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S33 Vutomi Road.

Discuss the different camps and roads of the Kruger National Park
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adw
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S33 Vutomi Road.

Unread post by adw » Mon Feb 19, 2007 9:02 am

In Jan 2007 I traveled this road a couple of times and found it to be very scenic and had good sightings of elephant, rhino, and buffalo as well as the normal browsers / grazers such as impala, kudu ,giraffe, zebra etc. I did not see any of the cats as I did not get there early.
I was staying at Satara and getting there early is a bit of a problem because of the distance involved.
On my next trip in Nov 07 I intend leaving Satara at 04h30 and drive straight to the S33 as I think this road has great potential for lions and leopards.
Do any of the forumites have good experiences on this road?

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Unread post by Duke Ellieton » Mon Feb 19, 2007 3:16 pm

Have had very good sightings of buffalo and elephant on this road snd agrre that it is very scenic and has good potential for predator sightings but have not seen any.

We usually drive to the Jones dam are from Skukuza hoping to see sable and then take this road but like you have not been there early in the morning.

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Unread post by DuQues » Mon Feb 19, 2007 3:50 pm

Saving those that do not know where the S33 is some time:
Almost between Nhanguleni and Tshokwane picknicspot, about 35 km under Satara. It does not start at Tshokwane, that's the S34, but the road above that.
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adw
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Re: S33 Vutomi Road.

Unread post by adw » Fri Dec 31, 2010 5:11 pm

I came across this young male Leopard on a rock in the Nwaswisontso riverbed where it crosses the Vutomi Road. He was very relaxed and stayed on that rock for 57 minutes ( the time difference between my first and last photo). For most of that time I had him all to myself. When I arrived at the causeway there was already one car there before they moved off after about 15 minutes. Needless to say I took numerous photos of this cat as he slept / groomed himself.

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Re: S33 Vutomi Road.

Unread post by Elsa » Sat Jan 01, 2011 12:03 pm

What a fantastic sighting adw and great pic. :thumbs_up:

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Re: S33 Vutomi Road.

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Sat Jan 01, 2011 4:40 pm

Beautiful photo, adw :clap: :clap: :clap:

I have not done the Vutomi road very often, but I do enjoy it. I find it rather scenic, a pleasure to travel, regardless of sightings.
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adw
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Re: S33 Vutomi Road.

Unread post by adw » Sat Jan 01, 2011 7:08 pm

Thank you for your kind comments Elsa, Okie and MM.
MM, I agree with the comments on this road, plus the Vutomi Dam is also a hotspot for general game and Elephants that come down to drink and play in the water.
One of my favourite drives.
Rhino Poaching - Highlight's man's stupidity and greediness.

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Re: S33 Vutomi Road.

Unread post by Gabar » Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:55 pm

I was in the park two weeks ago (late October 2011) and I decided to try this road in my effort to get to Jones' Dam to look for Sable.
It had been 43 degrees Celsius the day before and the morning seemed to be getting hotter and hotter again.
I saw lots of interesting stuff on the way and then came upon a lion kill right at the Vutomi Dam.
Best lion sighting I have had in ages!
I sat with them for hours and then drove up to Lugmag Dam, found the Sable and a pair of Martial Eagles and then returned to the lions and sat with them for a few more hours.
Having just attended a Raptor Identification Course in Letaba, I wanted to photograph the Vultures on the Buffalo carcass.
No Vultures arrived in all the hours I sat there!
It really isn't like all the wildlife documentaries show it at all!
I was supposed to drive home on that day but stayed over at Pretoriuskop for another night due to this worthwhile delay.
As stated by somebody else in here, this must be one of the most remote points in the park in terms of getting to it early in the morning.
Skukuza and Satara are the two accommodation options, but it will probably take you two hours to get their from either of these camps.

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Re: S33 Vutomi Road.

Unread post by Bush Baptist » Fri Nov 04, 2011 12:09 am

About 2 years ago to the day, I heard of wild dog at Vutomi dam.
I got there just in time, because the 24 dogs milled around for a minute or 2 and them sped off - gone.

