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 Post subject: Fanta-From the “Striped donkey” to a river low-Aug 2010
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:56 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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This week started with an office Image in good old Nelspruit and it will end with the open road towards Phalaborwa on Friday. The annual Kruger trip for us has finally arrived! Image Image

Me busy like a cat in mouse den busy getting stuff ready, Image packed and organised while the SO is just taking easy making sure the car we have on loan for the week is serviced and ready. The beer is ready and waiting for ice, the meat is ready to jump in the cooler and the clothes are washed and being dried by the cool wind blowing the past week. Image
The only set back so far was the power outage on Sunday where someone confussed their watches with my time and only switched on our power at 21:30 while they said it will be back on by 18:00…yea…right

I can’t wait to crack open my first doppie Image as I take a break from driving all the time and the SO is dying of thurst…

Image

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 Post subject: Re: From the “Striped donkey” to a river low
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:59 pm 
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:yaya: all!

Sitting at the moment in Phala-gat having a beer with Scipio. Boy oh boy do I have a TR brewing up like hot gossip!

But I'm not talking out...just yet :wink:

Tonight is our second night in Letaba then heading South of Olifants tomorrow.

8)

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 Post subject: Re: From the “Striped donkey” to a river low
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 9:31 am 
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Image

What a week and bit! I didn’t put my exceptions very high and yet once again I was proven that the bush is so unpredictable and yet the story flows through every thing. Two of our wish list animals were seen and many for first times sightings for us. I can safely say that you can find leopard anytime of day is just a matter of looking out for them. Lions are up North for some reason and Honey Badgers can keep you awake all night long like some noisy neighbour...

Busy with some video uploads and will start on the over a 1000 photos sorting today and resizeing them for the forum...Image

Image

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 Post subject: Re: From the “Striped donkey” to a river low
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 4:15 pm 
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"Take me home, tonight"

Friday 20th August

“Nelsparta” was as cold Image as the ice on the beer in the cool box. After fueling the bakkie, packing it and saying good bye to our furry kids we were finally on our way to Phalaborwa. With two “Bathroom” breaks and a beer later we managed to find Scipio house. Image

There it was unloading some stuff in fear for rain clouds that didn’t do anything. Couple of cold ones in the cooler and we were into Kruger in Scipio Landy. Not much seen besides some Impalas, Elephants and 4 Southern Ground hornbills. The night ended with a steak or two (in the ash) on the grill with the night jars calling.


As you can see how "warm" I was dressed:

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The SO and travel buddy he is holding my beer:

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Not the best photo but a sighting at least, Southern Ground Hornbill on the Sable Dam loop

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Sunrise in Kruger, Letaba main road...(got the Lion King song in my head right now)

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:popcorn: :D

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 Post subject: Re: From the “Striped donkey” to a river low
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 9:02 am 
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@vgstephens, norms & Tom124 - thank you for the comments... :)

"Country roads"

Saturday 21st August

After as quick wake up Scipio load us half asleep Image in the Landy for a quick drive. First sighting was a Juv. Bateleur that was looking for some Crowned Plovers nest. The worried parents was kicking it’s butt by swooping down on to the Bateleur. It was a first for me to witness the Plovers doing it, pretending to have a broken wing but the Bateleur wasn’t really interested. Personally I think he was still little "dof" to actully know what the nest will look like...

Next up at Sable dam was some lion and zebra spoor with no other animals around we continued on the Loop. Saw the remains of the giraffe kill Lourens has mentioned in some of his posts (skin and bones). Just before the loop ended SO spotted a very brown rock on top of all the other big rocks, a Dassie. Our first true rare sighting and lovely to finally see one for ourselves, we spotted one, then two, then three…the whole koppie became alive with Dassie activity!
On our way back to the gate the sightings wasn’t great except for some Impalas and mongoose.

After our return we packed up, greeted and left Phalaborwa. We were now on our way to Polokwane. We took the Magoebakloof road and I can recommended that road to anyone who wants to take a senic drive. The view are breathtaking, nice road to drive. By midday we arrive in Polokwane at my brother house. The day was spend catching up on family news, meeting a new member of my brother "zoo" and shooting target with the pellet guy. Image My niece is actually quite good and showed me a thing or two. The night turned out to very cold as we turned in after a lovely braai.

