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 Post subject: Re: Sunsets with Tuskers at the Horizon
Unread postPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 6:45 pm 
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A bit later than normal we this time turned into the S25 which was cooking by the general game we could find there.

Lot of wildebeests, zebras and giraffes

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and even kudus crisscrossing the street in front of our car

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and impala rams testing their fighting skills

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and more warthogs made this afternoon drive extreme diversified for us.

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The top of cream, however, was a pair of banded sandgrouse with chicks, however, the chicks soon were no longer visible but mom

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and even dad allowed some quick shots.

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The final braai at Crocodile Bridge was once more delicious and as already during the previous evenings we could spot two frogs which climbed regularly with the fading light up to the window above the kitchen table as normally the gekkos do which followed a bit later but the frogs that high were simply priceless.

Although concerned about the bat droppings earlier that day I bed my head onto the pillow and nearly slept in immediately. Only to realize later when waking up in the middle of the night that obviously no bat was at home tonight and so I even slept much more relaxed.

Wednesday, 15. February, 2012 – Crocodile Bridge – Lower Sabie

Once more we had to pack everything into the car as today was moving day again and as the normal distance between Crocodile Bridge and Lower Sabie is almost not existing we had chosen a nice drive today and the first part would include the S25 until the damaged bridge over the Biyamiti as we both had the feelings and also after a couple of nice lion sightings there during previous visits that there might be some of them awaiting us already.

But before we left and whilst we were about to leave I felt suddenly something which had fallen from the tree in front of our bungalow into my long hair. First I thought it was one of the frogs as I often saw frogs in South Africa in trees but it was not a frog it was a bat – maybe the one who shared the bungalow with us the last nights but not tonight and wanted to have an easy lift back inside -. But how to get that bat away without harming it?? So I jumped a bit up and down, shook my head and hair and suddenly the bat had gone. Gladly there was no other people up that early as otherwise they must have thought I had gone mad completely.

It was another misty morning as we already often experienced in that area and obviously it was about to come up another hot late summer day in the bush.

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The stretch of the S25 where you are surrounded by huge trees and thick vegetation after the turn off to the Hippo pools reminds me in the early mornings often as an enchanted forest and so it was today again, especially with the mist still to be found everywhere and so the next bird which came across reminded me even more as if we were in a fairy tale – a redbilled woodhoope

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was about to catch something for breakfast and posed nearly perfectly for us on a dead tree stump.

Soon the next bird crossed our path – a Levailliant’s (striped) cuckoo

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which we had the honour to spot often during this trip - landed close by and allowed us some shots.

We still travelled at the slowest possible speed to get the car running and simply enjoyed the scenery and smelled the early morning in the bush when there was something lying directly in the middle of the road and whilst approaching slowly closer we realized that we finally found them – our lions - of which we were more than sure that we would find them today exactly on that road.

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It looks as if at least one of them had somewhere cubs. First we allowed them a safety distance not to chase them right away from the road into the thick bush but both were extreme relaxed and even allowed us to observe the intensive greeting ritual between each other.

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We dared to park now close to them, made ourselves comfortable and enjoyed the grooming show both sisters had in store for us.

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Needless to say that we felt very privileged to observe the tender moments they shared with each other

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and once more proved how enjoyable the social structure of lions is not only between members in a pride but also for us wild love watchers.

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Gladly that we were still the only car there as we already knew when more cars will join us the lions will most probably move back into the thick vegetation and will be kept hidden for the rest of the day.

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We changed with the lens from one sister to the other and really could not get enough of them

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but finally one of them shared enough intimate emotions with her sister and left and placed herself in the middle of the road

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whilst the other one had to do a normal ritual which cats often do – to puke!

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to be continued with more lionesses and birdie pictures.......


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 Post subject: Re: Sunsets with Tuskers at the Horizon
Unread postPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 8:07 pm 
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“Ah, that is far better!”

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and she was now extreme close

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and even came closer and closer and walked on the sand road away

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whereas her sister was posing nicely for us directly in the middle of the road.

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We decided to follow the one in move as meanwhile another car arrived – our neighbours from Crocodile Bridge – a father with his two children – who also enjoyed the close presence of the lionesses and decided to stay with her lovely sister but our lioness had not yet finished the whole morning ritual as now nature was calling heavily – She looked exactly as ours at home when using their cat toilet!

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Timon already drove backwards and meanwhile brought between us and the lioness a couple of meters

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so that she maybe felt a bit more comfortable and finally showed us how to do professionally the cat walk.

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We could observe very excessively how determined they can look and walk although the flies were buzzing around her annoyingly.

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She walked imperturbable without even looking back to her sister whilst Timon carried on in driving backwards whilst camera in hand and the finger on the button.

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Obviously she knew exactly where she wanted to go and we also knew that it was about time to say goodbye to her

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and finally at a low water bridge between the Biyamiti low water bridge and the S108 she walked into the river bed and we did no longer see her.

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Funny was that this was not the first time that we saw exactly at this spot lions. We waited a bit but neither her sister appeared nor she came back and as we got more than satisfying pictures we headed forward and wanted to have a look at the damaged bridge over the Biyamiti but same was already blocked with branches on the road in front of the bridge so same was invisible for us and we turned around, checked once more the whereabouts of the lionesses but both disappeared now completely as already expected earlier but whilst we chased the lioness earlier we did not had a look onto the other side of the said low water crossing and had missed this very well camouflaged little chap.

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A bit disturbing was the unphotogenic metallic net but our friend was very satisfied with his resting place and did not move a single millimetre.

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Our journey along the S108 was uneventful besides a very disagreeable encounter with a huge elephant bull – Our neighbours from Crocodile Bridge were already driving backwards – in front of their car was walking a very nervous elephant declaring the road as his private territory and now our both cars were driving backwards away from the bull and as the vegetation was so thick no chance for the elephant to disappear neither a change for us to turn the car around. In such moments I always feel as if I need the loo extreme urgently.

Finally there was a small gap between the thick bushes and our grey friend was about to turn the back against the stinking vehicles and we both took our chances and passed the elephant and left him standing alone and carried on our way. Although the H5 was a nice drive with the sun shining through the dense vegetation but we did not even see a single animal on that road. As from this direction the road to Mpondo dam was open we decided to pay a short visit there and were rewarded with hundreds of peacefully grazing impalas and between all the beautiful brown bodies we discovered a white one which had been seen in that area according to trip reports which I have read quite often.

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This white one was extreme skittish and although we tried to approach carefully she kept hidden very well and this was the best picture we got. The view onto the dam was once more lovely and as you have a couple of viewing opportunities it is a great spot to simply relax. A lot of European bee eater could also be watched and moreover we had the dam all to ourselves as no other cars were around. Sigh!

After a joyful silence a couple of cars arrived and we headed forward as it was still a long drive. The S114 was completely quiet as well as the beginning of the S21 but approximately half way we spotted a family of ground hornbills on the ground busy in foraging with a juvenile one between them.

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Last year we saw them nearly at the same spot.

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They were so close that it was a real fun to click away and once more also the other cars which arrived later stopped for them too.

