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xelas

@@Chakra , I am absolutely positively surprised by the IQ of your Tamron lens!! BTW the 800 mm on Crested Barbet?? Why, you wanted to do a selfie reflection off his eye ??

Beautiful photos of beautiful birds! Darn, with all you newcomers a photographer's life on Safaritalk becomes tougher with each new trip report :D .

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Dear friends,   This is my first TR here so please be patient with me. I have several friends who post here regularly and some of them have been encouraging me to share my experiences here. I have

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Chakra

@@xelas : Tamron was fine in reasonable light but not so in low light. Went on hunting for AF, specially when there were lots of twigs/branches around.

 

Why should I stop at 800 mm? I want to shame this guy !!

 

I actually did see one of those monsters in Africa near Okakuejo waterhole. The lens did not fit in his Hilux and was sticking out like a howitzer canon.

 

 

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egilio

They're a specialty thing, just like a hassablad medium format camera. At 1700mm the lens can be sharp, but the air vibrations will blur the image.

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penolva

@@xelas : Tamron was fine in reasonable light but not so in low light. Went on hunting for AF, specially when there were lots of twigs/branches around.

 

Why should I stop at 800 mm? I want to shame this guy !!

 

I actually did see one of those monsters in Africa near Okakuejo waterhole. The lens did not fit in his Hilux and was sticking out like a howitzer canon.

 

That really is stupid ? Saw lots in Tanzania on our first safari but Kruger?
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Chakra

@@egilio : thanks mate. i've no intention of buying one. My biceps can't even carry my 200-600 !

 

@@penolva : there was a poll last year about the usefulness of Lens hood. anonymised so lots of honest answers. more than 50% said they used the lens hoods so that their lens looked bigger than the other tourists' lenses. :blink: :blink: :blink:

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Chakra

I was happily driving along the tar road when I had to slow down seeing couple of buffalos by the road side , as if they were pondering whether to cross or not. I decided to stop to let them pass. Big mistake. I had completely understimated the size of the herd. More and more buffolas appeared from teh bush and worryingly more and more started drifting towards my car. As the distance was getting shorter my heat rate started getting higher. I told them that we were vegetarians mostly and definitely do not eat cows and have never eaten Buffalo, even when travelling in Montana !

Then I saw one idiot had come behind me an dparked his car cutting my escape route. Interestingly one of the buffalos just stood in the middle of the road, eyeballing me as if he was the sentry keeping an eye on me. After fifteeen minutes as more buffalos kept on coming I had to somehow reverse and take a detour as I was getting worried about Lower Sabie gate closing. But that was definitely not a pleasant experince.

 

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The usual traffic jam

 

 

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At Sunset dam. Absolutely fabulous place

 

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Lower Sabie is a superb camp, big but not too big and excellent views

 

 

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After a tiring day at Kruger I had a hearty bush-meal at the excellent Mug and Bean at Lower Sabie Camp and had just settled own with cup of coffee at my hut.
All of a sudden my wife whispers urgently, " There is a big fat animal on our roof. He is trying to get into our room !"

She has absolutely no clue when it comes to animal but surprisingly the animals come to her first rather than coming to this walking encyclopedia, Yours Truly !
I was pretty sure it was a big rat and took my torch to shoo it off. It looked a bit big for a rat and I was shocked to see the huge reflection of light from its enormous eyes.
Time to make a dash for my camera.

It was a most adorable Bush-baby, who had come to share a cup of coffee with me !
I could not believe my luck. I love when animals come to me rather than me chasing the animals. And the beauty of Kruger is that you are never too far from the wildlife.
This is a shy nocturnal animal. The smallest primate in Africa. Their huge eyes are perfect for nocturnal foraging. For several nights I have seen the reflections form their huge eyes when going out on a night drive and fooled thinking that it was a Lion !!
I was amazed how deftly it was using its fingers. Yes Fingers, looked almost like my fingers.
People who do not believe in the theory of evolution should have a look at his fingers and look at their own.
It was so obvious that we share some same DNA and it was nice to meet up with you, My Little Brother.
And then I had the opportunity to lecture my wife, who was still hiding under the bed scared of the intruder. I told her not to get worried about her Brother-in-Law !

