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 Post subject: Kruger 18 - 26 December 2009
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 1:51 pm 
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hi all!!

I am busy sorting all the pics that I took during our stay!! Hopefully by next week I can give you some sort of trip report!

I can tell you that we cut our trip a bit short, as we should have been in kruger until the 30th! The reason for this was that the heat was just to extreme! For SO it got a bit to much and when your a bit irretated by the heat you are not really enjoying your surroundings!

Saw some yellow ribbons and had a chance to talk to some of you!! Was great meeting you guys! wild dreamer and Wild child, I can't remember all the names..

Look forward to also reading some more trip reports from those of you that was in Kruger over December!!

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 Post subject: Re: Kruger 18 - 26 December 2009
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:27 am 
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Hi all!!

I know that I have been long overdue with this trip report!! But Finally, from tomorrow you can start reading my TR!! tomorrow, day 1 will be ready to read!!

Here is one of my fav shots of the trip!!
Image

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 Post subject: Re: Kruger 18 - 26 December 2009
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:34 am 
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Day 1: 18 December 2009 On route to Berg-en-Dal

Day one got off to a very slow start, as nothing went the way we wanted.
Our plan was to leave our house in Witbank at around 10am and head off to Kruger.
This was just not to be!!
Nothing went as planned and everything took way longer than expected.
We had to buy a few things and this ended up taking most of our time.

But enough of that! We left Witbank quite late and this meant that we could not drive the route we wanted through Lydenburg to stop at the little shop that sells the best biltong in Mpumalanga!! SO was looking forward to this, but unfortunately it was not to be. So we had to go to Kruger without our regular supply of Biltong!!! 

First camp on our list would be Berg-en-Dal so we made our way to Malelane gate! We were running quite late and was worrying that we would not make the gate in time! As luck was not on our side that day, we drove right smack into the middle of a road block! And guess what, we got pulled over! Luckily the traffic official that pulled us over was very friendly!! He asked where we were heading and as soon as we told him we are on our way to Kruger, he had a look at his watch and said: “Let us not waist time the gates are almost closing: and he would not want us to be late! He gave back the license cleared everyone in front of us and we were on our way again!

Made the gate eventually with 20minutes to spare!!

At last!!! We were home in Kruger!! On entering a few elephants and rhinos welcomed us!

We would be camping throughout our stay in Kruger. We set off to look for a camping spot and had quite a bit of trouble finding one! It was now starting to get dark very fast and we had to get a move on! Found a spot and started to pitch our tent! This proved to be quite fun as we couldn’t see much and eventually got our headlamps out of the trailer and this helped a lot!
While pitching the tents we had our first “cold one” for the day!
Tents pitched everything packed out we realized that we had to start making dinner!
Luckily we had the most amazing neighbors and they offered us some of their leftover pap, wors, and salad they have already prepared that evening! It was food for a King! Thank you so much to those great people! After eating we went for a swim this was the best thing to do as it was still very Very hot at that late hour!

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Missing Kruger.......

18 April - Skukuza
19 April - Lower Sabie
20 April - Croc Bridge


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 Post subject: Re: Kruger 18 - 26 December 2009
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:52 am 
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Day 2: 19 December 2009 Berg-en-Dal

Our first full day in kruger!! The real start of the Holiday that we have been waiting for, for a few months!! Got up nice and early and headed out! We went to renoster pan and had our “mini breakfast” (only cereal) there! On the way there we saw Impala, and Zebra!

Mini breakfast done, and went through to Afsaal as this is where we would have our real breakfast!
It was a very overcast day, so not the best day to take photos!
We had a fun day, seeing vultures, ellies, rhino and some of the smaller animals like duiker steenbok and tortoises! And as a member of the stiffnecks, a few birds as well!!

Here are the pics for the day! Sorry but some of these pics are not of the best quality!

Big game:
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Smaller Game and reptiles:

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Birds:

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Missing Kruger.......

18 April - Skukuza
19 April - Lower Sabie
20 April - Croc Bridge


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 Post subject: Re: Kruger 18 - 26 December 2009
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 5:54 pm 
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Day 3: 20 December 2009 – Berg-en-Dal to Skukuza

We packed up camp and left for Skukuza at around 10:00am. We took the H3 did not see much on the road towards Skukuza except for the usual game such as Impala, Zebra, Giraffe and Kudu.

