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 Post subject: Re: Family visit to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2012 11:32 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:51 pm
Posts: 52
Location: Liverpool
Afsaal was quite busy with people eating but our sightings did not stop. There were plenty of birds around with the usual suspects having poor table manners.

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Even this starling was getting in on the act along with this pigeon looking for scraps.

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This Cardinal woodpecker was also on the hunt for food (from our book I hope I’m right?)

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We also picked out this lizard and this butterfly in the leaf litter but are not sure what they are, I sure someone will know and put me right.

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We were soon on the road again and came across this lonely giraffe in one of the river beds drinking from what is I assume an elephant dug hole.

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I’d turned the car engine off when we arrived but had to start up again to let another car past which caused us to get the evil eye from the giraffe but he soon returned to his drink.

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That’s all for now as it’s time for the festivities to start

I’d like to wish everyone a happy Xmas and a prosperous New Year


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 Post subject: Re: Family visit to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 8:04 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:51 pm
Posts: 52
Location: Liverpool
A belated Happy New Year to everyone

Apologies for taking so long to add to my TR it has been a busy start to the new year.



barryels wrote:
Just caught up and what stunning sightings you had :clap: :clap: . Great pic of the lion in the shade with the monitor at the water's edge :thumbs_up: .
Those birdies at Afsaal can be quite irritating :wall: .
Thanks for sharing :thumbs_up: .


Thanks Barry The monitor was special. I'd have to say that if people returned their plates then the birds would have nothing to attract them.

hilda wrote:
Wow! So many birds on that table at Afsaal Welshboy! Beautiful bird pictures, especially the Woodpecker! :clap: :clap:
The Giraffe definitely found some water! So glad for him! :dance: :dance:


Hilda I was surprised that the woodpecker was actually in the picnic and gave me the time to get the picture considering the number of people around.

After the giraffe we decided to take the S120 and the Matjulu loop road around to Berg en Dal rather than head there down the tarmac. I’m sure someone on the forum will put me right but the top of the S120 must be one of the highest places in the park accessible by car. We did not see another car on the whole road and only found these buffalo/egrets thanks to the two egrets standing out in the grass.

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The sightings to the camp gate were limited to a few cars but it was late afternoon and was relatively warm. After check-in we relaxed and checked out the camp/dam area finding this female bushbuck and her young one in the shade below the dam viewing area.

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Whilst the rest of the family headed back to the huts to put their feet up I ventured down the rhino trail to see what could be seen. This elephant was the first animal to be seen, initially he was hidden by the overhanging branches but he soon moved out into the late afternoon sun. He’d obviously been for a late afternoon bath in the dam, opposite the fence corner he turned up into the trees.
Around the corner I soon found another elephant tearing branches off a small tree, some waterbuck were keeping it company (the sun was too low to get the elephant)

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Further up the path near the poorly repaired section, where the stream in flood has damaged the fence, a family of dwarf mongoose joined me on my stroll.

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We’d book a night drive for that evening and to say the least it was packed full of animals. We’d not gone 20metres out of the gate before we stopped for the buffalo bull coming around the camp fence corner. We did get close enough to some elephants to get a photo but we abandoned the picture taking after this one. There were two superb sightings to recount; one of three hyena heading down a non-public road but the best one was a bull elephant bathing in the river by the Malelane gate bridge it’s not only humans that enjoy a bath ‘Superb’ :dance: :dance: :dance:

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We finally saw a leopard off the Matjulu Bridge, an older leopard with a limp on his back leg; he was eating dung according to our driver. On the Matjulu loop we saw two female rhino and young crossing the road. Our driver then impressed us 100% when he found a chameleon on a tree branch and shortly after a bush baby jumping through the trees. We also saw 2 honey badgers, a solitary hippo, what could have been a civet and numerous buffalo but no lion even though they were in the area. I’ll be booking another night drive or two come May/June this year when the SO and I return for a 10 day visit, it was fantastic apart from the large temperature drops in the stream beds on the loop road.
The last short day will soon follow, I’ve some good TR’s to catch up on


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 Post subject: Re: Family visit to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 9:46 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:51 pm
Posts: 52
Location: Liverpool
Well with the UK being under between 5cm to 25cm of snow so I thought I'd warm myself up by posting the 1 page of our last day in the park

john n poppy wrote:
The rhino trail is always nice to experience and have a break from the driving..

