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 Post subject: What lies behind the trees next to the road.
Unread postPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 9:33 am 
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In my past experiences at the KNP the main lesson learnt from each trip is the same, the slower you go the more you see.

The best example of this occured during a trip to the skukuza area. Along the main road between skukuza and lower sabie we followed the main road for a while cruising at the same speed as the bush around us. After a good few KM down the road and after what felt like a 1000 overtakes by other cars we came across a traffic jam. A very common occurance when big cats are around. So instead of joining the feeding frenzy of cars to get a glimps of a tail, we double backed and turn off onto one of the dirt roads that follow in the same direction of the main road, just with a bit less traffic.

We came across a group of animals (Kuda, Impala, Giraffe) and decided to enjoy the sighting by turning off the vehicle and having a watch. From where we were situated we could see the cars on the main road speeding past. Out of nowhere, what seemed like an explosion in the bush, a flash of spots attacked the impala, unsuccessfully. The leopard missed its prey and was on the move along this "island" between the main road and the dirt road. We tracked the leopard which eventually strolled through an open area where it prepared to located its next prey. whilst watching this leopard we were amazed that the cars on the main road missed it, granted it was behind the trees next to the road but at a slow speed the animal's movement should be picked up.

It was a well learned lesson in letting nature come to you and the slower you drive the more you see.


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 Post subject: Re: What lies behind the trees next to the road.
Unread postPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 9:57 am 
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:thumbs_up: Agree with you Stickman360.

We had that experience quite a few times. Once we stopped to allow a tortoise to cross the road and glancing on the other side, there was a leopard watching us.


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 Post subject: Re: What lies behind the trees next to the road.
Unread postPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 6:10 pm 
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We had a similar experience with a leopard near Skukuza, we'd 'missed' 2 leopard sightings in the morning due to huge leopard traffic jams. Near Skuks we took a gravel loop road, and there was a beautiful leopard, we sat watching for over an hour and could see the cars on the tar road through the trees. In all the time we were there only 1 car came past, stopped maybe 5 minutes and moved on. We were really privileged to have that sighting on our own.


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 Post subject: Re: What lies behind the trees next to the road.
Unread postPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 6:41 am 
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A friend had a very special experience similar to yours, Stickman.

They stopped to look at some impies. They were about to drive off when a Cheetah rose from out of the grass next to their car. They had no idea that it was there. They witnessed a succsesful kill metres away.

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 Post subject: Re: What lies behind the trees next to the road.
Unread postPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 6:54 am 
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Stickman360, so many people miss those exact things that you saw because they are the "big 5 chasers". We drive slowly, we stop for birds,trees,plants,impalas,bush smells,scenery. If we see a sighting with more than 3 cars we drive past. We are on holiday and I do not want to get in a traffic jam and maybe even pushed to the point of losing my temper just to see the tail/ear of a lion. If we see a traffic jam we either drive past or reverse a bit and take another road

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 Post subject: Re: What lies behind the trees next to the road.
Unread postPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 11:11 am 
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We had a similar one driving back to Skukuza one night. We were about 20 mins from the gates shutting and the light was starting to fade when we came across a scrum for lions near the end of Eloff St. We decided to avoid it and carefully drove past it. With people shaking their heads at us as if bemused that we didn't want to join.

Less than 5 mins later we reached the t junction to go to camp and out of the trees in the Skukuza side came a lone leopard walking across the road. He came to a stop and sat by the road marker for the junction on the river side of the road. We sat with him for about 5 mins and he didn't seem bothered at all. Then headed into the bushes going towards the low water bridge.

By this time we were angled in the road in a way that looked like we'd missed the camp turning, and it was then that the participants of the lion scrum starting reaching us. One by one they were turning left at the junction to camp and many were laughing at our "silliness" for having missed the turning!!! Little did they know!!!!! :whistle:

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 Post subject: Slowing down to natures pace
Unread postPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 2:47 pm 
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I have mentioned this in a few of my posts and i have had numerous responses agreeing with me so i thought i'd open up the discussion about the pace of the bush.

Everyone who comes to the Kruger National Park is trying to get away from the busy life that they live. They're trying to find some piece and quiet to relax and wind down from life's stresses. I cant think of a better place to do so than under a tree overlooking a river with the sound of nature whispering in your ear. This scene is what i think of everytime i think of the Kruger National Park and i find is the only way to slow down enough to really enjoy the time spent there. Personally i dont see the point to driving as fast as you can hoping to come across some other cars that have spotted a member of the bug 5 on a main road, I find it a little difficult to slow down to natures pace whilst doing 50kph on a tar road. For me watching nature and enjoying the Kruger can only be experienced at one pace/speed, NATURE'S!!!!

When you next enter the park, drive in through the gate and keep on going for a few KM, then pull over under a tree(It will be warm and the shade makes it better) turn off the engine of your car and spend 15min just letting your senses absorb the Kruger. If you do this when you first arrive at the kruger it allows you to enjoy your holiday from day one as you start your trip off by slowing down to natures pace. Give this a try when you next go to the Kruger National Park its the best way to start your holiday.