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We had two Big five sighting on the way!! Firstly Buffalo!!!! And secondly, far in the bush, some ellies.

The buffs were a mother and calf:

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Got to Skukuza, found a great spot with shade cover and pitched our tent! We didn’t even bother unpacking or even inflating our mattress as it was just to hot!! We went to the swimming pool for a quick cool down as we wanted to head to Nkuhlu for the world famous buff pies!!!

Traveling on the H4-1 something suddenly caught my eye as well as SO’s eye!! We could not believe what we have just seen for 2 seconds!! It was a leopard!!!
The leopard went into the bushes right next to the road and we immediately pulled to the side of the road were we could just see its spots as it had lied down now!! We were the only car for about 2 minutes and then it was utter chaos!! We sat with the leopard for an hour + but it just did not want to move out of its dark and shady resting spot!! We decided to leave as both our stomachs were now rumbling out of control!!
This is all shot that we had of the leopard
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Arrived at Nkuhlu and got our buff pies!!!
I must say they were divine!!
Here is the evidence:
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I also bought my yellow ribbon at Nkuhlu as we forgot ours at home!!

Decided to head back to camp and try and see if we could find the leopard again, but we had no such luck!! Saw a owl on the way back.

Birds for the day:

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Other game:

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Getting back to camp we decided to finish setting up camp! When looking outside the fence we saw that we had a visitor lying next to our tent just outside the fence!!
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We also saw a genet but he was way to quick for me!!

This evening at Skukuza we had quite a rain storm, but it helped a lot to cool down!!!

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18 April - Skukuza
19 April - Lower Sabie
20 April - Croc Bridge


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 Post subject: Re: Kruger 18 - 26 December 2009
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:43 am 
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Day 4: 21 December 2009 Skukuza to Satara

Today we made our way to Satara. This would be a special trip as SO has never been higher in the park than Tshokwane. We were both looking forward to this as this would be our new adventure in the park! I haven’t been to central Kruger since 2000. Since I took SO to the park for the first time a few years ago we have started to plan to travel from the south and head up north in the park! And this was the year that we would do it, well not completely north but getting there.

Packed up at Skukuza and headed for a quick swim before we set of on the road to Satara.

We set of on the H4-1 and again drove very slowly as we tried to spot the leopard from yesterday, unfortunately no such lucky. We saw Southern Ground hornbill and lots and lots and lots of Baboons lying all over the road!! There was now way to pass them unless you got off the road a bit! We sat there for a while waiting for them to move, but we realized these guys were going now where for a long time. Eventually passing them we turned onto the H12 and then again onto the H1-2 on our way to satara!!

The road from that turn until Tshokwane was deserted!! We did not see much except for the occasional impala! They too seemed to be hiding today! The road seemed very long and we where both so glad when we saw we where at Tshokwane!!! Time to stretch our legs and make a small quick breakfast!!

With our tummies full and both of us excited to know that when we leave Tshokwane it will be the highest that we have been in Kruger together!!

We where both hoping that the road to Satara would give us more sightings than we have just had!
We could not believe our luck, 2km from Tshokwane and we saw our first ellie for the day!!! Not long after that we saw some buffs one with a nice necklace and not long after that a rhino!! We could not believe our luck 3 out of 5 in less than half an hour!!
We also saw some wildebeest, giraffe etc!! We could feel that we where in the heart of Kruger!!
We went to have a look at the big baobab on the route, and it was amazing! These trees have always amazed me and this one was no exception!

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We also saw some waterbuck on this road!

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Just outside camp almost, in a tree there was a leopard kill! Had a look at it and decided it was now time to check in and get our tents up and ready!

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Pitched tent, went for a swim and set off for our afternoon drive!! We chose the S100 and this proved a good choice as we saw lion!! Could not get good pick as they were a bit deep in the bush!! At this lion sighting we met Wild child and I believe bush kid if I am not mistaken.

Left the lion sighting and continued along the S100, saw some more ellies, kudu and hippo! When we got back to camp met up with wild child again an it turns out that we should rather have turned around on the S100 and took the short route to camp as they saw the leopard at the kill!! I wanted to kick myself for missing this.

Well this was the end of our day and what a day it was 4 out 5 of the big 5!!

