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 Post subject: Meerkattitude, WackoRhino and the call of the Veld Aug 11
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2011 5:17 pm 
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Dear all,

First, I would like you to welcome Meerkattitude, proud new member of the forum, my 13 yo daughter and travel companion on this 7 nights trip to Kruger. :clap: :clap:
MA is not yet very fluent in English and thus will not be such an active member of the forum for now, but I truly believe that it will change in the years to come and this is why she already has an ID on the forum.

3 years after an all too brief stay in Kruger we decided to go back there to answer the call of the Veld. MA’s mother declined the offer to accompany us, saying that the 2 weeks we were going to travel together in Zimbabwe and Botswana just after Kruger were enough for her.
It is so that we arrived just the two of us at Eastgate Airport on the 5th of August, roughly 24 hours after having left our home in Switzerland. Walking on the tarmac, I lifted my arms and shouted a great YES; it was so great to be back in the Veld! :dance: :thumbs_up: :D
Then we took our rental car, went to Hoedspruit supermarket and “rushed” to Orpen gate, where the story really begins.

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 Post subject: Re: Meerkattitude, WackoRhino and the call of the Veld
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2011 5:34 pm 
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Day 1: Orpen’s open

Entrance at the gate was “in a breeze”, so was check-in at the camp. We bought a wild card and got a nice receipt but no card, just like on the Internet :lol: :lol:
Then we had little more than an hour to drive around H7 before closing time. The light was becoming golden and we saw our first predator, a black-backed jackal who crossed the road in front of us. He was kind enough to pose for a photo before going away.

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Further down the road, this cute steenbok was heading east with determination

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We kept seeing beautiful animals and birds (Zebra, Duiker, Blue Wildebeast, Double-banded Sandgrouse) but then it was time to head back to our camp, witnessing our first sunset in Kruger! :thumbs_up:

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Just before reaching Orpen, we saw our first big 5 of the stay, a rhino of course, :dance:
but there was so little daylight left that it was impossible to take a photo.

In the evening, we had our first try of a brai. We had bought charcoal and lighting at Hoedspruit so I was able to make a nice little fire.
Things got more difficult when the chicken we had also bought just burst into flame at some time. :big_eyes:
Some parts were definitely lost but the rest proved to be tender and juicy, :)
much better than the sweet pepper that I managed to keep raw (too far from the fire) but burned (too close from the chicken). :slap:
Well, there is no free lunch (or dinner) and adventure has a price. :wink:

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Last edited by WackoRhino on Sun Sep 18, 2011 10:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Meerkattitude, WackoRhino and the call of the Veld
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 11:14 am 
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Many thanks everybody for your nice posts !
Rino, we shall certainly try the 'braaibroodjie' next time, or maybe even sooner here in Switzerland :wink:


Day 2: Big 5 day, no photos

I mean no photos of the big 5… :redface: :redface:
here is how it all happened.

After a cold night, we woke up at 5:30 with a very long way ahead of us to our next camp, Shingwedzi. Some tea and Ouma’s and we were of. There were surprisingly few people on the H7 and few animals too, except this facetious Giraffe.

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We turned left on the S39 and on our way to Timbavati, we saw many Elephants far away, as well as 2 Rhinos, too far and against the light so no photos. We stopped at the pic-nic site for a hearty breakfast of bread and peanut butter. I guess that the families that were having full English breakfast on brai were quite jealous. :mrgreen:


Then, not far from Roodeval, we found a small traffic jam and thought “big cat”. We stopped and looked and looked… :?
finally someone showed us where exactly was a beautiful male lion resting under a tree. The king was not close to the road, yet I could have taken a photo…I really don’t know why I did not. :roll:


Just before reaching Letaba, we met four very dignified birds walking along the road. The Ground Hornbills did not stop for us, yet as they were birds I really wished to see again I was very happy to take some photos. :dance:

