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 Post subject: Addo 2009 - in search of meerkatte, rooikatte & groot-katte
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 4:26 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Myself, SO and our youngest daughter (19), have just returned from a four-day visit to Addo in search of elephants and all sorts of cats - meerkatte (suricate), rooikatte (caracal) and groot-katte (lions)!

We entered through the South Gate and drove via Hapoor to our Safari Tent. Apart from two ellies at Hapoor we saw the ever present kudu and warthog. Later the evening we met the Bushgirls, who were on their last evening of an eleven day visit! Staying that long have really paid its rewards. They shared their amazing sightings with us and we went to bed with dreams of unforgettable sightings. But will they become true? This were our third visit to Addo and all the "cats" have evaded us in the past, not counting a long distance sighing of lions once. Our dreams were not of sightings, but really close encounters. We really want to spend time with the wonderful animals of Addo and see eye to eye with them.

We were at the gate just before 07:00 the next morning and it was still fairly dark when we got to Woodlands dam. Passing it on our way to Domkrag we saw something in the road next to the car in front of us. Lion!!!

to be continued

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My latest trip report to Addo during June 2009:
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=34300


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 Post subject: Re: Addo 2009 - in search of meerkatte, rooikatte & groot-katte
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 9:28 am 
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Lion! ... correction ... Lions!!
A young lion and lioness are casually making their way to Woodlands dam for an early morning drink. The dam/waterhole is close enough to the road that we can actually hear them drink. What an amazing experience! The trip to Addo has already paid of. It is almost a half hour before sunrise and my camera cannot handle the low light, but I desperately need a picture of this sighting.

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There is a path from the dam to exactly where our car is parked, and that is the path that the lioness chooses. Being aware of Moose's experience the order was strict: "Wind up the window. Now!" The result: I cannot post the picture of the lioness sniffing at the glass. What an experience to be separated by only 2mm of fragile glass from this beautiful animal. She sniffed all around the car and then decided to lie down in the road immediately behind our car.

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The male has in the meantime made his way to a vantage point from where he observed us.

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The female later joined him and they play a bit. After 15 minutes they decided that it is time to move on and soon they disappeared in the thick Addo bush.

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We went on our way to Rooidam to look for the hyenas, but did not find any. We saw some kudo on the way. They are such elegant animals.

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We decided to return to Woodlands because there was a jackal that we ignored as a result of the lions. After only one photo of the jackal his thunder was stolen by .....

... two male lions appearing from the bush! Can this possibly be true?

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These two are truly the kings of the forest with thick black manes. They opted not to drink but rather roll around and then went toward Domkrag. They did not go very far before they returned and took the tar road toward the south. We followed them till they disappeared in the bush.

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It is only 09:14 on our first day in Addo!

Can this get any better? At least the "groot-katte" has two ticks.

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The Creator is bigger than His creation!

My latest trip report to Addo during June 2009:
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=34300


Last edited by HoepHoep on Wed Jun 24, 2009 9:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Addo 2009 - in search of meerkatte, rooikatte & groot-katte
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 10:24 am 
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@ All - Thank you for your support to write this trip report and thank you for your enthusiasm and kind remarks.

The best way to relive your memories is to write a trip report.

@ Moose - lets not let the cat(s) out of the bag too soon about our success rate. You will have to exercise patience.

@ Dankbaar - Addo has never treated us better than this time, but not quite as well as your expectations!

@ Meandering Mouse - I blame the bad light for the camera shake, but maybe you are right, I must have been trembling from excitement.

Day 1 Continues - The Elephants of Addo

After all the excitement with the lions, it was time to find the elephants. As I needed to get to a bank ATM, we decided to drive to the southern access and then on to Colchester. The Spar, ATM and garage are no more than 2 kilometers from the gate and we found the Spar well stocked. A kilometer before the first gate our road was blocked by none other than Skukuza. I am very relaxed around Addo ellies, but he is not one of them. He was obviously in musth and in a bad mood. He kept us waiting for 15 minutes before he cleared the road. We enjoyed his show because we were in no hurry.

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I am not sure if the next ellie is an import or an Addo tusker. For an Addo elephant his tusks are a fair size.

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Body piercing seams to be fashionable amoungst elephants as well and this giant's pride is a neat round hole!

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On our last visit in the middle of summer there were ellies bathing and rolling in the mud all the time. This time this was the only one that faced the colder water. I suppose we can call this a before and after photo-set.

