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 Post subject: Re: A brand new page....more tales from KNP
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:38 pm 
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Location: Amsterdam, NL
I feel that this next sighting deserves a solo billing so please enjoy.

We got up earlyish and decided to take the tar road from LS up to Skukuza, we had planned to go off on the S21 but like many other roads it was still closed. We approached a small bridge when we saw 2 cars had stopped, I immediately saw a buffalo resting and some rhino sleeping and I began snapping away when one of the drivers told us there was a lion. It was still quiet on the road and we pulled to the side and started scanning the grass. I looked and then looked again not quite believing my eyes, this didnt much look like a lion...

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Then it got a whole lot better....

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Mom stared heading for a stream whilst her baby jumped through the grass playing and enjoying his/her outing and then ran to catch up again

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She circled the edge of the stream trying to find the best place and once she had, she gave an almighty leap and landed on a small sandbank in the middle.

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From there she then gingerly picked her way through the ankle deep ( :hmz: ) water and stood on the other side calling to her cub

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The cub looked at her and then with no hesitation plunged into the water, splashing his/her way across to mommy where together they melted into the undergrowth.... :D

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 Post subject: Re: A brand new page....more tales from KNP
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:17 pm 
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Location: Amsterdam, NL
Happy as pigs in poo poo we left our lovely leopards behind and headed off towards Skukza again for a quick breakfast, my favourite rock buns, warm from the oven!

After brekkie nature called and rather than go to the yukky toilets by the restaurant we made a plan to park outside the conference center and use the facilities opposite.
As we pulled into the parking lot we saw that some event was obviously going on and that there were a lot of men in suits walking around.
The spaces directly outside the entrance were empty but sixth or maybe even common sense made me urge the SO to park on the other side. I nipped out and walked past some very swanky cars owned by the members of the Mpumulanga Provincial Govt who were holding their conference there. As I crossed over I saw an even fancier car being escorted by body guards sweeping into the center and the empty spaces at the entrance.
At this point the SO sitting in the car waiting for his turn to pee was blocked in by a police car to prevent him making any untoward moves and lots of men with badly cut suits and very shiny sunglasses ran around, making sure that the object of their affection could safely enter the building.

So if you were wondering where your taxes are being spent I can confirm that a good whack of them are going on some very, expensive German engineering....

Onwards and upwards towards the Marula Loop where completed our big 5 before lunch when we came across these sleepy pussy cats:

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We headed back home to our lovely tent with a fab view of the river, we sat on our stoep and watched a big old buffalo slowly make his way across the river and appear in the reeds directly in front of us:

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The neighbour opposite

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Later in the afternoon we took a short drive around but sightings were a bit few and far between due to the heat...

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We returned back to camp again to find a bunch of baboon bandits had raided everybody's kitchens. Luckily we had locked up but the beggars had emptied the bin over the side of the stoep and made a right mess. The SO took great delight in chasing the culprits away from our tent, they werent terribly impressed and retreated to the walkway just out of reach:

Have you seen these baboons??

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After debating their further strategy they moved on to their HQ which was a large tree just opposite our tent on the other side of the fence. They spent the next couple of hours flashing their bottoms at us but nature had a cunning plan for revenge...

A storm was brewing and streaks of lightning filled the skies, the baboons were all sheltering nicely when suddenly all hell broke loose! Screams of rage and fear coming from the tree made me curious enough to venture out again, I flashed the torch into the branches and at this point the reason for the commotion became apparent... A leopard, probably also seeking shelter from the storm had climbed into the tree but having been met with a less than friendly reception it quickly left to find alternative accomodation :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: A brand new page....more tales from KNP
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:31 pm 
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Location: Amsterdam, NL
The storm had cooled things down overnight which was pleasant after the searing heat of the past few days. I just had to photograph the beautiful sunrise the next morning as I again sat on the stoep drinking coffee and listening to the hippos catching up on the goss.

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We decided to go and have a look what was happening around Biyamiti and then head out of the park at CB to stock up again.

Again we came across some beautiful birdy sightings:

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King of the castle!

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And a scaly one just for a change!

