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 Post subject: Kaapsedraai's Quick elephant country visit - Addo, June '13
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2013 10:47 pm 
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The June 2013 school holidays have arrived and we were on our 9 day holiday to Wildernis and Tsitsikamma/Storms river mouth parks in the Garden Route region.

Our first 3 nights were at a resort near Sedgefield from where we enjoyed some drives around the Wildernis lakes and visited a bird hide or two with some good bird sightings around. Originally we had plans with friends accompanying us enjoying the time at Sedgefield, but as they could not join us, after the 2nd night we started to get the Addo-itch – longing to be in the wild, so there and then we checked for accommodation availability and made an impulsive decision to hit the road early the next day – sacrificing the discount we received at the resort.

As our 4th night would have been Tsitstikamma/Storms river mouth, it fitted in nicely with our travel plans, so we headed towards ADDO for a 1 night stay over! At 12h00, we entered the ADDO NP at Matholweni gate located on the southern end of the park, just off the N2. To give you an indication of the Park’s lay-out, here is a sightings board map.
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One of the first signs one is greeted with is the Dung beetle sign.
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The road winds through the thick Spekboom area while we played ‘who-will- see- the- first-animal’ game. We did not spot any animals for the first few kilometres, but this Karoo Boer-bean was attracting our attention with its beautiful red colors. It is also a favourite food for kudus and elephants.
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We reached an open grass patch where this white flower was lightened up by the midday sun from behind.
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A few km’s further Mr Grey appeared from the bush, raising his head and giving us a good stare in its usual motionless stance allowing us to take a few freeze-frame pics.
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Just off the Ngulube loop one can stop and admire this view of the sea and the city of Port Elizabeth in the background. We did not continue with this road as we have developed a phobia resulting from or June 2012 incident with a beast :shock: (refer Report).
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Back on the main road on our way to the Main camp, these Bush Antennas made their presence known and suddenly they were noticeable all over – white ones, grey ones, brown ones, large ones, little ones….
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I guess this chap was trying to pass on his regards to a Forumite friend..... :hmz:
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As we came down one of the hills, some Pajama boyz were heading towards a waterhole where an interesting challenge with some Big guys played off, but more of this later…

_________________
Trip Reports: Kruger, West Coast, Addo, Storms River & Wildernis, Kruger NP Feb'14, Wildernis Ebb & Flo Apr'14
Now busy with Kruger NP Dec'13 and Table Mountain- mood today


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 Post subject: Re: ADDO NP: A quick elephant country visit - June'13
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 9:58 pm 
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Moving along slowly....

As we came down a hill, some zebras were strolling on their way to a waterhole.
But they were in for a tough time as it was already occupied. Two elephants were quenching their thirst by sticking their trunk against the hole and suck the water out.
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The zebras were approaching fast and one could see that they were really thirsty and do not want to wait for the elephants to finish. An interesting interaction between these two started to unfold. The zebras approached the elephants from the one side at first, but the BIG Guy did not like them getting too close in his personal space and show them to go away, he is busy.
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The Zebras felt that they were more than the two elephants so they moved closer again. After a few warnings gestures with the trunk, BIG G had enough and charged after them to give them a proper scare.
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The Zebras scattered in all directions
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BIG G was not impressed and gave them a good stare.
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Then he charged back to the waterhole in case the zebras had other ideas by diverting his attention.
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Now the interesting part is that the zebras moved around behind the elephants and positioned themselves on the other side.
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It seemed as if the zebras were discussing some strategies on how to get the elephants away from the water.
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Then, they started to deploy their plan by surrounding the waterhole so that the elephant get confused and intimidated. Who will not with all these black and white stripes around. :hmz:
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BIG G charged again, but without success and shortly after decided to give up and the two walked off. The zebras won this challenge and succeeded to enjoy a well deserved drink.
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What an amazing experience to see how these zebras went about, first from the one side, then the other side and then they surrounded the waterhole until the elephant had enough it.

