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 Post subject: gerharddb Short but Oh so Sweet KNP trip..June 2012
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:49 am 
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:yaya:

Well after a short weekend trip to KNP, I posted some photos and info regarding my trip on FB(Facebook for those that didnt know :lol: ) and it wasnt long before a pack of :littleangel: under the firm control of tannie Dinkybird told me to do a TR. To quote Tannie Dinkybirds exact words "‎'Request' being a polite way of putting it"
is what was said to me! :whistle: :wall:

So here I am, and as Im not very good with words and writing, will try my best to give you an insight of my short, but ohhh so sweet trip to one of the greatest, if not the greatest parks in the whole world.

Like most of my other trips to KNP, all happend very fast. I try to go to the park atleast once a month, just to get out of the ratrace and become sane and human again. It usually starts off something like this:
SO:" Liefie I think you need to go to the farm or out of town because you are getting difficult.."
Me:" Me difficult?? :doh: Never! Where have Ive been difficult?

And it will go on like this for a few minutes before I get what all men get..
"YOU KNOW IM RIGHT!!"

Well who am I then to disagree? And like that a plan will start around where and when... go to the farm or go the the park? Needless to say which one is chosen more often....and so I phoned central reservations and were lucky enough to get space at Satara...one of my favourite camps. Camping.

Now previous times I have traveled alone and loved it...but this time I decided to ask along my soon to be wife(ok maby another year or so :wall: ) little brother along. He finished matric last year and have only once been to KNP, a few years ago for one night only, and he joined in. I wanted him to see and experience what I experience and feel when going to KNP.

And so after putting in a days leave we hit the road just past 5pm on Thursday afternoon the 31st of May. His older brother is farming clost to Malelane where we spent the night. Now traveling there I could sense his excitement as he never stopped talking and kept on asking questions regarding our time coming up in the park. I silently prayed that we would have sightings that would stun him!

That night I slept like a baby, as I knew where I would sleep the next night.... but Sallies( my SO's brother) couldnt say the same thing the next morning as the excitment kept him awake...

And at half past 5 on friday morning we found ourselfs sitting infront of the Malelane gate... pitch dark outside but the sounds surrounding us painted a picture no colour could...

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 Post subject: Re: Short but Oh so Sweet KNP trip..
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:29 pm 
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Thank you all for the kind words :redface: !

Well then let me start:
Day 1.

So we found ourselfs sitting infront of the gate, with some coffee and rusks in hand, just taking in the sounds. Now I must tell you it was rather cold! And I dont do cold!! Not at all!! I hate it! So went to the back of the bakkie and got out my blanket(I know it sounds not cool!) that I was suppose to use for sleeping under, wrapped it around my legs. Now Sallies at first thought it was funny, until we started driving.....but more of that later.

As the clock turned to 6 the gate guard were still no where to be seen, but a few minutes later he appeared from somewhere but not his hut next to the gate. From where I can not tell you, as I didnt bother to think or ask about it, as I wanted to get INSIDE! At reception we were greated by a very friendly lady who assisted us in no time and in we went. FINALLY I said to myself...

Now when I drive in the park, the windows WILL be down, except when the rain is falling really hard! Not even a kilometer from the gate Sallies sat there with his teeth clattering, his legs full of little bumps...chickenflesh! I wish I could see my own face due to my clever thinking of wrapping the blanket around my legs. I felt like "who's the man?!"
But when driving with the windows open, I find that one just take in so much more and there's a smell to Kruger that Ive never smelled anywhere else in the world! Not far from the gate while driving I heard the trumpeting of Elephants close by, and when I went back a little could only see the back of two bulls fighting. And with the sun not even up yet the action was seen for a short while, but we sat there listening to these sound of them having a go at each other. Man its sometimes nice to hear things instead of seeing it...it leaves something for the mind to ponder about...

We drove slowly, about 25-30km/h and searched high and low. And then we stopped for something we all take for granted everyday.... a true spectacular african sunrise. And as the sun rose the songs around us got more glorious and more harmonic! It was like the one wanted to be louder than the other!

After a few impalas and waterbuck, not even 700m from them this boy walked out right infront of us
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And the best is: there was not one other car with us! :dance:
I must be dreaming is what I thought! This cant be true! I wish I could show you all the face of Sallies....priceless! He was totally in awe.