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The family was quite numerous and it definitely took a while until every member crossed the street and carried on searching for food.

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We only left them until nothing of them was to be seen any longer but the last stretch of the road was quite rewarding although it started to heat up once more extremely.

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Besides a lot of giraffes, also the every present impalas were around

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and we even could get a glimpse of a very shy steenbok hiding between the high grass.

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Fork-tailed drongos were to be found nearly everywhere

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to be continued with good old friends...........


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 Post subject: Re: Sunsets with Tuskers at the Horizon
Unread postPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 9:40 pm 
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Nearly at the end of that road is located a nice pond in which a hamerkop was standing still and trying to catch something for lunch.

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Needless to say that compared to previous years this time the pond was never as full as this year. We parked under a shady bush and observed our feathered friend.

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as well as a lot of butterflies

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and also a small crocodile was not that far away.

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The H4-1 was besides a lot of traffic nearly animal-free and besides a group of waterbucks nearly invisible between the thick bushes on the side of the road where the flood could not take away them this three headed giraffe was for sure the highlight

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and it definitely took a while until they gave the road free and let the cars pass.

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I already told you that the flood took away a lot of beautiful trees and thick bushes but the view into the Sabie is beautiful as ever and I am sure it will take a couple of years until everything will be as thick as ever.

We arrived at Lower Sabie a bit too early to get the keys but the paperwork could already be done and I also wanted to book a night drive for the next evening but only place for a single person was left so I changed it into a sunset drive and maybe it was even the better option! As Hilda says everything is happening for a reason....but more of our sunset drive later. While I was busy in filing out papers and indemnity forms Timon grabbed his camera and found a lovely black-eyed bulbul with a fruit in the small trees on the parking ground.

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As it was meanwhile unbearably hot the short drive on the S82 and back via the tar road we did to kill time was a bit unpleasant and besides some European bee eaters and the smallest cute wildebeest calf I ever saw – same was hiding between a thick bush and must obviously be separated from the rest of the herd :cry: :cry: :cry: – everything was quiet and finally we were glad to be back in camp and to relax a bit.

Whilst I was grabbing our key for No. 84 – I got it within a second – Timon could not stop in taking pictures from his new friend the cheeky black-eyed bulbul.

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Our bungalow was nice with a huge shady verandah and we felt immediately very comfortable there besides some well known noise which came gladly this time from under the thatched roof of our verandah than from inside our room and the culprits are to be seen here - Our good old friend or maybe relatives from the one in my hair or from the one in the bungalow in Crocodile Bridge

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The view was awesome and we made ourselves comfortable and observed everything which wanted to bath in the Sabie river and once more our feathered friends which paid us a visit in a close by tree and out of many a cardinal woodpecker and a couple of blue waxbill as well as woodland kingfishers visited us. Lots of elephants and buffaloes as well as a wooly-necked and a black stork were amusing themselves with a nice bath in the river. The bungalow was even that fantastically located that I once more could observe them whilst taking a rest on the bed.

After a refreshing rest we were once more out at around 4 o’clock but soon got stuck again in a traffic jam as close before the turn off onto the Lower Sabie causeway two tawny eagles were causing a fuss in a close by tree

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Our goliath heron friend was once more standing motionless at its favourite spot and a pair of Egyptian goose was enjoying the later afternoon sunrays whilst cooling down their feet.

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We drove into the S29 and as a lovely breeze was blowing and the light simply too perfect to photograph we enjoyed everything which came across and first were a couple of extreme muddy warthogs

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and a couple of red-backed shrikes – first he could be captured

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and finally she allowed also a couple of shots.

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The ever present magpies shrikes were busy in flying from bush to bush and out of the thick and high grass popped a massive elephant bull which tusks were also looking promising.

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We decided to drive slowly back via the S128 and despite the long grass we saw quite a lot of different animals. Once more warthogs with small piglets dashed from one road side to the other and did not allow even a single picture but the huge herd of zebras which came across next was more patient and not in a hurry

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out of which this cutie simply had to be captured.

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As always in that area the European rollers could be spotted on nearly each bush and it was more than a wonder that we discovered this black-bellied bustard in the thick vegetation which this year must have grown into record high.

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The noise which this middle-sized bird produced was simply priceless and is described as a sharp chick followed by a “pop” – The pop sounded so unreal so we were permanently looking over our shoulders whether there was hidden a loudspeaker in some of the bushes and someone was playing a game with us but the sound came indeed from out of this bird’s mouth.

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to be continued with a seldom dinner quest by night.....


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 Post subject: Re: Sunsets with Tuskers at the Horizon
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 8:45 pm 
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The more South the road let us the more thicker – if ever possible – the vegetation got as now also thick bushes and smaller trees were joining the high grass but the sightings of at least the huger animals was still not that bad.

A group of kudu females could be located out of this charming lady was flirting with Timon’s camera or maybe even with Timon......

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and was posing excessively only to be changing over to another group of zebras.

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Then a long time we saw nothing but heard the unmistakably noise of cracking branches and out of nowhere we soon were surrounded by a herd of elephants but gladly all of them where more than relaxed and did not bother at our presence and gladly let us pass without blocking the road as turning around the car was at that point of the sandy road not possible. We quickly took a nice bunch of pictures from this cute youngster very close to our car

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but still had our ears and eyes open for more huger members of the herd which might wanted to protect same but obviously this one was already self-assured enough to feed and day dream of its own.

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We made it back just right in time to stop for a lovely posing giant kingfisher on the causeway

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and for our very first sunset at sunset dam.

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Reason for that was simply that we only stayed ones up to now at Lower Sabie and then for only one night and we made it just in time that day so that there was no time to enjoy this beautiful view.

Back in camp Timon lit the braai and we enjoyed the soon fading daylight from our verandah and had not yet eaten up our steaks completely when we got visited by our excited neighbours as they were a bit concerned about a bat in their room and a snake close by to their bungalow and whether we would love to have a look.

Well, neither against a bat in a room we can do anything nor are we any snake experts – the only African snakes I can identify 100% are Rock pythons and puffadders all others I categorically classify first as “black mambas”, i.e. highly dangerous as you never know......

Whilst approaching carefully armed with our cameras we soon noticed that the snake was a middle-sized African rock python, only our second one which we ever saw and now we got extreme excited about this fantastic sighting. Same was about to climb a tree close to the bungalow and soon Timon and the neighbours soon took picture after picture.

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The neighbours wanted to call someone to remove the bat from their room as the woman was scared about bats. The python was nearly forgotten but the bat in the room is an absolutely “no go” for her.

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The python rested in a crotch whilst climbing back to the ground and after all pictures have been taken soon disappeared somewhere in the camp.

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We thanked our neighbours and wished them luck with their bat and ate the rest of our meanwhile cold steak and soon were calling the day a night as we were extreme tired after another exciting day.

Thursday, 16. February 2012 – Lower Sabie

As today we were booked on a sunset drive we simply wanted to do a for our circumstances relatively short morning drive and then having lunch at camp and relax until our sunset drive is about to start. Also having in mind what we were already rewarded with more than extraordinary sightings and we therefore deserved a relaxing afternoon in camp.

