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 Post subject: barryels' awful start to a wonderful KNP trip: Jan. '14
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:56 am 
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For all the ‘mites who waited for a report back on the Els household’s January 2014 Kruger trip, the day has arrived :dance: .

DAY1: 7 JANUARY 2014

As we all know, packing is one of the most important stages in the life of mankind to ensure a wonderful vacation without any hiccups.

As in any other household (hopefully) a neatly printed list, detailing everything that must go with is drawn up weeks before the big day.

In the Els household there are five stages in preparing for the big day:

The first stage is to buy the groceries for the trip and pack it in neatly labeled carrying bags, days in advance of leaving. This will also include the packing of cutlery, pots and pans etc. that is kept in the Kruger cupboard as we call it.

The second stage is to buy everything that should go into cool bags (meat, cheese, eggs etc.). The meat is vacuum packed before everything is stored in a fridge and freezer days in advance of leaving.

The third stage (day before departure) is when we take the four legged kids to the kennels for their vacation.

The fourth stage (day before departure) is to pack our clothing etc. that should go with. It is during the stage that the cameras, binoculars, chargers etc are also put together in the study.

The fifth stage happens on the morning of departure when everything is loaded into the bakkie and everything on the neatly printed list is ticked off to ensure that nothing is left behind.

All of the above happened during this trip, except that I decided to leave the one camera and video camera, which is locked in the safe at home.

It was a beautiful morning when we left at 4am for Kruger. Due to the fact that the building sector in SA was still on vacation, we did not even have any problems with the stop and goes between Nelspruit and Malelane. We arrived in Malelane at 08:00 and had our breakfast as we normally do, before re-filling with fuel before we leave for Malelane gate.

We went through the booking in process with ease and then as we always do, prepare to enter Kruger by taking out the binoculars and cameras and to fit the yellow ribbon to the right-hand side rearview mirror.
It was during this process that the start of a wonderful first day in Kruger changed into one of the most awful days in the history of mankind.

As I reached into the back seat of the double cab to get Hilda’s 120 x 500 mm sigma lens to fit to her camera, it was with a shock of horror that it flashes through my mind that I never took out the lens from the safe at home during the fourth stage of the packing process :shock: . It was as if someone emptied a bucket of ice water over my head and I did not even told Hilda yet :big_eyes: . The only lens in her bag was an 18 x 55 that came with the camera :doh: .

Needless to say Hilda was not a happy chappy without a proper lens and 10 days to go in Kruger.

So we set off on our quest with two cell phones, a camera with an 18x55 lens and my camera with a 18 x 250 sigma lens.

Hope you guys have your magnifying glasses ready for this trip :D .

Our first 4 night stay was at Olifants and a long way to go.

Our first sighting of the trip was a family of warthogs enjoying the lush green grass after the rains.

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Then we had to stop for this little guy to cross the road.

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Our first sighting of the Big 5 was the backside of an ellie.

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It was clear that the rain during December changed the park completely, when we found this Buff enjoying the water in a normally dry riverbed.

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Our next sighting was a giraffe family enjoying some lush green leaves.

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We also manage to see no 3 of the Big 5, Mr. Rhino far off in the bush. It was also strange to see so many Marabou Storks this year. We saw a flock of 12 in a riverbed but no chance of getting a proper photo with the cameras we had.

We also came across this Nyala bull enjoying the very green grass along the road.

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We arrived at Skukuza for our first leg stretch and a visit to the shops.

To be continued…..

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 Post subject: Re: An awful start to another wonderful KNP trip: January 20
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:07 pm 
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Thanks you for all your sympathy with Barry about the lens everybody! We were both in total shock about it, but by the time we reached Olifants Camp and I have dried my tears, I slowly but surely have taken his camera. Since he was doing all the driving, I was doing him a favour anyway, because he didn't have to worry about taking photos as well, right? :tongue:

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 Post subject: Re: An awful start to another wonderful KNP trip: January 20
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 5:38 am 
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We left Skukuza refreshed and looking forward to what Kruger will show us on our way to Olifants. We saw a lot of general game along the way, but to far for photos to show.

Along the way we found our first Lilac-breasted Roller of the trip. It was a bit overcast and photographing them against the sky was not easy.

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We arrived at Kumana Dam and found these two Comb Ducks and a Black-headed Heron, keeping each other company.

