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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2005 8:30 pm 
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I got two updates from DB since my last visit.

Yesterday afternoon I sms'ed her about the Leopard sighting at cam

Response@ 15:00:

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Thanks, maybe I can call him this way. We are parked at Engelhart dam and it is magic. Waterbuck, stacks of Elephant, croc, hippo. Sparing you all a thought


Received tonight at 18:00

Quote:
SR- had a megatick today, a YR on the road this am bringing sightings of forumites this trip to ?
Olifants river stopped running on 23/8/05. A few pools visible from the camp, otherwise completely dry. Pools can be seen from high water bridge and spent time there watching a grumpy croc chase a younger one, a water monitor catching fish, kudu, impies and many water birds. Very hot today. Lit fire now back at camp as sun sets on another wonderfulday in Kruger


Glad you only lit the fire once in camp DB!! Not sure what the question mark after the forumites setting is supposed to be, I guess it's a typo

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Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2005 2:27 pm 
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Word in the wasup last night was that there was a leopard in a tree at Orpen eating an impala for a good while a day or so before you guys saw it on cam.....just think (DQ & co) he had just climbed down from a tree!

Closest we have come to a cat this trip is some spoor in the sand next to the road outside camp this am!


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Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2005 2:32 pm 
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Last night here tonight..........very sad at thought of leaving to moorow. Going to drag out the driveout the park as long as possible.

Laine - nope, got to include the megaticks at the Board meet on the way here too :)


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Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2005 8:08 am 
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Just received from DB:

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Just left Letaba. Not going out at Orpen so a bit sorry won't be able to take a pic of new cam. Going todrive as far down as possible. Saw little owls this am in camp. Will need your guys help with id. Have a good day and say hi to all on forum.


Hope they have a safe journey back home.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2005 10:03 am 
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DB asks:

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What are all these cardboard cut out animals doing along the S100? :lol:

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Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2005 10:19 am 
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DB says...

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:lol: leopard marked at Orpen on Satara sightings board so keep an eye on cam.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2005 11:08 am 
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Jose wrote:
DinkyBird wrote:
Bit of a sensitive point at the moment...and can you believe I took my X-drive with but did I back up my pics there too??? :evil: Nooooo - but experience is a great teacher hey!


Don't you still have them on the memory cards/stick?

Not the Punda/Pafuri ones. I only have 2 x 1 gig cards and cleared the one card to take more pics on it :( My SO took a great deal of video footage fortunately, so if my HD is not recovered, we at least have that for the special memory file.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2005 1:11 pm 
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The first thing we did after checking in at Punda Maria gate was to crack a cold frosty and toast the fact that we had arrived in paradise. I cannot believe that anywhere else on our planet will ever invoke the same feelings I have when arriving at a Kruger gate: the smells and sounds of the bush; the hot still air; the excitement of winding down one’s car window and setting off in anticipation of what might be around the next corner and what holiday adventures may lie ahead.

The sun was beating down by the time we had checked in at Punda Maria camp so our prioity was to find a very shady campsite – next to the fence of course. We found one and set up camp, ending up rather hot and sticky and very, very thirsty, but what the heck, who could wish to be camping in a better spot? First lesson of the trip for me - when you read on this forum that you need a 50m lead if you wish to have electricity when camping in Punda, you do need a 50m lead. Of course ours was only 35m long so no electricity for us for the next 3 days. We used the wash up to plug in chargers.

Water is pumped daily from a borehole in the camp to a muddy waterhole just opposite the Punda bird hide. As a result there was a constant trickle of animals coming for a drink. Nyala, impala, kudu, ellies, buffalo, monkeys, baboons and birds were often at the water hole. Day and night. Sometimes too close for comfort as I sms’d Loams:
Quote:
Ellie decided to have a 2am bath 5 meters from fence which we are butted up against. And boy did he was thoroughly, even behind his ears. He then had a midnight feast here and then decided to have a swim splashing loudly about. When the splashes hit our tent I encouraged my SO to evacuate with me as Punda is not exactly surrounded by an Armstrong fence and waited for Ellie to move off in the bird hide watching the stars and enjoying the many night sounds.
But still, sleeping in a tent with just the insect nets between you and the fence and then the rest of Kruger cannot be beaten. The night sky was also something really special to see and of course the sounds of the bush at night......

The camp was really quiet. Did not have much luck on the Flycatcher trail but enjoyed the walk through it anyway. Found far more bird life in the camp itself particularly around the day visitor’s area.

The monkeys at Punda are getting their own thread in chit-chat – little rascals!!!

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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2005 1:14 pm 
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One thing I could not wait to do was to drive up to Pafuri and meet Frank. We set off really early and did not pass a single car on our way there, arriving at Pafuri at 8am just as Frank came on duty. What a personality this man has! He enthuses about the birds, imitates some calls and I spent a truly wonderful couple of hours in his company. Logged the following birds at Pafuri – those with an * I would never have managed without Frank’s help. (How the heck do you tell one Spinetail from another or from a Swift when they zoom about overhead?)
*White backed vulture (nesting at the picnic site)
*White-throated Robin-chat
*White fronted bee-eater
*Black-backed Puffback
*White-browed Scrub-Robin
*White-browed Robin-chat
*Tropical boubou
*Yellow-breasted Apalis
*Orange-breasted Bush Shrike
*Southern Grey-headed sparrow
*Bohms Spinetail
*Terrestrial Brownbul
*Mevess Starling
*White-bellied Sunbird
*Grey Penduline Tit
*Grey-backed Camaroptera
Hammerkop
Grey Heron
Blacksmith Lapwing
Three banded plover
Woolly-neck stork
Common Greenshank
Goliath Heron
Fish Eagle
Emerald dove
Saddle billed stork
Jacana
Ground hornbill
Hadaha ibis

And I have no doubt I missed many and also did not jot down many I did see.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2005 1:18 pm 
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The drive from Pafuri to Crooks Corner along the river road (S63 -gravel section) is beautiful particularly next to the areas of the river that still have pools of water. Saw crocs and hippos there.

