It was a very long wait from my previous visit to the park and I was ready to go back. It took al lot of planning en the time went by very very slowly but eventually it was 4 am Saturday morning. The car and trailer was loaded and we were of. Little Wildkyker was not coming along wich was sad, because I wanted him to come but the threat of malaria is just a risk I am not willing to take. My brother from Canada was coming along so that I could drag out the boertjie in him, something I reckon he had lost after living 6 years in Vancouver. We were off driving the N4 to Alzu for our first stop. And it was very cold for this time of year,so the coffee was soothing. Here is the Engelsman from Canada Turn of at Belfast,Dullstroom, Lydenburg, Sabie and Hazyview to get to Phabenigate. At long last We did the necessary paperwork and we were inside on the way to Skukuza for a stop one of our first animals was Bergskilpad. The first of 28 we counted on our trip After our stop at Skukuza it was time to head South to Malelane gate not to exit but to book in for Malelane camp. Along the way some sightings At Malelane gate after booking in it was time for my Passport photo After a long day of driving we got to the Malelane camp turn off And we arrived, it was a first for me at this camp It was an empty campsite that greeted us, how great is that! It would be this quiet the whole two days of camping here While pitching the tent I noticed a Pigeondove coming to greet us After a long day wich seemed so long to arrive I was in the beloved Kruger park. At Malelane camp for the first time camping next to the fence with peace and quiet all round. I was at peace. My brother well he was far from Vancouver and in the African bush …….
8 December It was an early rise for us after a good nights rest. We were going to do the S110 and Steilberg this morning. Out of camp on the road to Berg & Dal I was proud to spot a Leopard, but he was walking away so no good pictures. There was two, the other one was lying on a rock to far for pictures What a start to the day. There was a road block somewhere, but what amazing creatures. I was surprised to see Buffalo on the very top op Steilberg Up and over Steilberg and just a bit down a Kruger Stallion Back at camp the Mounty was starting breakfast, not hashbrowns but boere spek en eiers. We took a walk through camp and what a gem of the South. Here is the Engelsman looking over the Crocodile river at the Suger cane plantation at Malelane. A bit diffrent from what he is custom too. Of course the passport photo We went to Malelane town to stock up on supplies the afternoon. Had a rest and then on the afternoon drive. Just a bit North on the H3 from the gate there was traffic looking at a Leopard with his kill. A bit far though We headed back to camp and saw some nice birds Bleek Singvalk Langbeen Korhaan The Mounty enjoyd the Korhaans mating call very much with the pop at the end. For dinner I had a Snoek on the braai. I told the Engelsman it was freshly caught in the Crocodile river
Last edited by Wildkyker on Fri Jan 24, 2014 8:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
9 Desember It was again an early rise today to see what the Berg en Dal area had to offer. We drove the S110 from the Eastern side today and saw Daggaboys It was quiet the rest of the trip until we got on the tar back to camp where some cars was parked. There was a mating pair of Lion. Great to see the King again but a bit too far for my 200mm lens It was time to pack up and leave the quiet Malelane camp. Here is a trotse(proud) boertjie with his camping trailer. (Note the khakis) We were off to Lower Sabie traveling up the S114 to Renosterkoppies and East on the S21 Nwatimhiri road. Its a very interesting road with lots of history in its bushes. These Nwatimhiri bush was where Stevenson Hamilton discovered the last few surviving Buffalo after the Runderpest in the late 1890s. Some general game on the road At Lower Sabie we checked in and as a surprise for the Engelsman we would be staying in the Safaritents overlooking the river. This guy came and greeted us As wel as little Trrrpppp trrrrrrr From the tents deck a Weaver in action And my favourite dove in the nearby Sicamorefig tree A little rest did us good before we took the H4-1 to Nkhulu picnic site. Not much action on the way there. Passport photo There was nobody there at the picnic spot. The day staff had left and it was just us and well some of the locals to the Engelsmans delight On the drive back to camp I thought how lucky are we few, band of brothers to be there in one of the most beautiful places on earth. We did not see that much today but it did not bother, because we still had a long way to go. A lekker braai and burning fire was in order that evening. And the excitement of what to expect tomorrow…..
