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What an amazing start and exit to our Sept 2017 Kruger Trip

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barryels
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What an amazing start and exit to our Sept 2017 Kruger Trip

Unread post by barryels » Mon Sep 25, 2017 1:13 pm

Due to a very busy March 2017 cricket week-end trip to Kruger, it was one of those “On the spur of the moment” decisions whilst sitting in front of the computer and reading through the various trip reports that the decision was made to book a quick trip to Kruger at a very late stage (We normally book 11 months in advance). This resulted in a very strange booking, mainly because we had a very special handover in mind that did not realise and it was decided to still go ahead with the trip. What made this trip still worthwhile is the fact that we will be able to spend another day in Kruger, birding with Johan van Rensburg that will make fellow birders very envious.

With our 4 legged booked into the kennels it was time for the final packing and customary restaurant eat out before we hit the road the next day.

Day 1: 5 September 2017

With our customary flask of coffee and rusks for the road packed we left home at 04:20 for the 473km drive to Phalaborwa. We normally drive along the N4 and enter Kruger at Malelane and it was quite strange to have to drive along the N1 this time around.

Although we encountered many trucks along the way we had a wonderful drive with coffee and rusks along the route, before we had breakfast at one of the many petro ports along the route. We had to visit the Phalaborwa mall to buy an extra SD card (that turned out to be the wrong one :wall: ) for Johan van Rensburg and with the tank filled we entered the gate at 11:00. The scanning process was not implemented at Phalaborwa yet and everything went smoothly as always.

Our first sightings were some impala and zebra but too far for a picture. We decided to drive along the H14 to Shingwedzi to make sure that we reach the camp before closing time (we are not 50km/hr drivers). We were happy to see that the Letaba river had some water for the animals. Here is a scenery picture of the river with Swifts entertaining us.

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There were also waterbuck and Egyptian geese enjoying the river bed.

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We encountered the following sightings on our way to Mopani rest camp where we had a body break.

A young ellie all alone.

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Zebra’s quenching their thirst at a water hole.

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A group of tsessebe.

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A bum shot of a kudu bull and a female.

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Our last sighting before we reached Mopani was this Pied Crow.

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After our body break we met up with this giraffe youngster that did not even blinked an eye when we took pictures of him.

Must be one of the cutest residents of Kruger :D .

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Close up.

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Mom was not far away.

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We had various sightings of Blue Wildebeest, ellies, buffalo, zebra and warthog on our way to Shingwedzi. Here are a few pictures of them.

Buffalo in the shade.

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A huge buffalo herd a bit further down the road. Some of them were really chilling by lying on their sides which we saw for the first time :hmz: .

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Zebra’s looking out for predators whilst resting. Quite interesting that although they were 4 they still stand in defending mode.

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Quite a big herd of ellies at the Nkokodzi water hole.

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A wartie family foraging.

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A Brown-hooded Kingfisher.

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Another ellie herd.

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Just as we passed the S144 I saw something that I had to look at again because I never thought of finding it that high up in Kruger. This guy was on the left side of the road and about 10 meters from the shoulder when I stopped the vehicle.

This was only the second time since we started visiting Kruger that we encountered Sable. He was alone and before Hilda could take a picture he bolted and crossed the road in no time :doh: .

I was only able to take a few pictures of his back side and this one as proof that we at least saw a Sable :D .

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Along the Nkayini river we came across this ellie that dug his own well and was busy drinking the fresh and cool water.

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We also had sightings of the resident hippos and crocs on our way to the gate.

We were greeted at reception by friendly staff as always. Bungalow no. A21 was allocated to us. We normally stay in the upgraded bungalows, but was really surprised how comfortable and spacious the older bungalows are.

It was time to quickly unload and settle in before we will have dinner in the company of Johan van Rensburg at the restaurant. We had a wonderful evening with wine and a buffalo pie dish, whilst catching up and planning our birding day with Johan the next morning. Needless to say it was quite late when we went to bed for the first night in Kruger.

to be continued.....
Always be humble and understanding.

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Re: What an amazing start and exit to our Sept 2017 Kruger Trip

Unread post by umtali1 » Mon Sep 25, 2017 1:28 pm

Claiming prime spot on board this bus, with plenty of supplies, to enjoy your 'spur of the moment decision' . What an interesting first day. :clap: :dance: :popcorn:

I was wondering what gems you might see this time and you come up with sable. :dance: :dance: A photo, no matter how good, is a record of this wonderful antelope.

