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 Post subject: Dreams are the wings of my life - My Kruger story
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2007 9:06 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Bavaria
Prologue:
There are so many very interesting and beautiful reports from katydownunder, Anja, boorgatspok, Nel, Zolbol, wild about cats, Pardus, Jubatus to name only a few so I have considered for some time whether it makes sense to write my own report and place it in the forum.:?
Beside this, there is a lot of work to be done after my return so it will take months to finish it. :x

But let me start even if it is impossible to come to an (early) end because of my job.
Sometimes, hope you agree, I will also include some information on some species regarding their special behavior and some background about some places I know. I hope this will make it more interesting for you (and you will not get bored).
Please let me know, if you feel the report gets boring and long. I will come more directly to the point and simplify the Kruger sight facts.


Last edited by Ludwig on Tue Nov 18, 2008 12:26 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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 Post subject: Kruger - African Savannah - travelling in paradise
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2007 9:15 am 
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June 8th, The day before, Leaving lonely . . . , Friday

After a very sad goodbye at the airport, because my girlfriend can only bring me to the airport and not join me on this journey and come with me to my loved Africa I leave with a very sad heart.
All the plans we made for months have vanished. Knowing many of the places we wanted to visit, we were discussing all the bird hides, lookout points, camps where we were to stay in. Bringing to mind all the beautiful sights we saw during our last stay at Kruger National park, reading our diary; going through all the photographs and films. . . . everything gone - life isn’t always fair.

Finally I am on my way on my own longing for Africa on one side and longing for my girlfriend on the other.

The captain is expecting some turbulences on the flight to Paris. But I am lost in thought, reading and still sad and therefore do not take any notice of it.

On the way to my flight connection I remember the break down of the roof in 2004 when we also went to South Africa via Paris.

Maybe some of you will ask why I take these flights via Paris. There is a simple reason for this. Right now Air France is the airline who allows a carry-on luggage of 12 kg. My photo and video essentials add up to this weight and I insist on taking this with me despite that there are also some necessary parts like tripod, panoramic-head . . . . in my suitcase.

I can change my seat to 19C. It’s the seat behind the emergency exit row where you do not have a seat in front of you. This is very comfortable for my long legs.

The table is in the armrest and it is a bit of a problem to get it out, especially if your media device is still in front of you. The air hostess notices this and tries to help me, which makes things even worse.
One of my fingers is still jammed and even pure muscle power of an air hostess is not always the solution. You can believe me, my first thought was, can I still handle my cameras, second: Oh how it hurts!
She gives me an "Excuse me" and some ice to cool down my finger.
Try to avoid any further assistance during the flight but will be called out of the toilet by her when some turbulences start to influence the flight.


My favourite picture of the day:

Sorry, I don't have any pictures of the air hostess!


Last edited by Ludwig on Sun Jun 29, 2008 12:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 10:43 am 
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Location: Bavaria
June 9th, First day, Coming home . . ., Saturday,

Early in the morning we are approaching Johannesburg and there it is again. Lost for more than a year - even if I know it is still burning inside - this very special feeling of satisfaction and coming home. Enforcing the longing for Southern Africa and bringing to mind it is still there: African Fever.

On the road, more than four hundred kilometres ahead I see all this familiar scenery passing by.

In the past I used to drive quite fast to my eastern destination, establishing a speed record once which will last for long time or even for ever. But today I drive exactly the speed allowed (thank you Anja for your several radar warnings in your KNP-report 2006! Saved me a lot of money this time!).

After I have been overtaken by some cars I change to the right side following one of these fast cars for more than hundred kilometres. Once there is a speed check but the car in front of me decelerates and after passing it we are on the run again.
Then, unfortunately the fast lady angles off, I wave her my thanks and goodbye, she waves back and I am on my own again.
Witbank, Middleburg already behind. But still more than two hundred kilometres to Malelane Gate. Another two hours to go.
A few minutes later another fast car approaches and the run starts again. We are lucky at the next speed control.

Belfast, Waterval Boven, Nelspruit, the shadowed street along the Crocodile River, heading for Malelane Gate. On the left hand side I can see the rugged granite koppies, bringing back memories of the area around Berg-en-Dal.

