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 Post subject: barryels' Ebbs and Flows of our Oct 2013 Kruger Visit
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:24 am 
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The time has finally arrived for our October visit to Kruger. What was really strange is the fact that I did not have to request vacation leave this time around, because I had my last working day on the 30th of September and is now officially a pensioner.

We normally buy the groceries two weeks in advance and Hilda packs everything way in advance, so when the time comes for us to leave it is only the four legged kids to be booked into the kennels and clothes to be packed.

I however decided that nine days before we leave will be adequate enough to get everything ready, but boy does time flies.

I had to have the Hilux serviced and we still had to buy groceries, meat etc. for the trip. By Monday the 7th no packing was done yet and we leave on the 9th.

Luckily Hilda is so organized with lists and tags that I did not have any problems packing on my own, but the thought of missing something still played on my mind.

We can never pack our suitcases in front of the four-legged kids, because it looks like death in the family when they see us taking out the suitcases. It is just unbelievable how they know what happens next. They actually love to stay at BergenDal kennels. So the next step was to book them into the kennels on Tuesday morning the 8th and packed our clothes etc. during the day.

The evening we had a nice dinner at one of the restaurants close to home and were ready for an awesome visit to Kruger for the first time during October.

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 Post subject: Re: The Ebbs and Flows of our Oct 2013 Kruger Visit
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:46 am 
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Kaapsedraai, Trrp-Trrrrrrrr, JeanniR, RosemaryH, Carol g, PetraJ, hoyle, umtali1, kallis1786, Pumbaa, isinkwe, tent dweller, gatita, impyim and melph68.

Thanks for joining the Image.

I hired a big bus with lots of space for everybody to join the trip :dance: . Hope you will enjoy my and Hilda’s experiences with us :whistle: .

9 October 2013

I don’t think that anybody actually sleeps like a baby the night before you leave for any of the park we love so much. We were up at 03:00 to get ready for the road to “heaven”. We encountered a lot of mist along the way to Nelspruit which forced me to drive at 20kph at some stage.

The next obstacle was the stop and go just past Nelspruit on our way to Malelane where we normally have breakfast and fill up with diesel before we enter Kruger. The stop and go set us back by nearly two hours
:doh: .
We entered Kruger through Malelane Gate at 09:20 on our way to Satara for our four (4) night stay, before our next stop overs at Lower Sabie and Croc Bridge.

With cameras and binos ready, as well as our yellow scarf tied to the mirror, we were scanning the bush and ready to shoot at everything moving :roll: .

We missed the resident leppie down at Berg and Dal, but saw a lot of general game (impala, kudu and steenbuck).

Our first of the big 5 were these buff’s in the Mbambane riverbed.

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And then somewhere along the N4 we saw these two wonderful creatures. Mom with her baby.

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We also saw this horned beauty, busy plucking juicy leaves from a scrub.

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We decided on this trip to take more photos of birdies sitting, hopping and flying
:doh: . This was totally new to both of us to capture these little birdies and keep them in focus. Our first birdie was this Fork-tailed Drongo.

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We also captured this guy that did a bit of sun tanning.

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This was our first Fish Eagle of the trip.

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Then we came across the third of the big 5. A pride of six lions was lying in the long grass and we could only photograph two of them as evidence.

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We reached Afsaal for a welcome leg stretch and a visit to the shop for something cold to drink.

To be continued….

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Last edited by barryels on Fri Nov 08, 2013 6:01 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Ebbs and Flows of our Oct 2013 Kruger Visit
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 4:21 am 
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Like the saying goes in Afrikaans “die son trek water” (it is getting late), and we still have a long way to go, so we were off again.

It was not long before we saw these ladies on a little hill in the shade, doing what they really do best.

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Then we saw these vultures sitting around. Might be the result of the ladies in the shade.

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We also saw our first zebbies and baboons on the way. The next picture was these Buff's and ellies grazing in the M’watindlopfu river.

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We arrived at Skukuza and had a quick leg stretch and visit to the shop. I normally look for yellow ribbons in the parking area, but to no avail this time around. After getting something to drink we were on our way again. It was a quiet drive with only general came on our way to Tshokwane.

