Spargish's Cricket days and the last nights of Summer. KNP, March '15

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spargish
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Spargish's Cricket days and the last nights of Summer. KNP, March '15

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Hey Everyone 8)

My Dad and I were once again lucky enough to be part of the Cricket at Skukuza this year. This was our 4th cricket event since 2011 and it is definitely a fixture on our calender. :dance: I often think about our first cricket event and how that was our first camping experience in KNP for a long time. When I think how much our camping setup has changed since then I always have a good laugh :lol: :lol: :lol: We have certainly come along way from having to buy a set of butter knives to help hit tent pegs into the ground in 2011 :tongue: :tongue:

Besides being part of an amazing event that SANParks, The Forum and The HR's from the Virtual Region put on, we have always enjoyed some spectacular sightings during the cricket! Perhaps their is an aura around the events that brings out spectacular sightings.

Hop on board to enjoy the trip! First episode coming soon! :popcorn:
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TR Cricket Days and last nights of Summer now on
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spargish
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Re: Cricket days and the last nights of Summer

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Day 1

We set off in the morning for what we hoped would be a lazy morning drive up to Crocodile bridge, the drive was just that nothing quite like enjoying the scenery of Mpumalanga when the N4 is quiet :P We enjoyed a breakfast at the stop on the Schoemanskloof road, and headed off to Makro in Nelspruit, because somebody had forgotten their towel and pillow :rtm: Quite a bit of a problem when you are camping.

We enjoyed that last part of our journey and checked in very easily at CB, we got tent number 8 which was 1 of the 2 I requested. After unpacking we enjoyed a quick power nap before heading up to Lower Sabie. Before we went we noticed that some of the safari tents were being repaired, number 8 was in fantastic shape as it was one of the first that was revamped :thumbs_up:

We decided we would take the H4-2 up to LS and time dependant the S28 back to CB

Leaving camp it didnt take us long to spot a scene that is very common close to CB
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Always plenty of plains game around CB

As we approached the Sabie we spotted our first Fish Eagle of the trip
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We picked up some charcoal and an ice cream at LS and had a gander at the passing parade on the deck, there wasn’t much happening, and we got on our way.

About 4kms from LS we spotted a few things in the road walking towards us, with a car or two behind..
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We turned off the engine and waited for them to get closer
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There were 8 all together at they just strolled past us nonchalantly

We decided we would not take the s28 as even if we had any good sightings we would have much time to stop, that ended up being a very good choice...

I spotted some movement on the left hand side of the road about a kilometre from the S28 turn off, I stopped and this is what we saw
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a beautiful spotty all two ourselves
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Luckily we didn’t have to make the terrible decision of leaving a sighting in order to make the gate, as the Cheetah moved of by himself. Good thing we didn’t take the s28 as we had a great sighting and made the gate at 18:00 on the dot :roll:

As we lit the braai we enjoyed the sunset from the deck of our tent
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We were enjoying a delicious dinner when out of the corner of my eye I saw something flying towards the the front tent pole. It was a bushbaby, I have never seen one so close or so brazen :big_eyes: he was not scared of us or light, he was desperately trying to see what was on our table, sadly people must be feeding them :wall:

I will get the pics from my dad to show all of you.
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Re: Cricket days and the last nights of Summer

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Day 2

After enjoying a great nights sleep, it was up bright and early to be at gate. Being first at the gate is a lot easier when you are not visiting the Park during peak times :mrgreen: . The park is very different and really special if you are able to visit during off peak times. The plan was for a morning drive, breakfast back at camp and then move onto Skukuza to set up camp and check in for the first day of Cricket :dance:

It was still quite dark when we got our first sighting
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They really are such beautiful owls

This group of big boys were enjoying an early breakfast
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A little bit further on, this unmentionable was still enjoying his dreams
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Perhaps the rising sun would warm the unmentionable into action
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nothing quite like seeing the golden light touching the fields of gold for the first time

We stopped for our morning coffee at Dukes, we were joined by a handsome fellow, he was a bit shy at first Image

eventually he felt like showing his face properly
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We returned to camp and enjoyed breakfast in a very silent camp. We packed up and headed to Skukuza.

We got these sisters going for a stroll just past LS
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They walked right passed us and headed into the bush

We arrived at Skukuza and found a nice shady site on the lower part of the Skukuza camp site. I spoke about our experience with the iron turf of Skukuza when I began the TR. We definitely learnt from that and crafted our own tent pegs that would break right through rocks :twisted: They had been going strong for 5 years. Skukuza decided to show us just how hard its ground really was :big_eyes: I couldn’t believe that we had bent a couple pegs :evil:

After setting up camp we went to check in at the cricket and enjoy a lazy afternoon watching cricket. We were delighted with our shirts and fantastic hats. I hope to share a pic next time. We eventually headed back to camp to get ready for the bring and braai. The boma looked great, we really enjoyed the atmosphere and the side dishes provided by Cattle Baron were fantastic :thumbs_up:
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Re: Cricket days and the last nights of Summer

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Day 3

Today was the Cricket main event, so we had planned a short drive before heading back to camp. The plan was to do the Maroela loop, then do the s84, enjoy a cup of coffee and an Ouma and head back to camp.

