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 Post subject: The Steyn Trip to KNP : Oct '06
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2006 10:29 am 
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An excited phone call from Pieter’s SO, Kitty last night; they were packed and ready to leave in the wee morning hours….Croc Bridge – here we come! :dance:

SMS received at 09:59

Quote:
Hi - all's well! Between gate and camp; ellies, waterbuck, impies, wharthog and lotsa birds!


:shock: Wee morning hours....looks like they slept in a little too much.... :twisted:


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Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2006 10:07 pm 
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SMS at 18:18

Quote:
S28, breeding herd of ellies and more bulls, beautifull male lion, 400! buffies, 9 rhino,kudu,giraffe and lots of differen antelope. NO DUKE!


I will also be good-looking if I am the only male lion in the vacinity of 400 buffies... :shock:


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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 8:49 pm 
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SMS at 18:35

Quote:
Lots of lions and buffs, ellies, rhino, and of course, antelope. Ground Hornbill, white headed vulture and brown snake eagle in the same tree. Two legged wildlife in khakis include Germans and French - all very happy to be in Africa! Regards to everyone - thinking of all all with a cold one in hand...


:hmz: What is Jakkals & Bolf - brandy and coke or a J&B? Help please!


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 9:26 pm 
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Had a very excited phone-call from Pieter - they sighted Duke Mlondozi dam from the picnic spot. Then disaster struck -he kicked himself because he left his cam at home! :shock: Well, I would have wept too - so WTM, if you read this - Duke is alive and roaming wide!


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2006 7:48 am 
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Had a braai with Krokedille and her hubby @ Pkop. Went on a sunrise drive yesterday am. Seen elephants, buff, rhino and lions everyday. He says he doesn't even stop for them anymore. :lol: :lol: Saw Duke on monday @ Molondozi! :shock: :shock:

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2006 8:01 pm 
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This sms came in after I arrived home from Kruger :evil:

Quote:
22 lions today and a dead lion cub :cry:


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2006 4:44 pm 
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SMS from Pieter at 19:01 24/10 - sorry a bit late but had a hectic day and a half ... :(

Quote:
Extremely hot. On our way from Shingwedzi to Parfuri. 10 lions at Bababala on buffalo kill. 5 Lichtenstein on H1-8 and 4 Tsessebe on S56-1 and also Sharpe's Grysbok. Blocked by ellie on way to camp - 17:55 - phoned camp and had to enter via staff entrance where they met me. Apparantly an old trick of this ellie bull.


:shock:


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 Post subject: Pieter steyn and s.o trip report 14 Oct. to 29 October 2006
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 9:34 pm 
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There are so many good and interesting reports that I am going to have a hard time to do my report. I would like to thank Pardus and Wildtuinman whom posted my Sm's. I really appreciate it.

Yes Pardus Jakkals and bolf is J & B with dam (water) and Dinkybird I had my own bosniff with me.

Weeks before our departure we made a list of what we must pack in the caravan. When we started packing the caravan we carefully tick all the articles that was pact off. Somewhere along the line I made a mistake. Then finally we left on Friday 13 Oct. at 23H45. We wanted to be at Kruger when the gates open. We arrived at the gate at 06H30 a half a hour late.

Just before the gate I stopped to load all the camera equipment and books about nature in the vehicle. With a big shock I realised that I have not packed the Ricoh camera with 200mm and 500mm lenses as well as the video camera with a centron crx 1060 telephoto video lens and the car battery cord. We only had a panasonic NV-Gs 25 digital video camera and a sumsung digimax A40 camera with us. What a catastrophic start to our holiday in the park. Kittie looked at me as only your s.o can. She did not say a word but I could read the disapproval in her eyes. Weekly I defended my blooper by saying we would we able to take close up photo's.

As with our custom we stopped on the bridge over the Crocodile river, took our watches off. Time was now ours. We sat the allowing our eyes to feast on the beauty of Kruger.
We saw water birds (some that we could add to our bird list)
a crocodile, Ellie's , buffies. water bucks (later more about these unfortunate animals.)

As I walked into the reception office there were lots off people inside waiting to be help. The staff greeted every body with a friendly smile and how can I help you sir/mam. For the rest off our stay at Kruger we were greeted in the same manner. I stood in front off a huge photo of Duke and wondered by my self when will I see you again. Little did I know what will happen in 3 days time. As we prepared our camping sight Kittie told me that she did not packed my shoes in. All had with me was two pairs of "plakkies" slops. I thought now I have you women and gave her the same s.o look. But to no avail, I had to drive back to Komatiepoort to bay shoes.


