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 Post subject: Penfold & The Pipster Go Wild
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:47 pm 
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“You mean you go on safari & you drive yourself around? Isn’t it dangerous? How do you know where to go?” :roll:

“Well you do have a map & you stay in your car other than at appointed ‘get out’ places. So yes, it’s safe as long as you play by the rules.” :rtm:

“What about spiders? Are there loads & are they maneaters?” :roll:

“Yes there are loads & yes they are maneaters. Don’t be daft! I’ve been going there since 1982. Would I do that if it was full of spiders? It’s perfectly safe I promise.” :lol:

“Are you sure? You’re not just telling me what I want to hear?”

“Of course I’m sure. I’ve known you since we were 4 years old. Would I lie to you?” :whistle:

“OK then, I’ll go. Book it Danno!” :dance:

Thus went the conversation between The Pipster & I twelve months ago, and a deal was struck that we would holiday for a month in S.A. including a six night trip to KNP. I got straight on to SANParks website and booked our chosen camps in my favourite place. :D :D

“Blimey” said my Mum when I told her our plan, “have you told her about all the goggas? What about that baboon spider that chased Fiona out of the wardrobe & the praying mantis that crawled across my bum when I was having a pee at Biyamiti?” :big_eyes:

“Naah, she doesn’t need to know about all that!” :wink:

And so we spent 11 months planning our holiday, wishing away the days until it came round. A month on holiday seems like a good idea until you have to wait a whole year without taking any leave in the meantime. :|

“I hope for your sake she likes it” says my Mum (the ever optimistic prophet of doom ) “If she hates it your life won’t be worth living.” :roll:

“Don’t worry Mum, it’s going to be fine. She’s going to love it.” I said with a confidence which contradicted my inner self doubt. :pray:

I knew full well that Kruger is a “marmite thing”, you either love it or hate it & it was to be such a big chunk of our trip, if the Pipster didn’t enjoy it then it could be the end of a long (nearly 40 years) and beautiful friendship............ :pray: :pray:

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2010 Trip Report:
Penfold & The Pipster Go Wild


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 Post subject: Re: Penfold & The Pipster Go Wild
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 12:47 am 
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Day 1
We arrived in Pretoria the day before we were due to depart for Kruger after an interminably long journey from London, including a hilarious (in hindsight) & somewhat chaotic “assisted” transfer to our connecting flight in Dubai. “Assisted” transfer because I have M.S. and bang on cue, according to The Law of Sod, a relapse hit the weekend before we departed & my legs went on holiday a few days before I did....a bit rude & inconsiderate of them :slap: , but it did mean that we had the delightful experience of being herded in to a meatwagon of all the other “unfortunates”(my brother’s term for the disabled which is totally un-pc but always makes me smirk) to be lifted off the plane by a bunch of incompetent fools & came within a nano-second of missing our flight to O.R.Tambo. It took them an hour to work out how to get the lift to go down and get us all on a bus......hellooooooo......don’t they do this several times every day for crying out loud?!?!?!!!! :wall: :wall: :wall:

But that’s a different story not for sharing on this forum.

So we got up bright eyed & bushy tailed on Saturday morning, having met my cousin for dinner on Friday night, caught up on the family news and very importantly picked up the coolbox and our Kruger Survival Kit (maps, bird book, adaptors, kitchen sink etc, etc) which is kept in safe storage with him between trips. We ate a quick breakfast & were on the road by 9am as planned. :thumbs_up:

We didn’t hang about, Kruger was calling and we were both eager to get there ASAP. We stopped at the informal traders just before the Malelane Gate turnoff and loaded up with fruit & nuts and arrived at the gate by 1.30pm where we were given an efficient and friendly welcome and the famous brown rubbish bag for the car. :thumbs_up:

This was it, the long anticipated time had arrived. Our boot was checked (do they ever actually find any contraband as the check always seems so cursory as to be pointless :huh: ),our yellow ribbon was tied and we were in the park at last. Radio off, windows down, spotting eyes engaged.....

First spot was the usual suspects, a beautiful herd of impalas. I never tire of these buck, their eyes are so lovely & their coats so sleek but somehow I always forget to take a decent picture of one until I’m just about to leave the park. :slap:

Then we had guinea fowl giving us an escort along the H3. Weird birds, their bodies are so flat they look like they’ve been pressed like a flea. From that point on they were christened “beep beeps” after their road-running antics.

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And next my favourite antelope the kudu with a young male calf who was a touch camera shy & kept hiding behind the bushes.

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It was a hot day around 35 degrees, the grass was dry and there was plenty of evidence of the recent burns although new shoots were just beginning to appear. Heading for waterholes seemed to be a good plan and so we wended our way towards Renosterpan where we were rewarded with these two ellies having a paddle. The Pipster’s camera went in to overdrive :cam: and I thought this was a promising sign, I was sensing she was liking this.

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We stayed with them for half an hour before heading across the S110 where we spotted three white rhinos way off in the distance on the hillside.
“I don’t know how you spotted them T, they look like rocks even with binoculars. I’m not gonna be very good at this.” said the Pipster.
“Don’t you worry, you’ll soon get your spotting eye in” I said with confidence. I think it’s true, if you are keen and enjoying the experience somehow your eyes train themselves don’t they?

We saw giraffe in the distance and a little duiker who saw us and scarpered. Next photo stop was for this LBR who posed quite nicely.

