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 Post subject: Heksie On the stoep of the Olifants Feb 2012
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:07 am 
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So all of you are thinking? Why if I said that I'm trying to come up with an awesome, iconic and totally spectacular title, I would use this Image lame Image one? Well, the answer is quite simple:
1) Nothing is as lekker than chilling on a stoep and having sundowners after a drive in the Kruger
2) This stoep had almost the best view in the Kruger
3) And a stoep is always open to someone that pass by, so if they feel like it, they can join in the storytelling. Image

So this is the view from stoep, and believe me it is big enough for all of you, that we are going to occupy while I'm going to share my stories with you...

Image

You see my mum and I had our first mother-daughter excursion in October just after my gran passed away and we decided that we would like to make this a tradition. We booked a riverview tent for a weekend at Lower Sabie and was verrrrry excited about that! But as you may know murphy's law, a week before we left, we where phoned by SanParks and informed that because of the flood we would not be able to stay in our tent and that they can either give us other accommodation or we can choose another camp or weekend... Decisions.... Decisions Image
I sooooo wanted a riverview and then she suggested that we go to Olifants and they would sort out the rest :thumbs_up: OK, why not?

Early Thursday morning I go to work (6:30), because the men there are just lost without me :slap: I quickly prep the guys and then I leave at 9:00 to go and buy the meat and veg for the weekend. My mum had to work till 16:00 on the Thursday so I had to keep myself busy with shopping and packing and and and. I arrived in Bronkhorstspruit at 11:00 had time to visit the rest of the family (Dad, sis and the 2 snotties) Well, it was 13:00 and I was bored Image and then I decided to create my masterpiece (well if I had better machinery it would have been).
TA-DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
THIS IS MY YELLOW RIBBON

Image

I left at 15:00 and got my mum in Witbank and we were on our way to Sabie Park because we would only be at he Kruger Gate after dark and we needed a place to sleep. We arrived at 20:30 and went to bed in minutes after planning the route for the next day...Image

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 Post subject: Re: On the stoep of the Olifants
Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:32 pm 
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The official day 1 starts and we are very excited Image /f6825166d011b694df40af7da05474cd.gif[/img][/url]Image
I just have to warn you if you are here to see a lot of leppies and kitties and doggies (this aren't the place-this was a weekend with special sightings and a lot of laughter, a weekend that will stay with me for years to come)

We enter at Phabeni gate (so let me tell you a bit about my mum: she is unique and a bit crazy.
She decided that our drive for the day will be: Enter via Phabeni gate->S1->H11->H4-1->LS->H10->H1-3->H1-4->Olifants(final destination). We had only 13 hours to do this drive????? Image

So in we go (1st one at the gate as usual :thumbs_up: ) and on the road doing a safe 30km/h checking left and right with our farlookers on the dash and cams around our necks Image

I spot the first animal and just like in December they are beautiful and posing( they never disappoint me), unfortunately with it still being a bit dark I only got one nice pic. Image

Image

After that we go do the dam (the name can't find its way into my mind) and we see hippos grazing...

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And then we see that a safari truck has stopped exactly where we saw a leppie before (could it be? is it she? :hmz: ) no-no-no. A beautiful fish eagle above the stream and posing oh so lovely!

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And I'm all absorbed in the beauty of this magnificent bird when my mum starts tugging on my shirt and asks what is in the water... :slap: Moooooooooom I'm busy with the birdy! She doesn't stop with it and I look down and in excitement jump up and scream for her to just take pics NOW PRONTO!!!!!! I'm a bit ashamed that I didn't look earlier! Image Now before I show you the pic I just want to say this pic show what type of weekend we had and with that it was one of the highlights of the weekend! I think it actually is the highlight of any Kruger trip I have ever had! Image

Now what is in the stream?

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What can it be?
Yeah I hope all of you are excited as I am!!!!!
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A CAPE CLAWLESS OTTER

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Sorry that was the best pics, it was so quick and still a bit dark and I was so excited that I blurred all the rest of the pics Image

So this is a little taste of what is to come... :tongue:.

