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 Post subject: John n poppy-2 weeks in Kruger - July 25 to Aug 5th 2010
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 6:56 pm 
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We arrived in joberg after our 10 hour flight brimming with excitement on my behalf and anticipation on SO's. This was my 3rd trip but SO's 1st.
Having spent 10 months listening to me how amazing this place was and having to drag me off the forum we were now near our destination.....

Our first bit of luck came when they hadnt got the car we booked....instead we got the next model up, a seven seater that was much higher, great for sightseeing. :dance:

After nearly 5 hours including a food shop in nelspruit we approached the bridge at malelane, somehow as you drive onto the bridge the world behind dissapears and all you think about is what will be.

We got out on the bridge took in the air and sounds, got the cameras ready and then got to the gate. We bought a guide book from the counter, only later to find it hadnt got all the animal and bird pics at the back to tick off your sightings and had to eventually buy a better one in berg-en-dahl :wall:

Our first sighting a mongoose, to far away to identify accurately and too quick for a photo but I was already smiling :)

We went straight to camp, not seeing much on the way, booked in, pitched the tent by the fence and headed out on the matjulu loop, where we spotted some southern ground hornbills and a couple of big elliphants before deciding to head back to camp and relax for tomorrow.

We visited the dam and saw our first rhino of the trip on the other side of the water.

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and then waited for the sun to dissapear.

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That night we were visited at the fence by a wary and shy hyena and we were soon asleep.

We were up and out as the gate opened on our way to the gardenia hide, we stopped for a while to watch the sun rise on what we hoped would be a lucky day.

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We got out at the hide and while watching the various birds we could hear lions :shock: . What else can you do? we set of to see if we could find them.

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We arrived on the s114 and were nicely told by a gentleman of 3 lions in the grass further up the road, we arrived and they were still there :pray: with only one other car there, we sat and watched as impala approached and then detored away, elliphants came close and then dissapeared but the lions sat still untill... another car appeared and the gentleman leaned out of his car :huh: straight away one lion got up and left. At this point we decided to leave and as I drove past I explained to the man his wrong doing and why the lion left so soon after he arrived, my SO was a little embarrassed (though later on in the trip she became the one who wished to tell everyone which laws they were breaking)


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 Post subject: Re: 2 weeks in Kruger - July 25 to Aug 5th 2010
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 7:45 pm 
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We continued on and saw nothing of great excitement but everything was new and fresh to us and occasionally my SO got too excited and seemed to forget that noise would scare off most animals as we approached :roll:
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We were amazed to see how much of the area was burned and we both wondered how the wildlife coped at this time. We later found the zebras seemed to like the new growth and were often the only animals seem against the black earth.

That evening we were booked into a night drive, which unfortuanatly was a little dissapointing, it started late and 2 of the people hadnt been given indeminity forms; as hadnt we but knowing the process I went and asked for two. We began with a couple of big ellis, one was in must and chased us for a while something one lady wasnt to sure about.

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The guide then took us right into and I mean fire either side the burning area not once on the S120 but also on the H3. We did see the 3 malelions again and while watching them were overtaken by two vehicles who were well outside the 5.30 deadline!

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We arrived back at camp and after seeing a genet and the hyena again by the fence had the worst night sleep ever. A new group had camped by us and I found out the next evening that the trip leader was the snorer. I have a bulldog at home so can put up with snooring but this guy would set off earth quake detectors. I felt sorry asking him if he minded moving his tent but then also noticed he had pitched his paying guests about 50m from his own :hmz:
He moved no problem and he was very nice to talk too, even though he realled off seeing the big 5 on day 1.

The next day we headed up the H3 and our first animal (2 actually) was my favourite......

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More to come soon I promise

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 Post subject: Re: 2 weeks in Kruger - July 25 to Aug 5th 2010
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2010 2:02 pm 
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I will start with a picture from our sunset drive that I have just found and dismissed earlier as not the best photo but it does set the scene of what happened.

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We continued on towards skukuza where I found myself saying ' this is where we saw the hyenas two years ago' 'thats where I took the picture of the line of widerbeast' etc etc. After realising that this wasnt those trips and that every visit, day and hour isnt relevant to what is there now, I shut up :roll:

We saw a lovely group of ellis and lots of other animals just going about their buisness.

