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 Post subject: moggiedog-Expect the Unexpected-Oct 2010
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 8:11 pm 
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This being my first visit to Kruger so late in the year - I had no idea what to expect.
The condition of the veld was a majestic transformation from what I am used to. From silvery green leaves to emerald green grass the park was transformed to a wonderland of new growth and flowing streams. Raindrops and rhino abounded, interspersed with vivid purple and orange flowers.
Thunder and lightening filled the skies with the echo of lion calling out their displeasure at the wet and humid skies - but perhaps I should start at the beginning.

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 Post subject: Re: Expect the Unexpected
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 13, 2010 9:25 pm 
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This trip was totally unexpected. We did not have any trips planned until the new year. Then - thanks to a very generous donation by Duke and Sharifa - we had an unplanned trip to Kruger.
Saturday morning and off to do some last minute shopping. Check all eight dogs will be cared for and have enough food.
Packing of items into car almost complete, then - bang -
How on earth did I manage to fall out of the back of the bakkie?
Barked shins - blood flowing - I hobble into the house to staunch the blood flow and tend to my wounds.
Not much sympathy from SO - just a "How can you be so stupid?" - The joys of having been married for over 30 years..... :D
With both of us preferring not to drive in the dark we had planned our departure for after sunrise Sunday morning.
Awaking to an overcast morning we were soon on the road heading towards peace and tranquility.
The drive was uneventful and the intermittent rain kept the worst of the heat at bay as well as prevented the rising Sun from blinding us.
We had decided to enter Kruger through Crocodile Bridge and then take a slow meander to B&D. It was a wise choice.

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SAY NO TO HOTEL DEVELOPMENT IN KRUGER !


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 Post subject: Re: Expect the Unexpected
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 14, 2010 10:08 am 
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Yellow ribbon on the mirror and NBS (numb bum syndrome) relieved, legs stretched we started toward B&D. The first creature we saw was a gnu in the distance. A lonely creature standing silhouetted against the darkening sky.
A lone mongoose rushed across the road and peered at us from the safety of the tumbled down trees and shrubs - before scuttling off into the undergrowth.
As we turned onto the dirt road the Sun made a valiant attempt to improve the dullness of the day.
The silence was broken by the haunting call of the ghost bird. These birds are my SO favourites. We soon spotted it sitting elegantly on a tree. When we stopped the car it turned and looked in our direction then very kindly arched its back and let out it's ghostly cry that drifted and echoed through the trees , finally fading into the distance.
A small car pulled up next to us and the occupants asked us what we were watching. We pointed out the rain bird and told them it was Burchell's Coucal.

Image


They then asked what the yellow ribbon signified. Without batting an eyelid SO replied: "My maid is a member of the SanParks forum and the yellow ribbon is to recognize other forum members."
If I wasn't a lady - I would have smacked him on the spot.
With a lot of laughter we watched them drive off with a rather confused expression on their faces.

It wasn't much further along the road, when we came across this stately lady. She was wading importantly through the temporary waterhole on the side of the road, way too superior to acknowledge our presence. As we watched she stepped into a deeper portion of the muddy waters and with a very flustered look discovered she was up to her belly in water. Trying to hide her embarrassment, she gracefully waded into shallower water hoping we thought she had bowed down with intent.

Image

Only a short time in the park and we were already enthralled with her offerings. Admittedly the light was not good for pictures - but I am a 'happy snapper' and each moment captured in time is a precious memory.

The best was yet to come.........

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SAY NO TO HOTEL DEVELOPMENT IN KRUGER !


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 Post subject: Re: Expect the Unexpected
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 7:03 pm 
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Trundling on our way, eyes darting left and right we were soon entertained by some sparing giraffe. The smaller one of the two was out maneuvered at every move. He swung his head round and round in circles - as if he was trying to wind himself up like a clock, only to have the older one take a side step resulting in the "clock work" giraffe totally missing body contact but at the same time getting a hard thunk on his behind. Eventually staring at each other in a stand off - they wandered on their way munching the tender new leaves.

Image

A strange sight awaited us at the next water crossing. Was this the Kruger version of the Loch Nes Monster?

