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Marching North

Tell us about your breathtaking experiences in the parks
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SurfCindy
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Marching North

Unread post by SurfCindy » Sat Dec 03, 2016 8:14 pm

DAY 1 - 21st March

March was drawing to an end and after spending a week in the parched desert landscape of Kgalagadi. We swopped the rolling red dunes for the dense green bushes of Kruger. Even though we were on familiar stomping ground, this trip would include a few firsts for us. New camps, new experiences and new sightings. Not willing to completely let go of tradition, we entered the park at Paul Kruger gate. From there we would be making our way to Skukuza for 1 night (mainly so we could fit in our beloved Lake Panic), then onto Letaba for 2 nights (this would be a new camp for us), 2 nights at Shingwedzi and then 2 nights at Punda Maria (another new camp, in hope of finding the very secretive Pel's Fishing Owl).

After the long scenic drive, we entered the park late afternoon and headed straight to Lake Panic. Guesses of which animal would be spotted first, were named. Turned out we were all wrong and pleasantly surprised by this big guy.

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It was welcoming to see an elephant, as mentally we had been animal spotting for a week and definitely missed these gentle giants.

We arrived at a rather empty parking lot, much to our delight. The iconic hide at Lake Panic is my Kruger sanctuary, my happy place and my guilty pleasure all rolled into one. We entered the hide and it was almost as if it whispered "Welcome Home". The first one to greet us, was a Fish Eagle. It's sharp, beady eyes scanning the water.

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Not the only one to keep a look out, these terrapins were facing all directions ensuring maximum safety whilst enjoying the last few moments of the day.

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Business for the day wasn't quite completed for an African jacana. He was still hoping to catch some dinner.

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If only the noisy neighbours could keep it down. As usual, the Egyptian geese were making an absolute racket, chasing all potential prey away.

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The park was suffering one its severest droughts but had recently been blessed with some rainfall before we arrived. It was lovely to see signs of life as well as rising levels of water.

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Sadly it wouldn't last for too long. The harsh drought wasn't quite prepared to release its firm grasp on the land.

The sinking sun, signalled bath time and a blacksmith plover relished in the opportunity sending droplets of water flying everywhere.

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Father Time gently reminded us to get a move on as it edged ever closer to closing the gates. Obeying instructions, we left the hide and made our way to camp where we still needed to check in. Along the way we spotted our first impala. A change from the hundreds of springboks we saw the previous week.

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A beautiful starling waded through the shallow puddles.

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Whilst keeping a blacksmith plover company. Our second sighting of this contrasting coloured bird.

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The battle between the sun and the night began, with the clouds also wanting in on the action. But we all know who will win this war. Night time will spread it's dark cloak until dawn announces itself.

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Skukuza gets a lot of stick in my opinion....too busy, too touristy, too noisy etc etc. With all this in mind, I love staying at this camp for 2 reasons. One, I have already mentioned, it's close to Lake Panic and the second reason is Cattle Baron.
With check in completed, the car unpacked and images of spare ribs, creamed spinach and wine looming in my mind, we headed to the deck of the resturant to enjoy a delicious dinner whilst surrounded by the night time sounds of frogs, hippos and hyenas. What a great start to our week in heaven!

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Goronta
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Re: Marching North

Unread post by Goronta » Sat Dec 03, 2016 8:27 pm

What a start Surfcindy :clap: :clap: :clap:
The contrast between Kgalagadi and Kruger must be a real challenge :hmz:
A Pel's Fishing Owl :big_eyes:
I'm on board
:popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn:
Carpe diem

KTP JULY-AUGUST 2017
jul 27th : K.K
jul 28th : Twee
jul 29th : Nossob
30th to aug 1st : Gharagab
aug 2nd to 5th : Grootkolk
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umtali1
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Re: Marching North

Unread post by umtali1 » Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:27 pm

Wow, Surfcindy. KTP followed by the Kruger. What contrasts :dance: :dance: :dance:

Fantastic start :clap: . Am definitely on board in the best seat :popcorn: :popcorn:
umtali1

2016 Reis Verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps
https://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?&t=93948

2013 Mokala and KNP,
2015 "Cape Town to Namibia border" - Ebb and Flow, Karoo NP, Mokala, Augrabies & KTP

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Meandering Mouse
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Re: Marching North

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Sun Dec 04, 2016 4:32 am

Surf Cindy :D lovely to see you back.

