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 Post subject: Was it worth waiting for? SA July - Aug
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 1:49 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Our last day in England before we set off for SA, will do my best to start a tale when we arrive back in england mid August.

To all of you reading at home wishing you were in my shoes, believe me i know how that feels!!! Here is a picture of one of my little hippos :lol: who also wish you were in my shoes...


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Hope to write my trip soon and maybe see one or two of you..

take care :dance:

john

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Etosha - August 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Was it worth waiting for? SA July - Aug
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 11:30 am 
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Well were backand im currently sorting through the many photos, the big question!! Was it worth it?
Well you will have to wait and see, just a few hints to what is to come....

Madness at a roadside Kill.... :sniper:
The big five :lol: ...you couldnt be closer while still being dissapointed :wall:
The north is as described...quiet..
Camping....the verdict :dance:
berg-en-dahl :(
night drive at punda :evil:

and mapungwabe, camping without a 4x4 :thumbs_up:

will try to begin within the week, but have photos to sort and sanparks to telephone!!

Finally we didnt see any yellow ribbons though we did have a frantic wave from a family with caravan up north!!! Dont know whether they saw the ribbon or were just very excited to be in the park.

john

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 Post subject: Re: Was it worth waiting for? SA July - Aug
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 3:49 pm 
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Well here goes,

I am going to be as honest as possible and begin with a few thoughts as i sit here having just looked on the 'photos of kuger' page and having seen all the wonderful animals others have spotted i am eager to get back BUT i also have reservations.

The people we met while camping were fantastic and i thank them all for the conversation, tips, help and items of furniture they lent us, but out on the road there are people who should be shot.

We also spent three nights north of oliphants as i had heard it was very nice! I personnally feel i wasted three days but ill go into that a bit later.

We travelled from the drackensburg and arrived at malelane gate around five,driving for 8 hours is not a good start, i was dissapointed as we had no time to look aover the bridge due to wanting to get the tent up. Check-in at the gate was easy unfortuanatly at berg-en-dahl there was one person on the desk and a lady infront who took around 30 minutes to check in, confirm drives etc etc.

Anyway first animal!!!

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Yes a lone elephant on his way out of the park...at least it looked that way.

We set up camp and as soon as we had a hyena was waiting, being a metre away from this animal was fantastic it was a shame my camera was in the car and i didnt want to miss the interaction..a great start.

The sounds at night are fantastic especially in a tent you wake up constantly pondering what the noise is, how close it is and if i get out will i see it?

Up at 5.30,tent away, puncture changed (thanks to the three people at 5.45 who offered help) and we were off, a tip off of lions at a waterhole nearby left us in anticipation, would we see a male lion?
We travelled the Matjulu look and found these three lazy animals reminding of our own three fat dogs.
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As it was our first day and my first outing with new camera and lens i began shooting anything that moved or hopefully didnt, i began too remember what i loved about this place.....

Here are some of the photos (sorry if they are a bit boring)
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next....them lions

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 Post subject: Re: Was it worth waiting for? SA July - Aug
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 6:42 pm 
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After visiting three waterholes up the H3 we found our male lion :lol: on the s118 - s114 juction.
The couple only stayed around for a few minutes before skulking off around a little hill for some privacy...but we were very happy, two years ago we had seen only a handful of lionesses no males or cubs or kills :wink:

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we continued on along the crocodile river road looking for wild dogs but with no such luck instead we found our first, unfortuanatly not so rare, mad human!

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 Post subject: Re: Was it worth waiting for? SA July - Aug
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 7:20 pm 
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Hi john n poppy

Well done with the photos, boring they are not, especially the Kudu! :clap:

Shelley’s Francolin!! We’ve never even seen them in 4 trips to Kruger!!!
:mrgreen:

I’m so glad that you think north of Olifants is a waste, as that leaves a teeeeeny bit more open road for me.

:lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Was it worth waiting for? SA July - Aug
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 11:26 pm 
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Thanks all for your comments and i much appreciate the bird names, my wife doesnt believe the types 'bird book ' ive been looking at every night!!!!

