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 Post subject: Jomardl-TR: Lower Sabie - 3 Nights, 22-25 July 2010
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 5:34 pm 
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Location: Kaapstad
This past July, on the spur of the moment, I took a solo trip to Kruger. The timing was perfect. Work had been a nightmare and our October trip to Kruger was 109 days, 14 hours and 21 minutes into the future. My SO was overseas for work and Ouma and Oupa were clammoring for some quality time with the little one.

I'd never really explored the area around Lower Sabie so I posted a request for some advice here. I'm glad I did!

22 July

Getting up at 04h30 is normally well beyond my abilities but, for obvious reasons, this is not the case today. By 04h45, I'm showered, dressed and on my way to the airport. I have to take two flights to KMIA and I am not a good flyer. The less said about this part, the better, so I'm going to skip ahead.

At the car rental they "upgrade" me to a Tata. As if that's not bad enough, the whole process takes FOREVER. Like 30 minutes. Give me the car, lady - I only have 3 days and the clock is ticking...

The potholes on the way to the Numbi gate are appalling and, being from Cape Town and therefore unaccustomed to potholes in general, I hit one at speed. For a moment it feels like I've lost a wheel. This is going to cost me, but to hell with it, the wheel is fine (barring a bent rim and a missing hubcap). More carefully, I complete the journey to Numbi.

Check-in is a breeze and before I head off into the park, I set up my cameras and roll down all the windows. Winter in Kruger is a lot hotter than Cape Town. Happily, very happily, I proceed up Albassini Road. The veldt has burnt extensively and is still smoking in patches. I like the smell. Not much wildlife to see here, but it is the middle of the day.

[to be continued]

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Kruger 22 - 28 October
Kgalagadi 13 - 20 April 2012


Last edited by jomardl on Wed Sep 01, 2010 6:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: TR: Lower Sabie - 3 Nights, 22-25 July 2010
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:28 pm 
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So I'm driving up Albassini at the usual just-arrived-in-Kruger speed (really really slowly) for something like 2 hours without so much as an impala. Not that this dented my enthusiasm in any way (the smell of the place!! you know.) Somewhere along the way, I call up my SO in Switzerland. She's pretty chuffed just me hear my voice (and vice versa). Lotsa love, hugs and kisses and then I turn off the bloody Blackberry because I'm in Kruger and it doesn't belong here. :wink:

Just then I happen on my first sighting; some zebra. I'm fairly impressed since, on our previous visit, we didn't see any until day 4. Look at his butt - this one has some funky kwagga genes kickin' around in there somewhere. Sweet.

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I turn right on Doispane Road (never driven here!) and soon pull into Nyamundwa dam. I spy a HUGE fish eagle and also some lazy hippo on the far side. Here's the bird:

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A long and uneventful drive follows all the way past Skukuza. Still ever so happy, though - the light is begining to change to that Africa colour... Then my first ellies. Weird!

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Her right ear isn't right but they look healthy enough otherwise.

I pick up the speed because it's getting dark and Lower Sabie is still some ways off.

Then: LITS!!... yay! Looks like mom and overgrown tween of a cub. So much traffic. Still... I would never have spotted them on my own, so can't be too miffed.

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Not a bad start, I'd say, though later back at the bungalow is a different story... I've never had to braai all alone and it's strange. Nevertheless, the pork chops and pap and smoor is delicious. I have 2 Windhoeks and a generous glass of Amarula for desert before I head off to bed at 19h53. :D

After all, tomorrow is another day.

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Kruger 22 - 28 October
Kgalagadi 13 - 20 April 2012


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 Post subject: Re: TR: Lower Sabie - 3 Nights, 22-25 July 2010
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 12:18 pm 
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Hi everyone. Sorry for the tardy updates. I have been planning the next trip (18 days and counting) and sort of lost track of where I was here.

Now where was I? Oh yes...

23 July

It's freezing cold at 05h45 but I'm sitting in the Tata with windows rolled down because I love the smell of Kruger in the morning. Seriously, it's one of the reasons I quit smoking.

I'd made the decision before I left to follow the advice I had requested on this forum.

