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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 9:19 pm 
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Yeah Machaka, when all else fails I go up to Shivulani. Nearly always elephants there. And during the day there are very few people there. It is becoming my new favourite spot within reach of the gate - used to be Nandzana but the sightings have declined there - still a pretty spot. Here are the two leopards up at Shivulani taken a couple of months ago. They were actually sitting across the road from one another.

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:02 pm 
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:D Hi everyone!!!

I will make sure you getting a full upload again from all the sightings in the area, but currently we are washing away. I am going out on a Boatcruise tonight and not Night Drive, hahahaha. Between yesterday and today we already had over 200mm's of rain.

Talk soon!!!! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:09 pm 
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:D Sunny Greetings from Phalaborwa Gate-

Luckily we survived the floods and thank God, that no one died. We on the other side weren't soooo much affected at Phalaborwa Gate, but the rest of the Park- definitely.

As promised:

After my last report we had a busy time after Christmas and New Year, a couple of Bush Braais, Night Drives, Malopeni Overnight Eco Trail and walks. On the evening of the 26th of December I was Security for the Bush Braai, and Leonard saw a Leopard on his game drive. The 27th of December I only found the common stuff (Elephant, Giraffes, Zebras, Spotted Hyeana,Blackback Jackal).

But luckily on the 28th of December we had a stunning sighting on the Night Drive, after we spotted some Impalas, Baboons, Zebras and Giraffes, I spotted some Elephants far down in a valley. While trying to explain to the guests where the Elephant herd is, the 1 guest said there's a Leopard. I thought he spotted the Blackback Jackals that we often see in that area, so I asked where, and he said on that Termite Mount, and there he was.

We watched him for definitely more than an half and hour, before we left him still sitting on the Termite Mount, watching the Impalas walking around in the open field!!!!
On Friday morning the 30th we had a Morning Walk and it wasn't all about the big things, but small things we almost never see. We were lucky with Elephant, Zebras, Impalas, Steenbok on foot, but what was special to me, was the 2 young Spotted Eagle Owls we found and sitting soooo close to us and we had to leave them because the birds were busy harassing them, due to us, chasing the mother away. But that was stunning!!

We also experienced something very special on the way to the walking area, and I don't know if you ever saw something like this:

The guests shouted Leopard on the drive and as we stopped, there he was with some Zebras. And I am telling you, imagine a cat and mouse game playing off in front of you???
But in this case a Leopard with Zebras. Every time the Zebras get too close to the Leopard he jumped up and chased them and then they turn around and chased him again. It went on for long time, and eventually the Leopard gave up and walked into the bush, and the Zebras carried on with their breakfast just as the sun started sitting high in the sky.

That evening on the Night Drive we found Hyeanas, Elephants, Zebras, Giraffes, and at the gate on our way out a Buffalo Bull.

On old years day I did a Morning Safari- 6 hour game drive and went to Letaba for breakfast on the gravel road and back on the tar road. We passed the 2 Elephant Carcasses(Bulls that fought with another bull and died of injuries), but only found lots of Vultures. On this game drive we were also lucky to see Ground Hornbills, Martial Eagle, Saddlebilled Stork and Lappet Faced Vultures out of the Big 6 birds. We also saw live Elephants, Impalas, Giraffes drinking water from a pan in the bush, Zebras, Blue Wildebeests, Buffaloes and Baboons.

That evening before we went out to welcome 2012 into the present we had a Bush Braai and unfortunately it started raining for a bit, but luckily didn't get our Bush Braai cancelled. The sightings were a bit less, but did find a Buffalo, a Elephant and on the way out, our Spotted Eagle Owls, and a stunning sighting of a Small Spotted Genet trying to catch a little bird as it flew up into the air!!! Almost but not completely.

On New Years day on the Bush Braai drive we found herds of Elephants, a herd of Buffaloes, Giraffes, Zebras, Spotted Eagle Owls and a big African Rock Python.

