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 Post subject: Super Mongoose At last it's time to go Kruger!Oct 2012
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 10:22 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Pretoria North
The past 2 months felt for ever, to long to wait, but Mites, the forum helped to kill the time reading all the wonderful TR and watching the cams really also made the time pass a bit quicker!

Tomorrow is our last day at home and I've been packed since last week. All my work up to date and not a thing to worry about. Staff sorted with enough work and they will also get a bit of time off. Grandpa is on his way to keep an eye on the teenagers and babysit the dash hounds. Monday one of my fillings fell out and I could get an appointment for today. Last of my deliveries came in and could go out and I thought to myself: this is not normal, to easy, it never happens like this, but what a pleasure!!!

Well, that was yesterday. This morning a good customer phoned with a huge urgent job that I still have to sort out tomorrow morning, if we can do it or not. Later another customer phoned and crisis crisis crisis. Then later this afternoon, just leaving the dentist with a thick lip, a potential customer with a "nice" job I've been after for a while phoned and they need samples tomorrow morning. Needless to say, I'm not going to sleep tonight!

At least I'm packed, shopping is done, laundry is done and today I picked up the stickers I had made. They came out great, huge A4 size for the back of the trailer and Hilux.

Image

I have to remember that yellow ribbon!

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Stop the MADNESS or Imagine RhiNOs!

Rhino poached 2013 - 951, 2012 - 668, 2011 - 448, 2010 - 333, 2009 - 122, 2008 - 83.
Total 2600!


Our natural heritage is being stolen from us one by one!

Make your voice heard and please support a Rhino Project!


Last edited by Super Mongoose on Wed Oct 03, 2012 7:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: At last it's time to go Kruger!
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:10 pm 
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Hi Hilda and t-bal, thanx for the well wishes!

At last I'm done with all my work and now the holiday can start! Good thing I did most of the packing last week, SO gets very grumpy if I'm not ready when it's time to go. We want to leave at 4 tomorrow morning, breakfast will be in Dullstroom......

I also had time to stick the stickers on the back of the Hilux and right around the trailer! I hope this will get peoples attention and ask questions!!!

Image
Image
Image

_________________
Stop the MADNESS or Imagine RhiNOs!

Rhino poached 2013 - 951, 2012 - 668, 2011 - 448, 2010 - 333, 2009 - 122, 2008 - 83.
Total 2600!


Our natural heritage is being stolen from us one by one!

Make your voice heard and please support a Rhino Project!


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 Post subject: Re: At last it's time to go Kruger!
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 9:48 am 
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Thank Hilda, Barry, Val and all the other mites for the well wishes!

In this case the early bird did not get the worm, we were so early in Dullstroom, no breakfast! But we could fill up with fuel. Now we're having brunch in Hoedspruit, we are close now!

The stickers I designed myself and I will forward the artwork to anyone for free! Then the mites can have them printed at any signage shop or printing shop. I've made some extra to give away for free once were in the park, send me a PM once were back an we can make a plan!!

What is the situation on the strike, will fuel be delivered? I will check in tonight again!

_________________
Stop the MADNESS or Imagine RhiNOs!

Rhino poached 2013 - 951, 2012 - 668, 2011 - 448, 2010 - 333, 2009 - 122, 2008 - 83.
Total 2600!


Our natural heritage is being stolen from us one by one!

Make your voice heard and please support a Rhino Project!


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 Post subject: Re: At last it's time to go Kruger!
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 9:20 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Hi Sharifa, Bert, manic walker, tedredrum, thanks for the well wishes!

We had a easy and great trip, roads with hardly any trucks, few potholes and nice scenery.

We arrived to early to check in to our chalet at Orpen and went for a short drive. That was in the middle of the day and close to 38 degrees! So it was nice to sit in the air conditioned vehicle. Not a lot of action, the animals were doing there best finding shade and did not move at all.

We saw the usual suspects, but very special was giraffes right next to the road and the biggest kudu bull we've ever seen, almost 5 curls! He was amongst the bushes and no good photo opportunity.

2 0'clock back at camp we could check in. I must mention that from the first boom gate's attendants to the reception and shop assistants where all super friendly and help full. Since we did not have to make camp for this one night, we took decided to take a quick rest, but end up sleeping the whole afternoon.

I was to late to go for a afternoon drive and we just sat at the waterhole. Only impalas and lots of birds cam to drink and I do love those 2 geese, they are 10 times more beautiful than on the webcam.

The power was of the whole afternoon and came on about 10min ago. That's why the Orpen cam was down. That also means there was no light at the waterhole - the main reason we chose to stay at Orpen for one night, to watch some of the waterhole action at night. But we had one visitor, could hear him first, breaking branches! Most of the people went to fence to look for the Ellie and he was huge! No one shine light directly on to him and he spend about half an hour grazing along the fence, about 7m away. Now that made it all worth while. At one stage we just watched him in the moonshine and this huge black statue came closer and closer, so close I stepped back involuntary. But he was peace full and ate a lot and a whole tree. Later he moved on the tar road and we could hear his feet, it was like sandpaper on the tar, where he stopped and ate another tree.

Tomorrow morning up early off to Satara. Skillie (that is what I will call SO from now on and don't ask way) want to make camp before the temperature hits the high 30's again. We heard of wild dog, cheetah and lion sightings today on the H-7, maybe we'll be so lucky.........

