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 Post subject: t-bal Cloggy Kruger Highlights September 2012
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 10:58 pm 
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Hello Guys, this is my first trip report so hopefully you can bear with me during my memoriam. Sadly we are back in The Netherlands after our 14 days Kruger trip in August/September. For the third year running we have gone to South Africa on holiday. After visiting the Kruger twice before, we decided to spend this year, our entire holiday in this wonderful place. We planned to visit 4 different camps during our visit. Pretoriuskop, Lower Sabie, Satara and finally Bush Wise Safari Lodge just outside Crocodile Bridge Gate, ‘to end in style’ as they say
Our long haul started at 03:00Am when our alarm clocks went off. My parents, my brother and me left towards the airport starting on our long travel. At 21:00 our plane landed in Johannesburg where we spent the night at a hotel. After settling in we headed towards the bar to start drinking Castle and Black Label which we had to miss for a year. The next morning our car (Nissan X-trail) got dropped off with two flat tyres. After pointing this out we got told to fill them with air and they would be fine. Against our better knowledge we set off towards the Kruger. Sadly the Car was all over the place and the first Pump Station we found the airline was default so we had to drive another 50km before we could pump our tyres up. After this minor detour our holiday really began.
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Laughing at the sight of people on pushbikes, crossing, and walking with wheelbarrows on the motorway we arrived at Numbi Gate around 13:00. We decided to drive around before checking in at Pretoriuskop . We headed towards Mestal Dam where this guy was blocking our path. To our amazement a car nearly drove into the elephant to get the best pictures.
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After the elephant wondered off we drove back via the S7 where this mongoose was bouncing all other the place before heading for shelter.
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We headed towards the S8 because we got told there was a active wild dog den there. We have never seen wild dogs so we went there in good spirit. After we nearly completed the whole loop we found a dog. Not what we hoped for but still a nice sighting considering this hyena was so relaxed.

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After about spending 10 min with the hyena we headed towards Pretoriuskop where we checked in. We had a nice family cottage and a freezer filled with beers.

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 Post subject: Re: Cloggy Kruger Highlights
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 6:06 pm 
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Hello you all,
Thanks for replying.
It was indeed a very eventful start. Not what we really hoped for but, we made it to Kruger :D
The hyena sighting was a very nice start indeed considering we had only seen them once before. Also that mongoose did make us laugh, such an energetic little thing.
Hopefully I will have completed day 2 tonight.
I do have one beginners question about the rhino postings and I didn't want to make a mistake considering I know it is a very sensitive subject to all of us. Are you allowed to post pictures of rhinos in your trip report the day you had seen them? or are you just alloud to put all the rhino pictures you took in one reply. I was a bit confused because I have seen both examples in Trip Reports.

Regards Tim

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 Post subject: Re: Cloggy Kruger Highlights
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:30 pm 
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Next morning the new trend started for the first time this holiday, the sound of the alarm clock at 05:00. After having breakfast and coffee we brought our cameras to the car and drove towards the gate for our first full day game drive. We decided to ride our luck and drive down the S8 again after we got told that yesterday the wild dogs ‘with pups’ had been spotted there. We nearly finished driving down the S8 without seeing anything until we saw this.

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This Hyena was at the exact same spot as the hyena we saw yesterday. We were the only car there except a sanparks vehicle. We thought this hyena could be ill, except it looked smaller than the one the day before. So we realized there could be an hyena den here. We waited for a little while but cars kept pulling up and there wasn’t much activity going on, so we decided to move on towards Transport Dam. After stopping for a kudu and an elephant roadblock we suddenly saw vultures everywhere. There was a carcass on the right hand side of the road in a nice and open spot. Which is nice for a change. The vultures started to pound the carcass, but there was no predator around. The lack of predators seemed for the most people a reason to drive on but we hang around for a little while.

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After the feeding frenzy we thought we needed a cooling down so we drove towards Transport Dam and sat there for a while. We watched Impala, Wildebeest and Elephants come down for a drink and listened to the noisy hippo’s.

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After sitting there for about half an hour we decided to head off towards Skukuza via the S65. This turned out to be a fantastic decision. We reached the watering hole until my mum shouted zebra. It has to be said, it was a funny looking zebra but I don’t mind these kind of false calls. 8)

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This leopard was so relaxed and only about 5 meters of the road. It was probably too hot and bothered to run into hiding. The other great thing about this sighting was that only 3 other cars pulled up, one of the great things about the gravel roads. We decided to leave her alone and go and grab a bite to eat at Skukuza. When we reached the S65/S1 junction there was a massive pile up. We waited our turn to see what was going on, when we saw 5 kudus at a little stream joined with another leopard!! :dance:

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There was only 10 meters between them but the kudu hadn’t spotted the leopard jet. Holding our breath we waited... but suddenly the kudus barked there alarm call and run of. We couldn’t get a good picture because of the amount of cars. Sadly it wasn’t getting any quieter so we drove off considering the fact we just saw 2 leopards in the space of 15 min. :D
Finished filling our bellies after all that excitement we planned our way back to Pretoriuskop via the S3. We saw lots of the more common dears and plenty of giraffes in the distance. On the S3 we saw a group of Daggaboys flopped in the shade. We managed to get some good photos of the bush they were behind. Giving it up as a bad day job we drove on and just a few minutes later there where another three Daggaboys in a dry river bed.