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Right on the northern side of Letaba, the H1-6 follows the Letaba river which makes for a beautiful drive. Suddenly, we saw a big spotted cat dashing across the road from the riverside and disappearing in the mopani bushes. :shock:
The sighting lasted not more than a split-second but I was quite sure that it was a leopard. MA was less sure, arguing that “we can’t be sure with such a short sight”, :hmz:
but then we saw 2 ladies in a car coming from the riverside and they were able to confirm us that this leopard had been drinking at the river, giving them their best leopard sighting in their life. We were so happy for them! :mrgreen: :mrgreen:


At the Letaba river bridge, we stopped and got out of the car to admire the view. This is such a good thing that it is allowed to get out on the long bridges! :thumbs_up:

A beautiful male Waterbuck was posing right on the river’s edge, the rest of the herd farther away.

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On our way from Letaba to Mopani we saw this lone Wildbeast in an unusual position

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And a Steenbock having an itch.

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Last edited by WackoRhino on Sun Sep 18, 2011 10:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Meerkattitude, WackoRhino and the call of the Veld
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 12:07 pm 
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Thanks Anne-Marie, you are right about photos


At the Mopani restaurant, we tried a buttered-bread hot-dog with tomato and onion sauce.
A lifer for both of us, quite nice to have on the terrace overlooking the Pionier dam. :thumbs_up:
We saw many birds around the water, including our first Giant Kingfisher who did not stay long enough for a photo.

Then we set up for the last part of our long drive to Shingwedzi. Right after the left turn on the H1-6, a biiig traffic jam stopped us. We looked and looked and… :?
a nice men told us “there is a leopard in the dead tree over there”. Indeed there was one that could be seen with good binoculars, if you knew what to look for. Nevertheless, that was our second leopard for the day :) :)
and our first ever LIT. :dance: :dance:

We began to think that this day could become a big5 day, if only we would see a buffalo. Further up on the H1-6, we did see a lone buffalo, half hidden in the mopane trees, thus we arrived with a big smile at Shingwedzi. :D :D

After a swift check-in and some rest, we still had about an hour for a short drive in the surroundings of the camp. We did the S55, very quiet, then decided to go back to the camp by the S135.

It was becoming very dark under the trees and at first we did not notice some buffalos grazing along the road. But suddenly there were dozens of them, on both sides of the road; some staring at us, their eyes shining with the light of our headlights… we were right in the middle of a big buffalo herd!
:shock: :shock:
I did not stop; I kept going slowly but steadily for what felt like an eternity to us, until we got out.

So ended a very special day for us, full of great sightings and emotions and kilometres but with very few photos.

For dinner, I cooked some pork chops (and did not burn them :wink: ) that I intended to serve with some canned chakalaka (no fresh vegetables at the shop), but what was announced as “mild” felt like “bl* hot” to us :o , so we just had the chops and then a good sleep in our nice bungalow.

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 Post subject: Re: Meerkattitude, WackoRhino and the call of the Veld
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 9:30 pm 
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Day 3: Rivers of the north

After our tiring second day, we tarried for a while in the morning, before heading to Babalala by the H1-7. Some kilometres after the bridge, we saw a car parked on the right side of the road; we stopped and realized that the people were looking at a dead buffalo, lying very near the road.
Strangely enough, the body was rather intact, but no predators could be seen on the spot. Something should have happened that made the lions go away. We took a mental note to come back later in the day and continued our way.

The drive was quiet, yet we saw three Elands crossing the road, a Nyala hiding in the bush and a Tsessebe at a waterhole far from the road, our first one. :D
After such a display of herbivores, we were happy to arrive at Babalala, eager to have our famous bed and peanut butter breakfast! :thumbs_up:

Then we drove the S56 very slowly, trying to spot some spotted cat in the beautiful trees along the way. We did not see any cat, but we stumbled upon one of my favourite bird; one that I had rarely seen and never photographed, the Hoopoe :dance:

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This Grey Lourie was also in the vicinity

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Further down the road, we met a nice giraffe

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And found a Kudu trying to hide in the bush

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Last edited by WackoRhino on Sun Sep 18, 2011 10:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Meerkattitude, WackoRhino and the call of the Veld
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 9:46 am 
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Thank you Elsa for your kind words and for having turned the page :wink:
Here is the second part fo the day.