Mites, I will check in again tomorrow night!

_________________
Stop the MADNESS or Imagine RhiNOs!

Rhino poached 2013 - 951, 2012 - 668, 2011 - 448, 2010 - 333, 2009 - 122, 2008 - 83.
Total 2600!


Our natural heritage is being stolen from us one by one!

Make your voice heard and please support a Rhino Project!


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 Post subject: Re: At last it's time to go Kruger!
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:43 pm 
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Hi Mites, Val, Naomi, Barry, Normana, Vinkie, trrrrrrpie, thank again for all the nice will wishes!

It's still very hot, not 38 like yesterday, around 34/35, the sweat is still running down my face and it already 19hoo. This morning we had nice overcast weather with a promise of rain, but disappears later on.

We were up early and left Orpen just after the gate opened. On the H7 and immediatly after the gate we started seeing the usual game and 100 plus game drive vehicles. They were every where, mainly from Timbavati and the surrounding game farms. They played leapfrog with us and each other and was impossible to loose. Later visitors with caravans and trailers came chasing past us never to be seen again.

The wild dogs and cheetahs everybody was talking about, was not on the map for us. But we still saw a lot of everything else. One of the highlights was a Njala bull in the riverbed about 10 km from Orpen an I was wondering if this might be the same Bull from the webcam a few days ago?? He was close to the road, but I could not get a great photo, the game drives all missed the Njala bull. We saw a lot of vultures and I was not sure of all there ID's, will check the photos later. Other birds were also plenty including 2 lesser striped swallow and a lilac brested roller in trees right next to road, good pics there. Also a lot of steenbok close to the road, but why do they run when you want to take there pic? We also had Ellies and giraffes crossing the road, one of the Ellies was just half a foot away from an open game drive vehicle.

When we arrived at Satara it was almost 9 o'clock (Skillie was not in a hurry) and we saw all the caravan and trailers chasing past us putting up camp next to the fence. There was not one spot open next to the fence, but after the heat wave from yesterday, we decided it was more important to get a descend tree. And we got the best tree, a bit close to the bathrooms, but we would have shade most of the day. By 11 o'clock we were settled and went for pie and gravy at the cafeteria, best pie in a long time!

Now it time to braai and I will check in later for the rest of the day after looking for the Skoppies!

_________________
Stop the MADNESS or Imagine RhiNOs!

Rhino poached 2013 - 951, 2012 - 668, 2011 - 448, 2010 - 333, 2009 - 122, 2008 - 83.
Total 2600!


Our natural heritage is being stolen from us one by one!

Make your voice heard and please support a Rhino Project!


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 Post subject: Re: At last it's time to go Kruger!
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:33 pm 
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After lunch we drove to a dam and sat there for two hours watching 2 young Ellie bulls playing in the water. They played like children, ruff housing, rolling and diving. We watched in awe. I took some good pics. Also watching them was a fish eagle and martial eagle. Here we saw our first Rhino, that's why I'm not mentioning the name of the dam. He was sleeping under a tree, moving his ears and adjusting his legs now and then, just enjoying an afternoon nap not knowing the danger his lives in.

We drove to another dam and saw nothing, but decided to sit a while. Skillie was scanning with the binocs, an impala and vlakkie and LIONS! I thought he was joking. We were the only people at the dam and enjoyed the far away, only two lionesses. But with in 10 min they got up and walked a bit closer and then the one lioness came to dink water right in front of us. By this time only one more vehicle arrived at the dam. It was awesome to see lions without a crowd! Here also some good pics.

Then we drove back to the to the Rhino's dam, but he was long gone. As we wanted to leave Skillie looked in the side mirror and saw Ellies crossing the road behind us. At first it looked like only a few, but then more and more Ellies! Hey came to drink water and there must have been between 30 and 40 big ones and at least 10 small and 1 very small Ellie. After drinking a lot and some good pics they swam across the dam for some even better pics. We had to leave to get back to camp in time.

After the braai that was a feast, I could not find the Scoppies, they were very quite. Will give that another try tomorrow! The camp is also a bit noisy, people talking everywhere, maybe it will be better once the schools start. Tonight we've heard the Lions roar and some jackal and haena filled in the duet. Already I've given 5 stickers away to people that came to talk to us. The idea is to make more people aware of the critical situation and mostly people already have passion for the cause.

I forgot to mention earlier that we saw a ostrich family, mon, dad and 13 chicks, still very small just outside of Orpen. I really enjoyed that!

We did not plan anything specific for tomorrow, accept for brunch will be made at a picnic spot somewhere. Now my eyes are catching fish (nodding off) and I will check in again tomorrow. We booked a night drive for tomorrow night - will tell all about it!

_________________
Stop the MADNESS or Imagine RhiNOs!

Rhino poached 2013 - 951, 2012 - 668, 2011 - 448, 2010 - 333, 2009 - 122, 2008 - 83.
Total 2600!


Our natural heritage is being stolen from us one by one!

Make your voice heard and please support a Rhino Project!


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 Post subject: Re: At last it's time to go Kruger!
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 11:53 pm 
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Hello all the mites, the night drive only got back at almost 23h00 and the heat today was, I think close to 38 again.