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Driving down the S3 we bumped into a very friendly and relaxed elephant. But sadly he decided the road to Mestal Dam was closed. Quickly changing our battle plan we circled the S8 one more time but still no doggies to be found. After that we started the braai, opened the bottles of beers and enjoyed our braai talking about the fact that our first full day drive wasn’t too shabby.

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 Post subject: Re: Cloggy Kruger Highlights
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 6:35 pm 
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Day 3, it’s time to go to Lower Sabie. Many routes possible but we opted to drive the S8 one more time. Obviously for the Wild Dogs which had been sited again. But also for the Hyena(s). We were wondering what was going on there. So we started driving down the S8, but this time the other way round. We turned the corner and we found the Hyena at the same spot as the two days before. Only this time we got more than we hoped for :dance:

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It was a den after all. We sat and enjoyed this moment for a good while all by ourselves. These pups where like little bears who could barely walk, they where wobbling all over. The mother made a sound and the pups dived in a drainage dip. Both hyena’s moved off in the long grass. Seconds later a big Sanparks truck turned up. We explained that there was an active hyena den and that they just moved off.( but thinking that the tourist would never get too see them as long as they use the big trucks for the game drives). The driver told us that they saw Wild dogs hunting about 20 minutes ago. We knew that there was no point to hang around and look for them anymore.
So we started to drive towards the Voortrekkers Road. A few minutes later we had to stop to let a car drive past, I glanced out my window and saw a lioness looking at me!! :shock: After the first shock we noticed that she was badly injured and couldn’t use her hind legs anymore. She instantly went into thick bush, so we didn’t manage to get the photograph.
After having a great start it quieted down a bit. We didn’t see much on the H2-2 accept for a massive warthog, which I mistaken for a rhino :redface: and an impressive male kudu. After a quick stop at Afsaal we headed towards Renosterkoppies Dam cutting in at the S113. Once we were on the S23, we saw a lot of vultures in the trees, all looking in the same direction. We switched off the car engine and heard some bones crack. Eventually we heard another noise which sounded like a hyena fighting. A few cars asked us what was up but drove on afterwards. Just when we thought nothing was going to happen these two popped out of the bush. :D

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One of them ran into a drainage dip, but the other one started walking away in the middle of the road, luring us away from the second hyena den that day!!! We followed the second hyena giving us some good bum shots. The hyena eventually turned around towards the den, but we spend enough time with it (again all by ourselves) so we let it go in peace.
There wasn’t much action at Renosterkoppies Dam, so we followed the S21 and headed straight to Lower Sabie. On the S21 this girl was laying in the corner of the road. She was really hard to see, so hopefully she walked away to another spot.

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We arrived at Lower Sabie to have a bite to eat and pump up our tyres. They were extremely low on pressure again. Tyres and bellies filled, we parked up at Sunset Dam. Watching hippo’s always makes me laugh, such a grumpy lot.

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Moving up the H4-1 we saw another pile up. We stopped and looked down the river bed. Not seeing a lot we asked another car what was there. We got told there was a leopard with a kill in a tree. Eventually the leopard played ball and strolled down to have a drink.

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Once the leopard was done drinking she started to walk back to the kill. Half way up the bank she stopped and her two cubs joined her!!!!!!!!!!! :dance: It was an absolutely magnificent experience we will never forget!!

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Wondering how long our luck was going to last we headed back to the camp to enjoy a well deserved beer.

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 Post subject: Re: Cloggy Kruger Highlights
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:58 pm 
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Day 4
S28 was on our menu today. Why?.. We were in search for a cheetah, and we read on the sanparks forums that this was prime cheetah country. We headed down the H4-2 but we got distracted at the Lower Sabie bridge. As nearly always there was a big pile up on the tar road. The bridge was already filled with cars (it was about 06:10). We drove down and saw an impala hanging in a tree about 20 meters of the road. Leopard how ether was no ware to be seen. We turned around and headed for the S28. We reached the S28 and within 15 min we really liked this road. The S28 was filled with game, big and small. We saw big herds of wildebeest and zebra, warthogs coming out of their burrows and a large elephant who seemed to be in a rush.

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We had a look at the Ntandanyathi Hide and after that drove towards Duke W. Halfway towards the turnoff to Duke W we smelled rotten meat. We saw a large carcass with nearly no meat left on it. At the time we did not know what it was but later on we got told it was a rhino carcass. Not a very nice sighting.

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We saw a breeding herd of elephants in the area of Duke W but the watering hole was bone dry. We finished the S28 and drove via the H4-2 back to Lower Sabie. After Brunch we headed back up the H4-1. We wanted to stay in the area considering we had a night drive that evening. A few km north of Lower Sabie we spotted a big breeding herd of ellies in the riverbed. Among them were really tiny ones who are incapable of behaving :p.

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The ellies were crossing the river. Right at the tree were the leopard was in with her cubs. We scanned the tree but the leopard was no ware to be seen. We did see a tale flicking. We saw that at least one of the cubs was still in the same tree.

The next hour was full of drama including 3 out of the big 5 in a space of 500 meters. Some of the adolescent ellies started heading towards the tree with the leopard cub, they obviously sensed the cub. They got really close to the cub and started to trumpet. Next moment other elephants start to trumpet, and start chasing two fully grown male lions away from the herd. The lions started to skip away threw the long grass like a couple of common impalas. Not king of that part of the jungle. The lions walked away and flopped a couple of hundred meters further.

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We sat and watched what was going to happen. The cub(s) stayed safely in the tree with the mother still no ware to be seen. The lions had to keep getting up and move on considering the ellies were still harassing them. It was a shame we had to leave them but after all we still had a night drive that night.