Big 5 for the day:
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Birds for the day:
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Other animals:
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Missing Kruger.......

18 April - Skukuza
19 April - Lower Sabie
20 April - Croc Bridge


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 Post subject: Re: Kruger 18 - 26 December 2009
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 8:24 am 
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Day 5: 22 December 2009 – Satara

The 22nd of December was one of the extremely hot days!!!
We made our way from Satara towards Olifants today wanting to see how this camp looks for me after a number of years and for SO for the first time ever!

We made our way traveling mostly on the gravel roads today! Went for a quick look at the Timbavati pick nick spot. Roads traveled today H7 towards Orpen, S 40, S39 and then the H1-4 and H8.
This would also be the day that we where booked for a night drive! But more of that later!
Did not see much today as it was so hot, but what we saw was very special!
Our Special sighting for the day was an Impala that has just given birth!! Although we did not see it happen, probably mist it by a few seconds we saw the little one take its first steps in Kruger! What an amazing thing to have seen!!!
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Almost at Olifants, we saw a herd of ellies in the river and realized why it was called the olifants river!! We could see that the heat was getting to them as they were all completely emerged in the wat, with only their heads above water!
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Got to Olifants and sat down for Lunch! We just wanted to spend a short while there but this was not to be! The service was really not good! This will be all that I say of that! At least we had an amazing view from the deck!!
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We checked the thermometer at the reception before we left and it said it was 48C. This we believed easily.

On our way back to satara traveling on the main tar road we saw a lot of ellies!! They where every where!!

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Birds that we saw during the day where:
There where a lot of these guys around Kruger during December, does anyone know why?

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Then also:
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Night drive:

The night drive was great had some great sightings!!
First up was a hyena! Did not get the chance to take a pick!
Next was:
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Not the best pick.

Next was lions!! A mom with 3 cubs!! This was a wonderful sighting! The mother and cubs came to the back of the vehicle where we were sitting and had a drink of water! Them went past the vehicle and walked right in front of us for close to 20minutes I would think!! It was AMAZING!!!

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Missing Kruger.......

18 April - Skukuza
19 April - Lower Sabie
20 April - Croc Bridge


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 Post subject: Re: Kruger 18 - 26 December 2009
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 4:36 pm 
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Day 6 : 23 December 2009 Satara – Letaba

Today we decided that it will be a “go slow day” because we did not have that much distance to travel from Satara to Letaba. We tried to sleep a bit later but it was just impossible in the heat! So we got up, went for a quick swim and decided to start packing up! This was how our camp looked at Satara:
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We did not rush anything and it was so relaxing to pack up in this way! We found this little guy hiding under our “kitchen” tent!
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On our way towards letaba we found these 3 gentlemen along the road:
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It is actually amazing how they can just disappear before your eyes! If you did not know they where there you would pass and miss a great sighting. The first photo is them under the tree and next one is the same tree with them just lying down!!
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Well we watched these guys for some time waiting for them to maybe just stand up a bit, but that was not to be! Well, that was until two cars drove up with some people, very load and getting in and out of their cars and changing drivers etc.. The wind turned and took their scent towards the lions and you could see the lions smelled them clearly! They stood up immediately and looked directly at them!! Stared for a while and then turned around and disappeared into the bushes not to be seen again!! You could imagine how made everyone was!!!

Well we continued towards letaba and found 3 ground hornbills! 2 adults and 1 juvenile!
Here is the best photo of one of the adults:
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Got to letaba checked in and found a nice spot close to the fence! We decided to go to phalaborwa to get some needed supplies!! Headed out and found these two:
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Took some time to get all the needed things, but we got everything and on our way back saw a colorful creature in a little bush along the road:
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These where our sightings for the day!!

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Missing Kruger.......