_________________
Trip Reports: Kruger, West Coast, Addo, Storms River & Wildernis, Kruger NP Feb'14, Wildernis Ebb & Flo Apr'14
Now busy with Kruger NP Dec'13 and Table Mountain- mood today


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 Post subject: Re: ADDO NP: A quick elephant country visit - June'13
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:07 pm 
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Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year & Sighting of the Year - Small Creatures and Insects (2013)
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Location: Bellville, Cape Town
Although the gravel road to the Main Rest camp is in excellent travel condition, the steep hill sections are tarmac which makes travelling even better.

We enjoyed quite a few birdies on the way, which I want to share in this chapter. I hope that I have identified them correctly, but please correct me where applicable:
Grey-backed Cisticola (Grysrug tintinkie)
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Neddicky (Neddikie)
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Ant-eating chat (Swartpiek)
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Lanner falcon (Edelvalk)
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I guess this could be an African Marsh-Harrier (Afrikaanse vleivalk)
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I could not resist to also capture the beautiful butterfly on some ...
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An friendly kudu posing nicely for a :cam:
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Coming up next some great memories....to be continued.

_________________
Trip Reports: Kruger, West Coast, Addo, Storms River & Wildernis, Kruger NP Feb'14, Wildernis Ebb & Flo Apr'14
Now busy with Kruger NP Dec'13 and Table Mountain- mood today


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 Post subject: Re: ADDO NP: A quick elephant country visit - June'13
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:17 pm 
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Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year & Sighting of the Year - Small Creatures and Insects (2013)
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
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Location: Bellville, Cape Town
Although our trip in Jun'13 was a quick one day sleep over one, I was contemplating whether I should do a bit more by adding in some experiences / sightings from the previous 2 years by travelling down memory lane as well. Then the thought came up to tackle the trip loop by loop or area by area where I will share both previous and this years sightings. Hopefully it will enrich the experience by providing you with a good feel for the layout of the park and what we saw in the respective areas... let see if this format will be value added... :thumbs_up:

This chapter will focus on the southern area, via Harveysloop (refer map in pink shaded section)
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It is a beautiful area to drive with lots of cactus plants located in this region. We managed to sight some beautiful birds on the top section. I was particularly surprised to see this Burchell's Coucal which we spotted in Jun'11.
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Further on down the road, also this African hoopoe and Brown hooded kingfisher we spotted during our Jun'12 trip.
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On the bottom section of the road a herd of buffalo made their presence felt during our 2012 trip. 'Hey you, you do not smell that good - you smell like 'human' - jik!"

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Daisy whispering to Hornless: "Even if you only have one horn, I still love you..."
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Back on the road close to the main road intersection, some open grass plains where some Red Hartebeest were busy with some daily challenges and grazing.
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"I hope you share this picture on the forum, because I am risking my life giving you this pose. By the way, dare you say I got a long face!"Image

As we made our way to the northern section during this years trip, this Ostrich was following us along the gravel road and we got a bit nervous with him getting closer and closer. Maybe he had some 'funny' thoughts going on with red legs and all... :hmz:
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Coming up next, for me the 'golden highway' as we had some great experiences as we crossed the road that divides the southern area from the north...to be continued.

_________________
Trip Reports: Kruger, West Coast, Addo, Storms River & Wildernis, Kruger NP Feb'14, Wildernis Ebb & Flo Apr'14
Now busy with Kruger NP Dec'13 and Table Mountain- mood today


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 Post subject: Re: ADDO NP: A quick elephant country visit - June'13
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:06 pm 
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Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year & Sighting of the Year - Small Creatures and Insects (2013)
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Location: Bellville, Cape Town
The road between the central border and Marion Baree waterhole winds through steep hills. During our June'13 visit we had some good Kudu, Red Hartebeest, Elephant and other general game sightings. But really stood out for us about this section which we termed the 'golden highway' during our 2012 trip was some memorable sightings every time we had driven this road.