After a short rest it was time for the night drive. This could only be the icing on the cake after what we had just witnessed. After a delay of 30 min(driver was late) we headed off in search for the nocturnal animals. A lady on board hoped to see a porcupine. We turned on the S28 and we spotted her wish straight away. It was a relief for us as well. Last year we saw a porcupine with two young ones. Sadly we didn’t have a good flash so no good pics, now we could redeem ourselves.

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The next stop was for a side striped jackal, this was our first side striped jackal ever so we were very excited.

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Not much later we saw a Large spotted genet.

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The driver thought that was enough nocturnal life so we went cat hunting with the information we provided him with. We drove to the Lower Sabie Bridge and three guesses what was lying 2 meters next to the road!!!!!! We sat with this leopard for a good half an hour. He was very relaxed wondering about and having a drink. It was the best leopard sighting we could imagine.

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The leopard started to get a little annoyed at the end so we left it in its peace and headed towards the spot where we saw the leopard cub and the lions. We flashed the spot light and got more blue eyes staring back at us. It was the mother leopard again. She was right down in the river bed so there was no point to try and make photographs ( or kiekies in your language) So we drove a bit further up where mating leopards had been sighted. We stopped for a daggaboy on the left hand side of the road when a limping leopard crossed the road in front of us. We drove towards it put she was long gone by the time we reached the spot. After this time was up, we had a short stop at Transport Dam but after that we headed back to camp.

Anyhow, we may not have seen cheetah’s today but 3 leopards in 1 night drive. And a total of 7 leopards in 4 days. There is an English saying and I think we tick the book: I think we trod in S!@# before boarding our plane to South Africa.

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 Post subject: Re: Cloggy Kruger Highlights
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 7:29 pm 
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Day 5
Hello all, today I will not be mentioning any roads, hides, watering holes and other areas. I think we all know why. We left the camp at the usual time, 06:00. We drove towards the Lower Sabie bridge, but after all them spotlights last night we guessed that the leopard was up for a late start today. Anyway he was nowhere to be seen at that point of time. We drove towards the other tree where the impala was hanging in. But no leopard, big or small was to be seen. How ever, we did take a nice sunrise picture with a fish eagle in it.

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We started driving around, and how things had been going for us, this was a slow start to the day. Obviously it’s not a zoo so we had peace with that. We did find a tiny giraffe with its mother.

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At 10:00 it was already scorching hot. So all the animals where in hiding. We did manage to see 2 of the big 5 about 50 m apart. Two male lions where flopped under a bush, trying to keep out of the sun. Right next to them where 2 white rhino’s, and one of them was simply huge. The biggest rhino we had ever seen.

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Sitting there watching them we were having our usual brunch. After a good while we drove off. It stayed a quiet day, no animals to be seen. The last two hours totally took us by surprise considering it was still quite hot at 16:00 hour. We bumped into a safari vehicle, the guide told us that they were looking at a male lion, which you could only see from one spot. She also told us that there were a couple of white rhinos in the direction we were heading in. They moved off so that we could look at the lion when a car who just pulled up dived in the spot and started telling us that they could see a lion :wall: Keeping a poker face we let them take there pics and then had a look our self.

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Considering there were other cars we drove off and headed towards the white rhinos. A few km further we saw 3 rhinos, before I shouted, BLACK RHINOS!!!!!!! A male, female and small black rhino were standing in an open spot. We could not believe this. Or the tour guide mistimed their route or that guide needs some extra classes :wall: . We were going photo crazy and this was a good choice. A ranger once told us that Black Rhinos have a short fuse, we discovered that they have no fuse. We spend a maximum of 30 seconds with them before the big male started charging our car. Not changing gear and 6.000 revs later we made a safe distance. We couldn’t see them anymore but we decided not to turn around, 3 guesses why. We saw a car pulling up and warned him, the American lad seemed really up for this angry rhino. We didn’t see anything in the papers so we guessed he made it. :twisted: This was our first ever site of black rhino. :dance:

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Once back at Lower Sabie we headed towards the bridge. The leopard was sitting happily in his tree, munching away on his impala kill.

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After the leopard sunset shot we decided to go to Sunset Dam. Her we took one last “kiekie” of the hippos.

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Our time at Lower Sabie had ended and half hearted we were about to head up towards Satara. We had such an amazing time at LS with so many unforgettable sightings, including our first black rhino sighting. But one of our goals was to see the mega pride and there was only one place that can happen.

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 Post subject: Re: Cloggy Kruger Highlights
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 5:23 pm 
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Day 6
Suitcases packed, we are ready to go. One problem... Two tyres that are low on pressure, again :roll: . We filled them with air and handed in our key. Up the Lower Sabie Bridge towards the H10. We checked the famous tree, but the impala kill was gone and also the leopard. Slightly disappointed with him that he wasn’t there to wave us goodbye :tongue: , we started our trip towards Satara. Not that long into our journey we spotted a deer we had never seen before. Still clueless about what it was we took a picture and carried on our journey.

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A few minutes later (Still driving up the H10) we saw a lioness in the distance walking towards the road. We were the only car on this road because everybody was looking for the leopards on the H4-2. Once she eventually reached the road, she laid down right in front of us :dance: . She then made a soft call. We were hoping the cubs would come out but no such luck. A couple of cars pulled up so the lioness decided to move on.