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We saw a few of these birds, are they related to Kori Bustards as they looked very similar, just smaller! (sorry its the wrong way around)

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 Post subject: Re: 2 weeks in Kruger - July 25 to Aug 5th 2010
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2010 2:34 pm 
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I really liked the burchalls coucal, a rather large distinctive bird which as soon as you pulled up to take a photo they would fly off, just far enough so you had to drive in order to try and get a photo.

Here is one we surprised :lol:

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A monitor lizard taking in as much sun as possible.

We then came across a group of vervet monkeys who were just donig what monkeys do....we later experienced what else monkeys do, but thats another story!

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We spotted this little guy in the road and reluctantly moved off and we got some nice photos of him (or her).......

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unlike this bad boy who had us at stale mate for about 30mins, we didnt dare go onto the bridge as I would have to reverse back if it came our way and as usual he found the best tasting leaves were right next to the road, why move off. :doh:

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We eventually made it back to camp and relaxed for a few hours, we were going to the matjulu water hole for the last two hours to see what would turn up.

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One of our last pics before reaching berg-en-dahl.

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 Post subject: Re: 2 weeks in Kruger - July 25 to Aug 5th 2010
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2010 2:46 pm 
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We arrived at the waterhole alongside one other vehicle, it was quiet and we sat identifing some types of birds.
Eventually from behind us we spotted movement, a female rhino and calf and then two males, all came to the waterhole for a drink and bath.

A fantastic hour was had just sitting listening and photographing them. We never felt we were in there way we were just going about our own buisness not bothering each other......bliss

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and then a quick.....

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 Post subject: Re: 2 weeks in Kruger - July 25 to Aug 5th 2010
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2010 3:37 pm 
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Thanks all for your comments...im starting to feel your stalking this thread and theres alot of pressure to keep the tour going.

We had two strange police experiences at berg-en-dahl, if anyone can explain them id be very grateful.

The first happened about 2 KM's outside Berg camp, we had 2 or 3 large buses plus several police cars front and back that passed us and went into camp stayed for about 2 hours and then we saw them leave the camp from our tent view.

The other was we approached the H3 berg camp right turn and saw about 5 vehicles.....lions we thought, cameras ready, windows down, eyes in....
only to find a police block! about 13 policemen and women, we were stopped by a friendly lady asked where we were going and she was just about to let us go when a man came over and told her to check my driving licence! why check this when its obvious its a hire car and you need a licence to hire the car? Anyway it was a hot day and i had no top on, the man took exception and made me put a top on!!
I later learnt that I may have been breaking some SA law!

We also saw a police vehicle followed by a man on a motorbike going up the H3!

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 Post subject: Re: 2 weeks in Kruger - July 25 to Aug 5th 2010
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 10, 2010 6:48 pm 
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Hi,
Loving the TR & your great pics :thumbs_up: Excellent vervet monkey, looks like he's hatching some cunning plot :lol:

The bird is a korhaan, black bellied I think but I'm rusty and my bird book is at my cousin's in SA waiting for me to pick it up next month :D :D :D

That has got to be a male rhino in the last pic, no lady would be so rude :shock:

Shame on you for streaking through Kruger :big_eyes: Who knew SA had such a topless driving rule :rtm: :huh:

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 Post subject: Re: 2 weeks in Kruger - July 25 to Aug 5th 2010
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2010 3:56 pm 
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Thanks susieB, now get back to your TR :lol: Im waiting for more!!

28th July Berg-en-dahl to skukuza via Pretoriuskop

Today we had a very quiet day except we met our first yellow ribboner, Kesheshe and SO, lovely to meet you and really nice to see your photos on your TR.

Back to sightings of a more animal nature, this rhino was far off but the horn on him was incredible, I have never seen horns like this, massive.

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I really wanted to get a nice Kudu picture and try as i might the males always ran off, this female was taken near to jocks birth place.

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We eventually got to skukuza and we decided to go to lake panic, a lovely spot but unfortuanatly the hippos werent as close as we hoped.