This morning things did'nt start off to great. Skillie had a sore throat yesterday and today his whole body is feeling ill. We got up at 5 and left just after the rush. We decided to go for a short dive and see how Skillie feels later. First to the Nsemani dam were we found lions, a big male, 2 lionesses, and toddler size cubs, but on the other side of the dam - binocs far. There were already a few vehicles but that quickly turned to 20/25 vehicles and we decided to leave. Then to the Girivana waterhole and on the way there we saw plenty of everything (when I say everything that does not include predators). At the waterhole a huge herd of impala was drinking water and there were birds everywhere. Took some nice pics.

On the way back via the S12, there were less game, but we saw a martial eagle quite close and then an Ellie that looked quit happy until se reversed back to appreciate his good looks. Skillie luckily know not to stop right next to Ellies and the Ellie crossed the road right in front of us and then turned our way with flapping ears and two or three aggressive steps, just to show who's the boss. Luckily nothing more than that, as there another vehicle behind us....

Back at camp it was still early around 8h30 and Skillie went to sleep for a while. I walked the fence and there was a nice tusker not to far away, walking from tree to tree scratching his behind. His tusks are uneven and was full of mud. Difficult to take pics at the fence - since I'm so short, but I got a few. Then I went to look for the Grey-headed bush strike (Spookvoël) that keeps calling me, but could not find him. The wind started blowing and he stopped calling. Everybody seems to be packing up and the camp is a lot emptier than yesterday and yes there is a lot of places open next to the fence, but were staying put, we like "our" tree, people came asking if we're staying long since they would like the tree.

At 10h00 Skillie was feeling a lot better and we made a brunch fit for a king in camp. We have a few more day to make brunch at a picnic spot, But this tells me, not to plan ahead and just go with the flow.

We decided to drive the S100 and come back on the tar road. We did not see much of anything. It's bone dry and the bit of grass here and there looks like ash. We saw 1 lion, the sleeping, never to wake upkind a couple of km from the t-junction.

I'll have to continue tomorrow, falling asleep here!! The heat is very tiering and I still have to tell the mites about the night drive! - just want to add that I found the Skoppies!!

_________________
Stop the MADNESS or Imagine RhiNOs!

Rhino poached 2013 - 951, 2012 - 668, 2011 - 448, 2010 - 333, 2009 - 122, 2008 - 83.
Total 2600!


Our natural heritage is being stolen from us one by one!

Make your voice heard and please support a Rhino Project!


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 Post subject: Re: At last it's time to go Kruger!
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:52 pm 
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Hi to all the mites! Thanx for reading and for every reply and nice wishes you're all sending my way. As I'm righting the Spotties are keeping the camp awake with there special mix of nightmare sounds and the Skoppies are keeping the rhythm.

Still on Yesterday.....

Yesterday after the one sleepy lion we went to N'wanetsi look out point, really beautiful there, but not much life, also very very dry. We did see 2 klipspringers on the rocks in the riverbed, that was nice. We took the H6 back and we saw a bit more life, but nothing to wright home about. With time to spare before the gate will close, we went back to Nsemani dam and the lions were still there in the same spot. Almost 30 vehicles juggled for place, that nobody bumped another car was amazing. The Ellies came to drink again and a hippo mom with a really tiny baby still suckeling got out of the water, as if to say: look what I have!

30min before the night drive would start everybody had to meet in front of reception. Half the night drive was children around 10 years, when we booked I forgot it's still school holiday. Love kids, but I was worried they would get to exited or talk all the way. And guess what, the kids behaved perfect, they were to intrigued by what they could see at night. It was there parents talking all the way! I was in charge of a spotlight and that was great. Our guide explained that there are 3 colors of eye shine at night: green for antelope, red for buffs, blues and hippos, yellow for the cats. We would only stop for red and yellow. First we saw BBJ's and hippos. Then we came across lions on the hunt and I'm sure it's the small pride from the dam. We followed them for a short while up close, to close, we really interfered with what they set out to do, that does not sit well with me. Then we saw a small spotted genit, first for me. We changed direction and saw plenty of Spotties onward. Almost all the kids fell asleep and some of the adults to, amazing considering how noisy the game drive vehicle was. Then I spotted an AWC right next to the road (I knew what it was because of the web cams) that was nice, a fist for me and Skillie and most of the "awake" group. Skillie was also starting nodding off. After more Spotties and BBJ's a couple of Buffs crossed thee road in a hurry and to out amazement a lioness behind them, then another one. The Buffs got away, but it didn't look like afull on attack by the lions. They walked next to the road for a while, then there was a roar from other lions somewhere and they turned in that direction and disappeared. On the way back we saw another genit, this time the large spotted genit. We drove back to camp seeing more buffs and ellies and something representing a leopard of civet, but it was gone so quick, no second changes here. We got back late, but it was worth while and really not that expensive - I will check up on the cost. Some tips: sit in the middle just behind the gate, thats the only 2 seat with leg room. Also no one sits in front of you and you can see well. That is also where one of the spotlights are. Take a jacket, we didn't as we were still sweating by the time we left and it was cold on the way back - the wind over sweaty bodies. Go to the bathroom before you get on the vehicle! Take an afternoon nap/rest before the night drive, or you will be paying to sleep on a noisy truck!

