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 Post subject: Re: Back On The Dust Road Again.
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 11:00 am 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Award: Forumite of the Year & Travel Tale of the Year, Other Parks (2013)
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 10:36 pm
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Location: Lausanne (Switzerland)
again superb photos :clap:
I hop you will find the Leopard :wink:
:hmz: to me the Eagle seems to be a Tawny, due to the "gape to below mid-eye" (Spotted has longer gape) (sorry I copy what is in my birds book... not really good formulation to explain :redface: )

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 Post subject: Re: Back On The Dust Road Again.
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 11:20 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 702
Location: Back Home
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2012)
Thanks Cheetah2111 and Anne-Marie for your kind comments.
Friday 25/11. I decided to travel the S36 via the H7. Again a very quiet morning for me. Close to Lugmagdam I came across this large elephant bull with a decent set of tusks.
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Onto Vutomi Dam. I photographed this wildebeest bull. Not the easiest animal to photograph it requires good light to get a reasonable photo of one.
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The light was good and Vutomi dam was sparkling.
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More storks in the vicinity of the dam. This time the Woolly-Necked storks and Marabou storks were in attendance.
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and here is the Marabou.
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I decided to wait at the dam for a while to see if anything would arrive. The hippo was back at Vutomi. (when the dam was drying up the two resident hippos had departed.) He came close to my car and then started his dominant postures towards my vehicle! I always wanted to get a hippo 'yawning' on film.
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And then he blew bubbles for me. These actions continued for about ten minutes before I left the dam for him to celebrate victory.
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Rhino Poaching - Highlight's man's stupidity and greediness.


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 Post subject: Re: Back On The Dust Road Again.
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2011 8:46 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 702
Location: Back Home
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2012)
Thank you Vlakvarkvrou,Pumbaa, WendyA, Cheetah2111, Anne-Marie, and Pumbaa for your kind comments. Anne-Marie thank-you for the ID on the eagle.

25/11 continued. On my way back to camp I came across these elephants crossing the road. The green shrubbery down by Tshokwane attracted a lot of elephant herds which I always enjoyed watching. I never get tired of seeing these giants of the bush.
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I came to the spot where I had seen the impala carcass in the tree and decided to give the area a fine sweep with by binoculars. And there he was about 50 metres from his kill partly hidden by rocks and bushes. Unfortunately he was too far in for a close-up photo.
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Saturday 26/11. For once I was not first out the gate. Two cars were in front of me as wemotored down the H1-3. Then for some reason both cars stopped. It looked like they were travelling together. I drove past them slowly and after about a kilometre I came across this male lion striding down the road. I have seen this guy a couple of times before and I know him as the Satara bruiser. The only trouble with a sighting so close to camp is the inevitable traffic jam. So after a couple of photos I was off leaving the bruiser to the rest of the following cars.
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On the S125 I came across more elephant herds. Here are some photos of very small calves. I was photgraphing into strong sunlight so not the best photos.
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In this next photo the elephants are running from a swarm of bees. There was no doubt in my mind these two calves were twins.
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Rhino Poaching - Highlight's man's stupidity and greediness.


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 Post subject: Re: Back On The Dust Road Again.
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2011 12:32 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 702
Location: Back Home
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2012)
Thanks Anri and Anne-Marie. I very much appreciate your comments.

Sunday 27/11. Predator sightings had all but disappeared for me but I was making the most of all the other animals that inhabit the Satara area.

The Saddle-Billed Storks were a regular sighting in the Vutomi area.
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I decided to travel on the eastern grasslands and on the S35 I came across a group of giraffe which included these two young calves.
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and here is the other young one.
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Also on the S35 I came across this massive herd of buffalo which literally stretched for kilometres.
Here the tail-end of the herd is on the march.
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In the afternoon I took a drive up north on the H1-4 and came across this female hyaena who appeared heavily pregnant.
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And then on the drive back via the S39 I met up with the resident klipspringers. I watched them with great interest as they jumped around the rocks. Extremely nimble.
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Coming up : The S100 does not let me down.

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Rhino Poaching - Highlight's man's stupidity and greediness.


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 Post subject: Re: Back On The Dust Road Again.
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2011 5:31 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 702
Location: Back Home
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2012)
Thank you Pumbaa, Anne-Marie and Meandering Mouse for your comments.

