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 Post subject: Re: Fun and family in Kruger - May/June 2013
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 2:33 pm 
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Thanks so much everyone for your understanding!
I promise you from my side its very frustrating as I'm dying to start the report and get to show and talk about all our wonderful sightings! :whistle:

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 Post subject: Re: Fun and family in Kruger - May/June 2013
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 2:59 pm 
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Thanks once again for all the good wishes and also the understanding with the delay in this report! :gflower:
The knee is coming along slowly but clearly going to take longer to get back to normal than I anticipated.
Patience, where are you? :roll:

So I have decided I have delayed this long enough and I am going to proceed slowly, but surely! :wink:

Just a recap since it feels like sooo long ago that Klystron, Jock, Scotty & fam and myself set off for the long drive up the KZN north coast, through Swaziland and headed for our much anticipated time in a very special place in the world that we are so privileged to be able to visit regularly.

The first 2 weeks were to be spent at our timeshare lodge on the banks of the Crocodile river overlooking the Kruger Park, doing frequent trips into the park on a daily basis and then the last week staying in the park.
Scotty and fam were only able to stay for the first week owing to having little ones at school.

24th May

Arriving, checking in, unpacking the car done, we all rush to the front veranda to see what is waiting for us and don't have to wait long for the first visitors to arrive.

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And then as it does in Africa, suddenly the dusk is upon us and the sun sinks into the trees in the park.

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An Egyptian Goose had joined us in the fast approaching darkness and made a nice pic and Jock got all creative!

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and the first stars appear.

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and that is the end of the first day but lots more to follow! :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Fun and family in Kruger - May/June 2013
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 4:35 pm 
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Thanks so much for the kind words Jock, Shushin, Sparrow, Hilda, Trrrp, MM, Anne-marie, Philip, Cape of Storms, Val, Jeannie, Carol & Tawny :clap:

Carrying on!

May 25th

As we were all tired from the early start and long travels it wasn't long before we were all in bed
and as they say early to bed, early to rise so it was no surprise to find Jock, all huddled up a blanket, sitting out on the veranda, long before the sparrows! 8)
Soon she was joined by Scotty and slowly as each one surfaced by the rest of the gang.
And to make it even more special we watched as the moon slowly sank lower and lower in the sky on its downward journey.
Quite breathtaking and no words can really describe it adequately!

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Light was a bit low for clarity but it does give one an idea of how special it was.

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Finally the moon disappeared behind the trees of the Kruger.

and so dawn broke and the air was filled with the sounds of birds and the snorting of the hippos as they returned to the river after a night of foraging far and wide.

We had planned on going into the park today as we wanted to try for meet up with DB who was spending their last night at B & D.
However by the time everyone was ready and we had made our way to the CB gate, wild card renewed by Scotty it was a bit later than we anticipated, nevertheless it was so good to be back, for us not such a long wait but for Jock and the others much longer.

While we waited for the formalities to be completed Jock and I strolled around a bit, I went to the shop and bought a much needed new map book and a few treats for the car.
On the way back we spotted this Agama scuttling around next to the entrance booth.

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Blue head not all that evident due to being out of season.

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Finally at 9.30 we made our way through the gates and we were in, windows down, taking a deep breath of Kruger air.

Immediately ticking off the animals scattered around on the plains and they all look in very good and healthy condition.

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Stopping on the bridge we are quite surprised to see the Gezantfombi dam covered in a thick green layer of algae.

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The fallen tree just in front of the dam had been "claimed" by 2 Egyptian Geese as their very own personal parking space and we saw them there every time we passed for the entire 2 weeks!

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Next up was this lovely African Harrier Hawk

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hoping to find something tasty in the dead wood.

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and then away it goes on its strong wings.

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Next up was a bit of a Buffalo roadblock.

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Jock's favourite animal had to be included and why not? 8)

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And of course a stop off at Sunset Dam is mandatory!

Waterbuck and their young

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More Buffalo some having a good rest.

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And a White-crowned Lapwing.

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Moving on again we encounter a sizable roadblock of a different kind, this time an Ellie one.
but we sit and wait for them to gradually move off the road and back into the bush, happy to watch them as they go about their business.

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One of the "small 4" Leopard Tortoise

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A stop off at N'watimhiri Dam often yields something interesting and there is still quite a lot of water present for this time of year.
A Buffalo was clearly wanting to use that particular piece of sand to get to the water......

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but the Croc was not having any of it!!
and told him so with a lot of loud hissing! :shock:
and stopped him right in his tracks!

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Also present was a pretty Green-backed Heron

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and nearby a Marabou Stork perched in the top of a tree.

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The temp had by now risen to a nice warm 26C
Who would want to be any where else in winter?

On the H3 we had a wonderful sighting of a Saddlebilled Stork

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and another of Jock's favourite's!

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and then sharing the same tree a lovely pale Tawny Eagle

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and a Hooded Vulture

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A little further on something we all like to see!