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We went down to the Matjulu waterhole and sat for a while, just watching & waiting for something to happen when this fella turned up for a drink. He lumbered down the slope to the pan, slaked his thirst and then wandered off in to the bush.

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I was babbling away, saying how rhinos must be the closest things to dinosaurs left, I went for years of Kruger visits without seeing a single rhino, this is a great siting etc,etc :P and I turn to The Pipster looking for some sort of acknowledgment.
“I can’t speak” she mouthed in her best Marcel Marceau mime.
“What do you mean you can’t speak? You’ve never had that problem before!” :twisted:
“I need a drink” she mouthed.
Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! :slap:

We hadn’t had a drink since breakfast & it was now past 4pm :slap: . We tried to get a water at the gate but they only had ice lollies & we foolishly just pressed on regardless. Stupid on any day, but today it was 35 degrees and the Pipster (being a delicate English Rose) was dehydrating fast, her throat was closing up and she literally couldn’t speak :shock: . We had to head for camp immediately so we beat a hasty retreat and were at Berg-en-Dal reception pronto, where two glasses of cool water were promptly downed & the life returned to the Pipster’s pink cheeks. :tongue:

When dehydration takes hold it’s amazing how quickly you fade. Likewise, recovery is superfast when you take liquids on board but it was a lesson to us and, once checked in, we went straight to the shop and bought provisions aplenty, including a dozen bottles of water to keep chilled in the coolbox. We weren’t going to let that happen again. :naughty:

We found our bungalow and as the essential water had been taken on board we had a reviving beer before lighting the fire. We dined handsomely on marinated chicken with potatoes & onions cooked on the braai and a salad including a delicious avo we’d bought from the ladies outside the Malelane Gate. :)

Day one came to a close with more beers supped while observing a standoff between a frog and a gecko fighting for the tastiest moths on top of our stoep light & watching one of those unforgettable Kruger star filled skies. :D

I did a sly gogga check while the Pipster was in the shower. It had been a long day and tempting though it was, I didn’t fancy a hysterical spider discovery on day 1. :wink:

I was happy to be home in Kruger. The Pipster was knackered. :D

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2010 Trip Report:
Penfold & The Pipster Go Wild


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 Post subject: Re: Penfold & The Pipster Go Wild
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 7:38 pm 
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Day 2 - Part 1
We were up before the first sparrow had farted and were out of the gate at opening time. Today was a gentle introduction as gates didn’t open until 5.30, from tomorrow it was 4.30 and I’d already briefed the Pipster we WOULD be up and waiting for the gates to open. :shock:

The marabou stork was waiting for us just outside the gate and we headed straight down to the Matjulu waterhole.

“What’s that? Is it a dingo?” squeals the Pipster as a hyena lopes across the road in front of us. He didn’t hang around for a picture but I’m pretty sure a dingo wasn’t that far off his normal territory. :lol:

Nothing at the waterhole so we went back across the S110 where general game was plentiful but not very photogenic.

We decided to make our way up to Afsaal for breakfast and came across a couple of cars on the H3.
“It’s lions P” says I :dance: . Four beautiful males doing what lions do best – snoring! :)
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One of them was more alert than the others and he sat up and had a good look at us looking at him. A couple of the others had a roaring contest, neither of them got up or even raised their heads but they were having a good old chin wag.

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We sat there for a while when a bull elephant came crashing through the bush & in to the clearing where the lions were laying. The boys didn’t hang around, they obviously didn’t fancy a fight this morning and they were off.

We carried on and came across this hyena family who had made their den in a culvert under the road, hard to believe that these cute little pups grow in to such scruffy looking hunchback adults. :hmz:

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By this time we were hungry & gasping for a cuppa so we pushed on to Afsaal, seeing rhino and lots more game on the way. All through brekkie the Pipster was fizzing with excitement over the lions.

“It was amazing T, I wanna see more, I wanna see leopards, I wanna see those funky dogs with round ears, I wanna see it all”

Had I created a monster??? :whistle: :doh:

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2010 Trip Report:
Penfold & The Pipster Go Wild


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 Post subject: Re: Penfold & The Pipster Go Wild
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 3:46 pm 
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Day 2 - part 2
After breakfast we decided to double back on ourselves, I’d been listening to folk talk at Afsaal & leopard had been seen on the S118 that morning so I figured we could cut across there and go to Crocodile Bridge & make our way up to Skukuza by gate closing time. I’m full on when in Kruger, I get to go there so rarely I don’t believe in wasting a moment in camp when I can be out on the road spotting. It makes for exhaustion after a week long stay but it’s usually well worth it. :pray:

When we got back to where the lions had been chased off by the elephant earlier they were back in situ, snoring their heads off in exactly the same place they had been before and they didn’t look like they were going anywhere soon. There was a big traffic jam with people getting antsy :naughty: , we had seen them earlier and we moved on quickly.