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Wrestling seems to be the most popular sport amoungst ellies. This group was in a great hurry to get to the water as fast as possible.

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Baby elephants are just so cute.

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Addo ELEPHANT National Park will always be a favourite, even without lions. These huge animals are really worth watching for hours. They seem to like to group together and often became almost entangled. Watching them drinking endlessly, or playing in the mud, or scratching against a suitable object, can fascinate me for hours.

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The Creator is bigger than His creation!

My latest trip report to Addo during June 2009:
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=34300


Last edited by HoepHoep on Wed Jun 24, 2009 8:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Addo 2009 - in search of meerkatte, rooikatte & groot-katte
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 11:44 am 
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Day 1 Continues

I think that the attraction of our National Parks is the diversity that we can enjoy there. Addo is great as a result of the 500 odd elephants, but it offers so much more than elephants. We had various exciting sightings of kudo, warthog, zebra, jackal, hartebees, mongoose, velvet monkeys and even a lone buffalo bull on our first day.

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I have a habit of stopping when a car approaches us from the front so that the driver can inform me of any sightings if he/she so wishes. This paid off. "Have you seen the two rhino just below Zuurkop." We followed the two rhino with the binoculars as they were a bit far from the road, hence no photo's. They made their way toward Domkrag Dam, but disappeared into the bush before they could cross the road. We really tried to outsmart them and waited from them to reappear out of the bush and cross the road, but with no luck. If was very exciting to see them in broad daylight, because they forgot to visit the waterhole at the camp in the evening as the "21h15 legend" claims.

As Jonty mentioned in his trip report the prickly pears on the south access road were a pretty sight, but for the rest Addo seems alarmingly dry. The fields below Zuurkop are literally black and hence we saw almost nothing there. These fields normally offers grazing to kudu, zebra, hartebees, ostriches, etc. It was hardly any better at Carol's Rest.The spekboom-bush is in a good condition, but the open fields desperately need rain.

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A most exciting first day in Addo finished with a beautiful sunset over Gwarrie Pan.

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We went to bed in the Safari Tents and listened to the jackals calling and the hyenas laughing. This must be paradise! We could only thank our Creator for the joy of experiencing the wonders of nature the way we did on our first day in Addo.

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The Creator is bigger than His creation!

My latest trip report to Addo during June 2009:
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=34300


Last edited by HoepHoep on Wed Jun 24, 2009 8:51 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Addo 2009 - in search of meerkatte, rooikatte & groot-katte
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 2:52 pm 
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Day 2

One of the really disappointing aspects of this visit to Addo was the few sightings from the deck of our Safari Tent. During previous visits we even saw hyena and plenty of kudu, elephants, etc. This year we had one really exciting sighting from the deck, but more about that later. (Moose watch this space!) The hide was also not very productive, but then we are dealing with wild animals that do as they please. Nevertheless, day two started with two hares at the fence in front of our tent.

We were on the tar road down to Spekboom, when my daughter shouted: "Stop! Lion!" She saw a lion no more than 3 - 5 meters from the road. I stoped, reversed, went forward again and that went on for 20 minutes, but we could not for our lives found the lion again. At the end we stopped next to the road for our morning coffee and rusks, but no lion to be found! The Addo bush can sometimes be incredibly thick. What a disappointment!

The disappointment was relieved by reaching our second goal at Hapoor dam: meerkatte (suricate)! The whole family, babies and all, played in the field south of the dam where the Mpunzi loop starts. They were a bit far from the road for photo's, but we could watch them with binoculars for quite some time. I have often read of the Hapoor-clan on the forum and at last we found them on our third visit. This was really exciting. Day 2 was a success as well.

Meanwhile at Hapoor Dam the one group of elephants was leaving as the next group arrived. This obviously caused traffic jams.

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One can really watch the elephants endlessly and always see some new behavior. This guy obviously had an itching foot and he scratched it for some time against this tree stump.

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While watching the elephants drinking we heard an elephant trumpeting like mad and saw this small (young) ellie came charging down the length of the parking area at Hapoor. He was trumpeting, his ears were flapping and he was defiantly very traumatised. I was so stunned that I forgot to grab my camera. The next moment the young ellie spotted, what must be, his mother drinking water and he charged between the cars toward this group drinking water. The group came around him, comforted him and soon he came to rest. The behavior of this group of elephants toward this young elephant was very special to watch. This was an extraordinary sighting that can never be described in words. We could really feel the trauma this young ellie was experiencing when he realized that he lost his mother.