A long queue already built up but when we arrived at the gate same opened immediately and we were once more heading forward to the S29 which we during this holiday become fond of the more often we drove it and this early morning same could also be renamed into the “elephant” highway as there were grey masses everywhere.

Still very sleepy ones as this one

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and others were enjoying the sunrise whereas we were lucky to get two for the price of one = a breathtaking sunrise in the bush and an elephant on top.

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Sigh!

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Today extreme close to the whole road there are many bushes which were this early morning full of different raptors but unfortunately it was still a bit dark that morning to take descent pictures, the raptors always were too very well hidden in same or flew off whilst we approached with our car.

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In each bush we counted up to 3 of them which was indeed very fascinating as we never saw that many and even not so close together. So the just renamed road should be expanded into “raptor” highway as well. The next bird which came across is also not that often to be seen by us and so we were delighted when in total six ostriches, 2 males and 4 females were making their way through the grass close to the road.

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Another Levailliant’s (striped) cuckoo could once more be spotted at the turn off to Mlondozi picnic spot whereas only a couple of days earlier we saw one exactly there. A pity was that the light was still a bit bad due to a cloudy morning. Elephant masses were now afoot and everywhere – Lots of herds and bulls everything mixed up together.

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We decided to drive today up via the S128 and back via the tar road and decide then whether it was already time to return or whether we can stay a bit longer out. The more we saw the more this morning drive turned into a birding drive which was for us as great as all the spotted ones which came across already and so one of the many lilac breasted rollers was a must

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Kudus came across but the grass was that high in that area that they nearly kept hidden but gladly one of Timon’s favourite birds – the Amur falcons were plentiful and good visible due to their high position on top of bushes or branches.

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and between the bustling around Carmine Bee eaters more Amur Falcons came across and gladly this black bellied bustard crossed our path on the sandy road as otherwise same would have been missed by us in the high grass.

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Also one of the cute European rollers have to be captured as well.

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to be continued with feathered friends overloaded........


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 Post subject: Re: Sunsets with Tuskers at the Horizon
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 4:50 pm 
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Gladly for us we spotted another never seen bird which was No. 5 already – a lone red-billed teal – taking a bath in one of the many remaining puddles or greater ponds along the way.

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We were allowed to once more admire two quite impressive rhinos which must have been the same which Wendy saw only a couple of days later

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with lots of zebras in the background.

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Another very well camouflaged black bellied bustard was once more only to be seen because same was on the lookout on a small mound and now even the kudus become visible for us

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and luckily another large group of uncountable ostriches

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were running from left to right and again from right to left in a single file

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and with that behaviour allowed us some very close pictures

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and even a closer look into the mouth.

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The only disadvantage was that we had to photograph against the light.

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Along the way now South again we saw once more lots of elephants now only bulls, Carmine bee eaters and a couple of warthogs full of flies.

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Far too soon for our liking we were back at the causeway over the Sabie but as it was still a bit too early to stay for the rest of the day until our sunset drive might start in camp we decided to visit again and for the very last time this year the Northern part of the S28 and to drive via the S137 and the tar road back to camp. Although it meanwhile heated up extremely this area was once more populated by the so called general game and soon we stopped for some grooming zebras,

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an African fish eagle could be admired and another elderly yellow billed kite with kill made us stop and watch until the very last bite had been eaten.

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A regular sighting in that area is at least once a trip a kori bustard and violà here it is

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and another beautiful bright feathered tawny made the way back to camp longer for us.

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Although a bit concerned prior to our trip because of the flood that birding will not be as good as in the past years we were surprised this year by the contrary because birding was better than ever!

A flock of wooly-necked storks together with a grey heron were spotted by us and soon the cream on top in form of another fish eagle impersonate a cock appeared along the tar road close to the Sabie river back to camp

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It was very difficult for me to choose the best pictures as once more Timon simply pressed the button without a break

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and another very impressive raptor – a brown snake eagle made us stop again and present itself as close as we never saw that bird before.

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Around one o’clock in the afternoon we were back at our bungalow and after a short sit-down on our verandah we strolled to the deck to have some lunch instead of dinner as after our sunset drive it will become a bit late for us for a braai. It was the very first lunch ever we ate in one of the restaurants and today on such a location on the deck it was simply wonderful. Although it was once more an extreme hot day it was a nice cooling breeze blowing through the outdoor deck and we enjoyed to simply sit here already much. As I am a great pasta fan and after the massive meat feast during the last days in form of braais I was drooling over something Vegetarian and had chosen a Vegetarian Lasagne which was delicious and Timon might have thought the same as he had chosen a Grilled Chicken salad.

Although we could have sat there endlessly we finally paid another visit to the shop where we met our neighbours who told us about a stunning lion sighting of two males they just had on the H10 early this morning. We obviously took the wrong roads but same did not bother us as we also had a nice day with all our feathered friends and furthermore they told us that they indeed did not sleep very well last night due to the bat in their room.

The rest of the afternoon we took a very well earned nap and with a refreshing hot coffee we woke up once more our tired spirits and enjoyed the view from our verandah once more into the Sabie and could observe again lots of elephants and buffaloes – Sigh! I always thought a camp like Lower Sabie is always loud and full and also the close location of our bungalow to the swimming pool it was a very relaxing and quiet stay there. We packed everything together for our sunset drive and were already full of excitement to be once again out in the bush at night but before Timon had to photograph the strange fruits on a tree close to our bungalow

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to be continued with an awesome sunset drive.......


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 Post subject: Re: Sunsets with Tuskers at the Horizon
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 3:53 pm 
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As already said I would have preferred the night drive but same was already fully booked and finally wanted to have the famous Martie as guide but obviously she was on duty for the night drive that evening and we had Irving as guide and if I would have known early what we would have seen this guide and drive would have been my option. The drive started sharp at 17.30 and first spot was as already expected by us at Sunset dam where the briefing of how to behave took place and first animals which could be spotted where lots of baboons enthroned on top of the trees along the dam. I would like to call this one “The Sentinel” but nearl tree had its own sentinel.

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Then nearly the hell broke loose when a massive elephant bull in musth popped out of the dense bushes presenting his fifth leg and soon the whole road was wet as after a rain shower.

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First this poor guy was still not that aggressive but after more and more cars were coming and going he soon made friend with this car.

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At Sunset dam we observed the many many hippos

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and the sun which was about to set and was sparkling in the water amazingly.

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We crossed the Sabie via the causeway where we also stopped for a close hippo which was sleeping very deep and spotted again the ever present Goliath heron. It got darker and darker already and to my great surprise and I hoped that we would drive that route Irving turned into the S29 and as already early that morning the many different raptors in the bushes were back as well as the elephants which surprisingly appeared from everywhere out of nowhere and were standing suddenly behind our truck.

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Gladly these chaps we met here where far more relaxed than the huge one at Sunset Dam

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and it was also very impressive to watch that they are indeed nearly invisible by night.

