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 Post subject: Family visit to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:19 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:51 pm
Posts: 54
Location: Liverpool
This is unlikely to be the longest travel report ever posted on the forum but it covers the first 4 days of a 14 day in which I introduced my family to wonders of South Africa. I’d worked as a student during the building of the Ngodwana paper mill, not far from Nelspruit in the eighties and had visited the Kruger on three separate weekends. On one of those visits I photographed this old gent.

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We flew out from the UK on the 28th July arriving in Johannesburg early on Sunday morning before catching the connecting flight to Mpumalanga airport. After a shopping stop off at White River we headed up to Phabeni gate, I’d followed the posts about the road to Numbi on the forum. We finally made the gate just after 1:15pm; the staff on the gate were very pleasant and helpful. Once signed in we headed off down the S1 to Pretoriuskop and the question was asked how long before we made our first sighting? It was not long at all, in fact 2mins before we sight this zebra and foal.

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But that was the last sighting until we unloaded the car at Pretoriuskop and sat eating lunch watching the impalas eating their lunch in the camp. It was still early so I dragged my family back into the car just before 4 and headed out on the dirt roads to the west of the camp. There was not much to be seen until we reach the small loop road when spotted these birds.

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I cannot work out what they are, I know the picture not the best it was getting dark and I’m hoping one of the mites can help. Another 100m further around the corner we spotted two wild dogs crossing the road and got a quick snap off before they disappeared into the long grass

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We also spotted this Lilac breasted roller a bit of colour in all the burnt bush

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We were now getting close to gate closing time so headed back towards the camp when the dogs popped out of the bush in front of us and proceeded up the road towards the junction.

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Please excuse the pictures I've had to edit them in Photoshop the camera got turn to manual setting. We returned to the camp very pleased with ourselves especially as we'd had the dogs to ourselves


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 Post subject: Re: Family visit to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 2:27 pm 
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Posts: 54
Location: Liverpool
Than you for the kind comments, it was a very good way to end our first day in the park.The next morning was even better though. As soon as the gate opened on the Monday morning we headed for the western leg of the Fayi loop on a very dull morning. There was not much to see a giraffe and a solitary buffalo both hiding in the bush until we came upon a spotted hyena. We then realised it was feeding time for the little ones and that we were surrounded by 10-12 hyenas.

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And all before breakfast, it's just a pity it was so dull.


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 Post subject: Re: Family visit to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 12:02 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:51 pm
Posts: 54
Location: Liverpool
Thanks everyone for their comments about the hyenas and my daughter for taking the actual pictures.

T-bal it was a great way to start the day off, in the 25mins or so we spent watching them the hyenas were coming out of the bush from all around. They did not make much noise at all really and took no notice of the 3-4 vehicles that were parked up on the road.
After breakfast the day was going to get better still, after spotting this buck we came upon a traffic jam with an unusual cause (we certainly don't get rhinos causing hold-ups in the UK)

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The lead rhino was playing with the bakkie driver in as much as every time he tried to drive past the rhino would move around and shake his head. They eventually moved off and we headed for the Transport dam and found our 1st lonely elephant.

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After he departed throwing dust about this lioness appeared from behind the tree, leaving us only needing to find a leopard for the big five in less than 24hrs, it took another 36 hrs and a night drive to complete the set. we'd already spotted the buffalo just after leaving Pretoriuskop the previous night

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Back on the tarmac we soon found another elephant chewing on a stick and 2 klipspringer surveying the scenery

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Not sure what this Blacksmith's lapwing was looking for in the dirt road

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This lioness caused the 1st car scrum of the day with them all manouvering to see and she was on the far side of the Sabie river!

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 Post subject: Re: Family visit to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 5:55 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:51 pm
Posts: 54
Location: Liverpool
I have to agree with you all that we could not have expected such a good start in our first 24 hours in the park and we still had 2 days to go. We were due to stay at Crocodile Bridge that night followed by Berg en dal on the last night so we had a fair bit of ground to cover. We would of liked to spend more time at some of the sightings but we were always concerned with time ticking away.
The animals certainly kept up a good show; we had good sightings all the way down the Sabie River towards Nkuhlu.

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Even these hippos were on the move

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And some impala buck having a bit of a head banging session.

I'd like to ask whether these are just young buck practicing or are they males fighting over the females. We came across a few occurrences of impala tussling like this.

