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Kruger Jan 2014, a safari of wild dogs, ground hornbills and steenbok


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So someone outright stole one of your cameras? That's disgraceful!

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So someone outright stole one of your cameras? That's disgraceful!


yes, but I shouldn't have left it out in the daylight - too many opportunities for the light-fingered and far too much human traffic. I really kicked myself though, as when we were locking up to go on our drive, I looked at it and decided to leave it until we got back (as there was some poo on the lawn and I was keen to see who it belonged to). Of course our South African friends were not at all surprised....

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Day 8 Transfer from Skukuza to Berg-en-Dal


The weather was very changeable. By the time we had packed it was very hot and sunny, not great for game viewing in the middle of the day. We saw some vultures sitting in a tree, but couldn't see far into the surrounding bush to find out who was there.








These guys were too hot, resting in a dried up river bed




These ostrich were near the Afsaal picnic site, where we had lunch






As we had lunch, the skies got darker and on the final stretch of the drive, it rained torrentially, including thunder. We managed to get into our room relatively dry with our luggage, before a further deluge, for either a short rest prior to another drive, or for the rest of the night if the rain didn't stop....

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Panthera Pardus

@@Tdgraves - just caught up with you wonderful trip report. Thanks for sharing

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Very enjoyable TR. Sorry to hear that you had a camera pinched. I hope you took the opportunity to replace it with a Nikon. :P

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Hahahaha @@Soukous - is that how you Nikon photographers take pictures? Attach the camera to a pole and let it take a shot when something wanders past?? It was a motion-sensitive camera, not my DSLR....

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Day 8 Evening drive Berg-en-Dal


So despite the thunder storm, when we woke up from our short nap, it was once again hot and sunny. Given the amount of rain that had fallen though, we decided to stick to the tar roads in our non-44x4. This means the same 10km road in to and out of camp. Before that though, this guy was "in" our back garden - well, just on the other side of the fence...




just over the cattle grid




and around the corner there was an elephant road block. They wanted to cross the road, so we had to wait








Some of the vehicles were getting impatient, but as there was a SANParks game drive in front, they had to behave (also it wasn't that long since the bull ele had flipped that car). We were probably "stuck" for half an hour, but I love watching eles, especially the little ones.


After getting though, we didn't see much and we had to turn around again in order to make the gates. This guy posed nicely for us though.






An idiot in the car in front got out to take a photo of this....




And so back to camp to try the refurbished restaurant and to watch the wild dog documentary on the big screen (rain notwithstanding)..

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Hahahaha @@Soukous - is that how you Nikon photographers take pictures? Attach the camera to a pole and let it take a shot when something wanders past?? It was a motion-sensitive camera, not my DSLR....


:P a motion sensitive camera? the viewfinder on my Nikon is good enough for me to notice if the animals are moving or not.

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a.k.a. a camera trap ;)

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Day 9 Morning drive Berg-en-Dal


We finally managed to watch the wild dogs documentary (we kept missing it as each camp has a different playlist). It had rained overnight but was dry when we set off. We had not been on the non-tar roads in this part of the park before, as last year we arrived just after the massive floods. We therefore didn't know if they were gravel, mid or sand. We started on the main tar road, but there was not much about. A safari vehicle from outside of the park deliberately turned around and went off the tar road, as if he had received information from a colleague, so we thought that we would follow. Unfortunately after a few kms, it became exceedingly muddy and we had to admit defeat. Not long after we had got back onto the tar road, we saw a car stopped at a very strange angle in the middle of the road - what was going on??




More dogs!! and more to follow when they have uploaded

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Wild Dogger

Wild Dog overload :rolleyes:

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so now that I have finished uploading....




























Now you are allowed to be overloaded!!

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No overload here, I could happily look at another page of these dog photos. Simply beautiful animals!

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Video of when we first arrived - apologies as some is through the now dirty windows...


