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 Post subject: Re: An awful start to another wonderful KNP trip: January 20
Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2014 6:09 am 
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With the last leopard sighting behind us it was back to normal with not much to see we reached Tshokwane and stopped for a body break, leg stretch and something cool to drink. We stayed on the H1-2 towards Skukuza when we left.

Our first sighting as we left Tshokwane was this ellie family. We just love to photograph the cute little ellies and to study the older ones looking after them.

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We gave them ample time to cross the road before we moved along. I also have to stop for this Crested Francolin and chick to cross the road.

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It seems that the cat sightings were something of the past day when we were only greeted by birdies again.
Our first birdie sighting was these Ground Hornbills in a tree.

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Hilda also caught them in flight.

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Then Hilda’s pride and joy, a Fish Eagle.

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Next was a Jacobin Cuckoo.

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Hilda caught this Woodland Kingfisher in the act of calling his friends.

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We also captured this Martial Eagle enjoying his lunch, with a Tawny Eagle keeping him company.

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As we got closer to the Kruger Tablets (Kruger – Grobler Memorial) we chatted about the fact that Hilda never wanted to alight at the memorial because she saw a picture where visitors walked closer to read the plague whilst a leopard was lying about 20 meters left of the Tablets. We could see two cars parked in the slipway and we also decided to stop and have a look.

This is what we saw. There was a pride of 13 lions consisting of 9 females and 4 young cubs. If you count all the legs and ears on the second picture there should be 10 in total. The third picture shows us the other 3.

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This is why we will always go back to Kruger. We had 4 (four) days of no cats and then 17 (seventeen) in approximately 3 (three) hours’ time.

Our next sighting was a herd of buffalo in the Sand River.

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At the second low water bridge we came across a troop of baboons and we just had to take some pictures of this little one keeping him busy with some acrobatics.

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We arrived at Skukuza and booked in at reception. We booked one of the GCV4 units and will share the unit with Click-Click’s mom and dad for the next two days. The friendly staff gave us a map to get to the unit because it was the first time that we stayed on the perimeter. We were greeted by Martie and settled in.
We had a wonderful braai that evening with a group of 30 (thirty) bush crazy people.

Apart from our old ‘mite friends that attended the celebrations we also met norms for the first time. He is another awesome ‘mite with a passion for the wild.

Our tally of ‘mites met during this trip were 10 (ten) which were the following:

Heksie, Crested Val, her SO Dungy, her son Crested Chick, Mgoddard and daughter Bush_baby, click click, Vlakvarksegat and SO Hippohollow and last but not least norms.
We also met two very special people which guided Martie during her 264 day stay in Kruger, which was “The Supervisor” John and his SO Norma.

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 Post subject: Re: An awful start to another wonderful KNP trip: January 20
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 12:42 pm 
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Day 6: 12 January 2014

Today was Martie’s birthday and we decided to stay in camp until brunch was served. We were met by light rain and hoped it will clear before brunch is served.

We decided to drive to Leeupan and back for the day. It was really overcast and we did not see much during the drive. The first picture of the day was our view from the stoep.

A shock for us was the fact that leeupan was so overgrown that you could not see any water or water birds. The only animals that greeted us were giraffes and some impala.

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Our next sighting was our first klipspringers of the trip.

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We also saw another Woodland Kingfisher.

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We arrived back in camp and got ready for dinner at the Selati restaurant for the first time during all our visits to Kruger. It was a wonderful evening with excellent food and service. We will leave for Biyamiti tomorrow for our last two nights in Kruger.

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 Post subject: Re: An awful start to another wonderful KNP trip: January 20
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 12:45 pm 
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Day 7: 13 January 2014

It was moving day again. All packed and ready to go by 05:00. This is some of the sightings we had.

A Blacksmith Lapwing.

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A hammerkop busy with renovations to his home.

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A Woodland Kingfisher.

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A Tawny Eagle

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A lonely hippo having the whole dam to himself.

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Our first Crested Barbet in the wild.

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A lion sighting that is very normal for the Els family.

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A pretty White-faced Duck.

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Some juvenile Egyptian Geese scanning the water for food.

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Close to Biyamiti camp we saw a few buffalo enjoying the water of the normally dry Biyamiti River.

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Bungalow No. 4 was allocated to us and after unpacking we enjoyed the wonderful surroundings of the camp. Whilst we went over to No. 3 where Martie, John and Norma stayed to greet them, I heard a huge calamity on the stoep of our bungalow.

When I came round the corner I saw that the vervets had opened the top door of the big fridge and pulled out one of the drawers which broke when it hit the floor. They scrambled as soon as they saw me but not without taking some lute with. One of the items was a margarine holder which they opened to inspect what is inside. It was our only margarine left for the trip. Lucky I could save the holder.

I never thought that they could be so clever or strong enough to open such a big fridge.