The crossing, left turn, only three kilometres to go.
Then here it is! The bridge crossing the Crocodile River, the gate: I have arrived.
Arrived after less than three and a half hours drive.

No, not only arrived - there is more. It's more intensive than the feeling I had during landing in Jo'burg. Feeling to be at home, now really being back home.

After passing the gate it starts all over: Which will be the first animal to catch sight of? Impala, buffalo, elephant, . . . . . ?
Everything is possible. The first animal I saw was a leopard just at the junction to S110 some years ago.
Today it is two impalas, browsing a little bit away from the road.

I stop the car watching them for a while, realising I’m alone this time, then carry on, leaving the junction to Berg-en-Dal unconsidered behind me, crossing the Matjulu River.
On the way to drive into the S110, I still remember this historian leopard as I see an elephant walking along the H-3.

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I follow him for a while till he disappears into the mixed woodland and thorn thickets in the east.
Back to the crossing and driving along the Matjulu River I meet a giraffe, browsing on a knob thorn acacia tree and taking less or no notice of me.

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Sorry, no good pic but there is a special reason why I took and placed it

I drive on for some time. Despite the fact that it is Saturday, there are no other cars. Even if there are no animals to see I enjoy the drive along these impressive koppies, take some pictures.

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A group of kudus is waiting for me at the crossing of the dry Matjulu River and after some meters there are four rhinos close to the road.
Fail to get the best position because of some other cars. Once they leave the rhinos are already moving into the wrong direction.

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Checking-in at Berg-en-Dal, at Bungalow #44 (6 beds, much too big only for me).

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Within minutes I am back on the Matjulu Loop meeting a big rhino bull. But he is too fast for me. By the time I have my camera ready he heads for his direction, leaving me behind with an unimpressive picture.

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Driving along the whole loop and back via the main road I see some giraffes and miss something. I still don’t know what it is. I only see many cars leaving a spot about one kilometre ahead of the camp.

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After nightfall I walk trough the camp looking for birds in the trees but cannot see any. It's weekend, maybe they went to a disco and spent the night there!

While I am writing my diary outside the bungalow it’s getting quite cold.

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The Bungalow, you can't see the coldness

I can hear lions roaring. Sound of Africa!
Go to bed very early and take an additional blanket because it’s so cold inside.
The lions roar again. Hope to meet them tomorrow, unless I freeze to death this night.

My favorite picture of the day:
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Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 8:33 am 
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Location: Bavaria
June 10th, Second day, Finding Graceland . . . , Sunday . . . . . . - Part 1 -

Wake up very early. I'm still living, but I'm chilled to the bone.
First challenge: Take a shower. It only takes a few minutes to warm me up.
Put all my stuff in the car and drive to the gate. My car is only the second one, but as the other one picks up one of the staff members in a way I’m sort of first!

Driving the Matjulu Loop again - no impressive sights. Anyway, this time I will stay away from any check-list and enjoy all the beauty to be seen. Birds, reptiles, what ever it is. Leopards will also be welcome.

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A francolin is not a real leopard – is it? But wait till I come to Braveheart in a few days. Maybe then you will think differently.
So my first stop is to meet a Crested francolin, calling its sound to the new day. This reminds me of katydownunders wake-up-call in her KNP-report 2006 from Tamboti Camp. Take some pics and move on only to be stopped by buffalos a few kilometres away. They are very close and after a few minutes I am inside this herd.

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I'm not afraid, because there is no air hostess in between – as far I can see. I hope I’m right!
Between these koppies around Berg-en-Dal it is still dawn because the sun has to climb up these hills first to bring the bright daylight. Finally I manage to take some pics and I'm released when the buffalos move on downhill. A good start on a good day.

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“I wanna be kissed by you”.

I don’t know why she is looking in this way. I didn’t kiss her. I swear!

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I choose the way via Steilberg heading for Biyamiti Weir and I come across two impalas.

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They seem to be on the alert – looking in one direction - and very nervous. I follow their line of sight: I spot Spotted hyena!

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We spend some time together and I take some nice pictures.
I like hyenas. If you come close to them, especially to the young ones, you discover their real beauty. Many a person will see them in a different light.

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If you have a close look you can see my car in the eye.


