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 Post subject: Salva's Sightings : KNP 12 to 19 Nov 2005
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2005 9:09 pm 
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Hello to all of you,

Just returned home today from a fantastic holiday in SA. The highlight of the trip was...euh...oh yes I remember: KRUGER. It really lived up to its reputation. Day by day reports will follow very soon. I'm sorry I didn't log in earlier but as I said to a few YR's (yes I met YR's but WITHOUT YR :evil: ) I didn't want to waste any time in an internet café while enjoying a wonderful holiday.


Sneak preview: the best cheetah sighting ever!

Salva

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 Post subject: Re: Salva from north to south (12/11-19/11)
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2005 10:47 pm 
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Elsa wrote:

If you meant that you didn't have a YR :evil: we will only forgive you if you show us your reports and the "best cheetah sighting ever pics" :lol:


No, that's NOT what I mean! What I mean is that I was actually the ONLY one with a YR! :evil:

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Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 9:58 am 
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bucky wrote:
So then , wheres this chettah :?:


Patience, patience, patience! You should have learnt this by now in the park :wink: .

Seriously, if some one could PM me how to put pictures in a post that would be great. I know it's somewhere on this board but I can't find it anymore. And when I know how to do that than still give me some time since this trip was the first time I went digital.

About the sighting itself: let me temper the expectations by putting that it was the best personal cheetah sighting ever.

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 Post subject: 12/11: Pafuri gate - Punda Maria
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 11:09 am 
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First day: Pafuri gate - Punda Maria (12/11)

It's 8.30 AM when we're arriving at Pafuri gate. We receive a warm welcome from the guy at the reception and I buy my Wild Card. Weather conditions are overcast but we can already see the sun is going to win the fight with the clouds today. Another attendant cleans our window (without us asking: fantastic), we're putting the right lenses on our cameras and after a muffin and a coffee (to early for Castle) we can't resist the call of paradise any longer. What a great feeling to be back after 6 years!

First sighting: nyala bull on H1-9 followed by a few impies. The bridge over the Luvuvhu brings us: saddle billed stork, African fish eagle, Bushbuck, Nyala, Zebra and Impies. At Pafuri picnic site a deception awaits us: Frank has got the day off. :cry: Well, at least this is one reason for us to come back to the park. For the next hour, we enjoy the tranquility and beaty of the place and watch hadeda ibis, grey heron, baboon, warthog, waterbuck and nyala while having lunch. On the way to Crook's corner we see vervet and our first ellie. A litlle further we have to turn around because of a tree blocking the road. When going back the same elephant refuses to let us pass and decides to make me test my reverse for more than 300 metres. SO is starting to sweat when we're close to the road blocking tree again but just at that moment the ellie is disappearing in the thick bush. On to Crook's corner using the tar road: never have seen such a dry area in my life. Arrving at Crook's corner we rub our eyes: no water in the Limpopo! Than we head back to the main road to do the Nyala road. On that road we see Nyala, Kude, Impala and....CGF 8) .
Back on the H1-8 we see ellie and our first giraffe. Allthough we know we will see loads of them the next couple of days I can't help pulling over and watch this magnificent creature browsing for a while.
At Klopperfontein the first cat sighting: 4 lions (1 male) resting! :dance: We're all alone and decide to have a coffee. We're there for 45 minutes (no other cars) and during that time, we see 3 elephant bulls, 1 saddle billed stork and impies and nyala coming for a drink of course extremely wary of the lions but they are not really interested. Drinking from our coffee overlooking the scene we find it hard to believe places like offices really do exist.
On the S60 we see a 70+ herd of buffs, steenbok and dwarf mongoose :shock: . We know they're strictly nocturnal but they're really to small to be any other kind of mongoose. Than we identify a bird after hard looking in our birdbook: a grey lourie. (to all birders, be so kind not to laugh here: we're beginners :lol: ).
It's time to check in at Punda Maria now. What a relaxed camp. Not even keys on the doors! just as we want to go complain about that at the reception our friendly South African neighbours tell us not to worry. It seems the word "key" is not in the punda Maria dictionary. Lovely!
Sunset drive on the Mahonie loop produces Nyala, Impala and our first sharpe's grysbok ever. Yihah!

