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 Post subject: Kate goes WILD - 17 days in KNP-Oct 2010
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:05 pm 
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Location: Hilton - KZN
It's been almost 2 year since our last visit to KNP, and SO and I are just itching to get back... in fact we are so excited that I am starting the trip report before we've even been!

This trip we will be staying at BnD, Croc Bridge, LS, Pretoriuskop, Satara, Balule and Skukuza.

SO and I will arrive on the first of October and my parents will join us at Pretoriuskop on the 8th for my birthday, and then we all go back home on the 17th. :dance:

I thought I would share some of the pics from our last trip which was October 2008, just to get started.

Unfortunately I didn't document our trip very well :slap: , so I am going to try and be as accurate as possible with exact locations.

This is my first TR so please excuse me while I find my feet!
(I am also not sure how many pics you are allowed per page - I did a search in a couple of threads but hit a blank, if somebody could just let me know what the rule is, I would be very grateful) :pray:

Our trip in 2008 started at Pretoriuskop where we spent 4 days. We then move on to Balule for 3 nights, then to Shipandani Hide for 1 night, and the last two nights were spent at Shimuwini.
The park was very dry, and temperatures were in the high 30's some days reaching early 40's, but it was definately not going to stop us from enjoying every moment!

Our first morning we got up early and were driving along when we stopped to watch these little bee-eaters. The car behind us asked what we were looking at and when we pointed to the birds, they drove off :huh:
We watched them swoop down to catch an insect and then return to their perch happy with their catch. Lovely to watch!

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The next morning at transport dam we were greeted with a pride of lion who had absolutely no fear of cars - the young male rubbed himself up against the back of our car, then sauntered past my window and then collapsed into a heap in the shade from our vehicle.
This was one of the females before she too came to say hello. By the look in her eyes I was convinced that I was on the menu as starters... those eyes just look straight through you!

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I would like to introduce Batman - spotted at Lake Panic one morning as he was drying himself off after breakfast! I love these birds, but cant help thinking they really do look like batman!!

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We also found this green backed night heron looking for it's next meal

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More photos coming soon!

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Handle every situation like a fox terrier, if you cant eat it or defeat it, then pee on it and walk away!


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 Post subject: Re: Kate goes WILD - 17 days in KNP
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:38 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 16, 2010 10:11 pm
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Location: Hilton - KZN
On our last morning at Pretoriuskop, we stopped in at transport dam where we found some impala drinking - it was fairly deserted otherwise.

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We also passed this BBK which didn't hang around long enough to have it's picture taken properly

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On our way up to Balule, we came across this mother and her small calf, which I imagine was less than 6 months old.

It was the funniest little thing to watch - it was blessed with a trunk, but really did not have a clue how to use it...Mom made it look so easy!

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Stay tuned for the Balule pride!

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Handle every situation like a fox terrier, if you cant eat it or defeat it, then pee on it and walk away!


Last edited by Kate Howells on Sat Sep 18, 2010 11:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Kate goes WILD - 17 days in KNP
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2010 10:07 pm 
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Location: Hilton - KZN
Thank you Katja, it's great to have you along! :dance:
That is great new Gunner - I will definately be flying my yellow ribbon! See you there!

We were extremely lucky with the number of lion sightings we had over this trip, but I think out of all of them this one was my favourite.
We checked in at Satara and then started making our way to Balule. It was late afternoon and we still needed to get to camp and set up our tent. The dirt road to balule seemed to take forever and I was anxious about getting there before gate closing. SO and I had joked about coming across something special as is usually the case when you are in a hurry. As we approached a little causeway we could see a big bum sticking out of the bush... a bum that could only belong to an elephant. So we slowed down and then eventually stopped giving him enough space so he didn't feel threatened.
20min later he was still in the same place, so we slowly edged forward and he moved on. Not more than 20meters up the road we came across a pride of 8 lion who were lazing around in the afternoon sun.
After a couple of minutes they started to get wrestless and were staring intently at something across the road from us....kudu. They quickly became very alert and we watched them plan and execute their attack. Unfortunately for them the kudu were too quick and they came back empty handed.
Although they missed their evening meal, they did not look like they needed it much - their little bellies were fat!

This is a few of the pride when we arrived
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Look at that belly! No wonder it couldn't keep up with the kudu! :shock:
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Watching the kudu
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On the hunt!
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Thank you for stopping in! More pics to come, have a great weekend everyone!

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Handle every situation like a fox terrier, if you cant eat it or defeat it, then pee on it and walk away!


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 Post subject: Re: Kate goes WILD - 17 days in KNP
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2010 10:26 pm 
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Location: Hilton - KZN
Rumuruti, you are quite right, I do shoot with Canon.