I will tell you more about the other things later, must quickly go and get ready for tonight's Bush Braai.

Enjoy!!! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:02 pm 
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:D Back from the Bush Braai, we had the Lion roaring at Sable Dam and our pack of Wild Dogs came running passed the Bush Braai site!!!!!

Back to the 2nd of January on my Bush Braai game drive- We saw 2 herds of Elephants, lots of Buffaloes, Zebras, Hyeanas, Spotted Eagle Owls, and while being at the Bush Braai spot heard the Lions roaring and afterwards found them behind Sable Dam- 2 Males and 1 Female, just lying down relaxing.
On the morning of the 3rd we found a Spotted Hyeana at Shivhulani waterhole as we started our walk and after a long search for something mammal wise we found 2 Buffalo Bulls. They unfortunately decided not to join us for Breakfast and ran away.

This was the morning that I dropped my camera, and still waiting to get it back from the repairers, to restart doing what I like alot!!!


On the Night Drive we drove to Reenvoel dam and back and had a big herd of Buffaloes close to the dam, and on our way back to the gate we found our 1st Elephant and saw a few Genets on the night drive too.

The morning of the 4th we bumped into a Elephant on the walk, and must say very close range- to close for comfort!!! Luckily he got as big fright as us, and decided to take the hare's road- (haas se pad), walked away very very quickly away from us. We also found some Baboons, Zebras and Impalas.

On the Night Drive it was definitely a night of all the small Giraffes, Impala babies and Zebra foals. It was sooooo special!!!!

The 5th of January on my 6 hour game drive we were again lucky with Elephant, Buffalo, 4 of the Big 6 birds, and drove to the Letaba River and back.

On the Bush Braai game drive found almost the same.

After my off days, believe it or not, but was back already for a month since my American trip and started with a Bush Braai of 110 pax. We found a Elephant Bull in musth, some Chameleons, Zebras, Giraffes, Buffaloes, but those cats are elusive!!!!

The 15th of January we found an Impala in a Apple Leaf Tree just after Masorini, but the Leopard apparently went and visit his girlfriend after getting tired of watching people climbing out of their vehicles trying to get photo's. So again our luck was out, but at least was part of the restaurant dinner.

On the 16th of January our new Catering Provider started and am really impressed up to so far. But they started with a 43 pax Bush Braai and if it wasn't for the Cyclone that started hitting us, we could have had the supper in the bush. On the game drive we found some Buffaloes, Martial Eagle, African Hawk Eagle, lots of Chameleons, and I think the sighting for the night was our pack of Wild Dogs at Ngwenyeni waterhole!!!!

On the 17th it rained over 100 mm's and David had to do a Full Day Game drive, shame man!!! Don't know what the guests sometimes think, but they at least saw lots, except the cats...

On my soaking wet Night Drive we also had luck with the normal stuff we normally seen around Shikumbu and the Hyeana Den. The nice sighting thuough was to see all the European Bee-eaters, Lilac Breasted roller, Fork Tailed Drongo fighting to catch the Termites that came out of the mount.

Wednesday the 18th on the Night Drive we saw lots of Elephants!!!! By this time it stopped raining a bit, but already had over 200mm's of rain.

During the 20th and 21st we had 2 Sunset Walks and 1 Morning Walk and on all 3 walks we found Elephants, but everytime a different sighting.

The first one on the afternoon of the 20th a Elephant bull that picked our scent up from the soil, and then he came walking up towards us, and turned after I shouted at him. At that stage I already had my guests behind a very thick Mopane Bush on a Termite Mount. The other amazing sightings to me on that walk was to see a dung beetle rolling his dung ball and watched him from beginning to end, how he buried it into the soil. We also later stopped for a Baboon spider hole, and as I was busy trying to fish it out, I heard this Spider Hunting wasp, but couldn't see him. After retrying to get the spider's attention I saw one of his legs lying outside the hole and realised the Spider hunting wasp was busy with its prey.

