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 Post subject: Graham_5000 4 day taste of KNP, left us hungry 4 more 10/12
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 7:41 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2011 1:45 pm
Posts: 403
Location: London
First of all I would like to thank all of you for the advice and help regarding our trip, roads, camps etc!! I left SA in the 80s as a child and try to come back every 1-2 years. I have been to private game reserves before but Kruger was an unbelievable experience – cannot comprehend the scale of the park! We stayed two nights in Olifants camp and two nights in Lower Sabie – would have loved to have stayed longer, but St Lucia and the Drakensberg beckoned! We did a guided walk on our first morning in the park.

We landed on the 13th of August and drove N12, N4, Belfast, Dullstroom and Lydenburg to Buffelsvlei Guest Farm (on the R37) for an overnight stop – I highly recommend this citrus farm as a stopover point. The next morning we drove to Phalaborwa via the Abel Erasmus pass:

August 14:

We saw elephants within minutes of entering the park as well as a fair bit of general game. The Letaba river road was beautiful but quiet, and our hired VW Polo received a full suspension work-out on what we found to be the most corrugated road we drove! After arriving at Olifants camp, we observed hippos from our river-view, BBD2V bungalow (number 13). I then made a braai under the stars and posted an expensive data roaming message on the forum! The setting is exquisite – the number one view in Africa!

Image
P1000285 by GrahamduP, on Flickr

August 15:

We got up at 5am as we were going on a morning walk. It seemed rather mild in temperature until we set off in the open vehicle to our walk starting point – the wind chill at this time of the morning cuts through everything! En route to the starting point, we saw a den of hyenas, complete with lots of little ones, hippos grazing, giraffes, elephants, buffalo, general game, and a pride of lions patrolling near a stream just north of the Bangu waterhole. Apologies for the poor photo of the lions – I had not yet got used to the new Panasonic FZ48 I recently purchased!

Image
P1000227 by GrahamduP, on Flickr

Image
P1000235 by GrahamduP, on Flickr

Alarmingly we alighted the vehicle only a few minutes drive from where we had seen the S90 pride of lions. Within a couple of minutes walk we were to be alarmed again though; we walked towards a stream, rounded a verge and stared straight into the eyes of an old female hippo! I took this picture quickly, before our guides Vusi and Eric moved us back as we were only 20 yards away. Fortunately she exited on the other side of the stream. Our guides told us about a situation years earlier when a hippo bull had charged a group of walkers nearby – unfortunately the hippo had to be shot. They found the skull near this small stream and showed us the bullet hole.

Image
P1000239 by GrahamduP, on Flickr

Apparently elderly hippos can get tired of the river politics of the Olifants and sometimes find a small stream where they can retire away from it all!! We saw black-backed Jackal and some general game on the easy 3-hour walk, but learnt lots about the sights, smells and signs of the bush.

That afternoon we drove the S39 northern section (recommended by mite Cheetah!). We decided this was the most beautiful road we drove – and very interesting too.. Lots of general game, ellies etc. We also saw a crocodile ambush some impala who were nervously drinking from the Timbavati river. The croc jumped out at them, but they escaped; we were too stunned to take a picture unfortunately! The impala made a distressed, guttural sound and although scarred mentally, they were all physically intact!

We drove the H1-4 back which is very open and saw lots of elephants and two rhinos at a different location. These two ellies posed beautifully for us near Ngotso:

Image
P1000280 by GrahamduP, on Flickr

That night we braaied once again and enjoyed the sounds of the river.

August 16:

Drove the H1-4, H1-3, H1-2 and H4-1 to Lower Sabie. We had good game-viewing initially – massive herds of zebra, buffalo and elephants at Ngotso as well as ostriches nearer Satara. We drove to Sabie river road slowly, hoping to find leopards but only saw impala and this lovely herd of elephants:

Image
P1000318 by GrahamduP, on Flickr

After visiting sunset dam and admiring crocs, hippos, baboons, kudu and impala, we settled in at Lower Sabie River view tent number 20. A number are still being rebuilt, including number 27 which we had requested.

August 17:

Next morning we set off at 6am and drove the S28 south to Crocodile bridge. Half an hour into our journey we saw a pride of lions right next to the road consisting of two males and two females. It was amazing to find this pride all by ourselves. A few minutes later, one of the females saw a warthog in the distance and set off crawling after it. The other female flanked the warthog. They closed in for about 20 minutes and when they were very close the warthog became alarmed and ran off. The lions did not chase. We took these pics of the male lions and female lions observing the warthog. Alas the warthog was rather obscured so we don’t have great stalking photos – the lions kept low in the grass too! We loved the sight of the lazy males licking their chops and salivating whilst the females attempted to bring in breakfast!

