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 Post subject: A latish Trip Report- KDU and Francolin in Kruger May 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:31 am 
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Well here we go, but better late than never...

03.05.

Well we still had a lot to do that morning, we drove into Hazyview to do all the shopping.
After we packed everything into the back of the car we were on our way to Paul Kruger Gate.
We were not really running on schedule …. :roll:

It was only about 12.30 pm that we finally entered the Park.
We had to drive all the way down to Biyamiti, our first camp on this years trip.
All the way down South we used the tar road, because we were already pretty late and we were not sure if the gravel roads in the South surrounding Biyamiti incl. the Weir were already open again after all that rain.
It was a quiet, but pleasant drive. The Park was amazingly green, which made it quite hard to spot anything that was further that 1-2 metres away from the road.

We had passed Afsaal when we spotted our first of many Rhinos on this trip…

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A little later, just before turning onto the gravelled Croc Bridge road, we were held up by this group of Baboons on the way home, it was so nice to observe the little ones "riding"….

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By now we were running a bit late, there were still quite some kilometres that we had to cover….And we had to cross Elli country :?
Thank God we met none on the way to the camp and drove through the entrance gate just 5 minutes before closing time.

Now we had to check in, usually this only takes a couple of minutes….
Well usually, the lady behind the counter said ( after she finally finished her telephone call) : " Well you are here for one night ?!"
I said: " Actually ….. No… We are here for three nights…." (me still smiling..)
Her answer: " Oh…..(followed by silence)…..OK, then you are moving into number 7…and you have to change the cottage tomorrow again… "

At that moment I was annoyed (to put it politely) … :evil:

After I had told herd several times politely, but firmly that we will have no intention whatsoever, to move cottages and ruining our first full day of our holidays (after travelling around 12000km and nearly two days to get to Biyamiti...), she called for a colleague.
And after some scratching of his head and checking lists with a pensive face, we were finally able to move into "our cottage" without having to move again in the three days of our stay….
Everyboday was happy and with smilling faces we wished each other a good night.

What a commotion… :lol:

The cottage was beautiful. As we were dead tired we just had a sandwich for dinner and enjoyed the sounds of the bush while sipping a glass of wine..

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 Post subject: Re: A latish Trip Report- KDU and Francolin in Kruger May 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 3:53 pm 
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04.05.

After a wonderful relaxing night and a coffee with a nice view, we started into the direction of the Biyamiti weir.

Right as we had left the camp we discovered this lovely Tawney Eagle in one of the trees at the turnoff to the "main road"….

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They weir is soooo beautiful. Great to see waterbirds and Monitors. We never have bene lucky enough to spot any predators there. But still it is wonderful to stop there and enjoy the scenery.

Already the drive to the weir is great.

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Francolins pic.

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At the weir we met a Three-banded Plover and a Water Monitor.

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From here we wanted to drive to Berg-en-Dal.
The loops to the main road were not too busy and so we had time enough to stop every now and then for our beloved "small" sightings….

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Again Francolins photo:

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On one of the bridges on the main road a Pied Kingfisher.

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And on some rocks underneath a Cormorant.

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After that we enjoyed a nice brekkie at the BnD Takeaway.
And with new energy we left the camp.
Not without spotting a Chinspot Batis and a Dusky Flycatcher in a tree at the exit of the camp ( and causing a little traffic jam :lol: ).

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At Matjulu waterhole we met a lovely herd of Kudus with some youngsters.

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We took the Steilberg route to the main road and headed for the Croc Bridge road after that.
Here we could observe an Elli herd having a dustbath.

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After that we turned onto the S114 that is leading to the Biyamiti Weir.

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Doesn’t the second one look as if he/she was smiling?!

I can never resist, taking pics of flowers and blossoms…

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Back at the Weir, Francolin took a pic of a Pied Kingfisher who had some kind of mussel in his beak.

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An Egret…

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Hammerkop…

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Hammerkop

Three-banded Plover

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Three-Banded Plover

Back at camp some Vervets already awaited our return :lol:

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We had filled the birdbath and later that afternoon, some Blue-Waxbills came for a drink.

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Three Woodpecker were roaming the trees around the house…

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An Orange-breasted Bush-shrike nearly drove me crazy… :wall: :lol:

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In the evening we had a little drama.
Under the outer roof of then bungalow there were quite a lot of Martin nests.
One of the martin flew under the stoep roof and was not able to find the way out again.
So we had to catch him/her and successfully released the Martin again outside with all the lights out….

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On the next pic Francolin is holding the little bird….

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What an exiting end of a great day……

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 Post subject: Re: A latish Trip Report- KDU and Francolin in Kruger May 2010
Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2011 12:33 pm 
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05.05.

The next day we took the road to the weir again.
It such a bonus to have this private stretch of road, starting right from the camp.

