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Spot-a-cat's KNP trip : 15-19 June 2006

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Location: Gauteng, SA

Spot-a-cat's KNP trip : 15-19 June 2006

Unread post by spot-a-cat » Mon Jun 19, 2006 4:06 pm

Hi there forumites

I have just returned from a short trip with my fiance to KNP, where we stayed for 3 nights in our timeshare at Ngwenya Lodge.

My overall impressions of the park / bush
Positives: The bush is lush & green, nothing but friendly faces from Kruger staff, being in Kruger is always MAGIC!!!
Negatives: The reservation system for day visitors needs to be reviewed (more about that in another forum), the bush is really thick & at times the grass was almost as high as our sedan car.

Highlights of my trip(before I start, just so you know I'm not a photographer & I took very few photos):

Arrived at Malelane Gate around 11:00. After getting the wildcards sorted out, we were in the park, magic!!
Drove the S25 the whole way to Croc Bridge, highlight was lions mating on the road 20km from CB, which we watched for about 15 mins. Our luck continued, 8km later leopard!! As we approached the big male leopard stood on the verge of the road, & then walked off into the bush, very quick sighting but great even to get a glimpse of this beautiful cat.
Other interesting sightings were 2 fish eagles along the Croc river, as well as a large herd of ellies on the Biyamiti bridge.

Left CB gate at 6:15 bright & early, & had a quiet first hour. Then at 7:15 while on the S108, just before it joins the H5 I see a pack of 7 strange looking dogs walking down the road towards me. WILDDOG!!! We followed the pack down the road for about 30mins before they walked off into the bush.
After turning onto the H5 we came across 2 hyena walking down the road.
In the afternoon we saw a female lioness ambling down the road on the S25 (the road was really good to us on this trip).
Other interesting sightings
Rhino on the H4-2, Bateleur & Tawny Eagles on the S26, ellies on H4-2 & H10, plenty of giraffes on H10.

Left CB gate at 6:30, our first sighting was a pair of hyenas almost right outside the gate. Then just after the Makhohola dam on the H4-2 a leopard walking down the road, this time a female. No other cars in sight, so we watched it for a minute before it dissapeared. Later during the morning on the Salitjie road, SABLE!!, my favourite antelope, a group of 4.
In the afternoon, rhino on the S28 (mother & calf)
Other highlights, dwarf & yellow mongoose seen.

Leaving today with a heavy heart.
Left CB gate at 6:35 after a fiasco at the gate, which almost resulted in us not getting into the park at all. A quiet drive up to Skukuza with sightings of ellies & buffs, & the rest of the usual suspects. After having breakfast at Skukuza, we were planning on leaving through Kruger gate, as it was already 11:30. However fortunately for us at the last minute we decided to carry on straight through to Phabeni gate. On this detour, we had 2 great sightings of lion. The first one we were watching 4 young lions lying down in a sand bed below the bridge. After watching them for a while, one of the lions gets up & starts walking up the steep embankment & disappears in the thick scrub. Next minute he appears on the road, & the other 3 follow.
Then not far from the S3 intersection close to Phabeni gate, another pride of 7 lionesses & 1 black-maned lion keeping them company. The lionesses were lying down about 30m from the road. All in all, a great goodbye to Kruger.

Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 12:23 pm
Location: Gauteng, SA

Unread post by spot-a-cat » Tue Jun 20, 2006 10:49 am

Thanks everyone!!!

I know we were very lucky. It just seemed like every road we chose really delivered.
We spoke to someone at Lower Sabie, who had not seen a lion in 5 days.

Salva, when we arrived my SO & I decided that if we see nothing else but cheetah on this trip we would be satisfied (in the times we've been to Kruger we've really struggled to find cheetah). But after the sightings we had, certainly can't complain.

The one dissapointing thing though was the absence of large herds of zebra, wildebeest & buffalo (I think we saw more kudu & giraffe than zebra & wildebeest). Even on the open plains on the S28 & H10 there were no large herds to speak of. Does anyone know the reason for this?

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Unread post by matthew » Tue Jun 20, 2006 11:03 am

I'm amazed that you didn't see the large herds of zebra and wildebeest on the H10. We drove the S128 and rejoined the H10 using the S129, and literally saw zebra and WB the entire way there were many hundreds of them.
Yours must have been hiding from all the lions, leopards and wild dogs you saw!
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 12:23 pm
Location: Gauteng, SA

Unread post by spot-a-cat » Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:36 pm

These lions were seen on the S1 Doispane Road (pictures taken before they walked up the embankment & onto the road)



A few more pictures to follow:

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Unread post by spot-a-cat » Fri Jun 30, 2006 5:02 pm

After climbing the embankment, they walked with purpose along the road,


before deciding to sit down (by this stage a Kruger traffic jam was starting to form)



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