Ground Hornbill

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By this stage time was starting to get a bit tight so we decided to take the S110 up to B & D.
and as we got to the top and just onto the tar road, a road block of note, cars all over the place!
Couldn't get through and the gate was a mere 100 meters away! :slap:
Finally we managed to find out what all the fuss was about, someone said there was a Cheetah there!
Cheetah??
not really the right terrain for Cheetah being on top of a mountain, we were sure it must have been a mistake and was a Leopard.
Then we had a lucky break, looked like one of the staff in a private vehicle beckoned to us to follow him, so with difficultly we manged to do a U turn and follow him back onto the S110 and he told us to stop and wait, then sure enough after about 5 minutes we saw it, not well but we saw it and a Cheetah it was! :tongue: So we had to say a silent apology to all those we doubted. :wink:

Jock managed to get 2 pics but as I said not the greatest, but it was a sighting and it looked like it was not going to come any closer for the time being due to all the cars.

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By then time had really caught up with us and we only had 30 minutes to gate closing, meaning a meet with DB was out of the question :(
as we still had to make our way back through all the traffic and down the S110.
Finally arriving at Malelane Gate with a few minutes at best to spare.

So our first full day had come to an end and we had enjoyed all the park had to offer but knew there were many more days still to come.

Back to the lodge for a nice braai.

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 Post subject: Re: Fun and family in Kruger - May/June 2013
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 02, 2013 3:09 pm 
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Thanks so much for the kind comments Cape of Storms, Janeli, Martial, vinkie, Trrrrp, jenet, Jock, Carol, Tawny, Jeannie, Hilda, Pumbaa, anne-marie, philip, & Scotty Image
Nice to see you joining in Scotty! :D

Right, think its about time this trip got moving again!

May 26th

After the drive up and then the full day in the park the day before we decided to relax at the lodge today and let the animals and birds come to us plus the car fanatics wanted to watch the F1 GP in the afternoon. :wink:
and I see Jock has written down - Waterbuck, Baboon, Ellies, hippo, Hornbill and ...

So I will share a few pics of the day.

Early morning with the mist hanging low over the Croc River, heralding another lovely day.

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A tree full of birds in front of our unit.

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A family of Egyptian Geese

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And a close up of one who came visiting!

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Another visitor of a different kind!

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Think this is one of the juvenile Weavers?

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Old Dagga boy sleeping his days away on the sandbank.

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Same bird tree but as the sun is going down.

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Looking into the park.

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and the same tree in the dark with a bit of flash!

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May 27th Monday

Now there was no holding us back and we were at the gate bright and early with a few minutes to spare before opening time, and quickly through the check in procedure.

All the usual animals were present and correct on the plains above CB.

We decided to try the S28 today and see what it produced, one of our favourite roads.

We hadn't gone very far when we spotted a little Pearl-spotted Owlet
Difficult conditions for pics as the light was still not great.

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We drove slowly so as not to miss anything and saw a nice variety of game and birds.

Then I had one of those "What was that, is it what my brain is telling me or not moments"
so I asked Klystron to stop and reverse back to the spot which was just as well as lying a little way off the road was the 2 Cheetah brothers often seen on this road.
and you can see how I might have almost missed them! :wink:

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We were so enthralled and sat with them for well over half an hour willing them to get up and move over and give us a closer view but no, they seemed determined to lie there keeping a close watch on their surroundings.
A few cars came and went but unfortunately Scotty who was in his car ahead of us had missed them and as there was no cell signal we couldn't alert them to it. :(

We eventually moved on as we knew they would be waiting for us at Sunset dam, our designated meting up place.

Magpie Shrike

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Some grubby Zebra

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Bateleur Eagle

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and this cute little Slender Mongoose who was sunning itself atop this tree stump and was not perturbed about anything or any one! 8)

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Back on the H4-2

we came across a pale Brown Snake Eagle altho the jury is still out on whether this is the correct ID.

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and a Lappet-faced Vulture

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After our stop off at the dam and a chat with Scotty who was patiently waiting for us we carried on up the H4-1 seeing a nice Ellie herd who crossed the road in front of us.

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and on the S79 loop

a Buffalo boy who gave us the eye suspiciously!

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A stop off at Nkhulu Picnic site for a little snack and we were just in time to witness a "robbery" that had taken place in the shop with the little thief running for its life clutching a bag of peanuts and raisins it has taken right off the shelf deep inside the shop!!
He immediately tore them open scattering the contents all over the place and was frantically trying to stuff as many as he could into his mouth before the irate shop keeper put him to flight. :tongue:

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Just a little way up from there we were told we had just missed a Lioness and cubs crossing the road! :slap:
Some you win, some you lose and its all about the timing!

Crossing the high level green bridge H12 there was a herd of Ellies browsing happily in the middle island.

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Just over the bridge we saw a Nyala Male and females always nice to see.

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Along the S30 Salitjie Road which was newly opened and still lots of evidence of the floods some months before.