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We booked in and visited our safari tent, superb, what a break from camping it was, the only thing was it was so nice my SO started to see the negatives of camping :slap: My little treat had backfired.

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 Post subject: Re: 2 weeks in Kruger - July 25 to Aug 5th 2010
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:08 pm 
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29th July Skukuza to Lower sabie

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We set off at gate opening time, definitly harder when your in a comfy bed, but we did it and were rewarded with a male lion but too dark for a reasonable photo.

Just down the road we saw a genet, unfortuanatly it had been knocked down and killed :rtm: this is why cars should not be allowed out of camps during the dark.

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We continued and were told about hyenas near a kill futher down the road, we arrived and we could see the vultures and occassionally a distant hyena. This would have probobly been the limit of the sighting if this hadnt of happened :rtm:

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The hyenas all came over to see who this was trying to get close to their meal. One hyena who looked younger was very enquisitive and actually watched the car as it drove off, as if sad to see its friend leave!!

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We continued on to lower sabie hoping to see cheetah by going up the s128 and down the H10 but with no luck, but we did see this lovely little owl.

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 Post subject: Re: 2 weeks in Kruger - July 25 to Aug 5th 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2010 10:11 pm 
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Lower Sabie 29th July

As we neared Lower Sabie we were still seeing lots of zebra but little else. We arrived in Lower Sabie pitched the tent, checked the sightings board, visited the viewing deck and then set off.

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We arrived at Ntandanyathi hide and found the hides welcome commitee member on guard......a crested barbet, he was at the entrance both times we visited the hide.

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We stayed at the hide for around 45 minutes and watched the two resident hippos do what hippos do, POO. We also saw a small crocodile, terrapin, goose and ellis visit the waterhole.


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On the way back to camp we decided to take the S28, as we left the tarmac and turned onto the dust road we saw and heard a not very happy elliphant emerge out of the thick bush to our left, SO was screaming go, but the car was in third and although my foot was touching the floor the car just continued to creep along without much acceleration. The picture below is all SO could manage of our attacker as we drove off. I promise the dirt on the window is on the outside.......mostly :shock:

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 Post subject: Re: 2 weeks in Kruger - July 25 to Aug 5th 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2010 10:48 pm 
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July 30th - Lower Sabie

The previous evening just before camp closing we had been watching a single lioness at a waterhole near the causeway and as we reached sunset Dam we met several cars who were watching what looked like a lioness and two cubs, but the light and clock was fading so we had a quick glance and headed off to bed.

In the morning we met the lions who had killed a warthog by the road, there was a lot of traffic so we took a photo and moved on. We had taken a picture of a warthog and its family in that same spot the day before, I hope it wasn't them that ended up as breakfast :doh:

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We continued south to the hide and couldn't help but notice the Hippo tracks that had been left from the night before.

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We continued down the S28 and saw 3 big elli bulls but all had reasonably small tusks for there size.

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and then near the junction to the H4-2 we saw 2 cars parked up, we pulled up along side and saw 3 wild dogs on a no-entry road. We sat watching for a few minutes, in this time a baby in one of the cars began to cry loudly and then in my excited state I hit the horn :slap: I cant tell you how embarrassing it was. A few minutes later one dog stood up and then in unison and out of nowhere they were up and off, we spotted around 11 dogs as they dissapeared into the bush. I must say thankyou to Kesheshe who recommended this area two days before :clap:

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 Post subject: Re: 2 weeks in Kruger - July 25 to Aug 5th 2010
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:42 pm 
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Lower sabie continued

and so on a high after the dogs we decided to head back to camp up the H4-2, on the way we saw a large herd of giraffe doing what giraffes are usually doing.

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As we reached the junction with the H10 we could see a lot of cars on the far end of the bridge so we decided to take a look. The queing system was great, you drove slowly up the right took some photos then drove up turned around and drove slowly back the other way and then turned around if you wanted.
He was sitting on the bank to the left surveying his land, a stunning specimen of a male lion. It was made more enjoyable by how polite everyone was being with there driving and allowing everyone to get there photos.

