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needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Tell us about your breathtaking experiences in the parks

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billyf
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Re: needed a fix so.....

Unread postby billyf » Thu Sep 11, 2008 3:05 pm

EJ - looks like a tawny to me .

Like your shopping route - would like to do it everyday :lol: :lol:
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Re: needed a fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Thu Sep 11, 2008 3:16 pm

billyf and annalie - only one problem.....could get a little expensive! It makes the trip to Malelane about 100km (one way)!
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Re: needed a fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Sun Sep 21, 2008 6:22 pm

On Saturday I needed to go to Skukuza for a regional Honorary Ranger meeting. I got to Croc Bridge early - and there was quite a queue already. Fortunately I was allowed through straight away! There was not really time to go slow or stop for many sightings so I decided to save photos for specials, or .......
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This happened to me 4 times! And on each occasion it was obvious that there was nothing easily visible, and hence the total jam as folk tried to see an ear or tail somewhere.....

There was one nicer jam though
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One buffalo at the rear of the herd was wearing a radio collar - and a persistent ox-percker that was really annoying it!
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But I did find a hyena in the road drinking from small rain puddles (it had rained in the night). It was slowly making its way towards me, so I stopped and waited with camera poised.... And just as it came in focus a car came up behind me and the hyena bolted (but I am posting the picture anyway - the one that got away!!!)
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Other than that I saw a number of giraffes, not a single zebra or wildebeest, and lions in the Sabie river valley - but they were walking in bushes and not photogenic - and one car had stopped already with 3 others pulling up - so I got out of the way quick!

There was one ellie in the bushes near the road too, again 4 cars stopped already and far too close to him.

It was a good commute to a meeting! Much better than the sort I used to face......
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Re: needed a fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Sun Sep 21, 2008 6:52 pm

And today I started my week in the bush - OK - week in the wilder bush than usual!!!!

After church, with the car already loaded up, I headed for Malelane gate. It was quite busy, but despite that it did not take too long to be processed and get in. The day had started off really cold - I needed a fleece jacket! - but by lunch time it was warm (and when I got to P'kop it was hot enough to change into shorts!).

I found zebras and wildebeest at last - a couple of small herds of the striped ones, and a large herd of wildebeest near Afsaal. A few giraffe about too - but I confess I was getting hot and just wanted to get to P'kop and change into cooler clothes! And then the inevitable happened - a sighting jam half-way along the Voortrekker road. Turned out around 13 lions had brought down a buffalo and word had got out. I met several cars racing to the scene later - some folk stopped me to ask if I seen it. Actually there was nothing to be seen from the road! The lions were lying in the grass, it was hot, and they had no intention of moving. The result was folk out of windows, sunroofs, and even a couple trying to get out of their cars! I explained to as many as possible why it was not a good idea - and took a photo or two -
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As soon as I had a signal I alerted the authorities.....

There were lots of cars at the P'kop reception so I expected a long wait - but was processed very quickly and efficiently with a smile - great service! First time to use one of the huts - and a bit disappointed....but it is a lot cheaper than the bungalows, and I could not bring the caravan this time.

Quick unload and change and then off again.... Headed towards Numbi and up to Mestel dam and arund the loop and then to Shitlhave dam before coming back to camp.

There were hippos at Mestel - 7 adults and 4 youngsters eventually on the bank and at least 2 others in the water. The big mama on the right with the smallest calf would not let the final 2 out of the water for some reason. The little calf was very restless and she was very protective - it was great just sitting and watching
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Sadly my peace was shattered by a stupid visitor who got out of his car to get something from the boot and then kept the door open. I spoke to him - and he informed me in no uncertain terms that he knew he was not allowed out of the car.....and returned to looking through his binoculars. I left before I did something worthy of arrest........!