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After this impressive sighting we continued or journey up north again. The next sighting was quite funny. 3 ground hornbills were walking in the same direction we were driving in. Next moment they turned around and spreader across the length of the road. They started to walk towards our car, they looked like write tuff nuts. You could easily see them having a tattoo or something :tongue: . We didn’t back off so they decided to leave us alone.

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Bemused by this little adventure we started driving again, only to see a other funny site. All them signposts do not leave your cars.

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Around the corner of our cyclist these ellies where in the river bank playing with the mud. They seemed to be having a good time.

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We decided that we were going to take a picture of the most southerly Baobab. Nice thought 7 problems, “a dead male kudu with 7 lions feeding on it type of problem” 8) There were 3 cubs among them. One cub was a bit shy of the cars, he went up the bank and watched us carefully from behind a bush. There was no male lion to be seen. Like the lioness this morning all the females were relaxed and let us watch them. They were maybe 5 meters of the road, but their bellies looked quit fat. A couple of cars pulled up, One man told us we should better check our tyre pressure :wall: . Anyway...

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After hearing that we drove straight to Satara to check in. We called the Car rental company to make an arrangement. There were nails in both rear tyres. Also there was a problem with one of the bungalows. We could not lock one of our bungalows. We reported this at the reception and they just told us we didn’t need to lock it :shock: . After dealing with that idiotic comment, we told them to arrange something. We didn’t want to lose a day holiday with all this palaver. My mum decided to stay behind and get everything sorted, so that we could do a few more hours of touring (after filling the tyres again)We also got told that the picture was of a common reedbuck and that they were pretty rare, according to a game ranger who we pumped in to. After lunch we started on our short afternoon drive.

At Girvana Watering hole we saw 2 male and 2 female lions in the shade. It was too hot and the most action we saw them do was look at us. Quite an achievement we thought.

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We also saw 3 male waterbucks together. These are my father’s favourite antelope so not posting a photo is taboo in our house.

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After them we drove straight back to Satara. There was already a mechanic with two new tyres waiting for us :clap: . This was really good because now we didn’t have to sacrifice a day to get the car fixed.

The staff at Satara was less cooperative. Instead of telling the truth that they had lost the key, they kept telling us that the cleaning lady still had it and that we needed to wait until it was returned. We stayed at the reception to make sure that they would sort this problem out, knowing (with all due respect) that the work tempo in SA is normally pretty non productive. After a few more discussions they agreed to give us the reserve key so that we could lock our own bungalow. Later that evening they came to make a copy of the key so that the cleaning lady could still enter our bungalows. This was not really the welcome we were expecting at Satara :( , But at least we could continue our holiday now without anymore car problems, and all our stuff safely locked up.

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 Post subject: Re: Cloggy Kruger Highlights
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 4:26 pm 
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Reedbuck! How lucky you were t-bal! :clap: :clap:

What a beautiful Lioness, and those Ground Hornbills! No matter what you call them, they are beautiful! :dance: :dance:

The cyclist might be Daniel from the Hippo Pools on his way home? I don't know where you found him? :)

We only found the carcass of the Kudu bull on our way to the most Southern Baobab! You were so lucky to have found the Lions still feeding. I suppose you couldn't get passed them to the tree? :wink:

So glad that your car problems are over! :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Cloggy Kruger Highlights
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 10:25 pm 
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Day 7
We woke up really excited that morning and still not really knowing what route we were going to take that day. Mega pride and cheetah’s were our target, but wild dogs galore on the H7 the day before. We decided to try the doggies one more time. So before the gates opened we already joined the line. Gates open, and ass we suspected “nearly” everybody dived down the S100, and some cars down the H7. Tuff luck if you chose for the S100 because less than 2 km on the H7 this was happening semi on the road.

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We got our cheetah’s!!! :dance: You can see how close they were to the road. Such a great sighting. H7 is obviously a busy road so cars kept pulling up, but everybody who got there nice pictures carried on including us so that others could get there pics. Great start of the day. :D

We drove all the way up to the far side of the S106 and took this road to come back on ourselves, and we saw loads of impala, but that was about it. We took the S39 up to timbavati picnic spot and we saw some ellies, ostriches and zebra including this young one.

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We were about 300 m away from timbavati picnic spot when we spotted 4 lions. A male with 3 females. They might even visit the picnic spot themselves :tongue: . We saw that 1 lioness had an injured eye, we also saw that the male lion had 2 markings on his body. Does anyone know why?

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We went pas Nsemani Dam again after we came down the S40 and saw a herd of waterbuck and a fish eagle catch a fish.

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We had our lunch back at Satara. We drove up to the S90-S41-S100 and back to Satara. Up on the S90 we saw a nice male steenbok, some ostriches and a secretary bird. We loved how the secretary bird moved about.

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There were loads of wildebeest and zebra herds about. We sat at Gudzani Dam for a while before heading down the S100, still seeing zebras, wildebeest, impala and giraffes every ware. There was a traffic jam so we all got excited.
Then we saw a cheetah! :D He was in nice and open space.

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But then... another cheetah showed is face and a third one as well 8) . Three cheetah brothers . They were hunting but after a while they settled down. They were sniffing trees, cleaning each other, posing nicely on fallen down trees and eventually laid down. All about 30 m of the road. Sadly time was up so we had to head towards Satara.

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We drove back seeing some more wildebeest and another amazing sunset.

