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 Post subject: WendyA's KNP Oct 2012 - Out of Sync!
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:31 am 
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First of all sorry that this is out of sync – there are 3 other TRs in between my Spotty Easter in KNP and this one – but I want to get a coffee table book done of my trip to the park with Mum in October and I want it to be ready in time for Christmas. I have to go through my photos and will be re-living my trip as I do this so thought I might as well do my TR at the same time.

Mum has NEVER been to KNP … she absolutely loves animals, wildlife, nature, etc, and can’t wait to hear my stories and see my photos whenever I get back from Kruger. My Dad, on the other hand, isn’t that bothered – his philosophy is that if he wants to see some of the stuff I see in Kruger he can watch it on Nat Geo Wild! My parents have been happily married for 48 years and my Mum just doesn’t like leaving my Dad.

I finally convinced Mum to come to Kruger for a long weekend – just two nights; Dad would be fine – in fact, he’d probably enjoy the peace and quiet!

As those of you who have read my previous TRs know, I am now a “Converted Kruger Camper” – there’s just nothing to beat lying in a tent at night listening to the sounds of the bush! I knew I wouldn’t be able to convince Mum to go camping, but I sold the whole “safari tent experience” thing and booked two nights for us at Croc Bridge!

We left around 5am on Thursday 11 October and got to Malelane shortly after 9am.

We stopped at the bridge and spotted a Goliath heron, a great egret, an open-billed stork, a grey heron, crocs, impala and a male bushbuck sitting in the shade of one of the bushes.

We continued to Malelane Gate, parked up and were walking to Reception. It had only been a few weeks since I’d been there and Patrick recognised me/my car. He told me that EcoJunkie was in the office so Mum and I walked over to have a quick chat with her. The office is about 100 metres from the Reception.

As we were walking there, Mum pointed to the ground and asked “Wendy, what’s that?”

“Elephant poo!” I replied.

“Here? You mean there are elephants here? We’re not even in the park!” Mum exclaimed, rather shocked!

EJ heard us talking and came out to see what was going on. We had a chat and then she walked back to the Reception with us “to protect us from the elephants”!!!

We checked in then set off ... it was exactly 10am. The planned route was the H3 to Skukuza, a trip to Lake Panic, then the H4-1 to Lower Sabie and H4-2 to Croc Bridge.

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 Post subject: Re: KNP Oct 2012 - Out of Sync!
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 7:30 pm 
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The big birds were the first to greet us; first a bateleur, then a Whalberg’s eagle, then a tawny eagle who looked as if he was enjoying the leftovers of a guinea fowl.

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Unfortunately a big tourist bus arrived from the opposite direction and didn’t even slow down. The eagle took off up into a tree and only then did the tourist bus stop for a quick 30-second photo-opportunity, before speeding off again.

Mum and I sat watching the eagle and also checked out the feathers that were spread out all over the road and scattered throughout the grass at the side of the road, speculating as to what had happened to the guinea fowl – it had to be a leopard! The bush was very thick – there was no seeing through it, but as we were looking, the eagle swooped down again to see if there were any more leftovers!

It carefully checked the bush to make sure the leopard wasn’t around …

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then made his way into the tall grass where there were more tasty morsels to be found.

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Other sightings that morning on the H3 included steenbok, a brown snake eagle, and ellies.

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My Mum is ellie-crazy and I knew that Kruger would deliver on the ellie sightings!!! Mum was happy with this shot …

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but I knew we’d get better! (little did I know HOW much better!!!)

We did a little detour onto the H1-1 Napi Road to go and check if the klipspringers were there, and were delighted to see them.

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 Post subject: Re: KNP Oct 2012 - Out of Sync!
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:00 pm 
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Lake Panic, as ever, was brilliant! I love taking a “newbie” there – it is just SO amazing!

Goliath herons, great egrets, the grey herons in their nests with their young ones, a green backed heron, a malachite kingfisher, pied kingfishers, darters, jacana, crocs, swallows and a fish eagle …


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Mum was like a kid in a candy store … you should have heard her oooh-ing and aaah-ing!!!

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 Post subject: Re: KNP Oct 2012 - Out of Sync!
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 8:25 pm 
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It was now 2pm … we needed to make tracks so said goodbye to Lake Panic and continued on our way.