Today Skillie was himself again and I let him sleep till 7. I had coffee at the fence with 2 spotties marching up an down, one even chasing a blues. I saw rangers going out on foot patrol and I met a french couple asking a million questions from 5 o'clock, all that just at the fence......... Today was exiting: to Tshokwane and back, it took us all day. No predictors, but how about a YR: mgoddard, and a Njala bull on the S86 loop? Even got the pics to proof the njala. It was also a good day for birds. I will catch up on this one tomorrow! Now I'm nodding off, and will have to fix the errors later!

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Rhino poached 2013 - 951, 2012 - 668, 2011 - 448, 2010 - 333, 2009 - 122, 2008 - 83.
Total 2600!


Our natural heritage is being stolen from us one by one!

Make your voice heard and please support a Rhino Project!


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 Post subject: Re: At last it's time to go Kruger!
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 12:28 am 
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Hi again to all the mites! Thanx for reading and all the comments and well wishes for Skillie, he's still feeling strong! At the moment I'm hearing Spotties and earlier a close by roars.

A bit about yesterday.......
We saw a lot of everything, except for predictors. At the Mkaya waterwhole about 30 vlakkies came to drink water from all directions. A very large herd of impala came to drink too at the same time and I got some very nice pics. We also saw big herds of blues and waterbuck on the way to Tshokwane. A Zebra convention were taking place close to Tshokwane, they were coming from all directions at least 300 to 400. We also had a medium size buffalo heard crossing the tar road an again the same heard on the S125 dirt raod. Took some nice pics. At the big baobab tree there were a big herd of giraffes. It's always nice to see the animals in big numbers. And how lucky to get a YR, mgoddard on the S86 loop! She is staying for a month! Njala moving south, maybe? We were watching baboons eating sausage tree fruit and just looked up and there was a Njala bull standing in the open!! At the Kumana dam plenty of action and a Spoonbill, also a Saddle-billed stork.

I decided not to mention our specials friends any more until a while after we get back home, still without locations. Heard they caught some poachers in the south, from people here in camp, can the mites maybe confirm?

Tshokwane is up and running and looks just the same. All the birds and monkeys are back too. There were two yellow-billed kites trying to make a meal out of the smaller birds. I must say that the birds were a lot less then in the past and not sitting on the tables. The kites would dive from the trees an swoop in on the birds that will then scatter. They didn't catch anything while we were there, but I think they keep then in check. There were one monkey and he would climb in the tree and chase the kites again, this was very interesting entertainment. We made a great brunch again and enjoyed just being there.

After Tshokwanewe just had to go to the Orpen dam. It was the middle of the day now and the very hot. Ellies with babies came to drink and some big bulls were just playing in the dam. Beautiful sight! Also a Goliath Heron.

We took the S125, saw a lot of everything again, plus a Bushbuck in the river, very nice! Then on to the S36 we saw plenty steenbokke and a duiker. At Muzanzeni picnic sport we saw a gathering of blue waxed billes, that was so difficult to get a pic! As I went to the bathroom there were Ellies at the west waterhole and when I got back to the Hilux more Ellies at the eastern waterhole. It was awesome just standing there with no fence and the Ellies almost surrounds us. After a while other game also came to drink water there. We were told there were lions on the Sweni road, but we did not see them. We did'nt see to much on this road, but it is a very nice scenic road to drive.

Back at camp we spoke to people that saw all the cat preditors in one day and other people that hardly any thing, not even impalas all day. The posting board were painted red with all the red dots for lions and black dots for leopards. We did see one BBJ very last, we were out from 7h30 to 17h30.

Today.....overcast and happy not to sweat that mush again.

We decided to take the Mangala 4x4 trail, cost R475 plus R100 deposit if someone has to come and look for you. It started of good but it became clear that the animals are not used to vehicles. As soon as you stop they run. The more east we went, the less we saw. In total we saw 3 kudu bulls together,a red crested korhaan, a giraffe, 2 blues, 5 impies, 2 waterbuck and a steenbok in the 5 hours it took us to drive the route. Ooo, also vultures: Cape, White-backed and Lappet-faced sitting at an old carces and 2 brown snake-eagles sitting close by in a tree, plenty of Bateleur with one on the ground. Then we got lucky again and met another YR, moggy minder, at the Gudzani dam. They were on there way to Balule for one night and were just sad that they hardly saw any cats. Just after we exited the 4x4 route on the S90, we saw a pair or Kori Busterds, very very nice male and female. Then we saw the vehicle and YR of moggy minder again way upfront and then saw what they were looking at: 4 cheetahs! That made there and our day after the dry spell of not much! We sat alone with muggy minder and 1 more vehicle of 30 min before the cats walked off.

Back at camp I found the Spookvoël, Bennett's woodpecker and later the Cardinal woodpecker! This was the perfect 2 birdie days for me!!

No more planning ahead, will see what tomorrow brings!!

(Promise I will fix all the spelling later, I'm not used to typing on the I-pad!)

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Stop the MADNESS or Imagine RhiNOs!

Rhino poached 2013 - 951, 2012 - 668, 2011 - 448, 2010 - 333, 2009 - 122, 2008 - 83.
Total 2600!


Our natural heritage is being stolen from us one by one!

Make your voice heard and please support a Rhino Project!


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 Post subject: Re: At last it's time to go Kruger!
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:55 pm 
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Hi again to all the mites! Thanx fro reading and the nice comments!