DuQues:

Quote:
But the S28 is a must-drive, as is the S25.
So a nice days drive is down S28, sideways on the S25 to Afsaal, then on to Biyamiti Weir, up the S114 to either the H5 or S26 towards Lower Sabie.


The S28 is, quite frankly, magical. I don't care if I see any game... this has to be one of the best drives in Kruger. My attitude is a good thing because for the first hour or so, I do not in fact see much.

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Misty...

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Only an hour into my first morning and I have to run off again... but I won't be gone long.

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Kruger 22 - 28 October
Kgalagadi 13 - 20 April 2012


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 Post subject: Re: TR: Lower Sabie - 3 Nights, 22-25 July 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 11:19 am 
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Location: Kaapstad
As per advice given, I take a quick detour off the S28 to visit Duke Dam. Apparently the illustrious Duke himself is known to visit this place and I've always been keen to meet him.

There's plenty to see here.

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I don't usually bother photographic impala but this fellow had soulful eyes. I had borrowed a friend's 55-250mm lens and it's pretty sharp given the price.

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I'm getting into birds these days, which I never thought I would. These guys are just iconic.

No sign of Duke, though and I head back to the '28. The sun is getting stronger now.

The rest of the road to Crocodile Bridge is fairly quiet.


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 Post subject: Re: TR: Lower Sabie - 3 Nights, 22-25 July 2010
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 1:52 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 1:13 pm
Posts: 810
Location: Johannesburg
Hi Jomardl

Yes, forumites use yellow ribbons when in any Sanparks Park, so we can identify each other, chat, etc etc. Usually tied to the Drives door mirror, or as in my case, on my Radio aerial. Great way to get to know and meet other forumites. Though I should mention that I was in another game reserve, a non-Sanparks one, and saw this vehicle with a yellow ribbon on the drivers door mirror. Immediately inquired about it-turned out to be something completely unrelated to Sanparks or Kruger. OOOOPS.

Yes, "any piece of yellow ribbon", tho some forumites may be offended at that. It's often the most important part of the trip. Forgot to get some a while ago, and met Mellory, in the park, who very kindly gave me a share of hers :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up: which I now cherish, and is attached to my Camera, lest I forget it again. I seem to think that there is also a ribbon for the Stiffnecks i.e. birders.

There is a thread about this, as well as one in which you can "advise" one of the Moderators when you are going, it will be listed, and other forumites that are in the Park can look out for you and know who else is in he same Park at the same time.

And did not hear any lions that night of 25th, but then again I was off taking photos of geckos that I mentioned in my TR. And off to sleep. And when that happens-well lets just say-leave sleeping rocks alone.

Love your photo's. Let have some more :popcorn:

:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: that you are going again so soon after you last trip. Hope you have a fabulous time again.

Cheerio

Noel


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 Post subject: Re: TR: Lower Sabie - 3 Nights, 22-25 July 2010
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:25 pm 
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It's my first time at Croc Bridge. It's almost 9am and I have a burger from the shop and an Amstel. The burger is hopeless but the beer is good. :D

And I head for the S25. At the turnoff, who should I run into?

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He seems really happy to see me too.

Quote:
If you go to Hippo Pool... please give greeting to Daniel, maybe he will be not here next year and I'll see never more... it's a so nice guy :dance:


Thanks for the tip, Anne-Marie. Daniel is great. For the past 30 years he has traveled up the S25 towards Hippo Pool every morning from Croc Bridge... by BICYCLE. There are no hippos today but he shows me what's left of the rock art. He tells me that he was nearly forced into retirement when he turned 60 but the government has now given him a few more years. He points to the orange trees across the Crocodile river and informs me that they are old will need to be cut down soon.

I tell him I'll take his job when he retires. I'm only half joking.

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Daniel

A fish fish eagle appears over the trees from the left and swoops low over the road. In his claws, a fat fish is still trying to wriggle free.

The rest of the S25 is entirely uneventful apart from lots and lots of kudu. I don't bother taking photos because of the glare. Temperatures are well into the 30's.

Finally, I stop for a break at the Gardenia hide.

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This guy doesn't mind the heat at all.