We saw this lovely rhino on the side of the road and the Pipster was thrilled to get close up views of giraffe for the first time :D . We both agreed they are our favourites of the “general game” animals, weird as a weird thing to look at but despite their gangliness they somehow manage to move with such grace & serenity that they impart an air of calmness 8)
.
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We missed the S118 turn (I was talking & passing biscuits round at the time :slap: ) so we went on to the next turn & caught another car completely by surprise. They were stopped up ahead & I said to the Pipster “What is that behind that car, is it a baboon?” :hmz:

All became clear when the “baboon” squatting behind the car nearly fell over the knickers which were still around her ankles in her haste to get back in the vehicle at the sound of us approaching. :lol: :lol: We smiled & waved as we drove past just to let her know her baboon impression was appreciated. :lol:

We called in at Gardenia Hide, I didn’t get out of the car as my legs were still wobbly but encouraged the Pipster to get out and take a look. A few minutes later she came back full of indignation.
“Flaming hippos! All they do is slob about in the mud looking like rocks!”

“What did you expect them to do? Ride a unicycle while juggling fire?”

“Just a bit more than slob about looking like rocks. Lazy buggers!” :lol:

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To be continued......

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2010 Trip Report:
Penfold & The Pipster Go Wild


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 Post subject: Re: Penfold & The Pipster Go Wild
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 6:27 pm 
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Day 2 - part 3
More giraffes followed and we spent plenty of time getting to know them as they love to pose 8) .
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Then we got our first really good view of warthogs. The Pipster was quite disparaging about this species too :roll: :
“Boy that’s an ugly mother! Bad hair day or what? He needs to shave his back. Freak!”

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We were just heading down to the Crocodile Pools when a couple stopped us and said it was closed. Of course it was Sunday, I’d forgotten it was Daniel’s day off :slap: so we went straight to Crocodile Bridge and had a quick toastie for lunch before hitting the road again.

A bold ground hornbill wandered around our car looking for scraps. He looked intent on joining us at one point & I’m convinced he associated cars with food. :naughty:
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We saw plenty of birds adding martial eagle, tawny eagle, fish eagle and bateleur eagle to our list but none of them were very photogenic :( , this vulture wasn’t as shy.
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Just before Lower Sabie there was a traffic jam and upon investigation there were lions on the banks of the Sabie River :) . They were sleeping & didn’t look like they were going to do anything soon, the view wasn’t great so we didn’t tarry for very long.

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Sunset Dam was full of life as always :) , with birds, crocs and hippos aplenty.
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These hippos weren’t “slobbing about in the mud looking like rocks” :) but every time the Pipster raised her camera to take a pic they dipped underwater :x . Their timing was perfect & it literally made me cry with laughter. :lol: She must have tried thirty times with five different hippos and every single time they dived just as she got focused. The air was blue! :shock:

“Flaming hippos! When they’re not slobbing about looking like rocks they’re behaving like arses! :big_eyes: They used to be my favourite animals, I love them, I’ve got hippos all over my house, now I just think they are rude! :shock: No more trying to take pictures of hippos, they can all bugger off! That’ll teach them!” :lol:

Black clouds were beginning to gather and they looked quite ominous. :? We drove on towards Skukuza and other than monkeys, baboons and a few bushbuck things were pretty quiet. The sky was getting darker by the minute and the wind was beginning to pick up as well, it was clear we were in for a pretty bad storm and it wasn’t too far away. :x

We reached Skukuza by 5pm and after checking in we went to the shop to get provisions for dinner. We weren’t going be braaing tonight as the wind was howling by this point :shock: & the sky was black, so we got some steaks and rice that we could cook on the hob and picked up a bottle of wine (or 2) to go with it. :thumbs_up:

The first few drops of rain were beginning to fall as we made our way back to the car with our provisions and by the time we found our bungalow it was coming down hard. :? We cracked open the wine and sat on the stoep for a while, relaxing and watching the rain which was quite mesmerising. 8)

We live in a country which has no shortage of rain, we see it almost daily for 12 months of the year but African rain is something else. :shock: It comes down in stair rods! :big_eyes:

We had a bungalow with utensils but upon investigation there was no frying pan and no saucepan :hmz: , just a cast iron casserole & a kettle for use on the hob, so the next dilemma was how to cook our meal. :hmz:
After much debate we decided although it would be feasible to cook the rice in the kettle neither of us fancied washing it up afterwards :naughty: and so we ditched that idea in favour of sautéed potatoes which the Pipster would lovingly create in the casserole & remove to a plate, then the steaks would be cooked to order by frying them in the same pot, the spuds would be reheated while the steaks were rested and I would prepare my signature dish “salade a la maison” i.e. cucumber, tomato & avo :thumbs_up: . Gordon Ramsay eat your heart out! :P

Great plan, way to go :thumbs_up: Started chopping the spuds when there was an almighty crack of thunder and the lights went out. :huh:

The rain continued to belt down and the thunder continued to rumble and bang overhead, lightning was flashing all around us. :big_eyes: The storm was trapped in the hills and it wasn’t going anywhere fast. :wall: There was nothing else for it, we would just have to drink more wine :tongue: and wait for the power to return which it did in the end :thumbs_up: and we eventually had a sumptuous feast & fell in to bed at 10pm, having set the alarm for 3.50am. :shock:

Our first full day in Kruger was over & as far as the Pipster was concerned it seemed so far so good :clap:

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2010 Trip Report:
Penfold & The Pipster Go Wild


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 Post subject: Re: Penfold & The Pipster Go Wild
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:19 pm 
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Day 3 – part 1
We were up and out of the gate at 4.30 even though we took a wrong turn in Skukuza, that camp is so big and poorly signposted you could quite easily get lost for a weekend having not even left the camp :huh: . It was very dark it being the first day of the month & the first day of the earlier opening time.