In the afternoon, after a short break at the camp, we went to the S52 loop, still trying to see some Leopard. We had no more success than in the morning, but right after a group of giraffes

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We saw this rare beauty

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A Sharpe’s Grysbok! :D :D

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Then we stopped at the red rocks

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On the way back to the H1-7, to see if something was going on at the buffalo kill, we saw Elephants and Buffalos, our Big5s of the day, as well as a Slender Mongoose, our only predator of the day. :)

At the kill, several cars were stopped and it did not take us long to spot the different kinds of vultures fighting and shouting for a meal. From our place, it was impossible to take a photo of the dead buffalo but I managed to take the vultures.
The group includes a Lappet-faced Vulture, a lifer for me that I really hoped to see in Kruger :dance:

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And even a second one

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After this very impressive sight, we went to Kanniedood by the S134 and S50. There were some nice birds there, including an Abdim’s Stork briefly seen, one more lifer.

On our way back to the camp, the river looked very beautiful

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These three Vervets did not share their thoughts with us

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Back at Shingwedzi, we found some small zucchinis at the shop but no fresh meat, so we decided for a can of pilchards. Our meal of grilled zucchinis and canned fish was a success! :thumbs_up:

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Last edited by WackoRhino on Sun Sep 18, 2011 10:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Meerkattitude, WackoRhino and the call of the Veld
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 4:24 pm 
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Day 4: Beasts and Kings

We woke up rather early and left Shingwedzi at 7 because we wanted to drive the S134 where cheetah had been reported. In the beautiful morning light, we only saw some elephants and this Marabout.

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Then we went to Kanniedood where it seems that everything was sleeping. Not wanting to drive the S50 all the way to Mopani, our next destination, we turned back, drove the S134 again where we crossed many cars going south but no cats, and went to the bridge on the river for a last sight of this wonderful place.

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The bottom of the river was full of tracks, showing that everyone had left :lol:

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Then we took the H1-6 south and soon found this beautiful Kudu

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Further south, we had once again to thank people for showing us something special. :clap:

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Mother and pup were sleeping right beside the road but somewhat below, in a place impossible to see from the main part of the road. Our first Hyena pup deserved a close-up! :dance:

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Then we took the S144 that was completely empty except for a Black-shouldered Kite far away doing its hovering trick. We began to realise that Mopane forests were not the best places to see animals. We continued on the S143, still seeing nothing, until we arrived at Tihongonyeni waterhole, right on the Tropic of Capricorn. Here, along with Zebras and Wildebeasts, we first saw a Tsessebe

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Then a second one bringing along a strange friend, the very rare Lichtenstein’s Hartebeast :dance:

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Some more Tsessebes joined in and everyone had a good drink, each to its own manner

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We stayed quite a long time at this great place, observing the many birds and animals, a rather unusual behaviour for our hurried kind. :whistle:

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Last edited by WackoRhino on Sun Sep 18, 2011 10:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Meerkattitude, WackoRhino and the call of the Veld
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 10:29 pm 
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Thank you everybody for your kind words!