Those were taken with a sigma 50-500 f4 on a 30D body. I sold the lens last year as I have bought a 100-400L f4 IS. I have also upgraded to the 5D mkII so hopefully this trip I will be able to get one or two decent shots.

(i am not geared for wildlife photography as i am a wedding photographer, so will just have to manage with the lenses I've got)

Thank you Norms and Gunner, really great to have both of you along! :dance:

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Handle every situation like a fox terrier, if you cant eat it or defeat it, then pee on it and walk away!


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 Post subject: Re: Kate goes WILD - 17 days in KNP
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 12:40 am 
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Location: Hilton - KZN
Thank you to everyone for taking the time to stop by, even though the pics are old!

Rumuruti - the 50-500 was great for the reach, but I did not find it a particularly sharp lens, especially at 500mm - it was a great starter lens. I love the 100-400 for it's clarity - it really does produce some crisp images, the only downfall is that it does not have as much reach, especially on a full frame body. With the 500mm it was an effective focal length of 800 because of the 1.6 crop factor.
This trip I will have a max of 400mm :shock: Will just have to hope for some relatively close sightings! :D

Robbie - Look forward to that TR at the end of December :thumbs_up:

Micetta - You would think that people would be easier to photograph than animals, but some of the people I have met behave like animals :big_eyes: Still lots of fun, and a job I really enjoy!

Katja - Hoping to have one or two nice sightings, I would love to see the dogs or cheetah, but would be happy with anything :)

Pumbaa - :) Thank you

Akadwa - she was quite intimidating by the way she stared at me like I was her next meal. :)

Shi - I too love batman, hope to see him at lake panic again when we go!

Emily86 - I am very excited to be spending my birthday in the park and will be booking a bush draai to celebrate!

I apologise to those of you who have not been able to view the image of the korhaan - the image does not seem to want to load properly - I have re loaded it twice already, but still no luck.

This image was taken on route from Balule to Olifants. As we came to the t-junction to turn left up to olifants when we saw this cheeky bull causing chaos with a car who had bumped into him just over the rise. He was not too thrilled about the surprise.

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The ellie moved forward as the car reversed down the hill at a steady pace, until he had his fun and decided to move off and let the guys past.

A little later in the day we came across this yellow billed hornbill who had joined the group of beggers we refered to as harry hornbill. We found at quite a few spots that these birds have completely lost their fear of humans and on one occasion at mooiplaas picnic site I was partially relieved of my breakfast thanks to harry!

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This little thrush came to see what scraps it could pick up under our table

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Will post some more pics as soon as I get a chance. Thanks for stopping in!

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Handle every situation like a fox terrier, if you cant eat it or defeat it, then pee on it and walk away!


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 Post subject: Re: Kate goes WILD - 17 days in KNP
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 7:04 pm 
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Location: Hilton - KZN
Thank you to everyone who has stopped in on this somewhat premature report! :thumbs_up:

It's not long to go now... actually only 2 more sleeps (well 1 really because I will probably work through the night to get work up to date, so tonight doesn't count as a sleep!)

We are very excited about getting back into the park, and have a very small but rather ambitious list of things we would like to see :

Cape Clawless Otter :pray: :pray: ( i am otter crazy, and this would make my year!)
Honey badger
Bat Hawk (ambitious I know, but really going to try)
Dwarf Mongoose
Serval
African Wild Cat

Anything else would be a bonus! I will try my best to keep updating while in the park, and look forward to meeting some fellow mites! Will be flying those YR's!! :dance: :dance:

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Handle every situation like a fox terrier, if you cant eat it or defeat it, then pee on it and walk away!


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 Post subject: Re: Kate goes WILD - 17 days in KNP
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 8:16 am 
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Location: Hilton - KZN
We are back from a truly magical trip to the KNP. We have barely been home 12 hours and already have a trip planned for early next year.

I will do a detailed breakdown of our trip day by day, but I first have to work through 120gig worth of images.

Although it is always nice to see the big 5, we started this trip with the intent to focus on the smaller things. We had some very special sightings, and I cant wait to share them with all of you.

One thing which made the trip even better were the number of YR's we met along the way - well done guys for displaying your YR's - it was great to meet all of you!

Day 1 will follow this evening!

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Handle every situation like a fox terrier, if you cant eat it or defeat it, then pee on it and walk away!


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 Post subject: Re: Kate goes WILD - 17 days in KNP
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 12:10 pm 
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Thank you Gunner and Shi!

Gunner, I hope you had a great trip too!

I will be doing things a little differently with regards to the photos in this TR – we will be making a coffee table book from the pics from our trip, so I have decided to post the pages from the book instead of doing individual photos. That way you will get the best of each lot.

Before I start the formal TR, I would like to give you an idea of what the week was like before we left for Kruger – hopefully it will help you understand why the trip started off the way it did!

