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 Post subject: Pumbaa-The Woodland Kingfishers are calling.......Feb 2010
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 7:57 pm 
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and although more than 9.000 km away we can already hear them far, very far away but soon, very soon we will be back to our beloved bush. :dance: :dance: :dance:

With now more than 7 weeks permanent frost and unbelievable masses of snow here in the North especially today it was chaos again it will be such a pleasure to see Kruger in its summer dress again. It will not only be a feast for our eyes to let the white snow behind and to see the green and lush bush again but also for our souls.

As in 2008 the North came a bit too short we decided to stay this year 4 nights in the North, i.e. 2 nights Bateleur (new for us) and 2 nights Punda Maria (Safari tents – also new for us) as the North is so much underrated and has got so beautiful roads to drive. The rest of our stay will nearly be in the same camps as we stayed in 2008.

Well our wish list of what to see is long but we had already so memorable sightings during our previous trips to South Africa that we will this time just enjoy to be there and we take all what we get even the thousands impala will get the same attention as everything else. But would love to take finally the long, long overdue picture of the Crested barbet – I will run around in each camp to maybe find it – if you will see a little woman with a pale winter tan running like mad with a camera in hand through the camps and picnic spots – it’s me! :tongue: 8)

Would also love to see our first Kruger black rhino, serval, porcupine, pangolin or African rock python would also be not that bad. We now the grass will be high and the bush thick but our eyes are peeled and we love surprises. :big_eyes:

Will let you know via Anne-Marie (a big thanks once more to her :clap: :clap: :clap: ) how we are doing and what we saw.

So only a couple of hours left until we will leave hopefully in time – Will then see you again on 23.02.2010. Take care and be ready for a new trip report with hopefully more memorable sightings. :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:


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 Post subject: Re: The Woodland Kingfishers are calling.......
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 3:30 pm 
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Hi there,

just to let to know that we are back safe and sound - after a nearly car break down a couple of 120 km before Johannesburg, a delay in our SAA flight due to technical breakdown - gladly we got another aircraft :shock: and after a strike of the Lufthansa at Frankfurt which already stopped yesterday, however, still many flights have been cancelled but finally we made it back to still snowy Hamburg.

We had another wonderful amazing trip with extreme heat and although the bush was that thick and green we saw a lot and still some animals which we never saw before until unfortunately the rain came at Bateleur with some road closures and other stories to be told but with only very few animals to be seen. :wink: I will also add into this trip report some special and amazing magical moments from Pumbaa - inspired by Shi's thoughts of the day and you will definitely get my favourite magical moments of the day in that trip report - some could be a special sighting or just a sound or a sunset it was just the moment of that day I was very content with myself - I am sure you will enjoy especially the very frist moment was my private favourite :tongue:

Thanks again to Anne-Marie for letting you know what we saw :clap: :clap: :clap: and of course a trip report will come but please allow me a couple of weeks time to sort the pictures out and put everything together.

Thank you


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 Post subject: Re: The Woodland Kingfishers are calling.......
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:05 pm 
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Thanks so much for your best wishes prior to our stay, during our stay and of course thanks for all your lovely welcome back greetings, well I think it is about time now to start....

Friday, 05.02.2010 – A long way from Germany to Berg-en-Dal and a spotted evening guest

It was indeed a very magical moment when we finally entered through Malelane Gate at exactly 15.32 o’clock. The paperwork at the gate although a Friday afternoon was done in nearly no minute and after a loooooong snowy and cold winter in Germany, a 10 hours flight (the plane landed half an hour earlier than expected), passport control was done so quickly as never before and all the other administrative things to do we were finally back at our beloved Kruger which presented us already on the first kilometers very green, lush and dense and needless to say that the first animals we saw were impalas, however, the first bird we heard was – believe me or not – a woodie!!! :big_eyes: Although I was unable to locate same I was already thrilled by this sound.

Anyway these first moments back to paradise spellbound us immediately and only released us again on the day we left via Punda Maria Gate. And it was hot but at that moment we did not know that during the next days the definition “hot” turned into something else……. :tongue: :tongue: :tongue:

We just wanted to drive via the tar road to Berg-en-Dal, check in and drop all things we bought on our way to Kruger into the fridge and put shorts and flip flops on but although it was that hot some animals came already across to welcome us

A beautiful giraffe,

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mackpie shrikes and plenty of rollers crisscrossed our path although too far away or just too fast, zebras and finally also our first elephant. I just love the background on that pictures which is reflecting the landscape of this area in Kruger so nicely

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Mr. ellie was a very gentle one –

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In the beginning I am always a bit skeptical against elephants and my blood pressure is rising and I forget to breath whenever elephants will cross our way as I always forget how huge they are but after a couple of days my fear normally disappear and as long as you give them enough space they do behave normally very well and gladly they did also this time during the whole trip besides Mr. Grumpy at Shibotwana but that’s another story….. :whistle:

Finally we reached camp later than expected but although only a couple of kilometers from gate to camp we just could not get enough. The reception was full and only one lady in charge, a bit poor for a Friday afternoon but she did very well in serving 2 or 3 people at the same time whilst also fighting against a tour operator who complained heavily that his group got bungalows so far away from each other. Everything could be sorted out and we got the key for No. 76. After the first look I was a bit disappointed as it was one of the “old” bungalows but everything was well maintained inside and moreover although very close to the perimeter you could see nothing as the bush was so thick but it had a nice marula tree on the verandah which immediately compensated me for the “no” view.

After some very well needed cloth changes, repacking of all stuff and luggage we decided although meanwhile very tired to do a short evening drive to Matjulu waterhole and back.

Gladly it were not much cars to be found on the roads but also the animals kept very well hidden in the dense bush, however, at Matjulu we found two rhinos lying in the waterhole and cooling themselves down a bit.

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We stayed a bit with them but finally it was time to drive back and across came a zebra herd with a lovely fowl which was in the mood to pose for us.

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Although same could already feed very well on its own, Mom’s milk bar is just priceless. It was such a lovely sighting.

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Back in camp we paid a short visit to the shop just to check what’s new and soon Timon lit the braai and then my magical mystery Kruger moment of that day happened. Originally I was so tired from the flight, the drive, the heat but whilst sitting under the marula tree on the verandah, realizing that we were back on the other side of the globe, hearing the marulas “clonking” down, smelling the braai and the meat on it, looking up in the sky through the marula tree to the always bright African night sky it was suddenly such a peace inside me – It was just like magic from one second to the other I was no longer tired moreover whilst suddenly hearing a soft gentle voice which I never heard before – besides the giggles and loud talking people in the neighboring bungalow which disturbed my magical moment a bit. Out of nowhere – we still could not believe our luck – a nearly tame small spotted genet occurred and we just prayed that it would stay long enough until Timon picked up the camera from inside the bungalow but our concern was groundless it stayed with us a couple of time

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and we immediately fell in love with another beautiful creature with such a cute face which we never saw before :lol:

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After taking these pictures it disappeared and left a very satisfied Timon and Pumbaa on the verandah finishing their braai once more with extreme wide smiles on their faces. The giggles got even louder and moreover a group of children were exploring the walking trail near our bungalow by night with torches but that did not bother us any longer as we were the minute our head touched the pillow already in the deepest dreamland, dreaming from more magical Kruger moments…..

To be continued with lots of grey masses…..


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 Post subject: Re: The Woodland Kingfishers are calling.......
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 9:28 pm 
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Saturday, 06.02.2010 – Berg-en-Dal – Crocodile Bridge –
Lots of Grey masses and colourful smaller creatures


After a very restful, deep and stone like sleep we were immediately up, packing everything together and after the obligatory first coffee we hit again the road into the direction of Matjulu waterhole. But as during nearly each day of this trip we saw although leaving the camp right after opening nothing the first hour even the birds were still deep asleep.

