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 Post subject: adw If it's November, I must be in Satara. Dec '12
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 1:50 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 702
Location: Back Home
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2012)
My trip started on Saturday 19th November. I arrived at Malelane gate just as it was opening at 05h30.
First sighting of note was a Hyaena family. Here mom keeps an eye on her youngster.

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As I was towing a small camper I like to stick to the tar road so as not to get too much dust in the camper.
The bush on the H3 was very thick and green making sightings into the distance very difficult. I did see some buffalo but as the light was direct into my face I decided not to photograph them. Onto the H1-1 and the bush was still very thick and not many sightings of note. I by-passed Skukuza and drove onto the H1-2 and just after the Sand river bridge I came across this male Lion resting in the morning sun.

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Just before Tshokwane in the Nwaswisontso riverbed this large herd of Elephant were feeding / drinking. I counted over 40 elephants in this herd.

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This is a photo of my rig at Tshokwane.

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more to follow.

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Rhino Poaching - Highlight's man's stupidity and greediness.


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 Post subject: Re: If it's November, I must be in Satara.
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 2:11 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 702
Location: Back Home
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2012)
Onto the H1-3 where I came across this bull elephant testing the strength of a Red Bushwillow tree.
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When I arrived at Kumana dam there was a gaggle of cars and this meant a predator sighting. Sure enough there was this Leopard in a large Jackal-Berry tree with an Impala kill. The time was 08h56 and I had spotted the big 5 on my first day before 09h00. (I did see a rhino along the way somewhere but did not photograph it due to direct sunlight.) At the time I was not sure if seeing the big 5 so quickly was a good omen or not!!

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After setting up camp at Satara I went for a drive which included the S100, S41,S90 and H1-4.
A small Buffalo herd were enjoying a small mud pool on the S100 and were joined by a Saddle Billed stork who was not intimidated by the buffalo.
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There was plenty of life on the S100 including numerous Giraffe.
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Plenty of Waterbuck. Here two handsome males pose for my lens.
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More to follow............

_________________
Rhino Poaching - Highlight's man's stupidity and greediness.


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 Post subject: Re: If it's November, I must be in Satara.
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 2:27 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 702
Location: Back Home
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2012)
Thank you Hilda and Sharifa for your kind comments.
Monday 19th November continued.
The Impala were already dropping their lambs.
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There were plenty of Elephant around which is great for me as I love watching elephant, whether it be large bulls or breeding herds. Here a small herd is about to cross the H1-4.
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This herd was at the northern waterhole next to the Satara fence.
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The end of the first day which proved to be very rewarding.

More to follow..................

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Rhino Poaching - Highlight's man's stupidity and greediness.


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 Post subject: Re: If it's November, I must be in Satara.
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:23 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 702
Location: Back Home
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2012)
Thank you Rooies, Cheetah2111, Akadwa, and Trpp-Trrrrrr for your kind comments.
Rooies, yes it is the new Ranger. I am very happy with it.

Tuesday 20th Nov. Up early and first at the gate. Drove down the H1-3 and after about 24kms I came across these 3 females laying in the grass. I am sure there more lions around but these 3 were the only visible ones.
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Later I turned onto the S34. Now I have travelled this road many times but I have never seen a predator on this road. I was surprised to see this male lion which was laying down on the road. He got up quickly so I decided to take this photo from far. Just as well as he moved off into the surrounding thick bush. He obviously was not used to cars!
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Further on the S34 I came across this inquisitive Buffalo herd which had quickly surrounded my vehicle. It was great to sit their and listen to their bellows and snorts plus absorb their smell. I even put up with all the flies that accompany these bovines. They kept me company for nearly half an hour.
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and another photo.
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Later whilst travelling on the S35 I came across another Buffalo herd. Just look at this bulls horns. Almost a perfect set. A real dagga boy!
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More to follow..............

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Rhino Poaching - Highlight's man's stupidity and greediness.


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 Post subject: Re: If it's November, I must be in Satara.
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 2:27 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 702
Location: Back Home
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2012)
Thank you all for your kind comments.
After the Buffalo sightings on the S35 I took a slow drive back to Satara via the S37. I came across two bull elephants and this is a pphoto of one of them.
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That afternoon I took a drive on the S126, the Sweni road. There were several elephants at the Sweni waterhole. Here are some of them.
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At the Shimangaweni dam all was quiet. These female came down for their afternoon drink. Very nervous they had a quick drink and then departed.
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On my way back on the Sweni road I came across this male lion in a deep sleep close to the road. I waited and waited for him to get up in order to get a decent photo. No such luck. He slept on and I eventually had to leave to make gate closing time. Looking in my wing mirror he continued to sleep!
Image

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Rhino Poaching - Highlight's man's stupidity and greediness.