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Ellie
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We stopped back in at Lower Sabie and met up with JEG (forumite) a friend of Jock's who does guiding into the park and who told us that there was a Lion just about 1 km north of LS.
so we decided seeing as we hadn't seen any for that day and had a bit of time to spare we may as well go and have a look.
Not a great sighting as she had got herself well and truly hidden in the reeds down by the river so it was just fleeting glimpses of an ear and a tail and if one was very lucky, a head!
Then suddenly the call went out, a Leopard had appeared on the opposite side of the river and was walking upstream.
Wow! at one point we could actually see the Lion and Leopard in the 1 sighting which doesn't happen all that often!
Afraid no pics as it just wasn't clear enough at any 1 point where we could have got a half decent pic so one for the memory banks!
Then just as we thought it couldn't get more exciting Klystron got a call from Ngwenya to say there was Lion there and also a Leopard had been sighted right in front of our unit! :slap:
We knew as it was going to take us a good 2 hours to get back there was no point in hurrying so we continued on downwards at our normal speed, plus we had to go and do some shopping in Komatipoort in any case on the way back.
The temp at this stage was 34C not bad for almost mid winter!

Then almost in the same place as we had seen it in the morning was the same pale Snake Eagle!

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We decided to stop off at the Gezantfombi Damand see what was there.

Grey Heron fishing in more than knee deep green water!

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Another car was parked next to us and seemed to be found very attractive by some little Tree Squirrels who were clambering all over it and clearly begging for food.
As far as we saw the people weren't feeding them!

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Even right up on the wheels!

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and not to be outdone the Red-billed Hornbills

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We also saw quite a few Rhino in various locations along the way during the day. :thumbs_up:

And then it was time to exit and off to the shops and of course by the time we got back the Leopard and Lions had disappeared but luckily Scotty and fam who had come back earlier had got a glimpse of the Leopard. :thumbs_up:

To be continued!

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 Post subject: Re: Fun and family in Kruger - May/June 2013
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2013 5:42 pm 
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Oh dear, think I am in trouble for taking soooo long to post the next episode! :redface:
so sorry about that but I am so busy of late and the days and weeks just fly by!
but I do thank you all for the wonderful comments and for being so patient, well most of you! :tongue:

so here's a big Image to Sparrow, MM, Carol, Val, Jock, Jeannie, Tawny, Barry, Trrrp, Hilda, Scotty, Pumbaa, Philip, anne-marie, for your continued support. :thumbs_up:

Right lets get the bus back on the road!

May 28th

We didn't go in too early today and had a relaxing start to the day and some breakfast before departing into the park.

but first up was a little feathered visitor to the lodge.

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A lovely bush of flowering Impala Lilies that we couldn't resist taking a pic of.

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Then when Jock is in the car there are always going to be pics of her favourite animals!

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and who can resist these beauties?

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Crossing the causeway over the little streams and rivers we see plenty of Water Monitor Lizards
with this one looking most comfortable on its particular rock.

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and these "twin" Terrapins

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Not too much more to be seen so we find ourselves at Lower Sabie for a leg stretch and something to drink.

On the way back down our route takes us along the S130, Gemondwane Road and onto the little water hole that often produces such great sightings.

Today was no exception and with still a lot of water there for this time of year we see a pair of Warthogs

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and also some Ellies who after having their drink

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decided a good dust bath was in order!

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Soon time dictated that we had to move on from the tranquil scene and continue onwards, so it was along the
S137 and that is where we came across a little Vervet Monkey who was clearly on duty and could not have been very comfortable on such a sharp and pointed lookout post.

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as he soon abandons his post and does his watch from the ground!

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lots of very majestic Kudu were to be seen on this road.

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Turning right onto the S28 we come across a lovely tusker and Jock's camera goes wild! 8)

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Next up a stately Giraffe right on the edge of the road and we sit and watch him as he goes about his browsing with such a dextrous mouth that can cope when need be with monster size thorns.

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Back at the lodge a large Croc lies in the river.

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then it was sundowner time!

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and as a last little pic, especially Carol who I have been promising for so long, :wink:
one of the us sitting squinting into the bright sun, well I am anyway, so you can see what Klystron, Jock and myself look like! :tongue:

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Pics nearly ready for the next episode so hopefully it won't be such a long delay between postings!

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 Post subject: Re: Fun and family in Kruger - May/June 2013
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 7:37 pm 
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Again my sincere thanks to all for following and commenting! :clap:

Don't think I will ever win any awards for speediest trip report if there ever was one! 8)

29th May

Today Jock, Scotty and my DIL went into the park for a full day on their own while we stayed with the little ones and entertained them at the lodge.
So I am going to write this one strictly from Jock's notes and from what they told us on their return. :wink:

Setting off early I see Jock has written :
Wildebeest, Impala, Martial Eagle, Zebs, Ellie herd, nice female tusker with a cheeky baby!

Lions x 2 and the proof!

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then further on Fish Eagle

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Calling!

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and away!

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They stopped off at Lower Sabie for a pit stop and saw a car parked there with a Yellow ribbon, so left a note on the windscreen, wonder who it could have been?

Coffee at Sunset dam with the usual feathered and swimming friends.

