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Addo: Park Experiences

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Re: Addo Park Experiences

Unread postby NickyG » Mon Dec 13, 2010 11:15 pm

Hi Ronnie,

A perfect tribute, and pictoral to demonstrate that its not all sadness out there. Yeah, Im sad when any elephant falls, Gaatjies was a doyen.

But, in the same breath, the zebra foal, and Hartebeest calf clearly show time doesn't hang around in nature, it gets on with it.

Magnificent thread,

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Re: Addo Park Experiences

Unread postby RonnieL » Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:49 am

NickyG wrote:Hi Ronnie,

A perfect tribute, and pictoral to demonstrate that its not all sadness out there. Yeah, Im sad when any elephant falls, Gaatjies was a doyen.

But, in the same breath, the zebra foal, and Hartebeest calf clearly show time doesn't hang around in nature, it gets on with it.

Magnificent thread,

Nick


Thank you NickyG :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:

That's exactly what I wanted to demonstrate with my pics
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Re: Addo Park Experiences

Unread postby RonnieL » Tue Dec 21, 2010 8:28 am

First Buffalo Sighting

I first want to go back in time to the late 1950's to give you some background to my First Buffalo Sighting.

My father was asked to go and have a look at damage that had been done by the Addo Buffalo to the farmers crops, their fencing and cattle drinking troughs in an area known as Buffelskuil, (Afrikaans) the meaning of this in English is buffalo hiding place. This area now no longer belongs to farmers but forms part of Addo Park known as the Nyati Section. Nyati is the local name for Buffalo.

I went with my father that day and I remember seeing the damage that had been done by the buffalo and listening intently to his conversations with the farmers about the dangers of these buffalos. The buffalo used to leave the safety of the park at night and go and raid the farmers crops to return to the park in the morning. Needless to mention this caused conflict between man and buffalo and there were casualties.

When the Armstrong fence was built it was designed to contain elephants, not buffalo, the buffalo were able to crawl underneath this fence and the outer perimeter boundary fence of the park was not able to contain the buffalo so the buffalo could move in and out of the park at will.

There used to be an antelope camp around the area where Domkrag Dam is situated today in which the antelope were kept. One could drive into this camp and view the animals. There was a road leading from the main camp to the antelope camp but once you reached this camp one would have to open the gate to enter this camp.

It was early in the 1960's on one of our family visits to the park that I had opened this gate, as a kid it was always my job to open gates. my father had driven the car through and I had closed the gate and got back into the passenger seat behind my father that I looked out of the window on my side door straight into the gaze of a buffalo standing with only its head protruding from the bush just other side of the fence only about 10 meters away. As soon as I had made eye contact with it it disappeared into the bush. I am sure that this buffalo was there all the time and was watching me as I was opening and closing the gate and as they are herd animals there must have been more around.

My heart started racing when my thoughts went back a few years remembering what I had seen of the destruction caused by the buffalo to the farmers fencing and realized that if that buffalo wanted to charge that the fence would not have stopped him or worse still that I could have been attacked while I was out of the car opening and closing the gate.

Over the years the the park expanded and the elephant enclosure enlarged and the fence was then constructed so that the buffalo could no longer leave the park and then electrified before the predators introduced containing all the animals safely within its boundaries.

That encounter of that first buffalo sighting is still clearly itched in my memory as if it happened yesterday............
Ronnie

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Re: Addo Park Experiences

Unread postby RonnieL » Tue Dec 21, 2010 8:37 am

Buffalo Sighting Dec 2010

I spent the day in the park (19 Dec 2010) and on my way out of the park I decided to go on the Ngulube Loop, one of the new loops in the Matyholweni section, I had seen buffalo here before and hoping to see them again. I was not disappointed.

As I was driving down the valley and at the end of it found this big heard (100 plus) of buffalo emerging from out of the bush and coming out to graze on the very green grass. I drove along very slowly and stopped my car. The buffs were a little curious of me at first but soon settled down and continued grazing. I was the only car there and I could sit and watch and the buffs came closer and closer grazing all round my car. Close enough so that I could here the squeaking of the grass as they wrapped their tongues around the tall grass tugging off huge clumps and briefly chewing on it before swallowing it.

After a while the buffs had had their fill and lay down and started to chew on their cud. So there it was just me with all these buffalo around me. What a magical moment and I am so pleased that I could spend this time with the buffs and my thoughts went back to the many years earlier when I saw the destruction and heard of the dislike spoken towards the buffs.

The buffs were safe now and many generations later showed no aggression toward me. They were in very good condition and I saw some signs that there will be some new additions as the next generation arrive.

