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 Post subject: Sable in KNP, Nov.'06 (North and down)
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 2:48 pm 
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At the end of our SA holiday this year in November we visited Kruger National Park. This time we started in the North at Punda Maria. We had never been North of Mopani during our last Kruger Park visits. So it was really exiting to experience the North.

Our holiday started south of Johannesburg in the Golden Gate Highlands National Park.
(See http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=12526)
After a very pleasant stay in Augrabies Falls National Park
(See http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=12545)
we enjoyed a short trip to Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
(See http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=12585)
A great time in the world in one country. :)

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Table With A View, West Coast Adventures


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 Post subject: Kruger National Park
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 3:20 pm 
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16th November 2006 / Punda Maria

At noon we arrived at Punda Maria. Due to heavy rain falls there was a lot of sand on the road. After a fast check-in, this time our names were on the booking list, we got our luggage into #H3. It was cloudy this afternoon, seemed to be good weather for sightings.
Jimmy from Punda Maria recomended us to visit Pafuri picnic place in the North. We had a very quiet start, only someimpalas near Punda Maria. After turning onto H1-8 north we suddenly saw a giraffe. It looks a little bit caught, doesn't it?

Image

This is baobab country. Fortunately the baobab trees don't move. If the animals hide away you enjoy the nice landscape and look at the beautiful baobab trees. We stopped to get a picture of a beautiful baobab tree near a waterhole and then buffalos appeared at the scene. Further on our way north we came across Baobab Hill.

Image
baobab tree near the waterhole

Image
Baobab Hill

At the junction towards Pafuri picnic place we decided to have a look at the bridge over the Luvuvhu river. There were a lot of zebras and impalas close to the road.

Image Image

At each side of the bridge you find a yellow line and are allowed to get out of your car at the middle of the bridge in-between.
Looking down from the bridge into the water of the Luvuvhu river we saw a little croc.

Image

... down the river an ellie was digging in the mud.
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Had many impalas, zebras, kudus and nyalas browsing on our way to Pafuri picnic place. There was only one additional visitor and we enjoyed watching the little vervet monkeys. This one was too busy to look at the photographer.

Image

As always the grass near the toilets seems to be the best.
Here it were nyalas enjoying the goody. :wink:
After a little pause we were back on our way to the Luvuvhu river bridge. It seems to be the time when the animals go down to the water of the Luvuvhu river. On one side of the bridge we saw ellies and nyalas and at the other side kudus which went down to the water.

Some more ellies at the Luvuvhu river
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Kudu crossing the Luvuvhu river
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Could have stayed there for the rest of the day, but we had to leave to come back to the camp in time.

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 Post subject: Kruger National Park
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 9:09 pm 
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Close to the bridge there was a very busy waterhole. :-)
Kudus, zebras and blue wildebeests ...
Image Image
Another great scene.

On our way back to Punda Maria we saw many buffalos. Image Image

"Think we better stay on the tarred road" I heared me saying ... :wink:
Image
It started very quiet this cloudy afternoon, but close Pafuri picnic place live was bursting.

Back to Punda Maria we had a short walk in the camp until it started raining.
Our accomodation, H3 ...
Image
... and a very nice swimming pool.
Image

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 Post subject: Kruger National Park
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2006 2:18 pm 
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17th November 2006 / Punda Maria -> Shingwedzi

After a rainy night we left Punda Maria and started with Mahonie Loop. Too wet for the critters, very quiet this morning. Enjoyed the nice landscape ... Image

A lonely ellie on our way. Image

A Bourchell's coucal drying in the tree. Image

... and a heavy marked tree close to the end of the loop. Image

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 Post subject: Kruger National Park
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2006 11:38 pm 
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After six ellies, a lot of buffalos and a lonely steenbok we arrived at Shingwedzi for check-in and breakfast.

buffalos in the sandy riverbed
Image

Shingwedzi has a nice restaurant area. I didn't expect to see the ellies so close to the fence near the restaurant.

Image Image

Ellie close to the restaurant Image
I wonder what has marked his head.

At noon we started for the Kanniedood bird hide. Never been to a bird hide before. On our way to the Kanniedood dam saw ellies in nearly every loop.

ImageImage

Ellies everywhere ... :wink:
Image

Close to the bird hide when looking into the bush ....
Image

Kanniedood Bird Hide is a very beautiful place. We stayed there about an hour watching a lot of birds I never seen before, a croc, waterbucks and nyalas. We were the only visitors ... great place.