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With this fine old giraffe with his oxpeckers making a good place to stop this post

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 Post subject: Re: Family visit to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 2:33 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:51 pm
Posts: 54
Location: Liverpool
Thank you guys

I have to ask you to bear with me as I'm still learning how to post and have not yet worked how to include sections of your posts to answer them.

vinkie,
We had a even beter sighting of rhinos down nearer to Croc bridge but you'll have to wait a bit longer for those pics I'm afraid.

hilda,
I have to agree with you about giraffe especially when they just look at you from over a tree.

Right here's the next section of the report, at least I've worked out that you can copy and paste from 'word'

The sightings continued down the road

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There goes another tree

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Am I right thinking that this is a young impala just to the side of the road?

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This starling kept us company all the time we were eating at Nkuhlu

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Back in the car we’d not gone far before we came across this fine Kudu buck and also this giraffe standing as still as a statue

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I’d read before our visit about the chaos that a lion sighting can cause and the chaos at this sighting was a lot worse than our first one. There were trucks and 4x4’s spread all over the road and roadside banking trying to get a view so we just stopped long enough to get this picture of a lioness that appears to be hunting and departed.

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These baboons were just passing the time of day

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We'd nearly made it to Sunset dam and Lower Sabie but that will the next post


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 Post subject: Re: Family visit to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:18 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:51 pm
Posts: 54
Location: Liverpool
Thanks to Cheetah2111 I can now use quotes and post decent replies

Meandering Mouse wrote:
Baboons must be the most entertaining creatures around. I could watch them for a looooong time :lol: :lol: :lol: Love your other enchanting little critters.

:popcorn:

We certainly enjoyed watching the baboons even when we eventually made it down to Cape Town and Cape point. We have always liked baboons following a close encounter in the Massai mara with a large male when he ran through the camp we were staying at (no fence) bodies were scattering everywhere. He passed us safely by I hasten to add and no one was hurt just surprised.

hilda wrote:

We also hate those traffic jams at Lion sightings, and would rather drive past than get caught up in that "mess". :wink: At least you got a picture, but that Lioness looks very thin to me! Hope she caught something! :shock:

Hilda I found another picture of the lion in our Kruger pictures (over 1400, we did have 4 digital camera's and one film SLR my son tried using) and it's definitely got something in it's sights. Not sure what though as it was down the river bank and out of sight.



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We have to thank my daughter for the Steenbok she proved to be an excellent spotter of the smaller game.
Here's another of her spots I think this one is an impala as it has no horns, I'm sure someone will put me right.

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And just to keep the rhino buffs happy here's a taster of our last rhino sighting for the day, we actually saw 11 white rhinos over the day and reached 34 by the time we left the park.

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You may want to try and count the legs!


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 Post subject: Re: Family visit to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:12 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:51 pm
Posts: 54
Location: Liverpool
PetraJ wrote:
Great report so far, you had some excellent sightings in the first couple of hours :thumbs_up:


We certainly very lucky to get so many sightings not sure whether it helped that it was relatively cool all day. The morning was cloudy and it was only around midday that it started to warm up.

It seemed that we were destined to suffer from roadblocks all day, I’m not complaining about this one though. This was a decent sized buffalo herd and we had them on all sides of the car and we certainly enjoyed the view until the animal in the last picture appeared and headed straight for us so we moved on.

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We headed off to Sunset dam but stopped to watch this elephant herd drinking at the river

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Not much was happening at Sunset apart from this hippo and her calf going for a swim then she decided to show off!

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Yes she did do a 360 degree roll

Just as we were leaving this slender mongoose took his chances crossing the parking area

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After a quick shopping session at Lower Sabie we were on our way, it was a lovely evening though and we enjoyed the views towards the Lebombo Mountains. We spotted this Kori bustard out for an early afternoon stroll along with this giraffe further down the road.

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---------------------------------
Flights and accomodation booked

Blyde river canyon 2th May
Tamboti 27th & 28th May
Olifants 29th May-31st May
Lower Sabie 1st June
Crocodile Bridge 2nd June
Berg-en-dal 3rd & 4th June


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 Post subject: Re: Family visit to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 8:43 pm 
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Posts: 54
Location: Liverpool
Trrp-trrrrrrrr wrote:
Super pics and wonderful sightings....roadblocks are so 8) .

Wow there are a lot of crocs on the bank at Sunset, basking in the sun. :dance:

Thanks for sharing :thumbs_up:


Trrp, there were a surprising amount of crocs on the edges at sunset and one or two in the water as can be seen in the attached shots. And the baboons that were having a bit of a family squabble!

