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 Post subject: Herman Our usual winter trip (with unusual sightings)July'12
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 5:47 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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This year’s July trip produced a few unusual sightings. Perhaps not all very unusual and certainly some of you won’t find them unusual at all, but to us these sightings were rather special.

First one was something we’ve seen on a few occasions before and always in the same area. The tree climbing lions of Vurhami were at it again ….

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Next up was a cheetah mother with five cubs !! We’ve seen three and maybe four , but we thought this was rather unusual . Most unusual however was the fact that we had them all to ourselves for about twenty minutes – during the July school holidays !!

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Then some black unmentionables – this was about the third time we got to see blackies in more than thirty years !

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More to come, but please help me turn the page first !


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 Post subject: Re: Our usual winter trip (with unusual sightings)
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:43 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Hi Mouse ! and LindaS - the woolly babies were special indeed ! The tree climbing lions too , but as I said we've seen them often in that area around Vurhami bridge near Croc Bridge camp. Our first encounter with them was probably 10 years ago - on that occasion two females were sleeping in that same tree and a few cubs were underneath in the undergrowth. It seems that the tree climbing skill has been passed on through the generations of that pride, as we've since often seen lions in trees in that area, but mainly in that specific tree right next to Vurhami bridge. So much so, that we refer to that tree as "the lion tree" .
On one occasion the bridge was jam packed with cars when we got there and we had to wait our turn to get a glimpse . An impatient guy behind us asked what the fuss was about and I told him ... " A LION IN A TREE ? !! " he almost shouted back - the tone of his voice and the look on his face said it all !! I watched his attitude changing visibly as a gap opened and he got a view !!


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 Post subject: Re: Our usual winter trip (with unusual sightings)
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:15 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Thanks PetraJ, MichaelWildtuin, Gemma T, Elsa and carocat - great sightings indeed , but so nice to share them here !!
Let me continue ..
A few birds – for us non-twitchers a pearl spotted owl ( I think?) and ground hornbills were unusual.

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On the antelope front this nyala was also one of the more rare sightings for us.

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Another cheetah - not such a rare find, but this one was very relaxed and didn’t mind the busy traffic at all and stayed in the same spot for almost an hour ! When we left I noticed that SO took more than 50 pics – and most were identical !! Here are two different poses !

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Then perhaps the most unusual and rare sighting was this one near Gommondwane …

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Finally the usual bushveld sunset - unusually beautiful for us city dwellers !

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 Post subject: Re: Our usual winter trip (with unusual sightings)
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 4:04 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Now for the normal sightings ….
Nothing better than sunrise in the bush .

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And then a coffee stop at Sunset dam..

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Winter is not the best time for baby animals, but our bush cousins are , like us , not seasonal in this regard.

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A few others behave like babies, but are definitely no longer babies ..

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The cheetahs really performed so well, that it made up for the lack of lion sightings.
Well to be honest , we did see lions almost every day, but the sightings were typical “high season in the South” sightings – lots of cars and just a flick of a tail or an ear in the winter grass .
This was one of the better lion sightings – far off, but at least out in the open....

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The only close encounter was when this lioness crossed the road right in front of us, but we were caught completely unaware and only got this “tourist view” photograph . At least we got a good view of her – unlike most of the other cars in the traffic jam which we had just left behind. There were five or six lions in the river bed, but we gave up on seeing them with so many cars on the Skukuza / Lower Sabie “highway” and drove on just in time to see this lioness which sneaked away to get some rest away from the crowds, no doubt !!

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 Post subject: Re: Our usual winter trip (with unusual sightings)
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 1:30 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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We did complete the “Big 5” too with this leopard - typical leopard sighting though – well camouflaged and even more difficult to get a decent photo with the July traffic around…

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Just driving around and relaxing is the best part of a Kruger holiday and seeing sleepy animals adds to that feeling …


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and finally , quintessential Kruger (Africa ) ....

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Thanks for all the comments – I’m glad I could share another holiday with people who share my enthusiasm for the bush !!


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 Post subject: Re: Our usual winter trip (with unusual sightings)
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:58 pm 
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First a few normal Kruger sightings....


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Then two more unusual sightings....

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 Post subject: Re: Our usual winter trip (with unusual sightings)
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:20 am 
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Thanks for all the comments - that last pic might look like the actual kill , but it wasn't . We were told about the lions with buffalo kill on the Sweni road and when we got there this big male chased off some vultures and grabbed the carcass by the neck and pulled it into the shade where they were resting.
We were impressed by the strength of the lion - it pulled the carcass over quite distance even though it had a full tummy !

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 Post subject: Re: Our usual winter trip (with unusual sightings)
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2012 9:28 pm 
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Thanks for all the comments - always nice to share experiences in the parks with fellow nature lovers !!
Oh Elsa - next time you're in Ngwenya Lodge , don't forget to check the trees around Vurhami - the big tree directly opposite the little dirt road towards Vurhami lookout, or the big tree just before Vurhami bridge on the right hand side or the tree right on the intersection of the tar road and S28 ( where our pics in this TR were taken )


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