I am a self employed photographer and SO is an engineer who is also lucky enough to work from home. During the weeks leading up to our holiday, I was flat out busy with photo shoots, weddings etc, and was determined to get all my editing up to date before I left, so it meant many hours in front of my computer, frantically editing. I averaged 2 hours of sleep for the 5 nights before we left, and the night before we left, I did not go to bed at all. Needless to say that SO was left to organise EVERYTHING.
We were supposed to leave on Thursday 30th September, but work did not allow, so we left early on Friday 1st October.

Day 1 – Hilton to Berg-en-Dal

Having worked right throughout the night, we planned to leave home at 5am, but only ended up leaving at 7.30 – a little bit late, but at least all my work was up to date and I could go on holiday and really enjoy the break.

We hit the road and headed for Newcastle where we were going to pick up our large quantity of biltong we had ordered from a friend who has a biltong factory. The trip was slow as there were a lot of road works but we arrived in Newcastle in time for a late breakfast. We were meeting our friend at Wimpy outside of Newcastle to save us going into town. He arrived, and we had a great breakfast. We got ready to go and our friend realised he had forgotten the biltong! We made a plan to meet up with him on the otherside of Newcastle to pick it up.

We eventually got back on the road and headed North. We were not 100% sure of the route, but we had our trusty Garmin – how can you get lost with a garmin?

All was going well until we ended up on a very corrugated road with a one way bridge a male goat blocking traffic somewhere near Vryheid.

Hmmm?? Check the garmin… somehow it has it’s settings all confused and is taking us on the quickest route using every unpaved road known to man. So we turn around and travel 15km back to what looks like a main road. We see a sign that says Vryheid 99km… ok, so we are on the right track…. 2km down the road is another sign that says Vryheid 52km. Still not sure how we covered the distance so quickly!

At this stage we were starting to wonder if we were going to make it to the gate in time! I phoned my aunt who has a bed and breakfast in Nelspruit to ask about accommodation near the park and make plans just in case we didn’t get there in time.

We were delayed further by roadworks and it became clear that we definitely weren’t going to make it to the park in time. We were really keen to get into the park even if it meant we would have to pay extra, so I phoned Berg-en-Dal to make arrangements for an escourt from Malelane gate to BnD campsite. They were very helpful and told us to phone them when we get to nelspruit.

We seemed to be finding our way from memory and a little help from our Garmin, until our Garmin developed a severe Gambling problem and tried its very best to repeatedly take us to Pigs Peak in Swaziland. :sniper:

When we realised we were on the wrong track (again), we were somewhere in the middle of nowhere about to turn onto a dirt road towards Swaziland. We pulled over and pounded on the Garmin in frustration. We were already very late and now we didn’t have a clue where we were! :big_eyes:

We unplugged the garmin and tossed it in the cubby-hole quite convinced we would do a better job than it could. We decided to phone my dad for some directions, but we had no reception…. Great!

Being 4x4 our new Double Cab is a bit of a guzzler (especially with air con all the way), and it was starting to complain about being thirsty, so we needed to find a garage too!

Eventually we found the road to badplaas, SO, the DC and I breathed a sigh of relief!

We phoned the camp when we got to nelspruit and then again from the tollgate near Malelane.
We got to Malelane Gate at 7.30 – it was already pitch black and we were exhausted from 12hours of driving (sometimes in circles), but we were thrilled to finally be in the park. We were escourted to the campsite by one of the staff. On the way in, we saw an elephant right next to the road.
We arrived at a very full BnD Camp where only one site was still available. We parked on our site and began to unload our stuff. The light we had brought did not work so we started to set up camp in the dark. We also forgot the hammer and the ground sheet :slap:

Putting up a brand new tent in the dark on a site with a serious slope was quite a challenge, and produced a few words of colour and of course quite a few laughs.
We decided to set up the bare minimum and leave the rest for the next day when we would have more light and a better sense of humour! :evil:

We were too tired to eat so had a bath, brushed our teeth and went to bed….it was good to be in the bush!

Sometime during the night we heard a hyena calling :whistle:

Sorry, photos will start from tomorrow!!

Thanks for stopping in!

_________________
Handle every situation like a fox terrier, if you cant eat it or defeat it, then pee on it and walk away!


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 Post subject: Re: Kate goes WILD - 17 days in KNP
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 9:32 pm 
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Thank you Jaybabe, we had a really fantastic trip despite one or two hic-ups :D


Day 2 Berg-en-Dal

We woke up when our alarm went off early on Saturday morning – even though both of our feet were hanging off the end of our blow up mattress because we were camping on a steep slope we both had grins from ear to ear. We were in kruger park!

We still had quite a lot to unpack, but we were in too much of a hurry to get our first game drive underway we decided to do it later in the day.