Before we got to the crossroads a hyena loped across the road in front of us & disappeared into the bush without a backward glance. We turned left on to the H4-1 and within a kilometre there was a car stopped.

“Wow! It’s a leopard P! Fantastic!” :D

It was still very dark but we could see this gorgeous creature right on the side of the road. :D Unfortunately the car in front had parked virtually on top of it and then proceeded to use flash photography which frightened the poor thing and it slunk off straight away and melted into the bush. :(
“That was amazing T! If only we’d got a photo.” lamented the Pipster. :(

It was a shame we didn’t capture it on camera for sure, but I try to think of the pictures as a bonus & just enjoy every sighting. :? I didn’t even see a leopard for at least my first 4 visits and when I told the Pipster this I think she realised how lucky we had been to even catch a glimpse. :P
So, not the best sighting but we did see the elusive one and the adrenalin was pumping.

Evidence of last nights storm was all over the road, blacksmith plovers were running through the puddles and there were hippo footprints everywhere.

We saw a hippo with a tiny baby on the opposite side of the river but it stayed well out of camera range and in the thick reed beds to avoid having it’s picture taken. The Pipster was not amused. :evil:

Birdlife was plentiful and we also caught a fleeting glimpse of a reedbuck but he was feeling camera shy too.We crossed the river and saw this purple heron from the bridge

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and then headed along the Salitjie Road where we saw lots of birds including whitebacked vultures, wood hoopoe and red crested korhaan, then there were some small buck which I thought at first sight were duiker but they turned out to be a pair klipspringers which I was surprised to see along the river rather than on a kopjie. :shock:

Before too long a hyena came out of the bush, crossed the road and headed down to the river at pace. He was on a mission and wasn’t stopping for anyone.

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Although it was light now it was very overcast and before long it was drizzling again.
Along the Old Tshokwane Road there was evidence of the recent burns everywhere, it was pretty desolate and we saw virtually nothing for miles. :( The rain was now heavier and we had to close the windows.

“This is like Dartmoor” said the Pipster & I had to agree, it was grey and raining hard and everything was looking pretty bleak and the sightings were very thin on the ground. :(

We got to the H10 and found this group of kudu with young who were trying to shelter from the rain.
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But by the time we got to Orpen Dam it had brightened up and the rain stopped, the crocs were basking nicely in the sunshine and we saw a few zebra with impala.

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Things were still very quiet though and it wasn’t long before we reached Tshokwane where we had hoped to get breakfast. We were therefore pretty disappointed to find it was closed as it became evident I wouldn’t be getting my melktart fix this year :cry: , although they had hot water on the go so we could make ourselves a cup of tea; no self respecting Englishwoman (or man) travels without teabags! :naughty:

A couple of other families had skottels on the go and were cooking up a storm which made me even more hungry, but there was one woman feeding the starlings and I could foresee this had disaster written all over it. :naughty:

A baboon appeared out of a tree, grabbed a packet of rolls off her table while she was screaming hysterically and then hopped back up to his chosen branch :naughty: . A few minutes later, having scoffed the bread, he was back for seconds. He helped himself to a packet of sugar and took it back up the tree where he opened it, poured the sugar down his throat and then threw the empty packet back down at the now sobbing woman & I swear that naughty monkey stuck his tongue out at her! :lol:

I laughed, probably more than I should have done given the circumstances, but what do people expect? :huh:

Feeding any animals including birds is a no no. :rtm: Baboons see food & they will help themselves, it was her own stupid fault. :naughty: It’s the animals that suffer in the long run as that baboon will now continue to make a nuisance of itself and will probably have to be shot. She loses a few bread rolls and some sugar, the baboon loses rather more! :rtm: :wall:

I’d better get off my soapbox at this point and take a break.

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2010 Trip Report:
Penfold & The Pipster Go Wild


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 Post subject: Re: Penfold & The Pipster Go Wild
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:11 pm 
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davejenny wrote:
Quote:
Birdlife was plentiful and we also caught a fleeting glimpse of a reedbuck but he was feeling camera shy too.We crossed the river and saw this purple heron from the bridge


:naughty: It's actually a Goliath Heron

Wonderful trip report though, keep it up :clap: :clap:

Dave


Dave you won't believe this, but I'd actually put it down as a goliath heron on my sitings list but when looking through my photos I convinced myself it was a purple heron :doh: I should've trusted my instinct :doh:

Thank you very much for the correction though :thumbs_up:

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2010 Trip Report:
Penfold & The Pipster Go Wild


Last edited by penfold on Mon Feb 28, 2011 12:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Penfold & The Pipster Go Wild
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:26 pm 
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Day 3 – part 2
We wanted to try and gauge the amount of damage from the natural fire which had occurred in the area in the last few days as we were due to travel to Satara for two nights the next day.

We went down to Leeupan and Silolweni, both were dry as a bone and the area was devastated by the fire :( . Everything was black and devoid of any sign of life. It was heartbreaking :cry: & I was in a dilemma as Satara is my favourite camp for game viewing, but it crystallised in our minds that we should try and get a transfer of our accommodation. Time in Kruger was precious and we were reluctant to spend a whole day travelling through this kind of desolation with no animals in site.

We doubled back on to the H10 and came across some of our favourite giraffes again.

