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Heksie's Krugertripping this Summer... KNP, Dec. '13

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Heksie
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Heksie's Krugertripping this Summer... KNP, Dec. '13

Unread postby Heksie » Sat Jan 25, 2014 5:11 pm

Where it all began…
Now you guys know that every trip you have had, started with an idea, or a conversation, ours on the other hand started with a Savanna…
After my Jan 2013 Kruger trip, Wendy and I organised a get together as we were planning to visit Sabie Park in Easter and had to make some arrangements. After some delicious guacamole, chips and one too many Savanna we decided to get on the computer and book a 9 day trip to Kruger.
In the meantime we went on our Easter trip and had a ball. Another get together were planned as we were going to Marekele in June and meeting up in Kruger in July. A lot of laughter and excited conversation together with more guacamole and Savanna we decided that we should add another 9 days to our Dec trip, making our itinerary:
6 nights Lower Sabie
1 night Sable Hide
4 nights Satara
4 nights Crocodile Bridge
3 nights Malelane
Now we just had to wait for the days to creep slowly closer. During this ‘waiting period’ we found out that a few mites would be joining us at certain camps and after getting in contact with them we got friends to stay at Sable Hide with us. As it became Nov I was starting to get excited, all the camping equipment was stacked and ready to pack, I had to buy groceries and alcoholic refreshments, I had to clean my memory cards and ensure my camera equipment was ready to work overtime. Wendy and I was also planning to arrive separately as I’m one of those Kruger crazies that just have to enter the Park when the gates are opened, which meant I’m leaving at 2:00 in the morning, but she is more rational and wanted to leave Pretoria when the sun started to show and of course it safer for a woman to drive.
A week before our trip would start I got together with a friend of mine and he invited me to stay with him, so I could leave for holiday one day earlier. He stays on a plantation near Sabie so it was a bonus as I don’t have to leave very early in the morning and I was closer to the Park, so a shorter drive was in order as well. Everything was getting together and I was starting to get very excited...
This would be my longest trip to Kruger ever and definitely something to look forward to, now the time should just arrive for me to get in my car and start my Krugertrip…
2015
10 July Letaba
11 July Satara
12-14 July Lower Sabie
15-18 July Tsendze

24-27 September Lower Sabie

11-20 Dec Satara
14 Dec Sable Hide
21-27 Dec Lower Sabie
28-31 Dec Satara
1 Jan Croc Bridge
2-4 Jan Satara
5-8 Jan Lower Sabie

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Heksie
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Award: Sighting of the Year - Small creatures/insects (2014)
Posts: 4317
Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2013)
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Re: Krugertripping this Summer...

Unread postby Heksie » Sun Jan 26, 2014 9:48 am

Day1… and so it starts
11 Dec

Ok, to set things straight, I didn’t only go to Kruger for 18 days, I asked my family what their plans was for Dec and if they maybe wanted to go to Kruger, and after a lot of nagging and persistence they agreed to 10 days (1 Jan-10 Jan) so I added another 13 days to my trip. SO in total I would be in the Park for a month, basically the whole school summer holidays and I was elated.
7 nights Satara
6 nights Lower Sbie
The morning came of 10 Dec and I was excited, a new adventure would start today. The only drawback for the start of my trip was rain (how I would regret wishing the rain away so early in my trip). I had to pack my car in the rain and the rain followed me all the way to Sabie, by the look of the red muddy road I had to drive to my friend’s house, it had been raining for days. But I was in contact with Leachy and he said that Kruger had seen no rain so far, so I was glad knowing that I won’t be pitching up tent in any wet condition. I arrived at my friends place and it was pouring, we parked underneath this outside garage at least next to the front door and the first thing I saw was their cat… Aaaaaw what a beaut they had, it was an AWC-feral-cat cross and the biggest darling ever.

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We soon opened a bottle of red wine and caught up on what has happened in our lives the past few weeks. I was informed that it had rained 70mm the last few days and it didn’t look like it would stop soon. I made some chili chicken livers at home which we heated up and had with melted-butter toast (the food of kings).
We went to bed early as I had to wake up at 3:30 the3 next morning and the as I was tucked in the rain lulled me to sleep. You know those nights when it feels that you just closed your eyes and then the alarm screeches you awake, well that morning I felt like I had no sleep at all but I still had to drag my body out of bed and freshened up with a hot shower.
My friend told me and made me repeat how I should get back to the tar road (left, then left, then straight) uhm ok… so came Heksie blunder #1 at 4:00 in the morning on a rainy, muddy plantation:
I turn left, then left again and then I get to the spot that has a fork on the left hand side or I can turn right so I turn into the most left road. And I drive, and it is just mud everywhere… after a few km’s I just see grass towering over me and I start to get worried. I stop and phone my friend and also turn around and start to make my way back to where I turned unto this road. All I’m thinking is that I took the wrong turn and some cannibalistic inbred monsters are going to eat me (I have the most amazing imagination). Now I face my next obstacle, it was downhill all the way and my car is packed heavy with the freezer and camping equipment and alcohol… My car kept on slipping and after a few metres it just didn’t want to move, I couldn’t go forward, so I let my car go a bit back and then I try again but to no avail. With all of this I’m still on the phone with my friend, he said it is best to turn around as there is another way back to his house… he directed me to his house and I had a few close call again with uphill’s but I made it out safe and he climbed into his car and escorted me to the tar. My knight in shining armour I say…
So I was back on the tar and on my way to Kruger at last, it was so foggy and it drizzled so it was a slow drive but I still managed to get to Phabeni gate by 6:00. Before I entered I put on my ribbons and got my cameras and binocs ready for action. It was drizzling still and my towel was on my lap as I hate driving with a closed window.
On that note: Have you guys seen those people that no matter what, scorching hot, raining or cold they always have their windows up… how can they enjoy the park if they are all boxed up in their car?
I wanted to take my time but I also wanted to pitch up camp as I didn’t know if the rain would get worse or get a bad camping spot.
The first good sighting was my favourite bird, the hamerkop

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I also had a run in with baboons

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And got a nice close up of a common sandpiper

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Then I came upon a strange and very sad sighting, first I saw this and I thought this oke in the Volkswagen was very brave as I’m more afraid of a hippo than an elephant and he is right next to him.

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But the car turned around as I didn’t want to go closer and stopped next to me informing me that the hippo is dead. Now I could investigate on this matter…

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The evidence made me think of two theories but I’m leaning more to the latter: Either a family of black mambas was gatvol being squished by these seacows and decided to bite him enough times so their venom would be effective or it was a hit and run… But if a car, bakkie, combi or the smaller versions would hit such a massive beast then there would be a massive dented car next to him. So what transport vehicle was big enough not to smashed up?
I didn’t stay long and left this mystery death still fresh on the road. The last thing I saw before entering the camp was Leachy, we had a brief chat as you know that during holidays 2 cars can make a helluva roadblock.
I arrived at Lower Sabie at 9:30 and started with setting up camp, it was drizzling but not that hard that I was bothered. After being happy with what I did, I made a MMC and sat in camp. Whilst drinking my coffee I received a message from Wendy informing me that she just stopped at Milly’s and was putting in some petrol. I decided then that I had enough time to do another drive before she would arrive and I packed everything in my car and left. Now I’m telling you that a MMC is magical because I was still sipping on it, about 1.2km from Lower Sabie when I saw a small road block and a male lion crossing the road. It was too fast for me to take a pic but still a sighting. And as I stopped about 50m from there because I didn’t want to be part of the chaos, I heard next to me ‘Heksie’ I saw that it was one of my Kruger friends (Since last year Dec I have seen him and his family almost with every trip in Kruger, his name is Yusuf). He told me that there was an ingwe across the river, although I have a bad pic it is still proof… and yes I’m still only a km from the camp.

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We had a lekker chat, he making my jaw drop as they have only been in the park for a week but he has had 21 sightings of leopard, he showed me some pics and he had a pangolin… very lucky indeed. The cars started to pile up so I moved on. I drove to the H12 highwater bridge then Salitjie towards Lower Sabie again. It wasn’t a productive drive but I think it was the most enjoyable drive the whole trip.
A beautiful bushbuck lady

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Bobbies having a ball

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Juvenile Blacksmith plover

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I had such a laugh with this ellie, he was trumpeting at every passerby and made some people very nervous but he was young and just showing off

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And a giraffe

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Now something that has been very interesting to me, I always stop and take pics of them is the pooh-shrooms, so bear with me.

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And then I also got a juvenile Bateleur in flight

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I got at camp just before Wendy arrived and helped her set up. Then Leach joined us, we arranged with him that tonight we would be making a fire and he is obliged to join us for dinner so he went and fetched his meat and drinks. So I wanted to get the fire going and here comes Heksie blunder #2:
I take out our charcoal started and pour the charcoal in there, put her teabags underneath it and ask her where is the lighter, she tell me that there was one in the bag with the goodies but I can’t find it so I get mine out of the car and light the fire. She pumps up her matrass and I’m in my tent as well when we hear this big BANG Wendy immediately thinks that her matrass has blown and I hear the neighbours saying that kids are busy with crackers so I’m chilled , open a KPA and go check out the fire. But nothing is going on there, I tell Wendy that here teabags are faulty as they have totally disintegrated and go fetch mine. Just as I put mine on the fire I see pieces of plastic on the braai and it dawns upon me… ‘Wendy I know where your lighter is…’ I had put all the charcoal on top of it and it exploded. Whooops…
Leachy arrived and the story had to be shared with a lot of laughter. We had some corn in foil and chicken sosaties and it was delicious, together with great conversation and dear friends this would be an amazing start to our Kruger adventure.

