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 Post subject: Re: In the North in Search of Cheetahs and Painted Dogs!!
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:03 pm 
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Scips, Trrp, Anne-Marie, Heksie, Wendy, Kallis, MM, SM, Hilda and Spargish............thanks for all your lovely comments.

Day 22 (Nov 21st)
Today was a bit of a late start, because we overslept!!

However we were in the park by about 6.15am, so all was not lost.

We turned down the S131, just past the gate, and I said "I think we will see Cheetah today!!

We had met a lovely young couple at Letaba last week who were desperate to see Leopard, and we told them that we had seen a beautiful one near Phala Gate that morning..............they replied, "Oh no, we have only seen Cheetah there, not Leopard"

So we had a seen a Leopard when we really wanted Cheetah, and they had see Cheetah when they really wanted a Leopard..............strange old world isn't it!!

Anyway my point is that Cheetah had been seen near the Phala Gate, so why couldn't we?

We soon spotted a group of Zebbies and a batchelor group of Impies, all grazing and totally oblivious to our car.

We proceeded down the road, which is good condition at the moment, and eventually quite a way in the distance, on a fairly narrow part of the road, that was very thick with vegetation, we saw two darkish coloured animals either side of the road. Could it be large Warthogs, or maybe two small Rhino (knew really it wouldn't be that!!) but as we got closer, to my horror, I realised it was two baby Ellies!!!

With that there was a loud trumpet to our right, and their elder brother, flapped his ears, trumpeted again and mock charged.

Then we could see all among the trees were more and more of them, with Dad looking proudly at his "chip off the old block!!"

Unknowingly, and through no fault of our own, because the vegetation was so dense, we had stumbled on a breeding herd.................one of my worst nightmares!!!

Junior continued to trumpet and shake his head, and I said to Dungy "Just very slowly reverse, and hope for the best!!"

At this point most of them were in front of us, and quite a way into the bush, munching away happily but I was worried that they could circle behind us and cut off any hope of a quick exit!!!

So we quietly and slowly reversed, with junior following half heartedly, and Dad watching on with interest!!

It soon became apparent, that they were not going to pursue us any further, so Dungy did a three point turn, and soon we were heading back to the H9.

Now I know in my heart of hearts, that just past the two baby ellies there were Cheetah in the road...........but we'll never actually know, will we!!

So after we hit the H9, we turned towards Letaba, and just thought that we would go as far as Erfplaas and sit and wait for Desi to put in an appearance.

There was another large group of Ellies at Masorini waterhole, and a few Impies, so we stopped and spent a while with them.

Then it was on to Erfplaas, where we parked and waited!!

Several cars stopped to ask what we were looking at, and I felt a bit stupid telling them that we were looking for a Dassie that wasn't there!!!

We sat for an hour to no avail, though we did hear a Crested Barbet, and after a very long time, I eventually tracked him down in one of the trees!!! Too many leaves for a photo, but I had found him!!

Still no Desi, so with a heavy heart we made our way back to Phala Gate.

We had not gone far when we saw our first Ostriches for this trip. They were intent on eating, so after a quick photo, we left them to it!! They were a bit far away for a good photo, so I have allowed myself artistic licence, and used one from last year.

Two beautiful Seenboks bounded across the road, too quickly for a photo, but oh they are such dear little animals!!

Then it was out of the park, into Spar to top up the food cupboard, and in the car park, we had another sighting..........Flying Cheetah from the forums ............see, I said we would see Cheetah today!!!
We chatted for a while, and then it was back home for a swim, and some relaxation!!

Then it was a late lunch at the Pub and Grill, and a snooze when we got home.

Oh this hard life..............how will we cope with 4 months of it?

To be continued....................


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 Post subject: Re: In the North in Search of Cheetahs and Painted Dogs!!
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 2:46 pm 
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Trrp, Cheetah, Barry, Petra, Hilda, SM, Norman, Anne-Marie, Sparrow. Thanks!!!

Day 23 (Nov 22nd)
Today we have a very special guest arriving, so we had decided on just a quick trip into paradise.

We set off from the gate just after it opened, and saw more new babies, and another Steenie!!

Then it was down to Sable Dam..............where we saw nichs nada nothing!! Well there were a few birds, but no animals (in view that is!!)