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 Post subject: Re: On the stoep of the Olifants
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 2:40 pm 
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Day 1: After the Otter

We are sooooo excited because if this was the introduction what can the Kruger offer us for the rest of our trip... Image We follow the S1 to Skukuza and was greeted by these sightings...
A Wahlberg Eagle
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I toilet greeted us (didn't know they were seen in the wild) Image
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And I really don't see myself as a birder... :slap:
Firstly because of the fact that I only know about 15 birds and I really never looked for them and took pics but it seem that this was a weekend of a lot of beautiful birdies Image I didn't complain because this was a new adventure with a lot of experiences... I am explaining myself because here is two more birdies that we saw sharing a tree.
Juvenile Bateleur
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White backed vulture
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Also another statement: It truly saddens me, but I am releasing myself from the title 'leopard queen' because I only saw 1 this weekend and are a bit ashamed to show the pic Image

We were driving on the H11 towards Skuks when again my mum shouted: 'STOP! Leopard!' I had such a fright that when I saw the leppie crouching-stalking toward us, I saw that he had a skrik as well :slap: I reversed to try to let my mum get the best shot so when I stopped at last, switched on the cam and pointed it to the leppie. This was what I got...Image

Image

He was actually stalking impies I think and we gave him away because as soon as I braked and started reversing he went the other way and the impies started barking... eish sorry leppie...

From Skuks we took the H4-1 to Lower Sabie and a few colorful friends decorated the trees Image
European Bee eater
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Southern Carmine Bee eater
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They really did liven up the H4-1! :tongue:

Now spotting the animals were a different story, I think they were afraid of us because all of them were hiding (maybe it was the bright YR) Image My pics don't lie...
The buff
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Vervets
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The water monitor even ran into the grass when he saw me approaching...
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I gave up, this weekend will then only be a birding expedition... Image

to be continued...

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 Post subject: Re: On the stoep of the Olifants
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:25 pm 
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Day 1 continues...

So we drive on-with high hopes looking for animals that won't hide from us, we are not crazy Kruger people Image or are we? Image
But the animals start warming up to us and we see this wartie coming to greet us
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Now my mum love these stinkbombs and she start having a conversation with him (like he understand crazy human-baby talk) Image even when she arrived she gave us the Image what do you think you're doing Image stare...
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I tell my mum we are getting dirty looks so we decide to move on. We pass the LS highwater bridge and see the devastation from the floods. (my mum start getting pic crazy) BBM'ing everybody and saying oh gosh look at this bridge...Image Well it looked awful but you can see that the bush was starting to heal itself-what a miraculous thing-NATURE

I drive on and we see a lot of cars in the road 'LION' (yes, I call it the whole time) and I as we crawl towards the other cars a troop of bobjans greets us and not my golden kitties...Image But don't fret the sadness quickly disappears because they start with their antics and entertain us for a good while :thumbs_up: I was entranced by these two boeties playing... Image
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and then eating Image
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We decide to take the Nwitamhiti causeway because we wanted to :tongue: and saw a purple crested turaco but no pics Image and a Southern Carmine Bee eater
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and my FIRST MARSHMALLOW EVIL Image
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We saw another bushbuck with her baby-very cute I should say
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And as we draw near to LS my mum saw a hippo with a trunk-very strange indeed (we want them to record this new specie in the Animal Books) Image
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My mum was very excited about her new finding until I had to inform her that ellies do like to swim and this type of sighting is not that new to me :slap:

As a tradition we stopped at Lake Panic and saw the residents: Egyptian Geese
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and a very lazy croc baking in the sun
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We stopped at LS to buy some ice cold H2O and snacks and the rest then moved on to the H10...
To be continued Image

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 Post subject: Re: On the stoep of the Olifants
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 9:41 pm 
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Day 1...Continues from where we left off

