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 Post subject: Exploring Letaba: Disproving All Expectations
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:36 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 4:10 pm
Posts: 2414
Location: SA
Hello everyone :)

I was very blessed to be able to spend two full weeks at Letaba, which gave me adequate opportunity to explore and fully discover as many of it's glorious secrets as I could. From talking to rangers to exploring the Elephant Hall and the roads less corregated, I had what is undeniably one of the best Kruger holidays I have ever had. I would love to share it, once I face the 1400 photos waiting for me...

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Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


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 Post subject: Re: Exploring Letaba: Disproving All Expectations
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:40 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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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
Cannot wait to learn more about your trip, Wild about cats. :thumbs_up:

I am on board...thank you for willing to share, especially working through all those pics. :D :dance:

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Trip Reports: Kruger NP, West Coast NP, Addo NP, Garden Route - Storms River & Wildernis


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 Post subject: Re: Exploring Letaba: Disproving All Expectations
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:14 am 
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Distinguished Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:57 pm
Posts: 6791
Location: 2012 km..... to Paradise
FAC Member (2013)
Wild about cats,

Grabbed a seat on board...Looking forward to the secrets being revealed. 8)

:popcorn: :popcorn:

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“Nature is a volume of which God is the author.” ~ William Harvey

Kruger May/June 2014
Mokala June 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Exploring Letaba: Disproving All Expectations
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:57 am 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 8:47 pm
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Location: meandering between senility and menopause
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Wild about cats :D lovely to see you around again. :gflower:

I am really looking forward to this trip report.

:popcorn:

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The bird doesn't sing because it has answers, it sings because it has a song.


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 Post subject: Re: Exploring Letaba: Disproving All Expectations
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 6:22 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:26 pm
Posts: 954
Location: Cape Town
Can't wait!!!

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Last minute Kruger fix! Can't wait.

26 - 28 April Pretoriuskop (First Time Visit)
29-30 April Olifants
1-2 May Mopani
3-4 May Orpen
5-6 May Lower Sabie



Trip Report Photographs and Memories Kruger June 2013


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 Post subject: Re: Exploring Letaba: Disproving All Expectations
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 7:44 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 4:10 pm
Posts: 2414
Location: SA
Thanks for the replies everyone :)

@MM - always a pleasure to see you :yaya:

Day One - 27 December, Part one

It all started on a chilly morning in JHB at around 4am, where my mother and sister and I rose from our excited half-sleep to leave for a two week stay at Letaba. My family packs so much junk. They assigned me as ‘packing supervisor’ and somehow I managed to fit it all into our little car. We had our morning beverages, packed our last goodies and hit the road. Because it is summer, it wasn’t long before it began to get light. Due to complications with my mother’s licence, I had to drive the whole way (woohoo!). Somehow, the glare didn’t tire me out all at once. 8)

On the way there my mind wandered onto subjects of birding (which I have not done for a year, simply unacceptable) to whether or not I would get bored with staying at a single camp for two whole weeks when I am used to camp hopping every few days. I was trying to formulate a plan, maybe to visit another camp for a night… alas, nothing came to me.

We stopped at Milly’s to fill our bellies and then somehow didn’t stop again until we bought some mangoes in Hazyview and then Phalaborwa Gate was in front of us. For those who don’t travel that way often, beware the R530, the potholes are a menace. Due to this problem, the trucks shamelessly drive in the opposite lane over a solid line, apparently unconcerned about the threat of oncoming traffic. I was on the edge of my seat.
And Bushbuck Ridge is a nightmare at this time of the year, with all the cows and children and taxis, oh my goodness the taxis!! :evil: :cry:
It rained along some of the journey and was cloudy for the rest, so naturally the gate was all wet and chilly. As my mother dealt with the check in, I began to bird.

Image

The birdies were not out and about just yet (bad weather) but I found some Blue Waxbills and a Southern Masked-Weaver so long. I was determined to fire it up with the birds on the first day, and I must admit that the H9 was excellent for birding, despite the weather. We saw many eagles that we couldn’t ID due to the bad lighting or distance, but we did positively ID a Black-Chested Snake-Eagle and White-Headed Vulture with an immature.

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Our first animals upon our entrance were, as usual, impala. It was so lovely to see the babies out and about in full force, curiously but timidly watching is with those huge ears listening.

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Saw a big ol’ ellie too, which of course is a pleasure when going up to this area - it just wouldn’t be complete without them.

Image

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Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


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 Post subject: Re: Exploring Letaba: Disproving All Expectations
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 8:29 am 
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Senior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2011 8:58 am
Posts: 3375
Location: Far South in South Africa.
Wild about cats :hmz: ....Taxi's :rtm:

Lovely start, looking forward to the rest......Great pics of Birds, Impala and Ellie. :mrgreen:

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"Lose yourself in Nature and find Peace!" (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
UNITE AGAINST POACHING...What we protect,
do not let poachers take it away!

