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 Post subject: Elsa Hot Summer nights & all things Wild & Wonderful. Feb'12
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:30 am 
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That time of year has arrived once again when we are about to start off on the first of our annual trips to Kruger. :dance:

This time it will be Klystron, DebM and myself who set off bright and early tomorrow morning, hopefully with nothing forgotten!
Deb is here from the UK and its wonderful to have her here with us. :D

Our itinerary starts with 7 nights in our time share just outside Kruger Gate where we will be doing daily drives into the park.
2 nights in the Blyde Canyon
then back into the park at the the Phalaborwa Gate, up to Mopani for 3 nights,
2 nights at Punda Maria,
2 at Shingwedzi,
3 at Satara,
2 at P/kop
2 at Skukuza for the cricket weekend and our final night will be at Lower Sabie.

I will try and log in when I can otherwise I will be sending SMS updates in frequently via several kind mites who have offered to post them for us. :k

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 Post subject: Re: Hot Summer nights and all things Wild & Wonderful.
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:46 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2006 10:51 am
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Location: Durban
News just in from Elsa & Co.

"Had a better day, Black rhino, buffs and lions. Very hot again today, now back at the lodge, will do Lake Panic later. Had nice meets with WendyA on Saturday and Sunday. Please send my love to all on the forum."

They're so lucky to have seen a Blackie - can't wait to see the photo's.


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 Post subject: Re: Hot Summer nights and all things Wild & Wonderful.
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:16 am 
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Sorry for the delay everyone... sms in yesterday.

Thursday 23rd
"Hot as hell again today! Crash of 7 rhino together today, ellies and buff plus the usual and a very interesting raptor. No more cats to date!"

I'm intrigued to know what raptor they saw.

Unfortunately Klystron is fighting off a chest infection, so hope he gets better quickly.


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 Post subject: Re: Hot Summer nights and all things Wild & Wonderful.
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:04 am 
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SMS just in from Elsa & Co. ...

"at Mopani now. First up this am, 2 lions! Lots of other great sightings, over a thousand white storks as well. A littler cooler today after a very hot weekend."

Seems like we're going to have a very nice TR to look forward to on their return home.


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 Post subject: Re: Hot Summer nights and all things Wild & Wonderful.
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:43 pm 
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Update from Elsa & Co. ...

"Amazing day today! Lions and Cheetah in a stand off with Ellies in the mix and at one stage even chasing the Lions. Plus other interesting sightings. Now at Shingwedzi having lunch."

What a sighting to experience - Wow.

Now, I really can't wait to see their photo's!!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Hot Summer nights and all things Wild & Wonderful.
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 6:34 pm 
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Latest update from the bushwackers!

"Driving up to Punda Maria yesterday numerous Ellies and 3 nervous Roan. Lion on the Mahonie loop last evening plus a few poachers with dogs seen! Reported. Up to Crook's Corner today, pouring with rain nearly all the way. Very green and lush. Teeming with Nyala and general game. Nice pride of Lions at Klopperfontein loop hunting Giraffe. Tomorrow off down to Shingwedzi for 2 nights. Love to all."

These updates get better and better!


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 Post subject: Re: Hot Summer nights and all things Wild & Wonderful.
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:39 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Hi Everyone, this is a very delayed post, sorry, we've been away over the weekend with no access to internet.

Received on Saturday afternoon 13h37

"Sitting here under a cyclone warning with a long drive down to Satara due tomorrow! Looking a little threatening currently but not too bad so far. fingers crossed.


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 Post subject: Re: Hot Summer nights and all things Wild & Wonderful.
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:16 pm 
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Glad i can finally do a "live" report! Thanks Tawny for posting in the meantime. Currently at Satara where it is very hot, quite windy too, maybe a storm tonight but no longer any threat from the cyclone at the moment. Sightings a little slow today despite driving up Timbavati but just having a little rest and we will go out again later. Just great to be here. Thanks for all the wonderful comments.

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 Post subject: Re: Hot Summer nights and all things Wild & Wonderful.
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 2:24 pm 
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Afraid Satara didn't live up to its "big cat" reputation for us this time but we did have some very nice sightings of other things. with the long grass and plentiful standing water around spotting is pretty difficult. on the way down to Pretoriuskop we had Lions just before Skukuza, 2 males and a mating pair, stunning black maned male. grass also exceptionally long here! voortrekker road still closed which we were hoping to do! Getting excited for the cricket weekend.