So due to the lack of animals we took a picture of the blooming flowers which could be found allover in this area.

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We reached Matjulu but unfortunately nothing to be seen besides one single foam frog nest hanging in the grass above a huge puddle obviously from a very optimistic frog. Whilst turning into the S120 via Steilberg also the first marabous and rollers could be seen as well as glossy starlings and a red-billed hornbill playing with a leave.

It was still a bit overcast, however, it was obvious that later the day the sun will make its way through the clouds. Here a picture of the rising sun between the hilly area just to show how green it was.

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We paid Ampie se Boorgat a visit but although the S118 was a very scenic road nothing spectacular to be seen – as already said it was a Saturday and the animals wanted to sleep in a bit on weekends…..but this changed as we turned into the S114 on the way to the Biyamiti weir – our obligatory stop on our way to Crocodile Bridge.

Plenty of different huge elephant herds were crossing the road from one side to the other and they had very cute and photogenic youngsters in between which were willing to pose for us for example this little fellow trying to whistle

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or this cute “Dumbo” from another herd showing us its huge ears

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or this elderly sibling doing what elephants do normally best the whole day - feeding

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It was just amazing to stand between them and allowing us to take pictures, hear the branches cracking and the grass ripping off, some trumpets and of course the usual elephant grumble – how we missed that! :thumbs_up:

And not to forget the ever present impala herds and we never got tired in stopping for them and just clicking away – Who can resist such beautiful dark brown eyes???

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Whilst crossing a small stream we found ourselves eye in eye with a lone buffalo who obviously found in the reeds are the best hide in the world – I could have touched his head so close he was

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We could also spot a small terrapin and turning around the next corner our first buffalo herd during this trip crossed the street.

A simultaneously jumping impala and red billed oxpecker

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and another brown eyed beauty

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Meanwhile we nearly reached the Biyamiti weir but the road was blocked by a couple of giraffes of which most very soon crossed the street besides this one

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Only to be followed by a huge zebra herd which were following one after the other on the road like piled on a cord on their way for their morning drink

Shortly before we reached the Biyamiti weir there was on the left hand side a small view point allowing a view into the Biyamiti river – Here we stopped and whilst we were sipping our coffees and just soaking in the moment I soon realized that this was definitely my magical Kruger moment on this day but although this picture cannot reflect neither the whole scenery nor my feelings but maybe with my explanations you can feel what I felt in that very special moment.

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We spotted 5 white rhinos still sleeping close to each other, a huge impala herd came to drink but was very alert as there was a small crocodile swimming in the lake in which also a lone hippo was to be found and it came from time to time with it head out of the water to breath and grunt. In the background another herd of impalas could be spotted and in that single moment the sun came out totally, chased the clouds nearly away and from the back a pair of saddle billed storks flew majestically into this pictures and with all the smells and sounds it was just amazing and we spent quite a while just standing there and enjoying. Some cars also came by and had a short look but soon were leaving again.

Meanwhile one of the rhinos was already wake and stood up and made its way through the high grass – of course in taking some bites here and there – to the small lake. Obviously it felt like we felt as it was just kissing the moment :dance: :dance:

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Soon another hippo appeared and both came closer and closer,

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Having their morning drink and finally

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it was time to lay down again for another morning nap but this time both nearly occupied the whole lake for themselves, needless to say that the hippo was no longer to be seen or heard

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to be continued.....


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 Post subject: Re: The Woodland Kingfishers are calling.......
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 7:19 pm 
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The three other rhinos just came for a short drink and disappeared into the other direction and could hardly be seen any longer in the high grass. We still stayed a couple of time with the cooling down rhinos but meanwhile it was already quite hot in our car in the baking sun and we decided to check what’s to be found closer to the weir. We had luck, very close we found a pair of hamerkops

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as well as the ever present water dikkops there

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We admired the beautiful water lilies and also could spot another dagga boy at bit farer away hidden in the reeds

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but meanwhile a couple of cars already piled up so we let them pass and turned around to just drive back to our look out point only to realize that meanwhile both rhinos had left the water and were having their breakfast whilst grazing and by chance will climb the river bank on the other side of the river so we turned around again and could not resist to stop at the hamerkops again

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And also found some of those colourful smaller creatues :thumbs_up:

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As we took it again slow in crossing the river we nearly reached the look out point on the other side of the river at the same time as “our” two rhinos. Both were totally relaxed and did not bother the amount of cars which were meanwhile stuck at this look out point.

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And once more we just could have touched their heads so close they were.

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Although they mudded themselves already as only rhinos, elephants or warthogs can do we still could realize the amount of flies to be found on their skin.

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What a wonderful start into our holidays we had with this close encounter of the rhinos as we both a great rhino fans and are always amazed whenever we could spot one but to spend such a long time with them and so close was also an additional highlight for us on that day. :dance: :dance: :dance:

Meanwhile it was already over 30 degrees and nearly noon – Where was the time already?? We drove the Biyamiti loop and once more admired the beautiful views but due to the heat not much animals to be seen again. It was our intention to take the S26 to Croc Bridge but unfortunately this road was closed so we had to take the small detour via the H5 and so we discovered the Mpondo dam which we never paid a visit before.

Gladly due to the heat plenty of animals could be spotted near the dam. We saw again elephants, another rhino lying in the water and plenty of impalas as well as water birds and with a nice wind blowing it was really comfortable to just once more sit and look

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Unfortunately as time was ticking down again and we still had a long way to go we had to leave this amazing place – This was definitely not our last visit to this beautiful dam. 8)

At Buffelsdoring we found a couple of barbels in a remaining waterhole close to the road.

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Gladly the rest of the Bume road was not closed so we could have some awesome views into the dry river bed at the end of this road. Originally we wanted to drive via the S108 to Croc Bridge but the low water bridge you had to cross was blocked with an elephant herd so we had no other choice then to turn into the Crocodile river road. And what to say plenty of more elephant bulls crossed our way once more gladly the one of the gentle sort – my blood pressure said thanks again to them and some of them even allowed some very close up pictures.:big_eyes:

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Unfortunately the light was meanwhile far too harsh to take some nice pictures but animals were meanwhile plentiful – impalas, warthogs, baboons in shady trees as well as our first wildebeest herd came across.

It was already far after 2 o’clock until we reached our favourite camp in Kruger. We got the key for No. 10 which had a nice look to the river and to the bush. We loved it right from the beginning and moreover this was the cleanest bungalow we had during our entire stay in Kruger this year. Not that the other bungalows were dirty, no they were all clean and tidy but this one was extremely well maintained even the fridge inside was spotlessly clean. :clap: :clap: :clap:

After all our things were put into the bungalow and we took a small break on our verandah we soon spotted new visitors paying a visit to us. Mom warthog with her 3 piglets were grazing through the camp. Lovely!!!

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And whilst exploring the grass near our bungalow we discovered another colourful locust – Isn’t it amazing that so many alienlike looking creatures are one of the colourful animals on Earth??? :P

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Meanwhile it was also time to go on our afternoon drive and we were already nearly on our way when we spotted this agama close to our bungalow and Timon soon headed with his camera towards this camp critter and snapped away.

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Needless to say that we took the S28 for our afternoon drive – our favourite road in that area, however, due to the heat not much animal to be seen but the atmosphere made it up for it.

Also this little lilac-breasted roller was suffering under the heat.

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This picture is the reason why I love this road so much – Great viewing opportunities, marula trees and lots of general game around.

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Furthermore it was obvious that this area had not that much rain in the last weeks as all the other areas we explored during our trip. We also got confirmation of that when we reached Duke’s waterhole as same was nearly dried out completely only some mud left and that never happened during our previous trips as at least a small water level was normally to be found there.

Unfortunately it was once more time to return and we spotted nearly the same animals again at nearly the same spot whilst driving back via the S28. The kudus were a bit shy on that road this time but finally one was willing to pose

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and we could not drove past this cute wildebeest calf without taking a picture.