Tomorrow on our way to Kruger!!! :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: From the “Striped donkey” to a river low
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 11:36 am 
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@Scipio give Sam a pet from me & you guys are just awesome! :thumbs_up:

Here is some pic's for you before we head in onto the Punda Maria part...

Juv. Bateleur we saw looking for Crowned Plover nest near Sable Dam

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Dassies on the Sable Dam Loop:

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A (phat) dassie also on the same koppie

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My brother cats, they think they are lions

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Our "road block/traffic jam" few km's before PM gate

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Dressed in my crekiet@szukuza shirt

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Cheers to our first official beer in Kruger!

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 Post subject: Re: From the “Striped donkey” to a river low
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 11:43 am 
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"Dumela"

Sunday 22nd August

With no rush to get to camp since the book in time has changed, we had a relaxing breakfast of French toast and coffee. We left Polokwane for Louis Trichardt (Still called that). On our way to Toyanmando there was a sign the road was close?! The detour was taken as advised and the signs stop at a 3 way. We stop at the farm community police station, the one constable said “another 70 km for Toyanmando” while an Inspector told me another 70 km to Punda Maria. 70 kilometer turned to about +/- an hour and half drive. One sign board said 60 km to PM, a 1 km further it said 48 km and 5 km after 50 km. Driving at the max speed allowed of 60 km/h (we were fined last time for speeding there at 75 km/h). Some funny signboards along the way like “you smash, we fix” and “piggery”. A “traffic jam” of someone labola about 5 km from the gate but we managed to get through. Finally dying for a bathroom we were greeted “Dumela and welcome to Punda Maria gate”.

We changed drivers (me now the driver), the YR was tied and a cold beer was opened. First animals was Impalas and a Steenbok. We took the Thulamila water hole road and saw a herd of old Dugga boys lazying in and out our under the shade of a Figtree. The SO spotted a small buck across the road in the shadows. First speculated as a Steenbok but on closer examination through the binoculars we both decided on a Sharpe’s Grysbok, another first and rare sighting!

Excited by our find we made our way to the the camp, lots of fire breaks and you can now see the original reception of Punda on the hill. It’s a shame really that they are not using it as a historical place since it’s got so much history to it. I know some staff members stay in the houses next to it but it will be nice to walk over there and see the old house. Maybe soon we will see the place being restored? Book in was a bit slow but I got some copies of the camp history for my project in my studies (about Zebras)

Anyone who wants to stay at Punda must bring all cutlery and a gas stove if you want to skottel braai at your hut. There is nothing wrong with braaiing your meat at the communal braai and share stories with fellow Kruger lovers (we made new friends like that) and we enjoyed watching the Giant Bush Babies and Large Spotted Genet coming closer to see what we are up to. A Scops owl could be heard and it flew by us a couple of times, we took a quick walk to the camping site and spotted another 2 Large Spotted Genets walking around.

They busy upgrading the pool and the camping area was still pretty full. Parking looks like will be solved soon as it seems they building another road above the second row huts. Cars aren't getting smaller and we parked at reception as the road was fully parked.

A well deserved shower in their upgrade showers (very nice!) it was an early call for bed.

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 Post subject: Re: From the “Striped donkey” to a river low
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:02 pm 
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Some more :cam:

Our 2nd rare sighting, Sharpe's Grysbok :dance:

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Our first Buff's

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Image

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One of the Genets at the PM communal braai area

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A little more a bit later on 8)

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 Post subject: Re: From the “Striped donkey” to a river low
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 10:32 am 
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@Crested Barbet thank you!

I've kept a dairy of our days in the Park I had forgotten it today :redface: :redface:

I promise next week I will be posting it all! Here is so long a little taste of what we saw (sorry if the camera work is not the best but it was shot with our digit camera)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrB9VuoWr78

:popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: From the “Striped donkey” to a river low
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 4:04 pm 
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Monday 23rd

We left camp at 06:05 am driving towards the Pafuri/Shingwedzi T-junction (H1-8). As we turned left towards Pafuri the car before us very suddenly stopped. On our left was a male lion standing guard over his collared female. We parked out the way and switched off the engine. They turned out to be mating lions! :big_eyes: To hear the “purr” of the male was breath taking (and bone chilling). They walked into the bush and the other car left. We kept an eye on their ears while other cars just turned off for Shingwedzi. We spend an half hour with the honeymooners following them but they decided that baby making was for their eyes only and walked deeper into the bush. Image