To be continued…
2015
10 July Letaba
11 July Satara
12-14 July Lower Sabie
15-18 July Tsendze

24-27 September Lower Sabie

11-20 Dec Satara
14 Dec Sable Hide
21-27 Dec Lower Sabie
28-31 Dec Satara
1 Jan Croc Bridge
2-4 Jan Satara
5-8 Jan Lower Sabie

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Heksie
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Re: Krugertripping this Summer...

Unread postby Heksie » Mon Jan 27, 2014 6:41 pm

Day 2… a slow but feathery day
12 Dec
I woke up very early this morning, now I’m pushing it, I actually woke up every morning at 3:30 as I’m what you call in Afrikaans ‘n pliggie (transl conscientious) when it comes to getting at the gate on time. And was soon waiting for the gate to open at 4:05 after my shower en packing of essentials, I wasn’t planning any route so I ended up doing some short drives close to the camp… H4-1 to Lubye and back, then the Mlondozi loop and back to camp for a bathroom break then I went down the H4-2 to enter the Gomodwane loop (S130) from the south ->S137 ->S28 back to camp.
There wasn’t much to see on the tar except a few hippos moving back towards the Sabie river, but too dark to take a pictures. When I was back at Sunset dam I got this pied kingfisher close enough to take a kiekie

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Then on the H10 I was entertained by wattled starlings, but they don’t really allow one to drive close enough to take pictures of them, I was glad getting some of them

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It was misty this morning and very hard to see anything if it wasn’t next to the road, I did see a juvenile bateleur but not close enough for pictures and then as I got near a tree I heard a distinct unhh-unhhh-unhhh and started searching for his owner… and here he was waiting to be found; Verreaux Eagle Owl

[video]http://youtu.be/ULl0IjlFJR4[/video]

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I waited for another car so I could show the passengers this beautiful owl and then I moved on. Next was a Black bellied Korhaan, I waited for him to sing his unusual song for me and was lucky this morning

[video]http://youtu.be/267S_IQlP3s[/video]

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Then on the understated S29, this road is full of birdlife, I saw them everywhere but could only take kiekies of a few of them. Not great quality as I don’t have the best camera or lens for birding.
Green winged Pytilia

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Cinnamon Breasted bunting

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Red-billed Quelea

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And one a bit difficult for me to ID (chat? Lark?)

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The ever beautiful LBR

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And not to worry I did have some animals on the road… Giraffes

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And as I was get closer to the end of this road I got some BBJ hanging out with guinea fowl

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At camp I got the ever present visitors that are actually not welcomed by anyone

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Then back on the road it was for me, on the H4-2 I sat for a while with impala letting of some steam

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Then I had an ellie roadblock

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On the loop I met up with Wendy and we decided to have a convoy, it was a very quiet drive and all I saw was this beautiful blue waxbill

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And a baby giraffe quenching its thirst

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Thinking about it we decided that it was getting hot and definitely KPA time so we got back to camp and opened a few refreshments. I then had an afternoon nap and then at 15:30 it was time for an afternoon drive. Wendy reminded me that I wanted to see what was left of my hippo so we decided to drive the H4-1 then do the S79 back to camp.
Some of our sightings on our drive,
Jacobin cuckoo

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Baby impala having an early dinner

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I forgot to mention yesterday, when I drove to Nkuhlu I past the hippo, the rangers moved him out of the road and about 10m into the bushes, the view wasn’t brilliant but it could still be seen from the road. So as we got there, there were a hooded vulture with some white backed vultures and this was what was left in 36 hours…

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Then a brilliant sighting was these rhinos, they are just magnificent creatures…

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And a visitor at Lubye-Lubye bridge

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As we drew close to the camp it dawned upon me that we had seen no cats today, and just as we could see the camp, almost at sunset dam I saw Yusuf on the opposite side of the road facing us, it was strange as it was already 18:28 and we are all supposed to be in camp or at the gate. We got to him and guess what we saw?...

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Yes, 700m from the camp we get to have this sighting for what? 4 minutes? How unfair is this… so I took a few kiekies and had to go before I get fined. That night we had some wors and corn. I forgot to mention that we had some strange neighbours here in camp, the previous night they started playing guitar and singing karaoke (at least people quieted them after 3 songs). Tonight it was very quiet and we could go to sleep in peace at least.
Bu the peace was not long lived… at midnight it started to thunder and rain in the South… I was afraid the freezer would get wet so I got out and put it on my chair, I also moved Wendy’s chair and towels and the power cord. It was pouring down and stupidly I set up my tent on the bottom end of the camp, I was ankle high in water and stood outside with hands on my head thinking that there is absolutely nothing I could do if the rain would go in my tent… we had no shovel to dig a trench. So I went back in my tent and prayed to God that it won’t go on too long. I prayed myself to sleep…

To be continued…
2015
10 July Letaba
11 July Satara
12-14 July Lower Sabie
15-18 July Tsendze

24-27 September Lower Sabie

11-20 Dec Satara
14 Dec Sable Hide
21-27 Dec Lower Sabie
28-31 Dec Satara
1 Jan Croc Bridge
2-4 Jan Satara
5-8 Jan Lower Sabie

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Heksie
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Award: Sighting of the Year - Small creatures/insects (2014)
Posts: 4317
Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2013)
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Location: Pretoria

Re: Krugertripping this Summer...

Unread postby Heksie » Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:03 pm

Day 3… searching for some dogs
13 Dec

Now some background information:
I had been very lucky in the past when it came to wild dogs, I have seen them with every trip to Kruger, even if it was only for a weekend so it was very strange for me that I had no luck with them on my July and September trip this year… So I had them high on my wishlist for this trip together with a high priority cat… the SERVAL. If I had one sighting of both of them then my trip would have been worthwhile so I was on the lookout for these two species. Firstly I have done some digging about the serval and it seems that there have been numerous sightings of this cat on the S90, H10 and H5 so I made sure if I was in the vicinity of these roads I would drive them and the dogs you guys know are everywhere you just have to be on the right time in the right place. There have been some sightings of the dogs on the H1-2 near Leeupan the past few days after checking our map, Wendy and I decided to drive the H10 to Tshokwane and then H1-2 back to the highwater bridge and the H4-1 to camp this morning.
After the rain last night I was so glad that nothing in my tent was wet but unfortunately Wendy couldn’t say the same, it rained in at the back of her tent and her towel was outside, I couldn’t save it on time so we had to hang a few things to dry and then we were on the road.
It was very dark so we only started seeing things very later this morning on our drive.
A rhino family

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And more of my pooh-shrooms

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Then a three banded plover posed a bit for me (don’t you think she has sexy legs?)

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Also which was very strange for me, is the fact that I’ve had more sightings of the southern reedbuck, I have seen them now in the last three trips and not one sighting but a few. Don’t know where they were hiding the last few years but they are here now to stay.

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And I also had a close encounter with a red crested korhaan, she didn’t look very happy

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I know that you guys are wondering where are the baby impis, I just didn’t get them to pose nicely and they are very skittish, was the first time that whenever you would park next to them that they would just scamper of. But not to worry I did get one pic of a baba

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We had a refreshment break at Tshokwane and then it was time to get on the road again, on our way back we had the following sightings.
Warno, they are getting bigger by the visit

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At leeupan we had a woolly necked stork

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Wahlberg Eagle

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And a saddle billed stork

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I still dream of the day that they have a birdhide here, it is a magical place with a lot of birds.
Then back on the main road I heard the loud screeching of our Kruger pet, the brown headed parrot. I always hear them first and then just look where the sound come from…

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We got to Eloff street with no luck on our side as the doggies where not seen that day. Eish we just need to try another day…
But we did see a lot of impala, and here one was having a late brunch

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And then we were back at camp, it was very hot and it was decided that only KPA would cool us down so we popped a few bottles and chilled in camp. I brought a few books to the Park as I was way behind with my reading, and Wendy also brought Tony Parks’ –dark heart for me. It was time to chillax with a good book and an ice cold refreshment… so we busied ourselves till 15:30 when it was time to go on another drive. Our plan was to do the H4-2->enter the S28 N entrance->S137->S130 back to camp.
First sighting for me was the fish eagle, it is about 5km from LS, you will see this beautiful bird almost every day in the same dead tree…

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Then an ellie with a crooked tooth

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A baby steenbokkie

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Some zebra

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And a tawny eagle right next to the road

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More rhinos, we had 16 rhinos that day… it was such a beautiful day for these amazing beasts

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Then I don’t know if you guys do it as well, but I would stop and think I saw something then everybody in the car would ask me what I saw whilst I’m busy with the binocs and then I would put them down and start driving again as it was a rockbuck or a bushcat… Yes, 9/10 times I see absolutely nothing but I do stop every time still. And today the same happened, I stopped and was checking out the rocks on the other side of the Sabie river with my binocs when the one looked a bit more like a cat. I have never been so excited as I spotted my own lions, and they weren’t in the road, they were about 400m from me!!!! I waved Wendy down and with joy and excitement pointed out the lioness to her and another surprise was that there was a male lion just lying under the tree behind her.