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Close to Croc Bridge we came across again a great number of white rhinos but a bit far away for some close ups.

Back in camp I quickly made myself comfortable on the verandah as the half hour between 18.30 (gate closing time in February) and 19.00 o’clock is my so called “holy half hour” and I normally spend this for me holy time always on the verandah of our bungalow as within this half hour you can soak in the last glimpse of daylight until it got totally dark also the noises of the day animals are getting quieter until they died completely and the noises of the night animals take over – It is always amazing to experience that.

Once more we enjoyed the evening on our verandah tremendously, the braai was delicious and the African night sky was shining and sparkling as usual from high above – Heaven – Even the bat in our bungalow did not disturb us this night.

To be continued with another baking hot day…….


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 Post subject: Re: The Woodland Kingfishers are calling.......
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 6:18 pm 
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Sunday, 07.02.2010 – Crocodile Bridge

We survived the night without switching the air condition on and without being disturbed by the bat, moreover same disappeared for the rest of our stay completely from our bungalow. Whilst sitting on our verandah sipping my hot and strong morning coffee, noticing the daylight getting brighter and brighter suddenly my magical Kruger moment overcame me. Whilst sitting there I realized the immense noise the thousands of cycades down in the reeds of the river mixed together with the noise of the flowing Crocodile river and this noise cocktail was blowing high to our bungalow and it was such a pleasure to greet the new day with such a background noise. :dance: :dance: :dance:

For me it is like the last song you hear on the radio before heading off to the office this song will be staying in your ear for the rest of the day and so it was with the noise of the cycades.

Needless to say that we turned into our beloved S28 again, however, before starting to scan the area for game we had to stop and admire a beautiful sunrise on that magic road. Sigh! 8)

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So whilst the sun was rising it was getting quickly bright enough to watch out for game. The same herd of wildebeests we realized the last evening had obviously rested for the night at nearly the same spot and a massive grey rock with an ear turned out to be a still very sleepy white rhino and we could not resist in taking a picture of this inquisitive warthog

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Unfortunately this morning the road was still quiet and not much to be seen besides this elephant bull in the morning sun.

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He was obviously on a mission – on the way to Mac’s waterhole – and did not pay any attentions to us and quickly crossed the street in front of us.

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And finally after so many miserable failures to take a picture of a magpie shrike on that road we succeeded to capture one who was willing to sit quiet long enough and pose for us :thumbs_up:

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A dissimilar couple in a dead tree near Nhlanganzwani came across and Egyptian goose together with a white stork. Although the dam is no longer existing we always drove the short road down there as meanwhile a green plain meadow appeared there and normally is allowing some great viewing opportunities. We stopped there for a couple of minutes but as nothing was to be seen we drove on.

Many of general game was then spotted on the way to Duke’s plenty of zebras and giraffes and a nice European roller

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and a kori bustard a bit far away – Obviously the S137 is a good road for these birds as we spotted them on our various trips to Kruger nearly always at the same spot there.

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Duke’s waterhole was still empty, i.e. no water and no animals around although the day before wild dogs have been seen there.

Then we could not resist in taking a picture of the noisiest bird in Kruger. Early in the morning and late in the afternoon they always make it difficult to drive at a constant speed as they are always running around, crossing the street, to immediately stop right in front of your tire so you have no alternative than to slam on the brakes only to get the loudest screaming in return. What the black-bellied korhaan is for the KTP, the Swaison’s francolin is for Kruger. This chap was shrieking his lung out from up in a tree. :lol:

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We turned into the S130 where soon a plain area with some nice pools appeared where a family of white rhinos was grazing peacefully. Mom and the already nearly fully grown calf where already relatively far away in the shade and dad was grazing on his own in the morning sun.

On the way to the Sabie we came across an elephant herd of which this cute little baby was just too gorgeous for words. He obviously just discovered his small teeth and experienced the function of his tongue

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We could have spent the whole day watching him but unfortunately too soon the whole herd disappeared and as it was already extreme hot and it was a real pleasure for us to take a short break a Lower Sabie from driving not before checking the high water bridge close to camp, however, as the water level of the Sabie was relatively very high nothing to be seen.

After a bit of shopping and a refreshing ice cream we carried on but soon stopped again at sunset dam. Plenty of impala herds were already there, open billed storks, marabous and of course the ever present hippos and crocodiles of all sizes and plenty of other water birds come and go.

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A concern there was again the green algae which was giving this dam an extreme dark green colour. Furthermore I must confess that this is definitely not my favourite dam in Kruger although great when staying at Lower Sabie for the last minutes before gate closing but for me there is by far too much traffic.

The light meanwhile was extreme harsh and it was getting hotter and hotter and so although we drove this tar road nearly up to Nkuhlu besides elephant herds nothing came across. But the elephant herds were plentiful. Some came back from the river where they already quenched their thirst and others where on the way down to the river to cool down so it took us a couple of time as we often had to stop to let them pass and some of them could not resist in showing the piling up cars who is the boss in walking slowly very slowly right on the street only to finally cross the street and disappear invisible between the bushes.

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Meanwhile it was already 35 degrees and nearly all herds which we spotted were already standing close together under trees only flapping their ears in between some small babies were resting completely on the ground obviously suffering extreme under the heat.

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Finally also we had enough from driving and the heat and drove slowly via the tar road back to camp, needless to say that not many animals to be seen in the midday heat besides some giraffes and a couple of baboons.

We enjoyed the hot wind blowing from the river at least a bit of cooling down and observed a troop of vervet monkeys occupying a bench close to bungalow No. 9 whilst feeding on the marulas. I took also a short walk through the camp in search for the elusive crested barbet but unfortunately could not find one although the bird life there was quite good.

Then it was again time for the afternoon drive and once more we turned into the S28 and although it was still 35 degrees more and more animals came across. Zebras, giraffes and kudu were occurring in a great amount and also this lady was willing to let us photograph her.

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A zebra herd in the flickering afternoon heat

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And a mini zebra amongst them

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The minute I already thought our thermometer in the car got stuck on 35 degrees it started to rise up to finally 39 degrees!!! Close to Ntandanyathi hide we noticed already quite a number of cars enwrapped in a cloud of dust........

To be continued……


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 Post subject: Re: The Woodland Kingfishers are calling.......
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:49 pm 
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and once more we had luck in arriving in the minute when a huge buffalo herd was crossing the street and we remarked quite a great number of “very new” ones between then. :dance: :dance:

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Some of the nearly newborn calves had to struggle to follow their mothers quick enough but all of them did quite well.

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It was quite amazing to watch so many of the tiny ones between the huge massive muddy bulls

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Meanwhile once more time was running out and it was time to make our way back to camp and as all buffaloes had disappeared also we drove back closely trying to chase away the amount of flies which are always accompanying such an amount of buffaloes.

We made it nice and slow in time back to camp and came across some nice elephant sightings of which one was not willing to share the water at Mac’s with other animals such as zebras and chased them out of the way.

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At the end of this road plenty of white rhinos in the last glimpse of sunlight could be spotted

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As well as some very muddy ones.

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Another fantastic and especially extreme hot day in paradise ended with another delicious braai and although we were a bit sad to leave our favourite camp we were looking so much forward to our stay at Biyamiti and moreover we will stay in this area of the park a bit longer.

Monday, 08.02.2010 – Crocodile Bridge - Biyamiti

Today it was time again to say good-bye to our beloved Croc Bridge and with heavy hearts with packed everything together and were ready to hit the road again and although Biyamiti is not that far away we only checked in there after 4 o’clock in the afternoon……..but that’s another story and I will start in the beginning. :whistle: :whistle: :whistle:

It was a hard decision for us but surprise we did not take this morning the S28 and instead took the H4-1 with first destination Lower Sabie. First animal out of the gate were the ever present impalas and a hyaena clan in the middle of the road – 2 adults and two nearly grown pups but unfortunately the closer we drove the more they nearly jumped up and one after the other vanished in the thick bush – Only this one allowed us one closer look and a click and then joined the rest of the clan until you could only see the blades of grass moving and nothing else.