10 December Great weather is exactly what we had on our trip thus far. Overcast en cool for the Kruger can be unforgiving during December. Today also overcast, it was raining during the night. We left camp as soon as the sun came up. On the H10 bridge a Giant Kingfisher. North on the H10 we went and lucky enough to see a Lappet face Vulture We drove the route on the S122 on the Eastern side of Muntshe mountain. On the grass plains a Kori Bustard On the S128 right where it bends South again we saw a pair of Reedbuck. This was a first for Engelsman Eagle On the Southern part of the S128 a breeding herd of Elephant cross our path. There were anxious moments but we survived. The little onse are always a treat
A few pics of the unit we stayed in as surprise for the Engelsman An afternoon nap while it was raining outside gave us chance to recharge for the afternoon drive wich took us South on the H4-2 to Crocodilebridge camp wich was also a first for the Engelsman. It started to rain on our way back just to see this cute site. They were cuddling together sitting in the rain. Further up the road two tortoises chasing each other It was raining the whole way back so not ideal for sightings. I struggled to braai that evening due to the rain, but not complaining for this is great weather. There was however lots of sounds that evening vorm the river side. Elephants was crossing the river but our spotlights were too weak to see anything so we just listened…..
PS.: Some pictures of beautiful Rhinos we saw today. This one had a cough wich made for a funny photo
11 December It was time to leave the great Lower Sabie camp this morning. It was raining through the night and we decided to skip the early morning drive due to the rain. We packed up and left at about 9:00 Passport Photo Out the gate just before the H10 turn off
North on the H10. We were lucky again to spot some Reedbuck and what a great sighting It was wet outside and the Park was green almost as green as this guy Up we climbed on the mountain to the Nkumbe lookout and what a view We were heading to Satara but not before we stopped at Tshokwane. The Rysmiere (flying ants) was flying around and this Hornbill caught them in flight and took it to his young in the tree Now I had a treat for the Engelsman. African pap en Koedoe wors, He enjoyed it very much and I must admit that it is really good The Vervet Monkeys was sitting around waiting for the right moment to pounce on some scrap food left by the visitors,while the little ones hold on for dear life At the Kumana dam Nonnetjies eende in the rain Koedoe Bull greeted us as we neared Satara Or did he catch the smell of Lions sleeping in the Nwanetsi riverbed We arrived at Satara and had to look for ’n camping spot. We found one in the corner next to the guesthouse The afternoon drive brought some birds And we looked as the sun went down by Nsemani dam. Another great day in our beloved Park. We left the far South today but there is lots more to come……
12 December Last night I could hear a Lion roaring faintly and the Jackal crying. How great is it to be here and to experience the African bush. Our morning drive took us on the H7 where Hyenas greeted us South on the S36 where we encountered a breeding elephant group walking down the road with the leader shaking her head to let us know they are coming The road took us South on the S36 and East on the S33 Vutomi road wich I have never been on with no luck either. Then it was North on the Trichardt road wich brings a very different habitat all together, open plains off grass. This Bull came walking down the road We were making our way to Nwanetsi picnic area for Brunch The Engelsman was getting hungry so he started braaing the onions for ’n lekker Boerie It was back to camp after brunch with nothing to see on the H6. Leisurely we spent our day at camp reading and downloading photos. The afternoon drive wich left at about 16:00 brought a delightful surprise… First some Wildebeest and their young Wild dogs! We saw the on the S40 laying under the trees. Gradually awakening and started playing This was a great sighting specially for the Engelsman for it was the first time he saw the African Wilddog It was time to get a move on, not to miss the gate closing time. While driving back and the sun going down calmness came over us, another great day…..