Image Image

All we could think of was that these fish had been washed over during heavy rains and had become trapped in the rocky pools on the wrong side of the road - with no way of escaping. They leaped and turned in endless circles trying to escape the confines of the shallow water. I can only imagine their fate was sealed.

Three hammer-kop were enjoying the day - each in its own way. One was catching silver fish and at the same time eyeballing the "monsters". I am sure it had grandiose ideas of catching such a hearty meal.
Another was having a siesta and the third was preening its feathers.

Image Image

Fortunately no other cars were in the vicinity so we were able to spend some time listening to the muttering of the flowing water whilst we watched the activity around us.

Dragon flies of fiery red and prussian blue skittered across the water, others with their seemingly transparent wings, glinting silver and gold, darted about in their intricate dance of the dragon fly. Settling momentarily on a stem or leaf only to take to the air once again in their endless flight. The singing birds a perfect accompaniment to their choreographed display.

Time was marching on and we could hear another car approaching so we carried on towards our destination.

A dark shadow on a branch attracted our attention. Slowly coming to a standstill - the shadow took form and shape. Not in my wildest dreams could I have expected this.

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SAY NO TO HOTEL DEVELOPMENT IN KRUGER !


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 Post subject: Re: Expect the Unexpected
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:49 am 
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Rubbing my eyes to ensure that I wasn’t seeing things, the dark shadow turned and gave us a haughty look down his aristocratic, roman nose. He then turned to show us his profile and red rimmed eye.
No ruffled feathers for this fine fellow. Totally relaxed he allowed us the freedom to have a good look at him.
Image

I have seen these beautiful birds in the North - I had no idea they could be found so far South!!
Perhaps I am not normal in the way I feel about seeing this bird - it is not a vicious predator nor a gentle spotted owl nor is he one of the big or little five - but to myself it was and will always be one of those 'wow" moments in my life.

Image

Leaving him to survey his kingdom in peace (perhaps he is a she:?) we once again started our endless hunt for creatures great and small.

A watery Sun was penetrating the gloom, glinting off the thorns and tender shoots of the surrounding trees.
The cicadas beat their wings into a frenzy of sound that was almost deafening - yet a few meters down the road these same creatures would be as silent as the grave.
The patchwork landscape of grays and browns, embroidered with shades of green had many secrets to reveal.

A busbuck in the grass and trees, his hiding place revealed by the slightest of movements.

Image

A gracefull giraffe silently watched the world pass by. Alert for any signs or sounds of danger.

Image

We drove in silence, each lost in our own thoughts and dreams.

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SAY NO TO HOTEL DEVELOPMENT IN KRUGER !


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 Post subject: Re: Expect the Unexpected
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 9:45 am 
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Although we were driving in silence we were keeping a sharp look out. The henny pennies and guineafowl seemed to be on suicide missions – especially the guineafowl. These critters have a dreadful habit of running in exactly the opposite direction to what you expect – namely towards the car rather than the safety of the grass.

Image

The one thing I have not mentioned is the number of rhino we had seen. By the time we arrived at camp our tally was standing at twelve or thirteen whereas elephant - we had only seen two. I remarked to SO that the elephant were all comparatively small and very relaxed.
As much as I love these hulking beasts, I have a healthy respect for them.
With an all day drive behind us we decided not to go out again but rather sit in camp and watch the world go by.
The chirping of the frogs and the humming insects being our entertainment until sleep claimed us.

Early next morning I sat outside drinking my coffee waiting impatiently for SO to surface. He is not one to worry about getting up at sparrow’s ……

We were finally on the road, heading towards the waterhole. We normally have a vague idea of what route we are going to drive but it’s never caste in concrete – all depends on how the day pans out and more importantly how busy the roads are.
En route the rhino – again – were all over. We watched the impala skittishly bouncing around in the morning breeze as we enjoyed the chorus of birds singing out in joy as they welcomed the new day.
Looking out of the window I noticed a weird shape on a small incline. I could see it was one of the giant snails that can be seen all over Kruger – but this one did not appear normal. On closer inspection I realized why.

