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 Post subject: Cheetah2111 Cheetah spotting in Satara and Letaba Nov 2010
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:19 pm 
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Hello all :D :D :D :D :D
I have just spent about a day struggling to figure out how to post pics :wall: :wall:
But EVENTUALLY with the help of Rookie2009 I know how to(I hope).
Well I came back yesterday from a fanTASTIC(rice) trip to the Kruger!
slept at Satara on the 13th, 14th and 15th and Letaba on the 16th, 17th and 18th and dove out Palaborwa gate yesterday :thumbs_up:

Besides myself, my mom, dad, my cousin Stuart and our domestic worker Florence came along.
Here we are:
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above is Stu and my mom at mopani :D
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Florence cooking up a green salad and garlic bread :thumbs_up:
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Dad and I with our Beer! :thumbs_up:
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Stu with wine :slap: :naughty:

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 Post subject: Re: Cheetah spotting in Satara and Letaba! 13-19 November
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 20, 2010 3:46 pm 
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DAY 1 - ORPEN - SATARA

We arrived at the Kruger at 1 o clock on saturday after what we all know to be the shortest trip imaginable :wink: Just down the road from Joburg, we got to Orpen gate and it was HOT! 35degrees or so :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes:
We had already started spotting animals going 120km/hour in the car from the back! Scanning the fences of the little game and nature researves on the way!
of course all sightings us people at the back see on the way 'DO NOT count' :naughty: :wall: :rtm:
and do not get to go on our animal list since my dad always says we not in the Kruger yet :rtm:

But when we got in the park it took two minutes and we already saw our first animal :mrgreen:
One of my favorite sightings! A majestic male Kudu
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Ah it was nice and close to the car and we watched it for a good while.
Look at his magnificent horns
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Such a nice first sighting :thumbs_up:

Then five minutes later saw a herd of waterbuck. Here is the male
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Then came little Pumba's running through the grass with their tails in the air and into the open
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Then I saw something special! My first sighting of Nyala!
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Most animals were probably under shade and difficult to spot
also because my dad was in a rush to get to camp, pack out and relax! So he was driving 50km/hour :wall: :wall:
I'm one of those 30km/hour drivers :mrgreen:
So after a dry patch, about 15km from Satara, we saw plenty of animals!
Herd of Blue Wilderbeest
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Giraff
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These vultures were looking ominous!
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Then we got to Nsemani waterhole near Satara and saw these fat hippos having a splash around
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Then close to Satara on the H7 still we spotted Buffalo with the binocs, and again on the H3! Too far for photos. But a good sign! :D

So the list for the drive in goes:
Blue Wildebees 3
Buffalo 2
Giraff 4
Hippo 1
Impala 22
Kudu 7
Monkey 1
Nyala 1
Steenbok 1
Waterbuck 4
Warthog 3
Zebra 2

The numbers refer to how many SIGHTINGS of the animal we had, NOT the number :thumbs_up: The Impala were only slightly in the lead :wink:
Then it was time to pack out all the stuff! But Stu and I were not too tired to go on another drive!!
Day 1 to be continued ...

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 Post subject: Re: Cheetah spotting in Satara and Letaba! 13-19 November
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 20, 2010 4:31 pm 
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Day 1 - Drive 2


It was 16:00 after packing and lunch and we still had time for an afternoon drive :dance: :dance: :dance:
So my folks stayed home and Stu and I got some cousinly time together on a game drive!
Did I mention this was my first time at Satara? Also my first time in the cintral region of the park?
Well now I have :lol: I've been in Punda Maria and Skukuza, and often stay at Kruger Lodge and Drive in.
Point is ... I was excited to explore new terrain!! :dance: :dance:
So stu and I decided to head up the H1-4, turn left on s127, left again on the s40, then the H7 back to Satara. A little 51km route :mrgreen:

We had just driven out and already saw a huge elephant walking towards the road :big_eyes: :D
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We watched this guy just outside Satara for a good amount of time observing his heavy strides and destroying tiny bushes while eating. Eventually he walked off to the East and we had already each finished a cooldrink!