We also ran out of time to do a grocery shop before we arrived in the park so we decided we would go into Malelane during the day to get some food. Also on our list was a hammer and a ground sheet. Our food so far consisted of 3kg of biltong, 2.5kg of cheese and 24 cuppacino muffins :shock:

As we drove out of BnD we were filled with excitement for what the day might hold. The sun began to rise, it was an awesome orange and pink, definitely worth a photo! :cam:

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Our first sight was a duiker who was going about it’s breakfast.

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We popped into Matjulu waterhole, there were a few impala (not very obliging for a photo) and a rhino in the distance.
We took the S110 where we photographed a hornbill on top of a termite mound as he too looked for his breakfast.

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We found a group of Giraffe’s who were browsing on some trees, and one had a fascination with it’s nose – it seems to like licking it’s nostril!

We hit the H3 back to BnD and came across a herd of elephants with some rather playful calf’s. There were 3 roughly the same age and the one little one was a real trouble causer. He would run up behind the others and ram into their bums with a trumpet and ears flapping. Then he found an unsuspecting lilac breasted roller to pick on – the bird soon flew off for fear of loosing a few feathers.

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After watching the ellies for a while we headed back to camp to off load our stuff so that we could go into town.
When we got back, our tent looked like a herd of elephants had run over it! It was completely flattenend and was a little way from our campsite. We can only assume that the wind had got hold of it as it was not pegged to the ground. (The ground was very hard and we had no hammer!)

We were very lucky (so we thought) as only 1 tent pole broke. We proceeded to re-erect our tent, and mended the pole as best we could.

We headed into Malelane and went straight to the hardware store to get a hammer, a ground sheet and a gas light to fit our gas bottle so that we would not have to spend the evening in the dark.
Then we went grocery shopping…. Saturday morning grocery shopping is not fun, so we got in and out as fast as we could.

We got back just after lunch and it was a blistering hot day. It would have been nice to have a swim, but I forgot my costume!
After lunch we headed back up the H3 and popped in at Renosterpan where we found a very badly burnt white rhino standing in the waterhole. A large portion of the area had been burnt.

Feeling desperate for the poor animal, we headed off to Afsaal to look for the Scops Owl which we found sitting tucked up next to a branch in one of the trees. It was lovely to see!
While we were at Afsaal we found a French guy with the same lense as ours so thought it would be a good idea to ask him to take a pic of the two of us.

It is not an easy lense to use if you are not used to it. He was very obliging and suggested we find the tame bush buck to have our photo with. We headed over to where the buck were and knelt down to their level to make sure we would get them in. Smile… click, click – fantastic we have a couple of holiday snaps with the bush buck.

In very broken English we managed to communicate with the friendly French guy, thanking him for taking the pics. Apon inspection of the photos, we had to stop ourselves from laughing out loud. The photo were a tight crop of just our faces, no room for bush buck whatsoever! So we have some pics of our faces… priceless… we didn’t have the heart to ask him to re-shoot.

We headed for the H2-2 where we found a whole bunch of vultures on a white rhino carcass. It was in an area which had recently been burnt so our first thought was that it had been caught up in the fire. We were very sad as it was the second rhino today.

We headed back BnD on the S114 and back onto the H3. We photographed a magic sunset on our way home, thinking it would be the last photographs for the day, but we were very wrong.

As we travelled along the S110 toward BnD we came across a massive traffic jam – one so big that it could only mean a kitty cat was about. There were in excess of 30 cars all jossling for a sight of whatever was around. We were very quickly boxed in by people trying to get a view.

After about 5 minutes of sitting and looking around for the cause of the jam, a young leopard appeared near SO’s door – it looked completely panicked and desperate to cross the road but with so many cars blocking it’s way the poor thing had a tough time getting across.
I was very disappointed with the way people behaved, putting themselves in front of the animals needs. :rtm:

It eventually got across and disappeared into the long grass and was gone for good.
We have a photo of it, but unfortunately we were very unprepared for the sighting and the camera didn’t even have a flash on it, so the pic is very blurred from the low light.

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We got back to camp and had a quick shower and then headed to the restaurant for supper.

After supper it was bedtime. All the excitement from the day was catching up with us quickly so we went to bed. At about 9.30 SO’s phone rang and woke us from a deep sleep – it felt like the early hours of the morning and we both wondered who would possibly be phoning. It turned out to be my mum, who had phoned to tell me I had left my cellphone on the table at the restaurant.

Soon after, we were back fast asleep.

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Handle every situation like a fox terrier, if you cant eat it or defeat it, then pee on it and walk away!


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 Post subject: Re: Kate goes WILD - 17 days in KNP
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 11:05 pm 
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Location: Hilton - KZN
Thank you Pumbaa - we had some amazing sightings and I am really looking forward to sharing them with all of you.