13 December The clouds packed together last night and there was a thunderstorm with bringing lots of lightning and rumbling. It rained and when we woke the next morning it was a mess outside. We where moving today and had to break camp but it was mud everywhere. To break up camp in wet weather and mud puts the mood down,but Boertjie and Engelsman pushed through. Loaded and a bit later than planned we rolled out of Satara camp. We took the H1-4 North to see our first Secretary bird. We crossed the Olifants river and up on a little hill next to the river there was a welcome sighting of a White headed Vulture wich was a first for me Along with some White back Vultures coming to land It looked like they had something to eat but I could not make out what It was quite a photo opportunity for they are always sitting in the trees We headed to Olifants camp for Breakfast. This was not a first for the Engelsman. He could remember this camp from childhood and a visit there before. Breakfast was served on the deck with a great view of the river I remembered a notice that the Olifants reception was being renovated so I took a picture to show how it looked on 13 December 2013 Today would be another surprise for the Engelsman and we made our way to the camp we would overnight at, maybe some would recognize the view to the right at the T-juction where the S89 meets the S90…. Arriving at Balule we would be staying in Hut no 2 Passport photo in front of the Hut as there seem to be no Name plate like the ones at Tamboti or Malelane camp. We wondered about this? The afternoon drive was quiet down the S90 to the Bangu waterhole and back but wê managed to see a nice Tusker…. The mood was set at camp with ’n lekker braai. This is a special camp, to think that these are the original huts built in 1930 and kept the same way as then. What a great experience.
14 December We woke up this morning after a very good nights rest at Balule and what an experience again such a quiet little camp. Today would turn out to be quite a day……
We took the S89 Ngotso road to get to the H1-5 and South for our first great sighting would be at Ngotso North waterhole. The King was waiting What a great beast Something was attracting him It was Kwaggas on the other side at the waterhole They spotted him before anything could happen. This old chap came after. You can see that he has been around the block Together they tried but to no avail What a great sighting to start the day with. Beautiful Rhino somewhere in the Park As we made our way down South-West we stopped at Muzandzeni picnic site where we made breakfast. I was looking for Sable and I know they are in the area. Would you believe our luck It was not the best sighting for pictures but how lucky to see my favourite Antelope the Beautiful Sable. The people who did see it all told us that we had missed him playing with the bushes fighting with his horns. Oh no I said, but still to see a glimpse is still great We took the S145 road around Talamiti camp towards Orpen gate A picture of a Breëkop Arend in a tree At Orpen we checked in at the camp wich was another surprise for the Engelsman. Tamboti We would stay in Safaritent no 25 The view of the Tibavati was grown over wich was a bit of a downer, never the less we had a great time.
It was hot today and we struggled with the afternoon nap inside the tent. The afternoon drive took us East on the H7 Steenbok Then a great sighting again. People told us that they have seen a Leopard but it disappeared under the road. Under the road? I know Hyenas uses the pipes under the road but Leopards? Well it is true this one crawled through the pipe to the otherside He came up the bank to cross the road again What luck we had today for seeing a Leopard this close. A few birds as well to end off a great day An Eagle (Gevlekte Arend) Sitting on the ground catching the flying ants as the come out of the ground. The Engelsman made the comment of fastfood and drive thru. Typical North-American…. Mrs And Mr Kleinswartvlerk Kiewiet As well as one of my favourites, Groenvlek Duifie Upon our return to the Tamboti and Maroela turn off the local Jackal were also enjoing the fastfood flying ants coming out of the ground What a great day with even beter sightings. As we made a potjie that evening we stared et the moon and discussed our great sightings…..
