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 Post subject: Daffy Thick bushes,lush green and big cats,kruger 'April 12'
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 2:31 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:49 am
Posts: 95
Location: Netherlands
Hi forumites,

Last sunday we (Monique and I) took off at OR Tambo to look back on a 18 day trip to a green paradise. This was our 9th trip in 10 years and after enjoying so much reading all your reports and story's it's about time to write some words and pics in return and hopefully add a thing or to to the joy. We look back at a magnificent Kruger trip with some unbelievable sightings. I never thought we could be so lucky to watch an actual kill. We had cats, big tuskers, small surprises, a great Sweni Trail with Julius and Obed, thunderstorm, meeting with a forumite and also with very good friends from the Netherlands. And of course also the quiet drives with no special sightings to spare the battery of ones camera.
We crossed the park from south to north and back again. A lot of driving but it proved worthwile.
At the moment I'm still busy with the job and other things to clear , but I promise that I will try to start as soon as possible. I'm curious of your reactions. Just to get in the mood, a highlight of a small animal. I wonder what snake it is?

Peter

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_________________
KNP 2013 januari/februari
19-21 Mopani
21-23 Punda Maria
23-27 Shingwedzi
27-30 Letaba
30-04 Satara
04-08 Lower Sabie


Last edited by Daffy on Sat Apr 07, 2012 12:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Thick bushes, lush green and big cats, kruger march 2012
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:21 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 1:13 pm
Posts: 810
Location: Johannesburg
Daffy, I'm on board. That is some kind of sand or whip snake. The experts will be here shortly to tell us :D I had hoped we would meet too, as I was in the park at the same time, but you were in the south, I was in the North.
Looking forward to more :popcorn:


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 Post subject: Re: Thick bushes, lush green and big cats, kruger march 2012
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:37 pm 
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Posts: 95
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Welcome on board, so lets make a start. We had a very comfortable flight with BA from Amsterdam through London to Joburg. Right on schedule, picked up our Toyota Avenza at Budget at 8.00 and drove of on the N4 to Malelane. As always we did our shopping at the Spar in Malelane and entered the gate at 14.00 u. sharp. We thought it hot after the dutch winter so quickly slipped in to shorts and headed for Berg and Dal for the first 2 nights. The tall grass and dense bushes was the first to notice. I like to look of it and prefere it above the dry easy to spot bush. So the first pic:


We were a little tired and decided to take a short nap in the camp. The bungalow at the perimeter was fine. At 5 pm we went out for a short drive, saw nothing special ( except the subject we don't mention ). This spurfowl with chick was a quickly taken before she rushed in the grass.

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Back at camp we enjoyed our first braai, heads hit the pillow soon after. We were sent to sleep by a distant roaring lion. I guess it was a special welcome back to us from the bush.

The next day early rise and out for the first morning drive. We decided to take it easy so we took our coffee and headed for gardenia hide on the S119. It was a beautiful morning. The first thing that caught our eye was the dawn over Komatipoort. Not a sighting, but it gave us a good feeling to say goodbye to the "world" for the coming weeks.

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Our first drive was relaxing but we didn't see that much, but there are always Impala's. They are never boring, even in tall grass and thick bush.

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The scenery at Gardenia hide was so peacefully this morning. We saw mainly birds. Not being a birder myself I couldn't resist the Kingfisher.

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Suddenly we noticed a bird flying on and on in to a dead tree. It was to far away so we drove from the hide 100m to the tree to take a close look. It appeared to be a woodpecker taking food to her chicks. We stayed for some time to get some pics. Pics and the rest of the first day coming up.

_________________
KNP 2013 januari/februari
19-21 Mopani
21-23 Punda Maria
23-27 Shingwedzi
27-30 Letaba
30-04 Satara
04-08 Lower Sabie


Last edited by Daffy on Sat Apr 07, 2012 12:08 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Thick bushes, lush green and big cats, kruger march 2012
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:21 pm 
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Arriving at the dead tree we identified the bird as a Crested Barbet. Its was taking a mouthfull in to the nest, coming out, flying in to the bush and so on. It was already hot in the sun but worthwhile waiting for a couple of pics.