A bit more about yesterday.....
Arriving back at camp we were met by the Satara clan vervet monkeys. Luckely they did not get to our trailer yet an it was time to release the boeties (our rubber snakes). One monkey came down our tree and only when he was on the ground saw the snake, got such a fright he left squeeling! I had to chase then out of our far neighbours tent. I could not believe my eys how they simply walk to the caravan tent and pull up the zip with one hand. Islapped ont he side of the tent and four monkeys camr walking out, not running. They just went on to pest there next victom.

Walking to the bathroom last night I almost stepped on a snake, instead I kicked the snake. I think I scooped it up with my walking sandals and when I felt something very smooth and cold under my toes, kicked and I just saw snake fly. I was only 30cm long and , blac/silver color.

Today started off great with my special "friends" and the whole amazing story will follow later....... I also handed out some stickers today. I also reported and injured friend. For the rest of the day we did not see much animals. Everybody else saw the mating lions close to camp, but it seems we always go in the opposite direction. We made a fantastic brunch at Timbavati and drove to Ratenpan bird hidde. There we saw a lot birds! On the same road we saw 2 klipspringer on the side of a klip koppie,to beautifull. We saw the usual animal in the riverbed close to Olifants. On the way back we saw a pair Southern Grond Hornbills.
That was awesome! Then closer to Satara we saw a Black bellied buster!

Mites, again cathing fish..........noding off!!

_________________
Stop the MADNESS or Imagine RhiNOs!

Rhino poached 2013 - 951, 2012 - 668, 2011 - 448, 2010 - 333, 2009 - 122, 2008 - 83.
Total 2600!


Our natural heritage is being stolen from us one by one!

Make your voice heard and please support a Rhino Project!


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 Post subject: Re: At last it's time to go Kruger!
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:55 am 
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(Don't know why, I could not submit my post last night??)



Hi to all the mites again, thanx for reading and posting all you kind comments!

The rubber snakes work for us, we had no trouble yesterday. The birds seem to not even notice them and come and sit right next to them. When we were in Baviaanskloof earlier in the year it kept the baboons away.

For the real snake, I did not see it and just felt the very soft smooth thing wiggling between my toes, not knowing at first what it was it just kicked in the air and there it went flying. It took me a second or two to realize what was happening. I think the little snake got a bigger fright than me. Know I take the torch at night.

Yesterday the fuel pumps at Olifants were close, not sure it was because they ran out of fuel, but as we left the tanker arrived, so fuel is coming into the park.

Today was good..........and very hhhoooottttt!!

This morning around 2 o'clock the HB woke us up going through trash and Skillie went to investigate. He was underneath our Hilux with some loot and was not afraid of us or the light. It was great to see, but sad that he has become a problem animal. He left within a minute or two and then I heard the real lions. Snoring, snoring, snoring everywhere....! That HB was very brave, it surely sound like an invasion of lumber jacks, thought we were in Sabie.

This morning I met another YR, dsmith, they are camping just across the road from us and we've been chatting ever since . We left late this morning after Skillie first help a guy with his vehicle. They broke down yesterday 20km from Satara just after they saw a beautiful male lion crossing the road. It cost them R2500 to be towed back to camp, eish.... The vehicle has some electronic problem, Skillie thinks a loose wire maybe, but it's still not running.

We saw lots of everything today. We stayed around Satara were it seems everything is....
At the Nsemani dam we are used to by now that there are always something to see. As we got to the bridge, we were told there were 2 leopards but they are gone now. We decided to take the small loop on the opposite side of the dam and maybe find the leopards there. We could not see anything but sat a while. Another 2 vehicles arrived and we all waited. All of a sudden the leopard jump out of a tree on the opposite bank and walk slowly in almost prefect view all along the bank until he went around the bend. Awesome sight, no pics as the excitement was to big! Then we went back to the bridge as we were on our way to Muzandzeni on the S36 to make brunch. Still a few vehicles were looking for the leopards and we stopped just to have a look. Then I spotted the other leopard laying down behind the reeds. A minute or two later he (or she) got up and went to drink water, then sat a while, looked around and vanished into the reeds. Awesome and this time I got some pics. At the same time a large herd of Ellies (think the same heard as the other day) came to drink water, big ones, small ones and teenagers. Got some good pics!

Buy now the bridge were packed and Skillie made a break for it, he doesn't like the crowds. On the S36 we saw a huge herd of Zebra, they were every where. At the Rockvale waterhole I spotted a lone lioness under a bush, but I'm sure the pride was close by as we could here grunting and strange noises. We sat a while and left after it was clear she wasn't going to get up soon.

At the Muzandzeni picnic spot there are two watering holes. There were a few ellies when we arrived and the big herd of zebra arrived when we where making brunch. The one bull ellie kept chasing the blues around, but not the zebra, very strange. When most of the ellies left and this bull was by him self, the blues made a stand and did not run. The ellie just turned away and walked into the bush.

After educating some OSV's on the 2 crested barbets in the big tree we left. We took the Sweni road back and did not see that much until we were 5km from the tar road. Then plenty more zebras and ellies and took some good pics. Then we saw this little red car in the middle of the veld and saw they were looking at the lions under the tree right in front of them. They didn't expect another vehicle, but came back to the road immediately. There were 8 lions and they moved slowly leap frogged each other and then they came to lay right next to the road. We sat there with the red car for at least half an hour before more vehicles arrived. There were zebras real close and hoping they would be interested we sat, but left after 2 hours.

