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Elsa Here we go again! May 2012

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Location: Ballito, KZN North Coast, South Africa
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Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:08 pm Unread post
RayK wrote
Waiting for more.
And the wait is over!
Thanks so much for the wonderful comments and for being so patient to RayK, Jock, Pumbaa, Tawny, MM, barryels, hilda, Wendy, :clap:

The first is a couple more pics seen from "the veranda" 8)

The ever present Yellow-billed Hornbill

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and next up on the Aloe branch is Black-capped Bulbul

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This was a huge herd of Buffalo that came out of the trees and down to the river en masse for a drink.

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and some of the resident Crocs sunning themselves on the rocks.

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and not to be left out the lovely Goliath Heron

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This day we decided to take a drive along the S25, S26, S102 to Mpondo Dam
Seeing all the usual animals along the way we stopped just before the dam itself where there was a car stopped and the driver kindly pointed out a small group of Lions lying on the back of the dam wall.

Not the greatest pics as they were really quite well hidden.

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We then drove the very short distance to the dam itself only to be confronted by a car with all the occupants bar 1 out and wandering around right by the waters edge as if it were a picnic spot. :evil:
In fact the one woman had walked up a steep bank to have a cigarette, she could not possibly have known what was lying up there.
When finished and after throwing her cigarette stub down in the grass she excitedly came over to us and asked us if we had seen the Lions nearby! :slap:
When we said Yes, we had and that was precisely why she should not have been out her car, she looked totally offended and stalked off!

There was an ellie swimming on the other side and several Hippo in the water not that far off!

Plus this Waterbuck to provide some light relief for us but who also was very aware of the Lions just over the top of the dam wall to him!.

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a couple of Hamerkops

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and some Woolyneck Storks

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Eventually our glares and mutterings persuaded (the "protruders" to put it politely,) moved on and we could relax somewhat.

After a while we also decided to move on to the next slightly higher up view site at the dam as we had seen an Ellie making its way down towards the waters edge and thought it would make a good sighting.

but what did we find as we pulled in there, the same people, again all out the car walking right up to the water's edge and peering in and the one guy sitting on top of the car's roof taking a video of the Ellie which was by now drinking from the dam! :big_eyes:

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The other people were busy wandering around some distance from the car at this point.

I don't think I have ever seen such blatant and stupid behaviour in the park before.

This was too much, so we left in disgust!

Carrying on we rattled along the H5 which was extremely corrugated!
we eventually made our way onto the S114 and a stop off at the newly repaired Biyamiti Weir

We eventually made our way via the H2-2 back to the tar road.

Somewhere along the way we found 5 beautiful Rhino together!

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I just treasure every sighting of them nowadays as I fear for their future.

As I remember I think we left the park at Malelane in order to do some topping up of groceries etc and made our way back to the lodge via the N4.

Anyway, I am going to leave it here as I have another batch of pics ready and waiting for the next day and next page, might be a little too many for this page!

Don't go too far away! :thumbs_up:
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Re: Here we go again!

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Thu Sep 13, 2012 5:36 pm Unread post
Right, lets move right along!

For this day's drive we went in quite early and I have noted the temp was a chilly 6C!

I recall there were a couple of Warthogs dashing around the entrance area and reception.

We set off up the H4-2 and it wasn't long before we had ticked off Impala, Wildebeest, Natal Francolins, Zebbies, some Ground Hornbills and a nice breeding herd of Ellies

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look at the tiny little tusks already starting to grow!

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Feeling a little bashful!

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Feeling bold and brave!

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now a bit sleepy!

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and having a bit of a laugh!

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Camera shy Steenbok

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but this little Slender Mongoose wasn't!

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We always stopped off at Sunset Dam for our Hot Chocolate and biscuits or breakfast bars and today was no exception.

Such a lot to keep one entertained.

This little bird that was scratching around I have put down as the Female Redbilled Firefinch hope I'm right! :?
Will try and confirm.

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The Yellowbilled Storks were very busy with nest building.

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and the Hippos were busy turning a nice shade of pink!