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We also found some Waterbuck enjoying the greenery next to the dam.

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We saw a big bird in a tree next to the dam and captured our first Fish Eagle of the trip. This was a Juvenile calling his mom repeatedly.

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Near Satara we came across these Buffs and a Wartie that enjoyed a natural waterhole that was formed by the rains.

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The following is a picture taken from the road to the webcam at Satara to show how green it actually was.

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After a quick break at Satara we were on our last leg to Olifants. Our first sighting was this Wartie that looked like a Buff from the corner of one’s eye.

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Our next sighting was these two Blue Wildebeest that looked as if they were discussing if they should join the impis or zebbies at Satara.

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Not far from them we found our first Kori Bustard.

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We also came across an Ellie, some Zebbies.

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Our next sighting was this most interesting Red-crested Korhaan with its unique start up action call. It was wonderful to see so many of them next to the road this year. Here is a sequence of photos taken during its calling process.

First the “cluck-cluck” sound that sounds like somebody that knocks on a door.

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Then the start of the call and during the call.

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The following is a picture of the Olifants River taken at the bridge. There were much more water flowing than during our October 2013 visit.

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Our last sighting was this little leopard tortoise next to the road.

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We arrived at the temporary reception office at Olifants which was helpful as always. We were allocated unit no. 10 with a beautiful view of the Olifants River from the stoep. There was no time for any photos, because unpacking had to be done and lighting of the fire to get dinner ready.

As a result of the mishap with the lens, I decided to google for lens suppliers at Phalaborwa. Yes I thought it will be a good idea to buy a new lens if at all possible and found a supplier who advertised all types of lenses. With the info ready it was clear that we will drive to Phala the next day.

We were through the shower and off to bed in a flash after a long day of 13 hours. (I was lucky not to have to sleep on the mat on the stoep :roll: )

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 Post subject: Re: An awful start to another wonderful KNP trip: January 20
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 1:24 pm 
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My apologies for letting you guys in the lurch before starting with the second day’s report back, but sometimes you have to attend to really important matters on the forums.

Without further ado, let us continue with the trip.

Day 2: 8 January 2014

We were already up at 03:00 and were out of the gate by 04:30. My camera was high-jacked by a blond lady in the passenger seat so I could concentrate on driving and listen for “stop!, back a bit; forward a bit and turn to the right a bit, the side view mirror is blocking the view!”.

I also had enough time to pray that all the sightings should be close today :pray: .

It was really overcast and the photo of our first sunrise in Kruger looked like this. It was still a beautiful sight.

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We stopped at the Olifants lookout and captured mom and baby hippo returning back to the water after their grazing night out. The pictures look better with a magnifying glass.

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With nothing else to look at, we set off on our journey to Phalaborwa. We were greeted by this little steenbok along the way.

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Next were these zebbies right next to the road.

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The next picture is one of Hilda’s most loved trees in Kruger, a baobab of course.

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It was amazing to drive along the gravel road and experience a wonderful green Kruger. I stopped at a causeway that is normally bone dry, but as a result of all the rain it was filled to the brim with a hippo that made this bit of water his new home for the time being.

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As luck would have it, all our sightings were on the left of the road thus far today. Just as we were busy leaving the causeway, Hilda captured this Reed Cormorant.

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As we drove along the Letaba River we caught a glimpse of the river and could not believe that it was as full as the next picture shows.

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Our next sighting was this beautiful bird. It was a Fish Eagle and Hilda’s most loved bird in Kruger.

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I saw something tiny crossing the road and stopped to give the little guy time to get out of harm’s way. It was a little terrapin, approximately two centimeters in diameter :dance: .

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This sighting was followed by a little impi and I remember that we both said that this trip might be the trip that we will meet all the little “people” of Kruger :D .

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We reached Letaba and it was time for a body break and some leg stretching before we will set off to Phalaborwa on our quest to find a lens for Hilda’s camera.

To be continued…..

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 Post subject: Re: An awful start to another wonderful KNP trip: January 20
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 5:20 pm 
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It was not long before we hit the road on our way to Phalaborwa.

Our first sighting was this European Roller.

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It was really a quiet morning and I decided to stop at Nhlangaini Dam. We only saw some hippos in the water and this Fish Eagle on the bank, staring at the water.

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We left the dam and down the tar road we were met by yet another Red-crested Korhaan with that unique call.