Thank you Shi - It was biltong and muffins for the first 6 days as both of us absolutely hate cooking and rarely find time to eat a proper meal in the game reserve :D

Day 3 Crocodile Bridge

Another early start to the day, we were greeted with our second beautiful sunrise.
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We would be packing up camp this morning and heading off to Crocodile Bridge, but first we were going to do a quick trip to biyamiti weir and back.

We headed up the S114 and our first sighting was a big herd of buffalo with the most hysterical cattle egrets – we could have watched them for hours. We snapped away, and then eventually moved on.

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As we crossed over one of the low level bridges we came across a herd of impala in the river bed, and I could not help but snap away – I love impala and photograph them at any opportunity I get, so you’ll be seeing lots of these little guys!

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On our way to the weir, we passed a vehicle which had stopped to look at a Tawny Eagle. We stopped to tell them about a pair of Walberg’s eagles sitting near their nest a few kilometres further down the road. They told us about a leopard kill at the weir and about the guy who had sat at the kill hogging the sighting for over an hour, while the rest of the cars were jammed along the weir.

We wondered what we would find when we got there. We ambled along to the weir and there were still some cars there. The leopard had fed and then abandoned the remains of his kill for a shady and less chaotic spots thick in the bush, and really took his time about coming back. We parked out of the way for about 15 min and then decided we had a long way to go and still needed to pack up camp so we started making our way along the bridge.

Out of the corner of SO’s eye he saw moving spots and there he was…. The leopard was coming down for a drink. He was no more than about 4 meters from us, walking at eye level along the bridge! We snapped away until he was into the reeds and we could no longer see him. What a beaut!

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We drove to the other side of the weir and parked at the view point where we could watch him lazing around in the reed bed.

Time was ticking so we really needed to go, so we said goodbye and made our merry way home.

Kudu heading off to have a drink

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We got this water thicknee too.

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We packed up our camp and started making our way to Crocodile Bridge. We had mentally prepared ourselves for a 6 hour drive as the distance chart says it is 150km / 6hours from BnD, but we were thrilled to realise they have made a mistake and that it is infact not nearly that far, so we took a leisurely drive along the river road to Crocodile Bridge.



Buffalo along the river

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We stopped in at Hippo pools and waited patiently for half an hour for someone to arrive to take us on a tour, and then realised that it was Sunday and that it was Daniel’s day off! Oh well, we’ll come back tomorrow!

We got to camp and SO started putting together our broken tent. We borrowed cable ties and duct tape from our neighbour across the way, which offered a temporary fix to our very wobbly tent!

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We found this juv bateleur surveying the land from his perch.

Supper was tuna sandwiches and salad, and then it was time for bed!

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Handle every situation like a fox terrier, if you cant eat it or defeat it, then pee on it and walk away!


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 Post subject: Re: Kate goes WILD - 17 days in KNP
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 4:56 pm 
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Location: Hilton - KZN
Thank you Gunner :D We were very lucky with our sightings this visit. I think it also helps going prepared to enjoy yourself even if you only see the small things... you get so much more out of the park if you can appreciate all the non show-stoppers.

Thank you Jaybabe :D I use a publisher in joburg for my wedding clients (Furi Fine Art
Books) and then a publisher in Durban (Colorchrome) for non wedding stuff. (Engagement photobooks, newborn/maternity books and now our personal holiday books)

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 Post subject: Re: Kate goes WILD - 17 days in KNP
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:50 pm 
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Thank you Shi and Pumbaa - it is lovely to have you along!

Pumbaa - wait until you see what we saw later on in the trip - spots - up close and personal! :dance:

Shi - I just couldn't resist those impala, they were just in such a perfect setting. The diet doesn't get much better I am afraid - at least until my parents joined us :redface:

Day 4 Crocodile Bridge

After a good night’s sleep we woke up fresh and rearing to go!
Our first stop for the day was Gasanftombi just to see who would be lurking – there was a lone imm fish eagle sitting on a dead tree jammed against the weir wall. It was a little too far for a photo, but still nice to see!

From there we moved on to the S28 and quickly came across 3 hyena who were chewing on a fresh skull (I think it is a buffalo skull). The light was still very low and not great for photos, but we did the best we could. The adult had the main part of the skull while one of the sub adults chewed on half a jaw. The second sub adult was left to look for scraps.

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Just passed the hyena’s we watch a pair of African hawk eagles hunting guinea fowl, which was fantastic to watch! Such a privilege to watch these skilled hunters in action! It all happened so quickly – way to fast for a decent photo. We did see another pair later on in the trip, so look out for the pics!