I made a u-turn and followed the guy, he marking his territory and thats when I remembered about the camera! :slap:
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He continued walking down the road untill he reached the spot where the impala and waterbuck stood close to the road, when his whole body language changed. :shock:

He was looking straight at them, and going almost flat onto his belly he started his approach. I couldnt believe my eyes! There we sat, with one of the greatest and most spectacular animals in the world! We, alone with him! But that were to be disturbed by an approaching car, who for some reason didnt see the leopard IN THE ROAD, untill he was 30m away from us and decided to jump on the brakes! Screeching tyres and all! :evil: The words I gave him can not be repeated here on the forum! :redface: The impalas ran off, with Mr Leopard making a turn and walk into the grass himself. :wall: he did turn around for one last glance..
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Then turned around and walked off. We were furious but also humbled and content that we could spend more than 10min with this guy! Sallies were as happy as a 5year old getting a new bicycle! He was fist-pumping, giving me a high5! I was so greatfull!

We continued on with the road....

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 Post subject: Re: Short but Oh so Sweet KNP trip..
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:39 am 
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ok here's the next instalement, rather late than never..

So after the sighting of the leopard we headed towards Skukuza, our spirits on a high. We were searching high and low and for a change Sallies were quiet. He were looking for some elusive animal hiding away. Every now and again I would hear “stop” followed by something like “I think I saw something”. And after backing up a few times all we saw untill we reached Skukuza were a few impala and 3 waterbuck.
At Skukuza we got a take-away coffee and headed for Satara. I decided to drive via the high water bridge to see if there were still damage due to the ferbruary floods. I didnt tell Sallies about the floods, and him being a VERY busy student not caring to read the newspaper he knew nothing about the floods, so his face spoke a thousand words when we turned left onto the bridge and saw this...
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I aswell were stunned. I witnessed the 2000 floods, although it was from a helicopter and can remember it all to well, but just realised again the power and damaged caused by something we take for granted everyday- water. Sallies to were quiet. And I could sense a change in his thinking. He sat quiet for some time after we left pondering about the destruction and I could see his mid thinking about the bigger things in life, which were much needed, things bigger that the social enviroment of a student, the girls and of course the studies that laid before his. I kept quiet for a long time as well, let him sort out his mind until he finally broke the silence. “ Boet that mustve been hectic” he said. ”We are actually nothing and something like that just reminds one again”
We got to Tsokwane and had to stop. To toilet was much needed as we didnt visit it at Skukuza. Sallies remarked that he’s in flood and will flood my new bakkie soon if I do not stop.
A few km’s down the road we found our first rhino of our trip.
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From there we saw very little up to Satara. We got to camp just past 12 and I went to book in. The receiption staff were, said in kind words, some of the most unfriendly ive seen in a long time, but we got checked in and headed to set up camp. We didint get a site next to the fence, but that was ok. Our two tents were up in no time, I mean how long can it take 2 young, good looking chaps to set up 2 two-man tents and 2 chairs? If there were ladies we probably wouldve still been busy!
And then I went to test my bed with the intention to get up ar 14h00 to go on a afternoon drive. That didnt happen and I got woken by the cellphone ringing half past 2. Sallies were in no better state than me and eventually when our neighbour, a very friendly Oom came to ask if we knew that the car lights were on? O damn I thought. But luckily the new VW didnt let us down. The Oom also told us about 18 lions on the way to Olifants camp not far from Satara, so we headed there.
When we got there, we were welcomed to a congregation of cars, which I tend to avoid as I get worked up to a point where people getting out of their cars want to give me a hiding as I usually ask them something like “ I see you are incapable of reading so may I read to yoiu the rules regarding protuding from your car inside the park?” But seeing that Sallies wanted to see the lions I made a brief stop and this is what we saw of the 18 lions...
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I turned left onto the gravel road that pass the Timbavati PS and headed for Nsemani dam, and on route there we found some ellephants, a rhino and a few impala.
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At Nsemani we met our neighbour oom again and he told us obout a dead lioness about a click down the road towards Satara. I later found out from a guide at Satara( I forgot his name) that it was the old lioness of the area that was attacked by the hyenas which was seen on the webcams. She didnt travel very far and died of her wounds caused by the fight.
Image

On the way back to camp, I sat thinking to myself about the dead lioness, and pondered about the circle of life. I wondered how many cubs had she brought into this world? How many kills she had made? How many failed hunts? And felt sorry for the fact that she were killed by her worst enemy as an old lady...
We reached camp just before the gate closed and we went to the shop to get some wood and cooldrinks for the night. The wood turned out to give us more problems that Ill tell you about in the next instalment...

