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impyim's Australia to Kruger, Aug. '13

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hilda
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Re: Australia to Kruger

Unread post by hilda » Wed Dec 18, 2013 4:19 pm

I have sent you a PM Impyim! :gflower:
Please help to save the Wild Dog population: SEE HERE!

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Re: Australia to Kruger

Unread post by hilda » Fri Dec 20, 2013 5:46 am

Glad to see your paintings are back impyim! :clap: :clap:
Please help to save the Wild Dog population: SEE HERE!

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Re: Australia to Kruger

Unread post by impyim » Sun Dec 29, 2013 4:26 am

Thanks SammyA, Trrp-trrrrrrr, isinkwe, hilda, melph68, PhilipJ, barryels, and Meandering Mouse for all you comments. The cheetah sighting was so special for all on board.

We eventually left the cheetahs and our driver said we were really running late for the bush braai.
we apparently had about 15 kms to drive to the area.

These 2 young male lions held us up for a bit longer. They were sauntering along the road and we followed them slowly for quite awhile

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When we left them it was only a short distance to the bush braai turnoff.

We drove down a track and could smell the smoke and food cooking from the braai. We decided the young male lions could defintley be able to smell the meat cooking also !!!!!!

On the way down the track in front of the vehicle we saw scrub hare and 2 tiny babies. They were caught in the lights of the vehicle and didn't know where to run to. The babies were just adorable.
We also saw a small spotted genet in the truck lights.

After winding down the track we came to a gate on a large fenced area. The driver got out, opened the gate and drove in. We all hopped out and he backed the vehicle out and closed the gate again.

The fenced area was roughly 100 m in diameter (hard to judge as it was night time). Just inside the fenced are were very subtle lights (around the whole perimeter) - they were actually candles with large brown paper bags over them. They created a lovely atmosphere. Everyone was amazed at how wonderful the whole area looked.

There was a candle lit table set with silverware and white serviettes. A group of staff cooking the BBQ and big steel pots simmering with vegetables and maize (can't remember the African name for it).
Also a table set with salads, and another with drinks.

We never realized (until we saw the set up) how much was entailed in preparing and setting up the braai for our group.

The 8 of us stood around talking to the staff (drinks in hand of course), and then eventually sat down for the meal. The food was great and the service from the staff really first class.

During the meal our Granddaughter and her friend were on at the end of the table closest to the fence - they could hear the hyena's just outside the fence and walked over closer to have a look. I was very nervous about them doing this (as Grandmothers are of course) as the fence was only about waist high, and I was sure the 2 young male lions were eyeing off us/ or the food. Foolish me.

By this time I was overdue for a toilet stop. There was a toilet in the far corner of the fenced area, but it seemed a long way to venture - eventually I asked one of the armed guards to escort me - as you can guess I'm not very brave. The toilet building was a permanent fixture made of rock and white washed - it blended in very well with the bush close to it.

I hardly took any photo's but here's a couple my granddaughter took.

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After the lovely meal the driver bought the vehicle back into the fenced area and we drove the short distance (about 5 kms) back to Skukuza.
We arrived back at camp about 8.30 p.m What an amazing evening we had.

We were so pleased that we had booked a bush braai, and apart from the braai the cheetah sighting - only about 15 ft from the vehicle was an absolute highlight for us all.

To be continued -
the next day I spend the whole day with my Granddaughter and her friend while my other half stays back in camp. I suspect that 3 ladies at once were too much for him after just the 2 of us for the many days previous. He is also a bit deaf and conversations with more than one person at a time are very challenging for him.

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Re: Australia to Kruger

Unread post by impyim » Tue Jan 07, 2014 2:10 am

The following day we had a bit of a sleep in and then I drove the G'daughter and her friend to have a look at the golf club and spend some time at Lake Pania.

We went to Lake Panic first and on the way spotted a family of nyala - there was a male, female and calf in the bush where I couldn't get a decent photo, but this bull crossed the road in front of us.
This was the third time we had found nyala near Lake Panic. Once we saw two males crossing the road, another time a female near the water and then this family. The girls had never seen nyala before and I think they aren't a very common sighting.

