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 Post subject: My first trip report-Jonathan D
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:05 pm 
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Hi.
Were off to Kruger at the end of august.
My first trip report to come. :D :D :D :D

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 Post subject: Re: My first trip report.
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:38 pm 
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Hey all.
We leaving on sat the 28th August From Joburg.
One of my favorite things about driving from joburg before light comes is that we get such an awesome sunrise, something i rarely get time to do.
We going to try and be at the gates by about 9ish but every time we go we end up getting there at about 11 so this is the trip we will make it for once.
Anyway, we planning on entering at Malelane and will head straight up to Skukuza(slowly of cause). We thought about going through Kruger Gate But would rather do all the driving in the park instead of driving on the boundrys.
We will be camping at Skukuza and our whole holiday will be spent here(7 Nights).
Really looking forward to a relaxing holiday(although we all know that is can be tiring driving around all day. But i wouldnt rather be anywhere else.)
Only 33 more sleeps to go.
Hope to see alot of yellow ribbons :D :D :D :D :D :D

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 Post subject: Re: My first trip report.
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 7:58 pm 
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salamanda wrote:
Have a good time JD. Look forward to your TR. Anything you are especially hoping to see?

Earlier this year we did not see any great cats, or any carnivores for that matter but we really loved it cause we saw some rare stuff which we havn't seen before. Honey badger, porcupine, cape clawless otter etc.
But this time i would really love to see wild dog and cheetah. iv been to the park so many times but these two have eluded us on all our travels.
We always go to the park and dont say what we wanna see(Murphys law)
But this time we have decided that Murphy can go jump. and we will be voicing what we wanna see. maybe this time it will work.

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 Post subject: Re: My first trip report.
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 8:02 pm 
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Hi Everyone.
Finally I’m getting a chance to put my trip report in. Things are just really crazy but anyway. Here goes.
Day 1
Wow, what a day.
All packed and ready to go in the blue gevaar!!!
We set off from JHB at 4:15.
Just as our car hit 300000KM on the clock the sun Peeped over the horizon signalling the start to our Kruger holiday once again. Eventually after 2 month of waiting, our time of relaxation in our favourite place in the world has begun.
After 400KM we arrived at Malelane Gate (I must say that the new highway that bypasses Nelspruit is great, and makes the journey a little shorter) and were soon in spotting mode.
Our first animal we saw was one of the big 5 again. There were 3 Buffalo in the distance and my SO won our little competition of who can see one of the big 5 first. The prize happens to be a coke but is fun anyway. We moved off and amazing saw an Elephant down the road and further on a Rhino. They were both quite far off so we moved off and stopped off at Afsal and had some lunch which was a borrie roll and a burger. We left Afsal and didn’t spot much else except for a few impala which is always great. You know you in Kruger when there is an Impala around every bend.
We arrived at Skukuza where we will be spending the duration of our holiday. (7 nights). We found an excellent camp site with brilliant shade and started to set up camp. Half way through set up, a couple with a roof top tent roared onto the camp site and started waving their arms at us and got out and very rudely told us ”THIS SITE IS TAKEN”. They didn’t leave anything on the site to show us that they were using it but I wasn’t in the mood for grumpy people So we had to move to a site slap bang in the sun.(they left in the morning leaving the site open but it was taken by the time we arrived back from our drive)
We took a short drive to lake panic after we were set up and sat and watch hippos 10 meters away from us giving us some great open mouth photos.
Our neighbours are really friendly. They borrowed us their mallet (which I forgot for the 3rd time) and even an extension cord. We probably look like such amateurs.
We bought some pork rashers and a Black Wildebeest steak which was really good and had some Red wine under the stars. Now we are sitting listening to people chatting and laughing. Hyenas calling in the background with their whoooop, whooooop and what sounds like baboons being bothered by a leopard.
What an awesome day. Can’t wait to see what the bush has in stall for us tomorrow

