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 Post subject: Re: Normana & Torticats Northern Exposure - KNP 2012
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 6:45 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Kruger National Park
Off to Shingwedzi
We left the hide early and drove around the immediate area for a while waiting until Mopani reception opened so we would drop off our bedding and keys. We stopped for a bit at the Pioneer hide and spotted some lovebirds in the distance.
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A busy Pied Kingfisher landed on the rocks in front of the hide and gave us a pose
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Once we were done at reception we headed for Shingwedzi.
A slow drive up the H1-6 was nice with lots of sightings and few other cars.
One of the first sightings was an African Paradise Flycatcher with his long tail feathers, sorry no pic.
Kurrichane Thrush, Southern Yellow Billed Hornbill, Yellow Billed Kite, Little swift, Steppe Buzzard, Red Billed Hornbill, an African Cuckoo (first ever for us) and others.
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All of this in the first few kilometers!

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 Post subject: Re: Normana & Torticats Northern Exposure - KNP 2012
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:55 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Kruger National Park
This trip was a Tortoise bonanza, we saw multiple Tortoises daily!
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A few Giraffe between the road and the river
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Ellies walking in the riverbed
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at one point we were sure we had found the garden of Eden
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We arrived at Shingwedzi around noon, and dropped our things off in our Bungalow and headed back out to see what we could find.

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 Post subject: Re: Normana & Torticats Northern Exposure - KNP 2012
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 5:38 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Kruger National Park
Just outside the Shingwedzi gate was a large group of Vervets, these two had a tiny baby that they were holding tightly, we weren't even sure if it was alive until it finally moved after 5 minutes or more.
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 Post subject: Re: Normana & Torticats Northern Exposure - KNP 2012
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:06 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Kruger National Park
Torticat was becoming concerned that we hadn't seen any Hyena during our trip so far, and we were both missing seeing Warties, which have always been plentiful on prior trips but seemed very scarce this time. On our Night drive with Shadrack, she mentioned that we hadn't seen many Warthogs and hadn't seen any Hyena this trip, so Shadrack made it his personal mission to fulfill Torticat's wishes. Sure enough on on of our drives with Shadrack we found a lone Hyena running alongside the road, then not too much later we spotted these fellows.
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On our first drive we found a group of ladies who had been lucky enough to find a large dinner, we couldn't get close enough for pictures, but in the spotlight we could see a group of lionesses enjoying a feast in the middle of a large bush. You could smell the meat, and hear the bones crunching as they ate. It was impressive.
The following morning we had another Bush walk scheduled. Arriving at the reception area, we were surprised to find Amos. He had driven up from Mopani to be our guide once more. This time he was accompanied by Jacob. We were very happy to have seen Amos again, and know we would have a good time. We found out that once again we were the only guests scheduled! We headed north from Shingwedzi and turned toward the Mphongolo loop road, pulling off on a service road we parked near the river and headed out into the bush.
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This time we were in for a hike, and walked for a number of hours, with both Guides telling us stories and pointing out things big and small.
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An Elephant rubbing tree, worked smooth from many Ellies rubbing against it.
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A pile of feathers scattered about.
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A partially dismantled windmill I believe at Ribye
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Lots more birds, including Ground Hornbill, Fish Eagles, Martial Eagles, Tawny Eagles. Cuckoos, and many others.
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Near the Windmill was a concrete trough that held a small amount of water from the rain a few days before, there were some nice footprints which Torticat made casts of. While we waited for the casts to dry, Jacob and Amos told us stories.
Amos talked about the Potato Bush, and that as a young boy he would watch the livestock. His parents told him to always be home before he could smell the Potato Bush, as that was the ghosts cooking potatoes and that the ghosts would be looking for meat to go with the potatoes. We both agreed that would be very good incentive for a young child to come home before dark!
Jacob told of playing with Shongololo as a boy, and said that the cyanide that they gave off would turn his lips bright red, and that his mother would be mad at them for playing with them!
What a great adventure with two wonderful Guides. We had an extra long walk that lasted well past what the Bush Walks usually do, and we were worn out and were very glad to see the safari vehicle.

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 Post subject: Re: Normana & Torticats Northern Exposure - KNP 2012
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:24 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Kruger National Park
Sorry for the extra long delay, have been unable to get back to it.
Shingwedzi was great and we were able to see a lot of game and especially birds during our stay. After our last bush walk we drove the S52 loop down to Red Rocks, and had quite the day.
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A quite large Monitor walked across the road in front of the car and slowly meandered into the bushes
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We watched this fellow come and go feeding his made who was sealed into her nest.
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On the drive back we saw an amazing sight. On one of the little turnoffs on the H1-6 I spotted some movement and realized that it was a Martial Eagle on the ground with something.
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Closer inspection revealed it had killed an Egyptian Goose, but now was unable to fly with his prize, which was much too heavy.
As we watched he began to hop and drag it across the ground.
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At one point we heard another eagle calling and saw something fly overhead, our Martial spread his wings and covered his catch
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And finally decided he could eat
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We spent nearly an hour watching him! It was amazing!