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Continuing up the H4-1 they came across an ellie breeding herd and had a close encounter! :tongue:

Crossing, looks peaceful enough to me! 8)

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Then this little one decided it was tired and needed a little lie down!

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and then it was time to rise and shine!

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and up when he got up it was with a fair bit of "attitude" for a little guy!

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I am assuming that this was now at the N'watimhirri Dam

Pied Kingfisher hoping for some breakfast!

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White-crowned Lapwing

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Brown-headed Kingfisher with a kill

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Another ellie herd, who are you?

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A sweet little Bushbuck

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A tree full of Vultures

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and a Giant Kingfisher

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Nice big herd of Buffalo

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A little family of Klipspringers

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and some cute little Dwarf Mongooses

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At the dam next to the road.

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Grey Heron

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Ellie slaking his thirst!

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And then someone spots a LIT

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I would assume this is the next dam up towards Satara where they planned on having lunch.
still plenty of water in them as well.

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The decided to have lunch at the Satara Day visitors site and said it was very nice especially with a couple of ellies just the other side of the fence making for a nice backdrop.

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Scotty at the picnic site!

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On the return journey just below Satara a [b]Lioness caught their eyes keeping an eye on who would be coming down to drink.

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On the H10 more ellies and not a bad looking tusker. 8)

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Another nice big herd of Buffalo

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and such a stunning view from high up before one descends down onto the plains.

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A Secretary bird on top of a tree.

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Nearly back to the gate after a long but very successful and satisfying day! :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Fun and family in Kruger - May/June 2013
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:34 pm 
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I am sure by now you had all given me up for lost! :slap:
Really sorry for the delays in between episodes but life and a busy schedule just seem to make it impossible to get down to writing up another one but I will try harder in future.

Thanks to everyone once more for the lovely comments and patience also thanks to Aat for confirming Nhlowa.
We have seen him before a few years back, definitely got even more impressive in time. :thumbs_up:

Anyway, lets get right on with our stop start trip!

30th May

My first 2 pics were taken on the S130 where we heard them before actually seeing them which I am sure is mostly the case and we also had a nice meet and chat window to window with Oumie and SO.
Brownheaded Parrots

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We also saw the tiniest little Giraffe who seemed to be all alone, do hope its Mom was just hiding somewhere we were couldn't see her.

Then back on the H4-2 a Whitebacked Vulture catching some rays!

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Next up was a Redcrested Korhaan unfortunately not doing its high flying act this time round.

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A view of just how much water was still gushing noisily under the bridge at Lower Sabie.

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Seen sitting on the rocks next to the river, a bit of a blurry! Goliath Heron! :?

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Lovely expanse of river looking towards the camps and restaurant deck, must be one of the most popular views! :D

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Sitting on the edge of the bridge and allowing one to creep quite close were these little Juv Wiretailed Swallows

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and an adult bird.

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with a youngster

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Stopping in at Lower Sabie and on the pathway down to the reception building we saw a clump of a strange type of hairy caterpillars all together on the branch of the tree.

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The mandatory stop off at Sunset dam revealed the usual suspects!

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And we had by now become accustomed to the usual "ellie block" on the H4-1
Don't think we drove up this stretch of road once during our entire stay without seeing a couple of herds crossing.

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How could we resist this beautiful pose!

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Just before the Skukuza picnic site where we planned on lunch we found this African Goshawk which is a new tick for me so very happy!

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This is "The mob" at the picnic site!

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sans Jock who was obviously the photographer of the moment.

On the way home again, a lovely Tawny Eagle

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and another herd of Ellies, where? back on the H4-1 (aka Ellie alley) again!!

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And that is pretty much it for this day, of course we did see lots of the usual but I have only posted some of the highlights.
I promise things do get a lot better as the trip progresses!

Back soon! :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Fun and family in Kruger - May/June 2013
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 9:39 pm 
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Thanks again so much everyone :thumbs_up:
and before you all faint.......... here comes another episode! :tongue:

31st May

Today we had to switch chalets at the time share so by the time everything was repacked and we were all installed in our new one a bit further down river, we decided to spend the afternoon relaxing and see what came to us.
Unfortunately Scotty and family had to leave us and return home as the little ones had school to attend the next week.
but it was lovely having them with us for the week. :D

So it was just us and Jock left for the remainder of the time.

First visitors to the river in front were these Waterbuck and what a handsome chap he was too!

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An Egyptian Goose sat keeping watch as the Waterbuck went by.

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and a fat looking Crocodile sunbathing on the sand.

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We also had some feathered friends come visiting!

Black-backed Puffback

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and also a very friendly Yellow-billed Hornbill sitting on the neighbours veranda railing.

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Then quite a big herd of Ellies made their way out the bush and down to the river.

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and the quenching of many thirsts began!

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and started to make their way across

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and the one little one decided a nice roll in the warm sand was a good idea!

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and over he went!

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and then they came even closer and at one point were browsing right in front of the chalet which is always such a thrill.
also seeing the young one having a little drink from Mom. :D

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A bit later we sat and watched as the sun set turning the sky blood red!
Does it get much better than this, I somehow doubt it!

