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 Post subject: SHARKS and So in Kruger and Mapungubwe, the full story..
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 10:10 pm 
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SHARKS and SO in Kruger and Mapungubwe the full story ( part 1)

After months just counting the days till our departure to South Africa it was finally time to go on the 12th of July.
In preparation I got me about 1 meter of clear to see yellow ribbon from the campingshop so someone should recognise me as a forumite.... :?
It was the 7th time for us to go to Kruger, and this time to Mapungubwe as well.
It may sound a bit strange but I always have a secret wishlist when going to Kruger, hoping for sightings of animals not seen before or photographic opportunities beyond believe.
As always I was hoping for my favourite...a bit of leopard. Then we have seen some cheetahs, but never close by, so that would be nice. Some lions with cubs perhaps? Also never seen secretary birds in Kruger, would like to see them now... and last maybe a small amount of wild dogs... Wishfull thinking... :shock:

We arrived in Jo’burg where we stayed for the night, and man it was cold :!: :!:

13-07-06 arrival day
We stopped for a load of wine and amarula :D in Nelspruit ( and some less important items like veggies etc. ) and entered the park at Numbi gate driving to Pretoriuskop.
We didn’t see to much animals on the way to the camp or on our drive at the Fayi loop in the afternoon.
We had never visited Kruger in winter, and it was nice to see how different it looks then in April / May or October / November. It was stil green, but without rain- or mudpools and there were not as many kind of birds around as the last time.

14-07-06 small body, big ego day
Going to Tamboti we took the H1-1 and being the first on the road that morning we saw a genet in middle of the road just outside the camp. A bit later followed by 2 black backed jackals. We then headed for the transport dam, there wasn’t much wildlife to see there but the rising sun and dark clouds over the water made very a nice scene.
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Thanks to my SO who spotted him, we saw this beautifull giant in a tree close to the dam. I don’t know what the twig he was holding is about, might be an attempt to quit smoking...

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Besides lots of grazers we didn’t see very spectaculair animals untill we stopped at Leeupan on the H1-4.
This 3 ground hornbills got a bit agitated ( or even turned on :shock: ) by our cameras, as my wife was impressed how close the lens got their image she found out that they where standing a few centimetres away from her cameralens when looking up...

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Driving the gravel back to the mainroad there was someone waiting for us...
We are used to roadblocks and usually just wait them out or take a detour if necessary, bit this was the kind we didn’t expect. He was sitting up to make himself even bigger then he was, and there was no way around him on that gravelroad. I decided to try and stare him down but he knew that drill too. Whe looked each other in the eye for a few minutes knowing one of us had to give.
We both didn’t feel like giving in so the staus quo lasted for some time.
And then he moved aside finally in a slow pace.... stupid squirl :evil:

As we were going to Tshokwane for breakfast we saw 2 very big birds walking in the grass.... finally ! Our very first secretary birds!

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On the Orpen – Satara road we saw some ellie, lots of giraffe and wildebeast.
Coming to Tamboti we got tent nr. 40 which made us very happy.
Besides the usual hyena we heard a lot of noise next to the fence but couldn’t see what it was. I was sure it had to be an ellie judging by the sounds but in the end a huge buffalo bull came out of the bush... making enough sound for a complete herd.
We fell asleep with the sound of roaring lion in the distance, I would give my left foot to fall asleep with that sound every night! ( no, that excludes a cd or tape :!: )

15-07-06 off camera day

Going to Satara we first took the Rabelais loop where we saw absolutely no wildlife besides a few kudus. The rising sun made a beautifull sky however, so that made quite a nice picture.
Amazing to see how small the timeframe is in such a case, within minutes the sky was dull grey again...