After turning back towards the tar road I met 4 ground hornbills - 2 adults and 2 juveniles. The youngsters were on the road as I approached, and when I slowed the adults came running towards me followed closely by the youngsters! They walked round the car, watching me carefully when on my side and kept pecking at the bumpers. I got some good pics
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I had barely left them when I met this guy in the middle of the road
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Off to Shitlhave where there was a small herd of ellies on the far bank near the dam wall. 2 were having an altercation and moving away amid a lot of dust - and the others disappeared quite fast in the opposite direction. There was nothing else there other than a large crocodile
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Feeling tired I headed back to camp early.... Tomorrow I head for Tamboti - never been there before so looking forward to it. I have a 4 bed tent (all that was available) and a couple of friends are going to come and join me for the night.
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Re: needed a fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Mon Sep 22, 2008 6:01 pm

I love Tamboti! Will return here in the future..... Trip report tomorrow as I am too busy with friends to sort out pics tonight!
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Re: needed a fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Tue Sep 23, 2008 7:19 pm

Lots of photos so I will have to break this into several posts...

I managed to be packed up and out of P'kop at 0610. The air was crisp and clear - the effects of the little bit of rain still evident. First stop was Shitlhave - where the croc was sunning itself on the opposite bank this time
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There was nothing else about, although I waited a while.

Then near the Napa boulder turning I had to brake suddenly as I came round a corner - my speciality - buffalo jam!
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They were actually heading down the road towards me, so there was a stand-off for a few minutes, and then they decided they would prefer the grass at the side after all and moved off the road!

Brief stop at Skukuza, and then on - several sightings of all the usual suspects, but mostly lots of cars about, so I kept going. Kumana dam offered a lioness on the opposite side of the road, but a bit far for a photo. I learned from my friends who came through about 2 hours later that more lions had appeared and killed a buffalo about an hour after I was there!

A little further on just near the big sausage tree (for those who know the road) there was a rhino asleep under a bush - I am sure most folk had decided it was a rock and gone on!

At last I found some zebs and wildebeest about too.

Nearer Satara there was a car jam - lions had brought down a giraffe about 3 hours previously. I managed a brief photo of one tucking in - could not see the others through the cars, and suspect they were full and sleeping.
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Then at the Sweni trail turnoff a breeding herd of elephants, and one calf suckling while mum browsed
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I called in at Satara, and found their Scops owls in very photogenic positions - this is the one nearest the ground in a euphorbia
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Re: needed a fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Tue Sep 23, 2008 7:32 pm

After Satara, I stopped at the dam - nothing other than a few impala. \i went up the side to the waterhole and found a bushbuck ewe and a giraffe
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As I got to the next Timbavati turning I saw something in the road ahead of me - grabbed the binocs and saw a black-backed jackal, in the middle of the day! It was moving fast and ran up to me and past the car. I had time to focus and shoot one photo
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Shortly after that a rarer species - a yellow ribbon! Only he did not have one, but saw mine and stopped me. It was Meercat - and he was also staying at Tamboti, so we had a chat later on.

The Orpen waterhole was deserted, and all I found on the way into the camp was one wildebeest. But the welcome party arrived as I was unloading the car - they are obviously used to being fed, sadly.
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there was also a very large baboon about who constantly tried to upend the dustbins and steal anything he could.

Once my friends arrived and unpacked we walked to the bird hide, and then went out for a ride (checking out Maroela camp first) but only found one elephant
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We enjoyed a braai together and then tried to sleep - but some noisy youngsters delayed the process somewhat! Elephants visited the river bed after dusk and lions roared through the night - great!
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Re: needed a fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Tue Sep 23, 2008 7:46 pm

It was a later start than I am used to - did not leave camp until almost 0730. Nothing much along the road, other than one elephant with 2 cars already stopped so close they could just about touch him. I kept going so as not to stress him more..... then at Nsemani dam found 3 more
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Another brief stop at Satara, and a quick hello to the Scops then on northwards. Ngotso dam yielded one elephant but behind bushes, and another yellow ribbon (again without his, but he saw mine and stopped) - did not catch his name properly, and other cars were being held up so we did not talk.

