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 Post subject: Bert's KNP Trip Report : July 2006
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 11:03 pm 
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Took the liberty of opening a new topic with the real trip report.

For starters it was a maiden trip for me. Usually only SO and myself did Kruger but this time four of us. My friend and son of ten. Means the trip would be different. When we were the two of us we had the car to ourselves to take pictures from both sides of the vehicle. Now i had to steer and turn to position all the photographers. And we did not make to much kilos every day. My son took the video footage but when the sigtings got scarce the hours crept by. We started between 6 and 7 and always ended up at camp between 11 and 12. Relaxed during the afternoon and did the afternoon drive from 16.00.

My reporting will be from camp section and comments on camps and restaurants etc will be in the sections camp etc.

First two days based at Orpen
Entered at noon and what a lovely camp it is. Did the first croceries, first bottle of Amaralu and the important tins of Castle.
Our fist route was mainly up and down the H7 till the intersection with the S106. Didnt see much . Lots of Wildebeest and mainy birds.
Second day went up to Bobejaankrans H7 and back on the S106. Loved Bobejaankrans and the Rabelais hut. Still lots of water in the Rabelais Pan. Was all in all very surprised to found so many water in the park and still many trees were green and even a few were allready blossoming.

We had a VW Touran and while trying to wedge the car between a tree stump and a tree at the Rabelais Pan to get a nice clear view of some impalas i hit the stump. Luckily it was minor damage :redface:

All the advice given on cats on these routes didnt help us. The only member of the big five were two lonely elephants.
Highlights were:
Bateleur
Secretary birds taken of from their sleeping/nesting tree.
Pearlspotted owl
Hyana at the waterhole at Orpen and the nightsounds
Hyana and lion.
Sunbirds at Orpencamp
Whitebacked vultures in a tree near Bobejaankrans

Vultures reminded me of the forumers back home waiting for sms report
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Bateleur near Bobejaankrans warming up
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Last minutes of sun near Orpen
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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 3:03 pm 
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gwendolen wrote:
:lol: I was hoping to see some water in the big rivers and not just the puddles I saw last year in July. :lol:



Most rivers and streams still contain water. The Timbavati at Bobejaarkrans still had a few pools.
All dams, natural and artifical are still with a lot of water

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 9:36 pm 
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Sorry Luislang, not in that area.

Orpen to Satara

Departed at 6.30
Did the route to Bobejaanskraans for our first stop
On the route passed the group of Wildebeest and always love
the groups of helmeted guineafowl along the tar
Discovered baboons just waking up . Big male next to the car had the biggest problems. Reminded me of someone :?

Heard the Fisheagle and saw a reedbuck (female) walking across the Timbavati riverbed. And then H7 with a detour on the S12 to Satara. Stopped at the Nsemani and saw the bush burst op in the far end of the dam. A big herd of ellies with lots of small ones arrived to drink and roll in the mud. 15 min later they were gone.Shows you how lucky you are with some sightings. Arrived at 11.00 and after a great lunch at the Deli (best chickenmayo imo) we checked in. Camp looked great with birds and vervets amusing us. Especially my son.

After doing the laundry we head of on the same H7 back to the Msemani Dam. Saw the same ellies on the other side of the damwall. Lots of zebra and giraffe near camp and on the route to the dam. Saw some duiker and the highlight of the day...
Honeybadger crossed our car and we were just in time to see it hurrying of through the grass. Again luck plays a major role.
It took 5 seconds to pass in front of the car. If i had looked the other way :shock:

Mother and child still cold
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Ellies at the dam
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And the barbie was meated (didnt feed thes guys)
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Couldnt resist these bums lined up in the last light
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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:55 pm 
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Our first full day at Satara split the party. So and friend went on a morning walk and they were the half who saw two lionesses next to the road. And i was... still in bed :redface:
Took my son for a good old brekkie and we did small route along
the H7 to the Nsemani Dam where we found a very relaxed group of Waterbuck grazing next to the road.