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 Post subject: piter steyns trip report
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 10:19 pm 
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I'm sorry about the short postings but I am having problems with mailing long reports.

Back at the camp it was finally time for our first trip. We followed the S28 to the tar road from Crocodile bridge to Lower Sabie. On our way we saw a lone lion male , about 400 buffies lots of Ellie's and rino's, reedbuck, water buck ,steenbok , warthog and giraffe. on our way back we stopped at Gezantfombi dam. It had water. With our last visit in Oct. 2005 it was bone dry. True to our habit we were the last vehicle to enter the camp before the camp gates close. On our first trip we have seen 4 out of the big 5. Not bad at all for a first trip.

The off our stay in the park there would only be 5 days that we would not see the 4. Eventually we reached a stage were we did not stop if we see any one off them. However we would not see a single leopard, chita or wild dog. What a pity.
There are on our order list for the next trip.

To our dismay we saw our national flag (plastic bags) fertiliser plants (disposable nappies) toilet paper (call of nature) and tissues (somebody was naughty and throw the evidence away) Not a nice sight. I wonder why there are "No litter signs" and why a paper bag is handed over to you as you enter the park , does these perpetrates not realise what the result of their actions are not only to the Eco system but to the animals as well ? Come on people, lets keep our beautiful country and parks clean. I tend to agree with Peter Betts "only leave your footsteps and take your memories with you" I want to go step further, don't leave anything behind and only take your memories with you.

During our 3 nights stay at crock. have travelled on all most
all the roads to Lower Sabie and Malelane. We could not help to notice that there are very view pins left on the sighting boards. Do people take them as souvenir's ? I know that a lot of forumites have done a lot to improve the sightings boards and provided pins at the boards. I am sorry but all the hard work will have to done again.

The park was very dry during our visit. With some of our previous visits during October we have witnessed the gratitude of the soil and the excitement of the animals when it starts to rain. Many animals would assemble around water puddles on the tar roads to drink water their excited running around and playing with each other.

Our sunset drive was excellent. The young lady who acted as our guide answered all the questions off the tourists and shared her knowledge without being asked. She stopped on the bridge at Gezantfombi, switched the vehicle's engine and lights off. This to allow us to listen to the night sounds and follow the little lights of many firefly's flying over the water. She is a credit to the park and i will join her again for a guided drive.

More to follow on the best sighting we had and pleasant meetings with Krokodile and her s.o and Pardus. Keep on wondering what happened to us on the third day of our trip.


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 Post subject: The steyn trip
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2006 8:59 pm 
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On the morning of the third day we decided to see how many butterfly's and insects we can identify. To be able to do this one have to drive very slowly. Lady luck was on our side and we were able to identify various butterfly's and insects.

On the S137 i noticed a Scopes owl in a tree next to the road. At that stage we were the only vehicle on the road. With in seconds there were 7 other vehicles and every body look into the veld with their binoculars trying to see what we were looking at. One guy drove up to my vehicle and wanted to know what we are looking at. When I told him he reacted with a very disappointed ohh and drove off. The next moment the owl lunched it self to the ground and caught a mouse and flew back into the tree with its catch. As I was ready to take a photo graph one vehicle drove past much vaster as he is supposed to and the owl flew off into the distance. Needless to say I could not take a photograph. However was remarkable about the incident is that it was already 08Hoo in the morning and the only conclusion was that it must have been very hungry to hunt in day light.

As we stopped at Mlondozi there were lots of excited people milling around and pointing down to the dam. Some of them had very big lenses on their cameras and where taking photographs non stop. One guy walked up to me and told me that there is a very big elephant down at the dam. In fact the biggest that he has ever seen.

The elephant was standing with his head behind a small tree, turned around and started walking in the direction of another tree. My hart almost came to standstill and then raced off, I could feel my heart beat in my tr ought as if it wanted to jump out off my chest as I recognised him. There he was the last member of the original magnificent seven the grand master off all living elephants. ( is there some one out there that can give a description that is worthy off this majestic animal? He walked very slowly and gracefully to the next tree. He had lo lift his head up to prevent his tusks from dragging on the ground.My thought dried up and I could only whisper it's Duke. The first time in 6 years that we saw him. The last time we saw him he had two as caries with him, this time he was alone.
The feeling that you get whilst you are looking at him is indescribable. To be in his presence force you to whisper and not to make a sound in fear that he might disappear before your eyes. I watched him all the time until he moved off into the bushes ignoring every body else.