Extinction is forever and survival is up to---every last one of us!


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 Post subject: Re: Exploring Letaba: Disproving All Expectations
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 11:07 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 11:27 am
Posts: 1041
Location: Lost somewhere in the travel tales,and don't want to be found
This looks like a lot of fun, not too long now I will be in the same area :D will be like a pre visit for me :thumbs_up:

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KRUGERPARKING is good for your health. Keep on KRUGERPARKING.

28 July - 2 August - Maroela ( armed with Amarula)
3 August - 7 August - Crocodile Bribge


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 Post subject: Re: Exploring Letaba: Disproving All Expectations
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 11:49 am 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Award: Funniest/Best Forumite Name (2013)
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2005 12:38 pm
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Location: In the shadow of Table Mountain
FAC Member (2012)
Very brave going with 2 angels.

I love Letaba & surrounds. Will be on board.

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Whatever (according to BB): "You are correct but I don't want to admit it".


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 Post subject: Re: Exploring Letaba: Disproving All Expectations
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 3:09 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 4:10 pm
Posts: 2414
Location: SA
@ Philip1: Those taxi's make me crazy. Thank you! :)

@ isinkwe: It really is such an amazing place. Turns out there was a leopard kill 1km outside the camp, the day we left!!! As they say, timing is everything :lol:

@ BB: Well yes, just us 3 angels in the bush; but it didn't stop us. We came across some difficult situations (which I will explain later) and managed to handle them without any mites! (which was no simple task) ;) :tongue:

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Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


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 Post subject: Re: Exploring Letaba: Disproving All Expectations
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 3:27 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun May 20, 2012 10:23 am
Posts: 731
Hi Wild about cats.

Jumped on board before its too late. What a great start to your trip. Looking forward to your adventure.


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 Post subject: Re: Exploring Letaba: Disproving All Expectations
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:39 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: SA
Glad to have you on board SurfCindy :)

Day One continued

Also found a tortoise, zebra, hippo and waterbuck near the river, buffalo, resident bushbuck in the camp, and of course, charming squirrels scurrying around everywhere you looked.

Image

Buffie with a branded bottom

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The river seemed rather low, which is never a wonderful thing to see, but my dear sister informed me that the weather predicted some rain, so we hoped the river would bulk out a little bit.

Image

This place has started to feel a little bit like a second home.

Image

Image

I walked around camp a little to try and bring my birding count for the day up. I hate looking over my trip and seeing the diminished first day sightings. So I found the ever-present Red-winged Starlings, Green Pigeons, Cape Turtle Doves, Egyptian Geese, Pied Kingfisher etc. etc. By the fence I was lucky to catch a bird I don’t see too often, the White-Browed Robin-Chat, which I have only ever seen at Biyamiti before. Got my count up to a 28 for the day. Also saw a Great Egret in breeding Plumes.

Image

Image

Image

In our luggage, we had frozen goods like meat. So we decided to try something very new – taking ice cream. We bought ourselves a block of dry ice to transport all of these frozen goodies. When we arrived we were pleased to find the meat was frozen solid, but a couple of ice creams had succumbed to the form-changing of melting. Oh well!!

No braai tonight, just a simply cooked dinner of noodles and such to get an early night from our day of travelling. While at the kitchen, we heard the familiar to Letaba shrieks of the waking bushbabies, and managed to find one right outside our communal kitchen. No picture due to the low light, but it was so lovely too see them jumping from branch to branch, as if it were last year where I had my first long Letaba visit…

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Next SANPark: Mapungubwe 2014

Birding Weekend 2014 - Satara 3

Exploring Letaba - '13-'14


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 Post subject: Re: Exploring Letaba: Disproving All Expectations
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:59 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:17 pm
Posts: 1601
Location: Durban
Good first day, Wild About Cats, looking forward to following your trip.


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 Post subject: Re: Exploring Letaba: Disproving All Expectations
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 5:33 am 
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Distinguished Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:57 pm
Posts: 6791
Location: 2012 km..... to Paradise
FAC Member (2013)
Wild about cats,

Great first day with super :cam: :clap: :clap:

:mrgreen: love that camp wish I was also there...having those views from the restaurant *sigh* :hmz:

more please :popcorn:

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“Nature is a volume of which God is the author.” ~ William Harvey

Kruger May/June 2014
Mokala June 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Exploring Letaba: Disproving All Expectations
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 6:47 am 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 8:47 pm
Posts: 10490
Location: meandering between senility and menopause
FAC Member (2013)
I love the night sounds that remind me of being so close to nature.

Interesting branded bottom there :hmz: . Also lovely to see the Letaba bushbuck. It really is an utterly charming camp.

:popcorn:

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The bird doesn't sing because it has answers, it sings because it has a song.


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