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Firstly, we had a very rare hyena sighting while travelling as came walking towards us.
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Then spotted some Eland.
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Late one afternoon, a Lion were spotted lying in the tall grass on top of the hill with great view over the plains.
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As we stood there waiting for it to get up, SO commented that she wish the female will also appear. A few minutes later, we looked backwards and suddenly saw a large female appearing and walking in our direction. She then stopped in the road in front of us where she entertained us. I guess this is Gina, the collared female.
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As it was late afternoon, we had to leave to make it in time before gate closing. To add to the excitement, a large elephant was walking in the middle of the road in our direction. We were not to take any chances, so we reversed for about 2km until we find a safe enough spot for the elephant to pass. What a relief, and we managed to reach the gate just in time.

But the next morning, we were on our way back to the same spot, but no lions. We were again surprised with another great sighting - this Secretary bird on patrol.
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An then some more great sightings - Black rhinos...
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Coming up next, some sightings at the different waterholes...to be continued. :thumbs_up:

_________________
Trip Reports: Kruger, West Coast, Addo, Storms River & Wildernis, Kruger NP Feb'14, Wildernis Ebb & Flo Apr'14
Now busy with Kruger NP Dec'13 and Table Mountain- mood today


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 Post subject: Re: ADDO NP: A quick elephant country visit - June'13
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 7:36 pm 
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Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year & Sighting of the Year - Small Creatures and Insects (2013)
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
Posts: 2622
Location: Bellville, Cape Town
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It is time to move on towards the Main camp...and stopped at a waterhole next to the road - Marion Baree. Everytime we visited this area, the only animal we saw was kudu, so here is Mr Kudu again, seems he is the security guard here.
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A few km's further, it was time for a body break and a leg stretch, so we stopped at a great picnic spot called Jack's Picnic site. It is fenced in and got beautiful braai areas where one can enjoy something to eat. The toilets are well looked after and always clean. There is also a nice sighting board for those interested in the sightings of the day.

Jackal Buzzard was posing for us as we left the picnic site.
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Just around the corner is the Spekboom waterhole with hide and where one can also overnight in tents. It was very quiet at this waterhole.

The other waterhole, Hapoor, is named after a legendary elephant bull who lived in the park between 1944 and 1968. He had a hole on his ear caused by a hunter's bullet, hence translated in Afrikaans "Hap oor". This waterhole was also quiet with just few ducks sleeping on the edge.
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The area surrounding the waterhole we spotted some zebra relaxing and warthog, but this family was disturbed by the presence of a Black-backed jackal. They stood there ground and was moving in on the jackal who was not to take any chances getting injured by those teeth.
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So, he decided to move on ...
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We took a drive to the next waterhole - Rooidam and spotted this Speckled Mousebird.
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Again at Rooidam, as per our previous visits, some more Kudu...
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We saw a few buffalos grazing close by, but we were more interested in this beautiful Black-shouldered Kite who was on the hunt - just love the pose.
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Following our visits to these waterholes, it was time to explore the Quarrie Pan and Zuurkop areas. But this to follow in the next episode.... :thumbs_up:

_________________
Trip Reports: Kruger, West Coast, Addo, Storms River & Wildernis, Kruger NP Feb'14, Wildernis Ebb & Flo Apr'14
Now busy with Kruger NP Dec'13 and Table Mountain- mood today


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 Post subject: Re: ADDO NP: A quick elephant country visit - June'13
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:56 pm 
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Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year & Sighting of the Year - Small Creatures and Insects (2013)
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
Posts: 2622
Location: Bellville, Cape Town
From Rooidam we followed the tar road and stopped at the Quarry pan, a very nice waterhole where we have enjoyed some great moments in the past.