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A little way further on there was a car stopped but as we couldn’t see what they were looking so intently through their binoculars at we asked them. It turned out to be four lionesses :P . The bush was so thick it was impossible to get a clear view but we managed a couple of shots before the traffic jam had built up & people were getting antsy again so we decided to move on.

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We were trundling along when I caught a glimpse of something which I knew would appeal to the Pipster. :D
“Stop P! Go back, there’s someone I think is pleased to see you!”
Yep, it was one of those infamous five legged elephants but this one brought a whole new meaning to the name “Big Boy”!! :lol: :redface:

“I have a whole new respect for the female elephant T, that’s gotta hurt!” muttered the Pipster. :shock: :redface:

We laughed so much we were crying, ridiculously childish for a couple of fortysomething women but what can I say? Sometimes it feels good to be so childish. :lol: :lol: :lol:
No pictures of “Big Boy” as unfortunately we were laughing too hard & he suddenly got shy and hid his modesty in the bush.

Next up was a beautiful little steenbokkie who couldn’t be bothered to run away for a change & then another hairy backed warthog who looked like he had just been to the hairdresser. :)
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Along the Muntshe loop junction we came across this ostrich family, you can’t see the chicks very clearly as they were so well camouflaged but Mum & Dad weren’t letting them out of their site.
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On the way to Mlondozi we met a small buffalo herd and a few wildebeest.
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There were too many people at the lookout for my liking :( but the view is spectacular and I knew the Pipster would love it so we parked up and took a couple of beers out of the cooler. An elephant was tearing lumps of the tree in front of our car but he seemed happy enough, so we quietly closed our doors and found ourselves a seat at the far end away from the masses and drank in the beer and the fabulous vista. :thumbs_up:

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Three different herds made their way down to the dam during the hour we were there, it was a magical view & a fish eagle was circling and crying overhead.
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I enjoyed watching this lizard that looked like it had been sprinkled with glitter.
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Two couples who had stepped straight out of the days of the Raj :huh: ; the two women were bedecked in khaki, accessorised with the obligatory leopard print chiffon (the pith helmets must have been in the car) were eating lunch and talking at the tops of their voices.

“Priscilla daaaarling, this pate is simply divine. You must give me the recipe daaaarling”

Priscilla’s husband was lamenting the fact that a troublesome martial eagle was in the habit of picking off his lambs and he was debating whether to poison it, shoot it or trans-locate it at great expense and no guarantee of success. :evil:

All I kept hoping was that they would trans-locate themselves as far away from me as possible! :twisted:
A cheeky vervet was eyeing their picnic intently and he managed to grab a naartjie when Priscilla’s eye was off the ball.
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All the time Priscilla was mithering about the elephant who was quietly chomping the bush in front of our car and edging closer to the toilet block. :doh:
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“I really think he’s too close you know. They say elephants come right under this shelter sometimes. It’s so dangerous. Don’t you think it’s too close?” :doh: When her own party were ignoring her she moved on to anyone else who would listen and started hectoring everyone else who was sat there. :huh:

When we first got out of the car I’d said to the Pipster we would keep an eye out, if he started moving up to the car park then we would move the car. However, as soon as she started nagging I could see the Pipster’s hackles rise & I winked at her. :wink: “I’m buggered if I’m moving the car now T! I’ll sit here and wait until midnight for the elephant to move before letting Priscilla think she knows best!” :lol:
Eventually Mr Priscilla could take no more. :wall: He could see she would carry on until Christmas unless either he or the elephant moved and so they left, much to everyone’s relief. :thumbs_up:

We sat there for a while longer enjoying the peace after they had left, and the elephant quietly munched his way through another tree before he too moved down the bank, satisfied that he had scared off the dreadful Priscilla and her happy Colonial band. :D

It had got very hot by now so we made our way down to Lower Sabie where the Pipster did some shopping for our evening braai and I checked out the view from our perimeter bungalow 8) . We had asked about the possibility of swapping our accommodation for the next three nights and were lucky that a guest cottage was available at Biyamiti. We hummed and hahed about it, I was reluctant to forego two nights at Satara and one at Olifants :( but on the evidence we had seen today we would lose a day of decent game viewing if we stuck to that plan so we bit the bullet. :thumbs_up:
“Let’s take a beer down to Sunset Dam P” a suggestion which the Pipster readily agreed to :tongue: and we were soon parked up, swearing profusely about reluctant hippos yet again! :evil: She refused to be defeated this time though, this lady was not for turning and with persistence she caught some shots of them not slobbing about and looking like rocks. 8)
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We were admiring this gorgeous sunset when the game drive vehicle parked up on the opposite side of the road. :hmz: It must have been Martie leading the group and she was pointing out four lions lying under a bush near the road. :shock: I don’t know how long they had been sat there listening to us swearing at hippos! :wink: The light was bad by this time and they were hiding under the bush so we didn’t get good pics, as folk were now jockeying for position we decided to go back to camp.

When we got to our bungalow two British couple were just settling in next door, we told them there were lions at the dam and if they were quick they would catch them so they hopped in their car and came back 40 minutes later elated as one lion had chosen to cross the road right in front of them. :clap:

We lit the brai and cracked open the wine to celebrate another successful day but when the Pipster opened the chicken the smell nearly knocked her off her feet; it was rank! :big_eyes: So this evenings meal was a vegetarian affair consisting of potatoes & onions on the brai with fried mushrooms and salad.