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 Post subject: Re: If it's November, I must be in Satara.
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:33 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 702
Location: Back Home
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2012)
Thank you all for your kind comments. In reply to Hilda's comment, yes at one stage I also wondered about the state of the lion but I could see he was breathing. I also found out when I got back to camp that the lion was there from the morning. Maybe too much to eat and he was sleeping off his indigestion!

Wednesday 21st Nov.
I chose a slightly different route from the day before but this time I would travel all the way down to Tshokwane.
After about 23 kms I came across two lioness and although roughly in the same area as yesterdays sighting I think they were different lioness but maybe from the same pride? The one lioness certainly had a sore eye.
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Just past Tshokwane I came across a large herd of elephant wanting to cross the road. Here are two of them.
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Onto the S32 the Orpen dam road and ran into another herd of buffalo. No shortage of buffalo and elephants on this trip! This bull posed for me. Side on and head turned staring at my camera. Just how I like to capture them. This guy also had an impressive set of horns!
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Onto the S35 and left onto the S37 and then I came across this large elephant bull enjoying the sweet grass in a marshy field.
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Back onto the H1-3 and headed towards Satara. Plenty of giraffe around.
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I am sure those of you who know the Satara area will recognise the scenery where the Sweni river bridge is.
This elephant herd were enjoying a rain pool very close to the Sweni river.
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More to follow............

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Rhino Poaching - Highlight's man's stupidity and greediness.


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 Post subject: Re: If it's November, I must be in Satara.
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 8:29 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 702
Location: Back Home
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2012)
Thank you all for your kind comments. I appreciate them all. In reply to Meandering Mouse's observation, yes it was green south of Satara when I arrived. North of Satara was drier but that soon changed after the rains and it is amazing how quickly the veld recovers after the rains. By the time I left it was green all over with acres of yellow flowers on the grasslands.

Wednesday 21/11 continued.
I decided that for my afternoon drive I would take the S90 and back to Satara via the northern section of the Timbavati road (S39). As I was driving out the camp gates I met a bull elephant. At first I thought he was going to walk into camp but veered of to the south!
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Onto the S90. This is not the busiest road in the area but I always enjoy driving on it even if I see very little. There are usually elephant bulls around and being grassland you can see them far off. This day was no exception. I saw this large bull far off with long tusks. I waited for him to get closer. It can be frustrating waiting for elephants. They can move so slowly as they graze and browse. Eventually he was in range of my short lens and then crossed the road. My patience paid off.
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I know this bull has a name. Not sure what it is. His tusks are long but not very thick.
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Onto Bangu waterhole. Unfortunately I think they have closed the waterhole. No water, no animals. Not even a zebra or an impala.
Onto the S89 and then the S39. I was excited to see a male Bush-Buck out in the open. I have very few photos of the males. This guy allowed me to photograph him a number of times before disappearing into the thick riverine bush.
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And another photo of this handsome antelope.
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The Wildebeest had not started dropping their young yet. Well I had not seen any yet. One of the mainstays of the Park and not the easiest animal to photograph. Well that's my experience.
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I saw this group of Giraffe on the other side of the river near the Ratelpan Bird hide. Some predator must have spooked them as they all 'galloped' off. I waited several minutes to see if the predator would emerge. Not today!
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More to follow.............

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Rhino Poaching - Highlight's man's stupidity and greediness.


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 Post subject: Re: If it's November, I must be in Satara.
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 8:43 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 702
Location: Back Home
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2012)
Thank you all for your kind comments. Cheetah, it was great to meet you in person at Tshokwane.