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We took the mainroad again and then got on to the s100 still one of my favourites!
We had a glimpse of lion but to short to make a nice photo unfortunately.
Even while there wasn’t much traffic on the s100 a lot of people felt the need to drive that road at quite some speed, we decided to take it slow as usual.
When almost every car had passed us coming close the end of the road, it emerged out of nowhere..... leopard !!! :D
It was sitting still at 2 metres beside the car.... as I was driving I instructed my SO to grab the camera, turn it on and start shooting.
Not much later she complained that the lens wouldn’t focus...... she forgot to switch the camera on... The leopard was moving by that time and disappearred into the grass.
Now I didn’t bite my SO then, but it crossed my mind to be honest.
There wasn’t anythinhg moving in the grass untill it popped out again some 30 metres away, so we got some walking leopard pics where we could have had close-ups.( grrrrrr ) :cry:

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We took the s41 up where we saw lots of giraffe, a martial eagle and a very big puffie moving fast. So fast actually that it was hard to get a good shot of him.

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After taking the s90 to Satara I still couldn’t get the “lost leopard” of my mind, and had to eat half a chicken to feel a little better.
The restaurant in Satara is very nice now, and the food has improved a lot!
That afternoon we drove up and down the s100 again, but no lion and no leopard.... a few ellies and a lovely kite was what we got.

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On the right side of the s100 we could see a few fires making lots of smoke.
All in all not a bad day I guess........but still no forumites / yellow ribbons :cry: so we needed some amarula to get over that.

16-07-06 s100 racing day

We were at the Satara gate around 05.45 to find about 8 cars in front of us, and when when the gate opened the race was on it seemed...
Lots of cars passed us on the s100 speeding to the end even while it was still pretty dark.
We took it slow wondering what those people would see at that speed :?:
As we progressed on the s100 we saw a few cars already coming back from the end of that road, it usually takes us almost 2 hours to get to the end and then still I’m afraid we overlooked some great sighting.....
Much of the wildlife had moved off probably becouse of the smoke, so the s100 was very quiet.
At the s41 we again saw 2 secretary birds, but with the sun shining straight into the lens it was difficult to make a nice pic.

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We then saw some ellies, and on the s90 a few of these big grey monsters were blocking the road as usual... I love them, but my SO suffers from a severe case of loxodonta-fobia.

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After breakfast we did the H1-3, s126,s36 H7 circle but again...no kitties around.
So I needed another chicken at the Satara restaurant. :D
We went up and down the s100 again that afternoon, but we could have spared us the trouble... just a few grazers.
Back in Satara we saw this critter walking around...

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Fortunately I had the biggest fire on the braai of the whole camp that night, does anybody else thinks it’s normal to use 3 packs of firestarters for 1 fire? 8)

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03-10-2009 - 03-11-2009 Augrabies Falls / kgalagadi / Kruger


Last edited by SHARKS on Thu Aug 17, 2006 10:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2006 10:41 pm 
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17-07-06 to loop or not to loop day

We decided to do the s100 first, still hoping some cats would be around.... there must be lions and leopard as we know.
At first sight there seemed to be a lot of mist on the s100, but coming closer it turned out to be a dense cover of smoke coming from the fires that didn’t move as there was no wind.
A lot of giraffe, impala,waterbuck,kudu and wildebeast along the s100 so plenty of catfood, but no cats unfortunately. Coming back from the end of the s100 we saw this beautiful gymnogene.

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We took the H1-4 up and just after the s90 turn off we saw a lion and lioness in high grass.
And sure some idiots climbing out or on top of their car for the best view.
Not the best lion pics we got, but still... lions: 2 - leopard: 1.

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After breakfast at Timbavati we went down the s39, where some animals were very relaxed...

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Now there a several loops on this road and we usually don’t take every loop we come across but sometimes a strange feeling gives you the idea that you better should.
So after passing a few loops we entered one overlooking the dry riverbed and there they were.... these 2 lovely ladies lazy in the sun.... lucky again! :D

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Not much further we noticed this mohawk-zebra-youngster...

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Later that day we saw a giraffe with a remarkable number of oxpeckers on it, and a nice ostrich at the end....

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Well we deserved some amarula doing such a good job spotting animals... :roll:

18-07-06 look disappointed day

We had to go to Mopani camp so we moved up on the H1-4, after less then 15 minutes of driving we saw a lion in the first morning light. Not the best photographic conditions but we didn’t complain.

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The sunrise turned the sky into all kinds of red making a beautiful view.