On our Morning walk from Erfplaas we found a big herd of Elephants and after we followed them for a while we decided to break for breakfast and it was then, when 2 seperate Elephant Bulls came walking pass, but the 2nd one was in musth. He tried to impress us 3 times, but after the 3rd time he turned away from us and as he wanted to come closer again he stepped in thick mud and it was actually soooo funny to see how his whole front leg sank away in the mud and believe that broke his braveness and he just kept on walking into the direction of the herd.

On our afternoon walk from Nandzana South we again found lots of Elephant Bulls, with Giraffes, Zebras and Impalas. The nice sighting here was a Bull that was busy taking a mud bath and with the wind blowing quite hard, he didn't know we were there watching him.

Sunday the 22nd Johan found the Lions on the Mopanie- Sable Dam T-junction on the Night drive.

Monday morning on the 23rd we saw lots, but as murphy wanted it, all far in a distance.

And then our other amazing walk with the Elephants yesterday afternoon from Nandzana, was just another special moment in the bush. We followed them for a while and eventually saw the whole herd, babies and all in a big open area. Some of them chasing each other around, some of them spraying themselves with dust, and some of them just doing what Elephants do best- feeding.
On our way back to the vehicle we stopped for some termites with Buffalo Dung and it was then when Craig interupted me saying, there's something behind you in the bush!!! Luckily!!!! As I looked around I just saw the tall legs, as thick as a Leadwood stump, grey in colour and white tusks appearing from the thick Mopanie trees. I just said to the guests go back, go back and we loaded our rifles the same time and me shouting to the Elephant Bull in musth. Luckily we were not on his menu for a afternoon snack, but the cow he was looking for and luckily kept on moving pass in the very thick Mopanie trees. Another adrenaline rush, and luckily finished and survived another moment in the bush.

And of course that is the end of my next report. Hope you all enjoyed it... :D

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 6:59 pm 
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:popcorn:

Looks like they say to each other, I run faster than you, and then...

Let's race and see...
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At Shivhulani Waterhole
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On the Mopanie Tar road, where the road goes off and go next to the Ngwenyeni Stream.
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Southern Yellow Billed Hornbill bringing food back to his wife.
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Painted Reed Frog.
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The same Leopard staring at the Impalas.
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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:41 pm 
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:popcorn:

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A small Flapneck Chameleon I saw.
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The Eland Bull around Shikumbu.
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Stripes in action.
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Impala Rams testing each other's strength.
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She was very protective over the young calf.
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:popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:53 pm 
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:popcorn:

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Spotted Hyeana suckling her 2 youngsters
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The Leopard that played "Zebra and Leopard" game
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On the 6 hour game drive,
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:popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 8:06 pm 
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:popcorn:

African Fish Eagle at Sable Dam
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European Roller
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:popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 8:24 pm 
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:popcorn:

The grumpy Lionness giving us a mock charge.
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Sable Dam, early in the morning
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hope you enjoyed the pics, will post more as it comes in from tomorrow...
:popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:24 am 
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:D Cloudy, windy greetings,

After I started working again on the 16th of February I did a 6 hours game drive. Went on some of the No entry roads around here, but is a bit washed away with the floods we had, so had to turn around, drove to Letaba for breakfast and came back on the gravel road.

We saw a herd of Elephants, relaxed Warthogs, a few Buffalo Bulls, lots of Eagles- due to the cloudy weather on that day, Giraffes, Zebras, Hyeanas came running up the road, and a Black backed Jackal.

Friday the 17th we had a bit more luck with the sightings on the Bush Braai game drive. We started off with a herd of Buffaloes, and when we came around one of the corners on the gravel road, we just saw a young Caracal jumping up and ran into the bush!! We found Zebras, Elephants, Baboons, Hyeanas, and at the Bush Braai site we had our Lions just on the other side of the stream. Now and then we just heard them growling, but could never saw them. As the time went passed we heard them moving up the stream, and after dinner I decided to drive around, to see if we can't meet them on the Sable dam gravel road, but the only 1 we found was their 3 Lion Cubs!!!!!!!!!! The other rare sighting we saw was a Sharpes Grysbok...