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We stayed a while and was awarded with them standing up… they walked next to the riverbed for about 1km and we were now 4 cars following them… they had a drink and roared and it was amazing even though they were so far from us.

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Then came the bushes on our side so we lost them along the way, but it is a good thing otherwise we would’ve been late. It was starting to get cloudy and I just had to stop, this holiday I had a thing about the clouds and sky and there is many more pics taken of the heaven…

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And my last sighting for the day is these thick knees

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We got home and heated some goulash that Wendy made for us at home. It was delish, we added some cous-cous and corn. We had a bit more food than space in the freezer so all the veg that could go vrot we tried to consume early in our trip. That night we could go to bed early and I passed out, at least there was no rain that night. But I have to add that I was afraid that we would get so I took a bit of initiative and took an axe to make us a trench… not a lot of fun…

To be continued…
2015
10 July Letaba
11 July Satara
12-14 July Lower Sabie
15-18 July Tsendze

24-27 September Lower Sabie

11-20 Dec Satara
14 Dec Sable Hide
21-27 Dec Lower Sabie
28-31 Dec Satara
1 Jan Croc Bridge
2-4 Jan Satara
5-8 Jan Lower Sabie

User avatar
Heksie
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Award: Sighting of the Year - Small creatures/insects (2014)
Posts: 4317
Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2013)
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2010 11:37 pm
Location: Pretoria

Re: Krugertripping this Summer...

Unread postby Heksie » Mon Feb 03, 2014 7:06 pm

Day 4… one thing leads to another
14 Dec

Wendy and I decided to drive to Skukuza this morning, last year the S21 was very good to me so our planned route was the H4-1 then the S21->S114->H1-1 to Skuks and then Eloff street back to LS. Did we keep to our plans? Well you guys must find out…
Woke up very early again, and what is strange to me, every morning I would only see one guide in the bathroom… LS have been very chilled with no hurry in the bathroom or camp in the mornings. We packed our lunch and Wendy her MMC and off we went. We were not in the front but when the gate opened everybody was turning left towards CB so we followed only one car towards Skuks. The first thing that I saw this morning was the sun painting the clouds as it was coming over the horizon…

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I fell behind and didn’t see Wendy or the other car, when I crept forward I just saw both of them with their red lights on, on the left hand side of the car and Wendy pointed to the right hand side. What would wait there was the closes I’ve ever seen a leopard so far in my life… she was about 3m from the front car.

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She was very chilled, posing differently every few minutes and we were only 4 cars so nobody was bothered, we just enjoyed the sighting. After a while she started getting agitated and she hissed at something we didn’t see in front of the first car, then the francolins started showing and shouting all over this place. She soon lost interest.

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And decided it was time to stand up, stretch a bit and then se walked right next to the front car, I couldn’t see what happened there but after a while she came towards us and walked right next to me, now we were 6 cars but everyone behaved well, she stretched in the bushes next to me and then walked further into the bushes…

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We decided that because we had already a great sighting that we aren’t going to reverse and search for her, we are going to give the other people a chance, we were 20 minutes with her and it was magical. We moved on and as we approached the S21 I informed Wendy that a refreshment break is in order so we decided to go to Nkuhlu and then come back to do the S21. We got a Wartie at the dam just past the S21,

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And the hippo carcass was stinking whilst hyenas were slurping up the last bit of juices… it was a vomiting experience but we survived…

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We also saw a juvenile fish eagle just a few metres from the hyenas

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Then just before Nkuhlu I saw a purple crested Turaco, again I wasn’t allowed to take a nice kiekie, but hey this is proof

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We got to Nkuhlu and did the necessary things, then as we got to our cars the people that arrived just after us stopped at the picnic spot, we had a quick chat and was informed that the leopard was still visible for 20 minutes and then went down the riverbed. After saying our goodbyes we were on our way to the S21. The road was fairly quiet and we had a few small sightings.
What I believe is the excretion of a predator…

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Then we had a close encounter with dwarf mongoose… (look at the eety beety baba)

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Blue headed Agama

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And we were almost finished with the road, abut 5km before the S114 you get a loop towards a small dam on the left hand side so Wendy drove straight and I took the loop, I got the biggest skrik when I saw this…

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They were walking towards the main road and I didn’t know how to wave Wendy down to look to her left, I was jumping up and down in my car of excitement and then when I was finished with the loop I turned right going back towards Wendy. There were 3 males and 4 female lions lying in and around the road… what kind of luck did we have today and it was only 9:00. We sat with them alone for an hour and then 3 cars arrived; we all had a great view and even moved so they could sit basically next to the lions and after another 20 minutes we moved on towards Skuks…

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When we got to Skuks we saw that there was a HR display outside the restaurant. There were animal fur coats and teeth and skulls all over, they were educating people about poaching and selling those rhino cookies, we both bought one for the cause and then it was time to get back on the road as it was getting hotter by the minute and it was only 12:00. We got to th3 H4-1/H11 T-junction and heard a vervet barking, people drove past us and said that a leopard just walked past them in the bushes so I said I’m going to search for the leppie and Wendy moved on to LS. I saw nothing and remembered that the Alfa loop can let you see from the other side so I went back and turned unto the loop, unfortunately I saw nothing but to my surprise Wendy came from the from the opposite side. From there we went on the bravo loop and saw nothing as it was getting scorching hot. Wendy waved me down at the end of the loop and said that she would rather go back to Skuks and stay there the afternoon, work from her laptop and do the late drive from Skuks to LS. I was in a bit of a predicament as I didn’t have anything to do with myself for 4 hours. After putting our heads together we decided to go visit the nursery, then stay at Lake Panic. On our way to the nursery we saw some banded mongoose.

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It was my first time at the nursery, and definitely something I would recommend for the botanist, there is even a wetlands information walk with benches to enjoy the view and birdies if you are lucky. It was getting unbearably hot and when I saw the golf club all I could think about was ice cold KPA… it didn’t take a lot to get Wendy on the KPA-train so off we went to our next stop: Skukuza Gold club. There was a wedding taking place but at least the bar was open for day visitors. We had our first one in the bar area which is equipped with a HUGE fan, it definitely did the job and we were cooled down instantly but we didn’t want to be surrounded by walls so we opted for the shade underneath a huge tree on the golf course. So another round was ordered and we moved into the open air. We sat there on the grass the whole afternoon, enjoying our ice cold KPA’s, one after the other and the traditional African music from the wedding, with players driving past us in the summer heat and fish eagles swooping down with the occasional kingfisher for some fish in the dam. Now this was heaven but by 16:00 it had to come to an end and we had to make our way down to LS again.
Our route was just straight H4-1 and the S79 loop. Nothing much was seen except…
Hyena den

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And then my bird sighting of the trip, a lifer as well…
The grey headed kingfisher on the S79 causeway

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We got to camp with exhausted but happy as it was a great day. That night I only made a tuna salad that went well with yet another KPA, as it was too hot to struggle over a scorching fire. We sat in the dark enjoying the light breeze blowing past us every now and then and then it was time to go to bed again.

To be continued…
2015
10 July Letaba
11 July Satara
12-14 July Lower Sabie
15-18 July Tsendze

24-27 September Lower Sabie

11-20 Dec Satara
14 Dec Sable Hide
21-27 Dec Lower Sabie
28-31 Dec Satara
1 Jan Croc Bridge
2-4 Jan Satara
5-8 Jan Lower Sabie

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Heksie
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Re: Krugertripping this Summer...

Unread postby Heksie » Tue Feb 04, 2014 7:30 pm

Day 5… a short but not so sweet day

15 Dec

This morning it was again time to do some short drives we went up the H1-4 to the S79 and back and then then down the H4-2->S130->S137->S28->H4-2 back to camp. The road was slow and quiet, we trundled next to the riverbed with not much sightings to see, we did see a civet cross the road far off in the road but could not take pics. Some sightings that we had the morning:
Bobbies as usual entertaining us on the road

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Yellow billed kite

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Buff wading in the Sabie river, wish we thought the same as this would be one of the hottest days of our trip

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At sunsetdam I got the best close-up I could get of white-faced ducks

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Then as per usual I had to drive over the lower sabie bridge and it was full of swallow, here is a wire-tailed swallow, I think…

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And a water monitor was sunbathing on the water eroded sides next to the Sabie river

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I also saw lesser striped swallows on the bridge when I turned back to the H4-2

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Then a terry crossed our path, he had a lovely mudbath in the early morning heat

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On the dirt roads we got a giraffe cleaning his nose

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And some waterbuck

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Then the fish eagle was posing as always on our way back to camp

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In camp our very friendly neighbour, who couldn’t speak any English, showed us a critter in his camp, this was my first time seeing a baby rock monitor…

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Now today wasn’t like any other day, we were back in camp by 9:30 and I thought it time to take a morningish nap… after an hour or so I started sweating too much that I couldn’t stand it in my tent anymore. When I peered outside my tent I saw Wendy chilling underneath a very small tree 2m from our camp. I got myself a KPA and a book and then joined her, she then decided to try to have a nap and I sat In her very comfy chair and the whole hot afternoon I was absorbed in Tony Parks’ Dark Heart. I just had to stand up every now and then to get a refreshment from the freezer. By 15:30 it was time to do an afternoon drive and I decided to do the S29 loop. I saw a red crested korhaan

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Some kudu crossing the road

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A spurfowl was screeching from a small bushel next to my car, so thought to take a kiekie of him

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And then a highlight of the day for me was three green pigeons on the H10 . very bad pic but still proof

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Whilst waiting for the greenies to pose I saw a crested francolin family crossing the road in front of me

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I had time left so decided to check out Lubye-Lubye, and unfortunately no spotty was waiting for me there… but the woodie of the other day was sitting in the same spot again on the side of the bridge.