We stopped in at Skukuza briefly for a quick loo break and a quick bite to eat on one of the benches down by the fence before hitting the road again.

Along the river bed were a herd of ellies …

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… and a little further on a troop of baboons …

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The babies are so cute and Mum was thrilled when this little one gave her a “High 5”!

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At N’watimhiri waterhole there were a couple of Egyptian Geese

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and a little steenbok who wasn't bothered at all by our presence …

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 Post subject: Re: KNP Oct 2012 - Out of Sync!
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:16 pm 
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By this time it was 4pm and we were thinking a quick loo break at Lower Sabie before continuing down to Croc Bridge …

that was until we came across this …

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A teeny tiny brand new baby ellie!

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He still hadn’t quite figured out how to balance properly on his legs and kept leaning against his Mum to stop himself from falling over!

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He was a real newbie ...

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“Ooooh dear, how do these legs work?”

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His Mum went off into the bush and started eating. He had a good sniff at the other females …

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But his Mum didn’t leave him for too long and was shortly back …

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The three females were very protective and kept the little one well surrounded.

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“Whoops, I thought this thing on my face would help me balance … wrong!”

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“Okay, I think I’ve got the hang of this walking thing now …”

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... and he followed his Mum and aunties into the bush.

How AMAZING was that???!!!

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 Post subject: Re: KNP Oct 2012 - Out of Sync!
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:41 pm 
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By this time it was nearly 5pm and we were a couple of hundred metres north of Lower Sabie … no time for a loo break; it was going to be straight down the H4-2 to Croc Bridge.

We stopped VERY briefly at Sunset, just enough for a quick peek to see what was going on. Yellow Billed storks were added to the sightings list as well as a Yellow Ribbon! It was Bert; unfortunately we only had time for a very quick chat – good to meet you Bert!

Bert did tell us about the wonderful sightings he’d had – lions, leopards, etc, etc, etc …

“But I bet they never got to see a brand new baby elephant like we just did” was all my Mum kept saying!!!

Just before the south entrance to the S28 we saw spots!

“Leopard!” I said, then saw it a bit better … “No, it’s a cheetah!”

You may have noticed in the photos taken earlier during the day that it had been really overcast. Well by this time it was coming down in buckets … this is the shot I got of the cheetah!

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Our last sighting for the day was a HUGE herd of buffalo at Vurhani – though for some reason I haven’t got a shot of them … maybe after seeing the cheetah pic you’ll understand why!

We got to Croc Bridge with just a couple of minutes to spare, checked in and added another animal to our sightings for the day – a little wartie was wandering around the petrol pumps!

We sat on the stoep of safari tent number 7 listening to the night sounds and reminiscing about our day. I can’t find words to describe my Mum that night – Kruger was all she imagined AND MORE!

“If we don’t see another animal for the next two days, I won’t mind,” she said; “seeing that newborn baby elephant is something I will NEVER forget!”

The rain had eased off and we did chicken kebabs and wors on the braai, accompanied by different salads that I’d brought along.

The little lesser bushbaby was the icing on the cake for us when he hopped on to the rail around our stoep to have a good look at us and what was on our plates before hopping off again!

What a brilliant day in paradise!

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 Post subject: Re: KNP Oct 2012 - Out of Sync!
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:33 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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We slept great despite the fact that the heavens opened and it bucketed down. Though still overcast at 5am when we got up, the rain had stopped. We were out of the gate just before 6am.

On the H4-2 we saw impala, zebra, and a couple of ellies …

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A little further on and a leopard tortoise …

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And a very wet looking raptor …

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We took the S28 where we found some nice kudu …

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And a gorgeous little bee eater who flew on to the road right in front of the car …

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 Post subject: Re: KNP Oct 2012 - Out of Sync!
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:50 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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I'm back!!!!

Life has been absolutely MANIC and although I'm not quite there yet, I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I thought I'd better continue with this TR for two reasons ...

First of all, I'm sure that as it's been such a long time since I posted, the Mods must be thinking about locking my TR!!!

Secondly, this TR's all done (I had to do it all for Mum's Coffee Table book Christmas pressie that she absolutely LOVED) so there's no excuse for not getting it put on here.

