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 Post subject: K-4S's Feb 2014 Trip report. KNP, Feb. '14
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 1:46 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2012 10:40 am
Posts: 69
Location: Johannesburg
At long last I have some time I have the opportunity to sit down and write a short trip report as promised.

We started out at Shingwedzi on 2 Feb and we were there for three nights. In my opinion this was the best part of the trip. On he first night we were only one of three units occupied in the entire camp. It was so still and quiet at night and the stars were amazing. It was so great to be there when it was so quite, tourist wise. In the three days driving around the area between Babalala and Red rocks we must have passed only 3-4 vehicles.

Our sightings up North were good. We saw a cheetah on the tar road +/- 6 km south of Babalala about 1 km south of Boyela. The elephant sightings were good as well we saw some very big elephants and were even privileged enough to see two young bulls sparring in the road at the S53 loop turn off. The bird life up North was also very good with eagle sightings as good as ever. We spotted a large Martial Eagle on the H13-2 tar road just outside Punda Maria. The day before we left to head south we again had great sightings in Eland and Tsessebe in the road between Shingwedzi and Babalala.

I once again must complement the staff at Shingwedzi for impeccable service. Everyone in the camp was more than helpful and polite. In the evenings the duty manager would even come around on her golf cart and check that we were all satisfied and discuss the days sightings. The staff at the restaurant were very friendly and always came over for a chat in the afternoons when we went to sit and watch the river go by. The accommodation we stayed in was the budget hut the EH3 number 55 and it was always spotless and the fridge ran well, this was much appreciated as we needed as much ice as possible in the day to keep cool with temperatures averaging 38.C. We also had some car trouble and the staff at the petrol station were more than willing to assist us as far as they could! Well done Shingwedzi staff you guys made it a great experience.

On the 5th we drove down to Letaba. The drive down was very scarce in terms of game and in the 110km we saw 1 elephant and a hyena. The Mopani bush was so thick from all the recent rains it was hard to see anything unless it was standing right in the road. We stopped off at Mopani to have a look at the dam and it was very full. An amazing view from the deck! and we had breakfast at Mooiplaas which was very peaceful as we were the only people there. Letaba wasn't as empty as Shingwedzi yet it was still rather quiet. We stayed in a unit overlooking the river, behind reception. The day time temperatures kept us from the car between 11am and 3pm and kept us in the pool. The game was also sparse but on the second afternoon on a trip back from Olifants on the S94 we spotted a leopard in the road just behind the camping section of Letaba, maybe +/- 20m from the fence. Unfortunately we couldn't pend much time there as we were already late for the gate closing time as we had lost track of time on the deck at Olifants.

I will follow up with the three days we spent down at Tamboti in the next message

_________________
Feb 2014
Shingwedzi | Letaba | Tamboti


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 Post subject: Re: Feb 2014 Trip report
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 9:22 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2012 10:40 am
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Location: Johannesburg
Thanks for the great responses on the first post guys! The Mopani bush was crazy!! :wall:

As for the trip down from Letaba to tamboti it was a very rainy day and one couldn't drive with the window open which was not the best. We did enjoy it however as it was the first cool day that we had since entering the park. The sightings were few and far between but they were worth it. Roughly 10km north of Satara we spotted a young giraffe attempting to mate but the female was less than willing to co operate. It was rather humourous. After a short stop at Satara we were stopped by a herd of elephant on the H7 roughly 40 strong. It took them 20 mins to all make it across the road. It has been a while since we saw such big herd that far south.

Getting closer and closer to Orpen the bush became thicker and thicker again. It was so hard to spot anything that wasn't in the road. While booking in at Orpen we saw on the sightings board that lion had been seen every day on the sunset/night drive for the last 6 days. And Cheetah had been seen the day before on the rabalias loop. For the two days we were at Tamboti it was rather quiet, we didn't see anything noteworthy. We drove our trusty Rabalais Loop every morning and afternoon and we saw nothing. In my 15+ years going to the park I have seen everything on the loop from Wild dog to Sable but unfortunately this time we had bad luck. To put it in perspective how thick the bush was: there was some grass about 100m from the Tamboti gate that was taller than our Vehicle (a 2010 Corsa Bakkie). :big_eyes:

All in all it was a good trip and it is always counted a win just to be in the Park - especially up North!

A week later my sister and her husband were at Tamboti for 4 nights and they saw Cheetah, Lion and wild dog on the Rabalias Loop so it seems as if she had the family luck with her... Till next time 8)

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Feb 2014
Shingwedzi | Letaba | Tamboti


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