We then did the S12 and at the Girivana waterhole i was very pleased to see a Hamerkop fishing and saw it very close. We were the only car there. A family of Warthog gave as much pleasure with their antics. We had the whole route to ourselves. 8)

The afternoon was spent doing washing and enjoying the camp and birds, squirrels and vervet monkeys. Later that day my friend and i went for a late drive and looking for the best spot for sunset pictures. Which we found on the H1-4.

After a great meal at the restaurant with at least three helpings of brownies with hot custard (this is so good 8) we turned in for a early night

Lady Waterbuck
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Fam Warthog
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Kudu ladies
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Trees in the morning
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Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2006 2:09 pm 
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OUR SECOND DAY SATARA (S100 :twisted: )

We left for the S100 at 07.30 to let the hordes have their own traffic jam. The late departure could have meant that we missed out on all the cats. What we did see were birds, waterbuck, vultures, zebra, wildebeest and impies. But its one of the most beautifull roads i have driven, following the Sweni which was still partly filled with water.

The along the S41 with the Lebombo mountains as backdrop and nothing special along that road as well. We reached the
N'wanetsi picknic spot and the view across Kruger and the Lebombo mountains is awesome. Supposed to be a leopard around...

After that we headed to the Sweni hide and man, this one is a gem. Was the most beautifull hide, landscape wise, i have visited it Kruger. Saw a huge croc, waterbirds, kingfishers and enjoyed a pleasant hour at the hide.

Then back along the tarred H-6 and saw virtual nothing.

The afternoon was spent in camp trying to get some decent pics of birds and we then were invited by a SANparks employee to check at the Scops. We could take pictures and watch this nice little owl at a distance of 2 meters. Late afternoon we again tried the first part of the S100 and came across a ellie bull, next to the car, very relaxed and willingly possing for the camera

(scops, ellie and other goodies were on the forgotten card)

Ill ad pictures tonite through Imageshack. Flickr is again very slow



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Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2006 4:31 pm 
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Seems that our comp at work was very slow
Here goes
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N'wanetsi
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Sweni birdhide
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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2006 5:14 pm 
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Txs all for the compliments
Makes me want to go back and improve and do more and more

SATARA-LOWER SABIE

Had to say farewell to Satara but knew that we will back, but for a longer stay. What a great camp.

Did the long drive to Tshokwane along H10 and had our first traffic jam across the N''wanetsi bridge....Lion, Leopard.
A lone Buff very close to the road. Still a good sighting.

Again i was very surprised to found all the dams filled with water and we had to stop at the Southernmost Baobab. What a magnificant tree and you can get so very close and study to bark 8)

Had our stop at Tsokwane and again enjoyed the antics of the Vervet Monkeys. And the skottle defenders. Food was good and then to my most favourite scene of Kruger. The enormous view over the Lowveld from Nkumbe. Gets me breathless each time. Was getting hot and with the aircon on we drove the last strech to Lower Sabie and on the H10 near camp saw our fist Rhino and that was the best sighting of the day

Sunset at Satara the day before
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And the monkeys having a break
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Tawny eagle
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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2006 7:11 pm 
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Thanks a lot Bert!!!!!!!!!!! Making me miss the park even more :(

Defo Imm. Bateleur, but really enjoyong your superb pics. Just keep them coming.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2006 7:44 pm 
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FIRST FULL DAY LOWER SABIE

Had a great dinner with Freda and SO the night before and thanks to her gigantic torch she produced our one and only hyena at Lower Sabie.

First went to Sunset and as always enjoyed this little garden of eden so close to the road filled with Hippo and again a gigantic croc have his beauty sleep. After taking some pictures we did the S28 in search of rhino and cheetah. Our best sighting was a fish eagle. Visited the Ntananyathi Hide and i have visited this one three times in the past years and never saw anything there. But its still a very nice hide and a good place to stretch your legs. Eventual returned on the H4-2 and had a afternoon in camp and at the pool and in the afternoon took a drive along the H10 and saw a traffic jam on the H4-2, just past the bridge near Lower Sabie. And what would we see there the next day?