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Back to the camp for a brucnch gave us some zebra's and regular game.

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Back in BandD we couldn't get fuel so early afternoon we hopped to Malelane to fill up. Our afternoon drive gave us no special sightings, but on the whole is was a peacefull sunny first day and we enjoyed every bit of it. To end day 1 a couple of shots. Its was a calm day, nothing spectaculair. That would soon change the next day!!

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_________________
KNP 2013 januari/februari
19-21 Mopani
21-23 Punda Maria
23-27 Shingwedzi
27-30 Letaba
30-04 Satara
04-08 Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: Thick bushes, lush green and big cats, kruger march 2012
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 11:44 pm 
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Posts: 95
Location: Netherlands
Thank you Hilda, PetraJ, Tawny, Hoyle, Pumbaa, Cheetah 2111, Sharifa, Radman, Kids@camping and Heksie for your kind remarks and welcome on board.
@Barryels: just relax and practise patience, time flies like the wind.
@ Elsa: it was a promise I made. I was also glad to meet you. But we had a log drive to Olifnats to make and had little time to spare.
@Hoyle: thats the reason why we dit this trip march.
@cheetah 2111: good guess and a little later your cats were also present!!!
@ Pumbaa: more feathers to come.

Before day 2 ( most memorable for us) I have to tell you that on the first evening we had a visit of a spotted genet. We sat without moving and "forgot" to take a pic. We think it was a local genet that roams all the bungalows for a snack. Love those big begging eyes.

Next morning we had an early start. It's cloudy and we want to be back at 8.00 for breakfast. We don't want to be late for our meeting with Vlakvarkvrouw. We decide to do the gardenia again for a coffeestop, relax a bit and them back for BandD. It's a very quiet morning. A few impies is all we spot. Driving the S119 coming from the west, about 2 k's from the hide we watch a bakkie driving to the west and suddenly stopping for a mother with calf. The bakkie comes to close and mother makes a sudden move. ( not really a charge ). The guy in the bakkie backed off and a minute later the mother gave way and the bakkie passes us and drives on. He had better not do that and should have waited for 2 minutes more. As we approach and pass the mother very slowly we suddenly spot a lioness in the high grass, stalking.....but what is she stalking? Only then we realize that a little to the right some 30 impies are in a state of alarm. Monique is now pointing here camera at the lioness to take a picture. It is still a little dusky being cloudy and early morning. At this point the impies all start running, at first parallel to our car and than they took a sharpe curve to the left, overrunning the lioness. 1 second later Monique took this pic. We think it's not the best pic ever shot, but most memorable. What an action.

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Did you notice the young male impala that was spared?

We took some more pics, but the dusk and tall grass made it very difficult to take good shots. The lioness dragged the dead impala in to the bushes after she called for the rest of the pride who came in one by one
Now it was clear why the impies ran in panic. There were 3 more lionesses and 5 cubs of about 6 months old coming from the other side of where the impies were before they started running. We never saw them feeding on the prey, but we could hear the feast. We were on our own untill 5 minutes later Raymond from B&D arrived to watch the last 3 cubs crossing the dirt road. Then the scenery showed no trace of what had happened. The actuel kill was a split second. The whole story just a couple of minutes, We were very fortunate to be on the right time (with thanks for the driver of the bakkie for the "delay") on the right place.


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We drank our coffee standing on the side of the road. After 20 minutes we headed back in a dream for Band Dal, had breakfast and got on the road again to look for yellow ribbons. Just the second day. Already this trip is a great succes :D :D :D

_________________
KNP 2013 januari/februari
19-21 Mopani
21-23 Punda Maria
23-27 Shingwedzi
27-30 Letaba
30-04 Satara
04-08 Lower Sabie


Last edited by Daffy on Sat Apr 07, 2012 7:48 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Thick bushes, lush green and big cats, kruger march 2012
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 10:52 pm 
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Posts: 95
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Thank you all for your support and kind comments.