Puppy, 24 hours of plane travel or 2 days of driving, I don't know what is worse, but the pleasure on arrival is surely the same :)
Anne-Marie, yes, the tracks start my imagination, some stories beginning to unfold in my mind :wink:

Now for the second part of the day:

After Tihongonyeni, we went to Shipandani hide. Quite a fantastic place! We wished we had a reservation for a night there, but it is something very difficult to achieve from abroad. :wall:

There was a crocodile swimming, for once not lying 8)

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And a Brown-hooded Kingfisher, one more lifer photographed :dance:

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In a tree not far from the hide, this Lilac-breasted Roller posed for a very graphic composition

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Now was the time to check-in at Mopani, a process that would be delayed by a mighty traffic jam on the access road, caused by a beautiful resident of the area

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Our third leopard of the trip and the first one we were able to :cam:

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At Mopani we had a reservation for a cottage, because there were no more bungalows available. The cottage was indeed very nice!
We relaxed for a while, enjoying the place and then decided to do a sunset drive with the SanParks people.

Our guide was named Patrick, a very knowledgeable and nice man who first took us back to the leopard (an even bigger traffic jam had coalesced :shock: ), then to the river bridge near Shipandani where we saw, among other creatures, a very little King: his majesty the Malachite Kingfisher. :D

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Later we witnessed a glorious sunset

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And drove in the dusky light around Mooiplaas and Nshawu, seeing not more than we did in the morning by ourselves, that is very little. :lol:

It was then completely dark, time to turn on the torchlights. We spotted a shy African Wildcat dashing in the thickets and then a Civet who stayed in the light for some time.
Two new animals on our list that we only dreamed to see before coming to Kruger :dance: :dance:

At our Cottage, in front of a rather raw beef skewer (too small fire :roll: ), we said to ourselves, what a day, what a day :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Meerkattitude, WackoRhino and the call of the Veld
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:24 pm 
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Day 5: Slow start, golden afternoon

This morning at breakfast, among the Red-billed Hornbills, I saw for the first time a Grey-billed Hornbill that I try to photograph, but every time I had him in my eyepiece he turned his head and showed me his back :roll:

Leaving Mopani, we first went back to Shipandani to enjoy the view and the presence of the birds. The tiny king was still there, as well as one of his earnest counsellor, the Black Crake.

Then I made a driving mistake.
I wanted to go on the S136 but I turned right instead of left and took the S142, not realising my mistake before many kilometres. :slap:

It is easy to say that it was our worst drive of the week. The mopane Veld was even emptier than the day before, if that is possible. :(
After 30 kilometres on this road, I was on the verge of despair, when a lone bird on a tree showed me that in Kruger there is always hope for beauty and for a nice shot.

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Our next night destination was Letaba, but as the next day would be a long drive to Berg-en-Dal, I also wanted to use this day to go have a look at Olifants camp.
Admiring the view, we had a nice big ice cream for lunch on the terrace over the Olifants River and we bought a huge pack of dried boerewors that was to become the solution to some of our supply problems. 8)

Then we took the S93, S44 and S46 to reach Letaba. On the S44 near Von Wielligh’s Baobab, we were confronted with a new kind of traffic jam, the buffalo’s herd kind. :o
Not wishing to relive the S135 episode, we turned back and drove around the southern part of the S44 for a while, enjoying the nice views. When we came back the herd had move a bit and we were able to resume our itinerary.

Further up on the S46 we had a definite proof that some tourists are ready to break all the rules to enjoy a good sunbath at the river :lol: :lol:

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After check-in at Letaba, we reckoned that it was time to go back to that part of the H1-6 along the river that we took on our way to Shingwedzi, and to try the S95.

The light was gently turning golden, making this beautiful road even more fantastic. In one of the trees towering above the river, there was a Fish Eagle proudly posing.

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Then we saw a group of Elephants in the river

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I am not a big fan of Elephants’ photos, but there was a cute young one and a great light, so I made an effort :cam:

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Further up on the S95 this Waterbuck made for a study in golden brown

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And just before having to turn back to Letaba, we found a family of Banded Mongooses, alert and watchful.