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 Post subject: Re: A brand new page....more tales from KNP
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 1:21 pm 
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Location: Amsterdam, NL
Thanks for your comments Barryels, Hilda, M.Mouse, Trrp-trrrrrrrr, Sheenaugh-Lee & AKadwa.
Love that you are enjoying it :gflower:

Back at HQ we were joined for lunch by our resident ellie who really upset the resident hippos. They would swim behind him and protest loudly until he reached the other side and left their territory.

This was repeated daily and equally repeatedly completely ignored by the ellie.

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The BEST seat in the house :dance:

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 Post subject: Re: A brand new page....more tales from KNP
Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 6:15 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2009 4:08 pm
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Location: Amsterdam, NL
We took a trip up to down the S128 Old Tshokwane road, the weather was much cooler again, barely 20 degrees (which now seems tropical compared to the current -15 degrees wind factor chill we have today in A’dam!)

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We pulled in to Tshokwane for more of that yummy carrot cake where we saw this cutie hovering around the picnic site

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I was watching 2 baboons sizing up the early morning trade and watched them climb one tree whose branches were directly over our heads. Seeing them creep along the branches staring at our food it was obvious they were on a reccy mission. Suddenly they dropped to the ground and ran straight to the table next to us where an old lady with a stick and her daughter and granddaughter had a lovely brekkie spread out. The blighters had spotted the weakest link and went straight for the kill. They hadn’t however reckoned with a gungho Dutchman who leaped to his feet and started screaming and shouting at them. One of the cheeky beggars still stuck his paw in the cooler box and was frantically rooting around before deciding it probably wasn’t worth getting a size 12 boot up his backside…

Breakfast finished we went off down the S114, it was pretty quiet, a few zebras and impala. We pulled over to let an enormous construction truck past and then drove over the top of the hill when something immediately caught my attention.

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To be continued… :whistle:

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22 - 25 May - Satara

27 - 30 May - Lower Sabie


Last edited by AndreaB on Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: A brand new page....more tales from KNP
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:00 pm 
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Posts: 165
Location: Amsterdam, NL
We slowly rolled down the hill praying that the leopard wouldn’t take fright and disappear into the grass but he casually sat down seeming very relaxed.

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We stopped around 50m away from him and our luck held as he slowly walked into the grass on the side but then headed in our direction. He stopped opposite our car and looked at us curiously. Through the open window I looked into his eyes, no more than 5 m away and made a calculated decision not to close it. He was one of the most beautiful leopards I have ever seen, strong and muscular and obviously in wonderful condition.

After a minute or 2 of staring and sniffing he moved forwards slowly alongside and then in front of the car. Obviously we were of no further interest and he then then strolled into the grass on the other side and disappeared.

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 Post subject: Re: A brand new page....more tales from KNP
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 2:11 pm 
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Location: Amsterdam, NL
After all that excitement we were happy to find a sub species of leppy that was equally striking if somewhat smaller....

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This birdy was helping us with spotting

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He warned us about the roadblock up ahead

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and then had to dash when he spotted his own lunch...

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 Post subject: Re: A brand new page....more tales from KNP
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 9:31 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2009 4:08 pm
Posts: 165
Location: Amsterdam, NL
Cape of Storms, Kaapsedraai, Elsa, Heksie, Hilda & Pumbaa – Thanks everyone for your comments :gflower:

We trundled back to LS and upon arrival I spotted another greedy guts on the sandbank opposite our tent


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He tried hard to fly away with his catch but it was just too much for one greedy eagle…..


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After a quick pit stop we headed off for the Mlondozi loop where we had a rather interesting experience with a naughty ellie last time.

Crossing the bridge we saw the ubiquitous kingfishers


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And another scaly one pretending to mind his own business


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As we entered the loop we passed a large herd and saw the matriarch giving us the absolute stink eye so we drove on quickly. It was very quiet apart from an enormous herd of buffalo on the far hill.
We were almost at the end when we saw a large male ellie slowly walking along about 50m from the track.

I had just remarked how relaxed he looked when he whipped his head around and squealed in absolute rage. He raced towards us at full pelt, fury radiating from every pore. I was screaming at the SO to drive,drive,drive. He didn’t need much encouragement and we rounded a corner where he slowed down.