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Some other sightings on the H4-1: ellies

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Close up of a water monitor

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And another bushveld sunset.

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It was the first catless day for me but a day still full of beautiful sightings, we had bean chilli with cous cous that night and a glass of Amarula, tomorrow would be our last full day in LS so to bed we went early as we had our own routes to think about for the next day.

To be continued…
2015
10 July Letaba
11 July Satara
12-14 July Lower Sabie
15-18 July Tsendze

24-27 September Lower Sabie

11-20 Dec Satara
14 Dec Sable Hide
21-27 Dec Lower Sabie
28-31 Dec Satara
1 Jan Croc Bridge
2-4 Jan Satara
5-8 Jan Lower Sabie

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Heksie
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Re: Krugertripping this Summer...

Unread postby Heksie » Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:16 pm

Day 6… a good morning becomes a fantastic day

16 December

Wendy decided to have a sleep in this morning so I was the lone musketeer today, it was our last full day at Lower Sabie so I wanted to get as much of the South in today, it was a total day drive plan coming into my mind… starting this morning with the S21 on my way to Skuks and then the H1-2 back to camp, from there the H10->S29 and the S128 back to camp and then just for good measure the H4-1 for an afternoon drive and take the S79 back to camp. Many kilometres had to be covered but the 14 hour days of summer allowed as many as 200km a day which was in my favour…
I was first at the gate and driving in front this morning, the other cars behaving themselves and following me at a distance and it was quiet in the dark with only a few hippos grazing next to the road. After about 10km I saw something in the distance and after eyeing it with my binocs I started jumping up and down again in my car… I was so excited but couldn’t rush towards what was moving into my direction…

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So number 2 on my wishlist was ticked. Strange behaviour, they did it with the bakkie and this car behind me…

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I followed these two for 2km towards Lower Sabie but decided it was time to get a move on to Skuks and turned around.

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And then I saw this meneertjie strolling my way, the morning is blossoming with sightings, I don’t mind a slow morning if this is what happens…

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Then I go a baby tortie in the road

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Now I don’t know if I have shared enough how BIG a snake fan I am, if I see them I’m always stoked but bummed out as well because they normally move too fast for any kiekies, I have been very fortunate this trip as all I wanted to see the last few trips was a puffie and guess who was waiting in the road for me…

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After a while he moved into the bushes, I have a very gagga video of it, and then it chilled next to the road… what more can I ask for?

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A car stopped next me and asked what I was looking at, I reversed and showed them, it was three okes and we had a short chat, nothing was on the road from Skuks to the S21 which I was glad about as I really wanted to do the S21 this morning and there was no need to deviate now. I left them with the puffie and turned on the dirt road. The road was strangely very quiet for my taste and only got this Mr Majestic

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And a few chameleons

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I did drive into another non-forum friend of mine, this was the third trip we would see each other this year, his name is Thokozani and he was in the Park with the boys… I was informed that the S21 was dead, uhm, I knew that as I already drove 18km of the road and he told me that the previous day the lions was again 5km from the S114 and 100m from them a leopard… WHAT!?! Oh well, that is the unpredictability of Kruger for you… We waved goodbye and on I drove again, I took the S114 and then came out on the H1-1 from there I was informed about lions at the S112 entrance so I turned to the H3, and oh how glad I was that I did it instead of turning back and taking the dirt to the S112. I got there and there was only one uno as well as a bakkie that stopped on the right side of the uno so I took my 4x4 and went a bit offroad to the left of the uno, we were 3 cars on my side but the opposite side of the lions were a traffic jam which I don’t want to be part of. There were 2 sub-adults, 6 cubs and 3 female lions. This sighting lasted for 10 minutes maybe but it was the best cub sighting I’ve ever had in the Park.

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Afterwards one female passed my car with a sub-adult male and it is one of those whoops moments as she basically brushed my car as she passed and my car was switched off, I just froze in my car as my windows couldn’t wind up… The people in the uno looked at me with wide eyes and I just shrugged and then turned around as I wanted other people to enjoy the sighting as well. I stopped at Skuks for a bathroom break and something cold to drink, I got a message from Wendy that she is doing the H5 then S26 to Mpondo, on my way to LS I got a message from her that she saw a serval and I was SO JEALOUS, something that I so want to see but I was so happy about my sightings this morning, don’t know if I would trade? Here is the sightings of my drive…

Buffalo

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Grey duiker

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Beautiful bushbuck

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And at sunset dam I stayed a while with this amazing specimen having a mudbath

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I stayed at camp for a while, read maybe a chapter when the road was calling me again so I had to listen. On the bridge there was a giant kingfisher posing so beautifully

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And what makes the H10 such a beautiful road is the open spaces and you can see animals in the distance.

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Another great sighting for me was this hornbill snacking a bit, he decided that he doesn’t want spectators and moved further in the bushes…

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And I believe that this is a black shouldered kite? What say the specialists?

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Then I got the a surprise I didn’t expect. I stopped on the low water bridge and like every time I do hope to see something special, something you don’t see everyday, something you can only see near water. And I see this car in front of me looking to my left and as I look towards the pools I see something sliding in the water, it happened so fast but I got a few pics, I have proof of my second Cape clawless Otter in KNP!!!!! How amazing is this day?

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I was jumping out of my skin by now, I had 90 minutes to go before gate closing time so just a short drive was in order. I got a small roadblock just before the S79 E entrance and check this cutie pie. Wendy came from the front and we shared a few words an left for the camp.

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Just after this there were another roadblock, people dressed in army clothes checked the cars which was great! A thumbs-up to SANPArks!!!! They were checking the entry permits and searched cars. I think these unplanned searches is a great initiative for the rhino war.
I turned on the S79 and 300m in look what was waiting in the distance…

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I didn’t know what to do, must I drive on or stop or speed? Then she disappeared. I kept on driving and as guesstimated where she was I looked to my left and behind the bushes I had this horrible view.

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A car came from the front as I got to her and I asked them did they see her. Nothing! At least the car behind me, my neighbour saw her. I told them to move next to me so they can look through the bushes and I drove forward for if she would move, and she did after a minute.

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At least all three of us saw her and then it was time to move on as the clock was ticking. I thought to myself I have seen everything except a rhino today and around the next corner this popped up…

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Now it was cherry on my koek as we Afrikaners would say. The big 5, wild dog, puffie and a CCO… we could ask for nothing better. I got to camp just with a minute to spare and it was time to fill up my car as we were to meet Sparrow and co in Phala and stay at Sable Hide tomorrow so a long road lay ahead. Now came blunder #3 for the trip: I ask the attendant to fill it up, he tells me the amount I need to pay and after I gave him the money quickly go in his office to get change. He hands me the change and then walk to another car. I start my car and drive away….KA-KLONK… and as I look back the petrol hose is still in my car and stretched to its max. So I reverse and he takes it out and then walks off again. I drive to camp and tell the story to Wendy and I decide to inspect the spot and see this…

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I pretty negative now and go back to reception to report this, I’m sorry but have any one of you experienced this? I have never in my life checked if they take out the petrol hose and close my petrol cap… I didn’t know that we should check it out. I see the camp manager and tell her the story, she takes a pic and inform met that she must communicate with regional office and will come back to me. I did get a sms from her the following day and that was it, it has been more than a month now and still nothing from SANPArks, how bad is that?

Back to my TR, we had our last braai and after a few KPA’s we went to bed as tomorrow an early morning of packing awaits us.

To be continued…
2015
10 July Letaba
11 July Satara
12-14 July Lower Sabie
15-18 July Tsendze

24-27 September Lower Sabie

11-20 Dec Satara
14 Dec Sable Hide
21-27 Dec Lower Sabie
28-31 Dec Satara
1 Jan Croc Bridge
2-4 Jan Satara
5-8 Jan Lower Sabie

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Heksie
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Award: Sighting of the Year - Small creatures/insects (2014)
Posts: 4317
Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2013)
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Location: Pretoria

Re: Krugertripping this Summer...