Finally it leaves and I drive on meeting a Burchell`s coucal.

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Following the S 118 I see a group of elephants in a dry river bed. Two cows and six young ones of all ages. They seem to be in a hurry. I turn, drive back, wait there where I expect them to come close and cross the road - and I'm right. Some of the young ones come out of the bush right in front of my car. While I try to take some pictures I happen to see in the rear-view mirror a cow running for my car. I move on speedily and pass some other elephants.
The group lingering at the riverbed are behind the rest of the herd and this is the reason why they are going so fast. While I am waiting for the latecomers I am being surrounded by the others.
Take some more pictures and leave them as they move on turning into the mixed woodland.
This is what I like: Meet the unexpected.


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Later there is a group of giraffes. Standing in the late morning light, waiting to have one’s picture taken.

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Talking giraffe?

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At Biyamiti Weir I am disappointed. Only one crocodile lies there in the grass and moves on into the water.

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Later, when I try to take a photo of a woodpecker I see a band of Dwarf Mongoose and between them a Tree Squirrel waiting to pose for me. The squirrel leaves but the dwarfies stay with me till I manage to take some pics. They are so nice little animals. It’s always nice to spend some time with them.

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I carry on; take some pictures of an Impala-Lily, the koppies, a Southern yellow-billed hornbill and a Burchell's starling.

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Greater blue-eared starling

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Am on my way to Renosterkoppies Dam. Radio Jacaranda is playing Graceland, the wonderful song of Paul Simon (much of the album was recorded in South Africa!), when I come across a dead Dwarf mongoose, lying on the S 112. How sad. This cute little mongoose was obviously run over by a car.
As I often associate places, animals and people I meet with special appearances, behaviour or sequences of events; this poor animal will be remembered as Graceland.

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Graceland

Not all that long ago I saw these cute animals playing and giving me the chance to take some nice pictures. Now I always have to think that this unlucky little mongoose was one of them . . . and even though they were some kilometers away. . . died for nothing.

I drive on but not as easy as I was when I entered this road. Graceland: That’s the end of it. Both, the song and that poor animal.


To be continued . . . . . . .


Last edited by CuriousCanadian on Mon Feb 02, 2009 7:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 1:21 pm 
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pardus wrote:
:wink: :lol: We keep on crossing each other Ludwig!


Hi Pardus, in the meantime we crossed again. Exactly at the same minute 1.06 pm.

Quote:
BTW, looked at your website and you have pretty amazing photo's there, pity I cannot understand German.


Thank you.

It´s easy to handle:

Go to "Motivsuche" and put in any word in the lines what are you looking for.
Und = and; oder = or

Example: You are looking for Lion kills

Write in the first line: Lion
Fill: und
Write in the second line: kill

then you will get all lions with kills.


If you do it in this way:

Write in the first line: Lion
Fill: oder
Write in the second line: kill

then you will get all lions and all kills.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:17 pm 
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Location: Bavaria
June 10th, Second day, Finding Graceland . . . , Sunday - Part 2

At Renosterkoppies Dam there are some wildebeests, warthogs and a white rhino coming along to drink. I'm waiting for the rhino to come closer but at first with no success.
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Then the Rhino comes for the first time but leaves again.
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This is not a rhino


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One of the warthogs tries to make friendship with a log but changes his mind when the other warthog draws nearer. There are few places for loyal friendship even in the world of logs and warthogs!

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Use the time to take some more pics from Burchell's starlings and a Southern yellow-billed hornbill. When the rhino goes up and moves in my direction again after more than half an hour I take some nice pics but I'm still not satisfied because of the light.

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Spend some time driving back the S112 when I see a steenbok in half-light between shrubs.

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Another warthog family and starlings close by the dam ease my waiting, but then the rhino comes back at last, crosses the street and stands in the bright light. This is what I am waiting for!

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I then drive back via Biyamiti weir. A crocodile, a Nil monitor and a herd of buffaloes are waiting here for me. This time the croc looks in the right direction.

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I'm a little late after meeting some elis next to S110 in the fading light.
The little one takes his trunk up high in the air. It looks like he/she is greeting me. I great him/her back and try to be in camp in time.