@Hilda: it wasn't the little one , but a fully grown impie the lioness grabbed.
@JnP: they came one by one and were difficult to snap. I will upload 2 more
@ barryels: we had the same thoughts. Some of the pride looked a bit skinny. Maybe not so good a hunters, or just in need of a snack?
@MF : There's more trips to plan, so we might meet some day in the future
@Puppy: and so we were the rest of the day(s) :dance:
@ FC: glad to have you on board. We are a lucky pair indeed and such without the help of your Diderick in november :wink:

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After packing the bags we set for Skukuza where we would meet Vlakvarkvrou. As we drove the H3 for 10 minutes we spotted a yellow and red ribbon. As we overtook a the grey Suzuki we recognized the car as Vlakvarkvrou's. We introduced us and decided to continue our meeting at Afsaal. Before Afsaal we also had a little chat with Sparrow on the little dirt road to Renosterpan. At Afsaal we had an entertaining kuier with Vlakvarkvrou, her daughter and brother with his wife. We had to break off the meeting at 12 for we had a long drive to Olifants to go. At the parking we had a very short chat with Elsa and her english friend, too short. All the mites were heading for the cricket at Skukuza.
In the mean time the weather turned to sunny and it was heating up fast. The route to Olifants took us south of the Sabie river ( North still closed ). The flood has removed a lot of trees, so we had a good view in the riverbed. We spotted nothing special ( we would 2 weeks later ). On the high water bridge the devestation is still to be seen. Just before we reached bridge we met Sharifa. We didn't have a stop to make a proper chat thinking we were short in time.

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On to Tshokwane ( still closed, don't know why, because it doesn't look that bad on first sight ) we had nothing but a couple of impala's. North of Tshokwane it strucks you seeing all that water. This pic is taken at Matzithi.

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Kumana has a lot of water, it goes on farther noth allmost till the junction with the S125. I think it is, what is left of the flooding of the N'waswitsonto. This giraf just had a drink at this temporary pub.

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We had no exiting sightings but enjoyed the drive to Olifants. We rested a while in Satara with a snack and went further up north. It is now very hot and we use the airco a couple of hours. A baby Zebra and old Buffalo was "all" we did meet.
The part of the H1-5 from the junction with the S91 to the junction with the H8 is still closed, so we made a little detour on the S91. Witch is no punishment as it is a scenic route. About half way we saw again the evidence of the recent flooding. The low water bridge is partly gone and so many trees are washed away you can spot the bungalows of deserted Balule.
We arrived early ( 1700 ) at our bungalow took a cold one and a glass of wine and relaxed for the rest of the daylight, taking in the perfect view, still with a smile on our face, thinking about the early morning hours.


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_________________
KNP 2013 januari/februari
19-21 Mopani
21-23 Punda Maria
23-27 Shingwedzi
27-30 Letaba
30-04 Satara
04-08 Lower Sabie


Last edited by Daffy on Sat Apr 07, 2012 7:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Thick bushes, lush green and big cats, kruger march 2012
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 12:53 pm 
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Posts: 95
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Thank you Vinkie, be, re and Pba.

@ be: we were in nr 1 for 2 nights and loved the view and the privacy of the spot
@ re: it sure did.

I made a kind of mess of my Photobucket account and post nr 2 has no pics left and I can't get it right. Hope it has no effects on the coming posts.

The next day uip eaerly again we decided to take the scenic route S 44, but found it still closed. So we went straight on to the S 93. It is again a warm morning and heating up fast. There's not much game to spot, the mopani is thick. But at one of the little streams to the letaba river we spotted this woodland kingfisher struggling with a big mopani worm. The question was: can he take it in? So we waited for 15 minutes to watch the outcome of his struggle. Being a great supporter of Obama the kingfisher finaly answered.

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We decide to do a stop in Letaba but at first we meet one of the many young impies. This was a cute one.

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_________________
KNP 2013 januari/februari
19-21 Mopani
21-23 Punda Maria
23-27 Shingwedzi
27-30 Letaba
30-04 Satara
04-08 Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: Thick bushes, lush green and big cats, kruger march 2012
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 9:09 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:49 am
Posts: 95
Location: Netherlands
Thank you mites for your warm support and kind remarks.