Dinner and the day are concluded by a couple of cold beers. It can't get much better than this (at least that's what we think at this moment).

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Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 5:58 pm 
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Second day: Punda Maria - Shingwedzi (13/11)

Early morning drive on Mahonie loop: nothing but impala.
H13: ellie and giraffe.
Than we go up Dzundzwini: a nice view but not very clear because of overcast conditions. Going down the hill suddenly I see something crossing. My heart starts beating faster: LOG! :shock: This must be the biggest male I have ever seen. A few meters in the bush he stops to look right into my eyes only for a few seconds. A fraction before SO can push the shutter he disappears...First high five of the trip :dance: . What a thrill!
Back on the S58 we see a warthog with enormous tusks acting very nervous. He is probably aware of the leopard's presence in the vicinity. We stick around for a while but our elusive friend doesn't show up any more.
On the H1-7 we see a bateleur and 10 Buffs.
Breakfast at Babalala! Super place and both impressed by the impeccably clean toilets. :clap:
After breakfast we go south along the S56. We see several ellies, nyala, giraffe, purple heron, saddlebilled stork and wooly necked stork, vulture (not sure which kind) and Sharpe's grysbok!!!.
At Lamont waterhole we watch an elephant bull drinking from the watertank. Suddenly the animal turns towards us, spreads the ears, without further warning runs towards, stops at about 3 meters from the car, kicks sand at the car with his right front leg and gives us an enormous loud trumpet. I decide rather quickly not to continue watching this peaceful scene and hit the gas. For about 100 meters I probably break the speeding rules but before you forumites judge on this please keep in mind that this animal is pursuing the car at high speed for at least 20 meters. Only than things turn calm again. SO in total shock (no kidding) begging me to avoid ellies for the rest of the day. Let me assure you: that is a hell of a job around Shingwedzi! No wonder I failed.
We calm down in Shingwedzi restcamp. Only one word comes to my mind when I think of this camp: SUPERB! Very friendly staff, impeccable rooms and to top it all: a fantastic swimming pool (sorry if I sound over enthousiastic: we really felt this way). Only sorry thing: Shingwedzi river completely dry.
In the late afternoon we head for red Rocks along R52: ground hornbill, kudu, giraffe next to at least 50 elephants, every one of them causing a nervous breakdown to SO and I must admit, some of them once again gave us a pretty hard time though no more charging from their part.
Red Rocks lookout point was great. We watched herd of ellies with young ones drinking and having a great time in the water, this time from a safe distance so that even SO likes this sight. It's also nice to see a bit of water again. Along the h1-6 back to the camp nothing special except maybe some funny acting warthog. A sundowner (Windhoek this time) at Shipirivirhi waterhole gives us no animal sightings at all.
In the evening we decide to have dinner in the restaurant. Good service (with loads of smiles) and fillet cooked the way it should be.
Amarula with ice at the bungalow to conclude the day. We are now really getting into this thing and we thank Kruger for the LOG it gave us.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 7:43 pm 
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Forgot to tell: except for sights from Luvuvhu bridge, Pafuri picnic spot and giraffe on H13, we had all the sightings to ourselves during the first two days. You read well: ALL THE SIGHTINGS TO OURSELVES DURING THE FIRST TWO DAYS.

Who said Kruger is not wild enough?

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Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 2:56 pm 
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Third day: Shingwedzi - Letaba (14/11)

After a very early coffee and a close up meeting with a red billed hornbill we leave heavenly Shingwedzi to go south along the S50. Along Kanniedood Dam we see: pelican, spoonbill, saddle billed stork, yellow billed stork, open billed stork, brown hooded kingfisher, nyala, bushbuck, crocs and elephant. South of the dam, the place is "as dead as a dodo" apart from a few kudu but we enjoy the views from Grootvlei Dam and especially from Shibavantsengele Lookout where we have breakfast in the car. A view across the plains forever!