 

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xelas

@@Chakra

 

"@egilio : thanks mate. i've no intention of buying one. My biceps can't even carry my 200-600 !" - probably because there is no such lens existing :P

"Then I saw one idiot had come behind me an dparked his car cutting my escape route." - you should be nervous! There are plenty of YouTube videos when an animal (mostly elephant) took on the car that cannot escape due to other moron(s) blocking his escape route (usually in reverse) :angry:

 

Bush-baby ... what an adorable creature! Even cutter than our neighbour's cat. Was it iside the chalet or outside?

 

The river shot has to be C&C: or the horizon is off or someone done very bad job with bench base :) ! I think it is the first option.

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Chakra

Thanks friends. This has been going on for a while and I aim to wrap it up soon. I

After a hearty African Bush Breakfast at Mugg and Bean we spent some more time at Sunset dam and then travelled towards Biyamitti for 2 nights. I hugely regret not staying at Lower Sabie for one more night. We travelled towards Crocodile Bridge and also took many gravel roads before reaching Biyamiti.

 

Waitresses at Mugg and Bean

 

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On the fence busy swallowing his catch

 

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Four muskateers

 

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For obvious reasons I am not going to tell where we saw the rhinos but we did see quite a few. The best was a big bull who was in the bush and eyed us for several minutes before deciding to cross the road and in the middle of the road turned around and looked straight at me. I had a slight palpitation but he moved away.

 

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A very sad but cute looking looking Giraffe who has clearly busted his horn !

 

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Chakra

On the way we saw some interesting giraffe behaviour. I have seen Necking by giraffes in documentaries. Here there were 2 giraffes. One a big bull with shiny horns from fighting and other a much shorter. They were hitting each other going round and round but it was clear it was not a proper fight and I felt the bigger one was gently teaching the smaller one how to fight. May be dad and son ? My wife also took a good video which I'll post later . Some stills here.

 

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https://youtu.be/Bgo0c-ymRUA

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Chakra

Reached Biyamiti just before sunset to see a herd of ellies comig down to have a drink

 

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A Nyala was actually inside the camp !

 

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ID please ?

 

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A splash of colour in a cloudy dull day

 

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ENT consultation : " You got a clear case of perforated tympanic membrane. Now you have an excuse not to respond to your wife's jabbering for next few days!"

 

 

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Glad that packing and unpacking is coming to an end !!

 

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Chakra

Next day we stayed around Biyamiti area, Afsaal and many gravel road. Biyamiti weir does give a unique eye level view of the hippos and crocs. And a lovely Three banded plover was totally oblivious of me.

 

 

Hippos need trimming of nose hair

 

 

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More Ground Hornbills and Cooperative feeding behaviour

 

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Zazu

 

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A sad hyena

 

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The Baobab

 

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Chakra
And I was absolutely thrilled and honoured to meet the legendary ranger Mr. Bridgeman Zulu who was going to guide me that evening.I honestly do not see the point of spending an obscene amount of money staying in a posh lodge for safari when for 400 rands one can have a guide like Bridgeman.
There were no other tourists in our drive.
I was bowled over by his knowledge and I do know a few things about plant and animals. What I loved was his passion for small things rather than focussing on Big Five. We saw quite a few animals and I'm not going into great details here. Sadly there was no lion pride locally so he took the trouble of driving all the way to the Crocodile bridge where we saw the pride. One or two gennets also, but too quick to capture.
My kids were just a bit disappointed that they had not seen a full grown male lion from close quaters. Seen plenty of juvenile males and one bald old lion from a distance though. But how about Mr. Mufasa ?
Around 8 Pm it was time to head back to Biyamiti and with heavy hearts we started thinking about the long drive and then the long flight back home tomorrow.
All of a sudden I saw a black shape on the road. Probably a zebra. No, it was Mr. Mufassa. Walking towards us.
I know the meaning of the word Swagger but this is the first time I actually realised what it meant by Swagger. This lion ignored us totally as if we did not exist and just walked and walked.
I have heard that lions see the car and all the people inside as one whole big creature and so do not attack them. Absolute rubbish. I can bet my bottom cent that he made eye contact with me with a little upwardd movement of the neck when crossing me just a few feet away and there was nothing betwen him and me other than thin air. He just felt I was not worthy of any more attention

He came out of the darkness and disapperaed into the darkness like the Ghost and the Darkness . Remember that movie ?

