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 Post subject: Duke Ellieton-A Journey of Discovery-June 2011
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2011 9:24 pm 
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We have been meaning to go to Mapungubwe for a while and now can live the dream. :dance:

16/17 June: Leokwe Camp
18 June: Limpopo Forest Tented camp.

So much has been written about this World Heritage Site and National Park we just had to make a trip.

Tell you all about it when we get back :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: A Journey of Discovery
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 6:56 pm 
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We left Centurion at 6.00am and arrived at Mapungubwe at 11.30am. The distance from Centurion is 501 km and the roads are in great condition, no potholes. We took the N1 till Polokwane and then the R521 to Alldays and Mapungubwe.

Much has been written about the history of Mapungubwe so I will not repeat it here.

The view of the Information Centre as you approach the Main Gate.

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The Entrance

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We stayed at Leokwe camp, on the Eastern side first.

Mapungubwe is like many places we have visited but at the same time unlike any one place having its own unique sense of place.

Ancient baobabs adorn the plains

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and weathered sandstone cliffs break the skyline

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Shepherd trees hang on

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Mopani shrubs not unlike the area around Olifants and Shingwedzi display their wonderful winter hues

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Fish and Verreaux’s Eagles soar the sky

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If I could describe Mapungubwe very simply I would say

It Rocks

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And it Rolls

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We loved it so much we are planning another trip but you be the judge.

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 Post subject: Re: A Journey of Discovery
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:49 am 
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Thank You Micetta, Katja, anne-marie, Shi, Meandering Mouse, Pumbaa :thumbs_up:

Leokwe camp is about 12 km from the main gate and some of the animals you may see on this short drive:

Shy zebra

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Dassie

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Brown hooded kingfisher

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Waterbuck

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Klipspringers

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Giraffe sharing a joke

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Mocking Cliff Chat

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 Post subject: Re: A Journey of Discovery
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2011 1:31 am 
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Leokwe, the main rest camp in Mapungubwe, is nestled amongst the sandstone cliffs. The Rondavels are well set out, private and fully equipped.

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The camp is unfenced and has a swimming pool set amongst rocks, similar to the pool at Pretoriuskop.

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The shower is Al fresco

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Shower pic taken from outside

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wonderful showering under the moon

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and the surrounding baobabs capture the last of the light as the sun sets

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 Post subject: Re: A Journey of Discovery
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 11:21 am 
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The tree top walk is a mere 3 km from Leokwe camp and like the name suggest you walk in the tree canopy.

It is a WONDERFUL place and one of the reasons why we will return to Mapungubwe. No amount of words or pix can describe the experience but I will try to set the scene for you. We spend 3 hours on both the days we were at Leokwe in the tree top walk. The area is similar to Pafuri and Crook's Corner in terms of vegetation. I can just imagine what it will be like in summer with all the migrant birds present

It is a wooden structure and you are greeted by these signs at the entrance.

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Before you know it you are in the canopy. Miss Sharifa catching me unawares here.

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There are benches at regular intervals where you can just take in the ambience and listen to the birds.

The walk ends at a hide overlooking the Limpopo River.

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Some of the birds we saw:

White fronted bee-eaters

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The very noisy and odd looking Retz's Helmet Shrike

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Meyer's parrots

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TBC...........

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 Post subject: Re: A Journey of Discovery
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:39 am 
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Pumbaa, anne-marie, Micetta, Katja, flying cheetah, Lionspoon :thumbs_up:

At the entrance to the tree top walk you should find Meves Starlings

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More birds seen from the tree top walk:

In the distance an African Harrier Hawk

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A liitle bee-eater

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a bushbuck too (no not in the trees :whistle: )

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crested barbet

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green wood hoopoe

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black headed oriole

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purple roller

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 Post subject: Re: A Journey of Discovery
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 11:52 am 
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If you start of at Leokwe camp and drive in a clockwise direction you will end up at Leokwe after about 60km and this includes the 4x4 loop roads.

Join us on this drive through the eastern part of Mapungubwe.

You will pass the tree top walk and then the confluence where the Shashe River flows into the Limpopo and the meeting point of Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa (reminds me of Crook’s corner and Unions End).

There is a picnic site at the confluence and then you enter the 4x4 roads.

We had an excellent sighting of a Pearl Spotted Owlet, pity about its unnatural choice of perch on a power line, just after we entered the 4x4 road

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The road now hugs the Limpopo River for a few kilometers and the area is ideal for leopards and Pel’s Fishing Owl are said to be seen but the vegetation is dense and you would struggle to spot anything.

We did see a black headed heron cathing the early morning sun

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and some scenic shots

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 Post subject: Re: A Journey of Discovery
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 8:17 pm 
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Thank you anne-marie, michel367, Elsa, Val, Katja, Rino, flying cheetah, Pumbaa, Chickadee :thumbs_up:

The road now hugs the Limpopo River for a few kilometers and the area is ideal for leopards and Pel’s Fishing Owl are said to be seen but the vegetation is dense and you would struggle to spot anything.