Image

Time to move on.
We decided to take the tar road towards Afsaal and meander back on the dirt roads.
Lilac breasted rollers brightened the sky with their vivid colours. Eagles and Vultures were plentiful, as were the giraffe, rhino and various types of buck.
A group of Kudu crossed in front of us. We counted eight in the first crossing followed by a further five. Each small group stopped in the middle of the road to give us the once over before bounding to safety.

Image

Once again the guineafowl and henny pennies were a road hazard for the unwary driver.
The shongolola’s made their hazardous journey from one side of the road to the other.
It was becoming almost impossible to avoid them as we weaved our way down the road – trying to avoid them.
A tortoise – no – a terrapin – what was he doing in the middle of nowhere? It was amazing how many terrapin we noticed, far away from established waterholes. There was no shortage of water – but most of it could only offer a temporary home.
Image
Once we had paid our respects to Mr Spock – the disdainful skop’s owl – had our drinks and stretched our legs, the hordes were starting to arrive. Making our escape – we drove towards Pretoriuskop.
A flash of movement in a termite heap attracted my attention.
“Stop”
“Why?” asks SO
“Reverse”
“No” says SO.
Eventually I get my way. We reverse, stop then sit and wait.
Our patience is rewarded. A small movement, followed by a snout and wary eyes make their appearance. That was it. We waited and waited for the creature to display himself. It was way too nervous to come out.
Image
Finally we left it in peace and wended our way to no fixed destination. I was content that we had not waited for nothing.

Once again we saw groups of rhino on both sides of the road. Our count was now roughly 30 odd rhino. A few elephant escorted us on our way, before they decided they had done their good deed for the day and wandered off into the distance.
The Sun had come out and was slaking her thirst from the earth. She sucked and sapped away the coolness of the day as the clouds did their best to shield the world from her heat. We decided to head back to camp.
Abruptly stopping SO said “Look at that!”
What we saw crossing the road was unbelievable! Totally unexpected on a dry dirt road without a river or waterhole in sight.

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 Post subject: Re: Expect the Unexpected
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 8:30 am 
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It scuttled – stopped – gave us a horrified look and rushed sideways into the protective grass. Eyes on stalks twitching every which way. It was not going to let us out of its sight.
Then I got words stuck in my head:
I wonder what its like to be
Not living by the pounding sea
But in a place so far away
I have to travel every day.
Stupid – I know – but my mind does have dilly thoughts at times.

Image

Leaving the crusty crustacean to his travels we headed for camp. We turned onto the dirt road and once again rhino were our first escorts along the way. I don't think I have ever seen so many rhino in such a short period before. The thought of how these mighty animals are being poached blackened my thoughts. Forcefully kicking the darkness out of my head I was determined not allow the cruelty of reality invade and destroy my pleasure at being close to nature.

A huge caterpillar was storming down the road removing the corrugations and dumping a mini-mountain in the middle of the road. We waved, moved out of his way – and carried on with our happy hunting.

Up ahead a small white car was stopped and was watching an elephant. Nellie (although he was a young male) was intrigued with this white box but at the same time very placid. We waited and waited and then waited some more – perhaps the car was stuck. Deciding the people had had more than enough time we made the – for me – very brave decision to drive between them and said ellie.
We slowly edged between the two of them – ellie trunk in the air – ears flapping gave us a filthy look and the occupants of the white car a beautiful photo opportunity.

Rhino, giraffe, various species of buck and zebra grazed tranquilly on the side of the road.

Image

Smaller birds were roosting in the trees as the raptors surfed the thermals when we saw a flying red ribbon. A hand was waving out the window flagging us down.
Jaybabe, Shi and Flying cheetah. We chatted for a short time then headed our separate ways. What a pleasure to have met three wonderful people. My only regret we did not have a chance to spend more time together.

Back at camp hubby was in the chalet reading and I was sitting outside under a tree. If I didn’t know any different I would have thought I was in a sauna bath.
Have you ever had the feeling you are being watched – but cannot see any one? This feeling was getting stronger and stronger. Looking around I couldn’t see anything or anyone. Must be the heat – time for something cold to drink.
As I walked towards the chalet the feeling was even stronger – then I saw him – The pervert monkey’s had arrived. The troop leader decided to challenge me. With teeth bared and an angry scream, which brought SO rushing out of the chalet, this monkey was not going to back down. Ignoring him I fetched my iced drink – but this cost me my chair in the shade.

