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The_Norwegian

Ok ok, so I`m a little ahead of myself here since I don`t leave until tuesday, but i thought for once it would be a new experience to be ahead of schedule instead of behind it. Tomorrow i`ll probably be busy getting all my stuff ready, packing, tidying the house a little bit before i leave, and tuesday, well, off we go then! 

 

I don`t expect to break any new grounds in this one, many of you have read my tripreport from last year, and this year it`s the same trip, 8 days to elephant plains in the sabi sands, with the safari itself start on saturday. I will stay one night at an airport hotel near jo`burg airport til thursday, then I`m bushbound and leave for Hoedspruit, and at the same place i spend one night last year, i will this year spend two nights, and aim to do a little exploring of my own of that area on my full day there, inside the Hoedspruit wildlife estate, the plan is to do some birding as there are a couple of wateringholes inisde that area, and one of them even with a hide. There are no "dangerous" animals inside the HWE, but general game is present, so I suspect i will already have a few hundered pictures in my harddrive even before i arrive to Sabi sands on saturday ;-) I can`t wait to really put my new sigma 120-300 2.8 s lens to good use, I think that lens really will serve me well! 

 

You can expect an update on thursday, when i am settled in in Hoedspruit, i hope you will follow me along this year as well, I am really anxious to get going now :-D  I leave you with a picture of this little courious george, and i`ll talk to you later this week, from hopefully a little warmer weather then outside of me at the moment :-) 

 

 

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TravelMore

Hi!!!!  I just checked in after a long hiatus and had THIS excitement to welome me back. So looking forward to your adventure! AND FEW HUNDRED photos.

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Atravelynn

Nice idea to start the report pre-safari.

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The_Norwegian

Well ladies and gentlemen, it`s thursday, isn`t it? For some reason, the concept of time is totally left behind once I have disembarked the plane in Jo`burg, i just make sure to be where i need to be and are supposed to be at the times i`m supposed to be there, if that make any sense lol :D:D 

My travels from Norway via Paris to Jo`burg was pretty much like every other longhaul travel, except i was bumped up to businessclass from paris to Jo`burg, so i was off to good start. Upperdeck on the A380 is airtravel at its best :-) I then spend one night in the protea marriot hotel by the airport, a pretty decent hotel for a night or two, before i proppeled off to Hoedspruit today, and are currently enjoying a cold beer and the sounds of the lowveld, it`s great to be back!

Had a little walkabout just before, with my camera off course, lots of birds, a coule of steenboks, some warthogs, just a nice walk around the block. Tomorrow i will explore the greenbelt here, and look for those wateringholes :rolleyes: A couple of pictures, fresh off the print ;-) Nothing spectacular, but a start indeed! 

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The_Norwegian

Rudolph the flying..duiker? :-O Well, seems my new lens on the D500 is going to work just fine ;-) And it was well worth the effort doing the AF microadjustment with the dock, it seems pretty spot on to me, i`m a happy camper! Well, my time here at the Hoedpsruit wildlife estate is at the end, i have been exploring around, really great area for general game and birds, i highly reccomend a stay here if you need somewhere to spend a night or two on your travels. 

I`m getting picked up soon for my tranfer to the sabi sands, i`m really getting excited now, this will be awesome, can`t wait! I`ll update you guys during the next week, so stay tuned! :-) 

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Peter Connan

Lovely shot!

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The_Norwegian

"I do solemnly swear i`m up to no good" 

 

So, if there was any doubt as to who the showstoppers would be this time around, you`re looking right at one of them ;-) 

 

Made it back to elephant plains in sabi sands yesterday, and after meeting with the rest of the group and the guides, and lunch, we set out on our first gamedrive of the trip. Very quickly we located the 10 month old cub of Tiyani, the leopardess of this area, and for this quick update, i debated whether to post a picture of her or this, well, i went for this, but fear not, there will be leopards ;-) 

 

As the leopardcub was not providing us with the best view, quite far up in a big evergreen, we decided to press on, and quickly the gamedriveradio uttered the worg "ngala " a lot, and as i am quite an avid follower of the sabi sands, i knew what that meant. Cubs! And boy did we have the lionsighting of dreams! Even our guides said that they never ever have had an better lionsighting in the sands during all their time here! The sounds and energy of the little ones, the light as the sun came down right behind us, it`s nothing i would ever dream to hope for. And their fathers kissed by the soft evening sun, illuminating the manes, it was magnificent! 

