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 Post subject: Sleepyowl: Absence makes the heart grow fonder: KNP Oct '12
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:08 pm 
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We've always been a Kruger family. From the age of 2 I've always spent at least one, sometimes 2, holidays in the park with my family and we've always loved it, but for the last 4 years we've sadly been unable to make a trip :cry: . This changed in June when my sister and I started conspiring to plan a family trip :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:. Once we'd made up our minds, all that was left to do was get bookings, and we watched the sight diligently :big_eyes: :big_eyes: , waiting for accommodation to open up, and snapping it up as soon as it became available. Finally, 2 weeks before we left we had the accommodation we wanted, 29/30th Sept Lower Sabie, 1/2nd Oct Satara 3/4th Letaba and 5th Satara. This would be the first time we'd be camping and we were over the moon as it's always been something we wanted to try :dance: :dance: :dance: . The excitement built as the date drew closer and closer, until two nights before we were due to leave, my brother comes home all :evil: and tells us that due to a problem at work, he can no longer make the trip :wall: :wall: :wall: I felt like :sniper: :sniper: his boss, but sometimes no matter how much you plan, life has other plans for you, and we resigned ourselves to going without him. It was with mixed emotions that we left on the 28th, spending a night with family along the way and leaving bright and early on the 29th for the park. The trip was thankfully :pray: uneventful and at 3:15 we entered the crocodile bridge gate with sparkles in our eyes, joy in our hearts and huge :mrgreen: :mrgreen: on our faces. After a 4 year absence we were finally home! :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :dance: :dance: :D :D :) :) :)

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 Post subject: Re: Absence makes the heart grow fonder
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 10:50 am 
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ImageHey guys and gals, thanks for coming aboard, there's more than enough place for everyone :hmz: although a rotation roster for window seats may have to be set up :hmz: and popcorn may have to be shared :whistle: :whistle: .

spargish wrote:
Its a sad feeling but I gues thats what happens when we grow up.
So true spargs, the show must go on, so lets get this show on the road!

Where was I? Image Oh yes, we'd just entered

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and we were looking left and right, high and low for our first animal Image and all of a sudden without any warning there he was, chilling in the sun Image

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Who would have guessed mr croc would be the first tick on my younger brothers Kruger checklist?

After bidding mr croc a warm farewell we stopped at the gate to see to the necessary formalities, to do a little celebratory dance Image and of course to proudly attach the symbol of the mighty mites

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having seen to the necessities, we set off to discover what the park had in store for us.

Now we had two rules in the park, we leave camp as soon as the gates open and, unless we're going to be late, we do not go over 30 km/h and anyone who breaks the rules, beware Image
So with this in mind we set off for Lower Sabie. We hadn't traveled far when the all too familiar 'stop stop' Image was shouted, the breaks were hit and we feasted our eyes on our first mammals of the trip having themselves a delicious lunch

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being polite creatures they invited us to share, but we declined and decided to push on.

The contrast in nature never ceases to amaze me, and it was highlighted when we went straight from the tall giraffes to the short dwarf mongoose, who seemed to be gazing off into the distance lost in his own mongoosey thoughts, whatever they may be.

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We decided to leave him to his contemplations and pushed onward until we met this handsome young beast all by his lonesome

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we enquired about his posse and it turned out they'd been grounded for wild behaviour Image without questioning him further we took our leave to meet up with the first of many feathered friends, a long tailed shrike

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We were just starting to wonder where all the impi warriors had disappeared to, when we laid eyes on this lad hanging with a bunch of his mates

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We promised to convey our regards to his extensively extensive family we met throughout our trip and parted ways only to chance upon the gentle giant of the animal kingdom

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these magnificent creatures seem to share a special bond with my sister Image, where she goes they follow and this has been a longstanding joke in our family as she's got a bit of an elliephobia Image I guess being charged mutiple times by multiple ellies, mock or otherwise, can leave a kid with some issues. We have strict orders about ellie sightings, how close we're allowed to go, when we're allowed to pass and the proper procedure for passing :rtm: . So in the spirit of friendship we said 'san bonaani, dumela, goeie more and hello' just to cover all our bases and this seemed to ensure good behaviour from the entire elliefamily for the rest of the trip.