A Grey Lourie was observing us, when we stopped to take some photos.

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Then we met our favourite Dwarf Mongooses again….

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Mongoose 1

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Mongoose 3

Driving further onwards towards the weir we spotted a Barred Owl in one of the trees.

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Just before we reached the turnoff towards the weir we were held up by three old Buffalos.
Impressive guys.

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At the weir we only spotted a Heron, the Kingfisher were not there.

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Driving the loop towards Afsaal we spotted a Burchell’s Coucal and a little Squirrel.

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On the way back to Biyamiti the weir was much busier.
The Heron was still there and apart from that, two Egyptian Geese and the two Hammerkops.

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Along they way we saw this Raptor.

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At our Bungalow the whole Vervet gang was already awaiting us again.

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Even investigating our car :lol:

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In camps like Biyamiti it is always such a hard decision whether to go for a drive, or to tsay in the camp to appreciate the birdlife and beautiful surroundings there....

Later we took a walk along the fence.

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What a nice farewell to this beautiful camp.
The next morning we are going to move to Skukuza.
Already looking forward to that, as it means a visit to the Nursery, Lake Panic and having dinner at Selatie :cool:

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 Post subject: Re: A latish Trip Report- KDU and Francolin in Kruger May 2010
Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 10:39 am 
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06.05

Unfortunately it was already time to leave Biyamiti...
But we were looking forward to Skukuza as well, although much bigger and more busy.
You still have wonderful Lake Panic close by.
So we took the private Biyamiti road one last time.

One of three Rhinos on the private Biyamiti Road.

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Rhinos

Of course there was something to spot at the Weir 8)
A Hammerkop.

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And a Heron.

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Further north near Renosterkoppies we spotted some far off Lions, doing what they do best :lol:

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It was still pretty early when we reached the greater vicinity of Skukuza.
Way too early to check in so we thought we visit Lake Panic and the Nursery instead.

Hopper at Skukuza Nursery

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Driving back to the Nursery we heard a rustling sound in the high grass near the road and discovered a gang of Banded Mongoose.

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We were the only ones at the Hide at Lake Panic :dance:
And instantly spotted the infamous Lake Panic African Darter (well a couple of them).

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There was more than just one Dragonfly.
But fortunately this one was sitting close to the hide.

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It is always so lovely to sit in the hide, absorbing the silence of Lake Panic.
And so surprising that you are able to find just a place of quiet and peace close to such a busy camp like Skukuza.
Now it was time for us to leave and finally check in.
Check in was very friendly and quick and so we soon find ourselves unpacking the car once again.

We had a coffee and listened to the construction works that were happening close by :lol:
But we already decided before, that we were going for a drive to the southern direction later.....

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Last edited by katydownunder on Sat Mar 26, 2011 3:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: A latish Trip Report- KDU and Francolin in Kruger May 2010
Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 11:07 am 
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So as said before we went for another drive in the afternoon again....
This time towards the southern direction. Tomorrow we are already leaving Skukuza again towards the north and so this would be our only chance to drive that roadon this trip.


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Here we came across one of the famous Kruger roadblocks :lol:

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So we did not drive any further, the road was just too busy with Baboons and Ellies :lol:
As alway it was so much fun to observe the Baboons, but then unfortunately it was time again to return back to camp.
We were tired and hungry and already looking forward to have a nice evening at Selati.....

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 Post subject: Re: A latish Trip Report- KDU and Francolin in Kruger May 2010
Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 11:52 am 
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07.05.

The next morning I got up early, as this was the only chance to wait for the sunrise on the banks of the Sabie this time...

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The mischief was awake already as well...:lol:

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Nearly ran into a Golden Orb Spider Web....:o

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Today we were moving to Satara.
At first we drove a few kilometres to the southern direction again, as we had not such a long distance to drive, so we took our time...

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Kingfisher time...

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We heard the familiar sound of a Fish Eagle.

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Later we stopped at Tshokwane for lunch.
Boerewors, sheba and pap... Mmmmh, yummy :D

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A little further north we observed two Ellies having a bath and loads of fun..

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Ellies 1

Ellies 2

Ellies 3

We moved into one of the newly refurbished bungalows at Sataras A circle. Had a coffee and again some fun observing the Vervets on the lawn.

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We only took a short drive in the late afternoon, it was quiet but we met this wonderful Waterbuck in sweet light.

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It felt good to be back to Satara. Sitting outside your bungalow there is always so much to see.
We had a lovely braai that evening and enjoyed the beautiful setting.

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 Post subject: Re: A latish Trip Report- KDU and Francolin in Kruger May 2010
Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:36 pm 
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08.05.

Today was Francolins birthday, so we were hoping for some extra special sightings...

We thought it already was a good start when we found a Stick Insect near Satara reception. We had never seen such a big one before. :shock:

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Then we spotted the Scops Owl in the tree outside reception. She completely ignored all the people that were passing right underneath her.