We’d finished our meal, the Pipster was having a last vino on the stoep and I was just getting out of the shower when two gunshots rang out in the darkness. :sniper: :shock:

We were worried. The shots were close and sounded like they were from within the camp. Had an animal got in to camp? :hmz: We knew there were lions were close by at the dam earlier & I had heard one roaring in the riverbed when we were getting dinner ready. We hoped it wasn’t one of them. :pray:

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2010 Trip Report:
Penfold & The Pipster Go Wild


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 Post subject: Re: Penfold & The Pipster Go Wild
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 7:36 pm 
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Ah Pipster got her pic of a hippo :wink: Wonderful episode and your sightings were great again. :clap: :clap: :clap: I just love your sunset *sigh*, makes one dream of the African bush, wish I could be there now. The Warthog really looks like being at the hairdressers :lol:
Oh dear, people like Priscilla :roll: , I could do without them as well. :evil: Thanks again for sharing :thumbs_up: :popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: Penfold & The Pipster Go Wild
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 8:58 am 
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Dont worry Penfold, some TRs go on for months!!! (No names mentioned!!) :whistle: :whistle:

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 Post subject: Re: Penfold & The Pipster Go Wild
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 6:00 pm 
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At long last I’m getting back to my TR, apologies all for the rather extended intermission & thanks for your patience :redface: . Happy New Year to all forumites, here’s hoping 2011 brings excellent sitings for everyone. :pray:

So, news on the shots we heard in Lower Sabie :shock: ......we didn’t find out whilst we were still in the park, but thanks to Tilla-P :thumbs_up: who went on a bush walk with Martie & she confirmed it was due to a troublesome elephant who had got in to the staff village. :big_eyes: Warning shots were fired to frighten it off, you can check the details & various suggestions I had as to explanations for the shots (some more amusing than others :? ) in this thread:
Shots in Lower Sabie Camp 01 November 2010

Day 4 – part 1[/b][/u]
Day 4 started at gate opening time as usual & we headed along Eloff Street in the direction of Crocodile Bridge.

Things were fairly quiet but we came across this hippo who was crashing through the bush at speed. He didn’t want to pose for a picture which obviously infuriated the Pipster :) & we didn’t get a great shot, but I was intrigued as it’s not often you see a hippo wandering around out of the water & I was surprised at how fast he was going, he was also pretty scarred & I wondered what would have inflicted those injuries? :hmz:
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It started brightening up & became a beautiful, fresh morning but game was pretty sparse. We turned off the main road and went across the H5 & S108 coming across a few zebra & this moth eaten old giraffe on the way.
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It was still very quiet on the game front until I saw something wriggling very fast across the road in front of us :shock: . I’m reliably informed by Mfezi & Mailjvdb this is a Shlegel’s beaked blind snake, which is quite unusual to see as it spends most of its time underground. 8)

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Birdlife was good, including this whitebacked vulture
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Then we rounded the corner and came across this huge herd :shock: , we had to reverse quite a long way to let them pass but it was a lovely sight to see such numbers. :)
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We arrived at the Hippo Pools just as Daniel clocked on for duty, he was just parking his bike as we drew in to the parking area. Lion had been there overnight and he showed us their spoor to us. I stayed in the car as my legs weren’t up to hiking up the rock but the Pipster took a stroll where Daniel pointed out the lions to her way off in the distance; so far off she wasn’t sure she’d seen them even with her binoculars but she took his word for it. :?

Hippos were still playing hard to get, much to the Pipster’s continued consternation :lol: & there weren’t any in view in the pools but the view was beautiful as always.
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By this time we were flagging slightly & it was time for a cuppa so we headed down to Crocodile Bridge for a quick pit stop.

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2010 Trip Report:
Penfold & The Pipster Go Wild


Last edited by penfold on Thu Jan 06, 2011 2:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Penfold & The Pipster Go Wild
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 11:02 pm 
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@VGS - sorry your trip is over so soon :cry: I know just how you feel :cry: but I'll be following your TR to see how much of that very short wish list :whistle: you ticked off :popcorn: :popcorn:

@Lionspoon - thanks for getting back on board :thumbs_up: I'm with you on the snake thing, they give me the heeby-jeebies :shock:

Part 2
We didn’t tarry in camp, just time for a loo break and made ourselves a mug of tea which we took back out on the road.

The game seemed to be coming to life by now and we saw a lot of wildebeest and giraffe along Eloff Street. Then we happened across these vultures by the side of the road with a tawny eagle in a tree watching them closely.

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We decided to head back up to Mlondozi so we took the S28 as I hoped to see Duke and cheetah and I knew this was a possibility along this road :pray: . Of course we didn’t find either :wall: but had some nice sitings along the way. :thumbs_up:

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2010 Trip Report:
Penfold & The Pipster Go Wild


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Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 3:00 pm 
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Part 3
We arrived at Mlondozi and it was full to capacity :? , although thankfully no Priscilla in sight. :thumbs_up: We grabbed a couple of cool drinks and managed to squeeze ourselves into the last available space on one of the benches. The view was of course fabulous as ever, but the guy sat next to me was the ultimate minger. :shock:

He stank. :shock: And when I say he stank, I mean he REALLY stank :shock: :shock: :shock: , so much that I held my breath for the entire twenty minutes we were sat there. It was RANK :shock: :shock: :shock: . He was wearing a vest top & kept pointing out animals to his wife by stretching his stinking armpit right under my nose, :shock: :shock: I almost fainted several times from the vile stench of it. :big_eyes: Sitting in a car with him must have been like sitting in the gorilla house at London Zoo......his poor wife. :shock: :shock:

Anyroad up, aside from the stench of stink the Pipster was beside herself with joy at this site. :lol:

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I’ve never seen so many hippos in one place and although they were a long way off they posed so nicely she almost forgave their previous misdemeanours. :D

We also had more ellie herds and waterbuck coming down to drink as it was now getting very hot again.