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 Post subject: Re: Absence makes the heart grow fonder
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:19 pm 
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Thanks for all the comments

@cheets we ot some weird looks :big_eyes: :big_eyes: while we were dancing, but I could tell they wanted to join in :wink: 8).

So after befriending the BFG (big friendly giant for those of you unfamiliar with Roald Dahl) we were quite pleased with ourselves and our sightings and we continued on our merry way Image until we met up with the tail end of a trumpeter hornbill

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who flew off before I could kindly request a front shot Image. We continued our search and met a delightful wartie

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just sniffing the ground and minding its own wartie business and although he may appear to be three-legged, I assure you it's just a practical joke being played by the bush :twisted: . We next chanced upon another feathered friend. This bird happens to be a favourite of my sisters (and mine) and brings to mind gorgeous, fashionable ladies all dolled up. You guessed it, twas a lilac breasted roller

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Compared to this beauty, the yellow-billed hornbill (or banana bird as my sister likes to call them :roll: ) seems clumsy and bulky,

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but they can be endlessly fascinating and entertaining, especially when observing their antics in the camps or picnic araes. Now being an absentminded person :slap: , I forgot to mention that we were travelling on the N4, and most TR reading mites know what this road is famous for..........


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You guessed it, unmentionables :dance: :dance: :dance: and where there are unmentionables, there tends to be coveted unmentionable's poop and the famous poop collectors


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who deserve a medal for their lifes work in attempting depoopify our parks roads Image . And to end the first day of good sightings, the gorgeously regal bateleur

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who's so photogenic :cam: it makes me green with envy Image. Thereafter we reached our home for the next two nights

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We went to reception and were helped swiftly and pleasantly and there was still time to wander around and admire the beauty of blooming spring

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and the colours of a sunset, that seems so much more vivid in the park,

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before settling in for our first night of peace Image :zzz:

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 Post subject: Re: Absence makes the heart grow fonder
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 8:05 pm 
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So after an amazing night punctuated by the occasional lion's roar and hyaena's laugh, we awoke bright and early

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to the sounds of the bush unique to kruger. In true forumite fashion we were at the gate before it opened and waited patiently, bright eyed and bushy tailed Image , taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the early morning bush and basking in the pure contentment one can only feel in the park Image .

Finally the gates opened and we were off, keeping our eyes peeled :big_eyes: for all things wild and wonderful. First up, some wallowing hippsters

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and a sleepy fish eagle

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There's just something so magical about watching nature at rest in the stillness of the early morning that soothes the soul. One can sit there for hours watching the hippos snort and listening to the haunting cry of the fish eagle without getting bored. After basking in this peaceful atmosphere for a while, we continued our morning drive, wondering what the day would bring us Image . First up, two lovely birdies, a burchell's coucal

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and the ever regal bateleur

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Now as I've already mentioned, we've spent a lot of holidays in kruger, but this trip was different for a lot of reasons, one of them being that it was the first time we actually payed real attention to the birds we saw Image and for me this added a whole new dimension to our trip and it certainly made my brother's sighting list MUCH longer, because even when you're having a dry sighting day, there's always a bird or two around to cheer you up Image.
The previous day we saw impi warriors, but no matter how high or low we searched we couldn't find their female counterparts, and then we found out why,

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they were at a spa retreat primping for the holiday rush Image

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So we spent some time admiring the spa's handiwork and complimenting the female warriors before leaving them to their modelling and proceding with our drive. There we were driving along, in absolute silence, windows down, keeping our eyes peeled :big_eyes: when, 'STOP STOP' was heard in a high pitched voice. We all whipped around to the side of the sightee (my sister) and stared intently into the bush trying to locate what had been spotted, and then we saw it.....Image