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Some white storks in a dead tree (btw the first white storks had meanwhile been seen here in the far North) and some sparrows came across but it was nearly the whole drive until you can see the Sabie river on that road very astonishing quiet this Monday morning. A family of warthogs kept us entertained whilst running from one side of the road to the other testing all the remaining puddles in the search of the favourite spa for this day.

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Close to the high level bridge near Lower Sabie a lone steenbok was lying in the grass and it was quite some act of stretching to take a nearly decent picture of it as the grass was always moving with the wind.

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Only a short loo stop at Lower Sabie and soon we crossed the bridge and were driving on the Old Tshokwane street as this should be a good road for cheetah – Well cheetah did not came across on this road as once more the grass was extremely high but it was nevertheless a great and quiet road to stroll on with some great sightings. In case I should stay again at Lower Sabie this would be my favourite road for a morning or for an afternoon drive.

Very soon we discovered a new species of rhinos – the red rhino!

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Plenty of European as well as lilac breated rollers were flying from one bush to another and we were delighted to detect a pair of amur falcons in a dead tree.

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The whole morning it was still a bit cloudy and from time to time the sun broke through and this happened also when I had my magical Kruger moment during that day. From very far we spotted and huge herd of elephants coming closer and closer, some were ripping off tons of grass and were feeding on the same, the others were breaking branches and it was such a peaceful moment watching them interacting as only elephants do and hear those special elephant noises the grumble from deep inside which makes you shiver all over and with such grumble the sun made its way through the clouds and was shining on them – It was just fantastic and whilst writing this I still can hear the special elephant grumble which is associating goose bumps all over again. :big_eyes:

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Again this picture could not reflect the whole scene entirely. :naughty:

And now the birds reappeared on the floor again plenty of yellow-billed hornbills were running around on the road and many families of helmeted guineafowls in the high grass

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and in the air the rollers were flying from branch to branch and bush to bush. It was just a busy flying and running around everywhere! So it took us endlessly to drive this road but please do not get me wrong this is definitely no complain. Moreover road blocks in form of giraffes made us stop also from time to time and with the typical African savannah in the background a great motive. :thumbs_up:

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Finally all of them made gracefully place for us and we turned into the S29 where the grass was obviously still a little bit longer so it was really impossible to spot smaller animals. At Mafotini waterhole a lone black backed jackal was chilling but unfortunately we scared it up with our presence and it was running the whole remaining road in front of us and was not willing to take refuge in the high grass. We let enough space between the jackal and our car but this little chap was just running and running and it was again one of those days where the thermometer was already at nearly 30 degrees at 9 o’clock but finally it decided to take cover and allowed us only one quick shot.

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It was now again time to stretch the legs again and we decided to take a short break at Mlondozi picnic spot but it took once more quite a while until we reached our destination as three calm elephant bulls kept us busy in watching them and one after the other came to a broken tree and rubbed their heads against same. One of them had got two broken tusks and we first thought it was Duke but after taking a closer look we discovered that it was another ellie but nevertheless a great moment to be so close to such gentle giants.

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Obviously they were also on the way to Mlondozi and the minute we arrived the picnic spot they arrived one after the after and quenched their thirsts sharing the dam with plenty of resting open-billed storks. For a Monday morning the picnic spot was extreme full as obviously all people on the road had the same idea in taking break there. Therefore we only shortly admired the view from high above to the very full dam and head forward again and you never know what’s waiting around the next corner.

Around the first corner we spotted in the far distance again our 3 gentle elephant bulls and we could not resist in taking a picture with the typical African landscape in the background – sigh!

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And also this beautiful carmine bee-eater was more than willing to pose for us

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And suddenly our three grey friends appeared once again and crossed our way again very close :big_eyes:

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Before we finally were back at Lower Sabie a quick shot of a tree with already empty weaver nests flying in the wind

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To be continued with the King of the raptors and spots under a bush…..


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 Post subject: Re: The Woodland Kingfishers are calling.......
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:00 pm 
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As we were meanwhile nearly melted away it was time again for an ice cream with a short break on the viewing deck and after the necessary shopping for two more self catering days at Biyamiti we paid again a short visit at Sunset dam where just an elephant bull was showing the open-billed and marabou storks who was the boss there.

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The hippos were fighting, the grey heron and the yellow-billed storks were fishing and the crocodiles were just floating around.

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Luckily a new bird for us could also be discovered the common sandpiper :dance:

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As we still had a long and hot way to drive up to Biyamiti we left the dam and for the rest of the road until we turned into the S28 from the North again one elephant herd after the other forced us to stop from time to time.

Some nice zebra herds were to be seen in the midday heat with the Lebombo mountains in the background as in the minute we did not expect to see for the rest of our drive anything exciting we stopped for a bird which we already quite often saw but either too far away or on the jump to spread the wings and fly away the second where the camera is ready. Maybe due to the heat this one allowed quite a couple of shots and was watching us suspiciously from a shady spot in a tree in which it was resting. :thumbs_up:

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What a majestic bird the martial eagle is!

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Finally at 12.35 o’clock opposite of Mac’s waterhole two cars were already standing and soon we joined them. First we noticed nothing but soon discovered the reason why such “traffic jam” piled up in the midday heat – spots under a bush!!! :dance:

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Indeed we first could only see spots and were delighted to finally find my favourite animal which is often to be seen on our favourite road in the South. Please do not expect close up pictures or even portraits of the cheetahs as the bush was a bit far away and furthermore it was also not the plain and open Kalahari it was green and bushy Kruger in hot February with plenty of grass and bushes hiding a lot of animals but it were cheetahs in the midday heat and this did not bother us the first minute we saw the first spot any longer.

First we only could discover one cheetah lying on its own in nearly the baking sun but it was obvious that there were more or even other animals under the bush. It was meowing from time to time and did the specific cheetah voice a sort of bird chirping or cheeping and obviously got a reply. How I love that cheetah chirping. :lol:

Some time he came up, cheeped and laid down again invisible for us but obviously he got bored and started the whole procedure again and again and finally he – we finally detected that it was a he – succeeded that the whole bunch of spots flushed from under the bush and presented us their beautiful and very sportive elegant bodies.

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and we could count four nearly fully grown very healthy looking cheetahs. :dance:

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Unbelievable but likely that there is also in the hot midday heat on a hot summer’s day something very interesting to be seen on the roads so never give up one day the luck will be on your side.

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Some cars were coming and going but five cars were definitely the highest number we could count on that sighting. One couple even asked: “Where are the leopards?” Needless to say that we explained to them that we were watching cheetahs and no leopards to be seen but they were also delighted to see cheetahs.

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Obviously the cheetahs must have a kill lying close to them or even under the bush where they were now resting again as more and more vultures circled high, very high in the sky, came closer and closer and landed either on the ground or on dead trees – why always on dead trees?? – close to the cheetahs and their number grow from minute to minute.

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The three cheetahs disappeared again invisible in the bush and left the one male again behind. He wanted also desperately to join them but they did not let him – We felt a bit sorry for him but at least he got now a spot in the shade, kneaded as also our cats at home do and made himself comfortable again.

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To be continued with more spots and more grey masses in black and white……


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 Post subject: Re: The Woodland Kingfishers are calling.......
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 12:19 am 
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Still a couple of spot pictures to share

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After a couple of minutes he was getting restless again and soon chased one of his family members up again.

