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Kruger Park December 2014 Self Drive and walking safari

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Tom Kellie

I had the billy on at 4:00am ready for a coffee and rusk.



The one thing I really enjoy about self driving is that you can stay as long as you want at a sighting or hide and only have to abide by gate times.


~ @@Hads


Pardon my ignorance, please.

What does “I had the billy on...” refer to?

What you've mentioned about self-drivers being free to tarry as they wish is indeed a plus.

There's been times when I'd have enjoyed an extra half hour at a sighting of interest.

'Twas a nice cat and dog morning!

Many thanks!

Tom K.

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Hi all,   Recently I spent 10 days with my Dad on a self Drive safari in Kruger Park which included 3 nights on the Sweni walking trail which was fantastic. Trip dates 01/12/14 to 10/12/2014 The t

DAY 2: Alarm roared at 4:00am and dad and I crawled out of bed, we put the billy (kettle) on and made a quick coffee and had a rusk or 3 for breakfast. Pretty excited to start our first full day of

DAY 2 cont: Dad and I had to be back by 9.30am in the morning at Bergendal to collect our WILD card , by purchasing this it saved us about $200.00 AUD in park fee's. We collected our bags from our r

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Hi Tom,

"I had the Billy on" is a Australian slang term meaning " I was boiling the kettle".

Apologies for some of my terms and phrases being used, Kruger is a great park for Self drivers and a Far cheaper option as well.

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Morning bird photos - plus my Hippo salad.











Edited by Hads
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Ok I will try and be brief for the remainder of the day - we did get back to Satara for a late lunch around 1:00pm.


Whilst travelling back to Satara along the S100 we encountered a Giraffe running across the road, we stopped and scanned the area and spotted several lionesses in hunting mode. Animals in the area were on high alert.

A car pulled up beside us and asked if we saw the large pride of lions crossing the road which included many cubs including a White lion cub, we literally missed them by about 2 mins maximum.

This pride of lions which I think is known as the Sweni pride totals around 22-25 Lions which is mightily impressive.


Later that afternoon we were rewarded for our patience and perseverance searching for our little white lion cub.

I have been following this pride on Kruger sightings the past 12 months and last I heard the cub was doing well.

Being white he stands out a lot and would be prone to attack from other Lions.


Our Afternoon drive started off in a Northerly direction from Satara up the H1-4 then turning right onto the S90 and then right again on the S41.

We enjoyed the presence of a fast moving group of Pachyderms, they were setting quite a pace. A couple of young bachelor Impala's were sparring. We pulled into the Gudzani dam and had a cold beer before heading towards home on the S100.

We came across 4 cars in a small loop overlooking a part of the N'wanetsi stream.............Then we spotted the Sweni pride and the little white lion cub. All my Christmas's came at once, the cubs were very playful. Theye were about 50 metres away but with Binoculars the view was perfect.

We were parked next to a French guy who had a camera lens that nearly touched the pride, he was very friendly and gave me his business card. On my return back Downunder ( Tom K Downunder is Australia ;)) the Frenchman emailed me better photo's of the pride.

We enjoyed this pride and there Golden boy for a good 45 mins before we had to head back to Satara before the gates were locked, we were very content on our own self driving day.










Edited by Hads
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Tom Kellie

~ @@Hads


No worries, mate!

That's the extent of my Australian slang, but it expresses my pleasure in learning about a billy.

Here I am, an American, working & living in Asia, reading a trip report about Africa, learning Australian slang.

What a wonderful world Safaritalk brings together! Thanks, @@Game Warden!

BTW: The tortoises racing across the tarmac above are delightful...as is your trip report.

Tom K.

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A few more photo's on the way - including the White Lion cub.

I will finish the last post of the day with our friend the French photographer sharing his photo's - they still give me goose bumps, what a blessing this day was.











Edited by Hads
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My final post for tonight - the Frenchman's photos.

Enjoy and good night.

1.5 days of reports to go.





Edited by Hads
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@@Hads, thanks for getting on with and bumping it up, I too somehow totally missed this report. I'd love to do a self drive one day, Kruger looks like a great place to start. How nice to be able to travel with your Dad. Some lovely experiences, but some tragic ones too, my heart goes out to that poor Giraffe, a poached Rhino and a nursing Lioness with a leg injury, too much sadness. The little baby Warthog is beyond cute, shame on its mother abandoning it, hope she came back.Great photo of the two Tortoises marching along the road.

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Elefromoz and Tom K thanks for following the report.


Ele Kruger is a great park for self driving and very easy to navigate around.

As long as you abide by the rules you will have no issue's.

Yeah I hope the baby Warthogs mother returned............ more than anything I hope that white Lion cub is doing well. Maybe someone on Safaritalk might know how the little cub is doing.


Merry Xmas to all on Safari talk and God bless - may 2016 full of much laughter and joy and hopefully Safari's.


I will finish the report after the Xmas break.

Edited by Hads
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Tom Kellie

~ @@Hads


Ho Ho Ho!

MERRY CHRISTMAS to the Pilbara!

Tom K.