Had a nice barbie at the tents and that night we had the full Hippo choir of the river and sunset through the night. The early morning hours produced magnificent lion roaring sounds.

Yellow billed egret
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Big guy
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Blacksmith at Sunset
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Traffic jam near camp
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Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2006 8:58 pm 
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2ND FULL DAY LOWER SABIE
The day of nearly lions and LIT!

Forgot to mention the day before we saw a leopardcub for a split second getting out of the tree.

Departed at 6.15 with our rolls of cookies for the morning drive
Eatsummor and some healthy ones. First went to check out the dead impie in the tree. Already a few cars around, but no LIT. Saw this car from Moz with a prime spot. The tree was about 20 meters from the tar road. We then went on our way along theH4-1 for late brekkie at Nkulu. After a few kilos we were flagged down by a couple towing a caravan: 4 kilos up ahead two beautiful male lions walking along the road. Keeping 50 km in mind we raced to the spot. To be in time to watch the cars going their own way :twisted:

Arrived at the picnicspot and fell in love with it. Ill comment on it in the section picnicspots. But it was by far the best we have visited. There we met dutch overlanders. About 10 kilos ahead next to loop a whole group of lions laying around. But these people where so ignorant. They didnt have clue from which direction they came :roll: But we figured out that it had to Skukuza. Of we went, doing all the loops and tar but......
NOTHING :cry:

Back to camp, after checking out the impie in the tree. More cars and the Moz car still in prime position. After a great lunch, swim and bit of shopping along the S128 to Mlondozi dam. Saw our one and only ostrich on the S128 and had a great time at the dam to see a big breeding herd in the distance . It was time to check on the dead impala again and we wanted to take the S29 back to Lower Sabie.

But at the junction a traffic jam. A big ellie was walking along the road. Not angry but he wasnt going to move. Waited 10 min and just before i decided to go in reserve he calmly stepped aside to follow the breeding herd which was on our right in the thickets.

Raced back to the impalatree just next the bridge at the Lower Sabie side to see the traffic jam piling up. A Joburg trafficcop would have had a hard time. We managed to get a free space with a view....

And then mother decided to climb down the tree and we had our change and took a few pic and boy, see was great.
(And still the car from Moz, prime position, but boxed in.)

Our day was made and its SO's greatest wish to see a leopard.

The famous tree at Sunset
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Hillside in last light Mlondozi dam
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The big guy
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Impalatree
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A girl that caused a few trafficjams
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After the well earned brandy coke and braai this very special day came to a end.

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Last edited by bert on Fri Aug 11, 2006 3:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 4:03 pm 
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LOWER SABIE TO SKUKUZA
Had to say goodbye to Lower Sabie for the next nights in Skukuza. Visited the leopardtree again, but the impala was only skin and bones. Said goodbye to sunset and the baboons and had a great encounter about 10 kilos from Lower Sabie. I saw a Gaint Eagle Owl in a tree next to the river. Position ourselves for some pictures, turned the car of.... And then heard the low ummp of the great bird. It was calling to its mate in another tree, which we couldnt see. Was very special to see and hear them. One of the highlight of my trip 8)


Took some nice shots of giraffe and elephant on the opposite riverbank and again enjoyed the food and beautifull setting of Nkulu picnicspot. Arrived at Skukuza at 11.30.

What a nice camp, although its big. But you hardly noticed it.
Speedy checking in and we were very pleased with the Elsie Clarke cottage. Did some washing, enjoyed the pool and had a late drive with no special sightings.