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Unfortunately once more time was not in our favour and it was time for us (14.24 o’clock) to leave and with heavy hearts we waved a final bye-bye to my beloved cheetahs and took as farewell a scenery picture where the whole sighting took place – as you can see –

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the cheetahs were very well hidden and pictures were definitely not easy to take but we enjoyed this sighting tremendously and I could have spent the whole remaining afternoon as well as the night with them but nature was meanwhile calling also. BTW the cheetahs were under the thick green bush on the right side of this picture! :hmz:

The rest of the S28 as well as the S25 were relatively quiet, the heat meanwhile unbearable and also a Wahlberg’s eagle was suffering under the heat with tongue out and only the giraffes, warthogs, impalas and vervet monkeys were active in feeding or mud bathing and chilling in a tree.

It was already close to 4 o’clock when we finally reached Biyamiti. We were awarded with bungalow No. 4 and I am sure it was no better place to spend the rest of the remaining afternoon – we skipped the afternoon drive – than on our verandah and to watch the birds after we have refilled the bird bath, got visited by a Swainson’s francolin mom with two nearly grown chicks and a lovely tree squirrel running around and to just recapitulate our sightings of this day. After another extreme delicious braai we just felt on the beds and were already dreaming from the next day. :thumbs_up:

Tuesday, 09.02.2010 – Biyamiti

After a quite relaxing night without air condition :clap: – we always slept very well without one – and a refreshing early morning with only 18 degrees we were on our way again. This time we decided to head in the Southern direction towards the S25. And I am sure all the ones who ever stayed at Biyamiti know that when driving Southwards you will always face one of the most breathtaking sunrises in Kruger at least in February and so this was this very early morning.

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It was still a bit misty and although elementary this was on that day my very special magical Kruger moment not knowing what the day might bring but on that very moment I felt such a peace inside me and everything was more than perfect and I was happy to be alive and to be at least for a short time a wanderer on this amazing Mother Earth. – I already had written this when one of Shi’s amazing Thoughts for the day grabbed my attention – I think this one fits also more than perfectly and is hitting the nail on the head:”I was seeing what Adam had seen on the morning of his creation - the miracle, moment by moment, of naked existence.” Aldous Huxley 8)

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I was just a having a look for the family of ground hornbills which is always to be spotted in that area and just when this thought rushed through my head I saw the very last one of them which soon disappeared.

At the end of this road we turned right and originally wanted to drive via the Voortrekker road to Pretoriuskop and then back via the H1-1 but this should not happen this day but is already noted for our next Kruger trip as this area is still a huge black hole for us.

The animals kept very well hidden this morning also in view of the fact that this road is very thick and bushy in summer month but we drove each and every of the possible drivable loops leading to the strongly flowing Crocodile River.

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This one has been taken against the meanwhile powerful upcoming sun.

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And finally a huge herd of impalas of all sizes in the morning sun and who can resist in taking pictures of these brown-eyed beauties

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and some of them really enjoyed this beautiful morning as much as we did.

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More birds came across and in between we were able to take a nice shot of a Wahlberg’s eagle

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as well as of a White-backed vulture both still resting on trees and more than willing to pose for us.

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It was still very quiet when we turned into the Mlambane road where we soon stopped at one awesome view point into the dry river bed, enjoying our coffee and could admire a herd of elephants grazing peacefully on the other side of the river and just breath the moment. A couple of JJ’s arrived but behaved very well and kept quiet. :clap: :clap:

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After half an hour we left this amazing spot and drove into the direction of Gardenia hide, on half way a huge white rhino bull crossed our way but ignored us totally. He went determined into one direction, not looking right and left and was obviously on a mission. Nature was urgently calling and the rhino midden right in front of our car. After mission was completed he looked much more relieved. :lol:

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Although we already spotted so many rhinos during our various trips as well as many more rhino middens we never experienced such a “mission” – What a lovely sighting it was!

to be continued with “the” bum shot, a stampede and black masses...........


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 Post subject: Re: The Woodland Kingfishers are calling.......
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 11:23 pm 
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It is Marathon weekend here and as I do not know when I will find any time later to post I decided to post right now. :lol:


At Gardenia hide we stretched our legs a bit and we were able to spot water dikkops and again a common sandpiper – after the ban was broken – a couple of blacksmiths plovers and plenty of terrapins were running around in the remaining mud and searching for a nice bite. Furthermore a cardinal woodpecker on a nearby tree paid a visit as well as a flock of black storks in a tree. After we left the hide after quite a while – sorry no pictures the light was bad and everything a bit too far away – a father with son arrived and asked us whether we saw something interesting. Although we told them that there were “only” birds to be seen they decided to take a look by themselves.

The rest of the morning was quiet until we reached the tar road H3. With a glimpse of my eye I spotted a movement in the thick bushes and finally a massive white rhino mom with her nearly fully grown calf popped out of the bushes and crossed the road right in front of our car.

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What an amazing amount of beautiful grey masses!

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After they reached the other side of the road they started grazing and there it was the perfect bum shot. Who can resist such a beautiful “Lady Bump”?

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Both strolled deeper and deeper into the bush until they were no longer visible only followed by the thousands of flies.

Another first and highlight for us was the visit we thereafter paid at Renosterpan. A huge buffalo herd had just arrived and occupied most of the waterhole and chased a lone rhino out of the water which obviously had just took a nice nap with the whole head in the mud.

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As still more and more buffaloes arrived we stopped and took another nice break in the meanwhile baking hot sun again.

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All of the buffaloes either small or huge arrived, quenched their thirst, and cooled down.

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Some stayed a bit longer in the water and others took only a quick bath. It was a coming and going with plenty of dust and flies, meowing here and there and splashing as well as wallowing high and low. In short words – A real stampede!!! It was obvious that they all had a great time and so we did!

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Moreover to the fact that just another wish came true as we never saw such close a huge buffalo herd mud bathing.

More too soon for us this amazing moment was over and the pan deserted more and more until nothing to be seen any longer. Whilst driving back the long sand road until we reached the tar road we still could spot from time to time several buffaloes of this immense herd between the thick vegetation.

And then only a couple of kilometres further down this tar road very close to Afsaal a massive traffic jam already had been built up with also a couple of JJ’s in between – There was obviously something interesting to be seen and so it was and now Timon & Pumbaa proudly present their very first KNP black rhinos! :P

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We already saw on 4 other occasions black rhinos, however, not up to that day in Kruger and so this animal was also high on our Kruger animal wish list and gladly today we could make another tick on that list.

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Totally there were three blackies whereof according to the size I would assume that the most sleepy one was the male – he slept nearly the whole sighting – and the two other were mom and a nearly already grown calf.

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In the beginning they permanently stayed close together under the small bush but finally one of the females laid down to join SO in taking still a nice nap and the other started to entertained us with her cute lips.

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She checked the other two rhinos but they were still much too sleepy for a nice breakfast.

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However, finally mom got up too and they both started feeding on the small bushes which were growing all over between the high grass.

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Side by side they had a nice bite

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and obviously this bite tasted a bit too sour

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but finally this bite was the right one

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The “calf” was still feeding on and on when finally mom pricked her horn into the side of her SO and in no minute he was up – So now you know who is wearing the breeches in the black rhino family! :tongue:

It was so much fun for us to watch the “little one” feeding and chewing with her beautiful pink lips

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and finally the pink tongue was visible too.

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First this amazing bum shot from “Miss Bum” and now those beautiful lips from “Miss Lips”. Kruger is not only an oasis for various animals but also for many beautiful “Misses” driving the male rhinos either black or white totally crazy. 8)

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You can read so much information about the significant differences between black and white rhino but when you see one you are always thinking: “Was it the white one where the calf is walking in front of its mom or was it the black where the calf is following the mother or was it the other way round?”.The easiest way for me and I presently always got right in identifying a black rhino in the distance is that black rhinos do not have any double chin – This works for me pretty good. :dance:

Meanwhile all three were up and walked deeper and deeper into the more and more thicker bush and were no longer invisible. What a magnificent sighting and morning for us so far.

