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Makuleke Mission

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Johan van Rensburg
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Makuleke Mission

Unread post by Johan van Rensburg » Wed Jan 27, 2016 11:07 am

In the 2015 Balule Bash report-back I have referred to my Kruger birding activities undergoing a bit of a change this year. Over the last eight years I have arranged and participated in nine Balule Bashes. That is enough for now... (got THAT T-shirt!) My Kruger Park birding plan for 2016 is a Bash-like stint in the Makuleke Consession (the far northern part of the Kruger National Park between the Limpopo and Levuhu Rivers) from 28 to 31 October with super-guide Brenden Pienaar. We have dubbed this outing the Manic Makuleke Mission. Like with the Balule Bashes places for only 8 people are available per Mission.

The weekend we reserved for the first Mission is at the beginning of “peak season” for birding in the northern parts of Kruger NP. The species that serve as drawcards: the pennant-winged nightjar would just have arrived and I hope to find a spot where we can see the male’s spectacular display flight; some cuckoos and many raptors should enrich our chase of the specials resident in this area. The targeted attractions are: Senegal Coucal, Grey-headed and Meyers Parrots, Lemon-breasted Canary, three-banded Courser, Pel’s Fishing Owl, Racket-tailed Roller, Arnot’s Chat, Dickenson’s Kestrel, Bohm’s Spinetail, African Yellow White-eye and Black-throated Wattle-eye. I’m sure it is not too much of a stretch for some of the more exotic non-migratory birds like Narina trogon, Miombo blue-eared starling, plain-backed sunbird, orange-winged pytilia, the twinspots, black-faced and orange-breasted waxbills and maybe even African broadbill to make it onto the Manic Makuleke Mission list of sightings…

Accommodation would be in the unfenced but comfortable Makuleke Trails tented camp neatly situated near the banks of the Luvuvhu River. The bush camps move around to lessen the long-term impact on any particular area, but great scenic sites are always chosen. Accommodation at these spots comprises spacious two-person tents, comfortable beds with bedding supplied, en suite chemical toilet and separate hot water shower facilities.

Catering is undertaken by the 5-star Pafuri Lodge and I can assure you of a culinary treat in the bush! Most days will revolve around a solid morning walk in search of specials and an afternoon birding drive with scenic sundowners. We will also visit some of the places in the Concession that have a reputation for its spectacular vistas. The incredibly stunning panoramas of the fever tree dominated floodplains between the Limpopo and Levuhu Rivers will often serve as the habitat for many of the bird species we will be looking for.

We will also make a trip to Lanner Gorge, cut by the Levuhu River to a depth of 150m over a distance of 11km in granite formed by an ancient desert that existed in the middle of the super-continent Pangea. The geology of the Gorge is extraordinary. The upper parts of the Gorge is relatively young (less that 2M years) and contains the raw material for Stone Age implements that was used extensively, especially for the manufacture of hand axes of which there are many examples laying about.

In my experience Brenden’s skill/reputation as a KNP bird guide is unequalled. He will once again deliver the goods on this ground-breaking birding event where we will have access to all areas in the Concession, “off limits” to people not staying at the Concession Lodges.

Anyone interested to participate in one of the Makuleke Missions just requires sending me your email address per PM and we can take it from there…
728 Latest lifers: Hartlaub's babbler, Coppery-tailed coucal, Red-billed spurfowl, White-browed coucal, Scharlow's turaco, Copper sunbird, Long-toed lapwing, Eastern bronze-naped pigeon, Malagasy pond heron, Soft-plumaged petrel, Orange-winged pytilia.

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hilda
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Re: Makuleke Mission

Unread post by hilda » Wed Jan 27, 2016 12:07 pm

This sounds absolutely wonderful Johan! All the best with the Manic Makuleke Mission, which I think will be fully booked for 2016 in no time! :dance: :dance:
"It always seems impossible until it is done." - Nelson Mandela.