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With raised spirits we continued along the S28 with our eyes peeled for spots. We came across a safari vehicle stopped on the left hand side of the road, and all the occupants were looking at something with their binoculars. We too pulled over and scanned the plains with our binos –at first we could see nothing, and contemplated asking then what had their attention, and then SO spotted them – two cheetah’s lying in the distance. They were too far for any decent pics, but at least we had seen them.

We watched the two brothers for about 20min and then decided to head off towards lower sabie. We did a detour to duke’s waterhole to see if we could find Duke, or maybe the wild dogs – unfortunately neither of them graced us with their presence.

We did find two hungry warthogs eating elephant poo, and a burchells coucal flopping around a bush like he was recovering from a serious hang over.

We stopped off at Thandanyati Hide and found a very fat and lazy hornbill in the parking lot. He looked at us in disgust as we walked past without sharing our food.
At the hide we found a lone hippo in a tiny pool of mud with some barbell thrashing frantically due to lack of water. We found a lone brown hooded kingfisher sitting on a branch below the hide, contemplating how to catch a barbell more than 10times it’s size!

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We arrived at lower sabie and decided to have a late breakfast. We ordered our food and sat and enjoyed the river while we waited. SO went to order a coffee just as our food arrived. I watched the hippo while he stood in the cue. I was standing at the railing right next to our table oblivious to the fact that the starlings, weavers, sparrows and hornbills were helping themselves to our food! I had to chuckle to myself… and wonder how many other people were robbed in broad daylight!

After breakfast we headed to sunset dam where we enjoyed watching the hippo’s, yellow-billed and marabou storks.

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From sunset dam, we decided to drive along the bridge near lower sabie, and found a dead buffalo which was being eaten by crocs. A bit far for pics, but great to watch with binos.

A troop of baboons with a big dog came strolling past us and some naughty youngsters got carried away trying to push each other off the bridge.
A female right at the back of the troop came past with a severely deformed front right hand, and a badly injured sub-adult tagged along next to her.

We headed home along the S28 where we photographed some steenbok and some entertaining monkeys.

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On our way back along the tarred road we found a group of cars stopped on the bridge opposite Gasanftombi – they were watching lion! A First for our trip. They were lazing around on the sand and we sat watching them until it was time to get back to camp.

We arrived back at camp to find we had a new neighbour who we quickly became friends with, and then we realised we were also camping right next to WendyA.
We chatted and shared sightings from the day.

We had planned a braai with our friends from maritzburg who were also in the camp for the night, so we went to the camp shop to get some meat but were disappointed that the meat was not fresh (13days old), so we decided to give it a miss. It would have been fine if it was stored in a freezer, but it was only refrigerated.

We went off to the braai with our 2.5kg block of cheese instead! We didn’t use the cheese and it ended up in their fridge for the night.

That was the end of another wonderful day in the park!

_________________
Handle every situation like a fox terrier, if you cant eat it or defeat it, then pee on it and walk away!


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 Post subject: Re: Kate goes WILD - 17 days in KNP
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 12:22 am 
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Joined: Sun May 16, 2010 10:11 pm
Posts: 47
Location: Hilton - KZN
Sorry keep you all waiting - it's been a very busy week packed full of shoots. I will be shooting a wedding tomorrow (saturday), but will try and get a bit more done on sunday! So keep your :popcorn: warm!!

Pumbaa - spots are coming, I promise :cam:

Shi - I love those little steenbok, and there is certainly no shortage of pics in my gallery! Not long to go until you see the AHE - definately my favourite bird of prey.
That damn cheese :twisted:

Dabchick - I would have loved to see otter - I think it is just being at the right place at the right time. Some people in our camping ground saw otter in the river and we went and staked out the place but didn't see anything :cry: Next time!

Gunner - thank you for your comments, I really appreciate them! Not sure what the book is going to look like - I'm used to photographing people in dresses and suits :twisted:

Robbie - I definately agree we could have done without the broken tent... just wait... it gets better (or worse) :evil:

Tiny - great meeting you, and I'm thoroughly enjoying your TR - keep the posts coming. So glad you guys had a great trip! I agree - the light was horrible most of the time we were there.

PetraJ - thank you for joining us :thumbs_up:

Haupie - sorry to keep you waiting - here is the next installment :whistle:

Thank you to everyone for taking the time to read my TR and for leaving your comments - I appreciate all of them.

Day 5 Crocodile Bridge

We were supposed to pack up camp early this morning and move from croc bridge to Lower Sabie, but due to the fact that we loved Crocodile Bridge and we were worried about our wobbly tent we decided to stay at where we were for the next two nights. We also had nice neighbours – Grant to the left and Wendy A opposite us! :dance: :dance:

We took the S28 up to Lower Sabie to see if we could change our booking, and have breakfast on the deck. The road was pretty quiet as the weather was quite miserable, we figured everyone was still sleeping.