Ukbadger - Yes north is quiet...of animals! One thing i found was that due to the few roads we actually saw the same amount of cars as we did in several areas down south, what is different is the people in the north are probobly SA campers which we found could not be more pleasant and helpful. If you can stay in kruger for three weeks at a time then definitly north is a must (even just for the baobabs) but with ten days for i dont know how many years the south-middle i believe is a must, as for Punda Maria :evil: well you will find out later.

thanks again

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 Post subject: Re: Was it worth waiting for? SA July - Aug
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 12:12 am 
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We drove towards the H4-2 towards lower sabie in hope of seeing duke..but it was not to be, we saw bits and bobs and noticed that the elephants seemed to have been in the crocodile river basin as we saw very few elsewhere.

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On the corner of S108 and H4-2 we encountered little and large, both beautiful in there own way. We did however see lots of Kudu, they seemed to be the next impala. One animal we hardly saw any of was Baboon, saw only one troop outside the fence at letaba!

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Just before lower sabie we saw our first warthog family, I just love how these guys pop their tail up when they run, like an electric conductor on the bumper cars.

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We had lunch at lower sabie overlooking the hippos, eles and buffalos. This is a great spot and i can see why lower sabie is rated high as a camp, unfortuanatly it did not fit our plans.

And then we watched two fish eagles effortlessly gliding up and down and then ...in and out with a fish...our first kill, i hope birds killing is similar if not as good as a cat kill!

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It was then to biyamati where we saw this herd of buffs along the way. At biyamati we had booked a sunset drive so checked in and then went to look at the view from our cottage. We were suprised their were no keys! We decided not to put all our kit inside but left it in the car. We also looked at the board that said who was staying and were suprised to see that four cottages seemed to be unoccupied! Im sure a few weeks before we left, the camp on the net was fully booked for the month!

next..back to berg-en-dahl

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 Post subject: Re: Was it worth waiting for? SA July - Aug
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 11:01 am 
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rayb wrote:
Could it have been us? Sorry if we missed you. We managed to miss John and Poppy and we were staying in the same camp :redface:

We were in a silver Polo (coverered in red dust)


Yes it was you, as I was heading towards south towards Nsemani..
I think you are the only YR I saw in the park... :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Was it worth waiting for? SA July - Aug
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 8:51 am 
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We really enjoyed our stay at biamati especially the sunset drive,we saw very little in the way of big game but it isnt always the animals its the cold wind in your face, the bat that seems to follow the truck darting in and out of your torch light and the feeling that whats out there is looking at you and not the other way around.
Slept well in the cottage but did miss the conversation you get with others when camping.
Here are some pics before and on the sunset drive.

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Check out the elephant having a good old scratch!!
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A picture of what the south west section looks like, how can you miss animals when it looks this barron....easy.
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Impalas using an elephant dug water hole
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The next day we travelled S139 then down S114 to my favourite place Malelane Gate bridge, i have always seen so many different things here ...and enjoy a brief stretch of legs.

(come on guys keep posting, or you wont get to the highlight of our trip :thumbs_up: )

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 Post subject: Re: Was it worth waiting for? SA July - Aug
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 3:13 pm 
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Thanks again for the nice comments,
Here are some pics from malelane bridge.
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We arrived back in BnD set up our tent and then went to the dam, what a dissapointment, 2 years ago you could sit about anywhere and see the whole dam and tributery, now you could see a little bit here and then have to move, it would be great if the park could trim the trees a bit so you had a great view....

While sitting we watched two couples watching a troop of vervet monkeys walk over the dam wall, up a tree, over the fence and then run up open there picnic basket and steal food before they could get off the bench and run back to the table..so funny to watch.

soon...sometimes your lucky...or maybe not

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 Post subject: Re: Was it worth waiting for? SA July - Aug
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:53 pm 
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wildtuinman, glad you like our little!! girl, we have three bulldogs to keep us warm here in the uk her name is 'Winnie'.

Back to the trip...
We nipped out of berg-en-dahl for a quick drive to find the local pride of lions had killed a buffalo, just a bit too far for good photos but a kill none the less...
The first sign..
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That evening we headed out on a sunset drive, we observed the kill and its smell, then set off for more, although we saw little, Obi was superb and we thoroughly enjoyed it. My only concern was the truck was filled with me and SO and one group, the group could easily have sat on all the outside seats if it wasnt for one gentleman telling his children to move. The children 11-15 year olds did continue to bicker through most of the trip....not ruining the trip but you know.

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Next morning we were heading out of kruger via skukuza and lake panic hide, 1 minute out of berg and we were the third car following a lioness on the road, she looked very thin and we discussed if it was the mum going to feed her cubs! she left the road and we decided to press on.....