We did photograph this Ground Hornbill.

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A kudu bull.

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And these warthogs

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Our detour to leeupan that is normally filled with water, only revealed some mud and nothing else. This gave the warties the opportunity to play in the mud. Here are some pic’s of the pan with its visitors.

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And two zebbie enjoying the greenery of leeupan.

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We arrived at Tshowane and stretch some legs and got some drinks before we left on our last leg to Satara.

To be continued…..

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 Post subject: Re: The Ebbs and Flows of our Oct 2013 Kruger Visit
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:14 am 
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Sorry for the delay in posting the next episode, but Hilda and I am busy painting the house during the same time that we do the TR :tongue: .

It was quiet at Mazithi Dam with only this heron staring at the water.

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At Kumana Dam we found these hippos taking over the dam

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To the right of the hippos, a wartie testing the mud, whilst an adult saddle-billed stork looked for some lunch.

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This immature saddle-billed stork was waiting for better days on its haunches.

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This hammerkop was scanning the water for something to eat.

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Whilst we went our merry way another visitor to the park passed us and was off as if he was late for his aunts birthday, just to be stopped by park officials for speeding and a ticket was issued to the young man. It was quite strange but pleasing to encounter several delivery vehicles keeping within the park’s speed limit.

Further along the road we came across this giraffe family that was joined by a lone impala.

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The rest of the trip to Satara was very quiet sighting wise except for general game and this Crested Francolin was the only inhabitant, crossing the road.

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We arrived at Satara around 16:30 and bungalow G165 along the perimeter was allocated to us. At last we were back where we belong. There is just nothing better than with your SO and something cold in hand on the stoep, fire burning and taking in the bush. We went to bed early to be ready for the next day’s encounters in the bush.

To be continued…..

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 Post subject: Re: The Ebbs and Flows of our Oct 2013 Kruger Visit
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 12:58 pm 
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10 October 2013

I reminded Hilda that gate opening time is at 05:30 which we are not used to, which resulted in that we were first at the gate this morning :shock: .

I took a photo of this crested barbet while we waited.

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I also had the opportunity to get a pic of our first sunrise in Kruger.

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The row behind us got longer and by the time the gate opened we were about 30 vehicles strong.

It is quite fascinating to see the reactions of people when those gates open :lol: .

For the first 30 meters everybody stays in line and then the urge to get first to the nearest waterhole takes over :dance: .

It was wonderful to meet our first of seven (7) yellow ribbons in the park :D . It was umtali1 and SO that we will meet later at Satara for a mini meet with dellac and her SO as well as Annie Owl :dance: .

True to our decision to photograph birdies during our stay, we came across this African Harrier Hawk. It was really overcast and not easy to get a decent :cam: .

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We decided to take the S100, S41, S90 towards Timbavati and then back with the H1-4 to be back at Satara for our mini meet at 12 noon.

Our first sighting was these juvenile saddle-billed storks next to the road. A strange place to find them :hmz: .

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Next was a Bateleur a bit far from the road.

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Then a pair of Swainson’s Spurfowls.

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Then we came across a Blue wildebeest with a red-billed oxpecker keeping him company.

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It seems that the S100 will again not deliver for us :tongue: .

Our next sighting was this waterbuck all on its own.

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Then our first impalas. It looked as if the ewe escaped from becoming somebody’s lunch :think: .

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Our next sighting was this pair of Bateleurs.

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This family of warties crossed the road.

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Just before the end of the S100 we came across this juvenile Martial Eagle.

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What is always great when we do the S100 is to stop at Gudzani Dam for coffee and biscuits. Only the normal inhabitants, the hippos and crocs shared morning coffee and biscuits with us.

To be continued….

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 Post subject: Re: The Ebbs and Flows of our Oct 2013 Kruger Visit
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:10 pm 
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To keep up with the flow of the trip and painting to be done tomorrow again, here is the second part of the 10th of October that we wish to share.

We left Gudzani and took the S41 towards the S90. Along the way we came across these Kudus with ears like TV dishes.

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We stopped at Gudzani East and found these zebbies and Blue- wildebeest at the drinking hole, busy discussing what happened a bit further down the road.