Looking behind I saw Psycho Ellie change direction and continue flying towards us. This time we took off and didn’t stop til we hit the tar road and even then I was nervously checking to see that he didn’t take a short cut through the bush and was still after us! Image

My goodness, I have been charged before but never with such murderous intent. Think that was the last time I do that loop…..

Back home a good dop of Amarula and the sight of this beautiful sunset helped to calm our frazzled nerves

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27 - 30 May - Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: A brand new page....more tales from KNP
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 4:07 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2009 4:08 pm
Posts: 165
Location: Amsterdam, NL
With a very heavy heart we packed up and left LS to head down to Biyamiti. I had emailed Pieter de Plessis at LS in advance to ask if we could get a river view and he replied immediately that he could help but couldn’t guarantee a good view due to the bushes, all I can say is that we had the most fantastic views imaginable and that I will most certainly be back next year Image


I have always loved Biyamiti, just having access to the road to the camp is exciting in itself. It is VERY rough at the moment though…. Anyway we had a lovely drive down through the back roads.

A nosey onlooker

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And a houseproud hammerhead

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The ellies were gossiping about the new visitors…

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We checked in with the manager who asked us if we had seen the pride of lions on the S25 (not.. Image )and drove down to our new home for the next few days.

We started to unpack the car and I dashed inside for a quick call of nature. I had barely shut the door when I heard the SO yelling something about “Barstools”?? I ran outside to see 5 monkey terrorists sitting in the car frantically searching for valuables.
The head of the terrorist unit grabbed the most valuable stash (a whole new packet of lemon puffs) whilst the least experienced gang member made off with my washing powder spilling most of it on the way….

I managed to get some mug shots of these highly trained thugs:


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The SO was displaying considerable tree climbing prowess in his attempts to retrieve our goods and his colourful choice of words was beginning to attract attention from our amused neighbours, at which point I left him to it and retreated gracefully…. :redface:

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 Post subject: Re: A brand new page....more tales from KNP
Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 7:29 pm 
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Location: Amsterdam, NL
The next morning we headed North down the Biyamiti road, it is about 18km but we took our time and took even longer after getting stuck behind 2 very relaxed ellies who refused to budge from the road and held us up for about 45 mins before eventually wandering off to the side…

From there we headed towards the Biyamiti Loop and drove along the river, we again got caught up in a breeding herd of ellies and were relieved to get past without incident when all of a sudden the SO slammed on the brakes and starting cursing like a navvy.

I was sitting in the back and couldn’t see any reason why he had braked so I thought he had maybe hit something small. He lunged towards the door and starting pushing the buttons to close the windows. This all happened in a split second and I only realised what was happening when I looked to my left and my blood froze. About 3m away from my direct eye line stood a black mamba in full attack mode. :shock:

He had his mouth wide open and was swaying to and fro looking me directly in the eye. I have no doubt that if he had struck that he would have got me. Image

The window closed and I breathed again, I turned to grab my camera and I as I turned back he was already gone, despite searching the bush I could see nothing. The SO explained that he had suddenly noticed about a meter of tail sticking out into the road and realising what it was had braked hard. The mamba obviously also got a fright and had decided attack was the best form of defence.

It must have been a seriously big boy, taking into account that he had been standing in a dip and that only about half the body was standing, he must have easily been 3 meters if not more!

Although I had initially been incredibly excited to see my first mamba in action it was apparent that we had been very lucky to escape a very nasty incident. With firmly closed windows we drove to the next tar road and all the way to Skukuza I had hideous visions of the mamba curled up somewhere in the wheel arch although he was luckily long gone!

Returning to normal service we found this lovely ellie enjoying a splishy, splashy mud bath:

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And then bumped into this little cutie


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Stopping off at the Biyamiti weir we found this hammerkop very focused on catching his supper


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Before heading back to HQ for a break


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 Post subject: Re: A brand new page....more tales from KNP
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:12 pm 
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Location: Amsterdam, NL
We decided to pop out for a sunset drive and upon reaching the end of the Biyamiti road going South, we stopped and debated which way to go. We agreed on going left towards CB and wanted to drive down to Hippo Pools, after about 10 minutes driving we were stopped by a kindly Spanish man who told us that there were big, golden pussy cats just ahead on the left.
We crept along until we saw another car parked up on the side and scanned the bush to see if we were in the right place. First we saw 2 large lionesses purposefully striding through the long grass, they stopped suddenly and started sniffing the air, about 100m away on the other side a herd of impala grazed unsuspectingly.