It was with mixed emotions when I started my car to leave. Happiness that I could spend this time with the buffs and at the progress made at conserving these animals and sadness that I had to leave to be in time at the exit gate before closing.

Here are some pics I took of the buffs and I hope that you can just feel a fraction of the excitement that I felt while spending time with them

The Buffs looking at me cautiously when I arrived

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The Buffs settled down to graze

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Big bull came alongside to graze

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Two big buff bulls

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Buffs lying down to chew their cud

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Video showing Buff Bulls grazing alongside my vehicle

Last edited by RonnieL on Tue Jan 11, 2011 11:20 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Addo Park Experiences

Unread postby mattib » Tue Dec 21, 2010 4:13 pm

WOW Ronnie that is so scary and great buff pics :big_eyes: Are you scared of them still :huh:
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Re: Addo Park Experiences

Unread postby Son godin » Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:30 pm

Hi RonnieL,

We saw a big herd of buffalo on the 18 Dec after Marion Baree waterhole just before the road decends steeply done the valley in a southernly direction. :dance: The next day we could not find them again, but from your sightings one can conclude that they've moved over to the southern sections.

Did you see them on the Ngulube loop? We found lots of spoor of buffalo on this road but were unlucky to see them again. :cry:

I gather from the lion thread that the lions now also moved south, maybe after the buffalo :?

The southern section has great potential to develop into a area for good wildlife sightings and we look forward to visit this section in a few years time. Unforetunately we do not visit the Eastern cape that often. :(

Another great sighting we had was a sighting of about 6 yellow-billed kites and 1 lanner falcon in the marsh area before crossing the Addo Heights road. :D I think they might have hunted small frogs after the good rains.
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Re: Addo Park Experiences

Unread postby Jungle Junkie » Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:37 pm

Hi Ronnie - Your Buffalo encounters are so interesting to read and your passion for Addo is wonderful (They should give you a medal :wink: )

I remember as a little girl when we drove on holiday to my friend's farm the main road had gates along it and I had to jump out and open in turn with my friend - Lovely memories :clap: :clap:
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Re: Addo Park Experiences

Unread postby RonnieL » Wed Dec 29, 2010 10:26 pm

mattib wrote:WOW Ronnie that is so scary and great buff pics :big_eyes: Are you scared of them still :huh:


Hi Matti,
No I do not fear them, I have respect for them, they are wild animals and they have to be treated as such. In this instance the buffs were relaxed and even lay down, if any of them had shown any disapproval to my presence I would have moved. I was fortunate I was the only one there and if another car had to arrive I would have moved. My reasoning behind this is because you do not know what the other car is going to do.
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Re: Addo Park Experiences

Unread postby RonnieL » Wed Dec 29, 2010 10:38 pm

Jungle Junkie wrote:Hi Ronnie - Your Buffalo encounters are so interesting to read and your passion for Addo is wonderful (They should give you a medal :wink: )

I remember as a little girl when we drove on holiday to my friend's farm the main road had gates along it and I had to jump out and open in turn with my friend - Lovely memories :clap: :clap:


Hi JJ, :D
I do not know if you are referring to the R342 road as the main road. I also had to open gates on this road. This was long before it was tarred and it was just a narrow dirt road and it was not fenced and that was the reason that there were gates on the road because as you crossed from one farm to the next there would be a gate in the boundary fence. I remember going home at night after spending the day in the park and coming across some domestic cattle in the road but from a distance one could only see the reflection of their eyes in the headlights of the car so my dad drove very slowly to make sure that it was domestic cattle
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Re: Addo Park Experiences

Unread postby RonnieL » Wed Dec 29, 2010 11:56 pm

Son godin wrote:Hi RonnieL,

We saw a big herd of buffalo on the 18 Dec after Marion Baree waterhole just before the road decends steeply done the valley in a southernly direction. :dance: The next day we could not find them again, but from your sightings one can conclude that they've moved over to the southern sections.


No these are two different buffalo herds. The area you are refering to above as "decends steeply done the valley in a southernly direction" is called Waynes Valley. I have seen these buffs on 16Dec and other occasions and will post some pics

Did you see them on the Ngulube loop? We found lots of spoor of buffalo on this road but were unlucky to see them again.

Yes I saw the buffs on the Ngulube Loop

Another great sighting we had was a sighting of about 6 yellow-billed kites

Yellow-Billed Kites are summer visitors and can often be found along roads looking for carrion

The southern section has great potential to develop into a area for good wildlife sightings and we look forward to visit this section in a few years time. Unforetunately we do not visit the Eastern cape that often.