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We drove along the Salitjie Road and saw very little except this family of waterbuck.
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It was hot, hot, hot and only mad dogs (who we didn’t see) & Englishwomen (that we are) were out in it. Very little was showing itself as we went along the H12 & then the H1-2 where it was severely burnt, so we tried our luck along the Maroela Loop which was totally black from the burn the week before and some trees were still smoking. Not an animal in sight & I couldn’t blame them it was so desolate. :cry:

We called in to Skukuza for a quick toastie & saw the resident bat colony

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We had a long way to go to get to Biyamiti and this was turning in to a long, hot day. We grabbed some provisions in the Skukuza shop, filled up with petrol and hit the road again. The S114 had no game at all, here again there had been a recent burn and not enough time to regenerate as there had been very little rain :cry: . We spent a couple of hours seeing absolutely nothing across this whole road and were pretty despondent :( and very tired by the time we got to Biyamiti Weir where this ugly mother was playing spiderman on the weir wall.

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By now it was 5.45pm and we had 45 minutes to get to camp, anyone who has stayed at Biyamiti knows that you need an hour from the Weir..... :doh: :doh:

We saw the sunset drive vehicle just as we turned on to the camp road, we waved as we passed & the ranger looked at his watch :redface: I prayed we wouldn’t get stuck in a herd of elephants as has happened to me in the past along this road, or even worse would be to come across a leopard, mating with cheetah while a pack of wild dogs is watching with a pangolin doing a sand dance or some such & not have time to stop. :wall: :wall: :wall: :lol:

We needn’t have worried as we saw nothing along the whole stretch of road except a couple of rhino who took one look at us and charged off in to the bush, they certainly weren’t interested in featuring their pics in my TR. :(

So we made it to camp with approximately 3 seconds to spare & were directed to cottage number 7 which was a very pleasant surprise, as the camp wasn’t full we had been upgraded to a two bedroom family cottage which was delightful. :thumbs_up:

Both the Pipster and I were shattered, we had been on the road almost non-stop from 4.30am & without any adrenalin inducing sightings in the afternoon we were pooped :| . With no energy for our customary braai this evening, we decided on a quick chicken & mushroom stir fry instead which was supplemented by the kamikaze beetles who dive bombed both the frying pan and our plates :evil: . It was a bit like enduring a bush tucker trial a la “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here” but by this stage we were too knackered to care. :?

We packed ourselves off to bed with a full on storm brewing right overhead. It crashed and bashed for several hours with thunder so loud it was quite frightening at times. It didn’t keep us awake for too long though.
:wink:

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2010 Trip Report:
Penfold & The Pipster Go Wild


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Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 7:54 pm 
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Day 5 – Part 1
The day started bright & early as always in Kruger, of course we had 3 nights here so it was a luxury not to have to pack everything in the car and we set the alarm for 3.55 rather than our usual 3.45, a whole ten precious extra minutes in bed :) . We filled the flask and put the coolbag in the car and were the first at the gate & so early we actually opened it ourselves.

We turned right out of camp and set out in the direction of the weir. This glorious sunrise is one of the things which makes it worthwhile getting up at the crack of sparrow fart while in the park

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The birds were just coming to life and we came across this hamerkop catching some early rays

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We got to the end of the road not having seen much in the way of mammals but when we turned on to the S114 this rhino was waiting for us

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It was time for a tea break so we made ourselves a cuppa whilst watching this korhaan strut his stuff
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Then ensued a Penfold v Pipster debate :slap: . I like a biscuit with my tea & it has long been a tradition in my family that the biscuit of choice whilst in Kruger is the Romany Cream. Chocolatey, malty, crumbly yet creamy, the perfect combination to give you sustaining sugar boost to maintain those spotting eyes & what is more, they come packaged in a handy box which is just right for storing in the passenger foot well without creating a mess. :thumbs_up:

No argument from the Pipster on any of those salient points in favour of said confection. What caused the fracas was the way one should consume this morsel of deliciousness. :huh:

The Pipster nibbles like some demented gerbil, making a single crumbly cookie last at least 5 minutes :doh: , whereas I usually devour the whole thing in one or occasionally two bites :D . She seemed to think this is some kind of Barbarian behaviour and my mother would be ashamed at such lack of manners :roll: . On the contrary, my mother being a seasoned and very slightly addicted Kruger regular visitor like myself 8) , sees the merit in such speedy consumption. You never know when the next spectacular viewing is going to occur but when it does you need both hands free for camera, knockers (that’s binoculars to you, what else did you think I meant? :naughty: ), bird book....possibly even a steering wheel if you are nominated pilot. The one thing you don’t want is a soggy chocolatey mess in your mitt :slap: as the critter sure ain’t gonna hang around posing while you fanny about deciding what to do with it. :naughty:

I maintain my stance on this issue, if you need sustenance whilst on a game drive you get whatever you are consuming down your neck pronto :tongue: . Table manners are important and I do love the whole silver service experience & candle lit ambience when one is dining in a Michelin star establishment :tongue: , but my hire car in KNP is not that venue :doh: . All this of course fell on deaf ears, but I don’t care....I know I’m right! :lol: Anyway, enough said, I digress....back to the story.