Image

Moms and babes came to drink at the water that had been left after the braai area had been cleaned. Cheeky youngsters were snapping at my ankles. Vervet’s may be classified as pests but as far as I am concerned they, with the baboon, are the most entertaining creatures in Kruger.
Without warning, blood curdling screams filled the air. Gang warfare – another troop of perverts had arrived and this was not going to be tolerated by the leader. Their energy and screaming exhausted me – finally the interlopers were chased away and the initial troop could lord it over the area and moms and babes could relax and finish their cool drink in the midday sun.

Image

Minutes rolled past and we were soon gathering our bits and bobs together to head out for the afternoon drive.

One thing about being in Kruger or any SanPark for that matter - you never know what your next sighting is going to be. Large or small, dead or alive ..

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 Post subject: Re: Expect the Unexpected
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 11:20 am 
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Driving out the gate I gave myself a gentle reminder to photograph the magnificent spider web in the tree – which I duly forgot to do.
We headed towards the hide enjoying the antics of the giraffe and rhino. A lonely elephant stood waving a branch around with his trunk. A mighty sultan of the bush with his frond fan. He gave us a look and wandered deeper into the bush. Three rhino grazed peacefully in the shade of the thorn trees. Impala crowded together under the trees giving us curious looks as we drove by.
The guinea fowl and henny pennies with their raucous call kept us company on most of the roads – giving us a few more gray hairs, as they squawked and ran in confused circles.

Image

We stopped on the bridge to watch three buffalo wending their way down the river bed. Best of all - there were no other cars on the road and we could enjoy the sounds of the rustling trees without the growl of engines disturbing us.

One lonely plover was zigzagging around his turf ‘whilst two fish eagle sat high in the trees searching for supper. Hoping the plover would come into camera range we turned the engine off and sat drinking in our surroundings. I think this area has been home to this plover and its ancestors for many years – I remember seeing one of them in the same place more than 12 years ago…

Image

A car flagged us down and told us of a lion sighting at the bend in the river. One thing I noticed – they didn’t mention a traffic jam.
We slowly wandered along enjoying the sounds of the bush. If the lion were gone by the time we got to the river bend – so be it.
Another elephant watched us pass and I wondered were all the big bulls had gone. Although this guy was smallish – his tusks were huge in comparison to the other elephant we had seen of similar size. Perhaps a future tusker in the growing?

Not much further and we came across a “red” elephant. We stopped to admire this wonderful creature. She allowed us a few moments, then curling her trunk over her tusks she stepped up out of the ditch and gently chivied us on our way.

Image

On the banks of the river we came across the lion. Two males surrounded by marauding vultures. The stench of death and decay wafted on the breeze as the sounds of squabbling vultures filled the air.
The buffalo carcass shivered and shook in a grotesque death dance as the vultures pulled and plucked at the bloody remains. One of the lion meandered down for a quick drink before collapsing in a sated heap on the sand. The other – making a very half hearted effort to keep the vultures away – soon joined his mate and left the vultures to finish off the kill.

Image

It was now late and we did not have much time to get back to camp. Fortunately, on our way back, there was nothing to bring us to an abrupt halt so we made the gates with time to spare.

The frog chorus was in full throat and once again I marveled at the beautiful sounds that filter from the trees and grass in perfect harmony.

I went to sleep wondering what the following day would reveal.

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 Post subject: Re: Expect the Unexpected
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 7:43 pm 
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Although this video was not taken on this trip - it was taken close to B&D and it was the sound that echoed through the night on this trip- although not as loud nor as close.
Apologies for the quality and I also managed to cut out his final grunts!