Still it was so peaceful there, and as we had our coffee and rusks, we just drank in the early morning smells, after the night's rain.

Then a little Mongoose ran past....too quick for a photo, but our first of the season!!

We then drove along the loop, where again we saw nothing, and when we arrived at Masorini there was a large Ellie having a drink from the water tower.

Then it was off to Erfplaas, with crossed fingers and held thumbs, but still no Desi in residence!! Where can our little friend have got to?

Maybe he has found a new crevice, or maybe gone to the rocks on the other side of the road..............ah well, we will keep looking for him each time we pass.

We then drove back to Phala with very few sightings.............but that is the beauty of Kruger.....you are shown what you are meant to see!!

We then called at Spar to top up the food and drinks cupboards, and while there received an SMS from Chirinda, to say she was on her way home.

Lunch was really odd......lots of left overs, that didn't really go together, but I wanted space in the fridge!!

Now here I am, writing the draft copy of this TR, and waiting for our special guest to arrive. She just phoned to say she is about 2 hours away, depending on the Stop and Gos!!
We can't wait to she her again, as she is such good fun, and shares every bit our love of nature, and in particular my beloved Kruger Park!!

Tonight we will be braaing, and I expect that we will have a few G & Ts (Dungy will be on the Castle!) a glass of wine or two, and of course a large Amarula with our coffee!!

Still we have to endure this hard life in a country called South Africa!!!
How will we possibly manage for another three and a half months!!

To be continued................


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 Post subject: Re: In the North in Search of Cheetahs and Painted Dogs!!
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 3:21 pm 
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Day 23 (Nov 22nd) Part 2.
Wendy eventially arrived, and of course we had a lot of catching up to do.

Then it was G &T time, and a braai to prepare.
We had beef fillet, wors, a green salad, coleslaw, three bean salad and a pasta salad, all washed down with a few glasses of wine. Yum!!!

Of course no meal here is complete without a coffee, and a large glass of Amarula!!!

We chatted on for a long while, and Wendy suddenly said "Wasn't that a Woodlands Kingfisher........and sure enough, there it was again.
Our first of the season...........we couldn't see him, but we sure heard his distinctive Trrp Trrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!

Now the next thing would be to see one.............

To be continued.............

Sparrow, Anne-Marie, Heksie, Philip, Hilda, Trrp. Thanks for your lovely encouraging comments.

Day 24 (Nov 23rd)
We woke this morning to another cool, overcast day...........just perfect for viewing.

Wendy, being a fiercely independent young lady, usually likes to take off on her own in the park, so after a latish start, she went her way and we went ours!!

We both fancied a bacon and egg toastie, so headed up the H9 for Letaba!!

We saw two separate groups of Warties, and a lone Ellie, before we stopped at Erfplaas. needless to say, no Desi again!!

Then we saw Zebbies, and a huge herd of Buffs crossing the road, and as we stopped for them, we heard Trrp Trrrrrrrrr!!!!
I scoured all the trees with my binocs, but to no avail.

There were plenty of Tortoises crossing the road, looking for stray puddles after last night's rain.

We saw a bird perched on a dead branch and were delighted to look him up in Sasol, and discover it was a Great Spotted Cuckoo..............a lifer for us.

We arrived at Letaba with rumbling tummies, and had soon ordered our toasties and coffee.

Trrp Trrrrrrr, Trrp Trrrrrrrr!!!!
Well out came the binocs, which I didn't need, because a flash of brilliant blue flew from one tree to another, and landed!!!

The tree was quite far away, so my photos aren't brilliant, but I wanted photographic proof that we had seen them. They seemed to be building a nest in a hole in the tree trunk, and were very busily coming and going!!!

Trrp Trrrrrrr..............that to me is the sound of Kruger.
From our first visit in 1976 till quite recently we have always visited the park in Dec or January, so we can identify with that call.

We also saw a few Ellies way up the other end of the river bed, two female bushbuck, down near the river, and mousebirds, a Pied Kingfisher, a Nedicky (lifer for us both) and the resident croc lurking by the water's edge.

We then made our way back to Phala, and we're just relaxing and waiting for our visitor to come home.