We drove on and there were signs of death all around :big_eyes:
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This gave us hope of seeing preditors :mrgreen: We were astounded on this drive by the aboundance of game. Especially on the H1-4. We saw Sooo many steenbok! I was very confused by this :hmz:
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every time we stopped for an animal, we could look ahead and see the next!
Huge herds of Wilderbeest, Zebra, Kudu, Waterbuck and Giraff spread across the flat open plains in perfet view.
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We were very impressed by the high density of herbivour populations there!
Then we saw Rhino on the H1-4 :dance:
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The adults at one point had a fight! So naturally, Stu and I started running commentry as if it was Sharon and Ozzy osbourn having a family fight :mrgreen:
The rest of the drive was lovely and we saw much of the same. just a lack of raptors thus far :hmz:
Beautiful Sunset to end a great day
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Animal count for the drive
Blue Wildebees 9
Buffalo 2
Elephant 7
Giraff 7
Impala 11
Kudu 3
Ostrich 1
Steenbok 16 :big_eyes:
Waterbuck 5
Warthog 5
White Rinoceros 2
Zebra 4

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 Post subject: Re: Cheetah spotting in Satara and Letaba! 13-19 November
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 9:21 am 
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Day 2 - Early Morning Drive

The next day we were up well early ... QUARTER TO FOUR :big_eyes: Thats how you spell enthusiasm :wink: I heard Hyena and Lion in the night and I flew out of bed made coffee and harassed my family out of bed and we were off! Got to the gate at ten past four, but there was already a car there :wall: We wanted to be first :( Oh well that car won today ...

Then cars started joining our line. A guy came up to me - since I was the driver and asked "did any of you see the leopard?" I said no we hadn't in an excited tone, wanting to ask about where, but the man just walked off at a pace rudely before we could talk :evil: If I could turn back time I would have said "yeah. leopards are boring." :evil: I got over my anger and it turned to excitement :D
We headed out the gate and I decided to go North up the H1-4, right on to the s90, right on the s100, then home to Satara! :D

We headed off with high expectations! Squinting our eyes trying to see in the darkness. We saw some giraff, but didn't stop for pics because we were searching for cats!! Unfortunately, other than the giraffs, we didn't see ANYTHING on the H1-4 :cry: We turned right on to the s90 and thought there must be hungry lions around keeping the herbivours hidden 8)
Our hopes ignited again as we saw this
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We were chatting about these hungry lions prowling the area and we saw this carcass
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We turned on to the s41. then next thing!
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Very difficult to spot these kitties.
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We could see four lionesses. The fourth is on the right of the photo behind the branches of the dead tree
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For a long time they were looking very alert!
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We stayed for a very long time with these kitties waitng to see if anything would happen. It was an overcast day so they might be active :hmz: But as it turned out, they ended up acting like typical lions. Sleeping. They took shifts to keep watch. One would have its head up keeping watch, while the other three slept. And each one got their turn. We ate our dried wors (breakfast) at this point. we have to earn our eating with good sightings in the family :mrgreen:

We turned on to the s100 and it was raptor city!
This fish eagle
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I'm not too sure what this eagle is called?
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And what do you call this? :redface:
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And this? :redface: I thought it might be a kind of kite!
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 Post subject: Re: Cheetah spotting in Satara and Letaba! 13-19 November
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 3:05 pm 
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Thank you Anne-Marie and Wendy :D
Second day morning list:
Baboon 3
Bataleur 2
Blue Wildebees 9
Grey Duiker 1
Elephant 2
Fish Eagle 2
Giraff 5
Hippo 1
Impala 18
Kudu 2
lion 1Monkey 2
Steenbok 7
Waterbuck 6
Warthog 1
Zebra 1
(The numbers refer to the number of sightings)

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 Post subject: Re: Cheetah spotting in Satara and Letaba! 13-19 November
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 3:08 pm 
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Now for the afternoon drive -
S40 then the s39, then the H7 back to camp! Suggested by Anne-marie to be done in the afternoon! And thank you! here it comes!