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 Post subject: Re: Short but Oh so Sweet KNP trip..
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:28 am 
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:roll: :wall: Ladies and Gentlemen, here comes the next instalement..

Well I ended the previous instalment with the wood....now this is where I am going to complain, unfortunaltely...

The wood sold in the Parks shops are a bunch of rubbish. And paying R28 for 6 LOGS thats thinker than my waist is just outragous and a M03R$3( foul word) ripoff!! And the real nightmare started when we tried to get the fire going. Now I am a farm boy who were tought how to make fire properly, so can you imagine my disbelieve when we returned from the VERY interesting video about the cheetahs in KTP shown in the Amphi area in camp to find absolutely nothing regarding our fire...which I lit up before we went to watch the video :big_eyes: :evil: :evil: So I added more firelighters(blitz) and lit it up again...and in less than 15minutes later the blitz was burned out and the wood not showing ANY sighns of potential or flames.. :wall:
A packet and a half of Blitz later, with absolutely NO sighns of the wood getting lit any time soon I grabbed my wallet and just told Sallies to follow me. The restuarant was our only hope in getting our stomaches full!! And Sallies doesnt eat for one person.....when he sets down to eat it looks like it might be the last plate of food he will ever see and thus stock up for incase.... :big_eyes:

The food was ok..nothing more, nothing less! But atleast we got food!

Back at our campsite we headed for the showers, where there were a few Ooms complaining about the wood and that their :littleangel: is now furious because she didnt get to eat her steak! I wasnt the only one!

We hit the beds with an Oom in a caravan some distance away from us, which were chopping down the whole forest...or thats what his snoring sounded like, but i only heard it for a few moments and then drifted to sweet dreamland..

"WHAT THE *&^% IS THAT?"

I got up with the speed of light after being woken up by the above mentioned word from somewhere near me, grabbed my torch and tried to get out of my tent to go and help somewhere where help is clearly needed...Only to be stopped dead in my tracks by the sound of not one, but 2 compack drills on hammer mode going crazy 2 camp sites from ours. :big_eyes: I checked the time and had to double check after I saw 04h45...
I looked to see what these clearly idiotic people were doing...and there stood the 2 old oomies, busy packing up their 2 caravans and used the drills to wind up their caravans "feet" :evil: :evil: That time of the bloody moring! And the gates were only openign at 6am!! I was in awe! How can one person be so selfish!?? I turned to go to the loos when I saw most of the campers standing outside their tents/caravans looking at this concert going on! In the ablutions I met a Oom who were ready to go and sort out those 2 campers!!
Needless to say we didnt sleep any further and I went to make some coffee and and then headed for the showers.

We headed out of camp as the gates opened and headed for Olifants camp. My parents we staying at Letaba and we agreed the friday morning to meet up at Olifants for a quich brekkie. But there were a small problem.. Since 4pm on the previous day all telehonic networks and senders were down and thus there were no receiption anywhere from Skukuza north, which meant we couldnt finalise on what time we would meet. But we headed there and just out of the gate we stopped for this fellow sitting next to the road
Image
And another breath-taking sunrise!
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We continued north and spotted a pair of Eagle Owls in a big tree next to the road but the light was very poor so I couldnt get a nice photo.

The road further were rather quiet, except for a few people speed past us.. :evil: :sniper:

And then when we rounded the corner something ran over the road....

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 Post subject: Re: Short but Oh so Sweet KNP trip..
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:38 pm 
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Thank you all for your comments. I am once again humbled!

So some of you think its Cheetah? And some Wilddog...lets get to the next episode... and find out..