 

With such a start, i wonder what else this trip will produce! 

 

so stay tuned for the next update!

 

 

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The_Norwegian

Hello everybody, a quick update under the relentless african sun, it`s a schorcher today, whoa :-O We are now halfway through the trip, and those who are not doing 8 days back to back have now left or are leaving shortly, and a new group of people will arrive today. 

 

I`m not sure if my memory serves me correct, last year I was on a constant high of just being here, but i seem to remember that sightings were a little more consistent last year, but I can also add, that overall the sightings this year thus far, have been of a even higher quality, partly courtesy of cubs, both lion and leopards. Both the females in the area have cubs now, although soon a year old, so not little fluffballs anymore, but provide great, GREAT, entertainment, as i will show you later on ;-) I feel like I have taken my photography a step forward this year, our tusk-guides are just awesome in teaching the tricks of the trade, and i have soaked it up more this year then last year. 

 

So, that`s my update for now, more later on :-) 

 

Oh wait, i promised you a leopard my last posting, didn`t I? well, here is a beautiful lady for you :-) 

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Atravelynn

All that duiker needs is a red nose and he's Rudolph.

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wilddog

Thanks for bringing this to us from the African Bush. 

What a lovely leopardess. 

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The_Norwegian

Hello again everyone! This trip is fast coming to an end now, tomorrow morning is the final gamedrive, then it's the long journey back home to Norway. Then starts the second part of the trip, going through and editing the pictures 😃 I've edited a few down here, but I'm going to look at them at my bigger computer screen back home before posting, just to make sure they are looking alright. This trip has been nothing short of spectacular, I couldn't be more pleased! Here's an ellie to keep the post warm 😃

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Great start of your TR, I can feel the excitement of you posting this live from the bush. Some great pictures as well. Especially the flying duiker, well captured! Looking forward to more of your photos :) 

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The_Norwegian

Hello everyone! So, I am back home again, arrived yesterday afternoon after a give or take 30 hours jorney back home with stopovers, so when i got home I ate a little, installed myself on the couch, and woke up in the same couch 7 o clock this morning. 

 

I have had an most amazing week in the sabi sands, again, but compared to last year, the sightings this year was even better. You know, throw some cubs into the mix, and magic will happen ;-) I think i got some real awesome shots to show you, and I`m looking forward to showing them to you! So please, stay tuned and allow me some time to start working trough them all, it added up this year as well ;-) 

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Peter Connan

I for one am looking forward to seeing them!

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mtanenbaum

I can't wait to see all your cub pictures! I didn't see any lion cubs on my first two safari trips, but was fortunate to see LOTS when I went to the Mara two years ago! 

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The_Norwegian

Hello everybody! Just letting you know that the report is work in progress :-) Hope you have a little more patience. A lot of pictures were taken, a lot to work through, and add to that, I almost went straigt back to work when i got home, and unfortunatly when i am home, the concept of time is quite the opposite of when in Africa. It`s quite a hassle to be honest :-P But i`m aiming for an installment during this weekend! here`s a leopard for you! One of the young ones, this pretty girl is 10 months old, and is quite the show-off ;-) Unless waiting for mom in a tree. A relaxed young cat, not bothered with cameras clicking and cars moving, at all. And also, the very first sighting of the trip! 

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TravelMore

Such a Special sighting! She's ADORABLE!

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  • 1 month later...
The_Norwegian

Well, I`ll admit, this might be the slowest trip report in the history of trip reports, but hopefully, better late then never :-) Time has quite simply went along like crazy since i got back. I`ll already written a few words about the travel itself, so I think we`ll skip along to Hoedspruit, you`ve already seen a couple of pictures from my stay there. Really nice area, and also really nice to get warmed up with photographing before the safari itself. Stayed there two nights this time, walked the trails in the greenbelt, though, it was not very green yet when i was there, pretty grey and boring colorwise, but plenty of general game and birds. A very nice wateringhole i hiked to, with a photohide alongside the water, but i had to make a hasty retreat when a troop of baboons were closing in on the hide, and no doorson the hide, didn`t feel like havng to fend off those guys, so i left before planned, but a nice walk nontheless! :-) I`ve already posted a flying duiker and hornbill from HWE, but here a few more from HWE. I Have to admit, i was pretty sure that i would take a lot more pictures there then I actually did, but walking around, it`s a little limited how many warthogs and hornbills you end up taking pictures off, and also I enjoyed it so much just walking around, listening to the sounds and taking it all in, that the camera was mostly just hanging around my neck :-) 