As ever, we are being introduced to a wonderful experience of Kruger.

I also enjoy Skukuza. It is actually fairly quiet at night and the eco diversity in that area is out of this world. I also love the variety of roads to choose from and the Skukuza gardens are so beautifully maintained. It is a paradise for birders.

When I visited with my children last December, they could not get over how much wild life could be experienced on an evening walk.

:popcorn:
The bird doesn't sing because it has answers, it sings because it has a song.

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jjames04
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Re: Marching North

Unread post by jjames04 » Sun Dec 04, 2016 5:14 am

Hi SurfCindy,

What a great start, I can't wait to see what you find up north!

Cheers,

Joe

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Mischief
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Re: Marching North

Unread post by Mischief » Sun Dec 04, 2016 10:39 am

Definitely on board for this one :popcorn:
"Nature is not a place to visit. It is home."- G.Snyder
Mischief :P

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SurfCindy
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Re: Marching North

Unread post by SurfCindy » Sun Dec 04, 2016 6:11 pm

Welcome aboard Goronta, umtali1, Meandering mouse, Jjames04 and Mischief. We will be on the move again shortly. Hope you enjoy the ride. :thumbs_up:

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Pumbaa
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Re: Marching North

Unread post by Pumbaa » Sun Dec 04, 2016 6:27 pm

Amazing start already, SurfCindy,

especially with all the Lake Panic shots - Sigh :dance: :dance: :dance:

:popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn:

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Karin Mitton
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Re: Marching North

Unread post by Karin Mitton » Sun Dec 04, 2016 7:49 pm

Wonderful photos to start with! I am on the bus for this one!

I do agree that Skukuza does not always get the best feedback, but I love it, and no KNp trip is complete without spending time their. The thought of the great food at the Cattle Baron is making me drool as I type this!

chirinda
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Re: Marching North

Unread post by chirinda » Sun Dec 04, 2016 9:01 pm

Lovely ellie and bird pics to get started.
:popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn:

manicwalker
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Re: Marching North

Unread post by manicwalker » Mon Dec 05, 2016 4:42 am

SurfCindy,
I have jumped on this bus.... :)
What a great start to Kruger...
Beautiful photo of the elephant, :clap:
Your fish eagle photos are lovely too,
as are the EGeese... and cute little blacksmith plover,
and a very nice composed pic of the starling :clap: :clap:

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Riaanf31
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Re: Marching North

Unread post by Riaanf31 » Mon Dec 05, 2016 11:30 am

Welcome aboard everyone. As co-pilot, I am looking forward to enjoying the adventure and moments we share over the next few pages.

PS: By co-pilot I really just mean enjoying all your snacks and drinks whilst taking in the amazing sightings and experiences :)
To see a sunrise in KNP is to see magic.

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hilda
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Re: Marching North

Unread post by hilda » Mon Dec 05, 2016 3:01 pm

Glad to have found another SurfCindy trip report! Great start to another "week in heaven" SurfCindy and Riaanf31! :dance: :dance:

Beautiful Ellie, and that for a first sighting! Of course I LOVE the beautiful Fish Eagle too! Superbly captured! :clap: :clap:

Lovely Terrapins with their "ET" faces! :clap: :clap:

Great shots of the beautiful birds, with great pictures of the "battle between the sun and the night"! :dance: :dance:

TigerTommy
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Re: Marching North

Unread post by TigerTommy » Mon Dec 05, 2016 9:21 pm

Hi Surfcindy

These days, things are so hectic I only get to look at the forums like once a month. So imagine my delight when I signed on this evening and found a new TR of yours :D :D :D Looking forward to sharing this trip with you both even if I am somewhat a silent passenger. I promise to replenish the snacks for the co-pilot when I make an appearance :tongue:

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isinkwe
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Re: Marching North

Unread post by isinkwe » Tue Dec 06, 2016 9:52 am

Not too long from now , I will also be marching North :D :D :thumbs_up: Many , many years now since I was up north
Isn't it just amazing how potatoes give us fries and vodka? :D The rest of the vegetables should get their act together :rtm:

So when is old enough to know better supposed to kick in ? :hmz:


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