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And that was that for the day but we planned on a nice full day in the park for the next day, so I will be back with more!
Don't go too far away, we are flying now!! 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Fun and family in Kruger - May/June 2013
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 1:48 pm 
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Again sincere thanks to everyone for the lovely comments and continuing the trip with us! :clap:

1st June

Today we were up and in the gate reasonably early altho I am sure Jock would say it could have been a LOT earlier! :tongue:

I am sure some of you will be familiar with the Acacia Fever Tree branch that is lying sideways just on the dam side of the bridge by the Gezsantfombi dam and appeared to have been "claimed" by 2 Egyptian Geese who we saw on "their" branch every single time we passed by.

And here they are!

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And then another nice sighting of who I am sure is Nhlowa and who you may remember we had seen a few days earlier.

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Altho he was not co-operating very well this time round.

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As always we try our luck on the S28 and it shows us a nice sighting of a Secretary Bird making its way through the long grass.

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On the S122 a little African Stonechat

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and a bit further on a Sabota Lark

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and then not to be outdone a Purple Roller

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Another Ellie Crossing

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and a Female with strange tusks almost touching eachother.

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A Martial Eagle with what looks like a hapless Guineafowl lunch!

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We came across these three little monkeys who looked seriously like they had been caught with their hands in the cookie jar! 8)
Is that not guilt written all over their little faces?

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and another one who was the picture of innocence!

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A Brown Snake Eagle

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and somewhere along our travels a lovely "Africa" type scene, long may it last! :pray:

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And that is pretty much the end of another day in our travels but don't go too far away, I am on a roll now so another episode coming shortly! :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Fun and family in Kruger - May/June 2013
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 3:32 pm 
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My thanks to Val, Trrrp, Sparrow, Carol, Hilda, Philip, COS, Super Mongoose, Jock, :thumbs_up:

Right here we go onwards!

2nd June

According to Jock's notes, this day was clear skies, no wind and we went into the park after doing some shopping! Eish!! :doh:
Her words not mine! :tongue:

In at Croc bridge and by now the officials know us well and we have a chat while checking in.

Thought you might like to see our car in full Kruger mode!

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Up the H4-2 and ahead on the bridge we see a bit of a road block around the bridge next to the Gezantfombi dam (of cars that is)
We creep along and wait our turn to get onto the bridge and this is what we see

Gezantfombi Pride of ladies

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These were just the few pics we managed to snap as we passed by in order to give others a look as well and I must admit everyone was very well behaved and courteous.

but in actual fact they stayed there for the rest of the day and even into the next day.

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We hadn't gone very far when we came across an nice little breeding herd with some "tinies" in it who ambled across the road.

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We made our way over to Mpondo Dam and sat there having a bit of lunch and something cool to drink as by now the temp had risen to 33C at a little after 1.15 pm.
Still plenty of water in the dam but not too many animals taking advantage of it unfortunately!
Still there was enough to keep us well occupied for a half hour or so. :D
Water Buck, Impala, Blacksmith Plovers, Hamerkops, Crocs and we think some Comb Ducks way over the other side.
Also a Terrapin

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and an African Jacana

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S21

In our Feb trip this road had still been closed due to the floods but now was open again!

and we hadn't gone very far along when we came across a flock of 6 Ground Hornbills
We love watching these fascinating birds.

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A little way further on and a mating pair of Lions lay in the long grass.

Waited for a while, no luck, all we could hear were Ssssnnnzzzzzzzz!
then someone stopped next to us and said there were more Lions a little further along the road so we decided to move on and see if we could get more luck with them.

At least this chap did look up to see who was visiting, but didn't look overly thrilled to see us!

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and I must say his eyes gave me goosebumps, very glad I was in the car!!

Coming up over a crest in the road we encounted a road block of a different kind in the form of 9 Giraffe and they were in no hurry to move off the road!

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We eventually made it past them but what a wonderful sight to see so many together, they obviously subscribe to the saying safety in numbers!
and with that many Lions in the area who can blame them.

Back on the H4-1 and as we reach the rocks at Lubyelubye another road block of the car kind, for, Yes you guessed it, more Lions! 8)

They were far off so the pics are not the greatest, at full zoom.
but merely proof!

Talk about rock lions!

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It was at this stage that we saw a car next to us with an exotic pet monkey inside wearing a nappy, leaping about from seat to seat. :shock:
In fact at one point it very nearly escaped out the window!
Jock immediately took a pic of the car as they had zoomed backwards once they saw we had noticed the monkey.
The driver was most annoyed with us and then shot off down south at quite a speed, so we pulled in at Lower Sabie and reported it to the staff who were most concerned and immediately phoned for the section ranger who unfortunately was not available at that time so we left the details with her and she promised to follow it up.