Today we would leave the Southern part of the Kruger while heading up to Letaba where we were going to stay for two nights. So it was an early rise and time to leave Tamboti but not before a passport photo. I got the Engelsman a Kruger passport as well… We took the H7 and you would not believe what I am going to tell now. I remembered where we saw the Leopard the day before and when we got close to the place with the pipe under the road guess who was there waiting for us? Could it be true? It was the same young Leopard as the day before and at the same place How lucky can one get and what a treat for an oversea visitor Ok what a great start to the day. Just further up the road I spotted a mail Lion but he was deep in the bush walking. I reversed but could not see him again. The Engelsman did not believe me of course but luckily another car came up from behind and asked us if we saw the Lion. No pictures but Leopard aan Lion in the first half hour. WOW We turned left on the S39 towards Timbavati. Great Bateleur sighting and great photo Black Stork At the Timbavati picnic site we made breakfast We took the S127 to the H1-4 over the Olifants river and the H1-5 to Letaba camp. The road was quiet. I guess the animals thought not all at once I suppose. Got to Letaba and searched out our camping spot Right next to the fence It was getting very hot and we tried to cool down in the swimming pool. No chance of a nap that afternoon it was just too hot. The afternoon drive took us on the S47 to Mingerhout dam With all the luck we started of that morning it has changed towards the afternoon we did not see much at all. Some birds far in the Letaba river and some Giraffe drinking. We had hit the hottest temperature for our trip that afternoon 43,5 it was really hot. Back on the main road to camp we smelled our next sighting and man what a stench An Elephant carcass in the riverbed. The crocodiles was halfway inside the carcass while the Maraboes stood whatching. It was hot as the sun went down that evening while I was reflecting on another great day in Kruger.
Last edited by Wildkyker on Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
16 December The wind was blowing today and it was hot. It was also the start of our sightings drought…. We took the opportunity to go to Phalaborwa to get some supplies for it was the last town near enough. We headed West on the S131 towards town. Giraffe A lonely bull walking down the road It was very quiet with realy not much to see at all. We went out of the park at Phalaborwa gate with a passport Photo. Did our shopping at the local Mall and lunch at Steers. Back through the gate Would you believe nothing to see on the way back to Letaba, only the wind blowing over the Mopani trees. Back at camp we took a walk and I showed the Engelsman the Bushbuck As well as the Elephant Hall with the Magnificent 7 on display. Not a small Canadian but BIG African Elephant! That afternoon we had Skaap Tjoppies on the braai and ’n Potbrood(bread) in the pot This was not the best viewing day but the food was great.
17 December It was out of camp early this morning for a ride to the Engelhard dam. The dam was full after the great summer rains. We took the S62 up to the lookout point over the dam Back to Letaba to break up camp for we were moving on today. We left Letaba at around 9am but not before a passport photo. How could I have forgotten to tell about Dobby the little elephant companion of the Engelsman. He traveled along and was in every passport photo, can you spot him? We headed North Red Throated Beeeater We turned East on the H15 with luck of Tsesebe And some general game Now I wonder how many of you have been to the Giriyondo Border Post? The road past Makhadzi picnic site must be the worst in the park. I pushed through. First time for me to set a foot on Mozambique soil The South-African customs And Passport photo Back on that bad road to Makhadzi for brunch Bacon and eggs was in order Back West on the H15 we spotted the same little herd of Tsesebe We crossed the H1-6 to continue on the Tsendze loop S48 which was a good choice because… This male Lion was all alone and he was full his stomach was round of all the meat. He moved his kill out of the way thinking we wanted a bite Now have you ever wondered where they got a photo for Lion Matches The fleas was irritating this fellow. After a long while with him we decided to move on He had one companion on a distance
Just past the Tzendze camp turn off on the H1-6 to Mopani a Water Turtle wandering across the road We checked in at the lovely Mopani and stayed in Bungalow no 44 A chock-&-block full Pioneer dam greeted us A afternoon nap was taken before the afternoon drive. Just outside the gate a Dhaggaboy We headed out on the S146 road to Stapelkop dam. It is so peaceful and quiet there On the way back at the Tszendze river crossing a Black Crake in the grass It surely was a beter day that the last, I hope it keeps up…….