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Our choice for today was the S100
Here we discovered a snake, maybe a Black Mamba?! But we are not sure at all..

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And a little later a lovely breeding herd of Ellies.

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Further on two Lilac-breasted Roller. They are so beautiful especially in flight, showing their stunning blue colours.
I waited for them to start, but without luck...

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And one of those small and fragile looking Steenboks, with huge ears. :lol:

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Well the S100 is very special, it shows you all, or nothing at all :roll: :lol:
Today was a good day. :thumbs_up:
It was not too long that we sighted some Lions, unfortunately a bit far away from the road though.

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But then we discovered that one of the cubs was climbing a tree...

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Lion Cub in tree

:cool:

Then little Mister Trouble was back down on safe ground and due to the high grass disappeared completely.
So it was time for us to move on.

To be continued .....

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 Post subject: Re: A latish Trip Report- KDU and Francolin in Kruger May 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2011 8:05 pm 
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We wanted to have breakfast at Nwanetsi Picnic Spot.
On the way we found this small Water Monitor.
He wasn't too happy that we stopped the car to take some pics, lol...

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At Nwanetsi Picnic Spot we had yet another lovely surprise, here we met Jannie and Vanessa (for all those who do not know them, KTP Guru and SO) 8)

After breakfast we visited Sweni Bird Hide.
Another wonderful place we love so much.

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We spend about an hour there before heading back to Satara.
On one of the loops to the smaller waterholes on the way back we sighted this Slender Mongoose.

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Then we had a Zebra roadblock :lol:

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And spotted a cute baby Giraffe.

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Shortly before reaching Satara.
More Zebras.

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And a bush full of Guineafowls :lol:

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Now it was time to have some rest...

Of course we went for yet another drive in the afternoon...
We were heading for the S100 yet again.
Just to the sie of the main road a Buffalo was having a mudbath.

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An Impala ram with loads and loads of flies, the poor thing...

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More Ellies, always a bit heciting for us, as we have a healthy respect coming closer to them.

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Busy Oxpecker :cool:
The Impla looked a bit annoyed...

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And a sunset Zebra...
What an end of the day 8)

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I think I don't have to tell you that Francolin was very happy with that day :cool:

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 Post subject: Re: A latish Trip Report- KDU and Francolin in Kruger May 2010
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 8:14 pm 
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09.05.

The next morning we could observe some Red-billed Buffalo Weaver looking for food.
It is so lovely to have a cup of coffee and watching the wildlife in the camp.

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On the S100 we met the Rollers again.

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A Rhino "convinced" a Wildebeest to give up his spot in the shade... :lol:

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We drove to the direction of Gudzani Dam and took a huge loop back to Satara.

Along the way we spotted a couple of Saddle-billed Storks.

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A Steenbok trying to hide behind a rock.

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And a beautiful Kudu bull.

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Another Kruger roadblock :lol:

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There were not too many cars around and we enjoyed yet again another lovely morning drive :D

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 Post subject: Re: A latish Trip Report- KDU and Francolin in Kruger May 2010
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 8:23 pm 
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At Satara I took a walk through the camp and finally found the famous Bushbaby.

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And again the Scops Owl 8)

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Back at the bungalow we could see that the Vervets were relaxing on the lawn.

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One enjoyed a Banana she had stolen from one of the fridges.

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A black-collared Barbet was posing very nicely for a pic :D

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We took another drive in the afternoon...
Of course we took the S100 again :redface:
Here we sighted a beautiful Rhino.

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When we drove on we just spotted a Leopard crossing the road and disappearing into the high grass.
Unfortunately not a really great photo opportunity, but a proof :rolleyes:
Only two pics and and he/she was gone.

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The we drove on, already a bit running late. :roll:
Not even 10 minutes later I had to slam on the breaks.
A Leopard right at the side of the road. I quickly closed my window, as he was a bit too close for comfort.
He crossed the road behind our car and walked on into the direction of the river.

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And then he was gone....
Wow what an end to another great Kruger day.... 8) 8) 8)

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Last edited by katydownunder on Sat Apr 02, 2011 8:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: A latish Trip Report- KDU and Francolin in Kruger May 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:46 am 
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10.05.

Today we moved from Satara to Shingwedzi.
We started early, as we wanted to have a breakfast break at Olifants to have a look at the newly renovated restaurant there. 8)

Our first sighting, a Steenbok.

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Later a Kori Bustard at the main road.

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Wattled Starlings in a bush at a waterhole.

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And a drinking Giraffe on the way to Olifants.

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We took the gravel road from Balule.
IT is always so nice to spot the camp up on the hill for the first time 8)

Outside area of the restaurant at Olifants.

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And the restaurant.