In contrast the Khongoni loop is open plains and in my opinion possibly the best game viewing area on the eastern side.

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and you will also see plenty blue waxbills

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and we cuaght a Verreaux's eagle in conversation with a starling :D

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The Kanniedood Loop produced eland but could not get a pic and this is a good road for those who enjoy 4 x 4 driving although the steeper ascents/descents have been paved :evil: taking some of the fun of off roading away

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and the lovely colur of the mopani leaves all around you.....SIGH

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 Post subject: Re: A Journey of Discovery
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 12:17 pm 
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Thanks Shi :thumbs_up: Will definitely return for that canopy walk :D


We continued on our drive towards the main gate. Just after the informationn centre and before the gate there is a dam which is not shown on the map.

You will see spoonbills

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Egyptian geese

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a grey heron

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and this pied kingfisher taking the plunge.

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So what about predators you ask. Lion, cheetah and wild dog are listed as uncommon. We did find lion spoor on the Khongoni Plains.

Caracal and serval, aarwold and aardvark are also listed and the leopard is said to be common but they are elusive and secretive. I did however have Miss Shatifa with me so a leopard is always a possibility :wink:

Tomorrow we move on westwards to the Limpopo Forest Tented Camp

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 Post subject: Re: A Journey of Discovery
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 4:59 pm 
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Our second morning at Leokwe we were ready to leave camp at 6.30am. There camp is unfenced so no gates and queues. Just a notice not to drive after sunset and time that you can leave in the morning.

About a kilometer out of camp Miss Sharifa said leopard :D :dance:

It was still dark and he was on the move

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he crossed the road ahead of us and as we approached we got a great view of him sitting in the grass :dance: but could not get a pic.

he was up and gone

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We did our drive, returned to camp, did breakfast and then another drive as you can only take up your units at 2.00pm.

You have to book in for the Limpopo Forest Tented camp (LFTC) at the main gate and we were advised not to take the Den Straat Road but go back to Alldays/Pondrift road and then get to the LFTC from that end.

We settled into our unit which was just as welcoming us the one at Leokwe :D

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and the baboons had found a way into the pool area to have a drink of water

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 Post subject: Re: A Journey of Discovery
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 11:11 am 
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:thumbs_up: Val for Oct/Nov :D

I can start a business here :whistle:

That afternoon we decided to go sit at Maloutswa Pan Hide which turned out to be the right decision. The hide is 3 km from the camp. We were there at 3.00pm and had a wonderful 3 hours at the hide.

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There were birds and squirrels around

Crested barbet

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Meves Starling

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Squirrel - Micetta :wink:

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Pumbaa :wink:

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and then they were upon us suddenly :shock: and all over the place.........

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 Post subject: Re: A Journey of Discovery
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 10:06 pm 
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There is a parking area at the hide. You have to walk for about 50 meters, maybe more, between this reed fence before you get to hide. So here we are looking at the birds and warthogs when suddenly from behind us they appeared. Amazing how such a large animal can move so silently

We were thrilled, scared :big_eyes: and delighted :D all at the same time. Never been this close to ellies when not in a car - my excuse for the shaky viseo :big_eyes:

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One had a tusk growing backwards :shock:

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and just to put things into perspective Pumbaa :wink:

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They went away as sudeenly as they came.

We settled down but did not have long to wait for another wonderful visitor :dance: :D

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 Post subject: Re: A Journey of Discovery
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 8:10 pm 
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Thank You anne-marie, Katja, Lowveldboy - glad to have you back on the forums, Val, Cape of Storms, Micetta, Elsa, Pimbaa, Crested Barbet

The ellies moved on and then we saw a juvenile gymnogene (african harrier hawk) in a tree in the distance. It came closer and fished out a frog from the pan

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it was soon looking for another meal

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 Post subject: Re: A Journey of Discovery
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 8:18 am 
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Thank You Micetta, anne-marie, Val, flying cheetah, Pumbaa, Katja :thumbs_up:

The western side of Mapungubwe has a short network of roads in and around the The Limpopo Forest Tented Camp and the Maloutswa Pan Hide. There is a longer 4x4 road, the Mopanie Loop, but we enjoyed the hide so much we decided to return there the next morning and spend about 3 hours there before returning to camp, packing up and heading home :(

On the way to the hide you will pass through this area where they are re-establisjing the indigenous forest

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At the hide we were greeted by 2 yellow billed storks

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and then there was one

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 Post subject: Re: A Journey of Discovery
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 9:38 pm 
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Thank you PNF, Lionspoon, anne-marie, Pumbaa, Lowveldboy, Shi, Meandering Mouse, Micetta, Val, Katja, cheetah2111, Chickadee, Elsa :thumbs_up:

We then had a herd of zebra and impala arrive at the waterhole, and this presented an oppurtunity for some reflection pix

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and there were doves too

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Too soon it was time to leave.

Thank you for joining us on this journey :thumbs_up:

See you soon :wink:

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