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It seems that it will be another birdie day today when our next sighting was a lonely Bateleur that greeted us.

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The Bateleur sighting was followed by this Tawny Eagle.

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At Erfplaas water hole we captured this windmill that was occupied by some birdies.

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As we came around a bend in the road we saw a car standing in the road and as we came closer, we saw a not so happy ellie in the middle of the road. The driver of the car told us that he already waited 45 minutes for the ellie to leave the road, but he refuses to give way. While we waited for him to end his antics, you can see that he is in must. Both of us stayed put, until he decided after about 15 minutes to leave the road and disappear into the brush.

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Our last sighting before we reached Phalaborwa gate was this pair of African Hawk Eagles.

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The second one was caught just before take-off and just after take-off. Really a great sequence captured by Hilda with a camera that she is not used to.

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We entered Phalaborwa without a map or GPS to find the supplier that advertised the lenses on his website. My plan was to drive to the nearest shopping centre and start looking for the supplier that can save my bacon. We entered a shop that displayed some cameras in the window and my heart pounded at the thought that this shop might have the lens I needed.

The friendly lady behind the counter confirmed that she does not have the lens in stock, but she can help me by ordering the specific lens and will only take three months to get it from her supplier in Pretoria :doh: .

After the third shop with the same answer the clerk guided me to the supplier on the website. Just turn right, then left and at the stop, left again at the next stop and then right again and sir will find the shop on your left. This was the last chance to redeem myself, so we were off in a flash because we lose Kruger time.

We found the shop but it was strange when we entered to see so many photo copy machines around. No, said the lady at the counter, “we only sell photo copy machines these days, but we can order you the lens if you wish to do so”. Needless to say I had no plan to get out of my predicament anymore and felt like waving the white flag :tongue: .

It is during times like these that men think back at the wonderful marriage they had and …., when Hilda turned to me and calmly replied that she is getting quite used to the high jacked camera and that we should get back to Kruger asap :dance: .

To be continued…..

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 Post subject: Re: An awful start to another wonderful KNP trip: January 20
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We were back at the gate in a flash and were all eyes to find some cats :roll: . Our first sighting was not a cat but close to it by name, a leopard tortoise.

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Around the next bend in the road we had to give way for these two elegant longlegs to cross the road.

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Our first birdie of the afternoon was this Lilac-breasted Roller.

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Our next sighting was this Red-billed Hornbill pair.

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It was just birdies all around us and the next birdie was this Juvenile Bateleur who greeted us.

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We also drove past this beautiful plant that we think is a River Lily.

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We visited the Masorini Archaeological Site and found this Mocking-cliff Chat busy building a nest at an overhanging rock where the arrow is pointed towards. Another lifer for us :dance: .

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Our next sighting was only the second of the big 5 for the day. It was quite a large herd of Buffs that entertained us with looks of “what are you looking at”.

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We stopped at Nhlangaini Dam again and found this hippo mum with her little one on the edge of the dam grazing..

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Just before we entered Letaba camp for a quick body break we saw this Ground Hornbill scanning the bush from a tree.

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After a short leg stretch and topping up with cool drinks, we decided to go North along the H1-6 to try and find some cats and to see if the river was still flowing as a result of the rains during December.
Our first sighting was this Zebbie with her youngster enjoying the lush green grass along the road. He was standing as if on show, competing for the Kruger first prize.

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We turned into one of the loops and was surprised at the water level of the Letaba. The last time we stopped in the same loop we took pictures of two male lions crossing the river. No chance of that this time around. This was the view we had of the river.

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Here are some hippos enjoying the high water level.

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Here is another angle of the Letaba River.

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We were sitting there and just taking in the beautiful scenery for some time before we left on the last leg of the day’s trip.

To be continued…..

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 Post subject: Re: An awful start to another wonderful KNP trip: January 20
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It was so wonderful to just sit there in the shade of the tree and listen to all the sounds of the bush, whilst looking over a full Letaba River. It was, however, time to leave for Olifants.

As I was about to turn the ignition this guy came around the bush to get some shade as well. It was none other than Mr. Hadeda Ibis.

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Our next sighting was these young impala that still forms part of the crèche in the herd. They are just so cute.

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The next sighting was this little Steenbuck, all ears.

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Our next sighting was three Kori Bustards. This was a first for us on the trip.

