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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 12:26 pm 
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:D And another 18mm's during the day.

I left for Skukuza on the 4th of April for the Wolhuter Trails Interviews that happened on the 5th.

On the 6th on the way to the walking area we found the Lions in the road- pictures I posted very recently, and as we started walking we heard Lions roaring, so changed direction, but with the thick Mopanie Trees and the Lions stopped to roar, we couldn't find them.

I started my 2nd to 5th week of Biology Teaching practicals from the 9th of April till the 3rd of May. That evening of the 9th we found Elephants, at that stage there were still 6 Lion Cubs, now only 3, and found Giraffe, Jackal, Buffaloes, Baboons, Owls.

Wednesday evening found Elephants, Zebras, Giraffes, Lionness at Ngobeni, Genets x 2, Giant Eagle Owl while having sundowners or rather say star uppers, hahaahahaha, and on the way back Buffaloes at Shikumbu and about 4 Spotted Eagle Owls.

On the 12th on the Night Drive we found a herd of Buffaloes, herd of Elephants at Ngwenyeni waterhole, another herd of Buffaloes at Nandzana, at the S131 tar road T-junction where the Hyeanas now are, eventually after about 2 years, we found a Porcupine, and on the way back from there passed Shikumbu Zebras, Giraffes, viewed the beautiful night skies and my Spotted Eagle Owl.
:D

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 12:37 pm 
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:D Sunday the 14th of April we found on the walk a Elephant Bull in musth, Impalas, Duiker and Giraffe.

See I slipped up a bit till the 26th of April. That evening of the 26th of April went up the gravel road to Erfplaas and back and found 4 Giraffes close to Ngwenyeni waterhole, Spring Hare, Elephants and Buffaloes at Erfplaas and Impalas and Jackal at Masorini waterhole.

Saturday the 27th very strange for this time of the year, but found a baby Impala at Shikumbu, Baboons, and after the Bush Braai a Spring Hare and Elephant close to the gate.

My luck on the bikes on the 28th of April, the bicycle broke 400 m's as we started, so we changed the bike trail into a walk. We had a close encounter with a Hippo in the Thsuthsi stream, saw a Elephant Bull, had Kudus that smelled us, but within the thick bush didn't know where we were and came running straight towards us, and also seen LOOOOOOTS of Impalas.

That evening was Bush Braai Security. Monday evening on the Bush Braai drive we found in the windy weather a herd of grumpy Elephants on the S131 that came charging towards us, and of course I made sure I left them behind with only a few smelly clouds that stopped them to run after us. hahaahha

We found many many Zebras and Giraffes close to Shikumbu, and seen the mating Lions at Sable Dam that night. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 12:42 pm 
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:D Tuesday the 30th of April, we were lucky to find Genet and Civet close to the gate on the Night Drive and also the Lions mating at Sable Dam.

On the 1st of May I did the Olifants River Backpack Trail pick up and drop off and found more Lions past Masorini- 2 males and 1 female- different than the ones that we saw at Sable Dam the previous 2 days, so there are much more Lion here than what we think...

I have seen 2 herds of Buffaloes, at the Hyeana Den at Letaba 3 generation sizes of Hyeanas, and when I dropped the guests off at the starting point many elephants.

I think I'm going to stop for now, will post more later...

:wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 11:04 pm 
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wow Lourens :clap: well done on all this hard work you did :clap: :clap: :clap:
and thank you to post your memories and photos :k

waiting for the rest :popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 7:47 am 
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Many thanks for the updates Lourens. What an interesting year you had! All the best with the last results and enjoy the remainder of 2013. We will be in Satara and Lower Sabie from the 15 to 22 December this year, so unfortunately no catching up with you this time around. Kind regards. Albie

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 7:49 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:03 pm
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Thank you very much for all your
sharing And cograts with your achievements so far :clap:

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 10:34 am 
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:D The weeks of teaching practicals at the end went very well, a very busy time it was, and had to have lots of hair on my teeth as we would say in Afrikaans (hare op my tande hê), the discipline is much worse than when I was still at school and after the 1st day didn't think I would go back, but pushed through and at the end enjoyed it alot. So finished with that I could focus on my other 2 subjects and only work. So that 3rd of May after finishing the school practicals I went as Bush Braai security and of course enjoyed the meal.

That next morning on the Morning Drive we found a herd of Buffaloes after Ngobeni but it must have been a herd of about 2 000!!!! They were just EVERYWHERE!!!! We also found MANY Elephants and on the way back around Shikumbu some Giraffes and Zebras.

