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MLAMBANE KRUGER TRIP- 19 DEC- 6 JAN 2008

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MLAMBANE
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MLAMBANE KRUGER TRIP- 19 DEC- 6 JAN 2008

Unread post by MLAMBANE » Wed Jan 09, 2008 4:33 pm

Our annual December trip to the park had finally come...

Arriving at Malelane Gate couldn't have been any better, wow what a relief it was to be out of joburg!

Our first 3 nights were at Biyamiti 19 (My Birthday :mrgreen: )-22Dec

The veld was thick and very green, every 100m or so there was a mud wallow filled with dirty rainwater...

Spotting wasn't going to be easy at all.

Nevertheless we managed to find two young male lions on the S26- Biyamiti loop road, and 2 lionesses hunting on the S25 Malelane-Croc-bridge Rd (5km East of the Biyamiti 4Km turnoff)

The bird life was great. Found this White-backed vulture on the Biyamiti 18Km road to the weir.

Image

22Dec- off to the Frankel Guest house Satara :mrgreen:

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MLAMBANE
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Unread post by MLAMBANE » Wed Jan 09, 2008 4:58 pm

We had a long drive to satara where we were to spend 5 nights at the Frankel guest house.

22-27Dec

The Frankel Guest house was amazing :clap: , what a place to be at over Christmas!

22nd-On our first night the resident Satara lion pride made there presence known by roaring continuously until the sun had fully set.

The resident Large spotted Genets visited us from that night on hoping for any leftovers - which they never got :twisted:

Game spotting around Satara was great, with large herds of zebras, wildebeests, impala, giraffe, buffalo and the odd steenbokkie :D The predators, therefore, had to be around!

23rd- 04:30 at the camp #9 in the cue :(

We decided to take the S126 Sweni Rd.
After no more than 4km a car was stopped (Which happened to be the car of Boorgatspook :mrgreen: ) at a male Cheetah hunting in the open plains. We stayed with him for an hour but luck wasn't in his favour :(

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24th- 04:30 again somewhere around #9

Took the tar Rd to Olifants and found 4 Hyenas and 2 mature Male lions 1km outside of Olifants- where we once again bumped into Boorgatspook :mrgreen: .

27th- Off to Orpen Cheetah Cottage

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Boorgatspook
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Unread post by Boorgatspook » Wed Jan 09, 2008 5:24 pm

Hi, Mlambane! Thought your name rings a bell :lol: I've talked to your father at the lion sighting at Olifants. And so we bumped into each other at two great sightings, although the lions were a bit into the bush and not so clearly visible.Your cheetah pic is awesome :clap: Hope there's more awesome sightings to come!

@ p@m: :lol: Isn't it just great how forumites bump into each other at awesome sightings and other times when sightings are slow, makes a trip so much more special!!

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MLAMBANE
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Unread post by MLAMBANE » Wed Jan 09, 2008 5:30 pm

Soz, forgot to mention that we did the Mananga Adventure trail from Satara which was fantastic- Uitstekend!

How peaceful, saw all of the general game as well as Buffalo, Rhino and this huge elephant Bull...

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Orpen Cheetah cottage 27Dec-4Jan

27th- The trip from Satara to Orpen was pretty dry.

Got some nice sightings of Carmine, White-fronted, European and Little Bee-eaters as well as a Knob-billed duck.

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On our afternoon drive we found Two old male lions at the Rabelais turnoff 7Km from Orpen.

28th- 04:30 My brother and I took the tar rd to Satara and 4Km out of the Camp found the 2 old males on the Rd - WOW! At such close quarters the size of male lions never ceases to amaze me!

When we returned to boast about our sighting my mother dampened our excitement by telling us that while we were out there was another male lion roaring at the waterhole in front of the camp!

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Unread post by MLAMBANE » Wed Jan 09, 2008 5:46 pm

So true BGS!

If you had have waited 10mins longer this is what u would have seen...

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There were 2 of the beauties actually :mrgreen:

They came onto the Rd and roared and marked their territory vigorously!

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Unread post by MLAMBANE » Wed Jan 09, 2008 5:55 pm

29th- 04:30 #1 at the gate :mrgreen:

Took the S39 Timbavati Rd, spotted 1 male lion and that was that for Timbavati.

Then took the S127 onto the tar Rd going towards Satara, 2km down this Rd we found 11 lions on the Rd... a strong healthy looking pride! :mrgreen:

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Later 2km after the Nsemani dam saw 2 male lions and 1 female about 50m into the bush.

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Unread post by MLAMBANE » Wed Jan 09, 2008 6:15 pm

30th- 04:30 #1 at the gate :mrgreen:

Got 5 Cheetahs (mother and 4 sub-adults) at the Maroela/Tomboti turnoff. ( Too dark for any pics :( )

Awesome! they sat in the road for a while then went chasing a herd of impala deep into the veld...

31St- Eish what a day!