And had one of our best meals ever in the Selati restaurant. Special setting with great service.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 7:28 pm 
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Have commented about Lake Panic in the camps & roads section. Was on my list for a long time and the animals are so close. A few ones. The darter imo should be found there almost every time. Visited it twice and will certainly do so again.
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Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 8:12 pm 
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FULL DAY SKUKUZA

Our first aim was the Mathekenyane hill (Granokop). The first few km on the H1-1 produced nothing, but near the hill suddenly a sided-striped jackal appeared in front of our car and walked for a minute or so in front of us. 8)

Made it up the hill (road is in a better condition than the previous year) and again soaked up the view in the crisp morning air.

Then on the H3 and at the junction S122 we saw three white rhinos real close , but a tour operator came along, blocked our view for good photographs :? Not the official jeep jockeys, but a mercedes van with a logo. Still a nice sighting anyways.

We decided to head for the S21 which, according to the pins at Skukuza should be predator paradise. You guessed it... nothing. But very pleased to see three southern ground hornbills which were followed by a lizard buzzerd. Was nice to watch. It followed in the footsteps of the hornbills. Suppose to check if snakes were scared away.

After our stop at Nkuhlu back to Skukuza on the H4-1. No special sightings. After a dip in the pool to we drove to Lake Panic and then went up to Paul Kruger gate and back. On the route we saw two speed traps being installed and noticed that more than a few cars were speeding to reach the gate in time.
They were in for a big surprise :twisted:

On the way back we saw a antilope among the trees and after having studied it (was in the shade) we concluded that it had to be a male reedbuck.

The evening was concluded with another great meal at Selati.

Mathekenyane looking toward Skukuza
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Looking toward Lower Sabie
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Giraffe in autumn
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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2006 3:50 pm 
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SKUKUZA TO BERG EN DAL
I was very exited to do the new part of the park. Couldnt wait to see the hills and koppies. Went along the H1-1 and made our standard pitstop at Stevenson Hamilton memorial and backed to the S114 and past renonsterkopiesdam. Enjoyed the the koppies with aloes and other that impies, giraffe (many) and wildebeest real close by we didnt see much.
At a junction we had a little discussion about which road to take but the driver (me) had the last say and we went along the S114. We then started to see a man made hill along the route. Was the old Selati railway and after about half an hour my friend came to the conclusion that this wasnt the way to Biyamiti Weir, as i had planned. :?

Back again and then along the S122 on the tar (H3) to Afsaal.
There we saw the resident Scops. Cant be missed and enjoyed a well deserved late brekkie.

The landscape started to change and we enjoyed the hills and then nearer we came to Berg en Dal the bigger the got. Arrived at Berg en Dal early in the afternoon and were very pleased with the nice cottage next to the fence . After the dip in the very nice swimming pool we went shopping and then we were hit by a power cut :? Took about 10 min and was really impressed by the lady behind the till. She didnt blink a eye and went on with her daily routine like nothing happened. Cant say the same for the big que :wink:

Late drive to the Matjulu waterhole brought us nothing but still awesome to drive between these ancient hills

Area near stevenson hamilton
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Giraffe blocking the road
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Wildebeest
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Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 8:53 pm 
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FULL DAY BERG EN DAL
Had a good night and we departed early with two rolls of biscuits. 4 km out of camp we saw our lioness. Bit far but still.
WE SAW ONE :!:
Without any other special sightings we stopped at renosterpan where a few wildebeest were waiting for us and the one Black Stork. After passing the same white rhino among the trees near Afsaal (bet its made out of plastic. We passed the same rhino 4 times during our stay in the area and it was always there, having a long rest).

Enjoyed a sammie verneukvleis, ran around with the bees trailing, found the scopsie and saw our first chinese tourists.
They look different from japanese, but make the same amount of pictures :?

Imo Afsaal is the best place to take pictures of the hornbills. Saw red, yellow and grey hornbill over there. Decided to go to Biyamiti weir. And that was one of our best decisions ever.

The afternoon was spent near and in the pool at Berg en Dal and walking the perimeter (long walk in the sun). Took a late drive saw nothing special. A great barbie later i was sound asleep

Wildebeest
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Impala's
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Grey hornbill
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Yellow hornbill
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