At lunch time there was a thunder storm with some rain that made us retire to the tent for an hour or so. As a rule we try to spend every available moment in the game area. I can never understand why people must take an afternoon nap when they can rather drive around. I know the light is bad for photo's, but there is still so much to enjoy and experience.

On our way to Carol's Rest we saw this rather wet ostrich and a tortoise looking for water to drink from a puddle on the tar road.

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Carol's Rest rewarded us with our second disappointing lion sighting of the day. I could
see the lioness (through the binoculars) walking almost against the fence above the open field. It started to rain again and too soon she disappeared from sight. We waited for her to reappear, but to no avail. It was getting late and we decided to make our way to Rooidam in search of the hyenas.

No hyenas, but we came across a jackal between Rooidam and Gwarrie. The jackal was soon joined by a second jackal and then a third one. We followed them to where they started to dig frantically next to a bush right next to the tar road. What followed was certainly one of our most outstanding sightings. They have uncovered the nest of flying-ants in the soft ground after the rain. As the flying-ants start to fly around the jackals, the jackals start to catch them. Two more jackals joined in and we had this amazing sighting of jackals digging the one moment and jumping in the air to catch a flying-ant the next moment. This went on for almost half an hour.

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In this photo that was taken by my daughter you can see a flying-ant above the back of the jackal.

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The one jackal was also on the receiving end at a stage, because there were wounds on his front leg. I am not too sure as to the enemies of jackals. Hyenas maybe?

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This sighting brought the end to our second amazing day in Addo.

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My latest trip report to Addo during June 2009:
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=34300


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 Post subject: Re: Addo 2009 - in search of meerkatte, rooikatte & groot-katte
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 9:04 am 
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@ Micetta - Just think about it, I could have been the one who filmed the TV movie about the highly stressed elephant. The Hapoor parking area is quite big, about 100 m long and 25m wide. All the cars normally park next to each other to get the best view of the watering hole. This "drama" happened on the area behind us, and if it was not for the trumpeting we could have missed it completely. We had to turn around to see the action and that made taking photo's even more difficult. Still, the memory will stay for a long time to come.

On our first visit to Addo we were highly excited with one jackal sighting. This time we have lost track of the number of sightings as they seem to be all over the place. I particularly love them, they are always on a trot some where. They don't really seem to mind cars either. The last encounter with the 5 of them was only 3m from our car and later 3 more cars joined us.

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My latest trip report to Addo during June 2009:
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=34300


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 Post subject: Re: Addo 2009 - in search of meerkatte, rooikatte & groot-katte
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 10:04 am 
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Day 3

The day started with the normal sightings of warthog, ellies and kudu. This kudu must have lost a horn in a battle.

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The photo of the warthog was taken at Marion Baree waterhole. The open dam/pan have been replaced with a small concrete dam and the construction was only completed the previous day. The pump was covered by a steel plate, but after only one day an itching elephant foot has already bent the plate!

On our way to Carol's Rest we had an exceptional sighing once again - two bat-eared foxes in broad daylight. They were a bit far for a photo and soon disappeared from sight. Seeing those ears however, were enough.

Addo is well known for the protection of the flightless dung beetle, but I find it very difficult to spot then. Obviously we look out for them when we are driving, but we had more lion sightings that dung beetle sightings! This one was of a fair size.

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We had various sightings of yellow mongooses and just after spotting some on our way from Woodland to where the Nzipondo loop and Gorah loop split, our second dream came true: Meerkatte (suricate) fairly close to the road! While watching them a second group appeared from their hole no more than 3 meters from the road!

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With only 24 hours left in the park the tension was building: are we going to find all 3 "katte"?

To be continued ...

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The Creator is bigger than His creation!

My latest trip report to Addo during June 2009:
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=34300


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 Post subject: Re: Addo 2009 - in search of meerkatte, rooikatte & groot-katte
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 9:12 am 
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Day 3 Part 2

We have seen buffalo on a few occasions during our stay, but always just one or a few at a time. This afternoon no less than 50 made their way from Carol's Rest toward Domkrag. We stopped next to them where they were grazing in the riverbed next to the road. There were a couple of calves as well and this was a very peacefull scene with these huge animals.