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We moved on and only a little bit later on the same road we saw a mating pair of lions, well not exactly the mating that is... but the expressions were clear enough.... :wink:

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I love days that get better every minute!
We turned left to the s127 and then up on the s39 Timbavati road were we spotted these 2 hyena’s.

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We also spotted a pretty fresh leopard spoor, but no leopard.... :cry:
The drive up on the H1-3 didn’t produce much besides a beautiful chameleon,

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some playing buffalos and muddy ellies.

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As we arrived at Mopani we learned that bungalows nr. 49 and 51 were already occupied.
We must have looked very disappointed as this very kind lady at the reception gave us family cottage nr. 10 with a view on the dam....
We just had a stack of pancakes at the restaurant when a couple complimented us on our yellow ribbon at the parking lot. Finally... other forumites!!! :D :D
We knew that Nico, Yvonne and their son Kevin would stay at Mopani as well and it was very nice to meet them.
We had dinner together with a great stoofpotjie made by Yvonne and some deep frozen amarula for desert... Had a lovely evening with them!
As they had lost their yr somewhere in all the luggage, we gave them one of ours, as we had some to spare.... and who wants to drive incognito as forumite??
If only we had known then how many leopards they were going to see, then we probably wouldn’t have promised to keep in touch by cellphone........ :evil:

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03-10-2009 - 03-11-2009 Augrabies Falls / kgalagadi / Kruger


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Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2006 12:23 pm 
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Part 3:

19-07-06 burned fingers day

We travelled to Punda Maria taking the H1-6, s144, H1-6 to Shingwedzi first, then the s56, H1-7 and H13-1.
After a loxodonta-roadblock in the morning we saw more and more ellies... by the time we got to Punda Maria we saw more then 100 of them for sure!

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Around Punda we saw some nyala and nice monitors on the Mahonie loop.

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And again a few ellies... now the most of them were very calm all over the park but around Punda they were not.
As I had done all of the driving my wife took a turn that afternoon... At the Mahonie loop she was surprised by a trumpeting cow so she hit the accelerator, which made another cow 15 metres further trumpet even louder. :shock: ( only feeding her loxodonta-fobia even more )

We arranged for a night drive at punda starting half past seven.
With plenty of time I started the braai cousing light enough for whole Mozambique to see, and a big piece of bufffalo ( not a complete buffalo as my brother Cees made you believe ) waiting to get on it.
When my wife borrowed my cellphone to send a message she told me the time was already 19.07 leaving us 21 minutes to braai and eat.
Under that pressure I burned my fingers badly on the braai trying to get the buffalo done in time, but I didn’t understand how time could have gone so fast.
Not wearing a watch I checked again on my cell phone, only to find out it was 19.07 alright... 19.07.06 that is... how could she know the time was on the right and the date on the left side... :?
Needless to say I needed some amarula to ease the pain, and hey who needs fingerprints anyway??

The nightdrive was very nice, as it turned out we were the only two pasengers that evening! :D
The guide Edward did a good job, we saw honeybadger, civet, springhare, grijsbok, genet, scrubhares, buffalo, and had 2 mock charges by ellie cows to scare SO a little.
I know that some guides leave the park to work in the private sector but Edward did it the other way, coming from the private sector becouse he could see and learn more in Kruger... that’s loving wildlife I guess.
He did his best to find the lion we heard roaring that afternoon, but that one got away.
At night we could hear him roar again...

20-07-06 getting stuck with a lion day

We left Punda as soon as the gate was open, taking the H1-3 and then moving on to the s60 gravelroad. At the beginning of the s60 is a small loop on the right side, with very, very fine gravel....
Still hoping to find that lion I drove into this loop, only to get stuck in the gravel.
( note: it is not wise to take this loop with a normal car!!! )
Not a little bit stuck, but stuck right onto the axles stuck. :? While trying to get grip again we could hear a lion roar at about 50 metres away....
It took some time to get out of there as we were driving a normal sedan and not a bakkie, and when we finally did get out the car smelled like all kinds of things were burning and the wheels made a very strange sqeeking noise.
My wife insisted to get back to camp in order to check out the car, and when we turned the corner onto the H1-3 whe saw him... a huge male lion. :shock:

First walking in front of our car the lion moved into high grass so we moved on after telling an old couple that there was a lion in the grass.
After a few minutes the sqeeking stopped and the car smelled normal again, so we decided to turn around again.
The old couple was still looking into the grass for the lion, not knowing he was rolling on his back just 1 metre behind their car! :D
He moved to the waterhole closeby were we could see him again, also not the best pics as it was still rather dark but the flash gave it a ghost-like effect.