30 seconds later and two cars in the road, what are they looking at, we pulled over and nothi.....then there she was looking straight into the car she slipped out of the grass and passed our car to disapear on the other side, she was beautiful, my big lens failed as she was too close, is it best to have had this experience without good pics or half an experience with good pics? She was our only leopard of the trip and i do feel lucky to have seen her.

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 Post subject: Re: Was it worth waiting for? SA July - Aug
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:47 pm 
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We turned onto the H-3 all beams from the leopard and lion kill sightings, if it didnt get any better we would have been happy. I was surprised at how the left was so badly burned and the right not at all, does anyone know if these are controlled burns?

We then saw a great job opportunity, two rangers walking the road picking up litter, we did see some litter but not much, fancy travelling these roads at that pace...superb.

Well our only close view of rhinos was next, a mum and baby, i held back and turned the engine off, bad move, the baby got a bit too inquisitive and mum followed, i turned the engine on and they darted one way as my wife nearly darted out the car the other, just what i expected them to do, i said :whistle: ( not)

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a group of widerbeast in the burnt area.
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Our next kill! a hornbill with another bird in its mouth, i didnt realise they ate such a variety of things.
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We reached the hill before jock safari lodge and saw a jeep jockey at the side, as we pulled up he moved out of the way and waved us forward and pointed to a group of three or four lionesses and lion eating a kudu i think. We sat for 10 mins until another car came and we pointed it out and then left them our spot, it wasnt a great view but they all add up.
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As we continued we saw a hyena nip across the road with its breakfast.
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A view from Granokop
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A monkey welcoming us to skukuza.
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next...skukuza and lake panic hide

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 Post subject: Re: Was it worth waiting for? SA July - Aug
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 9:05 pm 
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We nipped into Skukuza before lake panic for a break and a coffee, sitting near but not under the thatched roof of bats! :roll:

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I felt skukuza was too big and lacked the personnal, vulnurable in the bush feel; that you get at the other camps.Heres a few pics:
The view..
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The reality..
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So we left for lake panic the place everyone raves about and yes it was great, so much going on in such a little place. The quietness mixed with eruptions of hippo banter. That was until six young americans turned up, no idea of what quiet was and with text messages going off we were glad they only stayed five minutes.

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Our last animal as we left kruger for the blyd river canyon was...
yes a Kudu, we nicknamed them big impalas because how many we saw.

Too come...The giraffe kill at satara...before...during and at night!
and why are there so many idiots and no rangers!!!! :hmz:

A quick glimpse of whats to come.
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 Post subject: Re: Was it worth waiting for? SA July - Aug
Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 10:21 am 
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We re-entered Kruger after the weekend via the Orpen gate, I didnt realise how small Orpen was, I was expecting a bigger place because it was also a gate, but still very nice.
Our first kill...was this roller it dived from a tree right infront of us picked this spider up and popped back in the tree to eat it, well thats one less for me to look out for.

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We reached what i think is Nsemeni Dam and saw fish eagle and several peoplelooking for a Lion :hmz: Anyway we hung around and a few buffallo arrived, then some more and more and more...It was great to see so many in one place.

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We decided to nip down the S6 and back along the S100 :pray: before going to pitch our tent. About 1km down the H1-3 we came across a couple of cars and a dead giraffe.

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We were told a lioness had chased the giraffe onto the road where it fell and she then suffocated it, something we were told later they do quite often, either a road or rocky area. We couldnt see any sign of it being killed and decided to push on and return on our way back.

Didnt see many Zebra and even fewer Wilderbeast, they tended to be in groups of five or six, not big herds as you would expect, when speaking to an old kruger visitor he said there used to be big herds in the olden days...why not now?

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 Post subject: Re: Was it worth waiting for? SA July - Aug
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 1:53 pm 
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We continued along the H6 and saw very little, we had a quick stop at the Nwanetsi dam view point, saw a few kudu,impala and bushbuck very queit and lovely atmosphere.

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I wish we had popped down to the sweni hide but we were unsure how much time we had. We spotted these two storks and wondered if the one on the left was a youngster?

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Continuing along s41 onto the s100 a couple pointed out this little guy, a close up and wide shot to show how small he was. I was hoping the s100 would be good to us today and it didnt dissapoint.

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The gravel roads in some areas were really corrugated especially around talamati, it is so much harder to spot things when your concentrating so much on not shaking the car apart and it does nothing for SO's bladder :wink:

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