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PetraJ's 4 Weeks in Satara. KNP, December 2013

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PetraJ
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Location: Hazyview

PetraJ's 4 Weeks in Satara. KNP, December 2013

Unread post by PetraJ » Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:41 am

In exactly one month's time, we will enter KNP via the Phabeni gate and drive to Satara, where we will spend the next four weeks. Excitement is at the order of the day, as I remember too clearly last year December when we were in Punda Maria for 4 weeks, and the great sightings we had.
We will only be able to drive early morning and some late afternoons as from 08h00 to 16h00 I will be working in the camp, but hey, it is still 3.5 hours driving every day. Not to mention the night sounds, the fire at night and the old and new friends that we are going to see during this month.

Will try to do a day to day posting, depending on the signal and time available.

So, to start with, to get the time by, let me post some pics that was not posted yet in any of my TRs.

Our transport during the time in Satara
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Sure every one know by now hyenas are my favourites
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PetraJ
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Re: 4 Weeks in Satara.

Unread post by PetraJ » Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:44 pm

Just made a quick list of everyone that is going to be in the area and whom we hope we will meet up with:
Phokojwe
Heksie,
Sparrow,
WendyA
Crested Val,
Baffers,
Dan,
JeanniR
Kaapsedraai,
Rooikat.
Please add your name to my little list, then I can look out for you as well.

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PetraJ
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Re: 4 Weeks in Satara.

Unread post by PetraJ » Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:09 am

Thanks everyone for responding, Nkulu, will be very nice to meet you!
Foxy, getting our supplies from Hazyview, so when driving that way, who knows, maybe we'll meet on the road.

Some more pics to post:

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PetraJ
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Re: 4 Weeks in Satara.

Unread post by PetraJ » Fri Nov 15, 2013 11:19 am

3 Weeks to go....

The first time ever I saw rhinos sleeping like dogs

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PetraJ
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Posts: 1332
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 1:11 pm
Location: Hazyview

Re: 4 Weeks in Satara.

Unread post by PetraJ » Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:54 am

Thank you everyone for your comments :thumbs_up: There is less than 3 weeks to go :dance:
RichardJ, I am sure my SO would love to meet you in Skukuza as you missed each other at the Kgalagadi Cricket :thumbs_up:

Some more :cam:

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PetraJ
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Re: 4 Weeks in Satara.

Unread post by PetraJ » Tue Dec 03, 2013 8:04 am

Only 2 mornings left where I have to get up and go to work. I cannot believe the year already came to an end. Had a bit of bad news yesterday, our truck will not be finished in time (in for some repairs and a service) so the first week we will only be driving in a white Opel Kadett stationwagon. Hopefully we will go and fetch the truck in Hazyview between 10 and 12 December.

As the truck is our home as well, fully fitted with bed, fridge, stove, etc, it is going to feel weird for a bit to sleep in the tent again, but nevertheless WE ARE GOING TO BE IN KRUGER!!!! :dance: :dance: :dance:

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PetraJ
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Re: 4 Weeks in Satara.

Unread post by PetraJ » Sun Dec 08, 2013 7:32 pm

We left Johannesburg the same time the news of Mandela’s death hit the radios. Drive quite well and dropped my boys at their father in Hazyview. We drove up to Phalaborwa to spend a couple of hours with my SOs daughter, and on our way back to Hazyview decided to enter at Phalaborwa and drove to Satara to pitch our tent. On the way there we found some general game as well as these beauties:
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As we arrived in Satara, I quickly checked in with the Duty Manager to tell her we are going to pitch the tent and then leave again for Satara. She gave me some money and asked to buy the Christmas decorations in Hazyview for the reception. We took off from Satara, and drove to Hazyview. As time were against us we did not stop at the general game, only at the Jackal and Vultures at an Impala kill
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And a Hyena at the den outside Skukuza
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Arrived at Hazyview and got ready for bed, as it was a 22 hour drive for us.
Saturday morning my SO had a previously arranged Golf day in Hazyview, so no driving in the park, and while he was playing his Golf, I did the Christmas shopping for the camp.

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PetraJ
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Re: 4 Weeks in Satara.

Unread post by PetraJ » Mon Dec 09, 2013 3:58 pm

Thank you Philip. Our first sighting of yesterday is specially for you :twisted:

We entered Phabeni only at 06h30 on Sunday, bought some coffee at the shop and started our journey to Satara. Today we took it real slow as there was no rush like Friday. Just as I mentioned to my SO that I haven’t even seen one impala, he said Wild dog! Right there in front of us two wild dog came running in the road, obviously on the lookout for something to hunt. They were so fast the whole sighting didn’t even last 5 minutes, and they were gone. Luckily we got some photos before they disappeared again.
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Rhino
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A very special sighting for me was this Dwarf mongoose
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My first pic of an Imapala baby
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This elephant was on a mission
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And then this beautiful Buffalo
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In Satara I started with the Christmas decorations, which was not an easy task, as the guests keep on coming in, and then I had to stop…. But got it done, and it look quite nice.
To end the day we spent the last bit of the day with this Elephant herd.
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PetraJ
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Re: 4 Weeks in Satara.

