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 Post subject: jaybabe Our love affair with Northern KNP Aug 2010
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:30 pm 
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There are many aspects of the Northern section of Kruger that my SO and I fell in love with. This tug to continue returning to the North of Kruger started a few years ago. I was brought up in the Lowveld and had spent a fair amount of time in the South of Kruger. I introduced my SO to South KNP in our early years of marriage which he really enjoyed, but somehow along the way we stopped visiting Kruger for a long time. I think we were to busy working and when we did have time off we landed up elsewhere. But 4 years ago (we were having a miserable cold wet Cape winter or something)we made a last minute booking for KNP and could not get accomodation anywhere else but in Punda Maria, Sirheni and Mopani....
Thats when the affair began...
What is it that keeps pulling us back to the northern Kruger?
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Join me on our highs and lows in our KNP North affair.
Hope you enjoy the trip report as much as I have enjoyed all of yours!

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 Post subject: Re: Our love affair with Northern KNP
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 4:00 pm 
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17th August 2010:
We arrived at Punda Maria gate in the late afternoon and were amazed to see KNP looking so different to how we normally experience it. The grasses were high and many off the tree's had not lost their leaves or were in Autumn shades.
We kept our eyes peeled and saw these which I had never see in KNP North before:
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Brown Headed Parrots
We also spotted these:
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We had 3 elephants pass thru' the bush but the pic's are not worth posting.
We had booked into Punda Maria Tents and were absolutely thrilled with our home for the next 3 nights.

We shared our home with these guys.

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We quickly unpacked and settled down to enjoy the sunset and braai.SO doing what he loves best
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With G&T in hand we started making plans for the next day....It was awesome to be back at Punda my SO's favourite Kruger camp

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 Post subject: Re: Our love affair with Northern KNP
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 9:16 am 
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18th August:
The intention was to wake up bright and early...but those beds I swear have superglue on the sheets!
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Very comfy beds!
We finally woke because I could smell the smell of bush fire and hear the crackling of flames. (now I am a bit paranoid about fire)I lept out of bed to investigate....
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Yip there was smoke ! I could hear voices and it seemed that Sanparks had decided to start sector burning in the area that day :( We were a bit disappointed but a raging fire thru' the bushveld on a windy day is scary!
We quickly got moving and decided to do the Flycatcher trail in camp while it was still cool
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My SO who's nickname is Paparazzi took this of me strolling along!
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We really enjoyed it but we did not see much except this Marobou Stork at the birdhide at the campsite
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Next up....one our favourite drives...

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 Post subject: Re: Our love affair with Northern KNP
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 11:34 am 
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18th August continued- the Mahoni loop..
One of the reasons for this been one of our favourite loops is it offers diversity in scenery so even if game is scarce you have the variety of mountain, river, cliff faces and some pretty arid patches to.
Shortly after leaving we feasted our eyes on this scene:
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What was strange was that most of the waterholes were empty :( even though there was still water in the Matukwala river. A pity as the water holes often offered great bird sightings.
We enjoyed this close sighting of this kudu female lurking in the bushes
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These guys are a contant source of entertainment
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 Post subject: Re: Our love affair with Northern KNP
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 11:59 am 
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We came across this stunning Coral tree which was teaming with sunbirds, we identified Amethyst, white bellied and crimson breasted Sunbirds all feasting on the nectar. Sadly the pic's are not great...(still practising) but if you look carefully you may see the crimson breasted sunbird.
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The rest of the loop was pretty quiet but the scenery gorgeous.
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Everything was so peaceful, and we had only came across one other vechicle and these guys relaxing...
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We really started to unwind and it suddenly dawned me that we had heard no sounds of sirens, airplanes, car or even people - just the smell of bush (and smoke) and heard the soothing sounds of birds - pure bliss :D

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 Post subject: Re: Our love affair with Northern KNP
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 12:17 pm 
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Later that day we decided to take a drive to Klopperfontein dam...it had never failed to disappoint. We never quite made it because I our timing was out but we did have great sightings (for us)
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This sighting brought back a memory of a trip to PM in 2008. We were on a sunset drive and were in the same area as this pic. It was dusk. We could see some kind of animal in the distance crossing the road following these power lines.
Image....What could they be?