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 Post subject: Re: Hot Summer nights and all things Wild & Wonderful.
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 8:31 am 
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Location: Durban
Morning everyone, just received SMS from Elsa:-

"Hi from the Bushwackers who are just getting ready to leave Pretoriuskop for Skukuza. Nothing major to report sighting wise. Hopefully our last few days will produce something more than long grass!"

Wow, I can't believe their 3 week trip is almost at an end. I do hope that Kruger gives them some nice "titbits" during there last few days there.


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 Post subject: Re: Hot Summer nights and all things Wild & Wonderful.
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:12 am 
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SMS this morning:-

"We are currently sitting looking at a beatiful leopard in a tree en route to Croc Bridge. Cloudy here today, but some blue sky."

What a fantastic way to end a trip... LIT!!! :dance:


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 Post subject: Re: Hot Summer nights and all things Wild & Wonderful.
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:17 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Durban
and just when you think that was good, this sms comes in...

"And now lions on a Giraffe kill next to the road! Quite a sendoff."

Wow, I'd say.


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 Post subject: Re: Hot Summer nights and all things Wild & Wonderful.
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:44 am 
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Now back home and as always trying to adjust to life outside of our wonderful Kruger is very difficult.

Unfortunately my computer seems to want a longer holiday than us as it has gone on the blink, seems it may be the power supply so I am on SO's computer in the mean time until we can get it repaired.

Many thanks for all the replies and good wishes during our 24 nights in the park, can't believe it's over but only 3 months to wait and we will be back for our second trip. :dance:

Very happy to have been able to attend my second cricket weekend which was wonderful, chatting to all the friendly mites and meeting new people and renewing old acquaintances.

I promise to get to the pics and report proper asap but as its Debs last week with us we would like to spend as much time as possible with her, inbetween the packing for our upcoming move, seems we will be pretty busy in the next few weeks! :tongue:

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 Post subject: Re: Hot Summer nights and all things Wild & Wonderful.
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:52 pm 
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Ok, lets get started! :thumbs_up:
Hope you are all ready for the trip!

On the 17th Feb, DebM who had come out from England for a visit, Klystron & myself set off on the first of our twice yearly trips to Kruger.

After a very easy transit through Swaziland we finally arrived at Croc Bridge gates, a stop off to get cameras and binocs out, yellow ribbon tied on and finally through the gates with no hassles, my brand new Wild card used for the first time and Deb's renewal papers all in order.

By this time it was very hot and we still had to make our way all the way through to the Kruger Gate and onto our time share lodge for the next 7 nights.

In fact by the time we reached the H11 I recall the temp being something close to 40C and we knew we had arrived in Kruger in summer. :shock:

Deb was the note taker on this trip and as she still has to forward me the said notes, I am going to have to rely on the old memory as to what and when and where we did/saw what, or otherwise just wing it! :wink:

With some shock I see the only pic I have for this day is 1 lonely Nyala there were in fact 4 of them but they were in thick undergrowth and weren't making it easy so the rest of the pics were rubbish.

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18th Feb - Kruger Gate

I don't think we went in too early today as we normally allow ourselves a bit of respite after the long day in the car the day before.

We decided to take the S3 River road and we soon realised that our job of spotting animals was not going to be easy this time around as the grass was longer and thicker than even in previous years. :doh:

A general scene and an idea of how long the grass was.

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Then we came a Giraffe family and one thought it could hide from us!

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but we can see you and what a mouthful of food you have!

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Then Mum crossed over

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followed by the junior

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The beautiful summer visitors are such a joy to see such as this European Bee-eater

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Back on the S1 and then the S65 and a little family of Zebra especially for Jock!

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We had noticed some of the flood damage on the drive up the day before and now here was more evidence of what had transpired a month before, and it really was quite shocking and brought it all home.

This was the damage done by the bridge on the H1-1 at De Laporte's waterhole

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We then made our way to Skukuza for a little mini meet with Wendy & Pumbaa. :D

As we were quite early we decided to have lunch first and I must admit it was not a very successful or pleasant meal but we did complain and the manageress came and heard our problems and rewarded Deb and Klystron with a free ice-cream.