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a painted dog shaped log Image :oops: :sori: Image. All true Krugarians have been there, searching the bush for elusive creatures, then the 'stop stop', the breaking, the reversing with bated breath and then the realisation that it's just a tree stump, log or grassy illusion followed by the tinge of disappointment or, as in our case, the marvelling at the sheer realism of said illusion :bcool:

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 Post subject: Re: Absence makes the heart grow fonder
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 3:04 pm 
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Thanks so much for the great comments :gflower: :gflower: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: and welcome to our new passengers :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Painted dogs, even imaginary ones, can make a person's day. So with smiles on our face we set off once more :) to see what we could see. We met up with a happy go lucky wartie

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who reminded me of pumba from the lion king and who's perfectly windblown hair made me want to ask for his stylists number 8) . Next up a kori bustard

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I would love to see a bird this size fly :big_eyes: ! One of the things I love most about spring is the abundance of young, and the family interaction amongst the various animals facinates me. Our first sign of this aspect of spring came in the form of a zebbie mom and her lil one crossing the road

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the foals are so cute they make you fall just a little bit in love Image. Now after the doggie fiasco, my sister felt she needed some redemption, not that we teased her about the log or anything :whistle: :whistle: , so she was staring out the window, focusing all her sighting power on the bush when once again Image , we followed the same routine whipping around to the side she was looking and staring intently into the bush, and suddenly a flicker of movement, :sup:

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Our first cats of the the trip :dance: :dance: how she saw them lying flat, blending in with the tawny grass beats me :shock: , but spot them she did Image. Since these were our first lions, we decided to find a good angle and park off for a while, even though we had a poor visual, we figured they might be inclined to accommodate us and sit up or move to a clearer spot. While we were waiting, I noticed this web on the other side of the road

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I always wonder how long these webs last before a herd of buffalo , wildebeest or elephants walks through it :hmz: :hmz: . So after hanging out for a while the felines finally made a move, sitting up on their haunches

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then lying down in a little clearing.

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From what we could see, there were two females, a male and a cub, although the male stayed well hidden and we probably missed a few more in the long grass. After taking a few more :cam: and praising my sister for her sharp eyes :clap: :clap: one of the females gave us a narrow eyed look

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and we knew it was time to move on. So we said cheers Image (with cereal milk in our glasses) and moved on, content with our days sightings thus far. We cruised along, just taking in the sights,
and saw a Swainsons francolin

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before stopping at a hide. We stretched our legs and went to see if we could see anything from the hide. While there wasn't much to see outside the hide, a (whitethroated?) swallow was busy with construction inside the hide

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and turned into a blur when it took off at high speed to get more construction material

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My brother calls swallows fighter jets, because we normally only see them in the sky, and their in-flight shape really does resemble fighter jets Image. Refreshed, we continued on our way. Since the N4 had been so generous the previous day, we decided to amble along it once more and lo and behold, the ever present unmentionables

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just hanging out the way only unmentionables can 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Absence makes the heart grow fonder
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 12:06 pm 
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:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: Glad you're all enjoying the TR. Welcome to the new travellers :gflower:

Sometimes the things you see and hear in the bush make you philosophical Image , like seeing a particularly handsome zebbie may make you wonder whether the zebs are black with white stripes or white with black stripes :hmz: :hmz: (personally I vote white with black stripes) or an elegant giraffe may make you consider the possible uses for the horn-like protrusions (called ossicones) on its head. Well when I saw this wartie I had an epiphany

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For some reason I've never really thought about the origin of the name warthog. I mean I automatically associated the hog part with its similar in appearance counterpart, but it never occurred to me that the wart part came from the bumps on its face which resemble warts Image, I know it's logical and self-evident :doh: , but up untill I saw this wartie I was ignorant :redface:. So with a silent thanks to the wartie for enlightenment, we continued on our way. We met an elegant giraffe with magnificent ossicones

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combining yoga stretches with delicately eaten breakfast and a buff with actual horns

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who challenged us to a stare off :big_eyes: (which he dominated). Then we happened upon a magnificent specimen and I just couldn't resist taking a :cam:

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a part of the park that's often ignored, but is integral to the survival of many a creature. Then we came upon our second raptor

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Not the best of pictures, :hmz: but Martial eagle? So far our trip had been mischief free, then we met the first of the parks mischief makers and constant entertainers

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who was adamant about ignoring us :roll: , so we took the hint and drove on by. We were cruising along, when we saw a little one who touched our hearts,

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and we sent up a prayer for the longevity of him and his family. Next up, our first scavenging birds, (white backed) vultures

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who were shown up by the ever gorgeous, perfectly made up, LBR

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and, a first for me, colourful green winged pytilias/melba finches

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learning a new birds name gives one such a sense of accomplishment :mrgreen: .

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 Post subject: Re: Absence makes the heart grow fonder
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 9:48 pm 
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Thanks for the compliments, and for joining. :mrgreen: :mrgreen:


In our excitement to spot the creatures on our wishlists, we often bypass and miss the smaller beings who are right under our noses, like this centipede

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who was curled up tight to fend off the intrusion of the outside world. We all have days when we wish we could do exactly that, but how many experiences would we miss if we did?

Now when we're in the park, there's very little that annoys us or sets off our tempers. It's like we're completely different people and things that would normally annoy us, become the funniest of jokes Image and it's all sunshine and roses for the duration of our stay :whistle: . But there are still a few things that can intrude on this bubble of happiness, one of these things is rule breakers who don't consider the consequences of their actions

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it makes me hopping mad Image that not only did she step out of the car, but she did it to take a photograph!!!! I wanted to go over and give them a piece of my mind :rtm: but as we approached she got back in the car and sped off :wall: :wall:. I was fuming, I mean if she had gotten mauled by a lion, would she have been blamed? Nope it would have been the lions fault :evil: There are rules that can be broken and there are rules that are clearly there to protect you and should therefore be adhered to :naughty: . It took me a while to cool down again. This female Kudu helped by chewing with her mouth opened

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then stalking off in a huff

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when she realised we were laughing at her Image :sori: . If there's one thing in the park that always puts a smile on your face it's the kleintjies, like this double banded sandgrouse chick

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and baby wildie

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and even this adorable Image steenbokkie

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who concluded our awesome morning drive. Back at camp, we took a walk on the lower sabie deck, and saw this little bee eater

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who disappeared before more :cam: could be taken. I decided to take a quick walk around the camp before having lunch and relaxing before taking an afternoon drive. The heat made me wish I was one of these 8) birdies

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This bright flower stood out the greenery saying "look at me"

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and what's a trip to kruger without a sausage

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from the sausage tree of course :wink: :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Absence makes the heart grow fonder
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:47 pm 
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Once again, thanks so much for the comments! I guess where there are rules, there's bound to be rule breakers :wall:

So after a relaxed lunch we decided to head out for an afternoon drive.

First up, some birdies :dance:

A white throated swallow

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whose expression seemed to be saying "watya looking at, huh?" :roll: It always surprises me when these fighter jets sit still for any period of time. :hmz: I think Kruger is the only place where I've seen swallows out of flight :big_eyes: .

A Goliath Heron

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being zen in the sun.

An openbill

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who I was hoping very much to see :dance: and what's any body of water in the Kruger without a terrapin?

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We seemed to be on a birdy streak as our next land creature was the biggest of them all...... a stunning male ostrich

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We got to Mlondozi picnic spot and jumped out to have a look at the late afternoon view

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It was getting late so we hopped back in the car to head back to camp. We continued at a leisurely pace, as there was still time, and passed this black-bellied korhaan

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then, in accordance with Murphy's law, with not much extra time to spare, we got stuck at a roadblock of the bovine nature