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hilda wrote:
Awesome sightings Welshboy, especially the Buffalo herd! Beautiful picture of the Ellies drinking at the river too! :clap: :clap:


Hilda we had a really big herd of buffalo appear on the way back into Berg en dal after our morning drive but you'll have to wait a little for those pictures. We also have some more mongoose pictures to post as well

More trip report to follow later

Here's some more of the buffalo shots for now

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And a small ellie family group at the river

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 Post subject: Re: Family visit to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:26 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:51 pm
Posts: 54
Location: Liverpool
Thanks everyone for their comments, we normally only show our pictures to family and friends. So this is also the first time I've ever posted anything online and it won't be the last thank's to your encouragement. I just need to find time to read a few other TR's to learn of other peoples experiences.

Back to the end of day 2 and what we thought was a very good end to the day.


After a quick shopping session at Lower Sabie we were on our way, it was a lovely evening though and we enjoyed the views towards the Lebombo Mountains. This Kori Bustard did put in a show but our luck seemed to have gone with our sightings dropping off until we reached one of the dams nearer Croc bridge.

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Those of you who’ve read my earlier posts will have seen this picture when I asked if you could count the legs as when the smaller rhino moved away there was an even smaller rhino between them

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And just below them was a fourth rhino that seemed to be a bit upset with the vervet monkeys in the branches in front of him, I could quite time the pictures right to get him attacking them with his horn.

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We decided to head around to the other side of the area that the rhinos were standing in and on the way round had to stop to let this dwarf mongoose across the road, they are quick!

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The solitary rhino soom gave up on the monkeys but headed off out of sight.

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This hornbill was posing for us in a nearby tree

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Just a bit short of Crocodile Bridge we came across our 11th rhino of the day when this one wandered out of the bush. Number 10 was too far away for a good picture.

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I’m sure that most people who’ve visited Croc Bridge know about the vervet monkeys but they were not our only sightings in the camp. Whilst we were cooking our food we heard movement outside the fence, it was a young hyena prowling up and down it was soon joined by a fully grown partner who was obviously looking for free food.

Our last sighting occurred around 20mins later as we were taking an evening stroll along the camp perimeter. Climbing out of the corner fence post we found these two bush babies, we’re not sure who’s watching who but they let us stay close for a few minutes before leaping off into the trees. I avoid using a flash to not startle them.

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We went to bed very pleased and happy, ready to see what would follow on day 3


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 Post subject: Re: Family visit to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:17 am 
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:mrgreen: Wow....All photos and sightings = STUNNING :mrgreen:

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UNITE AGAINST POACHING...What we protect,
do not let poachers take it away!

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 Post subject: Re: Family visit to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:14 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:51 pm
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Location: Liverpool
Crocodile Bridge to Berg en dal

Day 2 dawned with far less cloud than the day before and we were out of the gate as soon as it opened. We had decided to drive up the S28, S137 and back down the H4 for breakfast back at Croc Bridge.

Heading up the S28 things seemed to be very quiet apart from a speeding safari truck but we eventually came across our first animals these 3 elephants heading for the sunrise the third one struggled up the low bank alongside the road.

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We continued onwards coming across rhino either playing hide and seek behind a fallen tree or simply too far for a decent photo

Nearer the Nhlanganzwane dam turn we had a far closer sighting of rhino

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Not only did we have rhino but moving on the skyline was a large elephant herd heading north at a pace

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The rhino’s did not seem to like our company and soon headed off after the elephants, they appeared quite nervous about the cars that where there watching them. Not far away was this solitary warthog that also seemed uncomfortable about our presence closely followed by these giraffe that had not a care in the world apart from having breakfast. The zebra was doing his best not to be seen, it was our first one since seeing one just inside the gate

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This was our first decent up close bird sighting, we’d seen a fish eagle on the Sabie river and some other vultures on the way.

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More day 2 to follow soon


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 Post subject: Re: Family visit to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 6:52 pm 
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Location: Liverpool
Apologies to those who have been waiting for the next piece of this TR but the last week has been hectic and time limited. I've also been suffering with what my SO and most women in the UK call "Man Flu" in other words a heavy cold.

On the way towards the H4 we found our first wildebeest and a zebra and her calf

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Our last sighting before breakfast at Croc Bridge was this fine kudu male

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Today was my son’s turn to drive the first time he’d driven since passing his test 3 years before. After checking the sighting board we headed for the H5 and then cut down towards the S25 as lions had been seen there the day before. Instead of lions though we found elephants and rather a lot of them too!

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We had been parked where this elephant is walking but had to quickly reverse up the slope, it was an interesting moment as Ste had never reversed up a slope before.