Shingwedzi is such a great camp :dance: . We stayed in A5. The chalets in this circle are pleasant enough. :thumbs_up:
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Re: What an amazing start and exit to our Sept 2017 Kruger Trip

Unread post by hilda » Mon Sep 25, 2017 2:12 pm

It was such a beautiful Sable, but disappeared before I could even lift my camera! :D

This "on the spur of the moment" booking turned out to be a very lovely trip, although far too short! :whistle:

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Re: What an amazing start and exit to our Sept 2017 Kruger Trip

Unread post by Cape of Storms » Mon Sep 25, 2017 3:24 pm

Guys I am here for this trip! What a great start. So pleased the drive and entry went off smoothly. Sable on the first day is such a prime prize well done! Love the cute giraffe. Just beautiful.


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Re: What an amazing start and exit to our Sept 2017 Kruger Trip

Unread post by Afriphile » Mon Sep 25, 2017 6:12 pm

What a wonderful start to your trip.

I am so jealous that you live close enough to KNP to be able to do "last minute trips".
So pleased that you saw Sable,they are my favourite antelope .
Looking forward to next instalment ,hopefully with lots of birdies.

Cheers,Afriphile.

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Re: What an amazing start and exit to our Sept 2017 Kruger Trip

Unread post by fosco dogwood » Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:24 pm

Joining the trip. I love last moment bookings. We are not good at planning 11 months ahead, so we are always late and need to scramble a route together. Wondering how long this tip will be - how short is a short trip?
Two trips in 2017!

17/6 Skukuza, 18-20/6 Lower-Sabie, 20-23/6 Londolozi
10/7 - 13/7 Lower Sabie, 13/7-17/7 Mjejane; 17/7-20/7 Sabi River; 20/7-23/7 Hoedspruit; 23/7-27/7 Talamati; 28/7 Satara

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Re: What an amazing start and exit to our Sept 2017 Kruger Trip

Unread post by jjames04 » Tue Sep 26, 2017 3:50 am

Hi Barryels - I agree the baby giraffe is one of the cutest animals in Kruger! Congrats on seeing the Sable; we have yet to see one in the park. :mrgreen:

Cheers,

Joe

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Re: What an amazing start and exit to our Sept 2017 Kruger Trip

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Tue Sep 26, 2017 4:15 am

I am right on board for another report. I am pleased that you made the decision to take this spontaneous trip. 8)

Wow, Sable :D :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: how stunning. A wonderful way to start.

I am looking forward to following more adventures.

:popcorn:
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Re: What an amazing start and exit to our Sept 2017 Kruger Trip

Unread post by manicwalker » Tue Sep 26, 2017 5:14 am

barryels,
I have found a seat on this bus :) :dance:
Wow, what a great start to what, no doubt is going to be a super duper TT... :dance: :dance:
Love the ellie photos..... :clap: :clap:

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Re: What an amazing start and exit to our Sept 2017 Kruger Trip

Unread post by gatita » Tue Sep 26, 2017 7:17 am

what a great start :dance: :dance:

tsessebe and sable :shock: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

the giraffe is adorable :clap: :clap:

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Re: What an amazing start and exit to our Sept 2017 Kruger Trip

Unread post by isinkwe » Tue Sep 26, 2017 11:55 am

There are no Sable in Kruger Barry :naughty: - you photoshoped that one :naughty: :naughty: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
The other birds and animals however do occur in Kruger :thumbs_up: :D
Isn't it just amazing how potatoes give us fries and vodka? :D The rest of the vegetables should get their act together :rtm:

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barryels
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Re: What an amazing start and exit to our Sept 2017 Kruger Trip

Unread post by barryels » Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:40 pm

umtali1 wrote:Claiming prime spot on board this bus, with plenty of supplies, to enjoy your 'spur of the moment decision' . What an interesting first day. :clap: :dance: :popcorn:

I was wondering what gems you might see this time and you come up with sable. :dance: :dance: A photo, no matter how good, is a record of this wonderful antelope.

