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WARNING

:

This will not be a trip report but rather a trip summary - after four weeks in two different countries, four different parks and seven different camps I simply don't have the time to write up a comprehensive summary of all we saw and experienced...which was a lot, at least for my standards...and I am not only referring to the animals as the title of this thread (which will also be the title of my video diary) hopefully indicates....

 

highlights will include:

 

Mashatu Game Reserve:

 

two sightings of six different cheetahs, numerous sightings of fourteen different lions and of six different leopards, some with kills

 

two hyena clans trying to take over the carcass of a giraffe that had most likely been killed by colliding with a power line

 

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park:

 

my first ever sightings of caracals, an aardwolf, a honeybadger and cape cobras

 

a cape cobra swallowing a puff adder

 

more cheetahs, lions and leopards

 

getting stuck with a loose battery cable less than 5 m away from mating lions

 

getting stuck again in the mud

 

Mokala National Park

 

beauti- and plentiful sightings of roan, sables and blesbok

 

Kruger National Park

 

yet more lions, leopards and cheetahs

 

two wild dog sightings

 

my first ever sightings of a black Rhino in South Africa

 

my first ever ever sighting of a pangolin

 

 

I am sure I forgot some highlights but they might come back to me once I get really started. For my now I leave with a picture from the end of my trip, shot early one morning in Kruger Park

 

post-6901-0-60461100-1366829132_thumb.jpg

 

by the way: I have the feeling that most people in this community prefer trip reports with photos over trip reports with videos; however, I hardly ever photograph and certainly don't have great gear to do so so don't expect too much

Edited by ice
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kittykat23uk

Sounds incredible! what's your secret to getting such good sightings @@ice?

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@@kittykat23uk I don't know, I don't even think they are that great; however I did notice they certainly did get much better over the years and have now reached a certain level which I seem to be able to keep up, so I guess my very personal mixture of guided and self drive trips finally do pay off

Edited by ice
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Safari Cal

It sounds like you had an amazing safari with all those sightings. I can only imagine how long this would take to write up :D

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@@Safari Cal

 

for my rather detailed narrators script which will probably become 40 pages long I am expecting to need six weeks

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twaffle

I'll enjoy whatever words, photos or videos you serve up from what sounds like an exceptional trip.

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Game Warden

I very much enjoy the videos, whether they be yours @@ice or anyone else's. Videos capture all the senses, the ambient sounds. All I need know is the smell of the braai in the evening, the gentle breezes rustling my beard :) BTW will you be doing English and German narration?

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Atravelynn

So now I have been duly warned on what to expect or not expect and I am also duly impressed with your caracal, pangolin, and cobra swallowing a puff adder. Until I see the video, I might think you're making that last one up. You've ticked off many rare items on seasoned safari-ers wish lists all in this one trip!

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Treepol

I'm so pleased to hear that Mashatu delivered for you. Giraffe killed by power line sounds very unusual to say nothing of unlucky.

 

Sounds like Kgalagadi really turned on the sightings of small and slithery creatures, looking forward to more on this when you have time.

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@@Game Warden actually neither nor: the videos I've shared in the past were from older trips, the footage had at that time already been edited and narrated; now it will be "fresh" stuff; I might do some editing but will start the uploading before (German) narration is added

 

@@Atravelynn I'm glad you didn't ask for pictures / videos of the pangolin because that is the only sighting I cannot "prove", the animal just ran from one side of the road to the other, absolutely no chance to get the cameras ready...as for the cobra / puffadder scene, here's at least a first picture - shot after sunset with flash, so certainly not the best quality; video footage will follow once I've gotten to KTP in my report

 

 

post-6901-0-32628200-1366865769_thumb.jpg

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btw:

 

this was indeed a kill and not the swallowing of a dead reptile; in the video you will see that the tail of the puffadder at one point is still moving

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Part 01 - Mashatu Tented Camp

 

as mentioned earlier on, MTC was recommended to me by fellow ST member @@Treepol. I must admit MTC was only second choice, I would have much preferred to return to Kwara and Lagoon but at the time of my booking the dates I was looking for were at least partially not avaiable, I would have had to put up with waiting lists, something I was not willing to risk / accept.

