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 Post subject: Normana & Torticats Northern Exposure - KNP 2012
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 8:05 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Here I am reading other travel reports and thinking about our upcoming journey back to Kruger. We have planned and made lists, booked reservations, made inquiries and checked everything multiple times. We have packed, repacked, packed again, and then checked it all once more for good measure.

This trip we decided to concentrate on the northern half of the park, and will be exploring areas we haven't visited before. We are so excited!
Our first visit to Kruger some years ago was a whirlwind affair. Not knowing what to expect, we stayed for too little time in 5 different camps over 6 days. Our first night was at Mopani, which we really enjoyed, but didn't get much time to take it all in. Our second night we stayed at Letaba, then drove to Lower Sabie for two nights, followed by 2 at Satara, then a last night at Skukuza. Just traveling between the camps took forever, and we vowed never to repeat that error again.

Subsequent trips have involved multiple nights at a few camps, and that is what we have planned for this trip. Letaba, Mopani (including a night at Shipandani Hide) Shingwedzi, and a short Stay at Punda before we must return to the northern Hemisphere.

Everyone is welcome to join us for the unknown adventure that awaits. We fly our Yellow and Red ribbons proudly, so if in the park stop and say hello. We also stop for the little things and have a passion for birding, so we are pulled to the side of the road quite often.

Hoping our luck at seeing the rare and unusual continues, join us and see.

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 Post subject: Re: Normana & Torticats Northern Exposure - KNP 2012
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 7:38 am 
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I thank everyone for your good wishes and welcome you aboard our Kruger Northern Exposure bus. Seat belts are optional, refreshments will be provided, and backseat drivers will be tolerated only if they turn the page.
We're counting down the days and can't wait to get the bus in gear.

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 Post subject: Re: Normana & Torticats Northern Exposure - KNP 2012
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:05 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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I just made my pre-holiday donation to KNP and Honorary rangers. I have made a habit out of this hoping that it would give us good Kruger Karma, and so far it has worked.
Hoping to have sightings like these again this year.
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 Post subject: Re: Normana & Torticats Northern Exposure - KNP 2012
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:52 pm 
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Today's the day! :dance: :dance: :dance:
seven hours until we fly out. The Adventure begins!

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 Post subject: Re: Normana & Torticats Northern Exposure - KNP 2012
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:01 pm 
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Since we are flying from the Pacific Coast, our flight won't be effected by the Hurricane. Our flight heads straight north from Seattle, then head towards Hudson's Bay, and across Greenland, then back south to Germany, so we will be far from "sandy". We leave for the airport in 1 hour.

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 Post subject: Re: Normana & Torticats Northern Exposure - KNP 2012
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 9:22 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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We made it to South Africa and I am writing this post from our porch at Letaba listening to bellowing Hippos and enjoying the sights and smells of Kruger.
On entry to the park we drove for a while before seeing anything, but then lots of Impala and birds. A few Zebra with a Wildebeest and two Giraffe to stop and look at as we drove on. It was very windy which a few Yellow Billed Kites found very enjoyable, gliding back and forth over us.
On we drive and a little ways past the road to Sable Dam we saw a Lioness walking towards us calling out. What was she doing? She didn't look like she had cubs, and no others were nearby. This is what we saw.
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While we were watching her, something caught Torticat's eye; Kori Bustard! Actually three of them. WOW a first for us.
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What a way to start our Northern Exposure. More when I get a chance.

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 Post subject: Re: Normana & Torticats Northern Exposure - KNP 2012
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:56 pm 
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It was great to meet and talk with Petra and Scipio on our drive into Letaba on our first day. Much has happened since then. Many great sightings large and small. This fellow posed nicely for us.
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Later on we enjoyed watching someone else work for once.
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It is amazing how he would sometimes pick it up and toss it over rocks that he couldn't roll it over.
Hope this small taste will keep everyone interested until I can give our trip some serious attention.
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Until next time. Tomorrow night we stay at Shipandani Hide.

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 Post subject: Re: Normana & Torticats Northern Exposure - KNP 2012
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 6:28 pm 
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Today was a great day, spent time visiting with Val and SO at the Mopani restaurant. Then off for a drive around the Tropic of Capricorn loop. I am writing this quick post from the hide, and must now say good night

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 Post subject: Re: Normana & Torticats Northern Exposure - KNP 2012
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:02 am 
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Award: Newcomer of the Year (2012)
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TORTICATS

Hope you will be having a stunning birthday today in the place you both love so much :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up: .