Not much birds today except for a snake eagle and a cape vulture sitting in its nest on top of a acasia tree. Also special was a herd of 10 kudu. We also see a lot of steenbok couples everyday, when we were here in April we only saw 2 steenbokkies.

YR dsmith saw cheetah near Tshokwane today and she mentioned they saw 2 military vehicles on patrol near Lower Sabie. They went to Phalhaborwa yesterday and the shops shelfs were almost empty. We saw tracking vehicles with huge antennas yesterday chasing past us and coming back again, turned of the S127 disappeared in a cloud of dust. Then this morning they towed a large trailer and we saw security vehicles later today. The guide for tonights game drive took a riffle (did not take one on ours on Saterday) and we went to ask him, he said it was for the only animal his afraid of, they walk on two legs...... ...interesting?? After I reported the suspiciously injured friend the rangers wanted the photos.

Mites, till tomorrow night!

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Rhino poached 2013 - 951, 2012 - 668, 2011 - 448, 2010 - 333, 2009 - 122, 2008 - 83.
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 Post subject: Re: At last it's time to go Kruger!
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:23 am 
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(Last night the same thing, could not submit my post for some technical reason, but here it is. This morning is raining!!)


We spoiled our selfs and last night went to dinner at the restaurant. The service was great with a smile and the food was good. We found the prices at the restaurant, cafeteria and shop to be the same as in Pretoria. The gifts and clothing are also prices well, I work in this industry and know the whole sale prices and the mark up is quite standard. Even the Hi-tec shoes and sandals are the same prices as in the leading outdoor shops. The night drive cost was R140 per person, also not bad.

One thing I am wondering about is more toilets along the roads. We noticed at all the lookout points and bird hides a lot of toilet paper on the ground and that really doesn't look good. Even on the sides of the dirt roads there is toilet paper. And if you have to go I can understand, but why leave your toilet paper behind? Put it in a plastic bag and dispose off it when your back at camp please!

Today was little but huge......weather nice overcast and our first day below 30 degrees.

We did not see that much today, but the few things we saw was big. First thing out of camp this morning was 5 lions right at the airstrip hanger. They were a bit far, but it was nice to start the day like that. Not to far after that I spotted vultures on the ground and 3 BBJ's at Witpens watering hole. They were not doing anything, BBs laying down and the vulters next to them on a old tree stump.

On the S127 going to Timbavati we did not see much, only Steenbokkies. The plan was to go the Ratelpan Birdhide for a while and then make brunch at Timbavati and back to camp. Not a long full day planned. We stopped at Timbavati to go the bathroom and just to check what is happening in the river. We were almost on our way and someone shouted: Leopard! We missed most of the sighting, but got glimpses of the leopard with the binocs.

On our way the Ratelpan bird hide buffs were getting out of the riverbed and on there way to cross the road. We gave them space and watched. It was a medium to small heard, but with all ages and sizes. They cam closer an closer and then this good looking buff a photographing decided he had enough. He jumped like a rodeo bull and came straight for us. I got such a fright I dropped the camera and and video in my lap, so no pictures. Luckily it was just a mock charges. Then another vehicle came and the same buff mock charged them. They smell just like domestic cattle..

At the bird hide we saw all the lovely waterfowl and one of my favorites, the spoonbill. He was feeding and it was awesome to see how they do it. Got good pics of all the birds and will post later. After a nice long watch, we were on our to back to Timbavati.
There we made lunch instead of brunch, but what does time matter when your in KNP, except when its almost gate closing time. There was a Marico sunbird, but he was impossible to photograph. The hornbilles was more willing. We saw ellies in the river on the way from the bird hide and now they were on there way to the waterhole on the left, but it took them for ever eating everything on the way. They were a beautiful medium size heard with again all ages and sizes, including a baby still suckling on his mom and learning to use his trunk. They came past the picnic area with some as close as 15m away. The other people, mostly OSV's were all so well behaved and no one said a word. The mom and baby were ellie where very relaxed and walked at the back of the heard. The teenagers were more on edge and gave us one or two heart stopping moments when they suddenly stop and turned our way with flapping ears and trunks in the air, but not charging at all. Took a million pics! As we were about to leave Timbavati after a last visit to the toilets Skillie spotted a Bateleur in a tree on top of the hill. That was the first time we saw a Bateleur sitting down, that is now Skillie's favourite bird!

We took the S39 back along the Timbavati river, we saw very little and almost no traffic, it was very pleasant and tranquil to drive. We saw a few picnic bokkies (bushbuck), that what Skilie calls them now after seeing them at Timbavati. Then in one of the short loops to the rivers edge, we saw European bee-eaters! A total first for us and worth the whole 32km of seeing very little. They were catching something big in the middle of the river and come to sit in the tree right next to us to kill the bugs by smacking them first on the tree branch and then swallow it. Then they're off again for another bug. We could not see if they nest in somewhere in the riverbank and after good time watching them they were gone. It was difficult to pic them and there were a few branches in the way, but I got a few pics.

Now by the time we got back to the tar road it was so late and we dicided to just quickly go to Bobbejaankrans lookout points - or shall I call it Toiletpaperkrans? There were some baboons, crocs in the river and on the other side of the river giraffe, zebras and waterbuck. More than what we saw on the whole S39 and we drove slow, between 10 and 15 k/hour, but that the way the bush is, it's not a zoo.

