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DeeSmith Kruger Park - October 2012

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DeeSmith Kruger Park - October 2012

Unread post by DeeSmith » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:55 pm

Here goes! This is my first ever attempt at a Trip report on one of our Kruger trips. :think:

Mid July - Hubby decides he needs a break a.s.a.p. Get online to book a trip to KNP. He wants to go next week, next joke! Park is fully booked until end of September. So I manage to get a booking for the second week of October, eight days of relaxation coming up, but it's so far away. I soothe him and tell him it's only 2 months away.

Three weeks before the departure date he is already chomping at the bit! We are now counting the sleeps. At last it's six sleeps to go, the trailer is sorted out and packed to the hilt. The packing list has been Triple checked, the cooler boxes are ready to be filled, the car has been serviced.

Friday the 5th has arrived, fill the fuel tank - eek! Shock! Horror! The fuel price always goes up just before we go away.

We leave home in Gauteng at 02h00 to get to Malelane gate by 06h30. There is a queue at the gate but we are processed through really quickly.

Cameras are ready to photograph whatever crosses our path on the way to Olifants Camp where we are spending the first night in luxury in a chalet!

We saw lots of Elephants both Matriarch herds and Lonesome Bulls. Also a few of our friends that are not to be named. Buffalo by the hundreds, Kudu and Impala. None of the cats willing to be seen on the first day.

We asked for permission to leave our trailer at Satara overnight as hubby did not want to tow it up the mountain!

We booked in at Olifants and settled down for a quiet evening and boy was it quiet. Not a single nighttime sound to be heard. After a good nights sleep we loaded up and made our way slowly back to Satara. Lots of game spotting on the way.

Finding a shady campsite at Satara can be a mission in itself, shaded sites are at a premium here. We were lucky and found a site close to the ablution block in the Northern corner. Turns out we parked across the way from Super Mongoose and her SO.

It's great to meet other members of the forum and hear about their experiences here in Kruger.

Monday 8th October - Time to go shopping! We're off to Phalaborwa for fresh meat and other supplies. We leave camp at 05h40 and head North. Got to stop at Letaba for breakfast, this is a tradition. We have a meal at Letaba every time we come to Kruger. Great Breakfast and onwards to town.

Lots of Buffalo and Elephants along the way.

The staff at the gate are friendly and efficient, we are issued our re-entry pass and can go shopping. Oh my the transport strike has reached Limpopo and the shelves are almost bare. At the bakery in P'n P there is almost fisticuffs when the fresh bread is brought out. We get what we can and leave. Back to the peace and tranquility of Kruger.

On the way back we see some really irresponsible people out of their vehicle at the Shipukuylia Pan, taking photos this with a herd of Elephants not more than 30meters away! Reported the incident to Letaba Ranger.

That's the first few days for now... More to follow!

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Re: Kruger Park - October 2012

Unread post by DeeSmith » Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:07 pm

Thank you all for the replies to my report so far.

We set up our tent at Satara and prepared for the week ahead. It's been really hot, thank goodness for the constant breeze that blows through camp. I must say that the 3G signal isn't too bad either as I'm able to do everything I want to online and that included submitting photos to the monthly club competition.

But I digress, back to the reason we are in KNP - the sightings. On Tuesday morning we decided to do the by now famous S100 route to find the "Mega Pride", All we found was bruised backsides from the constant bumping in the car! It was really quiet along the whole route. We started along the tar to the Nwanetsi lookout then along the S90 to the S100. Saw a few Giraffe and Blue Wild beasts as my husband calls them. Also Zebra and quite a few Steenbok, it always amazes me that these tiny creatures manage to survive out here.

Got back to camp at about 15h00 and decided that enough was enough for one day. Watched the big tuskers at the waterhole by the restaurant for a while, as well as the antics of the resident Vervet monkeys. I am always astounded when I watch how children interact with the monkeys. Neither seems to have any fear of each other.

We spent the evening around the campfire with me trying to photograph the Milky Way with limited success I might add! Then off to bed totally exhausted by 21h00.

Wednesday morning we were up with the birds and off for the day, hubby had decided that we were going to Lower Sabie today. What a day this was to prove! We travelled down the main tar road to Tshokwane.