We got to Lower Sabie and managed to change our booking so headed off for breakfast. During breakfast we decided that we would take a drive to Tshokwane as we did not have to pack up camp so had plenty of time!

As we ate our delicious breakfast we were joined by the same birds from the day before that had helped themselves to our food – they sat on the table, chairs, balcony railing… anywhere they could find a spot. After we had finished, our knife and fork had barely touched the plate before they were there to devour what we had left, all fighting for the best bits. We left them to it and headed on our way.

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We saw the buffalo from the day before which the crocs had devoured, it was a lot closer and the body was caught on a rock right next to the bridge. Sorry to those sensitive viewers… it’s not very pretty, but at least the crocs ate well.

On our way to Tshokwane, we stopped in at Mlondozi picnic spot which was quite full of people so we didn’t stay long. We admired the male mocking chat for a bit and then headed on.

Next stop was the Orpen lookout. It was fairly quiet, except for a few hippo, crocs, green backed heron, waterbuck and two lonely buffalos.

We arrived at Tshokwane feeling mildly hungry, but not enough to eat a whole pie to ourselves, so we shared a venison pie with each other as the starlings, hornbills, doves all gave us the hairy eyeball hoping we’d cave in and feed them. It didn’t take long for them to disappear as the lady a couple of tables along was sharing her food. :rtm:

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We took a slow drive back from Tshokwane seeing this lovely waterbuck.

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And of course another steenbok (love these little guys)

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Some klipspringer on the rock (female was on the rocks below)

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Red Crested Korhan going about his daily business

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A croc coming out to bathe in the sun

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We stopped at Thandanyati hide and the barbel were looking more frantic and the hippo from the day before had left for greener pastures.

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We popped into sunset dam and found some swallows collecting mud for their next, and a little bird, which I think is a Prinia of sorts flutting around the bush.

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Monkeys playing the fool

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On the way back from Tshokwane we passed our friends who were on their way up to shingwedzi and only about 3km down the road, did we realise we had left our cheese in their fridge! Nevermind, we'll be seeing them at satara later in the trip, we'll get it then.

We got back to camp just before 6, and I went off to cook our fist meal of the trip. Spagetti and mince - we feel like cheese burgers, but we have no cheese.
I went and bought cheese from the parks shop to have with our spagetti and mince, and then discovered we had no grater :slap: :slap:
WendyA, Grant, Barrie (SO) and I enjoyed our meal around the camp fire and chatted until it was time to go to bed.

The end of another fabulous day in Kruger Park.

_________________
Handle every situation like a fox terrier, if you cant eat it or defeat it, then pee on it and walk away!


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 Post subject: Re: Kate goes WILD - 17 days in KNP
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 6:32 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 16, 2010 10:11 pm
Posts: 47
Location: Hilton - KZN
So inbetween doing photo shoots in the rain today, I managed to get day 6 done for you!

Gunner - those poor barbell desperately needed some rain - made fishing dead easy for the fish eagles though! The buff certainly got a wash - still not sure how it died though! :hmz:

Shi - :D :D Seriously, that cheese had a complete trip of it's own! It's been to parts of kruger that i can only dream of! :whistle:

Pumbaa - That croc was on a serious mission to get some rays... we had about 4 overcast days, with not a lot of surplus heat running around! Poor bugger was just trying to get warm :twisted:

Bushbaby30 - it is a fabulous lense, and we've really enjoyed it. The only thing now, is that we also want the 600mm!! We spent the three weeks trying to work out how to get our hands on one without having to sell everything we've got to afford it :thumbs_up:

Katja - Thank you, it's lovely to have you along for the ride :thumbs_up:

Jaybabe - the cheese will be doing a whole trip report all on it's own - watch this space :twisted: :twisted:

Thank you to all of you for following this TR - it's lovely to have you all along!


Day 6 – Crocodile Bridge

As I was making supper in the communal kitchen the night before, I got chatting to a lady who had seen a pair of Cape Clawless Otter along the river road that afternoon, so it was decided that we would take a drive to the same spot to see if we could spot them.

We got up nice and early and made our way to the spot via the H5 where we found a very lazy hyena at it’s den. As we arrived, it barely lifted it’s head and went back to sleep, where it stayed until we moved on.

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We found a small heard of elephant with a very new little calf – possibly the smallest I have seen. The mother was very relaxed but the new calf is still not used to cars and ran for cover under it’s mothers tummy.

How tiny is this baby :dance:
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Once back on the river road we stopped to look at a tawny eagle that was surveying it’s surrounds for a possible meal.

We got to the first loop down to the river where the otter had been seen the day before so we decided to have breakfast (muffins and biltong) while we scanned the river with our binoculars. We sat for about 45min and left without a sighting of the otters. We tried the next loop too, and left there equally empty handed.