@ Heksie: we never care for distances as long as we don't have to speed. During the heat of the dy we can do 100 k's or a little more, to make sure we don't have to hurry.
@ Vlakvarkvrou: we would if we could, but september is impossible for us to organize a trip. We might be in for feb/march 2012. Hope to meet you many times. :D
@ FC: you will have a great time, with or without water, but I wish you the same as we had: thicj bushes, lots af grass and perfect sightings.
@ MM I agree fullt with you, and there is more to come.
@ Rookie: I (Peter ) just love the dense green atmospere an the animals are the cream on the pudding.

After our stop in Letaba it was heating up quick. We decided to visite the Matambeni Hide. Monique takes the wheel saying she hoped there are no ellies on her path. On the cul de sac (S95) she was surprised by a herd ( it's always more than 1 when M drives ) coming out of the bush and surrounded her. With wet hands she made it only to find out that cul de sac means one more time :doh: But she made once again without frightening the ellies at all: Pfffffffff. We didn't even think about our camera's.
The view from the hide was beautiful and once again peaceful. We saw and heard ( :lol: ) the hippo's, croc and many birds, but needed the binocs to enjoy. Just a few pics to get an idea. Lots of water of course.


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After a while we leave the hide to get on the road to Olifants for a late brunch. On the main road we surprised this bull, not yet known or named by Aat, but a promise for the near future.

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After brunch and a 2 hour siesta we find out ( again ) that Olifants has no pool to defeat the heat, so we take the car and found us a nice cool shady place on the S46 near the Letaba. We read a bit and enjoyed just being there. On our way back to camp we had a very cute lion sighting. Driving to the junction with the H8 we decide to take a late turn to the left, just to make sure there is nothing there. Just 1 k driving we found a mother lion with her cubs playing with each other in the tall grass, and not as close as we wished. Still we had great fun using our binocs to watch the family playing. It lasted for 15 minutes, the we huried back to camp to arrive just in time. Again we counted ourself very lucky this trip.
Back in camp the usual braai and wine and an early sleep.

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_________________
KNP 2013 januari/februari
19-21 Mopani
21-23 Punda Maria
23-27 Shingwedzi
27-30 Letaba
30-04 Satara
04-08 Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: Thick bushes, lush green and big cats, kruger march 2012
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 9:44 pm 
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Next morning, sunday 11 march we go out for a quick morning drive. Slowly we drive to the place we spotted the lions yesterday. They are still there and even more, 2 lazy males. There's a lot of playing and running, but it's still dusky and they forgt to mawn the grass last night. We could watch the show with biniculars, had great fun but took no pics. After an hour and a half we drive to to the look-out point for coffee an than back to camp for breakfast an packing. This afternoon we are booked foor the Sweni trail, so we'll leave for Satara, taking the Timbavati Pad ( S39) on a slow pace, planning lunch at ratelpan hide.
First we say goodbye to the Olifants river for now.
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It is again a hot day and spot nothing special. Even this S39 is green and lush instead of a dry yellow and brown.
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Just as we think it's only Impala's this drive I spot my first LIT. We've seen them before but never spotted one ourselve. And this one we had for ten minutes and no other cars around. Certainly not the best pics but for us special. Both are enlarged details.

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After lunch and a stop and Timbavati picnicspot we go for satara and the trail.
At 15.30 we meet with trailsranger Julius and tracker Obed. We learn that we are the only guests and so we have a private trip of three nights in Sweni trailscamp. We love the camp at first sight and don't mind to have it just forn ourselves for the coming days. Julius reads out the rules ( we remembered some of them from our Metsi metsi trail last year ), get our dinner and sit by the fire and just relax with a beer, looking over the moonlit plains with wildebeasts and zebras calling each other in the night. It's a bit like a dream your living in. Trying to catch sleep we fancy how tomorrow will be. How will the walk go and will we see lions again? and cubs?