At the waterhole just past the dam there was a huge herd of zebs and impala
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After that just past the Timbavati turning there were a large number of hyenas fighting with vultures over the very smelly remains of a giraffe
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Checked in at Letaba, and got a nice tent (20 for those who know it). After some lunch and a rest I was about to leave when I saw a yellow ribbon! I followed the car ...... and ended up back at my tent! It was Sandiem and co and they have the bungalow/hut straight behind me.

I went out for a drive later - but it was so hot after the colder weather of the past few days (up to 38C at one point) and there were very few animals about other than 4 elephants in the river valley. I watched them for a while, but they were too far away for good photos.

Tomorrow out at Phalaborwa, and I will meet Cees before going on to meet Imberbe and the bush walk.... there will be no cell reception there, so no more reports until Sunday evening (or Monday)
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Re: needed a fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Tue Sep 30, 2008 8:30 am

Some photos from my drive home on Sunday - I entered at Orpen at lunch time and drove through to Croc Bridge (much better than the alternative route via Nelspruit!) There was misty/drizzly rain a lot of the way, and light was poor so I did not take photos at many sightings as they would have been poor(er) quality. Also the road from Satara down to Tshokwane was very busy, and every sighting jam-packed with cars so I tended to drive past slowly rather than stop.

But as I went up the hill at Nkumbe I had a hyena to myself - unfortunately it decided to disappear into the bush just as I focussed the camera
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Shortly after that there were 3 male lions at the side of the road - but the usual jam! I continued and within 2km got this rhino to myself
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And only a little further on a steenbok ewe who was very happy to graze right at the side of the road while I sat opposite her
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Zebs were in short supply for some reason - but I did find some
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And finally for those interested in progress at Croc Bridge
Image
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Re: needed a fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Wed Oct 22, 2008 6:53 am

Yesterday I took 2 Kruger newbies into the park for a visit. I spent so much time telling them about things, making sure they got good photos, and had a good experience that I forgot to use my camera! I also had to re-learn the experience of stopping to use binoculars for animals in the distance....

We entered at Croc Bridge, took the S28, stopped at Lower Sabie picnic area for a late breakfast, continued north as far as the green bridge, and then turned round, had lunch at Nkhulu and home again (they had to be back mid-afternoon hence the turn round early).

It was a giraffe day, and we had lots of good sightings.

I thought we saw Duke on the S28 - but when I looked through the binos the tusks were sharp ended, so it was not him. We found several other ellies, 2 very close to the road - both mellow and happy to be watched from close up.

Early on there was a rhino in the distance, and on the way home again 2 asleep at the waterhole near the junction of the H5. Warthogs provided light entertainment several times.

The hippos and crocs at Sunset Dam were asleep - the water level is higher than on my last visit. There is just a little muddy water left at Nthandayathi Hide - and no animals about, and just a couple of doves.

Shortly after that we had zebs crossing the road and as I watched them I saw something dark in the tall grass, focussed the binos and saw a male lion - but it disappeared and we could not see him again. Later quite close to the green bridge we found a lioness resting in deep shade in a tangle of branches under a shrub.

We had a pair of duiker stop close to the road and watched them for a while before another vehicle scared them off. Later a young duiker also posed nicely!

There was a brief glimpse of a steenbok too - but there was a lot of traffic at that point and it disappeared very quickly.

The kudus also put up a good display - and 2 males posed well close to the road.

Buffalo were strangely scarce, and we found just one on the far bank in the river valley, but did have a good view of him.

Also had good views of a brown snake eagle and a tawny eagle, both in trees not far from the road on the S28.

So not bad for a day's outing!

