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 Post subject: Bushchild and SO have landed July 2012
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:34 pm 
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Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2009 6:16 am
Posts: 32
Location: pietermaritzburg
:D After great anticipation and much drama we finaly booked in at berg en dal for tonight and tomorrow it's off to Maroela for a couple of nights. We left Pietermaritzburg at 03:30 this morning only to find after a short way that half the light functions of our bakkie and caravan were not working so after breakfast at Ladysmith and a visit to a very accomplished auto electrician we were on our way again. enroute many stop starts and friendly but troublesome traffic officer inspections we finally arrived at Malelane at 17:00. All the stress though soon disappeared when we were greeted by a herd of Elephants at the river. The short drive to Berg en dal also produced sightings of a white rhino bull and some buffalo. A truly great start to what promises to an excellent visit. Now however it's time for a quick snack and a good nights rest. God willing we will let you know how the rest of the trip goes. Goodnight

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 Post subject: Re: Bushchild and SO have landed
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 7:51 pm 
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Location: pietermaritzburg
:dance: Thanks to all for the great messages of encouragement. What an epic day, waking to the sound of lion roaring before breakfast. The day has been for the most part cool and beautiful, we could not have asked for a better first day. Our sightings list includes Dwarf mongoose; duiker ; Buffallo ; 4 herd of Elephant ; probably 10 or more Rhino (white) ; Klipspringer ; Steenbok ; Kudu ; Giraffe ; Blue Wildebeest ; Hippo ; crocodile ; Bushbuck ; Zebra ; Waterbuck ; ofcourse the ubiquitous impalla 16543278 only joking ;slender mongoose ; i have to mention also the Kori Bustard a leguane and wait for it two Leopard. The first was on the road from tsokwane going toward satara this i think was a female but the conditions of the sighting were not wonderful but it was still a joy to spend some time with her. The next could be one of the biggest male leopard i have ever seen in Kruger. This big boy was on the last leg of todays journey on the orpen road. I imagine we came a little while after it had made a waterbuck kill. The position of the kill was difficult to pull out on a steep embankment and thats why i think he opted to eat it where it lay. When we got there the leopard was not panting so i imagine it had rested before starting to it. Another sign was it gave some over eager photographers a good rev by way of a mock charge, needless to say everone present became very obedient very quickly and were happy to obey anything the very BIG leopard commanded. Now nicely settled in at maroela and looking forward to what tomorrow has to offer. I don,t have a yellow ribbon this time but will try and improvise something. Look forward to the prospect of meeting any other forumites currently in the park. A hearty Goodnight to you all.

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 Post subject: Re: Bushchild and SO have landed
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:20 pm 
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Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2009 6:16 am
Posts: 32
Location: pietermaritzburg
MATTHYS wrote:
A truly epic day, Bushchild ! :clap: Hope tomorrow's sightings include yellow ribbons :D
A hearty good night to you and your SO too.

Thats the one sighting i have not made yet on this trip but hope to rectify that soon. Although it forms part of yesterday i must include this sighting which happened just after i had concluded yesterdays post. I was just about ready to pack up when i heard hurried footsteps behind me. As i turned around i was met by two mischievous honey badgers , and after i checked my pace maker was still working i had a short while to admire them before they scurried off to grounds that had richer pickings. Today started quite late for us but we had no sooner started out on the road from maroela toward satara when we met a whole multitude of people who said they had just seen two leopard in the vicinity but try as we might we did not see them. our next sighting was a hyena in a big rush in the vicinty of the previous days leopard kill but as was expected there was no evidence of the drama that unfolded there the day before. We did get to see what looked like a beautiful female leopard in a tree probably 150-200 meters off the road and shortly after that two lion flatened in the grass also quite a distance from the road and certainly not worth photograghing. The s90; S41; and s100 were very quiet besides the abundance of zebra, wildebees, giraffe, impala, warthog and waterbuck. On the return trip home however we had a young black backed jackal no more than about 6 meters form our car posing very elegantly until we were satisfied. This afternoon we found we had been raided by a gang of dwarf mongoose that developed a taste for koeksusters, otherwise all is quiet in camp a we look forward in anticipation to what tonight and tomorrow hold :cam: :D