Thursday 22/11. My plan was to travel the S100. This road has both a good and bad reputation. I still love it despite its popularity. When I travel this road I like to be first. So I was up early and at the gate at 04h00. The only car! The gate opened at 04h30 and I was on my way. After travelling about 8km I saw movement in the road. Lots of movement. The time was 04h53. It was Mighty Mom Cheetah and 5 cubs. They were playing all around my car and surrounding bushes. What a sight and I had them all to myself for 10 minutes befor the next 3 cars arrived. We then had another 10 minutes of them before they disappeared into the bush. As you can expect at this time the light was very weak so please forgive the blurriness of some of the images and the red-eye editing. This is Ma Cheetah and 3 of her cubs.
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Considering this was in prime lion, leopard and hyeana territory this was one mighty mother Cheetah. She must be a superb hunter. Here is a young Cheetah.
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One youngster and another in the bush.
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Another youngster.
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Getting all 5 youngsters and Ma Cheetah in one photo proved impossible. Here I managed to get all 5 youngsters in one photo.
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And this is Mighty Mom.
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More to follow................

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Rhino Poaching - Highlight's man's stupidity and greediness.


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 Post subject: Re: If it's November, I must be in Satara.
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 9:09 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 702
Location: Back Home
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2012)
After the cheetah moved off I continued on the S100 without any major sighting. The S41 was fairly quiet and onto the S90. I came across this Elephant and taking the cool weather into account I managed to capture this Bull letting of steam!
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That was the end of my morning drive. In the afternoon I decided to drive on the S36 and take the Sweni road back to camp. This young impala lamb was seen on the S12 near Ngirivani. Welcome to Kruger. Welcome to life.
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I spent some time at the Shimangaweni dam where not much was happening. Then a slow drive on the Sweni road scouring the trees for leopards. After about 4kms, a leopard in a distant Marula tree.
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My lucky day. After another 8kms another leopard in a tree. This guy looks like he has just devoured an impala.
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By now it was getting late when I suddenly came across this sight just before the Sweni waterhole. I was late for the gate so it was most unfortunate that I could not spend more time with this beauty.
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She even allowed me to draw level with her without here moving.
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The end of a most successful day. Cheetah, Leopard and Lion!

More to follow...........

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Rhino Poaching - Highlight's man's stupidity and greediness.


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 Post subject: Re: If it's November, I must be in Satara.
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:06 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 702
Location: Back Home
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2012)
Thank you all very much for your kind comments. It is great for me to re-live my trip with you all.
Friday 23 Nov. After the previous days fortunate sightings I was gearing up for a quiet day. Although I was up early I was not first at the gate. Made a mental note that I would have to get up earlier! My plan was to drive down south and to see what lay in store. Three kilometres south of Satara where the tar road runs parallel to the Nwanedzi stream the cars in front of me stopped for a herd of Buffalo. Then we saw two male Lions stalking the herd. One of the bulls then aggressively (bravely) charged the two males. This bull put the two lions to flight who then disappeared into the riverbed. By this time there was of course a traffic jam. The buffalo continued to snort. More bulls came forward. The lions left without a kill. Unfortunately I could not get a photo of the lions. It was still dark and my built in flash was not powerful enough. I did get a photo of the charging bull. Forgive the blurriness but I still wanted to show a photo of this very brave bull.
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A photo of some of the other bulls.
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After extricating my bakkie from the rest of the traffic I continued down the H1-3. Near the Mazithi dam I came across part of the Mzithi pride. I know this pride is about 18 strong but I could only count 11 lions. I was able to get fairly close without disturbing them. Here is a young adult female.
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And here was part of the pride lying close to each other.
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And this older female came flopped down right next to my bakkie.
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This younger female was extremely restless. She went to every other female and tried to get them up. It looked like she wanted to go hunt!
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She eventually came up to the older female lying next to my vehicle and when she failed to get the older female up she literally fell on top of her.
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The traffic was now building up so I decided to move on.

More to follow....

_________________
Rhino Poaching - Highlight's man's stupidity and greediness.


Last edited by adw on Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:46 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: If it's November, I must be in Satara.
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 1:14 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 702
Location: Back Home
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2012)
Thank you all for your kind comments. Later in the day I was again most fortunate to come across another Blackie 'somewhere' on a dirt road.
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He / she was very skittish but I was able to get a couple of photos.
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This Grey Heron was fishing in a small pool.
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On my way back to Satara on the H1-3 I came across an elephant wanting to cross the road. A large motor-home had blocked the path of the elephant who was getting very irritated. Eventually the motor-home moved forward and the elephant was able to walk across the road.
Frustrated Elephant.
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A shake of the head.
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Dust everywhere.
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Now able to cross the road.
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More to follow>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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Rhino Poaching - Highlight's man's stupidity and greediness.