Yes I agree that the Southern Section has GREAT potential and I hope you come and visit soon :clap: :clap:
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Re: Addo Park Experiences

Unread postby RonnieL » Thu Dec 30, 2010 12:07 am

Buffalo in Wayne's Valley

Here are some pics of the buffs I saw on the 16Dec 2010 in the area known as Wayne's Valley

Image


Image


Image
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Re: Addo Park Experiences

Unread postby Delene D » Thu Dec 30, 2010 11:02 am

RonnieL, Great sightings of buffalo and thanks for posting. I see from the Addo cam that the veld is greening up - Addo must have had a bit of rain in December. Your stories of early Addo are very interesting - keep it up. Can hardly wait till our visit on 13 March for 3 days! I Love Addo so much.
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Re: Addo Park Experiences

Unread postby RonnieL » Fri Dec 31, 2010 6:24 am

Delene D wrote:RonnieL, Great sightings of buffalo and thanks for posting. I see from the Addo cam that the veld is greening up - Addo must have had a bit of rain in December. Your stories of early Addo are very interesting - keep it up. Can hardly wait till our visit on 13 March for 3 days! I Love Addo so much.

Hi and thanks Delene D, :thumbs_up:
Addo is lovely and green at the moment after the rains that have fallen and there is a lot of food for the animals, especially the new southern section. Maybe by March more elephant would have moved across to the south, at the moment the majority are still in the main camp section.
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Re: Addo Park Experiences

Unread postby RonnieL » Fri Dec 31, 2010 6:35 am

PRWIN wrote:Hi RonnieL,Thanks for your pics on the buffalo at Wayne's Valley. :dance: We did not get so close to the buffalo but found them in the bush behind the valley on 18 Dec.

Thanks PRWIN for your pics :thumbs_up:
There is a bit of luck involved in game viewing, :)
One has to be at the right place at the right time. I am sure that the buffs that I saw had just moved onto the grass to graze and if I was a few minutes earlier I would have missed them......
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Re: Addo Park Experiences

Unread postby RonnieL » Fri Jan 07, 2011 10:30 am

My First Black Rhino Sighting.

This was during the early 1960's when there was a rhino enclosure south of Hapoor dam that had the rhino in it. You were not allowed into the enclosure but could drive down the outside of one side of the camp. We never saw any rhino while driving but did see the rhino at the furthest point where you were allowed to get out your car. If one arrived there in the late afternoon one could be lucky and find the rhino there. The game ranger there would feed the rhino "norsdoring" through the fence. I remember the times when we arrived there and the rhino was not there that the game ranger would call out to the rhino " kom kom kom" and also beating on a bucket with a stick. The rhino would then normally come for his treat of norsdoring. It was my treat when the game ranger used to call me and allow me to feed the rhino keeping a very close watch that I did not put my hand through the fence but only the norsdoring. This is still one of my highlights of the Park.

Below is a pic that I took of a notice/information board at Jack's picnic site. I have also typed out the inscription on it so that you can read what's written on it.
My question is, Was it Jack the rhino that I fed and was the game ranger Karools Goliath?
My guess is that I will never know.

Image




JACK'S PICNIC SITE

This picnic site is named after Jack the Black Rhino who spent his last days here. he often could be seen sunning himself in the grassy clearing which now forms part of the picnic site. Jack was a black rhino of the East African subspecies Diceros bicornis michaeli and was one of the first rhino introduced to the Park in March 1961 when he was aged about 5 years.

In the early 1960's at a time when the black rhino was under threat of extinction in South Africa, black rhino from Kenya were reintroduced to the Park. By 1986, these east African rhino had multiplied to 17. In 1991, Park management decided to follow the ICUN's decision to stock only the subspecies of rhino indigenous to the particular area. Hence from 1991 - 2003, the michaeli rhino were translocated out of the Park and the correct subspecies, Diceros bicornis bicornis were reintroduced. 46 michaeli rhino were relocated from Addo.

Jack's name was originally JA - a reference to JA Hunter who was responsible for killing over 1,000 black rhino in Kenya. JA was renamed Jack by park ranger Karools Goliath (who achieved 34 years of service) as he did not like the original name. Jack could not be translocated out of the Park due to a heart condition which meant he would probably have died if exposed to the stress and tranquilisers used during translocation. On two occasions during a previous immobilization his heart actually stopped and he needed to be resuscitated.

He spent his last days in this botanical reserve. Jack was well over 30 years of age when he died and is one of a very few black rhino recorded to have reached this stately age in the wild.
Last edited by RonnieL on Fri Jan 07, 2011 11:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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