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We took the s60 and s61 to Klopperfontein and I was hoping for some cheetah as there was a lot of open grasslands around. But nothing.... :cry: so we turned right at the end onto the H1-8 and right again taking the s 60 back.
And there it was... about 200 metres in front of the car.
At first I thought it were 2 lionesses flat on their side in the middle of the road, untill we got a little closer and one of them stood up.. cheetahs!! 3 of them!! :D :D :D
We got closer very slowly when 2 of them moved into the higher grass, but the third was sniffing out a tree that is surely used as a territorial marker.
At not more then 4 metres away it posed in front of my lens for a few minutes... we couldn’t believe our luck! 8)

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When it went off into the high grass we returned to camp for breakfast, with such a start we wouldn’t have cared to see nothing than trees for the rest of the day... 8)
But the rest of the day we saw lots of kudu, nyala, mongoose, monitors, a few warthogs and some angry grey mothers protecting their calfs at the Mahonie loop.

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This was the first day we got some “error 99” messages on one of our 300D bodies, but there wasn’t much we could to do the solve the problem so we were glad we still had the other one working without a problem..


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03-10-2009 - 03-11-2009 Augrabies Falls / kgalagadi / Kruger


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Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 5:08 pm 
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That's a good looking lion! I took the liberty of having a look at him. :wink:
Image
I prefer the eyes photo though.

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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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 Post subject: CLEAN >>SHARKS and So in Kruger and Mapungubwe, the full story..
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 11:41 pm 
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21-07-06 off to Mapungubwe day

We took the s60 again this morning but the cheetahs weren’t there :( so we went up on the H1-8 to pafuri.
As usual quite a few nyalas, bushbuck and baboons on the Nyala road, but no cats this morning.
At the Nyala road I always have the feeling that there should be leopards around but we never see them.... :?

We had breakfast at pafuri and then took the H1-9 to Pafuri gate heading for Musina and then Mapungubwe.
Not too far from the gate ( I think it was in Masisi ) the road was blocked with a barrier and a small hut next to it with a very old ( looking ) man in front of it.
He told us we were crossing a foot- and mouthdisease border.
So we expected some kind of disinfection-measures.... but no, we just had to sign a form that we had been there and he waved us goodbye... :shock:

We did lunch in Musina and according to the petrolstation-guy there was only one place to get fastfood. So we went to that cowboy-steakplace, and the steak was alright but I would rather have had some chicken. Turns out that about 5 minutes further there was this american-colonel-chicken-fastfood-place... :evil:

After a nice drive with baobabs all over the place we finally came to Mapungubwe.
I had informed before we left Holland if the roads were good enough to drive with a normal car and was told that wouldn’t be any problem, well looking back I can’t agree with that completely.
All the roads in the park are gravelroads with a large size gravel that would be no problem for a bakkie ( or a tank for that matter ), but our poor rentalcar took some severe punishment.

Even driving slowly we could hear the stones smashing to the cars paint from time to time.
( at the end of our vacation I had to apply some selfmade orangejuice and gravel mud to camouflage the deep and ugly scratches for the rentalcompany... 8) )
Imagine the worst gravelroad in Kruger and multiply that a few times, now that’s what you will be driving in Mapungubwe....
I'll never again complain about the bumpy gravelroads in Kruger :!:

The park is still in a developement fase and I think it would be a good start to develop some better roads before anything else.
Our first camp was Leokwe and we were told to go to the reception there with our permit.
It turned out there is no reception at Leokwe so we kind of checked ourselves in.
Leokwe camp is situated in a valley surrounded by rocky outcrops that turn into a deep red colour when the sun is going down.
The accomodation is truly amazing, beautiful bungalows with a lot of privacy an outdoor shower and a lovely place to braai.
The camp also has a small rockpool where overheated guests can cool down a little.