Monday 28/11. I had not seen any predators close-up for a couple of days now and I was beginning to suffer from withdrawal symptoms. As I was first at the gate I decided to go on the S100 and see if this famous road would produce a predator sighting. Halfway on the S100 I caught up with the Sanparks early morning drive vehicle. I decided to pass it which subsequently proved a good move. Two kilometres from the end of the S100 I saw some movement in the bush. Closer inspection revealed a male lion scratching himself in the long grass. And then I saw another male lying down. Bothe were quite far away. I took a few photos for the record and waited. The sun was just beginning to rise. The one male got up and started to move towards me. He started to mark his territory and then crossed the road. I was still the only car around. then the second male got up and started to walk towards me. Only then did the PBV arrive. I had these lions all to myself for 15 minutes on the S100. He crossed the road and then followed his mate into the Nwanedzi river.
Here the first male is marking his territory and when he was lying down .
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And these two photos show how close the second male was to my car.
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Onto the S41 and this impala ewe was on full alert to protect her newborn.
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Thank you the S100 and more Elephants to follow

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Rhino Poaching - Highlight's man's stupidity and greediness.


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 Post subject: Re: Back On The Dust Road Again.
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:43 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 702
Location: Back Home
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2012)
Thank you Flying Cheetah, Born Free, WendyA, and Anri for your kind comments.

Monday 28/11 continued. After the Lion sighting I returned to camp early and that afternoon I was back at Vutomi. An elephant herd had come down to the dam.
Rivers and dams are the life-blood for hippos and crocs. For buffalo and rhino they are a place to drink and cool off. For elephants it is their playground.
Here the elephants are playing in the dam.
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This is a close-up of one of the females after playtime.
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Driving back to camp on the S33 I came across this very young giraffe with her mother. The difference in size is striking.
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Nearing the end of my trip.

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Rhino Poaching - Highlight's man's stupidity and greediness.


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 Post subject: Re: Back On The Dust Road Again.
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:52 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 702
Location: Back Home
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2012)
Thank you Flying Cheetah, Born Free, WendyA, and Anri for your kind comments.

Monday 28/11 continued. After the Lion sighting I returned to camp early and that afternoon I was back at Vutomi. An elephant herd had come down to the dam.
Rivers and dams are the life-blood for hippos and crocs. For buffalo and rhino they are a place to drink and cool off. For elephants it is their playground.
Here the elephants are playing in the dam.
Image

Image

This is a close-up of one of the females after playtime.
Image

Driving back to camp on the S33 I came across this very young giraffe with her mother. The difference in size is striking.
Image

Image

Nearing the end of my trip.

_________________
Rhino Poaching - Highlight's man's stupidity and greediness.


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 Post subject: Re: Back On The Dust Road Again.
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:55 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 702
Location: Back Home
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2012)
Thank you Anri, Pumbaa, Granjan, Flying Cheetah, Kallis1786, Cheetah2111 and Elsa for all your kind comments. Granjan I agree with you, I will be devastated, lost, and mystified if/when they demolish Vutomi.

My trip is now entering the closing stages. It was one my longer trips where I stayed at Satara for 16 nights, certainly the longest I have stayed at one camp.

Monday 28/11 continued. The day was drawing to a close. Here I came across a herd of elephant and managed to capture four of them close together.
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This white rhino had a mixture of ox-peckers on him. At least one was yellow, the others red. Is this unusual?
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Tuesday 29/11. Travelled up north via the H1-4 and then onto the S89 and south again on the S90. Very quiet. Only when I was on the S90 have I got something worthwhile to show. A bateleur eagle was in the process of preening itself. Talk about ruffling ones feathers.
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With all the long grass around I found it extremely difficult to photograph warthog. This was the only warthog which stood long enough in the open to be filmed.
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Near the Mavumbye stream a large herd of buffalo was departing from the stream. Here is a small group which posed for me.
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A kori bustard was stalking the veld for the numerous grasshoppers which were invading the area.
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Rhino Poaching - Highlight's man's stupidity and greediness.


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 Post subject: Re: Back On The Dust Road Again.
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:39 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 702
Location: Back Home
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2012)
Thank you Bornfree for your kind comments. For you and Anri here is a juvenile Bateleur about to devour a flying ant. I am not sure if you can see the ant in this resized image.
Image

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Rhino Poaching - Highlight's man's stupidity and greediness.