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We were quite fortunate to see two Sharpe's Grysbok during this trip. Our next two sightings both were Grysbokkies. The first one, a female, turned sideways as if to say “now just take a picture of my best side and move on” :roll:

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The second one also thinks she is too beautiful for words.

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The next moment our drive was interrupted by this funny chameleon, crossing the road.

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We had a quick stop at the N’wamanzi Lookout to take a picture of the Olifants River to show how full this river was as well.

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As we left for camp we came across another Red-crested Korhaan busy with its unique call. Here is a series of pictures taken by Hilda.

The first step sounds like somebody knocks on a door.

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The second step is when he starts with his unique call.

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The last step is when he is in full swing.

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During the day we found a few Yellow-billed kites that patrolled the tar roads for something to eat. Here is one caught in the act.

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We also captured this Red-backed Shrike along the road.

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Our last sighting of the day was these two Warties, doing what Warties do best.

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I had time to take some pictures in camp before we start dinner.

This is the view from our stoep of the Olifants River.

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I also caught this little Ground Squirrel, patrolling the parking area.

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This Red-billed Hornbill was sitting on the bakkie, admiring himself in the window.

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Here he was scanning the grass for some insects.

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I think everybody will agree that a perfect day in Kruger should end with a beautiful sunset before you start up the braai with something cold in your hand and chatting about the sightings of the day. Here are two pictures of the sunset on our second day in Kruger.

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Although we did not get a lens for Hilda’s camera, it was another awesome day in Kruger. It will be our first of a few mini meets during this trip, starting off with Heksie at Satara tomorrow, so off to bed for some shut eye and looking forward to our trip the next day. Maybe we will see some cats tomorrow.

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 Post subject: Re: An awful start to another wonderful KNP trip: January 20
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DAY 3: 9 JANUARY 2014

It was still overcast this morning and taking birdie pictures today will again be a challenge. We also decided to leave a little bit later in the mornings as a result of the cloudy skies. We will drive south to Satara this morning to meet up with Heksie and her mom and sister.

After packing the needs for the day (yes isinkwe, Hilda had the camera) I made use of the opportunity to take a picture of a Red-winged Starling getting ready for the day.

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This is how we saw the sun rising this morning.

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We were on the road at 05:45 and the first residents to greet us were a zebbie family.

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Then it was mummy impala with her little one.

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Before the S92 turnoff we were greeted by our first sight of hyena for the trip.

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While driving along the S92 we encountered some very light rain. It was wonderful to enjoy the bush with fresh air all around.

We were also happy to see our first scrub hare of the trip.

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We also met up with Mr. Longneck along the way enjoying the lush leaves after the rains.

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Then we were spoiled by another scrub hare sighting. This little guy was busy toweling down the rain drops from his ears.

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Our next sighting was these yellow-billed Storks brushing and combing themselves to get ready for the day.

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We really enjoy the bush in its entirety and wish to share this Wild Spearmint, also called Horse Mint with you.

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Our next resident of the Park was this beautiful kudu lady.

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A bit further down the road we came across another Red-crested Korhaan that gave us so many laughs during this trip with their unique way of communicating. It seems like they were waiting for us to arrive and then start with that wonderful calling sequence that looks like this.

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Our next sighting was this little Pearl-spotted Owlet. The light was really bad and this is only as proof that we actually saw one.

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Our last sighting of the morning before we stopped for a cuppa and some rusks was this young leopard tortoise.

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To be continued…..

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 Post subject: Re: An awful start to another wonderful KNP trip: January 20
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With tummies filled we were on our way to enjoy the wonderful world of being in and with nature that we enjoy so much.

We stopped on the bridge at Olifants and were greeted by our first African Spoonbill of the trip. What an interesting bird to watch when feeding.

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We also saw these Yellow-billed Storks in the company of a Black-headed Heron.

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Hilda also photographed the bird she loves so much, her Fish Eagle scanning the water for breakfast.

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As we cross the bridge we were greeted by yet another Red-crested Korhaan (felt like impi sightings to us).

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At this point I wondered if this will be another birdie day without cats again. I was still with my thoughts when we came across this Swainson’s Spurfowl, posing nicely for us.

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We just cannot pass impi’s without taking a picture of them. Here is another family with some not so little ones.

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It was such a beautiful day with the rain that washed away all the dust from the plants. This ellie thought that he was small enough to hide from us behind a bush.