This squirrel put in an appearance whilst we waited for another elephant to cross the road to join the main group

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This little one was showing the first signs of independence from mum, there was a fair range of ages in the group and they did not seem to mind our presence :thumbs_up:

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After a while we left the elephants to the peace and quiet and headed off for the S25 and the Mpondo dam.


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 Post subject: Re: Family visit to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:30 pm 
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Location: Liverpool
Thank you all for your kind comments.

hilda wrote:
Beautiful Elephant sighting Welshboy! Fortunately for your son, they seemed to be very calm! :lol:

That is indeed a very handsome Kudu bull, and a great shot of the little Squirrel in the tree! :clap: :clap:


I have to admit Hilda it was not too bad the elephant was not charging just we were in his/her way so we moved, we were charged by a young bull whilst visiting the Masai Mara in 2006 so we we know the difference.

Meandering Mouse wrote:
Welshboy, sorry about your manflu.. its a blighter to have, even for ladies. :evil: Pleased you are back on board though.

Lovely sightings and pictures. 8) Little ellies are just so endearing :D

:popcorn:


We really enjoyed our stay with the elephants they seemed so relaxed with our presence

The drive to Mpondo was quite quiet with only a few impala and zebra to be seen; at the shallow pool below the dam a 4x4 had stopped blocking the road.

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We thought this African Jacana was a bit much for the time he was taking watching it but when my daughter piped up there’s a lion we understood his not moving. Once we saw the lion it was obvious but if the 4x4 had not stopped we probably would of driven straight past as he was lying in the shade.

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It then clicked why we had just passed another truck parked 30m back on the side of the road, so we reversed back up to join him and there was the rest of the pride.

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The two 4x4 soon pulled off and we had the lions to ourselves but apart from pulling faces it did not seem like they were about to move so we moved instead up to the top of the dam. There we found these 2 waterbuck testing their strength but little else was to be seen so we re-traced our steps back around to below the dam. On the way down this elephant put in an appearance

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The pool below the dam had still more to offer but that will have to wait until the next post


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 Post subject: Re: Family visit to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 9:35 pm 
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Location: Liverpool
hilda wrote:
Super Lion sighting that you have almost missed Welshboy! Mpondo Dam is one of our favourite places! The Dam intrigues me - sometimes there is nothing, not even a wrinkle on the water, and the next time it is full of life and sometimes even a Hippo in the water, with lots of birds, Impies, Waterbuck, Zebra, etc. We also found Lions a few times on our way to the dam. :dance: :dance:

Great shot of the African Jacana, the fighting Waterbuck and that big Ellie! :clap: :clap:


We certainly enjoyed our visit to the dam Hilda, especially the pool area below the dam itself, you'll see more of why below. Here's another picture of the waterbuck as well and we will be returning to the dam during May/June next year for sure when we return for a longer visit to the Kruger.

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Meandering Mouse wrote:
Ah yes, doing what lions do best :lol: :lol: :lol: still it is thrilling to see them. Love the pics. :thumbs_up:


The lions were certainly relaxed, mind you there was not the car scrum that we'd experienced the day before near LS and no one was reving their engine.

Trrp-trrrrrrrr wrote:
Had some catching up to do :redface:

What absolutely amazing sightings and awesome pics of All :thumbs_up:

Those Ellies really gave you great photo opportunities all in action mode. :dance: :dance:

Love the lion pics just super special. :clap: :clap:

:popcorn: :popcorn:


The ellies were very kind and did not seem to mind us intruding but we did keep an eye out for the youngsters as they were quite inquisitive, our experiences certainly beat a visit to Chester zoo in the UK.

Next post to follow


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 Post subject: Re: Family visit to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 11:28 pm 
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Location: Liverpool
The pool below Mpondo had one more surprise for us when we slowed down to see whether the lions had moved. There was something moving in the water and it was not the jacana either. All we saw to start with was the head but slowly the rest of the body appeared as the lizard came out to sun itself

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Mpondo dam had just become one of our favourite places, what we did not realise until we got home was that the lizard had been there all the time. As can be seen below it just goes to show that you should look the whole scene over not just a small piece of it.

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It was time to head for Afsaal for some food, breakfast was a long time past but we had a few more sightings on the dusty roads including this crocodile crossing the Muhlambamavube River. The croc is not as big as it first looks; the Natal spurfowl was looking for food but got none from us and this bushbuck was kind enough not to disappear into the bush.


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Once on the H3 our sightings dropped off to some distant giraffe but we were soon eating at Afsaal.

Tuesday afternoon will follow soon


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