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Kruger South to North September 2019: Rooineks and rare antelope


Tdgraves

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Day 1: Zibuko bird hides, 31/8/19   The journey from the hotel was simple, but despite Peter telling us not to take the main mine road, we followed the satnav and the sign, like automatons i

Day 3: Morning drive, Berg-en-Dal, 2/9/19   My OHs 50th birthday! It was only 13 degrees as we left camp and 25 when we got back. As it was a changeover day, we decided to go up the gravel m

Day 2: Morning drive, Berg-en-Dal, 1/9/19     One of the advantages of being here in September is that the gates don't open as early, so there is chance of a tiny bit more sleep! We aim

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Zim Girl

Enjoying this @Tdgraves, lovely variety of wildlife and birds so far.  The first picture of the red-knobbed coot is stunning.

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shazdwn

Loving being along for the ride - looking forward to more

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Tdgraves

Day 6, Morning drive, Skukuza, 5/9/19

 

Sorry for the delay, I have had 3 viruses in the past 2 weeks and to top it all off, the cellar flooded at the weekend, so we had to do loads of clearing up!

 

It was warmer and bluer today, a balmy 16 degrees when we left and 27 upon our return. I had the 5D today and we decided to go towards Pretoriuskop, via the Phabeni gate, a part of the park we have never explored. We soon found a stationary vehicle, who excitedly beckoned us over...

 

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a pangolin!! Our first in 10 years of going on safari. The OH repositioned the car for a better angle and I was just about to depress the shutter when it moved, so the above is the best we got. Who cares? We had seen it!! Next up was a hyaena den

 

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this bush was very tasty

 

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and then some birds, with a close sighting of a white-headed vulture

 

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We had a quick comfort break and filled up with fuel in Pretoriuskop. I had just got into the drivers seat when I spotted a purple-crested turaco flying over, so I got out of the car and ran off after it, having not got my usual close sighting in Berg-en-Dal...

 

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Back on the road

 

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we had done a huge triangle and by the time we were back into camp, 5.5 hours had elapsed...

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Wow, a Pangolin- what an exceptional sighting. Very jealous :)

Always good to see hyena as well!

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Towlersonsafari

a pangolin a Pangolin hurrah! and i really like your Zebra shot @Tdgraves

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michael-ibk

Congrats on the Pangolin sighting, very cool!

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Wow.. A pangolin.. It must have felt like christmas!! ;):rolleyes:

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Dave Williams

That was quite a day for sightings, some excellent shots too.

 

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Tdgraves

Day 6, Skukuza around camp, 5/9/19

 

I had to temporarily suspend cooking brunch, as a huge herd of eles came through the river (we had a perimeter view room)

 

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And then after brunch I had a bird walk around camp, which was not as productive as it had been on past visits (albeit in Jan)

 

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and I found this criminal back at our room!
 

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Tdgraves

Day 6, Evening drive, Skukuza, 5/9/19

 

Despite being right next to Sabi Sands, we have never seen leopard whilst staying in Skukuza. So yet again, we went off to try the "golden triangle" around the river to see what we could see. It was 29 degrees when we left and the clouds were gathering. Some birds as we left camp...

 

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The remains of the herd on the other side of the bridge

 

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We had stopped to photograph this hoopoe when a vehicle approached us from the other direction, to tell us that there was a leopard, just over the bridge. So we were off!

 

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When we got to the bridge, one of the parked vehicles in a really good position was just leaving and gave us their spot, so we could see this...

 

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a sleepy skukuza leopard!!

 

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that would occasionally roll over, giving us hope for some action...

 

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before going back to sleep again...

 

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a hamerkop landed with a kill to distract us for a few minutes...

 

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Of course, it eventually did get up, but it was so dark, no decent shots of the walk to the tree

 

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We also had 2 separate hyaena sightings

 

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and then it was time to get back to camp

 

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Not bad for a first sighting!

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Great to see the leopard, and such a clear sighting!

