Jump to content

My first Kruger self-drive, January 2013


Tdgraves
 Share

Recommended Posts

Having just finished my recent TR:

 

http://safaritalk.net/topic/12471-kruger-jan-2014-a-safari-of-wild-dogs-ground-hornbills-and-steenbok/

 

I thought it'd be interesting to compare and contrast the two trips. Now that I'm going back over a year, I cannot remember in as much detail, so I thought I'd do a summary from each camp.

 

I realise that the change in camera was a huge leap in terms of technology, however, I was amazed at how critical it made me as I looked back on our favorites from last time compared to this years' pictures.

 

Favorites folder=980+583 in 2014 vs. 444+452 in 2013 (although we were there one more day this year)

 

Going from the 500D "my" old camera to the 5D "our" camera, having barely used "his" 7D, led to a much higher hit rate. The Kruger trip in 2013 was the first time we each had a 100-400 mm lens, although prior to that, we had shared lenses.

 

As I mentioned in the 2014 report, we arrived in KNP in 2013 just after the massive storms and flooding, so for at least half of the time we were restricted to tar roads.

 

The itinerary was pretty much the same as this year, but in reverse:

Berg-en-Dal

Lower Sabie

Satara

Letaba

 

2 nights each, 22nd-30st Jan 2013.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Berg-en-Dal

 

It was beautiful blue sky and sunshine when we arrived and very hot

 

gallery_37950_1048_211285.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_10821945.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_4484470.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_337259.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_1569217.jpg

 

On our first morning drive, we were barely a few kms down the road from camp, when we heard the unmistakable sound of Africa - Lions roaring. It was two brothers calling to each other, and we were the first vehicles on the scene!

 

gallery_37950_1048_11340359.jpg

 

 

gallery_37950_1048_8782379.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_13344127.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_10648579.jpg

 

As we were only allowed on tar roads, we ended up as far north as Skukuza both mornings and had breakfast there, before returning to camp. As it was so hot, the return journeys were not that productive, however, the outward leg revealed lots of martial eagles and hyaena.

 

gallery_37950_1048_8735011.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_6578080.jpg

 

We tried waiting for a martial eagle to leave several times, to get that elusive bird in flight shot, but none were willing to cooperate!!

 

gallery_37950_1048_8098706.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_10015101.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_4902447.jpg

 

We did see rhino, it is one of the best parts of the park to see them, but I couldn't find any decent shots of them

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lower Sabie

 

One of the attractions of Lower Sabie is the proximity to the river and the low level bridge

 

gallery_37950_1048_5684137.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_7256294.jpg

 

 

gallery_37950_1048_5794553.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_3148624.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_882052.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_5245574.jpg

 

And the sunset dam, which means that you can extract the last of th elight and still make the gate before closing

 

gallery_37950_1048_2655669.jpg

 

Although this can lead to conflict......

 

gallery_37950_1048_1681179.jpg

 

Plenty of non-water bird life

 

gallery_37950_1048_1700916.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_364627.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_8015169.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_3597087.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_1026959.jpg

 

And plenty of mammals

 

gallery_37950_1048_8262433.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_1209379.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_7934799.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_7554956.jpg

 

We spotted a leopard on an early morning drive, but didn't manage to get a picture - he just appeared on the road in front of us and then melted away (as they do)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Beautiful start. Even if the martial eagle wouldn't take off for you, it's a very nice photo of an impressive bird.

 

 

 

Favorites folder=980+583 in 2014 vs. 444+452 in 2013 (although we were there one more day this year)

 

If I'm reading that right, it looks like one of you, at least, certainly took a few more pictures!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I'm reading that right, it looks like one of you, at least, certainly took a few more pictures!!

 

Yes, I am a bit trigger happy! Also, this year, rather than choosing the best ones e.g. of the dogs, I just chose all of them :)

Edited by Tdgraves
Link to comment
Share on other sites

En route to Satara

 

Camp to camp transfers were in the middle of the day, which was very hot. However, when we saw a parked vehicle, we dutifully pulled up behind it. After a few minutes peering though binoculars, we realised why they had stopped!

 

gallery_37950_1048_5832055.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_2334734.jpg

 

Unfortunately they were very far away, but a good spot nonetheless. Not so for the several cars who didn't bother even slowing down...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love the shot of the Hammerkop on the log in the river.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks @@Zim Girl pure fluke having the camera on the correct settings. There was so much going on, I didn't know which way to point it!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm really enjoying the bird photos, that Hammerkop is a real keeper.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

thanks @@Soukous - so much easier when the sun is out....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Isn't it just.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Satara

 

By the time we got to Satara, they were starting to open up some of the non-tar roads. We nearly came unstuck though on the river road from Oliphants. There was a steep hill, which was very muddy with lots of puddles. Someone going the other way suggested that if we didn't have 4WD (we didn't) that we shouldn't attempt it. However, to get back to the tar road was about a 30km back track. Luckily I was driving, so I just went fro it, much to the chagrin of hubby!! We made it, but decided we'd be more reticent about choosing our next route.