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We could officiously call that day cheetah day. That night we went to bed that after another fantastic day in the KNP. :D :D :D

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 Post subject: Re: Cloggy Kruger Highlights
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 4:04 pm 
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Day 8
Just before the gate opened we were (as always) standing in line. We agreed to drive the S100 at least once a day, but not first thing in the morning, way too busy. So every day we were at Satara we ended up coming back via the S100 (provided us so far with the 3 cheetah brothers)We still had the desire to find Wild Dogs, and there were sightings of them daily. We only trusted the sighting of wild dogs when somebody told us, most reliable way. Sightingsbord... not so reliable. Back to point! We got told that wild dogs had been sighted 2 days on a trot on the S127. We know that wild dogs usually roam long distances, so we thought there could be a den. We drove up towards the S127 via the H1-4. As always there was a herd of wildebeest and zebras right by Satara camp. We were barely a minute on our way when the car in front hit their brakes. There was a hyena running on the right hand side of the road. He was running away from us so there was no chance of getting a picture. Barely a minute later there was another hyena on our left side running towards us and crossed over in front of us. This time we did manage to get some pics.

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Hyenas, we think, are deceivingly fast. So it was out of site again in no time. The hyena was heading in the same direction as his friend.

About 10 minutes later there was another predator road block. These 2 awesome male lions were laying casually on the road and enjoying the morning sun :D . It was like they were looking in the other direction on purposely, totally not impressed or interested with our presence. After a few minutes they decided that we (and the 2 other cars in front of us) were quite annoying after all so they casually got up and left.

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We drove up and down the S127 twice. No luck with the doggies. We did see a totally different sighting. This injured impala had a big chunk taken out of its leg. The strange thing was that it didn’t seem to be limping at all.

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We drove on seeing more zebras and wildebeest. We also were amazed about the number of ostriches we were seeing. We saw a group of about 15 adults all together. We took a route back towards Satara and we saw these 2 beauties :) .

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Back at camp my dad and brother took a beauty sleep, all that driving was wearing them out. My mum and me decided to walk around the camp and have a look at the watering hole, which was nice and close to our bungalows. We barely stepped of our balcony when I spotted something big moving. I ran towards it and managed to get some pictures. This wasn’t that hard considering it was moving so slow. At least we had something else to tick of our bucket list. We had never seen a rock monitor before.

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Back on the road again we saw a group of ellies at a watering tank. All the big guys were slurping away quite happily. The small ones were doing all kinds of circus tricks but still couldn’t reach the water, bless them. Some of them were just able to reach the water, which provided us with a funny site as well .

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It was time to head up towards the S90, then to drive down the S41 towards the S100. We didn’t see much besides the normal zebras, wildebeest, impalas and ostriches. We did see this nice sight, all little birds flying in a flock.

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We headed on the S41 and saw some waterbucks and giraffes besides what we just mentioned on the S90. Just before Guzani watering hole we spotted a lioness. She was walking in the direction of the watering hole. Once we made the turnoff the lioness stopped. All of a sudden there where lions every ware. They came to great her. We had found the mega pride!!!!!!! Not the whole lot but all the juveniles. We counted 14 adolescent lions and the adult female which we followed. It was such an amazing experience. All the lions greeting the female. The adolescents were nearly grown up but they still showed playful behaviour, especially one young male lion, trying to eat the flies which where bothering him. We spend as much time as we could with them, until we had to head back towards camp.

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Once back at Satara we booked another night drive for tomorrow night, after the sensation we had at LS. We found about half the mega pride, but that was more than enough to have a fabulous sighting. Tomorrow we have a night drive. We have high expectations with all these lions about.

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 Post subject: Re: Cloggy Kruger Highlights
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:17 pm 
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Day 9
Finally morning, after a noisy night. A sand storm struck Satara and the wind was pretty loud during the night. It was a very over clouded and chilly morning. This had a big effect on the game viewing. The zebra herd was still standing watch near the camp gate when we left. We started to drive towards the S90 where we saw a vulture on a old buffalo skull.

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We drove down the S90 but we didn’t see a lot here either. All the general game we saw the days before had gone. Even the S41 had gone quit :? . We noticed that all the cars were driving around without stopping, there was at this point of time nothing to see. So we decided to make a scenery shot of the poor weather, after all we still needed pictures for the TR :tongue: .

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We drove down the S100 and back up the H6 to the N’wanetsi pick nick spot. We planned to have our first ever bush braai. As proper tourist we forgot to bring matches :redface: . Asking the natives for help we managed to succeed in our quest. We had a bush braai :tongue: . With the total absence of animals we were going to drive up the S41 and down the S100 before settling at Satara. Just before the junction of the S100 we managed to find some animals...Lions!! :big_eyes:
Four young lions where laying down in the grass. They were hard to spot so we didn’t get great pics. We spend a good half an hour with them. But then it started to get really busy so we decided to move on.

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At a little water puddle we saw some ellies and baby crocs.

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Down the S100 we saw 2 male juvenile waterbucks having a scrap. But once we turned off the engine they stopped and looked at us. Typical animal behaviour. If they are doing something special they stop and look at you, if they are looking at you they turn around for the bum shot :lol: . Anyhow we also saw, zebras and wildebeest. Because the lack of zebras and wildebeest that day I just have to post a picture of them.

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One of the wildebeest kept chasing all the young wildebeests around :hmz: . He was causing a stampede every minute or so. Eventually they went down the river bank and disappeared. Later on we saw a group of waterbucks.

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Back at Satara we took a rest. Rested up we drove to Nsemani Dam up the S21 and back down the S40. We saw another lioness on this short route. It was really busy at this sighting so we drove of again.