Before it was getting pitch dark Irving stopped and we had a short break and were allowed to leave the vehicle and once more we enjoyed it very much to be out in the bush that late and even by foot.

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After a 10 minutes break it was dark enough to enlighten the floodlights and whilst we rolling slowly on we soon spotted a lone steenbok and a common duiker and the cream on top only within minutes was another cheetah!!!

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which kept nearly hidden in the high grass and also the picture at night is not that good but proofed that we saw definitely a cheetah.

More elephants came across too

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a black-backed jackal which was a bit far away and another first for me – my very first scorpion and also a red-roman spider was crisscrossing the road in the floodlight.

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We stopped there quite a while and Irving was a very knowledgeable guide who told us a lot about the animals which we spotted and also showed us his passion and enthusiasm for the wild life in general. Gladly for us was also that there had been booked two vehicles for a sunset drive and so both of them were not that full and when allowed we even could move from one side of the truck to the other in order to have a better view.

The S29 ended already but my prayers had been answered as I did not want to return back to camp already and so we turned onto the tar road into the Northern direction but only to stop for our another bird – our never seen bird No. 6 – a spotted eagle owl – and needless to say that we as owl fans were on high spirits.

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Irving had indeed a good instinct according the directions of that sunset drive as all of us in the truck and in special Timon & I were more than satisfied already with what we saw so far but that was still not the end of more surprises.

Meanwhile it was pitch dark and Irving stopped and switched the engine off and asked us to be dead quiet for a minute and simply to soak in the moment and I must say that this was one of my deepest memories I brought back home from that sunset drive. The African star firmament was high above, the Muntshe mountain to the right and once more a very nice breeze was blowing and I simply enjoyed the here and now and did not care about anything else and even I was in my beloved African savannah and I could have sat there motionless the whole night– Sigh.

It came what I already thought would be coming Irving turned the truck around and we were now back to camp although slowly and the time was nearly over but the animals did not let us go!

Suddenly there were only the noise of rooting out plants and the culprits were discovered as a hippo mom and her youngster and in the vicinity there were more grey bodies to be seen.

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For us it was quite interesting to realize how far they walk away from any water by night and how busy they were in feeding. Although knowing that they do so to seeing now same behaviour with my own eyes was more than fascinating.

We only stopped a couple of meters further and were nearly ran into a huge breeding herd of elephants which all were feeding on the bushes on the roadside but the matriarch did not see any harm in our noisy truck and did now even raise an eyebrow. We were already running late and Irving wanted to show us the two male lions which were hanging around on the tar road quite regularly by night but they did not show up but instead we found another animal which I wanted to see under all circumstance at least once in my life – a porcupine!!!

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Unfortunately I was sitting on the wrong side of the truck and the porcupine was simply too fast and already nearly hidden by bushes and grass but a porcupine is a porcupine and normally Irving would have waited a bit longer at that sighting but as already said we were already late and still was maundering about the two male lions but suddenly the lions were forgotten because there was this spotted chap walking slowly in front of our truck

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Who can ask for more as cream on top in form of such a wonderful sighting of one of the most beautiful animals in the world??? The male leopard was extreme skittish and soon disappeared in the high grass but as Irving could obviously understand leopardish he soon drove a bit further and even around the next corner and switched once more the engine off and asked us to be totally quite and to switch all flashlights off and only to switch same again on when he is saying so. We waited and voilà same appeared once more on the road and trotted on as if there was nothing else to be down in the world.

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Gladly we stayed as long as the leopard was visible and finally it was time to return to camp and with big grins onto our faces we left the vehicle and thanked Irving a lot for a wonderful sunset drive and even returned with half an hour tardiness.

We unfortunately forgot to take a small torch with us when we left the bungalow and so it was a bit tricky to find the way back to our bungalow which was located at the far end of the camp but finally we succeeded and nearly went immediately to bed as we both were extreme exhausted.

The conclusion of such an event for us was that it was again wonderful to be in bush by night but that was far not enough and we are still thinking about doing one of these famous hiking trails in Kruger but then not in February for sure or to camp on a lone campsite somewhere in the Kalahari......

to be continued......


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 Post subject: Re: Sunsets with Tuskers at the Horizon
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:55 pm 
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Friday, 17. February 2012 – Lower Sabie – Skukuza

Once more we had to pack everything together as we were moving today to Skukuza but first we simply had to enjoy the noises of the awakening bush which we heard on our verandah whilst sipping at a coffee.

We headed into Northern direction on the tar road and soon were once more stopping for a final stop at Sunset dam and only a bit further we had to capture the beauty of the rising sun.

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Animal wise and traffic wise this road was once more extreme tired but we had once more owl luck and soon spotted another pair of Verreaux’s Giant Eagle owls. One was sitting on one side of the road

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and the SO on the other side and was looking a bit unkempt

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but soon they started the significant hippo sound whilst calling each other and we again hung magnetized on their bills once more fascinated by that strong and loud sound coming out of such a small owl compared to a hippo.

At N’watimhiri which was as full as never before a fishing grey heron came across and we were soon drawn by a green-backed heron which was posing picturesque on a dead branch in the beautiful morning light.

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We decided ourselves against the tar road as this would have meant we were already at Skukuza in half an hour and turned once more into the S21. In the little pond nearly at the beginning we were greeted today by an Egyptian goose which was fascinated by its mirror picture.

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Besides lots of grey hornbills, European as well as Carmine bee eater and ground hornbills these vulture collection as usually on a dead tree,

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another cute posing banded sangrouse

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and this beautiful Levailliant’s (striped) cuckoo simply have to be showed.

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Lots of impala herds and several wildebeests and also some smaller elephants bulls came also across until I saw a movement behind a rock and asked Timon to stop for a closer look and there it was again a lizard head popped out from behind the mentioned rock and we as reptile fans could not pass without taking several pictures

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and soon a traffic jam had build up and everyone checked eagerly at what we were looking. Needless to say that when another car approached the lizard was hiding completely and only when everything was quiet again the head came up again.

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Relatively early we were already in Skukuza camp and after a short break we were out again and here the demolition caused by the floods were even more obvious than in Lower Sabie as there only in the river bed of the Sabie we saw signs of a recent flood but the surrounded areas and roads around Skukuza looked horrible with very airy views into the Sabie or Sand river where we never saw before any river and damaged roads, causeways and bridges but the good thing was that meanwhile all tar roads in that area had been repaired and were open again. First destination was the causeway over the Sabie close to camp where lots of marabous and hamerkops were around

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But due to the damaged sand river causeway we had to turn around and were driving into the direction of the high water bridge with the broken railing

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and although we already saw the damage on pictures and also having in mind how high the flood had raised the water of the Sabie and sand river to watch that with our own eyes was once more incredible and also the power of nature which caused the demolition was impressive and frightening at the same time.

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Today was once more one of these days where it was already at 11.00 o’clock in the morning unbearably hot and we already thought that it will become a quiet time until we will be able to check in at Skukuza but today it was not the cause as soon we were held up in a traffic jam on the H12 and besides something which was squat and hidden in the high grass it took quite a while until we realized for what we stopped as also several safari vehicles were blocking our view and soon had surrounded our car so that we had no alternative than to wait until we came close enough to at least locate an ear of a lion.