Around Nshawu we see warthog, steenbok, kudu, giraffe, zebra and of course ellies. The area around Mopani seems full of them.

We stop in Mopani to have a drink enjoying the view over Pioneer Dam (crocs, elephant and impala). This is in my opinion probably the nicest place in the park to have a cool drink. The skys are blue today and it is really hot.

After a quick stop at the Capricorn monument we go south to have lunch at Mooiplaas. From the deck overlooking the river we see a herd of elephant with the tiniest baby I have ever seen. Also a woodland kingfisher.

At Middelvlei waterhole there is a lot of interaction between buffalo and elephant. One old ellie bull doesn't want to share the water with 5 buffs and try to scare them away. The buffs however resist and don't seem to be impressed by the noise produced by the elephant (also for them it is too hot to leave the water) and after a while he rests his case and simply joins the buffs. A very muddy view.

When checking in at Letaba we are very warmly welcomed by the reception. The camp looks nice and there is quite a lot of water fowing in the Letaba river (coming from the north even a glass of water is considered to be a lot of water). We also start to see more greenery.

We make an evening drive to Longwe lookout overlooking Engelhard Dam. Waterbuck, giraffe, hippo out of the water 8) and elephant. This day hasn't been very exciting gamewise but we forget all this when we see the sun going down over the dam and the Letaba river from the lookout. We have a bottle of sparkling JC Leroux that we save for a special moment. This is the moment. Sipping from our glass we dream away both not saying a word for half an hour. MAGICAL!

Time to go back to the camp is short and this is the moment a herd of elies decides not to let us pass. I really hate speeding in the park but when this goes on for another couple of minutes we won't make it to the camp gate in time. Our :pray: is heard and they make way for us. The camp gate is closing when we arrive. Close one this time.

Hotdogs with Amarula for dinner. In fancy restaurants they would call this fusion kitchen.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 11:22 pm 
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Fourth day: Letaba - Letaba (15/11)

In the morning we go south along the H1-5. The road is death apart from a few zebra and impies.

At N'wamanzi lookout we see there is water in the Olifants river. Beautiful sight. Suddenly I see a vervet with baby coming close. Good light conditions, nice baby...why not take a close up. I turn around to the car to grab my camera. A pair of dark eyes is looking right into mine from the backseat. :big_eyes: A BIG VERVET IN THE CAR! At first I don't know what to do and the little thief seems as surprised as I am. SO reacts quickly, gets in the front seat: "ERUIT, ERUIT!" :sniper: and shouts to me to open the backdoor. The monkey gets out with a plastic bag and in no time 4 or 5 monkeys are fighting around my feet over this bag, tearing it into pieces! One gets a grip of our biscuits and runs away with them, pursued by the other ones. I immediately take the other food that was in the bag, throw it in the car and get in the car myself only to watch a bunch of vervets eating our biscuits. Luckily there is no real dammage done and after a while we have a big laugh but the sad part is that these monkeys probably only become so brave to climb into a car when we are only 1 meter away from it because other people fed them before.

We go further south to the Timabavati road. On that road we see wildebeest, impie, 1 giraffe, 1 ellie and aslo 1 klipspringer (allways nice to see them).

After breakfast at Timbavati picnic area (once again: everything and certainly the toilets very clean! A big applause :clap: ) we go south along the S40. We spot a purple roller. According to the Sappi birdbook it is a common bird but for us this is a first-timer. This birding thing is getting more and more interesting, all the more in Satara (toilet break) where I spot an African Hoopoe, with the crest up. Allthough also considered common, I really enjoy this. What a beautiful bird!