At this stage, time was starting to catch up with us, so we had to make our way back down towards the gate without further delay.
At the bridge, there were our Lion ladies from the morning still lying in the same place and still causing a traffic jam on the bridge! :wink:

A few Ellies, Giraffe, warthogs, wildebeest later and we found ourselves back at the gate but so were our "monkey friends" who had been pulled over and being given the third degree by a bevy of rangers and staff! :naughty:

And so ended another wonderful and exciting day with some great sightings!

More coming! 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Fun and family in Kruger - May/June 2013
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2013 11:39 pm 
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Oumie wrote:
Elsa wrote:

2nd June
Talk about rock lions!

Saw the same lions on the 1st of June on the same rocks :D

Well in that case I am going to amend it to "Talk about Lazy Rock Lions!" :tongue:

Thanks again for all the very appreciated and wonderful comments! :thumbs_up:

As we stayed at the lodge for the day these were the only pics I have

Big Herd of Buffalo coming down to the river

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and the sunset of the day, not quite as spectacular as we had seen before but pretty none the less!

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4th June

We were at the gate bright and early at 5.55am and a lot of other people had the same idea it seemed as there was a long queue waiting for the gates to swing open, unusual for this time of year and not something we are used to.

but we are eventually processed and through the boom gates we go!

Creeping slowly up the H4-2 as the light was still not great, Jock suddenly says, Look there's a Porcupine and there it was scurrying along down a well worn little pathway.
Before we could even think of getting cameras up and ready it had shot in under a bush where we are sure it had its hidden burrow.
We did look there every time we passed after that but no more luck!
but a lovely fleeting sighting of an animal not often seen, by us anyway!

A pic of the bush seen in the early morning gloom!

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Then on what we call Fish Eagle Tree sat the resident and by the looks of it not fully awake yet and ready for visitors!

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Streeeetch!

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Yaaaawn!

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Ok, now I may look more or less presentable!

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Then we see our "usual" Brown Snake Eagle who doesn't seem to move around a lot!

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then just to prove us wrong!

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We decide to take a drive over the Lower Sabie causeway

A Hippo returning from a night "out"

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and a lovely little Pied Kingfisher hoping for some breakfast!

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This Lesser Striped Swallow was also trying its luck from the bridge!

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The fast flowing Sabie river!

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Sitting in our customary spot at the Sunset Dam while we have coffee and a few biscuits we watch the
various animals and birds going about their activities.

Whitecrowned Plover

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Egyptian Goose

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and the pretty little Threebanded Plover

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Not forgetting the stars of the show, the Hippos

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Then it was onwards up the H4-1 and I scan the bushes carefully, suddenly the sight of a Leopard about to cross the road meets my view! 8)
STOP!
we have no time to reverse back as it wastes no time in emerging and crossing the road and Jock only has a moment to quickly grab this pic shooting backwards.

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So a fleeting sighting, we go backwards, sit for a while, hoping it will return but he has gone!

Then this little Steenbok seems to be saying "Is it safe to come out now?"

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Making our way up the H1-2 at one of the rivers we cross there is a large Crocodile with mouth agape!

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and also a bit further on some Baboons playing in the sand.

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and a stately Kudu crosses the road.

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Leeupan

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We have a nice lunch at Tshokwane and watch as the resident monkeys make easy work of relieving various visitors of their lunches! :roll:

This one of the culprits!

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and some of the feathered little "beggers"

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Run little Zebra keep safe!

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and one of the jewels of the bushveld Lilac Breasted Roller

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and a sweet little Slender Mongoose who was clearly on the lookout!

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Coming down the H10 we see a nice sighting of Redcrested Korhaan

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and its bigger cousin the Kori Bustard

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Crossing the Sabie River again this time we find a Goliath Heron fishing.

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On our homeward trip we took the S130 and then S137 and at the Duke Waterhole there were some Lions but quite far in and really only good for seeing the flick of an ear in the long grass with the binos so no pic I'm afraid.

On the S28 a car is stopped and they tell us there is a Cheetah hunting some impala!
We look and scan and suddenly there it is, now behind a tree, appears again briefly then gone again and so it went on, playing hide and seek with us, we reversed up the road and kept on getting fleeting and tantalizing glances!
again sorry, no pic, just wasn't an opportunity and eventually the Impala got wind of it and took off snorting loudly!
By this time, the clock was shouting loudly and the gate calling so we had to make our way out the park after a very nice interesting and fairly successful day with the Big 5 having been ticked off, altho not always the quality viewing one would like
but hey that's how it goes! and that's what makes us come back time and time again.

Stay tuned for more!

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 Post subject: Re: Fun and family in Kruger - May/June 2013
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 5:16 pm 
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My sincere thanks to all for the lovely comments and coming along on the trip! :clap:

5th June

While getting ready to go into the park we had a feathered visitor and a new tick for Jock and myself.

Sombre Bulbul think we heard the call first which alerted us to its presence.

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So, after the distraction, it was in at about 8.30, with the weather clear on 17C.

We decided to drive on the S25 and take a detour down the S27 to Hippo Pools
When nearly at the bottom there was a bit of activity around as a young male Lion had been seen.
We scanned around and eventually found him but he was not making it easy!
for us or for the local Impala who were on high alert with nerves on edge!