Tonight is cold chicken, that I am about to put in the oven to roast, and buttered new potatoes, and the salads from last night.

To be continued................


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 Post subject: Re: In the North in Search of Cheetahs and Painted Dogs!!
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 3:00 pm 
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Hilda, Trrp, Anne-Marie, Hugh, Philip, Kallis and Pumbaa.
Thanks somuch for continuing to follow my TR, and for all your lovely comments. Again apologies for not answering individually, but I'm trying to save my megabytes!! :redface:


Day 25 (Nov 24th)
Had a lazy day today, doing a few simple chores, and stocking up our energy for tomorrow's "big meet" in Mopani with Dellac.

Wendy is still here. Dinner was lekker, and we also had some champagne that Wendy had brought with her.

We were all tired, so had a relatively early night.

Wendy is now somewhere in the park, doing her own thing, and will be back this evening, in time for us to braai chicken and wors, with roasted veggies!!

Still blissfully cool here..........long may it last!!!

Well that's it for today.

See y'all tomorrow.

To be continued..................

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 Post subject: Re: In the North in Search of Cheetahs and Painted Dogs!!
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 7:14 am 
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MM, SM, Vinkie, Hilda, Cheetah and Matty................thanks for sticking with me again!!!

Day 26 (Nov 25th)
Today was another cool day after a big storm in the night.

Wendy left us this morning bound for Satara to meet up with Heksie for "The Brownie Challenge" but that's their story to tell..

We, on the other hand, were bound for Mopani to meet Della, so after a coffee and quick shower, we were on our way!!

We stopped at the Total Garage to fill up, and who should be there but Shiona and Jaybabe and SO!!!

It was only a quick meet, but lovely to see them.
Then we were off through the gate and up the H14 towards Mopani.

We saw a few more baba Inpies, and twelve Giraffes all together.

Then we saw two Southern Ground Hornbills, shame but they really did come down through all the ugly branches didn't they?

After that it was lean pickings till we arrived at ther Tsendze causeway, where as well as a cute little Terrapin, we saw a lifer for us, namely a Black Crake!!

Then we saw some Waterbuck sitting down, looking very miserable, as by now it was raining. I always think the animals look fed up in the rain in the parks, poor things.

We arrived at Mopani and headed to the deck, to wait for Della.
I had no idea what she looked like, and as a lady and gentleman arrived, I wondered if it was Della and SO.
The lady asked us what we had seen that morning, but as she had a Liverpudlian accent, we knew it wasn't Della!!!
As we looked out over the dam, there was a white bird on the opposite side. My binocs were not quite powerful enough, but I thought it may have been a Spoonbill. Mr Liverpool confirmed that for us, so we were very pleased as that was another lifer for us!!

As we continued chatting I saw two ladies and one gentleman approaching the deck, and one of the ladies was wearing a yellow ribbon in her hair, so I was pretty certain that it would be Della.............and of course it was.

Like other mites we have met, it was hugs all round, and we went back to their very nice unit which overlooked the dam, and chatted nineteen to the dozen!!

All too soon we looked at the time, and decided we had better make a move, as we had quite a long drive back to Phala.

It rained most of the way home, so we saw hardly any animals, other than 32 Tortoises, to add to the 15, we had seen that morning!!!but we had had such a lovely time with Della, her SO and their friend, that it really didn't matter.

Dinner was Chicken Strogonoff and rice, which was yummy.

We then downed a coffee and a small Amarula..............Clink!

To be continued....................


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 Post subject: Re: In the North in Search of Cheetahs and Painted Dogs!!
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 7:36 pm 
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Barry, Anne-Marie, Philip, Hugh, COS, Hilda and Sparrow..............thanks for all your very lovely comments.

Day 27 (Nov 26th)
This morning we had been asked by our neighbours whether we would mind letting their maid in, because they would be away for a few days, so that meant we could not go out early.

Added to that we woke up to no water, so all in all, we eventually got into the park at 8.30am.

It was very quiet along the H9, other than our first Chameleon for this trip - we do laugh when we see them walking so slowly and freezing mid stride!!!!!
We turned off to Sable, hoping maybe the Lions or Leopard who frequent that area, would put in an appearance!!!

Not a chance!!!