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We took our afternoondrive to the birdhide were we saw some waterbirds, baboons, bee eaters, bushbuck and some people crossing the river and walking into South Africa.
The boardwalk to the hide takes you through the trees some metres above ground, making a nice playground for baboons and vervets.

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On the drive back to camp there were quite a few klipspringers on the rocks.

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Nice thing about Mapungubwe is that there are no fences around the camps, so while having a braai I could see some kudu and reedbuck passing by :D

There were lots of falling stars that night so I could do quite a few wishes ( lots of leopards, winning lotterytickets and never ending vacations :D ) but it must have been an illusion as nothing came true yet...

22-07-06 pancakes at the beach day

I surprised SO with tea in bed as it was her birthday, and then it was time to go and find us some animals.
The sun just started to take a peek over the horizon..

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We went to the birdhide first were we saw some elands on the far side of the river, and later some baboons in early morning light.

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Beautiful to see how the first sunlight behind the baboons gave their fur a golden glow.

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We then took a drive to the confluence lookout were we had a great view and a little bit of cellphone coverage so I could send the daily report to my brother Cees.
At the lookout we had a great view and it must be said, the scenery in Mapungubwe is unbelievable. Strange rockformations, lots of baobab trees and hills were you can see for miles.

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We had lunch with some selfmade pancakes in the braaiarea which is covered with sand, so it was almost like having pancakes on the beach.

In the afternoon we took a drive to to the trail camp were we had to go the next day, just to see what kind of road it would be.
Surprising but the road to the trail camp is indicated as 4x4 only, but was actually better to drive than the “normal” road to Leokwe camp :?: :?: :?:

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Besides lots of baobabs, antelope and a few ellies we couldn’t find any wildlife to spend some memorycardspace on, so we took a dip in the rockpool at Leokwe.

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The afternoon was spend in the birdhide again, I can imagine that this is a birders paradise in the right season but it was a bit quiet when we were there.
When playing around a bit with the shutterspeed on the camera I got this kind of freaky image of birds in flight.

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Funny that a picture that isn't sharp enough still can be so beautiful just becouse of the atmospere it gives.. :D

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Cees Posted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 10:06 pm Post subject:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:
We took our afternoondrive to the birdhide were we saw some waterbirds, baboons, bee eaters, bushbuck and some people crossing the river and walking into South Africa.





I know it sounds crazy Big Brother, but as the border fence is full of holes people from Botswana and Zimbabwe come wondering into South Africa... maybe to see what the big fire at the nearest restcamp is about.. 8)
They sometimes cross both the Shashe and Limpopo river, and we have seen croc swimming there :shock:
I managed to take one pic of people doing so....

Image

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Let me introduce myself.
I'm SO in this trip report..... :lol:
And Yes, I'm blond :yaya:
I do like ellies...., :lol: , when they are in a river valley, or when they are on the animal plannet channel :!: :D

Thank you all for your nice replies. I also enjoy the trip report, it's like reliving it :clap: :thumbs_up:
Can't wait for our next trip.

Sharks why are you still awayk at 2.00 am :?: :hmz:
Goodnight to you all, for me back to work :lotsocoffee:

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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 4:33 am 
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DuQues wrote:
That's a good looking lion! I took the liberty of having a look at him. :wink:
Image
I prefer the eyes photo though.


Me too. :lol:
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Great photos SHARKS. Your original of this shot is the stuff nightmares are made of. :twisted: :thumbs_up:


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Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2006 8:08 am 
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In support of Elsa and a few others who have reported a problem in downloading this and other pages which seem to take forever to complete, or just stop as in our case, I did a little fiddling. If you disable picture downloading when loading this page as described below, you can call for the pictures one at a time which seems to get them all. This particular page has a large number of pictures being the ones posted by Sharks as well as all the Smileys and Avitars, etc. After viewing the page you can restore the browser to normal by reversing the process.