More to come tomorrow. :D
Could anyone tell me how to upload photos. i cant find the link anywhere :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: My first trip report.
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:47 pm 
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Day 2
Our day started with us being woken up by all the activity in the camp getting ready to head out. It was 5:10am and we were waiting for the gates to be opened at 6am. Once the gates were opened we headed down the Skukuza to Lower Sabie road (Leopard Lane) until we reached the bridge. We stopped on the bridge and had some breakfast overlooking a few Hippos. We had Milo cereal and some berry juice.
After breakfast we headed towards Tshokwane. All in all it was a quiet drive but we did see some Elephant (Still no good Elephant sighting) and all the usual suspects. We arrived at Tshokwane and had a drink and some carrot cake (My SO’s is still the best ever).
After we were all stretched out we head towards Lower Sabie along the H1-2.
I have decided that this is my favourite road in Kruger. Just miles and miles of open savannah which moves up a big mountain to reveal some of the best African views I have ever seen. At the top of the mountain we got out at a lookout and had an amazing panoramic view of the Kruger which rolls on for as far as the eye can see. A ranger at the lookout told us he could see 2 White Rhino, A Black Rhino, Impala, Zebra, and Giraffe. (WITH OUT BINOCULARS!!!!!!!). After what seemed like ages of scanning the plains I finally spotted our first Black Rhino. He was about 1KM away but still. Finally after many a trip we had seen one. We moved on (ecstatic about our sighting) and soon came to a grinding halt with 3 beautiful Ground Hornbill Pecking away at the ground as they came within meters of our car. They are just the most amazing to watch as they walk along and listen a when they hear something they stop, take aim and fire their beak into the ground with such accuracy. They seem to have such personality.
Once back on Leopard Lane we saw a huge traffic jam (could only be lion causing such commotion). Over the years we have established how to tell what animal was up ahead just by looking at the traffic. If it’s a few cars (5-10) it’s usually something like Elephant or a Rhino. If it’s ridiculous traffic then it’s usually lion, but if the traffic is absolutely crazily impassable madness, then you know there must be a Leopard somewhere.
After waiting for what seemed like forever only seeing the odd flick of a tail we finally got to see our first lion of the holiday. They were sleeping in the shade as always. 2 young males and 5 females lazing around without a worry in the world. We had a good look and then tried to move off to let the others have a look. The traffic is worse than in JHB.
We arrived back at our camp at 14:30 and had a terrible lunch at the wooden banana (as always) and then had a good relax.
At 4pm we went out for an evening drive and headed down Doispan and did the small loop back to Kruger gate. We didn’t see much except Impala, warthog, Guinea Fowl and francolin, but that didn’t phase us, we were just so happy to be there.
For supper we had bacon and cheese mince mate and some red wine and are now sitting under the stars with frogs croaking and bats chirping. (No Hyena or Lion calls yet)
A brilliant day all in all with 120KM travelled.
:D

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 Post subject: Re: My first trip report.
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:54 pm 
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Day 3
Another day unfortunately down in the Kruger
We woke up at 5:15am to get ready and were waiting at the gate by 6. Before the gates were even opened we had already seen 2 Hyena walk past!!!
We set off down Leopard Lane again and within minutes a Hyena walked right in front of us and across the road, but was quickly absorbed by the bush. About 1KM on another 2 Hyena emerged and started walking alongside us. They walked on and off the road and seemed to be looking for a den. After about 10 mins they moved off into the bush (today just seems to be Hyena day).
We drove on and then spotted an Impala dead in a tree. We sat and waited to see if the leopard would come back for a feed but were interrupted by a troop of baboons. They climbed the tree and seemed shocked to see the kill, and gave off their warning call, BaaaaHoo, BaaaHoo. We heard a ranger say that would not come back because the baboon would take him on as a unit and win.
We moved on and took the S21, and straight away saw some really good Elephant (Finally)
and about 20m from them we saw a really amazing Rhino sighting, with a very inquisitive Baby. He would walk towards our car, and then mom would step in. She seemed uncomfortable with us so I reversed away a bit and switched off the car. Once she thought we were gone they crossed the road in front of us. Amazing animals and such a cute baby.
We moved on and a couple KM’s down the road we saw a whole load of vulture picking at the last scraps of an old kill.
The rest of our drive was very quiet and made our way home for some lunch.
We went out again a 4pm and had a brilliant sighting of elephant in the Sabie River spraying water on their backs and having a good drink, most entertaining to watch. On our way back we met a man and his wife on a sand road just off leopard lane who told us that back in 1954 when he was a young boy he saw the first experimental tar road where we were sitting. It was 80m long and was put there to see if it would work (clearly it did). He told us that he and his wife were in the park for their 70th time!!! We both decided that that would be us one day. And they told us about how much they love the bush. I love meeting people just like that.
We made our way home and made some pork rashers and some really good Borewors. I also attempted to make pot brood for the first time which was really interesting because we didn’t have a pot. I made a pot out of tin foil and just prayed it would work and it did. About 1 hour later we were eating a steaming hot pot brood covered in melted butter. Next time I’ll be taking a pot. Mmmmmmmmmm.
Now we are lying listening to Bats chirping, Hyenas Whooping, a Lion roaring faintly in the distance and the Insect Orchestra singing us to sleep.
Tomorrow, here we come!!!!