And let me tell you that my camera malfunctioned at this very vital moment. I had previously set all the modes into manual when taking photos of the lion pride far away in the dark. Inside the car in my excitement I don't know what I did but the focus just failed to fix . So all I have as proof memory is a Bum Shot of Mr. Mufassa. But the memory , especially the split second Eye Contact, I'll not forget easily.


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After that another rare craeture also came out to entertain us. A big porcupine. Thankfully I had managed to sort out the camera by now.

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That is it friends.

Next morning as it rained heavily we left KNP by Malelane Gate and the onto N4 to JNB. I saw Leopards looking at me from behind the counters, heard the sighing hippo when standing in the long queue, imagined the cabin roof as the blue sky of Cape of Storms and the Orange carpet of Namaqualand and the big A380 took me away from all the colours of my beloved Africa.

But as Arnie says, "I'll be back."
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Atravelynn

A finer McDonald's M on an impala bum I have never seen!

 

"One good guess is to find when Clanwilliam is holding its famous Flower Festival. I found that in 2015 they were starting it on 25th August so I thought it'd be a safe bet to be there around that time"

Excellent strategy and one I use often. Any of those fests/events that take a lot of time any money are going to hold them at optimal times. Your strategy worked perfectly.

 

"I think if you are starting from Northern End then you can start in mid-August but not if starting from the southern end, it'll be too cold in mid-August." That may explain why I had Sept in mind as the time to go!

 

I see you had the added puzzle piece of that Devil's Armchair to work into your itinerary. You are braver than I, though I might try to time Vic Falls for that night time full moon rainbow where I am parked safely on dry ground and observe it from a distance.

 

You have been most informative, right down to the advice on Talisker! Thank you!

Edited by Atravelynn
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xelas

Oh my dear, you went from bad to worse ... with luggage! Try to cut down on your next trip!! I should ban my ladies to see that photo !!

 

Another set of fabulous photos and great memories shared with the rest of us! And you will be back, believe me! Thanks for this trip report, have an excellent journey to the land of Pura Vida, and bring back many fine photos and fabulous photos to be shared again!

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Peter Connan

I really enjoyed this trip report thank you @@Chakra!

 

Your ID request from post #135 is a Firefinch. I think African.

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Chakra

Thanks @ Atravelynn, @ xelas and @@Peter Connan : It has been a pleasure to share my experiences with you. My aim was to raise the profile of the lesser known places and I hope I have been successful.

 

@@Atravelynn : if you have plans to travel through UK, let me know . We'll open a nice old bottle of Isle of Jura and invite our mutual friend M from Isle of Mann as well. And believe me you don't need much courage to sit on Devil's armchair. You must must try that one day.

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penolva

A finer McDonald's M on an impala bum I have never seen!

 

"One good guess is to find when Clanwilliam is holding its famous Flower Festival. I found that in 2015 they were starting it on 25th August so I thought it'd be a safe bet to be there around that time"

Excellent strategy and one I use often. Any of those fests/events that take a lot of time any money are going to hold them at optimal times. Your strategy worked perfectly.

 

"I think if you are starting from Northern End then you can start in mid-August but not if starting from the southern end, it'll be too cold in mid-August." That may explain why I had Sept in mind as the time to go!

 

I see you had the added puzzle piece of that Devil's Armchair to work into your itinerary. You are braver than I, though I might try to time Vic Falls for that night time full moon rainbow where I am parked safely on dry ground and observe it from a distance.

 

You have been most informative, right down to the advice on Talisker! Thank you!

@Atravelyn are you in South Africa this September? Pen

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Atravelynn

Thanks @ Atravelynn, @ xelas and @@Peter Connan : It has been a pleasure to share my experiences with you. My aim was to raise the profile of the lesser known places and I hope I have been successful. Mission accomplished!

 

@@Atravelynn : if you have plans to travel through UK, let me know . We'll open a nice old bottle of Isle of Jura and invite our mutual friend M from Isle of Mann as well. And believe me you don't need much courage to sit on Devil's armchair. You must must try that one day. I'll try the bottle of Isle of Jura long before I sit in that armchair!

 

@Penlova, I am not in South Africa this September. Hopefully some September, though.

Edited by Atravelynn
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Tdgraves

@@Chakra your unidentified pink bird in #135 is a Jameson's firefinch

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