Just past the Nkaya pan we saw the first lions of the day. In the middle of the road! A courting couple, the lioness looked fit and well but the lion was really old and very thin, Not that this seemed to be a problem, he was not letting her get very far from him at all. There was quite a traffic jam as everyone tried to get to see them. As cars moved forward we got closer to them and then they were between us and the oncoming traffic. Both Des and I had a chuckle as a delivery van aprroached from ahead, got close and then both the driver and his assistant also proceeded to take photos of the lions.

But we had places to go and animals to see so after taking photos we moved on down the road, not far though about a kilometer further on we came across another courting couple and the rest of the harem on the right hand side of the road out in the open and a great sighting. We left them to their pleasure and carried on towards Tshokwane,

It was proving to be a really great game viewing morning as we then came across a Kudu bull with the biggest horns we have seen and he posed for photos. Almost as if he knew how good looking he was.

About 5 kilometers from Tshokwane we saw what was to prove the highlight of the morning! Three Cheetah brothers right next to the road, trying very hard to look like they were just laying about, while Zebra and Blue Wild beasts ambled past them like a moving smorgasbord. We sat and watched them to see what would go down, after about 10 minutes one of the Cheetah decided to try his luck went in stalk mode and then took off the zebras took off too in a cloud of red dust! After the dust cleared the Cheetah sat there looking really sheepish! We left them to it and carried on down the road.

We stopped at Tshokwane for a take away breakfast. The service and the food were both good. In and out of there within 20 minutes.

Onwards towards Lower Sabie, down the H 12 in search of the elusive Leopard, needless to say we didn't find one! Then a quick pit stop at Nkuku to check the sightings board and go to the bathroom. Lots of Elephants, Waterbuck, Impala, Kudu, Giraffe, Baboons and monkeys along the river road. Also more lions lying on the rocks above the river near Sunset dam. The dam seems very low and there were plenty of hippos lolling in the noon heat.

A quick stop at Lower Sabie and then back on the S10 road back to Satara Quiet a lot of game on this route lots of Elephants with babies that are too cute for words! the mothers are really protective of them and it's difficult to get photos of them.

The cheetah were still alongside the road on the way back albeit lying under a tree resting in the heat.

Lots of Buffalo along the road and at the Kumana Dam having their afternoon drink. The lions had all moved off out of sight, so it was fairly uneventful on the rest of the drive.

Back in camp it was time to light the fire for the evening braai. Also to find a tyre dealer to get tyres for the trailer as one has decided to split along the sidewall. So it was off to Hoedspruit on Thursday. More about that next time.

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Re: Kruger Park - October 2012

Unread post by DeeSmith » Sat Oct 13, 2012 2:51 pm

SO bright and early Thursday morning we hitched the trailer to the Terios and off we went to Hoedspruit. What should have been a quick trip turned into an all day affair. On the way to Orpen we had to stop to watch Elephants, Buffalo and assorted other creatures that ventured into our path.

We cleared through the gate at Orpen and ventured forth, but wait before we could hit the road proper we had to stop for a sighting - a Lioness lying right next to the road with some Zebra and a Blue Wild beast not 10 meters away from her, They didn't have a clue that she was there, the light breeze was blowing towards her. She was watching them very intently, she would scan around and after about 15 minutes she slowly half rose to a semi crouch and started creeping forward. It's really difficult to not get excited when viewing this right in front of oneself. She got to a full stalk mode and was getting ready to start the chase when the wind changed direction. The Zebras caught one whiff and took off like greased lightning with the Blue Wild beast following suit. She charged but sadly didn't manage to catch anything.

She was all alone and we think she may have had a litter of cubs nearby as on one of the photos I got of her the fur around her nipples was all flat.

So after that bit of excitement we went off to Hoedspruit. I can highly recommend the service we received from Crystal at Hoedspruit Supa Quick. Friendly and efficient. We stopped for Brunch at Sleepers Restaurant - great little place and wonderful food.

Back to KNP and Satara unhitched the trailer and went for a short afternoon drive. The usual suspects were in play and we adjourned back to the campsite for dinner and an evening under the stars, until the wind came up!