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 Post subject: Re: My first trip report.
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:55 pm 
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Day 4
Our day started out quite disappointingly.
We went on the Skukuza morning drive at 5:15am. We set off with high hopes as always but after 2 hours of seeing nothing but a Giraffe, a few Kudu and 2 zebra, we gave up hope. We only saw an Impala about 2 and a half hours into the drive. So a very quiet morning for us.
After the drive we came home and had some cheese and tomato toasted sarmies on the braai and a good much needed relax. Helen slept while I made the sarmies (Power nap).
After lunch we went for a walk and realised that the shop is much closer to our site than we thought. So we won’t be driving there again. We walked alongside the river on the walkway and realised that the fence they have put up to keep animals out is scarily low. I think a Leopard could jump it with no problem. We strolled back to our site eating our ice-creams and did some more relaxing.
At 2 pm we decided to go out and sit at a waterhole and have a drink and some leftover pot brood. We had a good spot in the shade at Transport Dam and had an Elephant come down for a drink. He was drinking and spraying water all over his head and then just like that, charged into the water for a full on swim. He was swimming about, Blowing bubbles and going right under, just with his bum bobbing at the top. He climbed out and moved off to find some juicy tree to eat from. A few minutes later an Impala came down for a drink. He very cautiously stuck his head down and started drinking, when we saw a Crocodile stealthily making his way toward the Impala. About halfway across the dam the Croc vanished under the water. We sat patiently waiting, cameras at the ready for a once in a lifetime sighting. Then suddenly we saw the Croc head pop up about 1m from the impala. Unfortunately for us so did the Impala who jumped away from the water’s edge and rushed into the bush, suddenly losing his thirst.
Soon after we made our way back towards Skukuza and then down Leopard Lane again. We were driving along when a man stopped us. He said” First of all, what is the yellow ribbon for” I told him that it was to show you were a forum member. He then told us that there were Lion about 2KM down and a Leopard in a tree about 1KM down from them. We eagerly made our way there and then saw the sleeping lions. They were fast asleep and we knew they were not going to be moving anytime soon so we went straight on to the leopard. FINALLY, after all the pictures we have seen of Leopards in trees, we saw our first tree bound Leopard. He was just sleeping and relaxing when a man next to us turned to take a photo and accidently bumped his hooter. This woke him up and he turned around, showing us his beautiful face. We were so happy to finally see our Leopard. He climbed down the tree and moved off into the bush. So we went back to our lazy lions. We sat with them and at 5:30 they started to move around (keeping in mind the 6pm gate time). They were stretching and loving each other and would have been so good to watch but at 5:40 we were cutting it close. So we decided to move off. A whole convoy of us were zooming back to the gate, when we were stopped by a herd of about 50 buffalo blocking the road. After a few mins they moved off and the convoy was off again. A few KM on and we were again stopped by a troop of baboons who wouldn’t budge. And then we had guinea fowl blocking us again. We then saw an Elephant and had seen a Rhino earlier that day so we got our “Big 5 in one day” badge. WoooooHoooooo.
We made the gate time by the skin of our teeth driving in at 5:59pm.
So a day that started out very slow ended being our best day yet.
Who knows what the bush has installed for us?
All we know is that we will be out there ready for it.