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there were well over 100 left to cross, and just when we saw a big enough gap, the rest ran to catch up before we could make our move. Even worrying a little about the time constraint, we couldn't help marvelling at the size of the herd and how protective they were of their young, nudging them firmly along if any dilly dallying was perceived. In short it was spectacular :big_eyes: :big_eyes: After watching for a while, the bakkie behind us slowly, and very respectfully, inched forward till the herd made place and allowed him to pass, we followed suit as we were afraid sticking around any longer would make us late, even driving at 40km/h. The rest of the trip back to camp was uneventful and we made it back with 15 minutes to spare, so we decided to make a quick turn at sunset dam before going in. We saw some baboons playing next to the road, and this mum kept a firm grip on her kid to keep him out of trouble

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while keeping a close eye on us and yanking hard, probably painfully, on his tail Image when he tried to stray

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you don't mess with these mums, they're pretty strict :shock:

And to end an amazing day in an even better place, a beautiful sunset over sunset dam

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after which we returned to camp in the nick of time to have a hearty supper and watch the moon in all its glory

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glint off the Sabie river

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before drifting contentedly off into sweet slumber :zzz: Image

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 Post subject: Re: Absence makes the heart grow fonder
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:31 pm 
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The next morning we rose extra early so we could pack and leave when the gate opened. We were moving camps, from Lower Sabie to Satara for the next two nights and I was over the moon and bouncing with excitement Image for two reasons. Firstly while all camps in the park are awesome, Satara just holds the top spot for us Image and secondly we were going to lake panic for the first time :dance: :dance: Image I know what you're thinking, how could it be that we've never been to lake panic :hmz: ? The honest answer is I simply have no clue how we bypassed it in all our Kruger years Image . With :mrgreen: on our faces we set out to right this great injustice.

First up, a young Impi warrior

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focusing all his attention on his breakfast in the early morning light. Next up, our first bush buck


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foraging in the shade. I always feel like someone took white paint and put their spots in fascinating designs :tongue: . We made a quick stop at Nkuhlu picnic spot, which was mostly empty and the shop still closed, where this guy played hide and seek with me

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after I caught him trying to break into the shop :naughty: . The view was gorgeous

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and the residents of all picnic spots

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chirped away Image .


After leaving Nkuhlu we came across baboon family

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the way the babies hang on is just too cute and makes you want to Image them to bits! The next sighting made our hearts heavy, and the day a little gloomy

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it is inexcusable that any park goer can be careless enough to cause this :rtm: :evil:

Next up, a birdie we were having a little trouble identifying as the bird book got packed in the boot :wall: , but which a friendly game ranger in the adjacent vehicle very helpfully identified as a juvenile black stork :D

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a white fronted bee eater

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who, like his smaller compadre, didn't stick around long enough for another :cam:. A largish crockarock

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soaking up some rays on his own private island :bcool: and a brown snake eagle

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surveying his domain. We were nearing lake panic, when we came across our first sign of avian royalty, a handsome brown hooded kingfisher


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For all their royal airs, I just love these kings (and queens) of the birdies and I was hoping to see a couple more during our stay. Next up lake panic :mrgreen: :mrgreen: Image .

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 Post subject: Re: Absence makes the heart grow fonder
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 1:08 pm 
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Lake panic Image . Words cannot describe the beauty or the serenity of this slice of heaven nor can :cam: do it justice. The complete awe and total captivation one feels at the first sight out of the hide is indescribable :big_eyes: I could have spent hours staring out of the hide, totally submerged in the quiet beauty of this haven. For me it was love at first sight Image and a definite addition to future kruger trips. I just wish we'd had more time to spend there, but any time there is a blessing and time well spent.