We go north along the H1-4. The sighting boards of the last couple of days mention a lot of lion sightings around Ngotso. Instead of cats we witness a huge "gallery of shame moment" at Nyamhari waterhole where an old ellie bull is drinking. This is not far from the road. Yet two man get out of the car ahead of us to get a better picture. One of them goes about 10 meters away from the car in the direction of the ellie who luckily doesn't seem to care. I take a picture (with my F75 instead of my D70s :wall: ) and when I ask the man if he's tired of living I get a reaction sort of "mind your own business".

Via the S91 and 92 (no special sightings) we reach Olifants restcamp where we have lunch overlooking the river. great lunchspot! We see hippo and waterbuck.

The roads between Olifants and Letaba delivers nothing except elephant and general game. We watch the sun go down over the Letaba river from the bridge nort of Letaba camp. This day was "one of these days". But hey, I saw some nice birds and a klipspringer plus we have our first night drive to look forward to. 8) On the bridge we have a talk to a very nice South African who seems to be worried that we wouldn't like the park because gameviewing was a bit poor that day. When we tell him we love every bit about the park, it's not only the big 5 we're after and the days before were far better he whispers in my ear: "don't worry, with an attitude like this you will see much the following days." Lovely!

Nightdrive: Excellent guide (Ian), nice and interested people and great sights: Hyena, scrub hare, spring hare, hippo out of the water and elephant. Than: a pride of lions! Far away from the road but with the binocs I can see 3 of them. Returning to the camp we see ELAND! Nice drive but the nicest thing is still to come. Close to the camp a creature crosses 50 meters ahead. On the spot it is sitting next to the road. LOG! Second High five of the trip :dance: ! Before we know it, it disappears in the bush. The animal doesn't realise it but he sends us to bed with a very satisfied feeling.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 11:43 pm 
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Don't worry: I will but please be patient. As I already explained this was the first time I went digital (pretty good results though) so this is all rather new to me and now it seems I have to put the pics on the internet before transferring them to the board. Luckily someone here gave me a good link. Trouble is I have so much work to do coming back after 3 weeks holiday. But the pics: you WILL see them.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 10:13 pm 
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Fifth day: Letaba - Satara (16/11)

As soon as the camp gates open we head north along the H1-6 to look for the lions we saw on the nightdrive the night before. We don't see them but what we do see, a few km south of Malopenyana waterhole is tsessebe! :thumbs_up: It's two of them and we decide to stay with them for a while. When they look both in the same direction I take my binoculars. There could be a predator around. There is: a blackbacked jackal. It's the first one on this trip. Allways a pleasure to see these active little guys.

Going back to the camp we meet the friendly South African from the evening before again. When I tell him about last evening's nightdrive he seems more pleased than ourselves about it. We repeat how much we love the park and he even thanks us for that! :D We met them often, these locals who are so proud of "their" parks and it's allways a delight to chat with them. You can allways learn something new about the bush. Our conversation is interrupted by an ellie bull. A little later the same one starts fighting with another bull. It's a pity the thick bush doesn't allow us to take a decent pic. :?

Back in the camp we enjoy breakfast at our bungalow, have a last look (for now :wink: ) at the river and check out from SO's definite favourite camp!

South to Satara along the H1 we see the usual plain animals (zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, ellie, impie, warthog) and a red-crested korhaan.

Checking in in Satara at the reception is smooth but getting in our bungalow isn't. A huge bat :shock: is hiding from the sun just above our entrance door. Clearly we woke the animal and by moving its head it is following every move we make. A little bit too freaky for SO and a litlle waving scares him away under another bungalow's roof.