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When we got to the bird hide at Lake Panic the girls were enthralled. Unfortunately it was very crowded, but it didn't make any difference to the birds and animals. Eventually we all found seats and proceeded to spend a couple of hours really enjoying the sightings. To the left of the hide in the branches of a leafless tree there were heaps of sunbirds. We had a lovely time identifying them.

I had been to the bird hide 8 days earlier and it was interesting to see that one of the pairs of grey herons I had seen mating were now sitting on 2 blue eggs


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flying off occasionally -


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The other pair of grey herons that had been sitting on the nest now had young ones and their attemps to fly were accompanied by loud squawks and much squabbling


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I could imagine one of these young herons falling from the nest and becoming a feed for the crocs that were nearby.


The goliath herons also had a nest - one of them would sit on it and the other would be in the water near the nest


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Re: Australia to Kruger

Unread post by impyim » Tue Jan 07, 2014 2:51 am

The fish eagle was sitting in the tree's on the right of the hide -


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Do any of you know the name of the tree the eagle is in - it has beautiful maroon/red flowers - you can just see some buds in the photo.

Eventually the fish eagle took off and chased another one. They were flying a long way away in the sky but I took photo's and when I zoomed in I see one of them had a fish and the other was trying to get it.

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While looking at the crocodile we saw these water thick knees - so camouflaged -


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and this lovely African jacana


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We went back to camp and picked up my SO and all went back to the golf club for lunch. It was getting fairly warm but still lovely to sit outside having our meal and watching the birds and animals.

The girls wandered around looking at everything. They thought it was great how they could walk about (not confined to the car). If you ever get a chance go to the golf club for breakfast or lunch - they have a really good menu and I find the food really tasty and well presented.

We also went and looked around the plant nursery - not with a view of buying plants but being able to identify some of the plants we had seen out driving. It was a Sunday and lots of locals were buying plants for their gardens. I must presume that they were locals as most overseas tourists wouldn't be able to take plants with them. We (Australians) aren't allowed to take any plants into Australia.

We finished the afternoon with another look at Lake Panic - and then went back to Skukuza and sat at the front of our chalet watching the world (and its animals & birds) go by.

Tomorrow the girls and I will be leaving early - we weren't sure where we would go, but in the end just as we left camp at 6 we told my SO that we would be driving to Tshokwane and back.
And that's a tale for the next episode.

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Re: Australia to Kruger

Unread post by impyim » Wed Jan 08, 2014 11:09 am

Tawny - I'm going to do a bit of this TR with just my watercolours. I accidently removed them from their spots on my TR so will redo them soon.


Meandering Mouse - sightings are funny things - you say you've never seen a fish eagle at Lake Panic and I've seen them the 4 times I've been there - I just love the look of them. But boy when they fly out of the trees near the lake all the grey herons go into a panic - fly off the nests and make the most appalling noise.

Also with regard to the nyala - because we saw them at least 3 times near Lake Panic (this trip) we think that as its so dry elsewhere in the Park in August then maybe they come to where there's a bit of green feed around the Lake. We also saw them in a couple of deep green gullies near Skukuza. :hmz: :hmz:

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Re: Australia to Kruger

Unread post by impyim » Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:13 am

This morning we (Granddaughter and her friend and I) set off for a girly day in Kruger. We hadn't even got out the gate when we remembered something and had to go hack for it !!!!
While we were picking it up we told my hubby that we would be driving to Tshokwane and back.

A fair drive esp. with 2 young ladies whose eyesight, hearing and enthusiasm for wildlife is amazing. No creature great or small was going to be missed by them. "Stop, back back, drive forward, pull to the left, pull to the right" were my instructions for most of the day. I loved being with them.

I gave Kelly (G'daughter) my Canon camera to use as she reckoned it was better than hers'

It was really foggy when we left Skukuza


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Re: Australia to Kruger

Unread post by impyim » Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:55 am

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As we drove along beside the river we could hear lions roaring. We drove up and down for about 1/2 an hour but between the fog and the trees we never found them.

Eventually we drove off and found these attempting to sun themselves high in the trees -

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We also spotted these little birds on the ground - I think they're a quail but please help with ID.

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It seemed to be the day for birds - the girls spotted this brown hooded kingfisher next to the road -


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Only been on the road about an hour but the rest of this day's report will have to wait til another day.