_________________
KNP 2013 januari/februari
19-21 Mopani
21-23 Punda Maria
23-27 Shingwedzi
27-30 Letaba
30-04 Satara
04-08 Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: Thick bushes, lush green and big cats, kruger march 2012
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:27 pm 
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Thank you all for the nice reply and encouraging me to proceed :dance:
@ Melph: we do remember and it was great meeting you too. We liked your quickly told story of 2 leopards that morning ( or does my memory decieves me?). A trip report with pics is all we need :pray: :wink:
@ Noel: Ugly worm, but very, very tasty!!! :hmz:

And now for the story of the trail. Quickly told it was hot, hot and we had a lot of privacy and some thunder and ellies and game and rhino's and.......it was awesome. We had a great time. The rangers Julius and Obed are very helpful and letting you go your own way as much as possible, the way we like it best. They are a perfect team.
Every day starts with a drive followed by a walk ( not more than 3 hours, because it was hot at 10.00 ). Then back to camp for a brunch. There is plenty time to relax or explore the little camp or just enjoy the view. At 16.00 it's time for a drive ( no afternoon walk for us and we were not sorry for that ) sundowner and back to dinner'. The last leg of the drive it's dark. The only sad thing is it only lasts for 2 days. The morning of the third day it's an early drive back to Satara.

The first morning we got up at 5.00, no hot water but who needs luxery in such a beautiful camp. This is the tent we called our home for 3 nights. We slept like a log.

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Before leaving the camp we drink a coffee and a rusk and than it's of in the truck. Big truck for 2 guests, it's very comfortable.
The day starts with clouds and a drop of rain, but soon the sun wins. After a 30 minutes drive we park under a big tree ( Maybe easy to find the route back?) and start the walk. It's all about being out there in the bush, knowing you are protected by professionals with rifles they seldom use. We didn't spot much animals. Most of them flee and the thick bush and grass makes it difficult. But there's always a rhino:

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When walking you wonder why the tracker ( Obed ) doesn't take a straight line. Well the answer is easy, there are lots of golden orbs you don't want to disturb.

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When arriving at a spot to take a rest and a snack the rangers make sure it's safe.
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We don't see much, but Julius is a good storyteller and tells all about the leadwood tree. It grows perfect wood to build with as insects can't beat the strong wood. When burned the ash is used for several purposes. You can purifie water with the ash ( we didn't try ) and you can use it as toothpaste ( didn't try that either ).
We walk a little longer because we spotted circling vultures but it was a false alarm.
Very cute are the Carmine Bee eaters who join us for almost an hour eating the insects we disturb while walking. Going to fast for a good pic.

On the way back to camp there is elephant, Monique prefers them spotting from the truck instead of on foot.
I think it's a beautfull bull.

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Back in camp, a shower and breakfast and then it's relaxing time. But before we go for siesta we get company from a herd of ellies. We watch them for more than half an hour. We had a good view being a little higher than the pool of water. There were little babys enjoying the playing and also the mums and aunts had great fun. And so were we. :lol:

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After this show we took a 2 hour break. The sounds of the drums woke us and after a cup of thee we went off in the truck for our afternoon drive. As we hoped for cats Julius decided to take the river path. And it turned out to be a very good decision. After half an hour Obed spotted lions in the riverbed. :thumbs_up: Dense vegetation didn't give us much to take pics, but these two cubs wandered in to the late sun and gave an opportunity we could't resist. Ain't they cute??

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Only an hour later we would see one of this cubs in a less cute position.

_________________
KNP 2013 januari/februari
19-21 Mopani
21-23 Punda Maria
23-27 Shingwedzi
27-30 Letaba
30-04 Satara
04-08 Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: Thick bushes, lush green and big cats, kruger march 2012
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:15 pm 
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Location: Netherlands
Thanks for your reactions on the cute lions, that are indeed not so innocent.
@ Pumbaa: it sure was a highlite, but further up north some brothers were waiting for us :dance:
@ Heksie: we were very lucky to have it for ourselves. Though we like Satara very much the crowd can be somewhat thick.
@ Radman: I think you do wish
@ Hilda: being a sissie has nothing do with enjoying the trails experience. Just go for it. :thumbs_up:
@ Mel: less cute or maybe not cute at all or just "normal".

