant sightings down that side. We ended the day (17:15) with two leopard at the Biyamiti Bridge on the S25.

The 18k’s had rhino (5 at Blinkwater) and elephant early morning. At the S114 junction (200m south to Malelane) there was a male leopard. Some guests watched it for 45 min. I also heard of wild dog just north of Afsaal and another group between Skukuza and Lower Sabie. It was also a good day for raptors and numerous ones were spotted including: - Martial, Bateleur, Tawny and fish eagle. The vultures also seem to favour the area at the moment.

Warm regards from the bush :D

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Last edited by Stephen on Wed May 17, 2006 12:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue May 23, 2006 11:02 pm 
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Hi Stephen, this is what a made for your story, "Shooting a Rhino". :wink:

Image :wink:

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