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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 8:13 pm 
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:clap: Thank you, Lourens :D !

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 8:19 pm 
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Thanks for NOT taking me on the walk with the two leopard cubs! :twisted:

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 8:27 pm 
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Lilac Breasted Roller
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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 8:34 pm 
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Saddle Billed Storks started to fly
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Spring Hare
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Spotted Eagle Owl
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Morning walk at Letaba with a beautiful sunrise
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Malopeni Overnight Eco Trail
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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 8:39 pm 
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Beautiful photos.


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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:36 pm 
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:D A report for all the forumites before I go on my longing 4 off days, after a 36 work day stretch...

What a amount of great sightings we experienced during this time around Phalaborwa, some were nerve wrecking and others memories for ever!!!!

The evening of the 24th we had a Bush Braai if you recall back from my last report and on this game drive we were lucky to see 1 Elephant, Steenbok, Duiker, Impalas, Blackbacked Jackal and a Chameleon.

The next day we had a Full Day walk and walked about 17 km's and unfortunately the wind didn't want to play along, and all the Elephants we saw, smelled us, before we had a chance to approach them a little bit. Luckily at the end after we had lunch we found 8 bulls drinking water from a natural spring and viewed them peacefully, and enjoyed it alot!!! We also found some Zebras, Impalas and Steenbok.

Thursday the 26th of July we walked at Shivhulani waterhole, and must say it was the most quiet walk I have done this year!!! Only saw a Steenbok when we got back to the vehicle, and fresh, very fresh Lion tracks that went over footprints, where we started the walk.

In between we also had lots of administration duties to fulfill, but was sooooo happy when I didn'tt have to be in the office!!!

On the 28th of July 2012 we did a Sunset walk from Ngwenyeni waterhole, and this walk with Craig, I will never ever forget in my life!!! What a nerve wrecking experience it was, and on top of it, almost lost 1 of the ladies due to a heart attack, and the other lady to an Impala. But let me tell you more.

It started off as a normal walk, seeing nothing, and then started to find fresh tracks of Elephants. We followed it for a while and got fresher and fresher, until we heard them feeding in some Mopane Thicket. We wanted to approach, but then saw that they are making their way back towards us, so we moved to a nearby Termite Mount and waited for them to come closer. While trying to see them, some Impalas crossed behind us, but with the 1 Italian guest making a funny noise and shouting softly, I immediately thought more Elephants behind us, and then he thought the Impalas were Lions. Still with adrenaline pumping through my veins, I told Craig, I want to see if we can get a clearer spot to view the Ele's, so I moved around and found a better spot to stand. Waited for the group of 3 guests and Craig, and as we all arrived at the other Termite mount and thick big Mopane stump we just suddenly saw 2 Elephants running passed us, and made a circle to the back of us. They stopped, definitely smelled us, and I then softly explained to the guests we have to get out of here, because these 2 behind us, are the ones that's going to cause trouble...

We were on our way to walk down to the Ngwenyeni stream, away from our safety, the Termite Mount with the big stump, when the Elephant Cow appeared in front of us. There was no time to turn around, no time to open my mouth and talked, only to show sign language to stand DEAD STILL and viewed her from very close by. You could see how she turned her head side ways to us, trying to figure out if it were us standing there, and luckily kept on walking pass, when she couldn't pick up any movement. She disappeared behind some Red bushwillow trees and then the explanation came out, a Elephant Bull. So then I realised it is because of the Cow that is on heat, that the Bull chased her. At that moment the herd was to our left, the Cow came around the Red Bushwillow trees and the Bull standing where the Cow was- to our right. The Cow turned straight to us, opened her ears and then I loaded my rifle, with Craig following and shouted as loud as possible to the Cow!! The Bull turned, ran down to the stream where we were suppose to walk to, the Cow luckily turned and ran to the herd and the herd luckily ran into the opposite direction, and with us quickly ran back to the termite mount and big stump. After cooling the nerves we went back to measure the distance and it is was near 14 metres from us!!!! No cover between us, only flat soil and a straight open charging path straight to us, but luckily our guardian angel were protecting us. The Italian lady recovered from her near heart attack, and had to proceed our walk to get back to the vehicle. As we walked back we suddenly just heard this doef doef noise and as I looked back I saw this Impala Ram jumping through the air, missed the lady at the back with about a metre, and knew something must have'd chased him. We waited and waited, but no predator wanted to avail itself. Just as we started picking up speed again, the guest whistled and as we turned around there were the 2 Wild Dogs busy following us, and as we stopped they turned and ran into the direction where the Impala ran to!!! How much luck and nerve wrecking moments can you have on 1 walk, went through my mind, and not long after that we found another 2 Wild Dogs, and ran away to the others and eventually we arrived safely at the vehicle!!!!