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Sneaking through the undergrowth!

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then one last look before he was gone!

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Had a quick chat to Daniel and then turned around and made our way back up the road.

There were plenty of Warthogs around and were quite happy to have escaped the Lion and to pose for pics!

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Then we came across a small breeding herd of Ellies and they entertained us for a while.

Stop Mom, I need a drink!

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Brekkie time for the little one!

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A Zebra & Wildebeest were happy to share a little waterhole close by.

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and with Jock around you are always going to get your fair share of her favourite animals! :tongue:

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Some more ellies and it looks as if this one is one of those shredding machines by the size of the sticks going into its mouth. :wink:

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This Southern Whitecrowned Shrike was after something in the grass, not sure if it was successful!

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We just could not resist this pretty Impala Lily wish mine would flower like that!

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and a Tortoise which one doesn't often get to see too many of at this time of year.
altho he wasn't showing much of himself other than his house!

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That looks extremely tasty!

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Eventually making our way over to the S28 and a nice tusker.

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and..................another zebbie family!

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Then back at Ngwenya we were entertained by first a Buffalo who had come visiting right in front

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and the resident pod of Hippos slumbering the day away!

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and this one couldn't decide whether he wanted to be in or out the water.
decisions decisions!

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and then great excitement as a Lion came calling!

Far off so not the greatest pics but nice to see it all the same!

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joined by a jumbo!

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and that was the end of another stunning day in paradise but plenty more excitement to come so don't go too far away!

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 Post subject: Re: Fun and family in Kruger - May/June 2013
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 1:24 pm 
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Thanks so much to MM, Trrrppp, Kaapsedraai, Jock, Tawny & Philip1 for your continued support and lovely supportive comments as we wend our way thorough the park. :clap:

Thursday - 6th June

Today, for something different we decided to take a drive to Malelane Gate and "do" that side of the park for a change, so it was an early departure and we arrived at the gate at 6.20am.

Always so special to see, somewhere along we had a crossing of a Rhino

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Drove up to B & D for a pit stop and then onwards to the S110 stopped off at the Matjulu water hole but nothing too much there so we moved onwards.

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This little beauty was posing for us! Scarlet-chested Sunbird

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and then seeing a Giraffe crossing the road, we stopped for a while and a second one ambled up to join him.

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and they began having a practice session of head butting and sparing.

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It was fascinating watching them take turns at whacking each others with their long necks, all very disciplined and gentlemanly at that stage!
They finally moved on and so did we.

Then we met up with "curiosity" who gave us a long look!
Love their white moustaches! :wink:

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High up among the mountains was the choice of this little African Hoopoe

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By this time tummies were rumbling and so it was off to Afsaal for a delicious brekkie and altho the shop was virtually empty of curios etc they still served us a good eggs/bacon/tomato/chips spread, very good coffee and hot chocolate.

The usual "beggers" were in attendance

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After a bit of rambling around and some time later we came across this group of 3 Rhinos.

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We were sitting quietly with the engine off, just watching them, when the one ambled across the road and straight towards the side of the car, until she was almost nose in the window!
now we had a bit of dilemma as to what to do, do we start up and move off and possibly startle her or sit tight and possibly annoy her? :hmz:
Then the third one, a male who had been hanging around on the sidelines decided to investigate further, and this seemed to definitely not meet with her approval, much huffing and puffng!
so we decided to take our chances and move on, which we did and fortunately she was distracted by the males presence and didn't seem to notice our hasty departure but that was certainly one of our closest encounters and one that will go down as a very special.

Then someone stopped us and told us of 5 Lions on a kill that had just happened a bit further on up the road, so we decided to investigate and altho not all that close to the road manged to get some sort of views and pics.

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There also seemed to be a bit of bad temper at the dinner table!

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He looks as if he got the "Lion's share"

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surprising really as I don't think 1 Impala went very far!
and they wandered off to lie in the shade and digest their meal.

and so did we!

More Kudu and a youngster who seemed more interested in us than Mom who turned her back.

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We love the Biyamiti Loop and this time a little Three banded Plover was in attendance.

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On the S23 we found a pair of cute Klipspringers

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Slowly making our way along the S114, very corrugated so lots of loose fillings later and then onto the S25
for our homeward stage.

A lovely male Kudu this time!

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then suddenly crossing the road in front of us an Africa Rock Python but unfortunately as is often the case we only managed to get the tail as it slithered very quickly into the grass.

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A couple of Meves Long tailed Starlings

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and then I caught a glance of a lone Lioness walking along a little way in the bush, she seemed to be on a mission, not stopping but definitely making her way towards the road, so we tried to estimate where she would be at any given stage as we had lost sight of her by then.
a car stopped and the people asked us what we had seen, so we told them and suggested they wait as we thought she might possibly come out and cross soon, but they gave us a most disbelieving look and moved on? :roll:
Would we lie to them! :wall:

Anyway as we rounded the corner slowly, we couldn't have timed it better if we tried, there she was about to cross the road, so their loss I'm afraid. :naughty:

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And to end off with another Rhino sighted somewhere along our trip for the day!