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 Post subject: Re: Normana & Torticats Northern Exposure - KNP 2012
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2013 4:57 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Kruger National Park
After spending a great deal of time with the Martial Eagle, we headed back to camp. After a bite to eat and a quick siesta, we were back out on the road, this time with Shadrack at the wheel. Again, fortune was with us and we were the only guests in the vehicle!
First thing he asked was, do you want to see the lions that you have heard each night? He then drove us to a spot south of the camp headed towards the Kanniedood dam. Off the road quite a distance we spotted these brothers lounging in the shade.
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We then drove further on and found another show-off popping and dropping from the sky.
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We felt very fortunate to have watched a number of Korhaan flying straight up, then dropping like a stone to the ground, what an amazing sight!
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Shortly after the Korhaan display we saw a ghost in the bush. It took about 10 minutes to finally snap a photo of him, he just did not want to be photographed.
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Kanniedood Hipsters grunted and groaned as the sun dropped lower in the sky. One of their friends was late to the party and eased into the pool.
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The oxpeckers held on until they were at risk of taking a swim and finally flew off.
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We wrapped up our Shingwedzi stay with a wonderful sunset.
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It is finally sinking in that our trip is almost over, part of me wants to stay forever, part is ready to go home and see our cats and rest for a while. We have already started talking about the next great SanParks adventure.

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 Post subject: Re: Normana & Torticats Northern Exposure - KNP 2012
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:41 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Kruger National Park
So it was finally time to leave Shingwedzi and head toward Punda for our last night in the park. We drove the Mphongolo loop S56 on our way north, and enjoyed lots of sightings including birds, Giraffe, Elephant, Warties, Zebra, Mongoose, Steenbok, Impala, Kudu and only two other vehicles.
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along with Giraffe
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What a beautiful and peaceful drive. I hope that it can be re-opened soon, along with Shingwedzi.
Shortly after getting back to the H1-7 Torticat saw something in the distance. We pulled to the side of the road and watched a Secretarybird and a Tawney Eagle walking together through the bush. We could never get a great view of them, and at first thought they were competing for a kill, but after a while it became clear that they were walking together trying to flush something to eat from the brush. It was a very odd sight, and I wish I could have gotten photos of them, but they were much too far from the road. Torticat did get a little video, that mostly shows the Secretarybird, but you see the Tawny every once in a while in the shots until he finally flies away.

It was a hot day and so we drove up to Pafuri picnic area, but it was crowded with two large groups, so after talking with one of the locals
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we turned back towards Punda.
On the way to our final camp we spotted this pair
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After a long hot day, we finally made it to Punda and checked in.

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 Post subject: Re: Normana & Torticats Northern Exposure - KNP 2012
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 7:37 pm 
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Location: Kruger National Park
Our arrival at Punda Maria signaled an end to another wonderful holiday in Kruger. We settled in to our last home at Kruger, and then headed out for our evening Drive. A large number of raptors were soaring above the mountain, and our guide said they were Tawny's that arrive about this time of year and spend a lot of time near the camp before moving on to the south. There must have been 15 or twenty! Our main goal for this drive was to see the Pennant-Winged Nightjar, and Robert(?) knew right where to go, timing our arrival to dusk and the ever darkening evening sky.
We parked the vehicle in a small clearing and waited. Soon we could hear the sounds of our prize, and in fact could make out two different birds calling in the evening sky. Soon they were flying past, I was able to get one blurry shot as one of the two fly away from our vehicle.
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A few moments later one landed on the ground 3 or 4 metres in front of us.
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Quite impressive "tail" feathers, when flying it reminds one of a Chinese ornamental kite fluttering in the wind with long streamers hanging down. An amazing addition to our life lists!
The ride back to camp included many Impala, Steenbok, a few Duikers, a Sharpe's Grysbok, and a lone Hyena who seemed quite annoyed at our presence.
After another very long but satisfying day in Kruger, we climbed into bed knowing that it was our last night in our beloved Kruger.
The morning brought a long drive back to Johannesburg for a stay in a hotel near the airport, and then the long flight home.
Shortly after leaving the park we saw two signs that made us laugh and giggle for quite a few kilometers down the road. I wish I had stopped to take a picture.
The first said " We Pump your Toilet Juice"
The second was on a more serious subject, HIV prevention. It is that last line that had us howling like Vervets.
Prevent HIV
Abstain
Be Faithful
and Condomize

I thank everyone who took the time to read of our travels and apologize for the long delays between postings. Can't wait to get back to SA. Next time we are heading to KTP, a first for us.

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Last edited by normana53 on Wed Mar 13, 2013 5:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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