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The hide was very full, so we gapped in where we could. I have to :clap: :clap: :clap: the people in the hide, because even though there were over a dozen people in there, you could have heard a pin drop! Now on to the birdies. First up a goliath heron

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who stood in the center of the lake and was the center of attention. Then a grey heron

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preening in the sun. An African Jacana

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standing still as a statue and seeming to not mind the heat. Then my sister saw a flash of blue and excitedly gesticulated for me to come over. :big_eyes: I followed the blue left and right, up and down, trying to will it to sit still long enough for a decent :cam: I don't know how long I watched it for before it finally settled, but when I tried to take the pic, I realised it was behind some reeds and my camera wouldn't focus on it :slap:

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It had thrown down the gauntlet and I accepted the challenge and was determined to get a clearer pic, so I sat still and waited, and waited, and waited somemore while it darted to and fro, and just when I considered conceding defeat I got a small window of opportunity. Not the clearest of pics, but this one's for you Heksie. :mrgreen: A malachite kingfisher

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a BIG tick on my wishlist :mrgreen: :mrgreen:. Concluding my game of hide and seek with the mallie I moved on to this darter

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who seemed to be engaged in some form of sun worship

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or maybe he was just laying claim to the lake :hmz: . Next up, a grey heron feeding one of her chicks

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who seemed to be more interested in swallowing his mommy whole :shock:

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It was now time to leave this amazing place, so with a :mrgreen: on my face and a promise to myself to return the next time we were in the park, I took one parting shot before getting back in the car and leaving one of my new favourite places in the kruger

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 Post subject: Re: Absence makes the heart grow fonder
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:21 am 
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So after an amazing time at Lake panic, we made a quick stop at the Skukuza picnic spot for brunch where we saw this little half-tailed guy

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and this small blue waxbill

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who was hopping about looking for something good to eat. After a refreshing brunch we hit the road once more. These little guys are often neglected by all except the mites

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and they swam merrily about without a care in the world. Next up, a guy with an impressive goatee

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blowing handsomely in the breeze. And sunning himself on the side of the road

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an unknown lizard. I'm not good with reptile names :redface: .Next we saw a pair of the cutest sweethearts, klippies


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followed by a thirsty ellie


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who was a bit of a messy drinker


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and didn't seem to like the taste of his drink of choice

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Next up a bird who'se beak is a constant fascination for me, a spoonbill

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looking for grub in the mud. Our next sighting was something we don't often see in the park, but are diligently working to make the park safer for people and animals alike, a super friendly law enforcement officer

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who kindly smiled for a :cam: and chatted to us for a while since we were well within the speed limit :mrgreen: . We then stopped at Tshokwane for some ice cream as it was boiling hot and saw this guy just hanging about in the trees above the picnic tables, a yellow billed kite

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We left with ice cream in our hands and stopped at mazithi dam where a delightful ellie entertained us with his swimming antics. First he blocked his eyes from the heat

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that didn't seem to cool him down so he sprayed himself

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he still wasn't cool enough so he decided to take a dip

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this should have cooled him down, but I guess his head was just as hot as his body, so he went for total submersion

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then stood up and started all over again :lol: :mrgreen: . Not to be outdone, this buff

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who'd been watching the ellie, decided a cooling roll in the mud was in order

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and seemed to enjoy it thoroughly :mrgreen: . The zebs decided to use a more traditional cooldown method

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and enjoyed a refreshing drink of water while this black stork

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slept the heat away and this resillient chick

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foraged in the heat. After spending quite a while just watching the comings and goings, we decided to carry on and our last sighting before getting into camp was....................................................................................................................................... :big_eyes: :mrgreen: to be continued :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Absence makes the heart grow fonder
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 5:38 pm 
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Location: Free State, South Africa
:hmz: Where were we? Image Oh yeah we were heading for Satara and we were about to have our last sighting before entering the camp. So we were driving along, happy to be nearing our favourite camp when we happened upon a couple of stationary cars who's occupants were staring intently at a spot in the bush. Now as all true Krugarians know, there's an unspoken rule in situations like these :rtm: . You first attempt to spot the animal everyone's looking at on your own and only when your attempts fail, do you approach another car to see if they're willing to share. So we picked up our bino's and aimed them in the general direction everyone seemed to be looking in :big_eyes: , but no matter how hard we peered, we just couldn't see anything Image. Finally, accepting defeat we pulled up to the car in front of us and were told that there was a leopard lying under a bush :dance: :dance: The temperature in the car rose and I could actually feel the excitement emanating from my family. Our first spotted one for the trip. After listening carefully to the friendly people. We reversed, switched off and attempted to find the spots :big_eyes: . After several minutes of absolute silence I finally shouted Eureka and did a little :dance:. :hmz: Actually I was more like "Oh my word I see it" followed by "where where" and then silence for verification before attempting to explain to the rest of the car where to look. Now when something is well hidden in the bush and shares the colours of the bush, it can be extremely difficult to point it out. So the next few minutes were spent on an explanation that went a bit like this:
Me: Well you see that big dry tree over there? To the left of it is a biggish green bush.
Sister/brother/mother/brother-in-law: That one over there (points in the general direction)
Me: yeah. Well next to it there's a smaller green bush. Between the two green bushes there's a small brown bush, more towards the back. It's lying under that bush on the left.
Sister: Wait wait I see it! No that's just some bush.
Mom: Oh now I see it!