There were some nice water birds around. Quite a number of Black-headed herons were spotted around the park.
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On the dam, a pair of Pied Avocets were looking for food. On the other side a lonely flamingo was sleeping with its head tucked away under its wing.
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A Black-winged Stilt was doing a 'ballerina' pose for us with its beautiful red legs.... :)
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But, last year June, we enjoyed a large herd of elephants coming down to drink with some babies.
The baby was really cute with mother and father protecting him all the time.
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Here he is measuring his trunk against that of his father and mother...I guess he still have to grow quite a lot before he can even start thinking of competing :hmz:
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This ellie was enjoying a drink when a pair of ducks took cover at the back or was it 'bottoms ups'?
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Our next stop was the great lookout point over the park with the Rest camp visible from the top of Zuurkop.
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Located on the other side of Zuurkop is the open plains on the Goran loop with some herds of grazers...but this to be continued in the next episode. :thumbs_up:

_________________
Trip Reports: Kruger, West Coast, Addo, Storms River & Wildernis, Kruger NP Feb'14, Wildernis Ebb & Flo Apr'14
Now busy with Kruger NP Dec'13 and Table Mountain- mood today


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 Post subject: Re: ADDO NP: A quick elephant country visit - June'13
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 2:39 pm 
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Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year & Sighting of the Year - Small Creatures and Insects (2013)
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
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Location: Bellville, Cape Town
From Zuurkop lookout point, we drove down to the other side of the hill and explored the Goran loop with its open grass fields where a number of grazers are - zebras, eland, elephant etc. We stopped at Carol's Rest waterhole, but was relatively quiet. We have never seen animals at this waterhole unlike others who spotted some lions that love to spend time here.
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Nevertheless, there were more to enjoy - another Black-backed jackal taking a rest.
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In this area one will find a lot of these Yellow Mongoose.
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A Zebra family busy grazing while the little one taking a rest.
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Another Zebra, but in B&W from a 'different' angle.
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During our June 2011 trip, we experienced some rain, but managed to get these 2 pics of the elephants against the cloudy sky and another one with a rainbow.
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Also during the 2011 trip a Kudu on the hill against the blue backgroundof some mountains far away.
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Moving on to see what is happening at Domkrag dam....to be continued. :thumbs_up:

_________________
Trip Reports: Kruger, West Coast, Addo, Storms River & Wildernis, Kruger NP Feb'14, Wildernis Ebb & Flo Apr'14
Now busy with Kruger NP Dec'13 and Table Mountain- mood today


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 Post subject: Re: ADDO NP: A quick elephant country visit - June'13
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:15 pm 
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Location: Bellville, Cape Town
From the Goran loop section, it was time to move closer to the rest camp, but first a visit to the Domkrag dam. This dam got its name from a tortoise that used to creep under the car and then with its strength lift the car like a 'jack', hence the name 'domkrag'.
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On our way we got some great Eland sightings.
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Then these Suricates were quite enjoyable to watch for a few minutes.
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At the Domkrag dam lookout point, one is allowed to alight from the vehicle, but one has to make sure it is safe and no lions around. Although no animals near the dam, the bird variety was something worth capturing.
We counted about 5 Grey herons on and around the dam with this one doing a fly-by.
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A Spur-winged Goose was also on patrol.
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As we were enjoying the view, this mouse got something worthwhile to nibble, fortunately a Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk were busy hunting far away.
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High up in the air another Raptor was circling (struggled with ID on this one...)
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After an enjoyable time in the veld, it was time to settle in...some views from the camp side to follow...to be continued.