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Three or four of the buffalo started to cross the road immediately in front of our car on your way to the Domkrag area. We really had a good position to watch them. The next moment something must have triggered the herd, because what followed was a miny stampede across the road only meters in front of our car. You could hear the thundering hoofs and saw the mud flying as they made their way across the road. I must admit that this was exciting but also very scaring. To the left of the road was a steep uphill of a few meters, but the herd disappeared over the uphill and horizon in no time. There was definitely no chance, or the presence of mind to take photo's or a video.

We started to make our way back to camp and watched some kudu on the horizon. It was such a peaceful scene and we were glad that peace has returned to Addo. We though that this would be our last sighting of our second last day as we made our way back to camp.

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At around 21:00 my SO returned from the showers and called me from bed to come and have a look, because a "white cloud" was making its way to the fence directly in front of our Safari Tent. This was again an Addo first for us: a porcupine. We watched the porcupine as it made its way along the fence before it disappeared again into the thick of the night. How exciting?! A rare sighting indeed and that right next to our tent. I still maintain that the Safari Tents is the best accommodation in Addo. You really experience nature and never know who your next visitor will be. We "knew" that it was highly unlikely that the porcupine would return and headed for bed. The next morning Jerry Hattingh, who stayed in Tent # 4, said that he saw the porcupine at around 01:00 as it was still patrolling the fence. Going to bed has robbed us from a unique photo opportunity! I have mentioned earlier in this report that I cannot understand how visitors can go for an afternoon nap when they can rather drive around the park. Now I must ask myself: Can one really afford to sleep at all when in Addo??!!??

When I woke the next morning, I knew it was our last day in Addo. I could hear a lion roar from what sounded like the Rooidam-area. Will Addo give us a farewell treat?

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My latest trip report to Addo during June 2009:
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=34300


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 Post subject: Re: Addo 2009 - in search of meerkatte, rooikatte & groot-katte
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 10:35 am 
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@ A-J Thank you for your remarks. Yes we love the tents. Very basic on the inside: 2 beds, a fridge, closet, fan and heater. On the "stoep" 2 chairs and a table. Private braai facility next to balcony. Communial kitchen, but each tent have own cutlery and crockery in a lock-up cupboard. Only 5 tents so facilities can handle users. Location wise: right next to game fence.

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There are more photo's on the Sanparks site and more in previous trip reports. See my sightings from our tent in my previous trip report.

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My latest trip report to Addo during June 2009:
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=34300


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 Post subject: Re: Addo 2009 - in search of meerkatte, rooikatte & groot-katte
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 11:16 am 
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Day 4

The last day in Addo has started. I always plan my visits in such a manner that we can spend some time in the park before we have to leave. I heard the lion roaring earlier the morning and we were off to Gwarrie and Rooidam in search of the lion. No luck. We returned to Woodlands and then went back to Rooidam, but without any luck of a last lion sighting. My SO suggested that we pay Carol's Rest a last visit. On our way there we past the spot where the buffalos crossed the road in front of our car the previous afternoon. The marks of their hooves were still visible.

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We were driving up the narrow road to Carol's Rest when out of the bush appears a rooikat (caracal). I could not believe it! Mission accomplished! It disappeared into the bush and we parked next to the spot. It was only 1 - 2 meters from the road, but only the ears and back were visible. This photo just prove how difficult it can be to spot an animal next to the road. How many sightings have we missed?

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The caracal decided that we deserve better and emerged from the bush and started to cross the road. It walked up the road and 12 minutes later it disappeared up a fire break. The narrow road and 3 cars, 2 of which passed us in the middle of the sighting :evil: , made photos very difficult. (Nerves and shaking hands did not help either.) Despite all this commotion the caracal was extremely relaxed and went it's way in no hurry. I just could not believe our luck.

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We were moving on to the waterhole at Carol's Rest when my daughter said: "There is way to many cars here. There must be something special at the waterhole!"

to be continued ...

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My latest trip report to Addo during June 2009:
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=34300


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 Post subject: Re: Addo 2009 - in search of meerkatte, rooikatte & groot-katte
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 3:08 pm 
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@Micetta

Cheater! :shock: Who me? :o

You know what really happened? Our trip was to Camdeboo, Addo and Stormsriver. On our first day I was thinking: how about meerkatte (suricate) at Camdeboo, rooikatte (caracal) at Addo and seekatte (octupus) at Stormsriver. Funny language this Afrikaans - 2 of the three "katte" are not cats at all! But believe me, I never planned to go snorkeling at Stormsriver. During our previous trips to Addo we really searched high and low for the meerkatte and seeing a caracal must be just about everybody's dream. The title of the trip report was really reflecting our expectations and took shape from day 1 and it was not that much cheating :D .