We left LS, bladders emptied and ice cold H2O all stocked up on our way now to Tshokwane on the H10. As always you just have to stop on the bridge to look at LS's deck and maybe spot an animal or 2 (if we are very lucky)Image
On the heavily outstretched bridge we see that the current is still heavy because of the flood more than a month ago (nature is brutal)
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and I spot a Goliath Heron
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And as we crawl over the bridge a prehistoric fossil lays in the sun and bakes away 20 million years of predatory ambiance
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He's a BEAST-if there were ever a rugby team called the crocs (I would root for them)
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And we pass this colossal beast and a terry smiles and waves at us-HI Mr Terry Image he looked very content
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and NO! I didn't throw any breadcrumbs Image
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Now the H10 is lush and beautiful-a treasure awaiting some adventure and we do take this journey with vigor and take in the bush smell, birdie calls and anything what the Kruger decides to throw our way-here we GO Image
A feathered friend greets us first (actually second and third as well)
Lilac Breasted Roller
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Yellow billed Kite
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European Roller
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And the animals start peeking Image
Elephant
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Leopard Tortoise
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Golden orb spiders (imagine walking into this web) Image
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Then a breeding herd of ellies
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with a baby boo-boo-boo
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And then something strange happens-like in ghost busters (eerie and never seen before) Image A flock of about 500 birds-and not any birds (eagles, marabou storks and kites) It was just fantastic to see them for km's
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The trees had scores of eagles in them as well-took a pic of this fella
Wahlberg eagle (or is it a kite) Eish I'm struggling here Image
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As we drive on with a lot of conversation of everything that we saw on this magical road we just hope to be sprinkled with some magical dust and see even more on the road that is to come...

to be continued...

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 Post subject: Re: On the stoep of the Olifants
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:46 pm 
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Day 1... at last we have reached Tshokwane-now for the 'last' stretch

As we draw close to Tshokwane my mum planted a pee and it is time to go water the flowers, I tell her lets go to Orpen dam as there are a great look out and I want to go take kiekies-she said Image and insisted that we have to move on because time is running against us. But as we drive past the turn off I tell her that there is nothing working at Tshokwane and she just missed her bathroom break for another hour Image
On our way to Tshokwane we find this Swainson's spurfowl and for the non birder aka hoendertjie (what we called them the whole weekend) Image
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My mum was very relieved that there was actually long drops to use at Tshokwane and we had to quickly make a pitstop there for her. All refreshed and ready for the long road we make our way to Satara Image We wanted to see the most Southern Boabab but unfortunately because of the flood and our luck of a 4X4 this was the closest we got Image
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At Satara the zebs played a very funny game-I will try to explain it as much as I can but the pics will talk for them self as well... It unfortunately goes with a special zeb song so bare with me Image And it goes like this:

You put your zebbie in

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You put your zebbie out

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In-out

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In-out

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and shake it all about (unfortunately because of the high count of predators in the Satara area we had to cut the dance short) Image

After them we saw a lot of grazers... and all of them within 200m from Satara camp...
A Buff
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Impies, more zebs and blue wildies
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Warties
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Kudus
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Giraffe heads
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Giraffe heads eating
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Now something magical happened Image we see cars in the road and as always I cry out 'LION' again it isn't and as we look underneath a tree I cry louder 'kori bustard!!!', mind you it is my first sighting of this elusive birdie! And I'm still not sure I called it right. I didn't even see him that good and took a kiekie. (this one was about 100m from us)

Image

Now as we take our kiekies a car stops next to us with 2 foreigner okies without shirts grrrrrrrr Image and inform us that there are another kori bustard a bit further (I like it when you speak foreign)Image and they ask me if I'm part of SANParks when I correct them in saying I'm from the forum. But they weren't, so it was an almost YR meet-DARN Image. We bid our farewell! We drove on to find this bustard they mentioned and found it wandering in the road. I stop and take my mums cam because he was on my side of the road and she was so excited because she didn't even know that they existed Image I give her, her cam back and now it is my turn and I get a magnificent kiekie-JUST check Image In a split second a visitor decide to join in on the shot...
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Excited and chatting our way to Olifants we take the Balule road and see another first birdie for my mum-a korhaan.
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Now she was just glowing today because of all these special sightings!
We saw 2 fish eagles as well on the dirt road
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And as we draw closer to the Olifants gate at 17:30 a herd of about 10 Nyalas greet us Image