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 Post subject: Re: Bushchild and SO have landed
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:51 pm 
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Location: pietermaritzburg
:thumbs_up: Hi Nighthawk2 good to hear from you and yes we are having a great time, when are you guys due out again? Anyway here follows todays sightings and activties. It all started very early this morning when the entire camp went on the defense against two fearless robbers disguised as honey badgers. Despite the fact that everyones food was packed away inside they still felt it necessary to make their pressence known and let us know who was actually in charge of maroela camp site. The battle raged on through the better part of the early morning and i think they knew victory was theirs as they watched our ranks becoming less and less due to battle fatigue. The good news though is when we arrived back at camp at around 17:00 maintainance work had been started on fence as we saw evidence of fresh concrete having been poured over a large section of fence. :clap: Well done SANPARKS :D and although we wont be at this camp to enjoy the full benifit all others will be afforded a restfull nights rest in this beautiful camp. Todays sightings started with about 15 hyena half of which were juveniles. Our trip today saw us take a leisurely trip to olifants and back. Our prize sighting on the way up was a pride of ten lions that i could see near the Ngotso dam and i think there may have been many more. I would also have to mention ostriches and a honey badger (The respectable kind). our trip back from Olifants was even more exciting with no less than two leopard sightings. All the sightings were again at very long distaces up to four hundred meters but still huge fun through the spotting scope but pics although there are not great. The first leopard sighting was a fleeting glance but the second in a tree about 17km from satara posed quite an undignified manner as only leopards know how. Now though all is peacefull back at camp with only the rumble of a passing herd of elephant to break the silence. OH still no yellow ribbons where are you guys. Time now though to reflect on the day and God willing to see what tomorrow holds in store. Goodnight all

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 Post subject: Re: Bushchild and SO have landed
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 6:56 pm 
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Location: pietermaritzburg
Hi everyone i was unable to do the report yesterday so i will double up today. Just a quick update on the honey badgers on of our enterprising neighbours was able to catch one inside a dustbin and promply transfered him to his holding cell in the form of a badger cage which was already here one would swear someone was expecting trouble :) . Friday started with good Elephant sightings just outside the camp. The rest of our list comprised wildebees; Kudu ; Duiker ; Bushbuck ; Zebra ; Waterbuck ; Buffalo ; Steenbok ; and a curious little jackal that we got some good shots of. The grand finale however were the six lion that we encountered just north of Ngotso dam only four meters from our vehicle. I heard a report from a fellow camper that there is a mega pride on the s100 with some 30 lion, almost too good to be true. The sad thing is i have not seen them yet.
Here follows todays sightings Started again with elephant just outside the camp, in fact they had not been far from camp the whole night and it afforded one a sense of comfort.Today was pretty quiet as days in Kruger go but we were in no rush . We marked what healthy populations there were of all the species. Certainly the s100 is so stocked with game almost like a hypermarket for predators. Again there were plenty of Girrafe ; Zebra ; herds of buffalo warthog ,ostrich and even a lone Rhino. Highlights forr today included three cheetah on the s90 about 2 km from the H1-4. and the closing act were four juvenile lions no more than six months old at the large dam on the H-7. These four were later joined by what i imagine must have been there mother. As always i suspect there were many more in the close vicinity that we were unaware of but daylight was fading fast and we dont have the luxury that some do to film after dark. It is once again a beautiful evening in the park and the sound of a lone Hyena is the only sound heralding in the evening, our last at Maroela, tomorrow we head for pretoriuskop to continue our adventure, and for those interested we wil try and keep you up to date with latest developements. Goodnight