 

With MTC I was able to make use of their green season special - stay for 4 / pay for 3 nights. However, Rattyray Reserves do charge a single supplement. In the end I paid pretty much the same I would have paid for Kwando Camps in the green season.

 

Trafficwise I decided to drive up from Jo'burg to Pont Drift with a nightly stopover in Polokwane. I could have flown from OR Tambo to Polokwane and then have myself be picked up there but this alternative would have been extremely expensive, appr. 920 € which was 20 % more than my intl airfare. Car rental fees, petrol and toll cost me appr. 450 €.

 

The drive up north was a pleasant one, just like my overnight stay in Polokwane. The following day I arrived at Pont Drift, a tiny border post right next to the Limpopo River. Richard, my guide for the next five days who had been recommended to me by @@Treepol, was already expecting me. I left the car parked under some bushes in no man's land between ZA and BOT and made my way down to the river. Car crossing was still not possible and the cable car had been badly damaged during the last floods so we had to use a boat for the crossing. After immigration procedures in Botswana it took us another hour to reach the camp. As mentioned earlier on, I was arriving with mixed emotions, still grieving that I had been unable to get to Kwara and Lagoon and both the drive to the camp and my first impressions there only increased my worries. En route we had hardly spotted anything, not even general game and the camp...well, let's call it "really rustic". It was built in the mid 80s and that was showing. It reminded me a lot of Kwara. However, it was still nice enough, after all, when we (I) go on safari, my priorities definitely lie elsewhere - video footage and a more detailed comparison to Kwando Camps (the only ones I know in Botswana) will follow

Edited by ice
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Zim Girl

@@ice

 

Cobra swallowing a puff adder - fascinating. That sighting would have been a highlight for me. How long did it take to kill and eat completely?

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@@Zim Girl

 

I was not there when the cobra initially caught the adder and we neither had the time to wait until it was finished - it was already getting dark in KTP they are very strict with enforcing the gate times...however, during "our 10 minutes" barely anything of the adder was swallowed, so I would assume it must have taken the cobra at least an hour

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Jochen

* sits back *

* opens a bag of crisps *

 

Something tells me I'm going to enjoy this.

 

:)

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* sits back *

* opens a bag of crisps *

 

Something tells me I'm going to enjoy this.

 

:)

I hope your crisps won't get flabby, as it will take me a loooooong time to finish this :mellow:

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this is just a quick montage of some camp impressions, no narration, no color correction, basically raw footage

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Atravelynn

 

* sits back *

* opens a bag of crisps *

 

Something tells me I'm going to enjoy this.

 

:)

I hope your crisps won't get flabby, as it will take me a loooooong time to finish this :mellow:

That cobra eating a puff adder does not inspire me to open a bag of crisps, though it is a very impressive sighting in its own right.

 

I believe you about the pangolin #ice.

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to sum up the first game drives:

 

Monday Afternoon (just me in the vehicle + guide and tracker)

 

- we started to track a leopard but instead found three cheetahs, a collared female adult, a female sudadult and male adult; in Mashatu quite a rare sighting, according to Richard, our guide

 

post-6901-0-84284900-1367250338_thumb.jpg

 

post-6901-0-18987500-1367250307_thumb.jpg

 

- later, after sunset, we (actually, another vehicle) did also find the young male leopard we had been tracking earlier on

 

Tuesday Morning (just me in the vehicle + guide and tracker)

 

- I convinced Richard to leave camp half an hour earlier than usual and was rewarded with a small pride of lions: 2 female adult and 9 youngsters from 4 different litters

 

post-6901-0-63983200-1367250570_thumb.jpg

 

post-6901-0-67214100-1367250597_thumb.jpg

 

post-6901-0-25993200-1367250619_thumb.jpg

 

theirs is an interesting story: Richard told us that each of the lionesses has had her own litter but that the other two litters were taken over from their very own mothers; meaning these lionesses chased away their mothers and have since then been taking care of their offspring (technically being their younger sisters and brothers)