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To me, one of the best sighting of the trip

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Dinner at the bungalow was nice and easy. No fooling around with fire; just stewed vegetables and some dried boerewors. How come we did not think that out before? :hmz:

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 Post subject: Re: Meerkattitude, WackoRhino and the call of the Veld
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:14 pm 
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Here we go anyway :lol:


Day6: Missing the family

We left Letaba rather early this morning and soon reached the part of the H1-5 along the Olifants River.
We took one of the many small paths leading to the river’s edge and stayed there for a while, enjoying the incredible peace, the light, the birds.

A Giant Kingfisher was kind enough to stay on a branch long enough for a photo.

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We really would have liked to stay there for a longer time, but the road was waiting for us. On our way to Satara, we saw a Hyena with three pups at their den :dance:
but too many branches and grass did not allowed for photos. Then we saw this Brown-headed Parrot

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And had a glimpse of what tenderness really means

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 Post subject: Re: Meerkattitude, WackoRhino and the call of the Veld
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:32 pm 
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Thank you Anne-Marie! Now we are on page 3, so let's tell some more of this day 6


We then stopped at Satara for our usual breakfast. :tongue:

While we were sitting on a bench in the garden behind the restaurant, a Grey Lourie visited us

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And a Red-billed Buffalo Weaver

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Then we decided to spend one hour on the famous S100, as it was not going on the right direction we could not afford more time.
It was very quiet on this road, the only notable sight being a beautiful purple roller, one more lifer. :dance:

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So we resumed our drive south, seeing on our way this eagle, a juvenile Bateleur? :hmz:

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We reached Tshokwane just in time for lunch. The chicken pie was so-so :( , but the place was nice and the birds looking for crumbs made nice pictures, like this Crested Barbet

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And this Mourning Dove

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Further south, we stopped on the bridge on the Sabie River to admire the view. Suddenly a bird landed on the rail.
I have a special fondness for Kingfishers so it is my pleasure and honour to present you:
the fourth King of Kruger :clap:

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Right at the end of the bridge, we first saw some buffaloes, then a couple of male Sable antelopes! :D
The Sables quickly disappeared into the thickets but that was a lifer nevertheless :dance:

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 Post subject: Re: Meerkattitude, WackoRhino and the call of the Veld
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 6:51 pm 
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Thank you Rino and Flutterby!

Here is the second part of day 6

Further down on the H4-1, we slammed into a great traffic jam.
We looked and we looked and we changed place and we kept on looking… :?
Talking with other people we finally spotted the two lionesses sleeping on the bank of the river.
From our far point of view, they really looked like logs until we saw their ears. :lol:

After a quick stop at Skukuza, just for souvenir, we entered into the last part of our journey for the day. I had one special wish for this part of the way, so I really opened my eyes wide on the H3 until I suddenly stopped, shouting “here it is!”
MA was puzzled :o but I was proud to be a far-sighted Rhino, able to show her this elusive creature:

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This is a heavily cropped picture, but the Klipspringer was quite far away.
One more new one on our list. :dance:


A few kilometres further, the smallest of predators posed for us, almost like a stuffed animal.

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We finally reached Berg-en-Dal, checked in, got our very nice bungalow, and decided that we still had enough time and energy to do the Matjulu loop.

On our way up to the waterhole, we got stuck in a huge traffic jam. In such a leopard country it could only mean a beautiful spotted cat! Indeed he (or she?) was there. Hiding in the grass, looking at some impalas nearby.

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The Leopard stayed still for quite a while, then obviously decided that there was no chance and left

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Crossing the road between vehicles only meters away from us

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Our fourth Leopard of the week, what a fantastic sighting! :dance: :dance:


Now we began to think, “this is Rhino country as well, can we achieve a second big5 day?”

We arrived at the waterhole, where we “only” found a thirsty Elephant

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Time was running short now and we faced a difficult decision. Do we try to cross the traffic jam, for people were still waiting to see the leopard emerging again from the bush, or do we take the loop, hoping for a Rhino to show?