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A rhino with a young one, far away from the road, is the last sight of the day.

I stop for petrol, go to the shop and to the reception to book the Sunset drive for tomorrow.

Dinner like yesterday: Smoked mussels, smoked oysters and some white bread.
Take the table from the veranda and put it inside the bungalow to avoid freezing like yesterday. This solved one problem to give space for another, a real problem!
The beer in the fridge is frozen and it takes me some time to get it out of the can. When I have solved this problem I drink some more to take advantage of the economy of scale.

Go to be bed early. Again it's quite cold inside and I'm glad I have some more rooms, so I can get more blankets for me.

My favorite of the day:

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Last edited by CuriousCanadian on Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 12:31 am 
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Ludwig wrote:
[<...>Is this a Burchell’s Starling? I’m not that good identifying birds.<...>

No, it's not... one dead sure way of telling Burchell's (and [Meve's] Long-tailed Starling) from all the other glossy starlings, is the fact that these (B's and M's) are the only two with a dark eye.
Not too much detail in your pic, but my guess would be Cape Glossy Starling.


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Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2007 6:49 pm 
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June 11th, Third day, Talking between elephants . . . , Monday - Part 1

I’m still living! All the blankets kept we warm and didn’t crush me.
But it’s rather cold inside. I cancel the shower for today and fill the time with reading.

When everything is in the car I drive the S110, see some elephants and take some pics of the sunrise. Every then and now cars are stopping beside me.
When I tell them I take photos of the sunrise they drive on and leave me back with a certain expression on there face. I do not want to understand what they are thinking of me! That could take all my self-confidence, if I would know what they think.

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I think it was worth stopping

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We both know how cold African nights can be . . .

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. . . . and he too


Go on towards Crocodile River Road. See some impalas. At the first T-junction is an interesting bird and this makes me to drive into S121, the Timfenheni Loop. A beautiful small gravel road.
After a few kilometers I see a lonely buffalo. A real old buffalo with a lot of scars around the neck, a broken horn and one eye first seems to be blind. But there is nothing, and. . . . No, it’s not a Dagga Boy – it’s a lonely Dagga Girl - one should mean if there would not come out of the bush a large herd suddenly.

It's beautiful to be alone with all these bulls, cows and calves till they move on and disappear one after another back in the bush where they came from.

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My Dagga Girl

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Do you also feel it is so different whether you find an animal by yourself compared to be flagged down by others or join a traffic jam?
If you find them and if you are alone with them for some time that gives you the real feeling. You are feeling proud, that you get something special, feeling to be a real part of Africa. . . . .

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Later I see some kudus.

Even if I see not more for the next few kilometers, this road incarnates my Africa; this road will be on top of my list for my next visit.

By the way, I will not boring you with telling "there was nothing for the next one and a half hours" nor tell you "than I drove for another 15 kilometres to see not one impala or anything else".
No, as you already noticed I will fill up some of this space between with impressions and tell about the feelings that come to one when one has time to follow his thoughts and dreams when not disturbed by impressive sights. And maybe some of you will remember the same. But there are no pictures of it, only smilies, sometimes. . . . and memories lasting for a lifetime.

Later, when following the H3 in the direction of Afsaal I see a lot of impalas and a rhino.
Standing with the rhino I see two animals crossing the road in front of me: Pangolins. I drive on to come closer where they have left the street but they have gone.

Next stop Renoster Pan, nothing to see. On the way back a lonely dove and on the T-junction to H3 a herd of wildebeest and zebras. My first zebras for this time but I can take pictures "only" of some Swanson´s francolins or as they now called Swanson´s spurfowls.

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Shortly before Afsaal a rhino in front of an interesting scenery not very interested in good pics. Instead this it lies down and takes a rest like I do at Afsaal. It seems to be the same rhino described by Anja in her report.

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Its 10 a.m. and at Afsaal they have draft Windhoek beer: Time for a "Bavarian morning pint", that means it’s time for a beer to feel well.

_________________
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Last edited by CuriousCanadian on Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2007 11:35 am 
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Elsa wrote:
Lovely report and great pics Ludwig,
There can never be too many sunrise/sunset pics for me, I have a real weakness for them. :wink: :D

Thank you Elsa. If you want to see more please go to:
www.naturfoto-wildlifefoto.de/suche.htm

Put in in the first line: Sun
Second line: Africa
Then push the button: Suche starten

and you will find some more from previous years.