I head up the S114, take a right at the H2-2 and finally up to H3 to Afsaal. There are a lot of people here and I only stay long enough to snap this red bill.

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I proceed up the H3 and decide to take the N'watihiri Road back to LS, stopping off at Renosterkoppies, which was abandoned and marvelous and just a little scary. You never know what might be waiting for you on the other side of that rock!

Turns out it was a woodpecker.

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Kruger 22 - 28 October
Kgalagadi 13 - 20 April 2012


Last edited by jomardl on Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: TR: Lower Sabie - 3 Nights, 22-25 July 2010
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:28 pm 
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He's in the little tree to the right.

I push on... the weather is starting to cool again and the light is improving. I pass some elephant and many giraffe. I also spot my first baboons.

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I stop to photograph this huge hornbill with the light shining through its bill.

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Kruger 22 - 28 October
Kgalagadi 13 - 20 April 2012


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 Post subject: Re: TR: Lower Sabie - 3 Nights, 22-25 July 2010
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:31 pm 
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Then I see what's behind it.

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Frustrated I cannot get any closer. I wonder what's down there?

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The scavengers are filling at least 5 trees but I can't get clear view of the ground. I watch them for long time before pressing on to the H4-2.

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I like this tree.

The light is fading fast and going to have to pick up the pace if I want to make it back to LS before the gate closes.

About 15km from LS:

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My 1st 'hooked lip rhinoceros', as they say these days and right next to road. :thumbs_up: : Looks like this chap was in a fight.

Back at camp I go through the same routine as the previous evening and I also wander around the camp in the dark for an hour before bed. Don't see any nightlife but I do need the exercise.

By 8pm I'm fast asleep.

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Kruger 22 - 28 October
Kgalagadi 13 - 20 April 2012


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 Post subject: Re: TR: Lower Sabie - 3 Nights, 22-25 July 2010
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 30, 2010 4:41 pm 
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Location: Kaapstad
24 July

Lower Sabie H10 > Mlondozi Dam > Muntshe > Saletjie Road > Skukuza > H4 back to Lower Sabie.

This was my 2nd full day and the solitude was doing me good. I had achieved a serene state of mind. Zen, inner peace, call it what you will but my mind was so clear that, in thinking back about this day, I don't have much to so say.

I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

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At this point I'm driving around Muntshe mountain and see two side striped jackals in the road. I couldn't get a picture though, so you're all going to have to trust me. ;)

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Finally a lion! I didn't stay long because on the H4 everyone came...

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The sunbirds were flitting about outside Skukuza reception. I bought a sandwich and wandered around the Stevenson Hamilton Library/museum before hitting the road back to LS.

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This giraffe was browsing on the other side of the river. I took this pic from my bungalow's stoep.

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Had an early braai and then I decided to go book a night drive.

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Not a bad night drive... :whistle:

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Kruger 22 - 28 October
Kgalagadi 13 - 20 April 2012


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 Post subject: Re: TR: Lower Sabie - 3 Nights, 22-25 July 2010
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2010 8:11 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2010 5:01 pm
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Location: Kaapstad
25 July

My last day and I have to be at the airport by 11am. It's a tossup between Numbi Gate, Malelane Gate and Crocodile Bridge. After much soul searching I decide to take the H4-2 to Crocodile Bridge. I'm a sucker for new territory.

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Buffalo in the mist. I think to myself the lions can't be far behind.

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I'm right. And just about 1st on the scene also. It's me and one other car for at least 20 mins.

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At this point I realise that I'm looking at one of the blind males I have read about on these forums. He's extremely thin. TB I suppose... On the upside, all the females look very healthy.

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He's repeatedly swallowing a large bone, then reguritating it...


At the S25 turnoff I spot some extremely nervous impala. In fact, all the animals. elephant, giraffe etc. are looking intently in the same direction, presumably at the same amazing thing. I can only imagine what I'm missing as I reluctantly drive past. I have a flight to catch... Perhaps it took me so long to write this TR because I could only bring myself to do it now I know I'm going back in 10 days.

:D :D

Thanks for reading!

~Joe

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Kgalagadi 13 - 20 April 2012


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