A batchelor group of Impies, and a lone Wartie, was all we could find.

It is always very relaxing to watch the dam, and this mornng wasa no exception.
We were the only car, and we drank in the sounds and the smells.

There was a raptor on a nearby dead branch, and I'm hoping someone will help me with the ID.
He was preening, and surveying the area. Then all of a sudden he flew off in pursuit of some breakfast.

There were Waterbuck and Impies on the far side of the dam, but we saw nothing else.

We drove on along the loop, and saw Giraffe and a cute little Steenbok.

Then as we approached the H9 T junction, we saw some Dassies high on the rocks. That of course immediately made me think of poor Desi, and what may have happened to him.

With that in mind, we drove on to Erfplaas, and as I looked up at the crevice, I saw movement...........oh the excitement!!! Sadly though it was short lived, as the movement had been caused by a dear little Klippie, who was perched precariously on what seemed to be sheer rock!!

We were pleased to see the Klippie, who was soon joined by two others, but it would have been nice if it had been the missing Desi!!

The Klippies then bounded across the road, and settled on their usual rock.
Several cars were coming in the opposite direction, and not one of them stopped to look at the Klippies!! Oh well..........each to their own!!

We have another two important guests arriving soon, so decided to call it quits for the day, and drove back to Spar, where I think we bought up half the shop!!

The rest of the day will be spent making the guest room look nice, and cooking our meal tonight.............fish and chips!!

Will be in the park for sure tomorrow at 5.30 and who knows what we might (or might not!!) see.

To be continued....................


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 Post subject: Re: In the North in Search of Cheetahs and Painted Dogs!!
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:37 pm 
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Kallis, Anne-Marie, Trrp, Philip, Norman, Hilda, Barry and Sparrow...............thanks once agin for travelling each day with me.


Day 28 (Nov 27th)
Well I expect most of you have heard the expression "The best laid plans of mice and men.............

Well we had planned to get up at 4.45am, and be in the park by 5.30am.
The trouble is, someone forgot to set the alarm............and as it was a cloudy dark morning, we eventually woke up at 7am........then it was a mad scramble to put the refuse bags out for collection, then the mood had somewhat worn off!!

We therefore had a leisurely coffee and toast, then a shower, and then went up to Mica for a few things we needed.

We were then going to Topps and Spar, to buy a few things we had forgotten yesterday, but Dungy suddenly said, "Lets have an hour of two in the park, before we do the shopping."

Well it doesn't take much to persuade me, so by 10am, we were going through the gate.

We had gone a km or so, when I suddenly realised I didn't have my camera!!!
Oh well, today would be the day we saw Cheetah, Dogs, a Pangolin, Leopards, Lions, AWCs, Pels Fishing Owl, Green and Orange Winged Pytilias, and a Narina Trogon etc etc!!

We could have gone home, but decided just to enjoy the park for what it wanted to show us, and not bother with photos.

We had not gone far when we couldn't believe our eyes..............12 baby Impies in the road, with Mommies looking on protectively!! Trust me to not have my camera, but oh they were too cute, some were smaller than others, but all new borns!!!

We spent some time with them, until eventually the Moms led them across the road and into the bush!!

We were going to first Masorini, then Erfplaas on a "Desi" mission............we knew in our heart of hearts we was gone (eaten or roadkill) but still just a small part of us was ever hopeful!

At the Masorini waterhole we saw a batchelor group of Impies and some Zebbies who were having a wonderful time, rolling in the dust. There were also some baboons in the distance.

We continued on, and as we approached Erfplaas, there was a huge Ellie in the road. He had his back to us, and was trumpeting, and shaking his head and flapping his ears.
It didn't appear to us that we had upset him, because I don't think he had seen us at the moment, and I was right, because in a flash another male had arrived and they went to it "hammer and tongs"

All the time they were coming our way, so we reversed, but as I said they were not interested in us, and eventually they moved off into the bush.

We continued on to Desi's crevice, but of course, as we guessed, he was not there. An empty crevice can be a very sad thing to watch!!!

Time was moving on, and we wanted to get the shopping, and just check all was well for our special visitors, who were flying in to Phalaborwa at 5pm!!

Yes you were quite right Trrp, in thinking it is our daughter and SIL.

