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Water, wonderful water everywhere - Kruger Feb 2017

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Elsa
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Water, wonderful water everywhere - Kruger Feb 2017

Unread post by Elsa » Fri Mar 17, 2017 3:11 pm

After not having done a trip report for a while now and then promises that I would this time, I guess I had better get this one going before its time for our next trip in a little over 2 months time! 8)


This was the first of our 2 regular annual trips to Kruger and consisted of Klystron, myself and a good friend and fellow resident in our village who has since joined the forum and is called Forest Village who will be called FV for the purpose of this report.
I must admit after our Feb one last year when we encountered incredibly hot weather, 50C at Olifants, and the awful drought conditions with no grass and very little water we were a little worried at what we would encounter this time round, but then reports of the lovely and abundant rain started coming through so we were feeling happier that at least it would be a greener Kruger that greeted us but even after seeing some pics I don't think it can quite prepare you for what you actually see when arriving.
Then of course as our departure date came closer and closer, so did Cyclone Dineo!
and as luck would have it, our arrival coincided exactly with the day it was predicted to make its presence felt in the park! :big_eyes:

So it was that as we drove up the N2 towards the Swazi border we started seeing signs of the edge of the cyclone and encounted patches of sudden and heavy rain showers and this continued all the way to the park.

Shopping done in Komatipoort we made our way towards Croc Bridge which was to be our first night's stop.

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Checked into bungalow # 14 and FV in tent #4 (from which she had to be rescued and moved later that evening due to the heavy rain and a leaking tent), we sat watching and marvelling at the transformation that had taken place since our prvious visit and trying to keep dry on the veranda as the rain squalls continued on and off.
During the night it did really bucket down and we stepped out of our bungalow in the morning into a deep puddle and waded through to the kettle to make our coffee.
FV who had been moved very kindly by Stephen Nel to a bungalow 2 up from us arrived soon afterwards.
To say it was muddly conditions out there was a serious understatement and when we packed up to move on up to our next destination it was to pick our way gingerly to the car without slipping and sliding too much.

Very happy to see a tree full of Wattled Starlings under a leaden sky but fortunately the cyclone didn't produce the high and destructive winds that had been forecast.

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This was the formerly bone dry Gezantfombi Dam just outside Croc Bridge.

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All the dirt roads had been closed as a precautionary measure and owing to the heavy overnight rain a very good decision otherwise this machine on stand-by might have had to be brought into play! :whistle:

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En route this herd of Zebs going one way and the Warthog going the other.

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An ellie playing hide and seek in the thick bush and long grass.

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A Fish Eagle was very busy preening after a wet night so not the greatest pic but we work with what we have! :wink:

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The little Mativuhlungustream just after the S28 was flowing steadily!

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So it was straight up the H4-2 towards Lower Sabie.

and of course a stop off at Sunset Dam is a must and which had us staring open mouthed.

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This is the N'watimhiri Dam just above the S21, another dam that didn't have a drop of water in it last year.

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A Malachite Kingfisher was busy fishing from a partially submerged branch and very successfully so as well.
very tricky to phtograph as it never sat still for long enough, so apologies.

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A bit further and not far before Nkhulu picnic site is a causeway next to a pile of rocks that is usually dry but not today!

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This was taken alongside what is usually a small pool at best on the H4-1 and today was full to the brim with Weavers frantically building nests.

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We decided to have lunch at the Cattle Baron and delicious it was as per usual.

Then it was onto Kruger Gate and to our time share lodge just outside for the next 7 nights.

So this is where I'll leave it for now but don't go too far as there is lots more!

Enjoy!
Kruger - 16th Feb to 8th March 2017

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Re: Water, wonderful water everywhere - Kruger Feb 2017

Unread post by Cape of Storms » Fri Mar 17, 2017 3:28 pm

Elsa I can't wait to read this! What a start trying to out run a cyclone no less! A tent rescue and rain squalls.

I love seeing the dams full and the rivers running but sorry it made life a little challenging for you. The zebras and warthogs look very happy surrounded by green. Not to mention the hide and seeker. Beautiful Malachite !


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Re: Water, wonderful water everywhere - Kruger Feb 2017

Unread post by umtali1 » Fri Mar 17, 2017 3:44 pm

Elsa, I love the title :dance: :dance:

I am really looking forward to reading about the park at a time of year that we have never visited. Already it looks like Mother Nature has answered a lot prayers :dance: :dance:
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https://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?&t=93948

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Re: Water, wonderful water everywhere - Kruger Feb 2017

Unread post by Tessa G » Fri Mar 17, 2017 3:48 pm

I dont believe it....I am usually late climbing on the bus, but here I am first up and able to choose my favourite seat. Oooops Umtali beat me to it. :lol: :lol:

How lovely to see an Elsa trip report and will be looking out for more episodes.

How amazing to see the park totally transformed and with so much water around. The animals were certainly looking lovely and healthy when we saw them in December.

Love the photo of the zebs and the road disappearing into the distance. :thumbs_up:

We had a similar mud story when we were staying at Tamboti and my ice skating lessons from many years back saved me from a very undignified fall on a number of occasions.

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Re: Water, wonderful water everywhere - Kruger Feb 2017

Unread post by salamanda » Fri Mar 17, 2017 4:23 pm

I've also managed to get onto the bus pretty early, so a nice window seat near the front is what I have! great start on the edge of the cyclone Elsa and how wonderful to see so much water around. Looking forward to the next episode.