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First animals after leaving the dam were a group of lazy Buffalo

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We stopped next to a tree with very attractive bark pattern, or we thought so anyway and as far as I can fathom out think its the Leadwood Tree

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Carrying on slowly up the H4-1 Tawny suddenly called out Stop! and there jumping down from a tree and merging from the bush was this beautiful lady!

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She looked around a bit

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and then decided that it was all clear so may as well cross the road.

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and off she went on the other side!

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Bye lovely lady!

and we had her all to ourselves the entire time, talk about being in the right place at the right time!

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Further on a general selection of animals

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This Ellie taking refuge from the sun under a nice shady tree.

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This is the N'watimhiri Dam just after the S21 junction with a lot less water in it than it had in Feb.

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The stately Fish Eagle

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and another favourite of mine the Green-backed Heron

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At the stream below the Gezantfombi Bridge this group of Hamerkops, Woolynecks & a Black Stork were busily fishing.

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And that was the end of another wonderful day in the park.

More to come! :thumbs_up:


Re: Here we go again!

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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:31 pm
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Location: Ballito, KZN North Coast, South Africa
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Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:58 pm Unread post
Many thanks once again to granjan, vlakvarkvrou, Jock, hilda, Tawny, Pumbaa, Val, Eliz, Pikkie, & MM :clap:
I do appreciate all the kind comments.

Lets get on with our second to last days!
but not before I tell you about the exciting sightings from the day before seen from our veranda!

Again the big herd of Buffs paid us a visit as they had been doing for several days

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and I had remarked that I would not be surprised if there were not some predators following such a herd when what should come along...

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and plonk themselves down on the sand in front!

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staying there till after dark when no doubt the fun and games would begin, think it was going to be a hectic night for those buffs! :roll:
We did hear a lot of Hyena activity most nights as well so they were also in close attendance.

6th June.

At the gate at 7am and its a chilly 3C and clear. Brrrr.

Paperwork done and we see Warthogs, Imps, and a tree full of Vultures and a Tawny Eagle.

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We take the S28 one last time to see if it would give us some Cheetahs that were still missing this trip.

There were Warthogs on their knees!

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and a nice tusker, not sure if its a named one or not, he was definitely not cooperating!
There were actually 3 of them in total, mostly hiding behind trees.

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A nice Kori Bustard

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and a Natal Francolin with some little chicks that were so cute but would not keep still for 1 second making photography very difficult!

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We stopped off at Ntandanyati Dam planning on having our coffee break there but I'm afraid the inside of the hide was not conducive to sitting or even standing for that matter and it looked as if the baboons had slept the night in there with dire consequences!! :shock:

So off we went again in search of a better spot and found it the form of the lovely Sunset Dam

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The Yellowbilled Storks were very busy building their nests and a bit of squabbling was going on for prime spots.

I do apologise for the pic being so dark, no idea why, except I most likely took it and got the exposure all wrong! :slap:

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After a nice cup of coffee and snacks we carried on over the bridge and up the H10

A troop of Baboons was foraging around but this one was most definitely on sentry duty that morning. 8)

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We decided to drive the S122 Munchie Loop and we saw a nice herd of Ellies
Female had quite decent tusks.

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with a baby at foot!

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a nice Kudu

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and a Secretary Bird which caused great excitement!

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and a startled looking Swainson's Spurfowl

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We stopped off for a bite at Mlondozi Picnic Site and found it surprisingly busy for the middle of the week out of season.
but managed to get a table and enjoy the beautiful view.

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Onwards and back to the H10 which produced a nice sighting of Ground Hornbill with a ringed juvenile.

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On the homeward run I noted we saw Buffs, zebs, more Warthogs and then heard a lot of Fish Eagle calling and eventually located the source, not in a tree but on the ground!

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Finally a nice Rhino somewhere along the route!

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I am going to leave it there and finish the last day which did have its very exciting moments as soon as the page is turned! :thumbs_up:


Re: Here we go again!