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A bit further down the road we saw these vultures, which is normally a sign of a kill in the vicinity.

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We then came across this gathering consisting of zebbies and blue-wildebeest, all looking towards the river.

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Umtali and SO told us that there are lions in the riverbed; however they are not easy to see. I maneuvered the vehicle slowly backwards and forwards and at last found this lady, lying in the open with the blue wildebeest not taking their eyes off her for one moment.

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Our next sighting was this little steenbuck that does not want to show that she knew we were there.

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The next sighting was this giraffe family enjoying some brunch.

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We just turned onto the S90 when we came across some ellies in the shade of a tree.

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The rest of the drive to Timbavati and back to Satara was really quiet. We saw some ostrich, buffs and these guys accompanied by a blue wildebeest.

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We were a little early at Satara for our mini meet and I found this interesting nest with its occupant, a Dark-capped Bulbul in it. The nest was built in one of the lampshades on the stoep of the restaurant.

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We met up with umtali1 and her SO; Dellac and her SO, as well as Annie owl. It was wonderful to chat with mites and hear all the stories of visits over the years. We had an awesome time together. Thanks to everybody for the laughter and chats :gflower: .

I just have to share the ice machine episode with you. The machine is installed on the stoep of the restaurant. I think that the machine also tells one who will stay together, whatever happens. We sat right next to the machine and guy with his SO came along to get some ice. It was clear from watching the operator that something will go wrong, because he left out one important step :doh: . The next moment 5kg of ice fell all over the floor and the next moment he was standing ankle deep in ice :lol: . His SO could not keep back her laughter and disappeared around the corner before you could say “Jack Jones”.

After spending a wonderful 2.5 hours with our new friends, we decided to drive down the H6 to Sonop waterhole and back before we call it a day. Along the H6 we did find various scrubs with a pink ribbon tied to it. Must be part of the rhino project we think. Love the photo with the lilac-breasted roller and pink ribbon.

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The next photo is my attempt at catching a beteleur in flight with a 18-250mm sigma lens.

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We return to camp with only general game on the way. While we were sitting on the stoep with ice cold wine in hand, I took pictures of some camp birdies.

This Southern Grey-headed sparrow

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A Burchell’s Starling

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And a Red-billed Hornbill

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We had a nice braai with potato and pees to go with it and then off for a relaxing shower and bed to reload for the next day :whistle: .

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 Post subject: Re: The Ebbs and Flows of our Oct 2013 Kruger Visit
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 10:31 am 
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DAY 3: Friday, 11 October 2013

We were up early and I made coffee to start off the day (three cups before we leave) :D .

Today we will go south and take the H6, S41 for coffee with rusks at Gudzani Dam and then the S90 towards Timbavati for a body break. From there we will go along the H1-4 tar road to Olifants camp. From Olifants we will go back to Satara via the S89, S90 and then south with the H1-4 to end the day.

It is needless to say that we were first in line at the gate again. Our first sighting of the day was this zebbie.

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Our first birdie of the day was this purple roller. Another Lifer for us :dance: .

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Our first sighting on the H6 was this Hyena lying on its side next to the road.

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We also saw two steenbuck and some ostriches, but could not get a decent picture.
The only sighting before we reached the S41 was this yellow-billed Kite.

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Along the S41 we found this woolly necked stork all alone in a tree.

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At the causeway we found a lonely hippo in a beautiful pool of water.

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Not really interested in waking up was this Water Thick-Knee.

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Then I captured this little blue waxbill drinking water.

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On the concrete of the causeway I took a picture of this water monitor.

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And the last sighting whilst still stationary on the bridge was this kudu bull accompanied by an impala.

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It was awesome to think that we had five (5) different sightings while we were stationary :dance: .

When we crossed the N’wanetsi River we came across this hyena. It was pacing up and down as if it was looking for its offspring.

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On our left were this gathering of grey heron’s and yellow-billed storks.

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We also came across some ellies in some dense bush. No chance of a photo.