Nice TR Welsh Boy,

Thanks

John :thumbs_up:


Yes John the rhino trail is something I'm looking forward to walking again in around 19 weeks time when we get back to the park.

Sheenaugh-Lee wrote:
Wow I've got to say you were blessed to the full extreme on your trip to see a wild dog a few minutes in is something some of us can only dream of, I haven't seen the dogs since the last sighting with my gran in 1998 just before she died, as for rhino's you had good sightings, I had the honour in December 2011 to come across a herd of 32 rhino's it has got to be a sighting I will never forget! Im glad that you and yours had a great time and I hope that your stay their this year will be as illustrious as the one you just had ...Good Luck :D


The last time I saw a wild dog before this was one animal running down a road somewhere in the SW of the park back in 1984. 32 rhino's in one place is one to stick in the memories for a very long time, Im very jealous.

Wednesday morning dawned bright and clear, even though we had finally seen the last animal of the big five the night before I was not letting my family have a lie-in on our last day in the park. We were out of the gate just after it opened and headed for the Matjulu pool area, no sooner had we turned right than we found our first rhino of the day. There was nothing to be seen at the pool, there'd been ellies drinking from the tank on the night drive but it was lifeless this time round. So we headed down the loop to see what we could find and we struck lucky again with these five rhino crossing the road, these were our last rhino of the trip but we certainly couldn't complain (we could only get 3 on film)

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We did not find many other animals on the loop so headed back for breakfast via the H3 and on the S110 we came on this sight.

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The front of the herd had disappeared into the dip in the ground before we first arrived but they still took around 5 mins to walk past us and herd was still coming over the hill. Eventually the tail-end of the herd appeared on the hillside, there must have been over 600 animals easily; maybe more and it was a very impressive sight. We left them to their stroll and went for breakfast and to pack our bags.


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 Post subject: Re: Family visit to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:44 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:51 pm
Posts: 52
Location: Liverpool
Time for the penultimate post in this TR

Sheenaugh-Lee wrote:
That is an awesome buffalo herd WOW, stunning pics I remember a few years back people were wondering what had happened to all the buffalo herds of 600+ its good to see them back and in the swing of things again, and the good news with buffalo is where theirs buffalo theirs always lion following close behind NICE! :D


Sheenaugh-Lee, we were well impressed ourselves with the size of the herd, in a way I am glad we did not meet them the night before on our night drive.

john n poppy wrote:
I look forward to trying to find such a large group of buffalos when we return ....in a little more than 19 weeks :slap:

john :thumbs_up:


John, if my sums are right does it mean you are visiting the park around the first week in June; we are there the last week of May, first week of June ourselves.

Before collecting our bags I took my family down the rhino trail to show them what they're missed the day before. This vervet monkey was one of many playing on the grass by the viewing area, we continued down the path finding this footprint in the dust (can anyone identify it?)

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This bird was searching among the litter for bugs and we came across the bushbuck and her young further down the path again.

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We threw our bags in the car and headed out into the park for one last drive down the S25 and back up round the S121. No more than 1km from the camp we found some of the buffalo we'd seen just before including this fine bull.

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On the river road our bird of prey sightings improved greatly, the animal sightings were non-existent. We spotted this pair of Grey Laurie, an eagle not sure which one (he didn't help us by turning his head), a solitary Fish eagle and what appears to be a young Marshall eagle.

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We also spotted this circling bird of prey but are not sure what it is but he followed us down the road for a fair distance or were we following him?