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 Post subject: Re: Slowing down to natures pace
Unread postPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 10:03 am 
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If you spend almost everyday driving to work in traffic and you go to the KNP for holiday, it helps if you partake in other activities which allow you to escape your vehicle. My personal favourite activities, are the guided bushwalks. A bit of exercise and fresh air in the middle of the bush just gives you that much needed break from your vehicle. On my last walk that i did, we came across a family group of rhino and got really close. That sighting of Rhino on foot has been one of the most humbling experiences in my life and you dont get that same feeling from inside your car.


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 Post subject: Re: What lies behind the trees next to the road.
Unread postPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 10:13 am 
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There really is nothing more special than your own sighting, you pick up on tell-tale signs given off by other animals after which you wait and when you get that reward of your own sighting that you earned it just cannot be compare to a traffic jam on a tar road.

I have been in a situation when there has been a traffic jam and occupants of a vehicle have resorted to hooting to get past which is outrageous in a game reserve. That is why getting "lost" on the backroads where you dont see other cars is so much more appealing to me.


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 Post subject: Re: Slowing down to natures pace
Unread postPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 6:33 am 
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One of my favourite activities at Kruger is to just stop.. sit.. feel... allow all the senses to take in the moment.

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 Post subject: Re: Slowing down to natures pace
Unread postPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 7:48 am 
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MPA wrote:
Hi Stickman360,

I am in total agreement with you that the Kruger is definitely one of the most relaxing places one can visit, yet it makes my blood boil when you have cars traveling at 50 KPH plus and hope to see something. Why visit the Kruger when one can go to a race track in Gauteng and take out your frustrations.

greatest place on earth


MPA,
I totally agree with you that Kruger is the greatest place on earth :thumbs_up: . To curb the "blood boiling" bit of people rushing after the Big5, me and SO normally take the dirt roads at 10-15kph, taking in everything that Kruger has to offer and don't even change gear when we have to hit the tar roads, they are wide enough for silly people to pass ayway:D . When we enter the park, we switch off the radio and don't buy any papers during our stay and when we come across the 50kph people, we just ignore them :wink: . It cost me a bundle to visit Kruger (only stay in fully equipt bungalo's) and nobody will spoil my winding down from the rat race we are caught up in at home :whistle: .

Hi Stickman,
Great TR to read before you go :clap: .
One should actually unwind as you leave your home for Kruger. For me and SO this is the point when we totally change gear, because the N4 for us leads to "heaven" There is nothing like hitting the N4 at 04:00 in the morning, having breakfast at Malelane at 08:00 and enter the park at 09:00 :D

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 Post subject: Re: Slowing down to natures pace
Unread postPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 8:09 am 
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barryels, you are so lucky to live close enough to the park that it only take you 5hrs to get there. The journey that i take every year is much less relaxing when you're traveling from Port Elizabeth. I find the excitement kicks in when we over night it in nelspruit before we stock up on supplies the day before entering the park. The short journey from there is when you try to wind down but the excitement always gets the better of me.

The addiction that is the Kruger only ever seems to be satisfied for a few weeks after each trip and the waiting period between trips seems to get longer every time. Thats why i find putting the car into 2nd and not touching the accelerator on the dirt roads allows you to crawl at a gentle pace which just feels right.


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 Post subject: Re: What lies behind the trees next to the road.
Unread postPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 12:34 pm 
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when looking at the size of elephants, its amazing how these grey giants of the bush can disappear in a matter of moments. A few meters into the bush and these giants are invisible. Amazing!!!!!!


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 Post subject: Re: What lies behind the trees next to the road.
Unread postPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 12:44 pm 
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We were big5 (or more correctly cat and dog) chasers for years, until the penny dropped that anything in the park, be it animal, insect, reptile, plant or bird is worth a second look. :thumbs_up:

It has changed our visits big time, and we now drive straight past, or turn around at traffic jams.

We still love to see the big cats and dogs, if we come across them, but a rare antelope, or bird is worth so much more these days. :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: What lies behind the trees next to the road.
Unread postPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 3:27 pm 
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Crested Val,

since you have opened your eyes to the all sightings that the kruger has to offer, do you feel your trips/holidays have been enriched? Are you now looking out for the big 6 of birds as well as the big 5? another interesting part of the kruger to focus on are the trees? I believe that once you have aquired enough knowledge of the bush you should be able to read it as follows.

example: say you find a specific tree, in the right season the tree produces a curtain flower, animal A is atracted to this flower and the left overs, after animal A has eaten half the flower, attracts animal B. Animal B is then preyed upon by animal C. when you start linking your knowledge together like this, then you know your stuff.

I am not close to this level yet but i hope to be able to read the bush like this someday. Thats why I try to learn something new everytime i go to the park and i try to remember what i learnt from my previous trips.

Happy game viewing days :thumbs_up:


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