:D

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:27 pm 
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:D
The next morning we were up early for another Full Day Walk and during this 16.65km walk we were once again very lucky with all the great sightings and experiences!!!
In total we had 4 different herd of Buffaloes, 3 Herds of Elephants, some Giraffe, Warthog, Steenbok, Impalas and a awesome sighting of 3 White Rhino's lying sleeping in the stream, and eventually stood up to feed along the stream. Eventually when we were heading back to vehicle we found Elephants everywhere, and they kept us busy for 45 minutes, trying to walk around them to get to the vehicle.

I think with all this action, my system was stressed out and that Monday the 30th of July was man down with Flu and once again it took me on the 2nd of August.
Tuesday the 31st of July we did the morning walk 6 km's from the gate and saw general game like Warthog, Giraffes, Impalas and a big herd of Kudus.

The 1st of August on the 3 game drives that went out, I found Kudus just before the Sable Dam turn off, and guests stopped next to us, saying there are 60 Elephants bathing in Sable dam, so guess where we went, and didn't find ONE Elephant at the dam, only a Giraffe Bull drinking, just shows you how the bush sightings changing the whole time... Luckily when we got to the back of Sable Dam we saw a herd of Elephants, and had sundowners not long after that. On our way up to Masorini to view the night sky, we found Buffalo Bulls, and a big Collared Elephant Bull. On our way back we found Steenbok, Impalas, 2 Chameleons, and Spotted Thickknee that caught a little snake. The wind came up and blow all our unknown sightings away...

Oh ya, and we saw the 1st Yellow Billed Kite on this game drive just before Erfplaas!!!!

On the 4th of August we had another Bush Braai and on my game drive we found Elephants, Buffaloes, and the general game.

Tuesday the 7th on my Night Drive we found the White backed Vultures breeding on the S131 gravel road, Elephant, and Impalas on our way to Nandzana waterhole, and when we arrived at Nandzana waterhole we saw some Buffaloes drinking water from the water trough. Craig called me on the radio saying he is busy watching Lion at Masorini, so decided to make my way there after sundowners, but were not lucky to see the cat. We though did find Steenbok, Duiker, Scrub Hare, Black backed Jackals, Elephants, African Civet Cat at Masorini, Side Striped Jackal, Spotted Eagle Owl, Small Spotted Genet, Warthog, and a herd of Buffaloes crossing the tar road.

On the Morning drive of the 8th of July we were again lucky finding 2 male Lions at Masorini waterhole. While they were quenching their thirst, another 1 started roaring to the East, and the 2 males stood up, and walked into the direction where they heard the other 1. With lots of corners and u-turns, we found the 2 males again on the Masorini loop, and not long after the other male appeared on the gravel road, with these 2 chasing him!!! We had this whole scene for 40 minutes!!!!

We also found Elephant Bulls, Giraffes, Tawny Eagles, Chanting Goshawk, Giant Eagle Owl, and a Kudu Bull.

Thursday the 9th of August 2012 was another one of those walks that will also be a fond one in my memories!!! We walked from Nandzana waterhole and as we arrived there, there were Elephant Bulls all over!!! We parked and started the walk, walking next to the stream. Strange, but the whole time in my mind I thought Leopard and then found the other spotted ones- Giraffes. They eventually ran away from us, and then we made our way up, out and away from the stream. Just as we got to the top, my eye caught some movement and saw 2 of them!!! They were 2 young Leopard Cubs!!!!!!