 

Lots of general game and antelope

 

gallery_37950_1048_1986268.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_207016.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_852511.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_8883859.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_5042328.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_12077438.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_9494028.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_556254.jpg

 

But what people really go there for is the cats....this first sighting was our only Kruger traffic jam. Several cats all asleep by the side of the road, but mostly hidden in the undergrowth. No vehicles wanted to move, even to let us past, despite the fact that the gates were due to close. Managed one good shot, but the rest only had body parts visible (with lots of snoring - I amagine)

 

gallery_37950_1048_2407872.jpg

 

However, the sighing on our final morning was much more satisfactory. We were first on the scene for these 4 sleeping ladies and were alone for a long time. A couple of other vehiceles eventually arrived, but moved off fairly fast

 

gallery_37950_1048_9900201.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_560295.jpg

 

I was driving and had moved into the passenger seat, as most of the, were on the left of the car. Annoyingly our rental beeped if you left the keys in the ignition and so clearly had to be removed. But being a modern car, the windows were electric and I was now in the passenger seat. Not usually a problem with lion as they are so sleepy. I wondered why the camera wouldn't focus and I remembered that the lens has a switch for focussing 6.5M to infinity and 1.8M to infinity. Therefore this lioness was less than 6 metres and closing....there is something about the way that they focus on you that really sets the heart racing!

 

gallery_37950_1048_9188024.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_12477106.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_13237888.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_1888603.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_7010749.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_9436227.jpg

 

And we also found some hyaena - just a fleeting glimpse of this one

 

gallery_37950_1048_6866251.jpg

 

Another vehicle flagged us down for this one (as if we wouldn't stop to investigate a parked vehicle anyway...) Some suckling pups. As you can see from the light, the sun was setting fast, so we had to tear ourselves away to make the gate

 

gallery_37950_1048_13603262.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_13404316.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_6577412.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_7287756.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_13984480.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_11093561.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_972328.jpg

 

We also saw some birds

 

gallery_37950_1048_1984446.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_465533.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_335172.jpg

 

and other things

 

gallery_37950_1048_13537610.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_18061091.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_513116.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_1608361.jpg

 

We saw an African wild cat, but it was too fast and too dark to get a photo. One morning we must have narrowly missed a leopard as the baboons were going insane, but neither us nor another car could spot it. Unfortunately there was a gulley and given the height of the grass, not really suprising

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The suckling hyena pups is just such a lovely picture.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like the startled-looking wildebeest and the hyena obscured by long grass (almost like the suggestion of a hyena, I've always enjoyed that kind of photo).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The suckling hyena pups is just such a lovely picture.

Thanks @@Zim Girl - plenty more baby hyaena in my 2014 TR.....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Letaba

 

Although the non-tar roads were slowly opening up in the south of the park, most of those around camp were still closed, so most of the two days was spent on the tar roads. Interestingly, the updates in the camps about which roads were open and closed was pretty inaccurate. We would plan a route and then drive past a supposed by closed road, to see that the barriers had been removed.

 

gallery_37950_1048_10395860.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_2354257.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_2146722.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_4966629.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_5130718.jpg

 

Our only ground hornbill sighting of this trip - what a contrast to this year. It was getting dark and they move so fast, so only managed a couple of shots

 

gallery_37950_1048_526536.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_1795531.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_4685446.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_5249829.jpg

 

On one overcast morning we had a lovely long sighting of a yellow billed kite eating a chameleon, right next to the road

 

gallery_37950_1048_621400.jpg

 

And this tawny eagle, just down the road

 

gallery_37950_1048_3232483.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_438277.jpg

 

And on the last drive of our trip, it was overcast and quiet. My other half was driving and daydreaming about decorating our new house (we moved the day before our flight to JNB!!) when he sped past a sleeping pride of lions at 30km/hour. Luckily I spotted them (not hard - they were right next to the road) and he reversed. Again we were alone with them for quite a while before anyone else turned up.

 

gallery_37950_1048_2689625.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_11588477.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_10599946.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_6467641.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_8060757.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_8813011.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_7626494.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_11202116.jpg

 

gallery_37950_1048_6310886.jpg

 

 

So, lions on our first and last game drives - not a bad introduction to the Kruger!

 

The End

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm glad you identified the kite's meal...the photos are very crisp, but the degree of dismemberment had me wondering what type of lizard it was.

 

So when you encounted an open road that was supposed to be closed and wasn't in your planned route as a result, did you change course on the fly?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks @@Marks. I have decided that the best use for a zoom lens is to bring close things closer, not to attempt to enlarge things in the distance.....the kite was right next to the road.

 

I think we may have deviated once or twice, but given that we didn't have 4wd and we didn't know what kind of roads they would be (as it was our first trip) we tended to stick to the tar -especially after the olifants incident.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Safaritalk uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By using Safaritalk you agree to our use of cookies. If you wish to refuse the setting of cookies you can change settings on your browser to clear and block cookies. However, by doing so, Safaritalk may not work properly and you may not be able to access all areas. If you are happy to accept cookies and haven't adjusted browser settings to refuse cookies, Safaritalk will issue cookies when you log on to our site. Please also take a moment to read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy: Terms of Use l Privacy Policy