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Before we nipped back into camp we decided to go to sunset dam, to see what was there and maybe mention the lion to anyone who was at the dam...share and share alike is our policy. We took a few photos of the kingfisher and gave the sighting to a couple with young children who thanked us and we were both about to drive off when this monster came out of nowhere strolling across the road, as you can see he was massive.

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We eventually got back into camp for breakfast / dinner. In the afternoon we went in search of the cheetahs but again came up empty handed, we came back to camp early as we were booked on a sunset drive, on the bridge close to camp we passed 2 troops of baboons and this bruiser was amongst them.

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 Post subject: Re: 2 weeks in Kruger - July 25 to Aug 5th 2010
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 7:20 pm 
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Our sunset drive guide turned up and it was Martie :D I had heard her mentioned on the forum and after the dissappointing drive at Berg-en-dahl I was hoping for a better one here.

Martie has a love for the wild it is easy to see and combines it with a great mix of humour and factual information.
We left camp and headed down a no entry road that follows the pylons, we saw an elephant, steinbok, Kori bustard that flew off while we were watching and then we stopped, from a distance Martie asked us to check out the tree ahead, my eyes nearly popped out of their sockets :shock: as I could tell by Marties expression she was excited.

And there they were LEGS.....dangling from a tree a way off down the track were legs of a leopard :big_eyes:
Martie let us all spot it before driving closer and there we saw a fantastic female leopard........and there was its cub above in the tree. We sat there trying to take photos and watch them as the light began to dissapear.
The female began to stretch, checked on its cub and then headed down the tree, it walked to a bush and we could just see it eating something through the grass.
The cub then decided to come down to the lower branch and relax in its mums position, it did look alot comfier than its previous position.

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It didnt really matter what we did now on the sunset drive as everyone on the truck was beeming, my SO was extactic, it was her first leopard in the wild, they are truly beautiful and lucky for us we did get to see a few more......

We continued on the drive and saw another leopard, too quick for photos but Martie told us it was the female mate of the male leopard that had to be killed after being found in the camp 3 times. We also saw 3 hyenas patrolling the road and spent alot of time searching for lions and cheetahs but again with no luck but who cared.
That night we spent the evening in the tent reliving our special sighting until tideness got the better of us and we drifted off to the sounds of kruger at night. :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: 2 weeks in Kruger - July 25 to Aug 5th 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2010 7:49 pm 
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Lower Sabie to Letaba

We had a long drive today and we left lower sabie early in order to take our time.
First out on the road not far from the gate were this rather large road block.

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Somewhere near the turning for skukuza we stopped on a bridge and tried to capture the morning mist in Kruger. We were soon joined by a giant kingfisher.

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We set off again, there werent many cars around but every now and again one caught us up and we politely let it go before carrying on.
We had decided not to visit leeupan waterhole because of time but about 3km up the road just as a car in front of us dissapeared a lion crossed the road, then another and then about 8 more :big_eyes: because of our position the photos are not the best. We waited a while after the last lioness and then continued only to see a turning for silolweni :hmz: we turned in and there they were, far off but drinking (sorry about the photo) and then a male turned up :slap: . If only we had stayed by the road 5 minutes longer. oh well, we watched for a while and then continued on.


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 Post subject: Re: 2 weeks in Kruger - July 25 to Aug 5th 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2010 8:06 pm 
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We continued on and stopped at Tshokwane for a cheeky pee :?
and then we were of about 10 km on I saw something move in the grass below us, as I slowed I noticed a police van behind me :| I was worried I had done something wrong again!! but also focused on what I had seen,

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I saw the passenger look at us and so I pointed towards the leopard, at that point a big grin appeared on his face and he began to show the driver. They shared the sighting with us until they eventually drove off and gave us a big smile as they passed. :clap:

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Our fourth leopard had made the long drive worth while. We stopped at satara for a break and to check on the sightings board....(I was disappointed to see that several of the camp sightings boards had a few or no coloured magnet markers for certain animals, its a shame something quite cheap but essential for the kruger experience is being overlooked, and there is something addictive about being the first to place a sighting.)
Just outside Satara we were stopped by another road block of about 500 buffalos crossing the road.

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We stopped at Oliphants for the view and then headed off to Letaba spotting a Southern ground hornbill along the way.

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