And the cycle starts again, this time with mom explaining in her words where it is. So after a couple more minutes everyone in the car eventually sees it and we try to explain to the next car where it is. Now to say we actually saw the leopard may be stretching the truth just a little bit :whistle: In all honesty for the over half an hour we spent there, all we saw were spots. Now when you look at the :cam: you may have to tilt your head to the side and squint a bit to make out the leopard :redface: , but whether you see the head or the tail, a leopard sighting in a leopard sighting, even if all you see are spots. Presenting our first leopard sighting for the trip:s

Image

In all the time we spent there, that was the best picture I could get. It really was a lazy one and didn't budge, but we were content with whatever we could see of it and entered camp with smiles on our faces and excitement in our voices as we chatted about the sighting. :mrgreen:

While my mum and sister when to deal with the check in, I took a quick walk to the watering hole to see what I could see. Even though there was nothing there, I saw this masked weaver

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weaving away and this dwarf mongoose

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who was the designated lookout for the other mongooses :hmz: mongeese? Image . We headed for our bungalow to settle in and unpack the car in our home for the next two nights. I was supposed to be camping with my sister and bro-in-law, but due too my brother's abscence, sleeping arrangements had to be reshuffled and I was assigned a bed :roll: . So I helped my sis put up their tent, then went for a quick walk before it was time for supper. The sky was full of these fighter jets

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and a lonely arrowmarked babbler

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babbled in the fading light

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Absence makes the heart grow fonder
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 12:37 pm 
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There is so much I love about Satara Image. One of these things is the abundant wildlife you see in the camp, both during the day and at night. It was our first night here, so we decided we'd have supper then take a nice walk around the fence to see if there was anything we could see. So my bro-in-law fired up the braai

Image

and we set the table and stuff, when suddenly my younger brother was like "did you hear that?" Now we all went quiet and listened attentively waiting to hear the lions or hyaenas he'd heard when we hear a distinctly non-mammal sound :hmz: :hmz: I was still trying to figure out what it was when my know-it-all younger brother beat me to the punch :roll: :roll: "it's owls!" he shouts, forgetting we have neighbours close by :doh: :naughty: :rtm: , but of course instead of telling him to keep it down, I simply grab my camera, he grabs a flashlight and we take off to find the owls, leaving the supper prep to the remaining three family members :whistle: :oops: :sori: So it's quite dark and we're creeping around like Image when suddenly we hear it loud and clear and we look up and see two scopp's owls in adjacent trees!! :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :dance: :dance: :dance: This one

Image

just sat in the tree and looked around while everyone took :cam: , but this one

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kept popping up and down, from some kind of hollow in the tree :hmz:. After watching them for a while we went back to call the rest of the family to see,before we sat down to enjoy an awesome supper (thanks family :wink: ). After supper we cleared up quickly so we could go for a walk. Now when we're in park mode, our reactions to sights and sounds are completely different. If I'd seen this little guy