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Tdgraves

Day 7, Morning drive, Skukuza, 6/9/19

 

Obviously we knew exactly where we would be going this morning! I had the 7D. It was much warmer at 18 degrees when we left and fell to 16 upon our return, due to the rain :(

 

There were already a few vehicles parked under a sausage tree, close to the bridge where we had left the leopard - here it was...

 

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We had to pull over a bit in front, which was a blessing...

 

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as I'm not sure how many of the other vehicles realised that in fact there were two leopards! And we had the best view of the closest one (and the easiest to photograph)..

 

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And then  something spooked them, so first the one on the ground left, and then the one in the tree....

 

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Time to move on!

 

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We had two hyaena sightings, including this one which went over the bridge and then back again, I don't know what it was looking for!! (courtesy of the OH as I was driving)

 

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and very quickly we were at the picnic site, which was our predetermined turning around spot, as we were checking out today. We noticed this in the car park...

 

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and told the driver, in case they left him any "presents"

 

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It was an uneventful drive back to camp. On the way back to the room, I spotted some birds in the undergrowth and hopped out of the car..

 

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We just managed to pack up and get into Cattle Baron for breakfast before the heavens opened!

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Wonderful report thanks @Tdgraves. What roads are the Golden triangle at Skukuza.

Well done on the leopard sightings :) 

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Tdgraves

@Hads It is supposedly the two tar roads next to the sabi and sand rivers (although one also has the gravel detour) between the low level bridges and the high level bridge...if you believe that sort of thing!

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Tdgraves

Day 7, Transfer Skukuza to Satara, 6/9/19

 

This was one of our longest drives so we had to get going. As the rain persisted, it was very dark for pretty much the entire journey. Obviously, we had to pass the leopard sighting en route, just in case....

 

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Due to the lack of sightings, we very soon arrived at the Tshokwane picnic site, where the lunchtime rush was in full flow. As I dutifully queued to use the facilities behind a school group (it was SANParks week the first week of our stay, so there was an increase in day visitor numbers), one of the teachers offered for me to jump the queue. I think that she was a bit surprised when I declined and looking at my camera, she then excitedly showed me some photos taken on her phone of a lion kill, right next to the road, a bit further north! We were off...We did not really need her directions, as we would not have missed the carcass, or the smallish queue of vehicles. We actually managed to park directly opposite them, but as it was a transfer day, I couldn't just hop into the back seat, as it was full of food, drink and other paraphernalia. Damn. Luckily, due to my foresight whilst directing the OH to pack the car :ph34r:, I had suggested putting the cooler box directly behind the drivers' seat. As this was the only thing in the back that was not breakable, I was very uncomfortably able to balance on this and some cans/cooking utensils, to point my camera out of the back window. Once it became apparent that this would be a long sighting, I was able to readjust a little. Good job I was not driving though, as I doubt the OH would have managed the contortions as well!

 

First of all there was a single male...

 

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courtesy of OH on the 5D, as I was still trying to get into the back!

 

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his favourite shot of the trip!

 

Then some cubs arrived

 

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and Dad kindly dragged the carcass forward a bit, so that we had an even better view!

 

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and the rest of the family appeared...

 

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When Dad had enough, the Mums came back for some scraps...

 

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The arrival of the other male signalled that it was soon time to leave...

 

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I've never seen such a big pride in the Kruger, nor one with so many cubs. We had somehow found ourselves at the front of the queue and so as soon as it became clear that they were going to move, we moved forward, to try and get a position where they would walk towards us. The males however moved off to the right and out of sight

 

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But it took them a while to get organised

 

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and the bush was not kind to our idea. Never mind, what an awesome sighting! We had been sat with them for almost an hour and still had a way to drive, without anywhere for a pit stop, so we had to get moving again.

 

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a few wet birds and that was that for sightings

 

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Time to check into Satara...

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xelas

Obviously there will be no shortage of lion sighting in next few years in that part of Kruger! What a perfect sighting.

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pedro maia

Wow, what a sighting, the lions pride on the carcass!!

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TravelMore

What a spectacular lion sighting! Great photos!

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Peter Connan

Wow, what great sightings you had!

 

Excellent photos.

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