We had a nice braai and off to bed for our final day in Kruger.

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 Post subject: Re: An awful start to another wonderful KNP trip: January 20
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 2:16 pm 
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Day 8: 14 January 2014

This will be our last full day in Kruger. Hilda just love to visit Mpondo Dam whenever we are staying in the South, so we will be going in that direction today as well.

We had the following sightings till we reached Mpondo for brunch.

Giant Kingfisher.

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Pied Kingfisher

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A Rhino enjoying the wet sand.

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Tawny Eagle

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Some lions

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A Zebra with some Cattle Egrets

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African Grey Hornbill

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Another Impala crèche to enjoy.

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An elephant.

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We arrived at Mpondo that was filled to the brim with the grass much higher than in the past.

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To be continued…..

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 Post subject: Re: An awful start to another wonderful KNP trip: January 20
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:32 am 
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After brunch we left for Afsaal and then back to camp and had the following sightings.

A lonely spotted hyena that crossed the road a few times.

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A warthog in the middle of the road.

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A leopard tortoise trying to cross a puddle.

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A foam frog nest.

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Close-up of a Hammerkop.

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Another elephant with eyes closed.

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We arrived at Afsaal for a body break and buy some cool drink for the rest of the day.

We left for Renosterpan but SANParks employees was busy working at the water hole, so no sightings.

On our way back we saw this lizard crossing the road.

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Some little ellies crossing the road.

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Another little impala crèche.

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A family of warthogs.

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We arrived back in camp and whilst getting ready for a braai we could hear a Purple-crested Turaco in the trees. This was a huge lifer for us. It was not easy to capture this bird with the cloud all around but here is the proof.

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It was our last night in Kruger and we invited Martie, John and Norma to join us for our final braai. We had a wonderful time and enjoyed lots of stories from yester year :whistle: .

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 Post subject: Re: An awful start to another wonderful KNP trip: January 20
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 3:32 pm 
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Day 9: 15 January 2014

It was our last morning in the park. We normally exit the park at Malelane gate, but with some time on our hands we decided to leave through Numbi gate this year. We hope to have a special send off this year as well :hmz: .

Our first sighting was two lion brothers that do what lions do best. Yes it is a lion in the long grass :roll: .

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This Red-crested Korhaan was also around to say goodbye.

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We were still chatting about what special sighting we will have this year before we leave when we came across this lion pride of 10. One of them was still at the top of the road and only came down to the group after we took our last photos.

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They were so close that if you were crazy like some visitors you could pat some of them on the head.

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We saw quite a lot of Hammerkoppe during our trip. Here are three in the road.

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Our next special sighting was this rhino mum with her little offspring that you can barely see amongst the long grass.

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Instead of a zebra crossing on the road we came across this walking zebra crossing, a zebra mum and youngster crossing in the road.

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We also came across another klipspringer on our way out.

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We took a quick detour to Transport Dam and added another two ticks to our birdie list for Kruger.

First was this Diderick Cuckoo. I took the pictures through the windscreen to get proof.

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Our next tick was this little Malachite Kingfisher.

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As we neared the gate Hilda took a picture to remind us how lush and green Kruger was.

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Our last sighting of the trip was this juvenile Dark Chanting Goshawk and yet another tick to our list.

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Our final picture of the trip was the way out at Numbi Gate.

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Another wonderful trip has ended and as Hilda always does, she “flipped the light switch” till we might return to “Heaven on Earth” again :whistle: .

The first part of our drive home till we reached Nelspruit was like driving on the moon to miss all the craters in the road. We picked up the 4-legged kids on the way home and were safe home by 18:00, just to think about the next time we start packing for another visit to a SANPark.

I firstly want to thank Hilda for allowing us to stay in the park without her 500mm lens and promise that if it is the only item I will pack for the next trip, it will be the 500mm lens :k .

I am so happy that I decided to use the 50 seater Image this time around as well, because I would not have enough space for anything smaller.

Hilda and I want to thank every one of the 44 (forty four) occupants of the bus that made the writing of our trip worthwhile. They are as follows in no particular order: Trrp-trrrrrrrr, Meandering Mouse, Grantmissy, jaytea, norms, Hugh, umtali1, kite, Philip1, lion queen, Crested Val, Fotomaljohan, isinkwe, dellac, DinkyBird, DASSIEDELIGHT, tedredrum, Dream Weaver, Surf Cindy, Tobieo, Stampjane, vinkie, cheetah 2111, Heksie, yoda, Carolv, Dupacc, Elsa, Pumbaa, cheetahlady, Cape of Storms, Kaapsedraai, Son Godin, Janeli, sable, gatita, TigerTommy, LindaS, Pikkie, Mgoddard, lemonbalm. Peregrine Falcon, Carol G, and last but not least forestgump.

We hope to see each and every one of you on the forums for years to come :thumbs_up: .

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