So we turned round, and I looked for our Klippies who were on the rocks yesterday, but they were nowhere to be seen either, and with a quick glance at Desi's crevice...empty of course, we started to move off..............."Wait" I cried, I didn't believe it at first, but there, not in his crevice, but out on the rocks, was Desi the Dassie!!

Our precious little boy had come home. We were so excited, and he just looked down at us, with his cute little face, totally unaware of how worried we had been all this time!!

We were like two children in a sweet shop, and just enjoyed his company, until he suddenly scampered down from the rock and up into the trees. He then disappeared altogether, so with very thankful hearts, we made our way back to Phalaborwa.

We didn't get very far because the warring Ellies were back out on the road again by this time, and one of them was wearing a tree!!

He looked so funny, as somehow a huge branch with leaves had wrapped itself around his head, and he looked as though he was modelling the latest milinery fashions!!

They held us up for about twenty minutes, and then moved off into the bush, so it was back to the gate, and after a quick shopping trip, we are now back home.

Dungy is cleaning his braai, for later............beef fillet, wors and barbecue chicken drumsticks, buttered new potatoes and various salads.

Our daughter has just SMSd to say they have landed from Mauritius, walked to the Domestic Terminal, checked in, and are now having lunch, before they board the SA Airlink.

Sadly I have no photos, but hope you have enjoyed with us, what turned out to be a lovely couple of hours in paradise.

To be continued..............

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 Post subject: Re: In the North in Search of Cheetahs and Painted Dogs!!
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:06 am 
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Thanks my faithful gang, for your continued support.

Day 29 (Nov 28th)
Today was to be SIL's first ever day in Kruger. We couldn't wait to get to the park, and see it through the eyes of a novice once again!!!

However, they were so tired after their long journey the previous day, so we left them to sleep.

We had arranged to meet WendyA and Heksie at the gate, after their night at Sable, and it was lovely to meet Heksie after we had "chatted" many times on the forums.

We invited them back to the cottage for coffee, and when we returned the "babies were up, and showered.

We said goodbye to "The Brownie Babes" who were now on their way to Shing, and eventually the moment we had all been waiting for came, and after buying them a Wildcard, we were setting off through the gate!!!

The first thing we saw was...........a batchelor group of Impies. SIL of course was thrilled, and took photo after photo!!

This was closely followed by a nursery group with several cute little babies. Daughter and SIL were delighted to see them, and many photos later we were on our way.

Next was a beautiful Giraffe, who posed so nicely for photos, and then carried on with his thorny breakfast. They are my second favourite animal, with their lovley kind faces.

We had arranged to meet Tedredrum and party, who were on their way from Shing to Olifants, and were stopping in at Letaba for lunch, so we had decided to drive down the H9 and then take the Shilawuri Loop to Letaba.

Next on our list was a cute little Steenbok, which SIL mistakenly thought was a baby Impala. We soon explained that it was an adult but a different species to the Impalas.

We actually saw seven separate Steenbok sightings, which we found quite amazing!!

Just before The Shilawuri Loop, we saw a small herd of Zebra, with the cutest little baby. They were in the distance to start with, but as we sat parked, they came nearer and nearer before the passed by and were gone back into the bush.

SIL took loads of photos, and by this time was like an excited child!!

The Loop sadly didn't show us much, except more Steenies and an Ellie, way in the distance, but SIL revealed that they are his favourite animal, and though we tried to tell him that we will see plenty more Ellies, some closer then we might want, he naturally wanted the photgraph this one!!

We got to Letaba restaurant, to hear a Woody very near, and several people were trying to track him down for a photo (including by this time SIL) There was one man muttering and saying "I need this for the forums challenge"

I asked him was he on the SANparks forums, and he replied that he was.
It was Porridge with his new bride Jaxidean!!

We chatted with them while our lunch order arrived, and then soon after that Tedredrum and party arrived.

They knew Porridge and Jaxi because they had met them at Shing, so it was a very happy mini meet.

All too soon we had to leave, and so we decided to drive up to the high level bridge.
Along the way we saw two huge hippos in the Letaba River, and some Waterbuck.