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 Post subject: Re: Expect the Unexpected
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:25 pm 
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Another night gone and a new day had begun.
We did not kill ourselves trying to get out of the gates as soon as they opened. One thing I have noticed is that all our best sightings have usually been later in the morning and/or midday.
SO is not a morning person and I have learned over the years to enjoy the first few hours, waiting for him to awaken, around the camp.
The early morning bird chorus, the rustle of frogs and insects as diurnal creatures exchange places with the creatures of the night.
Once our goody bag was packed and SO had had his second cup of coffee, we headed off on our morning drive.
The camp ‘bokkies’ gamboled about as the birds cheered them on with their morning song. We passed an elephant and a tad further a rhino family. We stopped to watch a family of dwarf mongoose go about their daily ritual. Little ones shrieked in protest at the monstrosity that had disturbed their daily play.


Back on the move, enjoying the peace, SO suddenly hit the brakes – hard. Grabbing a camera he fired off two quick shots. No time to focus. I was battling to peer over his shoulder to see what he had seen.
What…What.” – I asked.
Then I spotted it. Twisting and sliding across the road, tongue flicking in and out with lightening strokes - a slender snake. Desperate to get out of harms way it slithered rapidly into the grass and disappeared from view.
This was definitely not expected. We have seen various snakes on our visits, but this was our first skaapsteeker in KNP.

Image
(This id could be incorrect – and any help here would be appreciated. Although the photo is not very clear).

On the bridge a couple of cars had stopped so we didn’t spend much time looking up and down the river bed. The same three buffalo were wandering through the bush and a family of giraffe where clipping and shaping the tree tops.
We headed back to the lion kill on the off chance the hyena and vulture might still be there. The lion were not to be seen – but the vulture and the smell of death still dominated the area.
Not a hyena in sight. In fact neither sign nor sound of hyena in the area at all.
We continued our journey towards Afsaal along the dust roads. It was very peaceful and we had the opportunity to stop at enjoy the sightings without interruptions from other vehicles.
The dung beetles were out in full force. Industrious little creatures - some rolling there dung balls whilst others bickered and fought amongst themselves on the rhino middens.

Image

At Afsaal - Mr Spock was better hidden in his tree – but we soon sighted him – paid our respects, then left him/her in peace.
A bush buck made her wary way through the picnic spot into the surrounding bushes. The hornbills and starlings making their presence known by there unique call as they performed for hand outs.
Small beetles scuttled to safety – leaving miniature tracks and roads across the sand.
The shongolola’s curled up in the trees – out of harms way.
Having had our morning “leg stretch” we wended our way homewards. A few detours on the way to dams and water holes where small antelope stood like statures until the camera was raised – then they darted into the distance as if the hounds of hell where on their heels.
Giraffe and zebra had no such problem. The giraffe peering down at us from their lofty height – giving us disdainful looks from under their beautiful eyelashes. Zebra’s swatted and kicked at flies that buzzed around their bellies and faces, turning their rounded rumps in our direction.
Impala and other antelope melted into the trees, cautiously watching us as we watched them. The ever present henny pennies and guinea fowl scuttled across the road, keeping us on our toes. Tortoises and terrapins slowly making their way into the grass or sunning themselves next to the pools of water. The sparkling white frog nests glistening in the sun its image reflecting on the ponds surface like a full moon shining across the murky brown water.

Image

Arriving at the bridge – a traffic jam of note – the leopard had been spotted in the distant tree. Earlier that morning it was a dubious sighting at best – now it was a confirmed leopard sighting. We had not choice but to sit and wait it out – we had been “parked” in.
The next moments perhaps should not have amused me – but it did. I had a good chuckle at what transpired on the blocked bridge – SO was not amused.

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 Post subject: Re: Expect the Unexpected
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:06 am 
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Micetta/Norms/JnF/Scouter/Anne marie/Lowveldboy and Crested Barbet
Thank you for staying with me on my travels.
I hope I manage to capture the non-dramatic beauty of nature in South Africa. So often I have heard the comment " We saw nothing" - which translates to _ We didn't see the big five. There is so much more than the big five to be seen. In many cases the smaller creatures and plants can be far more interesting than a lion or leopard that may or may not lift its head before going back to sleep.
I agree - to see the wonders of a crocodile barrel roll with its prey, or a lion or leopoad kill is a fantastic moment in anyones book. Wild dog on the move - carrying puppies to a new den - awesome - but nature does not always reveal these moments to the searching eye. Birds offer colour and discussion. Monkeys and baboon with their amusing antics bring laughter and joy.
From trees twisted and bent into artistic or contorted shapes, flowers with insects feeding from them, snakes with their multitude of sizes and patterns, bats that eat the mosquito's and frogs that sing for their supper,
the industrious dung beetle to the mighty elephant - each has a place in a trip through nature. Each in it's own way is a miracle of nature that we are privelaged to see and enjoy.