Long after he disappeared into the bushes I kept a close eye on the bushes in the hope that he would re-appear out off the bushes. When we left Mlondozi it was with a very heavy hart and I wondered if I will ever have the privilege of seeing him again. It is estimated that he he is 55 years old. I could not help it to think, will he poached for his tusk or will he die of a natural course. Will his body be found and will we able to stand in the elephant hall in front of his tusks and remember him when he was still alive where and when we saw him as we can with the other members of the magnificent seven? Will the up coming tusks have the same effect on you as they did?

One guy told me that he has seen him the previous at at Rietpan. Can you imagine it, to see Duke two days in a row. How privileged can one be?

In the next part of my report I will tell you about Kruger speedsters and our meeting with Krokodile and Tokoloshe


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 Post subject: The steyn trip
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 9:12 pm 
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After the best site in a long time we took the H10 to Rietpan were we saw the following, gray heron a catching a fish, (kill no: 2 for the trip) ellies, lions, Rino’s, white-faced ducks, hooded and lappet faced vultures, hyena cooling off in the water next to a lappet faced vulture (ignoring each other completely), reedbuck, giraffe, and black back jackal. All of them next to the water hole or vicinity of the water hole in a radius of a 100-meter

Early the next morning we left for Pretoriuskop and our meeting with krokodile and Tokoloshe later the day. On our way we saw the normal and njala just before Skukuza. Then we started seeing these ugly scars on the tar roads.

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Clearly an indication that there were speedsters in the park. With this result.
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White browed Coucal

A few days later whilst on our way to Satatra we had a very close encounter with one of these speedsters. He overtook me with on coming traffic, realized it that he was not going to make in and turned in onto my vehicle. I had the caravan behind me and had to choose either being involved in an accident or the veldt. I chose the later. Fortunately there were no dongas or any obstacles next to the road and I could control the vehicle and the caravan as at that stage I only traveled at 30km per hour. The cowboy continued with out even looking back. This type of reckless you expect on or national roads not in our parks. When are the people going to learn that speed kills?

That evening we had a very pleasant braai (barbeque) with crocodile, tokoloshe and their friend John. Phil wanted to show us that the English can also braai and took our orders how we wanted our meat to be tanned. I must compliment him the meat were very tasty and well prepared. Phil you have my permission to do it again. Crocodile had an ultra violet light with her and she and Kittie explored the camp looking for scorpions and other night creatures that might glow in the dark. That evening we also met Gordon who would be our guide the following day on the morning drive. He has a vast knowledge on nature and very patiently explained all the questions of the tourists. Well-done Gordon.

Unfortunately a very bored guy sat next to me at the back of the vehicle and from the very beginning of the drive complained to his mother it’s boring. He even shouted to Gordon O.K we seen enough lets go. Gordon ignored his rudeness and continued explaining nature to the tourist. Eventually I told him to shut up and that there are other people on the vehicle that is not bored and instantly made a new enemy.

It was Krokodile and Phil’s last day in the park. However we kept on meeting each other at various water holes and at lake panic were we said our final goodbyes as it was late and they still had to travel to Crocodile bridge.
We are looking forward to our next meeting. Kittie and I spend 5 memorable hours at lake panic. The bird hide is very busy and there is a constant flow of people visiting the bird hide. To name only a few animals and birds that we saw; hippo, waterbuck, bushbuck, huge crocs, white stork, white-faced duck, green-back heron, hammerkop, a gray heron and his partner building a nest, darter, reed cormorant, Meyer’s parrot, two pigmy king fishers feeding their little one, pied king fisher and white breasted cormorant.

Every night just after sunset we switched the caravans out side light on to see which type of insects will be attracted. We had a very interesting time trying to identify them and were able to I D quite a number of them. (There are so much more in nature than speeding from one water hole to another looking for the big 5)

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Giant Forest Cicada

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Mantid. With one of these fellows in your caravan you don’t have to worry about flies and mossies

We did it early in the mornings as well at about 04H00. Strangely enough we had honeybees visiting us at Pretoriuskop. Can someone please explain their behavior, as it was still dark at that time of the morning?


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 Post subject: ps
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 9:17 pm 
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On our way from Pretoruiskop to Satara we ended up behind Protours bus RDW 112 GP, the driver of the bus made an effort to show the tourist all the smaller animals and even birds. I have never seen it before and are pleasantly surprised that he did it. By following the bus we had the opportunity to see what he showed the tourists. Near Shitlhave dam on the tar road between Skukusa and Pretoriuskop we saw Sable Antelope, which is the most beautiful animal for me. I can watch them for hours and then my day is made.