Unread postby Heksie » Mon Feb 10, 2014 7:33 pm

Day 7… on our way to meet some friends

17 December

The morning started early and busy, we packed up and just before we leave we wanted to get some ice for the coolerbox, we had only space in the freezer for our meat and our KPA so the veg etc had to keep cool in the box. I went to the store to fetch the ice but it was still dark, I it was actually scary being there with no one around, but there were no cats lurking around I made it back to my car in one piece. We left the camp at 4:50 and had a long way to go, as we were to meet Crested Val and family as well as Sparrow with his entourage in Phala for a drink then go to Sable Hide for our annually night stay. I just have to add that Leachy and Sprocky was supposed to join us but Wendy and I was under the assumption that there were only 8 beds in the hide, we were one bed short and couldn’t accommodate them. Again so sorry Leach and Sprocks as later I found out there were 9 beds but one was broken so also could not be used in anyway.
We started with a beautiful morning sun

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And first thing we saw was this rhino family

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Then some pooh-shrooms next to the road

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And then we were lucky enough to see another reedbuck this morning…

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Afterwards we had a run in with a secretary bird, after a few pics Wendy drove on but I stayed with the bird trying to get nice shots, it didn’t really happen…

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When I moved on I just saw Wendy’s car around the bend not moving and as I turned to my left I saw a lioness in the open walking to a waterhole to drink. She was also calling but we didn’t know for who as she was alone. After a few minutes she just walked off…

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Then this road produced a lot of white storks, they were everywhere. I was lucky enough to get one in flight

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I looked to my right and was excited when I spotted this…

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I flashed for Wendy and pointed towards the lions. It was so quiet and peaceful, sitting for about 40 minutes with these ladies, they only stood up when the other female crossed the road again, but she disappeared as soon as she showed herself.

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They stayed on their spot and we decided to move on, soon after we saw this breeding herd of ellies came towards us, but at least after a few metres went into the bushes

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We also saw a kori bustard

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And a MR Majestic posed beautifully for us

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Now it was time for a quick stop at Tshokwane and then we had to press on as it was another 150km to go. We had a great sighting of ground hornbills, the one had a terry in his mouth

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At Kumana there were some white face ducks close by

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Then some birdies, we got a Wahlberg eagle and a young bateleur

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Just before Satara we got some buffalo, the one was scratching his head on a piece of wood.

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Another quick stop at Satara and then we met Nkulu, she was there with her husband for a few days and went on a quick drive whilst hubby did an afternoon sleep. We had to pick up our speed otherwise we would never make it on time. So we would only stop for ‘special’ sightings. We had a lot of general game on this road, everywhere there were zebra, wildebeest and ellies with some steenbokkies popping up every now and then. But as we drove past Ngotso dam (about 1km) we were met by a 5 car road block (the good thing about the North) and this was waiting in the tree. He did absolutely nothing, found out on facebook that he was there since 7:00 and we saw him just past 11:00.

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It was quiet all the way to Letaba and we saw a juvenile Bateleur

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And just outside Letaba an ellie carcass in the riverbed, crocs and vultures were taking a few bites of him…

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Now for the last stretch towards Phala gate, it was starting to get hot so we almost stopped for nothing but I didn't see waterbuck today so here it is

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And a red crested korhaan, I saw the falling dance, it happened right above me so was brilliant!

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And a LOT of hyraxes very close to Masorini

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We got to the gate by 16:00 and checked in, and they would get our sleeping bags ready for when we get back at 18:00. They also allowed us to plug in the freezer at reception so our meat won’t go off. Wendy left her phone there to get charged as well, now it was off to Spar to buy some fresh veg and salad greens and then to Buffalo Pub and Grill for a few cold refreshments. It was 17:00 and we just had to bid our farewells and off we went back into the Park, we got our bedding at the gate and now the last 10km before we get to Sable Hide. We saw the Ellie carcass with lots of vultures, it was shot a few days ago because it was a nuisance… some buffalo and impala and as we get to the hide, we see a JJ 10m from the entrance, Wendy and I drive up to them, and guess what waits for us…

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It was 2 lionesses, the guide also told us that the rest of the pride was on the other side of the dam, we didn’t see them though. Sparrow and co missed the lionesses with a few minutes as they walked off, now us gals were too scared to open the gate to the hide so we waited for Sparrow to be a gentleman, which he was.
Pics of the hide

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I can just say that although I was bummed that we were 2 members short, this was definitely one of my most memorable nights in the Park. We unpacked what we needed that night, we took down our beds and made them up for the night. Then it was time to relax and have a few KPA’s and kuier with some friends. Sparrow was our chef for the night and made us delicious prawns and lemon-garlic butter with prego rolls. It was drizzling lightly and it was the first night that Wendy and I heard mozzies, so we had to put on the necessary ointment. With magies vol we went to the hide at about 23:00 and on our way we saw scrub hare, we sat inside with our torches ready we checked the dam but could only see some impies.
I soon went to bed and left Wendy and Sparrow on their Sable search. The other two were fast asleep before I went to bed.

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Now just to add about the night, I don’t really go to the loo during the night, and with the longdrop at the hide being like 2km from where we sleep I really didn’t want to have to visit the loo but with heksie’s luck I had to visit it THREE times that night and every time I walk out the first thing I do is shine on the left over prawn that waited on the braai. I mean our cats at home just love fishies so I bet a leopard would love a bowl full of prawns… And when I’m happy that the braai area is safe I walk down and check underneath the hide for sleeping lions… All I can say is that I survived the night.


To be continued…
2015
10 July Letaba
11 July Satara
12-14 July Lower Sabie
15-18 July Tsendze

24-27 September Lower Sabie

11-20 Dec Satara
14 Dec Sable Hide
21-27 Dec Lower Sabie
28-31 Dec Satara
1 Jan Croc Bridge
2-4 Jan Satara
5-8 Jan Lower Sabie

User avatar
Heksie
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Award: Sighting of the Year - Small creatures/insects (2014)
Posts: 4317
Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2013)
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Location: Pretoria

Re: Krugertripping this Summer...

Unread postby Heksie » Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:08 pm

Day 8… moving to my new best place on earth

Dec 18

I was told last night that I am not allowed to put my alarm on so I woke up this morning at about 4:30 and saw that Wendy was already awake, bats had flown into her mosquito net and kept her up this morning… what bats? They were gone by the time I woke. This is the one problem with staying at the hide, we have to ready at about 5:00 for any visitors to the hide so it was time to put the bedding in the bags and hang the beds again. Was glad to see that everything was still there, no cats lying next to our cars…

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After putting everything in the cars and cleaning up after us it was time to wake up and have our first MMC’s

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And then after a smoke and our first cuppa it was time to leave as we wanted to get to Satara as quickly as possible, to get a fence camping spot.

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We went to Phala gate to hand in the bedding and get my freezer then it was a drive not as long as yesterday but still not one I wanted to do. I don’t know what it is but I hate going from one camp to another when I am moving camp so I rarely stop at sightings and try to get to the new camp as quick as possible. But if my car is not cramped and I’m settled in then it is a different story, I can drive around the whole day and have no bother in the world. So we drove straight with only one stop to the camp. We saw buffalo, waterbuck, vultures and impala on our way as well as hyraxes

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And Steenbokkies

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We made a quick stop at Letaba, got some coffee from the restaurant and some freshening up. Then we were on our way again. The road was very quiet to Satara, with not a lot of people on the road. We saw a fish eagle from the Olifants bridge

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And then on the last stretch we had secretary birds, kori bustards, rhino, zebra, willies, giraffes and ostriches. And then we saw the camp. We drove straight to the camping area to check if there were any sites to our liking and there were two next to the fence, except that the nicest one didn’t have an electric point so we took the other one, it was about 150m from a bathroom and the electrical point was broke but worked, we started setting up camp immediately. Sparrow and co didn’t have a long lead so they couldn’t take the other fence spot either and camped about 20m from the bathroom in a shady spot. This was our view…

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It was now 11:00 and time to get cleaned up, I had a shower in the newly renovated bathroom in the camping area. Then we had a drink in the Sparrow lounge. After a cooldowner we chilled in camp and then it was time for another afternoon drive, Wendy stayed in camp and I decided to take the S100. I was doing 20km/h and enjoying the drive, this is a beautiful road, right next to the N’wanetsi river and full of general game, I saw waterbuck, giraffe, zebra, willies and warties. I saw my first bushbuck for the last 2 days

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And then when I reached an uphill from a turn (+-17.2km on the road) I saw this…

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I stopped in my tracks as I didn’t want to chase him away, they were 80m from me? And the people in the car waved me closer so I drove very slowly towards them, he moved into the grass in my direction from the road so I did get to take a few pics of him….

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We had a short chat and were both very excited of this sighting, it was only us 2 cars that shared it and they informed me that about 30 minutes ago they saw 3 cheetahs on the S41 towards the H6. They said that they were on a leopard dry run for 4 days in this area so this was the highlight of the week so far. We said our farewells and I decided to take their route as time was against me and it seemed that I needed a loo urgently. Unfortunately for me there were no cheetah but I did see some ellies in the riverbed

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And then something strange… I think that this impala was in a snare, it has circle patches on its neck… or am I just seeing stuff?