Today is the hottest day in Kruger. When there is a little wind one feels like a piece of chicken in a clay oven! After lunch we flee in our airconditioned car for an afternoon drive. H7 - S36 - Sweni road - back by H1. Sightings are pretty usual. Elephant, steenbok, zebra, warthog, impala, wildebeest, buffalo. We see a big smoke far away south east. On the Sweni road (at Welverdiend waterhole) we meet some people that start to get a little enoyed by the lack of spectacular sights. We tell them not to worry! Everything can be after any corner. Ans guess what? One turn further we see 3 white rhino next to the road in the company of a herd of elephant. :dance: Just in time to get some decent pics. The atmosphere is exciting yet a little frightening. With the windows open we can smell now the bushfire that we saw from far away a bit before. It now seems a bit closer and the rhinos are nervous. The ellies on the other hand are completely losing it and the scene we see I will never forget. We can easily recognise a discussion between 3 ellies wanting to go west and the other ones wanting to go north. The ones wanting to go west run as fast as they can for a short distance than stop to turn around and make a hellish lot of noise. The other ones repond with even more noise and move slowly north. This repeats for a few times accompanied by loads of head shaking. Watching this together wit 3 nervous rhinos, with the smell of a bushfire and sunset very near this is one of the most impressive scenes I ever saw in any game park. Since 6.30 is nearing for us it is time to go. We can only guess what direction the ellies and the rhinos took but we trust in their bush knowledge.

Totally impressed we arrive in the camp. A few chenin blancs and amarulas under the stars (no more signs of the fire). Life is beautiful!

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Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2005 10:15 pm 
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Location: The country of compromises
Sixth day: Satara - Satara (17/11)

Overcast this morning. I have to say: it's a relief after the last couple of hot days. And the park is still in need of more rain allthough there is much more greenery here than up north.

The plan is to have breakfast at N'wanetsi but the question is: which road will take us there? The much praised H6 or the "hated" S100. It will be the H6 but this morning it dissapoints: wildebeest and 1 giraffe is the only thing we see notwithstanding an average speed of no more than 15 Kph, stopping very often and using the binocs almost continuously.

Because of no sightings we arrive too early for breakfast at N'wanetsi but we still take in the sight. Amazing once more. This is actually an area we visited before but we didn't quite notice the beauty of it at that time. Was it because we were rushing it too much, were we looking too much for the big 5? I don't know but it is a fact that the way we do it this time is so much more rewarding. This is also the moment we decide not to leave the park tomorrow but add an extra day in the south. We're just enjoying ourselves too much.

We drive north along S41 and there is our first predator sighting of the day: two hyena crossing. A little later we cross the mavumbye river where we see hippo and a malachite kingfisher. Fantastic little bird. We go till Gudzani waterhole. No other cars: usually that means nothing to see. But rather well hidden behind the water are, yipee, 4 lions! :dance: Time to have breakfast! By the time we have finished eating the lions are almost completely out of sight. We decide to leave but when we pass the other car that's at the waterhole the woman in the car starts talking to me. It's JAZIL! This is the kind of people I love to meet in the park: very at ease and totally in love with the park. (red in her report a YR "whizzed" past her: the true version is I stood practically still when I passed her :evil: and she didn't have a YR :evil: :evil: :evil: but I have to say it was still very nice to meet her :D )

We're turning back south now. Still on the S41 just before turning into the famous S100: another pair of hyena crossing. Lovely!

It's time for the "mother of all roads" now. We see the usual: impie, zebra and wildebeest. Next to that a huge troop of baboon with a lot of action and...an impala calf that is still shaking on its legs and is being licked by the mother. We probably just missed the birth. It's a shame there are no predators nearby :twisted: . So it's not that the S100 was worthless but it didn't really lived up to its reputation according to some addicts. (no thanks WTM).

We go south now along the H1-3 and we see the results of the fire we witnessed the day before. Sad to see know but a bit of rain and it will be refreshingly green again.

At Nkaya pan we see the tiniest warthog baby's we have ever seen. A little further we see a martial eagle on the ground feeding. Fantastic sight but a little bit too far for good pics. Further on this road there is zebra, wildebeest, impie and elephant.

After a quick lunch at Tshokwane We take the S34. From now SO is starting to write exactly what kind of mammals we see on each road. 7 species on this stretch: impala, nyala (this far south: yes sir or mum), buffalo, steenbok, elephant, giraffe and kudu.