We spent a good while watching the heat rise off the vast sand bed at Crooks Corner, which is the confluence of the Limpopo and Luvuvhu Rivers as well as the corner where South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique meet. There were baboons mulling about in the dry river bed and a couple of saddle bills resting in the sun. We also had a sighting of 2 game guards patrolling the S63!

I enjoyed the drive around the Mahonie Loop – particularly where it runs next to the river. There were a couple of pools in the river. We came across a small herd of buffalo huddled under shade and I kept my eyes peeled for CGF with no luck. There was also a sprinkling of general game along the way.

Of course one of the highlights was the wild dog sighting (about 8). They were coming down the H13-2 towards the camp. They moved at quite a speed and we stayed with them until they moved out of sight.

Punda Maria has crept into my heart. We will return there many times I know. If one wishes to see game around every corner it is not the place to go, but for a unique time in Kruger, a time to restore the soul and just be – Punda is it.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2005 1:42 pm 
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Ellie decided to have a 2am bath 5 meters from fence which we are butted up against. And boy did he was thoroughly, even behind his ears. He then had a midnight feast here and then decided to have a swim splashing loudly about. When the splashes hit our tent I encouraged my SO to evacuate with me as Punda is not exactly surrounded by an Armstrong fence and waited for Ellie to move off in the bird hide watching the stars and enjoying the many night sounds.


SOUNDS FUN :!:

I had a simualar encounter in Letaba in January this year, with a huge bull elephant right next to the fence in front of our tent. :shock: I could feel the ground vibrating and hear the branches being torn off of the trees!!
It was a really lovely experinace :D :D

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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2005 1:52 pm 
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Thanx DB for your report. :clap:
That makes me even more looking forward to stay in that part of Kruger. :D
Quote:
Punda Maria has crept into my heart. We will return there many times I know. If one wishes to see game around every corner it is not the place to go, but for a unique time in Kruger, a time to restore the soul and just be – Punda is it.

We already heard a lot of good and very promissing things about Punda Maria.
And we think it must be a very special place.
Quote:
One thing I could not wait to do was to drive up to Pafuri and meet Frank. We set off really early and did not pass a single car on our way there, arriving at Pafuri at 8am just as Frank came on duty. What a personality this man has! He enthuses about the birds, imitates some calls and I spent a truly wonderful couple of hours in his company. Logged the following birds at Pafuri – those with an * I would never have managed without Frank’s help. (How the heck do you tell one Spinetail from another or from a Swift when they zoom about overhead?)

Of course we are going to Pafuri as well and we will try to meet Frank.His knowledge of all the birds must be very impressive.
We just start to develop an interest in birds during our holiday to Botswana.So we still have a lot to learn.
Quote:
We spent a good while watching the heat rise off the vast sand bed at Crooks Corner, which is the confluence of the Limpopo and Luvuvhu Rivers as well as the corner where South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique meet. There were baboons mulling about in the dry river bed and a couple of saddle bills resting in the sun.

We think Crooks Corner will be very special too.And we are looking forward to it.

So once again thank you for this beautiful report of your time in that part of Kruger. :D
Looking forward to hear more. :wink:


katy

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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2005 2:01 pm 
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Katy - tell Frank you are a Yellow Ribbon person and he will be so keen to help you. I am a real beginner as far as birding goes and he really did not mind that. Frank did go up to each person at the picnic area and greet them too - he really is friendly. Thanks so much for you nice comments about my reports :)

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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2005 2:03 pm 
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leopardspotter wrote:
I had a simualar encounter in Letaba in January this year, with a huge bull elephant right next to the fence in front of our tent. :shock: I could feel the ground vibrating and hear the branches being torn off of the trees!!
It was a really lovely experinace :D :D

I know just what you mean!!! I suppose the quiet of the night makes them sound even louder. I was assured by the camp attendand the next day that no way would the ellie come through the fence...... but.......

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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2005 6:11 pm 
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We arrived at Shingwedzi after a fairly uneventful drive (except for a short detour I will admit to in the doing dumb things in Kruger thread). We had our only sighting of a Tsessebe in the river bed just before the camp.

Image
Boyela water hole on H1-7. Pic to give you guys an idea how dry it is in the area.

Image
Took this in the Red Rocks area - also to show how dry the veld is.

I agree with reports on this forum that the staff at Shingwedzi are really friendly and offer good service (not that that is not the case in other camps but Shing staff are particularly friendly) and the camp is really neat and tidy. Sadly the water shortage in the area is extreme. I felt guilty using the water in the camp. The river has virtually dried up with just a small pool near the camp, where we parked and enjoyed our sundowners, and in what is left of the dam.

Image
Took this while enjoying sundowners along the S50 next to Kannidood Dam.

There is no water in sight from Kaniedood Dam bird hide. There are still a lot of ellies in the area. Many waterbirds had gathered around the pools of water.

The wind blew really strongly the first night we spend in the camp. Dust swirled around us and we had to give up any ideas of sitting outside and pegged our tent down with extra guy ropes and pegs and headed for bed. The next night was not much better but at least we could sit outside and enjoy the sunset.

As I reported earlier in the thread misty rain was falling on our second morning when we decided to break camp and move to the green grass of Letaba. (Not much green grass did we find there either.)

We did not have great sightings, bird or game, in the Shingwedzi area and this was obviously due to the severe drought and adverse weather conditions while we were there.

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Last edited by DinkyBird on Mon Oct 17, 2005 1:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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