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We didn’t see anything else on this little trip. Back at Satara we started the braai. In the mean time we walked to the watering hole where a big elephant was wasting water. According to an elderly couple he had been there for 3 hours chasing away impala and buffalo, not letting any other animal near the water. He had stopped drinking himself about an hour ago, but that’s elephants for you. Big bullies of the bush :tongue: . Once back at our bungalow this cat walked up to us and started scrounging like a shameless dog. We didn’t mind, another tick off on our bucket list :dance: .

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They must be getting fed fat here at Satara :naughty: because there where 2 of them in the A circle, so there must be more ...

It was time for our night drive. Leaving on time, this time there was still a slight delay at the gate. Hyena standing right in front of the gate :D . We pushed our way through and there were 2 spotted hyenas savaging for food that people had thrown over the fence during the day. They are turning into a pest at Satara :( .

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We drove down towards the S126. According to the sightings board, lions had been spotted there during the day. We saw a small spotted genet on this road but was too far away to get a pic. We also saw 7 giraffes including a baby. It had started to rain, which was making it quit cold. Further on there was something running on the road.... Another porcupine!! :D As always the porcupine ran off into the bush but we managed to get a snapshot.

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We turned around back to Satara. Just outside the camp we saw 2 black backed jackals. First black backed jackals of this trip, and the best sighting we have ever had of them. Great sighting for us :dance: .

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We went back to the gate and saw an elephant munching away just next to the Satara turn off. We enjoyed this night drive but with the rain it wasn’t getting any warmer so we didn’t complain that it had come to an end.

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 Post subject: Re: Cloggy Kruger Highlights
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:39 pm 
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Day 10

During the night it didn’t stop raining. It was cold and still raining when we left the camp at about 06:30,about 30 min late :roll: . We thought there wouldn’t be much to see with all the rain. So we were going to drive to Orpen, get a roll and drive back down the H7. From there we would see how things were going. It was our first ever game drive in the rain, so now we could witness the effect the rain has on game viewing. Observation number 1: We had never seen a leopard tortoise and now they are every ware, and sadly including a road kill :( . We took some pics off these cool guys.

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Driving down the H7 we only saw leopard tortoises, until the car in front flashed us. We drove round some more leopard tortoises to have a look what the car wanted to show us. They pointed to the right and about 100 meters in we saw a Leopard!!! (and it didn’t have a shell) The leopard was casually strolling off into the distance. We tried to take some pics but because of the poor light and the big lens we needed to use they are so bad I don’t dare to post them :redface: . Anyway leopard number 8 of this trip :D .

We drove on and saw people working at Nsemani dam. They where 5 meters away from the water and about 7 m away off a pod of hippos....They seemed to be calm enough, but with no ranger in site I would have to say, rather them than me. We drove on an saw more leopard tortoises. Then we saw some more ground hornbills. We must have seen about 15 of them so far but this was our second most funny sight. They looked peeped of with the weather and were looked so grumpy that they couldn’t even be bothered to start harassing us.

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Still on the H7 going towards Orpen we stopped at Bobbejaanskrans. My brother and me were looking to the left when my mum shouted LEOPARD!!! And my dad replied that he just saw it shoot in to the bush. We scanned the spot they mentioned for about 15 min but no leopard to be seen. I think I side on my brothers theory about this one, no proof... no sighting. My parents seemed to be convinced they saw leopard number 9 of this trip so... No just kidding we believed them so we have spotted 8,5 different leopards on this trip :tongue: .

We drove on and reached Orpen, we still saw some more leopard tortoises. Having our rolls and pies we carried back to Satara via the H7 again. We saw vultures sulking in the trees and more leopard tortoises. Our next sighting was one we had never seen before, and to be honest not one you would really look for.

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Our next sighting was a live Kill from start to finish!!!!! We were looking at a Tawny eagle ( I think, not so good with our birds :hmz: ) who was circling the sky when I was contemplating if I would take a pic or not when it dived down and took a mouse out. Maybe not as spectacular as it could be but I was kicking myself for not (attempting to) taking the pic. Anyway we still got this one.

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We arrived back at Satara for lunch. We weren’t in a rush to head back out so we took our time. Once dun we took our favourite afternoon route: S90S41S100. There weren’t much to see on the H1-4 and on the S90 but on the S41 we had a funny sighting. These helmeted Guiney fouls ran in front of our car for nearly a km before they considered that it might be smart to do a few steps aside. Quite hilarious, they didn’t strike us as the cleverest animal of the bush.

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At the gudzani watering hole we didn’t see the mega pride this time but we did see a big herd of ellies at the watering tank. Same story as before, all the big ones where slurping away and the little ones where going thirsty.

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Just before the S100 turnoff we saw a tortoise but it wasn’t a leopard one. It was a terrapin! New sighting that day so defiantly worth a pic.

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Once we reached the S100 we almost instantly saw 3 BBJ on the far side of the river bed. This was our first daytime sighting of any type of jackal.

