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Four in one View, three in one Picture - Kruger Park Oct. 2014


ice
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let me start this "trip report" with a disclaimer: this is not going to be your normal trip report, with lots of details about how we came across a certain sighting or other details, simply because a) we had way too many sightings combined with b ) I simply don't have the time and c) not too many folks around here are interested in Kruger in the first place.

 

so: if you have any specific questions about a particular sighting or our trip in general, feel free to ask and I'll try my best to answer them.

 

Pretty much all the pictures you will see were taken by my 11 year old daughter. Her mum had allowed her to use her brand new Canon camera for the first time, so please don't expect @@twaffle quality here, also bearing in mind that I in the front seat, with the video cameras, would usually position the car to perfect my own views.

 

Sightings of hyenas and white rhinos will only be mentioned if there was something special about them.

 

To avoid taking false credit: more than 90% of the animals we filmed and photographed had been spotted by other people before us.

 

ITINERARY

 

Oct 03rd Frankfurt - Cairo - Johannesburg with Egypt Air (the worst airline I have flown in a long long time)

Oct 04th pick up rental car, road transfer to Crocodile Bridge Camp, overnight at Crocodile Bridge Camp

Oct 05th overnight at Crocodile Bridge Camp

Oct 06th overnight at Skukuza Camp

Oct 07th overnight at Skukuza Camp

Oct 08th overnight at Skukuza Camp

Oct 09th overnight at Satara Camp

Oct 10th overnight at Satara Camp

Oct 11th overnight at Satara Camp

Oct 12th overnight at Lower Sabie Camp

Oct 13th overnight at Lower Sabie Camp

Oct 14th overnight at Lower Sabie Camp

Oct 15th overnight at Lower Sabie Camp

Oct 16th overnight at Lower Sabie Camp

Oct 17th road transfer back to Jo'burg, return flight to Frankfurt via Cairo

Edited by Game Warden
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Oct 03rd Afternoon Drive (Self Drive) 15:30 - 17:45

 

Gomondwane pride (20+ lions) on a zebra kill

 

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I'd go to Kruger tomorrow @@ice - we had a great stay back in 2008, my favourite camp of those at which I've stayed being Shingwedzi. What made you stay in the south and not venture further up? What was the car rental company, what car did you rent and how much was it?

 

Matt

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@@ice I'm interested in the kruger - I think lots of STers are - carry on!!

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@@Game Warden

 

we did go further up north during our first two Kruger trips but ever since then have decided to concentrate on the south and the middle of the park, because that's where most of the predators are, especially the wild dogs. All those rare antelopes and gazelles which can only be seen up North, like roan, eland, tsessebe or grysbok, we have seen there or in other parks.

 

For booking a rental car I usually try to find the cheapest offer by using a search engine which automatically compares all the offers that are out there. This years we ended up with a Renault Duster from Europcar, cost me 614 € for the entire two weeks, including a GPS system and full insurance coverage.

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Oct 04th Morning Drive (Self Drive) 06:30 - 12:30

 

one male lion of the Lubyelubye Pride

 

entire Skukza Wild Dog pack (+/- 20 dogs, including puppies) (two different sightings, one under the bridge in the Sand riverbed, the second one right next to the tar road) - it was good to see that this year the pups had survived (so far), back in 2012 all the newborns were killed by lions

 

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baboon, taking a ride on the roof of a drving car

 

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second male lion of the Lubyelubye Pride

 

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civet, busy eating from the head of a bushbuck (leftover from a leopard kill) (the rest time I have a seen a civet in borad daylight)

 

rest of the Lubyelubye pride (+/- 10 lions)

 

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5 lionesses of the Vurhami pride

 

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Kruger never fails to deliver does it? :)

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@@kittykat23uk

 

no, never, especially if you know when and where to look - we've had more lions and leopard sightings than during the entire two years prior top this trip combined and this includes trips to the NCA, to Botswana and to ZA (KTP)

Edited by ice
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@ ice

 

I love Kruger. Keep it coming!

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Oct 05 Afternoon Drive 15:00 - 18:00 (Self Drive)

 

huge rock python in a tree (photo of my video footage)

 

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Oct 05 Night Drive Drive 20:00 - 22:30 (Guided Drive)

 

2 different porcupine sightings

side striped jackel (rare in Kruger)

 

 

 

Oct 06 Morning Drive / Transfer Drive to Skukuza 05:30 - 14:30 (Self Drive)

 

Lubyelubye pride with all three males

 

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Black rhino at Sunset Dam (rare in Kruger, only my third sighting of a black rhino in kruger ever)

 

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@ice:

There are always newcomers here, like me, that have never been on a safari or in Kruger NP. So if possible, at the end of your report, do post some logistical data. Thank You!

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@@xelas

 

I'd love to but what exactly do you mean by "logistical data"?

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I can't see the civet post. We saw one in the daytime at the bird hide last time.

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@@kittykat23uk

 

I did not post a picture of the civet, if you are looking for one - my daughter's view was blocked by lots of branches so her photos of the cat (which is not a cat at all) didn't turn out that well

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@ice: I am very much interested in Kruger, as well. Thanks for the great report and looking forward for more...

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I'm also very interested in Kruger. Quite an important park with a huge variety of experiences to offer.

 

Your video camera must be good if that rock python photo is a still frame taken from a video; very crisp.

 

Looking forward to more.

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@ice:

everything that would be useful with my (our) travel to KNP: rental car company name, places you have stayed, roads or areas you have explored, .... For example, info about Egyptian Airlines is a "logistical data" for me. If prices are added, even better.