SIL was very surprised to hear that he could get out of the car here (at his own risk) and as long as he stayed between the yellow lines, so out he got and took photo after photo of Blacksmith Lapwings, Egyptian Geese, Egrets and various unidentified waders!!

On our way back to the letaba Crossroads we saw a huge stork, but I'm battling to indentify him. He had an openbills beak, but not body, I will get him to send me the photo and I will post for ID.

I had my camera with me, but I was so excited for him, that I took very few photos that day!!

Then it was back to Phala, and we saw a huge herd of Buffs crossing the road near Nhlanganini, where we also saw a lovely Fish Eagle, and then a breeding herd of Ellies either side of the road near Erfplaas.

SIL obviously wanted to park as close as possible and take photos, but we explained that you don't mess with any Ellie, but especially a breeding herd. We stopped a safe distance away, and he was able to get some quite nice shots, but then one of them started to look too interested in us, so we drove past and kept on going.

We assured him that in the next five weeks we will see plenty of Ellies.......that is something the North is not short of.

Talking of Erfplaas, we had looked for Desi that morning, but he was nowhere to be seen, but I'm glad to say that when we went past on the way home, he was sitting just to the left of his crevice.

We also saw one of the Klippies, not on a rock, but on a tall termite mound!!
Many many photos later we were heading through the gate.

What I liked about our first visit with SIL was that he didn't once ask if he would see a big cat, but was so content with all the other things that he had seen.

That isn't to say he won't be thrilled if we do see any, but nice to know he isn't a bigfive chaser.

I haven't mentioned our daughter much, because unlike her husband, this was her fourth visit to paradise. She was nine on her first visit, and loved it from the start.

She just sat in the back of the car, enjoying every moment, and saying every so often "I can't believe that I'm back!!"

To be continued.......................


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 Post subject: Re: In the North in Search of Cheetahs and Painted Dogs!!
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:06 am 
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Sparrow, Anne-Marie, Trrp, Hilda, Kallis and Philip.......again many thanks for your so very lovely and encouraging comments.

Day 30 (Nov 29th)
Thursday is the day the maid who works for the owners of our rented cottage comes to clean, so again another late start to the park.

Also today was the day that we had been dreading since we arrived in South Africa............the visit to Home Affairs to apply for an extension to the 90 day holiday visa given to us on arrival!!

We weren't even sure if the Phala office could help, because it is a district office, and in KZN it has to be a divisional office!!!

"Well here goes" we said, but from the word go, it was a pleasure!!

As we were parking, a very friendly man came over to see if he could help, and after explaining what we wanted, he showed us to a waiting area, where in no time, a very helpful lady was helping us fill in the forms and checking all our details.

It all took less than half an hour, and soon we were heading back to the cottage for a snack lunch.

Of course all the forms now have to go to Pretoria to be processed, and that was the main problem last year, in that the decision to allow us the extension, had not been made by the day we were due to fly home, and we were worried that we would be arrested at the airport!!

We had to stay until the maid left, and then at last it was time for a visit to our favourite place.

We went through the gate and almost immediately saw Impala, some batchelor groups and some nursery groups with babas. More and more are being born now, and are an established part of the herds.

We headed up the H14, and almost immediately saw a lovely Giraffe tucking into a thorn tree!!

We just went up to the first bridge and then turned around and came back. All was fairly quiet in the bush, as by now the sun was pouring down and it was getting hot.

SIL was on a mission to find his beloved Ellies, but Murphy's law says that every single day we have seen them (sometimes a bit too close for comfort for me!!) but today there was not one to be seen!!

We saw something largish up ahead, and discovered three Buffs grazing near the roadside. They were all very large, and SIL was very happy to get some good photo shots.

We then turned left up the H9, as we usually see Ellies either at Masorini, or Erfplaas, but again no Ellies at either.

We did however see Desi who was back in his crevice. We said a quick "Hi", and then headed back towards the gate..

We saw a lovely large Warthog with huge tusks, who posed so beautifully for a photo. He was not a bit perturbed by the car full of people staring at him!!!

Then it was out through the gate, and home for Spag Bol, which we ate out under the Afican sky, listeneing to the insect chorus.

Again as we sipped our Amarulas, we thought how blessed we were to be here in this amazing country.

To be continued..............