 

Tuesday Afternoon

 

at lunch time another guest joined my "group" and he wanted to head back to the lions so we did just that; later we heard that other vehicles had spotted a leopard; however, by the time we arrived at the scene, the cat had been chased away by a troop of baboons, the next day I found out that this was the same young male we had seen monday night; Darryn, my companion was rather disappointed because he had never seen a leopard before

 

Wednesday Morning

 

we dropped Darryn (a birder) at an underground hide where he was hoping to catch some nice bird shots and honestly, less than 10 minutes later, we found yet another leopard, this time a young female, she had caught herself a baby impala

 

post-6901-0-41800000-1367251054_thumb.jpg

 

post-6901-0-97606000-1367251076_thumb.jpg

 

a few minutes later a car full of americans arrived at the scene - one of them looked up the tree and (honestly, I am not joking) asked his guide "Is this impala dead?" not only the guides had a hidden but good laugh...

 

the leopard seemed to be rather shy, not used to humans (Richard who has been guiding in the reserve for 20 years had never seen her before). half an hour later we had to retreat, as Mashatu strictly enforces a "no more than 3 vehicles per sighting" rule; however, we only moved off a bit, watching firstly the intestines and then the rest of the impala drop down to the gound, then the leopard climb down and disappear in the thickets - and so did the other cars while we tried to and sucessfully did find the leopard again

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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pault

The Impala is only resting, sir! Classic!!!

 

Enjoying this so far. Very much.

 

I have to admit I prefer photos as I am impatient the first ftime I read something and video slows me down. However, video is actually great when I have more time ( and am not in my office).

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ice

sightings summary cont'd

 

wednesday morning

 

we left the leopard after being informed that a coalition of three cheetah brothers were spotted; half an hour later we arrived at the scene and sure enough, the cats were still there, pretty relaxed - there was a small herd of impalas down in a valley but way too far for the cats to make a serious try

 

less than ten minutes driving away from the cheetahs our cats special was completed by three lionesses - the sisters of those girls who had taken over the youngsters of their own mothers - Richard told us that these three younger girls are "scared as hell of their older sisters"

 

wednesday afternoon

 

first, we returned to the leopard with the impala kill, intially the cat and its prey were down on the ground but when more cars started to arrive, it went up the very same tree as in the morning

 

later, we did find both the lionesses and the cheetahs again - this time, the three brothers made a more serious attempt at catching some impalas for dinner but the grazers were warned by the alarm calls of white crowned plovers

 

in the end, the afternoon drive was even more sucessful than the morning drive because we found yet another (male and collared) leopard, although this guy was rather skittish and did not really pose for good pictures / videos

 

thursday morning

 

first, Richard took us to a hyena den - we found some adults and sub adults but unfortunately the cubs decided to stay inside the burrow, probably because it was a really overcast morning

 

later, more hyenas: a male giraffe had apparently hit a power line and died of electrocution and now two clans of hyenas were competing for access to the carcass: one clan consisted of six, the other of ten members. There was no fighting involved, instead one group would retreat after eating for a few minutes, allowing the other clan to come closer and get their share, and so on

 

the morning drive ended with yet another visit to the leopard with the impala kill

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  • 2 weeks later...
Super LEEDS

Cape cobra mimicking a king cobra - great sighting, luck and report so far!

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  • 2 weeks later...
Atravelynn

I have the feeling that most people in this community prefer trip reports with photos over trip reports with videos; however, I hardly ever photograph

I am impressed. That's a very enlightened approach! Still, I like your cheetah!

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COSMIC RHINO

great pictures, the cheetahs look very relaxed

 

the places you chose were very diverse

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  • 3 weeks later...

this is a quickly edited compilation of the leopard with the impala - if you listen carefully, you can hear the bones crushing under his teeth

 

 

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