What ran across the road? It wouldve been nice if it were cheetah or wilddog, but it was neither of the 2. What ran across the road were something that Ive only been privelaged to see twice so far in my history of going to the park so this was waaayyyyy better for me... just a pity I could not get a decent photo. But I got one as they kept on burning tyres( running damn fast away) from us, so here it is....

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Can you make out what it is? For those sitting right up to their screens...let me put you out of your missery..it was 2 honey badgers :dance: :dance:

We continued up with the road and saw our first of many Kori Bustards although I didnt take a photo :redface: :wall: :whistle: . And a lot of wildebees and zebra. At the high water bridge we stopped and got out. What a sight it was :big_eyes:
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Where the road is closed due to the flooding earlier the year we turned right to get to Olifants.. and found this one sitting right next to the road.
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The gravel road that one must take if you want to get to Olifants is horrible!! Its extremely bad!! AT the low level bridge going to Balule we stopped to take a photo of the damaged bridge and the constuction going on there.. looks like we might have a new bridge not to long down the road..
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While sitting up there a car pulled up next to us. I didnt look up as I was busy taking photos, and Sallies didnt recognise my parents. :slap: :slap: As Sallies opened up the window I heard the familiar voice of Dad. They gave us a few cold Klippies( for those that do not know Klippies...its medicine for high temperatures.. :twisted: ). We arranged that we would have breakfast or brunch at Timbavati PS. I drove in front with the family in their 2 viehcles behind me. A couple waved us down and told us of lions feasting on a giraffe on the S40( I think :redface: ) not far from the s100 crossing. Dad heard everything and just shwed me a :thumbs_up: with lets go. I turned left onto the gravel road and we found our 4th rhino in the area. And everytime we saw one Sallies said hes gratefull that this one is still alive. And a few giraffes
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And as I looked at the giraafe my eye caught something at the bottom of the shrub:
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When we got to the lions there were only one other car..and a lot of vultures in the surrounding trees..
The lions were lying flat in grass, so I took some photos of and bateleur eagle flying over head..

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And then the one lioness got up and walked 5m and laid down again, but I managed to get this shot before she fell down again,
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and was followed by a male that went to rest not far from his girl
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We left for Nwanesti PS as there were very little ging on there and there were quite a few hungry people in the cars by now. And they still had to go back to Letaba.

Me and Sallies only drove to Nwanetsi to get some cold colddrinks and said goodbye to my dad, wanting to get back to the lions... as I was sure there would be some action...

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 Post subject: Re: Short but Oh so Sweet KNP trip..
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:33 am 
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Ladies and Gentlemen, the next instalment is due dont you think??

SO let us begin where we left off...

Sallies and myself left my family at Nwanetsi PS and started driving towards the lions at the kill. In the short distance from where you turn onto the gravel road untill the junction with the S100 we saw 6 more lions on 3 different occasions, all 3 of them mating pairs. And that not 30mis after we passed there!! I was shocked! We didnt spent to much time with them as there were quite a few cars, who all seemed not to know about the kill!!

At the last mating pair, 100m from the S100 turnoff a bloke told us about a LIT not far down the S100. I decided to quikly have a look there as he said it mightve looked as if there were cubs and as if she was hunting.
We got there and this is what we found...
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It was a male in a tree 150m from the road, and all the people there said there were only one leopard!

I just laughed! I made a U-turn and headed for the lions at the kill. When we got there we were only 3 cars there and that at a lion kill not 15m from the road! It was blissfull! I picked out a suitable spot where I could park and wait...

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And more visitors arived tooking for a piece of meat..
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Then it was time to head back to camp and I took the S100. :slap: :slap: One big dust trip that was! I am still stuggeling to get rid of some of that dust on my bakkie! But we got this just before we had to stop for something that caught my eye:
Image

Spectacular. As I started driving again I looked at the setting sun once more, longing for somebody I dont know :lol: :lol: when I saw something walking far of in the distance....

Stop...wait for the cars behind me to get of my arse so I can back up a bit and finally I see it again...in the very last few sunrays, and lighting very poor with the tar road in sight, 3 cheetah comes walking towars us, but they are very far and decided to go and lay down.. :slap: We had exactly 6min to get to the gate. I decided not to speed but boy some other people.... :evil: :rtm: I got to the gate with the one part of the gate already closed... and thought Im going to get a fine..but the guards just said" You saw the cheetah?" With a nod and a wave from me he let us through.