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Re: Makuleke Mission

Unread post by chirinda » Wed Jan 27, 2016 8:11 pm

Oooooooooh ........... :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

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Tessa G
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Re: Makuleke Mission

Unread post by Tessa G » Wed Jan 27, 2016 9:24 pm

VERY :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
Current TR: The Awakening of a Parched Kruger - Tessa & Dave Dec 2016/17
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Re: Makuleke Mission

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Thu Jan 28, 2016 7:22 am

:D :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance:
The bird doesn't sing because it has answers, it sings because it has a song.

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Johan van Rensburg
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Re: Makuleke Mission

Unread post by Johan van Rensburg » Sat Jan 30, 2016 10:00 am

The first Manic Makuleke Mission sold out in the blink of an eye... Looks like we will have to look at another opportunity for the many 'mites that sent me PMs but didn't make it onto the inaugural Mission... If something materialises, I'll post the news here.
728 Latest lifers: Hartlaub's babbler, Coppery-tailed coucal, Red-billed spurfowl, White-browed coucal, Scharlow's turaco, Copper sunbird, Long-toed lapwing, Eastern bronze-naped pigeon, Malagasy pond heron, Soft-plumaged petrel, Orange-winged pytilia.

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Re: Makuleke Mission

Unread post by hilda » Sat Jan 30, 2016 2:39 pm

I want to say something, and I'm going to say it Johan .... I've told you so! :dance: :dance:
"It always seems impossible until it is done." - Nelson Mandela.

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Albert
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Re: Makuleke Mission

Unread post by Albert » Tue Sep 13, 2016 9:47 am

The 'Mission is approaching.... :lol: :lol:

Just 40 days before we leave home.... :dance: (that number brings back memories ... :shock: )
Latest lifers: Grey-backed Cisticola, Ludwig's Bustard, Tractrac Chat, African Reed Warbler, Black-bellied Starling, Plain-backed Pipit, Common Buttonquail, Cutthroat Finch, Freckled Nightjar

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Re: Makuleke Mission

Unread post by hilda » Tue Sep 13, 2016 12:43 pm

Time really flies! Hope you will find the Cape Eagle-Owl Albert! :dance: :dance:
"It always seems impossible until it is done." - Nelson Mandela.

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Johan van Rensburg
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Re: Makuleke Mission

Unread post by Johan van Rensburg » Sat Sep 17, 2016 1:21 pm

40 days... To get BACK!! :lol: Kind of... No Balule Bash this year. But, I expect the Mission in all aspects to take over as the No 1 Stiffnecks outing to the great KNP.

Anyhow, I'll post an update later this week after I've had a powwow with our guiding team on this trip.

Bushie Baptiste and I will again pool our resources as Team OF with two pre-mission days at Mopani. This year we will not spend extra time in Kruger after our Siffie event, but, on special request (read: long-ago promises come to roost) I will be 'guiding' Mr Baptiste to the delights of northern Zululand, using St Lucia as our base. THAT story we will relate on the Stiffie page.

My heart rate excellerates just thinking of this outing... Maybe it is old age taking its toll, :lol:

Much looking forward to birding with some of the repeat Stiffneckers as well as sharing space with a new couple.

The Cape eagle-owl is not likely to make an appearance at the Mission, but some other very special owls are on the menu! :twisted:
728 Latest lifers: Hartlaub's babbler, Coppery-tailed coucal, Red-billed spurfowl, White-browed coucal, Scharlow's turaco, Copper sunbird, Long-toed lapwing, Eastern bronze-naped pigeon, Malagasy pond heron, Soft-plumaged petrel, Orange-winged pytilia.

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Johan van Rensburg
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Re: Makuleke Mission

Unread post by Johan van Rensburg » Tue Sep 20, 2016 3:46 pm

So, I had a talk with Wayne and laid down the law: we must make BIG waves in the birding world with this, the first exclusively birding 'walk' in the Consession. :lol:

We discussed an itinerary - Wayne is in the busy part of his guiding season, but promised to produce a basic Mission plan for when we will do what by next week. Obviously the venues like Lanner Gorge, the Levuhu/Limpopo Confluence (opposite Crooks Corner), the fever tree forest; and especially some of the Limpopo floodplains (if we get rain soon) will take center stage. Also having a major influence on the trip structure would be finding the area specials like Arnold’s chat, racket-tailed roller, Pel’s fishing owl, Bohm’s Spinetail, African yellow white-eye, Senegal Coucal, Grey-headed and Meyers Parrot, Lemon-breasted Canary and three-banded Courser.

