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Super LEEDS: live from South Africa


Super LEEDS

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Super LEEDS

Word up

 

Overnight in City Lodge hotel at the airport. KLM flight was pretty good.

 

No animals spotted! No bats, no foxes, nothing. Aside from an amarula elephant....

 

Heading to AOF in T minus 75 minutes.

 

Peace out.

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Thursday 29th May   Forgot: yesterday we saw a couple of African hawk eagles, and they match the unnamed bird of prey from earlier in plumage and look and feel.   So the plan was to drive to the a

What a wake-up call   Monday 2nd June   Woke at 4.10am to the sound of a low, deep, almost purr of a noise. Concluded it was lion or leopard and that it was really close to our tent. Woke the wife

Correction: saw a fish. Served with chips, in the room service menu.   Fish and chips for £3. This IS Africa!

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Super LEEDS

Correction: saw a fish. Served with chips, in the room service menu.

 

Fish and chips for £3. This IS Africa!

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Kitsafari

Have a blast! look forward to reading all about it.

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COSMIC RHINO

have a good time Super Leeds, you have chosen great places to go to.

 

Rein (pronounced Ryan ) at AOF is keen on hot food ,every meal he brings a personal bottle of Tobasco sauce to dinner table

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Thanks for the field report! Have a great time!

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Super LEEDS

Finally got a bit of working wifi!

Picked up by Ashtons at 6.50 on Monday morning for the shuttle to the Kruger area. Full bus, free water, around 6 hour journey + the flat tyre we had to replace! Very scenic drive through the mountains and potholes :)

 

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We stopped at a service station that had 6 white rhino and a herd of Cape buffalo! For the gents: whilst your standing doing your business you get to look at them :D

Picked up by Isaac from nThambo along with 3 other guests from the shuttle, only 1 is coming to AOF with us - Jesper from Sweden.

On the way the Klaserie gate, we spotted giraffe, a lone gnu and vervet monkeys.

Once in the reserve, we see impala first (who would have guessed!) accompanied by zebra. A little further was an elephant family spread out, very relaxed. I spotted some vultures in the distance.

We were met by our guide, François (aka Faffa). @@Jochen recommended him and we asked Sun Safaris if they request him for us. Unfortunately the tracker, Enoch, is on leave. Faffa showed us our rooms and explained how the lodge works. Electricity just a few hours after the morning walk and then after the evening drive.

They kept lunch or for us - delicious beefburger and chips! The tomato sauce in South Africa is lovely.

It was very very very hot.

First drive: is very bushy, visibility is OK in some places but mostly very difficult.

Elephant, impala, warthog, really quiet. Elephants in the distance during sundowners. Tried Amarula for the first time: awesome :D

 

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Lots of red and yellow billed hornbills, go-away birds and a burchells starling.

Night drive we saw giraffe, wild cat, a huge kudu male and the backside of a white rhino. Not a good viewing - they really stress not to spotlight rhino. However, we were only alerted to the rhino due the tree it smashed after we startled it - I thought godzilla was about to get us. What a noise.

Chameleon and an owl too.

 

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Note: AOF don't spotlight day time herbivores or prey species so no pics of these except the African wild cat.

Brai for supper, with chilli tortillas for starer and a South African desert, maple something, sorry forgot the name.

 

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I'll share pics and my opinions on things when back in the UK.

Edited by Super LEEDS
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Super LEEDS

Ah, honey badgers! This place is famous for their infamous antics.

 

They came the first night but too late after everyone was in bed.

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COSMIC RHINO

@@Super LEEDS good to see that you are enjoying yourself

 

honey badgers are not often seen

 

at Shindzela they have bitten into the pool chlorine bottle twice, at a nearby place they took a liking to other pool chemicals

 

they are tough little guys

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Super LEEDS

Yesterday. Tuesday.

 

Quite mild in the morning but extremely overcast with dense, dense fog which meant no normal morning bush walk due to the poor visibility so it was a drive instead. The fog was so dense it was like driving through standing rain. Took a long time for this to burn away.

 

Massive heard of buffalo and a family of 5 gnus. We then got out for a short walk to try track elephant. No joy but Faffa said we were close and there was fresh dung all along the track - we didn't leave the road/track due to the fog. Saw some vervets and squirrels.

 

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Back in the land rover, we saw steinbok and 2 lionesses (Meela and Leesa) who were very relaxed and well known to AOF.