After leaving the adorable cubs Julius drove us to a peace little dam called "Marheya" where we stopped and got out for a sundowner. You have to bring your own drinks to the trail, so don't forget. There's a fridge with small capacity in the camp.
After sunset we drove back hoping to spot out lions again. It was already a bit dusky when we spotted a part of the pride in the tall grass. It took us 3 times looking before we understood that there was a young wildebeast, just killed by the lionesses. Julius drove the safari truck very near and we could watch the proces of opening the kill ( it was that fresh ) before they started eating. 2 lady's, a young male and one of the cubs were having a dinnerparty and they didn't care a bit having us watching the feast.
The cub had a hard time to fight himself to the belly of the prey. Maybe you still call it cute and "its nature" and those kind of frases. We call it a bloody mess with a lot of growling and pushing around.
It was an exiting experience. Just a couple of days ago the actual kill and now the party after the kill. We stayed untill it was dark and had to drive to camp for our own dinner.

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What a lovely , cute cub. It's almost as if it invites us to dinner. :wink:
We consider us very, very fortunate to have watched this "nature show".
We had a lot to think back at sitting near the fire that night and we slept like logs again.

_________________
KNP 2013 januari/februari
19-21 Mopani
21-23 Punda Maria
23-27 Shingwedzi
27-30 Letaba
30-04 Satara
04-08 Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: Thick bushes, lush green and big cats, kruger march 2012
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:02 am 
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After a good nigths sleep we got up early again. The same ritual as day one.
Julius drove us south in the direction of Kumana to do a walk in an area where he and Obed hadn't walked for 3 years. So we we were going to explore!
Once out of the truck we hear a lion roar not to far away. Obed puts his rifle on his shoulder and says in a low voice "let's go for him". Monique looks surprised and asks him if we actually go walking in the direction of the roaring sound. Obed answers: "you say you like lions, you very much want to see them...so let's walk"!!
And so we did. The area where we walked was dense, you couln't see far, but the guys in the lead didn't care and so we did follow. The thick bush and knowing that the lion was somewhere ahead made the walk thrilling. A warthog jumped up 15 m for our feet and runs off in a hurry. We spot a lot of orbs, but no lion. When we arrive at an open spot in the bush Obed and Julius search it carefully, but no trace of lion. The only thing we spot is an old blanket, likely left by Mozambicians at least 2 years back. We didn't find any bones.

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We continue our walk with less tension. It's even hotter then yesterday and soon we hope the walk won't be that long. After 1,5 hour we sit down for a snack with a view on the Kumana dam. We see cars but they don't spot us. We are just to far away.

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After a rest we walk back to the truck and head back to camp for breakfast. As for sightings: we didn't see much this morning. I think kruger want's to get a balance. Not every day can be top of the world. And we just don't care, being out there, on foot or in the truck, gives great joy. And there are most of the time these colourful birds flying where we walked, catching the insects.

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And there are always impala's. As I pointed out before: never boring.

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You can't have it more lush and green than this.

After breakfast it's relaxing again and siesta. Or just enjoying the view from the lapa.
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Then the drums call us to go out for the afternoon drive. The sky is a little overcast. Are we in for a thunderstorm? Julius thinks the rain will wait till later this evening. We doubt his judgement, but who are we to do so?
We spot an ellie again and a few Koritraps. And the herds of plain game of course.

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Just half an hour out we can see the storm coming. Julius decides to drive a little on but soon after the wind rises and dust is flying fiercely around. Julius makes an U turn and races back to camp.

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We store our camera's against the dust and the rain that will soon follow. Rain starts to poor just 5 minutes before we reach camp. Wet, wet wet and cold in a second or 2. We hurry to the lapa for shelter. While waiting for dinner we enjoy the lightning and thunder, the plain now and than setting in a blue dim light.
Later that evening the storm is over and the air cleared up. It's a perfect evening, nice and cool, to think back on two memorabel days.
Next morning is up at 6.30. Just breakfast and than back for Satara. And just as we crossed the Sweni river there is a goodbye present from this part of Kruger. These 2 guys showed there faces from a safe ( for them ) distance in the early morning. By the look of there belly's I would say they had a good dinner last night. As we did!

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We look back at a wonderful experience thanks to the animals who were there on the spot at the right time and for sure also thanks to the friendly, professional Sweni staff. :clap: :clap:
Back at the parking of Satara you realize it's over for now and you always want to go back to that beautiful peaceful little camp by the Sweni River far away from the civilized world.