When we arrived at Gudzani Dam, we could not believe what we saw. There were three vehicles and all the occupants were standing at the edge of the dam, scanning the area. One guy even had his coffee on the bonnet of his car :big_eyes: .
Although we informed them that it is against park rules to alight, we were totally ignored. Needless to say that we were not happy chappies :twisted: :twisted: .

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On the far right of the dam these impala came for a drink whilst some cattle egrets had a meeting.

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This Fish Eagle also kept us company.

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To be continued…..

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Last edited by barryels on Sat Nov 16, 2013 12:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Ebbs and Flows of our Oct 2013 Kruger Visit
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 3:15 pm 
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After having our morning coffee and rusks at the dam we left for Timbavati. At Gudzani east, we were greeted by some blue wildebeest and zebbies at the waterhole.

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And this helmeted guinea fowl foraging for some food.

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Our next sighting was this Kori Bustard posing for his lady, but when he saw us change into a pillar.

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We also took a photo of this Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill on the way.

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It seems that we will have an ebb day today with reference to the Big 5, but who cares, we are in Kruger. As we turned onto the S90 this big guy greeted us.

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As we drove along the S127, we saw a car with a yellow ribbon tied to the side mirror. It was M@riè all the way from Germany. What a wonderful person :D .

At one of the pools next to the road we were greeted by this grey heron.

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We also came across the remains of a buffalo kill in the riverbed with some vultures which were busy with their cleaning up process.

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As we neared the picnic spot I had to stop for the customary Baobab pic.

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As we stopped at the picnic spot, I saw a yellow billed kite, gliding through the air and I took the chance to practice my bird in flight photos again. Still far from perfect, but at least one can see it is a bird in flight.

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We had our customary body break and then left for Olifants camp. Apart from general game on the way we met up with the Ngotso ellies at the Ngotso dam. We were glad to see that the dam is filled with some water again since Feb when it was still dry.

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Just before the N’wamanzi outlook point we came across some buff’s in the Olifant’s riverbed.

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I also took the opportunity to take a scenery pic of the Olifants River to the South.

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The only sightings of note on our return to Satara was this wonderful sight of the water filled Ngotso weir occupied by some hippo and a curious giraffe.

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We end the day with Kori Bustards and our only secretary birds of the trip.

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Notwithstanding the fact that we only saw buffalo and ellies today, it was still a most enjoyable day for us. The sighting board showed sightings of leopard, cheetah and lion on the S100. Wonder if we should believe those pins stuck on the S100.
We might just have a flow day tomorrow :whistle: .

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 Post subject: Re: The Ebbs and Flows of our Oct 2013 Kruger Visit
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2013 2:40 am 
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Day 4: Saturday, 12 October 2013

It was again an early rise and shine day for us and were second in line at the gate. It was also quite warm that early in the morning. This can only be a sign that it will become quite hot today. We could just feel this will be a busy and full day, because it is week-end and our last full day at Satara.

We decided to drive the H7 to Orpen and back, doing the S12 loop and then our dreaded S100, S41 and H6 back to camp.

The day started off with a bang. As the gates opened a small herd of buffalo was busy crossing the road in front of the gate.

Needless to say it was chaos with all the vehicles leaving and everybody in front stopping to get some pic’s :tongue: . We turned left at the T-junction and took these photos.

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We left the scene and saw some vehicles parking just past the S100 turn-off. It was a pride of approximately six lions, scattered throughout the long grass. The first sight of them was this guy lying right next to the road.

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At some point he lift his head to see what the racket is all about.

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And then went back to sleep again.

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And this behavior you will always have at sightings :evil: . Does he think he will be quick enough to get back into the vehicle if an attack occurs? Don’t think so. Brainless comes to mind :tongue: .

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We left as soon as we got the photos and were on our merry way along the H7. We only drove for about 2km when we came across this beauty, marking his territory.

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After all the lion excitement we stopped at Nsemani dam and captured the following:

A Magpie Shrike.

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A marabou Stork

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Impalas which had a drink of water and was busy grazing.

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A Cape Glossy Starling getting close with the family in the car next to us.

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And last but not least a swallow that I tried to get in flight again.

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To be continued…..