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Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:40 pm Unread post
Wow, can't believe how long ago it was I posted my last episode! :doh:
anyway think its high time I put this report to "bed" so without too much further delay let me get on with our last day in the park.
but first big thanks go to barryels, hilda, tedredrum, Pumbaa, Vlakvarkvrou, Divine7polo, for your wonderful words of encouragement, so glad you are enjoying reliving our trip with me.

Today being our last full day and home time looming large we decided to take another drive into the park and also had a planned meet up with WendyA for coffee at Lower Sabie.
Tawny didn't quite feel up to it today so decided to relax at the lodge and let the animals come to her!
So it was Martial, Klystron and myself who set off, mid morning up the H4-2


I have listed in my limited notes that we saw Zebs, Giraffe, Impala, +++, Wildebeest, Rhino, Guineafowl, Woolyneck Storks, Squirrels, Ellies, Warthogs and some Hippos all in varying places along the route!

Plus a road block in the form of a little Chameleon crossing the road.

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We were slowly driving along near the top of the road where it is close to the river and not too far from the low level bridge over the Sabie River and noticed a group of Impala grazing on the edge of the road a little way ahead.

We slowed down as we approached them as per usual, the windows were all fully open, then suddenly and without any warning as we got along side them, the Impala exploded in all directions with one of them leaping straight towards the side of our car followed hot on their heels by a Leopard who I promise was snapping right at its heels!

I honestly thought in that instant that we were going to have an Impala and Leopard in the car with us. :shock:
Clearly the Leopard had been hiding in the bushes watching the Impala and had then used us as a shield to try and trap them and make a kill.
We were all absolutely stunned and shaken and could hardly believe what had just happened.

Anyway, by some miracle and to this day I still don't know how the Impala managed to evade the clutches of the Leopard and also not fall but it somehow did!
I can still picture it almost on its side up against the side of the car as it swerved to get behind us and across the road!

Of course there was pandemonium in the Impala herd, all on high alert with alarm calls ringing out like crazy.

These were the only pics we managed to get of the Leopard as it stood angrily behind our car, tail swishing from side to side. In fact these were all taken by Martial who was agile enough to twist around and shoot the pic backwards. :thumbs_up:

Darn! can't believe I missed that one!
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It finally stalked off into the bush on the opposite side and wandered down towards the river.

We waited and toed and froed for almost half an hour as we could still hear alarm calls of birds and impala and hoped it might try for another tactic.
In fact so loud were the calls that a guide in an OSV who was parked on the bridge heard them and came rushing over to see what was going on, he had guessed it was Leopard and when he heard our story went a bit :mrgreen:

As the time had arrived for our meeting with Wendy I called her and she came down and joined us but unfortunately the only other view we had of the Leopard was a brief glimpse of it through the bushes as it headed north towards the bridge.

So with still adrenaline pumping we headed on and took a drive over the bridge and back.

This Goliath Heron was busy with his fishing duties and not too concerned by all the goings on around him.

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Then it was definitely coffee time and we all met at Lower Sabie picnic site which was the first time I had actually been there and I found it quite a pleasant little spot. :D

Glossy Starling nearby!

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and a beautiful Impala Lily

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Had a last lovely natter and then good byes and we parted ways, plans are afoot to meet up again soon! 8)

We decided we could not possibly have one last visit to Sunset Dam so it was off there and as usual so much to see!
YB Storks, Crocs, Hippos, Warthogs, Imps, Kudu and Fish Eagle,

Off back down and the plan was to take the S130

These Southern Whitecrowned Shrikes are always so nice to see.

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and some of the usual animals.

Turned onto the S28 and managed to get another Secretary Bird

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a Steenbok with quite long horns!

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Then before we knew it the gate loomed large and then the bridge and we were out, but at least we still could get back to the lodge and sit listening to the night sounds of Kruger one last time and discussing our adventures of the past 14 days.

Thanks to everyone for reading my report, joining us and of course for Tawny, Martial for their company, pics and help and to Klystron for once more for his pics and for helping/sorting and getting them all ready for posting.

Till Kruger calls us back again and it will and has :gflower:
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