Update on Croc Bridge for those who are intersted - the crossing is almost complete, several huge pipes are in place to allow water through - but I wonder how they will cope when the rains bring the river down in force.......
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Re: needed a fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Wed Oct 22, 2008 7:57 am

@mgoddard - I am already a registered tour guide for Kruger and surrounding reserves - just do things ad hoc because I enjoy it rather than working as such!
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Re: needed a fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Sun Nov 02, 2008 8:42 pm

Not much on the road to BnD yesterday, but it was midday and very hot so I am not surprised.

Today we were out early to attack Queen of the Night in the Matsulu area, and on the tar road (Lourens' magic road) we found lions - and 2 lionesses had cubs with them, 3 small ones and another 3 a little bigger. I did get photos but will post tomorrow.

Shortly after that a huge herd of buffalo on the hillside, and later on the 'work road' even more, and elephants too. While out on foot my work partner and I came a bit too close to 2 rhino for comfort! We were looking for QotN, and suddenly heard heavy footfalls and there they were in front of us. They stopped, we stopped....... there was a large stump and branches close so we moved to get behind that - only I tripped on a rock and fell heavily, tried to get up and move at the same time and fell again! Fortunately the rhino stayed still and then moved away from us.... We did have 2 armed rangers with us, but we all became a bit spread out while working. Just after that we came across another 2 of the party - one up a dead tree - they had just seen the same rhinos! A few minutes later one of the rangers arrived and chased the rhinos away..... I was surprised to find that I was not scared and enjoyed watching them - probably because I knew we were taking the right actions to avoid confrontation.

On the way back to camp we found lions again - but no cubs this time.

Tonight I joined some friends for dinner, they had been able to get a spot at the fence as most folk left today, and 2 hyenas suddenly had a squabble right near us! While we watched them go past, another camper came up around the caravan and frightened my friend by suddenly speaking to her..... We were so busy watching the hyenas we had not heard him come over! My friends are here until Friday - and will wait for me to arrive so I can have their great spot at the fence.

Now time for bed as it has been a physically exhausting day in the heat.... Off to Malelane camp tomorrow, where it should be a lot quieter and I hope to catch up with photo posting.
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Re: needed a fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Mon Nov 03, 2008 7:05 am

Morning folk! Bright and sunny here at BnD, birds started the dawn chorus at 3am, and there are squirrels playing tag all around the campsite..... A little rain in the night, but not much - at least it is dry for packing up and moving on to Malelane camp. Being a bit closer to Malelane I may find 3G reception there and be able to post photos easier.

I am a bit stiff after yesterday's adventures, and have a large painful lump on my shin which promises to be a wonderfully colourful bruise.... and a few scratches - but I am definitely OK to keep going!!!!

Til later then........
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Re: needed a fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Mon Nov 03, 2008 6:53 pm

Sitting in near darkness practising my touch-typing, listening to hippos in the Croc River, water thick-knees, blacksmith lapwings, egyptian geese..... A line of impala went past just as it got dark.

I can see the lights of factories and farms across the river, and hear some noise, but it is not too bad. An ordinary camp can be noisier! I am the only camper here, and it looks as if 2 bungalows are occupied. Wonderful!!!!

I will sort out photos shortly and then post some - I was right and there is 3G reception here so it will be much easier.

Today has been roasting - it was 39C on the car thermometer around lunch time. My friends had a minor disaster with some food supplies (don't ask!) so needed to go to Malelane for more, so we went in my car, leaving the caravan at Malelane camp en route - worked well!

There was a very strong wind this afternoon and it looked like rain clouds coming - but just hot air!!!! Fortunately cooler now....

Right off to get something to eat and drink and then will sort photos.....
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Re: needed a fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Mon Nov 03, 2008 7:25 pm

Storm about so I need to be quick about posting.....

The first lioness with the 3 youngest cubs crossed the road in front of the car
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one cub lagged behind the others
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Then the other lioness came on to the road too
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and she decided to lead the cubs up the road for a while
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More later/tomorrow - need to sign off as storm getting close!
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