The S36 however is the winner of this afternoon. No less than 13 different mammal species on this road: impala, waterbuck, hippo at the dams, steenbok, warthog, elephant, kudu, baboon, giraffe, zebra, buffalo,.....white rhino mother and calf :dance: and finally a scrub hare (probably convince we plan to make paté from him since he runs away rather fast).
So no cats but what a great road. We can also see the sun slowly go down over the klein drakensberg in the east. The most spectacular sight on that road comes from a bird. We see a redcrested korhaan do something that resembles a rollercoaster movement. When he's back on the ground you would expect him to come and ask us for some money for the stunt delivered. Extremely funny to watch :lol: !

The H7 shows waterbuck, hippo, wildebeest, impie, zebra and a herd of 20+ giraffes with 6 baby's.

Close to the camp there is a hyena den and we see a part of the group on the street including little pups. Predatorwise it has been a good day and for the second time we still have a nightdrive ahead.

This time though the nightdrive isn't what it's supposed to be. The gameviewing doesn't disappoint with a few usual species but also 1 blackbacked jackal, 1 African wildcat and a troop of lions (10+) on the road with cute cubs. It's the people in the truck that act a bit irritating. A group of young twentiers act the whole time as if they are sort of in a ghost ride somewhere in Disney and two women in the back do a really bad job in handling the lights. The whole drive it goes like this. "Stop!" driver stops. "A littke back!" driver goes back. Than without actually looking for something..."you can go on, it was probably some kind of monkey!" both were probably convinced a monkey is strictly nocturnal. The driver than, instead of urging the people with the spotlight to look better simply continues. On top of that his cellphone is ringing all the time and allthough his explanation is worthwile when he does stop he can't survive (by far) the competition with Ian from Letaba. His name was Chester.

Back in camp we only remeber the good things of that day (2 lion sightings, 4 hyena sightings, 1 rhino sighting and loads of other things) accompanied by amarula and a good merlot.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:49 pm 
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Salva, the display you saw by the redcrested korhaan, I take it he flew up straight into the air with a display of wings and throat and then landed again. This is a mating ritual done by these birds and it is a rare sighting..

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Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 6:57 pm 
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craigsa wrote:
Salva, the display you saw by the redcrested korhaan, I take it he flew up straight into the air with a display of wings and throat and then landed again. This is a mating ritual done by these birds and it is a rare sighting..


This is exactly what happened. And it happened very fast. He also did it only once.

@ Bert and Bushmad: I find any activity you do in the park depends more on the people that are joining you than on the sightings (these are allways OK).

On the Timbavati road, as I described, we saw a klipspringer. A South African passed by and asked what we were looking at. When we pointed at the klipspringer he started laughing: "Oh a steenbokkie..." and off he went! Let me assure you that I know the difference between klipspringer and steenbok.

No report tonight since I'll have to hurry to a Champions League game now. Last two day reports from tomorrow on...

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Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 5:12 pm 
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Seventh day: Satara - Skukuza (18/11)

This morning we decide to go north (quite a few lion sightings the last couple of days at Timbavati and Leeubron it seems). On the H1-4 we see an enormous herd of buffalo coming from the east. We start counting: more than 300 :shock: and there are probably more coming from behind a small hill far away. Absolutely stunning.

When we turn on the S127 it starts raining and it continues along the S39. It's amazing but this morning we can actually see this area becoming greener by the minute. We see ellie, zebra, steenbok, klipspringer (again :!: ) giraffe and grey duiker. We also see two ground hornbill in a tree.

Along the H7 it's relatively calm untill we come near Satara again. A lot of cars tells us there's something going on there. It's two lions mating :dance: . It's allready 10 AM and apparently these guys have been going on now for more than 5 hours. If we would have left south this morning, we would have watched this spectacle much longer, I'm thinking. A few seconds later I change my thoughts: If we would have left south this morning we would have missed the largest buffalo herd I have ever seen. We stay for more then half an hour and during this time another forumiter presents himself to me (can't say YR because once more no YR :evil: ). It's A&C (+ SO and friend) but I rather call him "cheetahspotter". During his trip he has allready seen 11 (eleven, elf, onze, once,...) cheetahs! Lucky ba... If you know cheetah is SO's absolute favourite you can understand she feels a little :mrgreen: when A&C is still there and much more :wall: when he's gone. Very nice people by the way.