We headed back to camp to book our sunset drive which we were looking forward to.
On the way there, we stopped to watch an adult giraffe and a youngster feeding on a nearby tree.

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After lunch (muffins and biltong) we decided to do the S28 in the hopes of seeing the cheetah which had been spotted in the morning but they where nowhere to be found. We popped into Thandanyati Hide where we found the struggling barbell and a young male impala who had got himself stuck in the mud trying to have a drink.

We headed back to crocodile bridge along the main road (H4-2), and stopped to watch a very cute family of dwarf mongoose. They were busy grooming themselves, and as soon as they realised they had company, they ran back to their anthill as fast as lightning!

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Soon it was time to get back for our sunset drive – we rushed back to camp, grabbed some warm clothes and made our way to the game drive vehicle. We had a nice group of people on the drive, and our guide was knowledgeable and friendly. We didn’t see much on the drive, but it was nice to see the park at night.

After the drive, we joined WendyA and Grant for a late supper and then headed off to bed.

The end of another wonderful day in Kruger Park.

_________________
Handle every situation like a fox terrier, if you cant eat it or defeat it, then pee on it and walk away!


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 Post subject: Re: Kate goes WILD - 17 days in KNP
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 1:32 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 16, 2010 10:11 pm
Posts: 47
Location: Hilton - KZN
It's finally here... Day 7!

Day 7 Pretoriuskop

We woke with heavy hearts as we were leaving the crocodile bridge / lower sabie area, and heading off to Pretoriuskop.
We decided that we would pack up camp nice and early and then head off in the direction of Pretoriuskop.

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As we were packing up camp, one of the camp staff came to tell us that he had just had a message from Daniel at Hippo Pools, and he was watching a fight between lion and buffalo as we speak! We dumped everything we were doing and headed straight for Hippo pools.
When we got to hippo pools there were only two other cars there, and as we approached them we could see they were looking across the river with binoculars. It didn’t take us long to find the massive herd of buffalo, and a little way from them, a pride of lion.

It appeared that they had been unsuccessful in their first attempt, as they still looked very interested in the buffalo. It seemed to be a young pride with only two mature females and we wondered if they were maybe being a bit adventurous.

They were a long way off, and seemed to be moving off in the opposite direction so we decided to drive back to the S25 and turned left to see if we could intersect the buffalo on their way through, but no such luck!

We headed back to camp to finish off the last of our packing up. After packing up we had our last cup of coffee with Grant and WendyA, and then said our goodbyes. :yaya:

We took the S28 for the last time in the hopes that we would see something spotty, but it was not to be.

We did find some Pumbaa’s

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Also some striped donkeys

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We popped into Thandanyathi Hide to see who would be lurking, and we found the young male impala still stuck in the mud, and a couple of water monitors eyeing out the desperate barbell.

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Overall, the S28 was very quiet, so we started to make our way to Pretoriuskop.

We drove along the H5 to see if we could find the hyena’s lazing around their den, that would make us feel better, but when we got there, there was nobody home!! :evil:

A little further on, we stopped to watch a busy squirrel, who didn’t hang around for long at all – I managed to snatch a few pics before he ran off with his tail in the air, showing me his behind! :big_eyes:

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We were about to pull off when a YR pulled up – it was Freeclimb who had just arrived in the park! Lovely to meet you – hope you had a fabulous trip! :thumbs_up:

As we got closer to Pretoriuskop, it was evident that the area had had extensive burning too and we didn’t see much, and before long, we arrived at the camp. We watched a troop of monkeys, and in particular two mothers with babies, as we passed the time. :whistle: :whistle:

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My folks had driven through from Pietermaritzburg, and were meeting us at the camp, so we decided to wait for them to arrive before choosing a campsite. We waited and waited and waited… eventually we phoned them to find out where they were and they had gotten lost, and then been caught just outside Numbi Gate by a speed trap. This is probably only the second speeding fine my dad has ever had, so thereafter, dad is nicknamed “Speedy”!

Eventually they arrived, and we found a great site with lots of shade.

We fixed our tent for about the 4th time with cable ties and duct tape, and then set up the rest of the camp. :wall: :wall: SO made a lovely fire to sit around. Everyone had a delicious meal and I skipped dinner and went straight to the fruit salad and custard… my favourite!! :dance:

We were seriously starting to run out of space on our memory cards and mum had remembered to bring our external hard drive with her, so we decided to download the cards while we remembered. I took out my laptop, plugged in the mouse and reached into the bag to pull out the power cable, only to find there wasn’t one! I had packed the power cable for an external hard drive by accident!
I downloaded what I could, before the battery died! :imsmilin:

We all slept well that night, and made arrangements to get up early the next morning for a drive.

_________________
Handle every situation like a fox terrier, if you cant eat it or defeat it, then pee on it and walk away!


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