We went down the S114 & then turned on to the S118 which looked beautiful in the early morning sun. This little zebra had a very deep wound on his rump and was limping badly which was upsetting to see :cry: , there was no doubt he wouldn’t last long in that condition as he was easy prey but we wondered what could have inflicted that kind of wound. Surely if a predator had caused it then the zebra would have been taken down and couldn’t have escaped could it? :hmz:

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We saw quite a lot of game including giraffe, ellies & more rhino on our way up to Afsaal where we called in for a cuppa & witnessed the most bizarre tour guide I’ve ever come across. :?

She & her husband were leading a group of Brit tourists & rather than buying breakfast at Afsaal they were providing their clients with a rather lavish spread including fresh fruit, breads, cakes, cold meats, cheese, cereals, a full cooked option....basically anything you could possibly think of for breakfast was on offer & their clients were obviously salivating at the prospect & dying to get stuck in. :tongue:

This wasn’t unusual in itself & given half a chance I would have joined them myself as it looked mighty good. What was really weird was this woman’s behaviour. :doh: Her husband started setting out the cereals, she came along and moved them a millimetre to the right. She did the same with the fruit juice, then the bread & the mugs & the cutlery. Then she got a cloth out and wiped everything down (which her husband had done before he’d set them out) and moved them all back again. :slap: When she’d positioned them to her satisfaction she stood back & looked at the table, then started wiping everything down again and moving it by a millimetre in either direction, lining the labels up, getting the bread rolls perfectly spaced, the cutlery & glasses in perfectly uniform formations. :slap:

Their clients were clearly gasping for a cuppa & virtually frothing at the mouth in anticipation but still this woman wouldn’t let them at it...she was a complete lunatic! :wall: She kept on going back, wiping things down, lining things up, turning round labels, moving stuff a millimetre here, then a millimetre there. I was exhausted just watching her, no wonder she was so thin with all this nervous energy she was burning off. :wall:

When we left Afsaal thirty minutes after they had arrived, she was still at it & her clients were almost expiring with hunger, no way was she going to let them have their breakfast until her rows were regimented. :wall: :wall: :wall: :wall: They might still be there now for all I know. Has anyone been there recently and come across a group of emaciated corpses & an obsessive compulsive woman fussing over her jam pots? :huh: :huh: :huh: :huh: :huh: :huh:

So, back to the TR. We left Afsaal and went across the Voortrekker road to Pretoriuskop for lunch, on the way we had some nice sightings of kudu, elephant & ground hornbill but nothing particularly photogenic until we came across a small herd of buffs

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And this roller was at in the shade in what was turning in to another very hot day
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Pretoriuskop was looking good :thumbs_up: , I’m very fond of this camp as it’s the first one I ever stayed at way back in 1982 but I haven’t stayed there for a long time. This brief lunch stop made me think I must try it again next time. :hmz:

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We had a delicious toastie and a cold Castle :thumbs_up: , filled up with petrol & hit the road again. It was well over 40 degrees again and we didn’t hold out much hope of seeing anything in this heat.......would we be disappointed this afternoon?
:hmz: :hmz: :hmz:

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2010 Trip Report:
Penfold & The Pipster Go Wild


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Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 10:51 pm 
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Thanks Matti :thumbs_up:

Part 2
Although the grass was low the bush around the camp was thick, it looked as if once the rains came in earnest and the leaves sprouted spotting would be difficult. As it was we were lucky to see these two rhino close to the road

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We went along the Napi road and there was nothing at either Shitlhave or Transport dams other than a few Egyptian geese. It was so blisteringly hot we didn’t think we would see anything this afternoon so we decided to head back to camp pretty early. :?

We turned on to the H3 and came across a lovely breeding herd with lots of babies 8) , they were at a safe distance which is always a relief.....I love ellies but having been charged several times and been caught in the middle of herds I have a healthy respect for them. :? These ones though were very good tempered and even let us get a good look at the tiny baby and we spent a good 30 minutes with them. 8)

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We were buzzing from this lovely sighting and felt we could head home happy bunnies and so took the S112 to go for an afternoon nap in the extreme heat, even I as a die hard “stay out all day at all costs” kinda girl thought this was too hot for driving around in. :shock:
No sooner had we had this thought when we came across this

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Four lionesses and two sub-adult males who were good enough to let us spend an hour with them, :D during which time one jeep jockey joined us briefly but other than that we had them all to ourselves. 8)
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They were being quite lazy for most of that time & I couldn’t blame them, but at one point we heard some crashing in the bushes. It could only be one thing & sure enough a small herd of ellies came through & crossed the road. It was interesting to see the reactions of both the ellies who were moving fast & shouting at the young ones to hurry up & get clear of these beasties, and the lions who ran off in to the bush until the coast was clear when they resumed their positions. :)

This was the second time we’d seen interaction between these two species, both times with the same result. It’s clear there is a mutual respect between the two. 8)

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