Finally we had to wait as we could neither move forward nor backward and as patience is also a virtue we made ourselves comfortable with some rusks and waited that something might happen and finally something happened indeed as the lion raised a bit his head and allowed at least some shots to verify that we saw a lion

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but the longer we stayed the more better it came and finally we also saw a female lion and soon it was obvious that it was a honeymoon couple as otherwise I could not explain their presence so close to the hot and busy tar road than under a quiet shady bush. Suddenly there was a movement and Mr. Loverboy was coming up only to be followed by his lovely lady and it started again.

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These pictures from Timon were an artistic masterstroke as he could only captured them with a lot of stretching and wrenching of his body.

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After he did what has to be done (the lion, not Timon!) he left her alone and changed to the other roadside a bit more in the shade

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whilst she was still roasting the sun. Gladly for us was that with the succeeded mating act most of the vehicles left and we were able to move again so that we were able to choose ourselves a spot from where we could watch her on one side and him on the other side of the road.

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to be continued with a couple of more lion pictures.......


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 Post subject: Re: Sunsets with Tuskers at the Horizon
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 12:41 am 
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He was simply a handsome cutie

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and as all the cats always sleepy

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I felt a bit sorry for her because it was meanwhile far above 30 degrees and she was lying in the blazing sun although it was her decision as we had them now all by ourselves as all the safari vehicles where on lunch break which we understood from their conversations. Once more gladly for us that we always do have our lunch on board in case of need so that we could stay a bit longer with our loving couple.

Suddenly she raised her head and ooops I had the wrong camera in hand and it looked as if she was directly facing me.

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The following picture is one of my favourites which we took from her as we captured her in such a pensive and vulnerable moment.

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It was again wonderful to be that close to one of the hugest cats on Earth and to watch and hear them breathing although I once more felt sorry for her when I realized the amount of ticks in her fur and especially the one close to her eye.

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Both of them were looking extreme well fed and huge and as couple they appeared extreme powerful and I would have loved to see one day their offspring.

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Meanwhile new cars arrived and also enjoyed the close presence of the lions and same did not bother the coming and going and the conversations and words which were changed between the people

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but maybe it was simply too hot to move.

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For us it also started to get a bit uncomfortable without the head wind and we even parked under a shady tree how unbearable it must have been for our lovely lady.

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We meanwhile had the honour in watching them for more than an hour and as it was getting now a bit too busy for our liking we decided it was now time to return to Skukuza and our departure signal was obviously the same which our lion lady felt as she joined her loverboy under his shady bush and both disappeared nearly invisible.

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We once more felt privileged that we were at the right time at the right place and could even had them a long time all to ourselves. We made our way as usual slowly back to camp, however, could not left this beautiful posing kudu male without taking a picture.

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The remaining drive to Skukuza was quiet as it was simply too hot and whilst checking in a nice surprise awaited us already as we were once more booked into the Lion Cottage with a more than nice view into the Sabie river and close to the shop and restaurant. I prior to our departure requested for this unit again but to finally ending up there once more was simply heaven for us. We even enjoyed the slight breeze under our shady verandah with an ice cream and whilst I checked out the huge and beautiful fig tree under which this cottage is located I noticed a green pigeon – one of the many many birds I already saw but never managed to get a picture of as I had no camera with me at that moment – but another more than good reason to return.

Longer than usual we sat there and enjoyed the moment and we even nearly skipped our afternoon drive but our exploratory spirit won against the laziness and so we decided to give the H11 and then the S65 which only had been reopened recently another try but unfortunately it was extreme quiet and nearly nothing to be admired also only few cars came across although it was a Friday afternoon.

A highlight for both of us was the sighting of this beautiful nearly adult bateleur which posed extreme copious on a dead branch with the beautifully slue sky in the background. Sigh.

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Because of our lateness we miscalculated the length of that drive a bit and we had to hurry not to return too late to the gate but in this case the lack of any animal sightings turned into handy for us and allowed us whilst reaching the H1-1 which also has been repaired only recently to return into our Kruger speed which is extreme slow but also on that road there was not much to be found besides a couple of elephants out of which one posed too nicely for us and together with the beautiful evening light we could not resist.

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Normally we are not that great fans of pictures where the tar roads are visible neither with animals on nor with anything else on but with that one I simply wanted to keep the moment of a beautiful late afternoon and early evening in the bush. – Double sigh!

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We made it back in time and even had enough time to watch the lights fading whilst sitting again on our verandah with a cold one. After that many amazing braais we had during this holiday already we decided to visit again the Selati Train restaurant as we always do when staying in Skukuza as the atmosphere there is simply too special but when we arrived there we thought that we will not be able to have dinner there as it was full of people like in a beehive but gladly we only had to wait a couple of seconds and could have enjoyed another awesome evening there.

to be continued


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 Post subject: Re: Sunsets with Tuskers at the Horizon
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:14 pm 
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Saturday, 18. February 2012 – Skukuza

As usual when staying at Skukuza we today wanted to only do a short morning drive and to spend the rest of the morning at Lake Panic unfortunately today it was extreme cloudy and dark that early morning and still a bit windy so quite not a good condition to photograph animals. So we took once more the H11 and the S65 but besides a couple of skittish zebras on the roadside nothing came across

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and only half way on the S65 a lone buffalo was about to make himself comfortable in a meanwhile nearly dried out river bed

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and that was already what we saw on these normally lovely roads and so far too soon we were already back on the tar road to Skukuza when something came running from the front and soon a very scary looking hyaena appeared

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and without neither looking right nor left same simply continued running and disappeared.

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We paid Mathekenyane look out another visit as we only have been there once and we had it all to ourselves on that early morning and once more enjoyed all the noises which could be heard that high above.

Needless to say that due to the lack of any sightings we returned far too early to Skukuza and allowed us another drive on the H4-1 and as often seen there a lot of vervet monkeys were playing hide and seek in the thick bushes

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and presented us their acrobatic skills.

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We again watched all the devastation along that area but spotted also a huge hippo which was about to spend the rest of the day in the water.

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As the light was still awful we skipped to take any pictures of another beautiful juvenile bateleur and also the giraffes were passed by us without stopping. The mating couple from yesterday obviously decided to amuse themselves at another spot as they were no longer to be seen but in one of the many loops there we came across a small breeding herd of elephants and after Timon positioned our car in the obligatory safety distance we had a lot of fun in watching first the matriarch

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and then soon one after the other the remaining members appeared as well with lots of middle aged teenagers as well.

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We could change with our cameras between all of them and finally ended again at the matriarch

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until soon one of the cutest baby elephant which we ever saw appeared on the scene as well.

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What a gorgeous little thing and it looked like it was the calf of the matriarch but already self-confident enough how to use its own little head.

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First it ran excitedly from here to there and finally ended up in showing us extensively which things his trunk is already able to do.