We did the loop, we looked and looked and called for my relatives to come out, but to no avail.
We reached the gate at 17:59, having missed the family.

Later in the evening we went to eat at the restaurant. There, in front of our hamburger and fries, we said to ourselves, what a day, what a day :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Meerkattitude, WackoRhino and the call of the Veld
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 6:58 pm 
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Kamadejo, you will see what we saw on the next day... :)
Welsh-Ash and Flutterby, it seems to me thet thie Ellie feels a bit guilty being caught "the trunk in the bag* :)


Day7: Never let you down

After a VERY cold night :cry: and a slow start, for our last full day in Kruger we decided to go to Lower Sabie The place had left us a great impression three years ago and we really wanted to see it again.

On the Crocodile River road, we began to see the “usual” Impalas and Elephants, and suddenly

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He stopped and looked at us before crossing the road

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How could have I doubted? :redface:
The family never let you down…it just takes a bit more time sometimes. Now we had our Big5_in24hours!! :dance: :dance:

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This third Rhino sighting of the trip really reminded me of the very first one I saw when I caught the virus three years ago. For some time on after this encounter I had a very wide grin :D :D


Further east, at a crossing on a small river we saw for the first time two Woolly-necked Storks, with a Great Egret

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We then stopped at Lower Sabie, had a drink on the terrace and enjoyed the view before going to Sunset dam. The diversity of wildlife at the dam was incredible. We had a good parking place and so I managed to take some pictures, like this Jacana

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These two birds that I can’t ID (please help)

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And this family of Egyptian geese. Please note the Three-banded Plover and the African Wagtail on the same photo

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Even the mundane Guinea Fowl made a show

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There was also Yellow-billed Storks, Kittlitz’s Plover, White-crowned Lapwing and certainly others that we did not even see.
Sunset dam is such a wonderful place! :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Meerkattitude, WackoRhino and the call of the Veld
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:05 pm 
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Pumbaa glad to know you are reading my TR! I was so surprised to see such a big river as Shingwedzi almost completely dry...it makes for a great scenery :thumbs_up:
Puppy you surely have an advantage over foreigners to get to Kruger :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
Kamadejo I wish I had the whole day for Sunset Dam :) ... well, not sure considering what came next


Here is the second part of Day 7

From there we went to another amazing place, the Sabie Bridge. Here, among Pied Kingfishers, Grey Herons and Cormorants, we saw the mighty Goliath Heron. A great bird I was so glad to see again!

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Then, before taking the way back to Berg-en-Dal, we wanted to explore a bit of the area, so we took the S28 to Ntandanyathi.
On the way, I saw a Tawny Eagle on a tree a bit far for a photo, then suddenly a second one arrived and landed on the back of the first. I soon realised that I was witnessing my first mating of eagles. :shock:

There was nothing special at Ntandanyathi so we left and took the S137. A short time later, we crossed a car and the passenger waved us to stop. The man had a big smile up to his eyes and he said, “there is a Cheetah under a tree at the next waterhole, you will see the cars”
Thank you so much Mister!! :clap:
Duke waterhole is not situated alongside the road so I am not sure that we would have made the detour without this precious info.

And indeed there were 5 or 6 cars at Duke, all set in the same direction, and one Cheetah lying under the shade of a tree.
Our first ever Cheetah in the wild! :dance: :dance:

After some time, the Cheetah straightened up, so I could take some photos

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But then he lied down again, obviously ready for a nap, so we left a while later.

It was such a fantastic sighting for us that a few kilometres further we barely noticed this buffaloes engaged in a team-building session

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Further away, we stopped at Mpondo dam. The view was superb but there were only some “common” birds, like this Francolin

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Back on the H3, we tried to see again a Klipspringer but we did not succeed, and also had a break at Afsaal before reaching Berg-en-Dal. There was one last thing we wanted to do on this once again great day, that was going back to Matjulu.