Shingwedzi is such a great camp :dance: . We stayed in A5. The chalets in this circle are pleasant enough. :thumbs_up:


Welcome to the bus and thanks for the comments :thumbs_up: .
I had to look twice before I registered that it was indeed a Sable, because we drove between Mopani and Shingwedzi many times and never came across them :hmz: .
I agree, Shingwedzi is a very special camp in Kruger :thumbs_up:

Cape of Storms wrote:Guys I am here for this trip! What a great start. So pleased the drive and entry went off smoothly. Sable on the first day is such a prime prize well done! Love the cute giraffe. Just beautiful.

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Welcome to the bus COS :thumbs_up: .
We were really lucky with the Sable and enjoyed the little giraffe with that adorable face :D .

Afriphile wrote:What a wonderful start to your trip.

I am so jealous that you live close enough to KNP to be able to do "last minute trips".
So pleased that you saw Sable,they are my favourite antelope .
Looking forward to next instalment ,hopefully with lots of birdies.

Cheers,Afriphile.


Welcome to the bus Afriphile :thumbs_up: .
I have to agree that we are really privileged to be close to the park and to be able to visit if we wish to do so more often than most of our forum friends :) .
It was only the second time that we saw Sable in Kruger during the last 12 years :tongue: .
Hope you will enjoy the next episode :D .

fosco dogwood wrote:Joining the trip. I love last moment bookings. We are not good at planning 11 months ahead, so we are always late and need to scramble a route together. Wondering how long this tip will be - how short is a short trip?


Welcome to the bus fosco dogwood and thank you for the comments :thumbs_up: .
I have to agree that this was also a trip that we had to scramble to get accommodation for our 8 night visit. I have to say that only two nights per camp is not what I will do again. To much packing and unpacking :doh: .

Talking of last minute decisions, we once left for Kruger in the morning to attend the annual forum cricket event and and returned home on the same day. A drive of 993km :tongue: .

jjames04 wrote:Hi Barryels - I agree the baby giraffe is one of the cutest animals in Kruger! Congrats on seeing the Sable; we have yet to see one in the park. :mrgreen:

Cheers,

Joe


Welcome to the bus and thank you for the kind comments jjames04 :thumbs_up: .
The Sable sighting was only the second one we had in 9 years :tongue: .

Meandering Mouse wrote:I am right on board for another report. I am pleased that you made the decision to take this spontaneous trip. 8)

Wow, Sable :D :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: how stunning. A wonderful way to start.

I am looking forward to following more adventures.

:popcorn:


Welcome to the bus MM and thank you for the kind comments :thumbs_up: .
Hope you will enjoy the rest of our trip :D .

manicwalker wrote:barryels,
I have found a seat on this bus :) :dance:
Wow, what a great start to what, no doubt is going to be a super duper TT... :dance: :dance:
Love the ellie photos..... :clap: :clap:


Welcome to the bus manicwalker and thanks for the kind comments :thumbs_up: .
Hope you will enjoy all the ellie sightings we had during this trip :D .

gatita wrote:what a great start :dance: :dance:

tsessebe and sable :shock: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

the giraffe is adorable :clap: :clap:


Welcome to our bus gatita :thumbs_up: .
We were really lucky to have a Sable sighting that far North in Kruger :D .
Hope you will also enjoy the rest of our trip with us :thumbs_up: .

isinkwe wrote:There are no Sable in Kruger Barry :naughty: - you photoshoped that one :naughty: :naughty: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
The other birds and animals however do occur in Kruger :thumbs_up: :D


Welcome to the bus isinkwe :thumbs_up: .
I had to do something to make our entrance into the park interesting :wink: .
Hope you will enjoy the rest of our trip with us :D .
Always be humble and understanding.

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Re: What an amazing start and exit to our Sept 2017 Kruger Trip

Unread post by barryels » Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:53 pm

Day 2: 6 September 2017

We start our days in Kruger at 03:30 with a steamy cup of coffee and a message for the day from the Bible before we get ready to enjoy the wonders of Kruger. Today was a very special day when we will be joining Johan van Rensburg in his vehicle to look for some lifers to add to our birding life list and to learn more about birding in general.

Whilst waiting for gate to open I took a picture of daybreak at Shingwedzi.
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We left through the back gate and drove along the S50 to a point below the Kanniedood dam wall where we were looking for Greater Painted snipes in the riverbed. It was clear from the start that our way of ticking birds on a list or writing it down is old school when Johan started locking in bird sighting coordinates into a software programme.