On the way to the next look out we saw a Whalberg's eagle (also a first for us) with a very large chick. They were eating something. I could not get a good pic, but they were beautiful to watch. At the next lookout we saw again a very large Njala bull! Maybe the same one from our second day? Now it was so late and we had to get back to camp. It was supposed to be a morning trip and turned out to take us all day!

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Rhino poached 2013 - 951, 2012 - 668, 2011 - 448, 2010 - 333, 2009 - 122, 2008 - 83.
Total 2600!


Our natural heritage is being stolen from us one by one!

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 Post subject: Re: At last it's time to go Kruger!
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:32 pm 
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Hello Mites, thanx for reading and all the comment, nice to know there is someone on the other side of the I-pad!

Today was a wet one......

The rain started in the early hours this morning, nice soft drizzle, perfect to sleep late. Well if can call 7h00 late, but in Satara terms that is late. People start getting up around 4h00 when its still dark to get ready for the day. At 5h00 they head off to the gate to be first or second in line - that was never us.

We were out the gate by 8h00 and in the rain is was difficult to see anything. We drove north for about half an hour and turned around to go back to camp to get jackets as it was getting cold. We never thought that it would be this cold after starting the trip last Thursday with a heat wave hitting the lower 40's and today never got warmer than around 16 degrees. On our way out we saw a long line of buffs along the airfield just outside the camp. On our way back we just caught the buffs starting to cross the road right at the northern corner of the camp on there way to the water (and mud). It took the herd about 12 minutes to cross the road and what an amazing sight it was. Took a load of pics!

After stopping off at camp we went south and took the Sweni road (S26). Just before the dam we saw ellies with babies and we waited at the dam. They drank from the cement dam, but the little ones cant reach the water and why they didn't drink from the trough I would like to know. It was a quick drink and they were on there way again in a hurry.

Futher on I spotted an Pearl-spotted owlet on a tree stump low to the ground. I was over the moon, my first Pearly! It was looking on the ground and up and everywhere, making his owl call. Maybe he was hunting? Yes got the pics! Not far after that was an Martial eagle right next to the road in a dead tree. It was absolutely awesome to see him just here so close. Further on we did not see much and it took us for ever again to do the 25 km to the Muzandzeni picnic spot. We did not make brunch there as it was to windy, rainy and cold. We did watch the red billed buff wavers collecting twigs and building there nest. Then we took the S36 and at the dam we saw vultures, hadidas, 2 Water thick-knees and a Grey heron. Further we did not see much at all on this piece except zebras an an ellie that crossed the road right in front of us. Then we took the S145 and the road was beautiful with green gras and new green leaves on the trees. Here we got another ellie coming down the road, a few dagga boys in the road, best of all a few tortoises drinking water from the road. Skillie got see some skillies for the first time on this trip.

This took us for ever again to drive and by the time we hit the H7 tar road again it was getting late. We had to go to Orpen for a bathroom break and just before we got the Maroela turnoff, a cheetah an her cub in the road! They were drenched, but it looked like she had her eye on some distant impies. The cub was not to small, what I would call a big toddler and followed his mom closely. When she would go forward and stop, he would stop just behind her and lay flat on his stomach. We were first to see them and only the two or three vehicles behind us got a chance too as they disappeared into the bush. Got the pics!

After Orpen it was late and we had to get back to Satara! By now it's been raining quite hard for some time and is was impossible to see anything. The rain makes it hard to take good pics, but on the up side the raptors sit in the trees as there are no thermals to catch. About half way back to Satara we saw another raptor in a tree and it was the Wahlbergs Eagle again.

Back at camp we needed a boat to get to our tent. Skillie had to dig trenches and engineer some dam walls to drain our marshland. Inside the tent was completely dry, but to get inside is a problem. Out sosati braai for tonight was out of the question and we met up with YR deesmith for a nice dinner at the restaurant. A minute ago the lions roared, the hahenas and BBJ's called and the Skopsies are still keeping the rhythm strong. Tomorrow is our last full day in Kruger, why does time fly when your'e having fun?.........

_________________
Stop the MADNESS or Imagine RhiNOs!

Rhino poached 2013 - 951, 2012 - 668, 2011 - 448, 2010 - 333, 2009 - 122, 2008 - 83.
Total 2600!


Our natural heritage is being stolen from us one by one!

Make your voice heard and please support a Rhino Project!


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 Post subject: Re: At last it's time to go Kruger!
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 11:02 pm 
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Our last full day, I'm so sad!

Thanx to all the mites reading and the nice comments, I never thought so many people will be interested in another trippie to Kruger.

Skillie's engineering works to keep back the great waters held up last night and we were nice and dry this morning! I will wright short tips on camping at Satara soon. We had nine days to figure how and what to do next time and watched other people how to or not to do it.

Today was huge with little things.......

Everybody saw lions everywhere yesterday on the roads we didn't take. Close to camp, on the way to Tshokwane and the only piece of road east we didn't drive yesterday. They were at the the Rockvale waterhole were we saw the single lioness a couple of days ago.

So after the downpour yesterday everybody was in camp until late this morning trying to dry out everything wet. It was still overcast, but not raining and we left camp around 8h15. We heard the lions roar to the east last night and drove to the Rockvale watering hole. On the way we saw a bit of everything and some of the animals were still wet, but most looked clean and shiny like after the dogs been to the doggie palour. Even the ellie's colour where a nice grey and the giraffe's colours where nice and bright.

