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 Post subject: Divine7polo Countdown to our October Trip! September '12
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:43 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2009 7:46 pm
Posts: 59
Location: United Kingdom
One month today and we will just have landed at Nelspruit and soon be on our way to collect our groceries from Pick n Pay and then on to Ngwenya for our annual week in Kruger! We stay at Ngwenya Lodge and make daily trips into the park from either Crocodile Bridge Gate or Melalane Gate.

The excitement in our household is palpable - Paul (Husband) has his lenses out, is shopping for newer and better binoculars and is in competition to get the brightest torch for game viewing from our deck after dark....boys and their toys... :P

On the way to and from school the conversation between my daughters (aged 13 and 16) and I solely revolves around what animals are on our wish list to see this year - ranging from the possible to the probably implausible - but never say never as you never know what surprises await us in paradise! In order of wishes: black rhino - not seen for 3 years now; cheetah - not seen last year; leopard - really close up, caracal, pangolin, porcupine, aardvark, martial eagle, lion, hyena, wild dog - we have been so spoilt as seen them every year! Herd of buffalo, breeding herd of elephants etc etc...This year we have two 'newbies' joining us - which we just love, as it makes every animal that you come across interesting and exciting, not to mention the usual Beginner's Luck! :dance:

The BEST news is that our son, who is 22 and has been away at university and therefore unable to join us for the last 4 years, is coming on this trip with us. :D As a teenager he spent every (English) summer holiday in the Kruger park and is qualified Level 1 FGASA, so he is super excited too!

So much to look forward to with family and friends...

One of our favorite spots for coffee and breakfast is Sunset Dam. Here is a taster of great memories from last October:

Taking a rest on the hippos' backs..
Image
IMG_7592 by Divine7polo2012, on Flickr

Look at the size of the buffalo compared to the enormity of the elephant!
Image
IMG_6908 by Divine7polo2012, on Flickr

and a very wet shongololo crossing the road!
Image
IMG_7612 by Divine7polo2012, on Flickr

_________________
An animal's eyes have the power to speak a great language. ~Martin Buber

Ngwenya Lodge: 17-24 October
Cheetah Plains: 24-26 October
Mozambique: 26 October - 1 November


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 Post subject: Re: Countdown to our October Trip!
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:05 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2009 7:46 pm
Posts: 59
Location: United Kingdom
I am really enjoying reading all the interesting TRs and the fantastic photos are really adding to our anticipation! Thanks everyone for your contributions on this Blog!

We LOVE Hornbills - here are some interesting facts shared by shared our Guide last year - which I also found on Wikipedia with citings from scientific literature, so his facts seem to be reliable....any other interesting things to share about them?

'Each breeding pair is always assisted by at least two other birds. It is known via experiments in captivity that birds without six years experience as helpers at the nest are unable to breed successfully if they do become breeders.

Ground hornbills are believed to reach maturity at six to seven years, but very few breed at this age. One to three eggs are laid at the beginning of the wet season but siblicide ensures that only one nestling is ever fledged.

The period of parental dependence, following a 40 to 45-day incubation period and an 85-day fledging period, is between one and two years depending on climatic conditions before young are independent of parents and helpers, which is the longest of any bird. This means that ground hornbills can normally only breed successfully only every third year.'

Here are some photos from last year's trip on our way to Orpen Gate - and indeed, they were a group of 4: two of whom looked like juveniles. Unfortunately we didn't get a photo of the whole group together as we were focusing on the breeding pair and had not yet been enlightened about their breeding habits:

Here is one of the juveniles:
Image
IMG_7306 by Divine7polo2012, on Flickr

Enjoying a tasty morsel...
Image
IMG_7657 by Divine7polo2012, on Flickr

and...mating!
Image
IMG_7329 by Divine7polo2012, on Flickr


and another species of hornbill: the red billed hornbill in beautiful light:
Image
IMG_7154 by Divine7polo2012, on Flickr

aka ZAZU!
Image
IMG_7295 by Divine7polo2012, on Flickr

_________________
An animal's eyes have the power to speak a great language. ~Martin Buber

Ngwenya Lodge: 17-24 October
Cheetah Plains: 24-26 October
Mozambique: 26 October - 1 November


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 Post subject: Re: Countdown to our October Trip!
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 6:25 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2009 7:46 pm
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Location: United Kingdom
Today I have been reflecting on the beauty and incredible power of lions which I really hope we will have the pleasure of seeing again this trip.