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Sorry, got so distracted by the dogs, that I didn't finish the morning drive.


Not much further up the road, we found this pair.










To my delight the car behind us also stopped to watch and we were later joined by someone else keen to take photos


Like all little boys, he wasn't keen on having a bath....
















He didn't seem to be very old, as he was having trouble standing/walking. Mum didn't really know what to do with him, so she picked him up and took him to the next den down the road. I felt bad as I think we (humans) had changed her behaviour. She was then followed down the road with him in her mouth....




It was then that this slightly larger version popped out of the hole and started calling, as it felt that ithad been left behind. Sad. We felt really bad for it :(




Now time for breakfast

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do you know / remember the exact position of the den of the Skukuza pack?

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@@ice I assume that where the younger ones were with the alert adult, was a den. This was on the bottom part of the "leopard triangle", so the tar road from skukuza towards lower sabie, around half way to the high level bridge, on the left. This was 4 months ago though.....

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which means near the small sand side roads?


no problem, we will be in Kruger in October and maybe they will den there again

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Day 9 Evening Drive Berg-en-Dal


As it had been dry since early morning and sunny, we decided to risk the gravel roads up into the mountains, for a bit of a change. It was very hot and there was not much about.


A young bull elephant wasn't keen on letting us passed. Chris had to reverse up a hill a couple of times and the ele kept disappearing into the bush, so we had no idea where he had gone. A vehicle came the other way, so we sat back and waited for the fireworks, but he must

have had enough and they passed safely. Video currently uploading (I will post in next section).






We were close to a couple of rhino on the road back to camp. The vehicle behind us asked if they could pass, so I figured that'd be OK. How wrong was I? First of all they stopped in front of us, blocking our way to take photos and when they eventually moved on, they scared the rhino off, grrrr :(





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Day 10 Morning Drive Berg-en-Dal (our last drive)


Torrential rain most of the night and at least the first hour of our drive. Impossible to see much further than just next to the road. Several groups of rhino resting under trees. We passed the other vehicles who were watching the rhino, as it was impossible to get any photos, then we found this....






A rather wet lioness, right next to the road. We had very few lion sightings compared to last year, so it was nice to see one on our last drive.


The rain finally stopped, but it was very overcast. We saw some birds...


Hooded vultures




Grey lourie




Grey headed parrot




And the obligatory hyaena sighting
















No steenbok or ground hornbill for a few days though!


We drove all the way up to the Afsaal picnic site, but all was quiet. After a coffee break, a safari vehicle was stopped on the side of the road, looking, we thought, at the impala and zebra. As we slowly edged passed them, the guide asked us if we has seen the lion? Which we hadn't......




....because he was so far away!!




Back to camp to check out. Nothing of note when leaving the park.


Managed to avoid 2 fatal accidents en route back to Joburg.


So compared to last year, less flooding but more rain; fewer felines but more canines (last year saw African wild cat and cheetah but no dogs. We saw hyaena every day this year); much more changeable lighting conditions; lots more steenbok and ground hornbills; our first bush BBQ/braai; spotting the international space station and getting to grips with the 5D!


Hope you have enjoyed (I'm not so into the written part of TRs compared to other STers - prefer to let the pictures do the talking!)

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Incredibly expressive hyena portraits. I'm always baffled when people say they don't like them. Was the "larger version" of the tiny hyena attended to when it started calling?

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@@Marks no, I assume because it had a different mother. It as heart-wrenching though....


I can't understand it either as they are way more active than lions and have the courtesy to make dens next to the road (in drainage ditches etc)


This was the best trip we have ever had to see hyaena and so nice to see all different sizes!!

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I couldn't remember whether hyenas would ever nurse another hyena's cub. I checked Hans Kruuk's "The Spotted Hyena," and he says that "perhaps a female occasionally adopts a cub, but certainly as a rule they allow only their own cubs to suckle." Most folks here probably already know that...but I will just have to hope that the other mother came along. :)

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