Monday morning I did another 6 hours game drive, and again were lucky with all the Elephants we saw. We also found Baboons, Giraffes, Zebras, but were not lucky with the cats, and will post photo's as soon as my Internet wants to work properly on the Sanparks website...

We then went for the Shooting practice, and found one of our Lionnesses about 4 km's from the gate and Wednesday on our way back from Satara, the 3 Lionnesses next to the Machangani Category D road. That evening Johan helped us out with the Night Drive and he found the 5 cubs and not 3 right there on a Termite Mount, and while watching the cubs, our pack of 8 Wild Dogs came running down the road!!!! He turned on the Mopanie road where he then found a young Leopard too!!!! Ai what luck you can sometimes have in the bush!!!!

And just to show the difference from day to day and sightings to sightings, he helped us out with the Bush Braai last night, and only found 1 Buffalo, but far in a distance, some Impalas, and a Steenbok...

Will post the photo's as promised, but you know... :D

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:19 am 
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Shikumbu from our Sundowner spot.
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The road between Olifants Rest Camp and Satara Rest Camp, during the floods it washed the road away.
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The Olifants River after the floods washed all the big beautiful Fig Trees etc. away.
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:popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:56 am 
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:popcorn:

:( :(
Yesterday afternoon before I had to leave for the Bush Braai, I sat outside my front door, eating a sandwich and my next door neighbours are the research house, there are some Red Headed Weaver nests hanging down the Telephone cable and heard the Weaver going mad, and suddenly something said to me, just look up and as I did, I saw this big grey "Black Mamba" going from one nest to the next, and the poor Mother Weaver going ballistic, trying to mob this "Black Mamba", so I ran around to get a closer look, and then I saw the small head and big eye, so knew it isn't a Black Mamba but a Female Boomslang. She ate all the chicks and eventually went to the last nest on the right, and when she went into the nest the nest broke and fell down to the ground. It was then when the audience (the cleaning lady of the house and I) jumped to the side, and the Boomslang quickly disappeared around the corner, and I had to rush, to make up for the time that I was late for work, but a sighting, which couldn't have been missed.

The Boomslang Female and the shadow of the mother.
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Look how thick her body is of all the little chicks :(
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There's some weird stuff coming up on Tinypic, if I try to upload more photo's, will try later again... :popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:35 am 
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:popcorn:

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Last edited by Lourens on Fri Feb 24, 2012 1:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 5:53 pm 
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Graham_5000 wrote:
Which of the camps near Phalaborwa gate do you do Bush braais from? I want to go on one looking at these amazing pics!

Hi Graham. The bush braais are done straight from Phalaborwa Gate. You either meet at the gate or are picked up from your place of accommodation in town. The bush braai spot lies on the north-western side of Sable Dam and is a beautiful spot set out amongst the mopane trees and with a small stream nearby. It is an awesome place - close to Phalaborwa but a million miles from anywhere if you know what I mean? And the food... :thumbs_up:

Added a photo of the bush braai spot - taken before any guests arrived. At night the lanterns are lit and the atmosphere is stunning. And, if you are lucky you might have a leopard come waltzing by! :big_eyes:

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:00 pm 
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:D Hi everyone!!!

Thanks to everyone, replying on all the questions!!! It helps alot, thank you!!!

That Leopard was a young one, looks like maybe around 8-10 months old??

And now the new members to the family:

:popcorn:

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This Blackbacked Jackal and her husband, we found close to the Hyeana Den on Sunday evening's Night Drive.

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And this Garden Orb Web spider was from this morning's walk...
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:popcorn:

Will give you a sightings report update soon, but this time treating you first with the photo's, hahahaha.

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