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Last edited by moggiedog on Tue Nov 23, 2010 10:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Expect the Unexpected
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:25 am 
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If you can imagine a jigsaw puzzle that has been badly put together – you will have a good idea of what the bridge looked like. Blue cars, green cars, white cars – in fact all the colours of the rainbow parked higgledy piggledy across the road.
Some faced right, others left and others at right angles across the road. People looking north, south east and west. Others trying to point out the leopard in a distant tree – a very distant tree. Three buffalo calmly grazing in the river bed totally ignored the cars as much as the people ignored them.
We had thought we could reverse and return along the loop road – no such luck – we had been boxed in. The car in front of us pulled out and we decided to pull forward and see if we could squeeze through the gaps. Before we had the opportunity a car shot past us and parked at right angles across our nose - blocking any thought of us escaping.
In the distance the rumble of a larger truck could be heard.

If we put ourselves in this driver’s situation – what would we have done?
Most of us understand the frustration of being stuck in heavy traffic either on our way to work or on our way home – so why should this driver feel any different?
He was carrying a load and obviously it was a normal working day for him and his crew. He was driving well below the speed limit and slowly edged up to the bridge.
He signaled to the occupants of the various cars blocking the road – very politely requesting they let him through.
Not a hope – he was given dirty looks and then totally ignored. Again he politely asked for people to allow him through. This time the response was way more aggressive and included a Californian wave.
He edged forward and slowly crept closer and closer to the car in front of him – attempting to get some reaction – once again – aggressive response from the visitors. Then he hooted. You can all imagine the response to this. Once again he was treated with aggressive looks and hand signals.
I can imagine a lot of the mother Grundy’s complaining about the “sighting” being ruined by an inconsiderate driver. In my book it was the inconsiderate Kruger Visitors that had caused this situation in the first place.
This leopard had been in the area for a couple of days. That morning she had come out from under the bridge and walked to the tree then lazily spent the day in the tree. She was not easy to see and with the naked eye – just a set of legs hanging off the branch.
By now SO is grumbling and mumbling in his beard. Muttering and cursing the fact that we had not gone back on the loop road. The more he muttered and complained the more I laughed – which did not help matters.
By now the driver of the truck was leaning on his hooter with no let up and at the same time edging closer and closer to the cars blocking the road. Eventually people realized this man was serious and getting very antsy about not being able to pass. Finally the cars started edging out of his way and when a gap opened we managed to squeeze into the trucks slip stream and leave with him.
The leopard did not even flick her tail or twitch her ears at the commotion taking place so far from her resting place.

Image

The buffalo had meandered off into the distance – probably very happy to get away from the boxed monsters.
Still muttering and grumbling to himself – SO went to make some coffee – which I knew would improve his mood no end - and I went to examine the underworld of creepy crawlies.

One of the reasons he had the mutters was that earlier I we had been watching a breeding herd of nellies and he had wanted to leave. I had spotted a tiny baby and insisted on waiting until it came down to drink in the river. Not surprising he was ratty….having to sit in the heat of the car watching nellies in the distance.

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Expect the Unexpected
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:00 am 
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Location: Benoni
The underworld has as much diversity of life as the upper world. There are creatures to be seen that we never find but like the elusive cats we may be lucky and catch a glimpse of them - if our luck is riding high.
This was not one of those days.
If anyone had seen me, crawling around on my hands and knees in the heat of the day, I’m sure the reaction would have been a sniff and a look of disgust at this drunk and disorderly woman – then once out of earshot a snide remark of the drinking habits and behaviour of certain people would have been muttered to anyone who cared to listen..
It is times like these that the lack of a macro lens is truly frustrating. Spiders in strange colours and shapes, either in the sand or clinging to a web, were plentiful. Ants scurrying about their business and many curious looking insects kept me busy for some time.
Although the day was overcast the heat was eating into my body sapping every ounce of moisture and drop of energy I possessed. Finally bowing down to its superior strength, I settled on my chair under the trees.
An iridescent blue blur caught my attention. Taking a closer look this beautiful creature was under siege. He struggled and battled to get away from the marauding ants. I watched for a time and finally it managed to get a grip on a small twig and there it hung, upside down, safe for the moment from the murderous ants.