To be continued......


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 Post subject: Re: The Woodland Kingfishers are calling.......
Unread postPosted: Sat May 01, 2010 2:21 pm 
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Only a couple of meters further down the road a white rhino grazed peacefully nearly side by side with the black ones. Grey masses on and on!

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A glossy starting was searching for the best praline between the immense rhino middens to be found on this road. Meanwhile it was also close to noon, nature was also urgently calling and it was nice to stretch the legs a bit at Afsaal and the ice cream was well earned. Unfortunately too late we were already on the road again I remembered that there is often spotted the famous Scops owl there but it is good to have another reason to come back. :thumbs_up:

The rest of our late morning and meanwhile midday drive was quiet. We drove still on up to the S112 and then via the S114 and the Biyamiti loop back to camp. Only at Renosterkoppies we were able to locate some more animals although it was again filled with cars there. Soon we realized a very well hidden warthog very close to our car.

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Impala and zebra herds came by and took a quencher and off they were but before they went off they suspiciously and very carefully watched a bush very far in the distance. Finally we also observed the bush more carefully and across came our first lion during this trip – although much too far away for a descent picture. This was obviously the reason why at that time of the day so many cars were on this spot. 8)

We were sure that this will not be the last lion which will show its presence during this trip we drove on via the Biyamiti loop where a couple of giraffes were walking around, some buffaloes occupied a remaining puddle in the Biyamiti river and a vulture congress took place.

Finally we reached again the Biyamiti weir in the midday heat, however, were able to face extremely close a blacksmith plover with its red brown eyes,

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a three-banded plover with a red ring around the eyes,

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and the ever present water dikkops with their reptile eyes.

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A quick stop at the view point where we had just a couple of days ago one of our magical Kruger moments but with the light coming from another direction everything was looking so different we drove on and also paid a short visit at the amazing view point into the Biyamiti river close to the camp and finally at 2 o’clock we were back in camp. We just relaxed which was desperately needed after the whole day in the car, took a quick nap and around 4 o’clock we were on the road again. Full of beans we decided to give the S25 another chance. Nearly at the end of the private road there is on the left hand side a nice and huge mud bath and a herd of elephants were about to have a nice time the minute we arrived there. Three different sizes of elephants were around. :dance:

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It was not much water left but just pure mud – a nice mud spa just for ellies.

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Sigh – Wellness at its best!!!

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Two of the smaller ones could not get enough and stayed until the other herd was no longer visible. You could just feel the pure joy they had.

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Finally all elephants had disappeared silently and we reached the low water bridge from where we discovered a juvenile martial eagle on the ground.

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During the whole drive further down the road masses of European bee eaters escorted us the whole time

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and it was obvious that they were also suffering under the heat.

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We paid a visit to a couple of view points on the S26 but it was extreme quiet and more too soon it was again time to turn around as once more the clock was ticking. We found this yellow-billed hornbill in the evening sun

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and a herd of impalas and waterbucks came across where the male waterbucks were in the middle of a playful fight, however, our viewing position was not that good and it was always something in the way.

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Finally after a long day in the car Timon lit the braai and we strolled through camp to the hide which was full of people – the whole camp must have had the same idea – but it was nice to watch from there the baboons coming and climbing their sleeping tree which they shared with an African fish eagle and finally also an elephant bull enjoyed the evening with peacefully grazed.

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Here a view from No. 4 – Just a green heaven!

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And with that view we came to the conclusion whilst relishing our evening braai with a nice dry white wine that this two nights stay at Biyamiti was far too short and whenever back one more night there is a must. Moreover also under the aspect that they did some renovations compared to our stay here two years ago. In our bungalow for example we found a brand new table and two new sleeping sofas and in the whole camp meanwhile the dust bins had been made monkey proof.

Although it was still extremely hot when we fell into our beds we slept like babies.

To be continued with our first yellow ribbon sighting during this trip.....


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 Post subject: Re: The Woodland Kingfishers are calling.......
Unread postPosted: Sat May 08, 2010 3:24 pm 
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Wednesday, 10.02.2010 – Biyamiti – Skukuza

With very heavy hearts we got up as this means to say good-bye to our beloved Biyamiti. Although we stayed there this year only for the second time our love for this camp grow immensely the longer we stay there, not only because of the camp itself but also because of the normally quiet roads around. Whilst driving to the gate a bushbuck mom with her youngster was blocking the small road, however, disappeared soon in the thick grass. So whenever staying at Biyamiti watch out for them. :thumbs_up:

We decided to drive the S25 and then “our” magic road, the S28 for a final time although we heard very heavy and persistent – how we missed that 8) - lion roaring from the other direction we headed forward into the mentioned direction.

It was one of the quiet mornings with neither less traffic and nor even animals. We were already on the S25 before the sun came up until that it was once more very overcast and humid.

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Only a couple of birds such as an unidentified raptor, open-billed storks in a tree as well as a Burchell’s coucal enjoyed with us their attendance.

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However, another familiar face appeared on his bicycle on the way to work, it was Daniel. It was great to say again “hello” and chat again a bit to one of those famous Kruger “relicts”.

Soon we reached again Croc Bridge camp for a short loo break but before we even could enter we had been stopped by a police stop-and-search operation. We left again relatively soon the camp and were on our way again. Another two “red rhinos” could be admired

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and a huge herd of wildebeests of which one was in the middle of its breakfast whilst we came with the big lens.

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We turned into our beloved S28 again and as you can well imagine we drove this road extremely slow to soak in all the edges of the road, the smells of each bush, grass and flowers and as well as the animal smells – This was then also my magical Kruger moment for this day to be able to drive one final time this amazing road. I am quite sure that meanwhile I knew this road by heart but I would never get bored to drive this road again and again. As also during our couple of Kruger visits although always visiting in February the landscape can differ immensely and that is also one of those thrilling secrets of which we already think shortly before leaving “How will look that road this year and what will we see there. Did you remember.the rhino bull in the middle of the road or....”.

It was still cloudy and quiet, however, a lovely kudu female was the in the mood for playing hide and seek and as you can see the bush was extreme thick this year although the S28 was this year one of those less favoured rain areas.

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and she cannot only play hide and seek she even knew the owl trick with the flexible head.

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Meanwhile the sun came out more and more and with the sun the temperature began to rise again drastically. Nearly in the middle of our magic road we met our first yellow ribbon during this trip – Giraffe & SO :dance: :dance: :dance: – We stopped and chatted a while although the while was far too short. As they had already reached nearly the end of their trip we stood still in the beginning of ours and therefore for us it was thrilling to hear what they already experienced. They told us about a lion sighting consisting of 3 males further down on the road, however, as still a close lion sighting was missing during our trip we had no hurry in driving forward and after saying bye-bye to them we also paid a visit to the Nhlanganzwani “dam” at least to the remains of this dam. Then we decided against a possible lion sighting and turned into the S137 for a final good-bye at Duke’s waterhole – the lions must have been spotted near the Ntandanyathi hide, however, we were not the mood for a race in the middle of a traffic jam.

However, also this road was quiet this morning but we never complained as we enjoyed the silence tremendously and the helmeted guineafowls running around like mad as well as a gang of muddy warthogs kept us entertained as well as the always present zebras in that area of the park for example this mom and foal were so nicely posing for us – we once more could not resist

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Further down in a “dead” tree we spotted a resting lapped-faced vultures and another born poser kept Timon occupied in taking pictures.

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Even a JJ stopped and allowed the truck load to take pictures and even gave some information about this bird to the people. Indeed not the beautiful bird on Earth but a member of the “Big 6” birds in Kruger and in the ecosystem a very important one. Look at the small ear! :lol:

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After enough pictures and posing we stopped again on the other side of the road as a bush was full of these starlings always in the move and flying high and low.