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Then for a quick stop at N’wanetsi picnic spot. Now time was running against me so I couldn’t really stop for any sighting. Don’t you hate when it happens? It was the road with the most sightings for the afternoon and I had to woosh past everything…
Kori bustard

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Numerous breeding herd of ellies

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And a huge herd of buffalo, unfortunately they were very far and just a few were up close so I could take some pics

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And then when I got to the end of the road I saw a few cars parked on the H1-3, I turned on the road and drove closer. It was one of the in the right place at the right time, cause there were 4 cars in front of me and 5 next to them but as I stopped at the end of the row these little critters were coming my way…

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There were 3 cubs with no adult in sight, maybe I missed her? Now this one looks like he had a horrible tick infestation. They were also a bit thin for my taste… Not the type of lion I would expect in cat country…

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They walked past me and crossed the road behind me.

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The people were so nice, the car next to me actually said I could turn around and stand in front of them, I said ‘no’ as I already got nice pics and told them I’m moving on but thanks. I got to camp just in time, we were a 9 car convoy but nobody sped at least.
That night we weren’t really in the mood for a difficult menu so we made steak rolls. We braaied our meat and then with our own toppings together with the steak we made delicious sarmies.

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It was enjoyed with ice cold KPA’s, after filling our stomachs and some relaxing conversation it was time to go to bed.

To be continued…
2015
10 July Letaba
11 July Satara
12-14 July Lower Sabie
15-18 July Tsendze

24-27 September Lower Sabie

11-20 Dec Satara
14 Dec Sable Hide
21-27 Dec Lower Sabie
28-31 Dec Satara
1 Jan Croc Bridge
2-4 Jan Satara
5-8 Jan Lower Sabie

User avatar
Heksie
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Award: Sighting of the Year - Small creatures/insects (2014)
Posts: 4317
Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2013)
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Re: Krugertripping this Summer...

Unread postby Heksie » Sun Feb 16, 2014 3:34 pm

Day 9… discovering Central Kruger

19 December

It was my first full day in Satara this year and I was excited and planned on covering as much of this area as possible, but also I want to drive the S90 as many times I can as this road is known for its servals… My planned route for this morning was the H1-3 to the H6 then S41->S90->camp. Satara is a totally different camp, I got there 4:20 and was about 10th in the cue, even though it was drizzling, most of the cars turned right at the intersection so I was a bit bummed as I was not in the mood for any jams, but I spoke to quickly as almost all of them then turned on the S100… YAY! I was driving not even 1km when I saw brake lights in front of me and coming my way was this lady…

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Cars were coming from behind so I left her with them and then went on my merry way, I came to the spot where I saw the cubs yesterday and saw a few cars next to the road. When I got a spot I started looking with my binocs, it was difficult to see anything as it was still a bit dark but after a few moments I saw the cubs again, they were about 100m and the grass weren’t really helping out but they could still be seen. They were stationary for 20 minutes but the light was bad so no pics and then walked off behind some bushes.

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Whilst waiting with them I had an encounter with some mites, Rooikat, rooivalk and the LO’s. We had such a lekker chat and laugh, they were on their way to Berg en Dal for the last part of their trip! Definitely people I would enjoy having a braai with! We said our farewells and were off in different directions.
I saw some white storks next to the road

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And the weather started clearing

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The wet weather didn’t allow for great sightings, I got a fish eagle

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And then on the Gudzani road this lone lioness was lying far from the road

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I sat 20 minutes with her, it was in the open so we all had a great view. Then came Sparrow and co. We had a brief chat about sightings and I moved on, leaving them with the lioness.
The S41 produced a few birdies for me this morning, juvenile bateleur

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White backed vulture

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And some general game:
Zebra

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Waterbuck

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Ostrich

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Black bellied Korhaan

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And then some BBJ’s

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On a small bridge I got close with my hamerkop

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And then some willies, with babas

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I got to camp and we saw that our neighbours, wonderful French couple, were packing up so I phoned Sparrow and told him that there were a fence view campsite open, as they have another 4 days left why not move? They asked us to keep the spot for them…
Whilst waiting for them I took some pics of an agama

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Sparrow arrived and when they moved their caravan next to us, Wendy and I went on an afternoon drive. I’ve never taken the sweni road so it was the road we would take this afternoon then down to Orpen and back. Here is some sightings we saw this afternoon…

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We got to camp just in time and then it was chilling time. Tonight we will get some visitors, and it is great having friends camping right next to you so it would be a great fiesta. It was Sparrow and co, Petra and Scips and then Wendy and I having a lekker braai…
Also check our view in front of Sparrow’s camp…

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to be continued...
2015
10 July Letaba
11 July Satara
12-14 July Lower Sabie
15-18 July Tsendze

24-27 September Lower Sabie

11-20 Dec Satara
14 Dec Sable Hide
21-27 Dec Lower Sabie
28-31 Dec Satara
1 Jan Croc Bridge
2-4 Jan Satara
5-8 Jan Lower Sabie

User avatar
Heksie
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Posts: 4317
Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2013)
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Location: Pretoria

Re: Krugertripping this Summer...

Unread postby Heksie » Tue Feb 18, 2014 9:24 pm

Day 10… exploring new roads

20 December

I forgot to share some fire conversation of the previous night: we were talking about white lions and was told by Scips that there have been seen on the S90 near Bangu waterhole. We also spoke about the prides near Satara and how many prides there is and the sightings in the surrounds as they have been there since beginning December. So we all decided to visit Bangu the next morning hoping for some white lions…
We woke up and early and was very early at the gate but still not first… Whilst waiting for the gate to open I took the time to take some kiekies and they had some MMC’s. We were a vision of yellow that morning at the gate...

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Sparrow and co drove the H1-4 to Olifants and would do the S90 back but Wendy and I decided to drive the S90 first, dirt roads are much quieter. Now a great thing that morning is that we had 9 BBJ sightings on the S90 in the first 13km.

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And then as the sun started showing itself, some general game shone around us

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Then I got this raptor… Guys I’m struggling with the ID, It has white feathers on the legs so it should be an eagle? But I see none with the same colouring on the feathers so is it a juvenile?

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And then the sighting of the morning… Wendy stopped abruptly in front of me and just pointed to the front, from the long grass came some ostrich chicks… and then came more and more and more. They didn’t stay in the road long and this is the only pic I could take to show how many they were together. We counted 26 chicks with the 2 female and 1 male.

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The road was mostly quiet but we did see kudu in the distance, an ellie with huge tusks and some loving giraffes just before Sparrow came from the front. We shared some sightings and were off again. We also had this horribly rude people that sped past us twice with the black sharks stickered bakkie! We saw them again on the Oifants bridge but just drove past them. I saw this little beauty just before we turned towards Olifants camp.

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And then they were there again, speeding past us because there were buffalo in the road…

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We sat with them for a while and carried on towards the camp as my bladder was almost bursting but I did get time to stop for a wartie family and a rockjumpertjie.
We got to the camp and bought something to eat, sommer sarmies and cold meat. We also sat and looked over the river having a cold drink, it started getting warmer and we had a long way to camp. It was time to head back to camp and the river-dirtroad-detour was taken aka S92/S91. It is a beautiful road with some great treasures. I’ve had a special sighting almost every time I’ve driven this road and the view is spectacular.
African Hawk eagle

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I also saw my first bee eaters for the trip. A white-fronted bee eater

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I did every single loop on this road whilst Wendy drove straight and as I rounded a corner I saw her excitedly gesturing for me to come forward. Right next to her was this…

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Again, the bliss of driving dirt roads, we were only 3 cars and then came one more, we sat and chilled and enjoyed them for 20 minutes. The one lioness next to me saw impala on the other side of the road, stood up and started stalking them. Just as she crossed the road the stupidus shark car came speeding past us and stopped right in the view of Wendy. She called through her window that he should move forward as he is in her view, he looked at her and then winded up his window! Eish if I knew voodoo that day then someone would’ve been in trouble. Another lioness decided it was time to cross the road so Wendy moved forward to get a better view. I moved and parked in front of her so we both had great visual. They crossed the road right beside us…

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We sat with them over an hour and left them with the 4 cars. Great not being in a roadblock, and not feeling fussed at a sighting. The road back was very quiet with some ellies, a rhino, general game and a steenbokkie

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That afternoon I had a snooze as there was a slight breeze going through the camp. Then it was 15:30 and time to hit the road again. As I was searching for serval and Sparrow had seen cheetah near Gudzani this afternoon, I planned on doing the S100 ->S41->S90 home…
The S100 was very quiet but I drove it slowly as it is such a beautiful road and then I saw that time was against me so I had to drive a bit faster. Then as you know it always happens when you are in a hurry then all the animals show themselves. There were ellies and general game everywhere. I saw on one of the causeways some saddle-billed storks

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And then babies in the playpen

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I was on the S90 and started to stress as I could maybe not make the gate in time so I pushed on… and then I heard howling on my right, I got a moerse skrik but got to take this pic

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And the reason the BBJ was howling was that a badger crossed paths with him, the badger waddled so quickly so I only got bad kiekies… but proof

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And then to end off a brilliant sunset

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Not to worry I did make it with only seconds to spare and that night we made some homemade Wendy-goulash with cous-cous. Then sharing some stories and sightings around the fire with ice cold KPA’s with Sparrow and co. Afterwards Sparrow and I went to visit Petra and Scips as a willie died giving birth that afternoon, we were hoping for some action but only some hyenas came and started munching on them. It was getting late and we left them just before 22:00 to sleep as tomorrow would start early again. Another great day came to an end.