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 Post subject: Re: Cheetah spotting in Satara and Letaba! 13-19 November
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 3:43 pm 
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So here we go to Timbavati!
Drove up to the Nsemani waterhole before taking the s40, because we the previous afternoon lions were pinned up there and again that morning!
Well ... we didn't see lions ... but it was a lovely scene as we watched the hippos who were quite active again. across the dam we watched elephant through the binocs who were going about their business. and on the opposite site to the waterhole giraffs heads were peaking out above the trees. In the distance beyond the dam a fish eagle was casting his eyes over the savana. The waterhole is a great spot and I would certaily recommend it to anybody :thumbs_up:


We headed up the s40 and saw these powerful Buffs lying together.
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There were probably 50 but difficult to get on picture because they were mostly behind the bushes.
Then ironically we saw one of the fallen comrads!
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The area near the picnic spot was prolific with animals! Saw herbies every 5 minutes or so :mrgreen:
Saw this beautiful tree at the Timbavati picnic spot
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And at the picnic spot this attractive little Bushbuck was wondering around
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Things started getting ominous as we passed about three sightings of vultures in 5 minutes. :big_eyes:
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Then we saw them cycling in the air! What was happening??
We smelt it before we saw it ... vulture frenzy feeding on a dead buffalo
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The stench was the worst I have ever experienced :shock: It sounds pretty obvious, but I can tell you a dead buffalo STINKS!!! From that moment onwards I loved and respected scavengers!! We need those guys :clap:

The rest of the s39 was quiet. But the vulture feeding was fascinating! Three people in the car out of five managed to fall asleep during this drive :roll: :roll: Not I!

Animal count:
Baboon 1
Blue Wildebees 5
Buffalo 2
Bushbuck 1
elephant 3
Giraff 4
Hippo 2
impala 27
Kudu 2
Steenbok 8
Waterbuck 1
Warthog 5
Vultures 5
Zebra 3

There was time for a short drive when we got back for Stu and I. It happens to be the best drive for our entire stay!! :big_eyes: So don't go too far away :naughty: :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Cheetah spotting in Satara and Letaba! 13-19 November
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 7:31 pm 
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Nice sightings and pics. :D

I can't say for sure what your one raptor is but the next 2 birds you have are Burchell's Coucal & Black-shouldered Kite.

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 Post subject: Re: Cheetah spotting in Satara and Letaba! 13-19 November
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 8:00 am 
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Right so as it was on that fateful day ... Stu and I had a short time to do a drive!
A little hour and a half or something? I can't remeber :mrgreen: But it was a shorty! At this point we had gone West, North, North West, North East and East of Satara. So we both put our deductive heads in contemplation and decided to go SOUTH :big_eyes: So it was decided that we would simply drive South down the
H1-3 and come back up home :mrgreen: And it turned out to produce an unexpected spotting ...

We were getting excited when we were scouting the unexplored South. The vegitation started becoming greener :dance: Such a contrast to the other parts of Satara. It was refreshing to see after the dead trees and open grasslands observed before. Just take a look at the green in the background of these Ellie pics
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You just got the impression there was an animal lurking around every courner ...
We were talking about what the chances are of us seeing certain animals. We mentioned that it looked like leopard country, and that I have read that there are more cheetah in the South, so South of Satara could yield cheetah ... and that we hadn't seen Hyena yet and that this would be the drive. Who knows? :huh:

We saw plenty of animals but did not take pictures since our time was limited. Buffalo were appearing regularly to our right and left and Elephants near the Sweni river feeding on the lush trees.

We made our way to about Nkayapan 6km after the Sweni road s126 and had to turn around :( Stu told me I should drive a solid 50km/hour in case we see something. :roll: I was sceptical of this. Since we were driving down exactly the same road and going faster this time :roll: Maybe if something walked in the road I would see it.