Unread post by PetraJ » Tue Dec 10, 2013 6:53 pm

Good evening everyone. The fire is going and the Impala running past our campsite. The lions are on the move, we can hear them from different angles surrounding the camp......

Thank you once again for everyone reading it is really appreciated, oh and Kaapsedraai, you are in for a lot of great sightings when you are here in Satara :dance:

9 December.
Last night the lions started up at about 23h45. It was a loud affair, and sounded more like fighting than hunting. So, 04h30 we were on the road to go and see what the commotion is all about as they were still busy. What a surprise, just as we turned into the road, quite near to the webcam, a whole herd of Impala came running right in front of our car, followed by two lions, you could see they were still young, and charging them the two biiiig lions of the pride. They caught up with the younger males and in front of us in the road got their revenge on the younger ones. The younger ones then run of like the speed of lightning and the older ones, decided they had enough and returned to their pride which was lying in the bush, just too far to see. (I see they were captured on the webcam photo’s of that night). They were now on the little no-entry road, and although the game viewer had access to the road, we didn’t, and we watched them watching the pride …. We can only assume the younger ones (which my SO saw two weeks ago near Balule) tried to take over the pride and lost the challenge. We took some video, but it is really too big to load, and only one pic came out quite well, after the fight.
After all the excitement, we decided to drive the S100 and back on the S90. Found a large pride of lions on the S100, but they were quite far, so pictures not very good quality.
Did some roadwork the rest of the day, which included picking up litter next to the road. Saw a lot of general game. We had an early night and slept like babies. The lions were still vocal during the night, but not as bad as the night before.
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First time ever …. A pink elephant…
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PetraJ
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Re: 4 Weeks in Satara.

Unread post by PetraJ » Wed Dec 11, 2013 5:52 am

10 December
Today we drove out very early and sat at Ntsimane dam while having coffee. Only some Hippos and Impala playing, but was a nice sighting.
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At the gate next to the webcam Blue Wildebeest crossed the road in front of us. One of the cows just gave birth and another was busy. We tried to follow her but she moved out of sight.
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At 09h00 we left camp to drive to Nwanetsi picnic site to do inspection. On the tar road we found 3 lionesses on a Blue Wildebeest kill.
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We drove back to camp via the S100. About 2km from Nwanetsi, a young couple stopped us and told us about a leopard a km down the road. We were so happy, as that was the only animal of the big five we haven’t seen yet. And… there in the tree she was sleeping. Not a great sighting, but still, and now we felt the pressure is off.
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PetraJ
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Re: 4 Weeks in Satara.

Unread post by PetraJ » Wed Dec 11, 2013 5:55 am

Some other pics of the rest of the drive.
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We were back at camp at about 12h00 where I did some admin work and put up a duty roster for the HRs for this month. Took a late drive back to the kill and when it started raining returned to camp.
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Also got some bad news regarding the truck that will now only be finished by next week Friday.

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PetraJ
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Re: 4 Weeks in Satara.

Unread post by PetraJ » Thu Dec 12, 2013 7:38 pm

Trrp-Trrrrrr and Hilda, thank you so much for your kindcomments.

11 December
We woke up this morning with the rain still falling. It is actually only a drizzle, and not too bad. As I am to be in a meeting this morning with the camp management this morning, we decided to have a quiet morning and sleep in a bit. Within an hour it started raining real heavy, and soon there was water everywhere. I was a bit worried about some of the campers’ tents that was basically little islands in the mud, but there was nothing I could do about it…
We had a very long meeting that lasted more than 2 hours, and by the time we drove out to Timbavati for inspection and cold drink deliveries, it was already past 15h00. By this time the rain also stopped.
The only animal we saw that was really worth taking a picture of was this beautiful Kudu.
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12 December
We are getting used to the sound of the lions during the night now. The pride is still near the camp, and as we got ready to drive to Hoedspruit to buy 20 kettles for the bungalows in camp, we talked about where we would find them.
About 500m before the turnoff to Orpen, we found two hyenas in the road, and the moment my SO spotted them he said that the lions are near. I took a quick pic of the hyenas and he started crawling to the front.
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Literally inch by inch. About 20 meters on, he said, there they are. They were quite deep in the bush and on the pic you could see it was not a good sighting, and few people passing us could actually see them, but we got a few pics, some of which is so “find the lion” type of pics…
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Drove to Hoedspruit, got the kettles and returned to camp. Need to do some washing today especially if I want to put on a clean uniform tomorrow.
It was cloudy the whole day, but by the time we reached Ntsemani dam, the sun was shining and it became really hot. Suddenly about 3km from the turn off, we found some cars in the road, and the last of the 7 animals on my wish list were suddenly there. Cheetahs!!
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We delivered the kettles to Housekeeping, I did some washing and we took a little nap. Drove out again at 17h00 to Ntsemani dam, found this cute baboon playing on his mom’s back, and some nice giraffe.
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Something caught my SOs eye, and as he stopped we saw a jackal catching a fish, we however couldn’t capture it with the fish, as he put it down. It was getting late and we had to move on.
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To end the day, this beautifull sunset.
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PetraJ
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Re: 4 Weeks in Satara.