Friday morning dawned very overcast, but we decided to do the S90 to the Nwanetsi tar road and back to camp. Just outside of camp the Buffalo were congregating we passed them and just before the turnoff to the S90 saw a beautiful Eagle Owl right by the road. He/she posed for a few photos and we carried on. Very little to see on the S90, a few Elephants, Impala and a lone Black Backed Jackal. Just when we thought there wasn't going to be any excitement we came across a family group of Giraffe with the smallest pair of youngsters we have ever seen. They seemed to be only a few weeks old. Both the same size and we were wondering if they were twins. The were really cute if a little shy, kept trying to make themselves invisible behind their mother.

Further down the road we caught sight of Lions doing what Lions do best - lying around sleeping!

Back to camp for lunch and to decide where we would drive to later. But that was not to be as the heavens opened and down came the rain. I had visions of being stuck at Satara for days if it didn't let up. People were scurrying about knocking in more tent pegs and digging trenches around tents. There is nothing like the sound of the rain on canvas to make me want to lie down and sleep. No afternoon drive, no braai tonight. I booked a table for dinner at the restaurant and we duly went to dinner at 19h00. When we got there Super Mongoose and her SO were looking to get a table for dinner so we joined up and had a really fun dinner together with them. Very friendly and out going people. After dinner it was back to the campsite to chill before bed. Lay in bed listening to the rain falling and slept like a baby.

This morning it had stopped raining and we could pack up camp to transfer to Tamboti for our last night in Kruger. I'm sitting here outside tent number 8 overlooking the dry riverbed, writing this final part of my trip report. Directly opposite me on the bank is a tall tree with Vultures nesting in it. A Nyala wanders up and down and in and out of the bushes nibbling as it goes. It is so peaceful here. The birds keep a constant chorus going. I am in heaven here on earth. I wish I could stay for longer, but sadly it's back to work on Monday and it will be a few months before we come back to Kruger. Hubby is already chomping at the bit to book for May.

Till then I will have to visit KNP through the eyes of other forumites and their trip reports. I just need to resize some of the photos and then I'll post them.


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Re: Kruger Park - October 2012

Unread post by DeeSmith » Sun Oct 14, 2012 4:59 pm

Thank you everyone for the positive responses to my TR.

A postscript: Our last night at Tamboti!

What a way to end a stay in KNP, From the start it was eventful, what with me almost dying of fright on entering the Ablution block opposite Tent 9. The size of the spiders here are mind blowing! :shock: :big_eyes:
Sitting there on the mesh of the door it was bigger than my fist! I am not a small person!

So once I recovered from that experience it was time to chill on the deck of the tent, we were in no. 8. Sat there doing the previous post while watching a Nyala and listening to the birds.

Sundown - Hubby lit the fire and decided he needed to get something out of the car, so off he went up the path. I wanted to ask him something and went to the stairs of the deck, there to be met by the resident Honey Badger! Teeth gnashing and looking for mischief. To say that I shrieked is an understatement! I think they heard me at Satara!

The HB didn't even bat an eyelid, just waddled off into the bush on his way to the tent next door where he was met with more shrieks! After knocking over their dustbin he continued on his merry way through the camp.

My husband was astounded that the HB was out so early, We were visited by it three times during the evening, Eventually I had had enough and retired to bed.

Bright and early this morning about 04h30 I was awake and raring to go. Got up woke hubby and made him go and get boiling water for the morning tea. I wasn't venturing out in the predawn darkness! I'm a wuss and not scared to admit it either!

While sitting listening to the dawn chorus the Baboons across the riverbed woke up and started coming across to the camp.

It was now light enough for me to venture forth, on the walk up the path I was met by 2 of the resident Baboons. Don't know who got the bigger fright!

Just what I needed to wake me up completely!

We packed the overnight things into the trailer hitched it up and hit the road home.

We left KNP at 06h00 and arrived back at home in Gauteng at 13h30. Quite good going as we stopped for breaks twice. We came home via Ohrigstad/ Lydenberg/ Dullstroom/ Belfast then onto the N4. The road till we got to the Highway was fairly quiet and the road has been resurfaced for much of the way up to Lydenberg then it's not so good "potholes"!!

This was a different route for us as we usually go all the way to Malelane and enter the Park there.

So till the next time that is all she wrote.

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