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I was convinced they were about to hunt but then the lionesses turned away and began to walk deeper into the bush.

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At this point I spotted the cubs who were lying in the grass

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I thought that they would follow the lionesses but instead 2 of the little males suddenly ran at a tree right next to me almost on the road and began to prowl around it, even attempting to climb it

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At one point they were so close to me I could almost reach out to touch them. The boy looked me directly in the eyes and you could read his curiosity, as if to say - hey who are you, want to play?

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He turned back quickly to the tree and then finally it became apparent what they were after

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The poor water monitor was being used for hunting training, once it reached the top branches it clung on for dear life as the boys did their very best to shake it out of the tree.

In the meantime the female cub stood to the side watching boys being boys but not at all tempted herself to join in.

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 Post subject: Re: A brand new page....more tales from KNP
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:43 pm 
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Eventually the boys got bored and wandered over to greet their sister affectionately before melting away into the bush :)

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 Post subject: Re: A brand new page....more tales from KNP
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 6:10 pm 
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Location: Amsterdam, NL
In the early hours of that morning I felt the SO touch my hand gently and after a minute or 2 he said “I’m going to put the light on, there’s something on my foot”… :shock:

Squinting at the bright light I looked at the end of the bed and could see nothing but then on the floor we saw a bat slowly hopping around.

The SO got on his bat handling gear which involved putting a dirty sock over his hand and gingerly moved towards the bat. He first opened the screen door and then the main door.

Turning and preparing for the ensuing battle he almost missed the little bat as it walked straight past him and calmly hopped out of the door into the night...Image

The Sunday was quiet sightings wise, maybe it was because the amount of weekenders speeding around their flash, low slung sports cars. :sniper:

We eventually gave up and drove out to Komatipoort for lunch. As we drove down towards Hippo Pools we were rewarded with our first ever sighting in the park of a black rhino. It stood in the middle of the road and as we braked he crashed into the bushes and was gone. It was still wonderful to see anyway!

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That evening we went on the night drive from Biyamiti and almost immediately bumped into this tiny little ellie who first hid under Mommy’s tummy and then dared to venture out…

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As we crossed the Biyamiti we suddenly saw our lions from the day before chilling on the beach but they soon lifted their heads when a herd of ellies started heading for them!

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 Post subject: Re: A brand new page....more tales from KNP
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 4:15 pm 
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Location: Amsterdam, NL
As night fell I was handed the spotlight and did my best to scan but it was difficult and not helped by my co-passengers who just stared ahead onto the road, never looking left or right... :doh:

We spotted this devil eyed owl (excuse the quality but I love his orange eyes!)

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We then ran into a pride of young lions going out looking for their supper. There were 12 in all and the ranger explained that they were mostly youngsters being taught to hunt by a few older and more experienced lions.

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Understandably they were very put off by the bright lights and soon disappeared off in to the bush.

A little further on we came across a very shy chap whom I had never come across in Kruger before so that was another big tick on my list :D

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 Post subject: Re: A brand new page....more tales from KNP
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:38 pm 
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Location: Amsterdam, NL
Thanks everyone for your lovely comments, as I said we are heading towards the final stop but a few more snaps before we finish off this years TR :gflower:

I think that one of these chaps was our visitor during the night

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We had 4 above our kitchen and I loved watching them zooming past us at warp speed once the sun went down.

In the morning I was sitting having breakfast when I heard a repeated sharp rapping sound. I went to investigate and found this very agitated hornbill first pecking his reflection in the wing mirror of the car and then he moved on to the mags on the car wheel. Not sure who won, him or his reflection ... :doh:

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From the bottom of the garden I could enjoy watching the ellies crossing the Biyamiti

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Hitting the road again we bumped into some more of the long eyelash brigade, hard to imagine they are endangered we saw so many on our trip this time!

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