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There were so many plants that were in bloom, that we just had to capture it on camera to share with you. Our first plant with its beautiful purple flowers looks like a lesser Bellflower. (Lucky we have lemonbalm on board to help us with all these names) :hmz: .

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And the next one with the yellow flowers we think is Vlei Orchids.

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We arrived at the Shipembama weir where you can sit for a full day and just enjoy the silence and listen to all the birds and enjoy the animals that visit to quench their thirst.

Here is a picture to get you in the mood :dance: .

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We also took a picture of a lone hippo that occupied the weir that was filled to the brim.

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Our next stop was the Bangu water hole with nobody present. (Keep your magnifying glasses ready) Hilda took a picture of some Egyptian Geese that grazed in the lush green veldt. I did put a yellow triangle around them to help you in your search :roll: .

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Lucky for us they moved closer for a better view.

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We left the water hole and along the way we saw this beautiful Long-tailed Paradise Whydah.

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The last picture before we stopped for brunch was this scenery shot just to keep you in the bus and to give some of you time to book your next trip, before we head to Satara to meet Heksie :whistle: .

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To be continued…..

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 Post subject: Re: An awful start to another wonderful KNP trip: January 20
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To make sure we will be in time for our meet with Heksie at Satara, we decided not to go via the S41 and S100 as originally planned, but rather took the S90 and then the H1-4.

Our first sighting was this Red-backed Shrike.

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Next we were greeted by this beautiful kudu bull that also enjoyed the green park as much as we do.

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We also came across some ellies along the way. Lucky for us they were a long way away.

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We enjoy driving the S90 till it meets up with the tar road and normally have some great sightings. We were once lucky to see a lioness with 4 cubs on this road some time ago. Today we only saw these two kudu bulls at the same spot.

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A little further along the road we meet a family of Blue Wildebeest with some little ones lying down in the long grass.

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Our next sighting was also a strange one, because we captured them in the veldt instead of near water. It was this flock of White Storks.

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Here they are a bit closer to us.

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The rest of our drive was without any sightings. We arrived at Satara and received a message from Heksie that they are still on the S100 and might be a bit late.

Hilda and I went to the restaurant area and sat under one of the big trees where we could see the webcam and enjoy an ice cold drink whilst waiting for Heksie, mom and sister to arrive. A few minutes later I saw a lady with a huge yellow scarf around her neck. It was none other than Heksie with our yellow ribbon draped around her neck.

We had a wonderful chat about sightings and their already long stay in Kruger since December.
Heksie showed us all her snake sightings that we really enjoyed :shock: .

We also tested the restaurant food by ordering something to eat and found the food and service not bad at all. It is unbelievable how time flies when you enjoy each other’s company.

It was already 15:00 when we decided it is time to say our goodbyes (3 hours later) :shock: .

Before we hit the road I just had to take a picture of the resident African Scops-Owl of Satara.

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To be continued…..

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 Post subject: Re: An awful start to another wonderful KNP trip: January 20
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We left Satara with the hope to bring you some pictures of the big 5, especially cats. With the third day close to its end, we still have not laid eyes on any cat :doh: .

Our first sighting on our way back to camp was this Female Red-backed Shrike.

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Our next sighting was this Southern Carmine Bee-eater.

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With no cats or general game around we had a great time with bird sightings. This next bird is one of my favourite birds. It was this Black-shouldered Kite.

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Although we had some really special sightings later on during the trip, the next sighting was also one that we will remember for a long time. I don’t think that we could ever get closer to an African Harrier-Hawk than during this sighting. He was approximately five meters from the road and Hilda took some great pictures of him.

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It took us a few minutes to get back to reality and left the bird, still perched on the tree stump. Our next sighting was this wartie mom with her baby that did not give Hilda lots of photo opportunities, other than proof that we saw them.

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Our next sighting was yet another birdie. This time it was a Lilac-breasted Roller that showed its funny side to us.

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And then in its normal position.

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We also took a picture of one of many European Rollers that we saw during this trip. Such a beautiful bird to look at.

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Our next sighting was another bird sighting. It was a Kori Bustard.

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Our next sighting was this lady bushbuck in the long grass.

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Although our sightings were not very exiting we still enjoyed the drive and all the little things along the road. Our next sighting was this wartie that charged across the road and then stopped to look back at us to make sure that we did not follow him.