 

But, fear not, from the next istallment that is about to change ;-) 

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The_Norwegian

So, then I made it back to the Sabi Sands and elephant plains game lodge, to a warm welcome back, not sure if they keep a record or if they saw i was wearing the cap i bought the year before ;-) Both, perhaps? Arrived a little before my room was ready, so with hasty steps, i made way for the bar, and for my first G&T in a year, that one tasted so good. I could hear people cheering and yelling, not knowing what was going on, I arrived on the day of the rugby finale, and as i was made quicly aware of, "bokke" was winning, quite a big deal in SA. Me? I`m not even aware of when the norwegian soccer team is playing, so there you have me and sports lol. When the game was over, the hosts came over to the bar to greet the guests, not the same hosts as last year, but as i already was friend with both of them on FB, I recognized them right away and introduced myself, chatting as more of the guests was arriving one by one. A little introduction when all had arrived, the EP-guides was introduced, and some general info, before everyone was taken to the rooms. Then it was quickly time for some very welcome food, before heading out on the very first game drive! Unlike last year when we were only 6 pepoles on the first group, only needing one car, this year we was almost two full cars, 11 people in total. 2 on each row, and since most of the others were travelling as a pair, guess who got a row to himself for the whole trip :-D 

 

We then made our made out of the lodge grounds, and into the wild. Not even 10 minutes into the drive, we spotted Tiyanis 10 month old cub up in a tree, great start! Her mother was not to be seen, probably out hunting, leopardcubs can be left alone for quite some time when they are nearing a year old, often a couple of days.  

 

We stayed with her for awhile, but as she didn`t seem to plan on doing much beside lazing away the evening on her branch, and as a call came in that Nkuhuma-pride of lions was not to far away, and as there was no stand by, we could pull right into the sighting once we got there, so off we went, knowing that we would most likely spend more time with this cub later :-) 

 

I had pretty high hopes and expectations of this sighting as i knew this pride had 9 cubs, and never had an proper sighting with lioncubs before, I was very excited when we got closer and could see some mini-lions running around, and as we got even closer and turned off the engine, those little roars they make, i think those sounds are just about the best sound in the universe :wub: And even better in person! The whole pride was present, including the two dominant males of the area, the Avoca-boys "blondie&mohawk". Those two boys haven`t been, compared to some of the other male-coalitions in the sands over the years, given much hope of beeing fierce enough, but I think they have come into their own lately, and beeing the fathers of the year, I think they surely will hold their own if need be :-) 19 lions in total in the sighting! Wow :-D 

 

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TravelMore

My fav is #2! #3 is adorable the way it tries to look fierce! Lol. #5 oh so magical!  I hope you stayed a very long time.   All your pics are wonderful!

 

 

Do you or any other followers know how many avocas there are in total? I've heard mention of Northern avocas and Southern avocas.  Anyone know the story?

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The_Norwegian
12 hours ago, TravelMore said:

 

 

 

Do you or any other followers know how many avocas there are in total? I've heard mention of Northern avocas and Southern avocas.  Anyone know the story?

 

 

There are 5 avocas, they were all sired by the giraffe males and born into the avoca pride in the timbavati. They split up, were the two older brothers ended up south in the sabi sands around kirkmans and lion sands, whereas the three younger brothers stayed in the north. Then one of the three younger have split from the two, and are now dominant in manyeleti and is regularely seen witht the talamati pride, and these two are dominant around elephant plains/arathusa/djuma/cheetah plains. 

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TravelMore

Ahh ty, I love the stories.  Sad one is on his own, was he pushed out?

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TravelMore
On 11/6/2019 at 3:31 AM, The_Norwegian said:

 

Oh wait, i promised you a leopard my last posting, didn`t I? well, here is a beautiful lady for you :-) 

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She is Beautiful!  Nice bokeh!

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xelas

Awesome photography, @The_Norwegian! Your posts/trip report might come in slowly, as long as they will be filled with those fantastic photos!

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