Oh, and there's a third reason ... Mum and I are back in the park in 2 weeks' time ... this time for 3 nights!!!

I'll reply to your comments now and will post the next bit of my Oct trip this evening.

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 Post subject: Re: KNP Oct 2012 - Out of Sync!
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:59 pm 
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As promised, here’s the continuation …

The last instalment that I posted … 2 and a half months ago … (OMG, has it really been that long???) was the start of day 2 in the park … here’s what happened shortly after taking the S28 where we saw the very wet kudu and the little bee-eater …

(It’s just taken me an hour and a half to upload 9 photos on to Photobucket … for some reason the 10th photo just will not upload and I am sick of trying now so only 9 photos in this instalment …)

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 Post subject: Re: KNP Oct 2012 - Out of Sync!
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:04 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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And more of Mum’s favourite … ellies, including one who had a collar on and one who only had one tusk …

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Then finally, a lilac breasted roller – mum was AMAZED by its colours!

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Back on to the H4-2 and a little piggy running down the road …

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Then half a dozen or so cars pulled over to the side of the road … I approached slowly, pulling up behind a safari truck. Next thing, the driver of the truck who was standing up, turned around … it was TINY!!! He told me that there was a leopard lying down behind a bush … Mum and I pulled in front of him to have a look and found it …

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Not a great shot, but a leopard sighting is a leopard sighting!

We continued on to Lower Sabie where we had a quick break. The heavens had opened again and it was coming down in buckets. We drove on to Mlondozi - all was quiet at Sunset Dam apart from a croc, a couple of Egyptian Geese, and some hippos …

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I couldn’t believe how green the park was in October …

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We came across a cute steenbok and got the “usual” photo …

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But madam decided to pose for a better shot …

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 Post subject: Re: KNP Oct 2012 - Out of Sync!
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:31 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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At Mlondozi we admired the view through the rain; a couple of feathered friends came to visit us …

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This cheeky vervet paid a visit to a family who were enjoying their breakfast and within seconds grabbed something from the table and jumped back up into the roof area.

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There was a herd of buffalo who didn’t seem bothered by the rain

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a couple of giraffe and a very wet bateleur …

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We returned back to camp where it continued to pour down. We watched our neighbours get out their Cadac gas grill and do a poitjie – we had salad for dinner!

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 Post subject: Re: KNP Oct 2012 - Out of Sync!
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2013 5:58 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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The alarm went off at 5am but it was coming down in buckets so we decided to go back to sleep.

We got up around 8am … it was still overcast but at least the torrential rain had stopped. A small herd of impala and a couple of warthog were grazing by the fence.

We set off up the H4-2 where we found Mr Majestic enjoying his breakfast …

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some cheeky vervets …

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a couple of adolescent impala …

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and a pile of elephant dung covered in dung beetles …

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some very dirty zebra …

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and a giraffe …

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 Post subject: Re: KNP Oct 2012 - Out of Sync!
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:46 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Sorry, sorry, sorry ... I promised an episode on Monday night but forgot I was dog-sitting ... actually it was puppy-sitting and the little thing was totally hyperactive and NOT happy unless I was giving her 100% attention!

Next episode coming RIGHT NOW ...

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 Post subject: Re: KNP Oct 2012 - Out of Sync!
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:50 pm 
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We turned on to the S130 Gomondwane Loop and had an ellie roadblock for quite some time.

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He was a big boy and had a broken tusk …

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A slender mongoose popped out of the bush to see what the roadblock was all about …

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a wartie came on to the road to have a drink

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and Mr Elephant finally decided to give way and let us pass. A quick stop at Ntandanyathi where, despite all the rain, it was fairly dry …

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A brown headed parrot was surveying the scene …

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 Post subject: Re: KNP Oct 2012 - Out of Sync!
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:14 pm 
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We continued to Lower Sabie where we had a quick stop before heading back down the H4-2 to leave the park.

We’d had a lovely weekend, despite the weather. Mum had seen loads of ellies and will never ever forget the little newborn one; we’d seen spots – both cheetah and leopard; there had been a couple of nice herds of buffalo, and we’d had a number of rhino sightings too …

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… but no lions.

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