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 Post subject: Re: Bushchild and SO have landed
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 6:53 pm 
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Location: pietermaritzburg
Good evening all and :thumbs_up: thanks Hilda we are having a great trip bar one or two inconsiderate people, and sadly thats how this post starts. We broke down camp and had just started our trip from Orpen to Pretorius-Kop when we came across a large group of cars and we slowly approached to wait our turn to pass and ultimately have a quick look at whatever there was to see. As it transpired it was a leopard on a kill in a tree but with all the congestion and two people in particular who parked in such a way that no one else could pass or see anything. Now don't get me wrong i do not begrudge anyone an opportunity to spend quality time on a sighting especially if you have worked hard for it. These two folks came very close to me forgetting all my christian values and :evil: ..........well let's just leave it at that. When we did get a quick glimpse it looked like a large male leopard only 20 or so meters off the road. After this initial rush the rest of the trip was relatively sedate by comparison. The list for the rest of the road included Buffalo ; Giraffe ; The ubiquitous impala ; Warthog ; Honey badger just before tshokwane ; Elephant ; Kudu real nice specimen ; Zebra again huge groups ; There were also a marked number of bateleur and ground hornbill around. We probably arrived at Pretorius Kop around 15:00 and we quickly set up our home base for the next couple of days. Just incase anyone is counting i think that is 6 leopard so far on this trip, my previous record was 9 sightings in 11 days. Another fantastic sighting of course was meeting fellow forumite Scipio, hey i realy like your mode of transport i think it is perfectly suited for these conditions. I am quite envious of your fantastic sightings as well, i hope you enjoy the rest of your time in the park and perhaps let me know of your further sightings. Anyway i guess thats all for today , i would have liked to have gotten some good images of that leopard but when you are towing a caravan it,s just not going to happen. Ok good night all and God willing i will have something to post here again tomorrow night. :dance:

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 Post subject: Re: Bushchild and SO have landed
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:12 pm 
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:D Thanks biilyf ; PetraJ and Hilda we are having a great time and sorry we missed you PetraJ. Pretorius Kop is one of my favourite camps and has always delivered one way or the other and today was no exception. We started out on the voortrekker rd before we went where Scipio directed us. The road proved to be quiet but we did manage to see two tsesebe and a bushbuck which was great. we only went half way and returned the way we came so that we could be at the two dams Shitlehave and transport relatively early. Enroute we encountered Duiker ; Waterbuck ; and Ellies. The first dam was quiet but transport proved far more productive with two very hungry looking lion on the far bank off to the right.

It was quite unusual because both one youngish male and similar female seemed to be out hunting on their own with no evidence of any other pride members in the area. They both looked a bit on the lean side and he did not look old enough to be mating so i took them to be siblings. We spent the better part of three hours with them and watched them half heartedly trying to catch a warthog and a waterbuck to no avail. Next we turned right on the H3 toward afsaal where we briefly encountered three large male lion.

We stopped at afsaal long enough to have a sandwich and something to drink before returning via the voortekker rd again. For the most part this too was quiet and it was only when we turned left onto the Fayi loop that things started to hot up and by this time it was probably close to 14:00. Our first sighting was a lone Buff followed by a dark chanting goshawk. Next we managed white rhino and a lone hyena. And ofcourse Scipio the best was left for last we encountered 3 Doggies on the far end of the loop. We spent a good 45 minutes with them and got some real close-ups. :dance: Well that basically rounded off our first day at Pretorius Kop.Thanks for all the comments and reading. Goodnight all.

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 Post subject: Re: Bushchild and SO have landed
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 5:59 pm 
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Location: pietermaritzburg
Thanks PetraJ, Crested Val, nighthawk2, Meandering Mouse, hilda and Pumbaa we are having a good trip and today is just more of the same.We started with the Fayi loop because i wanted to get some decent pics of the baby hyena at their den and it did not disappoint we were able to get very close and get some real good shots. The remainder of the loop was pretty quiet until just before the end where it meets with voortrekker Rd here we encountered two healthy looking lionesses which we were also able to get a good shot. :cam: For now you will just have to take my word for it until i am back home and i can edit some for you guys to see.

Our route was then to go to shitlhave dam do the naphe loop and on to transport dam all of which were quiet at transport however we saw two nice size elies. our next route was going to take us from the H1-1 right to the s114 then left on the S21 and on to H4-1 which runs down to lower sabie. On this section we saw all the usual buck in the area including a large number of duiker certainly the most i have seen in recent years. There were also good sightings of klipspringer and steenbuck on the way.

