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Punda to Skukuza - A Perfect 10

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Karin Mitton
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Punda to Skukuza - A Perfect 10

Unread post by Karin Mitton » Mon May 08, 2017 7:46 am

I spent 10 magical nights in Kruger in April. For the first time I visited the north of Kruger – a long-time dream come true. And I was also able to do the top to bottom trip I have always wanted to do.
The 10 nights were spent at Punda Maria (2), Mopani (2), Olifants (1), Satara (2) and Skukuza (3).

I am not going to do the normal chronological narrative, but will rather highlight the top 10 moments at each of the camps. Olifants may have less than 10 moments because I only spent one night, and Skukuza may have more than 10 – who knows. Some of the top 10 will also be low-lights, but those were fortunately very few.

Punda Maria

The 10 highlights of my 2 nights at Punda includes my explorations of the Mahoni loop, The Pafuri area all the way to Crooks Corner, and all the way to Shingwedzi on the day I moved camp to Mopani.

Number 10 – Discovering a new species in Kruger :hmz:
This is actually one of the few lowlights. I stayed in one of the Safari tents. When I got back to camp on my 2nd day, a large truck was blocking the road to get to my tent. I got out to ask if they can move it or to find out how long they would still be, and had my first ever experience in Kruger of a rude, disrespectful Sanparks staff member. I did not know this species existed, and I would have loved not to come across one. All he had to do is answer my questions politely. Instead I had to repeat my question about 4 times before he even deigned to look in my direction. And then he was so rude and unfriendly, it took my breath away. I just got in my car and drove out to the Mahonie loop to let the bush calm me down. And it did.

Number 9 – Punda Sunset drive
I left home at 05h00 on the Thursday morning, and drove through Punda Gate 6 hours later. As it was too early to check in, I explored the Mahonie Loop until I could check in. Instead of doing an afternoon drive on my own, I opted for the sunset drive. What a great decision.

There was a couple on the drive that lives in the same suburb as I do, and a family with 2 lovely teenage daughters. And our guide was a wonderful lady by the name of Promise. The drive started slowly with few sightings, mostly impalas and a few distant kudus and giraffes. We also caught a glimpse of a Sharpe’s Grysbok.

Just before sunset, we spotted something strange – a blue back-pack in the grass a short distance from the road. Promise went to have a look, and confirmed that it looked like poacher gear – there was also a bottle of water and a sleeping bag under a bush. She called it in to other rangers. As per their process she was not allowed to bring the bag on the truck as she could not confirm if there was weapons inside and would not inspect it on her own. We were a little subdued after that.

But then I saw one of the lifers of my trip – a Bronze-winged courser. So Exciting!
ImageIMG_7839aaa by Karin Mitton, on Flickr

We also saw this adorable little Scops Owl.
ImageIMG_7858_02 by Karin Mitton, on Flickr

And I finally got some photos of a Fiery-necked Nightjar. The gap between my life list and my photo list is getting smaller!
ImageIMG_7871_02 by Karin Mitton, on Flickr

The drive was quiet for a while, but we made up for it with some light banter and conversation. It was a warm night, and we were pleased to see lots of lightning flashes towards the south.

Our last highlights of the drive included an African Wildcat, and 2 lions (sadly no photos of these sightings). My first lions of my trip on my first night in the park – Perfect! Promise thought the lions may have made a kill where we found them, and we were all hoping the kill was the poachers. We arrived back in camp very happy with our sightings.
Last edited by Karin Mitton on Mon May 08, 2017 8:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Karin Mitton
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Re: Punda to Skukuza - A Perfect 10

Unread post by Karin Mitton » Mon May 08, 2017 7:47 am

Number 8 – Shingwedzi

Travelling from Punda to Mopani I stopped at Shingwedzi for breakfast, and I visited the Kanniedood hide. It looks like a lovely camp, and I would have to stay there at some stage. Just outside the gate I saw this lovely Woodland Kingfisher.

url=https://flic.kr/p/Uxeunu]Image[/url]IMG_9573_02 by Karin Mitton, on Flickr
ImageIMG_9576_02 by Karin Mitton, on Flickr
ImageIMG_9587_02 by Karin Mitton, on Flickr

And there were 2 ellies having a drink in the river.
ImageIMG_9609_02 by Karin Mitton, on Flickr

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Karin Mitton
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Re: Punda to Skukuza - A Perfect 10

Unread post by Karin Mitton » Mon May 08, 2017 7:48 am

On the way to the Kanniedood hide I saw some birds, giraffe and zebras. It was quiet at the hide, but this cutie pie was keeping a watchful eye on me from the tree next to the hide.