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Re: Australia to Kruger

Unread post by impyim » Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:20 am

Meandering Mourse - Yes the early morning when its all foggy are very atmospheric looking.

I've just realized Trrp-trrrrrrr that your name is probably the noise that the woodland kingfisher makes.

Kaapsedraai - sometimes time flies esp. when we have the festive season. AT least you read my TR and gave me input.

To continue -

We drove along the road to Tshokwane - the girls spotted everything. I wasn't sure which of the antelope family this one was - I thought a bush buck or a duiker, but I could be wrong -


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The first waterhole we came to we found these dwarf mongoose sunning themselves and running about - they are so cute - unless you're a beetle of course.

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We called in at the next waterhole and these two lovely giraffe were coming in for a drink - they were very wary (naturally) The scene was really gorgeous with the impala and a woolly-necked stork was an added bonus


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Also another lovely view of impala, warthog and another woolly necked stork - a bit further away at the same waterhole -


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We sat for ages watching the waterhole - saw lots of little blue waxbills in the mud. They're hard to spot at first as we always looked at the bigger animals.

Back on the main road we came across another ground hornbill - I think I saw about 16 all told on the trip. These's something about them that's very appealing - I'm not sure why because they're really quite mean and ugly looking. Maybe its the eyelashes that softens everything else.


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We tried to go to Leeupan but were stopped by the same big bull elephants blocking the way. The destruction that the elephants was really awful. Nearly all the trees on the road in had some sort of damage - other that the huge trees.

On the way out we came across a bird I hadn't been able to identify before - I think a southern white crowned shrike -


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At one of the waterholes we also saw this young nyala bull -


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We eventually got to Tshokwane where we stopped and had an early lunch - watching the vervets in the trees and and starlings -

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and took a photo of this flower (which I think is the flower of the sausage tree) - they're very striking -


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We eventually decided we'd better start back to Skukuza - but I'll continue with that another day.

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Re: Australia to Kruger

Unread post by barryels » Sat Jan 18, 2014 1:36 pm

We also spotted these little birds on the ground - I think they're a quail but please help with ID.

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Your little birdies are Crested Francolins impyim :thumbs_up: .

Beautiful sightings all around :dance: :dance: .

Thanks for sharing :thumbs_up: .
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Off to Kruger:
17-19/10/2016 Letaba
20-22/10/2016 Punda
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Re: Australia to Kruger

Unread post by impyim » Sat Jan 25, 2014 6:27 am

Thanks to all of you who take the time to comment on my trip report.

To continue -

We left Tshokwane with the idea that we should get back to Skukuza with not so many detours.

Well we just had to see if we could get to Leeupan this time (after being stopped by elephant roadblocks the last 3 times I had tried).

We slowly drove down the road into the pan. The damage to the tress from the elephants had to be seen to be believed. As it was so dry and leafless everywhere else in the vicinity I guess the elephants don't venture far from the pan - hence all the tree damage.

We sat at the pan and watched these elephants for ages. When I'm the driver I like to keep an eye on all the elephants that wander away from the main herd - just to make sure they aren't coming too close - a bit paranoid I know, or maybe just respectful of their size etc.


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It must have been the afternoon for elephants - we had at least 2 road blocks of them and waited patiently while they crossed. At one of the large granite outcrops they were grazing at the base of all the rocks where there was greenery.

We were just about back to camp and had sort of got into the mid afternoon 1/2 asleep mode when we saw this large grey animal about 15 ft from the car.


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I've always wanted a photo of a large animal in the rear view mirror so this was my opportunity (taken by my G'daughter from the passengers side.


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We got back to Skukuza (about 3.30) and on the way to our chalet saw my SO driving the G'daughters car coming towards us. To say that he was worried/ furious/ upset was an understatement. He presumed that we would be back for lunch as we hadn't taken much food with us. He was worried that something had happened to us - forgetting that we could buy food at Tschokwane.
We hadn't meant to worry him and didn't realize how long we had been - you know how it is when out looking for animals.!!!!!!


We all had a lovely BBQ (braai) together and hit the sack early.