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It was so funny to watch it that we were really spellbound and nearly lost room and time.

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However, after quite a lot of time all members of the herd disappeared one after the other and also this little cutie followed mom.

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For us it was also time to leave that place as we wanted to pay Lake Panic an extensive visit which we always do when staying at Skukuza and so we headed forward only to be stopped by some very playful baboons which were chasing themselves up and down a tree close to the road. Unfortunately the light was not that good as it was very cloudy and under the foliage of all the trees along the road it was extreme difficult to photograph them as they were always on the move.

to be continued with some Lake Panic impressions............


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 Post subject: Re: Sunsets with Tuskers at the Horizon
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:36 am 
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When we arrived at the hide I was about to immediately turn around as two of the safari vehicles which we already saw yesterday at the honeymoon couple were standing at the parking lot but gladly the minute we stopped the whole group just came back from the hide and entered their vehicles so we gladly had the hide at least for a short time all to ourselves. First after arriving there was not much bird activity but we could hear already the unmistakably knocking of a Cardinal woodpecker and it took me quite a while until I could locate the culprit but same appeared nearly headless on all the pictures Timon took as it was busy in knocking on a rotten branch a bit far away.

After quite a while also more and more birds could be seen and relatively close to where Timon was sitting a Blake Crake popped out of the thick leaves of the water lilies.

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Soon one of my favourites followed, the blue waxbills, and normally they are always so difficult to photograph outside the camps but today they at least allowed a couple of shots

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as they were busy in inspecting the abandoned weaver nests which were hanging around nearly everywhere.

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Obviously the cheeky black-eyed bulbul from the parking area at Lower Sabie followed us also to this spot.

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Other people meanwhile arrived but it still was quiet and we simply enjoyed to be back at that spot after such a long time. The only negative thing was that it was very cloudy and windy that late morning so the colours did come out brilliantly and due to the thick vegetation I although realising that there was a larger bird to be spotted a bit far away but same nearly kept hidden behind a thick log but finally it appeared on the other side as well to have a look around – a Purple Crested Lourie -

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also one of those beautiful colourful birds which we do not often have the possibility to admire, sadly same did not come closer.

Our Malachite friend was also again there and it even stayed on the same branch as last year – How I love these cute colourful fluff balls!

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And soon another gorgeous fluff ball appeared also on the same branch as always – the Brown-hooded Kingfisher! If only all the other animals we already saw during our many trips are easily to be found at the places where we already saw them!

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Another bird which is also always to be found here is the African jacana

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and this time it even were so close to where we were positioned that it nearly could not be captured completely.

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Meanwhile nearly each seat was occupied and for us this was the sign to leave although I could have stayed there even longer

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but before our final good-bye one of the many dragon flies which could be spotted in a number of uncountable colour had to be photographed.

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As we were already nearly there we wanted to pay a short visit to the nursery to admire one or two plants but there the flood must have been over flooded nearly everything and most places were locked and on top the nursery closed just the minute we arrived there for lunch so we had no other possibility to return to Skukuza and to reserve another visit here for next year.

Only when we arrived back at our bungalow I noticed that I was already late for my meeting with Elsa, Klystron, Debby and WendyA but gladly all of them were still sitting on one of the branches close to the restaurant and also the yellow ribbons all of them were wearing where more than impossible to be overlooked! We had a nice chat about everything and it was more than nice to meet Elsa & SO again after 2008 and Debby and Wendy for the first time but time passed by so fast and soon it was already time to say good-bye – Stupidly I forgot to bring my camera so the nice shot of forum members of a mini meet at Skukuza must be postponed to a later visit but believe me then I will definitely not forget to bring the camera!

to be continued.........


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 Post subject: Re: Sunsets with Tuskers at the Horizon
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 9:59 pm 
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The rest of the afternoon on our verandah did only flew by and later than normal we left for another short afternoon drive but in the beginning we were indecisive which road to take and so we strolled down the H3 but as nothing came across we decided to return via the S112/S114 and gladly also the weather calmed down as well and the sun was again shining and the best light was predominating again.

Not only the sun came out with turning onto these gravel roads but also more and more animals came across as well. Besides kudus, elephants and an impressive brown snake eagle the next “thing” which we were able to spot on the ground made us become quite excited, as this was for us a never seen bird (No. 7 during that trip) – a juvenile dark chanting Goshawk!

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Firstly we thought whilst we approached the goshawk same would flew away but the contrary was fact as same was even walking into the direction of us as if this would be the most normal thing in the world.

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Needless to say that we were delighted with such a close encounter of such a beautiful raptor and even without any disturbing leaves or branches covering at least only a feather of this beauty.

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Our only fright was that a restless speeder might have overlooked this amazing bird on the ground but to our relief same decided that it would love to threw glances into our direction from a higher level and flew up onto the tree right next to our car as if the raptor would have read my thoughts......

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The only negative thing was that the impressive feathered friend was now nearly too close to fit into the picture correctly but with a lot of body bending we finally succeeded in getting same into the frame.

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We admired the close presence of that beautiful bird until same decided to finally say good–bye to us and with high spirits after such a thrilling sighting we nearly overlooked two dagga boys hidden in the high grass only meters away from the goshawk.

Slowly we made our way back to camp but this was one of the evening drives where everything fitted together perfectly our mood, the light, simply everything so during that golden evening we could have stayed outside once more the whole night but we had no chance we had to return to Skukuza, however, had still enough time to stop for these wattled starlings,

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for this European roller – a bird for which we always do stop for -

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and for one of the many many impalas.

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This angry looking red-billed hornbill was our last sighting on a quiet day compared to all the other ones we had before

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but with the visit to Lake Panic and with the dark chanting Goshawk our birding souls could be once more satisfied entirely, however, the only negative thing during our stay at Skukuza was the lack of wild dogs as during our last stays there it was only a more than reliable spot for the painted dogs but obviously the spotted ones had priority this year and you cannot have everything and next year we will try it again!

After a delicious braai it was again time for the bed but this evening we stayed up a bit longer and watched all the bugs and praying mantises which visited us this evening and simply enjoyed the African night.

Sunday, 19. February, 2012 – Skukuza – Satara

Normally we would have tested today the S34/S33 but both roads as well as the Southern part of the S36 were still closed due to flood damages so we decided to drive a little detour via the S65 as this road became more and more one of our favourites in this area the more often we drove it.

However, today was not a great difference to the previous drives on that road because it was once more extreme quiet and to the quietness it began to rain slightly and must have already rained heavily at night as some of the smaller streams we crossed carried lots of water today and soon I was once more concerned about eventually road closures of just re-opened roads......

Right at the beginning of the turn off to Lake Panic a clan of hyaenas came into our direction but as they were in move and because it was still nearly pitch dark we could only take a couple of blurred pictures but gladly a very wet and bedraggled looking yellow-billed kite allowed some shots.

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Giraffes and very wet baboons came also across – a pity that this one was looking into the wrong direction

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but the next clan of hyaenas which came across came running into our direction and at least meanwhile it was a bit brighter and some of our pictures came out not that bad.

