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 Post subject: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 5:57 pm 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Location: Back home in the caravan at Malelane camp, KNP
At lunchtime I was urgently in need of a fix so headed to Crocodile Bridge. By 1.30 I was driving through the gate and into the Park. Decided to head up the S28 to Lower Sabie and back down the tar road again.
It was a good choice of route! After the initial impala herds I turned on to the S28 and almost immediately into a large gathering of giraffe, zebra, wildebeest and impala. Then a white rhino in the distance, followed by another close to the road. Then a cheetah lying on a bank - good sighting with binoculars. After that ground hornbills, a pair of saddle-bill storks, a juvenile bateleur, a hippo wandering next to the road, and more rhino. There were 3 males who kept jostling each other out of the way so they could get to the best bit of grass - rather comical. A short distance later a leopard near the road on a low dead tree - totally relaxed and only occasionally showing that it did have a head after all! Word obviously got around fast and cars began arriving in droves so I beat a retreat! More ground hornbills, then more zebs and wildebeest, followed by a breeding herd of elephants. And I have left out quite a bit of the 'usual' stuff!
A great few hours and I am glad I went even though I knew it had to be a short trip.....


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Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 6:09 pm 
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Took a few - but I am restricted to GPRS connection so uploading is difficult and the connection keeps closing down on me, or freezing. It took many tries just to get my avatar uploaded.
If anyone has tips - pass them on!


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Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 7:11 pm 
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I know how privileged I am - and many times I can scarcely believe it! But that is also why I try to leave quickly when there is a good sighting and other cars start to arrive - I have lots of opportunities.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 11:22 am 
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Just leaving again for another fix - taking in friends who have had a tough time recently.... We are heading for Malelane gate, BeD and Afsaal. Hope to have a good report this evening!!!!!


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Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 5:48 pm 
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Cannot believe it! TWO leopards!!!!! We were just a short way down the road to BeD when my friend screamed 'leopard' - it had jumped out of a tree near the road as she watched! It slowly made its way up the bank and then crossed so close in front of the car I thought it might jump on the bonnet! We had great view as it slowly moved away into bushes on the other side of the road. A coach load of French tourists were in time to see it under a tree before it disappeared completely. We had lunch and headed over the Steilberg road to Afsaal. About half way along another leopard ambled down the road towards us, passed close to the car and crossed behind us. I reversed slowly and we again were able to watch as it made its way into the bushes and disappeared. Incredible - I now have 6 leopards from my last 6 trips (yes, one trip did not have a leopard - but lots of lions instead).

We also had 3 separate elephants, 3 separate rhino sightings - one of 2 adults with a baby who was giving mom a hard time butting her head constantly, but only one giraffe and no zebs or kudus. Wildebeest near Afsaal as usual and the scops owl was on a really low branch, but partially hidden by leaves so not photogenic! Lots of impala of course, and warthog mum with very tiny babies, and two groups of dwarf mongoose.

I have a great photo of the leopard just visible over my bonnet. DQ I will try to email to you to post. I managed to resize, but cannot get them into the post anyway. Grrrr![/img]


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Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 10:27 am 
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The photos ecojunkie made:

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Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c


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Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 1:46 pm 
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OK - next installment....

Decided to go in early today and do a big circle - S25, S26, S102, H5, Tar road to S82, and then back from Lower Sabie via S28.
I had just crossed the causeway when I was met by a gathering of zebs, wildebeest and impalas! and yes, the inevitable 'zebra crossing'. After that fairly 'usual' with impalas and warthogs. Then a couple of tawny eagles close to and actually on the road.
Then a small breeding herd of elephants with a very small calf, but protective aunty on the edge near the road made it clear my company was surplus to requirements, so I left them to it! Saw more single eles too, and later on the S82 4 lying against a bank in a dry stream. And then just north of Mpondo Dam - yes, my 7th leopard in 7 trips!!!! This one was walking in the bushes and although clearly visible no pics were possible. I think I have more luck with leopards than lions! More dwarf mongooses, and a large group of giraffe with a couple of calves - big daddy decided half the road was quite sufficient for cars and did not budge as I eventually crept past him. He did give me a condescending glance and briefly stop eating!
Despite pins showing rhino and leopard on the S28 I only found eles, baboons, kudu, zebs, giraffe, impala and wildebeest. The baboons had several babies and while the adults rested in the shade the youngsters were going crazy up and down trees etc. There were 2 lookouts in dead trees braving the sun.