Unread post by PetraJ » Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:33 pm

Hi everyone, first of all, thank you for all your comments and sorry I am not answering everyone individually. All of the comments are highly appreciated.

13 December
We didn’t sleep much before the alarm clock went off this morning at 4. The reason: as usual the lions were active again from very early. We went to bed at about 9 and lying in bed we were listening to their sound. It was very humid and difficult to fall asleep. Suddenly the roaring became quite hard and we went outside to the fence to see if we could spot anything. After a while and some fruitless shining the spotlight, we went back to bed again, just before dozing off the sounds were louder again. This went on for some time. The zebras, would run past, we go out, then it quiet down, then the buffalo run past and we would go out again. At about 12 we were back in bed again, thinking that maybe now the veld would quiet down. Just after 1, as just as we dozed off, we were awoke again, this time it sounded like footsteps in the campsite. As this was a no entry site, we immediately went outside to see who wondered off and landed in our little “domain”. We couldn’t see anything, but kept on hearing footsteps going up and down. It was quite spooky. Went back into the tent …. Next moment a load roar and the very distinctive sound of a collision. We suddenly realized what it was and almost ran to the fence. Not 10 meters from the fence – that is about 15 meters from our tent, the two young males of a previous night caught an impala lamb. They tore it apart and all was over within minutes. We were watching from behind some trees, because as we first came upon them and shone the spotlight on them, they gave a growl and looked straight at us. That sent us back in hiding. They went to the waterhole in front of the guesthouse and we could watch them for a few more minutes in the light at the waterhole before they moved off. I do not need to tell you what adrenaline rush we both had. We finally went back to bed, and suddenly the field and animals were quiet. We fell asleep, only to be woken by a huge thunderstorm about 45 minutes later… By 4:30, it was still pouring with a lot of thunder, so we decided to stay inside and gave the morning drive a miss.
We had to go again to Nwanetsi later the day, and did not see much, but found a beautiful honey badger that stayed next to us and we got some really nice pics of it. Another pic I took was of a very dirty and muddy Zebra … basically this is what most of them looked like this morning after the rains.
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Back in camp we had some visitors…
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14 December.
Today was by far the hottest day so far. Some of the guests told me at the boom gate when doing permit inspection that they measured a high of 48 degrees. At half past 5, it was still 32 degrees.
We drove out at gate opening time to Komana dam to have some coffee there and found some hyenas playing at their den. The little pan just before Komana delivered us with two lazy lionesses.
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Hairball….
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We returned to camp and I started my duties. Later we drove out to Ntsemani dam and found some wilddogs on the Orpen road.
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PetraJ
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Re: 4 Weeks in Satara.

Unread post by PetraJ » Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:57 pm

Hallo everyone, back at work today, after 5 weeks away. Halfway into our holiday, the laptop decided it had enough, and unfortunately I couldn't post further. SOOOOOOO, a lot of catching up to do now. We had a wonderful time, and worked really hard, but enjoyed it a lot. Met a lot of wonderful people and made some great friends. Thanks for following my TR up to now, will start posting the next day soon.
Petra

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PetraJ
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Re: 4 Weeks in Satara.

Unread post by PetraJ » Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:05 pm

15 December
We took a very short drive to see if we could find the lions that woke us up next to the fence this morning at half past three. Found them just passed the Orpen road turn off, but there were so many cars following them, we turned around and went down the Orpen road to see if the Wild dog was still there. No luck there either. Returned to camp, and got a call from the camp manager requesting us to drive to Roodewal to receive some guests there, the first after the kitchen burned down. At Roodewal, we helped the staff getting the camp in order and then the long wait started…. It was very hot …. They finally arrived only at 16h30, and we were only able to leave the camp at half past five. Reached Satara at about 19h00.
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16 December.
We were still tired after yesterday’s heat and decided to sleep in. Went to the office at 8 to report back on yesterday’s Roodewal duties, and were asked to drive out to Nwanetsi again today. Took the S100 and found some lions there.
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And a hyena alone in the den
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At about 21h00 we heard a sound at the fence and were very surprised to find a Rhino about 5 meters in. He was very relaxed and slept there the night. He woke us at his departure round about 3h00.

17 December.
Went to Timbavati today. Saw a cute baby Blue Wildebeest and a lioness whose cubs are still in hiding.
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The camp are getting very busy now so our drives are getting shorter. Late afternoon a herd of elephant came past the campsite and drank at the waterhole in front of the guest house.


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