Then it was time to wait on the bench by the old Fig tree and soon along came Wendy, followed a little while later by Pumbaa who I have met before and how lovely it was to chat away and catch up on all the news.
In fact so much nattering got done that it was only afterwards I realised we hadn't taken any pics! :slap:

We arranged to meet with Wendy again the next day at Orpen Dam and where Hilda and Barry would also be.
but more of that later! :wink:

I did notice that the fence along the river where that awful accident had taken place some months before has now all been repaired and is in good order even with a signboard, just in case!

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We then decided to take a visit to one of my favourite places Lake Panic

Everything seemed to be in good order and the lake itself very full and just as peaceful as I remember it.


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The Water Thick-knees in their usual spot.

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 Post subject: Re: Hot Summer nights and all things Wild & Wonderful.
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 3:13 pm 
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Right, here we go again, taking a break from packing and my other duties that I am supposed to be learning! :wink:

WendyA wrote:
I'm never going to live this down, am I???!!! :redface: :redface: :redface:
Wendy, you are totally forgiven, it was an honest mistake and one I am sure most of us have made at some time or the other! I know I have so :thumbs_up:

Many thanks to all for the wonderful comments and coming along for the ride. :clap:

Feb 19th - Kruger Gate

We wake up to a light drizzle today and much cooler than yesterday which is such a huge relief and one felt like running out and doing a little dance in the rain! but I didn't!

We made our way along the H11 & H4-1 towards the Low level causeway over the Sabie River.
Again we are quite shocked to see the amount of debris and the level of the river during the floods but this bridge itself looks to have withstood the forces.

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Its lovely to sit in the little pull outs and enjoy the scenery and relax for a little while.

Water Thick-knees also chilling!

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Pumbaa & Timon had the same idea and we had a quick chat to them on the bridge.. :D

We carried on and a little way along the H1-2 one comes across a firmly closed off road, another reminder of the devastation.
So we turn around and make our way back across the Sabie and on towards the green high level bridge and the H12.

I have some pics of the substantial damage to that bridge as well but will post them at a later stage.

Black-chested Snake Eagle also looking a little water logged.

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The persistant rain went through stages of hard and soft and so the windows went up and down at varying stages throughout the day, but the smell of the wet grass and bush was just wonderful.

We stopped off at a muddy and sodden Leeupan

I always love to see the changes there from season to season and year to year, its never really the same.

Again we seem to be tailing Pumbaa & Timon!

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A Allen's Lesser Gallinule was busily foraging around in the water's edge.
I was thrilled to find this bird again after an absence of a few years when it used to be a regular visitor to Lake Panic.

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A stop off at Tshokwane and another :shock: moment, even tho I had seen pics of it, seeing it all fenced off and in total disarray brings it home so well. :(
The toilets are very welcome and kept very nice and clean..
It was raining quite hard at that point so I couldn't get a decent pic.

As we still had a bit of time to spare before our meet with Wendy we tried to take the S35 loop road to Orpen Dam but again, so far and no further, road blocked off no doubt the river part damaged.

So we had no option but to retrack and go there by the tar road and from the other direction.

When we arrived Wendy was already there and waiting.

A very wet Orpen Dam full to the brink and no sign of the water Lettuce that was so prevalent when last we were there. Sure the flood waters would have taken care of that.

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This bird was sitting way over on the other side of the dam and was intriguing us all as to what it could be and now seeing the best pic we could manage under the circumstances, I think and according to my Raptor guide book a
Moulting Sub-adult Tawny Eagle but I am also open to corrections if anyone thinks differently!

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After a nice chat and something to drink we went our separate ways, and ours took us up the H10
Wendy also went that route but as we had quite a bit further to go than she did we had to go a little quicker.

Wendy had had a nice sighting of Hyenas at their den earlier but by the time we got there all was peaceful and quiet and it was obviously siesta time.

We did get a road block in the form of a striking Chameleon

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and a Juv martial Eagle preening itself after the rains.

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Wendy had also told us of a Leopard with a fresh kill on the road towards Lower Sabie so we drove with eyes peeled hoping we would be lucky enough to find it and there were the tell tale cars at the side of the road but Mr/Mrs Leopard had obviously had its fill and was parking off making it a very difficult sighting. :doh:

See if you can spot the tail, its a beautiful tail and a few spots as well! 8)
and the only proof we have of the LIT.

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I will make it a bit easier for you!

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And that seems to be that for today! but I will be back with more as soon as I can.

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