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 Post subject: Re: My first trip report.
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:03 pm 
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Day 5
Once again our day started off early. We were up at 5:10am. We decided that we would make today a whole day trip.
We headed down leopard lane again (This just seem like the road to be on this holiday).A few mins into the drive we saw a very nervous looking Hyena just off the road. He seemed very worried by us so we moved off. We didn’t see much else along to Lower Sabie.
We stopped off at Lower Sabie for a loo break and then set off to another one of our favourite roads. The S 28. On our way there we saw a fish eagle walking on the ground right next to the road. We were so fascinated by him because we had never seen one so close. And then to our right we heard a roar and saw flashes of a big black maned male trotting in the bush. We reversed a bit to get a better view and then suddenly a young male burst out from behind us crosses right in front of us and ran into the bushes and down to the river. And then the Black maned male came charging out the bush hot on his heels, and followed the exact path of the young male. I suspect that the young male must have been in the other’s territory and the older male was not having any of that.
We moved on as did they, and came to the S28. Another road of beautiful rolling open savannah as far as the eye could see. We were really hoping that we would get to see our first Cheetah but once again our Cheetah and Wild Dog eluded us. While driving along we saw 2 really good Kori Bustard and another excellent rhino sighting. We came up to the hide and just outside we saw a male and female Lion who had apparently been mating. There was also a huge herd of buffalo at the water hole having a good drink. Along the S28 we met up with some very friendly people who told us that they were looking for Duke. Love meeting people who love the Kruger as much as we do.
After the S28 we went to Crocodile Bridge for another loo break (I can’t understand a woman’s bladder) and then headed to Hippo pools where we met with the guide (Daniel) who took us into the river bed which was really great. It was painfully hot so Helen went back to the car and I went up the Boulders with Daniel where I had an awesome view over the whole river, with some Ellies swimming in the distance.
We went back to Lower Sabie for some lunch hoping that this Wooden Banana was better that the Skukuza one, but it was another terrible meal which was cold and Yuk. Last time we go there. We would really love to be able to relax at the restaurant and have a good meal but it’s just horrible. We did see 2 really beautiful Saddle Billed Storks in the river bed though. We seem to be having good luck with the rare birds this time.
We set off back to Skukuza and amazingly saw another Black Rhino. But he vanished as quickly as we saw him

We drove on and came to a halt at some buffalo crossing the road. We soon realised that there were about 500 of them they were crossing the road in front of us and they took 15 mins to get the whole herd across, with all the slow oldies bringing up the rear.
My camera lens has packed up after only 6 months. It sounds like the gear in the auto focus area has stripped and it doesn’t focus. Very frustrating but at least I can still focus in manual.
We saw the biggest Elephant we have seen and would not let anyone passed for 10 mins and we also had a young Ellie mock charge us but turned and run back to her mom just as quickly.
200KM done all in all today.
Now we are sitting having Tuna Mate under the stars listening to the bush baby’s screaming and the Hyenas WHoooooooping.
Another scorching day in paradise

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 Post subject: Re: My first trip report.
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:04 pm 
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Day 6
Today we decided that a good lie in was in order. All the days in Kruger can really take it out of you. We woke up at 8am after a freezing night and did the necessary stuff like dishes and cleaning up our camp.
At about 10am we went to lake panic to have a look what the birds were up too. I have only recently taken a liking to birds and have realised that if you are into birds, you will never be disappointed. We sat for a good hour and saw Grey heron with her chicks, a cormorant who had speared a fish and spent a good 15 mins trying to get it off his beak again, and then somehow got it down his throat, an African Jacana, Black Craic, Pied Kingfisher, Malachite Kingfisher, White fronted bee eater catching dragon flies and beating them againsed the branch to kill them, Bush buck, Hippo and Terrapin.
It was getting really busy so we moved on to the nursery and walked along the wetland boardwalk and watched a wood pecker making good work at a hole in the branch.
On our way home we saw a beautiful Nyala Bull just off the road. He just stood staring at us, and we were so happy to see him. He’s defiantly one of our favourite animals.
We went back to camp and had more toasted sarmies for lunch and then fell into the pool to cool off from the crazy heat.
At 3pm we started down Leopard Lane but changed our minds and started down Doicpan. We stopped at a lion sighting but he was lying in very long grass so we couldn’t see him. We moved on and then came across a very pregnant Hyena. She was lying almost with her head on the tar and was dosing off and waking up to sniff something, and dosing Etc... I find Hyenas scarily beautiful (if you can put those words together) and really enjoy their personalities a lot.
We came across Elephant who refused to let us passed (Gate time approaching). She was getting very angry with all the cars and even mock charged. One of these workers in his car came flying passed and scared her off the road.
We had good steak and chicken and pap for supper and are now sitting listening to the bats and the frogs and the insect orchestra keeping the bush alive.
A long day ahead tomorrow, I hope our day will be as amazing as all the others.