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 Post subject: Re: In the North in Search of Cheetahs and Painted Dogs!!
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 9:16 pm 
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Day 31 (Nov 30th)
Today's report will be very quick, as my bed is calling, and we have a long day planned for tomorrow, driving to Olifants.

We had a lazy morning, and then did some grocery shopping, so it was again late before we went into the park.

We drove down the S131 and then the H14/H9 back to Phala.

We saw Impala, Zebra, Steenbok, Red Cested Korhaan, Brown Chested Snake Eagle, and Buffalo.

Sadly again a day without Ellies for Rhys.......quite bizarre, as we usually see them every day!!

We had fish and chips this evening, and have just polished off an Amarula each.

A I said, bed awaits, so night night from me.

To be continued...................


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 Post subject: Re: In the North in Search of Cheetahs and Painted Dogs!!
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 9:25 am 
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Thanks Sharifa......nice to have you back!! :thumbs_up:


Day 32 (Dec 1st)
Today we were going to Olifants to meet Carolv and Wild Image.

It was pouring with rain when we set off from Phala, and there were no animals to be seen!!

By the time we got to the Letaba crossroads it was petering out, and as we drove down the road to Olifants, the road was dry and it was obvious they hadn't had any rain here!!

Again animals were scarce, until suddenly we saw a huge Ellie coming out of the bush. We stopped the car, and SIL got his camera ready. We then had a wonderful surprise.............a whole breeding herd appeared and all crossed over the road. There were some really baby ones, as well as their brothers and sisters and aunts and cousins.

We counted 54 all together, and eventually they had all gone over the road into the thick bush.

I was so keen for SIL to get some good photos that I didn't get round to taking any myself, but he has said that he will email some of his (together with other photos )and so some time I will post some of his lovely photos for you all.

We saw some very shy Warthogs, Zebra, Baboons, a Steenbok that might actually have been a Sharpe's, but bounded off before I could look at it properly, and lots of Impies with babies............we never tire of looking at them. How can people say "Oh it's just Impala"!!!

We turned up the Olifants road, and after a while, we were aware that there was a vehicle behind us, with something yellow flapping from the wing mirror.

We guessed it was probably Carol and Wild Image, and when we pulled into Olifants, our suspicions were confirmed.

Of course we greeted each other like old friends, even though this was the first time we'd ever met, and soon we were settled in the restaurant, tucking into a snack lunch.

We spent a very happy couple of hours, sharing sightings and experiences............talking like old friends who have known each other for years.

Carol is an amazing lady, and has raised over £10,000 with car boot sales in the UK. The money finds it way to South Africa, and goes to local communities to improve their lives. She is a star!!

All too soon it was time to say "Goodbye", and we were on our way back to Phala Gate.

Game was scarce, but we came across two Ellies, and as we stopped for a photo, they suddenly locked trunks and started a huge fight. Dungy and I had seen this before, but daughter and SIL were totally fascinated.

We left them to it, and continued on our journey home, seeing on the way, a huge herd of Buffs, and another Steenbok.

We called at Nhlanganini Dam, to find two Hippos fighting, again something which daughter and SIL had not seen before, and then about two kms down the road.....................there he was!!!

There was a car in front which had stopped, and thundering down the road, ears flapping trunk swinging was Big Daddy!!

The car in front started reversing, as did we, and then cars were arriving behind us, and also reversing.

It was now 5.45pm and we all had the same thought..........would we get to Phala before 6.30!!!

Back we reversed and on came Big Daddy!!

Cars started turning round, as it was quite dangerous for everyone to be reversing!!

So now about a dozen cars, all bound for the Phala Gate were now driving back towards Letaba!!

We passed Nhlanganini Dam (the hippos were still fighting!!) and on we drove, not knowing how far we would have to go!! Still Big Daddy was thundering down the middle of the road, and still we were all driving back to Letaba!!

It really must have been a comical sight, and as cars were approaching from Letaba, they were met by a convoy of fleeing vehicles..........though they soon realised what was happening, and joined the convoy on it's way back towards Letaba.!!

Well as I am writing this, you will know that eventually he gave up, and trundled off into the bush!!

So it was a steady drive at 50kph and we arrived at the Phala Gate at 6.20pm!!!