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We also came across another of the most loved little mammals in Kruger. It was this little steenbuck that poses for us.

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These two Blue Wildebeest mums with their calves tried to stay in the shade and out of the hot sun.

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Just before we got to the Olifants Bridge, Hilda captured this little Emerald-spotted Wood Dove next to the road.

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Our second last sighting of the day was our only croc for the trip. We think that the water levels had something to do with it.

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Our last sighting was also special for us because it was our first sighting of 4 Pied Kingfishers in one picture.

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These two were very vocal and we think they were discussing the best way to catch their dinner.

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With the braai lit and with this view from the stoep, how can you not be relaxed and thinking how privileged we are to be able to enjoy the bush in such a way.

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With the sun setting we finished our dinner and were off to bed. Tomorrow will be our second mini meet of the trip at Letaba with Crested Val, SO and Crested Chick. Looking forward to meet them again :D .

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 Post subject: Re: An awful start to another wonderful KNP trip: January 20
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Day 4 – 10 January 2014

We love to write our report as we encounter every day, to give ‘mites a feeling of what might be encountered when visiting Kruger at the same time as us. Every day will therefore not be as exciting as other days, but hopefully you guys and girls will still enjoy the trip with us.

Today we will be driving to Letaba for our meet with Crested Val, her SO and Crested Chick. It is always wonderful to drive on the gravel road (S44 and S46) along the Letaba River and enjoying the bush. This will be our last full day at Olifants Camp before we leave for Skukuza where we will enjoy Martie Goddard’s 50th birthday celebrations.

We could take a picture of the sunrise this morning because it was not that cloudy today. It is always great to start a day like this.

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Our first sighting of the day was this African Grey Hornbill.

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The next birdie to greet us was this Red-backed Shrike.

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It felt as if it will be another birdie day today with no sight of any four legged residents yet. Our next sighting was again a birdie. Another European Roller.

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Hilda also took a picture of this Cape Honeysuckle.

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I had to stop while this little terrapin decided to cross the road to Hilda’s side for a picture.

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Our next sighting was again one of our feathered friends. Our first Jacobin Cuckoo of the trip.

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Our first four legged sighting of the day was this spiteful kudu bull that refuses to turn around and show his face.

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Another lifer for us was this African Pied Wagtail at the top of the tree with a Golden Breasted Bunting, keeping him company.

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We also came across this White-fronted Bee-eater couple. It was yet another lifer to add to our list. Not a great picture because they were really far from us but still proof that we saw them.

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We also came across this interesting burrow next to the road. We could not see any occupants and wondered if it could be a hyena or warthog den.

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Our next sighting was this beautiful Morning Glory.

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We stopped under a shady tree on the bank of the Letaba River for coffee and rusks and enjoy the awesome scenery and silence of the bush.

To be continued…..

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 Post subject: Re: An awful start to another wonderful KNP trip: January 20
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While we were sitting there this Egyptian Goose kept us company, whilst his friends and a Blacksmith Lapwing fed on a bank in the river.

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It was time to get a move on to be in time for our meet at Letaba. Along the way this Rock Monitor crossed the road.

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We also had time to get a picture of this Southern Carmine Bee-Eater and a Yellow-billed Kite.

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Just before we turned into the Letaba tar road we met this mommy baboon with her little one clutched to her tummy for dear life.

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We had a wonderful meet with Crested Val and her family. It was also great to have met Crested Chick for the first time. Time flew by and we had to leave to give Hilda some time to prepare a three bean salad and guava pudding for 32 people who will attend Martie Goddard’s 50th birthday celebrations.

We really had a very quiet drive sighting wise back to Olifants Camp. After finishing the salad and pudding it was time to get the braai going. It was a wonderful evening on the stoep and with a sunset like this, it just cannot get any better.

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We decided to go for an early drive the next morning, before we had to pack up to move to Skukuza, to make sure that the salad and pudding is still cold and edible when we book in at 14:00 at Skukuza. We stayed on the stoep till late before we turned in for the night. Hopefully our luck will change with cat sightings tomorrow.

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 Post subject: Re: An awful start to another wonderful KNP trip: January 20
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Day 5: 11 January 2014


We woke at 04:00 and when I went to the stoep to make our first cup of coffee for the day, I could see no stars. So it will be another overcast day for us again today. We decided to drive along the S92 – S 91 and down to the bridge and on our way back to camp we will pop in at the N’wamanzi lookout.

