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From Cape Town to Johannesburg (and a tiny bit beyond)


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Well, I can´t count how often i mistook a tree stump for a lion, so I sympathise with your jeep buddy. :)

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@@michael-ibk Ha, true, have done that myself multiple times as well! But as a Belgian, we like it if we can make fun of the Dutch (and not mention our own mistakes!)

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At the Nossob hide in the KTG I am skilled at mistakingly confusing the border stone with all kinds of wildlife often every 5 minutes!

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We saw a lot of "stone" elephants in India :-)

Edited by Ladouce
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After breakfast we start on another drive by ourselves. We’re not even two meter into the park and there is an elephant standing right next to the road. But after that it gets quiet and we don’t see many new animals.

















In the late afternoon we try again. But again there is not much new to see. (This might be because M accidentally pressed the car horn when we were at the pick nick site…)


But we can confirm that the trick to keep saying the animals name helps. We kept singing ‘snake, snake, snake…’ and a couple of minutes later there was a snake on the road!

Unfortunately, the leopards didn't know about this trick and kept themselves hidden, no matter how many times we chanted 'leopard, leopard, leopard…'









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"Animal vs Inanimate object" is a game I find myself playing all too often. Luckily there are plenty of great examples of the former in this report. :)

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After a short flight from Port Elisabeth to Johannesburg, we arrive at my aunt’s house in Roodepoort. We take the rest of the day to relax at the pool.


The day after we walk to the Walter Sisulu Botanical Garden. In the Garden we first walk to the waterfall to see if the black eagles are there, but there are no eagles to be seen.







After that we walk to the other side of the Garden, to the Bird Hide. There are some water birds and weavers.














After a milkshake in the café, we walk back to my aunt’s house. The afternoon is spent shopping :)

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~ @@duenelle


Your first photograph got me!

When I initially saw it on the computer screen I sat bolt upright in shock.

What a huge insect!

Then I realized what it was.

Sometimes my vision is that of a 5-year old!

The Walter Sisulu Botanical Garden looks very nice.

I like your weaver images.

Thank you for posting these.

Tom K.

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Beautiful birds in beautiful surrounds.

And I've always loved mantids, but if one were really that big, it'd give me pause...

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In the morning we drive to Pilanesberg. We are determined to complete the big 5 and still have 2 to go, as we saw lion, elephant and buffalo in Addo. I was pretty confident on the rhino, as I'd seen so many of them on my last trip to Pilanesberg ten years ago, but I was trying to be realistic on the chances of leopard, as I knew it would be hard to see one (even though I saw one on that previous trip). But the others told me not to worry, as they were 100% confident that we'd see both animals, and some extra lions on top.


We have a short stop at the guest house where we will be staying to drop off our bags and enter the park via Bakubung Gate. By now it’s lunch time, so we drive straight on to the centre of the park where the restaurant is. We pass some hippo’s, giraffe and, in the far far distance, some rhino’s. So that's one down, one to go, even though the picture as proof is some blury shot with a half hidden animal.





At the restaurant we have lunch with a view on the zebra’s, impala's, giraffes, wildebeests and vervet monkeys.



















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After lunch we continue and find a wonderful road (Tshepe & Kwalata).


After a hundred meters, we see something big moving in the bushes. We stop and patiently wait until the animal comes in view. And we are rewarded! A beautiful rhino right next to our car! Now we can definitely cross him off our list.




We drive on and a hundred meters further, another big animal. An elephant this time!




We keep looking to find the most important animal left on our list, the leopard. We look at all the trees that look ideal for our big cat, but can’t seem to find one. Then we spot a beautiful tree that looks ideal for a leopard, so we stop to look to our left side with our binoculars. But no leopard…

Then M starts making weird noises and flapping her arms. We ask if she’s ok, but she can only make half sentences ‘look… next to the car…’ and more weird gestures. I think she’s seen a snake or something, as she’s scared of snakes, but then she finally can utter the word ‘LEOPARD!’ While we were so busy looking on the left side of the car, there was a beautiful leopard lying right next to our car on the other side! Unfortunately, right at that time a car with a lot of noise comes driving fast from the opposite side. The leopard gets annoyed and gets up to cross the road when the car passes (they definitely didn't see the leopard). It stops to sit a while under that ‘tree, perfect for a leopard’ before walking further away. If we hadn't stopped to look at that tree and M hadn't looked to the right, we certainly would have missed the beautiful animal!




















We drive on to visit a hide, but some zebras have something else planned for us. They block the road in front of us and behind… We have to wait a while because they are not inclined to move. In the end the animals behind us clear the road, so we decide to drive back to the other side and go visit a different hide.









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@@duenelle Excellent report - I am enjoying your writing style. What a lovely leopard!

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Hurrah @@duenelle what a splendid leopard sighting and a very entertaining description!

Edited by Towlersonsafari
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Bontebok and Mountain Zebra. How cool. I want to see those.


Beach walk near Koppie Alleen - such a mesmerizing and disorienting shot.


Addo: You saw lots in your drive around, and you can you were responsible for spotting/seeing it all.


Love the red mud on the eles for a different look. Sleeping lion in blue flowers has a fairytale feel.


The warthog photo you took does look a little lion-like along the perimeter, in fact I can make out a short, scruffy mane. Give that Dutch lady points for trying.


You got your leopard and in plain view for clear photos!

Edited by Atravelynn
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This is a very interesting report, thanks for posting! I've never heard of a bontebok...beautiful antelope. Also, does anyone know if the zebras in post 12 mountain zebra?

That was my assumption.

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Beautiful leopard, that other car missed out!

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What a great leopard sighting and lovely photos

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We end up driving to the hide at Mankwe dam. We meet a group of Dutch travellers who were also stuck at the zebras. They were really nice, and of course we ended up bragging about our leopard spot. At the hide there are kingfishers, herons, African fish eagles and a crocodile.













We decide to try the restaurant again to see if there are some animals, but except some angry monkeys, there is not much to see.






Taking the long road back to the exit (Kwa-Maritane gate), we see elephant, impala and hippo on the way out.










We go to Sun City to get something to eat and then drive back to our lodge.

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Nice hide for kingfishers and such!


Correction: angry exhibitionist monkeys

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The next morning we drive back to the Kwa Maritane Gate to enter the park.

On the morning drive we see steenbok, wildebeest, rhino’s (but they are hiding behind the high grass), giraf, korri bustard, hippo, crocodile, springbok… We keep looking for the lions, but we can't find them.





















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  • 2 weeks later...

Again we have lunch in the Pilanesberg Centre. It’s Saturday now and it is a lot busier than the day before. Luckily there are still animals visiting as well.








After lunch we drive up the mountain to Lelong view and drive back via Makorwane Dam. Even though it was clearly busier at the restaurant, we don't have too much bother from other cars.












At the dam we go visit the hide. There are some crocodiles and hippos lying around.










On the way to the exit we see our last animals, a family of baboons. A nice goodbye! We exit the park via Bakubung gate and drive back to the lodge.






Next day we drive back to our aunt for a big family braai. My cousin is jealous of our leopard sighting. She’s lived in South Africa her whole life (more than 40 years by now) and goes on a self drive to Kruger at least once a year (well, the last couple of years, she didn't when she was younger), but she’s only seen a leopard a handful times.


The day after, we need to start packing again as our wonderful time in South Africa (and this trip report) has come to an end. We fly home via London to Brussels.

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When the cousin who lives in South Africa is jealous, you have had a good trip!

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Peter Connan

Thank you for sharing your trip with us!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Gorgeous animals and landscapes alike.

Sounds (and looks) like a great trip indeed.

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