Then it was braai time..............lamb chops, wors, chicken kebabs, chicken drumsticks, corn on the cob, and surprise parcels.............lekker.

It was four very contented people who sipped their Amarulas, and enjoyed the untypically mild Phalaborwa night, listening to the insect chorus and wondering what the days to come had in store for us.

To be continued....................

P.S.........Sorry the photos are not very good!!


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 Post subject: Re: In the North in Search of Cheetahs and Painted Dogs!!
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 7:23 am 
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Day 33 (Dec2nd)
Relaxing day at home!!

Day 34 (Dec 3rd)
Friends from Joburg staying who are not that interested in Kruger, so having another day off!!
Daughter and SIL, went in and saw general game .........especially a baby Impala suckling!! :thumbs_up:

Day 35 (Dec 4th)
Friends still here.
Daughter and SIL left at 5.15am

To be continued.............

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 Post subject: Re: In the North in Search of Cheetahs and Painted Dogs!!
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 4:54 pm 
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Day 37 (Dec 7th)

Well today my back was still painful, but I was determined, to take at least a short trip into the park.

We were at the gate, and Dungy had gone in to get the permit, when all of a sudden two ambulances rushed in, screeched to a halt at the booms.

They spoke animatedly to the guards, one of whom was on the phone, and then they sped off into the park!!

Of course Mrs Nosey, had to ask when we went through, and we were told that two poachers had been shot near Nhlanganini.

We later saw a Limpopo Forensic Pathology vehicle, which to us meant someone had died, and in fact we later heard that both poachers had been killed.

As I said, my back was still really painful, so we just decided to do the Sable Loop, and SIL was delighted to find two Ellies on the far side of the dam.

They appeared to be playing, sinking under water and then rising out, and in fact at one point one mounted the other, though I don't believe Ellies mate in water?

We watched them for ages, and eventually they got out and disappeared into the far bush.

We continued along the loop and saw a lovely Bataleur perched in a dead tree. We had a good view through the binocs, but sadly my photo doesn't do it justice.

Then we arrived at the Masorini Waterhole to find another Ellie who was thirstily drinking from the tower, and a lovely large herd of Impies with lots of cute babatjies!!

By this time I was really not a happy bunny, so we cut out the trip up to Erfplaas to see if Desi was home, and headed back to the gate.

Hoping to have another shortish trip tomorrow if my back is ok!!

Our daughter cooked a wonderful chicken stir fry, which was absolutely delicious, and we sat sipping our Amarulas, and planning our trip next week, which will be a four night stay at Shing and Punda...............can't wait!!

To be continued.....................


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 Post subject: Re: In the North in Search of Cheetahs and Painted Dogs!!
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 5:05 pm 
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Day 38 (Dec 8th)
Many apologies but although my back is a bit better, it is still very uncomfortable to use my computer, so this trip will be a very short one!!!!

We decided to drive to the causeway and back today, as my back is slowly improving (touch wood!)

We saw Woodland Kingfisher, Impala, Zebbies, Buffalo, Grey Heron, Baboon, Giraffe, Tawny Eagle, Swainson's Spurfowl, Warthog, Hippo, Tortoise and Steenbok.

Tonight we are braaiing Lamb Chops, Wors and Chicken Kebabs, with roasted butternut and baked potatoes.

We are then having our usual Sunday off, and have not decided about Monday yet.

However, get ready for "Four nights in Paradise!" from Tuesday to Saturday!!

To be continued.....................


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 Post subject: Re: In the North in Search of Cheetahs and Painted Dogs!!
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2012 3:24 pm 
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Day 39 (Dec 9th)
Today is an almost perfect day in Phala.
Warm and sunny, but not too hot.
We have just returned from a lekker lunch at the pub.
Soon going for a swim.............what a hard life it is here!!

Just thought you would like to see a few of our garden birds.
Hope the Mods will allow, as they will for sure also be Kruger birds as we are so close to the gate!!

To be continued...............


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Female Paradise Flycatcher

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Spectacled Weaver

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Village Weaver

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Red Winged Starling

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Brown Hooded Kingfisher

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Kurrichane Thrush

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African Hoopoe

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Black Capped Bulbul

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Blue Waxbill

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