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 Post subject: Re: Back On The Dust Road Again.
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 5:58 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 702
Location: Back Home
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2012)
Thank you Anne-Marie and Flying Cheetah for your kind comments.
Anne-Marie I can only agree with you. Maybe if the Parks Board issued a statement on these proposed closures it would help us to understand why.
Flying Cheetah, it is not everyone's cup of tea to stay at one camp for a long time. As you know I am a camper and setting up camp and then packing up a number of times during a trip is not fun for me. By the way that large caravan I was towing when I saw you at LS has been sold. I have traded it in on a smaller, but more versatile 4x4 trailer / camper.

Wednesday 30/11. Up early again and I travelled all the way down south to the S32 / S35. No predators were encountered on the way. As I turned onto the S35 I came across a herd of elephant. This small calf had not yet managed to master the movement of its trunk. It wanted a pod or something similar that was lying on the road so the best way was to get down on his knees....
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A couple of kilometres further on this time on the S32 I came across another herd at a roadside pool. Although the elephants look far away they were in fact extremely close. I was using my new wide angle lens.
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The matriarch was making sure her young calf could get a drink.
Image

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Rhino Poaching - Highlight's man's stupidity and greediness.


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 Post subject: Re: Back On The Dust Road Again.
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 11:51 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 702
Location: Back Home
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2012)
Thank you Anri, Anne-Marie, Flying Cheetah, Pumbaa, Cheetah2111, Bornfree, Lion Queen, and WendyA for all your kind comments.
Thursday 1/12. During my morning drive I came across a clan of hyaenas walking towards me. As I slowly approached they did their usual trick of splitting up and running off into the distance. This one was the last one to run and I managed to get a few photos of him.
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Later in the afternoon I came across two sable bulls at Lugmagdam. I would have got better and more close-up photos if it were not for some idiot who got out his car for a better look. Off they ran only to be seen much later but now further away. I was surprised to see a younger bull in the company of an older bull. There were no females around. I have seen lone bulls and young bulls in a herd but never this situation.
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and here is the younger bull
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Coming up, my final predator sighting for the trip.

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Rhino Poaching - Highlight's man's stupidity and greediness.


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 Post subject: Re: Back On The Dust Road Again.
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:12 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 702
Location: Back Home
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2012)
Thank you Anne-Marie for your kind comments.
Friday 2/12. My last full day in the park and I really wanted to see another cat before I left. I decided my best bet would be to drive right down to Tshokwane on the main road. I was the only car at the gate when it opened. I drove relatively slowly all the way to Kumana dam and then reduced my speed to a crawl as I scanned the thick undergrowth. I came across a large herd of buffalo crossing the road and only watched them for a couple of minutes as I was on a predator search. Then just past the southern tunoff of the S86 I saw him half in the bush and half in the road. A large male leopard marking his territory. I was able to follow him for about ten minutes before he disappeared into the N'waswisontso riverbed.
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This last photo says it all. He was growing very tired of me and shortly after this photo he literally disappeared into the riverbed.
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I was very happy. I got my final predator. My going home present.

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Rhino Poaching - Highlight's man's stupidity and greediness.


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 Post subject: Re: Back On The Dust Road Again.
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:41 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 702
Location: Back Home
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2012)
Thank you Elsa, Lion Queen, WendyA, Cheetah2111, Kallis1786, Anri, Pumbaa, Flying Cheetah, and Granjan for all your kind comments.
Flying Cheetah, the S86 is a short 4 km loop just off the H1-3 and is situated between the S33 turnoff and Kumana dam. It follows the Nwaswisontso river very closely and can be quiet on some days and fairly busy on other days. (animal wise that is)

Friday 2/12 continued. After the leopard sighting I came across this elephant which was very close to the road. I could not resist taking his photo.
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I came across these three zebra on the S35. I find zebra very photogenic.
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Further on the S35 I came across this elephant with a decent set of tusks. I do not have a lot of luck when it comes to big tuskers which seem to elude me. So I am always grateful to get those with medium sized tusks.
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Later that afternoon I took my last drive on the S125 and came across a small herd of buffalo. This bull was drinking in one of the many rain pools in the veld.
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And that concludes my November trip. It is memories like these that keep drawing me back Kruger.
Finally I would like to thank all of you who have contributed to my trip report. I really enjoyed interacting with you all and appreciate all your kind comments. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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Rhino Poaching - Highlight's man's stupidity and greediness.


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