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 Post subject: Re: The Ebbs and Flows of our Oct 2013 Kruger Visit
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2013 3:01 pm 
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After we had our coffee and some eats, it was time to get a move on. Just past the S12 turn-off we were met by this steenbuck couple.

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We wondered if we would see the Orpen painted doggie clang with the tar road that is closed to Orpen. Animal sightings were getting scarce again and we revert to birding again. Here are some of the birds that we saw.

First a pair of African Hawk Eagles.

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Then a Brown Snake Eagle

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And a Crowned Lapwing

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We took the S106 detour and along the gravel road we came across this ellie minding his own business.

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We ran into our dear friends’ umtali1 and R, who stayed at Talamati Bushveld Camp and after sharing a few words, we had to say our goodbyes as a result of the traffic.

We stopped at Rabelais Pan for brunch. The pan was bone dry and no visitors to show. When we crossed the N’wamatsatsa River we captured this wonderful scene of impala drinking from a pool of water.

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I could also not resist taking a photo of these flowers.

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It was 09:50 and the temperature already rose to 36 degrees. :tongue: . Thanks for air-conditioning in the DC.

Our last sightings before we reached Orpen were these Warties.

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A kudu ewe

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And a Red-crested Korhaan

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We reached Orpen gate and time for a leg stretch and getting something cold for the return journey.

to be continued.....

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Last edited by barryels on Thu Nov 21, 2013 4:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Ebbs and Flows of our Oct 2013 Kruger Visit
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Now that the page will turn, we can get on with the trip :thumbs_up: .

We left Orpen and did not see much on our way to the Girivana waterhole on the S12. I parked in the shade of the big tree just before you get to the waterhole to escape the heat and found the nest of a Green Wood-hoopoe in the trunk of the tree. Here are some photos that I took:

The mom sitting close to the nest.

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The little one sticking his head out of the nest.

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And one after he climbed out of the nest.

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We also took photos of all these visitors to the waterhole.

Ellies at the dam.

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Some Blue wildebeest and zebbies at the waterhole.

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Two Egyptian geese at the dam’s edge, accompanied by a saddle-billed stork.

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While we were taking in all the sightings, Dellac with her SO (Victor) and Annie Owl also arrived at the waterhole. We had another wonderful chat with bubbly Dellac and friends. They told us that they did not see any lions yet and because I knew that the lions we saw when we left Satara in the morning will still be there, we decided to take them to the sighting. Luckily the lions were still there and they could join in the fun.

We said our goodbyes and entered the dreaded (for us) S100 on the last leg of the day’s travels.
We started the first few kilometers without anything moving.

Our first sighting was a first for us. It was a Bateleur on the ground busy eating something that looks like a T-bone.

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The next were two immature saddle-billed storks.

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It is now 42 degrees and at first I thought I was hallucinating when I saw a male lion in the shade of a tree.

His friend also arrived and we could capture them for real.

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It was the third time we saw lion during the day.

We left them be and the next in line was this young ellie.

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Taking one of the slipways we found this saddle-billed stork fishing for food.

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The rest of the drive only delivers this hyena and the last for the day this male and female ostriches on the H6.

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When we arrived back at Satara we went to the shop and ran into another yellow ribbon, namely Hippotragus and her two friends. We had a great chat before we left for our bungalow. They only arrived at Satara after a long drive and we did not want to intrude on their privacy that evening.

Hilda bought a frying pan (because there was nothing else decent for the birds to reach the water) to put some water in for the birds and here are photos of a few visitors that made use of her kindness.

A crested barbet

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A Red-billed Buffalo Weaver

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And a Burchell’s Starling

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It is always wonderful to meet 'mites during a drive and it was awesome to have met the Satara mini meet 'mites again during the day as well as a new 'mite when we were back at camp :dance: :dance: .

Although it was already past 18:00 it was still hot and with a cold one in hand we discussed another awesome day in Kruger before we had dinner and went to bed. We will be leaving for Lower Sabie tomorrow for our next four night stay.

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 Post subject: Re: The Ebbs and Flows of our Oct 2013 Kruger Visit
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Day 5: Sunday 13 October 2013

We had to pack the bakkie before we could leave for the gate this morning, so we were not in a hurry at all. We were still 7th at the gate and wondered what the day will deliver.