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It was once again monkey time. The troop was not as aggressive as the previous day. Giving me “the look” they filed passed. The youngster started with their strenuous games. Big daddy sat on a branch and watched the proceedings without much interest.
I noticed that the mom’s were allowing their little ones a lot more freedom. The previous day they had held them close and not allowed them out alone. This day, mom’s gently placed the babes on the ground. Te spidery youngster explored the small trees and grassy carpet with interest. One little one seemed to have been abandoned whilst another had three baby sitters paying careful attention to its every move. I can only imagine one was of a low rank and the other was the off-spring of a high ranking female.
The older “children” shrieked and tumbling, bounding from tree to tree in mock battles and the rough and tumble of their play.

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A chattering call and the youngsters - like a family of suricate - peered over the humps in the grass as they responded to the call. After the troop meeting the youngsters scampered off to thicker brush leaving the small babes and moms alone. As cute and as inquisitive as these little creatures are - they are still pervet monkeys!

Minutes have a strange way of blending into each other and it was soon time for us to set off on an afternoon drive. The clouds were building and the wind was growing and temperatures were dropping when we left the gates.

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A Conundrum before Tankwa

SAY NO TO HOTEL DEVELOPMENT IN KRUGER !


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 Post subject: Re: Expect the Unexpected
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:14 am 
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Joined: Fri May 05, 2006 9:12 am
Posts: 524
Location: Benoni
Having no planned direction we decided to head towards the waterhole. With the temperature having dropped the impala were feeling their oats and were way more active than they had been.
A dagha boy gave us the beady eye,

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snorted then stalked closer to the car. He had been lost in thought and we must have caught him off guard. Glaring at us, he eventually decided we were not going to be making a meal out of him.

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The clouds had come in and a light drizzle was falling. We watched a few dwarf mongoose scuttle around before we turned to drive over the mountain. A pair of Rhino rumbled across the road in front of us. They were so close together they looked like Siamese twins – joined at the shoulder.

Sitting along the branch of a tree was a string of brightly coloured bee eaters. The light was not good and by the time I got a foggy photo they had flown off to distant hills.


Animal life was scarce. I believe they knew they were in for a very wet and miserable night. The life giving tears of heaven would only be appreciated once it brought forth new growth.
We made our way towards the hide and had our first baby impala sighting. We stopped and watched for a time as it wobbled along on its spindly legs nudging at mom to open the bar. She was not very sympathetic to its needs - her thoughts were on slaking her own thirst before darkness settled across her homeland.

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With the deteriorating weather we headed for camp. The clouds had lifted but the wind was howling.
The “leopard jam” at the bridge was still in evidence – but the road was open. We stopped to allow the approaching cars to have a “look see”.
A young couple in a small blue car asked what everyone was looking at. Two very enthusiastic “newbies” without camera or binocs started looking for the leopard - without any luck. The leopard was not easy to see with the naked eye so SO handed his binocs over and we described were the leopard was. Eventually I took a photo of the tree and handed my camera across to the youngsters. They juggled and wiggled their car into a small gap and scanned the tree. Eventually with great excitement they spotted the leopard.
Two very happy people returned our equipment and drove off with huge smiles on their faces. The leopard yawned stretched and left her branch. With her disappearance into the grass so did the cars disperse in all different directions each on their individuals quest for what was on offer.
Just before the next turn off, a family of giraffe graced the horizon as they glided between the trees.
A family of rhino marched down the side of the road. One was spraying his territory whilst the others snatched mouthfuls of grass before crossing the road and disappearing between the trees and hillocks.