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The temperature meanwhile reached again 30 degrees and it was getting hotter and hotter. On the S130 close to a remaining mud bath two more white rhinos could be spotted. On the tar road again one elephant herd after the other appeared and a lone kudu female with a lovely posing youngster with already quite impressive ears came across.

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Soon after that we made once more a short break at Lower Sabie and enjoyed with a coffee the view from the deck. A final short visit to Sunset dam took place where the usual suspects such as hippos, crocodiles, marabous, impalas could be discovered. We decided right from the beginning in driving again the S128 and then the S30 and not the tar road to Skukuza. A final crossing of the high water bridge brought us a Goliath heron although not in the best light for a picture but always an impressive bird and more hippos grunting high and low – also a sound which I desperately miss.

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The drought animalwise from the morning continued the whole drive on these roads only nearly at the end of the S30 where the road is following parallel to the Sabie river with some nice view points we were able to spot animal activity, for example the club of 3 dagga boys. One of them was lying in the middle of the water on the side with nearly the head under water we already though it was dead but then he started to move his head. :thumbs_up:

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If he was a cat I was confident that he would have purred. The two others were lying on the other side of this small branch of the Sabie each on his own place but anyhow together.

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Also for us this was a nice shady spot under a huge tree with a nice wind blowing where we could rest a bit and have a nice snack. Whilst munching our rusks I realized a movement from the other side in a crotch – a love squirrel was just doing the same as I!

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So it is always wise to not look only in one direction but also into the other. After a quite nice break with reloading our batteries we hit the road again only to stop again at the next view point as there a couple of saddle billed storks was foraging. Timon was once more delighted not only rhinos but also this bird is a favourite of him. The female just caught an insect

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whereas the male was still wading and searching for a yummy bite.

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For us this spot was not that lovely as the previous one as there was not a single tree and we were meanwhile again start to bake in the car. Furthermore it was very difficult to capture the storks as they were relatively far away and sometimes hidden behind the reeds in the water and sometimes up and down on a rocky area. With a final comical pose we said bye-bye

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another really lovely sighting and again a member of the “Big 6”. Soon we reached the high water bridge and whilst crossing same we enjoyed the sound of the flowing water and the low grumble of elephants which were having again a nice bath in the river and even out of the twinkle of our eyes we spotted a fish eagle which just caught a nice lunch on form of a fish.

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Obviously the cars on the bridge disturbed it as it was soon flying away only to rest on a nearby tree and enjoyed his yummy lunch.

Checking in a Skukuza was done always smooth and fast and we even got the requested cottage – the lion cottage, a riverside bungalow in which we already stayed two years ago – A special thanks here to Elvira Fredricks of the Skukuza reception staff who arranged this for us. Soon we moved in, made us comfortable on the veranda and let our thoughts flow together with the Sabie river. Although it was again terribly hot we took a short walk around the camp which ended in the shop and afterwards with a nice ice cream.

to be continued with the cats of all cat and a pack of painted something or just follow the impalas intensive looks........


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Unread postPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 4:02 pm 
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At 4 o’clock, our normal time to start our afternoon drive, we headed forward again. We decided to drive via the low water bridge and then to return via the high water bridge to the camp normally a very rewarding drive around Skukuza. However, before we even reached the low water bridge we were caught in a traffic jam which was caused by three majestic kudu bulls, however, the bush was too thick and too dark there for some nice pictures. :cry:

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A bit further down a lovely horde of vervet monkeys blocked the whole road and made us stop again amongst them this youngster was just too cute for words.

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The whole drive further was indeed not that successful and soon and far too early we reached the same spot where we earlier met the kudu bulls. As we had still enough time we decided to once more cross the two low water bridges and then made it back smoothly. We were just standing on the low water bridge crossing the Sand river when suddenly a feline like silhouette appeared with a white tip of tail :shock: – the unmistakable shadow of a leopard which walked as a matter of course and self confident to the end of the bridge and just sat down.

Unfortunately it was showing us the back but the back from a leopard is better than nothing from a leopard – This was only a safety picture as we did not have the intention to drive too far and chase it away. Gladly for us we were still the only car there.

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We took the chance and drove a bit closer, however, the leopard walked straight to a tree and started to sharpen extensively its claws fortunately in a tree right behind our car but unfortunately a very foliate tree, however, some nice close up shots could be taken

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although the majority of the pictures came out blurred. :wall:

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From one minute to the other and out of nowhere plenty of cars appeared and soon one of these terrible traffic jams build up. Needless to say that the leopard disappeared in the thick bush, however, walked a bit parallel to the road and so we were able to spot it from time to time until it was no longer visible.

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All in all a quiet day, however, with some nice sightings and the leopard as cream on the top. After I finished my holy half an hour on our veranda we decided to visit the restaurant which turned out to be a nice experience. We did not take the buffet dinner but the a la carte menu and were surprised by the quality and quantity of food. :clap: :clap: :clap: With full tummies we felt once more totally satisfied into our beds.

Thursday, 11.02 2010 - Skukuza

After a wonderful sleep we woke up as usual and as there was no need to pack the car today we had plenty of time to enjoy the morning on our veranda and sipping our coffees whilst watching the morning break – Sigh – I would give a lot to be there right now. 8)

We decided today to drive once more via the two low water bridges, then drive the as it is called by us magical circle around Skukuza and then South on the H4-1 and via the S21 and S114 back to Skukuza. So with this plan we hit the road with full anticipation of what this day might bring us. At exactly 5.45 o’clock the sky looked as if there was a fire burning but is was the sun rising up on an overcast and cloudy day.

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The temperature was in the low twenties but the humidity must be near 100 %. Until we reached the Marula loop we had seen nearly nothing as so often during this trip – obviously Kruger’s animal’s are late raisers. Well, the only animal which was definitely not a late riser were the elephants as nearly the whole Marula loop was full with them. Although as always soundless on their feet the only voice you could hear from them was branch cracking, the low grumble and the smell. Only from time to time you could spot a grey mass between the thick vegetation. But suddenly one of them came straight forward to us – Gulp! :big_eyes:

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But gladly it was one of the gentle giant which always is looking more scary than they are. He crossed the street right in front of our car and was no longer visible. Then again nothing until a couple of k’s before the high water bridge on the H12. Timon was just observing some impalas which barked frantically and stared imperturbable into one direction and so he did and with that out of his mouth slipped two words: “Wild dogs!”. That was the second where my magical Kruger moment of that day took place and 45 minutes later and 279 pictures richer we still soared on cloud No. 9 through the park. :dance: :dance: :dance:

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They were still nearly invisible a bit far away in the thick bush but from time to time they were visible.

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Obviously they just had finished on a kill as their tummies looked extremely well fed although normally they always have a slim silhouette due to the reason that they are always on the run. They moved parallel to the street closer to the high water bridge and were still good visible, however, the light was still by far too dark to take some decent pictures and whenever they moved the pictures came out unfortunately nearly always blurred. Gladly from time to time they stood still, scanned the area and located where the rest of the pack was and walked on. In total we could count 4 of them but a pack which is only consisting of 4?

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The impalas meanwhile disappeared totally only from time to time you only could hear their barks.

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Unfortunately suddenly also the dogs were no longer visible and with that another car reached us from the back and asked at what we were looking. After we told them of the just missed wild dogs they looked at us as if we were mad and did not believe a single word, however, suddenly the wild dogs popped out of the bush and walked or I should say jump-run as usual for wild dogs on the tar road. In no minute we and the other car followed them only to get slight views at them always from the back.

Meanwhile the dogs with us in tow reached the high water bridge and on the bridge a couple of cars were already driving into their direction so they changed immediately the direction and made their way down to the Sabie and unfortunately for us they were now extreme far away and always very well hidden and suddenly nowhere to be seen

Timon had the idea to drive a short part into the S30 as they might come out somewhere on that road again. So we drove until the spot where we yesterday were able to spot the saddle billed storks but still no wild dogs and it looked as if we lost track of them. Very frustrated in not getting any closer pictures of them, however, still lucky to at least having had the honour of spending a short while with them we turned around. Anyhow at the end of the S30 there was already a more than nice surprise awaiting us.