_________________
KNP 2013 januari/februari
19-21 Mopani
21-23 Punda Maria
23-27 Shingwedzi
27-30 Letaba
30-04 Satara
04-08 Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: Thick bushes, lush green and big cats, kruger march 2012
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:00 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:49 am
Posts: 95
Location: Netherlands
Thank you [b]Tentdweller, Hilda, Threedogs, Mel, Pumbaa and MG ( welcome) [b] for your support. It gives me energy to go on with my TR. :gflower: :gflower:
Mel, I still think this cub is so cute, dispite the bloody face. The face says: sorry, it's not my fault! The big ones forced me to go in the belly of that big black thing. I think this cub 8) .
Pumbaa, I agree that february can be to hot to really enjoy walking, but the green bush and big herds of game make it worthwile. And yes, this lions we will not easy forget.

After putting our things in the car and saying goodbye to Julius and Obed we hit the road for Mopani. We are looking forward to Mopani. It's our first visit to this camp and if it was not for Flying Cheetah's Trip Report ( november 2011 ) we would have skipped Mopani. Thinking back on the decision to book 2 nights at Mopani it prooved one of the best decisions ever we made. Our main reason was to search for the two cheetah brothers roaming the area, but you know with cheetah's, they wander a big territory and you have to be lucky.
But first we had to drive to this camp and as we had nothing left to braai we decided to drive to Phalaborwa on the tarroad, do our things at the Spar for 5 days in the park, and then the tarroad to Mopani. We took a rather quick pace to make sure we would'n't be late at the gate. The sightings were not that many, but the weather was fine an the drive relaxing. We didn't plan it as a gamedrive, but more as a traveling day in a scenic landscape. Big surpise was our meeting with Melph on the S91. It was a brief encounter as we were heading opposite directions. It was fun meeting you and your dad. Without special sightings there is still a lot to be seen and experience.
Just a couple of pics of the many turtles we encountered on the road. Not only on this day, we saw many this trip.

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The oistrich with an older chick.
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Can't get enough of the colourful Lilac Brested.
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And how about buffalows. This trip we saw many. We like the portrait best .

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And one of the "One-Tuskers" we met this trip.

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We arrived at Mopani 4.30 pm and got bungalow nr 90. Perfect in the middle of Mopani bushes and big enough for us both. Soon we were surprised by the lack of hot water in the kitchen. With some dirty clothes to do and not to forget ourselves, I hurried to reception who promised that the service men are gonna fix it right away. Before 15 minutes were past a bakkie arrived at the spot and two merry guys swing out of the cabin. The don't carry guns, but a big ( and I mean really huge ) water pump pliers ( 1 meter ) to fix the hot water, so they say. I'm a little worried for the bungalow to survive. They go inside and out within 2 minutes explaining that they have to dig ( with that pump pliers?) and that it's to late to start today. "we will come back tomorrow and ask for a spare bungalow at reception ". So I went to reception and after a quick conversation with the manager they found us a spare bungalow for 2 nights. After moving our stuff we considered ourselves very lucky again for we were moved to a very big bungalow ( You could easily sleep with 6 ) only 100 meters form the swimming pool. As it was hot again that was a bonus to us.
Best part of the deal was the terrace. What a luxery for 2 persons. We decided to obey the orders of the manager: "go and just enjoy it"!

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We finished this relaxing day with a tasty boerewors from the braai, found a bedroom inside and went dreaming about the cheetah's we hoped to encounter the following day.
I will try to post the next part this evening.

_________________
KNP 2013 januari/februari
19-21 Mopani
21-23 Punda Maria
23-27 Shingwedzi
27-30 Letaba
30-04 Satara
04-08 Lower Sabie


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 Post subject: Re: Thick bushes, lush green and big cats, kruger march 2012
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 8:40 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:49 am
Posts: 95
Location: Netherlands
Thank you Tent Dweller, Heksie and M.M.
@ Heksie: we feel very much privileged to have watched the feasting on the kill. And we agree on the Boerewors 100%.
@ MM: it's the mystique and not knowing what the bush will bring you that makes one come back again, and again ........
@ T.D.: I'm sure you will have a great time at Mopani. There are beautiful drives to do and the camp has a great "sundowner-deck".