18 April - Skukuza
19 April - Lower Sabie
20 April - Croc Bridge


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 Post subject: Re: Kruger 18 - 26 December 2009
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:59 am 
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Day 7: 24 December 2009: Letaba to Tsendze

Day 7 was the day that we would head for Tsendze!! Since I booked our trip to Kruger we where both looking forward to go to Tsendze!!
We started the day by packing up and visiting the Elephant Hall at Letaba!!
This place always amazes me! Seeing the magnificent 7 and how big their tusks really were.
I took a few photos but here are just a few:
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After our visit we made our way to Tsendze! It was an extremely hot day again and of course the further North we went the heat became more unbearable!!
Saw lots of elephant on the way, but this ellie just made a good photo for me:

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We had to check in at Mopani, did the check in and then backtracked to Tsendze again!
We finally arrived at tsendze!!
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Before getting out to open the gate I scanned the bush to make sure that there was no animals waiting for me. After I was sure I got out and opened it! When looking from the other side of the gate I got a bit of a fright as there maybe 10meters away from the gate stood a Ellie!! I signaled to SO to drive in quickly but he didn’t understand my hand signs and only understood we I told him to look back over his shoulder when I got back into the car!! I even forgot to take a photo of this ellie as I was a bit shocked!! Hahaha

Got to our campsite, campsite number 3, and jus sat in the shade a while before we started to set up camp! As it was just to hot as I have said previously! The only thing that we set up was our gazebo! I forgot to mentioned this previously, but after the heavy wind that we had at Berg-en-Dal our Gazebo got a bit “injured”!! The only thing that I had with me to mend one of the pipes was band aids! We had a chuckle every time that we had to mend our injured Gazebo!!

We didn’t go out for a drive again today, but we got the courage to set up camp and this is how it looked!
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We ended our day by meeting Roger and I forgot the lady’s name now…
And with a nice braai!!
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 Post subject: Re: Kruger 18 - 26 December 2009
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:38 am 
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Day 8: 25 December 2009 Tsendze Xmas

Christmas Day, and what better place to be than in the Bush!!
We booked early and we would be having Xmas lunch at Mopani!!

The previous day we decided that we would head out to the tropic of Capricorn before we would go for our Xmas lunch! Was a nice trip and luckily it was a bit overcast today!

On the way to tropic of Capricorn, this chameleon was standing like a statue in the middle of the road:
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This little worm was at the tropic in a tree:
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Tropic of Capricorn:
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Had a nice drive, but there was not much to see on the trip, so we headed back for our lunch! I must say the Chef at Mopani made a wonderful lunch!! This was how the table setting looked:
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After lunch, the clouds started to disappear and it would be another hot day! Headed back to camp as we wanted to have a afternoon nap, but it was impossible in the heat and we got in the air conditioned car and went for a drive! And how glad we where that we went for this drive as this is when we saw our Big tusker!!
Here are some of the photos:
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What a site that was!!

We really wanted to see how the Giriyondo border post looked, so we set of for it! Got this chap that has met his match some time ago:
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We where to let to get to the border! We where almost there and then we saw all the officials came speeding towards us flashing lights and stopping us to tell us that we have to turn around because they had to “lock” the road!! Well we did as they asked and turned around, needless to say that we where a bit disappointed after traveling some time on that road and just had to turn back with out seeing what we wanted to see!! And when I say these officials where speeding, I really mean it as we just saw them disappear in a cloud of dust!

Went back to camp and took this shot:
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It made a real nice picture to me!

This evening at the camp was not really very pleasant! The reason for this being:

We had a nice evening until it started getting really dark! SO went for a shower and while he was away I thought I saw something moving really fast on the ground! I ignored it but it was stuck in my mind! When it was my turn to go for a shower I went onto the tent and got a real big fright when I wanted to take my clothes out! There moving INSIDE the tent was a Red Roman!!!!!!!!!! I gave a bit of a shreek and SO came running to ask what it was!! I had previous encounters with red romans in Botswana but I never seem to get used to them! I have told SO about these creatures but he has never seen one in real life!! He initially thought it was small but after seeing it he literally jumped out of the tent!!!!
When I saw this red Roman, I realized what I have seen earlier….

Well luckily Tsendze has someone like Roger!! We went to call him and he came and caught it by hand and released it into the bush!! I could not thank him enough!!!!

This got our spirits down a bit!! And helped us make the hard decision! We had both had enough of the heat as we where getting a bit irritated and where not really enjoying ourselves that much any more!! And the red Roman made our minds up, we decided that we will cut our trip short by 3 days and head home in the morning!! Believe me, it was a very hard decision for both of us to make! But I think eventually it was the right one!!

There is still one more episode to my TR, so stay tuned!!

Forgot about this pic:
Image

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18 April - Skukuza
19 April - Lower Sabie
20 April - Croc Bridge


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