Sunday morning on the 5th of May another Morning Drive came my way and with the cold windy weather refer to the picture of the Secretary Bird up in the tree (Anne-marie not a Gymnogene/African Harrier Hawk) we found them just after Ngwenyeni waterhole. MANY Zebras at Shikumbu, a African Wild cat on the S131 and not long after that a Leopard and 2 Black Backed Jackals.
:D

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 10:56 am 
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:D That evening on the Bush Braai drive I once again took the S131 gravel road and made my way to Sable Dam side where the Bush Braai spot is. We found Zebras and Giraffes close to Ngwenyeni waterhole, some Buffaloes after Shikumbu and at the Bush Braai turn off some Elephants, and after dinner a Lesser Bush Baby, Side Striped Jackal and as it many times happen, after dropping the guests off, and coming back into the Park towards the staff village we often then find the Lion, Porcupine or Leopard and this particular evening the African Civet Cat.

Tuesday the 7th on the walk we found the Big 5's footprints and saw Impala and heard Zebra calling. This particular morning as I recall now, we walked circles around the animals, and just couldn't see them after hearing them, due to the thick bush.

Another Bush Braai security evening for me on that particular day. Friday the 10th of May I went with the Sanparks Honorary Rangers Chairperson to the Malopeni Overnight Eco Trail campsite to see where the showers need to be build, and the next evening on the Night Drive up towards Ngobeni passed Nandzana waterhole we found all the animals. We have seen Elephant, Giraffes, the 3 Lionnesses on pictures with 2 cubs, and another 2 Male Lions making their way down towards the females after the big Leadwood Tree on the right hand side of the road, where I once saw a young Leopard sleeping in a Apple Leaf Tree- recall pictures.
On the way back to the gate saw a Porcupine, Zebras, and Impalas. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 11:10 am 
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:D Monday the 13th of May on our Morning Walk East of Shikumbu we had seen Giraffes, Zebras, Steenbok and Impalas.

The next morning we took out a Mountain Bike Trail and once again the 1 bike broke down about 2.5 Km's from the vehicle, so as Donavan tried to get the chain out between the gears and tyre rim, we had 3 visitors that came to say good morning, but very quickly when they picked up the Human smell the White Rhino's ran away.

After breakfast it was a slow pushing back the bicycles to the vehicle. During the process Donavan somehow flipped over and lost some rounds, but only realised it halfway back, so we went walking in that area the following morning and believe it or not, but we heard 3 different Leopards calling right after each other, from complete different directions, so that proofs my theory right, that there are much more Leopards than what we think in this Park. And it was one of those special mornings where you didn't physically seen the animals but heard them calling and also heard on the same walk, the Lion roar and Hyeana making those whoooping sounds, it was sooo special!!! :D

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Last edited by Lourens on Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 11:32 am 
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:D After my Morning Walk on the 18th of May and seen Warthogs came running out of a Termite Mount I did a Malopeni Overnight Eco Trail- and seen for my 1st time Rhino on the trail. Other sightings and sounds we had were Elephants, Buffaloes, a flat tyre in the rain, and heard Leopard, Lion, Hyeana and Elephants during the evening.

Another 65 pax Night Drive happened on the that Monday the 20th, and seen only the usual sightings. hahahaha. The next evening did Bush Braai security. During April and October had many Olifants River Backpack Trail pick ups and drop offs, and went off on the 25th till 31st of May where I wrote my 1st 3 Teaching Diploma Exams. On the 1st of June 2013 we had another story telling evening where Oom Johann Oelofse, Oom Louis Olivier, Seargent from Letaba and Sjambok told stories of their experiences while being Section Rangers and working in the field. The Reformed Church ran once again this project to raise funds for anti-poaching and with this weekend raised R50 000!!!! Now Oom Louis is retiring end of December, so don't know if we going to have another special event like this next year...

Tuesday the 4th on the walk we saw Zebras, Kudus, Impalas and as we always say with the cloudy weather in the Mopane Bushveld it is easy to get disorientated and never gets lost, only disorientated so that happened to us that particular morning and walked in a real 8 figure.

On the 15th of June the wind was blowing heavily on the Night Drive and impacted the sightings too, but at least found 1 Elephant, Impalas, Buffalo herd, and luckily 2 or 3 Genets. On our Afternoon walk of the 17th we found a few Elepahnt Bulls, Giraffes, Zebreas, Steenbok.

It was a little bit difficult to approach the Elephants due to that they were standing (rond en bond) all over, and with the thick Mopane Trees you don't try and take chances, so we enjoyed the view of them from a Termite Mount.

:D

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 11:53 am 
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:D At Phalaborwa Gate, things are changing from 1 minute to the next, and you can't think you definitely going to have a off morning or have a relaxing day, like it often happens, thinking you going to relax at home, watching movies, or reading, or studying and then suddenly a call comes in, to say the 1 guest on the Olifants River Backpack Trail got injured, when stepping wrong etc. Then you must jump in and drive and evacuate the guest, and that's what happened on Tuesday the 18th of June.

That particular week was just a week where I shouldn't have been at work, because on the Friday the 21st of June and the next morning brought my most scariest moments in the bush to me. Friday afternoon went out on a walk and long after we started walking, we walked straight into a Elephant Bull, Neville still wondered how I saw it, but the only thing that was between the 2 of us, was a half sized Termite Mount :shock:

Still with the adrenalin flowing and luckily got out of the situation, due to the wind that was blowing in our favour, we heard a herd of Elephants trumpetting, and knew they are making their way down to the Thsutshi stream to come and drink, and just in time got ourselves out of the way and had a very special sighting with the whole herd walking passed us, with us viewing them from the other side of the drainage line.