ImageIMG_9670_02 by Karin Mitton, on Flickr
ImageIMG_9671_02 by Karin Mitton, on Flickr
ImageIMG_9662_02 by Karin Mitton, on Flickr
ImageIMG_9666_02 by Karin Mitton, on Flickr

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arks
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Re: Punda to Skukuza - A Perfect 10

Unread post by arks » Mon May 08, 2017 8:15 am

An unfortunate experience with the rude staffer, but I hope that you would have reported such behavior to the camp management, because if it's not reported, it will likely continue :twisted:

Also your first gorgeous bird photo appears to be a nightjar, not a courser? :wink:
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4,5 April Melville
6-19 April KNP: Croc Bridge, Olifants, Shingwedzi, Pafuri Border
20-24 April Mapungubwe: Leokwe
25 April-28 May Darling
29 May-19 June Cape Town
* * *
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Re: Punda to Skukuza - A Perfect 10

Unread post by umtali1 » Mon May 08, 2017 8:38 am

Karin, love your take on the TR. Delightful :k

Such a pity that there are still rude Sanparks personnel :wall:
I do hope the rangers were out very quickly to collect the suspicious package.
Beautiful pictures. I agree with Arks that the first bird is a nightjar, not a courser :hmz:

I love the north. It's away from the hurly burly of the Skukuza area. Shingwedzi is well worth a visit.
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https://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?&t=93948

2013 Mokala and KNP,
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Karin Mitton
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Re: Punda to Skukuza - A Perfect 10

Unread post by Karin Mitton » Mon May 08, 2017 8:49 am

arks wrote:Also your first gorgeous bird photo appears to be a nightjar, not a courser? :wink:



umtali1 wrote:I agree with Arks that the first bird is a nightjar, not a courser :hmz:


What a blond moment I had! :redface: :redface: :redface:
Copied the incorrect link - fixed t now!

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Re: Punda to Skukuza - A Perfect 10

Unread post by wildflowergirl » Mon May 08, 2017 8:51 am

I love the north of Kruger :D I think this will be another awesome travel tale :D
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Re: Punda to Skukuza - A Perfect 10

Unread post by Mischief » Mon May 08, 2017 8:53 am

Karin,this is a novel approach to a TReport.Will be on this bus through the lows and highs.
:sniper: at bad mannered SANPARKS personnel member,just glad you were in the right place to depress. :clap: :clap: :clap: to Promise ....sounds as though she was knowledgable and made your sunset drive most enjoyable.Your photos are captivating!
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Re: Punda to Skukuza - A Perfect 10

Unread post by salamanda » Mon May 08, 2017 9:01 am

What a lovely start Karin, and I'm so glad you also posted a wrong link. I think I've done in six times so far in my TR, but luckily I got wise to myself very quickly and check straight away, but it really makes me feel an idiot!
Love the Vervet and the Woodland Kingfisher pics in particular and you have already seen birds in KNP that I haven't seen; I've never been up that far north. I feel really sad that you had to encounter such rudeness and unpleasantness so early in the trip - as Arks said, I hope you put in a report either then or when you returned. Looking forward to the next episode.

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Re: Punda to Skukuza - A Perfect 10

Unread post by hilda » Mon May 08, 2017 12:01 pm

Karin Mitton wrote: I did not know this species existed, and I would have loved not to come across one.


What a shocking experience Karin Mitton! I'm so sorry that you of all people had to come across this "species"! :evil:

Sounds like a lovely nightdrive! Congratulations on your lifer! I love the Scopsie and the Nightjar too! :dance: :dance:

Cute little Vervet, and your pictures of the Woodland Kingfisher are absolutely stunning! :clap: :clap:

Looking forward to your next episode! :popcorn:
"It always seems impossible until it is done." - Nelson Mandela.

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Re: Punda to Skukuza - A Perfect 10

Unread post by arks » Mon May 08, 2017 9:10 pm

Karin Mitton wrote:
arks wrote:Also your first gorgeous bird photo appears to be a nightjar, not a courser? :wink:



umtali1 wrote:I agree with Arks that the first bird is a nightjar, not a courser :hmz:


What a blond moment I had! :redface: :redface: :redface:
Copied the incorrect link - fixed t now!

:thumbs_up: Karin, no need for :redface: --- I think all of us have done that from time to time! Great lifer! :dance:
RSA 2016
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6-19 April KNP: Croc Bridge, Olifants, Shingwedzi, Pafuri Border
20-24 April Mapungubwe: Leokwe
25 April-28 May Darling
29 May-19 June Cape Town
* * *
21 September-21 November Darling

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Re: Punda to Skukuza - A Perfect 10

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Tue May 09, 2017 5:05 am

Oh dear, Karin, I am sorry to hear that you had such a horrible experience of a rude Sanparks employee. I can only think that this guy is very unhappy with the world. It is not worth picking it up and making it your own. You did the right thing.

Those are fabulous pictures of your birdie sightings. 8) I am most impressed.

I also love your vervets. What absolute charmers.

:popcorn:
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Re: Punda to Skukuza - A Perfect 10

Unread post by manicwalker » Tue May 09, 2017 5:15 am

Karin,
What a dissapointing expierence with that driver... :(
Finding the "Poachers Pack" on your night drive must have been somewhat scary..
Your bird photos are really beautiful, :clap: :clap:
especailly LOVE the elephant photo :clap: :thumbs_up:

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Re: Punda to Skukuza - A Perfect 10

Unread post by barryels » Tue May 09, 2017 12:43 pm

Quite an interesting way to write a TR :thumbs_up: .

Beautiful :cam: of the lifer and nightjar :mrgreen: :mrgreen: . Both still outstanding on our list :doh: .

Lovely series of woodie pictures :clap: :clap: .

Thanks for sharing :thumbs_up: .
Always be humble and understanding.
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Re: Punda to Skukuza - A Perfect 10

Unread post by Elsa » Tue May 09, 2017 2:32 pm

Lovely start to your trip Karin other than the 2 incidents!
Love the pics of the curious little monkey checking you out.
Looking forward to more!
Kruger - 22nd May to 9th June 2017 8)


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