To be continued…
2015
10 July Letaba
11 July Satara
12-14 July Lower Sabie
15-18 July Tsendze

24-27 September Lower Sabie

11-20 Dec Satara
14 Dec Sable Hide
21-27 Dec Lower Sabie
28-31 Dec Satara
1 Jan Croc Bridge
2-4 Jan Satara
5-8 Jan Lower Sabie

User avatar
Heksie
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
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Award: Sighting of the Year - Small creatures/insects (2014)
Posts: 4317
Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2013)
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Location: Pretoria

Re: Krugertripping this Summer...

Unread postby Heksie » Sun Feb 23, 2014 11:46 am

Day 11… where is the Orpen pack?

21 December

My plan for this morning was to take the H7 and not stop for anything as I wanted to find the dogs of Orpen… there have been sightings of them the past few days and normally in the morning early so the sooner I get to that area the better. So as per usual I woke up early and was at the gate even before Sparrow and Wendy was awake, the people in front of me forgot something and went back to camp so I was first at the gate. About 20 minutes before the gate opened all we could hear were lions roaring around the camp. I just wished that it was light as nobody saw anything. The gate opened and we were off in all directions searching for the lions but also I wanted to get to Orpen, I wasn’t even 200m out of the gate when the first few cars rushed past me, these Satara visitors are very rude that way, in the South we respect the fact that someone was before us at the gate and we follow them until they stop and we can pass them. I turned unto the H7 and still saw no lion so on I went. I was driving and see elephant dung in the middle of the road but as I drew closer this dung looked a bit hairy and I stopped. In the road was this baby genet all curled up, still alive but very scared. I could fit his body in my hand.

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There wasn’t much to see maybe because I drove a bit faster than normally or because I wanted to see something so much that I couldn't see anything else. A slender mongoose

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Buffalo

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Senegal lapwing

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I missed a leopard crossing the road with seconds, eish, and then just past nsemani I got Wendy and twee menere…

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They were marking and posing for kiekies

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Wendy and I decided to then drive to Timbavati picnic spot via Giriviana dam and then take the S39 back to camp. There were a lot of sightings this time around.

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I got back to camp and chilled a bit, then read a bit of my book, I was going through my book slower than I wanted to. Then when the time came to get on the road again I didn’t’ hesitate. I took the H6->S41->S90 this afternoon. The first thing I saw was a small traffic jam but the people didn’t want to move, hogging the sighting for themselves the whole time. I only got this one pic… if you look in the middle you can see his snout…

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Some other sightings that afternoon:

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I got to camp just in time for the gate to close and that night we had a lekker braai with Sparrow and co. We were supposed to leave that afternoon but decided to stay an extra night on Sweet Sparrow’s reservation as we were enjoying Satara a lot and the company of our friends.

To be continued…
2015
10 July Letaba
11 July Satara
12-14 July Lower Sabie
15-18 July Tsendze

24-27 September Lower Sabie

11-20 Dec Satara
14 Dec Sable Hide
21-27 Dec Lower Sabie
28-31 Dec Satara
1 Jan Croc Bridge
2-4 Jan Satara
5-8 Jan Lower Sabie

User avatar
Heksie
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Award: Sighting of the Year - Small creatures/insects (2014)
Posts: 4317
Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2013)
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Location: Pretoria

Re: Krugertripping this Summer...

Unread postby Heksie » Wed Feb 26, 2014 6:47 pm

Day 12… an unexpected change in plans

22 December

I was glad spending another day at Satara so decided to take the normal routes S90->S41->S100 for a morning drive. I saw Sparrow and co this morning at the gate and they informed that they are going to enter the S39 N entrance and work their way down to the H7 so when the gate opened we waved each other goodbye and drove on our merry ways. I must say that it is best to drive N when you leave Satara camp as most cars rather drive the S100 and H6 or H7, a much quieter road for those that don’t want roadblocks etc.
I was driving extra slow this morning, I enjoyed everything and kept my eyes open for any movement in the grass but strangely enough my first sighting was something huge

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The sun started to show itself and some zebbies posed for a sunrise kiekie

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An ellie in the morning glow

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Steenbokkie

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And a duiker, they tend to run away before I can take a kiekie but this morning I got one

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Then the beautiful view of Gudzani

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An emerald spotted dove

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And some baba-verves keeping me busy with their antics

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I got to camp just before 10:00 and popped open a KPA as it started to get hot, just as I lit my first cigarette, my phone beeped and I saw that Wendy has sent me a message stating that she would rather stay 4 nights in CB than 3 if could not change our bookings from Malelane to CB the last few days so she is going to pack up camp and then move off BUT I am more than welcome to stay with the boys… my brain started ticking, which doesn’t happen regularly, and decided that I came to the Park with Wendy so where she goes I go. I started packing up and when everything was almost in my car she arrived. Also a bonus for my Satara trip was that we ran into Riverrat and we had a lekker chat whilst Wendy was taking down her tent and then just out of nowhere she started screaming… we ran towards her and saw this thing that was between her tent and flysheet!

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Known as a tailless whip spider
Amblypygids range from 3 to 23.6 inches (7.6 to 60 cm) in size according to legspan. Their bodies are broad and highly flattened, with a solid carapace and a segmented abdomen. They have a pair of median eyes at the front of the carapace, located just above the chelicerae (in a manner somewhat similar to that of crustaceans), and possessed three smaller eye pairs placed further back on each side, for a total of eight eyes.
Amblypygids possess medium to poor eyesight. Their pedipalps, which serve as sensors for many related arachnids, are modified for grabbing and retaining prey, much like those of a mantis. The first pair of legs act as sensory organs and are not used for walking. The sensory legs are very thin and elongate, have numerous sensory receptors, and can extend several times the length of body. Typically, the animal holds one of these legs out in front of it as it moves, and uses the other to probe the terrain to the side.


All I want to comment is that this thing is bloody scary!
After getting rid of it, by chasing it with a water bottle, we packed in the last things and were off towards the South again. It was hot and there weren’t a lot of things on our way to CB.
A baby zeb

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Egyptian goose with goslings

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Purple rollers but the sun didn’t allow for nice kiekies

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A herd of buffies

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And then the only thing we saw in hundreds from LS to CB were these…

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We got to the camp at 16:00 and it was pretty full, thinking where do we want to pitch up our new camp, pondering between a fence view with no shade what so ever or the shadiest spot in the camp…
We were gatvol of the afternoon heat so the trees won that day and it was the best decision that trip. We unpacked and our camp was chilling under the trees in no time with some sundowners. That night we got some wood from our neighbours as it would be their last night in the Park, how nice are the campers? And we also saw our first scorpion for the trip which wasn’t something I really wanted to see as I love either being barefoot or wearing slops…
We made a braai and had chicken sosaties with cous-cous salad together with our ice cold KPA’s. We decided that no matter what this is our home for the next 7 days, even if we have to sleep underneath other people’s cars.

To be continued…
2015
10 July Letaba
11 July Satara
12-14 July Lower Sabie
15-18 July Tsendze

24-27 September Lower Sabie

11-20 Dec Satara
14 Dec Sable Hide
21-27 Dec Lower Sabie
28-31 Dec Satara
1 Jan Croc Bridge
2-4 Jan Satara
5-8 Jan Lower Sabie

User avatar
Heksie
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Award: Sighting of the Year - Small creatures/insects (2014)
Posts: 4317
Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2013)
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Location: Pretoria

Re: Krugertripping this Summer...

Unread postby Heksie » Thu Feb 27, 2014 6:31 pm

Day 13… a long drive produces some special sightings

23 December

Wendy wanted to sleep in so I took off this morning very early, something that astounded me was the fact that CB is very chill when it comes to waiting at the Gate, it was 4:20 and I was standing in camp checking the gate and there was only one car waiting so I decided to go join him… no rush what so ever. I planned on searching for servals this morning so I took the H5 to skuks then the tar to LS and S28 back to camp.
I do like dirt roads but the worst road in the Park is the H5, I was rattling all the way to the S114 that morning but that is the thing you do when you search for something special. Did I find one? EIsh, no. But some other special and a new sighting was seen that morning.
Ground hornbill

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I saw this hyenas dashing across the road and when I got to the spot, I only saw him poking through the grass.

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Some mr. Majestics

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And then a new one for me, a female kudu with leucistic blotches

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A tortie

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And on the Skuks low water bridge I got my first marabou quenching his thirst

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Then some yellow billed kites sunning

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And there were ellies all over the Sabie river, they were in desperate need of some swimming, these were two separate sightings… but to tell you guys the truth I saw a herd almost every 500m.

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I got Wendy at Lake Panic and after stopping for some cold refreshments at LS we were on our way back to camp. The road was so dry and dusty, just accentuated the summer heat, and it was a reason why didn’t have so many sightings on our way back.