Elsa wrote:
Pangolins are indeed a very special mega tick and you are so lucky to have seen them.
Well done.

It was just luck.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2007 6:23 pm 
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Location: Bavaria
June 11th, Third day, Talking between elephants . . . , Monday - Part 2

Leaving the shadow of the trees refusing a second Windhoek I’m on my way to Biyamiti weir via H2-2 where I see some birds and at the weir two crocodiles and a heron. On the dry side of the weir two Nile monitors are relaxing in the sun.

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Grey heron I suppose

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Next S114, Bume road S26, S102 to Mpondo dam. Once I see a Large-spotted genet disappear in its den. I suppose it will come out when it can’t hear my car. I switch off the engine and I’m waiting, waiting and waiting. . . . First with no success. I’m writing my diary enjoy the scenery and waiting . . . . No success again. . . I go through the Kruger map still waiting, waiting. . . . . No success at all! I drive on. I'm luckier a little bit later when I see a Lilac-breasted roller catching a praying mantis and then I get one in flight. That was it, I'm happy!

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Coming to Mpondo dam I see two lions lying on the dam but they are in bad light and far away. I drive on to come to the water side. On the way I meet a half-grown elephant. He's alone and very feisty. I’m alone too and stay my ground and he becomes angry. So I drive on and wait at the dam.
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A few minutes later he comes. Whether he will remember me and try to get the car again? But he is relaxing and not alone for a long time. Another eli comes, a third one and then a breading herd. They all go directly to the water close by my car.
By the way: It’s told elephants are the only mammals that can’t jump. Or has anybody seen a jumping eli?

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This Blacksmith lapwing standing between the elephants feet tries to stop the elephant but is edged out by him like me some minutes before.

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When they have finished drinking they leave and I try to cut their way, running into a second herd. There is still some space behind me for the worst. But then a blue VW Golf comes from behind and I can't go back. When I can't move off so I decide, I will take some pics and hope the elephants will stay calm. So they do. But they stay in the wrong direction and the pictures are not that good as expected so I will show only one.

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Too much risk for nothing? No, because later I talk to the passengers of the blue Golf. It's Paul a very nice South African and two girls. We chat for a very long time. I like the South African people very much and it is a real pleasure for me to meet with this nice group. Paul invites me to visit him some day at his home close to Tsitsikama National Park.

Elephants are crossing the road again and again mostly close, sometimes very close to our cars. We don't bother and have to move only a few times to avoid the worst. We are so busy with talking there is no time for pictures for a long time. Then we change addresses because I have to go to Berg-en-Dal to join the Sunset drive at 5 p.m....

Unfortunately I never see Paul and his companions until I have to leave the park even if they are remaining in the park for some more weeks and I always had a look when I saw a blue car. But as mentioned we have changed our addresses and will stay in contact.

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I'm late and there is few time to stop on the way back. When I come to a T-junction I can see a jeep waiting for a herd of buffalos crossing the road. I'm in a hurry now and when I see the first gap I drive on and can pass unharmed.

A Burchell´s starling stops me again because I can not resist watching and photographing this beautiful bird. When I take some pics a Black flycatcher flies into the scene. It seems very interested to be photographed.

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Hurry on again and see a White-headed vulture sitting impressively on a dead tree. Costs me some minutes again.

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Is this a White-headed vulture?

To be continued . . . .

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Last edited by CuriousCanadian on Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2007 6:26 pm 
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June 11th, Third day, Talking between elephants . . . , Monday - Part 3

I arrive at 4.45 pm at Berg-en-Dal.
Have to put my stuff together and can't find the paper form for the drive. I have to go through half of the car back and forth and finally I find it.
But there is the next problem: Lourens is our driver and he can’t find my name on the list, but another passenger is missing. So we decide they mixed up the names and I join with an alias name (I don’t mention the name because it was one I would never accept as mine!).
If we will get lost or all be eaten by some animals, my fate will be miraculous for ever.