Kanniedood Bird Hide
Image

Never saw a Goliath heron before ...
Image

Resting croc ....
Image

Another ellie with the destroying work ...
Image

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Bontebok for Beginners, Tsitsikamma - Bridges and Electric Wheels, ADDO-rable Elephants,
Horns And Stripes - A Day in MZNP, Up in the Air - Camdeboo Impressions,
Table With A View, West Coast Adventures


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 Post subject: Kruger National Park
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2006 11:27 pm 
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18th November 2006 / Shingwedzi -> Letaba

At 4 am in the morning the nocturnal residents of our chalet #B41 came back home. This time it were animals on four legs... guess something of the size of little mongoses walking on the ceiling. Glad we were separated by the ceiling under the thatched roof.

Forget sleeping ... we got our luggage in the car and had a very early start for the day at Shingwedzi.
Right after the camp's gate there were many impalas and baboons. And suddenly ... I could hardly believe my eyes :shock: ... a baboon having his "morning impala" ...
Image
Poor little impala :cry: ...had a very short life ...

...but there are still many of them.
Image

In these early hours the slow ones come and cross the road.
Image

No ellies at Olifantsbadpan today. On our way to Mopani we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn.
Image

This time the ellie didn't hide behind the waterhole.
Image

Another nice kudu on our way to Mopani.
Image

Like the baobab trees very much. Each one seems to have it's own spirit.
Image

Close to Mopani there are often buffalos and zebras crossing the road.
Image

We arrived at 8 am at Mopani camp. The first camp on our trip we already know. And there is still this very old one ...

Baobab in Mopani Camp
Image

Enjoyed our breakfast at Mopani with view over the Pioneer Dam.
Pioneer Dam with buffalos
Image

Pioneer Dam
Image

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Reports 2013
Bontebok for Beginners, Tsitsikamma - Bridges and Electric Wheels, ADDO-rable Elephants,
Horns And Stripes - A Day in MZNP, Up in the Air - Camdeboo Impressions,
Table With A View, West Coast Adventures


Last edited by sable on Sat Dec 23, 2006 11:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2006 6:22 am 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Goodness Sable, the baboon and Impie phot was shocking, but amazing.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2006 12:39 pm 
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MM, it was a really shocking experience.
I once saw it in a report on TV that baboons sometimes have impalas on their menu, but I didn't expect to become witness of this behaviour.
When we arrived at the baboons it seemed to be a very peaceful area. Then we saw the baboon jumping out of the bush with this poor little impie in his hand and already bloody mouth. Be glad not to watch our video of the same scene.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2006 1:46 pm 
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Sable, I also once saw two male baboons running along the road with what looked like a torn up hare.
It was really not an easy sight.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 8:56 pm 
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The comprehensive assortment at the shop in Mopani always impresses me very much. Now it was time to replace my 10 years old Kruger Park map and stock up for the next days. Didn't see such a variety of maps in one of the other shops during our visit. English, French, German, .... big ones .... little ones. We took a German and an English Map with additonal animal and bird pages. So I now have the chance to learn the german names of some of the animals as well.

On our way to Letaba many cars had to stop for another buffalo herd crossing the road. There were three ellies before we crossed the bridge over the Letaba river. Besides this it was a very quiet drive to Letaba as it was overcast and sometimes rain drops falling.

Close to Letaba we saw this nice waterbuck fellow. It looks like still having the winter fur.
Image

We checked in at half past eleven, had to wait until noon to get the key of F76 which is across to the shop. It was raining, so walking around was not that much fun as during our last visits. No ellie in the Letaba river bed this time.

F76
Image

The rondavels with river view were surrounded by many bushbucks. Never saw so many bushbucks inside the Letaba camp.
Image

The restaurant was overcrowded, so we decided to start for lunch at Olifants.

At one of the loops near Olifants river we watched bee eaters in the bush. Lovely birds.
White-fronted bee-eater
Image

N'wamanzi Lockout was very quiet. No vervet monkeys this time, but again a wonderful view over the Olifants river.