At the Nmensi dam for the first time we saw very little, but the hippies were there and a grey heron were looking to catch something. O wait, we did see a convoy of camper vans, so big and high that no one else could see anything at the dam! On the S36 first we saw a Bateleur in the tree not to far from the road. Then not far after the Bateleur a martial eagle in a tree right next to the road pruning his feathers. We saw quite a few steenbokkies along the way. At the Rockvale dam was no lions in sight, we sat a while, but to no avail.

Not far from the Muzandzeni picnic spot we found the most amazing sight: about 5 meters from the road was a medium size termite mound and on top of that was a Bateleur and Whalberg's eagle catching the flying termites leaving the holes! They were dancing around each other catching every termite possible. Then the Whalberg's eagle was waiting at one hole and catching the termites as fast as he could as the come out the hole, the termites wings were sticking out both sides of his beak as he could not swallow fast enough. The Bateleur was catching the termites at random and then snuffed the Whalberg's eagle away from his hole to catch the termites there. We watched them for a very long time and when we left they were still going for it. Got good pics and video clip!

Just as we turned into the road to the picnic spot, Skillie stopped and said I must see this: a dug beetle rolling his dug ball. First for me, seen it on Discovery channel, but never in real life. We waited until he was safely of the road. We made brunch at Muzandzeni, but this time no animals at the two waterholes, maybe because there is water standing everywhere in the veld. At Muzandzeni we met people ex pats Austrailia. They just love KNP and even keep a vehicle in SA to come to Kruger. They are also keen birders.

After Muzandzeni we took the Sweni road and saw a bit of everything. About half way Skillie hits the brakes and I almost planted my face in the dashboard. Two beautifull cheetahs right next to the road in quite dense bush facing the other why sitting up straight. I tried to take pics but my hands were shaking to much. The cheetahs were watching a steenbok just other side the thick bush. Another vehicle arrived, then one cheetah got up and walked to the right and the other one charged the steenbokkie. But I think the steenbokkie looked up when we stopped and saw the cheetahs, they did not catch anything.
They walked parallel with the road for a bit and then deeper into the bush and disappeared.
Awesome and I think there is a pic without to much shaking.

The last little thing on our list for the day is a water turtle in a big puddle in the middle of the road. This was strange, how would it get there?

On our way back to camp we saw the big herd of buffs from yesterday again and a awesome Ellie right next to the road looking very content. Back at camp we went to look on the sightings board and again we did not go where the lions, wild dog and leopards were...........but no else went were the cheetahs where!

_________________
Stop the MADNESS or Imagine RhiNOs!

Rhino poached 2013 - 951, 2012 - 668, 2011 - 448, 2010 - 333, 2009 - 122, 2008 - 83.
Total 2600!


Our natural heritage is being stolen from us one by one!

Make your voice heard and please support a Rhino Project!


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 Post subject: Re: At last it's time to go Kruger!
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:48 pm 
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Today it's Time to go.......

To soon we arrived at the end of our Kruger holiday. It was time to pack up and go home. It was drizzling and made breaking down camp a muddy affair. It went quickly though and when we had to fold the ground sheet last I saw the starlings flying in and sat around. I thought they are so clever to come and look for crumbs and food, but no, they were catching the bugs accumulated under the ground sheet. Then when we had the muddy sheet folded and ready to put in the bag, Skillie unfolded the bag that was laying under the trailer the whole time. All pf a sudden a huge Red Roman about 7/8 cm long ( it's a big red hairy arachnid, but not a spider, closer to the ant family) came out of the bag and almost ran over his hand and fell on the ground running for cover to the nearest bush. A Burchall's starling ran and grab the Red Roman, through it down, pecked it twice and is was dead. I tried to take a better look but the Starling would not let me get close, running away with the dead Red Roman in his mouth. Awesome to see, unfortunately no pics, it happened to quick.

As we were done with everything it started to rain hard again. We had to shower after playing in the mud. We said goodbye to the nice people we met and off we went at 9 o'clock. A bit of sun came through the cloud and on the S100 corner we saw 2 vultures in tall grass next to the road also catching termites. But soon that created a pileup of vehicles and we left. On the way to Orpen we saw a lot of birds drying there wings, that really looked like they are showing off there spread. We saw a little bit of everything, then it really started to rain cats and dogs and it was hard to see anything through the watered up windows.

Around 12 o'clock we left the Kruger behind and on the road to reality. The first thing that always hits me is all the sign boards next to the road. You don't know what to read first or last. Then the lines on the road that now tells you where to go and to stay on your side. Then the speed, 100km/h feels like 200 km/hour!

We stopped off in Hoedspruit for lunch at a lovely restaurant that YR mite deesmith recommended and I can recommend this restaurant at the old train station to everyone! We got home save and sound at 16h00 and the dash hounds were happier to see us than the teenagers.....

Tomorrow I start posting the pics!!

_________________
Stop the MADNESS or Imagine RhiNOs!

Rhino poached 2013 - 951, 2012 - 668, 2011 - 448, 2010 - 333, 2009 - 122, 2008 - 83.
Total 2600!


Our natural heritage is being stolen from us one by one!

Make your voice heard and please support a Rhino Project!


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