On our way no real sightings besides four elephant bulls deep in between the burnt Mopani’s. We took the Nyala Road (S64) and well Nyalas, more Nyalas, baboons, waterbuck, Impala, Zebra, Kudu, Vervet monkeys and warthogs. Big Baobab trees were the main focus through out the day. As we left Nyala loop for Pafuri Picnic spot we saw Impalas, Buffalo's and Pumba’s (Warthogs). At Pafuri PS we found the well know Nyala and a troop of Vervets looking for easy targets (food). At first there was like 6 people but more and more people came and the SO and I started to wonder if we are the only people in the North that is not on pension…? :hmz:

We cooked breakfast and wanted ice for the cool box, note to self the last shop in the North you can buy ice from in the park is Punda Maria. We ended up driving all the way up to Pafuri gate for nothing (not even a sighting of Impala ). A herd of young elephant bulls (looking for trouble) were blocking the road. We stop well 500 – 800 meters from them. There is a private airfield close by Pafuri camp and a plane took lift off. The ellies got out the road just into the bush, this gave us a chance to pass them. As we drove by one gave a shake of his head as if to say “Move it or loose it!” So no :cam: of them


Amazing to know you can get out at the Luvuvhu River bridge but with reports of a male lion on the river bank the previous day we decided not to. We drove to Crooks Corner and it was simply beautiful. There was white butterflies between the bushes with the slow river in the back ground. It looked (and felt) like a fairy tale dream. On the river loop we found big crocs, lazy hippos, Nyalas, Vervet monkeys, Baboons and Impalas. Crooks was something special, it’s a place I’ve always wanted to visit but never had a chance. Watching the fish eagles calling and baboons picking through the forest floor we left after a few photos.

In search of the elusive Eland we drove through the Fever Tree forest. I think everyone should at least see that part of Kruger before they die. It’s simply breathtaking. No special sightings besides Impalas and Nyalas we got back onto the tar road. Our only sighting for the next two hours was a family of Ground hornbills and zebra.

Back @ camp

We came back to camp just before 4pm. I marinated pork chops for the SO and we decided on Italian. The SO wanted to take a drive but personally I was pretty gatvol (fed up) of driving the whole day, we walked through the camp. Lovely safari tents will book that next time and walked the Flycatcher trail. The trail is very rocky and not recommended to walk at night. It takes you right to the fence but it looks a little dangerous for my taste.
Some quick pasta our friends told us of an Eland bull they saw and I showed them how their camera works at night. They Genet & bush babies was back but didn’t stay long. The braai area was very quite even though the camping area was still a bit busy.

After dinner and wash up we walked to the bird hide. As we sat listening to the veld I nearly had to got a new blood group as we heard something bull dozing through the bushes Image. 3 Duggaboyz came into our flash light to have a drink in the mud pool. Under the full moon you could see them clearly. After they left a call of a hyena from somewhere and it was off to bed. As the wind started to blow outside the bush babies had a dance or two on our roof top, just another night in Africa.

Image

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 Post subject: Re: From the “Striped donkey” to a river low
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 4:14 pm 
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Some photos of Crook's Corner

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Image

Image

Zimbabwe

Image

Mozambique

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Image

Image

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 Post subject: Re: From the “Striped donkey” to a river low
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 4:22 pm 
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steamtrainfan wrote:
Fanta - thank you for a very entertaining TR. I would have needed new pants with that ele telling you to "move it or lose it". Very descriptive. Look forward to your next episode.


LoL at that Steamtrainfan, it was only the one time I wasn't totally relaxed around ellies.

Here is today episode.... :wink:

Tuesday 24th
(I sat & wrote this part at Shingwedzi by the fire)

Once again getting up at “Mossie poep” (the crack of dawn) Image we took the Mahonie Loop (S99) loop. 6 km in we found a huge herd of Buffs that was still snoozing. At 8km I saw something look odd and screamed “Lion!” We saw two male with their breakfast in form of an unlucky zebra. All a mere 20 m from the road but wait…brother no 3 emerge from behind the bush and joined them :dance: . While listening to those powerful jaws breaking bones we notice a funny “ear” on the one lion, he was collared as well. Once again we were the only car and found the game drive on the way telling him about the sighting. :dance:

Back at camp we packed and said good bye to the striped donkey camp. At the T-junction a car was parked on the side of the road. On the termite hill was a beautiful cheetah. I really couldn’t believe our luck with the nibby wind and overcastted sky. He was pretty chilled out and soon there was 7 cars looking at him. We decided we got a few kilometers to cover so we left him and his spots. Image