Before selecting this page to be displayed do the following:
In the browser window (which you have opened to the index page before reaching this one) select 'Tools' and 'Internet Options...' on the bar just below the blue bar at the very top of the page. This will open another menu. Select the 'Advanced' tab and scroll down to 'Multimedia' about 2/3rds of the way down. Continue a little further to a ticked box labeled 'Show pictures'. Untick this box, select 'Apply' and then 'OK'. Select the new page that you want which will download with no pictures at all. Left click on the picture you want to see and select 'Show picture'. The picture will download as normal and can be clicked to enlarge. Do this to any pictures on the page that you want.

When you have finished you can restore normal operation of the browser by reversing the above and ticking the box again. You can of course leave the box un-ticked and the whole process of loading pages will be much quicker but you will need to call for every picture individually.

Hope this helps.


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23-07-06 how much food do u need day

We started the day watching the sunrise on the confluence lookout where we could see some ellies walking in the valley below. We shortly visited the bird hide again where we saw a lot of bee-eaters, ibis, baboons and a small croc.

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We then made the drive to the trail camp were we had a few surprises... :shock:
It turned out that the trail had stopped early this year because there were no rangers, and was only starting again just now.
We were the only two people doing the trail with 4 guides just for us. :D
They found it difficult to estimate how much food 2 people would need, so there was enough food for 12 persons for a week... ( including all kinds of snacks, nuts, ice cream, sweets cookies etc. )
:huh:
It was a bit strange to have the whole camp to ourselves, but we didn't complain about it.... :D

The trail camp is situated on the edge of a small secluded valley, and just after arriving we saw some of SO’s big grey friends walking around.

In the evening we had a game drive, on which we saw 2 porcupines, some eland, kudu, wildebeest, ellies, and impies. Quite amazing to see were the baboons hanging on the steep rock wall trying to sleep, doing so while they were in constant fear of a leopard.
Too bad we couldn't find the cat causing this behaviour.. :wall:
The accommodation is basic but very nice and being the only two people in the camp it was very quiet.
They left us a lot of wood in the boma probably assuming that would last a few days, but I managed to burn it all the first evening...
8)

24-07-06 Wet socks and painted rocks day

We started the actual walking part this day and after some instructions we took off.
The very first thing we saw was a leopard spoor, that was minutes fresh according to the guides ( too bad we just missed the cat... ) :?

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There were lots of birds around so again I think for the real birder this should be a nice trip.

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The 3 guides ( Norman, Gideon and Howard ) who walked with us did a great job providing us with as much information as they could. :thumbs_up:
The thing I liked best was their knowledge of traditional en medicinal use of plants and trees, coming from different origins they told us a lot about their believes and traditions.
Good to see people being so proud of their heritage and bush-knowledge. We walked along the banks of the Limpopo river and crossed the river at one point. ( don't mind the crocs... :roll: )
We both have good waterproof walking shoes, but when the water got quite deep they quickly filled up.
Every step after that felt like walking on jelly fish, and our socks had a swamp-like smell....
We took a rest a the riverbank trying to dry our socks, and the guides told us there usually was a huge python around that spot :shock:
But just like the leopard in the morning we didn't see it.... :?
Coming back after about 3 hours our breakfast was ready, and we had some time to relax after that.

In the afternoon they took us on a drive to what they claim is the biggest baobab in South Africa. Well it is actually very big, with a beautiful bark that looks like melted candle wax.

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In the evening we made a game drive again going to several rock art sites.
We didn't’t see much game, but the rock paintings and rock formations were absolutely beautiful.

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On the way back we saw some hunting genets but it was too dark to get a photo.

They tested me by supplying us with about 3 complete trees for the fire.... I burnt them all.... 8)

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03-10-2009 - 03-11-2009 Augrabies Falls / kgalagadi / Kruger


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Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2006 11:29 pm 
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25-07-06 ellie bypass day

The second day walking we saw this beautiful yellow billed stork at a small waterhole early in the morning, then some klipspringers and two African-hawk eagles in a tree.