04:00 Woken up by a male lion roaring at the camp fence :D

Found 5 lions at the nsemani dam (2 Males & 3 Females)

Found 4 lions 500m from Satara camp ( 2 Males & 3 Females)

That was it for the morning drive :mrgreen:

Didn't see much on Rabelais dirt Rd that afternoon, but as we got to camp 3 Male lions crossed the road no more than 50m from the Orpen gate.

The 3 ambled over to the Orpen waterhole and roared the whole night into the new year :mrgreen: - NOT A BAD START AT ALL!!!!!

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Unread post by MLAMBANE » Wed Jan 09, 2008 6:32 pm

1st Jan 2008

04:30- #1 at the gate

Took the S36 Rd to Muzandzeni and 1km from the picnic site we got 5 lions ( 2 Males & 3 Females)

This pride consisted of a mating pair, which we watched for hours without being disturbed by a huge traffic jam.

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Saw the same lions later on, on our afternoon drive :D

2nd Jan

Not much animal activity today :(

However, I met a very proud Herman (fellow forum member) whose daughter got straight A's in her matric finals :clap:

I also met Wild Child at a potential leopard sighting, which by the way, never got past the potential part :twisted:

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MLAMBANE
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Unread post by MLAMBANE » Wed Jan 09, 2008 6:49 pm

3rd Jan

04:30 #1 at the gate

Took the S36 to Muzandzeni again and found the same mating pair as before.

Then took the Sweni rd.
20km later saw a young male lion lying in the Rd...

Image

Took the Rd to talamati on the way home and found a Side- striped Jackal :mrgreen:

4th-6th Jan at Skukuza

4th- saw a black rhino on one of the omrits along the H4-1

5th 04:30 #3 at gate

My brother and I took the S30 and 10km into the Salitje drive, while weaving through a herd of about 100 impalas, i spotted a female leopard no more than 5m from the impalas lying in the crouch position...
Unfortunately the impalas caught wind of her and sounded their alarm... it was all over for the leopard and she disappeared into the bush.

On the evening drive saw another leopard and 4 more lions on theS65.

Additional special sightings were:

African Wildcat
Civet

If anything else comes to mind I will update the post, and send more pics as well...

that was it for this trip :mrgreen:

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Herman
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Unread post by Herman » Wed Jan 09, 2008 8:27 pm

Hi ! Mlambane, we missed those 5 cheetahs at the Tamboti turnoff by minutes. Saw you guys leaving and we were still packing the car for a while and were undecided on the route , consulted the map for a while and eventually got going - just to get the news that we just missed them !! Anyway it was great meeting you guys- and lovely report - you had great lion sightings - must have been great to be serenaded into the new year by the lions at Orpen !!

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MLAMBANE
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Unread post by MLAMBANE » Thu Jan 10, 2008 4:57 pm

Here are a few more shots from the trip...

White Rhino on the 18Km biyamiti Rd

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Little Bee-eater

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Mating Lions at Muzandzeni

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Saddle-billed Stork on Biyamiti loop

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Will post more later...

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Bush Baptist
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Unread post by Bush Baptist » Fri Jan 11, 2008 7:24 am

MLAMBANE wrote: At such close quarters the size of male lions never ceases to amaze me!


Funny hey, when a full-maned one walked past my window 300 metres south of Satara the other day, I thought how small he was. I saw at least 25 of my lions on the road, and the males all looked qute small. The mane makes then look bigger. Get the Kgalagadi if you want to see REAL lions MLAM. Your pics are awasome! Civet & AWC pics? Those are special sightings, not boring lions.
Whatever (according to BB): "You are correct but I don't want to admit it".

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MLAMBANE
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Unread post by MLAMBANE » Fri Jan 11, 2008 7:41 am

Fair enough BB, I agree the two males South of Satara ( 500m out of the gate ) were pretty small, as well as the two 1km out of olifants...

However, the males around Orpen and Muzandzeni were massive! Not because of the their manes, rather their height and strong build :mrgreen:

After seeing 67 of them we started driving past them unless they were on the Rd :shock:

Didn't get any pics of the AWC or the civet because both were fleeting glances over the road...
I will post some Genet pics as well as side-striped jackal later on.

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MLAMBANE
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Unread post by MLAMBANE » Fri Jan 11, 2008 6:46 pm

Baby Zebra with mother 1km outside Orpen Gate

Image

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MLAMBANE
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Unread post by MLAMBANE » Fri Jan 11, 2008 6:57 pm

Nah BB you got it all wrong :P

Lions are awesome to foreign and local visitors alike.

I go to the Park minimum 8 times a year, and the first lion sighting in the Rd gives me the same thrill every single time...

Don't know why you bother with the Kruger :? because you hardly ever see what you are after...

I agree that seeing AWC, Civet, Serval, Caracal etc is great and I've seen plenty of all of them :mrgreen:

However lions along with leopards, wildogs cheetahs etc, make me the happiest- being a photographer they are the only animals that tend to stick around to get shots of.

So lions (as boring as they are to you) are in actual fact not boring to the majority of Kruger visitors... simply a matter of preference.


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