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 Post subject: Re: Saved by two sunset drives - Kruger NP August
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 6:33 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2006 6:04 pm
Posts: 724
Location: Middle of England
26th August - Biyamati

Today we packed up early and headed out 5 or 10 minutes after gate opening time and headed north towards Skukuza as we were meeting our SA friends for another catch up. On the way we passed the lady who had tipped us off about the cheetahs and we managed to flag her down and thank her in person. :gflower:

On the way we had these sightings..

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as we were a bit early we drove across the low water bridges and found a giant kingfisher willing to pose.

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It was a great to relax at skukuza for a couple of hours but it definitely feels a lot busier than other camps.

We headed south towards biyamati and after a brief diversion , because we missed our turn off we eventually arrived close to biyamati weir. In a tree by the weir were two veraux eagle owls, unfortunately with branches in front of them.

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As we arrived at the weir we were lucky enough to see a heron catch and eat a catfish.

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and then the local pied kingfisher sat on the weir wall and had a preen.

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we were so close you can see ours and our friends car in his eye.

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after settling into our final camp we set out south and apart from the sunset we only found this monitor catching the last rays of sunshine.

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 Post subject: Re: Saved by two sunset drives - Kruger NP August
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 8:18 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2006 6:04 pm
Posts: 724
Location: Middle of England
27th August - Biyamati

Well today was our last full day in the park :( and we headed out early north for a short drive in the morning as we were coming back to camp in the afternoon to pack up our kit :(

Our first sighting was a go-away bird who was just about to vomit up a pellet :tongue:

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and then a cheeky owl made a final appearance..

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we then arrived at the weir and got a pic of the pied kingfisher flying and an egret.

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after a short drive we returned to camp and took some pics of the birds in camp.

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We decided to do a sunset drive as a last farewell to Kruger and we were fortunate that there were 4 places available. :D

Could it be as good as our last drive....?

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 Post subject: Re: Saved by two sunset drives - Kruger NP August
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 8:16 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2006 6:04 pm
Posts: 724
Location: Middle of England
Firstly I apologize for the lack of photos and the poor quality of the photos but it was dark :wink:

We started off very slowly heading from biyamati to croc bridge seeing an African hawk eagle and a veraux eagle owl. As we neared the tar road we met a hyena who looked as if he was on a mission to camp.

Heading up the tar road we approached a lioness stalking impala, she was lying on the road hiding behind the grass, for 5-10 minutes she crept along the road until a convoy of 3 vehicles approached from croc bridge turned up and scared her off......seeing cars on the road after dark is really disappointing but happens so often on sunset drives.

and then just before the left turn we interrupted a mating pair of lions :thumbs_up:

they straight away began walking up the road in front of us..

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and as they turned at the junction we saw some impala in the road, as the lioness got closer he guide stopped the vehicle but the lioness was focused and I think the lights had startled the impala...in seconds they both disappeared around the corner and I was sure she was too far off to catch it.

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(picture taken by my SO who was sitting alongside the guide)

we drove to the corner and there was no sign of them...then the male walked up and picked an impala out of the grass....I couldn't believe how quick the lioness must have killed the impala and then walked off...we later found her relaxing in a river bed a few metres away.

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the drive back was cold but we were smiling all the way...and we must have seen 5 or 6 civets during the drive.

What a great final evening in Kruger............but could the morning drive out be better?

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 Post subject: Re: Saved by two sunset drives - Kruger NP August
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 7:24 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2006 6:04 pm
Posts: 724
Location: Middle of England
28th August - kruger to joberg

We set off south from biyamati with our friends behind us, they were taking it easier as they were flying to joberg from Nelspruit.

we saw nothing until we turned right along the crocodile river road...about 15 minutes along we spotted this big male lion crossing the road, but he soon disappeared into the bush after giving us a knowing glance.

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it was only later we spotted his white eye.

7 minutes later we met another male but he was more obliging and the morning sun painted him golden.

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2 big males...how lucky we were...we nearly packed our cameras away as we were sure it couldn't get better but just 10 more minutes and out onto the road ran 7 wild dogs :big_eyes: :big_eyes: our forth wild dog sighting in just over 2 weeks. We had then for 2 and a half minutes but it seemed like a lifetime and being the only car there again made it even more special..

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we arrived at berg-en-dal and sat by the dam taking in the last breadth, sounds and smells of kruger as sunbirds darted above our head and a giraffe sailed across the horizon.

We couldn't leave just yet so after fuelling up we nipped to matjulu waterhole in hope of bee eaters and managed to get one nice shot....and then it was time to leave. :(

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We are returning to kruger in April to see her with her green gown on and hopefully to experience a different side to what is such a majestic place, I feel so privileged to be able to visit her and although you capture the sightings, she is definitely more than her numerous parts; she is a feeling, a tranquility, a peacefulness and a vulnerability that few places allow you to touch...

and long may she continue to do so. :thumbs_up:

thankyou to everyone who has commented or viewed. :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Saved by two sunset drives - Kruger NP August
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 7:34 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2006 6:04 pm
Posts: 724
Location: Middle of England
help needed

Hi all,

The last two male lions we saw on crocodile river road, both had marks on their legs, one had a U shape, the other had a U shape with what looks like a 1 above.

Does anyone know if these are brandings or are they just scars....they just look so precise.

(I will try and add pics soon.)

John

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