Our first sighting of the morning was this lady kudu enjoying the morning’s fresh air.

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Next we came across these two giraffes still resting before they will start their day.

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Our first birdie of the day was a White-fronted Bee-eater.

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Our first impala of the day was this mom with her young one with its ears pointed.

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As we passed the still damaged Balule low water bridge, Hilda saw a Fish Eagle staring at the water. It was a bit far for a great picture, but here goes.

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Our next sighting was another birdie sighting. Hilda caught this tawny in the air.

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It was such a beautiful morning that I just had to capture this Glandleaf bridesbush in full bloom.

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We were both hoping to see some cats before we get back to camp, but we were only greeted by yet another birdie sighting. This time around it was a Southern Carmine Bee-eater with a juvenile.

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On our way to the Olifants Bridge we were greeted by a big herd of impala.

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The only resident in the Olifants River was this Goliath Heron.

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Hilda also took a picture of this spider, but did not want to get too close to use the macro function of the lens.

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Our next sighting was a yellow-billed Kite that got ready to patrol the tar road for breakfast.

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There was not much on the way to the lookout point. We were however surprised by this little Woodland Kingfisher.

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We had no sightings back to camp. After packing everything, including the special cargo we were ready to leave for Skukuza.

To be continued…..

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 Post subject: Re: An awful start to another wonderful KNP trip: January 20
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It was very strange to leave camp again so late in the morning. It was our first time ever and we hope this was a good omen :hmz: .

With all the trees and flowers in full bloom we just had to take a picture of this beautiful Black-eyed Bindweed.

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Our next sighting was this chameleon that was busy crossing the road.

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We also met up with one of our friendly Red-crested Korhaans during this trip.

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The only sighting till we arrived at Ngotso Dam was this ellie, enjoying the green grass of Kruger.

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We stopped at Ngotso Dam which was filled to the brim for brunch and took this picture of the hippos who made it their home again.

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With nothing else to see, we left and drive along the tar road down to Satara. It was very quiet and your only sighting along the way till we reach the Timbavati turn off was these White Storks.

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As we crossed the S90 turn off I asked Hilda if she also see the big bird nest in the dead tree about 100 meters from the road on her side of the bakkie. I stopped and we both took our binoculars to see what type of nest it was. This is what we actually saw.

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I cropped the next picture to show that we actually saw our first cat. It was quite a unique place to see the leopard on top of the only dead tree for kilometers around us with green everywhere.

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We had to stop a visitor that came from the opposite direction to show him the sighting. It went like this …. “Portuguese! No English!” With all kinds of hand signs we tried to explain to him what we are looking at. After a while he grasped what it was, and was very happy.

The last few kilometers to Satara we only came across this ellie and a little Steenbuck.

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We had a quick pit stop at Satara and I just had to take a picture of the little resident Scops before we were on the road again.

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Our first sighting when we left Satara was these two buffs enjoying the water next to the road.
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The next residents to greet us were these two waterbuck that enjoy the pond that was formed by the rain next to the road.

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We just had to take a picture of the bird I love so much. It is another Black-shouldered Kite.

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We drove in silence because the road became quiet again until we saw two cars on the left side of the road. All we could see was some thick brush about 3 meters from the side of the road and nothing else. Hilda asked one of the occupants in the first car what they were looking at. They told her that they saw a tail of some sort in the long grass. We decided to stay put and help in the search.

What happened next was just unbelievable. Although the brush was very thick, we captured the following sequence of events.

The first picture shows you a young leopard that was tired of playing hide and seeks or just became too inquisitive with the cars that close to their hideaway and clambered into the brush.

This is the picture that Hilda captured of the young leopard.

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The next moment a second young leopard also climbed into the brush with his brother/sister looking on.

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While we were still in shock about what we saw, a third young leopard also entered the scene.

There was not enough space on the branches for him/her and he/she was stuck halfway up the first branch. It was really dense from our viewpoint and the only picture as proof that we saw not one but three little leppies was the picture below. I circled the three as proof what we saw.

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I have tried all angles but to no avail. The brush was just to thick for a clear picture of all three of them.

We just had to leave the sighting with the pictures we had and a file in our brains for life.

To be continued….

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