A friend was recently on a morning bush walk near Croc Bridge. They had just set off when noticed something move in the grass about 15m to the left of him. He called to guides and to their shock they saw a lioness running off in the opposite direction - he said he doesn't know who looked more startled: the lioness or guides! The guides had been so fixated on the spoor that they hadn't spotted her thanks to her excellent camouflage! This was his first time in the Kruger and first ever bush walk - beginner's luck!

Today I'd like to share some of our lion photos...but the best images are captured in my memory when we were on a night drive and two big males were roaring on either side of the vehicle - it felt as though the tremors went to the very core of my heart!

A welcoming party on our way to have breakfast at Lower Sabie in 2010:
Image
IMG_9982 by Divine7polo2012, on Flickr

After breakfast we came across this fresh kill - but within minutes the traffic jam had built up and the 4 lions went to hide in the bushes..so we drove off to leave the other cars to it:
Image
IMG_0003 by Divine7polo2012, on Flickr

The next morning we went to have breakfast at Mlondozi Dam lookout and noticed a cloud of dust with giraffe scattering in the distance - we were rewarded with this lioness in the plains (small white shape in centre)!
Image
IMG_6981 by Divine7polo2012, on Flickr

On another trip in 2009 we came across this buffalo kill on a night drive bear Berg en Dal. The crunching and snarling noises certainly provoked a cold fear - an amazing site!
Image
South Africa 20th October 190 by Divine7polo2012, on Flickr

Image
South Africa 20th October 162 by Divine7polo2012, on Flickr

Image
South Africa 20th October 186 by Divine7polo2012, on Flickr

This chap was by the side of the road near Skakuza last year:
Image
IMG_7590 by Divine7polo2012, on Flickr

This looked like youngsters having a go at mating:
Image
IMG_7427 by Divine7polo2012, on Flickr

On the way to Orpen we noticed a giraffe spook and then look intently in this direction: We were delighted to see a very large pride of lions - we counted about 16 but couldn't get them all in the photo.
Image
IMG_7014 by Divine7polo2012, on Flickr

Last year we were lucky enough to stay at Biyamiti. As we turned left out of the gate we heard and then saw this lioness - she was calling and calling - so we wondered whether she had lost a cub as she seemed quite distressed.
Image
IMG_7232 by Divine7polo2012, on Flickr

About 100m down the road we saw the rest of the pride with their cubs. One female has a collar.
Image
IMG_7252 by Divine7polo2012, on Flickr

The next thing, this lovely white rhino strolls past! The lions all looked a bit nervous and retreated warily to lie a bit further back while the rhino took a drink. You can see the lions in the background.
Image
IMG_7255 by Divine7polo2012, on Flickr

And finally - (not absolutely sure if I am allowed to share these here) but we ended our trip in Simbavati - and were so fortunate to see these two beautiful white lions:
Image
IMG_8336 by Divine7polo2012, on Flickr

Image
IMG_1504 by Divine7polo2012, on Flickr

Image
IMG_7946 by Divine7polo2012, on Flickr

and also these stunning cubs who were grooming each other - magnificent!
Image
IMG_7960 by Divine7polo2012, on Flickr

Image
IMG_7964 by Divine7polo2012, on Flickr

Sigh...SO excited!

_________________
An animal's eyes have the power to speak a great language. ~Martin Buber

Ngwenya Lodge: 17-24 October
Cheetah Plains: 24-26 October
Mozambique: 26 October - 1 November


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