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We didn’t see much else that day. There is such a big difference between sunny days and rainy days in the bush. We did see 1,5 leopards but they where brief glimpses. All the animals seemed to be more active, and because of the poor weather it was hard to get the pics. We were back at Satara but our sightings hadn’t ended that day. At camp we ticked of another animal of our bucket list. During dinner the 2 AWC came to visit us. This night they weren’t the only ones. Later one we were enjoying our meal when my dad scared the living daylights out of me when he bellowed, honey badger! My dad and brother got a camera (the one without the flash :wall: ) and ran after it. They got some pics but were surprised that the honey badger went for them when they accidently cornered it. After that they let it go. My mum and me thought the same, no way am I going to chase a honey badger, quit aggressive.... :naughty:

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After that late excitement we finished our meal and beers and headed off to bed. Our leopard magnet had switched on again that day :tongue: , for the big and the small ones this time as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Cloggy Kruger Highlights
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:04 pm 
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Day 11

Our days at Satara had come to an end and it was time to leave the Kruger. Our lodge was in Marloth Park just outside the KNP. We decided to leave the park via Malelane Gate. We left that morning nice and early but there was nothing to see. It was still raining and all the animals where in hiding. We were driving down the H1-3 and just before Tschokwane we got our first sighting of the day. In the distance there were 8 lions :shock: . A mix bag of adults and adolescents. The adults ran after something but they abandoned that plan rather sharpish. The adolescents were fooling around. We managed to get some pics but these lions must have been over a km away. They did start to roar, which was nice to hear. The lions moved out of sight so we drove to Tshokwane for a warm drink and a hot roll.

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We drove about 45 km/h (on the tar roads!!) which was the fastest so far. There wasn’t a lot to see and we wanted to reach the Bushwise on time. The second highlight that day were 2 police cars shooting past us! They were well over the speed limit :rtm: . We already had the army over taking us at high speed. ( I didn’t mention that because that was on mega pride day so I sort of forgot) We didn’t see the justice, but I guess only people with authority get away with that kind of stuff :naughty: .

Once we left Tschokwane we took the S34 and S36. We did get some action on the S36. Thomsons safari vehicles were all over the place. We asked a guide what there was. There was a duiker hanging in a tree and the leopard was laying down just behind some rocks. We waited and waited but no leopard head popped up :( . Eventually we had to leave because we had a long journey ahead. Leopard number 10 didn’t play ball, so we were still on 8,5. Here is the pic of the duiker hanging in the tree.

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We had a short stop at Skukuza but carried straight on after that via the H3. We saw some male Kudu next to the road. They weren’t really playing photo model but we did manage to get some pics.

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We didn’t see much the rest of the day. We thought we would take the S120 before leaving the park. We where half way down the S120 when we got trapped by elephants (second year running). The one in front of us had a disordered leg and didn’t seem to have any control over it. Anxiously we waited but this year the ellies behaved. Thankfully we drove on and left the park.

Our trip to the Bushwise was okay. We did have to get use to the high speed again, but besides that nothing worth mentioning. We reached the bushwise round 15:30. Let me tell you a bit about the Bushwise. The Bushwise Safari Lodge is a game lodge which lays right on the crocodile river. The view is stunning and there are only 5 double rooms. It is nice and peaceful there and the owner (Tim) is a great guy, with some fantastic stories. Each night we eat outside, if the weather allows it. Tim still recognised us from last year so we quickly settled in and headed off to the bar. That night we couldn’t eat under the stars because off the rain, but we still enjoyed our night there. Tomorrow is going to be our last full day drive in the park, with our own car. But for now we went to bed.

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 Post subject: Re: Cloggy Kruger Highlights
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 11:16 am 
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Day 12
New battle plan now we are at the Bushwise. We are about 20 min drive away from Crocodile Bridge Gate. So we have to get up extra early each morning, because we also have to check in. We left on time and our trip to the gate was smooth. The tar road had finally been finished so we could take a shorter route the gate. Check in took a little longer than we thought so we in the park at about 06:30. We saw some impala at the gate and some wildebeest in the distance. We drove up the H4-2 and our first close sighting of the day was another BBJ. He was about 5 m of the road but we still didn’t manage to get a pic. Each time he would outsmart us :hmz: and then he jogged of out of sight. We carried on and took the S130 turnoff. When we were at Lower Sabie we saw a hyena den but the hyenas weren’t there at that time. We decided to go back and see if we had more luck this time. On the S130 we saw zebra, giraffes, kudu and a klipspringer. Here the pic of the klippie.

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We drove on towards the hyena den. We didn’t see much else except some warthogs. We reached the hyena den and there was one car standing there. We didn’t think this was a good sign, but we just were sporny, that the next experience was only us and one other car. Hyenas were out of the den and they were every ware. We counted at least 18 hyenas in all kind of sizes :shock: . We must have spent over an hour just sitting watching the clan :dance: . The clan were up to all sorts of things, depending on the moment. They went from friendly to quite aggressive with each other. One adult had a bite mark on its side.

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A young mother was trying to feed her very small cubs but a larger cub kept trying to feed from her. As a result the mother received a hard time from the two dominant hyena’s. Thing settled down after about 20 or 30 minutes and they all started to play. The really young ones were running all over with the adults trying to stop them. Patch ( our name for one ) was so funny as it kept moving between trees so the others could get to him / her. Here's a kiekie of "Patch" :D

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Our luck this holiday had been so good, when this happened. A hyena stood on its back legs, and put his front legs on the car and had a good look at us all. The whole family could not help but get excited over it.

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We managed to get some great photo’s of it all. I do believe that the whole family has changed its mind about Hyena’s after this trip.

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After about an hour more cars turned up, and the hyenas moved away from the road. At this point we decieded to move on. We turn right down the S137 and at the junction with the S28 we came across a lion kill. The view was not the best but we did managed to get a few shots in.