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 Post subject: Re: Our love affair with Northern KNP
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 10:01 am 
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Thank you everyone for your words of encouragement! I can't take credit for the pic's as my so is the photographer and he got a new lens just before KNP trip and I must say the pic's later in the trip are really good.
18th August Continued...:
On our trip in 2008 we had seen... a large group of people even mother’s and babies running thru' KNP from Zim or Mozambique...this was disturbing!
At the same place we saw this.
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We were treated to an awesome sunset..
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We got back to camp and were greeted by...
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Sadly the fires were still burning...
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We had a great day and were thrilled with all our experiences
We went to bed feeling excited because we were off on a new adventure ...
J

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 Post subject: Re: Our love affair with Northern KNP
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2010 5:15 pm 
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19th August:
We woke to another magical day in Kruger. This is what the view looked like from our tent:
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We were very excited as we were off to Thulamela archeological site. This was something we had planned to do for a while as it sounded really fascinating.
We set off with two guides with guns because a trip Thulamela involves driving to a hilltop overlooking the Limvuvu river near Parfuri. It also invoves a walk up the hill to view the site. The drive up on the H1-8 quiet which was not unexpected we had found it quiet on previous trips when we visited Crooks corner. Once we were on the Nyala loop we had the priviledge of seeing nyala, monkeys, kudu and various birds. If any of you reading this report have not visited the Parfuri area...please do. It is truly mystical place with huge fever tree's along the Limpopo river, many animals and birds frequent this area. I can't even begin to capture the atmosphere in words it is so special!
We arrived at the end of the Nyala drive and drove thru' a locked gate...
We then had a quick safety chat and then we were off on foot:
We had to walk up a hill
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When we reached the top of the hill we astounded at how many boabab tree's there were...I was ecstatic Boababs are one of my favourite tree's
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to be continued...

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 Post subject: Re: Our love affair with Northern KNP
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2010 5:39 pm 
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Some Background (reference :The getaway guide to the Kruger National Park By: Cameron Ewart-Smith)Thulamela is thought to originate from the Iron age era.The Nguni people originally from west-central Africa filtered down following the Luvuvu, Limpopo, Shigwedzi, Letaba, Sabie and Crocodile rivers. The dry stone walls of Thulamela were similar to those of the great Zimbabwe and housed an estimated 3000 people. The people of Thulamela were traders bartering for gold,ivoryand even slaves with their neighbours and Arab traders. Archeologists have also found remnants of glass beads and chinese porcelain. Gold,bronze,copper and iron artefacts and royal gongs from west africa have also been found. Accordng to Sanparks guides the people of Thulamela only lived there for approx 60 years and then moved on - possibly because of malaria.
These are the walls of what they think was part of the Royal enclosure. A skeleon was discovered and judging from the density of the bones the skeleton was thought to belong to a royal male (apparently he had low bone density which is indicative of someone that did work so hard!)
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Iwouldn't mind a view like that from my lounge!
I could imagine indaba's taking place under some of these huge boabab's
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As we walked thru' the ruins one could imagine the people bustling about going about there business...more pic's to follow.
LB hope you enjoy it as much as we did

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 Post subject: Re: Our love affair with Northern KNP
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2010 5:18 pm 
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Thank you so much for all your comments.... :D
Some more pic's of Thulamela:
What an amazing view and it is fairly high up you can maybe see the small tree's in the distance which are actually enormous!
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Beautiful aloe...
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SO with his personal dangerous animal protectors! How big is the girth of the boabab!
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I think if I have to have a very important decision to make I will have to go and sit under a beautiful boabab and be inspired by the majesty of these tree's
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We then left this wonderful place and went to say hi to Frank at Parfuri picnic site. It was as gorgeous as I had remembered . We heard later that our timing was a day out as the next day there was a pair of lions mating in the river bed right below PArfuri picnic site! :mrgreen: Oh well thats the way things go... we still had a great time and were completed fulfilled with our morning. :P