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We enter the camp at last-my mum so happy that we made it before the gate closing time :whistle: It has the most beautiful entrance signs that I have seen in the Kruger.
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My mum didn't want to take a pic because she said that it was real tusks-which I read later was actually perspex (i think) I do know that people have reported the tusks have been stolen to only get the reply that ellies don't like them and are normally the culprits Image
We book in and get a bungalow along the perimeter (we were under the impression we were to get river view-but oh well) and we drive to our final destination) just before we get to our driveway a squirrel makes his appearance-what a cute fluffball!
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We park and start unpacking-we get a view of the Olifants river and it is SPECTACULAR! I am awestruck by its beauty Image we settle in and I quickly start the fire (yes this women knows how to braai Image and i settle down with an ice cold Savanna in the one hand and a blue ice in the other (HEAVEN). We eat and go to bed early as this has been the longest drive in the history of the Kruger...Image This was definitely a very special day with such wonderful sightings that I won't ever forget!

to be continued....

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 Post subject: Re: On the stoep of the Olifants
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:18 pm 
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Day 2

We wake up early, before the crack of dawn (mum not at all impressed that I want to be in front of the gate before it actually opens) Image I catch a shower and start packing the padkos for our trip. As we are new to this region we had to phone a friend Image because 50/50 wouldn't do us any good (I didn't know 50 and my mum didn't know 50)

Here we wait in front of the gate (me walking around all energetic and having a cig outside while mum sits and ten to one are badmouthing me for making her wait instead of sleeipng) Oh well... Image And YES offcourse I was the first car @ the gate!
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At last they open the gate and off we go to explore the Olifants region Image we decided to drive to Letaba via a road (don't recall any names now Image ) but because of the flood it was closed so had to take the inland gravel road (which at the end was FANTASTIC)
First thingy we saw was a hoendertjie-as I said, we sommer had our own names for the birdies as we don't know all of them by name, page or book for that matter Image
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We also saw zebs and giraffes but the lighting was bad so all my pics are blurry-what I wanted to show you guys was that a baby zeb was attacked by a kitty I suppose but do live another day to tell the tale (isn't that great Image ) the zebbie will heal and end up being a full grown zeb!

Our first postable animal was a kudu with her DSTV dishes still intact-wonder if she can get cell reception Image
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We get at a turn and what decides to greet us? 2 hyenas... Now we are excited-I just love these cute ugly animals and I really enjoy watching them. These two were actually walking the other way but as we approached they decide to investigate and cause a bit of havoc. We saw a sewer and guessed that it was their den and they really didn't want us there. I took of my FANTASTIC YR off just in case as they came closer (never know if they want to eat a canary tosseltjie for breakfast. The one actually tried to get the number plate and I reversed a bit. Image Phew that was a close call-but we have a lot of fun! And as we pass they start chasing us. We really did enjoy this sighting and we thought that if a trip starts like this, what could be in store? Image
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We passed a beautiful Baobab and had to take a pic.
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What was strange was that my mum was actually going bos about this tree and she rolls her eyes when I want to take pics of birdies... Very strange indeed Image
We stopped at a tree with some Marbou Storks in it and I got to take a few pics of the undertaker
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And then a very strange sighting for me (I had a ants sighting-it was so quick could only take 3 pics) Image They had like an ant train that went over the road and I couldn't believe in what a tight formation they were...
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We moved on and found these beautiful impies next to the road (I never noticed the very small penkoppies and this was such a joy in looking at them this weekend)
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The drive was very nice and as we go from loop to loop next to the ??? river (I'm very bad indeed) Image We see 2 cars in a loop and decide to join them, the very nice man tells us that there are 3 lion males across the river on the hill Image Image Image Image Image Image YEAH GOLDEN KITTIES and we park there for about 30 minutes. They were a bit far but a kitty non the less.
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Now what I tell is is the truth (I have mumproof that it happened). As we drove the morning I tell my mum, who btw hate snakes, about the python that CarolV saw on their December trip on the S29 and that it would be just a treat to see one myself. And we take the Engelhard loop (I think) and I am mos a 30% road 70% bush watcher. SOOOO as I look in the road before my eyes a python is crossing the road about almost half way in there and I slam the breaks and start uttering words to the poor innocent python that can not be mentioned Image I was so shocked because here I ask for something and the BIG man out there decide to grant my wish (why?) and I couldn't do anything but freak out. And as I finally calmed down the python had such a skrik that he decide to retreat into the bushes and I have no pics. Image That was truly on of the most awesome and stupidus sightings ever recorded by Heksie :slap:

We drive on while I shake my head the whole time and then see another undertaker who poses nicely for some pics.
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We also find a lone buff along the way
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And just as we draw closer to Letaba find an ellie next to the road flapping his ears because it is starting to get warm (not because he dislikes us ladies taking pics of him)Image

We enter Letaba (which looks like one of the most beautiful camps I've ever been to-will be a destination next year) and go check out the museum with all it's big tuskers.
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We buy some ice cream after enjoying a very educational trip in the museum and decide on which road to journey back to Olifants because it is time to make some brunch at the camp... Image

to be continued...

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 Post subject: Re: On the stoep of the Olifants
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 7:21 pm 
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Day 2 the return trip

We decide to drive the H1-5 back to Olifants camp to go and make brunch and have an afternoon nap... Image It was just starting to get hot and as we drove my mum tells me to stop because she sees a mini ostrich again. How glad am I? First time I see a Kori bustard was yesterday and now they grace us with their presence again Image

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And we drive, and drive, and drive, I never thought that a tar road would not have no animals until we get to the Olifants river. I see something swimming in there and it looks kind of weird. SO I get out my cam and I can not believe my eyes... Image
MATING HIPPOS! Now you can say what you want but I do have a video of it as well and I am 100% sure this was the case. Image

Image

Now my mum don't want to watch because we should not intrude in an act like that but my eyes are glued to my cam...Image you don't see this everyday! And after 15 minutes or so I move on for some more pg animals. The drive was really quiet and we see nothing for the rest of the drive which was fine because we had a very eventful morning. I set up a braai and we make a brunch fit for queens Image I was so stuffed that I was glad we had an afternoon snooze Image At two we wake and decide to do a reversal route because there are only so many roads you can take in this are (which I don't mind). We find next to the road 2 kudu bulls have a bit of a brawl and it was very entertaining to watch but because of the foliage a bit harder to take kiekies of.

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Then we saw this ellie having lunch

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A close up of a nest of some sort of frog-I knew it was a frog's nest but can't recall the species Image

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Just before we enter Letaba I see one of my favorite birdies-the Woody and I was so happy because I could do was hear them but nothing showed themselves today Image

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We buy some ice cream and head back. I find a group of nice impies that is just dying to get photographed and I oblige. Just check this beauty.

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And I nagged a bit that we should check out if my python could be waiting for me so we take the loop next to Engelhardt dam again and I'm so glad that we did because we spotted this beauty. Unfortunately no python today Image

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Now me and my mum had a debate and I would like to know your opinion! We do all the loops again and you wouldn't believe it the lion brothers are still at the same spot after 5 hours. Image NOW I say it is 2 lion sighting for the day as we only saw them now after such a long time and the chance of them leaving was great. My mum says it counts as the same sighting... Here is the pic of the 2 bro's watching us/the river.

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We start checking the clock and might be a bit late if we keep on dawdling like this, so I stop stopping for every single animal and birdy, which doesn't make me happy at all but I do sneak in a few pauses Image for a European Roller

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And a beautiful male toilet seat

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We just arrive as they start closing the gate-now that was cutting it close and as I start a fire once more and pouring myself a 'rulatjie over some ice, me and my mum sit and talk about the wonderful day we had and the great sightings while we look at the sunset on the stoep of the Olifants...

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to be continued...
P.S. What more could anyone ask for?

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 Post subject: Re: On the stoep of the Olifants
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 2:42 pm 
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DAY 3... the ride home

Image Another morning awaken by an alarm that I so really don't want to hear in this paradise. But I do wake up, catch a quick shower just to get my bearings straight and then wake my mum while I pack the car. Upsetting my mum again we wait in front of the gate while I bid one of my favorite camps farewell Image
We take the gravel road that passes Balule camp towards H1-4 and are greeted by very mischievous hyenas and with no rush we spend some time with them while they are sniffing the grasses looking for some sort of thing to eat I guess.