The 4x4 is quite full. Most of the guests are nice girls from Ohio and Virginia.

When we have left the camp following the S110 first we see some elis. The same I saw next to the camp when I arrived half an hour ago.

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This is not an eli it’s an impala

Then the night takes over from daylight. In the distance outside the park is a fire burning and giraffes are next we see.

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After a few kilometers we meet the section ranger (sorry took no pics of him).

At the junction we turn right following the H3 towards Malelane gate. When we come to the bridge crossing the Crocodile River we see some crocs.
Everybody goes out of the car and Lourens explains very interesting details regarding the stars and planets and shortly before we drive on we see some more crocodiles upstream in the river.

We watch them in the spot light for a while when they suddenly start hunting for fish.
I have only once before seen such a lot of crocs in the wild at one place.
Everybody leaves the truck again and watches these beasts in the spoiling water.

Like you can read on Lourens topics of the day, "it is fabulous, watching these monsters using their tails chasing the fish towards their mouth and as fast as light travels (not really, but very fast), grapping their main diet!!"

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Tremendous, we are all impressed by what we see in the spotlights. The water is splashing and everybody is fascinated watching this unbelievable hunt.
Nobody really wants to leave but we have to move on and next we see a hippo on the bank.

Backwards in the direction of the camp and stopping at the Matjulu Bridge we can hear lions roaring. Following the Matjulu loop we hope we will meet them but we only see glowing eyes of some Bush babies and at the Matjulu waterhole a lonely buffalo bull.

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Glowing eyes of Bush baby

Next to the camp two elis and we are back.
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As we hear later we missed the lions by two minutes and a leopard on the tar road by a few seconds and Lourens just recalls his words from the start, "It is all about luck, right time, right place".

When being back I talk to Lourens and we arrange he will send me an email and I will send him some pics of the crocs. The same is agreed with the American girls.

Back at the bungalow I’m writing my diary and have dinner.
Totally new composition: Today first smoked oysters and then mussels, bread from and like yesterday.
No problems with the beer today. Have to make use of this advantage.

Go to bed and following two days of experiences I'm convinced I will not freeze to dead tonight.

My favorite of the day:
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To be continued . . . .

_________________
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Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 8:53 am 
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June 12th, Fourth day, Kills by the small ones . . . , Tuesday - Part 1

I was right and did not freeze to dead tonight. Shower and shaving, a civilized start in a new day.

Today I will go to Satara to stay there for two nights.

I take the Matjulu Loop again to H3 where I meet an elephant bull in mast. First he seems to consider what to do with me but then he moves away.
I will go via Biyamiti weir now.

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Turn into S118 and see some birds. One time a Fork-tailed drongo is attacking a Yellow-billed hornbill and at the weir a crocodile and a Malachite kingfisher are waiting for me.

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The next sight is an unpleasant one. A Yellow-billed hornbill is lying dead on the road.

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Go on to Renonosterkoppies dam again. Here I can see a Red-billed oxpecker riding on a warthog. Compared to the usual sights on buffalos, rhinos, kudus or giraffes it looks like Pony riding.

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In the vicinity are some kudus, wildebeest and zebras.

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When a Yellow-billed hornbill catches a caterpillar I remember that I have missed breakfast again.

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Next stop Stevenson-Hamilton Memorial Tablet. First I'm alone and I will follow the small paths behind the parking area. But they seem to be used as natural restrooms and I avoid going further. Not being afraid of meeting a leopard. But I’m afraid to step into something (and this is not a snake). When other cars arrive I'm leaving after unsuccessfully trying to take some pics of butterflies. But other nice sightings are waiting for me.

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Back to S114 again I'm driving in the direction to Skukuza. A few hundred meters ahead the T-junction H1-1 a steel-blue car flags me down. A family of five is waiting and the father asks me whether I have seen an elephant in the near. I tell them I saw none but a few kilometers ahead at Renosterkoppies dam there is always interesting to see and ask them whether they know where this is. They don't and I ask them to show me their map, but they don't have any. I'm showing them the way on my map and give it to them as a present. They are very happy and tell me they have never been in Kruger before.
They seem to be everything but not rich. Instead of this they are full of expectations. You can see the bright in the eyes of the children and their mother. Her father expresses the proud that he could manage to take his family to the park; to fulfill their long lasting dream.
It doesn't have to be beautiful sights all the time to feel something special.
I ask them whether they have something to drink for the children - they don't. So I go to my boot and take out my water and give it to them. Some more words and then we drive on.