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 Post subject: Re: My first trip report.
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:06 pm 
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Day 7
Another day waits ahead.
We decided to do my favourite loop again today. The H10.
We set off down leopard lane until the bridge. We saw a goliath Heron fishing in the water.
We then carried on to my favourite road and drove for about 12 KM only see elephant very far in the distance. And then we saw vultures circling up ahead. We don’t like to get excited about vultures circling because it usually ends in disappointment. So we carried on and for the first time, we were led by the vultures to a kill. There was a young male lying in the road just watching over his lunch. The vultures would try their luck every now and then to get some fresh wildebeest meat but the Lion would get up and charge them away. We moved a little forward to let the people behind us see, and just on our left lying in the bush was a Lioness with her cub. He was the cutest thing and was very curious to see what all the fuss was about. One vulture came down and stole the whole wildebeest’s stomach and landed with it on the other side of the road. The Lion charged at him and the vulture just got away but the last feather on his bum. We sat for about another half an hour and then decided to move on.
We stopped off at Tshokwane and had some really good venison pot pie while fending off all the starlings and vervet monkeys. Sho they really don’t have any fear of humans.
We arrived back at camp and decided to go on the Skukuza night drive, so we packed up most of our campsite (leaving tomorrow) except the tent we were sleeping in and our bed.
We set off on our last night drive of our holiday and were really hoping for some great sightings. We arrived at a water hole and heard a Leopard calling. He called and called and called, and we searched the trees like our lives depended on it. I finally saw a flash of his eye will the torch but it was just not meant to be. He disappeared into the river bed and vanished. So close but not this time.
We got to see a really awesome sighting. On a tree hanging over the road there was a Martial Eagle with a freshly killed Guinea fowl. He was sitting so close to us that we could hear him breaking the guinea fowls bones as he tucked into his dinner. All we need to see now is a Pels Fishing Owl then we have seen all the Big 5 birds of the Kruger.
The rest of the night was also really good. We saw Hyena, Small Spotted Genet, a Civet, and a White Tailed Mongoose and of cause loads of Impala. The really big herds look amazing at night when you shine your light over them and have hundreds of eyes lighting up the darkness.
It has always amazed me how fast people get board on these drives. We had a couple sleeping from about 20mins into the drive and the person who was shining the light on the other side had gotten board and was not even watching anymore. It was basically myself, Helen, the ranger, and maybe one or 2 others looking out for animals. The rest looked totally uninterested.
We arrived home to 4 French tourists who had pitched their tents within about 1m form ours on our campsite. But we were going to be off in the morning and it was all good. They seemed really nice.
We had some pap and sous for supper and a very concerned old man said that we can’t just have pap so he gave us all his leftover wors and chicken. Old people are the nicest. They gave us food, borrowed us their mallet and an extension cord.
We are now sitting mourning our last night in our favourite place.
Hopefully tomorrow will bring us our last few hours of joy before our trip back to reality.

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 Post subject: Re: My first trip report.
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:08 pm 
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We stopped off at Afsal and bought my nephew a cute Lion teddy from born in Africa.
Day 8
We woke up at 5am and rushed to get the rest of our campsite packed and were out of the gate by 6:30am and made our wat down to Malelane Gate. It was a vey quiet drive but we did see some really good Rhino at Qwaggas pan. We also saw another 4 Ground Hornbill. Thats 13 in total!!!!!
Just outside Afsal we saw more Hyena. This time there were pups. There was one babysitter and 7 pups. The pups were 2 different ages. 3 of them were still black and the others had their spots already. They were very cute!!
From then on it was very quiet till Malelane. We stopped on the bridge outside Kruger to get our last fill but were almost blown away by the wind. We saw our last 2 Crocs and were then unfortunately off back to JHB. We arrived back home at about 3pm and went into a bit of a depression, knowing that it would be a while till we go back
A brilliant holiday as always and still the best place in the world.
Till we meet again my friend.

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 Post subject: Re: My first trip report.
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 6:56 am 
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We are booked and ready to go on our next kruger trip.
We off to Satara in January!!!!!!! :D
In our new Car, New Tent, New Gazzebo, and New Trailer.
Cant wait. Gonna be awsome.

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