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It looked like the same clan as we already spotted yesterday but today at least one of them was flying...

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to be continued.......


Last edited by Pumbaa on Sat Jul 28, 2012 7:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Sunsets with Tuskers at the Horizon
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only a bit later a younger one crossed our paths as well and maybe it was only a latecomer of the just seen hyaenas and wanted a bit time for itself or simply wanted to take it a bit slower today in the early morning.

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Today a lot of cars were out and soon after we stopped at the hyaena a traffic jam already built up and with the disappearance of same we carried on to admire some majestic kudu males.

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Meanwhile we were already back to Skukuza on the tar road and the rain got a bit less, however, this little chap still proofed that it only recently came down heavily.

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Far too early we were back at Skukuza were we only stopped for a short loo break and paid a final visit to the Skukuza causeway where again lots of water birds were hanging around such as this blacksmith plover,

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more than dozen of water dikkops

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As the Sand river causeway was unfortunately still closed we had to turn around and nearly had missed this beautiful hamerkop

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and the one legged Egyptian goose which was obviously still extreme sleepy.

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A car stopped close by whilst we were taking pictures parking in one of these bulges on the causeway and we were looking into the smiling faces of Elsa & Co. We chatted a short while and waved already bye byes to each other but this was not the last time we met today.

Once again we were tearing our hairs because of the extreme devastation caused by the flood which damaged that area that severe but the animals did not bother about such things and could be found nearly everywhere and after a lot of days with not so many sightings of impalas we spent a lot of time with a lovely resting herd close to the road and maltreated our cameras again.

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All of them were extreme relaxed and we loved it to watch them

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and even nearly forgot the time as there was still a long way ahead of us.

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Also this huge chap made himself comfortable in the Sabie and did not care about all the debris close to him.

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A pity was that it meanwhile started to rain again heavily and also these cute siblings did not like to get that wet – once more sorry as they were not facing the cameras but I simply loved the way they hugged each other.

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We made it slowly on the tar road into the direction of Satara and due to the rain the animals got less and lesser and due to the road closures of the S36 we only stopped for an excessive break at Leeupan where it is always worth to stop either in rain or sunshine.

Although it was more than adventurous to even reach Leeupan as the road leading to the pan and the whole parking area which as you all know is huge was covered by huge puddles where you did not know how deep they finally were and between the many puddles it was extreme muddy and slippery.

Here we met again Elsa but they were about to leave when we arrived and Timon soon was fascinated by one of his favourite birds – a beautiful female saddle-billed stork – which was foraging close to the shore of the pan

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Gladly for us was that the time we arrived there it was very quiet carwise and so we could follow her whilst she was displaying herself which was wonderful as so she allowed us very impressive close ups.

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to be continued.....


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She did not feel disturbed by us in any way and so we followed her slowly whilst she was changing her positions

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A lot of other birds were also present but most of them where simply too far away but we saw hadedahs and a family of white-faced ducks even with chicks.

What a staring eye she had!

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Sorry for the amount of stork pictures but we really could not resist in not taking any pictures of this beauty as the colours of the feathers even during that bad weather were simply breathtaking.

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After she departed farer and farer from the shore we left as well and to stop again at Tshokwane or at least the remains of what was Tshokwane previously. The portaloos were the cleanest which I ever have visited compared to many which we had to use during one of Timon’s running events and here we met again Elsa & Co. and we had another chat also about the place where we were standing just right now. It is great to hear that same is meanwhile running and buzzing as usual and I already looking forward to have my obligatory ice cream there again next year!

Normally we are driving straight the tar road further but this year we decided to pay Orpen dam a visit as we only have been there once. Presently it started again to rain again heavily and whilst sitting at the dam and admiring the view which we had all to ourselves we still could see that also at this place how high the flood level had risen.

We carried on the S32/35 which must only have been reopened shortly after the flood as the branch which normally signalizing a road closure was still visible but had been pushed aside – The first part was easily to be driven but due to the only recent rains muddy but when we came to the crossing over the N’waswitsontso we were shocked as lot of debris in the previous river bed was lying around between which we had to drive, muddy puddles had to be crossed to reach the other side and on top of that one of the hugest elephant bulls came running, declared the crossing to his private drinking whole and was blocking the road.

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So one of my greatest nightmares became true – as we were standing with our car in the middle on a muddy road and had to drive backwards uphill a bit farer away from our ellie friend which meanwhile stayed alarmingly close to our car.

Gladly for us was that Mr. Grey Mass was definitely not interested in us and even ignored us the whole time – he was only interested in quenching his thirst which took for us endlessly.

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If you look carefully a lot of debris looks like littered everywhere but obviously the animals did not bother as a couple of them could we spotted on the stretch of the road although I could have set this giant ellie aside.

But after an unending time he was gone

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and we dared to cross the little stream, passed muddy sand and finally reached the other side of the road where from out of nowhere a huge giraffe was standing eying us suspiciously as if we have just done something which was not allowed. The S35 itself is also a nice drive as same is more open and is allowing a wide view without any huge trees or bushes blocking same. A Swaison francolin was sitting high on a branch either on a lookout or simply because same did not want to get wet feet.

Meanwhile the heavy rain changed over into slight drizzle and it even got a bit brighter and it looks also as if this impala ram had enough rain already today.

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Whilst finally turning into the tar road we realized that this road was definitely not closed, however, I cannot imagine how people in a normal sedan car would have crossed that special part of the gravel road where the ellie is having his playground. Mazithi and Kumana dam were as full as never before and even the shore was hardly be visible

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consequently there were no animals to be seen but from the tar road we could easily spot that the N’waswitsontso, normally only a small stream, must have been hit by the flood very badly as devastation was highly visible, simply because the river bed is now having the double size as known from previous visits, especially the S86 allowed some adventurous views into the now huge river bed. Needless to say that most of the water was at that time already gone but some huge puddles and pans still could be seen.

The road to the Southernmost baobab was closed but as we knew that the S125 and the S36 into the Northern direction had only been reopened again we decided to allow us a nice detour to Satara as it still was too early to check in and the more North we came the less the rain got an after another short but heavy rain shower it more or less kept dry and got brighter and brighter and with the brighter day more animals appeared from nearly everywhere suddenly. Ellies and impalas were plentiful

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and even the normally not hydrophobic vultures could be spotted whilst it got drier and we had to be careful in not overlooking this little chap

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or one of the hugest and hungriest leopard tortoises which we ever saw.

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Also more and more birds could be seen suddenly it was as if the bush awoke again from the night carmine bee eater were eager in hunting their favourite preys whilst the lilac breasted roller was still drying its feathers by spreading the wings.

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The ground hornbills were wading around between the wet grass,

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joined by several lone elephant bulls

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whilst this yellow-bill kite decided to still watch the world from high above and look what might come around.

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Also the one and only car we met here out of which a couple of young people warned us about the road closure of the S36 into southern direction but as we were going North there was no hindrance for us in carrying on but we thanked them for their thoughtfulness.

Finally at Ximangwaneni the last rain drops came down until the sun won over all the grey clouds and came out more and more.