At Shisha Wes Water Hole we stopped for some vultures in the trees and something caught my eye. A full mane lion have a morning drink after a big meal in the little creek. Starting to think we are lucky the best was yet to come…
:whistle:

Just before Babalala picnic spot we saw big bucks cross the road ahead of us. Thinking its Kudu’s we were proven very wrong! A herd of Roan was moving off into the Mopani! Trying to get a better view for a photo they moved quietly and disappeared. They guy behind us also stopped on our backsides so we couldn’t reverse as we wanted to. At the picnic spot (they are re-grassing the roof) we caught up with our Punda friend. They saw the Roan and two Sable bulls. Deciding we taking the S26 road it was very peaceful. Not much game besides the normal browsers and grazers but we did see two Vet’s/Rangers in the bush. :hmz:

Lots of vultures in the trees due to the weather and one Dugga boy just before our first breeding herd of ellies. At the Shingwedzi Bridge nothing but spoor and wind and it was now midday. On the camp road we saw Saddlebill Storks with Blacksmith Plovers. This is where the inconvinace of the new book in times were a pain, you are so tired and just want to sleep between twelve and two but no they refuse to let you book in. :rtm: We were told to take another slow drive, we decided on the Kanniedood bird hide. Impalas & Waterbuck on the way with some hippo’s, crocs and bush buck at the hide. Not much bird life as the weather was really cold.

Back at camp we booked in but we were told to wait if the cleaning staff was not finished. We stayed at the same hut two years ago (right next to the ablutions). The camp was fully booked and the wind closed up the sky again.
After my cat nap we took the R52 road nothing but Impala, Nyala and Zebra. On the riverbed we saw a pride of 7 lions. A troop of baboons were giving the warning calls when they saw them (see the YouTube vid I posted earlier). The one female looked the baboon but just lay back down again as if it was a snooze button. The SO was pressing time and we left them. We saw them again from the other side and also caught up with our giraffe draught. Another breeding herd of ellies deep in the bush and we were back on the H1-6 tar road. After 3 ellie bulls we saw 3 cars parked at the Shipirivnin water hole. People indicated next to the concrete dame and sure enough another pride of lion. This brought the total to 16 lions. (I now sell lion sighting pills per pill at R 150 each) Image

Just before turn off the night drive stopped the car in front of us. We hoped leopard but ai something almost as rare. In a Leadwood tree sat a little owl. First guess was Scops owl but it didn’t have any ears and with the fast fading light it was difficult. The tourist next to us said “Something smaller” so with the farlooker and turn of its head it was confirmed. My second guess, Pearl Spotted Owlet. :dance:
On the camp road 3 ellie bulls, the same Saddlebill storks and some baboons making way to the trees for the night.

The camp looks amazing with all the pink Impala lilies and while braaiing the marinated pork chops Batman mistook me for a tree. Not screaming Image :roll: :D at all just a bit tensed I asked the SO what it was, I had huge moths and swallows flying against me but this thing was crawling on me. He looked at it said “Bat” and tapped it off my shoulder; sure enough Batman took flight again. A rat running up and down the tree eyeing some pork but the SO ate every last bite. The wind was now blowing a cold front at our door and it was time for bed.

Image

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 Post subject: Re: From the “Striped donkey” to a river low
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:39 pm 
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@Chip I was surprised that the lion sightings were few at the time in LS when we were there...

@steamtrainfan yip I needed that snooze so bad as I was cranky :roll:

Today I got some :cam: for you

Fevertree forest

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Road to CC

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Luvuvu River bridge (with some Baboons...)

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Pafuri Picnic spot

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Image

Image

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 Post subject: Re: From the “Striped donkey” to a river low
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:09 pm 
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Some more :cam:

SO at CC

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Makuleke Contract Park aka Pafuri Gate

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Our pink Boabab, apperntly the sun turns the bark that colour. On the Pafuri gate road

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A sick Impala just before Pafuri PS

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Cute little lamb

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One of my favourite photos

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And now some big old wise ones

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Image

Image

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 Post subject: Re: From the “Striped donkey” to a river low
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:11 pm 
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Location: My heart is truly in the bush
Southern Groundhornbills we saw

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And a lone bull in the shade

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The old Punda Maria reception

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Bungalows at Punda, build in the 1930's

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