That evening we had a short visit by Pardus, she got lost and we had to redirect her to our camping site. Or was it al the handsome men that distracted her attention, who knows? Unfortunately the wind started to blow as it can only blow at Satara and I had to ensure that the rally tent is not damaged by the wind by adding extra ropes on the tent poles. The wind blew Pardus away as it was really unpleasant. However, we made up at a later stage with a nice long visit.

The next morning we went out with Eugene on a morning drive. He told us that there is a herd 2200 buffies roaming around Satara. We were fortunate enough to see them later the same day. As far as the eye could see there were only buffies.
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Some members of the heard turned around and looked at us. I wonder who look at whom.

Eugene tooked us out on the S100. We were not let down. The S100 is always a winner. If you ever have the opportunity to go out with Eugene be assured that the drive will be a winner.

On the S90 we saw a pride of lions with a buffalo kill and this shocking sight.
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Dead lion cub. It looks as if it was killed during the night by one of the pride members. See the marks on his body. What a sad sight.
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Lioness trying to drag the buffalo carcass away from the road.

The same evening we went out on a night drive with Nomatter. I am sorry to say that the trip was a total disappointment. He identified a serval as an African wild cat. All the tourist on the vehicle noticed it. At one stage of one guy made the remark, Nomatter what I see, I drive past it as he drove past yet another.

As previously said the park was very dry.
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One could even count female impala’s ribs

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Whenever we are at Satara we always travel on the Sweni road and visit this tree to see if the trunk still standing. Years ago when it was still alive and a beautiful tree we used to stop in its shade to have our morning coffee and it has a special place in our harts.


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Wild orchid in tree.

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Wild flower

Can some one I.D this flower.

Sadly enough you will always see tourist out of their vehicles. This can also be posted at the wall off shame. Most of the time that you encounter people out of their vehicles is when there are lions, leopard or chita’s in the vicinity. Maybe people think they are so cute that you can stoke their heads. Who knows?
Image
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The man on the far left carelessly threw a burning cigarette into the veldt. This after he had to drive trough the burning veldt at crooks corner.


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 Post subject: ps4
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 10:02 pm 
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At Shingwedzi we had a hair-raising experience with an elephant. We were on our way back to camp one late after noon at about 17H55 on the S50 less than one kilometer from the east gate just enough time to be on time before the gates close a huge bull stood the side of the road.
I stopped quit some distance from him in the hope that he will move away. Another vehicle stopped behind me after and the driver decided that he was going to try and get passed him. The ellie stepped into middle of the road, the vehicle stopped and the ellie placed his trunk on the vehicles bonnet as if to say you are going nowhere buddy. The guy in the vehicle did a hasty retread.

By then it was 18H00 and time for the gates to be closed. What now? I realized that if I turn around and go back to the west camp gate via the S134, which is 11 km long we will be very late and would possibility be fined. I phoned reception and explained my predicament to Steven he told me that is a old trick of the ellie and he directed me back to camp via a no entry road and also said that they will wait for me at the east gate. Now this is service. Thank you Steven for being so help full. The guy in the other vehicle followed me; luckily his vehicle was not damaged. I do not think that he will try to intimidate an ellie again to move out of the way.

On the H1-8 road at Elandskuil water hole we saw Lichtenstein’ Hartebeest and at Mandadzidzi water hole Tsessebe.

We have visited Crooks Corner twice. The road from Pafuri takes you through one of the most beautiful areas in the park. On the second visit we found that Crooks Corner is burning.

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Crooks Corner burning
As shown above and in previous paragraph


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Please ID


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The pafuri and Limpopo were both dry.


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Worst tree seed

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When one drives past a baobab tree you normally notice that the bark of the tree to certain height has been stripped off by ellies. If you look further up into the tree you will notice that the tree has a beautiful brownish colour bark.

This is how we spend our holiday at Kruger.
Image

On one off our drives I told Kittie that the park must have spend a fortune on white paint, to paint all the toilet seats. Because everywhere you drive you see lots of buck that sat on the newly painted toilet seats. The poor things, to go trough live like that.

All that is left now is to thank the boys and girls of the park. A special thanks to the manager and staff of Shinwedzi restaurant your food is excellent. None of the other camps can beat your chicken salad.


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