My father had a extra bag of wood which he brought from the farm and I took( ok steal may be the right word... :redface: ) as he didnt know I took it.. but that night I didnt struggle with the fire and we ate like kings!!

I went to shower and get the dust off, and then got in my tent and in the deep thoughts of all happening today I drifted of to sleep. To wake up the following day, sad to leave the park, but greatfull of the sightings we had thus far, and not knowing what till we left my beloved 'home and heaven'.....

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 Post subject: Re: Short but Oh so Sweet KNP trip..
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 2:09 pm 
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Thank you all for the comments and compliments!

It is much appreciated!

Let me finish off my TR and start planning on my next one comming up, hopefully very soon! :lol:

I woke up half past five the Sunday morning...and just laid for a few moments listening to the sounds around us. The unmistakeble calls of francolins around filled the air and I knew it was time to get up. These little featured friends are the bush alarm in the mornings..

We quickly packed everything up, and by the looks of it around us, there were a few guys leaving the camp early. But after we packed up and had a shower we left camp 06:15. After Sallies had studied the map the night before he suggested that we travel to the lions at the kill again, and then head to Skukuza via the tar road from Nwanetsi PS where we would have coffee and a few rusks.

So we headed there...and once again we traveled in dust most of the road. But at the t-junction everybody turned right and not left as to where the kill was... :?

We got to the lions and once again were only 3 cars..but unlike the previous day there were now 6 lionesses and 3 males.

This guy thought he needed to get a better spot to take photos from
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Not sure whether thats legal??
But this is the look he got
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After yet a another few minutes with not much happening we left this time for good. We didnt turn to get coffee at the picnic spot as we were to stop at Tswokwane. Next to the tar we found this feathered friend next to the road
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As well as this one
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At the t-junction with the road that goes from Skukuza to Satara we met another traffic jam. Apparently there were 20something lions in the grass next to the raod. I later saw on BBsightings group it was the mega pride. But I thought they were talking rubbish and didnt stop to long as I saw nothing! :doh: :wall:
But ey thats life..
On the road we had some nice sightings of a herd of buffalo and an Elephant
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And again we were astounded by the water levels of the flood in Feb...
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We stopped at Tswokwane and got some boiling water for the coffee from a tannie with a kettle on a gas braai. I think she saw we needed coffee badly as we didnt as but she offered! :lol:
When we got out of the loo,Oom Ali Bacher came around the corner. For those who do not know him..google him! :lol: I met him a few times previously and we talked a few minutes about the sightings we saw. They were heading out as well. The man he is, he chatted and greeted a few people passing.

But we parted and headed for Skukuza. A few kms from the low-level bridge at Skukuza, we were once again met with a little traffic jam. A male lion were sleeping some distance from the road. As we waited for our chance to try and see, the jeep jockies got news of something better, as they all left in a rather fast way. Followed by all of the other cars... :slap: I pulled forward and the next moment the lion got up and came walking straight towards us. And once again we were the only car!! :dance: :dance:
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He went and stood behind the Bakkie in the road. And as Sallies turned around in his seat, trying to position himself to get a photo, the lion came walking round the corner of my bakkie passing us. But as Sallies were looking through the camera lens and focus on something else he didnt realise what was happening...and the next moment a soft swearword came from him with a rather distressed face behind that sound! I was cracking myself as I saw this comming! he were almost sitting on top of me now! ! :lol: :lol:

But the lion passed us and went to stand still looking back at us as if to say" Are you coming or what?"
Image

We got to Skukuza after he left the road and just stopped to see if the wild dogs had been spotted anywhere close but without any luck we headed for Kruger gate as we still had some distance to travel to get back home.
And as we neared the gate it became quiet in the car once more. On the bridge were some baboons, and down in the river a elephant and then we passed through the gate bidding farewell to the place that spoiled us with so many wonderfull and breathtaking sightings...

All that Sallies said were:" Next time we stay a week.." and that summed it all up for me. We chatted about the funny stuff, but most of all it awaken something inside him to want more in life and to experience more in life that what he had in mind! And I could only be humbled, as I realised I take KNP and the privelage to visit it often for granted..

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