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My latest trip report to Addo during June 2009:
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=34300


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 Post subject: Re: Addo 2009 - in search of meerkatte, rooikatte & groot-katte
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 4:05 pm 
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Day 4 Part B

No wonder we saw that many cars (for Addo that means 5-7 cars). A lioness was drinking water and a male lion was slowly making his way to the waterhole. This can very well be the same couple that we met on our very first morning. Again we were close enough to them to hear them drinking.

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It really felt as if the male lion was looking directly at me while he was drinking.
After the worst thirst was quenched they lay down for a quick nap.

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By this time some buffalo have arrived at the waterhole, but they maintained a respectable distance behind the cars with the lions no more that 10 meters from the hole.

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The lioness was the first to move on and a bit later the male followed her to where they disappeared in the bush.

to be continued ...

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My latest trip report to Addo during June 2009:
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=34300


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 Post subject: Re: Addo 2009 - in search of meerkatte, rooikatte & groot-katte
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 9:08 am 
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Day 4 - the last bit

The buffalo were so relieved that the lions have moved on, that they got right into the waterhole to drink.

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Some warthog also thought it was safe to come for an early morning drink.
During our last visit to Addo in January 2007 we saw a dead elephant at Carol's Rest on our last morning. On the photo's it's bones can be seen scattered in the background. The skull is further to the left out of sight.

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For us it was time to move toward the Southern Gate to bid Addo farewell. A last stop at Hapoor allowed the opportunity to greet the giants of Addo.

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The next moment some movement caught my eye. A jackal was chasing a young kudu calve. Every now and then the kudu would stop to make a stance, but then the chase continued. My daughter noticed that the kudu was bleeding at her stomach - see dark patch on photo. A second jackal joined the chase. This ended with the kudu finding some form of shelter in a bush and the jackals losing interest. Indeed a rare sighting.

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A couple of hundred meters from the Southern Gate we had our last amazing sighting. A huge elephant bull was standing in the road while holding a branch (quite thick) with its trunk. It dropped the branch, then picked it up again and threw it through the air out of the way. The branch traveled quite a distance. This we have never seen before. Another great video opportunity lost, but it was so unexpected.

We drove through the South Gate where we entered less than four days earlier and thanked the Creator for the amazing creation that we could enjoy. We were indeed very fortunate to experience such extraordinary and exceptional sightings. This was our third visit and by far the most exceptional.

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My latest trip report to Addo during June 2009:
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=34300


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 Post subject: Re: Addo 2009 - in search of meerkatte, rooikatte & groot-katte
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 9:32 am 
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@ MM - Yes the Safari Tents are our favourite accommodation. The kitchen facilities are also very tidy and now also have a microwave - very convenient.

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The best part is however the view from the deck of the tent.

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My latest trip report to Addo during June 2009:
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=34300


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 Post subject: Re: Addo 2009 - in search of meerkatte, rooikatte & groot-katte
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 3:51 pm 
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An overview

You often see the questions on the forum: "How many days in Addo?" or " Is one day enough?"
We have spent almost four days in Addo, we have travelled over 500km in the park, we were basically in the game area from 07:00 till 17:30 each day, but we were rewarded with some amazing sightings:
1.) At various times: warthog, kudu, tortoise, dung beetle, eland, hartebeest, zebra's, mongoose, monkeys, ostriches and numerous birds that I cannot identify.
2.) two lions drinking at Woodlands
3.) two male lions in the road near Woodlands
4.) two rhinos below Zuurkop
5.) meerkatte at two locations
6.) a traumatised young elephant seeking his mother
7.) large herds of elephant and individual giants
8.) two bat-eared foxes in broad daylight
9.) five jackals catching flying-ants
10.) a buffalo stampede
11.) a porcupine at the fence at our Safari Tent
12.) a very relaxed rooikat
13.) two lions drinking at Carol's Rest
14.) a jackal chasing a young kudu.

We would have missed the last 5 sightings if we have left one day earlier!

I think the facts speak for it self - Addo is worth a visit and the longer you stay the more likely you are to have exceptional sightings. There are still relatively few cars, at the most 5-7 at a sighting, but likely only one or two. Most of the above was far more than sightings, they really were close and intimate encounters with the animals.

Addo, we can't wait to be back!

_________________
The Creator is bigger than His creation!

My latest trip report to Addo during June 2009:
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=34300


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