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@@Marks

 

for the last two and a half years I have been filming with panasonic cams, 909 and 707, to be precise, enhanced by various sorts of tripods, external microphones and a converter lense, doubling my zoom factor up to 20 x

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@@xelas

 

I have already mentioned that we booked our rental car, a Renault Duster, through Europcar; however, as always we used a German broker and did not book directly with Europcar

 

for the places we stayed, please have a look at my initial comment: permanent tents at Crocodile Bridge and Skukuza, a huge 5 bed hut at Lower Sabie and a 2 bed rondavel at Satara - in Croc Bridge, Skukuza and Lower Sabie our accomodation did not have private baths, though but overall it came extremely cheap: the two of us paid appr. 550 € for the 13 nights, that's something like 21 € pppn

 

all but one night we had lunch and / or dinner at one of the camp's restaurants

 

before we enter the park (usually through Malelane Gate, this time though through Croc Bridge Gate) we stop at a shopping mall (again, usually in Malelane town) to buy groceries like drinks, bread, meat for braii, etc - you can, of course, get this stuff inside the park's shops as well but outside it is usually cheaper

 

roads: we used dozens of them, the most popular ones (like H4-1, H4-2, H1-3, S100 or S28) sometimes more than once a day so bear with me if I won't list them all...feel free to PM me, though

 

Egypt Air: as mentioned before, this was the first we flew with Egypt Air, the years before we usually used TK, Etihad, Emirates or Qatar but this time Egypt Air was way (something like 20 %) cheaper than the other airlines so we decided to give them try a....in the end, I have mixed feelings: the planes were old (shabby seats, no personal inflight entertainment but ancient monitors hanging down the ceiling, some of them not working at all, blaring announcentments, etc) but that was somehow to be expected - I can't comment on the food because I never eat in planes - one bonus, though: when travelling from Germany to Africa flying via Cairo is a more direct route than stopping over in Istanbul or Arabia so the overall time spent in the air is reduced by appr. 2 hours on each journey - next July we will again be using Egypt Air to fly to South Africa

Edited by ice
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October 06th Afternoon Drive 15:45 - 17:45 (Self Drive)

 

two honeybadgers crossing the road right in front of us (one of my very own spottings, no other vehicle near us)

 

 

 

October 06th Night Drive 20:15 - 22:30 (Guided Drive)

 

genets

hippos feeding

white-tailed mogooses (rare in Kruger)

 

 

 

October 07th Morning Drive 05:30- 09:45 (Self Drive)

 

males lions on an elephant kill - this coalition reportedly consists of four individuals, however, during our time at the sighting only two were visibly hanging around

 

if you have a closer look at the carcass, you can see that this elephant was not an infant, I'd estimate his age at about 10 years at least

 

afaik, nobody actually saw them making the kill but since the lions were there long before any other predators like hyenas or vultures arrived, all the people near the sighting agreed that the elephant had indeed not died a natural death

 

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Edited by ice
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I don't think we've ever been this close to a kill in a park where one has to stick to official roads - the elephant was less than 2 m away from our windows

 

however, this was a bottleneck of a gravel road, hardly two cars could pass each other which meant we had to wait till those arriving before us had left the sighting but it was well worth it

 

on our way back to Skukuza we spotted two individual male sable antilopes - not an easy species to find in Kruger, especially not this far south

 

 

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October 07th Afternoon Drive 14:15 - 18:40 (Self Drive)

 

lubyelubye lion pride near Lower Sabie

 

on our way back to Skukuza the tar road was blocked by a bull elephant in musth. I'm sure most of you have seen pictures and videos of what (Kruger) elephants sometimes do with tourist cars so I (and a lot of other drivers around me) decided to play it on the safe side and retreat in the same pace the elephant was coming closer. However, our time was running out, in october the camp gates officially close at 18:00 and the bull clearly wanted to stay on the tar road. It took us more than 40 minutes to finally pass the animal (hiding behind some trees on a little bypass) only to be blocked by yet more elephants further down the H4-1 - this time it was an entire herd. However, my trick worked once again - we hid in a side road, waited till the herd had passed and then sped off towards Skukuza. Nevertheless, we were 40 minutes late. The guy at the gate was already in a heated discussion with other guests who had been unable to obey the closing time. We made good use of the opportunity and sneaked past him, quickly disappearing into the darkness of Kruger's biggest camp.

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October 08th 05:30 - 09:15 Morning Drive (Self Drive)

 

finally, our first leopard - it was rather far away but clearly visibly in a ditch

 

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in the afternoon the temparature reached 42°C - we were really looking forward to Satara and Lower Sabie, where our huts would have AC

 

 

October 08th 15:30 - 18:00 Afternoon Drive (Self Drive)

 

later that day we found a single lioness and thus completed our first big five day, meaning we had spotted the big five over the course of one day

 

 

October 08th 20:00 - 22:30 Night Drive (Guided Drive)

 

hyenas

genets

white tailed mongoose

Edited by ice
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October 09th 05:40 - 13:45 Transfer Drive (Self Drive)

 

two sightings of the entire Skukuza Wild pack (+/- 20 dogs, including pups)

 

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entire Lubyelubye lion pride; one lioness stalking and hunting impala (unsucessfully), one impala which was trying to escape jumped right over our hood

 

two lions of the Gomondwane pride mating

 

leopard, running into the bushes

 

two male lions and one lioness

 

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two different male lions still at the elephant carcass

Edited by ice
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a few more pictures of the almost finished elephant carcass, taken by myself

 

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October 09th 15:30-17:45 Afternoon Drive (Self drive)

 

only general game

 

October 10th 05:30 - 09:30 Morning Drive (Self Drive)

 

hyena den with +/- 10 hyenas, including pups

 

hyena and vultures on a buffalo kill taken down by lions the day before we arrived at Satara

 

 

 

single male lion

 

single male leopard -> Big Five DRIVE completed at 10:15

 

 

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