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You've captured some simply gorgeous scenes and vistas - to say nothing of the wildlife! Really like the hyenas on this page.

Sorry for all the likes at once!


edit: whoops, looks like I'm on a new page. Make that "the hyenas on the last page." :)

Edited by Marks
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Hi Marks,

Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated.


Well finally onto my last full day in the park - The night before we heard plenty of roaring towards the Nsemani Dam direction - why not head off in that direction first up.

Our rough plan for the Morning was to head west up the H7 towards Nsemani Dam and then north Via the S40 towards Timbavati.

As the saying goes the early bird catches the worm or gets a nice sighting to yourself for awhile.

About 2 KM's past the dam we were greeted by 2 fantastic specimans, Black maned Lions, warming themselves on the Tar. They were just laying doing as they normally do and Dad and I parked up for about 20 mins enjoying our coffee and rusk watching them. Finally they aroused and started heading off staying on the road for about another km or so, they did not care about our presence at all ( obviously used to cars of all descriptions). Up so close these animals are mightily impressive and it is easy to see why they are king.

After a good hour with them they slowly moved off into the bush.

Sorry for all the Lion pics - but Lions are by far my favourite African mammal.

One thing I love about sitting idle in the park is listening to the sounds of all the birdlife, and the Woodland kingfishers in summer time can be heard just about everywhere. You guessed it the Breasted rollers were out in full flight as well.

Our Journey Northwards we saw a zebra with a nice battle scar, he can share the story with his grand kids :o.

North of Timbavati we came across a nice herd of Elephants, one with a young calf.

We came across a pair of Klipspringers and one had very blotchy markings , I thought it maybe Albino but obviously was too dark in colour.

Our very big morning drive took us back down the S90/S41 and we found ourselves amongst a very large herd of Buffaloes , maybe 500-700 strong, they just kept coming and coming, what a day so far.

The S100 - well it produced the goods again, this time we were very lucky to follow a cheetah on the move, this is my best sighting of a cheetah.

We followed him for a good 20 mins and watched him miss a Guinea fowl hunt, there were quite a few cars at this time of the morning which did not help is cause.










Edited by Hads
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For some reason the Lion pics are not in the correct sequence - operator error I suspect.

However here are a couple more to give you the idea.......









Edited by Hads
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Okay Madaboutcheetah...........your pics are coming......soon.

These morning pics first.











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Cheetah piccies are up!

I did not realise with these cats how sleek they are - definitely built for speed.









Edited by Hads
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That's pretty much it for first trip report.

It took far too long to complete but it is finally done.


The last few pics are pretty much on the way out of Satara to Orpen gate a couple of around the camp site.

We saw a lovely Wildebeest with 2 young calves and another kill.............this time a Fish eagle with a small bird which we could not identify.


On reflection Kruger is a fantastic park for the Self drivers and even better to get away from the hustle with a few days on your own doing a walking safari.

Thanks to Dad for doing this trip with me - we had a great time together.

I can't wait to get back to Africa - I dare say it will be kruger again for my next safari as it is an easy and relatively cheap option but how I wish I could visit Zim and Zambia again..........









Edited by Hads
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Lovely trip report, and as it was a self-driven one, also of great interest to us. You and your dad have had some great sightings, and surely a memorable father and son time together.

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Thanks @@xelas

I have just started another Trip report in the Worldwide section if you are interested.

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Really enjoyed this - you had some great sightings! That Wild Dog with the snow-white "paintings" is one of the most beautiful dogs I´ve ever seen. And speaking of white, how lucky you were to see the white lion cub - wonderful! A while ago there was a fantastic documentary on White Lions in the Kruger, but of course it´s so much cooler to see them in the wild. Those two big males were very impressive - real battlefaces there. Also really like that Klippspringer photo - an animal high on my list, have never seen one.


Thanks for this report! :)

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Thanks for sharing this pleasant report! Glad you got it done. :)



This is a really nice image with very nice light.

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@@Marks thanks mate.

Loved the whole trip with Dad. - Satara is a great area for Lions, especially this trip.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Hads,


Excellent trip report bud, I am so happy that you and your dad got to enjoy this special part of Africa. As a youngster growing up in Africa we often took walks and played in the bush and we took all of it for granted. Reading your report brought back some wonderful memories and although the self drive option in the Kruger is a cheaper option, there is nothing that compares to being on the ground with the wild animals and learning about the bush and the beautiful creatures that own it. I am so glad you got to do this. I loved the rustic accommodation and it just looked so good to get back to basics. Sharing this experience with your dad was such an awesome way to do it and thanks so much for the photo's and the commentary. Great Job Hads. Can't wait for the next one.

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Thanks bokke (@steyncc) for reading the trip report.

You have definitely grown up with an extra special childhood.



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@@Hads Enjoyed your TR. Looks like you had some terrific sightings. The walking section was interesting, my wife and I may be back to Kruger in September and we didn't realize this was an option. Now we will have to look into it.

Edited by anthracosaur
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  • 1 month later...

@@anthracosaur the walking safari is a great option and nice way to mix up the safari.

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