View from N'wamanzi Lockout over the Olifants river.
Image

On our way to Olifants there were only some impalas in the rain. I stopped the car and had a look through my binoculars, really nothing to see, only black rocks close to Olifants camp. When I took down my binos I saw a leopard cross the road right in front of our car. This guy unfortunately didn't wait until the driver got the cam ready. So just a picture to show the spots ;-)

Mr. Spot
Image

At Olifants camp we had our take away burgers still impressed by our recent sighting, no one was sharing with us. Even in rain there is a wonderful view at the Olifants camp viewpoint.
View from Olifants camp viewpoint over the Olifants river.
Image
The way back to Letaba was very quiet, one ellie and three wildebeests, it was raining all the time.

Wildebeests on H1-5 from Letaba to Olifants.
Image
Back at Letaba We saw two ellies in the riverbed walking in the rain and some far away waterbucks. The night became more and more stormy, glad we didn't have a rondavel at the perimeter. This time being very close to the shop wasn't that bad.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 9:37 pm 
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19th November 2006 / Letaba -> Kruger Gate

Still raining this morning, nothing to see at the Letaba river bed. We were ready for departure at half past six. As it was too early for breakfast at Letaba we headed again for Olifants. On our way we came across an ellie with long tusks.

Ellie on H1-5 from Letaba to Olifants.
Image

As we left Olifants rain had stopped and a giraffe family crossed the road.
Little giraffe near Olifants camp.
Image

On our way south to Satara, close to the Olifants river we saw a tree with vultures.
Are these two different species of vultures?
Image

And then there was another car that already stopped at the side of the road. They were watching something big grey lying close to a bush ... a heavy insured hippo :shock:
You could hear it breathe and sometimes it moved a little bit.
Image
We looked around, but couldn't see any predators. Who injured this hippo so much? :cry:
Wonder how long this poor animal had to be in agony.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 9:44 pm 
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Great report-thanks for sharing and don't forget to send great pics into our public sightings gallery as well as posting them on the forum-for more on what happened to the hippo here


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 Post subject: Kruger National Park
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 9:50 pm 
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Not enough time for us to wait until the poor hippo was put out of his misery and died, we continued our way to Satara. Never saw this area in such a dry condition during my last visits. I expected to see large herds of zebras and wildebeests, but there were only a few of them.
A lonely steenbok close to Satara camp.
Image
Someone told us he saw a lion in the grass, but because it was too dense and we were sitting that low in our sedan car we couldn't see it. It was definitely not that close to the road.

We realized Satara is going to have a new entrance, but as we didn't need a stopover we continued our way south. Close to the road we came past some waterbucks and a moment later there was mum and dad ostrich with young ones walking along the bush.

Image Image

A very alert zebra ... love these stripes .... :)
Image

This woodland kingfisher chose a very thorny place to rest.
Image

Nearly half the way from Satara to Tshokwane picnic place there is the Southernmost Baobab. Couldn't resist to get further pictures of it as well.
Image Image

Afterwards we saw these waterbucks at a very muddy Kumana Dam.
Image

Tshokwane picnic place was very busy, so we had a very short stopover.
Sure Nkumbe outlook is not on the direct way from Tshokwane to Skukuza which was planned for the next stopover... :wink:
but it is always a breathtaking view ... so we started for a short excursion.

Nkumbe outlook 19th November 2006
Image Image
Just to compare with a greener season ...
Nkumbe outlook 15th February 2004
Image

Through my binoculars I could see giraffes browsing in the bushes. Even if there were again these loud bus tourists, we enjoyed this visit very much.

Back on H1-2 heading Skukuza another giraffe youngster appeared.
Image
More stripes ...
Image
We had a very relaxing stay at Skukuza, had a look at the shop and then it was time to leave for Kruger gate.
Nothing spectacular on our way to Kruger Gate.
...always sad if you have to leave Kruger ... but I knew there is a day visit within the next days. :)

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 11:27 pm 
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Hi there , great report .

I am very interested in the hippo , as we possibly found this same animal .
Was it on the top of a hill about 1km away from the olifants river bridge going towards olifants ?

Although this was on the 15th of december :shock:
Check my trip report for details .

The wound on the back looks similar , which is obviously what caused its death from septasemia , but it seems to be missing the bites on the back , although these could have healed ?

I wonder if we should post a series of pics in a seperate thread as it might be very interesting to get a whole story of the events together .


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Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 10:28 pm 
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Thanks bucky, good idea to open a separate thread.

The hippo we saw on our way to Satara was south of the Olifants river, after we crossed the bridge, close to the Ngotso Waterhole.
I must admit that I didn't expect to see a hippo that far away from the Olifants river. The injured hippo was directly near the road. It seems last November and December was a bad time for the hippos in the Olifants area.

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