Image
P1000344 by GrahamduP, on Flickr

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P1000347 by GrahamduP, on Flickr

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P1000348 by GrahamduP, on Flickr

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P1000349 by GrahamduP, on Flickr

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P1000351 by GrahamduP, on Flickr

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P1000355 by GrahamduP, on Flickr

We had breakfast at Crocodile Bridge camp and then the drive back was uneventful on the H4-2. That afternoon we drove on the H10 to Orpen dam and then back again on the S29. We saw two rhino at a location, lots of ellies including a lone baby which was running around aimlessly. A huge herd of buffalo delayed us somewhat on the way back, but then we saw this hyena suckling from its mother as well as other hyena a couple of minutes away. The suckling hyena did not seem bothered by us being three metres away in a car! We saw a cheetah on the S29 although it was behind a rock and the other people there said it had been there for an hour! We only glimpsed its head so won't post the pic!

Image
P1000393 by GrahamduP, on Flickr

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P1000401 by GrahamduP, on Flickr

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P1000403 by GrahamduP, on Flickr

August 18:

Drove a rather quiet H4-2 again and exited at Crocodile Bridge for an easy but long drive to St Lucia via Swaziland!

We loved the north east during late winter and are considering returning next year instead of December 2013 (Cape Town and garden route). We are thinking of exploring a northern area accessible from Phalaborwa gate, Olifants again and then somewhere different in the south!! Will add more thoughts to this thread as they come and perhaps more pics too.. Right had better run and try to sort out posting pics!


PS ALL of the Kruger staff were amazing and friendly! Thanks to DinkyBird for all of the hep with uploading the pics - Flickr proved much easier than PhotoBucket!

_________________
Berg en Dal: 10/08/2014 - 13/08/2014
Satara: 13/08/2014 - 16/08/2014
Croc Bridge: 16/08/2014 - 17/08/2014


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 Post subject: Re: A 4 day taste of Kruger that has left us hungry for more
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 4:34 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Image
P1000311 by GrahamduP, on Flickr

Image
P1000317 by GrahamduP, on Flickr

Ngotso dam - elephants everywhere!

Image
P1000301 by GrahamduP, on Flickr

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P1000302 by GrahamduP, on Flickr

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P1000284 by GrahamduP, on Flickr

Romantic S39 lunch!

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P1000275 by GrahamduP, on Flickr

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P1000268 by GrahamduP, on Flickr

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P1000267 by GrahamduP, on Flickr

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P1000252 by GrahamduP, on Flickr

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P1000251 by GrahamduP, on Flickr

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P1000213 by GrahamduP, on Flickr

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P1000211 by GrahamduP, on Flickr

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Berg en Dal: 10/08/2014 - 13/08/2014
Satara: 13/08/2014 - 16/08/2014
Croc Bridge: 16/08/2014 - 17/08/2014


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 Post subject: Re: A 4 day taste of Kruger that has left us hungry for more
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:09 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Here is the cheetah we saw on the S29. Sometimes one feels sitting for ages waiting for it to move will just not work - this was one of those days! As far as I am concerned this cheetah is still sitting behind that rock, depriving someone of a good sighting!

Image
P1000420 by GrahamduP, on Flickr

Image
P1000419 by GrahamduP, on Flickr

_________________
Berg en Dal: 10/08/2014 - 13/08/2014
Satara: 13/08/2014 - 16/08/2014
Croc Bridge: 16/08/2014 - 17/08/2014


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 Post subject: Re: A 4 day taste of Kruger that has left us hungry for more
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:12 pm 
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Perhaps it was a stuffed toy. :whistle: :whistle: :lol: :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: A 4 day taste of Kruger that has left us hungry for more
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:34 pm 
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Or a ranger in a cheetah costume teasing us!

_________________
Berg en Dal: 10/08/2014 - 13/08/2014
Satara: 13/08/2014 - 16/08/2014
Croc Bridge: 16/08/2014 - 17/08/2014


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 Post subject: Re: A 4 day taste of Kruger that has left us hungry for more
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 12:57 am 
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Posts: 403
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I forgot to say, one thing that was slightly disappointing was that we didn't see scorpions or spiders round the camp - I wanted to photograph them and searched high and low. I think August is still perhaps to cold?!

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Berg en Dal: 10/08/2014 - 13/08/2014
Satara: 13/08/2014 - 16/08/2014
Croc Bridge: 16/08/2014 - 17/08/2014


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