Next day -

We were (SO and myself) on our way to Lower Sabie and our G'daughter and her friend were going to Berg en Dal, so we said our goodbyes and left each other. We had had such a lovely few days together.


we decided to head down the Malelane road turn left towards the Stephenson-Hamilton and head across the S21 (N'Watimhiri Rd). It was a very quiet road for animals and also very corrogated and dusy. We didn't see hardly anything until we came within view of the H$ 1 at the Sabie River.

Well we saw heaps of elephants and general game all along the river. A welcome sight after so much dust. The views along that bit of the road across the river are just wonderful.

We found our chalet - which whilst not right on the river front still had great views across to the river.
We sat and watched all the goings on from our front porch.

A little watercolour of our Chalet (no. 25).


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We decided to have a walk around the grounds looking at birds and arrived at the restaurant (for an icecream). While we were sitting looking over the river there were about 5 buffalo grazing on the elephant grass right in front of the restaurant.

We went for a drive to Sunset Dam (of course) and just sat soaking up the sights and sounds of the evening. I just loved watching all the interaction at the dam and felt too lazy and at peace so that I couldn't even be bothered taking photo's

We sat there for ages and eventually decided that to head back and have an early evening meal at the restaurant.
While we were eating it there was great excitement at the railing. Two lionesses were stalking the buffulo. The buffalo seemed to be unaware of the lioness" and continued grazing. After watching for ages - we thought there might have been a bit of action - we finished our meal and wandered around the grounds looking for owls (none)

An early night (again). Really looking forward to the next few days as we've been to LS before and
always had great sightings.

The plan tomorrow was to head towards Mlondozi dam. To be continued.

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Re: Australia to Kruger

Unread post by impyim » Mon Jan 27, 2014 6:16 am

How can I say this without being absolutely dumb !!!!!

I DIDN'T REALIZE IT WAS A BLACKIE UNTIL YOU ALL POSTED YOUR REPLIES. :tongue: :tongue:

Why oh why am I confessing to being so unobservant. The only thing I can think of is that we were so close to the animal that we didn't look at it properly. I know that's no excuse but .....

If I had realized I would probably have tried to get further away from it very quickly. So its a good job I didn't realize and we were just able to enjoy the time we spent looking at it (at least 5 minutes).

It was in the bush right next to the road and then it strolled out of the bush and across the road about 10 ft behind us. I had to drive forward so the rhino would completely fit into the view from rear vision mirror for us to take a photo.

Stampajane - I think I remember reading somewhere that what looks like an injury on the rhino is something natural to do with their skin. I'm sure someone else will know what I'm talking about.

Will post more another time.

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Re: Australia to Kruger

Unread post by impyim » Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:01 am

I might take a bit longer posting any more of this TR. I'm having an operation on my eye tomorrow, and not sure how this will affect my vision in the short term.

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Re: Australia to Kruger

Unread post by barryels » Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:34 pm

Thanks for a wonderful trip with wonderful sightings :clap: :clap: .

Here is some info on the "bruises" on the side of the Blackie for interest sake.
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Off to Kruger:
17-19/10/2016 Letaba
20-22/10/2016 Punda
23-25/10/2016 Shingwedzi
26-28/10/2016 Mopani

impyim
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Re: Australia to Kruger

Unread post by impyim » Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:35 pm

Just a couple of things before I go and have my eye operation tomorrow .

I've just told my granddaughter about how I/we never realized what we were seeing was a blackie.

She hadn't really had a good look at my photo's and as soon as she saw it she said " I can't work out why we didn't realize it was a blackie"

she also thought that as we were so close to it and it wasn't at all aggressive that maybe that's why we didn't pay it much attention.
We had been seeing white ones every day - sometimes 2 or 3 times a day.

And now I just have to share with you a sighting we had the NEXT DAY. Just my SO and I.

You're not going to believe this one - We had been out of camp about an hour and we saw these 2. They were just ambling along through the bush (not feeding) when we first saw them about 60 metres from the road. They continued walking and slowly they went on an angle away from us. There was only one other car watching them and the occupants of both cars were really so excited.
As far as we (my SO and I) were concerned this was our first sighting ever in the wild !!! so you can imagine how we felt :D :D :D



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On that note I'm off to bed and will start reading your replies when my eye's start focusing again.


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