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 Post subject: Re: Our love affair with Northern KNP
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2010 5:32 pm 
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Kamadejo that was quick ..Yip Thulemela is special!The last afternoon at Punda:
After lunch and a brief siesta we took off to klopperfontein dam....but again we couldn't quite get there. This time our timing was fine but there were so many elephants with youngsters coming and going from thee dam we felt we would disturb them so we carried on...
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We were thrilled to get a fleeting glimpse of Tssesebe
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I had to include this pic as LBR's are in my opinion one of the finest looking birds around.
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....to be continued

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 Post subject: Re: Our love affair with Northern KNP
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2010 5:53 pm 
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OOPS 2 of the same pic's..
:redface:
OWN ...you will need to go soon...yearning heart not good :lol:
Here is the LBR
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We also had this sighting of a Burchell's coucal. I love these rather clumsy sometimes scruffy birds.
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These ellies were having a drink at a waterhole on the Shisha river
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This little ellie was finding his head rather heavy and needed a quick cat nap..
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Next up a nocturnal visitor!

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 Post subject: Re: Our love affair with Northern KNP
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 11:56 am 
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On our last evening in Punda we were enjoying a braai and a glass of the cape's finest red when we heard this ....noise.
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So this was the dude that turned over the bin every night and woke us up. Clearly the smell of delicious food was to much and he/she could not wait until the lights were off!
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He was a larger spotted genet...sorry the pic quality is so/so..
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He hung around in anticipation for a while but was disappointed and so went off to raid someone's bin!
We were off to Sirheni the next day...but I am not sure I should post too much about it as I love it so much and I would hate not to be able to book there again because of its popularity! :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Our love affair with Northern KNP
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 6:17 pm 
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We were woken up often during our last night at Punda...and our nocturnal visitor was not to blame! The wind started howling and of course paranoid me started panicking about some of the fires that had not burnt out completely. A cold front had moved up the country.....didn't the weather know that Jaybabe and SO specifically go to KNP in winter to get away from cold fronts :huh: ? Fortunately the fires were not a problem I was relieved to see in the morning but the weather was rather fresh and windy. Our drive to Sirheni was extremely quiet so I have included some pic's of Punda camp.
A beautuful twinspot at the birdbath. It is definitely worth hanging around this birdbath below the communal braai area, there is almost always some bird activity there.
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View of the bungalo's at Punda...
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The Marabou was at the birdhide again.
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More to follow...

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 Post subject: Re: Our love affair with Northern KNP
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2010 6:37 pm 
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I really am not exaggerating when I say the drive from Punda to Sirheni was quiet..or maybe our eyes were still sleeping :doh:
Fortunately we found this slope where the light was really good and the colours of the tree's were gorgeous:
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This graceful giraffe entertained us for a while:
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And we spent ages trying to work out what this was...still not sure about it! I will be seriously impressed if any of you can tell me.
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For those of you that do not know Sirheni...Sirheni is a wonderful camp in so many ways...for starters they have won the best bush camp in KNP for something like 7 years in a row and the staff say they have no intention of not winning again. So the staff are really friendly. Secondly the camp is on the Sirheni dam so all the huts have a view. Thirdly they have birdbath in front of each chalet. Forthly the drive on the river from Sirheni to Shing have few people on them ..no manmade roadblocks and is beautiful. There are 2 bird hides in camp. Also roan are often spotted in the area...do I need to go on. Oh yes the bungalo'w's are extremely comfortable and well equiped...
ps : you have to keep it a secret remember!

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