Between the lots of water dikkops and black smith plovers which could be seen to a great extend on the water edge a bird a bit farer away in a bush got soon our full attention as it was another new tick for us (Number 8 during that trip) - a Whiskered Tern

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We simply parked there and spend quite a long while admiring this peaceful spot and already felt a bit sentimental as we did not stay at Talamati during this holiday as this was always our early morning and later afternoon target.

to be continued with new and good old friends.......


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 Post subject: Re: Sunsets with Tuskers at the Horizon
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 1:28 pm 
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As always time passed by already far too soon and it was already 03.00 o’clock in the afternoon and still a couple of kilometres to drive until Satara. Whilst riding on the S126 the sun came out and shooed away the grey clouds and with that awesome afternoon light together with the still greyish sky in the background I could not but simply had to press the button and out came this

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Although the road was quiet the more we got in the vicinity of Welverdiend waterhole the more general game as well as birds could be spotted out of which this sentinel simply had to be captured

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and only a branch further this beautiful juvenile bateleur got our whole attention

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as same was simply positioned too good that we could drive by without stopping

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With the sun also the wind got stronger and it was funny to watch how same was blowing from the back into the feathers of the bateleur.

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Zebras as well as giraffes were also plentiful

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and especially the lots of redbilled oxpeckers flying from one animal to another – no matter what species – banished us completely.

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This impala ram was lying so photogenic close to the road and also here the oxpeckers attracted us more over as there were two juveniles who were competing for the attention of one of their parents.

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Finally after a long ride we were relieved when we could check in at Satara and already decided that we would skip our afternoon drive completely after another nearly whole day on the road. We were awarded with bungalow G163 and this put immediately a smile onto my face as I already knew that Hilda & Barry with whom we had an appointment for a braai the next day were allocated in G164!

After everything had been packed away for our 4 nights stay in Satara we went over to Hilda & Barry to introduce ourselves and soon we chatted away about each and everything and soon lost time as it was already same to fire the braai which Timon did after a short visit at the shop and it was another great feeling to be back at Satara as this is for us always one of the “highlights” of our Kruger visit. So the evening we enjoyed on our verandah close to the fence was indeed a very special one.

Monday, 20. February 2012- Satara

I think there is no better road to start our stay at Satara with as the S100 and although we found same extreme quiet last year we could not detain ourselves in driving same today again in the morning moreover noticing that most of the other cars ahead in the queue of cars at the camp’s gate decided to drive into other directions.

Although today it was no exception to last year – the road was dead quiet - we enjoyed at least the sunrise a lot

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and nearly at the end we spotted the ears of a couple of waterbuck ladies lying down in the high grass but gladly for us was that the boss was already up and on his legs and eyed us suspiciously

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and even came closer for a more specific look at us.

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WoW – What a beauty and same proved once again that this road is one of the best place at least in summer to take nice pictures of the waterbucks in the park.

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And the end of the S100 we turned right leaving Gudzani dam out for the first as we wanted to drive on the S41 up to the first low water bridge where we last year spotted the mini crocs but soon we were held up by two majestic mane brothers who were both lying still very sleepy nearly on the road.

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Sometimes that early leaving is paying off as we were once again the first car which our two lions noticed this early morning and after a short investigation with our obligatory safety distance we once again dared to move closer and soon both of them were nearly too close for the long lenses we had on our cameras.

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Great was once again that both had positioned themselves already perfectly for us one on the left side and the other on the right side of the road so that we again could switch enthusiastically from one to the other until the camera buttons started to glow again.

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Another car approached from our back but our manned beauties did not even raise an eyebrow as they were still far too sleepy for any attention.

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So we enjoyed a while longer these quite impressive sleeping beauties until finally the third car arrived and once again proved that then at least one of them would move away from the road into the thicker bush.

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Although we could not understood the behaviour of the car which just arrived as they only threw a short glance onto our two brothers and immediately drove away on the search for something else......Nevertheless they disturbed one of the lions as same stood now up and made himself comfortable in the high grass still close to the road but hiding unseen from us behind a small bush.

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The other car drove a bit backwards and chose to follow further the actions of this one whilst we stayed where we stood so that we could still admire the other one.

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And once again as so often already during that trip our cameras started to glow again after the permanent click clicks we made to capture another fantastic moment during that very successful trip.

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to be continued as the lion show goes into the second round.........


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 Post subject: Re: Sunsets with Tuskers at the Horizon
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 11:52 pm 
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Location: The planning is on again.....
Our beauty turned into day dreaming modus and we felt sorry for him as I counted already 6 flies which were about to chose the best place around one of his eyes, however, obviously they did not disturb him

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as the obligatory yawner where he presented his impressive teeth

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soon was followed by the second one

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only to throw his body in the typical lion style back flat on the ground close to the road

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and allowed us some time to relax our arm muscles from holding the cameras and to sip the rest of our meanwhile nearly cold coffee.

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After a long while the sun obviously was touching his nose and he decided that it was time to continue his morning nap closer to his buddy in the long grass.

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We now had to drive a bit backwards not to lose him out of sight.

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He either positioned himself so that he always was possible to watch carefully the movement of his lion friend.

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“Good Morning Kingdom!”

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Meanwhile both nearly were hiding themselves perfectly in the high grass so that if you did not know where to look for them would have driven on.

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After we took more than hundred of pictures we decided it was time to leave them and to look for something else but had already in mind that after only a short visit to the not so far away low water bridges on that road we intended to drive the same way back and maybe they will still continue their beauty sleep on that spot.

We stopped at the second low water bridge and observed the weavers building their quite impressive nests and a lot of them obviously just started as most of the nests still had a green colour and needless to say that the obligatory or a new crocodile was still to be found on the normal rock.

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Already back to pay a short visit at the low water bridge where we last year had the privilege to spot the mini crocodiles we came across lot of white-backed vultures and even a steenbok stopped long enough for a short picture.

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And the minute we wanted to take a quick stop in order to investigate whether any mini reptiles could also be admired this year – we unfortunately did not find any – a good old friend appeared on the scene and looked as even surprised as we did as we met each other so soon again

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and he even came closer!

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As we did not know where he wanted to finally go we kept enough distance but this was useless as he immediately disappeared behind a bush only to join there his buddy which was already there.

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Although both of them had chosen a place to rest close to the road same was difficult to reach as they exactly lay themselves down where the raising from the low water bridge uphill to reach the top of the road was at the steepest and to avoid to be caught in a traffic jam when parking in such a miserable position we took so many pictures as possible until the first cars might arrive and believe me it definitely took not that long until the first ones stopped.

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Within only seconds we were caught in the trap and soon were surrounded by lots of cars and so we decided to finally say good-bye to our lion brothers and for sure will look out for them again during the coming days or latest next year when we will for sure be back in that area and will never forget that magical moments we were allowed to share with them this morning.

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On the way back to Gudzani dam were we would like to stop for a short coffee and rusk break we could admire uncountable Carmine bee eaters

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and beautiful blossoms of different flowers.

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to be continued with more beautiful morning impressions......


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