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And some buffies crossing the road after a refreshing mudbath

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We stayed the afternoon in camp, and I took an afternoon nap, when I woke up it was time for another afternoon drive and Wendy was joining me on this drive. There aren’t really loopies to take around CB like the other camps so the only route I thought would be nice to drive in under 4 hours was the S25->S26->H5->camp.
Our first roadblock was this ellie, I made it safely to the other side but had to wait as the beast didn’t really like huge cars…

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More ground hornbills, this one had the intestines of some unfortunate animal

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Kudu

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And to end a great day with a beautiful sunset…

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That night I had my legs up the whole time, wondering when a scorpion would visit again but fortunately no nightly visitors came to our camp. We braaied some wors and had baked potatoes with some melted cheese on top. We talked and shared sightings till about 9:30 that night, enjoying our ice cold KPA’s and then it was time to go to bed as tomorrow starts early again.

To be continued…
2015
10 July Letaba
11 July Satara
12-14 July Lower Sabie
15-18 July Tsendze

24-27 September Lower Sabie

11-20 Dec Satara
14 Dec Sable Hide
21-27 Dec Lower Sabie
28-31 Dec Satara
1 Jan Croc Bridge
2-4 Jan Satara
5-8 Jan Lower Sabie

User avatar
Heksie
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
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Award: Sighting of the Year - Small creatures/insects (2014)
Posts: 4317
Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2013)
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Location: Pretoria

Re: Krugertripping this Summer...

Unread postby Heksie » Sat Mar 01, 2014 12:28 pm

Day 14… the good, bad and the lucky

24 December

It was another beautiful morning in Kruger and we were marking our second week in the bush, I couldn’t believe that the time went by so fast. Oh how I wish that the clock would tick just a bit slower, there is so much more that the Park has to offer. The morning started like any other and I was on the road again, leaving Wendy at camp. I just planned on doing the S28 to LS and then come back via the H4-2 then H5->S26->S25.
First sighting this morning was a dagha boy, it was strange seeing him soaking in mud as it was a bit chilly and misty, definitely not the kind of weather for me to be wet.

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Some scenic views of the misty sunrise, it was really a beautiful morning

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After a while I heard some whoooooping and then found two hyenas in the road, tails up smelling and walking in the road. I was with them, following them slowly for 10 minutes when the first car came up behind me.

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After a few minutes they disappeared into the bushes and it was time again to move on. After a few more kilometres I got a BBJ. The car behind me decided that it was time to pass me and I sat with the jackal for a few minutes before he too decided that it was time to move deeper into the bushes.

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I drove on my merry way when I saw the car stopped about 200m in front of me and what looked like the silhouette of a slender cat walking in front of the car across the road. As I got closer, spots appeared and I got very excited as it was my first cheetah for this trip.

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He posed for a few kiekies and then walked back in the road behind me, that is when I noticed that he was cripple, I believe that his leg was broken as he didn’t use it at all, he crossed the road again and then walked up an anthill for a better view

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He then walked a few metres further and lied down in the grass. I only saw a tail flick every now and then, and then I knew I wouldn’t see much so I moved on.
Next I saw these grumpy old men, you could see by their faces that they weren’t really awake.

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And then when I got the S137 turn-off I was in two minds, must I check out Dukes’ waterhole or go straight with the S28? Eish, what now? So I went straight and not even a kilometre when I found this in the road…

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I sat there a few minutes and he didn’t move at all so I knew that nature is making the choice for me, I turned around and then turned into the S137. After a few metres a heard a CLI-CLANG and stopped, did I just drive over a piece of metal? I drove on and a bit further on my tyre started screeching, I stopped, reversed and heard something shoot out, happy with that I moved on. When I rounded the bend towards the Dukes’ turnoff I got the biggest fright ever I saw this…

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I was alone with her and only about 4 metres away from her, unfortunately the only thing I saw was her licking herself then she stood up and jumped off the signpost. She walked deeper into the bushes and at least one car saw her disappearing into the bushes... What a great sighting this just was! My smile was from ear to ear and the day just couldn’t get better, so I pushed on towards the S130. I got a lifer as well…
A squacco Heron

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And a lappet-faced vulture

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Then the trouble started, I got the screeching sound as well and when I reverse there was nothing, I struggled for a few metres when I decided that I would wait for another car come so we can check it out. After about 10 minutes a car came and we climbed out of our cars to check if there is a piece of wire stuck somewhere under my car, nothing nada niks… So they bid me farewell and leave. Ok it doesn’t really help me as when I drive it sounds like a metal grinder underneath my car… I reverse and go forward, phone my father etc. And the best advice I got was to go to the nearest camp to sort this out… I reverse again and I hear another KA-KLANG so when I started forward there was absolutely no sound and YAY! I decided to drive as quickly as I’m allowed to get to LS as it was ‘only’ 14km from camp. I got to the 8km mark when my car started making that screeching sound again and I was gatvol, I reversed and then with another CLANG a rock the size of a R5 coin shot out and lay on the tar road. I cannot believe such a small thing has made my drive a living nightmare the last 90 minutes, it seems that this rock was between my tyre and brakes the whole time but oh how glad I was that it was over!
Next up was this monster rock monitor, I initially thought it was a croc.

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I got to LS, freshened up and got some cold fruit juice then I was on my merry way back to camp. I got to the S28 N entrance when I was stopped by these yellow billed kites swooping down for something on the ground.

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Then a few more kilometres on there were a small roadblock, at first I couldn’t make out what it was as I saw grey hair through the foliage. As the roadblock cleared I got a great spot and actually saw that it was a baby ellie, Sparrow guessed a few days old, all on his own. He would walk one way then another, suckling on the tree trunk every now and then. It was heartbreaking to see it. I was at reception at LS when I heard someone reporting it so was glad that when I was there, some employees stopped to assess the situation, you will see the baby ellie in the back, yes that is how small he was. They left again and I stayed with him for another 30 minutes then moved on as it was starting to get hot. Sparrow informed me the next day that he was taken to Skukuza to be taken care of.

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Nothing was really seen on the rest of the road only some warties having brunch

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On the S25 I found people I had a talk with on the S137 as they missed the leppie literally by seconds, they informed me that the Vurhami pride was on the S28 about 2km from the tar so wished eachother luck and I decided to go have a look at the lions before I get to camp. I got to the spot and was greeted by a lot of cars, they were huddled up together 10 metres from me but a JJ told me to not go there and to wait as he is going to move and I will have a view of some lionesses about 15 metres into the bush. He left and I pulled into his spot, there was only one car in front of me, and we had a ‘great’ view if you think about it and in no one’s way. After about 20 minutes the lionesses stood up one by one and walked towards the other lions, as well as I saw a failed hunt on a zebra.

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I didn’t want to join the other cars in the jam so I went to camp to have an afternoon rest as it was 13:30. I got to camp, popped open a KPA and decided that today would be one of those days that should be spent on the roads the whole time. So I decided to take the H4-2->S130->S137->S28 back to camp. It was very hot but I didn’t worry at all, I saw some general game, farting zebs and then I decided to stop where I saw the cheetah this morning, I was thinking that because his leg was broken that he wouldn’t move that far and as I took my binocs to scan the area I saw his tail flick. I was super excited and decided that I’m going to camp out here this afternoon, one after the other car stopped and asked what I was seeing, I explained to them and they would wait around for a afew minutes and then moved one, after 30 minutes and no sign of him I was thinking that I had seen a mirage and once again a car stopped and I was looking at him explaining where the cheetah was when he shouted ‘There, I see him!’ Yay I wasn’t imagining cats! I was there for 2 hours and only saw him 5 times, he would just move into the shade every now and then… He was about 50-100m from the road and just check the roadblock that I started, the only gagga thing was that people weren’t really behaving…

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Then one of the people I met with the cheetah earlier told me that there is a leopard on the S137 in a tree so I left these people with the cheetah and turned around towards Dukes road. I drove there and saw nothing so I turned around and then a car flashed from the front as I was driving back again, I stopped next to them and recognised them from our chat at the lion cub sighting near Satara, they said if I look left I would get an early x-mas present and there she was, my leopard from the morning in a tree all relaxed.

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I stayed with her for 10 minutes as it was in the open and everybody had a nice view. Then Thokozani pitched up, I showed them the leppie and then it was time for me to get a move on as I had an hour to get to camp. I drove and didn’t stop for anything but drove past ellies, buffaloes and rhino on my way back then I had to just stop for this birdy in the road, a black bellied korhaan

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I got to the lions, everybody was still there and I heard that I missed them catching a wartie… eish
I wasn’t high enough to see the lions so I went on my way again, I got to camp 5 minutes late but at least didn’t get any trouble, Wendy had already started the fire and was relaxing with a refreshing KPA. That night she told me that she organised another night in CB and we were ecstatic so we had to wangle another night as we would be added to Sparrow’s reservation… We also were in contact with Sparrow about our plans tomorrow as we would be going to LS for a Christmas lunch. That night I went to bed happy as we were in a great place, I had a fantastic day and tomorrow I’m going to spend my time with amazing friends.

To be continued…
2015
10 July Letaba
11 July Satara
12-14 July Lower Sabie
15-18 July Tsendze

24-27 September Lower Sabie

11-20 Dec Satara
14 Dec Sable Hide
21-27 Dec Lower Sabie
28-31 Dec Satara
1 Jan Croc Bridge
2-4 Jan Satara
5-8 Jan Lower Sabie


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