We talked about the Hot stuff - with a week or so to go Wayne will tap into his network of specialists and guides working in that Consession for news of some specials. I'm hoping for things to pop up like a pennant-winged nightjar stake-out; I'm sure it is not too much of a stretch for some of the more exotic non-migratory birds like Narina trogon, Miombo blue-eared starling, plain-backed sunbird, orange-winged pytilia, the twinspots, black-faced and orange-breasted waxbills and maybe even African broadbill to make it onto the Manic Makuleke Mission list of sightings…

Like Albert said the other day: we have reached the 40 days stage... The remaining time will fly like a swooping falcon and before long we will be meeting as the first-ever manic Makuleke Missionaries for a birding trip of a lifetime!

I will write another update note soon... Hope this one gets you as excited as I am right now!
Last edited by Johan van Rensburg on Wed Sep 21, 2016 6:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
728 Latest lifers: Hartlaub's babbler, Coppery-tailed coucal, Red-billed spurfowl, White-browed coucal, Scharlow's turaco, Copper sunbird, Long-toed lapwing, Eastern bronze-naped pigeon, Malagasy pond heron, Soft-plumaged petrel, Orange-winged pytilia.

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Re: Makuleke Mission

Unread post by hilda » Tue Sep 20, 2016 4:44 pm

I am lost for words with excitement Johan! This sounds absolutely fantastic, and I can't wait for the "Mission" to start! :clap: :clap:

Johan van Rensburg wrote:So, I had a talk with Wayne and laid down the law: we must make BIG waves in the birding world with this, the first exclusively birding 'walk' in the Consession.


No doubt about the BIG waves! :dance: :dance:

We will just miss you, returning home on 29 October 2016 after our visit in the Northern parts of Kruger! :D
"It always seems impossible until it is done." - Nelson Mandela.

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Johan van Rensburg
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Re: Makuleke Mission

Unread post by Johan van Rensburg » Tue Sep 20, 2016 5:27 pm

Northern parts :shock: Where and when... If possible we MUST make plans for a rendezvous, hilda.
728 Latest lifers: Hartlaub's babbler, Coppery-tailed coucal, Red-billed spurfowl, White-browed coucal, Scharlow's turaco, Copper sunbird, Long-toed lapwing, Eastern bronze-naped pigeon, Malagasy pond heron, Soft-plumaged petrel, Orange-winged pytilia.

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Re: Makuleke Mission

Unread post by hilda » Wed Sep 21, 2016 11:40 am

That would be very nice Johan! We will be three nights at each of the following camps:

Letaba - 17 - 19/10/2016
Punda Maria - 20 - 22/10/2016
Shingwedzi - 23 - 25/10/2016
Mopani - 26 - 28/10/2016, returning home on the 29th.

According to your first post, the Manic Makuleke Mission takes place from 28 - 31 October, and with this quote in mind,

Johan van Rensburg wrote:Bushie Baptiste and I will again pool our resources as Team OF with two pre-mission days at Mopani.


you and BB will be at Mopani at the same time as us (26th and 27th). We will be in chalet no. 47, and we could have dinner in the restaurant, one or both evenings, or we could braai. :dance: :dance:
"It always seems impossible until it is done." - Nelson Mandela.

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Johan van Rensburg
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Re: Makuleke Mission

Unread post by Johan van Rensburg » Wed Sep 21, 2016 11:51 am

You see! I'll have to find out from Bushy which chalet we got. And I agree with you about the restaurant... It is the best in all of Kruger, very much a treat not to be missed. So, we have a date? :thumbs_up:
728 Latest lifers: Hartlaub's babbler, Coppery-tailed coucal, Red-billed spurfowl, White-browed coucal, Scharlow's turaco, Copper sunbird, Long-toed lapwing, Eastern bronze-naped pigeon, Malagasy pond heron, Soft-plumaged petrel, Orange-winged pytilia.


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