 

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I spotted some vultures again - white backed and white faced. They were trying to dry themselves.

 

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Some (MASSIVE) warthog before breakfast - toast, beans, egg and back :)

 

Long relaxation time - from around 10 til 4 for the afternoon drive). Not much to do - other than update SafariTalk of course :D we checked out the pool area and the tree house where you can spend a night at no extra cost, other than your life!! Just kidding, worth checking out. Had a nice encounter with a squirrel there that was pretty tame and not scared by us.

 

Saw a bee-eater in the distance (one of the greeny ones, sorry forgot the name, don't think its a carmine one). Popped into the lodge shop and bought 'r lass a fetching straw hat with a leopard print sash...

 

Harassed some of the littler residents like butterflies and bug-eating skinks. Wife had a can of coke with the name Raj on it. Wow. Not her name, her sister's.

 

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Our rondevaal:

 

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Evening drive: tad better than yesterday, started with some extremely long chains of caterpillars than group together to mimic snakes as to avert predators. Faffa stopped for these and moved them out of the way with a stick. Forgot their local name, something worm.

 

Nothing for a while and then boom. a huge leopard. Fleeting glimpse unfortunately as the cat melted away. We tried getting closer, and I saw it again but this time it was gone. Huge male from Timbavati who is known to be skittish.

 

Human nature is so fickle - I felt bad about not getting a picture.

 

I spotted a bird of prey which we couldn't ID. Looking at the pick now, its medium sized with a white front with dark spots. Some white-ish spots too on its darker wings. I spied some white backed vultures again, this time a couple on a next, nice silouetted pic.

 

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Met up with the 2 lionesses again who were bonding and just relaxing - shared with the nThambo vehicle.

 

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Sundowner spot shared with them too as we had to help them replace a flat tyre with our own spare wheel.

 

Night drive: african wild cat (2 nights in a row!), massive herd of buffalo again along with their accompanying flies :angry: the nThambo lot got another flat so we had to go pick u Isaac the tracker who we took to the lodge so he could get another vehicle to get the guests home. Other than startling an elephant and some more chameleons, nothing to report.

 

Supper was a lovely beef stew and rice - starter was the spiciest sweet potato soup ever :D

 

Tried staying up for the honey badgers but they didn't show - until 4am which is no good to me! Faffa came running at one point and grabbed my torch as he thought he heard them, but it was the squirrels who make the kitchen roof their home. Spotted the resident wild cat, Samson, though.

 

We did have 1 evening guest though, just outside the kitchen door was a juvenile red-lipped herald (need to check the spelling). A mildly venomous snake, awesome!

 

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Edited by Super LEEDS
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Super LEEDS

Wednesday - today, our last full day here at Africa on Foot

 

Slept like a log, after the bleeding cricket shut up anyway.

 

BAU this morning, walk at 6am. Tracking on my phone we did around 4.5 miles in about 2.5 hours. Can't say we saw anything unfortunately other impala, a warthog, hornbills and a Burchell's starling. Lots of tracks; hyaena, leopard and civet were some of the more interesting things. Oh and wild dog poo!

 

Back for breakfast, poached eggs, sausages, grilled tomatoes and a kind of sautee with courgettes and mushrooms.

 

Now its free time so I can write this :) its hot hot hot again today. Just waiting for lunch......

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Super LEEDS

Sorry for the spelling, hard to type on this netbook.

 

Any easy way to share pics? Its not easy to upload to ST and then get the links etc on this thing, what else can I do. Be good if I could just upload a pic to this post but I think it then gets attached rather than embedded, Also, no way to reduce image size as per the rules.

Edited by Super LEEDS
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Game Warden

Automatic resize when you attach, use the more reply options tab and attach each attachment to the post...

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Super LEEDS

Thanks, GW. Will try tomorrow.

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Marks

Two days of wildcats in a row, fantastic! Your post also makes me want to open a bottle of Amarula I have here at home...but it's hard to get where I live, and I've been saving it...

 

Looking forward to your pics.

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penolva

You sound almost breathless with excitement the way you write, great! Only 14 weeks to wait for me. Pen

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Kitsafari

Live action from Africa! awesome.

 

I've also discovered amarula. had a glass in my city lodge hotel before my departure to home. very relaxing.

 

wildcats 2 nights in a row! it sounds like you are already having a blast.

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pault

Wild dog poo! Outstanding!

 

Great to hear your daily adventures after all that planning. Sounds good so far, but there's a big day coming I think. Get in that treehouse!