Still walking up the valley with this great sighting in mind we came to a mud pool, no water only a bit of mud, and I saw this thing in the mud, and as I got to the foot of the mud pool, to see what it is, due to a Mopane bush that was in my view of sight, I realised OH SH.T :shock: :shock: IT's A HIPPO!!! At the same time wispering to the guest and Neville go back, go back, I realised but we are in the path he might wants to follow to run down the stream where the water is, and then at the same time the Hippo jumping up about 5 metres from me, all happening in a split second I looked to the left and saw some bushes and shouted, loaded the rifle and told the guests to move behind the bush, wtih the Hippo already outside the water, with us all behind the bush by this time and this damn Hippo contemplating if he should charge, we just kept on shouting at him. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:00 pm 
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:D He then turned facing the other way, and then turned back to us, shouting again, and luckily for him, he then after a few times turning and turning back decided to run the opposite way, away from us. So yes some days I wished I wasn't around, but it is these experiences and stories I would be able to remember for many more years to come, which you can only experience in the real wild like Kruger.

The next morning on the walk, while having breakfast overlooking a beautiful valley and after we found a herd of Buffaloes and Impalas, a Rhino got poached in the same area. Got into big trouble posting this story on Facebook, but of course in more detail, so not doing the same mistake again. It is not nice, all I can say, and unfortunately the poaching is still carrying on, and just the other day found another carcass on a walk, don't know how we can educate the biggest human population in the world, to leave our Rhino's alone.

:(

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:07 pm 
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:D The next afternoon I made sure we walk where we hopefully don't have to encounter another scary incident and luckily my plan worked, and only found Impalas.

On the 26th on the walk we found at Erfplaas once again only Impalas. That evening Bush Braai security, and was happy to go on my first longing break, where I could really go and relax and not using my off days again to teach or to study for any exams, so spent the next couple of days in the bush with my family and friends to celebrate my 30th birthday. Recall picture of beautiful Sunset over water.

Back at work on the 5th of July I found Hyeanas and Genet with the general sightings on the Bush Braai drive. Monday the 8th on the Night Drive I took the Mankavi low maintenance road and found some nice sightings of Buffaloes and Elephants, and on the way back on the Mopane tar road we found a Porcupine and followed him for a long while, as it ran down the road in front of the vehicle. We also seen Giraffes, Zebras, and Genet. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:23 pm 
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:D Tuesday the 9th of July the bicycles managed to stay in tact and finished the trail with seeing Giraffes, Zebras, Impalas and Blue Wildebeests. The last couple of weeks or months we lately see the Blue Wildebeests around here alot!!!

See I went on Malopeni for 2 nights on the 10th and 11th, but didn't write anything in the diary. Saturday the 13th on my Full Day Drive I went to Letaba on the gravel road and made my way up to Mopanie Rest Camp with a de-tour around the Capricorn Loop and back to Phalaborwa. Seen many Elephants all over, 3 herds of Buffaloes, Eland on the Capricorn Loop, Lions close to Phalaborwa Gate in the morning as we started the full day drive, Warthogs, Hippo's, Lappet Faced Vulture, Martial Eagle, Cori Bustard, Ground Hornbills, Saddle Billed Storks- not bad hey?? 5 of the Big 6 birds!!! And straight after the Full Day, Bush Braai Security.

Went on my off days from the 18th of July to welcome my girlfriend from Austria back in the country and started on the 24th with a Night Drive- After seeing many Elephants as we just started the drive and more Elephants while watching Impalas we found the smallest Zebra Foal close to Ngwenyeni waterhole, playing, running around and over the road, it was clearly only a few hours old, the Impalas and our open vehicle really amused him alot, but that to me was the sighting for the evening. We also found Buffaloes, Hyeanas, Giraffes, and more Buffaloes and Elephants. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:31 pm 
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:D On our 10.4 km Morning walk on the 25th of July we luckily seen 2 Elephants, after hearing them breaking branches and after a long struggle found them, we also found 3 Steenbok sightings, Common Duiker and 1 Buffalo that didn't know we were watching him.

Bush Braai Security was my duty for that particular evening. The night drive on the Friday we haven't seen much, but got Jackals and Elephants around Masorini, and on the tar road back to the gate a African Wild Cat, Small Spotted Genet and Steenbok.

No record in my diary till 1st of August- Morning walk at Nandzana South and found Buffaloes and decided to have breakfast with them. We also seen a Elephant Bull walking pass the Buffaloes and Giraffes on the horison.

That evening on the Bush Braai drive found 1 Buffalo, 5 Elephants, 1 Wild Dog, 4 Black Backed Jackals, 1 Large Spotted Genet, well hidden in a Mopane Tree, and a Chameleon.
:D

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