We found no traffic jam or big cat on our way to the waterhole, but on site we found a dozen of cars obviously waiting for sunset and any thirsty animal.
We stopped the car and waited, just like everybody else. :pray:

It was very quiet at the waterhole, and people were loosing patience. The cars left one by one until there was just us and another fellow. We had hesitated to leave as well but finally decided that we already had enough driving for the day, and we simply enjoyed the peace and natural beauty of the place.

Then, at 17:45, we saw a big shape emerging from the thickets. A Rhino! Much to our delight the Rhino was not alone…
Light was already low so it was quite difficult to get a decent photo without a tripod, this is the best I have.

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The family did not let us down! :dance: :dance: :dance:

It was a most extraordinary moment. The cool light, the silence, the quietness of the mother and the jolly presence of the baby. I felt my throat tighten and my eyes getting wet, I was so moved and deeply happy to be here. I felt lucky and incredibly thankful, and I am sure that MA shared the same emotions.
Then, she said, “it is as if Kruger is telling us to come back again someday”, and it was the very feeling I had.

Contemplating this marvellous scene, I silently formulated my best wishes for these two wonderful beings, a long life, hopefully protected from the disgusting and evil poachers. :evil:

We stayed at the waterhole up to the last reasonable minute and arrived at the camp at 17:58, which made me think “well, we left two minutes too soon” :roll:

In the evening, we made a great big fire (well, sort of :wink: ) with all the coal left and grilled some sausages.

We did not speak much, still surrounded by wonderful memories. :D :D :D

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 Post subject: Re: Meerkattitude, WackoRhino and the call of the Veld
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:26 pm 
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Location: Geneva
Thank you Kamadejo, Anne Marie and Fluterby !
Kruger has been once more very generous with us :thumbs_up:


Day8: All creatures big and small

After an even colder night than the one before :shock: we had a small walk around the camp. The sky was perfect blue and the sunshine gave really nice colours to the trees and the birds, like to this Scarlet-chested Sunbird

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Or this Black-headed Oriole

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And this Brown-headed Parrot playing “who is looking at who?”

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Our last sight of the camp, just before dropping the keys in the box, were these beautiful flowers

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We were then a bit disoriented by the perspective of leaving Kruger and did not know where to go. One option was to drive around Berg-en-Dal and exit at Malelane, the other go east again and exit at Crocodile Bridge. We settled for the second solution.

From the bridge over the Matjulu River, we saw this very classic scene

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Then, on the first part of the S25, we met one more Elephant

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Can you imagine that this dude charged us very little time after this photo? :shock:
Well, maybe I came too close… :redface:

The Elephant was quietly munching, so I thought I could get closer and that he would gracefully step aside or if not, that he will show us that he was unhappy with us and that we would stop and retreat quietly. But it did not happened like that. :naughty:

I was driving very slowly towards the Elephant who was seemingly not concerned with us... All of a sudden, as we were maybe 10 meters from him, he turned his head, flapped his ears only once and started to charge!! :big_eyes: :big_eyes:

I only had time to switch to reverse and hit the gas pedal to the floor. Luckily the road behind us was straight, because the elephant ran at us for maybe 50 meters before giving up!
Talk about Kruger having always something new to show you :)


Not wanting to try again to pass this road, we had to take the S121 where we saw this beautiful bird and understood why it is called in French “Episcopal Stork”

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Then we reached Gardenia hide. At the door of the hide we found this Red-crested Korhaan

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At the waterhole, there were no animals except Impalas and a Blacksmith Lapwing. The bird was calling in a peculiar way... it took us some time to see the two tiny chicks that were running around. This is a heavily cropped picture of one of the chicks.

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Later, the Crocodile River road was very quiet yet we had our last big5 sighting, of Rhinos of course! :thumbs_up:

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And finally, just before crossing the very impressive Crocodile Bridge, we met a Slender Mongoose who seemed to stare sadly at the bush.

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But maybe sadness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder...

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