Our first sighting of the day was this Red-breasted swallow.

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We just could not resist take a few pictures of this little long neck.

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We saw lots of general game such as waterbuck, baboons, ostriches and impala on the way to Tshokwane.
We took a scenery pic of an impala herd on the way.

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We took a quick detour to the southernmost baobab. It is unbelievable how it changes during the seasons. During February it was filled with leaves.

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We encountered another quiet day on the road. We did however run into two sets of yellow ribbons again. This time around it was Fee with her friends and pops and his SO. It is awesome to meet so many yellow ribbons in the park.

We stopped at Mantimahle Dam for brunch, whilst a Burchell’s Coucal kept us company.

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We also came across this male ostrich. The female was sitting on the nest and a pic was not possible in the long grass.

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Whilst driving along the Sand River we saw this hooded vulture along the river bed.

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A brown snake eagle in a tree on the bank of the river.

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And then three male lions on a sand bank in the river bed.

The first two was lying together.

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This one was on a mission.

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On our way to Lake Panic we caught this little ellie taking a nap.

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Lake Panic hide was over its limit when we arrived and decided to leave for Lower Sabie and come back on another day.

To be continued…..

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 Post subject: Re: The Ebbs and Flows of our Oct 2013 Kruger Visit
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2013 12:10 pm 
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Along the H4.1 we saw Buffalo, ellies and two lionesses in the river bed but no change of decent pictures. At the H12 Bridge we saw this nyala and impi’s.

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We also saw some vultures.

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And this common duiker.

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We came across our third lion sighting of the day, but no pictures again because they we lying to far for a decent pic.

We did come across a herd of ellies with little ones that we could take a picture of.

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The temperature was only 26 degrees today compared to the 43 degrees of yesterday. :tongue: .

We took the customary pic’s of hippo, yellow-billed storks and crocs at sunset dam before we booked in at Lower Sabie.

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Bungalow 14 was allocated to us that look like this from the outside with a wonderful view of the Sabie River.

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We unpacked quickly and with an ice cold drink in hand, relaxed on the stoep and taking in the wonderful scenery. We had an awesome braai and chat with the neighbours, before we took a nice shower and then off to bed. Before we got some shut eye, we discussed what special sightings will be waiting for us the next day. Might it be a sighting that is on our wish list for the past ten years?

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 Post subject: Re: The Ebbs and Flows of our Oct 2013 Kruger Visit
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Let me quickly put up the morning drive before me and Hilda goes back to painting :tongue: .

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 Post subject: Re: The Ebbs and Flows of our Oct 2013 Kruger Visit
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Day 6: Monday, 14 October 2013

We decided to go down south to Duke Waterhole and then north and do the Mlondozi loop (S29) with coffee at Mlondozi picnic spot. Then we will do the Salitje Road, cross the Sabie River with the S12 and back home with the H4.1 tar road.

Hopefully we will run into leopard and cheetah along the way.

As we left the gate, I could not resist taking a picture of this brush in full bloom.

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At the Mativuhlungu River we found this Saddle-billed Stork fishing for some breakfast, instead of the resident leopard.

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Our next sighting was this little ellie amongst the brush.

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Then we were greeted by Mr giraffe and a Lappet-faced Vulture.

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Our next friend was this stunning kudu bul.

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We also came across this wonderful creature resting after the previous nights foraging.

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We were also greeted by this Tawny Eagle along the way.

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We also found this young Nyala bull enjoying his breakfast.

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The Sabie River bridge crossing was really quiet with reference to game, however we were stopped by several of our feathered friends for a chat. Here are some of them.

First in line was this Grey Heron as lookout.

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This little Wire-tailed Swallow gave us permission to cross the bridge.

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We also game across this Pied Kingfisher busy hunting.

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Three Egyptian Geese were quarreling about whom should show the way.

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We also came across this lonely terrapin.

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It is any birders wish to find one new lifer, so just imagine how we felt to find three lifers.

First was this African Openbill.

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Then this Black-winged Stilt.

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And last but not least, this Wood Sandpiper

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To be continued…..

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