Our first day in the Mopani area. Early rise and we decide to go for the Tropic of Capricorn road, because it was there that FC found his cheetah's. It's a bit cloudy and not to hot . Just 20 minutes later we stop at Mooiplaas waterhole to ask the driver of the one parked car if there is anything special to see. To our surprise he points at 2 cheetah's lying down near the waterhole, covered in the high grass. It's still a bit dusky, but with the binocs we can have a good look on them. I think we have found the 2 brothers that FC tells us about in his last TR, within half an hour. Is it possible that FC's luck is with us?? It's to dark for a good shot, so we decide to wait a little. After 1,5 hours, I have made 2 times a suggestion of moving on that were denied by Monique, the brothers suddenly rise and decide it's high time to mark their territory.
As we are parked near a marking place we sit first rank. And with only 3 cars to share the sighting you almost feel you are in Kgalagadi. The walk in our direction, marking the stone and what happened after in the grass made this sighting a very special one and maybe our best cheetah sighting sofar. However, next morning, even before sunrise, another meeting with the brothers leaves us in doubt which one was best.
One lesson learned: always listen to your SO concerning "Cat affaires".

We made a lot of pics. The highlights:

The brothers finally coming in our direction.
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There are two ways of marking a stone. The first:
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Or you jump on top and take a good look around.
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And finish the important job to do.
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Than you inspect the results.
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And get off to have a break in the soft grass.
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Once in the grass the cats relax before they disappaer in the bush and we can hurry back to Mopani, because we are not allowed to use the stones like the cats do.

We made a couple of video's with a small camera. I managed to upload them to photobucket, but know not what link to past here. I tried one. I hope it works.
Driving back to camp again this trip in a kind of dream. Did this really happened? :D :D :D

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_________________
KNP 2013 januari/februari
19-21 Mopani
21-23 Punda Maria
23-27 Shingwedzi
27-30 Letaba
30-04 Satara
04-08 Lower Sabie


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 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Thick bushes, lush green and big cats, kruger march 2012
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:12 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:49 am
Posts: 95
Location: Netherlands
Thanks you all for your kind remarks. We were very lucky indeed. And our luck was not run out yet :dance:
@ Mel: Monique and I have mentioned the Diderick at least 20 times this day and the following.
@ Shi: we also think back with great pleasure at our meeting in 2010. Remember the reedbucks north of Satara.
@ Noel: I think the bungalows are fair priced, but there simply isnn't budget accomodation in Mopani
@ TD I didn't have much of a choice :whistle: :whistle:
@ Heksie: I think we had a little ZAP magic upon us.
@ Pumbaa: the were well fed. We heard the story from the driver of one of the cars: the previous day he watched the 2 brothers hunting a Zebra. One of them even used the car to take cover. The man could hear the hunt and the kill and later learned that the Zebra was killed indeed. So Mooiplaas is the place to be.
@ Hilda: just use a little "ZAP-magic".
@ Cheetahlady: no lions for us around Mopani this time, but the rest of your list.......

After a short stop in the camp we are on the road again to do our planned TOC.
The first stop is Nshawu.

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The best part for a morning drive is over by then and on the TOC we don't see much till we stop at Tihongonyeni for a cup of coffee. While watching the zebra and wildebeast a sudden noice close to the car proved to be a snake with his prey. It took him or her 5 minutes to swallow. What kind of snake is this??

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After leaving the spot it was already hot. So Kruger stopped showing her mammels and gave us a beautiful insight of her birdlife.

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And there is the mopani worm again
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And other meals

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And a hammerhead

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And then close to camp this guy telling us to go easy the the rest of the day.

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And so we did. We held siesta, took a swim and a very short evening drive to take a look at the Pioneer Hide. Boy it was hot this afternoon. So we drove back to camp and had a beer and enjoying the view from the restarant deck, to think back on a very rewarding day.

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_________________
KNP 2013 januari/februari
19-21 Mopani
21-23 Punda Maria
23-27 Shingwedzi
27-30 Letaba
30-04 Satara
04-08 Lower Sabie


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