But then as we talking about this, about 1km from the S126 ... i saw something in the road ... I didn't quite know what it was at first and I slowed down to creeping forwards so as not to frighten whatever it was. There were no other cars around. It walked off to the right of the road and I hit Stu's leg (pretty hard) in excitement!
It was
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A beautiful Leopard :big_eyes: Next to the raod :big_eyes: It looked like he was looking in warthog holes! Look at this Beut
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Click click I was taking photos expecting him to disappear soon! But then he decided to walk parallel to the road :shock: He likes paparazzi!
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AND then walked across the road AGAIN for us
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He was looking for something :hmz:
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After walking like 1km with us he Eventually headed off at a sharp angle into the bush
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My first Kruger Leopard :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Cheetah spotting in Satara and Letaba! 13-19 November
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 9:27 am 
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DAY 3 - PRE-DRIVE- THE JUMPER
Next day Stu and I were out on our own again! Sitting in line waiting for the gates to open. Very excited after our freak leopard sighting the previous afternoon :D :D :D :D :D :D :D
Now where was the "did you see the leopard" guy today huh???? The previous morning he asked us, and I think its only fair that he ask us on Sunday the 15th :tongue:

While we were sitting there in the dark we saw a baboon spider walk in front the car in front of us (he had his lights on)
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I came and tried to aim my camera in what I estimated to be his general location. Lucky photo here! Then some other person came and shone his torch on the beastly spider and it jumped towards us :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes: The fastest jump imaginable!! Like half a meter! It was well scary I tell you! It was now close to car lights and you could see it lifted up his front legs ready to pounce and bite! :big_eyes: A very agro spider indeed. Needless to say, every person felt the wise thing to do was to return to their cars despite their ample courage to stay outside with baboon jumper :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Cheetah spotting in Satara and Letaba! 13-19 November
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 10:03 am 
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DAY 3 - THE LOOOOONG DRIVE

So Stu and I tried to block out of our minds the eight-legged man killer as we drove out of Satara and after the images of fangs puncturing the throat subsided somewhat, decided we would take the s126 Sweni road :D :D :D
Near to where we saw our spotted road lover :mrgreen:

we drove out and could not have forseen what would unfod that day :shock:

We dove down the H1-3 trying to see a cat in the near darkness and turned into the Sweni road where the grass was lush! A road we had not yet travelled. Which is something that excites me :mrgreen:

Just a little bit down the road we saw a herd of buffs. These two were quite upset with one particular bush
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One wonders what the bush said to offend these buffs to the point of demolishing the bush :hmz:
We also saw this duiker and it didn't run away :clap:
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Good on you Duiker!

Then this raptor stood on a branch near to the road eating a snake!
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You can't see it in the pics, but you can see him eating here
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Then at the end of the Sweni road, a curious decision was made. Instead of doing the lofical thing and going North up to the H7, we took the s36 South :shock: Why? Ag just one of those things we just did :mrgreen: Where we going? Who knows :huh: :mrgreen:

We quite enjoyed watching this terrapin running around aimlessly on the banks of this waterhole
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Then at the turn off of the s125 we saw the BIGGEST herd of Buffalo!
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I could not get a photo to get perspective here. But we took a video where I drive slowly pointing the camera one side of the road and drove for a minute and a half and in all that time I had buffalo in sight :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes:
There must have been 4 or 500 of them! Both sides of the road!
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We stayed with these guys for quite long. It was fascinating to see the different shaped horns they had. Some curn sharply up and some are pretty straight. The thickness of the horns also varies greatly. Every now and then males were having a little fight. Stu and I always pick a buffalo and lend them support. The person who guesses the winner correctly gets a handful of billtong :mrgreen: :mrgreen: Well it was difficult to judge a winner so we both got our fair share! :mrgreen:

LOOOONG Drive to be continued ...

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 Post subject: Re: Cheetah spotting in Satara and Letaba! 13-19 November
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 1:22 pm 
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Thank you for your replies Anne-Marie, Kamadejo Flutterby and Cheetah girl :D
So we found ourselves at the s125 turn-off, where we should have gone home - which would make the morning trip 128km!!
But NO! We decided to keep going South and exploring new territories! :mrgreen:

And we were enjoying our exploration! Interesting terrain
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We found this car with nobody in it :hmz: I was well confused by this :hmz:
But then I read they on a walk in the park. Ahhhh
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Then after all this driving we decided to take the s34 to Tshokwane picnic site. Had a lovely breakfast for a good price
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Thought I should put those two images after one another :wink: After a well deserved rest from driving we thought we would actually head home. Thought it might be a sound idea to be home before sunset 8) We headed up the H1-3 and took the loop by the Nwatinungu waterhole and here they are
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Sleeping beauties
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Nice and close to the road! We stayed there for very long and they hardly moved a muscle in that time! We saw all the cars come and go.
After having a good look at them we drove home to Satara.
Completed a 141 km trip! almost 8 hours was this drive!!
Then it was time for deep sleep :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Cheetah spotting in Satara and Letaba! 13-19 November
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 9:54 am 
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:slap: I forgot to give the stats!Number of sightings per animal. Morning drive on day 3
Baboon 3
Blue Wildebees 4
Buffalo 6
Grey Duiker 2
Elephant 7
Giraff 7
Hippo 3
Impala 23
Kudu 8
Lion 1
Monkey 1
Steenbok 5
Waterbuck 5
Warthog 1
Zebra 8



@ Lowveldboy: I agree! I like to just go on gut feeling when I'm driving in the park. More fun :mrgreen:

and thank you Rookie2009 :D

Day 3 - Afternoon Drive
After waking up at 3 or so it was time to give the s100 a try. Route: H6 down to Nwatetsi picnic spot, up the s41 and then the s100 home :D I've heard a lot about this route on the forums!

And I can tell you ... the view from Nwanetsi did not disappoint!!
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And then this grey heron was peering into the water
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You could see very far with your eyes and the only thing which was quite a mission, was pushing my mom (who is in a wheelchair) up that steep hill to the view point!!! But hey leg muscels do not grow from sitting in the car looking at animals :P

The Sweni bird hide was also fantastic! Enough Storks to please any bird-watcher!
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And these fat crocs were a welcome sight!
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As we got on the s41 we saw this Secretary bird!
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This made me wonder ... why is this bird likened to a secretary? It can't be the fact that secretaries exterminate snakes and the like! Is it because secretaries ideally should have long legs like this bird? :wink:

The s100 produced this lonely Ellie early on

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We saw a herd on one of the river loops!
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This car made life annoying as it kept going forward and reversing. For what - I do not know. The view could not have improved :huh: We just turned our car off and enjoyed the giants 8)

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Earlier on the s100 we enjoyed a clear sighting of a rhino mum with her small Rhonie.
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But then straight after that we had the highlight of the drive! :D A fascinating raptor sighting!
Here is the Marshall Eagle
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But now what the eagle was doing was most interesting. :hmz: It had caught a little squirell and was toying with the still alive squirell! Here is the squirell on the same dead tree!
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Now what happened was old Marshall put the squirell on the tree and just watched him. At one point the squirell made a run and the Marshall swooped down and caught him again :big_eyes: :big_eyes: Could not believe it!! Unfortunately my camera was not on at the time
:slap:

Then old Marshall placed frightened squirell on the branch again! Here is a pic where you can see Marshall and Squirell on the tree! The squirell is on the same branch as the eagle just before the V forms in the tree where there is a little piece sticking out
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We watched this for a good amount of time! Such torture! But very fascinating!! The game of cat and mouse where cat = marshall eagle and mouse = squirell! We enjoyed our last Satara sunset on the s100
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We absolutely love this place :D :D :D :D :D :D

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 Post subject: Re: Cheetah spotting in Satara and Letaba! 13-19 November
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 6:10 pm 
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Thank you Kamadejo :D

Here is my own created pin-up map of the satara are over the three days
Red = Lion
Yellow = Leopard
White = Elephant
Green = Rhino
Blue = Buffalo
(The ones that look black are actually blue)

Image

We do not have enough pins to show all the elephant and buffalo :lol:
But it's a rough idea.
3 lion sightings:
on the h7, s41 and just off the H1-3
Leopard on the H1-3
Rhino just north of Satara on H1-4 and West on the H7
Buffalo and Elephant in large populations near Sarara

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 Post subject: Re: Cheetah spotting in Satara and Letaba! 13-19 November
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 6:12 pm 
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And here is one that is more clear just around Satara
Image

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Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Submitted by grannyb at 12:03:20 Submitted by Delene D at 15:29:25 Submitted by Stampajane at 14:23:46 Submitted by Waterbuck at 10:10:02