My last doggie sighting in Kruger and my 6th trip in succession seeing them.
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Re: S33 Vutomi Road.

Unread post by MLAMBANE » Sat Nov 05, 2011 9:52 am

If you want solitude i.e. private sightings without the whole of Satara and the Orpen day visitors then the s33 is a great place to be!

In a recent trip we came across a pride of 21 lions that had downed a giraffe at the Vutomi dam.
Three lionesses lying in the road about 6km in from the tar.
A young leopardess hunting a scrub hare as well as a male leopard seeking refuge in a sausage tree, next to the road, during a rainy morning...

Despite these the road is always littered with tracks of lion, leopard and hyena...
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Re: S33 Vutomi Road.

Unread post by ndloti » Sat Nov 05, 2011 10:37 am

I once spent around 8 hours parked in the shade at the edge of the dam wall , had 3 seperate sightings of leopard , a total of 4 seen .

This one relaxing about 5 metres from the car .

Image

Also at least 3 elephant herds , one group about 5 metres from the car .

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Re: S33 Vutomi Road.

Unread post by zivvy&muffin » Sat Nov 05, 2011 5:25 pm

Wonderful pics of Vutomi, was there last week ...
but no cats turned up in the 30 seconds I waited.
Great area and nice in several seasons.
Indeed, following a nice drive thru on the way from Tamboti to south I will now relent and book Skukuza or Satara (next trip) just so I can get at this area at the earliest possible time of day.
Do remember, forumites, that the Hamilton Lodges vehicles visit this area too so you're unlikely to beat them to a fresh kill of a morning.
The big downside of the S33 and other nearby roads (especially the S36) is they are in shocking condition and have been for the last year or so.
Very nastily corrugated and any number of sightings ruined as the poor bird / animal's ears get battered by the racket of tyres juddering to a stop.
The vibration for any poor creatures making their home close by must be dreadful.
But for that, Talamati would work as the access camp.
Vutomi and Lugmag dams are still intact (end Oct11), but are earmarked for being drained according to the Park Maps.

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Re: S33 Vutomi Road.

Unread post by adw » Sun Nov 06, 2011 1:33 pm

I was dismayed to hear the Vutomi Dam and Lugmagdam dam have been earmarked for drainage. Could somebody from the Parks board please comment.
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Re: S33 Vutomi Road.

Unread post by Joao » Sun Nov 06, 2011 3:37 pm

adw there is a water management plan in action at Kruger. Many of the waterholes and dams will in due course be closed and drained.

Lugmag dam and Vutomi are both on the list to be closed.

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Re: S33 Vutomi Road.

Unread post by Stoffel » Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:25 am

granjan wrote:I think Vutomi is one of the dams that is due to be drained anyway, isn't it?


If that's the case - so be it.
I realize the scientific approach behind such decisions, but still find it sad to see such beautiful landmarks disappear.
Rabelais Dam used to be my most favourite spot in Kruger because of the beautiful sightings that I have witnessed over many years around the dam.
For quite a few years it is gone now.
I still travel the S106 regularly just to experience some nostalgia when I pass the area where the dam was located.

I had an interesting discussion with my neighbour a few weeks ago.
Piet van der Hyde was ranger at Kingfisher Spruit (his photo can be seen in Rabelais Hut).
I thought that Piet (being of the older ranger generation) will be against the closure of water points in the park.
I was surprised to hear his support for the decision.

Big parts of the western boundary (between Kruger and the neighbouring private reserves like Sabi Sand, Timbavati etc) has been dropped.
Piet was very much against the erection of the fence to keep the game inside the park boundaries.
That prevented game like wildebeest and zebra to follow their natural migration routes.
And as wildebeest is very dependent on water, the man-made water points had to be made.

He told me those days the migrating game was shot on neighbouring land, but it did not have a negative impact on populations of the abundant species like wildebeest.
But the artificial water points had detrimental effects on some of the already scarce species as predators were drawn to the drinking places (attracted by wildebeest which had to come for water).

If Vutomi has to disappear I will experience it as a sad day, but will have understanding for it.
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