 

No news about the bags? Surprised.

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Super LEEDS

@@pault 15kg, my friend, 15kg B) I'm almost in your club

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pault

@@pault 15kg, my friend, 15kg B) I'm almost in your club

 

How did you not mention that? There will be pictures, right? Bag on scales?

 

You are already lighter than me, unless I wear half my camera gear. That little joke is now officially "old" and will have to be retired (once we see the pictures of course).

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graceland

@@Super LEEDS, love your report from the field. Looking forward to more

 

 

Amarula is the reason I keep returning to Africa to get my fix. I mix it with morning coffee.. I think that is called, the "hair of the dog---" after being over served the evenings SA wines (I wish some of our restaurants used their measurements when pouring!)

 

Yes, try the pic uploading instructions! Waiting........

 

I keep my bags at 8KG. An iPhone weighs nearly nothing :D

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Super LEEDS
The wifi at AOF is shocking!! Middle of no where, in the bush, wild animals.... and they can't provide internet??! At Shindzela now and internet is OK but not free :( warthog in camp, lots of birds and vervets on the other side of the riverbed.


OK so where were we.....


Yesterday, after breakfast - we met the resident african wild cat, Samson, making it 3 in 3 though this might not count since he's tame enough to stroke :D Followed him around as he tried to hunt the many skinks that had suddenly disappeared. Strong breeze today so a lie down in the treehouse was the order of the day.


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Lunch was spinach quiche with a selection of cheese and crackers, lovely. We met Patrick today who was the guide for the nThambo guests due to a staff shortage but he was now back at AOF and would be a much welcomed tracker/spotter.


PM game drive: zebra, impala and warthog all in the same shot. The rest of the day light was spent with a huge buffalo herd, hundreds strong, lots of young too. We proactively positioned the sundowners at the dam awaiting there arrival for a drink too. And they did not disappoint, got some nice video footage and of course some swigs of Amarula.


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Was a pretty good experience. One buffalo would not drink but stare at us whilst slowly approaching to around 20 feet of the other side of the vehicle.



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Bit of drama after this in that we suddenly started seeing lots of vultures in the short distance and then a jackal started calling. Was pretty obvious a kill had been made but we weret't sure by what.The 3 male nodamic lions scaring the local pride were the best guess. Unfortunately this was on privately owned land on which AOF can only walk and not drive - gutted! Plan was to come back tomorrow morning and check it out.


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Spotlight time after this and we came across a small family of elephants noisily eating in the darkness (no light on them). After this we saw nothing spotlight-able (zebra, impala, kudu) other than a huge male leopard! He was slight behind the vehicle and in the dust looked like a lioness. He was known to the guides and was pretty relaxed but didn't stand around too long. Nice.


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Back to the lodge for dinner: biltong salad starter - so just a salad for us! - and ostrich main, with awesome trifle for pudding.


As Faffa was clearing the table, the baby squirrel making the racket in the kitchen jumped on him and went down his jacket. No one believed him until he produced it in his hand :D wife said it was cute.....


Further proof of my idiotism was highlighted in me only just remembering I had brought a camera trap with me :( 2 nights lost. So we set it up in the outdoor kitchen area to see what would come, hopefully honey badger.


We would check it after the morning walk. Lions in the distance tonight.


(@@Game Warden, did I do it right?)

Edited by Super LEEDS
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COSMIC RHINO

 

@@pault 15kg, my friend, 15kg B) I'm almost in your club

How did you not mention that? There will be pictures, right? Bag on scales?

 

You are already lighter than me, unless I wear half my camera gear. That little joke is now officially "old" and will have to be retired (once we see the pictures of course).

 

 

 

I have mentioned that to some friends who are keen on photography, the response was I am not taking any clothes

 

Amarala is vital to many people, thousands in the area around Hoadspruit where it is produced. The trees take too long to mature, too long to have a plantation. So during the season they bring itghe fruit in by the bucket load.

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COSMIC RHINO

good to see that you are enjoying yourself

 

ele families come to the sand river at the back of the camp from time to time

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Jochen

Hey Anoop,

 

Big guy, that leopard!

Seems you're having fun!

 

Please give Johan a kick in the butt, and say "that"s a Belgian greeting from Jochen"! :P

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Super LEEDS

Johan is hiding and poorly repairing game drive vehicles!! He gave us a quiet petrol, V8 one and it had no brakes!!

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