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The Sun had managed to make a final appearance before sailing around the world. With the winds and the Sun the sky was a forever changing pattern of reds, blues and grays.

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On our arrival back at the chalet – the distant sound of thunder had moved a lot closer.
We had just finished our evening meal when the heavens opened and pelted the ground with heavy drops of rain. Thunder boomed overhead – drowning out all other sounds. Lightening forks sliced viciously across impenetrable black skies, leaving fleeting images of fiery red swords piercing the darkness, shadowed by a ghostly blue light.
The storm raged and screamed until it finally exhausted itself and we were left with the sound of its tears of rage falling around us as we drifted into dream land.
.

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A Conundrum before Tankwa

SAY NO TO HOTEL DEVELOPMENT IN KRUGER !


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 Post subject: Re: Expect the Unexpected
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:27 pm 
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Location: Benoni
The day was wrapped in a cold grey cocoon. Rain was falling and the Sun was staying in bed for the day.
The type of weather only mad dogs and nature lovers venture out in. We passed bedraggled impala sheltering under skimpy trees, and birds hunched up in their feather coats looking miserable and cold. Even the raptors were not surfing the thermals but perched on branches with heads tucked into their chests.

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The weather was definitely not conducive to game viewing but there is always something to be seen or listened to. We made our way towards Croc Bridge with the intention of having lunch at Lower Sabie followed by a slow drive back to camp.

The windows were treated like yo-yo’s. Opened quickly then closed if our direction altered and the rain came in. At times we had to have both windows closed as the rain seemed to be determined to find shelter inside our car....
Damp and grumpy rhino ignored us completely. The antelope of various kinds stared at us. The disgusted expression on their faces left us in no doubt how they felt about the morning.
Irrespective of rain and mist – there are always creatures that enjoy (or so it seems) the damp weather.
We stopped and waited for visitors to finish taking photo’s at a crossing - where it appeared there was a lot of activity. The other people saw us and pulled forward to allow us access to the single car crossing then they disapeared in the opposite direction.
This area was throbbing with activity. A forlorn monitor draped itself over a rock – not that it had much chance of sunbathing.

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Kingfishers and heron were having a field day with the amount of fish they were catching.

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The insect were keeping the swallows and swifts dancing across the sky before coming to rest on the road and rocks.

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One thing that was a bit concerning is that when the other vehicle drove away the terrapins had approached the car with their heads stretched up ‘begging” for food. I can only surmise that these creatures have been fed previously and now look for easy meals on wheels.
The previous car had returned and SO wanted to move on. Perhaps I was being self centered by I said they could wait a few sec’s ‘cause I wanted a picture of the heron. By the time I took the picture the car had left again and as it hadn’t taken me too long I was not plagued by guilt.

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We drifted along and at each intersection debated the pros and cons of which road to take. We were in no hurry and had all day.
Our next sighting was a red and yellow ribbon flying proudly off the mirror of another vehicle. We waved but the rain was coming down so hard we did not stop to chat. I have no idea who they are but I hope they had a wonderful trip.
We stopped and watched a couple of giraffe – who did not seem much deterred by the rain. I suppose having your head in the clouds you don’t have many choices or places to shelter - so you might as well browse along and wait for sunny days.
The elephant and rhino did not seem to have a problem with the weather. The fish eagles had given up their quest for food and were perched on the trees next to the river – looking very bedraggled and unhappy.
The sun was making a week attempt to break through the clouds when we noticed a henny penny walking down the middle of the road. We slowed and I said “it looks very strange!’ The bird made no effort to get out of the road but strolled down slap bang in the middle. When we got closer we realized it was an African Jacana – no wonder it looked funny.
I must be honest – I have always seen these birds on their lily pads – I never expected to see one tip-toeing down the middle of the road with a couple of guinea fowl’s as companions!
He strolled around the car - staying well out of camera range. When we did manage to get a clear shot at him – he took to the skies leaving me only memories and no captured moments.
By the time we arrived at Lower Sabie the sun had managed to brighten the day considerable.
.

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A Conundrum before Tankwa

SAY NO TO HOTEL DEVELOPMENT IN KRUGER !


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