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As you may gather we struggled identifying some of the birds, I'm hoping someone on the forum can help.

My thoughts are with all the staff and people caught up in the floods, it makes our issues with a few centimeters of snow pale into insignificance.


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 Post subject: Re: Family visit to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 12:04 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:51 pm
Posts: 52
Location: Liverpool
vinkie wrote:
Nice sightings :dance:

The footprint looks like it belongs to a predator....Lion? :hmz:


The footprint was inside the fence line vinkie so hopefully not a lion and the fence appeared to be in one piece a good way either side of the print. I am not sure how big the print was now but I do not think it was that big


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 Post subject: Re: Family visit to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:26 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:51 pm
Posts: 52
Location: Liverpool
hilda wrote:
Indeed a cat footprint Welshboy! But on the inside of the fence? :shock:

The Eagle below the Grey Lourie is a Bateleur, one of my favourite birds! My most favourite, the Fish Eagle! Awesome sightings and pictures! :dance: :dance:


It was definitely inside the fence Hilda just down by the vehicle size gate in the rhino path fence. We were quite surprised ourselves when we found the print, should we have told the staff at the time?
Thanks for confirming the Bateleur it's another one for my daughter to cross off her list
I'm hiring a bigger camera lens for this year's visit so I'm hoping for better close-ups this time around. I never thought I'd get so much pleasure from our bird sightings, I'm certainly not normally the keenest bird spotter at home.

Meandering Mouse wrote:
Serious looking footprint there Welshboy. I'm afraid I can't help you, but I wouldn't like to meet it in the dark.

I agree with John n Poppy, Kruger does indeed get under your skin. ... for some.

:popcorn:


The Kruger is most definitely under my skin and I think it's under my SO now as well. I just need to work on her to come back every year now, this year is sorted but we are booked into Tamboti for the first two nights. Everything will be okay I'm sure.


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 Post subject: Re: Family visit to Kruger
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:54 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:51 pm
Posts: 52
Location: Liverpool
kallis1786 wrote:
Hi Welshboy.

Just caught up and I have to say that I really enjoyed all your episodes, and you got fantastic photographic skills. :clap: :clap: :clap:

:popcorn:


Thanks kallis1786, digital cameras help but hopefully on our next trip I'll be better again as I've been back to school doing a night class with the Liverpool adult learning sevice on digital photography.

Well it's been a while since my last post as our computer needed some tender loving care, a 60Gb SSD and a new hard drive later along with a full reinstall of Windows. Fortunately the back up drive was still good to go so nothing was lost picture wise just some cash spent.

So here we go with the final chapter

As we still had some time to spare before heading for lunch so we took a run down the S118 and found some giraffe and zebra keeping each other company

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Our time was up and we returned to Berg in Dal for some food before heading back to the airport. The waterbuck were taking a chance down by the dam as two of the dam’s water based residents had emerged to sun themselves.

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In a quiet sunny corner of the camp this Rainbow rock Skink was also sunning itself.

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We washed the accumulated dust off our car and headed out to the Malelane gate our last sighting inside the gate this female baboon and her baby.

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The crocodiles in the Crocodile River were having a feeding frenzy over a shoal of fish that had obviously come too close but unfortunately the cameras had been put away.
This was the end of our Kruger park visit but not the end of our holiday and animal sightings. We were off to Durban for a couple of days rest followed by a flight to Port Elizabeth for a trip along the Garden route to Cape Town. We were lucky enough to see a pod of whales off Port Elizabeth, more baboons in Cape Town, ostriches at Cape point and penguins in Simonstown.
It was certainly an enjoyable holiday apart from being a bit colder than we expected, I believe it was the coldest winter for 30 years in South Africa. My wife enjoyed it so much that she readily agreed to return to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary in May this year. I think a tent in Tamboti and some suitable drink and food will be a special way to mark our 25 years together.
Thank you all for your kind comments, I hope you enjoyed this TR as much as I enjoyed writing it


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