Leaving the lions behind we turn back west on the H7 in search of the cheetah all the way to Orpen. No luck. We quickly have lunch at Orpen and fill up the tank. It's time to go south.

I definitely want to do the S140-S145 (Talamati road) and S36 in order to enlarge my chances to spot sable (I have red at least 3 reports on this forum where sable have been seen in this area and it's my favourite antelope species).

On the S140-S145 stretch first we see a slender mongoose. We stop the car. The mongoose doesn't run away and stays sitting next to our car so I can take some nice pics of him. "Good start of the afternoon", goes through my mind and just as I think this I see a darkbrown spot on the right hand side of the road. I stop and go back: SABLE :!: :D They are quite far and hard to see and I praise myself to have spotted them. When we're watching the sable something special happens. We see a guy on a motorbike :shock: coming towards us. He stops. It seems to be the head ranger of this area of the park. He asks us what we see and when we say sable he immediatly wants my binocs. it seems they have collared a cow a while ago and he wants to know if it's her group. It is and we can now also see the biggest cow is collared. The ranger is so happy he sees her again he even allows us to leave our car to have a better view (as long as there are no other cars around and he stresses he makes an exeption). It's a shame the bull is not around (at least not in sight). According to the ranger, the bull of this group is the most beautiful one he has ever seen. We actually are happy as it is. After the ranger gives us a lot more explication about these animals and about the area under his responsability we leave. What a great moment! Sable and hsomiknp (homo sapiens on motorbike in kruger national park :lol: )! How lucky can you get.

Further along the S140-145 we see elephant, impala, buffalo, vervet, steenbok and ....once again a white rhino mother with calf! :dance:

we're back on the s36 now and we wonder if it will bring us the same diversity of yesterday (13 mammal species). It doesn't but we still count 9 species: kudu, baboon, grey duiker, zebra, impala, wildebeest, waterbuck, hippo, warthog. Just like yesterday though the "most spectacular sighting award" of this road goes to a bird. Right in front of our car, in the middle of the road we see a lilac breasted roller coming down in high speed and...CATCHING A HUGE INSECT. :shock: This is actually the first kill I have ever seen. It only takes a moment but what a thrill!

On the H1-2 we stop over a bridge (don't remember the name of the river). There are two lions in the river bed far away. One is leaving but comes back a bit later. The two of them start two play like only cats can play. Nice! Very nice! Out of the bush a third one is joining the game. jumping, licking, crawling, putting their heads against each other.... They don't seem to get enough of it. Neither do we. Finally one of them is leaving the scene...to join the male a little further. We didn't even see this one till now. Actually no wonder: it's all happening more than 100 meters away from the bridge.

On the way to the camp we enjoy sunset and see an impala ram in the ideal light condition. The golden hours really are the most stunning ones!

In Skukuza city we have dinner in the Selati restaurant (great food). On the way there, in the dark, I actually get lost. In french they'd say: il faut le faire! It's our last evening in the park which means we have to empty the Amarula and the chenin blanc. Must say falling asleep tonight is easy and pretty straightforward!

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Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 11:27 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2005 10:41 am
Posts: 627
Location: The country of compromises
Final day :cry: : Skukuza - Crocodile bridge (19/11)

This morning we get up extremely early. We have to catch a plain this afternoon in JNB Int. airport so we have to pack all our bags really well plus we want to drive out as soon as the gates open. That means getting up at 3.30hr. After loads of :lotsocoffee: and packing we leave Skukuza at 4.30hr.