You have to get a pretty early to beat some of these mites to the gate, we were 4 or 5 in the queue. We turned towards LS and had 1 car in front of us. When we go to the T junction they went right and we went left. There wasn’t much on the low level bridges or on the Maroela loop.

We got onto the s84 and took the little detour to Mantimahle dam which was also very quiet, when we got back onto the main part of the s84 for there was something in the road :big_eyes:

It was a small female leopard. She was not going to hand around
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Even though it was a short sighting, every leopard sighting is special :P

We carried on towards the other water hole on this road where we would dip an Ouma. As we rounded the bend on the road we couldn’t believe our eyes :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes:

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It was a big male and he was not worried about us, he was patrolling his territory down the road
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He reached a ditch next to the road an jumped in. We decided to turn the engine off and wait to see if he returned to the road.

After a while he jumped up and looked me right in the eye :shock:
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He carried on down the road
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He reached the waterhole, gave himself a scratch instead of a drink and then moved on
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Our Coffee was extra special that morning and after a few Oumas we headed back to camp
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Re: Cricket days and the last nights of Summer

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Day 3 continued

We headed back to camp and would then we would head to he cricket ground.

First we spotted this chap showing off his colours
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Then on the bridge over the Sabie, this fine fellow was watching over his kingdom
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The cricket was very enjoyable, The main event was a truly gripping affair! Here are a couple snaps, if you would like to see all of my action snaps let me know
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Well Done to the forum men on their victory :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Cricket days and the last nights of Summer

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Day 3 continued

After we leave the cricket we always enjoy a short stop in at Lake Panic.

This guy was searching for his supper
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Your obligatory Lake Panic scenery shot, this time from the other side
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Suddenly there was a flash of colour and and some squeeking, it was a malachite kingfisher :big_eyes:

His quick movement was making it difficult to get a shot, even when he landed on a reed he was so little the wind would blow him about making it hard to focus :doh:

I managed to get 2 shots
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On our way back to camp we came accross this playful bull Elephant
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We quickly got ready for the Prize giving event at the Golf Club, the only time I ever put jeans/chinos on in KNP :roll:

The event was once again top drawer :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: I sadly left my camera in our tent again :wall: :wall: :wall:

I always find it very interesting listening to the various speakers, food was good and so was the setting. Well Done to everybody involved!
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Day 5

It was Sunday morning, leaving day for most of the forumites at the cricket. We have been lucky over the past few years to take the Monday off as well. Enjoying another day in KNP and having a relaxes trip back to JHB on the Monday.

We were up bright and early. We were 3rd at the gate. The plan for the morning was to do the S65. THe first car went straight, the 2nd turned left. We would be first onto the S65 :dance: :dance:

Not even 2kms onto the s65 we saw some shapes in the road
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Wild Dogs :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance:

I will let the pictures speak for themselves
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There were 8 all together. We were with them all alone for 30 minutes, until an OSV arrived. I have to say this OSV was extremely professional and we enjoyed the sighting together for another 20minutes.

They were definitely on the hunt, they chased a water buck, watched some impala cross the road intently. Most of the group moved off but one chased an impala across the road. I had very mixed feelings I wasn't sure if I could stomach seeing a wild dog kill. Eventually that Dog returned empty handed. It to then moved off and after spending an hour plus with them we decided to move on...... what did the other 11 kms of the s65 have in store for us :hmz: :hmz: :hmz:
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Re: Cricket days and the last nights of Summer

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Day 5 continued

We drove about 1,4kms before we reached the scenic causeway on the s65

We quickly realised we interrupted a families sleep
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There were 2 males, 3 females and some cubs all enjoying a sleep in the rising sun.

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This fellow was clearly not happy he was woken up

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While everybody was enjoying the brief views of the Wild Dogs that were moving off we had this family all to ourselves :mrgreen:

Now that he was awake he decided to tell the rest of the bush

https://flic.kr/p/rY8dvG

I will try upload the video to youtube and embed later (Mods if the link isn't allowed please remove it)

After that We got some company who obviously hear the roar while looking for the Dogs. We enjoyed close to an hour with this beautiful family and decided to move off back to camp when the first car from the opposite direction arrived. :lol:

The s65 definitely decided to show off that morning
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Re: Cricket days and the last nights of Summer

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Thanks for all the comments everyone :thumbs_up:

Rest of Day 5 and the following morning

After the lions we moved on and the rest of the s65 was quiet. We returned to camp and enjoyed the silence that only a sunday morning can bring to a camp site. We enjoyed a relaxed shower as most of the camp was leaving.we decided to have brunch at Mlondozi.

We took a slow drive via the s30, the sightings were also quite slow. We enjoyed a lovely brunch of paties, bacon cooked in a tomato smoor with eggs also cooked in the smoor. We took a slow drive back via LS, the road was quiet as were the sightings but we did bot have any worries. We had been thoroughly spoilt over the past few days.

We arrived back at camps and enjoyed a wonderful steak braai. We went to bed with a few rain drops failing on the tent.

The next morning we were up bright and early 2nd at the gate. At the 4 way stop was a big male leopard, he really didnt like the column of lights coming towards him and quickly moved off into the bush.

On our last morning in the bush we were greeted with a beautiful sunrise
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And we were bid farewell by this handsome fellow

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We returned to camp, packed up and hit the road back to JHB after enjoying a magical cricket event :clap: :clap: :clap:
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