_________________
Trip Reports: Kruger, West Coast, Addo, Storms River & Wildernis, Kruger NP Feb'14, Wildernis Ebb & Flo Apr'14
Now busy with Kruger NP Dec'13 and Table Mountain- mood today


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 Post subject: Re: ADDO NP: A quick elephant country visit - June'13
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2013 6:29 pm 
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Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year & Sighting of the Year - Small Creatures and Insects (2013)
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
Posts: 2622
Location: Bellville, Cape Town
Heading towards the Addo rest camp, one could see some fires were already burning with the smoke making a trail over the landscape.
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Two years ago we stayed in the Rondawels where we had an excellent floodlit waterhole view with elephants coming down to drink.
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There are some other waterholes as well visible from the accommodation areas such as from the Safari tented area and one from the birdhide located close to the Education centre area.
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Next to the restaurant, there is another bird hide where one can enjoy looking at some water birds.
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Settled in at our accommodation, Chalet, we were welcomed by a Bokmakierie.
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Relaxing on the stoep, a rhino also making his appearance.
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The next morning, another visitor came looking for food - mouse with a Southern Boubou also showing some interest.
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During our very short stay, we enjoyed some supper at the restaurant which we thoroughly enjoyed. I also managed to speak to John Adendorf, the head ranger, who assisted us the previous year with the rhino incident. I told him that I have just read his father's book - Wild Company by Gus Adendorf after which one of the emerging tuckers in Kruger is now name after i.e. Bidzane.

The highlight of our one night stay at Addo was that during the whole night, we could hear lions roaring close by. It seems to be a mating pair, but is was most enjoyable to be in bed with the roaring sounds as oppose to sounds of the city.

The next morning, we were up to head back through the park with another day of excellent moments being experienced which I will share in the last episode...to be continued. :thumbs_up:

_________________
Trip Reports: Kruger, West Coast, Addo, Storms River & Wildernis, Kruger NP Feb'14, Wildernis Ebb & Flo Apr'14
Now busy with Kruger NP Dec'13 and Table Mountain- mood today


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 Post subject: Re: ADDO NP: A quick elephant country visit - June'13
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:52 pm 
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Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year & Sighting of the Year - Small Creatures and Insects (2013)
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
Posts: 2622
Location: Bellville, Cape Town
As mentioned in the previous episode, we enjoyed some lions roaring the whole night and our first mission the morning was to track them down. Car packed and as we entered the park we got them lying in the grass a good few meters from the road. We stayed there for quite a few minutes, but they were gallavanting the whole night, they must have been tired. We managed to get this one pic of the male. The female was lying down and now and then we coud see the paws in the air.
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We needed to get going as our next stop is Tsitsikamma. We paid a quitck visit to Quarry pan, but it was quiet with only these sleeping Flamingo and two Avocets.
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Along the road some more birdies spotted - Cape Bulbul and Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk.
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We reached the same waterhole as where the elephants and the zebras had some challenge the previous day. This time it was a family of 4 elephants of which one was a little baby. What was so amazing that the little one was struggling to get out of the hole and soon as he was out he went back and the struggle started all over again. We thoroughly enjoyed watching this little one playing.
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I guess this was them saying to us goodbye. An impulsive decision while sitting in Sedgefied 2 nights before, turned out to be an excellent trip - even if it was only for 1 night. Another memorable trip to Addo came to an end, but we will be back. Now, it was time to visit Tsitsikamma. :thumbs_up:

_________________
Trip Reports: Kruger, West Coast, Addo, Storms River & Wildernis, Kruger NP Feb'14, Wildernis Ebb & Flo Apr'14
Now busy with Kruger NP Dec'13 and Table Mountain- mood today


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 Post subject: Re: ADDO NP: A quick elephant country visit - June'13
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 6:43 pm 
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Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year & Sighting of the Year - Small Creatures and Insects (2013)
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
Posts: 2622
Location: Bellville, Cape Town
To everyone that have commented and also those mites that followed this TR, thank you. :thanx:
I was keeping this pic for last to express my sentiments on how I felt visiting Addo and sharing our experiences with you all. :thumbs_up:
Image

_________________
Trip Reports: Kruger, West Coast, Addo, Storms River & Wildernis, Kruger NP Feb'14, Wildernis Ebb & Flo Apr'14
Now busy with Kruger NP Dec'13 and Table Mountain- mood today


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