We rested our weary bones at lower sabie for a short while because the corrugations of the S21 had taken its toll and the suspension in our isuzu is not the softest ride in town. Just outside of lower sabie on the far bank travelling north we saw another three lion two female and one sub-adult male all in very good condition.
The river banks were littered with loads of Elephant and hippo. We then took a sedate drive back to pretorius kop only stopping for the odd sighting which included Buffalo zebra and girrafe. The only other stop we made was shitlhave dam and as luck would have it another two lionesses also in peek condition evident even at the distance we had to admire them from through the spotting scope.

That pretty much raps up our sightings on the road back at camp we had raiders in the form of dwarf mogoose. Their life in close proximity to people and the prospect of a free meal has made them quite persistent little creatures.
Now however time to reflect on the day and soak up the bush atmosphere, cheers :D

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 Post subject: Re: Bushchild and SO have landed
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:12 pm 
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Location: pietermaritzburg
Thanks guys have had brilliant sightings but i have been told i am no good at this trip report thing so my wife will be in the drivers seat. :roll: I refered to her as SO and i have never heard the end of it , so i am beating a hasty retreat to where the rottweiler with lipstick can't get hold of me. :sniper: I also can,t vouch for the authenticity of this report so if there is anything that sounds like it is a tall story please let me know.

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 Post subject: Re: Bushchild and SO have landed
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:39 pm 
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:roll: Now that I have been formally introduced - you can all call me "so&so" and not SO anymore. Let's start with our sightings for today ... we must have seen about 9 Duiker throughout our travels today - defiant but shy as usual. In total we also managed to see 6 Sable on the Fayi loop which is always a treat. We saw the usual quota of Waterbuck, Gnu, Zebbies and Giraffe but another treat was to see 2 Mountain Reedback and another "normal" one too. For the birders - we saw a Tawny eagle take a dwarf mongoose - ag shame! We also saw our ellie, buff and rhino (and will come to the lions) but no leopard to make the big 5 :( . We had 2 lion sightings today - the first was a mating pair on the Fayi loop - bit too far for photos and the second was at Shitlhave Dam - 3 cubs and 3 mature females but also some distance on the other side of the dam. They were feeding on a waterbuck they had killed earlier it seems.

Now I am done with the formal - I have some comments to make about the middens. First I have yet to see any rhino use one! Are you sure they are made by rhino!? Secondly even if they do use them - they must belong to some secret society who carries out their WC matters in secret. Now with those observations out the way, I suspect the following is true ... it is all politics. Middens are formed beside the road for all to see but strictly speaking no-one should know about them. Some are in "good" locations (snobs) and other somer on the dirt roads. Then some of perfectly formed and well constructed, others look like the last nuclear bomb touched down there. Or maybe that is because some smuttie neighbour turned it up side down on purpose or it could be Ol' Bert who has to turn it upsidedown to find his way back home again ... you see he recognises the depositors and knows which neighbourhood he is in! This is beginning to sound like a soapie, so let me end there! Cheers for tonight.

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 Post subject: Re: Bushchild and SO have landed
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:33 pm 
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[quote="MATTHYS"]Great to meet you, so&so :lol:
Since SO=Significant Other, I guess the &=Superior Other ? :wink:

Hi MATTHYS good to hear from you but you have put me in a predicament, my wife was vain enough before you suggested it meant Superior Other how am i supposed to put up with her now..... :shock: .... :lol: :wink: Only joking i love her to bits thanks for all the comments and reading our first attempt at a trip report :D

Today has been the least active of all the days so far but having said that we still managed Ellies , Buff , Rhino , and two lionesses as part of the big five but no real spectacular sighting. Something that stood out today was a respectable size Nyala bull near the sabie river. But the absolute money shot of the day was back at the Hyena den where two of the pups performed and posed for us like consumate pro,s. I had shots at 2meters enough to fill the frame :thumbs_up: :dance: :D . Sorry tonight is short and sweet but everyone familiar with the bush knows thats how it goes sometimes. Oh i nearly forgot another excellent sighting so rare i nearly forgot we met Lowveldboy (a fellow forumite) at the hyena sighting :thumbs_up: :D

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 Post subject: Re: Bushchild and SO have landed
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:16 pm 
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Thanks billyf :thumbs_up: i need all the support i can get :lol: .It,s my turn to :lol: play catch up now so sorry about that. Thanks hilda and barryels it,s always nice to know theres someone out there to share with.