The one ran away and the other one ran towards us, and as it realised where he/she was running to, it stopped and sat down, watching us, and long after that started crawling away, the leopard crawl- movement, was soooo nice to experienced once more, and went and sat in a Russet Bushwillow bush, and there he/she sat and watched us, until we left it, after 20 minutes!!! We saw some Zebras, and Impalas too!!!

2 Days ago we started off with a Morning walk that didn't have 1 dull moment, we had action the whole walk long!!! Elephant Bulls everywhere, and now and then found Impalas, Kudu Bulls, Giraffes and Steenbok. And then my day changed completely to the opposite. Nothing wanted to work out the way how I wanted it, and even got a dent in my car, due to a idiot that doesn't feel much for other peoples property, that pushed a shopping trolley into my car. The Bush Braai Game drive was a mess, and the bush braai were chaos with the group we had!!!
Luckily the sightings made up for it, and saw Giraffes, Elephants, Zebras, beautiful Sunset, Steenbok, Duiker, 2 Porcupines, Elephant Herd, 3 Spotted Hyeanas ran down the road, Genet, Civet, and Spring Hare.

Yesterday morning we had another walk and walked from Nandzana waterhole and found a few Elephant Bulls, and while having breakfast we had hyeana and Buffaloes that joined us for breakfast and on our way back to the vehicle found Impalas, Zebras and Steenbok.

Last night we had a beautiful Leopard male lying on a Termite Mount on the S131 gravel road on the Bush Braai game drive!!! Other than the Leopard we didn't see much.

This morning on the Olifants River Backpack Trail drop off I found a Greater Painted Snipe on my way back and the other day I also saw some Arnot's Chats!!!!!

Enjoy your week!!!! Now busy watching the closing Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games and enjoying my off time, hahahaha!!! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 7:33 am 
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Stunning pictures and lovely sightings on all your walks Lourens! The Civet and Giraffe pictures are my favourite! :dance:

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:52 am 
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:popcorn:

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The Mule we saw on the Morning Safari, that I told you about...
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The stunning Rhino sighting we had.
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The one young Leopard cub on the Sunset walk
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The Leopard we saw on the termite mount.
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and the stunning Sunset we had after the Leopard on the termite mount.
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:popcorn: Enjoy!!!!

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:51 pm 
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I thoroughly enjoyed your pictures Lourens! You were not THAT close to the Ellie, were you? :tongue:

I can still not believe the Mule! The Leopard's reflection in the water in fantastic! :clap: :clap:

Rhino!! Beautiful! And the cute little Leopard cub, hardly visible! Very well camouflaged! :dance: Could that be his mom on the termite mount? :hmz:

Awesome sunset pictures! :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:43 pm 
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:clap: a lot of superb pictures, thanks
just the Bushbaby... I can see only the eyes :lol:

14 m. = about the length of one Elephant :whistle: :shock:
then a Mule, I hope she/he can follow the group of Watterbuck :?

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:47 pm 
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oups forgot to say : I love the light on the Malopeni picture :clap: :clap: :clap:

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:34 pm 
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Lourens those photos are STUNNING
:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:19 pm 
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:popcorn: stunning pictures Lourens! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:46 am 
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Hello again forumites! Been a long time since last writing on here.

Anyway, been very busy this as has Lourens and the other guides. And yes, that walk with Lourens and the elephants was something that I will never forget in my lifetime! And the wild dogs were so special. Be a long time before I have another walk that compares to that. Managed to get a few pics of them - late in the day so a bit blurry but here it is...

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A week ago went up to Ngobeni and spent about an hour watching this leopard hunting two klipspringers. It was magic as we sat in the dark with the spot lights off and the moon shining down watching it stalk these two. Fortunately for the klipspringers they were safe on a high rock but that didn't stop the leopard trying. After about forty minutes he gave up and we followed him down the road to the stream for a drink.

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And now it is that time of the year when it seems the elephants love having a good tussle with one another. Had these two jostling next to the vehicle at Sable Dam.

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How big is an elephant? How much do they weigh? Well, this photo of a smallish male should give an answer to that...

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