Needless to say that we drove directly to the area where the snipes were sighted previously. We were quite pleased to find at least five Greater Painted Snipes foraging in the riverbed. Although they were quite far away from our vantage point, we took the following pictures of them as proof and ticked our first lifer for the day.

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The Snipes were in the company of a Black-winged Stilt, a non-breeding Great Egret and a Goliath Heron who already caught breakfast.

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With nothing else around, we turned around and link up with the H1-7 via the S135 to look for the Greater Kestrel that is still on our wish list. Along the way we took pictures of a female Brown-Hooded Kingfisher.

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We also came across an immature African Hawk Eagle and a Brown Snake Eagle that we could photograph.

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This Nyala ewe was still deciding if she wants to rise for the day.

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We also game across this purple Roller.

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Our next sighting was at the Boyela water hole where we came across a huge herd of buffalo.

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With a miss on the Greater Kestrel it was time for brunch and a body break before we will do the Mphongolo loop, looking for more birds to add to our life list. With brunch and a leg stretch done, we were on our way for the second stage of the day.

Our first sighting on our way to the S57 was a Tawny Eagle, a bit far from the road, busy with nest building.

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Hilda’s special bird, an African Fish Eagle was the first bird we came across when we turned left to drive along the Mphongolo.

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The next sighting was a group of Wattled Starlings.

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Close up.

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This sighting was followed by a Spectacled Weaver.

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It became obvious that we had lots to learn when Johan asked us which birds are still on our wish list and he looked at the habitat and told us which birds we will have to be looking for.

Our first lifer along the loop was this Burnt-necked Eremomela.

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This was followed by a bearded Woodpecker that was another lifer for us.

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And then a Marico Sunbird that was our fourth lifer for the day.

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Whilst we were driving along the loop we came across another huge herd of buffalo in the riverbed.

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At one of the water puddles in the river, we took some pictures of a small group of buffalo, Egyptian goose, Woolly-necked Storks, Hammerkop and an African Fish Eagle enjoying his catch.

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Close up.

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Our next lesson that we learned is that the Pearl-spotted Owlet is actually guarded by various birds during the breeding season because he raids their nests and eat their chicks. Here is a picture of a Pearl-spotted Owlet and close to it in a shrub is a group of birds guarding him.

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Just look at the “eyes” at the back of its head to fool predators.

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We also had sightings of a female Golden-tailed Woodpecker

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And a female Bennett’s Woodpecker

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We were also able to take pictures of another African Fish Eagle and a Crested Barbet.

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We came to the end of the loop and Johan decided to have a quick stop at the water hole in the S55 loop where we were entertained by a small herd of ellies, including some young ones which arrived at the water hole minutes after we arrived.

Here are a few pictures of them enjoying the water hole.

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Here is the little one following his mum.

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Just before we had to leave we captured this Chestnut-backed Sparrowlark.

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On our way to camp, Hilda took a picture of the resident hippos in the river along the tar road to the gate.

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With an amazing day coming to an end with 51 birds ticked for the day, it was time for us to have our own bush braai with Johan as our guest to say thank you for all the hard work during the day.

Here is a picture of the guys at the braai and some fillet and wors on the coals, whilst we all enjoy a cold one and relive another wonderful day in Kruger.

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After a wonderful dinner and chat, it was time for bed.
Tomorrow is moving day for our next two nights at Mopani rest camp.

To be continued…..
Always be humble and understanding.

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Re: What an amazing start and exit to our Sept 2017 Kruger Trip

Unread post by Nkulu » Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:07 pm

Barry and Hilda, your birdies are always superb, however my vote goes to the baby giraffe and the sunrise :clap: :clap:
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Re: What an amazing start and exit to our Sept 2017 Kruger Trip

Unread post by Divine7polo » Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:24 pm

mmm...that braai looks good!!

Fantastic - 4 Lifers ... not a bad start and lots of other lovely sightings too...
:clap: :clap: :clap:
2017:
3-5 July: Bateleur Camp, Timbavati
6-9 July: Sand River Bush Camp, Kruger National Park
16 - 18 November: Tamboti Tented Camp, KNP

2018:
6-9 December: Djuma, Sabi Sands
Kgalagadi


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