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 Post subject: Re: If it's November, I must be in Satara.
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:20 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 702
Location: Back Home
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2012)
Once again thank you everyone for your kind comments. In reply to the sores on the Black Rhino. These sores are actually caused by parasites which only attack the Black Rhino and not the White Rhino. Strange but true.

The afternoon of the 23rd and the whole day of the 24th proved relatively quiet for predators but general game never lets one down.
For me the zebra is very photogenic and with their inquisitive nature one can get photos of them readily easily.
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Late on the 23rd and very close to Satara these lioness were making use of of a dead uprooted tree to spot their next meal.
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This photo was taken right next to Satara. Zebra, Wildebeest and Giraffe. Man, I love the grasslands!
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I have seen this Giraffe a number of times during my many trips to Satara. His colouring always catches my eye. I have nicknamed him the Coppertone Giant.
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More to follow>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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Rhino Poaching - Highlight's man's stupidity and greediness.


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 Post subject: Re: If it's November, I must be in Satara.
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:06 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 702
Location: Back Home
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2012)
Thanks Barry, Hilda and Phillip for your kind comments.

Sunday 25/11. The day started very early again and with no sightings until Mazithi Dam it was still dark and overcast with intermittent rain. The Mazithi Pride were again spoiling me with their presence. This young male looked rather bedraggled in the wet conditions.
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Onto the S34 by Tshokwane. Before I knew it I was surrounded by several Elephant bulls on the narrow road. Fortunately they were all relaxed so there was no problem. This is one of the bulls who had quitely crept up on me.
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At the end of the S34 I came across these 2 Giraffe bulls.
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I double backed on the S34 and drove back to Satara via the S37 and S100. On the S100 I came across a parked vehicle who told me there were 2 Cheetah lying down. Eventually one looked up.
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After about a further 2 km I came across the Cheetah family. Just look how fat the cubs are. Mighty Mom must have killed a big Impala!! Compare them to my earlier photographs where they were a lot thinner. The cubs were far in and the traffic was building up. Time to move on.
Image

More to follow>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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Rhino Poaching - Highlight's man's stupidity and greediness.


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 Post subject: Re: If it's November, I must be in Satara.
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:01 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 702
Location: Back Home
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2012)
Thank you all for your your kind comments. Tedredrum sorry we missed each other. Were you at Satara?

The afternoon of the 25th saw me back at Shimangwaneni dam. Suddenly there were Elephants everywhere. It looked like four separate herds converged at the dam at the same time. Lots of rumblings and trumpeting. Truly a magnificent sighting as they drank and played in the water and then dispersed in different directions. As I had to keep moving around the parking area to avoid being cornered I did not get as many photos as I should have! This is one where the elephants are on the other side of the dam.
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As I was leaving the dam I cam across another vehicle and the driver told me they had just been charged by a very aggressive Elephant. I proceeded with caution in the direction of the Muzandzeni Picnic spot. Fortunately no aggro elephant but 500 metres past the Picnic spot entrance the largest pack of Wild Dogs I have ever seen. In this photo there are 11 dogs some of them adult and others what I can best describe as sub-adults. I heard that this pack used to be 16 strong. Well after counting 20 dogs I lost count. My estimate of pack size now is 25. A large infusion of younger healthy dogs joining the hunt. That must have been some litter!
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Here is a large male.
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And a lovely female.
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And this guy looks fairly old with grey hair around his muzzle.
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And this is one of the younger dogs
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More to follow. More photos of the dogs and their actions......................

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Rhino Poaching - Highlight's man's stupidity and greediness.


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 Post subject: Re: If it's November, I must be in Satara.
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:16 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 702
Location: Back Home
Award: Sighting of the Year - Non Predator Award: Travel Tale of the Year for KNP (2012)
Wild-Dog sighting continued.
At this time there were 4 vehicles at this sighting. We were all thrilled and excited at our sighting. The dogs were milling around.
Here are some more photos of the youngsters.
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And another photo.
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Suddenly several of the pack members charged a patch of grass. They were killing and devouring a scrub-hare. The dog in the background is carrying the hare's leg.
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Suddenly the dogs ran into the bush and treed a female Leopard. Not the best tree for a Leopard to rest in but perfectly situated to escape a marauding pack of hungry dogs.
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The adults then seemed to go on the hunt by themselves and left the youngsters with a couple of adult carers. Unfortunately it was time for us to depart to make the gate closing time.
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What an afternoon. One I will remember for a long long time.

More to follow...................

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Rhino Poaching - Highlight's man's stupidity and greediness.


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