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And that was the end of another most enjoyable and successful day as far as we were concerned. 8)

This was to be the last of our days down far south as tomorrow we moved onto the next part of our trip, higher up in the park. :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Fun and family in Kruger - May/June 2013
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:26 pm 
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Once again many thanks to Hilda, Sparrow, Pumbaa, MM, Carol g, Trrrp, Kaapsedraai, Philip,
Tawny & Jock
who must take the credit for many of the pics as we travel along.

7th June

Today we are leaving the lodge and starting on our northward journey through the park for the next 7 nights, so it was a big pack up and a wave to the Croc River where we had had so many wonderful animal and bird sightings over the past 2 weeks.

As we didn't have too far to go to get to our first overnight stop, Skukuza we took a slow drive up the H4-2 and this Martial Eagle was the first to catch our camera lenses.

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and next up was the resident African Fish Eagle in its favourite tree.

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As per our now usual routine we sat at Sunset Dam and just watched as the various animals and birds went about their daily routines while we also had something to snack on and warm to drink.

This Little Egret picking its way along hoping to find something tasty to eat.

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and the resident Hippos with some visitors in the form of Yellow-billed Storks

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A nice variety of birds in the Sabie River

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We carried on slowly up the H4-1 and came across a small pride of Lions right next to the road and this pair who preferred to lie flat out in the road.

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The flat out fast asleep king!

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and the queen

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This lady who was immaculately groomed was laying on the edge of the road and just watching the cars and people as they passed her by.

Isn't she lovely? Who says you don't get beautiful Lions in Kruger? 8)

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Nodding off!

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and another one who was slightly less disinterested in the goings on.

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I must say everyone behaved amazingly well and each car was allowed to pass by, stop next to them, take their pics and move on again, just how it should be! :thumbs_up:

Carrying on and the inevitable Ellie crossing

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and then we saw this Giraffe who appeared to be eating or chewing on a bone and the practice is called Osteophagia.

This activity occurs mainly in the dry seasons or winter months when trace elements such as calcium and phosphorus that they get from the bones is not readily available in their normal plant diets.
They resort to this alternative resource to complement their intake.
Kudu is another species known to do this.

(Info taken from Beat about the Bush Mammals by Trevor Carnaby.)

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A Zebra crossing for Jock!

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and then it was check in time at Skukuza and we were given and duely unpacked in Chalet # 152.

Later Jock and I wandered down to the benches by the river and sat watching as the sun set.

Bridge with Baboons on top already settling down for the night.

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and turning the river a lovely pink shade!

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By the time we got back Klystron had the fire going and the first Bushbabies had started calling. :D

More from the trip tomorrow en route to Letaba. :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Fun and family in Kruger - May/June 2013
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 6:12 pm 
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Right, after too long a break more coming up!

Thanks again to all those for the lovely comments, glad you are enjoying the trip so far.

June 8th
Today we leave Skukuza and head on up to Letaba for the next leg of our trip.

but first a little family of Slender Mongooses scampering around on the grass.

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Packed up, car loaded to the hilt, we leave the camp at 7.30am

Just as we turn onto the H11, Klystron swears he saw a Sharpes Grybok, we back up, scan the bush but can't see it again, so without a pic I leave it up to you to decide if he did or he didn't! :tongue:

Carrying on over the low level bridge and such a peaceful scene!

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then we see 2 Kudu who clearly are having a late start to the day!

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but these old dagga boys are up and on their way!
with passengers and a myriad of annoying flies!

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We finally get to Tshokwane for a spot of breakfast and a break.

Quite amused with this sign in the ladies toilets! :wink:

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and even more amused by the sign on the back of this bakkie in the parking lot!

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We pass the turn off to the S33 Vutomi road which was still in the process of being repaired and cleaned up and now open again after a long closure.

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Next up, this young female Bateleur caught our eye, such stunning birds.

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Then a pair of Secretary Birds foraging around in the grass

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who were being divebombed by some Blacksmith Plovers who clearly had a nest nearby and didn't like the Sec. birds getting too close.

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Then to add to their woes along came an ellie!

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who made them decidedly edgy!

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but fortunately he wasn't paying them any attention and was just making his way down to the water.

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for a bit of a mud throwing contest!

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This is what I think a Sabota Lark such pretty little birds and quite commonly seen.

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Pretty Kumana Dam

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Fish Eagle on the wing!

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and then we arrived at Letaba and were checked into Bungalow # A5
which much to our consternation didn't have a braai in front, just the cement slab but a quick visit to reception soon had it sorted out and one was delivered poste haste in time for our evening ritual.

Jock soon amused herself with taking pics of the pretty little resident Bushbuck

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and a walk over to the fence overlooking the river.

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Coming down.....

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slip sliding away!!

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And that is pretty much the end of another day!

Tomorrow is a day we were all really looking forward to, we head on up to Bateleur camp, a new camp for us. :D

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