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Re: Water, wonderful water everywhere - Kruger Feb 2017

Unread post by Karin Mitton » Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:19 pm

I still love the sight of all the water!!
I am on board!

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Re: Water, wonderful water everywhere - Kruger Feb 2017

Unread post by Philip1 » Fri Mar 17, 2017 8:01 pm

:D "Water, wonderful water everywhere", coming from You, klystron and Forest Village, it can only be "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious". :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Just love all the Photo's. :clap: :mrgreen:
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Re: Water, wonderful water everywhere - Kruger Feb 2017

Unread post by chirinda » Fri Mar 17, 2017 8:09 pm

:big_eyes: :big_eyes: at all the water.

:popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn:

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Re: Water, wonderful water everywhere - Kruger Feb 2017

Unread post by Mischief » Fri Mar 17, 2017 8:13 pm

Elsa, I have so been looking forward to this.Already the first episode was worth the wait.Your super pics definitely did justice to all the rain that fell those days.Very catchy start to this report...I am hooked and waiting for more! :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up: :popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn: :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up: :popcorn: :thumbs_up: :popcorn: :thumbs_up:
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Re: Water, wonderful water everywhere - Kruger Feb 2017

Unread post by Foxy » Fri Mar 17, 2017 9:19 pm

Still space for me on this bus. Lovely start to your TR Elsa. Kruger is looking so beautifully green and wet.

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Re: Water, wonderful water everywhere - Kruger Feb 2017

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:19 am

Wow, Elsa, it does look lush. 8) How wonderful to see so many full and flowing streams.

I specially love your :cam: of Gezantfombi. :thumbs_up:

:popcorn:
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Re: Water, wonderful water everywhere - Kruger Feb 2017

Unread post by ritad » Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:22 am

Can't wai of all the pictures from the water. I'm definitly on Boatd for this TR Elsa :k :popcorn: :popcorn:
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- Satara 30-02.10 - BD2V
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Re: Water, wonderful water everywhere - Kruger Feb 2017

Unread post by Pumbaa » Sat Mar 18, 2017 3:29 pm

Elsa,

we were also curious to see the park again green and lush after our last year's visit and in fact looks totally different. We stayed at the same time in Skukuza when they closed all gravel roads and I never saw all the dams nor the rivers that full as this year :thumbs_up:

Ready for more :popcorn:

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Re: Water, wonderful water everywhere - Kruger Feb 2017

Unread post by Elsa » Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:55 am

Thanks everyone for jumping on board and also for the kind comments. :gflower:

So lets get the bus rolling on again!

This was seen at one of the local hotels that we popped in at and altho nothing to do with the trip specifically I am going to include as it was quite amusing and appropriate at that time with the cyclone passing through, but thank goodness the rock was still present! :wink:

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After having a bit of a relaxing day at the lodge, we decided to go in early the next day and see what Kruger has to offer.
Dirt roads all remained firmly closed so it was tar roads all the way.
In at Kruger Gate and slowly along the H11 which is always busy but strangely enough still seems to produce good sightings and today was no exception!

We noticed a safari vehicle stopped on the side of the road so slowly approached but not in a good position to see what they were looking at and when we finally manged to get a slight view, saw it was a big male Leopard lying up in the thick grass but he soon got up and took his leave so unfortunately all we managed to get was his departing rear end but proof enough! 8)

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We carried on slowly and about one or two kilometers further on, I could hardly believe my eyes when I spied another Leopard at the side of the road and who I think might have wanted to cross the road.
This time we were all alone and cars zoomed past us with nary a sideways glance! :?

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Another not great pic, but I think its a Wahlberg's Eagle

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Then the babysitter on duty at the den site for the day!

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Breakfast time for the little ones!

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It was quite fascinating to watch this Giraffe systematically stripping the leaves from what was clearly a very delicious tree!

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Arriving at a brim full Shitlhave Dam on a very cloudy day!

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Not much moving there so we moved on.

This Red-collared Widowbird was flitting from tree to tree and we battled to get them to stay still long enough for a pic so these were the best we could manage.

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and then off it went!

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One of the most photographed bird the Lilac-brested Roller

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A tree full of Vultures

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And a Hooded Vulture

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We came across a Bateleur Eagle that was busy dispatching a European Roller by the look of the scattered feathers on the road.

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and off it went with the remains of the hapless victim

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And that dear mites is the end of this episode!

More soon!
Kruger - 16th Feb to 8th March 2017

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Re: Water, wonderful water everywhere - Kruger Feb 2017

Unread post by ritad » Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:06 pm

Elsa, so great you found the leopard :dance: :dance: The Hyaena cubs are so sweet, :D
Great you have found so many birds and managed so good pictutes :dance: :dance: Oh wow the Shitlhave Dam looks so great :dance: :dance: :dance:
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175 Days

Bookings 2017
- Tamboti 23-26.09 - LST3
- Letaba 26-29.09 - BD2U
- Balule 29-30.09 - EH3
- Satara 30-02.10 - BD2V
- Skukuza 02-05.10 - LR2W
- Crocodile Bridge 05-07.10 - BD3
- Biyamiti 07-09.10 - NCO2+2V


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