Thanx for reading and the kind words Wild about cats and Isikwe.
Kaapsedraai: I know you also have a Kruger passport so yes you have to get it stamped at Giriyondo.
Dupacc it is not Ticks on the Lion it must be some kind of Flea for when he got up or moved the flew up and sat down again on him
Hilda the story of Dobby is this: When I last visited the Engelsman in Canada I took a little elephant dol along for him as a present. Since then this Elephant(Dobby) has traveled over the world along as companion and even through Kruger Park
Last edited by Wildkyker on Thu Mar 06, 2014 11:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
18 December The day of the birds…. It was an early rise for us this morning because I wanted to drive some roads that I have never been on before. North on the H1-6 where we saw the first bird a Saddle-billed Stork West on the S142 Shongololo loop. Southern Carmine Bee-eaters We did see one lonely bull for the day I must admit I was disappointed about this drive, we dis not see anything at all. The veld was quiet. I made a turn at the Pioneer dam hide. Just to show how chock-&-block the Pioneer dam was At the Tsendze river crossing there where a few nice waterbirds Green Heron Black Crake Little Egret Back to camp for a overcast leisurely day. The afternoon drive I wanted to go to Tihongonyeni, but with absolutely no luck. It was quiet with nothing in sight And the rest of the afternoon drive yielded nothing. We had some nice bird sightings though……
19 December Last night I slept like a rock. These bungalows in Mopani camp are great. We went off early to Tihongonyeni only to see an Elephant Bull on the H6-1 North There was again nothing to speak of at the waterhole and that was sad because I had booked the two nights at Mopani specially for Tihongonyeni. A well next time…. On the way back I saw Rheedbuck at a glimps near the Nsawu swamp area no photos though but sure it was Rheedbuck. There were Ostritches Nothing more on the road back to camp. We packed up and it was time to leave the great Mopani camp but not before a passport photo. Can you spot Dobby North we went over the Tropic of Capricorn and right on the Old Main road S144. It was quiet as well until, would you believe I spotted a Serval. I could not believe my eyes. My first ever. In the long grass he was looking at me and next moment gone. No pictures not even the Engelsman saw him. What a sighting, O I wish I could have gotten a photo. I did get some photos of this Buffalo with impressive horns And a Tortoise Back on the H1-6 we got to see a Yellow Billed Kite Shingwedzi was our next camp and it was great to be back From the stoep I got take some pictures of a Grey Hornbill and my favorite tree that stands in the middle of the B circle
We took a rest that afternoon. A sundowner was in order on the bridge over the Shingwedzi On the way back to camp an African Hawk Eagle. and a loafer lying on the hot sand in the middle of the road We were up North now and this part of the Kruger has a certain kind of magic…… ……….
Last edited by Wildkyker on Tue Mar 04, 2014 8:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
20 December This was the most North that the Engelsman has been in Kruger. We where Blessed with great weather for I know how hot it can get here in these parts. Early rise and we headed North for our morning drive. We took the S56 Mphongolo road. European Bee eater The road was quiet along the dry river bed. On one of the little turn offs a Giant Eagle Owl We drove a long way without any luck, but it was about to change just before we got to Babalala picnic site. There is a lush green bush with Lala Palms just before you reach the site from the gravel road side where we spotted this Beaut She was lying so close to the road that I hesitated about opening the window Another Bonus was that we were the only car there, there was another but it was parked about 100 off. The Lioness took interest in the Engelsmans skinny bones and there was a stare down I must admit, that look says it all The group was moving and the young male showed the way A last glimpse before they disappeared I would not have thought to see Lion here today. What a sighting. We took the H1-7 back to Shingwedzi where bush opens up and you can see far over the plains. Rooibors byvreter A lazy afternoon and drive down to Kanniedood dam to see the flood destruction A little Strand Kiewiet on the way back We took a night drive that evening but the North chose to show nothing to us What would tomorrow bring……
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