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The 4 painted dogs rested on the street already creating a small traffic jam and lucky for us we were up to that minute the only car which came from the other side. We drove as far as we thought we could dare to not flush them away and as the cameras were still ready in our hands we just snapped away.

To be continued with some lovely painted portraits......


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 Post subject: Re: The Woodland Kingfishers are calling.......
Unread postPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 7:15 pm 
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This is dedicated to all dogs in the world either living in a heart of a family of humans or either fighting to suvive in the wild and of course to all dog fans :thumbs_up:

Gladly they stayed as where they are and allowed us to abuse them as models.

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Unfortunately the light was still not that good as the sun disappeared and clouds over clouds came up.

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Three of them remained on the road but one disappeared behind a bush – Obviously a secret dog toilet, however, after everything finished successfully the dog was visible again. :tongue:

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First we only took pictures from the dog which was lying left from us but meanwhile another one offered also its willingness to be captured and settled down right from us.

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So I changed always the position from left to right with my camera in the hands in form of doing wrenches and gymnastics on the backseat and the same Timon did in front. Well, nobody can say that we suffered under lack of movements whilst driving in a car through the park. :lol:

Look at the several cuts in the ear of this doggie, whereas the teeth would make a dentist losing its job!

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Timon had the bigger lens on for taking close ups whilst I was able to switch from 100 – 400 which I prefer far more so I always can change from the whole area to only a portrait.

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And even dogs on the run do need some time to take a quick nap and rest.

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Not only lions can look sheepish and sleepy but dogs too and even from time to time the eyes began to get heavier and heavier.

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Finally another car approached from the back and immediately got the dog’s attentions with it’s wide spread ears.

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Each of the dogs although they looked as if they were sleeping, were always alert and from the twinkle of their eyes and with the jiggle of their ears they always watched the other dogs of the pack attentively as well as all the cars and passengers inside them.

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To watch this behaviour and to be in between them was so amazing and it was quite awesome that they were so relaxed between all the cars coming and going. After reading and watching at the pictures in the gallery of shame a word from me to the cars that shared this sighting with us – all of them behaved extreme well, they stayed quiet and nobody sat on the window frame, nobody left the car and even no view blocking took place. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!!! :clap: :clap: :clap:

One of the dogs was lying nearly the whole time a bit farer and elevated from the road close to a bush and had the whole pack under its view – This was obviously the boss!

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Another dog began to be a bit agitated and inspected with a personal and closer view what the other members of the pack were doing.

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We had a good closer view to their colours and discovered the beautiful colouration of their coats which was unique. Some had also a bit white in between and not only on the tip of their tails whereas others where only light, dark brown or black. I must confess that wild dogs where indeed not my favourite animal but the more we saw and the more of their behaviour we could watch in the wild I got more and more hooked of them – What fascinating animals they are!!! :dance: :dance: :dance:

Interesting perspective of this picture!

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Meanwhile it got brighter and brighter but the sun was still missing.

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Fortunately the dogs after inspection took place and the change of position was successfully done laid down again and allowed us once more even some closer snaps.

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They even can make comical faces!!!

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This one was always keen to have a look at what the boss said

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But as you can see the “boss” was doing nothing but sleeping. Do not overlook the huge belly and the bloody face. Breakfast obviously already took place earlier!

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Cameras had been swung from right to left and from left to right without intermission whereas our biceps and triceps start to grow more and more under the heavy weight.

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To be continued.....


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 Post subject: Re: The Woodland Kingfishers are calling.......
Unread postPosted: Sat May 29, 2010 8:20 pm 
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More cars approached also from the back always watchful eyed from the boss.

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Another one of the doggies also used the hidden loo, kept nearly the whole time out of sight but finally was up to check what the others were doing – Is it already time to go on the run again???

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The boss allowed us another great shot. With a full belly life is something different it can be sooooooo splendid and marvellous!

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and finally he was up and called the whole back together.

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Finally I was able to at least take one picture of the whole pack together.

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But one of them held the whole pack up as there had still some cleaning to be done

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and a yawning there but then it was ready to follow the others but wait the toilet also had to be used

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But finally all of them one after the other left into the thick bush and the whole bunch of cars started to follow them. They allowed us to share 45 minutes with them and as we had the pictures we wanted who can ask for more we decided to stick to our previous plan and to drive South and to stop first at Nkuhlu as also for us nature was calling heavily. The one or two cars we met either on the bridge or a bit further down South we waved of course down and informed them about the wild dogs and wished them good luck in maybe finding them. What another brilliant and thrilling experience we just were able to undergo and with still trembling hands and still far too high adrenaline level we hit the road further. :dance:

Our day was already made that early with that wonderful sighting of the wild dogs and after only a short break at Nkuhlu – it was still far too early – for anything else than coffee we drove on again. A lovely bushbuck lady could be spotted between the extreme dense bushes. It looks as if she was twinkling with her eye but after a closer look and on the following pictures we took it looks as if her eye was inflamed. :cry:

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A lone elephant turned up which came slowly closer and closer and finally uuupps far too close for either the camera and of course for me. A quick picture and soon we headed forward again.

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All in all it was extreme quiet this morning. No cars came into sight – most of them obviously got stuck in the wild dog sighting – but we just enjoyed it to be all alone on the road. Plenty of vultures could be detected and a lovely gang of warthogs crossed the street, however, the grass on the other side of the road was far too high for some decent pictures.

Suddenly grey rocks on the road appeared – a couple of white rhinos – a male and a female – they grazed peacefully on the side of the road, however, the female was badly limping on the right hint leg. Timon was already felt sorry for her. :cry: She obviously had strained her ankle. We hold thumbs for her for a speedy recovery. :thumbs_up:

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Her injury was obviously the reason why they were grazing that close to the road. Anyway we once more felt privileged to be that close to such amazing gentle grey masses.

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After we took enough portraits we turned into the S21 only to stop soon again as nearly at the beginning of that road on the left hand side a huge mud bath with still an impressive amount of water in it attracted hundreds of impalas either drinking

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or stalking with their long antelope legs in the mud.

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We stayed quite a while with them. Meanwhile the sun came out and suddenly it was already in the middle of 30 degrees and still rising and with the heat nearly all animals kept hidden. Besides a leopard tortoise and a beautiful juvenile bateleur which in a tree posed like a champion the whole road back to Skukuza was quiet. However, the juvenile bateleur was so lovely and it was so much fun to photograph same as it was just sitting there and threw us glances with its amazing amber eyes.

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The bill already started to change its colour and isn’t it incredible that it will take several years until this brown “inconsiderable” feathered juvenile bird will look like a colour- and powerful bateleur. :dance:

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It even allowed us to drive right under the tree it was sitting and let us take shot after shot. Another wonderful experience on this already breathtaking day.

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Around noon we were back at Skukuza and just sat on our verandah and enjoyed the view and a nice lunch and moreover some postcards for family and friends needed also some attention. Meanwhile also our legs needed some stretching too and although it was blaring hot we decided to take a walk to the shop as we need to buy some meat and fresh fruits and vegetables for our stay at Talamati as the fresh food we bought before we entered the park had meanwhile be eaten up. With an ice cream in hand – Micetta, the first for this day :tongue: – we paid the fruit bats a visit and with camera and ice cream in hand Timon took picture after picture and proofed with that that not only angels are multitasking. :clap: :clap: :clap:

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Back at our cottage we could not but just sat and admired the beautiful view from the Lion cottage and although heavy construction was going on in the camp it was extreme quiet – Heaven!

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To be continued.......


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