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We then spend the rest of the day driving on many tracks all in the south. Sighting Ellies , Hippo’s, Rhino, Zebra, Wildebeest and at last Buffalo again. This was the animal that kept us failing to see the big 5 on many days. There is a saying about London buses, you can wait for ages for one then they all come together. We must have seen 5 or 6 sighting along the H10 and the H4-2

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The day was coming to an end so we started to head back towards Crocodile bridge when our second day sighting of a Jackal. This time it was the side striped one. He was about 10 or 15m from the road. This time we did manage to get the pic :)

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So the day ended on another high. It was back to the Bushwise for another great meal and the bar.

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 Post subject: Re: Cloggy Kruger Highlights
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 8:58 pm 
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Day 13
Today is going to be our last full day game drive in the KNP, it is going to be a guided game tour. At the Bushwise , a guided game tour is included in the price. We decided to rest out the last day, and let us be chauffeured around the Park. The drive included us 4 and 2 Australians. We left the lodge at about 05:30 hours. It was a bit fresh doing 100 km/h in a open jeep, but we reached the park gate at 06:00. It took a little longer to check in, but soon we were under way. Our ranger was Werner. We already knew him because he did the bar shifts. Werner’s speciality was tracking. This really interested us, especially my dad being an ex military man. It was the first ever game drive of the Australian couple. This actually turned out to be quite useful.

We headed up the H4-2, initially we were stopping for impala and giraffes. The other game drive vehicle in front of us didn’t stop for this lot. After stopping for some wildebeest, we drove on. The game drive car in front didn’t stop for these either and I think they regretted it. We just drove on when I shouted lion!!, but nobody heard me :doh: . Seconds later my mum looked to the right and shouted lion!! Now we did stop :thumbs_up: . There were 2 females with a young male. The older female lead and the other 2 followed her. The old female walked up the bank and onto the road. There she waited for the other 2 lions to join her.

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The lioness waited for the other 2 lions but they weren’t in a rush. The young female was shy of cars and she didn’t walk up towards the road. The male looked like he was boarded of walking but eventually he walked up the bank and stepped onto the road.

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They walked up the road for a couple of minutes, but because the other lioness didn’t join them, they stepped off the road and went down the bank again. We drove of and spotted a herd of wildebeest about 50 m further. Werner stopped the car and we waited. We knew the lions were heading into their direction. After 2 minutes the wildebeest ran off, they had obviously spotted the lions as well.

We drove further up de H4-2 until we got our next roadblock. It was more...Buffalo!! It was quite amazing, we hadn’t seen them for over a week and then you spot them 2 days on a trot. It was a medium size heard, 50-100 bufs strong. They just started to cross the road when we pulled up. It took about 10 min before they all had crossed. There were some young calf’s among the heard, this meant we had completed the baby 5!! :dance:

After the bufs we bumped into the next big 5 roadblock. Still on the H4-2 there was a bull elephant. He was walking in the same direction we were driving towards. He was forcing 2 cars back into the direction they just came from. We slowly followed the elephant, but we could not get passed. Werner( who had bad experiences with ellies) was afraid of ellies, so I think he didn’t really enjoy this sighting. We followed the ellie for over a km, which meant that the 2 cars practised there reverse skills for over a km. There was a traffic jam in the park because of this ellie. There must of been 20 cars behind us. It was like being back in Holland. After a while the bull decided to walk off the road and push down a tree. We then overtook him, but he smelled disgusting! The bull was in must, which explained his behaviour. It was the first time we smelled a bull in must, and hopefully the last time.

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Werner drove up towards Mondlozi pick nick spot. We saw some nice sightings including this young male kudu.

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We also saw some more ellies and these 4 white rhino’s together.

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We reached de pick nick spot, where we enjoyed a bush braai. Before we left Werner consulted with us about where to go next. We had told him what other sightings we had seen and also where we had seen these sightings. Werner first wanted to drive down the road where we had seen the lion and the black rhinos. Which we had seen during our time at Lower Sabie. We had noticed that a lot of roads had been closed because of the rains. This road which we wanted to take was also closed. We were getting forced to stay on the main roads. We drove up the H4-1 towards Skukuza. This road had been very leopard productive for us on this holiday. We didn’t see a leopard this time but we did see some other nice things, including this nyala.

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Going back down the H4-1 again we stopped at Nkuhlu pick nick spot. After this short break we headed towards the hyena den on the S130. We saw plenty of game going down there, but just before we reached the hyena den a car waved us down. They had spotted a serval in a tree with a kill :dance: . Sadly this was too far away, so if we went there we couldn’t be back at the gate on time. This sighting we had to let go :( . Within 15 min we were at the den. The hyenas were out to play, but there weren’t as much as yesterday. We sat 15 min with them before we headed back to the gate. Here’s some more pics of them.

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“Patch” was still creating havoc, but his brothers/sisters were also running between the trees this time so the adults couldn’t reach them. We easily could have spend another hour with them, but time didn’t allow this.

We went down the H4-2 again and there was a traffic jam. The 3 lions were still about but they weren’t very visible. We drove on because we had a great view of them that morning. Al to soon we reached the gate and our last full day KNP had come to an end.

Our trip back to the Bushwise was fine. We came back and flopped in the bar. Dinner was outside that night. We had another great meal at the Bushwise. I forgot to say but at the Bushwie you get what you are given. There is no menu. Good job the dinner is always stunning.

After dinner we went back to the bar. After a few drinks we said our goodbyes to the other residence and Werner. Tomorrow we are going home. Our flight leaves late at night, so we can drive back via the park. Our last night in Kruger had come to an end :( .

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