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The walk took us through dense vegetation now and then where we saw lots of birds and even a glimpse of 2 bush pigs. After climbing a hill we could see the trail camp on the other side of the valley, and a herd of ellies slowly moving in to the path we had to take in order to get back. :?

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We had to cross the valley and to avoid the ellies we tried to circle around them and walked a bit faster.
The ellies however were also moving at considerable speed as we could see them about 10 metres away from us at a certain moment going to the mud pool we just passed. ( SO was getting a bit nervous then :D )
The stones at the mud pool were polished to perfection with traces of ellie hairs in the mud.

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We managed to walk back to the camp without bumping into the big grey monsters and had our breakfast in good health.

In the afternoon we went to Mapungubwe hill, the place were an ancient kingdom was situated.
On our way to this site we saw a nice croc and more klipspringers.

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There aren't’t much traces to be found at the Mapungubwe hill besides many pieces of pottery and storage rooms cut out of the rocks, but the view was stunning and the guide ( Gideon ) knew a lot about this site.

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We heard that there is a plan to open a museum in Mapungubwe showing the artifacts now stored at the Pretoria university, that would give a better idea of the beautiful things that were found on this site.

On the way back to camp we stopped at the confluence lookout again to watch the sunset, we then had our first elephant shrew sighting ever..:D

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After dinner with a big fire and amarula for desert we went to bed.

26-07-06 inflatable wildebeest day

The trail ended this day and we had to go to the Limpopo forest tented camp in another part of the park.
Time to say goodbye to our guides and the lovely hut in this camp... :cry:
When we were packing we took a last look into the valley from our hut and in one view we could see baboons, bush buck, wildebeest, warthog, ellie and eland. Very nice to see so many animals at once :D

As we drove back we saw some wildebeest that seemed to have been standing in the exact same place and position for 3 days... :?: made us wonder if they use inflatable animals to increase the number of wildlife a bit.
We went out of the park to get some petrol, meat and alcohol in Musina, as we already had killed 10 bottles of wine and 3 litres of amarula... ( good opportunity to get some chicken as well at my favourite fast food place 8) )
The tented camp is close to the Botswana border in an area with different vegetation then we had seen so far. Not so many rocks and hills but more big trees and lots of green.
After unpacking and doing nothing for a while we took a drive to the bird hide that is quite close to the camp, as the day was coming to an end lots of antelope like impala, water buck, bush buck and a few warthogs were coming in for a drink there.

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While we had been seeing mostly antelope we got text messages from Nico, Yvonne and Kevin almost every day that it was raining leopard where they were driving in Kruger...
:shock: It took some amarula to get over that... :mrgreen:

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03-10-2009 - 03-11-2009 Augrabies Falls / kgalagadi / Kruger


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Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2006 11:32 pm 
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Note: I have used my own website server this time to upload the pics and not image shack.
This server is usually very fast so please let me know if you still have problems downloading the pics... 8)

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Sorry it took a while, but we didn't have time to complete the report :(
Anyway... here is the rest of it!

27-07-06 ellies storming the camp day

After some driving in the morning with a stop at the bird hide we didn't feel like doing much, so we wasted some time just sitting in the sun in front of the tent at the Limpopo forest tented camp.
Out of nowhere there was a loud trumpeting close by and SO jumped up a few metres into the air. :shock:
About 50 ellies came storming into the camp, with loud trumpeting and breaking trees and branches everywhere..
They passed our tent and took a turn at the next one, coming back to pass us again. They were all over the place and sure, all the camera equipment was in the car on the same parking lot now occupied by grey monsters.... so I didn’t really feel like getting them.

After some time they moved out of the camp again, with the last and biggest of them all standing next to our boma looking straight at SO as to say good bye. :yaya:
I loved it but SO had a heartbeat that you could hear from 4 metres away... :D
In the afternoon we did some driving along the border with Botswana, seeing some ellie again and a lot of beautiful old trees.
A bit of a strange border we think, as a small wire fence that stretches for miles ( and sometimes flattened by ellies ) is suddenly changed in a wall of barbed wire and electric fence that is easy to pass by taking an ellie-gate a few metres further... :huh:

This was our last day in Mapungubwe so it was time for some evaluation:
we really loved the scenery with the rocks and baobabs and old trees along the border, and the bird hides close to Leokwe and the tented camp could produce some very nice sightings for birders in the right season we think.
The camps are great with fabulous accommodation, and the absence of fences makes it even more exciting..