On the tarred road I see a Southern ground hornbill walking along the street. I’m following him and take some pictures. Then he finds a snake. Some fast steps and he gets it. He takes it at the head and she is fighting for her live. Curling her body around his bill and winding off again and back. The hornbill tries to swallow it when the snake is still living. But when the snake has already disappeared by half it comes out again and falls to the ground. Billi is catching it again and this time there is no way back.
Right place, right time as Lourens would say.

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Does anybody know why I make the billi male and the snake female?

Do some shopping at Skukuza. Beside a lot of coke, water and beer I fill my stock on smoked mussel and oysters. I can add also a can of sardines to have some kind of variety.

Take some pics of the flying foxes / Walberg’s epaulette fruit-bats and go back to my car.

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Here I meet a man I have already noticed at the reception area. He is wearing a shirt in leopard style and also a headband in the same make. He looks like a Zulu-king (let´s call him SIYABONA that means hello in Zulu) and I ask him whether he is Zulu. We have a nice talk trying to find out things that are similar or different between Bavarians and Zulus. A very nice guy; I like him. After wishing Ngikufisela inhlanhla (what means Good luck) I´m back on the tar road.

I'm already driving the H11 when I see in the rear-view mirror a Ground hornbill crossing the street. Turn and get it in the bright light very close. Sometimes to close, because the camera is focusing only from a distance of at least 1.8 meters.

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Later at a low water bridge I see some water terrapins and try to get a picture of a Reed cormorant when a Nile monitor comes out of the water carrying a living fish, at least three-times a big as his head. Some cars are already waiting for passing but I stand my ground and take my pics also from the cormorant that is spreading his plumage to let it dry by the sun.

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See an eagle and later an elephant with two broken tusks, standing in the shadow. I spend some time with him till he comes out and is standing in the bright light. A very peaceful elephant that comes quite close, for many others around it seems to close to my car. Because they move on even if they are standing some more paces away.
Get some nice pics. When he crosses the street I leave.

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To be continued . . .

_________________
http://www.naturfoto-wildlifefoto.com/books.htm


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Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 1:05 pm 
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@ Muhammad, Freda, anne-marie, Anja, Jubatus, katydownunder, p@m, boorgatspook

Thank you so much for your kind words.:D :D
I went trough my pics on weekend still working at day 8 out of 15. And I can tell you there will come more . . . :shock:


anne-marie wrote:
Does anybody know why I make the billi male and the snake female?

because is always male who catch female :| :? :big_eyes:

Maybe at animal kingdom . . .
I didn’t see that in this way till today but I will think it over . . . :?


Anja wrote:
It's always sad to see animals, killed by traffic. We did also see some dead hornbills on the road. :cry: .

Anja, yes it is. Unfortunately there will come more . . . . But it is the same here nearly every day. This morning I saw a beautiful cat lying in the street . . . .

Anja wrote:
Billi is male as his throat-pouch is all red. But why the snake is female ..... :?:

So I’m right by at least fifty percent.:D


Jubatus wrote:
. . . . . . I have never seen a water monitor eat or kill anything. I hope you stayed put and watched it eat the fish! . . .

Unfortunately it went over the rocks and I couldn’t see it any longer. :(


katydownunder wrote:
. . . . You really seemed to have had a great trip. Katy

Yes, this was a great trip. The funny thing is: Now after some time and back in the treadmill for weeks I do not remember all the things I have seen in detail (I still hope it is because of the time distance and not of my age . . . . .:? :? ). But when I go trough my diary and my pictures everything comes up again and then it is like being back in Kruger again and again . . . every day . . . :D


I will try to post the next part tomorrow . . . .

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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 6:42 pm 
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June 12th, Fourth day, Kills by the small ones . . . , Tuesday - Part 2

Rush hour at Siloweni Dam: A breading herd of elephants, giraffes, hippos, waterbucks, fish eagle and herons. And above all a group of spoonbills is circling.