Don't think I will have time for any more quick trips now before the holiday period - too much on here. But I will be going through from Croc Bridge to Orpen on the 21st so will report on that later.


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2007 5:42 pm 
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Location: Back home in the caravan at Malelane camp, KNP
I know! I know! I am still awed by it. And the incredible leopard experiences lately have been almost overwhelming......
I will be driving through from Croc Bridge (or Malelane if closed by floods) to Orpen on 21st and back on 28th so will have trip reports then. Otherwise you will have to wait a little until busy period is over - but I promise to keep reporting my quick fixes. However I cannot promise they will always be so good - it is Kruger after all!
And anytime you are coming this way contact me!


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 7:58 pm 
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Location: Back home in the caravan at Malelane camp, KNP
Heavy rain at the beginning of the week and increasing visitor numbers made me worried about getting in at Croc Bridge tomorrow to drive through to Orpen - so I used the new direct booking site and nabbed the last camp site at Croc Bridge for tonight! A kudu cow supervised my packing of the caravan and car at home (she sent the rest of the gang round the back of the house...), and her male attendants closed ranks on the driveway after I left!

Got here early enough to do a good round trip to Lower Sabie and back. Went up H4-2 and checked Sunset Dam - really full of water, huge crocs cruising around - then back down on the S28 turning off to Duke and then the Gormondwane loop, back up to the H5, S106, and home on the S25.

This time no leopard!!!!! Never mind - there is tomorrow.....
Road block checking licence, tax disc, permit, at the turn off to S25. Very friendly cop told me about a kill just up the road. a lion had taken out a warthog next to the road. I found the site marked by 3 cars and a few vultures, but nothing to see! Rather than add to the potential jam in the hope of maybe seeing an ear, I went on. Almost immediately found a breeding herd of eles with very young calves. Watched a short while but they were moving away from the road. Nothing much else on the way north apart from giraffes just after the S28 turning.

It was not until I turned off for Duke that my luck changed a little! almost immediately found a flock of wattled starlings - first time I have seen these strange looking birds. Then at Duke a black-chested snake eagle, and just after that a tawny eagle. Several lone eles, and another 2 breeding herds (suspect one was the previous herd). Just before getting back to the H4-2 a big group of wildebeest, zebs, giraffe and impalas. Oh, and just prior to that a wooly neck stork keeping a batchelor herd of impala company. Small herd of kudu cows too. Also found 2 separate impala ewes with very young lambs almost hidden in the grass. 3 young warthogs felt sociable and snuffled around next to the car for a while rather than running off as usual. Also spent a few minutes with a couple of dwarf mongooses.

One large male rhino next to the road, and shortly before getting back to camp 2 more in the bushes behind a large group of zebs and wildebeest.

So a quieter viewing day.... Disappointed not to be able to do a walk tomorrow morning before leaving - already booked up!

Will report on trip north tomorrow evening.


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 4:43 am 
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Location: Back home in the caravan at Malelane camp, KNP
Going out for a quick morning drive before hitching up and heading north. Still not seen any yellow ribbons around!!!!!


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Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 7:40 am 
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Location: Back home in the caravan at Malelane camp, KNP
'That was a good one!'

Zebs and giraffe as soon as I left the gate, with one baby giraffe giving me that motionless stare they are so good at.