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We cross the Olifants river and I climb out in the demarcated area, and some car drive past me and give me the evil eyes Image ten to one thinking that I need to be in the gallery of shame for leaving my vehicle in the Kruger, oh well! I get to take amazing pics of the sunrise of the river and are speechless about the beauty of this magnificent area. How do we pollute and ruin such a magnificent place Image

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We go on with our journey to Phabeni gate and see some warties that I have to take kiekies of for my friend VVV

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And it is lekker cloudy that we could see the sun through the clouds and I decide to take a pic of this spectacular thing.

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Then as we are still on our way to Satara a lot of animal greets us, Image I am blessed with all these sightings. Driving and taking in nature at its best, animals walking around freely and birdies calling, I would love to have this everyday of my life.

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This cheeky Giraffe even stuck out his tongue Image

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Another first birding experience-cattle Egret

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Ellies having some brekkie that consists of grass this morning Image

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I think this is a Dark chanting Goshawk-as I'm a duckling please do excuse my ID's and oblige in helping me Image

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As we reach Satara there is a herd of zebs and wildies outside the fence and they lay there lekker lazy with no worries in the world, while and Ellie is on the other side of the road chilling in the shade

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We notice that there is a hole in his ear... can anybody clarify if it can be a bullet wound/fight or just rip because of the trees? Image

And on the other side of Satara we find some buffalo that is very lazy in the heat that is showing it's head. Some is eating brekkie and others lying around and even chilling in the small river/stream outside Satara.

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The morning has broken and it starts to get warm-we wonder if there are any good sightings that awaits us but can only hope as it is the law of the Kruger that you have to be on the right place at the right time...

to be continued...

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 Post subject: Re: On the stoep of the Olifants
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 5:22 pm 
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Distinguished Virtual Ranger
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Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2013)
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2010 11:37 pm
Posts: 4176
Location: Pretoria
The last stretch to the exit...

Now this trip that was supposed to be an animal trip ended as the best birding trip ever with amazing animals thrown in for good measure Image I had more birdy kiekies than animals and my mum just decided when I stopped with yet another birdy to sit still and not comment at all Image Here is some of those beauties that I saw on the H1-3

Lilac Breasted Roller

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Wire tailed Swallow

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Southern Carmine Bee eater

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European Roller

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And then at the Mazithi Dam our first animals, that dam always bare great gifts and put our animal count up
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There at the dam lies a few lazy toilet seats and we welcome them with a few kiekies Image

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After that our animal sightings increase-all we see is the herbivores and my mum starts relaxing again because I stop now for worthy things Image
Ellie with a sand tribal marking on his forehead

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An unmentionable that I saw somewhere that I don't recall Image
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Slender mongoose
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A cute Steenbokkie
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And a flatpig
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And then the birdies decide that they are so going to win this competition and they start creeping in for kiekies-my mum starting to realise that she is never going to make it back in the Bronx in time for church and giving me my last few hours in the Kruger. Yeah me! Image
Some yellow hornbills
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Goliath Heron
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Grey Heron
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Then we go to the waterpark where apparently all the BIG 5 were hiding the whole day (now not the kitties Image but we enjoyed the watersports in anyway Image Image Image )

Ellies swimming a bit
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Buff chilling in the splashpool trying to cool off in the summer heat Image
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AND THEN I had my surprise moment Image (didn't even know that this sighting was so special until I saw the pic on the computer) Image
A Juvenile Wahlberg with a girdled lizzard kill-for me this is just amazing! Image
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Another first birdy for one of my last sightings Image
A Dark Chanting Gowhawk
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And my last sighting-giving the birdies today the WIN a Giant Kingfisher Image
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We leave the Kruger happy today as I had a weekend with so many firsts and hopefully not any lasts and we talk all the way to the Bronx about the wonderful sightings we had and the laughter and joy the Kruger brought us from the otter to the hottie foreigners to my swearing at snakes and then the birding expedition and I know that my love for the Kruger only grew this weekend and I will be back to seek more.
Image I am Heksie and I'm a Krugerholic Image

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