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 Post subject: Re: Normana & Torticats Northern Exposure - KNP 2012
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:00 am 
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Torticats :D

I hope that you have an absolutely stunning day today. I know how much you love cats.. just like MM..

wishing you lots of these kinds of critters.. of the spotted variety, as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Normana & Torticats Northern Exposure - KNP 2012
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 9:59 am 
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OK, here we go. We made it home after a 38 hour journey home. We left the Park on Monday and drove to Jo'berg and stayed at a nearby Hotel that we often stay at when we fly in. On tuesday morning we took off from OR Tambo and flew to Sao Paulo, Brasil where we had a 7 hour layover, then another 10 hour flight to Houston, Texas, three more hours, and then a 6 hour flight to Seattle. It has taken until today for me to get back on our time. Getting old makes it more difficult with each flight home.

I have downloaded a bunch of pictures and am ready to start this bus back up with the whole story, reaching into the dark corners and pulling out the skeletons in the closet.

But first, I am going to go to bed. I will continue in the morning!

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 Post subject: Re: Normana & Torticats Northern Exposure - KNP 2012
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:50 am 
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Our trip started with a long series of flights. Unfortunately, no direct flight from Seattle to Jo'Berg. We flew to Frankfurt, then on to a layover in Lagos, Nigeria (when you use miles, you take what you can get). The Lagos layover was, to say the least, an experience. Apparently it is quite normal for Europeans and Americans to be extorted to let you pass through to your next flight. Not much you can do to protest, and they know it! Oh well, had to just grin and bear it. Hope they liked the R50 that I gave them.

Finally OR Tambo, and our feet on South African soil once again. Grab the Sim card and the Dongle, stop to get our car, and it's off to Kruger. We decided to go through Lydenburg and Strydom tunnel in hopes of seeing the Tiata Falcon. No luck, but what a beautiful drive.

A quick stop for petrol and then across the street to the Phalaborwa Spar, then in through the gate. :dance:

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 Post subject: Re: Normana & Torticats Northern Exposure - KNP 2012
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:24 am 
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I have already reviewed our drive to Letaba, but did miss a few pics we took along the way.
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This Bateleur sat in the road for a couple of minutes while we filmed, then he took to the air and was almost immediately accosted by some starlings who dive bombed him until he was quite some distance away.

Soaking up the sights, the smells, and the sounds of Kruger is as great as spotting the big 5. We made it to Letaba with about 45 minutes to spare before gate closing, so a quick drive north to the bridge, where these two Kudu boys were doing their Riverdance.
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Back to check in, unpack and relax for a light meal, then off to bed for that 4:30 gate opening.

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 Post subject: Re: Normana & Torticats Northern Exposure - KNP 2012
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 2:49 am 
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3:45 comes really early after enduring a two day flight and a long day of driving, but we were up and excited to get out to see what Kruger had in store.

Wouldn't you know that we would see the rare and unusual shortly after the suncame up.
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Actually our day was rather fun, lots of birds, which are always a highlight for us. Like this Hornbill who was doing his best fan dance, attempting to lure in the ladies.
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He didn't have much luck while we were there, hopefully his dance produced the desired results. I know that when I dance like that, Torticat can't resist (rolling on the floor laughing).
When we asked this fellow for directions, he wasn't really helpful, think he was too busy thinking about the weather and what he wanted to wear to dinner that night.
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Spotted our first Ground Hornbill's of the trip this morning, none were banded, but all were in their usual black tie and tails, busy wandering through the bush.
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Lots of little guys out and about if you look closely.
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And this Drongo was almost as talkative and noisy as one of our cats.
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Some wonderful flowers were blooming and the bright splashes of color among all the green put smiles on our faces.
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As did the shenanigans of young Vervets back at camp.
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 Post subject: Re: Normana & Torticats Northern Exposure - KNP 2012
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:11 am 
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We drove down towards Olifants on the back road and enjoyed more birds as well as the striped ones.
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Then a little ball of poo rolled past.
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And we had to run for our lives as we were attacked by a herd of killer Terrapins
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and watched the smallifant with it's mother
Image.
Tomorrow is a bush walk, have to get to bed early.

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