We take the tarred road along the river to Lower Sabie. The first sighting of the day is two hippo at the right hand side of the road (so very far away from the water). It's a shame it's too dark for photography! Stories of people standing in between hippo and water cross my mind and I decide not to disturbe the animals too long. Further on the road we see vervet, elephant, slender mongoose, bushbuck and .... a forum member! (once again no YR :evil: ) This time it's Arno and Louise (Meinfam)! Once again delightful people. We continue together along the H4. I tell them that I saw two YR-less Yr's before and that on both occasions there was lion. A bit further I see a black spot in the riverbed and at the same time Arno is pulling over also! Yip: Lion! 8) It's a beautiful male lying down now and than looking at us. Three forummembers, three lion sightings! Coincidence or someone up there who likes this forum? Anyhow: it's a nice sighting!

At sunset dam we see hippo, yellow billed stork and a marabou stork in the middle of the road.

We have a toilet break in Lower Sabie. We were here 6 years ago! My god, this place has changed and not for the worse I must say. Allthough the "wild" experience can be a liitle bit too far away for some I think the view from the deck is absolutely stunning! It's now 7AM and our plain is leaving at 4 PM but the sighting board convinces me to have a quick look on the H10. We decide we will go north till Mlondozi dam and turn back along the S29.

On the bridge over the Sabie we see hippo, crocs and a pied kingfisher :!: This is however not what we're looking for and we continue north. We see Arno and Louise again. They're coming from the other direction and are just waving hands. Probably nothing spectacular there. Still we continue.

A few Km after we see A and L: creatures lying down on the road!!! Cats? Probably! Going closer! SO is allready looking through the 300 mm lens. "Cheetah cheetah cheetah!" she whispers totally excited. Third high five of the trip! :dance: It's a mother with 3 cubs (allread a few months old). Very slowly I go nearer! The cubs look us right in the eyes and act a bit nervous. Stopping every 2 meters I get near the animals. The cubs start playing in the middle of the road, next to the road... Suddenly they start running at maximum speed pursuing one another :shock: :shock: :shock: Never seen something like that before. But it isn't over yet. The mother is not going after the cubs: she stays next to the road. The cubs are coming back and continue playing with each other. These animals are not in front of the car, not next to the car, not behind the car, they are AROUND the car! And what is even more amazing: We are alone. A tar road in one of the busiest areas of one of the busiest game parks in Africa on a prime gameviewing hour with a super sight and we're the only car!!! Now the mother also starts moving but instead of disappearing into the bush taking the cubs with her she simply crosses the road from east to west again from west to east and back and back...it doesn't stop! In the meanwhile the cubs provide plenty of action and to top it all: the mother gets up objects a few times to overlook the area, taking the perfect pose. Than she stretches! WAUW! We are alone for 15 minutes (amazing, isn't it?) but by now we are joined by another 4 cars. The cheetahs stay close to the road. It's 8AM. Our plain is leaving in JNB at 4PM. We have to leave. On the way back to the south I prevent people from taking the S128 or the S29 so that they would not miss super sight. At 50 Kph I drive to Lower Sabie hoping to see Arno and Louise and tell them what's going on. Without succes.

On the H4-2 between Lower Sabie and Crocodile Bridge we're not looking for game any more. We're just too excited about what we just saw and talk about nothing else. Still we see a white rhino! Kruger's way of saying goodbye!

We arrive at Crocodile Bridge at 9.30AM. When I park the car I see a familiar face on the parking place. There is Jazil again and she introduces us to... Loams! (again without YR :evil: ). Of course we start talking for a while. i'm really happy to see Jazil back and it's also a delight to meet Loams! Just before I leave I remember I have two beers left in the car. No better way to leave them than in the hands of forumiters! cheers Loams (and José :wink: ).

It's 10AM. Our plain is leaving at 4PM! We have to go. Bye Kruger. If I was Bono from U2 this is the moment where I would have written the song "it's a beautiful day"!

Thanks for reading and please be patient for some pics. They will come.

Salva

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Last edited by Salva on Fri Dec 09, 2005 1:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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