Decided to revisit the kill site in case there was any hyena activity, but as I passed the S28 turn-off I could see vehicles parked, so went there instead. 7 lions in the road!!!! 2 were still young, showing some spots - one beginning to show the start of a mohican mane. And one big male who showed a little too much interest in a small game vehicle (?morning walk setting out) so the driver started the engine, sending him in my direction. He went past me and flopped down behind me, next to a lioness who barely moved. Another lioness wandered closer too and began to chew the spare tyre of the vehicle in front of me - it moved off and turned around!!! More cars began arriving so I moved off to give them a chance.

Several ele sightings, 2 rhino with a calf, and lots of zebs and wildebeest. Just went to the broken dam and then came back to have breakfast before hitching up and going north.

More this evening...


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Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 8:54 pm 
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Location: Back home in the caravan at Malelane camp, KNP
Back home again... thanks guys for the birthday wishes. I was in a place with awful reception and managed to get on the web for a short while that day, but could not post - it was soooo slow!

Will write about the trips tomorrow, and send 2 pics to DQ for posting of the lions. Must get some shut-eye before an early start tomorrow for a bush walk in our big 4 area here.....


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Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 2:27 pm 
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Right - two trip reports coming up - but tame compared to the last lot!

After hitching up the caravan I headed north on H4-2 to Lower Sabie. The lions had disappeared completely, but there were 3 dagha boys in the river valley just before the turning. More zebs, wildebeest, giraffe and impala around. Kudus strangely absent.
Also found several lone eles, one hiding behind a bush and I almost missed him even though he was right next to the road. All very placid fortunately....
Turned on to the H10 and found very little apart from waterbuck, and several distant eles hiding in the shade of trees.
Then on to the H1-3 - and a stop for an ice-cream at Tshokwane! Just leaving there when a black mamba sailed across the road with its head held very high (maybe too hot for it??!!)
More zebs and giraffes, warthogs and a slender mongoose racing across the road.
Then on to the H7 south of Satara, and the usual zebs and wildebeest around. Strangely no buffalo at all. The Nsemani dam was deserted too. After that virtually nothing until I left at Orpen gate. Disappointing - but then I had had the lions in the morning.......

On 28th I got to Orpen early so hoped to see more - and was rewarded by zebs, wildebeest and giraffe immediately after going through the gate. A little further on there was a herd of wildebeest with very young babies. There were several car jams of the 'thought I saw.....' variety but really nothing much at all. Again Nsemani was deserted - not even the fish eagles to be seen. Back on the H1-3 there was still little more than impalas around. Another big car jam - but no-one could tell me what they were looking at! But just at the S33 turning I found a huge herd of buffalo fairly near the road. And just after that another huge herd of zebs.
Decided to continue on to the H1-2 and cross the bridge on the H12 in the hope of seeing more - but again disappointed.
In fact it was not until the river valley south of Satara that I saw the first eles! They were on both sides of the road, and the ones on the west side were swimming across the river as it was fairly deep there. Some squealing and trumpeting could be heard too. Cars jammed the road completely so although I had to sit and wait, I could not see much! Still I do get lots of opportunities...... A few more eles on the road further south, and a distant rhino.

So - slim pickings this time. I think the animals move away from the roads into the thicker bush areas when the park is so full, as I have noticed that I see very little whenever I go in over holiday periods. Early morning is the only good time - proved by the lions! Still, a 'tame' report will balance the previous ones!

Another report when the holdiay period is over - I will leave Kruger to those who cannot visit at other times for now.


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 12:07 pm 
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Location: Red sand, why do I keep thinking of red sand?
Two pics from Ecojunkie:

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Image

_________________
Arriving currently: The photos from our trip! Overhere! :yaya:

Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 10:38 pm 
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Location: Back home in the caravan at Malelane camp, KNP
That first lion made me think of a stuffed toy that had been dropped on the ground! It scarcely moved when cars moved/started up near it.
It was a GREAT sighting!


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