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Later on the way to Shing we spotted another Leopard. It was close to a waterhole and two cars were parked in the middle of the road for a chat. The only drawback, they did not even notice the Leopard and blocked the way for us to get closer :( :wall:

The rest of the drive was quiet.
On the last hundred metres to Shingwedzi camp gate, one of the Baboons that always hang aorund the roadside.

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We went on a short drive later that afternoon and observed two Ellies in the riverbed.

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Back at camp we went to the wonderful restaurant and observed the floodlit camp fence while having a delicious meal. :cool:

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 Post subject: Re: A latish Trip Report- KDU and Francolin in Kruger May 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 11:54 am 
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11.05.

The next morning we drove the Mphongolo Loop up till Babalala Picnic Spot and then back again.

Just as we were entering the Loop we spotted a Dwarf Mongoose.

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And a little later a Francolin mother with chicks sitting on a branch in the warm sun...

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Francolin

Aren't they just too cute?!

Tree Squirrel

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Apart from that the drive was quiet.
Even at Babalala we missed the usual present birds :(

Back at camp, while having a little lunch a Dove came for a visit.

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Again we stopped at the low water bridge later that afternoon.

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A Bushbuck on the way to Kanniedood.

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Later a Slender Mongoose. I think still not a fully grown one. We could hear some rustling sounds on the other side of the road and she really wanted to get over to the other ones, so it was time for us to get out of her way...

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Shortly before we reached the gate, another beautiful Waterbuck.

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And again we visited the restaurant.
Always a hard decision at Shing whether to go to the restaurant of having a braai. And always the restaurant wins, you just can not beat the setting at the fence.... :whistle:

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 Post subject: Re: A latish Trip Report- KDU and Francolin in Kruger May 2010
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12.05.

Our last full day at Shing.
Today we wanted to take the gravel road to the southern direction.
The day started overcast and while visiting the low water bridge we could spot quite a few Marabou Storks.

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Low Water Bridge

Isn't he beautiful ?!

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A Chameleon crossed our path, one of a couple that we spotted that morning. Maybe the overcast day was a reason for that...

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Here an African Pied Wagtail.

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And two enormous Buffs at the Low Water Bridge.

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The clouds were gone in the afternoon. So we stopped once again at the Low Water Bridge.

A Pied Kingfisher.

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But apart from that it was really quiet.
So we decided to drive to the main road bridge to stretch our legs a bit.
A little later we met the Baboons again on the main road leading to the camp gate.

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Tonight was our last evening in this wonderful camp and so we enjoyed another dinner by the fence....

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 Post subject: Re: A latish Trip Report- KDU and Francolin in Kruger May 2010
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13.05.

Again time to change the camps. :(
Today we are driving down to Shimuwini (for the first time :dance: ) for our last two nights in the park.

Shortly after we had reached the main road we met this very muddy Buffalo.

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One of "hundreds of" Ground Crickets on the road.
Unfortunately most of them dead :(

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A Burchell's Coucal.

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And an African Open-billed Stork at Shipandani Bird Hide.
The area around the hide was very quiet.

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But we spotted a Blacksmith Plover

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And a a couple of Black Crakes, while crossing the low Water Bridge near the hide.

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We saw many of those beautiful Asclepia plants along the road.

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And I caused a trafic jam while taking this photo of a tiny Caterpillar :lol:

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We had a wonderful late breakfast at Mopani, sitting on the balcony outside the little bar overlooking Pioneer Dam.

Later we spotted this Brown-hooded Kingfisher.

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We arrived at Shimuwini around 3pm and checked into #12 our home for the last two nights.
Just shortly after we moved in, Shine the tame Duiker came to greet us ....

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Only about half an hour after we had moved into our cottage we spotted a huge breeding herd of Ellies coming down to the river or a drink.

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Ellies 1

Ellies 2

What a wonderful sighting 8)
We loved Shimuwini right from the beginning.
A friendly camp.
In the evening someone walked past the cottages to ask if everything was alright.
Pure magic to sit so close by the river and hear the sounds of the Hippos etc. 8) 8)

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 Post subject: Re: A latish Trip Report- KDU and Francolin in Kruger May 2010
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Thank you Pumbaa :D
Shimuwini was so wonderful, the next time we are going to stay 3 nights there.
You are in no time in Phalaborwa to go to the airport. And yet you still have the feelings as if you are miles away from civilisation...
We just loved it, it was so kewl that they walked along the cottages to ask if everything is OK.
The staff is soooo friendly.
And we did not have a problem that you only got the freezer in a small hut near reception...

Shine is lovely and I hope that she is still there when we are in Shim the next time (Shine is already pretty old...)
One morning I was sitting outside, it was still dark and Shine came and lied down next to me...*sigh*

Have you ever been to Shimuwini?!
You will love it :wink:

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Our KTP Adventures November 2010


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Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
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