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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so..... 2012

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ecojunkie
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:30 pm

I made sure I chose a spot under a shady tree with a good view of the water trough! We put up my gazebo under another shady tree to use as a kitchen and meeting area. We all did our own thing as far as meals went, but ate together in the evenings around a fire. One of the guys shouted to hold on and he would be over to help with my tent in a moment......next time I saw him my tent was already up (done alone) and he was sitting in a chair supervising a couple of the other guys attacking the gazebo (without consulting the instructions of course!). It was the first time I had put it up and so I was a bit upset to realise I had not seen how it was folded up and stored in the bag for reference later.....but never mind!

It was hot, so we rested a little after setting up camp and then went out for a walk. It was a bit strange.....because it was largely organised for assessing guides we all had rifles with us. We could not leave them in camp so had to take them out with us. But all walking with loaded rifles was also not a good idea.....so in the end only the first and second 'rifle' carried loaded rifles and the rest of us kept ours unloaded but ammo on our belts.

We had a great riverine area, and lots of open sodic sites to explore, and we made the most of it over the 3 full days we had there. The section ranger told us we could swim in the reservoir too, and that was made full use of when the ellies allowed.
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:43 pm

On the walks we did a lot of tracking, had some really good sightings and experiences and covered a large area. I am deliberately not going to say where we were!

There was a lot of rhino activity in the area, and we came across several groups and lone animals. It was also obvious from tracks and heavy marking that the area was the scene of a territorial battle between bulls. We did not see them fight at all, but there was lots of evidence of heavy markings and over-markings in many places.

One late afternoon we had a rhino bull start to charge us as we left a sighting, but it was because the wind suddenly veered and he smelled us and turned in our direction just as the final 3 folk were moving out from behind the bush to back off. A shout was enough to make him decide to leave us alone.

Another young ellie bull was a bit arrogant and macho coming to drink at the reservoir and even attempted a charge at the gazebo. We sat still, continued to talk quietly, and he turned and left us. Next morning he also tried a bit of intimidation. When he left after drinking we tracked after him.....he saw us and turned into a chicken and ran away!
Smiling is contagious. Start an epidemic today!

Have you read the entrance permit? Do you KNOW the Conditions of Entry?

Completed over 6 years in Kruger in my caravan.

If I was normal I wouldn't be me!

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ecojunkie
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:57 pm

There were other rhino and ellie encounters too......with only one other ellie bull actually realising we were anywhere near him. I learned a lot about getting close to animals and away again without disturbing them at all.

We were aware of a leopard in the river valley near us, and saw her tracks several times, and once those of a young cub with her. The tracks showed a very playful encounter..... On our 2nd last morning we found the tracks again and tried to follow them. Suddenly we heard impalas give an alarm call indicating they smelled a leopard - but had not seen her yet. We made haste to the area, but found nothing other than alert impalas. Returning to the river area we again found the leopard tracks, and slowly realised she actually had 3 cubs with her. At some point we walked right past her as later events showed!!!!

We continued to track, and then lost the signs near a thick bushy area. It seemed she had decided to leave the cubs safely in there while she went off hunting. We decided to leave her to it, and not stress her any more, as she was obviously aware of our presence.

We moved out of the river bed and followed an animal path for a while and then came back to cross over the river bed again.....and to our surprise stumbled on the leopard tracks again! As we crossed the river bed, the lead guide stopped briefly to assess the best place to climb the bank opposite, and as he did some of us near the back of the line saw the female leopard in a bush to his left. He had not seen her as he was looking at the bank...... And then she growled.........And he looked and saw 2 cubs right back under the bush and another playing under her belly. He immediately told us to move back slowly, but with another growl she charged us!!!!
Smiling is contagious. Start an epidemic today!

Have you read the entrance permit? Do you KNOW the Conditions of Entry?

Completed over 6 years in Kruger in my caravan.

If I was normal I wouldn't be me!

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ecojunkie
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Thu Nov 22, 2012 9:16 pm

Somebody in front of me nearly flattened me as he jumped backwards....... But the good leopard mum was only making sure her cubs were safe and could get away from us. She stopped quickly with front paws spread to make herself look even bigger and growled some more - then abruptly turned and disappeared after the cubs.

After a moment or 2 we all broke into big grins and exploded with 'wow', 'what an experience', etc..... And unanimously we decided that area was now closed for us as we did not want to stress her any more. In retrospect we realised she had probably dodged us with her cubs through the morning. If we had kept moving she would probably have stayed quiet and let us move off, provided we had not seen her. But the fact we stopped, and then did see her, and one cub was not being good and keeping hidden like the others combined to make her warn us off. An incredible experience, probably never to be repeated.......

Later in the walk we heard monkeys giving alarm calls and realised another leopard was in the area, and moved nearer to the alarm calls in case a kill had happened. We found tracks......and to our utter surprise it was our mom and cubs!!! They had moved quite a distance considering the cubs were only about 4 months old at the most. She had a kill when we arrived as the first afternoon we saw vultures and smelled something, and the next morning saw a hyena in the area too. She was doing well for her little family, and we did not want to stress her, so immediately turned away and headed in another direction completely.

While we heard lions every night we saw none and only old tracks. A saddle-bill stork female spent time at the waterhole, and 5 ground hornbills visited the last morning. We heard them every morning.

Other visitors were warthogs, giraffes, and kudus while we were in camp.

It was an immense privilege to be allowed to camp and walk in the area......and we are very grateful for the opportunity. We trod lightly, left as little evidence of our presence as we could, and took away many memories.
Smiling is contagious. Start an epidemic today!

Have you read the entrance permit? Do you KNOW the Conditions of Entry?

Completed over 6 years in Kruger in my caravan.

If I was normal I wouldn't be me!

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ecojunkie
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:56 pm

Thanks for taking the book through for me!

Remember that on this occasion we were all trained guides...... It probably made a big difference to our behaviour and response.
Smiling is contagious. Start an epidemic today!

Have you read the entrance permit? Do you KNOW the Conditions of Entry?

Completed over 6 years in Kruger in my caravan.

If I was normal I wouldn't be me!

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ecojunkie
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Re: needed a (permanent?) fix so.....

Unread postby ecojunkie » Fri Dec 14, 2012 9:16 am

This thread will be neglected for a while as I am travelling outside SA until the New Year. Have a great festive season whatever you are doing, and whoever you are with.
Smiling is contagious. Start an epidemic today!

Have you read the entrance permit? Do you KNOW the Conditions of Entry?

Completed over 6 years in Kruger in my caravan.

If I was normal I wouldn't be me!


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