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I remember when I have been here for the first time - yesterday when I was young.
Does anybody know me personally? Yes? O. k... Maybe it was the day before yesterday, or just between.
At this visit I took the first picture of a Southern yellow-billed hornbill and a video of a waterbuck young drinking at his mother. I still remember where I was standing with the car, but the bush where Billi was sitting on is mostly gone.
It's stunning how many places and scenes you can remember. Where you have seen your first leopard, elephant, lion, . . . . in the wild. Or where you took your first picture or video of them.
Unfortunately I always remember more the best missed shoots and I still add on to these memories, also during these days (remember the pangolins!!! :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:).

When the elephants leave I’m driving back to the tarred road but miss half of the herd that has already crossed it.

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Finally I see our relatives. A troop of baboons is waiting next to the road. No good pics because of the bad light.

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Dreaming of Africa

So I move on and see some elephants and buffalos close together in the N'waswitsontso River bed and closer to the road are some elephant cows with young trying to drink.

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On the way to the Southernmost Baobab baboons again - this time in good light.

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At this big tree I remember when I was here last time . . . . and on the way back I see the baboons again.

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The next stop is with two buffaloes next to the street. The big one is not willing to lift his head even if I’m waiting for a long time. He is busy with feeding only and ignores me totally although he moves so close that I have to drive back a few meters.

On the remaining way to Satara I see a lot of birds among them a Bateleur.

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At Satara I’m awarded with Bungalow #A25. A beautiful bungalow, very luxury, even with micro wave but compared to the G-Bungalows the view from the veranda is rather disappointing. It goes inside the A-circle. There will come no hyena along a fence.

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Dinner today: ?
Any suggestions by the readers?
Smoked mussels and oysters, you think?
No!
It's Sardines and smoked mussels to make the day really different.
So I don't need the micro wave.

My neighbor is coming and asks for a corkscrew to open his red wine. He invites me for a glass. But there is no time because I have to leave to join the night drive. So we postpone it to tomorrow.

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Our ranger is Jock.
First we see an African wildcat, a Black-backed jackal and a mouse. Later there is a Steenbok. The two Italians on my side especially the boy see everything and so I relax and I just wait for their call to stop. When everybody think the boy made a mistake and there was nothing we have to find out he is right again: Large-spotted Genet in a tree.

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We can see it very clearly when it moves along the branches. On the way back Jock detects a Serval and later a Scrub hare is running in front of the 4x4.

We are back in camp at 10 pm...

On top of my list for tomorrow: S100 the N´wanetsi River Road.

During the early night I hear some kind of peep many times out of different directions. A mouse and/or bat seem to share the room with me. I close my large camera bag not to have a passenger for tomorrow whish them a good night and sleep well.

My favorite of the day:

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To be continued . . .

_________________
http://www.naturfoto-wildlifefoto.com/books.htm


Last edited by CuriousCanadian on Wed Feb 04, 2009 10:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2007 5:40 pm 
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@ Thank you restio, pardus, Snoobab, next part may come tomorrow.
For the baboon lovers. Here are some more baboons: www.naturfoto-wildlifefoto.de/galerie-,Affe-1.htm

pardus wrote:
Now Ludwig clear two riddles-
1.) The snake (female) and the GHBill (male) - why was the snake female... :roll: .

Ok pardus, try to do my best.

In German we have three “Artikel”: der, die das.
der = male --- the bird = der Vogel --- the Ground hornbill = the Bird = der Vogel = der = male
die = female --- the snake = die Schlange --- whatever it was = the snake = die Schlange = die = female
das = neuter --- the house = das Haus . . . . . . . . . . . . . no animal = uninteresting

pardus wrote:
2.) I am really worried about your diet... :twisted:

Don’t worry, be happy! I changed it partly a few days later - - to Whisky-Coke.

Snoobab wrote:
Nice pics Ludwig.
As my name and avvie suggest I love baboons and can sit and watch them for ages.

Now it becomes clear to me: Snoobab <----> baboons. Sometimes I’m faster in thinking . .
So do I but every then and now cars are stopping beside me. When they see I “only” take photos of baboons they drive on and leave me back with a complaining expression on their face. But you will know this . . . . .

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