Image

at home, I would have been like Image , but since we were in the park, I climbed up on the table to take a :cam: instead :tongue: . Having taken the pic, we set off for our walk. First up, we met a very friendly elderly couple, who were just ending their annual 40 day Kruger trip :big_eyes: :big_eyes: and we chatted to them for a while, listening to all the amazing things they'd seen out the camp fence from their caravan, all the while turning :mrgreen: with envy. The lady then introduced us to her adopted pet in a nearby tree, this little resident frog

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we then left them to their supper and continued to the watering hole, where we saw this hyaena

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having a drink. :redface: Terrible pic, but you can just make out its shape, although my camera made it's reflection look like a second hyaena :hmz: :redface: We decided to sit by the fence for a while, just taking in the night sounds, which is so calming, better than yoga or meditation! After a while I decided to head back and have a quick shower before bed, so I left my family by the fence and headed off into the night. I was sure I knew my way back, but being directionally challenged :doh: :doh: , I was soon hopelessly lost Image :wall: :wall: :wall: :slap: . So I turned around and attempted to head back to where I'd started, all the while keeping an eye out for any movement. Of course back turned out to be heading in the wrong direction :redface: :doh: , and after about 20 minutes of mindless wandering, I finally saw something I recognised :dance: Finding my way was blessed with this little scopps owl

Image

who'd just caught himself some supper. Now that I knew where I was, I took a slower walk back to the bungalow, and just as I reached it, I saw an African Wildcat sprint past me. I didn't even get a chance to reach for my camera, but I saw it and that was enough. After all the excitement for the night, I had quick shower, a hot cuppa tea and went to bed content listening to the sounds of lions, hyaenas, crickets, owls and the African bush in my favourite place in Kruger Image.

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 Post subject: Re: Absence makes the heart grow fonder
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:18 pm 
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The next morning we were up bright and early, excited to start the day. it was the 1st of October so the gates were supposed to open at 5:30 instead of 6:00, but when we got to the gate at 5:15 there was no one there and the gates were wide open :sup: . Apparently, for some reason unknown to me, the gates had opened at 5:00 instead of 5:30 Image .This, however, didn't dampen our spirits and we set off to find the Orpen doggies ( unbeknownst to us, they were on a doggie retreat far away from prying human eyes :slap:) with high hopes. First up, a Marabou stork

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still sleeping off its hangover, from the previous nights shenanigans :roll: as the sun rose

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and a sleepy LBR

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getting ready to greet the day. Then we happened upon a sghting that warmed the cockles of our heart (side note: in case anyone's wondering what cockles are, :hmz: as I did after I typed it , one of the meanings of "cockle" is the chamber of a kiln: in reference to the heart, it refers to the chambers 8) ) a short neck enjoying his morning calcium

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before joining his friends

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for their morning mischief :naughty: . A quick stop at Nsemani yielded a grazing hippster

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enjoying the mild morning sun and my first semi-successful bird in flight :cam: , my favourite raptor, a fish eagle

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gliding gorgeously over the water. We spent a little while just taking in the sights and sounds before continuing to a car parked on the side of the road. We , off course, followed protocol and attempted to locate the sighting Image , but all I saw was this cool web

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without its occupant. The family in the car then informed us that they'd sen a leopard stalk off into the bushes and 5 pairs of binocs were instantly focused in the appropriate direction. Not seeing anything, my bro-in-law lowered his binocs and glanced at the road just in time to see this guy run out of the bushes from the other side of the road and around the bend :big_eyes: :big_eyes:

Image

Had he waited a couple more seconds to glance that way, we would have missed the hyaena completely!!! :shock: Since we couldn't see the spots, we followed this guy down the road for a while before he veered off the road, posed for one last :cam:

Image

before disappearing into the bushes.

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 Post subject: Re: Absence makes the heart grow fonder
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:46 pm 
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Gate open so early :big_eyes: At least you didn't sneak out when you weren't supposed to as the gate was already open :thumbs_up:
Beautiful sunrise :clap:
Then the ol' hippster sommer so close is a lekker sighting :thumbs_up:
That was lucky with the hyena :dance: you guys still saw spots ne :tongue: even if it wasn't a cat with spots :slap:

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