They have almost every kind of antelope in Mapungubwe, but if you are looking for the big 5 you should go to Kruger. According to the guides they had some lions from time to time, wondering in from Botswana, just like the ellies that crashed the border fences. There are some leopards in the park, but they are very shy and hard to find.
The roads were a nightmare on several places not driving a 4x4, and we had a few big and deep scratches on the paint of our rental car. :oops:

The rock art and archaeological sites were very beautiful and interesting to see, if you like to know about African history this is a good place to visit.

The walking trail was very nice as the guides do everything to make it an interesting experience, and they really know a lot about the bush.
If you want to learn more about the knowledge and tradition of black people these guys can teach you a lot!
We would like to thank Howard, Simon, Norman and Gideon for making such an effort to make this a nice experience for us.
Still... I was missing Kruger, so it was time to go back for some kitties...

:D

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28-07-06 back in Kruger day

After the drive from Mapungubwe we were happy to see the Pafuri gate again!!! :D

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We took the Nyala road and then went down on the H1-8, s61 and s61.
Besides some waterbirds at Klopperfontein and some nyala we didn’t see much, but we were happy to be back in the park.

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Arriving at Punda Maria we had some lunch first seeing a bus unloading a herd of schoolchildren on a field trip.
At our afternoon drive on the Mahonie loop there were lots of ellies around, with a youngster trying to provoke us a little.

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He didn’t come any closer to the car but kept running and trumpeting while keeping a safe distance, I liked it but SO had different thoughts about it. :evil:
We had the same tent in Punda as the week before so we felt at home right away.. 5 packs of fire starters later the heat was on!! 8)


29-07-06 unbelievable lucky day

Going to Shingwedzi this day we first took the s60 as I wanted to check out the area around Klopperfontein again hoping for cats, but at the s60 / s61 junction I changed my plan.
Again some feeling inside telling me it could be wise to drive to the end of the s60 first.

Sipping my amarula coffee :lotsocoffee: I was driving straight into the light from the rising sun, so it was difficult to see from time to time.
When we came closer to the spot where we saw the cheetahs about 8 days before there were 2 shapes visible on the road....
Coming closer very slow we got a better view... 2 cheetahs!! :D

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They were warming up in the first sunlight and we could see the vapour rising from their fur.
We had two options: wait it out and see if we could get some better light or trying to get closer with the risk of chasing them away.
We waited some time and then they started to move so I drove up to the spot where they should be.
Again at the exact same tree there was still one of them at a few metres from the car, first sniffing out the tree and then marking the tree with his own scent.

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While peeing against the tree, he had a look on his face reminding me on what our cat at home does to the doormat...:shock:
He then started to check out the fruits of his labour, considering it a job well done.. :D

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What unbelievable luck to see them so close again!
He gave us some time to make photos and then moved into high grass.
Now there is only one big tree along the last part of the s60, about 300 metres from the end.
But sightings were between 07.00 and 08.00, so if you are in Punda it might be wise to check this spot around that time...

We took the H1-7 main road down and saw a lion and his female companion not far from Shitangeni waterhole..
lucky again! :D :D

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It was time for some breakfast at Babalala.
We took the s56 down to Shingwedzi where we saw a lot of ellies and a big herd of buffalo not far from Shingwedzi camp.
Ever wondered how ellies find their way in the bush??
Check out this pic....:D

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In the afternoon we took a drive to Kanniedood dam, finding out that some of the loops were filled with ellies so impossible to enter.
We spotted a beautiful red billed woodhoopoe, but he wouldn’t sit still for a second so we have no pics.
The water at Kanniedood was quite high compared to our previous visits, attracting lots of waterbirds.

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Again I had the biggest fire on the braai this evening, a plane could have landed without problems in Shingwedzi.. 8)

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