Ok so here's Fridays tr it was our day to pack up at Pretorius Kop and move camp again this time down to malelane. Before hooking the caravan we decided to quickly do Fayi loop again one more time which produced duiker ; two rhino ; a sharps grysbuck and a black crake. Our leisurely drive to malelane was reletively unevent-
ful but once we had set up camp we imediately went for a drive first on the tar road up toward berg en dal which produced no less than another 8 rhino and all in one spot. Next we meandered to the waterring hole with the water tank for the ellies this had another three rhino accompanied by loads of kudu impala and two sparing teenage ellies. The dirt road leading to steilberg showed spoor evidence of loads of hyena and leopard but both remained ellusive for the time being. By this time i was ready for a hot shower and bed. zzzzzzzzzzz

Bright and early saw us drive toward the gardenia hide which was all but deserted except for the odd ellie going down toward the river. The hide itself was dead and the remainder of the road including the timfenene loop was also very quiet here and there were screeching franclin to break the otherwise deathly silence.
Next was up the steilberg starting from the tar road side. I must say today we were in super stealth mode and seldom did 20kph but despite our best effort and many hallucinations we had made it all the way to berg
en dals entrance and we then did the same on the tar road which also i think produced a girrafe impala and some kudu with the ocaasional pig showing up. Ok by this time we were ready for a siesta and some nourishment so back to camp we went. We resumed our search around 15:00 and again did the familiar tar road patrol toward Berg en Dal before once again embarking on the gravel road section toward steilberg which has proved to be so productive in the past. We were about half way up the tar road when we had a very brief sighting of what looked like a young female. Now boosted with some confidence we did the rest of
road with a new found patiotic fervour. Went right the way around until we met the tar again and thought that we would do a small section of the tar again before calling it quits, which was just as well because we had another sighting of a beautiful dark leopard as the light started to fail. As i write this i have just had supper had brilliant sightings and an very content and feel priviledged to be able to experience this part of Gods creation. Good night all. :D :D :D :D :dance: :popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: Bushchild and SO have landed
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:54 pm 
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Ok i give up where are the lions of Berg en Dal? :o This will be my second last report before heading back home.
Today is pretty short +- 20 Rhino groups of ellies girrafe all the common buck . good weather and fantastic landscapes. Thats all cheers :)

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 Post subject: Re: Bushchild and SO have landed
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:43 pm 
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This was it the final day :( but what a start we had to the day with a rhino scarcely 400 meters from camp and
only 2km from camp :dance: :dance: :D :popcorn: leopard no9 for this trip which breaks our previous record of 8 in 2010. We watched the leopard stalking some impala for a little while before it moved off at an angle and we lost sight but what a treat. Next we turned round and headed for the s114 which initialy follows the river. Just where the s114 meets the turn onto the timfenene loop we encountered at least over 250 buff
with a whole bunch of calves in tow, which always makes for great pics :cam: . :cam: . We continued with the s114 all the way till it meets the Biyamiti loop road and then back on to the tar for waffels and ice cream at afsaal :thumbs_up: . Enroute we saw a good number of impala ; kudu ; even water buck and zebra with a couple of Gnu thrown in for good measure. Buy the way thanks again for all the comments and the interest.
I must say that Kruger is a treat every time we come but because of an increase in volumes of people i think our next visit will take us much further north. Not quite old yet but old enough to want peace and tranquility. Our day ended with a wonderful sunset cruise and now we are semi packed and ready for the long trek home. good
night and God bless. :pray:

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